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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

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Great guide here on how to improve game performance. Worth a look.


My take on the show's first season.

It was pretty good, but I agree that the pacing is a serious problem. It should improve for Season 2. But I do think that there were other reasons for the pacing:

Spoiler:
They likely want to keep Thomas Jane an active castmember for a longer period of time. In fact, they may even be considering keeping him around and using the spy instead for his story.

One big thing I disagree on though: I think the TV show is better than the book. The book was okay, but it had various problems particularly with bland prose. The TV show did a much better job of getting across the story, worldbulding and characters.


The exclusivity is down to mods. Apparently Firaxis talked to Microsoft and Sony and the deal is that the mods still have to be approved by Microsoft and Sony in a process taking weeks (which apprently pre-this generation they said wouldn't happen, then it did), so Firaxis said screw that and basically ignored them. Also, EU and EW sold fairly mediocrely on console anyway.

Another part of the problem is the "randomly" generated maps. Apparently there's an enormous amount of hardcoding in the generation algorithms which prevent the maps doing crazy things and looking natural and logical. Even on a hefty PC the load times are a lot longer than for EW and EU (which only had 80 map combos to cycle through). Apparently it would be flat out impossible for a tablet to do the same thing and it would make the load times on even the XB1 and PS4 be unacceptably long.

A port is still possible of course: ignore the modding side of it, add controller support (that's coming anyway in the first patch) and drop the randomly generated maps in favour of an EW/EU system of having pre-fabs which cycle around. But that's a fair amount of work that Firaxis aren't interested in putting in right now. Maybe further down the line.


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CapeCodRPGer wrote:

"no one could possibly be more disappointed than me." GRRM from the link.

If He was going to be disappointed then He should have done more to try and finish.

Since He said it was going to be a series, IMO He is expected to put these out at a decent pace. He told the public he was coming out with a number of books, its all on Him. I know all about Neil Gaiman saying GGRM isn't our b~+**. But its one thing to to say you are coming out with one book. Its another to say you are doing a number of books.

Erm. Are you saying that GRRM is God? I'm a bit puzzled as to the capitalisation of "Him" otherwise.

It depends by what you mean as "decent pace." So far in this series, Books 1, 4, 5 and (apparently) 6 will have each taken 5-6 years to release. So this is a fairly consistent pace. Books 2 and 3 were much faster, but there were various reasons for that (in actuality Books 1-3 were supposed to be one volume but it spun monstrously out of control).

Quote:
I can't help but wonder if they jumped the gun a bit on the TV series. Meaning, they maybe should have waited a bit longer before bringing it to the small screen.

In the ideal universe, yes. But a writer's maxim is that if a TV or movie studio offers you the money for the film or TV rights, you sell there and then and take the money and run and keep running.

Martin actually turned down a number of offers because they only wanted to make a film about Daenerys, or a film about Jon Snow. He always lamented these offers, saying that the only way to make the series was to get HBO on board to make an adaptation of one book per season. So when David Benioff and Dan Weiss came to him to say they wanted to make a TV show with HBO then yes, he had to make the deal. If he'd waited another ten years (literally, Weiss and Benioff made their first pitch to Martin at a restaurant in Los Angeles in February 2006) then they'd have long since moved onto something else with zero guarantee that anyone else would be interested.

Quote:
Martin says in his post that, when it started, he didn't think the show would catch up, that he would have plenty of time to write. That the show has been such a huge success, and opened the series to a wider audience, may have put a lot more pressure on Martin.

The original deal was made in 2006, when the writing times per book had been a bit more optimistic. Book 1 had taken five years, but Books 2 and 3 had taken two to three (depending on how you count them) and Book 4 had also taken three-and-a-half years to write (if five to *publish*). So at that point Martin was envisaging Book 5 in 2007/08, Book 6 in 2010/11 and Book 7 circa 2015. So he was probably thinking that it'd be close for the final season (remembering that the TV show was originally supposed to debut in 2009, but the recession and the 2008 writer's strike both delayed things by two years) but otherwise it'd be okay. Clearly, he was wrong. If he'd fully accepted that it was going to be 5-6 years per book from that point, maybe he'd have made another decision. But probably not (see my point above).

Quote:

Here are some other writers' perspectives on writing long series fantasy fiction:

Zeno's mountains and How to write a long fantasy series.
I don't know that GRRM has the specific problems that Tolkien or Robert Jordan had (each writer has his own individual style, structure and plot problems to overcome) but I get the sense he's struggling with the same sort of problems inherent to long series ficition, and that's why he's taking his time.

Yes. This is the "gardener/architect" problem which Martin and Sanderson and many other writers have written about before. Namely, that writers fall very broadly into two camps:

1) Writers who create an outline and plan where the story is going in some detail before they actually start writing the story itself. These stories are architects. Brandon Sanderson is probably the most well-known modern example. Possibly Patrick Rothfuss, although he's in a different boat having completely written and completed his trilogy 10-15 years ago and has since rewritten it pretty much from scratch, but still following his initial plan.

2) Writers who sit down, write Chapter 1 off the top of their heads, then Chapter 2, then Chapter 3 etc. Martin, Jordan, Tolkien and Stephen King fall into this category.

There are some degrees inbetween, most notably those authors who have a rough plan in mind but also retain the freedom to go off-piste and explore subplots and other characters that show up along the way. Rowling had her seven-book plan in mind, but certainly not every subplot and character pre-invented. Steven Erikson also falls into that category: he had ten books in mind, each one with its own story and theme, but he often didn't finalise characters or plot points until deep in the writing process.

