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The Things I Like Are Better Than the Things You Like

By Mike Roorda | Comment Diversions | June 21, 2013 | Comments ()


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If you watch, read or play enough of any form of entertainment you'll eventually find a favorite. A genre of storytelling that you tend to gravitate to. A place, subject or topic that you find you enjoy the most. It doesn't even have to be the same across the board for each medium.

I thoroughly enjoy reading SciFi books. If you put a dog eared paperback in my hands and there are pictures of spaceships on the front, or the words "aliens" or "space opera" appear anywhere on the back cover, chances are I'll be about 50 pages in by the time you remember to ask for your book back. Something about technologies we haven't yet invented, but could be only a generation or so away sparks my imagination. Who wouldn't want to explore the stars the way Magellan sailed the oceans? True story: A while back I was diagnosed with an unfortunate heart condition that required me to have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator put in. One of my first thoughts when hearing this news was, and I kid you not, "Well, shit. If NASA invents generation ships any time soon, there's no way I'm going with now that I'm in the shallow end of the gene pool." So yeah. I like me some SciFi.

Favorites: The Forge of God, Anvil of Stars both by Greg Bear; The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmmons

If we're talking movies, then I will absolutely watch anything that has even the slightest hint of being a Western. I love the dusty, unpainted, sun bleached wooden buildings. The sloshing of brown liquor into dirty glasses and stubble splashed faces. I love the gun fights, the fist fights and the hooker fights. When you watch a Western, the location and the scenery become a character in the story. The setting moves in and out of the tale like an unseen member, flavoring and shaping what happens around it. If Disney ever starts a park for adults somewhere in the Southwest where you get to pay for a week and pretend to be a character in a western for a week or so I'd sell all my worldly possessions to participate. Riding a horse through the desert? Drinking whiskey in a candlelit saloon while playing poker? Staged shootouts? Stagecoach robbery? Sign me up.

Favorites: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, 3:10 to Yuma, Silverado.

Video games are a whole other animal, because they can pretty much cross genres and mash together story types and nobody bats an eye. Even when they do adhere to more traditional storytelling conventions there tends to be a lot more shooty shooty bang bang than the original genre would have called for. I've played some great games over the years but the few that captured my imagination and invaded my dreams were the ones that told a strong story beyond the "go here and kill that, to collect this to upgrade your thingamajig so you can kill more whatsits." A genre where they consistently outdo their analogues in film and print however is in the superhero story. Where movies and books show you transformation, video games let you actually experience it. You can watch how the choices you make affect the world around you in a real way. You get to chose what powers you want to gain, how you want to use them and how you want the world of the game to react to you. The power. It's intoxicating.

Favorites: "Infamous," "Infamous 2," "Bioshock," "Bioshock Infinite."

So what about you all? Which genres and mediums do you love the most? Do you have a hidden treasure you long to share with us? Do tell!



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  • Tracey Sims

    I'm a huge fan of watching/reading movies, TV series, docs and books about or that was filmed or shot in Detroit. Partially because I work in the film business here, but mostly because I'm still searching for that perfect artistic representation of my hometown. Best Detroit stories so far: The Virgin Suicides, Zebrahead, Searching for Sugarman, Out of Sight, Narc and pretty much any Detroit-based novel by Elmore Leonard. I have high hopes for some of the upcoming projects being filmed now, including Ryan Gosling's feature and the new AMC series Low Winter Sun.

    On a separate note, the "I spotted Ryan Gosling/Matt Smith/Christina Hendricks" Facebook posts out there are getting a bit crazy. Fun crazy, though.

  • Soph

    I couldn't agree with you more about the Hyperion Cantos - Sci-fi at its very best

  • I love stories where bad things happen to a group of people stranded and out of range of any help. Basically isolation horror and usually arctic based. The Thing, Alien, The X-File episode "Ice", Dan Simmon's "The Terror", Preston & Child's "Thunderhead", Dog Soldiers, The Descent, etc. I just find it very easy to suspend any disbelief and empathize completely with the characters.

