What I’ve Been Reading

The #WritersRead theme for May was a book on writing. I decided against reading a craft book as I thought it might distract me from the more important task of drafting The City Without End.  The theme for June was a graphic novel. I always read plenty of those, so for this update, I’m going to feature Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 1: Imperial Machine.

Darth VaderI adore Star Wars comics. I find them much more compelling than the movies, probably because each series tends to focus on a single character or a small group. The humor that I loved from the original three movies is nearly always present, though sometimes dry and subtle–especially in the case of Darth Vader. He can be a funny guy. No, really!

Imperial Machine starts right at the beginning. Vader has just become Vader and Darth Sidious has sent him on a mission to get his legendary red lightsaber. There were twists and turns enough to keep me guessing, even though I might have been the only one. See, the thing is, I’ve always felt a kernel of good continued to exist inside Vader’s mostly machine body. That he hasn’t forgotten *everything.* So when I read these comics, I’m always looking for the glint, for the tiny bit of Anakin Skywalker from before he, well, lost his way. I think the writers (in this instance, Charles Soule, look for it too because every now and then a question will pop up and you really do have to wonder how Vader will answer it.

Not going to say more, just going to recommend this series, and the one that follows it subtitled Vader. If you’re a fan, it’s great stuff, even when Triple Zero (Dr. Aphra’s murderous friend) is stealing the show.

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

What the Actual @#%&?

Part three of my series on (relatively) recent gaming disappointments. Part one covered Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Part two covered Outer Worlds.

There’s a board game I love that no one else in the family ever wants to play. It’s called Iron Dragon, and whenever I suggest a round, everyone groans. Part of it is that the game takes at least four hours to play. Usually more. Okay, a lot more. Another part is the absolute tedium of it. You start out with a small train and a bag of money. You draw a card listing a series of destinations, the cargo they’re after, and how much they’re willing to pay. Then you plan your route accordingly, building track as you go. First player to connect six cities wins.

Playing well—and winning—requires a careful balance of risk vs reward as well as luck. I love it. Planning out my routes and calculating exactly how much it’s going to cost me to build the track there. How much I’ll make by connecting the dots.

Continue reading “What the Actual @#%&?”

Writing Short

I love short things. My favourite aunt is a tiny and compact ball of energy. She’s like a rogue asteroid that actually makes everything she bumps into better. My co-writer, Jenn, is short. I always forget how short she is until we meet up. I need a longer word to do her justice, though. Jenn is awesome.

I always order the shorti hoagie from Wawa because believe it or not, there is too much of a good thing. Too much egg salad is not a good thing.

A short stack of pancakes is the perfect stack.

I’m not here to tell you about all the short things I like, though. I’m here to talk about short stories. I love short stories. I like reading them and I like writing them. Continue reading “Writing Short”

What I’ve Been Reading

The #WritersRead theme for April was banned books. I chose to read Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. It’d been on my Kindle for a while, so this was a good opportunity to check it out.

I’d imagine the reason this book appears on so many banned lists is right there in the title. Two boys kiss. The kiss is very long (over thirty hours long, in fact), as these two boys are intent on breaking the Guinness Book of World Record for Longest Kiss. Surrounding this amazing stage are several other stories, other boys who are connecting, looking to connect, and missing connections. All of this is relayed from the point of view of dead gays. In other words, the book is thoroughly gay. Unbelievably, there are a lot of folks who still have a problem with that.

I am not one of them. As any regular visitor to my blog will know, I often write about boys kissing. I think kisses are wonderful. I like to write about all people kissing. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Is It?

Late last year, I bowled through three of my most anticipated games in a matter of weeks, emerging on the other side somewhat disappointed and quite disillusioned. The critics loved these games. They were winning awards. But they weren’t winners for me. The question was, why?

We’ll start with the biggest meh of all—Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

This is the trailer that sold me on the game. Continue reading “It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Is It?”