Thursday 31 December 2015

Pandering to Panda's panda fans, who're tired of panning for panda gold!

What if I told you that you could now easily find and read all of the Panda comics in one easy to scroll list?

What if that was made a available to you?

Would you read all the Panda you found there?

Would you tell your friends?

Would you seek out panda enthusiasts and thrust it unbidden and unceremoniously upon their unsuspecting corporeal forms?

Well, this is a real thing. All of the Panda comics including both the original, late 2014, and current (hopefully ongoing) run are available in chronological order for your consumption.

Clicking on 'The Comic' will whisk you away to a magical world of snacks, unpaid product placement, and the occasional puddles of science.

Not included are the the two early proto-comics from the depths of late 2013, in which Panda dresses up as The Jedi Doctor, and yells at the sun, respectively. You can still find them where they've always been. Deep in the bowels of the United by Glue archive.

There is also The Octopus, which may or may not be The Octopus. He won't tell me, and he certainly won't tell you.

If you love Panda, or just pandas, now is the time to rifle through the back catalogue. The comicography if you will. And you should! Will that is. Will it hard, and will it long, and then have your will fulfilled by the chill sequentill still mill until your now methphoicill gills spill with digitill krill, Bill!

Explore the heavy asset reuse in the early comics, (which quite frankly I'm probably going to start doing again). Witness the stylistic inconsistency of the great majority of it. Marvel at his colour reversed eyes in the one with the cat in the box. Wonder what happened to the number 8 (and the punchline in the Christmas one). It's all there! Except the just now aforementioned numeral and punchline, which are not.

Reading (a collection of a very specific thing) has never been so easy!

Panda up!

Monday 19 October 2015

Burgeoning Demographics

It was around the time I was standing in the shower on my fifth beer of the evening that it occurred to me that the secret of mobile app development is probably in the discovery of untapped demographics.

The question isn't so much 'what do people need?', but 'who is capable of using a smartphone that doesn't already have a dating app specifically tailored to their needs?'

The answer is pretty clear, and as it turned out I had already thrown together some concept art to reinforce a joke I had made early that evening, which in hindsight was probably the reason I was drinking beer in the shower wondering if an otter could even use a smartphone.

Monday 28 September 2015

The Peripheral by William Gibson

I recently picked up The Peripheral by William Gibson, and a weird sort of thing struck me. It feels almost Dickian, by which I mean that it is on its way to the Philip K. Dick flavour zone.

It's turning out to be a weird experience for me. I love both of these authors, and not to suggest in any way that Gibson is losing his own personal flavour, but, the story feels like a polished PKD story. It feels like their worlds colliding.

Saying all of that though, there are distinct elements, and even ideas that feel like bolder versions of things one might've seen in Gibson's very early short stories. The ones in which the page looks right up at you, stares you right in the eye, and says, 'This is made up', but you end up meeting it all the way as it spins wildly, because it's good.

His first trilogy, that started with Neuromancer, is bold and reckless. Jammed with invented terms, mature themes, and cartoon vibrancy, it's completely unsubtle and unapologetic. It's brazen as fuck. Virtual Light and its sequels, on the other hand, are dirtier. Everything feels more real. Their world spins ever so slightly out of sync with our own, where Pattern Recognition is populated with characters that are believable corporate fantasy in a world that spins perfectly in sync just on the other side of the sun. The Peripheral is just the beginning of next world.

It feels more of a classic science fiction than he's written long form before, but it's all still distinctly him. They're his details. They're his characters. It's his world. More than that though, you can feel it in the words. Dick never spun like this.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Go see Matilda The Musical!

I think most of us love Roald Dahl. Most people I know have a favourite. Some people have favourites. Mine is Matilda.

It was one of if not my very favourite book as a child. It was certainly one of the only ones that I continued to love uninterrupted throughout my adolescence and into adulthood. I read it nearly every year. No, look, to be honest, it's more like every second year these days. Maybe more than that. Two out of three years I'll read it. I'm pretty sure that's right.

Anyway, there have been advertisements about for Matilda The Musical at the Lyric Theatre, and last night I was lucky enough to be invited to see it, which I momentarily considered turning down due to a recent lack of sleep, but I'm going to be 100% with you, it's better than sleep.

