WR Wrapping up 2019

Posted: 29th December 2019

This is going to be a single blog of two parts[1]: some articles from the last couple of weeks[2] then some chat about things I've enjoyed reading, watching and playing this year.

So, this week's (well fortnight's) articles: Google fires another worker for exercising her rights and protecting coworkers from illegal company retaliation by Kathryn Spiers. The headline says it all and I'm pretty late to this one but I wanted to flag it as Google keeps getting worse as a company. We need to keep pressure on them for this bullshit and this is the least I can do towards that.

Anita Sarkeesian looks back at GamerGate, by (surprise) Anita Sarkeesian. It's weird to think that this was 6 years ago. It feels like both ancient history and, given the current political horror-scape, naively inconsequential but it's an important read. Much of the tactics used on social media have their roots in this colossal shitshow. Whilst I don't really follow video games anywhere near as closely now it's important to remember how devastating this was for those caught in the cross fire. Finally, just because there are bigger fights doesn't mean this stuff isn't important as well, media shapes culture and I'd like to live in a culture that pushes back on the alt-right crap that first emerged in GamerGate[3]

Moving on, somewhat, from the grimness of the world: Watching the ‘Watchmen’: A critical conversation on 3 canons By Ritesh Babu and Vishal Gullapalli. Watchmen is one of my favourite comics and this is a fascinating look at 3 different views on it that have come out this year. I've only read Peter Cannon and I'm not sure if I'll get round to watching or reading the other two but this is a great comparison piece.

That's the articles for this week but I wanted to make some other recommendations on stuff I've enjoyed this year.

  • Once and Future by Kieron Gillen & Dan Mora. I've become a huge fan-boi of Gillen's and this is a comic that convinced me to go and read all 858 pages of T.H. White's Once and Future King. It's a look at King Arthur that feels true and also fresh
  • Trans like me by C.N. Lester. This is just good and you should read it.
  • Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is a hard read if you, like me, have arachnophobia[4] but I found it really interesting and the fact it made me empathise with spiders is miraculous.
  • Command and control by Eric Schlosser. Most of my job is making systems resilient and reliable; luckily when I fail the worst that happens is someone loses some money. This is all about the other sort of system and is equal parts terrifying and fascinating.
  • Stellaris by Paradox I've just got into this game, it's great, it's like playing an Alastair Reynolds book[5].
  • We know the devil by Date Nighto. Talking of playing a book: this is an interactive novel, it takes about 2 hours to play through and I found it deeply effecting and worth my time (I even played it 3 further times to get all the endings).

Anyway, I'm done rambling. Thank you for reading, see you next year (assuming I remember to keep doing this).

[1]: I thought about doing this as two posts but that was just too much effort. [back]

[2]: Sorry for missing last week, I was on a 12hour train to Scotland [back]

[3]: Ironically there's also a lot of really important conversations that should be had about ethics in video games (and journalism) such use of undeclared sponsorship in YouTube videos, working conditions and use of sources. Sadly these were (and still are) mostly ignored in favour of hype, misogyny and crap [back]

[4]: if you really can't spiders I also enjoyed Adiran's Dogs of War [back]

[5]: Go read Alastair Reynolds if you haven't; start with Revelation Space [back]