Grimoire
Cthulhu
Dracula
Abraham Lincoln
Ken
Grimoire

Episode 303:

July 18th, 2018 | Robin

Most RPG scenarios assume that it’s up to the player characters to conclusively defeat the bad guys at the end. In the Gaming Hut we ask when it’s okay to leave the mop up to outside forces.

In the History Hut Patreon backer Jake asks us to unveil the mysteries of the Cagots.

Ask Ken and Robin fields a Q from backer Jacques de Villiers on gaming Twin Peaks and the related works of David Lynch.

Finally we enter the Eliptony Hut, carefully checking our calendars, to satisfy backer Alexandria Permann’s curiosity regarding the Phantom Time Hypothesis.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but don’t be fooled. Over the Edge is indeed back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger is Kickstarting now!

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

After years in a remote safe house, he’s back. John Scott Tynes is writing Delta Green again. A mere few days remain in the Kickstarter campaign for Delta Green: The Labyrinth, from Arc Dream Publishing. This all-new collection of organizations presents ready-made sources of allies, enemies, mysteries, and surprises for your Delta Green campaign. Back now for extra Yithians!

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: A Vietnamese Mole and the Dread Secrets of Telemarketing

July 17th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

The Sympathizer (Fiction, Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2015) An erudite revolutionary mole inside the South Vietnamese secret police flees the fall of Saigon with his boss/target, adding American to his list of confusing opposed identities. A big, ambitious, funny and horrifying wallop of a novel, haunted by ghosts and vodka.—RDL

Recommended

Ant-Man and the Wasp (Film, US, Peyton Reed, 2018) Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) risks another prison sentence to help Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) rescue her mother from the quantum zone. It’s not Reed’s fault that the trailers gave away most of the fun, creative impact that shrinking has on chase and fight scenes, but it’s a good thing he has believable, strong villains in illicit supertech dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and desperate quantum victim Ghost (Hannah-John Kamen). Charming actors playing good dialogue well in between original, interesting super-fights: what’s not to love? –KH

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook (Nonfiction, Alice Waters with Christina Mueller & Bob Carras, 2017) Autobiography follows the future epigone of the local ingredients movement from a buttoned-down 50s upbringing, to Berkeley during the Free Speech movement and the opening of her famous restaurant, Chez Panisse. Unusually readable for a book assembled in the  “as told to” format uses plentiful flash-forwards to show us our hero after she becomes the person we’re interested in. Most startling takeaway: Waters’s approach to food happens after she opens Chez Panisse!—RDL

The Good Place Season 2 (Television, US, NBC, Michael Schur, 2018) Not-Good Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) and her confused sort-of-torturer Michael (Ted Danson) zip through afterlife whack-a-mole in a giddy comedy that makes premise threat its premise. If every episode were as glorious as “The Trolley Problem” this would be a solid Pinnacle, but like Eleanor, we must accept its merely being much better than it should be. –KH

The Hardliners (Fiction, William Haggard, 1970) Now retired from the Security Executive, Colonel Russell gets involved when a friend’s father threatens to publish memoirs that could turn Czechoslovakia (never named as such) into a gulag. Personalities, pacing, and a lot of detail about shoes — this is a quintessential Haggard novel complete with ever-tautening plot. Except there is, in fact, some (tsk!) physical action. –KH

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Film, US, Noah Baumbach, 2017) A lifetime’s tsuris dealing with their oblivious, narcissist artist father (Dustin Hoffman) comes to a head for half-brothers Danny (Adam Sandler) and Matt (Ben Stiller) when they, along with quietly desperate sister Jean try to care for him after a mishap. Funny, unsparing character piece recognizes the fundamental unresolvability of most family conflict.—RDL

Sorry To Bother You (Film, US, Boots Riley, 2018) Skint Oaklander (Lakeith Stanfield) prospers at his new telemarketing job by affecting a white voice, leading him to a bizarre conspiracy. Hilariously biting satire with an initially stoned and dreamy vibe is relevant to KARTAS listener interests in a way the publicity campaign takes care not to spoil.—RDL

