Saturday, April 28, 2007

I posted a link to the funniest gaming comic strip ever earlier. For sheer funny, you cannot beat something like singing about TPK (A "total party kill*" for those not in the know) and ressurection spells to the tune of Danny Boy. It's... the combination of knowledge so obscure ("nerdy") with something so heartfelt that does it to me, I think. Like nitpicking at someone's feelings is funny. It is the radical disconnect of perfoming an action so petty in the face of something so elementally unchangeable that makes me grin.


I began thinking about feelings and geek culture. I've been turning that over in my head for a week now, since I heard about the cancellation of Dungeon and Dragon magazines. It made me melancholy. I know, it's silly. But it's like the death of a favorite character in a much loved book or show. Above is the cover of the first issue of Dragon Magazine I ever bought, when I was in sixth grade. When I was a kid, it was something really magical. It was a source of fresh ideas for playing a game based around ideas. It was all new and exciting. For a nerdy little bastard like me, opening a copy of Dragon Magazine was like finding a dollar bill on the sidewalk.

A dollar was still a lot of money in sixth grade. Well, when I was in sixth grade. It could still get you a comic book.

I don't buy Dragon much, now. I use my own ideas in games now, mostly. And glossy magazines are expensive, anymore. But it was a great companion to me as a child.

I really hope the new "digital initiative" thing that Wizards of the Coast is replacing the magazines with pans out, because I think it has the potential to give the gaming community much more new stuff for lots cheaper. So, I say to Wizards, "you go, boys."

* A total party kill is when all the PCs (Player Characters) in a party are slain during a battle. I personally think that a GM's attitude towards TPK says alot about them. Was that a just a huge mistake, or a triumph?

Funniest DND Cartoon EVar.

NSFRP (Not safe for regular people)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This is the first unambiguously good piece of news that I have heard in awhile.

What could be more interesting, more cheerful, more optimistic? It give us someplace to go if we decide to get up off our gravity well. It removes "earth like planets" from the realm of conjecture to hard fact, and gives us the possibility of companionship in the universe if only by proxy, standing in for all the other earth like planets that we will be sure to find. It might even give us a way to start triangulating how many earth like worlds we should expect to find. To me, it feels like a light at the top of the ladder, making the univers more awe-inspiring and giving it a more homey feeling all at the same time.

What a beautiful thing. I wonder if there will be any Gliesian stories in science fiction? Not that there needs to be. But I can see the romance of finding the first earth-like planet leading writers to claim it for its own.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I am at a science fiction convention. I've probably been to three of these things in the three years I've been back and Michigan, which is the same number that I attended during the 13 years I was in New York (and they were never in New York proper: Boston, Baltimore, and ... someplace in Pennsylvania).

The "fan community" here seems to have a lot of pubished authors, and there are some writers workshops. I am always interested in learning to write better. As long as they have workshops, I will come to one or two a year.

This time, I am workshopping the first thirty pages of my current novel, which people have so far liked. Well, one person. The rest, I will find out about tomorrow.

Fifteen or twenty years ago, when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at conventions. At least three a year, sometimes four if I could convince someone to go out of state with me. I did a lot of my growing up at conventions and camping out with Viking re-enactors. More of my late nights and partying were in really fring-ey places like this. Forget the punk and goth clubs: for really strange stuff, I always came to Fandom.

An odd side effect of growing up at science fiction conventions is that I've become something of a hotel queen. It probably has to do with sleeping on the floor of so many of them, or scrunched under the table by the door, in order to keep costs down. The Troy Hilton, where I am, is nice. Attractive, good soaps and shampoos, not too harsh on the skin. Roomy. Not near much of anything, though, so your food choices are limited. I am spoiled, now, by Indianapolis, whose convention center is connected to a Mall as well as the hotels.

Many of the faces are the same, which is strange. In my memory, everyone is really fifteen years younger. It's a trade off, though. In their memory, I have hair down past my shoulders. And I'm fifteen years younger.

I have been listening to Charles Stross and Elizabeth Bear speak, as well as others. Everybody has been charming, and the bit Mr. Stross read of his next novel has made me a future reader. A very near future reader.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand."

- Cat's Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007