Some of the very first games I’ve ever played were the King’s Quest games. I was terrible at them. This, somehow, never stopped me from enjoying them and trying them again and again. (Until, finally, I got a walkthrough and just used that.) I’ve never managed to finish King’s Quest 1 or 2, and I’d say my first proper introduction to the series was through the third game, which I managed to get hopelessly stuck on at the end game because I had no clue what I was supposed to be typing to finish it. Ah, the days of text parsers and puzzles that make no logical sense whatsoever. (I’m looking at you, KQ5!)
Month: March 2014
Once upon a time, I planned to read a book. It was a book a fair amount of my friends had read and loved to utter pieces. I’d read several other books by this author. I never finished the first ones I’d tried, but I really really liked the last one I read, so I was cautiously optimistic. And, anyway, several of my friends, people whose tastes I trust, enjoyed it, so I was bound to at least like it somewhat, wasn’t I?
So I made sure to put it on my list of stuff I wanted to read in March and several of my friends expressed great interested in learning what I thought of the book once I’d finished. I am very sad to tell them that not only did I not finish it, I really didn’t like it because I’m not okay with the plot. In explaning why, I have done my best to remain polite, professional, even and fair. There were things I did genuinely like and I’ve tried to acknowledge that. BUT THERE WILL STILL BE ALL-CAPS. Really. There will. I’m breaking my “I only talk about books if I can focus primarily on what I liked and feel comfortable doing so” rule to talk about this book because that is how very, very, very much I am not okay with one of the basic plot premises of this book. And yet I don’t think I’ve seen a single person discuss the aspect that bothered me so. (Probably that’s my inability to find stuff using search engines, but there you are.)
So if you’re looking for a positive review of The Raven Boys, you’re out of luck. If you’re looking for an attempt at explaining why I quit 100 pages in because I thought the book needlessly appropriative of Welsh culture and how I think (in my privileged, white person’s opinion) it could have been improved upon to something I would at least have accepted for the duration of a novel, you’re at more or less the right place. Read More
Thief is… a difficult game to talk about. It’s simultaneously everything I expected and nothing at all like it. When I gave my initial impressions to several of my friends, I did it by pointing out that I pretty much agree with the criticism the game has received. I think my personal least favourite bit is the scripted jumping and the restrictions on your movement. It is very tempting to blame consoles, but I really know far too little about console design to know whether that’s fair. I do blame it for the scripted jumping, though, because they mapped three different actions onto the same key, and two of them were ‘running’ and ‘jumping’. Since you can’t press both buttons at the same time, the game needs help decided which of the actions you want to take right at that moment. Which means scripting. Just why you can’t script it to detect this along larger pieces of terrain, I know not. My second least favourite bit is trying to navigate the city hub area, especially now that I’ve finished the game. I’ve spent, what, 30-40 hours on the game now? I still don’t know where all the chapter entrances are or how to get to them. A good hour of my total gameplay was spent trying to find my way around back to chapter 1 and I still haven’t found it. I know I have no sense of direction, but surely I should have stumbled across it by now. (And discovering that, once you’ve beaten the game, guards reset between every single map transition instead of between each mission, great or small. I don’t mind the guards resetting. I do mind them resetting between hub maps.)
Once again, it is time for the Once Upon A Time challenge, hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!! As some of you may recall, December 2013-January 2014 was the first time I participated in the Sci-Fi Experience. (I’ve been participating in the OuaT challenge for a couple of years.) I spent a lot of my time during the Sci-fi Experience, especially the latter half, discussing games rather than books. As I mentioned then, most of my science fiction intake comes from games, which explains that. And I had a lot of fun talking about the way that scifi games (or the scifi themes in them) influenced me. So you can expect similar from this challenge, except… not science fiction.
The Once upon a Time challenge centres around four genres: fantasy, fairy tales, folktales and mythology. All three are high on my list of things I like experiencing. I like reading these genres, but I also like watching and playing them, so I’ll be discussing some of the non-bookish genre things that make up my culture intake as well. We’ll see how it goes.
The challenge, to explain for those new to it, has several levels of participation, called quests. (And it’s not really a challenge, but hey details.) I normally accomplish multiple quests purely because I, well, read a lot in these genres to begin with. So, this year, I’m aiming for quest the first. It’s the second-easiest of the reading goals in my experience, but they’re all a lot of fun.
Conversely, I find Quest the Third the most difficult purely because I’m not that big a fan of Shakespeare. And me with a degree in English literature, I know! But there you are.