It's better than a lot of things.

Look, I'm pretty much the perfect audience for this sort of thing. Live theatre, musicals, children's books, the source material in particular, the wider works of Roald Dahl, Tim Minchin, and Dennis Kelly (who I only knew as the writer and creator of Utopia), and generally anything that I can later sing along to are all things that I love. Look at my face. LOVE!

So, bias? Maybe, but the audience around me seemed diverse in a great many ways. One had this weird nineties synthetic rainbow cap on, which I'm not sure they still make. So, time travellers probably are turning up for this.

The songs are clever and naughty in a way that makes you think that Tim Minchin wallows in Roald Dahl books osmosising their very essence. Words piled together in intelligent, hopeful, revolting ways that please all the most important word receptors. There are amazing things available to you here.

But, words and music can't be there on their own. They need to find their way to you, and it is done well. The performance and production is simply extraordinary. At no point was I not entirely enchanted by what was going on in front of me.

Every character is exquisitely portrayed. Loving every character is easy. It will just happen. Trunchbull is monstrous, the Wormwoods are disgusting, and the children are cheeky, and they're all wonderful.

This is the way I will always remember Matilda.

You want this. You really, really do. Book tickets! It is far, far better than sleep.

Also, a big shoutout to my lovely brother for being sick last night, so that I was able to sit in his seat, eat his nibbles, and watch the show. Anytime you need me to help out when you're sick, just let me know. More than happy to pick up the slack.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

A Quick Introduction to The Past Doctors

You know I love me some Doctor Who. You know that. Maybe you don't. Maybe you have no idea about me and my Doctor Who and how I get down when the TARDIS howls. I get giddy. Panda and I both get us some giddy. We've never grown out of it. It's not going to happen.

Other things that we're prone to are opinions. That is real. So, you know we have Doctor Who related opinions, and with the new season on it's way, I thought I might rifle through the DVDs and drop some of the aforementioned opinions on stories of Doctors past.

I'm going to roll this out in order, and everyone gets a turn. Also, there are some rules that guided the decisions, but I'm not going to tell you what they are. The general thing is that I wanted to just sort of give you all one fairly solid entry point for each Doctor.

William Hartnell in The Dalek Invasion of Earth

They're coming to invade a planet near you!

I don't know if you've heard of these Daleks. They're bad news. And we don't want them invading Earth. That's where we live. This is a bad scene. No one is keen for this kind of thing. Except the Daleks. They're all about it. They're all like, 'It's Invasi-on like Donkey Kong!' I'm going to level with you. I couldn't decide between this one, The Time Meddler, or The Keys of Marinus, until I thought of that Donkey Kong bit. I mean if you throw in The Romans, The Daleks, The Rescue, and the first episode of An Unearthly Child (which is the first episode of the whole thing) you've got the best ones. They are. Argh! I'm so torn. Damn it, he was good!

Patrick Troughton in The Tomb of the Cybermen

You will never look at Glad Wrap the same way!

I sometimes say to people that the Cybermen not only terrified me as a child, but that they're my favourite classic monster, which often elicits confusion. 'Why?', they ask as they wring their funny little hands. Why do so many people have funny little hands? To which I respond, 'Have you seen Tomb of the Cybermen'. It's basically Doctor Who flavoured classic mummy movie, straight up. Did I use that right? The Second Doctor joins an archeological expedition on a distant planet, and things get out of hand. Like, completely out of hand. Holes are dug. People die. Cybermen are involved. It's pretty much everything you want from a Cybermen story, and to this day it is my yardstick for measuring all those Cybermen stories that've followed.

John Pertwee in Carnival of Monsters

I love carnivals!

Not often cited as the best Pertwee serial, but I really like it. One might even say that I like it the most of his stories. And they would be right. It's plot is a very plotty sort of plot, and there are things happening, and you're watching the show, and if you're like me, you're enjoying it. It starts out as your fairly straight forward sort of 'this isn't where we meant to end up' story (which is a whole thing in Doctor Who), but then it very quickly turns into 'there is something not entirely right going on here' (also a thing), and then you're like 'I think something here is broken'. There are some elements that you'll just sort of take in your stride, because it's Doctor Who, but then there's the bit that is further, which is where this goes, and your stride will be interrupted as a result.

