Thursday, 17 April 2014

First Thoughts: Imagine Earth Demo

The concept of Serious Brothers’ Imagine Earth is planetary colonization – a concept which, having just completed a Firefly marathon, I found immediately appealing. The difference is that while in Firefly the colonization is performed by governments fleeing an Earth that was ‘all used up’, here you’re an employee of Weyland-Yutani (I forget the actual name), one of a number of corporations who have moved to space to ‘preserve the dogma of unlimited growth’. This may seem to be a rather arbitrary distinction, but the artificial demand for growth becomes increasingly important and is worked into the mechanics in a rather pleasing way.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Archer's Sexual Partners

Dissertations and deadlines have delayed me, but I've finally caught up with the excellent Archer, now in its fifth season. The first three are on Netflix, and while binge-watching I was struck by just how complicated the characters' sexual lives are. After a couple of episodes I went back and started making notes, and continued to do so for the rest of the show. To satisfy some bizarre urge I've charted the various relationships; obviously season five isn't over yet so I'll probably have to make some additions, but for now BEHOLD: [EDIT: Now complete for the end of season five]

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Charting the Quantity of Harry Potter Fan Fiction

Ok, so I should probably start with the ‘why’…

As some of you will know, I’m currently concluding my BA in English Literature (don’t laugh). One of the courses available this year was ‘Children’s Literature’. Being an enormous snob I didn’t take it because it included a small section on Harry Potter, and I do not want to have to admit to having studied Rowling, however briefly, for my degree. However, many of my friends (who are not such massive snobs and consequently much nicer, better people) did take the course, and so every now and then the conversation turns Potter-ward. A couple of weeks ago the topic at hand was whether Potter had ‘run its course’, inspired by a remark to that effect from the lecturer (the esteemed and june Adam Roberts), and how one could possibly measure that.

Various ideas were put forward – sales figures, new editions, etc. I suggested fan engagement – in particular the ability of Potter to inspire new ‘literature’ in the form of fan fiction. It would be interesting, I said, to know whether the amount of Harry Potter fan fiction was increasing or decreasing over time.

So that’s what this is: an attempt to measure the subset of a subset of a pointless and frivolous question which benefits no-one. BA students, you’ll feel right at home.