Ain’t No Place for a Hero: Borderlands (ECW Press, 2017)
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The critically acclaimed first-person shooter franchise Borderlands knows it’s ridiculous. It’s a badge of pride. After all, Borderlands 2 was promoted with the tagline “87 bazillion guns just got bazillionder.” These space-western games encourage you to shoot a lot of enemies and monsters, loot their corpses, and have a few chuckles while chasing down those bazillion guns. As Kaitlin Tremblay explores in Ain’t No Place for a Hero, the Borderlands video game series satirizes its own genre, exposing and addressing the ways first-person shooter video games have tended to exclude women, queer people, and people of colour, as well as contribute to a hostile playing environment.
Tremblay also digs in to the way the Borderlands game franchise ― which has sold more than 26 million copies ― disrupts traditional notions of heroism, creating nuanced and compelling storytelling that highlights the strengths and possibilities of this relatively new narrative medium. The latest entry in the acclaimed Pop Classics series, Ain’t No Place for a Hero is a fascinating read for Borderlands devotees as well as the uninitiated.
“Tremblay spends a hundred and thirty-five pages discussing toxic masculinity and fart jokes with equal seriousness, accomplishing something I never thought possible: it convinced me we actually knew what we were doing.” — Anthony Burch, lead writer for Borderlands 2
“Refreshing, honest, even soulful, Ain’t No Place for a Hero is a book not only for Borderlands fans, but a must-read for those hungry to dive into the constructs at play to make compelling narratives in games.” — Navid Khavari, narrative director, Ubisoft Toronto
“Tremblay is building a world in games based on honesty about human emotions, human interactions, and how we all deal with losing what we love the most.” — Brock Wilbur, Zam
Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council writers reserve for their support of this book.