Digested: 16/10/11

Gorged my way through Darths & Droids, which is perhaps the geekiest thing I’ve ever witnessed – a screencap webcomic that presents the Star Wars prequels as if they were a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not an original concept, apparantly, but it strokes enough of my nerdbones to make me not care. As well as the characterisation of the players and explanation for the utter absence of logic in the Star Wars prequels, the footnotes also offer insight into the world of role playing games, a domain that I’ve always found both fascinating and mystifying. I like the idea of the acting, but all those statistics and dice seem too much like work.

I’ve never read a Tom Clancy book before (although I’ve played the games that allow you to fight for America’s oil interests overseas) and on a whim, I picked up Dead or Alive from my local Sainsbury’s. It’s unclear whether it’s actually written by Clancy – he seems to have transformed himself into such a brand that he no longer actually has to write his novels – but it’s pretty much what I expected in that it’s slightly to the right of the Kaiser. Despite his inroads into videogames and his love of surveillance technology, I don’t know if Clancy’s embraced the web and social networking to its fullest. A shame, because his love of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) could make him the first novelist to truly make good use of Twitter. 140 character chunks could make his Republi-run-and-gun tomes shorter and punchier. Whole chapters could be digested to single tweets:

SAM KOs USAF F16. Pilot MIA in UAE. CIC OKs CIA LZ

Leaving Clancy and his cohorts to repeat USA-USA-USA for the remaining 500 pages.

“Blankets” by Craig Thompson was a little more contemplative. It’s one of the those long, deeply personal comics about awkward young men who can’t express their feelings. Ten years ago, I would have lapped it up. Nowadays, I don’t have quite so much patience and found myself skipping through it quite rapidly. It did make me think about how I read comics, however. So long as the art isn’t horrible, I really won’t notice it. The art isn’t horrible in “Blankets” – a lot of it is really quite lovely – but I found myself flipping quickly through even the most beautifully illustrated pages. I’m clearly an ignoramus.

The latest Nerdist Writers Panel featured Jon Enbom and Rob Thomas, who created two of my favourite series in the past few years – Party Down and Veronica Mars. Having been through both those series several times, I went back to Thomas’ first series, Cupid, which had two incarnations, one in the late 1990s and one in the mid 2000s. It’s a high concept idea – possibly crazy man thinks he’s the god of love and has to get 100 couples together in order to return to Mount Olympus. It’s easy to see why it appealed to network execs, but it never quite works and I found myself wishing for a composite version that pairs that bloke off Larry Sanders with that woman from Studio 60. But that doesn’t exist.

So I’ve been consoling myself with Living Room Songs, a lovely collection of chamber music pieces written performed by an Icelandic bloke in his living room. There are seven songs to download for free. It’s been helping me write when I don’t want to, which is more than I can say for a certain other Icelander, whose latest album isn’t doing that much for me. Anyway, the first one’s embedded below. If you like, visit the site and download the whole lot for nish.

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