Monday, January 25, 2016

In the UK a scientist is making a case to edit the DNA of human embryos. Dr Kathy Niakan claims that these experiments would "provide a deeper understanding of the earliest moments of human life and could reduce miscarriages." This is possible by using the Crispr process that, in short, “turns off and replaces specific genes.” This is an exciting scientific possibility, but is far from without criticism. Many people think that editing the genes of an embryo is “playing god” and should not be tested.

Personally, I have nothing in my morale standard to claim this wrong or evil and see no reason for this not to happen. We are likely to understand a dark corner of science, miscarriages, and by getting more experience with gene editing the possibilities of that alone is worth more than any moral standard she may break.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hello readers, let's chat.

I want you take a short moment and think of about the fantasy genre. Depending on the individual this can provoke several images, anything from LOTR to Game of Thrones, but in general these all share a central theme. A mystical world  of some degree, with superhuman individuals that the common people see as above them. This is a near tradition of the fantasy genre, established by earlier works such as Tolkien's work. This so common that it is almost expected of new works.

Enter the Witcher.

Witcher is by all means a fantasy game, there’s no getting around that. It checks all the boxes: fictional creatures, magic, kings, queens and everything in between. However, there is no hero, no happy villages or fun songs being sung. Skellige is a dark, grim place which “doesn’t need a hero, it needs an professional.” Even the main “protagonist”(if you can call him that) has been through a hard, pain filled life. Geralt of Rivia is a witcher, a person abducted from child hood and put through very painful genetic mutation to give him superhuman senses among other things. The ones who survive the process(which is only about ⅕ of the subjects) are then trained extensively in the art of monster killing. This is where one of my favorite parts of the Witcher comes in, the incredibly detailed world. In most fantasy genres the world is very utilitarian, it exist for storytelling purposes or even just as background. I have struggled to find a single thing that is not explained in one book, let alone considering all 11 books plus 3 games and a board game adaption.. Everything has been covered in this world, every monster has distinct strengths and weaknesses. For instance Striga, that is a cursed newborn that transforms into a hideous monster and hunts man at night for food(I did say it was a grim world), is able to resist mind bending spells like axii but is vulnerable to things like ingi based spells or fire in general. You can(of course) reverse the spell if you can have the Striga calm in her parent’s arms by 3 o'clock sharp, but that is only if it’s a curable case. There is that much depth, sometimes more, for every single monster in the storyline.

In fairness, for all it’s charm and depth, it does have flaws. Personally, I prefer a deep rich world that I can dive into for hours on end without interruption(Such as the World of Warcraft storyline(I mean it has 55 books and a entire game filled with 2000 hours worth of reading). This is why books that focus only on story development or are set in familiar setting(looking at you Kindred) tend to get more bored rather quickly. However, I do understand that some people (for some crazy reason) prefer story development over the world building, and sadly I must say the Witcher falls short in this aspect. The main problem is that from the genetic mutations mentioned earlier Geralt lost all sense of emotion save the strongest (love and hatred). This causes Geralt to not be the easiest character to relate too. There are many stories taking place in the books, in particular the first book(the one I read)Last Wish is a compilation of short stories. There was a saga over 5 books and another main story line concerning who he loved, none of which are particularly riveting tales.

Regardless, I absolutely adore Witcher and will continue reading these books until they're all gone and would highly recommend them if you are tired of a typical fantasy traditions.

What are your thoughts? Let me know, i’m always up for a good conversation!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Do you want entertainment?
Do you like gaming?
Do you like books?

No? Okay then carry on, but in case you change you're mind you should come out me and my friends incoherent ramblings on Podbean!

Click here for more info!