Martin's issue is certainly that he knows by now where the story ends and how to get there, but that he needs to move his characters there in a way which is timely but also natural but which also rewards the (in some cases very elaborate) foreshadowing established previously. He also needs to craft reasonable story arcs for each POV character, which I think is actually a big part of the problem.

The two articles linked both feature some interesting analysis on the problems but they both massively neglect to mention that the gardener series, the ones that sprawled, are also the most financially successful and the ones that resonated much more with massive audiences (to the tunes of millions and tens of millions of readers apiece). Both articles in fact are in danger of saying, "Turn in a smart, tightly-written, finely-edited trilogy that will get some good reviews but almost no-one will hear of or read."

Quote:
That being said, he should have expected some (partially justified) blowback when he failed to meet a deadline he agreed upon. I have to wonder if there will be some kind of financial repercussions for him.

I suspect whatever minor financial penalties his publishers might impose (beyond not getting money when the book came out) may have been dwarfed by the decision to sell to HBO resulting in the books selling approximately ten times what they had one prior to the TV deal.


Fairly random threadbump, but okay.

PROMETHEUS 2 is actually no more. It's now ALIEN: COVENANT, is going to be start of a new ALIEN prequel trilogy and Noomi Rapace has been dropped (apparently not her choice). The new film will apparently focus on a team of explorers encountering the android David on some random planet some years after the events of PROMETHEUS. Eventually xenomorphs and/or Engineers show up.

I'm not sure how I like this development. It feels very cynical and market-led, almost like Ridley Scott decided to gazump Neil Blomkamp's ALIEN 5 project with Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn (which is now on hold until COVENANT, at least, is in the can) by making a proper ALIENS film and dumping most of the PROMETHEUS-specific casting and plot points. It's all a bit baffling.


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Krensky wrote:
Werthead wrote:
Quote:
You really didn't pay attention to either film then, did you?
I paid attention to both films far more than you did, apparently.
That's manifestly false based your comments, but if it makes you feel like one of the cool nerds to hate them for things that are just as much part of the other Trek movies or only exist in your complaints, have at it.

So...you have no firm rebuttal in mind or possible?

Cute.

Very, very cute.

That's fine. Some people enjoy the lolz, or explosions, or superficial gloss. Knock yourself out. Some people enjoy mindless candyfloss which does not engage the intellectual process in any way, shape or form.

But do not, under any circumstances, step up and say, "Haterz whatevs" and do not offer a single firm rebuttal, or argument, or piece of evidence to back up your position. Argue your position or retreat. There is no inbetween.

Quote:
let us do battle werthead!

I would do. But you're still in the Mutara Nebula and I'm over Vulcan's decaying orbit.

Bring. It.


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Not really a spoiler, but some information on a much-discussed rumoured cameo:

Spoiler:
The stormtrooper Force-convinced by Rey to release her from her cell was apparently played by Daniel Craig, visiting from the SPECTRE soundstage over the lot.


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Quote:
You really didn't pay attention to either film then, did you?

I paid attention to the nihilism and lack of logic or consistency. I paid attention to the execrable scripts written by some of the biggest hacks in the industry. I paid attention to the poorly-thought-out battle and action sequences that ignored plausibility, logic or basic physics (when the new STAR WARS movie has better science than the latest STAR TREK ones, something has gone very wrong somewhere).

I paid attention to the haphazard and illogical character development. I paid attention to Captain Kirk's completely illogical and implausible career path. I paid attention to the initially laudable decision to completely remove themselves from the original mythos and then the very weird one to instead steal ideas from a film far superior to anything they could dream up themselves.

I paid attention to the development of interstellar transporters which made starships obsolete and then their complete failure to follow up on it in any logical manner. I paid attention to their complete, outright curing of death in the second movie, and look forward to what will no doubt be a thorough and convincing exploration of the ramifications of such a shocking, galaxy-shaking, paradigm-shifting discovery in the third movie in the sequence.

I paid attention to both films far more than you did, apparently.


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It was very decent, althought not flawless. Certainly superior to the prequels, not quite as good as the OT, although not far off JEDI in quality.

My spoiler free review.

My biggest complaint (SPOILER!):

Spoiler:
When they test Starkiller Base they blow up a star system identified only as "The Republic". The main planet that gets blown up has a massive world-spanning city and the shots on the planet's surface sure as hell look like Coruscant. Certainly most of the audience I was with thought Coruscant had just been vapourised.

Twenty minutes later they very casually mention the planet that was destroyed by name and it wasn't Coruscant, at all. But it's very low-key and a lot of the audience I was with - and from looking online quite a lot of people talking about the movie - left thinking they'd blown Coruscant away in the film.


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Quote:
Star Trek is undergoing the kind of change that any show MUST undergo when it's been around as long as Dr. Who.... reinventing itself for a new audience raised in a different time, with a very different set of worldviews.

That's not a problem. The issue is that at its core STAR TREK presents a vision of the future that is utopian, peaceful and rooted in diplomacy and avoiding war. The reason for that is made clear in DEEP SPACE NINE when we finally see a full-scale, all-out interstellar war which lasts for years and the results are apocalyptic, but handled with weight and gravity.

