green_dreams: (Lilith photoshop)
Jack Vance died today.
"A golden witch named Lith has come to live on Thamber Meadow. She is quiet and very beautiful."
I'm... this is so odd to say, but I'm offended. It's Jack Vance. He's been there forever. He's-- not an institution, but a cornerstone. He shouldn't die.
"Return, young man, return--lest your body lie here in its green cloak to rot on the flagstones."
I remember the first story I read by him, "Liane the Wayfarer". There was (in addition to a flatly horrible protagonist), an unapologetic and very simple sense of wonder. A willingness to put in fantastic elements, and not overexplain them, and have the reader pick up a very great deal from context.

Plus, you know, really creepy moments that I still love a great deal.
"I am Chun the Unavoidable."
The gentleman will be missed, and I am glad he was around.
green_dreams: (fall cat)
He brings me trailers.

And the trailers make be bounce and squee and carillion I knew it![1] before I have even finished my coffee.

The trailer advertises a new show within an existing continuum, and contains what is probably a spoiler. It will probably be revealed early in the first episode, but that is not for a few months yet, so I am carefully talking around it. (Trailer is here if you want a look though.)
---
[1] Please note: that "I knew it!" is not the cry of someone who is right. That is the cry of someone who happens to be right and is happy. For a cinematic version, please refer to Brandon Wheeger's response when he is explaining that he understands completely that Galaxy Quest is just a TV show, and is interrupted and told that it is all real.

I am thinking, now, of Thad Beaumont's attempt to explain a writer's grasp on the reality of the fiction he writes about.
green_dreams: (...crap)
Ray Harryhausen died today, less than eight weeks shy of his 94th birthday.

(First thought, when I got the news, was remembering hearing that he and Bradbury went to the movies together as kids.)

And I'm sitting here, remembering Clash of the Titans a little vaguely, and the skeletons[1] much more clearly. Not as cool for me as I guess it must have been for the people who first saw them, but damn that was something.

(Upon reflection, I think we may actually have gotten shown some of those movies in class when I was a kid. In a section on Greek myths or ancient history or something. Which would be odd, but I guess not totally unreasonable.)

Feeling a little stunned, not that he'd been working lately and his work is now gone, but that he's not there anymore. I grew up knowing he'd always been around, you know? And he wasn't Bradbury or Eisner to me, but it feels very strange to hear that he died.

RIP.
---
[1] From Jason and the Argonauts. Come on, I cannot be the only one who remembers that...
green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (Default)
First, if I can help, please let me know. Please? I'm checking in, but I can't see everything.

Third, I am am afraid I am quite tipsy. It's a strange soft feeling, and not unpleasant. It's a bit unnerving; I am not at all used to being this tipsy.[1] I keep getting the urge to read the Ramsey Campbell-based Chaosium mythos supplement, for some reason.[2]

Last, the unicorn; The Last Unicorn. Because someone said they didn't understand the appeal, and I get that they don't get it, but that's not the point. And [personal profile] theweaselking and I were talking about it to them and to each other and then he played the opening music, and I cried, and it wasn't in a bad way and we are watching it now.

I do not say it is a movie immune from criticism, but for me it is not "brilliant" or "terrible". It operates on an alternate criteria stream.[3] Cut for... schmaltz? But okay. ) I hope you are well. I hope you and yours are well, and you are taking care and being taken care of, and I wish you only the best. Let me know if I can help.
---
[1] Sample dialogue, petting the cat: "Her eyes are very green. Her eyes are green as limes, which is how Poppy Z. Brite described the eyes of the vampire Zillah in her first novel which I can't remember the name of but it wasn't Drawing Blood. Also, Z is for Zillah who drank lye by mistake in the Gashlycrumb Tinies."
[2] It sort of makes me a teeny bit sad how few people I expect to follow that statement.
[3] I have been using Leverage as a comparison point for everything from Game of Thrones to The Last Unicorn tonight. It is for me a show about handling cruelty with grace and compassion and wit, and making amends, and balancing scales. It is a good collection of stories.

Ack.

Mar. 9th, 2013 12:02 pm
green_dreams: Sepia-toned picture of a dog, with the caption "Will reload saves for Dogmeat." (will reload for Dogmeat)
Thoughts on starting A Boy and His Dog: wait, Joanna Russ thought the ending was the particularly misogynistic part of this movie?

Thoughts on finishing it: ...I think she was right.