Tom Baker in City of Death

What happens when Douglas Adams sends The Fourth Doctor and The Second Romana to Paris?

That's correct! Douglas Bloody Adams! I'm not even kidding. He wrote two, and this is the better of the two, and the plot is the kind of thing that can only be told in Doctor Who. It's full to the brim of the timeiest of time-stuff. It's laden. It's all over the walls. It's funny. The villain is a Bond villain (it's Julian Glover), and the companion is Romana. She is my favourite. Hands down. I had a crush on her from the age of about five or six until infinite! I love this story so very, very much. Just watch it. If you've never delved far, or at all, into the original run of the show, this is something you absolutely must see.

Peter Davison in The Caves of Androzani

Not really a lot like Dune at all.

When I tell you that it's about the mining of drugs on a desert planet, you're going to say, 'like Dune', and I'm going to say, 'Not really'. You see, it's pretty different to that. There are more robots. A whole army of said robots in fact. Someone once told me at a party (these things always get said at parties) that it's an analogue for a real world historical event. I mean, damn, not the robots. Clearly. But, like the general premise, but this story isn't just historical analogues, robot armies, and drug wars. Not 'The War on Drugs' drug wars, but like a war over who can have the drugs. Well, control the drugs. Everyone wants to have the drugs. Children's television in the eighties. What can I say? Actually, the modern series has had drugs and addiction, so I guess just children's television in general. There are also gunrunners. People get executed. The Doctor milks a bat. It's a good story.

Colin Baker in Vengeance on Varos

Do you see where we're headed? Do you?

It's dark. One of the darkest ones. You might watch this, and honestly wonder how it got aired as part of the same show. It's all up in the 'This is where we're headed with the violence' brand of science fiction. It's an oddity. A lot of what was going on for the Sixth Doctor felt restrained. Not this. There were little restraints involved in this. Not little restraints, as in restraints that are small, but few restraints. It's mostly unrestrained. It's the sort of no holds barred Doctor Who the eighties were ready to make, and then everyone freaked out. Some part of that would be the people dying in acid, but not all of it. Some of it would be the other violence.

Sylvester McCoy in The Curse of Fenric - Director's Cut

With 12 extra minutes!

This was not my favourite Seventh Doctor story when I first watched them on TV, but the recut version on the DVD, and I'm assuming other formats, is a substantially better experience. The narative is clearer and there are more minutes. 12 of them. I think they also redid some of the special visual shenaniganery. It's just better. Not that the original TV version is bad, or not even not good, but it's behind things like Remembrance of the Daleks, which the recut version is not. Some people would probably say that it still is. I am not those people. I mean, it's all World War II spies, and vampires, and ancient enemies and the like. It's great, and you want the best version of that. You also want the best version of the Seventh Doctor, which is this. He's cleverer. In both versions. With or without the 12 extra minutes.

Paul McGann in Enemy Within

The best of the only one. It's the only one.

Back when I was all of 14ish, and after 7 whole years without new episodes of Doctor Who, they told us that there might be more, and that a pilot film had been made. It was this, and it was actually, and irritatingly, titled Doctor Who, but the fans decided otherwise, because, are you kidding? That's the show's name! The story itself is, well, it's not really good a tall, but it's either this or The Night of the Doctor, which is only a handful of minutes long, and you can't hold time. The Doctor maybe can, and Paul McGann is an incredible one of those. A time holder. Amazing, in fact. Unfortunately, all of his best stories are audio stories. If you're a commuter, I would highly recommend getting some of those on your iPod, or mp3 blaster.

Christopher Eccleston in The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances

A zombie child, an unwed teenage mother, and an intergalactic conman walk into a bar.

This was the story in the first season of the new run that made me realise that this show was not only exactly what the 21st century needed, but that it was set to be incredible. Drama, comedy, tragedy, and horror clown-car into two episodes in London during the Blitz. Then there's Captain Jack Harkness at his Captain Jackiest. Also creepy wartime hospitals, and invisible spaceships, and the threat of zombie armageddon. Fantastic!

