[7RQ] 2018-03-25

Which, in fact, he turned out to be


It’s not new, but this piece — originally published in Edge magazine — extolling the virtues of DEAD SPACE was recently brought to my attention:

“There's a purity to Dead Space, and to its science fiction, an efficiency of character, presentation, and even language. The game's opening scene is a model of sharp exposition"

And beyond praise for the writing (which is always nice), the article is a good reflection on how different DEAD SPACE was at the time compared to what the survival horror genre had become. It was less than a decade after the original SILENT HILL (let alone SH2, the entry that really cemented the genre's conventions in most people's minds), and yet survival horror games had rapidly calcified into a staid and moribund form, obsessed with military tactics, weapon loadouts, and enemy hordes. Everyone involved in DEAD SPACE wanted to take it back to what we all first loved about the genre; the creeping dread of tension, the terror of being alone in a place just one step removed from reality, unnameable monsters that disturbed the psyche as much as the viscera.

Nowadays AAA developers generally aren't interested in games that "only" make a million or two in profit, so survival horror thrives in the "big indie" space — where it's perfectly acceptable to make a low-to-medium-budget game, sell it to the genre's small but enthusiastic core audience, and turn a modest profit. I'm OK with that; it's resulted in some great games and amazing innovations, because the willingness to take risks and try something new is so much higher. But for a while there, DEAD SPACE carried the (sputtering) torch. https://nathanditum.co.uk/2017/02/19/working-class-hero-how-dead-spaces-toolbox-of-horrors-is-a-blue-collar-manifesto/


With the publication of SOUL MUSIC, not to mention an increasing amount of non-fiction, I figured it was time to tidy up my website. My short story work is now more prominent in the Fiction section, and I’ve created a new Non-fiction section for my essays and columns. (The For Writers section is still a thing unto itself, don't worry.) http://antonyjohnston.com/work/fiction/


The second WASTELAND COMPENDIUM is available to pre-order. The Compendia are our 'doorstop editions', massive paperback books containing half the series each. The first volume was released last July, containing the first 31 issues; the second volume will be released this July, containing the remaining 29 issues and clocking in at over 600pp (!) Get your order in now — for comic stores, use the code MAR181798 and for book stores, use the ISBN 9781620105146. http://antonyjohnston.com/work/wasteland/


The Ursula K Le Guin episode of The Incomparable’s Book Club is now live. Host Jason Snell leads myself, Erika Ensign, Glenn Fleishman, and Scott McNulty through a discussion of Le Guin’s two best-known and most influential works, A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. I loved having this discussion, of course, but the reason for its occasion is bittersweet. https://www.theincomparable.com/theincomparable/398/
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