Anyway. I'm, uhm, going to chalk that up as useful to have seen for context of the genre, be vaguely depressed over how unremarkable most of it was and mildly glad that it prompted Russ to write something on the topic, and go have a very hot shower.
green_dreams: Sepia-toned picture of a dog, with the caption "Will reload saves for Dogmeat." (wasteland hero)
So. There's this thing Fallout: New Vegas lets you do, which is talk to people. Almost all people, in fact, and if you're good at it, you can win a great number of conflicts that way. (I think I did that with everyone of note in my playthough, except Caesar and the Legate, because, uhm, no. It's my game and my story and my relaxation, and I get to decide that some people are horrible enough that shooting them is okay.) People will let you go, people will decide to cover for you or actually support you.

Colloquially, this is called talking the monster to death (thank you, TV Tropes!), even if you usually don't actually kill them, and I tend to think of it as talking them 'round, as Daniel Webster is purported to have done to the Devil's jury.

Anyway.

John and I were discussing F:NV this morning, since the weather brought on thoughts of snow globes, and from there we got to the cigarette butts (these are A Clue) you can find early on in the game, and I was mentioning that I'd missed them the first time. John was surprised, and was explaining their use at one particular point, and then a sudden realization came upon me.
"...son of a bitch, Benny talked me to death."
*pause* *John started laughing*
"No wonder I let the little prick live.[1]"
*laughing harder*
And then there was a lot of, well, sputtering.

I mean, I went there with a plan of what to do. There was no advantage to changing it, and there was, I think, some personal satisfaction to letting it play out as it would have. And then the character said things, things mostly that weren't even intended to persuade me, and the next thing you know I'm thinking "okay, right, I personally object but I can see the rationale, here," and the next thing I'm dishing out resources to let him get away and busily annoying certain people it is expensive (in terms of game resources) and painful to annoy by doing so.

I know that part of it is that I generally actively dislike being a bad guy in video games, but... damn. A story that can change your mind, even a bit, is not a hugely common thing. Affect you, upset you, show you something new, sure[2], but not so much make you ditch a plan and decide to do something harder. Admittedly, most stories don't unfold in a context where you are directly involved in making decisions, but still.
---
[1] I am not in the habit of using such language, but really, he shot me in the head and buried me in a shallow grave before the game even started, I feel some acrimony is not unwarranted.
[2] Okay, not sure, but a lot of stories do and can.
green_dreams: (serious bunny)
Ran across an interview of Silvia Moreno-Garcia yesterday, and was mildly amused to find that the blog running the interview belongs to one of the people that I ran into at CanCon last year. I'd lost his card, so it's nice to find it again.[1]

(Also, if I trip over Ian Rogers' name one more time in the next week I am going to need to get Every House is Haunted next, just because the frequency illusion[2] effects are getting a bit surreal. (It's on the list to get anyway, but I would ideally like to finish a couple more books first.))
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[1] This was a theme for CanCon. Annoyingly. I must organize better in future.
[2] Also called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, a term it took me a ridiculously long time to find, because for some reason I was stuck on "cognitive bias".
green_dreams: (flour and eggs)
Bear with me for background: there's an author called Jay Lake. His weird short story "The Soul Bottles" was actually the first story I ever bought in e-format, and is still one of my favourites. He has cancer, and it's not going well. And someone organized an online fundraiser (I think around noon today, my time?) to see if they could get him a particular diagnostic tool, and it went really well.

It's... partly being happy that he's getting help, and partly "oh god internet I'm so glad you make nice things happen sometimes," and partly just... I hope it helps, I really do.

([profile] cmpriest doing a steampunk/gothic fashion show with her pets should also be cool.)

(Also [personal profile] seanan_mcguire filking. I understand it's filk, and not "Wicked Girls", but still!)

I made dinner tonight; I got the A Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook last night, after deciding that dammit I really wanted to look up a few things, and today I made the modern leek soup. (Not the same as the blog recipe; the one from the book has less spice, and uses butter and potatoes.) It actually worked out really well; the book calls it comfort food and it manages to be that, despite being a large pile of vegetables. It's less odd when I remind myself that it has butter and carbs.

(At some point I need to figure out exactly which cooking tends to stress me and which doesn't. I know part of it is mood and part of it is familiarity, but that's not all of it.)

Also, I finished three books today, and am halfway through a fourth. Only started one of them today, but still. Am trying to actually write reviews on goodreads, so may be a bit before I toss them all up there, but still. Coraline is the fourth; I'm finding I like it better than the movie in most particulars.
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Well. Leverage is over, and I went through way more books than I expected to this year (96, and still time to finish one if I focus). So while I still don't like to dwell on how many books I am in possession of that need reading[1], I figure my turnover is pretty good, and I will need some recommendations for next year.

