Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Jack Armor, Dollops of Pretentiousness, Courtesy Flirtation, and Pagan Romanticism

Traveller (Tales to Astound!) RPG Settings – The Useful and the Not So Useful — “This issue of setting bloat is something that happened after the first wave of RPGs. TSR, GDW, and others were certainly happy to produce material that consumers wanted to spend money on. But I question how much valuable utility actually came from such purchases. While I can see the fascination with countless details about fictional worlds I would propose that asking anyone (players or referee) how much digging through and mastering a thick background of setting really matters against having the players focusing on this adventure, right here, right now.”

Appendix N (Advanced Dungeons & Parenting) AD&D’s Appendix N? What About the Moldvay Appendix? — “Given that he has taken the time to review the Carnelian Cube, a book that fellow Appendix N advocate Erik Mona has found ‘wanting,’ it is my hope that James will someday review the Kothar series by Gardner Fox. Though if that doesn’t happen I might just find the time to do so. Having endured a couple of Lin Carter’s Thongor books, I figure they cannot be much worse. That said, Carter at least has the virtue of being one of the best editors in SF/F history even though his Thongor stories fall very short of the best of Sword and Sorcery fiction.”

Traveller (Ancient Faith in the Far Future) Why have high-tech Jack armor? — “Mesh-class armor is still clothes-like, but less so. It’s heavier and with non-fabric components. This is armor that looks like armor, unless an effort is made to disguise it, like lining a coat with it.”

It’s a Thing (Cirsova) The Robert Morgan Effect — “Have you ever entered an online (or real world) space where you were absolutely certain that you were right about your position and everyone else was wrong? You may have had truth, facts and statistics on your side, but the sheer fact that the position you held or the idea you were espousing was so opposed to the consensus that you were seen as an outsider, an outcast, a troll, a reprobate, a lunatic, etc. In the eyes of those people, you are more than just a fly in the ointment, you are an aberration that must be cast out in order to create a homogeneity of thought, a safe space.”

Appendix N (Isegoria) Appendix N Survey Complete — “Modern fantasy writers have read a lot of modern fantasy. The early fantasy writers read history and legends.”

Star Wars (SuperversiveSF) Star Wars: Aftermath — “It wasn’t just that the prequels were subpar, or that they contradicted the previously established “canon” of the novels/games/comics– and until the prequels came along, it was Canon– it was that they did it cavalierly, in little ways that showed utter spite for what had been written. The Clone Wars glimpsed through the lens of Zahn were something terrible and unnatural. In the prequel films, they’re a muddled mess, and clones, an unnatural abomination that felt terribly wrong to Luke in Zahn’s trilogy, are suddenly… good guys. Qui Xux was no longer the Death Star’s naive designer; its origins lay with some bug people on some planet in a muddled and incoherent conflict. Jedi are no longer the badasses that they were in the EU, capable of knocking Star Destroyers out of orbit with the force (albeit at the cost of their life), they were chumps who, universally, didn’t have the Force sensitivity to see betrayal coming.”

Movies (Daddy Warpig) Jane Austen’s Zombies AND Marvel’s Zombies? SOLD! — “My daughters are trained for battle, sir.”

Heroism (The Federalist) Guess What? You’re Not Actually A Hero — “Every day there’s some story focusing on false heroes and pseudo-bravery masquerading as some valiant or defiant action. Not only on the political front, but in culture, where fake courageousness not only dilutes the genuine heroic actions of others, but is used to create the false impression that people are engaged in actions far more important than they really are.”

Journalism (Instapundit) POOR WIRED — “It’s basically the same piece that Entertainment Weekly ran, and retracted, months ago, though with extra dollops of pretentiousness. So Wired isn’t just running with a bogus establishment narrative. It’s running with a behind the curve bogus establishment narrative, with extra dollops of pretentiousness.”

Nerd Life (Black Diamond Games) Courtesy as Flirtation (for Parents) — “Female customer service workers, like the ones I employ, are a captive audience. Their job is to be friendly and helpful, which, in this day and age of indifference and hostility, can be mistaken for flirtation. Boys see these women as ‘practice’ for asking women out. I’ve seen their fathers encourage this. Ha ha, you go junior! Bad form, dads.”

Comics (Dr. Xaos Comics Madness) EEEEEEAARRRHHAHH! — “It’s a gaudy and lovely blend of pagan romanticism, pastoral idealism, and anti-establishment, yet also techno-fetish because how cool is it to be a surgical-genetic hybrid satyr. Oh, and also an angry hippie Jesus in full, with FATHER cried out in crane shot. Shall I go on? Sure – it’s also that the crazy one is the one who sees clearly, you get that part; plus there’s the whole hate-my-fetish love-my-doom thing going on with technology. Not to mention some truly kickass ass-kicking, unsullied by silly things like ‘won’t kill people.'”

Appendix N Generation Gap (Mad Genius Club) Slogging forward, looking back — “Kris Rusch has also noted how many young writers she’s run into who are completely ignorant of the many, many female authors who’ve been in science fiction and fantasy since the start. Among other reasons, many of their works have gone out of print, and the new writers coming in may not have read the old magazines, or picked up the older, dated-artwork books at the used bookstores. So they really, truly, may not know that their groundbreaking new take has been done to death thirty years before they came on the scene, or that they’re trying to reinvent a wheel that has not only been invented, it’s evolved to all-wheel drive with traction control.”

Untamed Blackness (Black Gate) Vintage Treasures: The Janus Syndrome by Steven E. McDonald — “I was 17 years old in 1981, already spending a good chunk of my disposable income every week on science fiction paperbacks. I never saw a copy on bookstore shelves in 1981, and I assume that’s due to poor distribution. But even if I had, I doubt I would have bought it. I almost certainly would have seen a prominent black character on a book cover as a statement… and at 17, I avoided anything that looked like a statement.”

Appendix N (Castalia House) Crom the Barbarian — “Fox also had a pulp career starting with ‘The Weirds of the Woodcarver’ in September 1944 issue of Weird Tales. Fox went on to have three stories in Weird Tales, ten stories in Planet Stories, one in Amazing Stories, and a short novel in Marvel Science Fiction. Less known is he wrote a fair number of stories for western and sports pulp magazines. He wrote at least one hockey story.”

Star Wars (tickld) This Guy Just Changed The Way We See Star Wars. Mind Blown. — “I think that Jar Jar was initially intended to be the prequel (and Dark Side) equivalent of Yoda. Just as Yoda has his “big reveal” when we learn that his tottering, geriatric goofball persona is just a mask, Jar Jar was intended to have a big reveal in Episode II or III where we learn that he’s not really a naive dope, but rather a master puppeteer Sith in league with (or perhaps in charge of) Palpatine.”

Yassa Massa! (Zak Smith) Tunnels & Trolls DONE DIRT CHEAP! — “It was the 70’s, ROOTS (1977) was a real popular TV mini-series & Book(1976)! … the seventy’s was a different world; not so quick to judge: I don’t think it was meant to disparage. It was in the mass psyche of the times.”

Starf Wars (RetroZap) Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart — “Where a lesser film would have wrapped thing up with an expositive voiceover, Revenge of the Sith demands that the viewer watches how things unfold, and then asks the viewer to put the pieces together themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone has put them together the proper way, and that leads to a lot of differing conclusions regarding the anticlimax of the movie.”

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