Good

The Bad Batch (Film, US, Ana Lily Amanpour, 2017) Exiled into a Mad Max LARP for no discernible reason, Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) loses an arm and a leg to cannibals led by the Miami Man (Jason Momoa) and embarks on a journey to … something? Beautiful and dreamlike (Lyle Vincent’s cinematography kills throughout), but sadly aimless (just like its protagonist) this film succeeds more as an inchoate succession of vivid images, soundscapes, and emotional moments than as, say, a story. –KH

The Revenant (Film, US, Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015) Frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) survives a bear mauling to pursue the truculent expedition member (Tom Hardy) who murdered his son. Visually and aurally awe-inspiring, unnecessarily long parable of religious redemption through mortification of the flesh.—RDL

Okay

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (Film, Japan, Toshiya Fujita, 1974) Weary assassin (Meiko Kaji) is saved from the gallows by the secret police and sent to spy on a handsy anarchist (Juzo Itami), but the spirit of righteous vengeance needs only a fresh whiff of gore to reawaken. In lieu of plot obstacles, sidelines its iconic heroine for a very long and unnecessary torture-filled second act.—RDL

The Saint (Film, US, Ernie Barbarash, 2017) Partners in crime Simon Templar (Adam Rayner) and Patricia Holm (Eliza Dushku) chase down a kidnapper (Ian Ogilvy) and $2.5 billion in stolen charity money. Man, did I want to like this, not least for rescuing Patricia Holm from the forgotten pages of Leslie Charteris’ early novels. And man, was this a TV pilot shot in 2013 and not picked up, so nope. Some nice fight choreography and a good heist density can’t rescue clunky delivery, cheap production, and the overstuffed, underwritten cast. –KH

Spielberg (Film, US, Susan Lacy, 2017) Interviews new and archival, plus the requisite beautifully presented film clips, trace the life and filmography of director Steven Spielberg. A film made with the full cooperation of its subject can gesture toward, but not really grapple with, the central question of his wildly inconsistent output.—RDL

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Episode 301: Thanks For Knowing We Were Right

July 13th, 2018 | Robin

 

The Gaming Hut lies at the end of a ten foot corridor this week as Patreon backer Elias Helfer asks us, as paragons of story-driven RPGs, to explain why we think dungeons are awesome.

In Fun With Science we extrapolate a future with affordable carbon reclamation.

With the Over the Edge Kickstarter now in progress, we dig into our vault of interviews from last year’s Gen Con to chat with Jonathan Tweet in Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else.

If someone tells you their favorite esoteric writer is Julius Evola, you just heard your cue to back away slowly. The Consulting Occultist is here to tell you why.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but don’t be fooled. Over the Edge is indeed back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger is Kickstarting now!

 

 

 

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Incredibles, Ant-Man and Southern Werewolves

July 10th, 2018 | Robin


Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

Incredibles 2 (Film, US, Brad Bird, 2018) Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter) and Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) switch domestic roles when she becomes the face of a tech mogul’s (Bob Odenkirk) attempt to restore the public image of superheroes. Literally everything works here, from Bird’s writing to the beyond-state-of-the-art action sequences, but special kudos to Michael Giacchino’s score, which perfectly homages spy-fi soundtracks of yore while kicking the animation into over-overdrive. Maybe it doesn’t aim super-high, but replicating a Pinnacle fourteen years later remains pretty incredible. –KH

Recommended

Ant-Man and the Wasp (Film, US, Peyton Reed, 2017) With hours left in his house arrest, Scott (Paul Rudd) agrees to help erstwhile partner Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and ever-truculent quasi-mentor Hank (Michael Douglas) recover her mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum zone. The comic banter between the engaging cast of this warm and generous romp is so deceptively loose and fun—which is to say, precisely and painstakingly timed—that it’s almost a drag when the plot galumphs in to interrupt it.—RDL

The Endless (Film, US, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, 2018) Two brothers (Benson and Moorhead) who escaped from a “UFO death cult” a decade ago return to it after receiving a mysterious videotape. Slow (but never easy) burn starts with family drama, escalates to weirdness, and achieves cosmic horror by the end, ably abetted by Jimmy Lavalle’s creepy electronic score. –KH

