The Suggestion Box #80: Glitches, and Vaults, and Nightmares, Oh My!

Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.

Lauren’s Book Pick: Sea of Tranquility – With Station Eleven being one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, there was no question that I’d be picking up Emily St. John Mandel’s newly released novel, pandemic burnout be damned. Does the story suffer slightly in retrospect thanks to all my “now wait a minute,” “if/then,” and “what about” thought trains careening off their tracks, as is often the case with stories of this sci-fi subgenre that I’m purposefully being vague about to not tip the book’s hand? Yes. Is the author’s self insertion a bit distracting as the story refocuses in a way that greatly increases that character’s level of import? Also yes. Am I a little annoyed that one of the threads left hanging is apparently a reference to one of her other books that I now have to read to fully understand the circumstance? Most definitely yes. Even with the unanswered questions and confusion left by the somewhat rushed wrap up as the culminating momentum gets the better of the story, I can’t help but continue to be won over by Mandel’s writing style as the slow reveals of interconnectedness allow everything to breathe in a way that is often lost in comparable genre stories that are overstimulating in their emphasis of plot points, as not necessarily the spaces between.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Fast Five Once I heard that Alan Ritchson had been cast in the next Fast and Furious movie, I decided to give the series another shot. Before this, I had only seen the first film, which I didn’t care for all that much, as well as the spin-off film Hobbs & Shaw, which I enjoyed quite a lot. I was told by a couple of friends to start my newest dive into the long-running saga with Fast Five seeing as it’s apparently a turning point for the franchise, one where it goes from mainly just street racing to more all-around outlandish action. I’m pretty sure they made the right call, because I had a pretty good time with this one. It’s as dumb as I was expecting, but director Justin Lin knew exactly what tone the movie needed, with action that is as fantastic as it is implausible, and a cast that is all-around solid and on board. My biggest complaint is the blank slate of a villain, which I assume isn’t a problem with the following movies considering what I know about their casts.

Ben’s Video Game Pick: Destiny 2: Season of the Haunted The newest season in the long-running looter shooter franchise brings back some old enemies and powers with a twist. The Guardian (you) must return to the now-defunct Leviathan – a massive space vessel, and the location of Destiny 2’s first raid – to stem the tide of Nightmares, dark manifestations of one’s most traumatic losses, grievances, or failures. The Guardian encounters old enemies that they’ve killed once before, and must overcome them by, well, killing them again, as some of your closest comrades, such as Zavala and Crow (the latter having been a big bad a while back), are put through the physiological wringer via Nightmares. Season of the Haunted also includes a new dungeon (mini-raid), and revamps some of your more spicy abilities with the “Solar 3.0” update. The improved, fire-focused subclasses emphasize burning or exploding your enemies while buffing and healing yourself and others, giving it a distinct gameplay style that separates it from Void, Arc, and Stasis. Oh, and the Hunter – the class I prioritize – now has a grenade that you can detonate by shooting in midair, which is probably the most badass, space-westerny thing that Hunters have ever been able to do.

Good stuff Bungie, good stuff.

So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!

And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:

  • Ben’s review of Supermassive Game’s spiritual successor to Until Dawn, The Quarry.

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