  • Mrs.P

    I am a sucker for a good and cheesy movie. I'm partial to the 80's, but any era or subject matter will do. The goofier the title the better. It's all because of Up All Night...
    Favorites: Real Genius, Sorority Babes and the Slime Ball Bowl-a-Rama, and Buckaroo Bonzai.

    While I like vacuous movies that help me forget where I am, I like books to take me somewhere else. I am drawn to well crafted stories or characters that suck me into their world. (My secret vice is Juvenile Fiction).
    Favorites include Isabelle Allende, Barbara Kingsolver, Carl Haaisan, and Christopher Moore.Stranger in a Strange Land is an amazing book and I am in love with Brandon Sanderon's children's series Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Anyone who likes Christopher Moore and Stranger in a Strange Land is OK with me.

  • Mrs.P

    Why, thank you! It's always nice to have validation! ;)

  • ferryman

    I enjoy reading furniture assembly instruction manuals, legal disclaimers and MSDS publications only less than anything else available. I am a sucker for wilderness survival stories and have learned to avoid the wilderness like the plague, (which you can contract in the wilderness, oddly enough).

  • Three_nineteen

    Murder mysteries. My love for reading murder mysteries knows no bounds. It started as a child with Encyclopedia Brown, Trixie Belden, and The Three Investigators. Since then, I've read Agatha Christie, P.D James, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout, Boris Akunin, Jim Butcher (oh yes - the Dresden Files are murder mysteries), Harry Kemelman (Rabbi Small mysteries - needs to be better known), and Dorothy L. Sayers, off the top of my head. My love spills over into all those crappy procedural TV shows I watch.

  • Adam Eve

    You have a great taste in murder mysteries! I've never met a soul who's even heard about Ngaio Marsh. Alleyn is my favorite sleuth next to Lord Peter Wimsey. Also, Boris Akunin!
    If you haven't read Martin Cruz Smith's Arkadij Renko novels, maybe you should give them a try.

  • kirbyjay

    I love non-fiction. I love to read about a person, event, crime, or place where I can learn something.

    I like reading about other cultures, Not Without My Daughter ( Iran) Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight (Zimbabwe). Nothing To Envy ( North Korea) A Thousand Splendid Suns (Afghanistan). All Souls ( South Boston)

    True Crime- Not the stolen from the headlines exploitation crap but the in depth, well- researched books. Judgement Ridge ( The Dartmouth Murders) Devils Knot ( The West Memphis Three) Helter Skelter ( Manson) In Cold Blood ( Capote and the Clutter murders)

    Events like WW2, Vietnam, The WTC attacks, JFK assassination.

    Places , the White House, historical sites. famous hotels and homes,

    Eras- 20's and 30's Los Angeles, The Swinging 60's in London, NYC in the 50's, The Gilded Age,

    I will also watch Russell Crowe in anything ( except Superman, I'm not a fan of the comic books)

  • John W

    My main loves are

    Books: Horror: Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Splatterpunk

    Movies: Horror: The Exorcist, American Werewolf in London, Slasher movies, Giant monsters, found footage (I'm a sucker for them)

    Video games: FPS, tower defense, horror survival, RPGs, RTSs

    Music: Funk/P-Funk/Classic Soul/Motown: James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Cameo, Kool & The Gang, Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band, George Clinton, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations

    Sports: New York Giants (I don't watch baseball or NBA Basketball)

  • Quatermain

    I love those old black and white monster movies. I will sit and watch the hell out of Chaney or Karloff or Lugosi. Even the goofier ones with giant praying mantises or Colossal Men, I'm there, I don't care. Westerns are a close second. I will rarely pass up a chance to watch John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, or 'The Wild Bunch' or 'Butch Cassidy.'

    As far as books go, I like historical fiction and I would be willing to pay hardcover prices for anything Bernard Cornwell has ever written. I read a fair bit of genre fiction as well and I find Baen to be consistently entertaining as a publishing house for same. That little rocket-ship logo is a pretty good mark of quality.

    My musical taste kind of solidified around southern rock and old-school country, with a fair bit of metal thrown in. Skynyrd is heavy rotation as are Waylon, Willie, and Merle. There's something about those old fightin', drinkin', cheating, lying, leaving, hurting songs that tends to stick around. Although sometimes you just want screaming guitars and pounding bass, which is when I turn to Lemmy, or Ozzie, or James Hetfield.

