Overlord

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Overlord is a pulpy, terrifying thrill ride of a B-movie. It feels like an over-the-top World War 2 Delta Green scenario, and an homage to a genre I learned to love through John Carpenter’s films. Having read more about the movie, and learned more about the practical effects used, I’m even more impressed.

As a B-movie it’s quite good, though it rang a bit hollow for me. I think there might have been a little more to the character development arc for Jovan Adepo’s Boyce that didn’t survive to the theatrical cut I saw, and I would have loved to see that. But it’s probably okay: high tension Nazi-killing historical science fiction B-movies aren’t best known for their character development.

I initially wasn’t sure whether to feel happy or miffed about the movie’s portrayal of the 101st Airborne as an integrated force when it was not. Here’s Wikipedia’s article on racial segregation in the US armed forces.

The happy side has won. It’s very easy to explain.

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Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac

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I know that young adult action stories might not be everyone’s preferred genre, but how about a post-apocalyptic young adult action story that weaves Native American history, lore, and culture seamlessly into other general Americana such that it feels like a fitting piece of a larger tapestry without feeling lost or subjugated by other elements?

I can’t take full credit for that astute observation. It was mentioned by one of my excellent classmates.

Killer of Enemies is a good, punchy story that fits with mythic narrative traditions in a number of deeply appealing fashions. It’s very nearly pulp. And it’s written by a member of the Abenaki Nation, which gives me a wonderful home-feel due to my fond early childhood memories of listening to Wolfsong telling stories around Vermont. It doesn’t hurt that it’s all about the badass warrior woman Lozen, named in honor of the real Lozen of the Chiricahua Apaches. I’d say that this book is pretty good stuff.

Barium Deep Edits

This is the first time that I’ve not written one of Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges since January (with the exception of the times when I’ve been working at summer camp without internet, but even then I think I got lucky and he didn’t post a challenge).  I feel weird, honestly.  I had ideas for this week’s challenge, but I’ve been so busy for the past few days…

Instead, I offer you the newly edited version of Barium Deep.  It hasn’t been deeply revised, and there are more changes to come, but I think I’ve managed to improve the piece’s clarity and presentation.  Let me know if you like it!

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Flash Fiction: Barium Deeper

More Star Citizen related art, just because.

I wrote this piece for terribleminds, because my last piece was 1000 words too long for this week’s space opera challenge.  This piece sticks with Barium, but is set many years after the previous one.  At least ten years after it.  In case you’re confused by the multiple names, Bury’em = Barium = Barry, and Casi = Cesium.  Enjoy!

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Flash Fiction: Barium Deep

Gorgeous artwork by George Hull, for the game Star Citizen

I didn’t write the following bit of space drama with the above image in mind, but it’s a beautiful fit anyway.  What follows is another piece of “middle grade” fiction, one that holds true to the more classically action-adventure oriented stories that I usually like to tell.  Enjoy!

(Note: There’s now a great deal of other Barium Deep material here. This is the edited version of this same post, and this is the collection of other posts linked to Barium Deep.)

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Flash Fiction: Her Maritime Scowl

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This is a bit late, but this week’s (last week’s?) flash fiction from Terribleminds involved using a randomly generated phrase.  I got “maritime scowl.”  This is what followed…

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Flash Fiction: The Long Way Down

This week’s flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig involved perusing Flickr for interesting photos.  I picked this one.  I haven’t put it at the top of this post because the owner hasn’t given me the right to share it, but I strongly suggest that you go take a quick look.  It’s pretty, for one thing, and it’s also the image that inspired this story.

Funny note; though the character was originally nameless, in one of my attempts at writing this I quickly discovered that I was writing Carmen Sandiego.  The final result isn’t about Carmen Sandiego, but I kept the name because it’s the right image to have for her.  With that in mind, read on! Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Making Bad Decisions Quickly

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This week is car chase week on terribleminds.  Now, I know that this car I have up here isn’t technically from Detroit, despite the words I use later on (I think it’s an Australian Ford model), but I couldn’t resist.  It fit the car I was imagining too well for me to care.  So, with that in mind, I hope you enjoy my story: Continue reading

Flash Fiction: So many guns

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Another week, another bit of flash fiction adventure.  Chuck Wendig brought back the X meets Y challenge (last time I got Transformers meets Toy Story, which somehow led to a magical girl inspired western).  This time I got True Detective meets Guardians of the Galaxy.  I was stumped at first, but then I realized that GotG is actually just classic adventure fiction; I can easily replace space with water and spaceships with boats, and end up with a solid swashbuckling genre homage instead.  As such, I wrote the piece in my Elven Progenitors setting.  I think you’ll see the True Detective parallels without too much effort, if you have a decent memory for some of the episodes and character dynamics.  This is, of course, it’s own thing.  I also consider it more rough than usual, since I’m a bit rushed; I have to go get in line for the Avengers!

Anyway, I hope you like it.

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Tombs=Raided, Hearts=Won; Tomb Raider Rocks

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I don’t usually wish that I paid more for a game.  But I liked Tomb Raider so much that I almost wish I hadn’t bought it on sale.  I want the people who made it to know how much I liked it, and I want them to put as much high-quality work into making the next one as they put into making this one.  Because there’s a next one.  I mean, even if I didn’t know that Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming, I wouldn’t have any real doubts (except, I suppose, if the studios involved fell apart or lost the rights, which would be terrible).  The end of Tomb Raider left it clear that Lara is nowhere near finished with being the awesome badass which she’s become, and that makes me very happy.  Watching the announcement trailer for the new game has reduced me to a quivering pile of enthusiasm.

Why am I so happy about all this?  Tomb Raider is a brilliant game, and does things with story-telling that remind me why games are such a fascinating medium in the first place.  It’s an adventure novel with audience participation, a new entry in a genre that I love, and it evades the problematic trappings that spoil so many other adventure stories for me.

Ok, spoil is a strong word.  I love adventure stories enough to enjoy them despite their frequent problems, but being able to enjoy one that isn’t so inherently problematic is a breath of fresh air.  It doesn’t hurt that this particular story is extremely well written, with characters who feel like real people, and who share history with each other that seems fitting and unforced.  It’s a little bit like someone crossed Tintin with Indiana Jones, turned the tone dial to ‘gritty and a bit bloodthirsty,’ and then put you through the Bildungsroman of Lara Croft as she goes from untested and unconfident archaeologist to self-assured and competent survivor and adventurer, hellbent on keeping herself and her friends alive.  Wait, no, that’s almost exactly what it’s like.  It’s glorious.

Look, you don’t have to take my word for it.  You can play the game yourself.  But if you want to read more of my thoughts on the topic, including the few reservations I have, please be my guest:  Continue reading