What TV should I be watching that I'm probably missing (if it's not Doctor Who or an ensemble cop/crime-ish show, I'm probably missing it)? What books should I take a look at (you may consider Night Circus and everything by both ChiZine and Innsmouth Press to be on the to-read list) that I probably haven't?
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[1] Hush it's not very far into three digits.
green_dreams: Sepia-toned picture of a dog, with the caption "Will reload saves for Dogmeat." (will reload for Dogmeat)
There was a Kickstarter for miniatures for Hell on Earth, which is a Deadlands thing.

I will, uhm, have a few things to paint. And a bit of Classic Hell on Earth[1] to read through.

It's been a long and kind of draining day, and I'm not quite finding myself in a state to discuss Hell on Earth[2], which is sad, because there are a lot of things about it that I would like to articulate. But I am glad that I will have some more Deadlands to read, and I am trying to get my thoughts on Hellstromme in order.
---
[1] Bubbly Fizz. Mmmmm.
[2] Except to say dammit, they cheated.

EeeeEEEEEE.

Nov. 9th, 2012 07:23 pm
green_dreams: (fallout icon - love. love never changes)
John has made my day SIX BILLION times better.

ETA: He did it twice. I've mentioned this one nearly seven years ago, and then again three years back.
green_dreams: Sepia-toned picture of a dog, with the caption "Will reload saves for Dogmeat." (wasteland hero)
Fifteen-odd years ago, someone told me a story about how the world was going to end in eighty years. In 2077. On October 23, 2077, in fact. Told me a story about how the world did end then--
In 2077, the storm of world war had come again. In two brief hours, most of the planet was reduced to cinders. And from the ashes of nuclear devastation, a new civilization would struggle to arise.
--and what came after.

So you can be the Vault Dweller. Or the Chosen One. Or the Lone Wanderer, if you must. Or the Courier. And you make it through the weird double-beat story setup, and you learn to care about the world. And over and over again, you go slogging through it and-- well, there's a reason John calls games that give you scenarios that have no clear good answer "Fallout scenarios". And sometimes the better thing--best of a bad lot--is so hard to do, and it would be so much easier to not, and...

It's hard to do a good thing, sometimes. Oh, it's possible, often enough. F:NV is the game John teases me about taking the talk-the-enemy-to-death-or-alliance tack with, but dammit, you can. That's deeply awesome to me, and I will patiently get shot at for the chance to pull it off, because come on, is that not among the best things you can do? Communicate, community, to hold communion, and yes I am tipsy hush.

This is the truth of Fallout--if war never changes, then people must. Must. There are alternatives, surely--there is the Master, the Enclave, there is Caesar and Brother Elijah and First Citizen Joanne Lynette. But there are no acceptable alternatives. People need to change.

Sometimes you can't get to a good enough change. I remember those times. I remember them as a world and a setting that was hurt too badly to work well, not as a poorly written game.

(Like Vault 11. Jesus. That place made Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" seem like a sweet and pleasant setup.)

But yes: if war never changes, then people must.
"Begin again, but learn how to let go."
"She cast aside the recording of her grandchildren, no longer remembering its significance."
"I wish them well. It's been a gift to me, at the end of it all, to behold innocence."
The first time I played Fallout: New Vegas, I ran across the Yang-Tze Memorial. And I didn't have a lot of time to look around--it was a hectic moment, early-game, I was busy surviving the hostile wildlife[1]--but I came away thinking it was an apology. A recognition that what had been done was wrong. That made me smile. It's not enough, it would have been better to not have happened, but it's a start, you know?

Sixty-five years and counting until there's no more jokes about the story happening--like counting down to August 29, 1997, I guess. That's okay.

It's been a pretty awesome story to have around.
---
[1] Oh, the wildlife. "Docile. Curious. Safe. Sterile."--my ass. My bitten, stabbed, slashed, poisoned, hit-point-deficient ass.
green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (Default)
Alright. Despite the way the last one ended[1], I'm watching the first episode of the second season. The first season had some good moments, after all. I liked Tate, for the longest time.

Bunch of the same actors; after the contemporary open, it looks like they're going with a period piece. The location for this season is an asylum--initially a tuberculosis sanitarium, turned into an asylum for the criminally insane run by the Catholic church. Given how they handled psychiatric help in the last season, I am the antithesis of optimistic.