  • kirbyjay

    Didn't read Cornwell but saw every episode of Sharpe. I have the collection in a nice wooden case and Mr. Kirbyjay asked me what it was and I said it's "my box of porn". You men can have your explicit sex. I will have Richard Sharpe.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    While living in Ireland, I developed an affinity for Irish traditional music. Sadly, it's not very well developed, because I lost the list of bands that I badgered out of a bus driver over there. My favourites are The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, The Chieftains, Luke Kelly, and Dervish.

    Maybe someone has more suggestions I could check out?

  • emmalita

    In books, television and movies I enjoy a lot of different genres. However, I have a particular weakness for testosterone heavy drama - Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim, Mike Carey's Felix Castor, Dave Robicheaux, Jim Butcher, Breaking Bad and Justified.

  • Quatermain

    'Sandman Slim' is gold. The 'urban fantasy' genre can slide pretty quick into feeling like a nerdy high-schooler's wish-fulfillment fan-fiction but Kadrey has never even come close to that.

  • emmalita

    Too true. I am eagerly awaiting Kill City Blues at the end of July. I'm going to try to review it for CBR5, but I'm afraid all that will come out is drool.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    My favourite type of history is social history, so I'll tend to stick with things which touch on that subject perhaps a bit longer than sanity would deem necessary.

    I also love musicals, which is why I enjoy films like Fiddler on the Roof and 1776 perhaps a bit more than they deserve.

  • Arran

    This is weird, but I like movies about financial stuff. Don't ask me why. I'm not actually interested in finance and think bankers are a pack of assholes, but I could watch Wall Street, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Margin Call a million times and never get bored.

  • Boiler Room is a decent movie about scummy finance guys.

  • Rocabarra

    A million times yes to the Westerns, and the possibility of a park where I could go and be a saloon girl for a week.

    Have you played Red Dead Redemption? It unites my love of westerns and my love of video games into a creature of true beauty. John Marston is also my forever boyfriend.

  • Matteo

    Horror/ Survival and Balls to Wall Action Video Games- Original Res. Evil, Dead Space and The Last of Us, you will get lost in this game as I did for 8 straight hours upon purchasing this last Friday. Cant recommend enough. Bayonetta is really good too same with the new Devil May Cry just jumping and shooting mayhem.

    Books- Ill read any book if its recommended by a friend. If I read a book and like it i will usually buy more of that authors book. Like Neil Gaiman, i read American Gods then read Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book and a couple of his short story books. Same with Cormac McCarthy bought all his books after the reading All the Pretty Horses.

    Movies- I probably watch action movies the most but lately its been old samurai flicks. Favorite so far is Sword of Doom.

  • MikeRoorda

    The Last of Us is probably going to go down as the best game of this console generation. I can't think of anything else that could even compete.

  • Caddie

    I recently bought a copy of "Westworld" at a DVD store that was going out of business. A cautionary tale if you think going to a Western theme park would be fun.

  • BrianK

    Iain M. Banks is the best epic space-opera sci-fi I've ever read. Perfect mix of dry humour, vast scale, technology...while still finding a way to connect it back to current humanity. Also Alastair Reynolds writes incredibly detailed opera-epics,,,Revolution Space and House of Suns are engrossing reads.

  • I'm a sucker for good historical romance. If the writer has done her research, enough interesting tidbits I didn't know about a given era are sprinkled throughout a story in which character matters. Joanna Bourne does this remarkably well. Courtney Milan is a newer writer who also has a good handle on what to include and what to leave out. And of course, Loretta Chase, though her books have far more romance than history to them. Still, she gave me Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain, and therefore will be on all the favorite lists.

    Also, give me a good urban fantasy any day. Charles de Lint, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Rob Thurman, Devon Monk, etc.

    Basically, I like my entertainment as escapist as possible.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Oh, Dain. 6'6", black hair, big nose, all man.

    Courtney Milan is the best writer in historical romance today. I thought Smite was awesome until I read Jonas. Have you encountered Jonas?

