Kerstin Hall | content by

Kerstin Hall

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

How to Paint With Words: 6 Descriptive Works of SFF

Mervyn Peake, famously the author of the unfinished Gormenghast series, was also a well-respected illustrator—the British Library referred to him as “arguably the finest children’s illustrator of the mid-20th century.” His style was frequently expressive and gestural, dark and grotesque; he produced portraits of his own characters that were intimately suggestive of their foibles and eccentricities.

I am not a visual artist, nor do I have a background in art history. Nevertheless, while reading Titus Groan, I was struck by the intensely visual quality of Peake’s prose.

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Chasing Lights in the Dark: An Ode on Hellblade

I am terminally behind the curve when it comes to popular culture, arriving to everything ten minutes after the zeitgeist. In this spirit, I only played Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, originally released in 2017, this July.

If you are a latecomer like me and have yet to try out the game, I would caution against reading the rest of this article. Hellblade is a great experience, if harrowing, and I’m liable to diminish its effect by spoiling plot points and twists.

Still with me? All right, then.

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Why Haven’t You Played Final Fantasy XII Yet?

Although I would very much like to barrel forward with my assertion that Final Fantasy XII is the best Final Fantasy ever made, I am obliged to begin with caveats.

I have not played any of the games in the franchise prior to Final Fantasy X, unless you count the Final Fantasy VII spin-off, Dirge of Cerberus—which you should not. This means that I cannot definitively say that XII is the ultimate iteration of the franchise.

Furthermore, I have not played any of the Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) Final Fantasies. I have three good reasons for this. The first is that my old internet connectivity situation didn’t allow for the extravagance of playing online. The second is that my bank balance didn’t allow for the extravagance of monthly subscription fees. The third is that playing MMOs involve interacting with strangers on the internet for fun. Hard pass.

My last caveat is that people are entitled to have differing opinions and criteria by which they judge the merits of a game.

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Five Books Featuring Terrible Monsters That Tug on Our Human Heartstrings

If the loss of Opportunity the Mars Rover demonstrated anything, it is that human beings have a great capacity to form weird attachments to stuff that shouldn’t elicit our pity. The poetic translation of Oppy’s last words—“My battery is low and it’s getting dark”—had me ready to abandon writing in favour of aerospace engineering. Someone needs to bring that brave robot home. It will be lonely and cold out there!

But really, that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to the ridiculous ways in which human empathy manifests. Given a compelling narrative, we can find ourselves caring for just about anything.

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Series: Five Books About…

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