Thursday, April 11, 2013

Retrospecticus!

Can you believe it's been a year already? Because I can't. In the beginning, there was just me with a URL I'd paid a small amount of money for and the vague notion that I wanted to blog about "nerdy stuff." The idea had come to me while sitting in a dingy Thai restaurant famous for its "secret menu" (which means you just have to ask for it) of southern Thai curries, which for those of you who don't know, tend towards the psychedelically hot. So maybe it was the chili speaking, but blogging about "nerdy stuff" seemed like a good idea at the time. And after a year, I can safely say that it's been orders of magnitude more fun than I ever imagined.

Of course, credit goes where credit's due: nerds of a feather would never be what it is today without the tireless efforts of my co-administrator Vance and our platoon of top-notch writers--Molly, Philippe, Mike, Jemmy, Brad and our newest contributor, Zhaoyun, as well as our monthly columnist Dean. Each brings their own interests and style to the table, but I'm constantly amazed at how good their shit is. Together we've managed to expand from our early coverage of science fiction, fantasy and cult films into comics, crime fiction, anime and gaming. But how did it all happen? Let's ask the nerds of a feather disembodied institutional voice to give it to us straight...

-The G

April, 2012

Things started with a call to arms from some weirdo calling himself "The G," and who was laboring under the strange delusion that this blog would eventually cover "cars, sports, politics" [WTF]. At that time, he was preoccupied with changes in the publishing industry, as well as the imminent arrival of alien dinosaurs hellbent on conquest. Thankfully Vance came on board and helped him simmer down with top-notch reviews of the films It Came From Outer Space, The Iron Rose and provided us with our first bona fide hit when he reviewed Pavane by Keith Roberts, which just happens to be one of Neil Gaiman's favorite books. For his first book review, The G covered Saladin Ahmed's now Hugo and Nebula nominated Throne of the Crescent Moon, while he and Vance entered into a mindmeld in order to systematize the bell-curved scoring system that marks us all as a bunch of cranky old nerds.

May, 2012

Big things happened in May, not least of which was bringing Molly on board. She and Vance did back-to-back reviews of The Fly (1958) and The Fly (1986), and we all came together to rant about the things we hate in film. The G gave Iain M. Banks' sociological space opera novel The Player of Games the site's first 9/10, interviewed Ian Rose from the sadly now defunct SF/F magazine Nine and reduced all six seasons of Lost into haikus. Vance checked out season 3 of Community for our first proper TV review and watched another Criterion Collection attempt to get B-movies, while Molly checked in to see what Dracula and Satan are up to.

June, 2012

More awesomeness ensured in June, not least of which was corralling Philippe into feeding his inner nerd with sweet, sweet comics. To that end, he read Forgetless and Dan the Unharmable, while he and The G got into a long-winded conversation about those annual summer superhero crossovers, where everyone gets together to stop the worst menace ever (since the last one). On the SF/F side, The G had the pleasure of doing a great interview with one of his favorite SF/F people, Djibril al-Ayad of The Future Fire and found Murakami's 1Q84 mostly disappointing, while Vance ranked the novels of Kurt Vonnegut, eulogized Ray Bradbury and they both posted their (intended) summer reading lists. Vance and The G also watched a shitload of B movies, of which The G probably liked The Reef more than any of the others (it has real shark footage), while Vance dug pharaohs-and-Elvis epic Bubba Ho-Tep

July, 2012

July was a true banner month, not least of which because Mike started writing for us with this excellent tale of ComicCon, followed by a reflective piece on his quest for a DeLorean complete with flux capacitor. We were also graced with fantastic guest posts from Rob K. and Raighne Davidson on, respectively, Maus and Pottermore. In terms of SF/F, The G reviewed John Scalzi's Hugo-nominated SF comedy Redshirts and Daniel Abraham's charming fantasy novel The Dragon's Path, and then ranked George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire novels (sorry, but A Dance with Dragons kinda sucked). Philippe read the cool-ass comic Rachel Rising and then mused about how comic books shaped his spiritual choices. Vance reviewed oddball horror flick Cat People and ranked the Harry Potter films, while The G found himself loving the surreal Viking film Valhalla Rising despite its glacial pace and unnecessary gore. Then Molly showed us all up when she gave Orson Scott Card a virtual wedgie for fixating on the helicarrier in his critique of The Avengers (WTF).

