Non-fiction Samples

The Best Writer You've Never Heard Of: Jim Thompson

In 1977, Jim Thompson was an obscure crime writer with a few screenplays to his credit. As he lay dying, he predicted that some of his work would be considered classics in ten years. At the time, that seemed hopelessly optimistic. None of his work was in print. He was dying in poverty. His prediction was clearly wrong.

And it was. Twenty years after his death, people figured out that Jim Thompson was a hell of a writer. So, it took twenty years, not ten. Otherwise, Thompson pretty much got it right

When Thompson started writing, America liked the Martini noir of Hammett and Earl Stanley Gardner. Compared with those writers, Thompson's work was like a whiskey shot followed by a punch to the face.

...At first, Thompson’s lack of success didn’t stop him. Between 1952 and 1957, he wrote 16 novels. Sometimes he wrote entire novels in 48 hours. He was paid by the line, and the money didn’t amount to very much. So, he churned out novels in order to pay the bills.

Finally though, the sheer apathy of the American public got to him. Some people think that writers give up when everyone hates their work. That’s not generally true. Writers give up when they’re ignored. What’s the point of writing when no one reads your words?

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Coding Languages for Kids to Learn

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...we also want to introduce children to programming via languages that have relevance in today’s society, as opposed to a language that’s dated or just doesn’t work all of that well. Programming languages that can achieve immediate results are preferable to languages that take a long time and a lot of input to actually DO something.


Also, languages that focus on visual elements are preferable to those that focus on other types of data. For example, a coding language that works with graphics and/or web pages would probably be better for children than a language that focuses more on databases or server management. The whole idea behind introducing children to programming early is to create an interest, and a more graphically appealing programming language will hopefully help you create and foster that interest, even if it may not produce a coder who is ready for their first big job right out of high school. Once again, no matter which language you decide to choose, the important thing is to get your students coding! From HTML to Python, coding will teach your students valuable skills that will accompany them through life. The time to start teaching them is now.



Horizon: Zero Dawn Review

Aloy is a 17 year old girl, which is a refreshing change from the usual space marine stereotypes we’re usually subjected to. She has a sense of humor, carries grudges, and sometimes seems exasperated when trying to help people. The exasperation expressed in the script and in the tone of Aloy’s voice made her seem more real to me—sometimes it’s really frustrating trying to convince people to do what’s best, and Horizon: Zero Dawn captures that frustration better than most other games do. It should be mentioned that Aloy is voiced by Ashly Burch, who also brought a strong sense of character to Chloe in Life Is Strange. Both the script and Burch’s performance work together to create a compelling lead character.

But what about the gameplay? Well, in a word, it’s fantastic. There are nearly 20 different weapons with different characteristics, 26 different types of machine and all sorts of different terrain for the player to stalk killer robots in...I found myself headshotting baddies with ease after a few hours of play, and setting traps with the confidence and skill of an 18th century woodsman.

As you and Aloy explore, you’re surrounded by the sounds of birds calling as well as squawks and groans of the machines. The placements of the creatures and villages is well thought-out—nothing feels random here. This is the most immersive world I’ve ever experienced in a game without putting on a VR headset. The sound and graphics are also among the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. This is a pleasure that would almost feel guilty if it wasn’t so damn good...

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