You can update that view for modern audiences and riff off other inspirations and ideas, but what you can't do with the franchise is completely ignore or destroy that core set of values. Levelling San Francisco, slaughtering millions of people, and then not even addressing that is a problem. Destroying Vulcan and killing billions of people and not addressing that is a problem. Having the Enterprise have the consistency of toilet paper and get blown to pieces every movie but then be absolutely fine is a problem.

If you look at STAR TREK VI, that movie is all about avoiding war. That doesn't mean you can't have some exciting battle sequences and well-rooted moments of characterisation along the way, but ultimately the film (and the franchise) is about the value of life and preventing bloodshed. The new Abrams movies, on the contrary, seem to revel in bloodshed, explosions and death but then not exploring the consequences of that in any adult or meaningful way.


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A magnificently terrible trailer that sums up the complete and total failures of these new TREK movies in one go: a total lack of weight, substance, depth and integrity, all bombast and fury, no wit or intelligence in sight. The poverty of ambition in these film-makers is impressive: EXPLOSION! PEOPLE JUMPING! CONTEMPORARY MUSIC! INANE WITTICISMS!

As usual, the best thing in it was Karl Urban as McCoy, who will almost certainly not have a particularly big role in the film at all.

Sigh. The only hopeful thing is that it cannot possibly be as bad as INTO DARKNESS...can it?

Quote:
JJ didn't direct this one...

Yeah, I dunno why. I think he was working on some tiny, avant-garde project?


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Bethesda open a second studio for purposes so far unknown.

Apparently this is going to be a support studio for Bethesda Game Studios themselves (i.e. it's not another dev team like id and Arkane). Current fan theories are raging from a dedicated tech team who will be building a whole new engine for their games going forwards to a team who will be simultaneously working on the next big open-world game while the core team are doing their stuff, and sharing things like writers and directors between them. That would allow them to get new ES and FALLOUT games more quickly (say every 2 years rather than every 3-4 as now).


Just did the:

Spoiler:
USS Constitution questline. Excellent fun. I want to see a spin-off with Captain Ironsides and his crew of demented robot privateers.

I also got Broadsider, which is the most preposterous weapon in the game thusfar. But excellent.

Saw a great piece of tech advice for XB1 owners as well. Apparently you can install the game to a secondary SSD drive which will reduce loading times to something reasonably approaching sane. If you have a spare SSD drive lurking around, anyway.


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Quote:
Will the fanfare play now that Disney owns the franchise?

I was thinking more of the actual STAR WARS fanfare/theme rather than the Fox one, which I'm pretty certain won't appear.

Quote:
Doesn't 20th Century Fox still own the distribution rights?

No. They only own the distribution rights to STAR WARS (aka Ep 4) in perpetuity. Eps 5 and 6 revert to Lucasfilm and hence Disney in a couple of years.


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baron arem heshvaun wrote:
We also see the female pilot Jessika Pava.

Played by Jessica Henwick who was in GAME OF THRONES last year. Unusual for a STAR WARS actor to be playing a character with the same name.

Quote:
Should we guess the plot?

FANFARE

TITLE CRAWL

SPACESHIP FLYING INTO SHOT

STUFF GOING DOWN ON A PLANET (PROBABLY A DESERT ONE)

ACTION STUFF

WOAH LIGHTSABRE/FORCE REVEAL

ESCAPE FROM PLANET

STUFF IN SPACE

CUTAWAYS TO VILLAINOUS PLOTTING

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

EXPOSITION

PLAN ON HOW TO DEAL WITH BAD GUYS

SPACE BATTLE/GROUND BATTLE/BOTH

THREEPIO/ARTOO COMEDY PRATFALLS

BIG EXPLOSION/DEATH OF SECONDARY VILLAIN WHILST PRIMARY VILLAIN SURVIVES FOR SEQUELS

EVERYONE HIGH-FIVES/GIVES MEDALS TO/IMPREGNATES HEROES APART FROM CHEWBACCA, WHO IS IGNORED BECAUSE OF SPACE RACISM.

END CREDITS.


That was a very odd casting decision for someone in it for about 15 seconds. Maybe there'll be flashbacks later on?

The only problem with the early release is now the three week wait for the second episode.


Excellent.

Spoiler:
Just escorted a sentient, ambulatory microbrewery across central, war-torn Boston. This could be a whole spin-off franchise.


You can watch the first episode now via SyFy's Facebook page.

Pretty damn good. The best first episode of a space opera series since BSG ended. Solid script, great acting, a nice shooting style that goes for realism without settling for BSG-style shakey cam and some fantastic effects. I also liked the subtle ways they made it clear that Ceres has lower gravity than Earth or Mars (the bird only having to flap its wings intermittently, the guy falling into the airlock fairly slowly).

The pacing was also good, given how much they had to establish. Overall, a great opening and I'll be watching the rest of the series.


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Alex Martin wrote:

While I wouldn't mind Obsidian doing more on Fallout, I'd prefer they not muck up the mythology being told on the East Coast by Bethesda. Having played all the Fallout games (and DLC's), I kind of like the degree of difference you see - it gives the feeling of a distinct world despite the common apocalypse and technology.

Obsidian has crafted the Fallout history of the western states; Bethesda has created it's own environment on the east coast. Each is distinct and I'm not sure Obsidian can play in that sandbox without making their adjustments to the game. I'd rather see something that explores something like The Pitt, than another ramble into the politics of the wasteland aka New Vegas of the East.