Anyway. Before I get to the bit about what I’ll actually be doing, some more nitty-gritty, such as when does this challenge run. It runs from today! (March 21st) until June 21st. I’m a little late with getting all the preliminary posts up and written, but it’s been pretty busy at th dayjob and in my life in general. I don’t talk much about my life, so I suppose this is as good a place as any to tell you all that Greypuss has recently been diagnosed with feline diabetes. (Greypuss, you will not be surprised to learn, is my cat. One of them, anyway.) He is a love. At least he is when he’s not being a domineering, possessive grouch to anyone else not-me. Actually, he was diagnosed yesterday, so the start of my serial was a little unhappier than I would have liked. I suppose it fits, given what the story starts with. So. Yes.
Before I say anything more, I’d like to shout out a thank you to Carl for hosting the challenge again this year. I always have a lot of fun with Carl’s challenges (come join us; we have awesome stories to share) as it is, but this year… Well, I started off a little uncertain we’d have a OuaT this year and I’m not sure why. So waking up today to find out that yes we do indeed have a OuaT challenge season? Doubly awesome. I am in favour of awesome in general, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the feline diabetes and the changes — and there will be lots of changes — we need to make, so… Having something as familiar and wonderful as OuaT will be good. And that is something Carl inadvertently did, but I thank him for that. And also for all the shiny stories and bookses I get to learn about because of the challenge and all the people I may (or may not) work up to talking to about those shiny stories.
THANK YOU, CARL!
Let the OuaT challenge (and a more detailed description of what I’ll be doing) commence!
When I was little, I was a girly girl. I’ve had a phase where all I wore was pink. Sometimes my class had guessing games where you had to guess which classmate was being described. My phase of Love For All Things Pink lasted so long and was so strong that it took forever for “The Girl In Pink” to stop being synonymous with “Lynn” in that game. I loved dresses. I loved playing with hair. I still like pink well-enough. I still love dresses and skirts and hair I can actually do stuff with. I’m still a frilly girl. If I could get away with walking around in evening gowns all day, every day I would be all over that, especially if it involved people skilled at making others look pretty doing my hair and make-up. (I am, alas, hopeless. Also, I’m lazy and forgetful and really tired a lot.)
Today, I’m welcoming one of my best friends, Becca Lusher, for an interview. Wherein we natter about Becca’s stories and engage in general silliness.
Becca Lusher hails from the wilds of the British Westcountry, where she runs around with her dogs, gets bossed about by cats and takes photos of views with rocks in them. She’s also been known to write occasionally to appease the rapacious appetite of her muse. Some of which she now self-publishes.
You can find Becca at WordPress.
Friendly Disclaimer Note: Anna is a dear friend of mine.
Secondary Disclaimer Note: Anna has not asked me to write this or given me a review copy, etc.
Right. That out of the way. Margaret Dashwood’s Diary, a book I’d hoped to read sooner than I did (i.e. just about as soon as I got my grubby hands on it last month) and didn’t because there is too little time in a day to do all the things I want to do. And some other stuff I forgot happened because my brain is a complete and utter sieve. (No, really. It’s a sieve. Most days it’s a miracle that I can tell you what day of the week it is, never mind the day of the month, without resorting to a calendar or a newspaper. Actually, that probably doesn’t help my brain qualify as a sieve. It might be more of a colander.)
Ahem. Anyway. Let me give you a summary.
Margaret Dashwood learned from her older sisters—sensible Elinor and romantic Marianne—that the path of true love is rarely easy or smooth. And yet Margaret grew up dreaming of one day finding love and romance of her own. Now, smarting from the pain of a broken engagement, Margaret has traveled to stay with her now-married sisters in order to heal.
But life is still far from smooth: John Willoughby, Marianne’s first love, has unexpectedly returned to once again complicate the Dashwood sisters’ lives. Colonel Brandon, Marianne’s husband, has been commissioned to apprehend a ruthless ring of smugglers operating in the neighbourhood. And when a mysterious figure from Margaret’s past returns, Margaret realizes that she herself may hold the key to uncovering the smuggling gang. Worse, she comes to suspect that she faces an impossible choice of her own: not between sense and sensibility, but between duty and her own heart.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start a post, so let’s start with this sentence. Just to get the post started. I find linguistics an interesting and fascinating topic, so it’s little surprise (to me) that A Promise Broken has conlang elements to it. In fact, you’ll discover that it has lots of conlang elements to it everywhere and, because I am me (and contrary) I haven’t made a glossary available online. Part of it is that asking readers to figure it out for themselves will tell me which ones need additional explanations in-story. (I may not add them if I can’t get them to fit, but at least I’ll know about them.)
Anyway. One of the things that cropped up in writing the narrative was figuring out the best way to deal with non-binary gender. Currently, English only recognises the he/she binary. Eiryn’s society recognises (to an extent) that this is not the whole picture. Like most things, this isn’t a big deal, plot-important kind of thing. It just is. Some people in the story identify as non-binary and… that’s it. It’s not tied to plot, it’s not something that’d come up in conversation. The fastest and easiest way to acknowledge the gender these characters have is simply by having the narrative acknowledge their gender exists.
