Second Life: A Review of Press Reset, by Jason Schreier

The video game industry is one of the largest in the world, but it can be hard to imagine just how much money these companies make.  In 2020 alone, the global market for video games generated over 150 billion dollars in revenue, with predictions for 2021 set to increase that number even more.  Despite a measure of success which cannot be denied, the video game industry remains one of the most volatile industries of the modern day.  Few other fields rely on creating products that also need to serve as a piece of art, from the gameplay to the design to the story being told.  Even films do not suffer from the same demands or risks as games do.  One flop is all it takes for an entire company to fold in itself, and even the most successful ones perform mass layoffs without warning.  For many gamers out there, working in the video industry seems like a dream come true.  Get paid to make games?  But the reality, as in many instances, is much harsher.

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I Offer a New World: A Review of Empire of Blue Water, by Stephan Talty

It is a historical truth that pirates sailed in the waters of the Caribbean during the seventeenth century.  A historical truth which has spawned fantastical legends and a fascination with all things piratical.  These were the early buccaneers, the French corsairs, the English privateers.  Men and women who believed in freedom and taking what they wanted, when they wanted.  At the height of their power, the privateers of the Caribbean assembled armies, razed cities, and waged war on one of the most powerful empires known to man.  Documents and legends show they practiced direct democracy, the entire crew voting for their captain, and a form of socialism mostly free of corruption, where spoils were divided equally among the crew with bonuses granted in certain circumstances.  These are not the pirates of today, or even the pirates of fiction.  These were the scourge of the new world.

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Midnight’s Ink: A Review of The Body Library, by Jeff Noon

Storytelling is not defined.  Yes, we all know how to structure a sentence.  When to use a comma instead of a period.  The difference between quotation marks and apostrophes.  We learn grammar in school classes, listening to someone stand at the front of the room and lecture about how important it is to know when to use “it’s” as opposed to “its.”  All of those are components to storytelling, but they are not stories.  You may have heard somewhere, half-remembered, that a story needs a beginning and a middle and an end.  That holds true, until you read something non-linearly.  Sometimes the best stories take all the rules, throw them out the window, and craft something truly special.

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