Obsidian pitched a new FALLOUT game to Bethesda a few years ago. Apparently it was going to be set in the ruins of Los Angeles and would expand on the little seen of the city in FALLOUT 1. The outcome of those discussions was never disclosed. But yes, Obsidian and Bethesda have marked out areas of territory they want to explore in future games and Bethesda have firmly said they want to stay on the east coast or nearby. That raises the possibility of FALLOUT 5 being set say in New York, Charleston or maybe Miami (although it'd be interesting if they used the abandoned FALLOUT TACTICS 2 plans for the city, which were pretty interesting).


I think the press is starting to get a bit carried away with coverage of the game.

Spoiler:
The Salem Witches museum has been described as "spooky" and "terrifying" with a horrifying atmosphere. Which is hard to reconcile when you go there and discover it's just a building with a deathclaw in it. When at Level 22 with a Fat Man and 4 Mini-Nukes loaded up, isn't really very scary. At lower level, yes, it'd be scary until you realise the deathclaw can't fit through 90% of the doors in the building, so you can just stand on one side and shoot the thing for a while, or leave to get power armour.

Also did the Vault 81 quest. I kept expecting it go full-on horror and have everyone die or be infected or something, but it actually ended up being an example of the vault functioning as Vault-Tec's propaganda suggested it should, more or less. I'm tempted to keep it as a main base of operations, as the bobble head stand is quite impressive.

Scythia wrote:

Given how they shorted Obsidian on bonuses based on Metacritic ratings for FNV, I doubt that's a partnership that will be renewed.

Although I admit, I do wish they'd farm the dlc out to Obsidian. :P

As mentioned above, Obsidian are open to working on FALLOUT again. They know they got shafted, but it also kept them working and in business. It's also, I believe, Obsidian's biggest-selling ever game, so it also helped their reputation. PILLARS OF ETERNITY has done very well for them, but it's success isn't going to keep them ticking over for more than another year or so, so they need to get some more big projects on the table (PoE 2 is almost certainly on the cards, but now they have the engine and assets that should be a more straightforward project).

It's also worth noting that Bethesda themselves (as opposed to the publishing side) were very happy with NV and are very keen on getting games out more frequently, which they can only do by working with outside companies like Obsidian.


Based on Bethesda's release schedule and alternating game pattern, they've probably already begun initial design work on ELDER SCROLLS VI. I also wouldn't be surprised if they've contracted Obsidian for a FALLOUT follow-up game.

Sharoth wrote:

BoS thoughts.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, and this is the correct characterisation of the Brotherhood of Steel. FALLOUT 3 got them rather wrong.

Spoiler:
The BoS are techno-fascists who believe that all high technology in the Wasteland needs to be under their control. The DC chapter, and to a lesser extent the Chicago chapter in FALLOUT TACTICS, both combined this with altruistic motives, but FO3 went overboard in turning them into knights. FO1, 2, NV and now 4 depict the BoS's more standard and traditional attitude.


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Freehold DM wrote:
shouldn't have done the crime if he couldn't do the time.

I think the problem wasn't that he did it and got fan hate mail, but his brother died just before the book came out and he was struggling through grief at the same time hundreds of people were demanding his head on a stick. It was pretty rough.


Quote:
Having tried to read Robin Hobb and failing, I don't agree. Then again, I think you are also the one who first introduced me to the Malzan books in another thread, saying they are defining fantasy, and 1/4 of the way through the first book I am having trouble convincing myself to bother continuing. I find none of his characters interesting.

The first book is rough. It was written ten years before the rest of the series and the author's lack of craft at the time shows. You do need to read it at some point to understand later events in the series, but it does stand alone for a while. I normally recommend that people start with the second novel, which is set on a totally different landmass with a new cast and which has a much more cohesive plot and far more compelling characters.

Robin Hobb has the opposite issue to Sanderson: her prose is very good, her characterisation skills are impressive but her structure, pacing and worldbuilding can all be very haphazard. In her first two big trilogies, the plot ran out of steam somewhere in the first quarter of the final volume and it was a real struggle to finish them, although the eventual payoff is pretty good. She's like Tad Williams in that respect, although he usually recovers a bit earlier to deliver a good ending.


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Quote:
Direct ramifications for this could end up with million of people being affected, with hundreds of thousands dead.

Well, millions of people are already being affected and hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq, Syria and (on a vastly tinier scale) other countries over the past twelve years.

Quote:
Europe could very well perceive this as their own version of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. No country will stand idly by and wait to see if the next mass murder is happening in their capital city or that of their neighbors. This may very well be the end of an era.

As mentioned above, the death toll in Paris is a bit more than twice what was in London on 7/7, but less quite a bit less than in the Madrid train bombings. Horrible and a large death toll, but not on the scale of 9/11. Also, it's not coming out of the blue as 9/11 was (to most Americans). Britain, France, Spain and other European countries have recent experience of large, long and sustained terror campaigns and post-imperialist crises (France's issues with Algeria in the 1960s were horrendous).

Certainly there will be policy and security changes and this may be a gamechanger of a moment in that it galvanises some kind of additional military response, but it's not quite the casus belli for some kind of massive, disproportionate international response.

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Yes. Even disregarding the likely increase in hate crimes against them across Europe, I'd assume governments will be forced into action. I can easily see a wave of right wing parties taking elections so long as they promise a more forceful handling of immigrants. And there's no humane way to be forceful at an immigrant.

Certainly right-wing wingnuts will seize on this as an excuse to push anti-immigration and racist policies. But they were doing that anyway.

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There are millions of Muslim in Paris.

