Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Hard Luck

This is an exceptionally fun tale that does a little bit in the way of a genre-blending two-step.  The characters are lively, animated and personable.  It is through those characters that the beautiful setting is painted.  There will be a few things that take the reader by surprise, elements that one doesn't expect to run across in what seems to be a traditional fantasy piece, but these elements do nothing but add to uniqueness of the piece.  Very much so, this book is a fun little romp and the series promises to be an increasingly fun and dramatic ride.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Energy Crisis Stuff

Electric Cars

Electric cars have been a big thing by the environmentalist and conservationist sorts for quite a while and the concept is very exciting.  In truth, completely electrical cars are not a new thing, back in the early days of automobiles, internal combustion was competing against electrical cars and only won out when they added a small electrical engine to supply power enough to start the engine without requiring a person to crank the engine up.  At the time, electrical cars were incapable of providing enough power for the cars to be of much use for anything beyond a curiosity and only lasted a short period of time.  The technology was re-opened recently in the light of the dwindling supply of fossil fuels and the industry has produced both hybrids and the true plug-in sort of electrical cars everybody associates with the term.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Random Rant: Faith in General

I was having a discussion regarding the Grimm's Fairy Tales with a co-worker.  This is a reasonably intelligent person I've worked with in the past at this job, a test-scoring facility here in San Antonio.  She's educated and well spoken and knows at least one more language than I do because English is her second language (I tend not to count my limited French and Korean as 'knowing' a language).  At any case, I started to discuss this one Grimm story that involves the Virgin Mary taking a child up to Heaven and taking care of her.  My co-worker interrupted me and asked me to clarify that the story was about the Virgin Mary, and I commented that it was, but that a lot of the old European fairy tales were pre-Christian stories that had become Christianized afterwards.

RP Memories: Call of Cthulhu

I'm having troubles remembering my earliest gaming events.  I vaguely remember starting up playing a character based on a werewolf idea in a Champions game.  It was sometime when I was in Junior High, and thus well before I developed my tendency to play female characters.  Since then, I've had much more memorable events, role-playing wise.  However, I think I will start with one of my RP stories from around my high-school time and around when I started playing female characters.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review: Kyrathaba Rising

This story draws from a lot of different directions.  It is a not so much a post-apocalyspe story as it is a story of an apocalypse in the final stages.  Virtual Reality, nuclear holocaust, aliens, robots, limited cybernetics and massive underground bomb shelters all feature in the story.  On first glance, it sounds like a lot to fit into one story but the author manages to put it together into a rather enjoyable tale.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Kindreds: An Alliance of Bloods

This book presents a number of debates and meditations on a variety of philosophical, existential, moral and ethical concerns within the overall framework of a push to overturn an existing political system.  Each chapter seems to have at least one dialogue or monologue relating to some discrete conflict in one of two major forms: either a debate between a well-thought position and a strawman argument or else an internal monologue exploring some concept, often related to an earlier debate.  Most of the arguments are of a rather streamlined nature that peel some of the complexities of the various issues with some being more thoroughly discussed than others.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Government and Currency Rant

So recently someone on Facebook posted a quote from Frank Herbert, the author of the Dune series, that ran like this: "All governments suffer a recurring problem: power attracts pathological personalities.  It's not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Three Paragraphs - Dialogue

The third sort of paragraph necessary to writing fiction is dialogue.

Dialogue is a strange and fragile thing.  Except in a few instances, it can't quite stand on its own.  There needs to be a little bit of action or dsecription in order to at the very least identify who is speaking.  However, too much of either will bury the voice of the character under the voice of the narrator.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Three Paragraphs - Action

Action is the second sort of paragraph necessary to writing fiction.  Unlike description, the moment you start writing action sequences, time is passing in a story.  Action usually comes in after description and shows the changes of status and position of a character.  The reader uses the previously established description and takes that avatar, to use a computer gaming term, through the manipulations described in your paragraph in order to picture the action of the story.

Sing the Midnight Stars by CMJ Wallace

This book is mis-advertised as a detective thriller. It certainly has aspects of that, but it is more appropriately categorized as a story of intrigue. The killer mentioned in the blurb falls increasingly into the background as the book moves around. Which is not to say that his or her presence does not continue to be felt. Regardless of this, the book is a very intriguing run, pun unintended, and has kept me interested throughout.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Three Paragraphs - Description

In writing fiction there are, essentially, three separate types of paragraph: description, action and dialogue.  The proper use of these paragraphs is one of several essential basics required to write a successful story.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aoife and Demon by Shumila Ghyas and Humeira Kazmi

The premise of the plot is intriguing and the setting is rather interesting. The characters are interesting and I am more than interested enough to see what happens in the next part of the book. However, it is not without difficulties.