  • Fredo

    Video games: open world RPGs. Keep your CODs or Maddens. You give me Fallout, Skyrim, Mass Effect or Far Cry and I'm good.

    TV: pseudoscience infotainment. You tell me you're going to be talking about UFOs, exorcisms or monsters, I am throwing the remote away. And popping popcorn.

    Movies: I used to be big into horror and action, but been burnt too many times to trust them bastards anymore.

  • Phaedre

    When it comes to reading (and I read a lot) there is nothing like cracking the spine of a new 1000 page Epic Fantasy. If you're looking for exquisite escapism follow me to Jacqueline Carey's Terre D'Ange where the scions of Angels walk the land or join Stephen Erikson's Bridgeburners with me and we'll fight epic battles across several continents.

  • Artemis

    Speculative fiction -- basically anything that's not-real except for things in space or involving a lot of computers (which probably qualify as speculative fiction, but most of which I really don't like). Fantasy, alternate histories, mildly dystopic futures, etc. Everything Guy Kay has written. I discovered Connie Willis' Oxford time travel series a few months ago and realized it was what had been missing from my life all this time.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    I read The Doomsday Book with high hopes, considering it is an award winner, but I felt like it really needed an editor. The Kivrin parts were spellbinding, but the stuff back in "real-time" England was so dry and slow it killed the momentum of the book for me. Does the series get better? I'd go back to the series if the pacing improves.

  • Artemis

    Willis definitely has a consistent issue with repeated sequences of characters running around looking for each other/for things and just missing the object of their search. It doesn't bother me for some reason, but it's a complaint I've heard a lot from other people. That said, although Blackout and All Clear have a LOT of those missed connection sequences, I think they read better than The Doomsday Book because it's all set in the past, so even when running in circles you were seeing cool bits of World War II life in England.

    That's not all that helpful, probably. Basically, if you just thought the future storyline in The Doomsday Book wasn't compelling, Blackout and All Clear will be better. If it's that you're annoyed by the running in circles aspect, that doesn't change.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    It wasn't so much the running in circles, but her spending so much time on stuff that I felt could be better shown than spoken. Like, there were several episodes of the characters in the modern timeline FILLING OUT PAPERWORK. Dude, we hate doing that in real life, there's no way I want to read about people doing it and talking about it, for several chapters! I will see if my local library has anything else by her. Thanks!

  • Does "Things Joss Whedon does" qualify? If not I love good sci-fi tv. Bad sci-fi tv can be really bad. But when we get stuff like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica I'm not sure there's anything better. Also, Batman.

  • Josh Brown

    Film Noir: the dreary setting, the venetian blind lighting, the dames and murders and all that forbidden romance. Older classics stick out like The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity and The Maltese Falcon as well as newer ones like Chinatown, L.A. Confidential, Memento, and Brick.

    Mike: Definitely agree with the love of Westerns. Did you play and adore Red Dead Redemption as much as I did?

  • MikeRoorda

    I still will pop it in to simply ride around on my horse occasionally. I never thought a game would get me to enjoy spending 20 minutes just riding through the desert, but that game definitely made it happen. It was (and still is) pretty damn awesome.

    The first western video game I played was The Call of Juarez. I don't remember much about it, but remember thoroughly enjoying the shootouts and the gun play.

  • Josh Brown

    I'll have to look into that. And yes, the riding around in RDR is incredibly soothing.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I can't wait for Infamous: Second Son, but I probably won't be getting a PS4 anytime soon so I'll be waiting. I love games where your choices dictate the story, which is why Fable was so disappointing. I remember being told that everything you did would affect and alter the game world, but instead was given a very basic, totally linear game. Another one I love is the Mass Effect series, despite the thirds underwhelming ending.

    As for books, anything by Irvine Welsh, especially Filth. Movies? I have a soft spot for Guy Ritchie-esque Brotish gangster movies.

  • Ofir Fishkin

    I have a thing for Dystopias an the post- apocalyptic

    books like the road,machine man,world war z. with movies its mostly children of men.

    i also had a fascination with religion. i read everything about Greek,Egyptian and Norse mythologis. that's one of my all time favorite books is American gods.

