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Between my packed panel schedule here at Paizocon and only being able to access the internet on my phone, my posting ability is super limited until Tuesday, but I'm reading all of these comments! I'm really excited to see so many people enthusiastic about Starfinder. It's a crazy-awesome project, and I'm totally thrilled to be leading it, so I look forward to taking about it with you more once I've got access to a keyboard again. :)
Authors: Are there any technical books about writing (punctuation, style grammar, the business side) that you believe helped you significantly as a writer?
Far and away the most useful to me was The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, by an at-the-time-not-super-famous Cory Doctorow. I also remember finding a lot of great inspiration and important things to consider in Stephen King's On Writing and Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Chris A Jackson wrote:
Folks are allowed to write all the fiction with our characters that they want, they just can't make money off it. Fan-fiction is totally great, and in fact both Wayfinder and Pathfinder Chrnoicler are communities dedicated to it!
The forthcoming novel Liar's Bargain has a fair bit of Nirmathas/Molthune action: http://paizo.com/products/btpy9ip6?Pathfinder-Tales-Liars-Bargain
Marco Massoudi wrote:
There will definitely be more. :D
I absolutely don't mind people throwing in their own thoughts. :)
1) Hmm... while I really like learning about new mythologies, I'd say that the ones I return most to are pretty classic, simply because they're what I could find information about when I was a kid.
Far and away, my favorite mythology is Judeo-Christian, especially the oldest-school versions... there's just something about angelic rebellion, the book of revelations, and the speech patterns we've all internalized from the scripture that really appeals to me. Everything about it just feels really creepy to me. (Ironically, the parts involving Jesus are the ones that interest me the least... I'm most intrigued by the old stories in which humans are basically just pawns for giant unforgiving forces.)
After that... I think Norse mythology is really cool, just because the gods are all kind of jerks who don't really care about humanity. And while Greek/Roman mythology is interesting and I've read a ton about it over the years, I'm going to have to give the third spot to Egyptian mythology, for simply having awesome aesthetics in their art :D
2) If you want to go waaaay back, probably IF I RAN THE CIRCUS by Dr. Seuss. But in terms of novels... I loved the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, Jurassic Park, the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg... those were all around 2nd or 3rd grade, I believe.
3) Triaxus in summer, probably. If only because I've already written about Triaxus in winter, and thus it holds more unknowns. :) But also, summer allows a much larger variety of environments, rather than having everything snowed over constantly, and it's cool to have that palette to play with. (That said, I already set it in winter, so clearly I like that version as well!)
What kind of life forms could live on a tidally lock planet near a black hole?
I feel like Luthorne has probably got you covered there—he's put more thought into the idea than I have. :)
That said, I agree that, presuming the nearest start is far away, you'd have creatures that are getting their energy primarily from tidal heating, and thus looking to things like deep-ocean creatures around geothermal events is a really good start, rather than the sorts of photosynthesis-dependent creatures we're all used to.
James, what do you think of the idea that each galaxy has a different planner cosmology?
In Pathfinder we assume that all the galaxies are part of the same cosmology, but I think the opposite approach is just as interesting! It lets you tell some really weird, interesting stories that the consistent approach doesn't.
1) Seems awesome to me! And hey, we've already had Ringworld and things around in the genre for a long time, so people are probably used to it.
2) Oh man! This is a hard one. Off the top of my head, I think I'd be choosing between Verces, Triaxus, Akiton, and Castrovel. In the end, though, I think Triaxus is probably the best standalone setting, just because of the dragon-riding!
In terms of who I'd want working with me—honestly, everyone in the editorial department is here because they have awesome ideas. Plus picking just a few publicly would be a pretty jerky thing for me to do. So instead, maybe I'd just have them all fight to the death to see who's most passionate about the project, and decide that way. That's kinder, right?
3) Black holes ('cause duh), tidally locked worlds, tidally heated worlds.
