Way back in the day, I played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, yes, it's true. I even had the original blue box basic D&D set.
By high school I had left AD&D behind and have never really looked back (for many years I was more of a Champions and GURPS grognard), but let's face it, everyone who has ever played a roleplaying game, even if they sniff disdainfully at AD&D, is familiar with the tropes pioneered by that game.
So, for anyone nerdy enough to be familiar with them, here's an AD&D alignment poll for my AQ characters. (Here is a summary of alignments if you need a refresher/guide.)
We're going by the original AD&D alignment chart.
Blink Dogs. Seriously.
Or if you prefer one of a bajillion images online mapping various fictional characters to alignments:
It took me a while to find one I agreed with. Also, The Wire is fucking awesome.
So, without entering into an extensive debate on the validity/utility of AD&D alignments (I had those debates so many times in high school...), consider this "just for fun."
I will let the poll run for a while, and then eventually post my own Absolutely Correct and Inarguable Word of God interpretations. :P
I'm not including all the minor characters because it's a pain — LJ requires I manually enter the fields for every single character. But feel free to speculate in the comments if you like.
( Take the poll.Collapse )
Book Review: Ashes, by Ilsa J. Bick
Egmont, 2011, 465 pages
It could happen tomorrow....
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom, a young soldier, and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it's now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
( A post-apocalyptic thriller about getting those damn kids off your lawn.Collapse )
Verdict: On the one hand, it's just another YA zombie book. On the other, it's not bad. While Ashes does not win any awards in my estimation for originality or spectacular writing, it's above average, and I actually liked the characters and the story pulled me along, so I'll give it the highest praise I can: I am sufficiently interested to read the next book in the series.
My complete list of book reviews.
Banner by the very generous and talented JCCollier, who is the author of one of my favorite fan fiction stories, Marissa and the Wizards. JCCollier also made the banners for AQATLB and AQATDR.
AQATWA is going... slowly. I am up to 46,000 words. And I'm on chapter ten, and the plot hasn't really begun yet. Oh, there is foreshadowing and some encounters that will Mean Things later, but mostly I am cataloging a whole bunch of Pritchards while I try to figure out all the usual things I am trying to figure out when I am not yet even in the middle of a book. Now and then I have a burst of inspiration — "Aha! That's where that MacGuffin will come from!" — but mostly I have a bunch of... conversations, and Alexandra is being more introspective than in previous books.
As for the OF novel, I have been punting on it. I am pretty sure I need to rewrite the first part. I may have to rewrite the whole thing, and I don't want to. And I can't work on it and AQATWA at the same time. Well, I can, and will pretty soon since I joined a private crit circle, but basically no real progress so far.
Filing the serial numbers off, redux
So, another person has asked me why I don't publish the Alexandra Quick series, and while I've talked about this before, let me teal deer about it some more below the cut.
( Answering that question I get asked a lot.Collapse )
(And for those of you who follow my Saturday Book Discussions, I intend to make "published fan fiction" the topic of tomorrow's post, as well.)
Who are you people? Why are you here?
I have about 140 people who have friended me right now. I don't know most of you at all. This is fine — as I say in my user info, there is no need to ask permission to friend or defriend me, and I have yet to ever post anything f-locked. I usually check out the LJs of people who have friended me now and then, but I don't usually friend back unless I actually know you. (For some arbitrary Internet value of "know.")
But I do wonder who y'all are. I know some of the folks who have friended me have almost certainly abandoned LiveJournal long since. But I'd guess there are least a few dozen of you who are still reading my entries but have never commented here. You are not required to, of course. But if you would indulge my idle curiosity by answering this poll, I'd really appreciate it. (Yes, I did a similar poll some time back.)
The other questions are because now and then I think I might like to start blogging about more than writing and book reviews and fan stuff, but then I decide the time and mental energy it would take to mostly say stuff other people say better, and ban idiots, would aggravate me. One or two trolls can be enormously draining. Hence there is a trade-off between being quiet and unbothered or having a more active commentariat and periodic flamewars.
Lastly, LiveJournal seems to be in a death spiral. More and more people talk about abandoning it. I confess I am not entirely sure why, since it's still just as free and functional as every other blogging network out there, and I'm sorry but tumblr and twitter just confuse me. But who can fathom the ways of the Internet, which decides that Myspace shall become So Last Decade while Facebook shall prosper? So when I ponder the possibility of doing more "blogging," I also ponder the possibility of moving off of LiveJournal.