August, 2012

Though no one joined us in August, it was still a great time to be a nerd of the feather. Vance packed the lecture hall for the first installment of his Cult Films 101 series, watched arguably the worst movie ever made and then gave our our first ever perfect score to the masterful French film La Jetee. Meanwhile, Mike entered the third gate, reviewed the top-notch Underwater Welder and then started his weekly comic round-up Thursday Morning Superhero, to much rejoicing. Philippe ranked the various Bat-books of DC's New 52 and checked out Grant Morrison's history/memoir Supergods. The G wasn't around all that much, but did manage to pick his 6 7 favorite books from Gollancz's SF Masterworks series.

September, 2012

In September not one, but two writers came on board. First, there was Jemmy, who took a look at anime classic Porco Rosso and reviewed Jeff Salyards' gritty fantasy novel Scourge of the Betrayer. He was soon joined by gaming guru Brad, who debuted with his first impressions of the addictive Diablo-as-FPS Borderlands 2. Vance continued his Cult Films 101 series and mused about space elevators, while The G poured sweet haterade on the overreated British film Attack the Block. Philippe was out of town, so comics pointman Mike picked up the slack with his weekly TMS column, took a look at Robert Kirkman's Thief of Thieves and checked out a pretty sweet H.P. Lovecraft inspired dice game. And The G was lucky enough to read Andrjez Sapkowski's collection of short stories centered on Geralt of Rivia (aka the Witcher of video gaming fame), The Last Wish.

October, 2012

October started with our biggest story ever--a two part interview with SF critic extraordinaire Paul Kincaid, who expounded on his theory that science fiction has reached a point of "exhaustion." It's a must-read for any SF/F fan, and though I'd love to take credit for its awesomeness, that rightly belongs with Paul, who raised the level of discourse and helped introduce our blog to a lot of our now regular readers. I followed that up with a list of six SF/F short stories that, perhaps, suggest that the genre isn't exhausted, and was lucky enough to review both Sapkowski's fantasy masterpiece Blood of Elves and Rob Ziegler's excellent debut novel Seed. Oh, and there was this little interview with Brian White of Fireside Magazine too! Like I said, big month, but we weren't done there--Jemmy interviewed fantasy author Jeff Salyards and then found to time to explain to us why Princess Mononoke doesn't quite live up to its reputation. Vance, for that matter, kept himself busy with Curse of the Demon and Call of Cthulu and then topped if off by ranking the Roger Corman/Vincent Price films. Meanwhile, gaming guru Brad checked out the kickass Arkham City and lamented the fact that so few of us played Blur, while Mikey fell in love with Cow Boy and finished the month on a high note by covering the very cool Halloween ComicFest.

November, 2012

We reviewed a whole lot of shit in November. Philippe kicked things off with Justin Robinson's novel Mr. Blank, a tidy slice of tongue-in-cheek conspiracy noir, as well as the comics Black Lung and Rebel Blood, the latter of which proves there's still some life in this whole zombie thing. New guy Brad showed us all up by covering Halo 4, two Borderlands 2 expansions, a classic review of NES time-sink Mike Tyson's Punch-Out and still had time to wax poetic about those rarest of beasts, games that tell compelling stories well. Desperately trying to keep pace with Brad, The G pitched in on the video game thing with an in-depth look at the multiplayer component of Black Ops 2. Over in SF/F, Jeremy reviewed an excellent short story collection by Kij Johnson, The G read Michael Sullivan's traditional fantasy Theft of Swords and Mikey looked at Spaceman, which is quality SF in graphic form. Vance ranked the best/worst schemes by James Bond villains (and there are just...so...many), sat through a wacky prison/Kung Fu flick and the much more palatable Ray Harryhausen-animated Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, and we all opined about that whole Disney/Star Wars thing. And then Molly returned from hiatus to show us the future of D&D and then gave Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings a virtual wedgie.