GLOW Season 2 (Television, US, Netflix, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, 2018) Ruth’s eagerness to add her input to the show bruises her friendship with Sam; Debbie channels divorce rage into her new role as producer. Nary a sophomore season slackening in sight as the the writing swerves around obvious choices as expands its always-sympathetic attention to the rich cast of supporting characters.—RDL

The King and the Chorus Girl (Film, US, Mervyn LeRoy, 1937) The aunt (Mary Nash) and chief aristocratic attendant (Edward Everett Horton) to a young deposed king encourage an American showgirl (Joan Blondell) to rouse him from his alcoholic despond by resisting his romantic overtures. Charming light romantic comedy gains extra crackle from a script by Norman Krasna and Groucho Marx.—RDL

Mongrels (Fiction, Stephen Graham Jones, 2016) Teen grows up on the run in the hardscrabble rural south, protected by his impulsive uncle and survival-hardened aunt, both werewolves. Rich, evocative family story told with the structures and techniques of literary fiction in which an extensively extrapolated set of lycanthrope rules becomes part of the realist texture .—RDL

Good

Archer: Danger Island (Television, US, FXX, Adam Reed, 2018) The latest run of Archer seasons swaps in multi-episode story arcs for the procedural nonsense that marked earlier years, to the general detriment of comedic density: time spent advancing a plot is time not spent making drunken sex jokes. This season sets the show’s cast, suitably rejiggered, in a 1938 Pacific air adventure serial that shows Reed’s love for the material, but again shorts the rapid-fire comedy. –KH

Okay

Legion Season 2 (Television, US, FX, Noah Hawley, 2018) As David Haller (Dan Stevens) sort-of races the Shadow King (Navid Negahban) to the latter’s body, he questions everything about his quest. If anything the shots this season are more gorgeously inventive than ever, so it’s a shame Hawley lards the season with story side trails and literally sophomoric explorations into pop cogsci and pop ethics. Maybe “we know nothing” isn’t the best spine for a series narrative, especially when almost nobody can act well enough to earn viewer sympathy. The show quotes The Who a lot, so I will, too: “Why should I care?” –KH

Not Recommended

RocknRolla (Film, UK, Guy Ritchie, 2008) Betrayals, scams and side hustles ripple outward from a crooked real estate deal brokered by a bullying thug (Tom Wilkinson.) Without a throughline a screenplay is just a series of incidents, in this case not especially compelling ones. Kudos to the casting director; you sure couldn’t assemble this cast on crime flick budget today.—RDL

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Episode 300: LIGHTNING RO-O-O-O-O-O-OUND

July 6th, 2018 | Robin

 

It’s been 300 installments, just a smidge shy of six years, and longtime listeners and backers know what that means. Time for another episode-length Lightning Round, as we provide uncharacteristically snappy As to Qs about games, beverages, monsters, bees and the ever-proverbial so much more.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but don’t be fooled. Over the Edge is indeed back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger hits Kickstarter on July 10th.

 

 

 

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: With Cate You Only Need Eight

July 3rd, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Big Clock (Fiction, Kenneth Fearing, 1946) Considerably darker than the film version (q.v.), and as a result more believable in its plot action. Multiple viewpoints slow tension but also provide verisimilitude. Fearing’s weird digressions jazz up the novel like his ever-chiming “big clock” metaphor mostly doesn’t. –KH

The Newburgh Sting (Film, US, David Heilbroner and Kate Davis, 2014) Documentary unwinds a 2009 case in which an FBI informant recruited four small-time criminals from a poverty-wracked African-American community into a terror plot for the government to triumphantly bust. Interweaves interviews with government surveillance footage to clarify a complex story. For those doing the math, yep, the FBI head who appears for a celebratory victory lap before a Congressional committee is none other than Robert Mueller.—RDL

Ocean’s 8 (Film, US, Gary Ross, 2018) Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) gets out of prison, reunites with her sidekick Lou (Cate Blanchett) and recruits a crew for an impossible heist during which many things seem to go wrong but either they didn’t or the crew fixes them on the fly. Yep, it’s an Ocean’s movie! (Minus the editing, which is a little slack, leading to a more toothless feel.) Daniel Pemberton does a great job shifting David Holmes’ cool jazz toward funk, and everyone is fun to watch, especially Anne Hathaway as the biggest Anne Hathaway ever. –KH