David Tenant in The Girl in the Fireplace

Not, like, in the fire. It's not about immolation.

This was a hard one. David Tenant had an insane run as the Tenth Doctor, and his first two seasons in particular are heavy with great stories, but I chose The Girl in the Fireplace because it's wonderful, and it's funny, and it's creepy, and it's a little heartbreaking, and it's beautiful to look at, and it kind of does a great many of the things that Doctor Who does so well: Spaceships, history, mystery, monsters, and 'stuff because reasons and plot, so shut-up'. I mean, there is stuff in this. Stuff they don't bother to really explain, but it's good. There's also learning to do. There are real, actual, 'once upon a time, and I'm not making this up' people in this story, and the characters talk about their culture in a real way. I mean, boxes ticked, people. So many boxes, and it's fun. Did I mention the fun?

Matt Smith in The Doctor's Wife

Best kissing on the show ever! Ever! David Tenant gets schooled!

This was another one where there were contenders, but this is great. Really great! It's pretty tonally delicious. It's creepy, and it's funny, and, I mean, the dialogue is glorious. Actually glorious. I am more than a little bit in love with this episode, and we get to see Matt Smith Smithing all over the place. He Smiths it right up, and lead guest character is just this thing that I can't even explain. I can, but it would be ruinsome. Way better to not be ruined. You could have that. Go watch it! Do that! It's so much better than me talking about it.

Some of these guys definitely deserve more of my attention than just one episode. Not Paul McGann. That's all he has. I've covered him. The others though. They can have more.

I'll do that later.

Any disagreements?

Sunday 12 July 2015

Ash vs Evil Dead


I'm not even...

What do you say?

They're not making another Evil Dead, they're making a tv series, because that's what you do now.

I love The Evil Dead, and it's sequels, and the remake, and the comics. It's all good. That's where I'm coming from here. That's my starting point for this thing. Bias is going to happen.

Look, back in the early 80s the plethora of zombie movies that had hit the scene needed something like The Evil Dead, and the early 90s fo' defs needed Army of Darkness. This need was real.

Things were getting deep into some pretty circular self gratification, and we need a dumb-ass with a shotgun and a chainsaw.

The time has come once again.

The zombie apocalypse genre is like an overripe fruit. And within it is a new seed. We only need to wait for the wind which will make it fall. The wind called Ash vs Evil Dead!

Look, maybe it's not that. But, honestly, deep down, I don't even care. I'm going to watch so much of it, and the part of me that is beyond bored with The Walking Dead will be so happy.

I remember when Army of Darkness came out, and I was standing there staring at the cover on the new release wall in Civic Video thinking, 'That looks like Ash!' 

It was Ash!

And, I had to convince the guy behind the counter that I should be watching this movie in my house, and that he really did need to be stopping me from this. His victory was fleeting, because I got that shit saw, and I loved it! Chainsaws! Time travel! Stop motion skeletons! Some of the dumbest dialogue in the history of cinema!

It's all there.

All of it!

In hindsight, I would've been about 11 or 12ish, by which stage I'd seen the first two, R rated, films in the series. So, there's that.

Then there's this:

And this:

At the end of the day, those movies that constitute the deadite fighting, time travelling, self-amputating, shit talking adventures of Ash Williams are not for everyone. Especially the first two. You might not be the kind of person who enjoys watching a total dumb-ass fumble his way to victory, but I am. I have loved this B-grade, semi-Lovecraftian nonsense for a long time. Especially Army of Darkness, which I loveth the mosteth.

Plainly speaking, it's quite fucking glorious!

Friday 17 April 2015

More Failure, More Launches

Failure to Launch is back!

Man, what happened there?! That first episode really took it out of us. Not really we recorded the first four in one day, and then life sort of ran us off the road.

But we're back now, and the long-awaited second episode of our Rimworld let's-play has been boldly thrust deep into public digital existence. It's deep in there. Where you can have it for free!

There are a a couple of episodes in the pipes that will follow suit in the days to come, but you can only have this one for now. Unless you're reading this after we've posted the others. Clearly, you can have all the things we've posted up until whatever time it is that you're reading this.