December, 2012

Ah, December, you were so chock full of big stories, like Mikey's most popular installment of TMS ever and Molly's alcohol-fueled lament over Peter Jackson's craptastic Hobbit film. Philippe continued to rock the crime fiction, with reviews of James M. Cain's just-back-in-print novel The Cocktail Waitress and noir/SF crossover The Dewey Decimal System. In SF/F literature, The G loved The Apex Book of World SF 2, and Jemmy mostly liked Cory Doctorow's Pirate Cinema. Vance checked out some classic radio SF, and subjected himself to the horrors of the Star Wars Holiday Special, while Brad reminisced about his marathon sessions of Mortal Kombat. And to finish things off, VanceThe G, Molly, Mike, BradJemmy and Philippe all shared their holiday gift guides.

January, 2013

Molly welcomed us to the New Year by spreading the word about Perihelion, and Mikey kicked off an epic run of comics-related posts, starting with his round-up of the Best Comics of 2012 (SPOILER ALERT: there was no winner crowned, but we all kinda won, didn't we?) and his two-part coverage of Nick Spencer's long-in-the-making Infinite Vacation, which finally reached its conclusion. The G began his serialized review of John Scalzi's serialized novel The Human Division before things got seedy as The G and Philippe turned their attention to crime fiction. Turning to the graphic novel-as-journalism, Philippe found an absolute gem in Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza, which earned a rare 10/10. Jemmy fired across the bow at some pirate fiction, and Indie Publishing Guru Dean Smith-Richard reminded independent authors that skimping on quality control only hurts themselves, and shared some great insight into successfully Kickstarting comics from Devin Michaels of the Destiny's Fate series. Brad found a lot to like in the puzzle game/RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest 2, and the nerds tackled a lot of big questions like whether or not franchises might do better under someone other than their creators, and what ramifications violence in video games and beyond has today in the wake of repeated national gun tragedies. But to take a break from the gloom, we got to spend a few minutes with RiffTrax writer Sean Thomason, talking MST3K, terrible, terrible movies, and beer. Hooray, Beer!

February, 2013

February was the most controversial month of our inaugural year.  It began with possibly the most shocking announcement yet: a new scoring system that allowed us to deem the worst of the worst a zero!  The topics heated up and the fans were caught off guard as Phillipe ranked the top moments in 30 Rock and the book Dinosaur Thunder (despite annoying characters and bad editing) took advantage of a +7 in bonuses to earn an 8/10!  In one of our most epic posts, if not the most epic post of the year, Grimmy Grimmy Dark Dark touched on the impact of violence and rape in the fantasy genre and had the interwebs buzzing.  Our monthly adventure down the road in indie publishing took a look at crowd funding and many of the issues associated with platforms like Kickstarter.  Deadspace 3 was the top game of the month clocking in at a near perfect 9/10 and Vance winded us down with self-inflicted pain as he sat through The Baby in its entirety.

March, 2013

While you were busy with your taxes, Nerds of a Feather was in the last month of its very own fiscal year. March was thus jam packed with the most awesome of awesomeness. Molly got into the kitchen and whipped up a nerdy gift guide for your nerdy kitchen. The G started a few posts that he never finished. But hey, he did give us a number of great ones: he continued his epic reviews of John Scalzi’s The Human Division and relived the little bit of the Cold War he remembers when reviewing Ian Sales' Adrift on the Sea of Rains. Vance, too, spent time stuck in the past, remembering what America was supposed to be. That is, when he wasn’t watching awesome cult movies like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Mikey showed us what Grand Theft Auto For Kids would look like, and reminded us of the pure, unadulterated wonder of International TableTop day. Jemmy saddled up to review Joe Abercrombie's Old West-inspired fantasy, and spirited us away to his first 10/10 in Miyazaki Hayao's most complete Studio Ghibli movie. Dean Smith-Richard continued his ever-informative quest to educate us about the wonders of indie publishing, and gave us a preview of his own forthcoming book, 3024AD. And last, but definitely not least, we got our first review from new collaborator, Zhaoyun, who took a bite out of a famous post-apocalyptic vampire novel.

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