Disclaimer notice: I know the author and edited/betaread the book before publication. Bias, I has it, but I aim to convince you that the bias is well-deserved in the way a bias for good writing in general is well-deserved.
Orion’s Kiss is a short collection of a novella, two short stories, and a novelette. All of them centre (in some way or another) around the character of Freyda and the whole collection serves and an introduction to the world of Becca’s Aekhartain. There’s a little section at the back to explain it in more detail. It’s not a necessary addition, but it’s a very welcome one. Becca is developing the setting slowly over the course of several books, so the information will be revealing itself throughly the other books and stories in the series. As we don’t have those yet, the information just serves as incentive to read the rest when it’s out.
The bulk of the collection is made up of Orion’s Kiss, a dystopian YA novella set in England, dealing with Freyda’s last few weeks at the Institute. Orion’s Kiss is an intimate story, focused heavily on Freyda and her resentment for all the scientists that treat her as nothing more than an experiment. Yet, despite all the bleakness of the setting and the harshness of the story, there are softer and sweeter moments as well. Moments where Freyda has a chance to learn what friendship and freedom mean, moments of laughter and wonder. She also has moments of learning to stand up for herself or to see beyond her own situation in a given circumstance. And books. There are lots of books. And mystery. Though I’ve called it a dystopian novella and though it’s set in the near-future on a parallel Earth, it’s more of a fantastical dystopia: a dystopian setting with dystopian tropes, but lots of fantasy themes as well. It’s a curious mix and one that Becca pulls of incredibly well.
And the What Media Did Lynn Consume This Past Month returns! *gasp* As I write this, I am more or less drowned in work, so I shall keep it short and simply apologise for the lack in the past few months.
What I’ve Read
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: My thoughts are here.
Margaret Dashwood’s Diary by Anna Elliott: My thoughts are coming on the 13th. Sneak peek: I enjoyed it, though I think people who’ve read her other works will find it a bit weaker in comparison. Still a good read, but I was a bit disappointed.
Orion’s Kiss by Becca Lusher: My thoughts will come when Becca and I have hashed out a good date for it and the goodies we intend to bring, so not set date. Sneak peek: I helped edit this, so I’m a bit biased, but I am so happy this is out. I can squee and twirl and recommend it to all the people now! (But I’m still not 100% happy with some of it, so if you’re all looking for thoughts that are solely squeefest of awesome mine won’t be the place to look.)
Pukawiss the Outcast by Jay Jordan Hawke: My thoughts are here.
Violence: A Writer’s Guide by Rory Miller: Not quite what I was expecting, I think, though I’m not sure what I was expecting. Probably something drier and with more references to other books like most of the non-fiction I’ve read. Still. It’s a fast and mostly easy read, as well as interesting.
What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang: I think every one of my friends who’s read this gave this a glowing recommendation. So I snapped it up when I could. While this is a story that really benefits from being told in first person, it did run into my “You’re breaking the one, single request I have of first person writing!” issue. (Don’t worry. Most books do. I’ve mostly learned to push that issue to the side in self-defence.) It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’ll be a while before I get to the sequel(s), but I do aim to read them eventually. ^_^
What I’m in the Middle of Reading
Honestly, I have no idea. I’m editing/betaing a friend’s novel this month, but I haven’t started yet. I think it was The Raven Boys I started, but. Not sure.
What I’ve Played
Mount and Blade: Warband: I blame Kikoskia. Again. This really should not be as much fun as it is, considering I’m not actually all that good at it (or fond of sandboxes, I’ve come to realise). But it is. And it keeps me busy. Right now, I’m attempting to lay waste to the Saranids.
Thief: As in, the 2014 reboot. I’m on chapter 7 currently. I will have things to say when I’ve finished it, but that’ll probably be a while now. I will say, however, that I mostly agree with the criticisms I’ve read and that the story is letting me down severely. (It’s not that I dislike the story terribly much, but that I think it’s badly executed. Also, hello fridge. I was hoping you wouldn’t show up in this.)
What I’ve Watched
Again, I have no idea. I saw Frozen at some point, but I forget when. I liked it. I am still mildly obsessing over Let It Go. And by ‘mildly obsessing’ I mean: am getting the sheet music and saving up for singing lessons because I am thoroughly annoyed that I cannot hit those damned notes on my own. (That’s not true. I can, save for that low note which is just below my range, but I generally don’t because my brain insists on changing the notes if I’m not singing along. ANNOYING.)
Er. Anyway. That’s all to say: I don’t know what I watched, but I remember watching Frozen in between the last monthly post like this and this one.