Failure to Launch, because the best ideas never make it past the breakfast table.

Also, there was the whole technical issue with Episode 1, so there's that too.

Friday 13 March 2015

Metrocide: A Classic Murder Simulator!

The hum returned again, and it's clearer. It's soft now, but when it's ready it's gonna tear right through the guy.

The tracker stops, but the hum continues. She can make out his e-cig puffs at the corner. She has to move before the pop. She takes a few steps along the wall, hoping to avoid moving out into the street, but she can't make the line. She trusts the M-7 to deliver after the hum, but the shot's gotta be clear, otherwise it's eating wall and Marcel Ortiz is down the street, and her night gets longer. If she steps out now, the night can end now.

She decides it's happening.

The hum's nearly ready, and she's already got it on the guy as she clears the corner. Before her foot even hits the ground she hears the door open behind her, and catches the lady across the street, and right then, they're both up on her passive tracking.

The decision's been made. Right now, these people are going to watch, because she's standing in the open, looking down her M-7 at this guy's head. And they can see it. There's no exchange. No negotiation. They're just going to watch her M-7 eat right into this semi-electric puff-monkey, because she already made that decision.

And the guy who's on the losing end is looking right at her. She doesn't know if he can hear the hum over the din of the police drone down the block, but the lights are on. He knows whats happening. They all know what's happening. They all know what's happening, but no one's moving and no one's thinking. They're all just standing there waiting for the pop.

If you were to imagine a game that was the offspring of Syndicate and Grand Theft Auto 2, you would be understanding what Metrocide is, and as much as those games were, during the 90s, accused of being 'murder simulators', this game is actually much more of that than those games ever were.

Well, at the very least it is more focused. You play as simulated contract murderer, TJ Trench, who is either a simulated woman or a simulated man. The decision is yours.

As Trench, you are faced with a problem: people want you dead, so you need to get out of town. You also have another problem in that you have no money. I suppose that you also have this third problem of a limited skill set, but that turns out to be more of a problem for other people, because that limited skill set is murder. That is what you will be doing. For money. It's only simulated murder though.

You won't just be murdering folk in the super bland present day, though. You'll be busting caps and taking pay cheques in the near future. This mother is cyber-punk as shit, and you know how I get down on that. With a sense self-appointed of authority!

Metrocide is constructed from good ideas. That's its foundation. They're good ideas executed neatly and concisely. The behaviour of the characters, the layout of the city, and the way your tools and weapons work all serve a function that informs gameplay and your decision making.

The cyberpunk setting isn't a party trick, or an afterthought, either. It's intertwined in the gameplay and the behaviour of everything in the world. Unmanned police drones circle the city, while you make your way amongst trash collecting robots and armed gangs in the streets below.

Where a great many small budget games these days feel empty and incomplete, Metrocide feels rich and focused, like a AAA title from another era. The art style is consistent and engaging, the sense of humour is pervasive without interfering, and the game mechanics are refined to the point where risk assessment is totally informed.

Scenarios like the one at the top can and will happen, but you know the risks and possibilities before you step out into the street to release the hum on some fucker. You know, and that's your call. How you deal with it when the shit hits the fan is on you.

It's a whole and dedicated product ready for your digital consumption, which you can do at Steam, Good Old Games, Humble, Greenman Gaming, Gamersgate, and the App Store.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

A List of Covers That I Like

There's been this ongoing conversation about covers I've been having with my father that started sometime last year. It's a good conversation to be ongoing instead of just had, because you find things, and remember things, and it all kind of comes back to you in bits and pieces, and you gather information from other people.

Strangely, I've not yet just googled it, opting instead for the meat mission approach.

It's an interesting conversation, because people like covers for different reasons, and I too like covers for different reason because I am a person, which is the singular version of people.

I decided to copy everyone else on the internet by making a list of people copying other people.

These aren't necessarily my favourite covers, because there are things you guys don't really need to hear.

What these covers represent are versions of songs that totally derailed my train of thought, and absolutely took over. Covers that for a split second dragged my mind through a crowd of a million phonic-faces as it struggled for recognition, before something clicked, it all made sense, and I was amazed.

