Friday, August 21, 2015

The Week in Geek

I'm complaining about George being slow and I can't even find the time to do a re-read post. I know. Siiick buurn.
I did have the time to write an article for Tower of the Hand, though, about Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Game. Go check it out! It even features my beloved dice bag.

In other news, I've finally been able to do a couple of stories for SFFWorld again, and I really liked being back writing. The first is a micro-fiction (tell a story in 100 words or less) - those are hard. I wrote one I called The Intangible Patterns of Downfall (the title is almost long enough on its own). I also for the first time in many a moon was able to squeeze in a flash fiction (1000 words or less) which I'm quite happy with. It's called Alive with Death, which is suitably grim coming from a fan of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie, I suppose, and deals with a servant who double-crosses his master (who happens to be a Pope-like character) in order to save the realm. As always, for some reason religion creeps into my stories. Looking back at all the stuff I've written at SFFWorld, I'd say about 80% have themes that deal with religion, one way or the other. I've had dragons worshipped as deities, I've had a priest who prayed backwards, a story about gods in flying castles fighting it out, I've had ascension to godhood, weird religious rituals, ghost saints, and now with these two stories a Lucifer POV and the aforementioned Pope.
I do know that Martin's has influenced me here, as well. When he brought religion more forcefully to the fore in A Feast for Crows, it led to my researching religion in medieval history and the well is far from dry, so to speak.

More geekery the last week or two...I've tinkered an awful lot on my setting, the one I use for tabletop roleplaying and which I occasionally show in those stories. I can lose myself in this stuff, so I suppose it has some therapeutic effect. Also, some part of me suffers from a slight compulsive disorder. I need to arrange stuff in lists. I've done it since I was very young, cataloging whatever held my interest at the time. I have spreadsheets for all kinds of weird stuff. Not healthy. Anyway, point is that me tinkering with world building feeds a little into that, but it is also something inspired by George R.R. Martin who I suspect might have something of the same going on in his head, what with the lists of food, the lists of names in the appendices etc. To make my maps I use a combination of the excellent, excellent (and fun, if you are a little .. disordered) Campaign Cartographer 3 (recently upgraded to Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus) and ye regular image editing tools. Can't recommend it enough if you like worldbuilding. Steep learning curve, however.

Elsewise I've been reading yet another Forgotten Realms novel - this time a collection of stories called Silverfall, and not to my surprise it's more of the same - bad writing in a fun setting. I've finished the two first stories, but I don't think I'll finish this one. Fortunately I have a trio of books ready on the Kindle that I suspect will be a whole lot better: The Liar's Key (that's Mark Lawrence again, doing his thing - it's the sequel to Prince of Fools, reviewed on this blog earlier), Django Wexler's The Thousand Names which has gotten pushed back a lot in the read pile, and, for good measure, two Star Wars novels in the new canon (I can't express how excited and anxious I am about The Force Awakens - I'm routinely checking for news and rumors at least once an hour these days...hey, it says "geek" in the post title).

Last but not least I've tried to find time for some video games. have unleashed a slew of old (and I mean old) Forgotten Realms games, and while I've bought many of them before in various formats, it is nice to have these oldies instantly playable without all the tweaking to get them to run. Among the titles in GOG's collections are two of my all-time favorites, the two first Eye of the Beholders, the games that set me on my path of geekery. Ah, well, they'll have to linger a little while longer. Along with Pillars of Eternity, which kind of lost me somewhere even though it's the best computer RPG since whenever Baldur's Gate came out, and along with Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, loveliest of lovelies. In my review of Pillars I was terribly excited about that game and proclaimed it the usurper of the throne, but I'm going back on it. Baldur's remains number one.

Almost September! I usually don't look forward to the dark months, but this September is so chock-full of goodness coming out it's almost ridiculous. I guess you can expect a number of posts in the future that have little to do with A Song of Ice and Fire, but I'll try my best to keep a balance. Until then, swords held high.

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