With the popularity of franchises like The Hunger Games, DayZ, and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, the battle royale genre has gained incredible traction over the last few years. The idea of many against one and the rise to the top is nothing new in storytelling. But what makes this specific end of the spectrum so special? Competition, conflict, uncertainty, paranoia, and survival, much like my typical Thursday night, are the core tenants of this genre. And, like my usual Thursday, it can leave you guessing as to what might happen right up until the end. So let’s jump into the narrative shallow-to-deep end and discuss what exactly makes the battleRead More →

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining

When I was younger, I liked to read. Scratch that, I loved to read. If I found a book I loved or a story I adored, I wouldn’t put it down. Seriously, bookworms know of the learned skill of successfully navigating crowded hallways and classrooms with your nose stuck between pages. (Books are great, kids. Support your local library.) Recently, though, I’ve rediscovered audiobooks. Since I have little time and attention span to physically carry a book with me, this seemed ideal. It was a flashback to the days in school, walking the halls and following the adventures of Martin the Warrior or the BaudelaireRead More →

So I was browsing a small video sharing website one day, minding my business, passing time before having to leave for work. Scanning the homepage, a particular video caught my eye. A movie trailer for a particularly old internet phenomenon, to be produced by Hollywood, and as a horror movie no less. Interesting, I thought to myself. Finally, bringing an internet icon to the silver screen. Maybe it’ll score higher than 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. But as I watched this trailer, I wondered: hasn’t the Slenderman trend passed already? Is it as relevant as it was back when Marble Hornets first launched their YouTube channel?Read More →

With the passing of Inktober, where online artists commit themselves to make and publish daily drawings, comes the beginning of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is the writer’s equivalent to Inktober, where daily writing and review culminate in a fully realized novel. Titles like “The Night Circus” and “Water for Elephants” were penned during NaNo, which led to worldwide acclaim for their authors. Other stories, often overlooked, are still great reads and a testament to the dedication of writers worldwide. I’ve attempted to work through NaNo, taking stories I had pieced together beforehand and building on them. But between scheduling, exhaustion, school (at theRead More →

Ah, November. A time to recover from crazy Halloween parties and hide the kids’ trick-or-treating haul so they don’t eat it all in one go. Depending on where you live, leaves are changing colors, days are getting shorter, and temperatures are dropping like electronic fish. It’s also the opportune time to bust out some favorite tabletop games. Catan, Ticket to Ride, Munchkin, even Risk or Monopoly for those families and friends that enjoy a bit of healthy competition. Gaming in its various forms has always served as a sort of glue to bring people together. It’s a way to spend time together, share experiences, and createRead More →

Halloween

Greetings, ladies, gentlemen, and others. A bit of a departure this week from my usual ramblings, in celebration of my favorite holiday: All Hallow’s Eve. Instead of a written piece, The Geek Embassy has granted me the opportunity to present a dramatic reading of a piece penned by one of the great masters of modern ethereal horror: H. P. Lovecraft, and his short story, The Outsider. I will be the first to express bias towards this tale, as it imitates the voice of another famed horror writer, Edgar Allan Poe, a personal favorite of mine. And it is true, Lovecraft is the mind behind Cthulhu, one of theRead More →

wicked

Everyone loves a good villain. An interesting and engaging antagonist is vital to a successful story, be that a physical being or an ethereal idea. From psychopaths to masterminds to literal gods, some of these characters even get more fans than their corresponding heroes. And you have to admit, there’s something weirdly satisfying about that. But creating and constructing a decent villain is difficult in and of itself. In a world with The Joker or Sauron as the possible big bad, nobody wants a Scrappy Doo. Even some big-time baddies are overestimated and overblown, to the point they’re little more than wacky inflatable tube menRead More →

undead

The Undead Persist Thought I was done with the undead? Well you’re almost right, as this will be the last piece in my miniseries. I know, I’m sad too. This time, however, we’re going to take a bit of a different approach to our foul friends. We’re going to examine a small subgroup within the undead umbrella that, in all actual factual reality, isn’t undead. The creatures here are more in line with the term “infected”, as they aren’t actually dead, just really, really angry. And just like Marvel’s jolly green giant in purple pants, you won’t like them when they’re angry. To clarify, the ghoulish groupsRead More →

Since this is the second piece, would it technically be a “return of the living dead”? We’re going to run with that. Hello, greetings, and so on. Welcome to the second week of zombie fever, my personal pieces leading up to Halloween season. Last week’s discussion was on Romero, the perennial patriarch of the Hollywood/pop culture zombie. This week, let’s examine writer Max Brooks, one of the spiritual successors to Romero and his honorable horrors. Now while I don’t want this to turn into a middle school compare and contrast piece, it should be noted that Romero’s zombies share some noticeable differences with Brooks’, andRead More →

It’s nearing the middle of August, so you know what that means — time to start thinking about Halloween! Alright, so it might be a bit early for some to delve into the season of spoops and scares, but I was getting antsy waiting to talk about something horror-related. Thankfully, between The Walking Dead on AMC and the acclaimed Resident Evil 7 game release (those are still current, right?), there’s a horror trope that’s proven time and again to match with any seasonal outfit or style: zombies. Biological or magical, hivemind or mindless, the undead are a mainstay in modern geek culture. Games, comics, films, and novelsRead More →