November 17th, 2011
03:21 PM ET

Lucy Lawless loves geeks

You may know her as Xena from "Xena: Warrior Princess" and, more recently, Lucretia from "Spartacus," but you may not expect that Lucy Lawless would fly all the way from New Zealand to California for TEDMED, a conference about great ideas in health care.

"It's like a beauty pageant for brilliant people, where you sit in the audience and all these geniuses comes out and like, parade their incredible brilliance in front of you," said the New Zealand-born actress in Coronado, California, in October.

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‘Bioshock: Infinite’ and America’s could-have-been Steampunk past
'Bioshock: Infinite' draws heavily on the Steampunk aesthetic for its art design
November 17th, 2011
02:34 PM ET

‘Bioshock: Infinite’ and America’s could-have-been Steampunk past

The first ‘Bioshock’ game, released in 2007, was lauded for its cerebral take on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and for its compelling sci-fi aesthetic. Set in the dystopian underwater city of Rapture, the game’s art style hearkened to the bygone, idealized vision of the 1950s American metropolis.

Imposing brasswork Art Deco façades line the halls of Rapture, and impossibly intricate machinery clacks and revolves behind every door. Gigantic, lumbering enemies called “Big Daddies” patrol the city’s hallways in oversized Victorian diving suits.

‘Bioshock’ is, in a word, Steampunk – the burgeoning genre that puts a technological twist on classic periods in history. The game is a stark, intelligent exploration of what can happen when unbounded technological optimism runs up against the reality of human nature.

With the bar set so high, where then should ‘Bioshock: Infinite,’ the game’s prequel and spiritual successor, set its sights?

“I think we left ourselves with a bit of a problem where we started in this dark, gloomy, underwater city that’s isolated from the world,” said Ken Levine of Irrational Games, the Creative Director of both ‘Bioshock’ and ‘Bioshock: Infinite.’ “After that, we felt like we had to go in the complete opposite direction, and embrace it.”

In this case, the opposite of an underwater city is a floating one. (Think Cloud City from ‘Star Wars,’ only with its residents clad in period-appropriate petticoats and spats.) FULL POST

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