Cut because there might be spoilers. It's all so rotten, I can't tell. )

So we've got a show set in an asylum, where all but three and two-halves (the Monsignor and Wendy) of the characters are patients, and we still can't actually get a protagonist who's mentally ill? We aren't that rare on the frigging ground, you know.

Apparently Ian McShane will be joining the show. I'm honestly not sure that that's enough to have me watch a second episode. I watched the entire run of Supernatural, I watched Revolution, and I don't know that you could get me to watch this.
========
[1] In a fest of Biblical Roanoke magic spell therapy-is-all-lies and women-are-baby-crazy shit that had me earnestly explaining to the dog that if she ever meets a therapist like the one in the TV show she should bite him and she would be a good dog for doing it.
[2] She died. Horribly. Probably.
[3] He'll get five more blows with a cane, they'll get a piece of candy.
green_dreams: Greyscale silhouette of a black cat with grey eyes (adorable yet unsettling)
I accidentally hesitantly a con; mostly yesterday, but there were a couple of panels today.

I was actually unsure about going. I'm almost unspeakably glad I did.

Yesterday, there was (among other things) a single discussion that covered both "The Yellow Wallpaper" and the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a good dozen book recommendations, more than a dozen new books, and apparently I need very badly to see a movie called Martyrs. Also smart and educated strangers were willing to talk to me, in person, which always feels a bit strange. But nice!

Today was a bit quieter, which is good, because I am sure I am coming down with something; I was only out for a few hours. Still good to hear people talk.

Have a couple of things I need to pass along to people.
green_dreams: Lamppost and orange-leafed trees against a cloudy sky. (autumn lamppost)
On my way home on the bus yesterday, I was flipping through my copy of American Supernatural Tales, looking to find the excellent "The Events at Poroth Farm", when a fragment of text caught my attention:
...not an "animal of some kind," as he put it. Something with a dragging tail, with scales, with great clawed feet--
And in the back of my head, a little voice is going wait, wait, I remember this...
--and I knew it had no face.
Yes.

"The Lonesome Place", by August Derleth.

It's been so long since I read that that I have no idea, now, where I first saw it. It's been printed in a ton of places, but none of them ring any bells. I was surprised to discover it was by Derleth; I always thought of it as a children's story, the kind of thing you'd find sitting on a shelf with A Touch of Chill and Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Witches. It's got a sort of calm tone to the horror, nothing giddily overbearing. Puts me in mind of Bradbury:
"See, baby? Something bright... something pretty!"
A scalpel.
(It occurs to me, as I write this, that I might have a mildly elastic definition of "children's story." Might. I'm just tossing that out there for consideration.)

But yeah; I just thought I'd make a note of that feeling of recognizing an old acquaintance, is all, one I didn't expect to see there.
green_dreams: (Halo Jones)
And a puzzle. And coffee cups.



Alright. See, there's a game called ADOM--Ancient Domains of Mystery. I'd link to my earlier discussions of it, except it's not something I mentioned much on LJ. It's a dungeon crawl, with... well, pretty much everything. Secret passages. Writhing masses of primal chaos. Altars to the gods. Holy water. Gremlin fluffballs. Angry trees. Cats. Traps. Blankets. The Black Tome of oh god I did not just get that did I? Shining silvery two-handed swords--well, sword. Smithing. Herbs. Pools you can drink from with uncanny effects. Weird mutations from the background corruption slowly destroying the land of Ancardia. Wishes being granted. And puppies that should really, really not need to be rescued.

And sheep. Spoiler-y protip: DO NOT wish for sheep.

And there's $1,013 $971 $946 $861 left for it to make the stretch goal of publishing it to Steam.

Could do worse than check it out, is all I'm saying. :)
green_dreams: A green picture of a rainy city street at night in the rain. (rainy night)
From Maxim interviewing nearly everyone about The Wire:
It was real to the point where crackheads would come up and try to cop. I had fake money, and they would come over, and an exchange would go down. I would think they were part of the crew, and I’d make the exchange. Then security would come around and be like, “No! No! No!” and break it up. I was like, “Oh, shit! That’s really a crack-head! I’m sorry! I’m not really a drug dealer!”
Seriously. Cannot think of a better TV show.

Puppy.

Jun. 21st, 2012 09:55 pm
green_dreams: Sepia-toned picture of a dog, with the caption "Will reload saves for Dogmeat." (will reload for Dogmeat)
I played a bit of Fallout 3 on... Monday, I think. Touring the Capitol Wasteland and sticking my nose in abandoned factories to see what would bite it off. Would have gotten killed if it wasn't for Dogmeat, who single-handedly (pawedly? jawedly?) dispatched the feral ghoul reaver that was still doing just fine after being hit by a Nuka-Cola Grenade[1].