In France, yes, not Paris.

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This attack means that every French citizen is now in constant danger. It is a serious escalation of events.

No. At least, not an escalation of the danger. The danger was there before, it's now been actualised. We've been living with this danger in Europe for generations. I grew up knowing every time I went to London there was a risk of an IRA bomb going off. You have to accept those risks or stop being able to live your life and then the terrorists have won.

Also, carrying out this kind of attack against the French is pretty dumb. The French are even more resiliant and philosophical about these things than we in the UK are, and we're pretty bullshy about it.

Quote:
You have to do something when this kind of attack happens. Just shrugging it off isn't an option. The truly tragic thing is that whatever you do in reaction is likely to cause a whole lot of suffering and extremely unlikely to actually solve the problem. It's a really sh**ty position to be in.

There will be a response, either an escalation of the current air strikes or accepting certain things that a few weeks ago were unacceptable (probably allowing Assad to remain in Syria in a transitional mode). This in turn will allow for a more coordinated push and attack on ISIS.

The big problem is that the only current ground forces having any serious successes, the Kurdish Peshmerga, are also bitterly opposed by the Turks and some of the Syrian government and other rebel groups. The Kurds can't do everything by themselves, although their recent recapture of Sinjar could be a huge strategic movement, as it threatens to cut off the primary Syria-Iraq supply route for ISIS and will help in the siege of Mosul that the Iraqi army is preparing to launch.

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Since Putin is fighting them in Syria openly, I wonder why they haven't targeted them...

There are Chechen groups who'd happily help ISIS (vice versa is less clear, as ISIS are way more hardcore about not helping other groups who won't swear loyalty to them, unlike al-Qaeda) and those groups have bombed Volgograd (twice) and Moscow in the last five years, killing dozens. Certainly Russia isn't immune from this sort of thing.

Plus an alleged affiliated group shot down a Russian airliner a couple of weeks ago.

Quote:
A good question is why the NSA did not stop this. After all, with all the information they have, they must certainly have been aware of such a complex scheme.

Despite how it is protrayed on film and television, the American NSA isn't very good. It's intelligence has been largely awful, its ability to liaise and infiltrate local groups in the Islamic world is almost non-existent and it relies on signals and electronic transmissions to the point where Islamic terror groups know how to avoid them (meeting up in a house in the middle of nowhere or going outside for a walk and putting nothing on an electronic device is all it takes).


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At Level 12 I was also getting caned by Super Mutants, but then got a modded rifle which does 4x the damage of my next best gun and that one-shots Super Mutants and two-shots tougher variants. Excellent.

Anyone done the Super Mutant-infested skyscraper mission? That was brilliant fun with the tougher weaponry.

Also met a lunatic raider gang called the Forge. Was attacked by their leader (in power armour) and six minions at the same time. I was way too low a level to handle it, but fortunately I had a Fat Man and one single Mini-Nuke in the inventory. That vapourised everyone in the (fortunately quite big) room but only took the boss down to about 50% health. Still an epic fight to kill him with Piper's help, but at least it was doable.

I'm really liking the greater presence of the companion characters. They butt in during cut scene conversations with other characters, they sometimes stop you to talk and occasionally flirt. Which is a bit weird given that from your POV your wife died like a week earlier, but okay. Unfortunately, although they're a bit more lively than FO3's companions, they don't seem to have the tragic through-arcs and more developed characters of the NV companions.

Also, I started off liking the armour system and now hate it. I'm tracking half a dozen armour stats instead of one and it's getting really annoying.

Quote:
I have like 8 Fusion Cores (I opened a random box somewhere and found SIX OF THEM), but I don't want to use the Power Armor for everything. Or anything, really.

Perennial RPG problem. You get a superweapon (which is what the power armour really is) and then hold off on using it until you really need it. Then you finish the game and realise you never needed it.


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Quote:
My buddies will argue against that. He complains that they don't use the Boston subway system and the roads aren't screwed up enough.

More accurately: parallel universe, far-future, post-apocalyptic Boston, where they didn't get as much of a chance to screw up the roads.


More to the point, the third MISTBORN trilogy is where a lot of the Cosmere metaplot will also get tied together.

Spoiler:
It's also where the "regular" humans (non-Voidhoppers) of the different planets will get to meet one another. Or so he plans at the moment.


ELANTRIS II is still coming, but not for a while.

STORMLIGHT III will hopefully be a late 2016 release, but could slip to early 2017.

I'm trying to remember where we are in all this, but I believe that after STORMLIGHT V there will be a long pause whilst Sanderson writes the Second Big MISTBORN Trilogy.


Got in to find a note telling me that FALLOUT 4 is waiting at the post office. Whichis now closed. Sigh.

Quote:
The STALKER series is also Russian based.

Or, more accurately, Ukrainian :)


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Interesting. Raises a lot of questions, actually - when in the timeline is this movie? Are they retconning the mythos (it kind of seems like it)? Does anyone show up besides Orcs and Humans (I heard years ago that Verne Troyer was going to be in this - he'd obviously be a Gnome)? Are they going to keep it classy this time around, or are they going to delve into increasing layers of self-insulting sleaze like World of Warcraft wound up doing?

It's retelling the story of WARCRAFT I - the movie will actually be called WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING in some territories - but they have the freedom to tweak things around. The person in charge of the story is Chris Metzen, which is good because he obviously knows the lore but is also bad because he's 1) a terrible writer and 2) is now getting to tweak the backstory to fit the current stuff in the games, which I know is annoying to old-school WARCRAFT fans. Fortunately he's not actually writing the script itself, only the story and outline.

