And with January drawn to a close, so too has this year’s Sci-Fi Experience 2014. It was my first year participating and I had quite a lot of fun, even when I managed to mess up my schedule rather, er, spectacularly and life/things conspired to wreck my confidence in talking about books. I have, by now, kind of managed with two of the books I read this month. (Out of ten. And one of them was written by a friend and it is awesome, even subtracting bias from my reaction, so it doesn’t count.)
Anyway! This is going to be a joyous post rather than a sad one! I spent most of the two these past two months discussing science fiction games as these are the way I experienced most of my science fiction when I was little and, so, science fiction as a whole has a strong tie to non-book media, especially games. (Given the amount of technology inherent in the lot of them, this amuses me and it feels fitting.)
Looking back at my initial post I had a few reading goals in mind. I mostly failed at them because I forgot when, exactly, the vintage scifi month was held. This is because I am brilliant with dates. I had 19 books in my initial pool. I read a grand total of 12 of them, which I don’t think is too shabby. I did add the novelette Fallen and the book Mindline. The latter was predicted, the former… not so much. (But I loved Primordia so much.) I had a lot of fun spending so much time in science fiction, though with the amount of fantasy I read I did end up feeling a little unbalanced partway through January. (So I went off and read something other than science fiction.) You’ll also notice that January is when I started to drop the ball on posting about the experience, which leaves me sad. I had a lot of fun and I’ll certainly be participating again if time permits.
So that leaves me with a round-up of all the posts I made. But first! A small note:
Thank you, Carl, for hosting the Sci-Fi Experience again this year! I hope you’ve had masses and masses of fun with it! <3 See you next year! (Unless someone I know invents a time machine and I’ll go back in time to join earlier challenges as well, in which case “See you in the past!” ^_~)
February 2nd is Lungleavin’ Day! You are cordially invited to attend virtually at this address.
As I write this, I’ve just had a particularly stressful day. (No, I don’t want to talk about it.) I’ve started dealing with something I’ve put off dealing with (and would have preferred to keep on not dealing with until after I’d dealt with the #%^&%&* teeth). I felt it was fitting to bring that up, given the kind of post this is.
I don’t do a lot of promotions on my blog for a number reasons, but mostly because I’m slow and end up feeling guilty about mentioning X and not Y. So, in a way, this post itself is a small part in what this day is about. And because I’m being particularly cryptic, I’ll (briefly) hand over the commentary to Cameron Von St. James who graciously allowed me to share what he wrote me in an email about LLD.
Eight years ago, my wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis. She had just given birth to our daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born. This will be the 8th year that we celebrate!
The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears! Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!
At the beginning of the month, I talked about the goals I wanted to accomplish this year as a writer. I discussed that the year might get rough halfway through and… Actually, it’s already picking up a bit. I recently worked up the nerve to tell my boss I’m no longer available one day of the week because I really, really need a day off somewhere. Yes, that’s a high anxiety deal for me.
Anyway. So I was plodding along, dealing with things as they come up, and a couple of things happened. Some of them good and some of them bad, but that’s getting ahead of the story. One of the things that I was working on this month was getting a good headstart on the longer of my novel projects, while I worked out some other things with the shorter story. It was always my plan to look into serialising the longer story. It’s always looked like a fun thing to do and most authors I know find it quite rewarding.
Because January’s posts all seem to focus on mentioning games and recounting memories from science fiction games that have upcoming sequels, I thought I’d be thorough and cover the Thief games as well. Thief (the fourth installment in the series) is scheduled for a February release. (For whatever reason, not at the same time in all regions, which I am pissed about.)
The fourth game is a reboot rather than a continuation, so I’m holding my breath as much as I’m excited to experience the game.
If you don’t know the games, discussing the (pre-Ubisoft) Might and Magic franchise as part of a set of posts on science fiction gaming experiences, may seem a very odd choice. Perhaps, even if you do know the franchise, discussing it seems like an odd choice. Just as general heads-up and warning in the first paragraph: There will be some massive spoilers for the plot of most of these games.