    P.S

    Bioshock Infinite was one of the greatest experiences i ever had as a gamer, even tough i failed a test from playing it too much.

  • Aidan Harr

    You should really play The Last of Us

  • Ofir Fishkin

    I don't have a PS and from what iv'e seen i would be too much of a chicken to play it. i get scared way too easily.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    Dystopic Future and Post-Apocalyptic are also my genre of choice, in both print and film. Philip K Dick, Margaret Atwood, Greg Bear are some favorite authors there. Also love horror: Stephen King, Anne Rice, Poppy Z. Brite.

    Films, I love the super-scary future movies, almost a sci-fi horror mash-up. Aliens, Terminator, that kind of stuff. (But NOT traditional horror movies - no thanks!) For our first date night out after having our daughter in 2011, my choice was seeing the Predator reboot with Adrian Brody. Also the first Matrix - c'mon, that movie was BAD ASS before they tainted its memory with the abominable sequels.

    Anyway, if it's the opposite of a chick flick, I'm probably in.

  • BWeaves

    I like "little, British flicks." Those sort of indie feeling movies that star actors you've heard of or seen before, but aren't Hollywood beautiful people. "That Sinking Feeling" "Experience Preferred But Not Required" "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

    I also like costume porn. Again, the Brits are good with these. "A Room With A View"

    Foreign movies, because we only get the best of the best by the time they get to 'Merica. "Tampopo" "The Dinner Game" "The Intouchables"

    Just about anything by Studio Ghibli, but especially the ones that are very realistic, like "Whisper of the Heart."

  • For Christmas two years ago, my husband bought me 20 small films of the UK and environs - Saving Grace, Waking Ned Devine, Dear Frankie (already a favorite), Calendar Girls, Billy Elliot, etc. There's nothing quite like them for both lifting my spirits and making me cry.

  • Annie Lockyer

    My mother has the most incredible ability to spot actors from Waking Ned Devine in whatever parts they're playing these days. It's like they're all imprinted on her soul. And I have seen that movie maybe 10 times but I won't even have an inkling of "hey it's that guy" before she walks by and remarks, "oh it's the pig farmer from Waking Ned Devine."

    All of which is to say that I co-sign very much this comment on this genre. Never thought of it as a genre but YES. These are my favorites.

  • $27019454

    I am SO with you on the westerns. The dirt, the grit, the American history of it. Also: Men. I love men and sweaty men who made the West their own are among my favorites. I like The Wild Bunch particularly, but Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a favorite as well. And thank you for that 3:10 to Yuma. I love how Crowe basically skull-fucks Bale in every insecurity he's got. Also: Men!!

    I love vampires but not cheese vampires so that narrows it down. Both Fright Nights (for different reasons) both Let the Right One Ins. The Hunger. Also: Sex and Nighttime and Penetration Metaphors!

    LOVE costume dramas and Jane Austen best oh best of all. I like my corset stays tight and my men baaaarely restrained, thank you very much (*coughs*CaptainWentworth*coughs*). My happy place has any rendition of Emma in it. Re-watched "Wives and Daughters" recently and loved it anew. Anyone left on the planet who has not seen "North and South" need to do so stat.

    I don't do video games. But I love me a good English novel. 18th century preferred. Queen Victoria biographies. Charles II biographies. ANYFUCKINGTHING Tudor. Love Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir (authors). "We" about Victoria and Albert was a recent favorite book. Also the two that Hillary Mantel released ..."Bringing up the Dead" and I forget the other one.

    Greek and Roman history/mythology in books and in movies. I like my Gods vengeful and my battles scantily clad. Also: MEN IN TOGAS.

    Big ol honkin' sweeping-specatcle shit like Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Spartacus, The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators. Bring it!!

    "Little" films: Dear Frankie, Mostly Martha, Black Book. LOVE these gems.

  • Offew1988

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт...­ ­ViewMore----------------------...

    I enjoy reading furniture
    assembly instruction manuals, legal disclaimers and MSDS publications
    only less than anything else available. I am a sucker for wilderness
    survival stories and have learned to avoid the wilderness like the
    plague, (which you can contract in the wilderness, oddly enough).

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