It's a good idea to keep it simple. Apparently the dwarves and elves show up, but not in great numbers, and it sounds like there'll be no gnomes, tauren or other races. The focus is on Orcs vs. Humans and the story will retell the story of WARCRAFT I, although some elements of WC2 and WC3 may also come into play (they're definitely setting up Thrall's story for a potential sequel). WC1 was fairly light on storytelling, so they have a great deal more freedom to improvise and change things when it comes to character and story.


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He was the editor and wrote a few stories, but wasn't really responsible for most of where the story went and so on, right? At least the omnibus I have credits him as editor, but not writer (or he wrote one story? Something like that.).

If you think of WILD CARDS as a TV series, GRRM and Melinda Snodgrass are effectively the "showrunners" who are in creative control of the series, plan where the story is going to go next and make all the final decisions, but the actual writing is then given to other writers to do.

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I frankly don't think he's nearly as good of a writer as Sanderson.

I like Brandon and his books, a lot. But if you look at the variety of richness of Martin's career, his achivements in multiple genres and in both book and TV, there's really no comparison between them. Especially in areas like dialogue, where Sanderson is only rarely effective, and sometimes is a bit wince-inducing, whilst Martin is probably the most quotable living author writing in fantasy.

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I think it's fair to say ASoIaF has been spinning its wheels in books 4 and 5, and most likely because they weren't supposed to happen. After the end of book 3 we should have skipped forward 5 years, but for some reason he decided to write them out. The result was two books in which not much happened... Now he's got that out of the way, hopefully the pace will pick up again in the next one.

Sort of. The five-year gap was never supposed to happen, was introduced because the kids weren't growing up fast enough (the first three books last about 18 months but were supposed to cover more like 4-5 years between them, which ironically the TV show has done instead), was then pulled when it didn't make sense, and then Books 4 and 5 basically became a combination of material that should have been skipped in the gap, new material and material from after the original gap. Straightening all that out has been a problem for George (massive understatement).

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I enjoyed shadows, but mistborn is still probably the best trilogy of all time.

MISTBORN is a very fine, tight and nicely-designed series, and the sequel books have been pretty good. I think STORMLIGHT is definitely better-written, but it's also less well-paced and I don't think the STORMLIGHT characters are as vivid and on the same level as the MISTBORN team. Part of the problem is that Brandon is building up a whole 10-book series here and he has a lot of characters, subplots and chapters in Books 1 and 2 which are not going to become relevant until much (much) later in the series. STORMLIGHT is also going to cross over with the rest of the COSMERE mega-setting. Some will likely see them as features more than bugs, but these are things that can bog down the STORMLIGHT books and it's why they are so absolutely massive when they really don't need to be.

Having said that, they are still really good books. It's also worth remembering that ALL of Sanderson's solo, non-YA fantasy is set in the same universe, with crossovers and Easter Eggs between the books. That means that ELANTRIS, MISTBORN (all of them), WARBREAKER, THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE and quite a lot of his short fiction is all set in the same universe, as is the forthcoming WHITE SANDS graphic novel. In fact, characters from MISTBORN and ELANTRIS actually show up in STORMLIGHT (under new names), there's one character who appears in every book (if fleetingly) and you really need to have read WARBREAKER before the second STORMLIGHT novel for it to entirely make sense.

For comparisons with MALAZAN (another 10 book series), THE WAY OF KINGS is certainly better than GARDENS OF THE MOON, but DEADHOUSE GATES is comprehensively, comfortably and utterly better than WORDS OF RADIANCE. Erikson got a hell of a lot better between his first two books (to the point where I sometimes suggest to people that they skip GARDENS, as you don't necessarily need to read it first).

For "Best Fantasy Trilogy of All Time", the only real claimant to that title I think (given that LotR is actually a single novel) is Jack Vance's amazing LYONESSE trilogy. For recent fantasy works, I'd also rank Joe Abercrombie's FIRST LAW trilogy as on the same level as MISTBORN, with a far weaker opening but with a much better ending. Elizabeth Bear's ETERNAL SKY trilogy from last year was also incredible.
It's also only very arguably fantasy, but Bernard Cornwell's WARLORD CHRONICLES trilogy is also utterly fantastic.


There is apparently a division of the rights between CBS and Paramount. CBS have the TV rights and Paramount have the movie rights. The two actually aren't getting on too great at the moment, and there's some issues with CBS having badly mishandled the TNG HD remastering job and a lack of synergy (apologies for even using the word) between the two when it comes to cross-marketing and support. The fact that the new TV announcement apparently HAS to distance itself from STAR TREK BEYOND (the third film in the Abramsverse, due out next summer) bodes well that the new TV show will in fact be set in either the original timeline or a new one.

That's not definite, and of course Kurtzman is tight with Abrams and Paramount so he could probably swing it that they can use the Abramsverse instead if he really went for it. At the same time, it's also the 50th Anniversary of STAR TREK next year and this new project is being sold as part of those celebrations. If that's the case, something they can use to revisit the past series may also be possible.

What's interesting is that there were pitch meetings for the new series and as well as Kurtzman, Michael Dorn got to pitch his Worf-centric series idea. In fact, some fans have been speculating if the two are the same project. That sees very unlikely, as Kurtzman was never mentioned as part of the Dorn project, which was instead supported by TNG/DS9 producers Ronald Moore and Ira Behr (both now making OUTLANDER for Starz). That at least shows that CBS were interested in projects set in the original timeline.

