A Talking Racoon and a Tree-Man Walk into a Bookstore…

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...and he said, "Wrecked him? Damn near killed him!"

…and he said, “Wrecked him? Damn near killed him!”

Let’s put aside the fact that there is a movie coming out soon that showcases a talking tree and a rocket-spewing racoon as they and their three buddies try to save the galaxy (or steal it in the process). What’s interesting me is that Marvel’s going whole hog with this process with a tour around their galaxy via a tie-in book that highlights our favorite outlandish space rogues.

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One with the Stars

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This story appeared in modified form in both Phalanx and Aphelion. 

A meteor passed by overhead, sending trails of hair cascading down Cowrie’s blouse. She looked up from her book to catch sight of the comet’s tail as it wound its purple course through the galaxy. Her watery and wide blue eyes reflected the thousands of stars that twinkled in the sky. The night had come without her even noticing.

The shooting star had triggered a memory in a way that wasn’t quite comfortable. Cowrie tugged at a long-forgotten face, dredging up the features of someone she hadn’t seen since she was young. But then Cowrie saw something else in the sky, and the vision drifted away.

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Why You Should Care

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It’s January 13th. The Supreme Court rules that the FCC cannot regulate wireless broadband services as common carriers. Why? Because back in 2002, FCC head Michael Powell reclassified broadbands as information services rather than telecommunication services. That Michael Powell is now a lobbyist for said broadband industry is both prologue and beside the point (though if you want to drop him a line, here’s how). The upshot is that ISP’s could now treat different websites with different services, charging both consumers to access better quality and providers of content to not be throttled. So what do you think happened?

It's like looking at a timeline of Shia Labeouf's credibility.

It’s like looking at a timeline of Shia Labeouf’s credibility.

That’s right. Verizon and Comcast began throttling websites, using extortion legal tactics to get bribes market rates.
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Dreams on the Wind

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This work originally appeared in a slightly altered form in Aphelion. Reader’s caution: some harsh language appears within.

Corey slept well, dreaming of Megan and their honeymoon in Aruba, right up until the alarm went off. He had felt the heat of the sun on his skin and the water under his feet. He could smell the salt in the air. Megan was just a few feet away, all bronzed and gorgeous. He had taken a step toward her when the first klaxon rang.

Not yet.
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Sonic’s New Multi/Transmedia Push

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He's back, and this time, he's... kind of concerned, I guess.

He’s back, and this time, he’s… kind of concerned, I guess.

It’s been a tough road for Sega’s fast blue furball. Sales of his games and merchandise have never come close to hitting the peak of his 16-bit heyday. But Sega has just announced a brand-new take on the franchise, complete with a TV show and not one, not three, but TWO new games: one for the WiiU and the other for the 3DS.

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MORTAL KOMBAT: WHAT RATINGS HATH WROUGHT

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This piece originally appeared on Pixeltheque.com in a slightly modified format. It has been included here to discuss how unintended consequences of legislation can radically change art, particularly new forms that are based on emerging technology. 

People decried the influence of video games on popular culture long before Mortal Kombat. Arcades were time- and money-wasters. Tetris rotted your brain. Portable gaming systems destroyed kids’ patience (or tried that of their parents, really). If you are a gamer who grew up in the 80’s, you know what I’m talking about.

These were just the typical technology-as-portents-of-doom and proved to be almost entirely without base. Most people knew it. How dangerous could dumping blocks on top of each other really be? Were Mario Mario and his brother, Luigi Mario, worse than the A-Team? Hadn’t people heard the same kind of arguments about film, television, and rock n’ roll? Despite a couple busts, video games got more and more popular every year with little-to-no outside intervention regarding their content.

…that is, until 1992, when a gamer could finally rip the still-beating heart out of an opponent’s chest.
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The Power and Responsibility of Transmedia Storytelling

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This is a story about transmedia, it’s power, and the responsibility of the people who practice it… but it takes a long time to get there. That’s because it deals with chess, cognitive science, the evolution of ideas, and the harmonization of marketing with narrative. That’s a lot of stuff to cover so I’m going to be intermittently spicing things up with funny pictures.

Example.

Example.

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