Hooray for metaphors!

(Writing this at work, on my phone, so expect typos and formatting nonsense.)

I had a dream last night. I was at the Student Union at Indiana University, where I went to college, and I came out over this large staircase they have in the back of the building.

The stairs led down to desert, which is not there in the actual building. I got halfway down the stairs and realized that ahead of me there were snakes– sidewinders, specifically– as far as the eye could see. Thousands of them.

I turned around, and the path behind me back to safety was full of angry hornets. Where I was was moderately safe but I still had to kick a snake away or swat a stinging insect every few seconds.

I stayed there, growing gradually more terrified, until I woke up.

Shut up, brain.

Some short #reviews

51Hd5k3KbbL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

SHORT REVIEW THE FIRST:  Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee. Funny story about this book: it’s the second in a series that is going to run at least three books– I think the third one was just formally announced– but it was the first one I bought because occasionally I’m an idiot.  One of the disadvantages of ordering damn near everything I read from Amazon is that once in a very long while I order a sequel to a book I haven’t read without realizing it.

So, anyway: the first book?  I three-starred it, once I ordered and read it, mostly because I couldn’t wrap my head around the technology in the book to save my damn life (all of the tech in the book depends on a common understanding of the calendar, except fifty times more complicated and weird and unique than that sounds) and as a result I didn’t get the book all that well.  It was one of those things where I didn’t blame the book– it’s not the book’s fault that it’s smarter than me– but I wasn’t looking forward to the sequel.

Well, despite still not really being able to wrap my head around the technology, I’m either used to it or it’s backgrounded a bit more in this book, because I’ve blazed through it and I’m enjoying the hell out of it.  I’m not quite done, so I suppose things could still go to hell– but I’m liking Book Two enough that I’ll probably revisit the whole series once Book Three comes out, and I think you should start with Ninefox Gambit and go from there.


SHORT REVIEW THE SECOND: The-WitnessI’ve talked about The Witness a bit here already, but now I’ve beaten it, or at least played it to the point where it does something that is so bullshit that I decided I wasn’t playing it any longer.  It ends poorly, but the hundreds of puzzles that lead up to that poor ending are of generally entertaining and challenging caliber, with most of them proving a level of difficulty and feeling of achievement that keep me moving and playing.  There were definitely a few that I cheated on (I don’t have ego about this shit any longer) but for the most part it’s one of the most solid puzzle games I’ve played in quite a while.  The ending is bullshit, but the game saves itself right before it pulls the bullshit on you, so if you’re of the type to be able to wait once you know the game is beaten, do that and go solve all the other puzzles that aren’t in the main, objective-based walkthrough.  Not a 10/10, but you should still try it out.


Horizon Zero Dawn.jpgSHORT REVIEW THE THIRD:  Now this one is a 10/10.  Despite the stupid name, Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of the best games of this generation.  I got it at a stupid-deep discount for only $20, but I’d gladly have paid full price.  The premise is laid out pretty clearly on the cover there: you’re fighting robot dinosaurs with a bow and arrow.  If you don’t reply “I’m in!” after reading that, you and I really can’t be friends.  The combat took a little getting used to but gets really interesting and deep after a while (any game that can have me regularly using five or six different weapons at different points of a big fight is a game with a good combat system) and literally my only complaint about it is that some of the animations are a little janky.  I never did get used to watching Aloy walk anywhere; they probably should have cleaned up that basic animation a bit.  The plot itself is dense and multilayered and fun, post-apocalyptic pre-apocalyptic done right, and they managed to remember that people of color will survive along with the white folk.  Extra points for Aloy herself, who is as compelling a character as I’ve played in a video game in quite some time– probably since Joel in The Last of Us.  This game is worth getting a PS4 for if you don’t have one, guys.  That good.

Okay I like this one

I’ve been kinda lethargic and sick-ish all day, and had actually been in bed for about an hour and a half before dragging myself out to draw a picture.  I’d previously figured oh to hell with it I’ll do two tomorrow and then got up anyway.  This happened; I like it enough to share it:

IMG_6766

Important fact: everything I’ve drawn so far has had a reference to it, either a .jpg I Googled somewhere or a photo reference or a still life object on my desk or something.  I actually grabbed this from a coloring book website.  I’ll let you know when I start doing genuinely original stuff.  🙂

(Also: added an “Art” category, the first new category I’ve added to the blog in years.)

Well that escalated quickly

colored-pencilsSo now I’m researching sketching pencils and I’m in a Facebook group designed specifically to encourage people to create every day.  I actually did buy some new pencils today but, as ridiculous as this sounds, I feel like I need to know more about what the letters and numbers mean beyond the obvious “hey, this one has a lighter line!” and “hey, this one broke instantly when I tried to draw with it!”

So, yeah, the draw every day project is still going and is gradually absorbing more of my mindspace.  In case you were wondering.


Nobody is really crying out for my opinion on this, but there is a deeply stupid little kerfluffle going on on Twitter right now (TwitterTM: The Place for Kerfluffles) about politics and science fiction.  A batch of yahoos calling themselves the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild was dumb enough to insert themselves into the mentions of N.K. Jemisin, of all the goddamn people they could have chosen, to ask her to join them in their search for… wait for it…

…politics-free science fiction.   Which… come the fuck on.  Witness this dumbshittery:

The backlash and dumpster fire that has followed has been positively breathtaking to behold.

Let’s be real clear here: this notion of “politics-free” science fiction is code for science fiction what doesn’t have those brown people and those gays in it.  The phrase “social justice” is the tell here, if that’s not perfectly obvious.  To these idiots, science fiction is free of “politics” if it only has manly white dudes doing manly white dude things in it.

Which, speaking as a manly white dude: fuck that.  And fuck these guys for trying to set themselves up as some sort of baseline of “non-political” SFF by which everything else must be judged.

I hate these assholes, in all their forms– the Sad Puppies, Gamergate, most of the idiots downrating THE LAST JEDI right now– and I’m going to keep writing, reading, and most importantly promoting science fiction and fantasy that makes them sad, every chance I get.

I have a lot to talk about

d5e81d8f642ce63634e689903d613712I mean, just off the top of my head:

  • The escape room I went to in Indianapolis on Saturday, which was insanely awesome even though we didn’t get out;
  • The pants-shitting terror that ensued while dropping my son off at my parents’ for the day and happening to check Twitter at the exact minute everyone in Hawai’i got the “You’re about to die!” message on their phones;
  • The subsequent boneshaking rage at the discovery that the thing supposedly in charge of the country did not even bother to interrupt its round of golf while that was happening;
  • The ongoing success of the “draw each day” initiative, which is only four days old but, hey, I haven’t quit yet!;
  • The outstanding stupidity of my day at work today, which featured three different sales that were closed and then cancelled within half an hour;
  • The economy’s about to crash, by the way– ask how I know;
  • The fact that I’ve begun two different writing projects this week and am pretty happy with the development of both so far;
  • My annual “Shut the fuck up about Martin Luther King, white people; you’d have hated him” post;
  • Begging for reviews from the person using Kindle Unlimited to work through a couple of my books this week;
  • Whatever the hell else happened to cross my mind.

Instead of doing any of those things, I’m going to go to bed early, because I feel like hell.  This is about all I can manage in terms of coherent thought right now.  So pretend I wrote as many of those posts as you like and feel free to respond to whatever you think they might have said below.