Jonathan McCalmont has a great examination of the video game Dead Space as a "a fiercely left wing game whose narrative constitutes a vicious critique of neoliberalism and the monetarist policies of Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys." Oh yes. I don't play video games (no money, no time, no hand-eye-coordination), but Dead Space has always interested me because I am a big, big sucker for sci-fi horror set in space (the fact that I didn't like Pandorum should tell you how bad it was). Anyway, McCalmont says:
However, Dead Space’s reverence for the market does not stop with surreal mercantilism… it also extends to the actual game-play. Indeed, one of the innovations trumpeted by the avalanche of hype that surrounded Dead Space’s release was the way in which shooting monsters is rarely sufficient to kill them. Pump round after round into your average necromorph and he will still keep coming at you. Dead Space does not reward butchery, it rewards surgery. Indeed, the most efficient way to kill necromorphs is to assume the role of the hatchet man and make cuts. A leg here. An arm there. A health service here. Some national oil reserves there. Cut. Cut. Cut.You know you want to read it. I always thought the Alien series was doing something similar (on a less sophisticated level), because you know the bad guy isn't really the xenomorph population - as Ripley puts it, "at least they don't fuck each other over for a percentage" - it's the Company.
Dead Space’s suggestion that the necromorphs’ presence is a result of the planet cracking suggests that the human costs of the market must be taken into account and not merely repressed with force. Indeed, the game’s final act sees Isaac Clarke desperately trying to mend fences with the hive mind by returning the marker to the planet.
Meanwhile, The Rejectionist (who I usually agree with) explains why she doesn't read "manfiction" anymore. Alas, according to a couple of her definitions, I write manfiction. [I actually had to work to write more female characters into The Novel - and I'm glad I wrote them in, yeah, but they're still not major characters because guess what, Junction Rally will never elect a woman as mayor. Fuckin' ever. I'm doing the Women Behind The Throne angle, though.]
I also can't say I'd put Cormac McCarthy in the same category as, say, Updike and Roth in this regard. Much less make him a high priest of manfiction. Yeah, he can't write women (he does in Outer Dark. It turns out... weird, though hardly what I'd call sexist/misogynistic). Yeah, The Road is a big father-son epic. But the family that survives at the end of The Road, the one that is both good and has a chance of making it, has a mother, and a daughter. I think McCarthy knows his limits, and for better or for worse, those are his limits. It's hardly the same as giving the aging author-stand-in a slew of stupid buxom blondes to have sex with. Then of course we have all the comments saying they're only going to read female authors from now on and I'm like argh.
Then of course one commenter's like "this is why I never got into The Stranger," presumably referring to Camus' story. And I'm like, arrrrrgh, because The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus kind of changed my life (for the better).