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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Tidbits to tide you over

Hello everyone!  This week I’ve set aside time to spend with my brothers, which means lots of role playing games and storytelling and laughter and yelling (also probably more food and booze than usual).  But because of all that, I’m unlikely to have much for you here.  I’m certainly unlikely to have full-scale reviews or such.  I’ll return with the usual stuff by next Monday, no worries.

But while I’m not writing as much about things, here, have a few tidbits!

Dying Light is a fascinating game: it has gameplay that I find fun and engaging, but a story and characterizations which so far repel me.  It is definitely fun playing with other people, running around the zombie apocalypse at high speed, leaping from building to building, and getting lost in the warrens while hungry monsters chase me.  But every time the story progresses, I shudder and feel that ugly cold spot in my belly; why the hell does the POV character have to be a tool?  Why do they have to make the villain choices they do?  Why did they think the misogynist themes would be worth including?  Why do I feel certain that the “strong female character” they’ve created is just going to be damseled within the next few missions?  For that matter, why are there two or three women survivors in the tower, and everyone else there that I meet is male?

As someone who loves and is fascinated by stories, I’ll probably keep watching the story cutscenes all the way through.  But that may just make me angrier and angrier about their writing choices.  It’s a good thing that the cutscenes are skippable and basically won’t matter in the long run.

On the other end of things, we have Lois McMaster Bujold’s Mirror Dance, which I just finished.  The first time that I picked it up I bounced off the main character’s narration (a first for me with any of Bujold’s books).  But when I started it this time I fell in and couldn’t climb out… which is about what I expect from Bujold at this point.  She really is fabulous.  I’m going to leave my paeans of praise for another post, when I can give this book it’s due, but if you like the other Vorkosigan series books be sure to keep at it with this one, even if the start is a little disorienting.  It’s worth it.

Okay, that’s all for now.  Enjoy yourselves.

Misleading Movie Titles 101: Jupiter Ascending

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Jupiter falling.  Again.  I lost totally count.

What a poorly titled movie.  Sure, one could argue that there’s an overall metaphorical upwards trajectory for Jupiter’s (Mila Kunis’) life, but over the course of the movie she spends far more time falling.  And being caught or carried by Channing Tatum (who was often agreeably shirtless).  Yet there were a few things that rose over the course of the movie: my excitement, my confusion, and my blood alcohol level.  Oh, and my voice, because I gave up on staying silent and just started talking in the movie theater.  I think the Wachowskis may be branching out into straight-to-RiffTrax movie releases.

You want to hear a few of the redeeming features of the movie?

Sean Bean doesn’t die.  Also, the movie has a hilariously recognizable cast, with many very watchable faces.  The depictions of the terrifying spacefuture (well, spacepresent) are intriguing and gorgeous, even when they’re super goofy and prominently feature terrible science.  The concept art and overall design are beautiful, fascinating, and leave the movie chock-full of eye candy.  And the comedy commentary practically writes itself, especially if you know and like Oedipus.

None of this makes up for the fact that the movie is terrible, but they’re all compelling reasons to see it on a very large screen with good sound for as little money as possible.  Preferably with enough booze to get you tipsy, because facing this movie sober seems like a terrible idea.

The Real SC: Star Control

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“You Will Soon Die. Make Whatever Rituals Are Necessary For Your Species.”

Some of you will recognize the above picture of a predatory space squid caterpillar.  I was reminded of these most wonderful villains a few days ago by a short little news item; it surfaced here in the daily torrent of Rock Paper Shotgun articles, and I found this informative tidbit through Ars Technica.

Star Control may yet ride again.

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Deathstalker

If you ask me what my favorite fantasy series is, I probably won’t have to hesitate too long before churning out a list of 5, debating with myself as to the respective merits and flaws of each series, and ultimately saying ‘if I have to pick…no, I can’t’.

But if you ask me what my favorite sci-fi series is, especially if you ask for an epic series, there won’t be much doubt. Sure, I might hem and haw over I, Robot, and whether it qualifies as a series, and I might linger briefly on the formative nature of the Foundation series, but while I’ll stop here or there on the way, I know exactly where I will end up: Deathstalker by Simon R. Green.

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Crown of Slaves and Torch of Freedom, by Eric Flint and David Weber

Take one of my favorite writers and give him license to contribute to the phenomenally successful Honor Harrington series, and what do you get?  You get Eric Flint working with David Weber on the short-stories-turned-novels, Crown of Slaves and Torch of Freedom.

Do you like space opera?  How about great characters engaged in spy games and intrigue?  Or maybe true badasses going up against incredible odds?  All of them?  Good.  I’ve got some books to recommend to you.

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