One unfortunate bit of news: CBS just shot down the STAR TREK: RENEGADES Kickstarter, which would have brought back Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Aron Eisenberg, Cirroc Lofton, Robert Beltran and Terry Farrell (among others). Some fans have speculated this was because RENEGADES (which previously had support from CBS) might be touching on the same ideas the new show might be relying on, such as the original timeline and past crewmembers showing up. More likely, they didn't want to risk brand confusion.


The first two episodes are up for free to view on Amazon this weekend. You'll need Amazon Prime to watch the rest of the series when it launches on 20 November, but not for the first two.


MALAZAN is a reaction to the low-magic, low-fi approach to fantasy introduced by ASoIaF and a few other series. It's a full-on, turn everything to 11, epic-level fantasy series with massive amounts of magic but also a lot of literary experimentation and interesting stuff to say about society. It's still too new to have inspired tons of new writers, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it cited as a major influence a further generation down the line. Black Company is hugely influential on modern fantasy writers, for example, and that's sold peanuts compared to Malazan.

I agree that Sanderson is more approachable and easier to read than some of the other fantasy series around, but that's also because he's kind of lightweight in characterisation and his prose is never above the ordinary. He's gotten a lot better and is getting a lot better as he goes along, plus he's a great guy (met him last weekend, he's apparently a fan of my blog), but I think his work suffers from being a little too pre-planned and less spontaneous than other fantasy. His overall, 40+ book masterplan is also both impressive but daunting.


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ASoIaF is dark, but nowhere near as dark and unrelentingly harsh as some other fantasy worlds (see Scott Bakker's, arguably Steven Erikson's as well). If you look at the peacetime scenes in the first book, and more notable in the prequel novellas, you can find a world that when it's actually at peace is actually a perfectly fine medieval fantasy world to live in. It's just the fact that ASoIaF takes place at a time of brutal civil war that makes it seem to suck a lot more than it actually does.

Reading the books is an interesting experience as you can see the foreshadowing laid in for things later on. The Tower of Joy dream in the first book and the House of the Undying sequence at the end of Book 2 are particularly brilliant for this. You can see plot elements that don't come to fruition until the fifth volume being laid down.


Book 3: Rapture

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For centuries the nations of Nasheen and Chenja have fought a gruelling, deadlocked war. Millions on both sides have been killed by airbursts, poison gas and hostile swarms of insects. Now peace has come. Hundreds of thousands of young men and boys have returned home to the cities of Nasheen to find that their female rulers don't know what to do with them, but still expect them to obey. A movement for equality and representation is building, spearheaded by a mysterious figure. Retired bel dame Nyx is "persuaded" out of retirement to deal with the problem. Her mission will involve crossing a vast desert to unknown lands, a chance meeting with old friends and the final hope that she might find some peace at last.

The Bel Dame Apocrypha series has done increasingly interesting and original things with each volume. Overall, the series is a curious mix of fantasy and science fiction, set so far in the future that technology and magic have become indistinguishable and a "fallen" race of humans, divided internally by religion and ideology, must make use of them to survive on a hostile, only partially-terraformed planet. The SF elements work because they are subtle and kept in the background, and overall the "bugpunk" theme is sold because the author commits to it, making her weird concepts convincing due to how the characters treat them as ordinary.

God's War was an accomplished debut, benefiting from a razor-sharp sense of story but being a bit rough around the edges. Infidel was superior, a brutal (even traumatising) novel that was incredibly powerful but made you wonder if the author should be hauled before an international tribunal for the mistreatment of fictional characters. Rapture retreats a little from being that hardcore - although it's certainly not a happy novel - and instead shifts to being a more detailed and in-depth exploration of the world and history of Umayma and how it will develop going forwards.

It's a remarkable book, driven by anger and fury and burning intelligence. A lengthy crossing of a hostile desert made me draw comparisons with Mad Max: Fury Road (although Rapture predates that film by three years), not for the plot but for its sense of purpose. We learn more about the world and what's going on in remote areas, but the book remains focused on the characters and how they relate to one another. The final collapse of relationships long tottering on the edge is sad, but also inevitable and then horribly liberating, in a way that's true to life.

The book is mainly concerned with its own storyline, but finds time to wrap up long-standing plot threads from earlier volumes. Indeed, characters and arcs established in earlier volumes which felt a little disconnected from Nyx and her team are here tied into the main storyline with great skill. It's not a neat ending to the series - and there is at least one large dangling plot thread that potential sequels could pick up on - but it does bring about enough satisfying resolution to work if there is never another Bel Dame novel.

If the novel does have some weaknesses it might be that some of the desert sequences in the middle do drag on a long time when the book's finale (which involves crossing the entire continent) is squeezed into a few too few pages, feeling rushed to the edges of incoherence. But the author just about manages to carry it off, producing an ending that's epic, spectacular and wonderfully messy.

Rapture (****) is a readable, finely-characterised and highly imaginative novel, brimming with wit and attitude. It is available now in the UK and USA.


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Love my DVD set, but I'd also love to see them finally put the series on Bluray.