This means that Lion's cover of 'The TransFormers Theme' isn't on the list, because you kind of expect something like that when you first sit down to watch a film called The TransFormers: The Movie.

I'm going to start with a song that I'm including, because I love it. It did kind of take me unawares when I first heard it, but not because I didn't immediately recognise the song. It's shortlisted, but disqualified for sounding too much like the original right out of the gate, but it's in anyway.

Deep into British new wave, as I was, Gary Numan, and in particular Tubeway Army's Replicas, was something I had listened to a lot by the time I acquired Songs in the Key of X, which had 'Down in the Park' covered by the Foo Fighters nestled deep within its X-Files themed track listing. I remember listing to the CD for the first time, and being all like, 'Gary? Is that you? No, it's someone else!'

Bertie Blackman's cover of 'In the Air Tonight' is exactly this thing that I am talking about. The song starts, and you aren't quite sure what is happening. It's familiar, but it's not the same, then recognition sets in and you're pleased. I was pleased. I like Phil Collins. Oh boy, do I like Phil Collins.

One of the most enduring bands to dwell in my musical flavour zones is Queen, and 'Don't Stop Me Now', is banana city all over my face. All over it! I love it. Similarly, Doctor Who is the business end of my love for pulp-sci-fi television. I also love Agatha Christie and classic mummy movies. That's why Foxes' cover of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now', from the episode of Doctor Who entitled 'The Mummy on the Orient Express', was always something that was going to make its way into my life.

Good thing, that.

I'm going to say Seu Jorge's entire contributions to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zisou. All of it! But, I'm only going to embed 'Life on Mars', because it's 'Life on Mars'.

This one is obvious and totally token. I was a massive Tears for Fears fan for great swathes of my adolescence, early adulthood, and the like, and even though the Michael Adnrews and Gary Jules cover was in Donnie Darko, I had it played to me by some friends who wanted me to 'guess' which was the cover and which was the original. Little did they know I was a British new wave enthusiast going way back.

No, seriously. They knew very little about it. I kind of had a secret life of music.

On the topic of Tears for Fears covers from films, Lorde's cover of 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' first came into my life through the Dracula Untold trailer. In much the same way as the 'Mad World' cover, it harnesses something darker and bleaker that already existed in the song.

In 2003 I stayed late at cheerleading training (that isn't even a joke. It's entirely true. I was one of those) listening to Triple J. I was training with a girl who wasn't my regular partner, and I'm pretty sure everyone else had left. We were getting ready to do another lift, and we both stopped.

'Is that a cover of "Hurt"?', she said. It was.

'It sounds like Johnny Cash.' It was.

Is it better than the Nine Inch Nails version? I think so.

Lastly, I'm going to say to you that as an adolescent I loved The Prodigy, and I still have a lot of time for Music for the Jilted Generation and The Fat of the Land. They're incredible albums. I was so into them that while in London I bought WipeOut XL, which is the soundtrack to a game that I didn't even own at the time, only because it had 'Firestarter (Instrumental)' listed on the back of it. That's where I was at. That album is incredible (if you're into mid-to-late-nineties electronica, which I am). I still have it.

'Firestarter' was the kind of song (like every other song on this list) that had in its original form taken up residency in the surrounding airspace when I was a teenager, so when I heard the Torre Forlim cover something really weird gave way in me. Not in the same way that it did when I heard Mark Ronson's cover of 'Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before'. That didn't work for me. Torre Florim's 'Firestarter' works for me.

It caught me entirely off guard while I was waiting for my video to start on YouTube. Thank you, advertising.

What covers caught you off guard?

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Why I'm not reviewing Amazon's The Man in the High Castle pilot

Amazon has made the pilot episode for a mini-series based on Philip K. Dick's alternative history novel in which the axis powers won World War II, The Man in the High Castle, and some of you can go and watch it for free!

I love Pippy D. He isn't just the Dick du jour for me, but a staple Dick. There are times when he is probably relegated to a sort of background, cosmic Dick, but he's always there.

