Sanctuary Dream

An Autism Simulation Movie

I ran into this while searching for authentic-looking movies dealing with autism. Sanctuary Dream is as authentic as it gets. Written and produced by Grant Carsten, a young man who is himself autistic, it thematizes domestic violence and homelessness, and attempts to simulate the way autistic people experience the world. This is achieved through unusual visual and sound effects, as well as the purposefully chopped-up narration.

The movie follows the journey of Faisal, an autistic teen, who flees from home and his abusive family in search of the Peace House, the titular dream sanctuary, where he could at last feel safe. Both the content and the presentation are raw, dissonant and disturbing, but the story ends on a hopeful note. Faisal finds the Peace House where one would least expect it at that point — in the company and kindness of well-meaning, open-minded people; and manages to connect with them through his interest in music and poetry.

For an indie production with a very modest budget, Sanctuary Dream is an amazing achievement. I enjoyed the soundtrack and the beautiful photography, and I was impressed by the performance of the lead actor, Traven Thomas, who was impeccable. I invite you to read the many thoughtful and overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Sanctuary Dream website, and visit its Facebook page for more info and some juicy behind-the-scenes morsels.

The movie can be purchased on Vimeo.

Anthem: Follow-up

I wanted to write about the ME MP Challenges and Halls of Fame this week, but I won’t have time, so here’s a short follow-up on my experience with Anthem instead.

Playing solo, on easy difficulty, I finished the main story in about 30 hours (two weeks real-time), at pilot level 16. I did every mission that was available for the three factions, but I only spent as much time in freeplay as was required to do the tomb-opening challenges, and I only played the Tyrant Mine stronghold once, with random teammates. I talked to everyone in Fort Tarsis and did not sprint through it, but I didn’t dally around either. All in all, as a single-player game, Anthem has about the same amount of content as, say, Mass Effect 3.

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Anthem: First Impressions

I’ve been playing the newest Bioware multiplayer game, Anthem, for a week now and I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s stunningly beautiful, easy to get into and incredibly fun to play. The foundational world-building concepts are a fresh take on the magical-artifacts-of-an-ancient-civilization trope with a musical twist that I find irresistible. Despite the occasional lapses in logic, the narrative is engaging and well-executed. Among the substantial cast of characters, not all are rendered with equal depth, but they are all competently written and voiced. Where Anthem doesn’t shine, it’s decent, and there’s next to nothing in it that annoys me. That’s quite an accomplishment! My overall feeling is that this is the game Mass Effect Andromeda was supposed to be, if it only had the time and nourishment to mature properly.

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Dinner at Deviant’s Palace

By T. Powers

Of the three books by Tim Powers I’ve read so far (the other two were The Drawing of the Dark and The Stress of Her Regard), I liked this one the best. It takes a while to get started, and it took me a while to finish it (about a month of semi-regular daily reading), but it’s a solid story, with no outstanding thematic problems, depicting a fairly believable dystopian future where alcohol is the main currency, cities have turned to warring states, and ancient shells of rusted cars are hauled by horses as a status symbol.

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