Apr. 3rd, 2015

xparrot: Chopper reading (books)
For years now, whenever I complained about the lack of space opera on TV (which is every other month or so - and right now is more just "why are there no shows in space at all, argh?!" - but glorious sprawling epic multi-world culture-clashing space opera is my joy) my brother's answer has always been, "PLAY MASS EFFECT!"

So last month I finally did. And now I'm a couple hours away from beating the third game, and. Yeah. This is where the space opera has gone, and it is amazing. (Doesn't hurt that of all ME's influences - which range from Star Wars to Niven's Known Space - the strongest might be my beloved Babylon 5.) Being a game, it has elements in common with both visual and literary scifi - while it has the cinematics like TV and movies, it also has a ton of background text that fleshes out the universe, explaining details of aliens and technology in a way TV can only do in tie-in books. And yes, I'm one of those geeks who has to read the entire Codex.

And it's worth it! The alien species are fascinating, and not just in the character designs - though those are great, being a video game they aren't limited to humans in makeup. (Actually the aliens look better than the humans, who tend to live in that point in the uncanny valley where their fixed-plastic features don't quiiiiiiite ruin the dramatic scenes, but it's close.) All the species have distinct, complex cultures, and the story manages that difficult trick of having alien characters who are representative of their species, and yet are also unique individuals - their personalities are shaped by the societies they were raised in, but not determined by them. More random babble, no real spoilers )

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