I love his work. I get deep into it in a weird way. There are lots of things I can say about it that would be generally considered to be pretty negative. Things that would prompt people to then say, 'What you've just said makes me not want to read this book you're brandishing at my face'.

What I can say with absolute assuredness is that Dick's whole psychological wavelength was his own. That, to me, is a truth. The dude thought up some shit that other people simply weren't thinking. Once thought up he would then pen that shit, and go about getting it published so that people could consume it, and eventually mine it for their own outputs.

When The Man in the High Castle came out, it was that sort of thing. The war was less than two decades won, and people were getting deep into the cold war that followed, and people weren't writing about alternate Earths on which the United States is occupied by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, who are themselves now engaged in their own cold war.

It is essentially a 1960s, cold war drama/thriller set on an alternate Earth, and more so the people who live there. That is what it is. Well, honestly there is more to it than that. There are other elements. Things I won't go into here.

Right there, on that alone, it is sort of a winner. It's a thing that people want to watch. It sounds like the kind of thing that you would make into a TV series. I thought so when I read the book so much that I started adapting it before I even finished it.

Now, Amazon agreed with me, and got a lot further with their adaptation than I did, and it looks good.

The Man in the High Castle was the first (and arguably only) Philip K Dick novel to win a 'major' award. He won other awards for other books, but he got a Hugo for this thing.

It is subjectively one of his best books.

Less subjectively, it has been produced by Ridley Scott, who amongst his many achievements directed Blade Runner, which is the single best adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. Fact.

It looks like everything that it should be, and people can watch it for free over on Amazon.

I can't watch it at all though. I'm Australian, and this activity is therefore verboten to me.

They have made a free pilot, off the back of which they presumably want to sell the rest of the series. They also presumably want to see what the market for such a series would be to markets outside their own so that they can try and convince those other markets to buy it in order to resell to the people that live there.

That makes sense to me. That sounds like a solid and open model.

'Do you want this thing we're thinking about making?', 'How many of you want this thing?', and 'Is it worth it for us to make this thing?' seem like really good questions to ask and on which to gather the sweet, tasty data.

That isn't what's happening. Everyone is essentially locked out until someone takes a punt on their region, which I kind of get (but still think is stupid), but I don't get locking out regions from the material you are using to see if people are interested in the product.

This is part of an unreasonably protracted slow death of an archaic model.

It would make a lot more sense if you could watch it on YouTube, seeing as it is, at this stage, essentially a promotional episode.

Dear Amazon,

Why are you making it so hard for us to like you?

Kind regards,

The Australian Market

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Least I Could Do

I usually take a little time away from United by Glue around the end/beginning of any given year. January 2015 has been no exception. I'm okay with that. Normally, I have a couple of episodes tucked away for you all that post intermittently during this down time, but I guess that didn't happen this time.

Things have been a little on the busy side, as I've spent most of the past month throwing myself up against the wall of gainful employment with no real evidence that they're thinking about letting me in.

Well look, to be honest, I think I might be getting let in shortly. Someone has given me directions to the door (metaphorically speaking), but I'm not yet through, at, or even technically in sight of this metadoor of which I speak.

That isn't really why I'm here right now though. I just figured that I should offer up something small and delicious in the way of a sort of time bider. Something that you can go and enjoy and explore thanks in small part to me, and in large part to the people who actually created the content. They would be Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza.

Least I Could Do is a daily webcomic from the same creators as Looking for Group. It's been running for over a decade, and is still going. How they write this much material is beyond me, but they have and do. It's still happening.

Anyway, you should check it out. It's a fairly good time. In case the condom over the 'I' in the title didn't give it away, some of the content is definitely aimed at a more mature audience. Well, a more chronologically progressed audience at any rate.

I have a particular liking for Least I Could Do: Beginnings, which runs on Sunday to make up the seven strips per week. It covers the main character's life as an 8 year old boy, and his antics and shenanigans. I'm not going to go into why I prefer it in detail. It isn't really important. I will say that it essentially boils down to there is something endearing about it.

If you're interested, Looking for Group is also good, but I feel probably less accessible than Least I Could Do.

Have fun, and I'll be posting again soon.

Yahkapops Hen-Person