A real-life hacker, sci-fi laughs and dick jokes top our new-release picks for August 16, 2011
A good chunk of people are getting ready to head back to school in a week, so with just seven days of freedom remaining, this might be your last chance to get some luxury reading in. Or you can just read books during lectures, like we did. Whatever you choose, be sure to pick up something cool so the kids in the class will know you're in the know. Alternately, we've got plenty of comics, games and movies coming out this week, if reading's not your bit. We're especially looking forward to one particular PS3 game that lets you waggle the remote like a sword-penis.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker, by Kevin Mitnick
Kevin Mitnick is one of the most infamous hackers in history. That's mostly because he didn't spend all his time phreaking and cutting through cyberspace like an '80s movie star, but rather being chased down by the FBI. He had to run away, come up with new identities and then do it all again. He was eventually caught and spent four years in prison, but since he's not allowed to make any money off the sale of his life story, you don't have to worry about supporting someone whom we assume is sitting around in a leather jacket and sunglasses while whistling into phone lines. You will get a great story out of this book, though, and even though there will be plenty of gloating, it'll be an interesting look into Mitnick's hacking life.
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
Even though Ready Player One takes place in the near future, it's filled with nostalgia. Its plot is a little cribbed from late-'70s and early-'80s sci-fi, where the world is all sitting around tapping into an online utopia instead of living their real lives. When the inventor of this digital utopia dies, he leaves behind three keys which supposedly lead to the inventor's fortune. The thing is, the keys are hidden away behind a series of puzzles based on the creator's interest, the pop culture of the twentieth century. It sounds over-the-top, and it is, but it's all done in good fun, with plenty of laughs along the way. It's one of those rare novels that blends together a lot of genres and excels at all of them.
El Shaddai: Ascension of Metaton (PS3, Xbox 360)
There are not too many games inspired by the Deuterocanical Book of Enoch. Actually, scratch that: There are no other games inspired by Deuterocanical Book of Enoch -- except for El Shaddai. Telling the story of Enoch, a priest seeking the seven fallen angels to prevent a flood destroying mankind, the game has an unusual plot, but it also has an immediately noticeable art style to go along with it. To put it bluntly, this is one of the most interesting-looking titles you'll see this year. The game might stick with a hack 'n slash style gameplay, but it looks so damn good doing it, you won't care.
No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise (PS3)
Dick jokes, blood spurts, boobs: No More Heroes is still, to this day, one of the bloodiest, weirdest stories to ever get released on the Nintendo Wii. It's no surprise then it didn't sell very well, which is exactly why it was ported over to the PS3 with enhanced visuals and bonus content. On the surface, it's a pretty average sword-swinging game, but when you consider the fact that you play as a guy named Travis Touchdown, an assassin trying to increase his rank in the United Assassin's Association by killing everyone on the list with his incredibly phallic beam katana, you understand that No More Heroes is a case of style over substance. Also, you save your game on the toilet. It's absurd, yes, but it's also only $29.99.
The Killing: The Criterion Collection (DVD, Blu-Ray)
Without a doubt, The Killing is our favorite Stanley Kubrick movie. You can argue with us if you really want, but we'll never budge. That's partially because the film was written by Jim Thompson, but it's also because Kubrick's odd choice of narrative structure forged a new path that noir would follow for years to come. It's not as weird as most of Kubrick's work, but it's just as dark and crazy. It might look like it's nothing more than a typical robbery movie, but it's so much more, and it's packed with some of the best dialogue in noir.
Too Much Coffee Man, by Shannon Wheeler
Its title might sound like something pulled straight from the Sunday comics, but Shannon Wheeler's Too Much Coffee Man is an essential piece of comics history. It's one of the weirdest comics you'll ever read, and embodies what the '90s indies were all about. This book collects together all of the graphic novels into one massive book, and it could probably be considered an essential book for anyone who grew up in the '90s -- but if you're a fan of coffee and absurdity, it's a must-have.
Malinky Robot, by Sonny Liew
Malinky Robot is essentially about a couple of kids trying to make a living in a near-future society, but they're also hell-bent on stealing bicycles and watching robot movies. The world is a crumpled mess, but the five stories collected here are so filled with nuance and subtlety, you'll need to read them a few times before it all really sets in. They were originally released over the course of a couple years, but this is the first time they'll be collected together in one volume. The artwork here is some of the best you'll ever see, and Liew's got the awards and nominations to prove it, but it's probably best to just pick it up and take a look for yourself.
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