THE SOUNDS OF THE SUNLESS SKIES
If you, like me, have plunged into the eerie literary depths of Sunless Sea — a slow-paced seafaring video game set in a gothic steampunk twist on England — you'll welcome this worthy sequel. Sunless Skies swaps out your ship for a sky-locomotive, and has you chug-chugging across worlds where stories are currency, time is mined and your soul can be upgraded to fetch a better price from devils. This time around, the star may be less the strange writing as the game's sound effects. The hiss of your locomotive releasing steam. The gusts of the "peacock winds" that infect your food stores. The strange stretching and creaking sounds that hint at exactly why your crew's terror levels are rising. (DANIEL WALTERS)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
Some noteworthy new music arrives online and in stores Feb. 22. To wit:
Telekinesis, Effluxion. The Seattle-based Michael Benjamin Lerner is back with a new dose of winning indie-pop.
Overkill, The Wings of War. These thrash-metal pioneers have been together nearly 40 years, and this is their 19th album. That's a lot of thrashing.
Half Japanese, Invincible. These arty punks love distortion. Not-so-fun fact: Kurt Cobain was wearing a Half Japanese T-shirt when he killed himself. (DAN NAILEN)
READ WITH THE FISHES
Whether or not you revere The Sopranos as I do, there's no arguing that the HBO series about a New Jersey family (and "Family"), overseen by a depressed gangster, pioneered so-called "prestige television" 20 years ago. Critics Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall both wrote about the show for the newspaper in Newark where The Sopranos was set, and their new book The Sopranos Sessions offers ample opportunity to ponder the dreams, double crosses and occasional deaths of Tony, Carmela, Paulie Walnuts, Johnny Sack and the rest. The duo analyzes every episode, but even better is a set of seven interviews with show creator David Chase that delves into the show's minutiae and his decision-making on who lived, who died and why. (DAN NAILEN)
There's something oddly refreshing about a post-apocalyptic dystopia that doesn't take place in America. I'm referring to Metro Exodus, the third installment of the Metro series, released on Feb. 15. Originally a novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, the story begins in Moscow's metro tunnels, which have become a refuge from the radioactive horror show on the surface. The previous installments have been dark, action packed and politically conscious. Though dated, I still totally recommend giving the earlier games a play. (QUINN WELSCH)
BOOKS, BREWS, BUDS
"Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature." That sentence, coupled with the fact that this book — covered to mask its identity — was "experimental literature/fiction," was all the context I had before making my selection. For $8, it came with a beer or cider at Heritage Bar & Kitchen's Blind Book and Brew night, where bookworms choose $8 oldies or $20 newbies based only on their first sentence and genre. Sitting at the bar, I quickly realized I'd chosen Garth Stein's great The Art of Racing in the Rain, and watched as others picked out award-winning reads and chatted with fellow word nerds. Keep an eye on Heritage's Facebook page for the next one. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)