My Favorite Things: Murderbots, Milestone Movies, Superheroic Women, and Dragon Age

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek. This week, three of our selections are perfect for book lovers. This includes a brand new sci-fi novella with a murderous protagonist, a forthcoming adaptation of a classic children’s tale, or a book perfect for fans of spectacular female superheroes. Books aren’t your thing? Don’t worry, we have a recommended video game as well. Read on for more.



Lane’s Favorite Thing is… Murderbot!

So my favorite thing this month goes by the name of “Murderbot.” As in the main character in Martha Wells’ entertaining novella All Systems Red. Why do I like it to the extent that I’ve reread it once already since I bought it?

To be fair, I was predisposed to like it. Wells is an automatic buy for me.  But All Systems Red was just plain fun. How could it not be? The premise: the SecUnit for a team of interplanetary explorers has one job — keep its people safe, guided by the governing module in its brain which controls its behavior. Except this SecUnit has disabled the governing module, doesn’t particularly care about the team of people it’s supposed to protect (theoretically, anyway), and really would just like to be left alone to catch up on the long-running soap opera it watches obsessively. 397 episodes of The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon and counting. Instead, someone’s trying to murder its people, making it not only have to work, but interact with the team…. It’s a wryly funny adventure story, even when things are grim and violent. I love the way Martha Wells writes outsider characters and Murderbot’s already one of my favorites. Right up there with Moon from Wells’ Raksura books. And though I found the novella quite fun, there’s a lot of good meaty themes within it: what does it mean to be free? What place do android servants have in society? The novella’s not perfect (I got muddled on some of the climactic plot action) but it’s a good way to spend a lunch break.  Or two if you start over again when you finish.

 

Carey’s favorite thing is… The upcoming A Wrinkle In Time movie directed by Ava DuVernay!

Wrinkle won’t be released until 2018, but I’ve enjoyed following the buzz ever since it was announced last fall. Wrinkle is already a milestone in many ways; Ava DuVernay is the first director/producer of color given a huge budget to direct a smash adaptation. DuVernay helmed Selma and the critical, Oscar-nominated documentary 13th, so I’m eager to see what she does for the film version of Wrinkle (written by Frozen’s Jennifer Lee) with an all-star cast — and that budget.

I am a huge fan of Madeleine L’Engle. I’ve read almost every one of her books, fiction and nonfiction. A Wrinkle In Time (1963) successfully mixes fantasy and SF to ask complex questions about conformity (think Yegevny Zamyatin’s We), good v. evil, and quantum physics. It follows intelligent-but-awkward Meg Murry, her genius little brother Charles Wallace, Meg’s friend Calvin O’Keefe, and their guides Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which on a galactic quest to rescue Meg and Charles Wallaces’s missing scientist father (and save the universe).

Wrinkle began a whole series featuring the [sort-of spoiler!] Murry-O’Keefe families, which have endured over the past decades. Just as Calvin felt more at home with the Murry family than with his own, as a writer, L’Engle invited readers to feel at home in her stories.

A previous television adaptation (2003) starred a young Katie Stuart (Cassandra in Stargate: SG-1; Monroe in The 100); Gregory Smith (Everwood; Rookie Blues) as Calvin O’Keefe; and David Dorfman (The Ring) as Charles Wallace. It was… all right. No fault to the stars, but the story’s climactic ending is always going to be problematic when translated to film.

BUT. I’ve been waiting for this since I first cracked open the door to the Murry family home. And I can’t think of a better director than DuVernay, or a better cast. 2018 can’t get here fast enough!

 

Whitney’s Favorite Thing is… Dragon Age: Inquisition!

This is something that no one ever, ever would have thought they would hear me say. Which is why I am so late to the party in saying it. But right now, my favorite thing is Dragon Age: Inquisition. To all the people who patiently listened to me spit my vitriol about the Dragon Age franchise and how much I hated Dragon Age 2, how I would never play the series again….this is your chance to gloat. Because I finally played Inquisition, and lo and behold, I loved it. Or at least, I loved it once I got out of the Hinterlands. The story was average, but took a few twists and turns that I enjoyed, and there were moments that genuinely surprised me. Likewise, the gameplay was a little ho-hum for someone who is used to the fast pace, weapon variety and combat styles that accompany games like Mass Effect. But the characters. The characters in this game are worth the price of admission alone. (I have two words for you: Iron Bull. If Iron Bull isn’t in your life, it probably isn’t complete.)

This game has a way of making your decisions feel meaningful in ways that Mass Effect: Andromeda and most definitely Dragon Age: 2 did not, so much so that I am already planning multiple playthroughs so I can make different choices and try different romances. The latter will admittedly be hard, since I have A Type, and that Type is Cullen Rutherford, but I am up for the challenge. It was also a great deal of fun to see just how many times I could get Solas to disapprove of my actions, even if it meant reloading a previous save if I accidentally earned his approval. So if you need me for the next month or so, you can probably find me mucking about in Skyhold, far away from the Hinterlands.

 

Sherry’s Favorite Thing is… The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen!

I was fortunate enough to go to the book launch for Hope Nicholson’s new book, The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen. It’s a beautifully done history of female superheroes in comics over the decades. This isn’t about women creators of comics, though a few are touched on. This is about the women superheroes themselves, and their place in comic history. Nicholson covers the major female superheroes of each era, but focuses most of the book on the lesser known characters, adding so much more to the conversation of the history of comics and women superheroes.

 

 


Any thoughts on the selections above? Let us know in the comments below.

3 Comments

  • J.L. Gribble May 22, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Iron Bull for president!

    Reply
  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier May 24, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I must admit, the second I heard about The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen, I requested it from my library. That book is so aggressively in my wheelhouse, it would be a crime not to read it.

    Reply
    • Shara White May 24, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      I hope you read it soon and talk about it!

      Reply

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