When a stranger arrives at Ada's doorstep, she is flung into a world of magic - and dragons. To protect her new friend from a mysterious enemy, Ada embarks on a search for answers that will test her wits, her bravery, and her friendships. Not all problems can be solved with magic, so it's a good thing she has a computer!
The Code Witch is the product of a 2013 Kickstarter project. The product description on Amazon describes the plot as follows: “When a stranger arrives at Ada’s doorstep, she is flung into a world of magic – and dragons. To protect her new friend from a mysterious enemy, Ada embarks on a search for answers that will test her wits, her bravery, and her friendships. Not all problems can be solved with magic, so it’s a good thing she has a computer!” I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this, but I’d been looking forward to the book for a while, so I’m counting it towards my Long Awaited Reads month books. (And after this brief “Lynn’s reading challenge adventures” interlude, to the book!)
One afternoon, on the solstice of 2013, I checked my email and was surprised to find an email with a gift code in it. It was from Kerberos Productions, which made Sword of the Stars: The Pit. It was utterly unexpected. The timing on when I checked my email couldn’t have been better as I was really upset at the time and a random bit of kindness made my day infinitely better. They did not ask me to write this post. I was not given this code to review the game. But I’m going to be talking about it anyway as I’ve been playing it on and off since the holidays.
A long, not quite so long time ago, when I was in my teens one of the first overtly science fiction games that I played was Guilty, a sequel to Innocent until Caught, which I never played. It’s a science fiction point and click adventure game which gives you the option of playing as Jack T. Ladd, a notorious thief, or Ysanne Andropath, the cop who arrests him. Even though the game is very linear, the choice you make will effect the puzzles you get to solve at each location and if you want to get the full story, you’ll have to play the game from the perspective of both protagonists with very little difference in narrative.
It’s a game I no longer own and haven’t replayed in a very long time. I know I finished it, but details are quite vague. It’s at this point that I generally curse my memory because it makes sharing memories a little hard. You know, not recalling them clearly enough for words and all.
Ysanne might have been my first fictional encounter with either a feminist or a misandrist (or both) and I remember I quite enjoyed the banter between the two characters as they’re pretty much polar opposites of one another. I have fond memories of the beginning of the game, when Jack destroys the ship’s hyperdrive, and the first planet, but it starts to get a bit hazy after that and, reading up on the plot, I don’t remember the ending at all. Maybe I’m wrong and I never got that far. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to replay the game and find out if that helps bring up some memories. I know this is one of the games that only I was interested in playing and one of the reasons it stuck out to me was that, unlike the adventure games I’d played previously, it let me choose the protagonist I wanted to play as.
Now I want to go and replay the game just to see if it’s as much fun as I remember it being…
The last sf/f/h book I read and liked was: Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth
The last sf/f/h book I read and wasn’t crazy about was: The Code Witch by Sarah Sterman
The sf/f/h book I am reading now is: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
The sf/f/h book(s) I most want to read next is/are: Reawakening by Amy Rae Durreson
An underrated sf/f/h book is: Seaward by Susan Cooper
An overrated sf/f/h book is: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The last sf/f/h book that was recommended to me was: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
A sf/f/h book I recommended to someone else was: Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi
A sf/f/h book I have re-read is: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
A sf/f/h book I want to re-read is: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
I’m actually surprised by how even this list is, even allowing for the fact that I’ve spent the past two months focusing on science fiction for the Sci-Fi Experience. I lean so heavily to fantasy that to find myself with an even spread is… quite impressive. To me. I can’t say I’m displeased. It was hard to pick some of the answers, though, so I just went with the ones that were first in my mind. (Also, my memory is rubbish, so I might have got the ordering of which was recommended which wrong. But that’s all right! The point of the meme isn’t to be 100% accurate, but to mention books people might potentially be interested in!)
I wasn’t expecting to dislike this game. I admit that I also wasn’t expecting to love it because I’m definitely not a visual person and the idea of dialogue conducted entirely through visuals worried me. I also wasn’t expecting to mark this game as unfinished in my mental filing catalogue. Maybe, one day, I’ll go back and finish all in a single run.