Glad you liked it! And I *love* the planar weird—it's pretty much the whole reason for Salim's existence. "What would be a cool character that would let me show off the planes?" is the question that got the ball rolling on those books. :)
The jubjub bird and bandersnatch are indeed Tane, and have already been statted in the Bestiaries!
Slithery D wrote:
You'll notice that in that scene Roshad/Bors/Salim *also* don't have to breathe. That's because anyone in the gondola is affected by the same water-breathing magic—or at least, anyone who doesn't detect as evil.
Just to clarify and add to what Jacobs was saying—the atheists/dystheists/god-rejectors have something of a choice when they die. Some of them, the true hard-liners, reject not only the gods but the idea of judgment entirely (what right does Pharasma have to stick them somewhere?) and instead hang out in that giant graveyard for eternity. Think of it like a political protest—a postmortem sit-in on the spire.
That said, most folks who were anti-gods in life would probably spend eternity someplace nice and in accordance with their values (i.e. their alignment), and so go ahead and accept judgment and move on to the appropriate plane. That doesn't mean they suddenly have to serve a god—there are plenty of folks on the planes who aren't sworn servants of a particular deity.
Note as well that the above is talking about folks who *reject* the gods. Agnostics and other folks with not-so-clearly-defined religious preferences just go to the plane that suits them—you don't always have to choose a specific god to go to a particular plane (though if they're rulers of that plane, you may still have to obey their rules in general terms).
Hope that helps!
Hmm! Let's see: Shimmer, Clarkesworld, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Apex Magazine.
Honestly, I've been out of the short fiction game for a little while, so I'm not 100% current, but those places have all done great work!
Slithery D wrote:
Yeah, population statistics are weird. I prefer to round because (perhaps ironically) it feels more accurate and "real" to me. People are constantly being born and dying in a city, so the bigger a settlement gets, the harder it is for me to believe a number that's exact all the way down to the individual citizen. While you can say the book is a snapshot of a given moment, and thus have that level of specificity, it just feels weird to me to give a number that will begin changing the moment the game begins.
Other people have different approaches, and that's cool too. This is just an explanation of how my brain works!
Loving all of this. :)
Will Huston wrote:
So your issue of Pathfinder: Origins was my favorite (I just got them this week). It was a very interesting take on a paladin. Any interesting stories about playing a paladin from you?
Thank you! I really wanted to show that a paladin (and especially Seelah) could be a champion of righteousness while also being an understanding, relatable person. So often people play paladins as jerks, or at least really stiff and awkward, and I wanted to show that LG can be (and perhaps *should* be) much more like somebody you'd want to get to know. :)
And as for playing a paladin—I actually can't remember any! I'm sure I did when I was younger (I used to make new characters practically every game when I was a kid), but it's not a class I've spent a ton of time with as an adult... which is one of the reasons it was so much fun to write Seelah!
I'm running an Iron Gods game for a group of 11/12 year olds. Any advice on how to keep them engaged?
Fight things! Shoot things with lasers! My memory of roleplaying at 12 was that it was pretty much all about the combat and the excitement of seeing what monster's just around the corner. Overall, my best advice is just to observe them as you play—if they start getting distracted, skip past whatever you're doing and bring on the next thing you think they'll like. (This is how I run for adults as well!)
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
I'm currently listening to James Sutter's The Redemption Engine, and Ray Porter's voice has taken some getting used to. I'm finally getting to the point where I enjoy it, but I never would have figured that there were so many people in Kaer Maga with an Irish-sounding accent. Salim's accent is often hard to place and seems to have a strange mix of Irish and Arabic or Hindu. Generally, I don't mind the odd mixtures, though, because it helps break Golarions nations away from their real-world analogues a little bit.
Yeah, accents are hard, and not everyone's going to be able to do all the different accents a given book might need. (Salim's definitely *not* Irish!) But Ray has a great narrating voice, which is the most important thing to me, so I'm happy!