(Who's the best puppy ever? You are. Yes you are!)

He didn't even need healing afterwards. I paused the game and went downstairs to make startled noises at John.

Anyway. Had a bit of time before knitting tonight, and... eh, well.


---
[1] The second most damaging weapon in the game, after a mini-nuke. "Imagine the look on your enemy's face when they're burning alive in an explosion of effervescent cola and fruit flavors!" Have said repeatedly that Fallout 3 is not a patch on F:NV, but dear god the dialogue sometimes. O.o
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
By then serials were dying anyway, and of what use was a green suit with a long cape and wings on the sides of its cowl? In the real world, there was no room for Green Falcons.
Got to work this morning and I couldn't get "Night Calls the Green Falcon" out of my head. It's from Robert R. McCammon's Blue World collection, or at least that's where I first read it.
A shriek like the demons of hell singing Beastie Boys tunes came from the speakers.
So I went looking, and bless the man, he has the whole thing up on his website. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; it's written as a serial, it really suits being posted online.
"No, I haven't seen him for a while, but I know what his name was." He grinned, gapped-tooth. "John Smith. That's what all their names were." He glanced at the Green Falcon. "Can you breath inside that thing?"
It's about a man who used to play a hero in the old movie serials--you know the kind, right? Ten chapters to a story, dramatic cliffhangers, come back next week for the next thrilling episode in this dynamic mystery, "The Star and Question Mark"!
"Hey, amigo," the man said, and flame shot from the barrel of the small pistol he'd just drawn.
I mean... okay, it is not entirely surprising that I am a sap for stories about people trying to live up to the stories; ones about the power of stories to change the world. Galaxy Quest. Shakespeare in Love--not the romantic plot or subplot or whatever it was, but the sheer weight of the theatre, the "I don't know. It's a mystery." Hogfather, and the difference between the sun coming up and a giant ball of flaming gas illuminating the world.
He kept going to the stairs, burdened with age.

"‘Dear Davy,’" the voice rang out. "‘I am sorry I can't come to Center City this summer, but I'm working on a new mystery...’"

The Green Falcon stopped.
I'm not saying it's great art. It's a four-colour story, bright and simple and clear. It has a grim and bloody moment or two, but then of course it does; they always did.
Who was he? somebody asked. The Green Falcon? Did he used to be somebody? Yeah, a long time ago. I think I saw him on a rerun. He lives in Beverly Hills now, went into real estate and made about ten million bucks, but he still plays the Green Falcon on the side.

Oh, yeah, somebody else said. I heard that too.
I heard that too.
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Someone (quite reasonably!) asked if the new Deadlands Noir wasn't just going to be a Call of Cthulhu game set in the '30s. And I ended up trying to articulate the differences between the two. I think I may have gotten giddily idealistic (which is a weird thing to be when discussing a horror game, one which initially billed itself as "The Spaghetti Western... with meat!"); I also think it's worth saying.

See, in Deadlands, the enemies can know what they're doing and still be sane, and that makes a huge difference. You can be sane. The horror is a lot closer to the surface.

You can fight. You can, sometimes, win[1]. And that you did, that someone did, that can literally change the damn world. Might not make it a happy place, but you can at least keep it a human one.

I call Deadlands "Cthulhu and Six-guns", sometimes--a term from [personal profile] theweaselking--but that's not "unbeatable eldritch horror and pop-guns". That's "in the bloody sneaking teeth of inhuman horror, among the crooked or the corrupt or the afraid, you may look into the darkness (or the pitiless glare of high noon) and pick up your weapon and stand your ground."

You may lose. Or you may die. But by god you can do it with grit or compassion or knowledge aforethought, flawed and human though you be, and that--that is where the game shines.

(Also? Zombies. Possibly even you.)

Deadlands is awesome. How they are going to mesh this with the mean streets of Chandler (down which a man may go who is neither tarnished nor afraid; I love that line), I don't know. I've seen what a good Deadlands game can be, though, and given the products to date I figure it's worth my time to see.

It may not be your thing (and that is more than fine!). But hey, they've gotten the second installment of the video story up, and if you are interested in the setting the first and cheapest thing they're offering is an illustrated story, no gaming required. Could do worse than check it out, you know?
---
[1] Even if the Reckoners cheat. They cheat, the bastards, and I still get a pang in my heart when I think of Coot Jenkins. He came so damn close.
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