14 December 2004

Yes, I Know There Hasn't Been Anything About Gaming Recently

Several reasons for it, which I will summarise here.

Firstly, I got an awesome new pimped out PC for gaming, so I've been spending a fair bit of time playing Rome: Total War, Evil Genius, Doom 3, Call of Duty: United Offensive, the new Pirates! and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. And some others too, but those are the ones worth mentioning.

Also, I'm organising the live game for my local gaming convention, Kapcon. If you are in Wellington, New Zealand towards the end of next month, you should come along. There's always a lot of good roleplaying there, usually a lot of homebrew systems and unusual games and the players and GMs are all good. And we should have a lot of fun in the live game.

In other news, I'll be doing a quick review of the free on the internet version of The Shadow of Yesterday as soon as I've finished reading it. So far it looks good, a pulpy style fantasy RPG which is heavily influenced by a lot of games I like.

More Books

First one, Glass Dragons by Sean McMullen. I liked this more than any of his others, including the one recommended earlier. This one is a sequel to The Voyage of the Shadowmoon and they're fantasy novels. Several of the most fun characters from the first book return, and a few new ones are introduced as the world is threatened by an entirely new magical weapon of mass destruction. A lot of laugh-out-loud funny passages, which is pretty rare for me. Read the first one, then read this.

The other is Across The Face Of The World by Russell Kirkpatrick. Basically a good first novel in a fantasy trilogy. Recommended, but be warned that the bad guys are really very bad indeed. Also notable in that he (as a geographer and mapmaker) makes the huge amount of geography in The Lord of the Rings pale by comparison. As our heroes and villains quest across the world, we get a hell of a lot of natural history and so on. This could be bad, but Kirkpatrick keeps everything interesting. Worth a look. He also wrote all three novels before they were published so I should be able to read the second very soon indeed and the third in February. Huzzah! I wish more authors did this, and also that publishers didn't hold onto subsequent volumes. If there's a series, I want them all now.

01 December 2004

Some More Book Reviews.

I recently read two second parts that made me want to recommend both full sets.

The first is The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe. Part one is The Knight and part two is The Wizard. In this story, Wolfe takes a cliched starting point - a boy is taken into a fantasy world and becomes a hero - and makes something amazing out of it. The story captures a lot of the magic that fantasy stories had when I was young but also deals with adult issues. It's also a very good adventure story in it's own right. As people who've read other books of his might expect, there is also a huge amount of detail and complexity that I suspect I'll have to read both books two or three more times to unravel, not to mention odd plotlines and hints of other stuff that is never explicitly dealt with.

The second is a pair of books by Nick Sagan (I'm hoping and expecting that there will be more). The first is called Idlewild and the second Edenborn. They have a very odd setup and I don't want to say too much because the discovery of the real situation in the first book drives a lot of the plot. However, suffice it to say that a small group of very smart but otherwise basically normal teenagers are required to save the world. The second novel is set some time after the first and revisits them in a quite different situation. Both novels are really psychological thrillers, in which the interactions of the variously screwed up characters are the meat of the stories. Good.