(If you want to hear what Salim actually sounds like, just go watch Naveen Andrews as Sayyid on LOST. :))
Feedback is always useful! Not all of our choices will work for everyone, but it still helps us to know folks' tastes and reasons. And the fact that you'd buy a Salim book over a Weis and Hickman novel is a pretty huge compliment, so thank you. :)
The prices at the moment are set by necessity, but as far as the DRM goes, there are definitely options other than Kindle format—do places like Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore, etc. work any better for you?
We're always scheming. :) Right now the big news for me is that Death's Heretic is free on Audible until next week at audible.com/deathsheretic. But in terms of what's coming up in the line, I've actually got some new (to us) authors coming up that I'm really stoked about, as well as new books from folks like Chris Jackson, Tim Pratt, and Liane Merciel. It's a pretty exciting time for the line. :)
You're the first person to ask for a solo book! Though lots of people have asked to see her come back.
As it turns out, I really want to bring her and Salim back together in a third book, because she's been up to a lot of interesting things since Death's Heretic, which will result in a very different dynamic than Salim would expect... :D
As far as I can tell this only applies to customers who buy via audible.com, which means none american customers do not have access to the audible book offer.
I know it's at least available through Audible's UK site, and probably others as well, you just have to search for it on your country's localized instance of Audible.
Conversely, I hear you can sign up and grab it via your browser's Incognito Mode.
Hey James would you ever consider making the first pathfinder chronicle into a pathfinder tale?
For the most part, we tend to focus on stories set in Golarion's present, simply because it lends to the sense of immediacy. That said, "why is X that way?" stories are also fun, so I'd certainly consider it!
A short story anthology is something we've always wanted to do, but they're just really hard to sell in the current fiction market. That said, for several years we were able to get away with publishing short Pathfinder Stories for free online, and they're all still up there!
James Sutter wrote:
EDIT: The money went *toward* wedding and honeymoon, rather than paying for them outright. I'd have to be doing significantly better than I am if I could make that much money off one novel. :P
Yay! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the review!
I'm woefully behind on my movie-watching! The last one I saw was The Force Awakens. My potentially contentious thoughts here:
I enjoyed it, but I found myself resenting that it was basically a reboot instead of a sequel—so many story beats and scenes were stolen outright from the original trilogy that it just felt like a rehash (albeit a totally fine one). I think I understand why they were doing it—so that new fans who saw only this movie would still share most of the key nostalgia points with old-time fans without having to watch movies released decades before they were born. And I'll totally forgive that if it means that, having laid that necessary groundwork, they can now go make a ton of new Star Wars movies that do interesting new things. But it means that I won't really feel like I've seen a *new* Star Wars movie until the next one comes out. I hope. :P
Also, the bad guy speech before the firing of the planet-killer was a little painful. I don't have a lot of tolerance for unexplained evil anymore, and I felt like 5 minutes from a Game of Thrones writer could have easily given the new bad guys a compelling reason for doing what they're doing. (There are PLENTY of logical reasons to want a new empire, and even to justify what they're doing to achieve it, but the film went instead for unexplained mustache-twirling evil, which just feels sloppy and uninteresting to me.)
captain yesterday wrote:
My favorite TV show right now is a toss-up between Sherlock and Game of Thrones. Both are among the best shows I've ever seen, in terms of writing and acting, though these days I'm a touch afraid that GoT might pull a Rome and just go down the rabbit hole of despair, forgetting that what makes the grim elements of shows work is the dynamic range, the contrast. Once you lose hope, grimdark just becomes painful and unsatisfying.
Favorite swearing: There's a scene in an early season of The Wire where two detectives do an entire crime scene investigation and share their conclusions using only the word "f+@*" and body language. It's a stunt, but one that the actors totally nail, making for one of the most brilliant pieces of screenwriting I've seen. :)
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
I can never tell which is me in those pictures, but that's definitely my brother in the back—he's *way* taller than me, and much handsomer.