The Villainess (Film, Jeong Byeong-Gil, South Korea, 2017) A shadowy government agency retrains an already bad-ass assassin, but a complex web of bloody betrayals still waits to ensnare her. Wild, hyper-violent action sequences bookend a twisty, chronologically fractured narrative.—RDL

Good

The Big Clock (Film, US, John Farrow, 1948) Crime editor George Stroud (Ray Milland) winds up the intended patsy for a murder committed by his tyrannical publisher Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton), who unwittingly assigns Stroud to track himself down. After the idiot plot maneuvers Stroud into position, the tense self-manhunt propels the last two thirds of the film, juiced by Laughton’s delightful mannered cruelty and a screwball turn by Elsa Lanchester as an eccentric painter. –KH

Chains (Film, Italy, Raffaello Matarazzo, 1949) Garage owner’s wife conceals from her husband the efforts of her ex-fiancee, now a caddish car thief, to win her back. Noir-tinged melodrama loses steam when its third act turn switches to a less compelling conflict.—RDL

Legion Season 2 (Television, FX, Noah Hawley, 2018) Now working for the anti-mutant agency he used to fight, David loses his grip on reality and his moral bearings as he pursues the Shadow King. The most visually inventive season of TV ever shot burrows so deeply into subjective reality—not to mention time travel and alternate realities—that it’s often impossible not just to know what is happening, but what one wants to see happen.—RDL

The Powder Barrel (Fiction, William Haggard, 1965) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must deal with a too-independent Chinese agent trying to kill the Foreign Secretary and destabilize a fragile British oil protectorate. Like the best Haggard thrillers, this one turns on personalities, but Haggard’s normally tight control of the plot seems a little stop-and-start in this one. –KH

Not Recommended

Historical Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia (Nonfiction, Norman Bancroft Hunt, 2004) Although the mix of maps and archaeological plans scants historical continuity in favor of snapshot cultural views, I would be inclined to call it Okay or even Good if the text didn’t contain several considerable errors of fact. Most notably to our listeners, Hunt confuses Mithridates II of Parthia with Mithridates VI of Pontus. –KH

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Episode 299: Mostly Claw Dudes

June 29th, 2018 | Robin

 

The Gaming Hut has a bunch of vampires in the shop for adjustments as we look at the process of adapting creatures between systems.

In Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else, Ken talks to Rich Ranallo about the new edition of Velvet Generation, now on Kickstarter. Listen close and you’ll hear Ken’s lightning bolt face makeup.

As a milestone beckons, Ask Ken and Robin finds us in the mood for a meta-question. Thank goodness Patreon backer Ian Carlsen is here to request a glimpse behind the KARTAS scenes.

Finally, Leprejuan beckons us into the Eliptony Hut to ponder the Mad Gasser of Mattoon.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.” Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Hollywood’s Greatest Suave Weasel

June 26th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Danger Signal (Film, US, Robert Florey, 1945) Pulp writer who makes his real living swindling and murdering women (Zachary Scott) sets his sights on a staid stenographer (Faye Emerson)—until her prettier, vivacious younger sister, who receives an inheritance when she marries, shows up. Scott, Hollywood’s quintessential suave weasel, gets plenty of room to do his thing as an homme fatale who tempts the female protagonist to moral ruin.—RDL

Kedi (Film, Turkey, Ceyda Torun, 2017) I love a good sense-of-place movie that meanders down or pinwheels above the streets and byways of a great city, and Istanbul ably holds the screen alongside dozens of its feral and semi-domesticated cats. This documentary follows seven cats on their patrols and takes time to talk to the humans who feed, care for, and love them. Kira Fontana’s nimble score perfectly captures the grace and lightness of the subjects, weaving together the perfect chill-out film for cat lovers. –KH

The King is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism 334-31 B.C. (Nonfiction, S.K. Eddy, 1961) Even given the paucity of source material and the philhellenic tendencies of the academy, you’d think there would be a more recent postcolonialist study of Alexander’s Successors in the East, but this remains the state of the field. Eddy does a remarkable job weaving the evidence into narrative, using the structure of religious resistance (best typified by the Maccabean Revolt) as his weft. –KH

