Unwinnable Weekly Issue Forty-Three

This is a reprint of the letter from the editor in Unwinnable Weekly Issue Forty-Three – check out the excerpts at the end of the post. You can buy Issue Forty-Three individually now, or purchase a one-month subscription to make sure you never miss an issue!


UW43-smallHi there,

I find that I have very little to talk about today.

I was hoping Avengers: Age of Ultron would either electrify or utterly underwhelm me. What I got was a perfectly enjoyable couple hours of action movie. I tried to have a conversation with contributor Jill Scharr about it and we both struggled to find anything to latch on to before the chat drifted off to other topics.

I was hoping, too, that I’d see a trailer that might set me off, in either direction. With the exception of Ant-Man (which looks to be about in line with Age of Ultron — an amusing diversion), every trailer was forgettable garbage. I struggle to recall any of them.

Oh. Fantastic Four was one. No one needs me to write about how crummy that movie looks.

I’ve been playing Axiom Verge, but I don’t have anything earth shattering to say about that either. It’s fun. I am enjoying it.

The new Faith No More album is pretty good, too.

Oh! I read Nathan Ballingrud’s novella The Visible Filth earlier in the week, that was pretty great. It has been a long time since the written word has made me unwilling to go to sleep. You should check it out.

But I don’t feel moved to discuss it.

Maybe it is the fact that it is finally, perhaps irrevocably spring here.

Maybe I am just busy settling into the new digs with Daisy.

Whatever it is, I don’t mind. I kind of like it. Sometimes, it is nice to just kick back, relax and enjoy things. I don’t make a habit of pondering the cultural importance of my favorite whiskey. I just drink, and enjoy.

Go on, try it. Pour yourself a beer, plop on the couch and let something — a book, a movie, a game — just wash over you.

Not everything needs to be a thing.

* * *

Another meaty issue this week. Matt Marrone finally experiences the Oculus Rift. David Wolinsky picks at the ugly problems besetting all sides of the videogame industry. Gus Mastrapa puts Dungeon Crawler on hold this week in order to talk about his long relationship with seminal metal band Faith No More. Finally, the very wolfy cover is for my Q&A with horror writer John Langan, in which we discuss horror, literature in general, the nature of narrative and more. Huge thanks to John for taking the time to chat.

Thanks all for now. Have a lovely weekend, play games, read books, watch movies and holler at stuhorvath@unwinnable.com if you need me.

Stu Horvath,
Jersey City, New Jersey
May 7, 2015

Story Excerpts

I’ve been reading and talking about Oculus Rift for many moons, long before there was an Apple Watch. And while I set my alarm for 2:55 a.m. the day of the Apple Watch presale, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a Rift even more. When the day comes that the Rift finally goes on sale to the general public – just this week, Oculus announced it’ll be available in early 2016, with presales later this year – I’ll set my alarm again. For 2:54 a.m., or earlier, if necessary.

“Christmas Morning, 2020 AD,” by Matt Marrone

I also remember this question coming not just from other writers, but PR people as well: “Are you a games journalist?” I didn’t understand. This is not meant to be arrogance but just a reflection of how my brain worked from the outset with this stuff: I never considered games writing “journalism” because there are no Pulitzers for covering marketing.

“Actually, it’s about Ethics in Shilling Videogames,” by David Wolinsky

John Langan is a maker of traps. He constructs them out of words that, on the surface, seem literary, even genteel. The words greet you, shake your hand, offer you a drink. They form a comfortable chair of leather and wood, well loved, perhaps alongside a fire. You read and you sink into that chair. They say to you, “This is horror, yes, but familiar. You have nothing to fear. Relax.” And you do. And as soon as you do, the trap is sprung.

“The Woods are Dark and Deep,” by Stu Horvath

When guitarist Jim Martin quit Faith No More I stopped caring about the band for a long time. During the course of my lifetime I have come up with a shitload of stupid reasons not to like things and even stupider reasons not to give shit a chance. I’ve spent way too much time writing off whole genres, entire catalogs and musical movements on some bonehead notion. That’s a pretty stupid way to live. I guess for a good part of my twenties and thirties I couldn’t like one thing unless I hated another that I thought was diametrically opposed. I’m too old for that shit now and am hard at work rooting out all of those ingrained, idiotic prejudices.

“Notes on a Relationship with Faith No More,” by Gus Mastrapa 


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