I probably won't do any of those things, because I'm lazy and it would be time I'm not spending on writing. But please answer my poll anyway!
Poll #1887616 Inverarity State of the LJ
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: Friends, participants: 68
Why do you read my LiveJournal?
|For announcements about your writing/fan fiction.|
|For your book reviews.|
|Your writing and your book reviews.|
|I don't really care what you post, but you amuse and/or annoy me.|
How do you read my posts?
|You are on my Friends page.|
|I have you on an RSS feed.|
|I have you bookmarked and check your blog now and then.|
Would you like me to blog about other topics?
|No, I only care about your writing and/or book reviews.|
|No, because I don't want to disagree with you.|
|Yes, I wish you talked about other things we could discuss/argue about.|
How do you feel about LiveJournal?
|I don't really use it.|
|I would abandon it if not for a few people I follow who still use it.|
|I'm staying on LJ as long as it's still around.|
Book Review: Unholy Ghosts, by Stacia Kane
Del Rey, 2010, approx. 98,000 words
THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
( I gnosh a bit on Urban Fantasy. The heroine is a hot mess, and kind of endearing for it.Collapse )
Verdict: An entertaining, fast-paced supernatural thriller for people who like Urban Fantasy, and different enough to appeal to someone (like me) who doesn't so much. The heroine distinguishes herself by being a believable person with enough virtues and flaws to balance likable with annoying. Unholy Ghosts is not wholly original and the tropes all proceed directly from its many predecessors, but it's a quick, fun read.
My complete list of book reviews.
Book Review: Losers in Space, by John Barnes
Viking, 2012, 432 pages
It is the year 2129 . . . and fame is all that matters
Susan and her friends are celebutantes. Their lives are powered by media awareness, fed by engineered meals, and underscored by cynicism. Everyone has a rating; the more viewers who ID you, the better. So Susan and her almost-boyfriend Derlock cook up a surefire plan: the nine of them will visit a Mars-bound spaceship and stow away. Their survival will be a media sensation, boosting their ratings across the globe.
There’s only one problem: Derlock is a sociopath.
Breakneck narrative, pointed cultural commentary, warm heart, accurate science, a kickass heroine, and a ticking clock . . . who could ask for more?
( YA that does not suck! YA that has teens behaving like realistic teens, including teh sex! YA that is... full of infodumps.Collapse )
Verdict: This is a fantastic book that would have been more fantastic without the author's only semi-successful attempt to lampshade the infodumps. Full of suspense, clever plot twists, humanity, and heartbreak, it is a great read in the spirit of the best Heinlein juveniles, and an example of YA SF occasionally gotten right.
My complete list of book reviews.
Book Review: Rite of Passage, by Alexei Panshin
Pocket Books, 1968, 239 pages
In 2198, 150 years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on 100 hastily-established colony worlds and in the 7 giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars. Mia Havero's Ship is a small closed society. It tests its children by casting them out to live or die in a month of Trial in the hostile wilds of a colony world. Mia Havero's Trial is fast approaching, and in the meantime she must learn not only the skills that will keep her alive, but the deeper courage to face herself and her world.
Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.
( Another reason why I look at modern YA novels and mostly sigh.Collapse )
Verdict: Classic science fiction upholding the best traditions of the genre and with a protagonist who's more human and relatable and positive than most of what the YA genre offers today, Rite of Passage is spaceships-and-colonies sci-fi, bildungsroman, teen adventure, and moral philosophizing, all in a book that should appeal alike to those who love and to those who hate Robert A. Heinlein. It should also appeal to any YA or adult SF fan, even if you've never read Heinlein.
My complete list of book reviews.
Poll #1859716 Writing poll
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 24
Do you have a WIP you are working on?
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pantser?
|A little of both|
Do you do a lot of revision as you write, or do you just keep going and then go back and fix things?
|Revise as I go, try to fix holes when I spot them.|
|Minimal editing in the first draft, making a note of things that need to be worked out in revision.|
|Write like the wind and don't look back, baby! Plot holes are what you fix in the rewrite.|
How often do you find gaping plot holes in what you are writing?
|Rarely - I am a careful planner.|
|Sometimes, but usually nothing major.|
|A lot, but I kind of expect it.|
|My stories are one big plot hole until I go back to put it all together in the rewrite.|