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Farewell, Artemis. Hello, Responsibilty

Finished: The Artemis Fowl series.

I thought this series started off pretty strong, but wound down as it went along.

Artemis Fowl, boy genius of a criminal mastermind family, finds a secret underground civilization of fairy people who have technology centuries ahead of our own.  He eventually goes straight, makes a few friends above and below ground, seems like a good little formula, right?

Well, rather than just milk the formula, Eoin Colfer decided to let it have a legitimate continuity instead.  I suppose that's the moral high ground of writing, so I can't fault him there, but it does mean that the series was going to end sooner rather than later.

The hammer that put the nails in the coffin was giving Artemis Fowl a recurrent arch nemesis, thereby sealing his fate in the same way Moriarty sealed Sherlock Holmes'.

Arch nemeses are burning fuses because you can only wheel them out to be defeated so many times until the readers don't care anymore.  For a mad little pixie named Opal Kobai, that was at the frequency of every second book.  In eight books, that's four appearances: what's your limit of tolerance?  Yet, an arch nemesis is not merely a nemesis, but rather the nemesis, there can be no substitutions or promotions: there's no rogue gallery that's going to bail you out of this one; when this fuse burns down, you're out of credible antagonists.

The dynamite at the end of the fuse is that, once the arch nemesis is defeated for good, you hardly need your protagonists around anymore, do you?  Instead, having achieved their ultimate goal, it appears your protagonist is also far too good at their job: the hero is now an liability to a decent story that a credible author would rather kill off than keep.  That's why, when Sherlock Holmes defeated Moriarty, they both went over the falls.

True, Holmes proves popular demand can very well bring a character back, but the point I'm making here is that poor Artemis would appear to have been written into this very familiar corner.  That's a pity, because I might have enjoyed a good milking of this idea, provided it did not reach desperate anime franchise levels of droning on and on.  Instead, it feels a bit like Colfer punched out early on this one.  Well, there is a school of thought that it's better to go out in one's prime than to fizzle out completely, so who am I to judge?

Now for a conflict of my own: what to read next?  My main goal is to find good stories that avoid being sensationalist garbage, and that's not easy.  This is why I often look to fiction for young adults or kids, because older fiction too often targets the easy triggers that our media continually saturates us with.

To these ends, I'm thinking the next series I might start reading is Lemony Snicket's "A Series Of Unfortunate Events" or possibly Angie Sage's "Septimus Heap" series, but I have no idea if I'll like either.  Having read some reviews on both, it looks bleak.   I decided to read Terry Pratchett's Going Postal in the meanwhile, and so far I rather enjoy it... but then, Pratchett rarely ever lets me down. 

Now Playing / Game Development: Pretty much nil.

Given precious few hours of free time last week, filed even further to the quick with an hour Animal Crossing: New Leaf every day, I've been so busy lately that I really haven't had time to play much of anything.  In what time I had left, I've largely been nettled by familial obligations.  Honestly, I haven't had the pleasure of taking wife and children, and I'm still being bothered by this, what's the matter with the world?  Anyway, here's a few bits and pieces I did manage over the past week:
  • I gave Terraria another spin now that version 1.2 is out, and supposedly the game has received a major shot in the arm in terms of content and whatnot.   I soon gave up when I found the gameplay fundamentals were more or less the same as the game I already sunk over 150 hours into.  Been there, done that, bring on Starbound, already.
  • I tried out Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure on the Nintendo 3DS, finally vindicating the waste of money I've been spending on GameFly to have it in my possession for a couple months.  The presentation is great, the rhythm-based minigames are somewhat barebones but effective.  Aside from that, it's hard to recommend simply because of all the time I spend reading pointless dialogue and walking around a crude map: Phoenix Wright is better interactive fiction, by far.
I also watched Paranorman, Captain America, and The Adventures Of Tintin.  I highly recommend any of these. 

My Boring Life Update: Routine change growing pains

Pardon the late blog update; it's been a busy week.  I've started work at a new location, been introduced to a new host of co-workers, and also a new field of responsibility.  I worked fairly hard this week, and still feel a little sore from that.  I guess everything went fine, no complaints from the bosses, though they assure me that if they find anything to complain about I'll be hearing about it in a couple months. 

Yet, the evening after the last day of the week, I sit on a rather uncomfortable chair (sadly, my executive office chair has been broken for a few weeks now) typing away on my computer keyboard, and wonder why something feels a bit... off?  Hmmm... well, to take a stab in the dark, it's probably as simple as this being a whole new life routine and me needing to adjust to it.

The writing is on the wall, "This is your life now.  For many years, that was your life, but this is how it's going to work now."   I don't consider myself an intransigent simpleton but, for some reason, that message gives the human spirit pause. 

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