I know I’m late on reviewing this. Oddly, I was late listening to it because I was catching up on the archives of Mur’s I Should Be Writing, which you’ll also have heard me mention before. I’m enjoying them. I don’t agree with everything she says, but I’m a firm believer that writers seldom work in the same ways. Just listening to someone talk about writing is interesting, and there’s a lot that she says that’s useful. If you haven’t checked it out, please do – I can’t afford to donate anything to her virtual tip jar at the moment, but if I can spread the word, rock on.
So, back to Marco. This episode we were introduced to the secret of how the Li-Jun get their emotions to put into works of art and clothing and wotnot. We were also introduced to the interesting fact that the Li-Jun themselves feel no passion, and that this provides their motivation and fascination with human beings.
Let’s discuss the Li-Jun mojo for emotion-farming (skip this paragraph and the next if you don’t want to be spoiled). Essentially they deprive their artist of sensory stimulous, and then stimulate them to emotionally significant memories via provoking hormonal responses and wotnot. The upshot of this is a very unpleasant and invasive procedure for the artist. It’s a form of mind-rape. I like that kind of thing, so this may have affected my feelings about it. I felt it was well done, but contained no surprises. It was fairly predictable, by this point, that the Li-Jun would be interested in Marco’s memories of being with his ex-girlfriend (who ended the relationship when she gained Li-Jun patronage some time ago). Perhaps if we knew a bit more about the girlfriend prior to this point – if we had met her, or knew her as more than someone who had hurt Marco – I would have been a bit more emotionally invested. I don’t know.
I don’t want to be too critical – it was, well done, and there’s no crime in re-using a familiar idea and doing a good job on it. One of my nicest reviews (haha – like I’ve had loads!) basically said that I did a good job on a familiar idea. I guess I’m just more interested in finding out where this is going. Clearly something is going to be ‘up’ with whatever the Li-Jun have planned for Marco. It doesn’t seem to be simply the matter of emotion memory extraction. One of the more interesting things about Mur’s take on this is that it’s made clear that Marco could stop the process at any point… and he allows it to continue. So that’s not our central enigma. Now I’m waiting to see what that will be – what other game are the Li-Jun playing, if this isn’t it?
In a sense, I wonder if I’m being fair to the piece to be reviewing each episode as we go along. This episode was more about a reveal than developing the action, so I have less to say about it. It’s not as action packed as the last episode, but that’s absolutely fine – I wouldn’t want it to be. It just leaves the review feeling a little empty.
So I guess I won’t drag it out. MatRG continues to be well-written and engaging, and if you haven’t heard it yet you should go pick it up from Hub. It’s free, after all. If you agree with me that it’s worth it, you can maybe find a little something to slip into the pot for the author as well. Not to mention the fine people at Hub. (As I understand it, 75% goes to the author, 25% to costs).