The Forest Bull by Terry Maggert

This book is another strike in the campaign to reclaim certain horror icons from the supernatural romances. From start to finish it keeps you entertained and eager to find out what happens next. The central characters are well developed and entertaining and the villains are gloriously unrepentant.

Hero for Hire by CB Pratt

Myths held the place of comic books when I was growing up, Judeo-Christian, Greek, Robin Hood and Arthurian to start and then moving on to Norse, Japanese and myth in general.  So I've been living something of a dream recently with the resurgence of fantasy based on world myths.  What with things like the Dresden Files, the Scion RPG by White Wolf, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson stories and now, it seems, Eno the Thracian.

Shadowed by Ken Hughes

One of my brothers has often stated that enhanced or extra senses are the most dangerous and powerful abilities that a superhero could have.  This story lends credence to that statement.

Cowboy Ending by Adam Knight

An excellent story all around.  I wasn't even aware of just how long it was until I checked it's length bar on my kindle after the fact.  The story reads quickly and maintains a high degree of interest throughout.  It is somewhere between a superhero origin story and an urban fantasy.  Though I tend to include superhero fiction as a kind of urban fantasy.

Tenjin by Simon Gillen

Tenjin has a curious style that mixes elements from disparate sources that make this a spiritual successor to classical Chinese novels and Fistful of Dollars. The main character is very much in the nature of a hero out of a spaghetti western or a film noir. The main character immediately strikes you as a man of imminent practicality and a sort of outwardly grey morality. Tenjin is strong, for a mortal, but where he really shines is his cunning mind which takes heavy advantage of the fact that most people think he is too big and ugly to be a good liar. He exists somewhere between a true anti-hero and those noir heroes who don't view themselves as heroes.

Daughter of Mythos by Melissa Drake

Daughter of Mythos falls into the category of stories where a seemingly normal teenager has a hidden heritage that makes them a powerful force for good in the world. It is a tried and true story mode and this book does it justice. As a young adult book it is an excellent introduction for a young reader to the genre. It is also quite enjoyable for a long time adult reader of the fantasy genre. There are the expected subplots to these sorts of stories. Some of them end as expected, some of them threw me off my predictions, which I consider an applause worthy feat. Anybody who has done any significant amount of reading or (especially) writing can sympathize with me as to the tendency for stories to no longer be surprising.

Djinnx'd by Nicola Rhodes (Dead Link)

The adventure follows along a number of familiar themes in an original and pleasing manner.  I found myself halfway through the book almost before I realized it.  There were a number of things that I expected and a number of things that took me for a pleasant loop.

Legacy by Jon Davis

I had a lot of fun reading this story. It is a superhero story that has blended classic elements of Gold, Silver and Iron Age comic stories quite nicely. A protagonist with a clear moral framework and strength of character and the initial threat of the meteor are both very much Gold Age in nature. Later on we start to get shades of the Silver-Age with its growing moral complexity. Meanwhile, the seriousness of the battles and the collateral damage and death of innocent bystanders is very much something out of the Iron Age. These elements don't develop one into another like some representation of the development of comics in micro form. No, these elements exist side-by-side as a coherent whole. There are other, specific elements that I could mention, but not without spoiling the story.

The Raging One by Lexy Wolf

This story is an imaginative fantasy setting that makes clever use of traditional archetypes from Western fantasies. The setting is well-defined and sprinkled with just the right number of fictional words to give each of the four countries character. We aren't given full sentences in the various languages, but the words we do see seem to have a similar sound indicating a shared history, which makes sense given what we are given of the setting. The creatures and landscapes are intriguing, ranging from forests of giant trees and animals to desolate wastelands and vast oceans with cities thrown in as well. The way she treats the various sorts of powers is intriguing though we only see a few parts of the whole actually explained, there is a definite consistency to the powers.

The Prodigal's Foole by RB Wood

The Prodigal's Foole strikes a chord with me as one who is a non-practicing Catholic and yet still a firm believer and a fan of science-fiction and fantasy. A trace of the disillusionment I felt as I learned more and more about the history of the church seems echoed here, but at the same time the people involved are, for the most part, generally of good morale fiber. It really does bring home the fact that Faith is not an easy matter of simply believing what you are told. It takes work, it requires active effort and it can be tiring. I have said to people before that I have felt that at least my path to Faith was through skepticism, that you have to actively test and question your beliefs constantly in order to make sure they're real beliefs and not just repeated propaganda. The main character seems to be taking that same route, though it seems that initially he chose simply to forget the whole idea for some time.

Cast of Illusions by Ashley Barnard

Cast of Illusions, by Ashley Barnard is a wonderful story that can appeal to both fans of fantasy stories and lovers of classic Shakespeare alike.  The story very much reads like something of a love-letter to Shakespearean theater and style.

Computer Games I'd like to see

I'm going to organize this by Game Genre first and then Story Genre and list some similar games and things I was dissatisfied with on th...

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