Why I Can’t Seem to Finish Mass Effect: Andromeda

You guys, I tried.

There are good, entertaining parts to this game–I’ve mentioned them before–but the parts in between them are too much of a slog. At some point, the anticipation that drives me through that slog to get to the good parts wears thin. Andromeda needs more than cool ideas. It has to execute them well, and consistently enough to keep the audience engaged. The game is made up of a series of good moments, and some great ones, with a lot of not-so-good stuff in between them. But what it needed was to draw the audience into a continuous story, and it doesn’t really do that. Continue reading

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Once Upon a Time: At Its Best When Breaking the Mold, at Its Worst When Following It

The face of a woman off to the side, with an apple in front of her, half black and half red. The words "Once Upon a Time" fill the other side of the image.

Image: ABC

Genre: Fantasy/Fairy tale retelling

Synopsis: Emma is living on her own and working as a bail bondsman, when the boy she’d given up for adoption at birth appears on her doorstep. There’s nothing for it but for her to bring the kid back to his adoptive mother–who he insists is the Evil Queen. The Evil Queen, who cast a curse on fairy tale characters, trapping them in our world with no memories of who they are. While Emma is supposed to be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, capable of breaking the curse. Continue reading

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BookCon and Stream of Annihilation

So this weekend was packed for me, between attending panels at BookCon and trying to catch some of the one-shot DnD games played at Stream of Annihilation.

BookCon

My favorite panel had to be Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown) and Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows). Not only have I recently read great books by both, but they were a lot of fun, especially together. Aside from the hilarious personal stories they shared, some standout moments included: Continue reading

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Round Up: Simple Biologist and Board Games

Simple Biologist: A scientist puts out videos explaining the main concepts in papers put out by researchers.

Continue reading

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The Handmaid’s Tale Presents a Disturbing Dystopian Society

An image of a woman in a red robe and white hat, standing in front of a concrete wall stained with bits of red, probably blood--some of it dripping onto the road. The poster reads, "We will bear no more, A hulu original, The Handmaid's Tale."

Image: Hulu via IMDB

Genre: Dystopia

Synopsis: June used to have a family and a life, until an extremist government took over. They renamed her, and as one of the few remaining fertile women, assigned her to be a Handmaid–given to an elite household for the purpose of bearing children for a commander and his wife. The story proceeds to show us a vicious dystopia where certain people are dehumanized and devalued, stripped away of their freedom and individuality. Continue reading

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A Series of Unfortunate Events has a Charismatic Charm

Genre: Adventure/comedy

Synopsis: Three siblings, the Baudelaires, suddenly find themselves orphans. They’re sent to live with a nearby relative, Count Olaf–who, it turns out, only wants their money. He puts them in poor living conditions, uses them as servants, and abuses them verbally (and once physically). The siblings are left to survive their dreary situation, foil his schemes, and fight for a happier future. Continue reading

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Science in Mass Effect: Andromeda

I’m still not done with Mass Effect: Andromeda–I’m about halfway through the game. It might take me some time to get through it, but in the meantime, I wanted to talk about the impression I’ve had of the game so far from a biological/genetics standpoint. Continue reading

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Miscellaneous Roundup 2

The personal intersecting with the science (AKA Work/life balance): I’ve been sick this past week, which isn’t great timing when I literally cannot miss a day of lab without risking over a month of work. So that’s been fun. For those interested, I’m knocking out a gene of interest in cell lines, isolating single cells, and growing populations from those single cells. When enough cells grow, I can store some as back ups–but I’m not at that stage yet. If any of them die out now, they’re gone forever. Continue reading

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Orphan Black Season 4: Bringing the past to life

Genre: Sci-fi/thriller

Synopsis:

S1: Grifter Sarah Manning happens to meet a woman who looks exactly like her in a train station, right before the woman commits suicide. Naturally, Sarah uses the opportunity to take her identify and steal all her stuff. But while pretending to be the now-deceased Beth Childs in order to access her bank account, Sarah finds herself thrust deeper into Beth’s life than she imagined. But there’s a reason Beth killed herself. There’s a reason why the two of them look so alike. And Sarah’s walked right into a dangerous trap. Continue reading

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Sci-Fi for Capturing the Imagination with Detail-Oriented Debate

Today I want to bring up two pieces of media, a book and a movie, that do a great job with something I don’t see tackled in fiction very often–they delve into the complex details behind the big picture, and make them interesting. They form a story around those details, instead of making it all about the big picture.

Character conflict and personalities are used to engage the audience with the narrative. Meanwhile, focusing on the complexities instead of sidelining them make the stories feel like they belong in a world as complicated as our own. Both of them managed to pull me in by appealing to my sense of curiosity. So it’s fitting for me to talk about both in one post, given that they share their strengths. Continue reading

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