Little Sister (Fiction, Barbara Gowdy, 2017) Rep cinema owner reacts with alarm when thunderstorms cause her consciousness to project itself, as a passive spectator, into the body of an editor engaged in an affair with a colleague. Contemporary litfic uses its magic realist premise as an entry point into the lives and histories of its characters.—RDL

Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing (Nonfiction, Ben Blatt, 2017) Statistical analysis delves into the texts of English literature’s canonical classics and today’s litfic and best-sellers. In addition to showing how algorithms can identify authorship based on the placement of simple words alone, breaks down favored words by gender, the trend toward simpler reading levels, and post-fame word count bloat.—RDL

They Remain (Film, US, Philip Gelatt, 2018) At the behest of a shadowy corporation, field scientists (William Jackson Harper, Rebecca Henderson) investigate animal behavior anomalies in the forested site of a notorious cult massacre. Slow burn reality horror anchored by the groundedness of Harper’s performance. Based on a Laird Barron novella.—RDL

Veep Season 6 (Television, HBO, David Mandel, 2017) Defeated, with half her team scattered, and facing the horrible prospect of grandmotherhood, Selina struggles to fund her presidential library. With lowered stakes comes ever more vicious satire—yet oddly, a nostalgia for an era when high velocity profanity and backstabbing careerism seemed as bad as DC could get.—RDL

Good

Operation Mekong (Film, China, Dante Lam, 2016) Hard-charging cop (Zhang Hanyu) his new undercover partner (Eddie Peng) lead an expert team to capture the Golden Triangle drug smugglers who massacred Chinese citizens. It’s not just the wild action that’s head-spinning here, but also the demonstration of how seamlessly Hollywood tropes and drug war imagery export themselves to a putatively different propaganda context.—RDL

The Void (Film, Canada, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, 2016) Cultists trap two cops, a smattering of civilians, and the skeleton staff inside a nearly defunct hospital as Lovecraftian/Barkeresque horrors brew up. Practical effects and a commitment to full-throttle fright acceleration hearken back to 80s horror in this effective film; sketchily drawn characters and a somewhat muddled ending likewise. –KH

Okay

Now You See Me (Film, US, Louis Leterrier, 2013) Four down-and-out magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Isla Fisher) follow mysterious instructions to rob from the rich and give to the poor-ish as unshaven FBI agent Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) fumes impotently in their wake. Brian Tyler’s score and a terrific mano-a-magic fight scene aside, this movie has little to recommend it: Leterrier directs like a Michael Bay wannabe, not the Luc Besson disciple he was, and if a script promises in so many words to outsmart you it shouldn’t be nearly this dumb. That said, a great high concept wasted remains a great high concept. –KH

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Episode 298: Now We’re Just Gygaxing

June 22nd, 2018 | Robin

Having both recently moved big projects off our plates and into post-production, we convene in the Gaming Hut to look at lessons and surprises from our design work on Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition and The Yellow King Roleplaying Game.

In the Horror Hut, we respond to the wish of Patreon backer Stephen Perpitch-Harvey to talk about jinn.

Among My Many Hats has Robin donning the headgear of an ancient horse clan to talk about Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind, the new iOS game follow-up to King of Dragon Pass, featuring nine novels worth of his writing.  Send your Swords and Bows to the pre-order now.

Finally the Consulting Occultist opens a perilous tome to tell us about Reginald Scot and The Discoverie of Witchcraft.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.” Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world (though maybe not your team of hardened covert agents) from the Cthulhu Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Episode 297: Walrus Revenge

June 15th, 2018 | Robin

Do gamers like choice more than ordinary humans? We raised the question several episodes back, and now it’s all grown up into its very own Gaming Hut segment.

In the Tradecraft Hut we look at the espionage allegations leveled against the Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

Then the time comes for a brand new segment, the T-Shirt Justification Hut, in which we prepare you for the wearable terror of Walrus Revenge. Grab the shirt here!

Finally the Eliptony Hut augments its customary tinfoil hat with a bell-bottoms and platform shoes as Patreon backer Stacy Forsythe wants to know why the 70s was such a high water mark for weirdness studies.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

 

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.”

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister