Just like that, summer is basically over. It's getting cooler at night and in the mornings and soon enough, you'll be complaining about the cold and the snow. You'll want to start hoarding entertainment now, so you'll be prepared when the big storms start hitting and locking you inside. We've got plenty of options to choose from this week, including a book comparing a neighborhood to an evolution, a collection of short stories, a movie about hunting a troll, a good old-fashioned cyberpunk game and some fantastic comics. With our help, you won't have to stop and think about reality once this fall and winter.
The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time, by David Sloan Wilson
The Neighborhood Project
is what happens when an evolutionary biologist takes on city-building. By applying the model of evolution to cities to understand how to empower neighborhoods, Wilson uses nature as a means to understand the structure of our current world. It's sounds hard to digest, but Wilson does it in a way that's easy to understand and to get behind his ideas as a practical handbook for living today. It's not exactly an easy book to describe, but it is one we're certain you'll find interesting, even if you don't like biology.
We Others: New and Selected Stories, by Steven Millhauser
is a collection of the bulk of Steven Mullhauser's short stories over the course of three decades. He is best known for his ability to mesh the real with the fantastic in a way that doesn't feel trite, and with characters ranging from ghosts to cartoon cats, it's hard not to love what he does. He might be best known now for his story "Eisenheim the Illusionist," which was turned into the 2006 film The Illusionist
, but his stories are so mixed and interesting he can't be cast into one single type. Short stories might not be the most popular thing these days, but these are worthwhile, we promise.
Trollhunter (DVD, Blu-Ray)
Sometimes the best way to tackle a ridiculous idea is to do it with a straight face, which is exactly what the Norwegian filmmakers behind Trollhunter
did. Instead of making a boring movie about a troll, they decided to make a faux-documentary about a troll hunter, shot with shaky cameras, interviews and a light dose of CGI. What comes out is a hilarious, satirical film that's hard not to love, and as long as you can get behind the goofiness of it all and accept it as what it is, you'll certainly enjoy your time with it.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Eleven years ago, Deus Ex
was released for PC and it quickly blew the minds of anyone who played it. With the core of the game revolving around player-choice, anyone could walk in and play the game anyway they saw fit. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
seeks to do the same thing. Taking place in a cyberpunk future, where mechanical, human augmentation is quickly becoming the norm, the game tasks you with unraveling a mystery of corporations exploiting people. You can play the game any way you like, which means you can sneak, talk or kill your way through. There probably won't be a more open-ended game to be released this year.
Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition (Xbox Live, PSN)
Street Fighter III
might not be the most loved entry in the series, but it's still a solid game. That's why Capcom has brought it back to life with a face-lift and online play, so modern audiences can feel the wrath of an attack without worrying about dumping too many quarters into an arcade machine. If nothing else, Street Fighter III
does a great job of looking and running like you remember Street Fighter II
did in your head, but where the second game is a bit clunky and slow in comparison, the third is fluid and smooth. It will certainly be worth checking out for anyone nostalgic for a solid 2D fighter.
Cthulhu Tales Omnibus, by Dave Johnson
This book collects together a series of tales about everyone's favorite Lovecraft monster, Cthulhu. It's a massive, 224-page volume packed with stores from the likes of Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, Steve Niles, William Messner-Loebs, Michael Alan Nelson, Andrew Crowsby, Johanna Stokes and plenty more. Cthulhu is pretty much the greatest monster of all time, so it's nice to see a collection this massive paying tribute to the thing. It's certainly bound to be a bit silly at moments, but as far as horror comics go, it doesn't get much better than this.
Echoes Volume 1, by Joshua Hale Fiaklov and Rahsan Ekedal
is a bit of a tough tale to swallow. It cuts in with the lead character, Brian Cohn, finally starting to deal with the schizophrenia he inherited from his father as his loving wife takes care of him and supports him. They've got a kid on the way, and things finally start to look for Cohn and his family. But then his dad dies and, on his father's deathbed, his dad reveals that he didn't just inherit his schizophrenia from him, but also the trophies of his serial killings. As you'd expect, Cohn mental health gets a bit of a kick in the ass after the revelation.
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