There's no reason to do it without being able to remaster it. There's two key problems with this:

1) You need the original film the scenes were actually shot on in order to a remaster: the original fully-edited tapes are SD only, so they're useless. The 32mm film masters are what is required and they need to have been stored and preserved perfectly for 22 years (and counting). STAR TREK was fine because Paramount/CBS has a custom-built archive facility located hundreds of feet below a salt mine in Pennsylvania. Fox's storage facilities are also pretty hardcore, hence they've been able to do X-FILES. Warner Brothers apparently has a warehouse in Los Angeles. At one point the warehouse was flooded and then invaded by rats. According to some reports, most of the series is fine but the pilot master reel was kind of eaten. So the pilot may be unsalvageable.

2) BABYLON 5's CGI was handled by a company working on an absolute shoestring. They had a budget-per-season rather than per-shot, which meant that B5 could have insane numbers of CG shots per episode (over 100 for "Fall of Night", "Severed Dreams", "Endgame" and a few others). Any company redoing the CG for B5 now would charge a hell of a lot more than Foundation Imaging and Netter Digital did back in the day. This would raise the cost of remastering B5 quite sharply. There's also a hell of a lot of re-compositing to do (any scene in C&C, the Garden etc).

The total cost of remastering STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION was $20 million, for the most successful and highly-watched space opera TV show of all time. And it's apparently struggled to make its money back. BABYLON 5 is extremely obscure in comparison. Literally, Warner Brothers have said they would rather reboot the show from scratch as it would be more cost-effective.

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A show where the arc is defined in the beginning.

Kind of. JMS massively oversold this at the time. The B5 we ended up with is very different - but to fair vastly better - than what he had planned even as late as 1994.

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The technomage arc of books are the only ones considered canon by JMS himself.

"The Shadow Within", "To Dream in the City of Sorrows", THE PASSING OF THE TECHNO-MAGES TRILOGY, THE PSI CORPS TRILOGY and THE LEGIONS OF FIRE TRILOGY are all considered canon by JMS, as are the comics he wrote about Sinclair's dismissal from B5 and the stuff set on Mars (which was directly referenced in "Messages from Earth"). Most of the rest are considered semi-canon at best.

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Londo's "gift" to the Sheridans looked like it was a setup for the finale when I first saw it -- but in fact it was a setup for a series of events that took place in the intervening years and was never shown on TV.

It was actually setup for the LEGIONS OF FIRE books which were already in the planning stages.

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I could have sworn Centauri fighters ignored momentum like that too.

The Sentris could pull higher-G turns than the Starfuries because the Centauri were willing to risking blacking out, as their fighters' AI systems were superior to the human stuff and could take over for a few seconds. They were a lot more fragile though. The Starfury and the Narn fighters (which took some hints from the Starfury design) was quite rugged in comparison.

You may be thinking of the Vorlon fighters, which treated gravity and momentum as optional extras.

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I was always under the impression that the Vorlons and Shadows were grouped as part of the First Ones, just sort of the last of the first ones to come along.

Spoiler:
Yes, the Shadows and Vorlons were the youngest of the First Ones, although still millennia beyond the Minbari.
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That wasn't what happened with either. It's never been disclosed or even discussed why Andrea Thompson left as far as I'm aware.

Andrea Thompson wanted to apply for a role as a series regular on the first season of JAG, on which she'd be in every episode as a core regular and paid more. On BABYLON 5 she wasn't paid much and her contract required her to be available for all 22 episodes even when she was only actually in 6 or 7 of the season. She asked to either be downgraded from recurring character to a recurring guest star and to work her new role around BABYLON 5, or for her appearances or pay on B5 to be raised to compensate her for missing out on a role elsewhere. When they were unable to accommodate her, she left.

For her, it was a straightforward business decision driven by her career needs. JMS took it personally (JMS tended to take things personally and act first and think about them later) and refused to let her come back even for a one-off episode in Season 3 wrapping up her story, even when she offered.

As it turned out, she only did one season as JAG and left to become a newsreader, as she didn't like the Hollywood scene too much. Her and Jerry Doyle breaking up also apparently took a toll.

That's what she directly said at a convention, anyway. Also, Talia was definitely supposed to stick around for the duration. JMS did want to bring back Lyta as well (JMS and Patricia Tallman were like best buds at the time and have collaborated on various projects since), but it would have likely been for a couple of guest spots here and there. Lyta basically took over Talia's storyline just as Talia took over Lyta's from the pilot.

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As I understood it, Claudia Christian was slated for season 5, which is clear from the Marcus subplot. I thought she had an offer of a part in something else?

There was a mix-up. Christian was offered a lot of money to do a film which would have required 3 or 4 weeks of filming for her. So she asked for 3-4 weeks off. JMS verbally gave her a promise that he would write her out for 3-4 weeks and then she could come back. The studio making the film required that guarantee in writing to take her on and contacted Warner Brothers and John Copeland, the other main producer and showrunner. Unaware of JMS's verbal guarantee, they refused to give that permission in writing. All of this was going on whilst JMS and Christian were in Blackpool, England at a B5 convention making communications (in those days) difficult. In the end, Christian decided to make the film after feeling that JMS had reneged on his promise.

Later on, when he got to the bottom of what had happened, JMS apologised to Christian and apparently got annoyed because he could have sorted it out (Lochley was, after all, only in about half of Season 5's episodes so they gap ended up being there anyway).


I really wouldn't call THE EXPANSE hard SF. They still handwave a lot of stuff. It's good space opera or pulp SF, but I wouldn't call it hard SF. Hard SF I think has to rule out FTL.


BBC America has put the first episode up for free for American viewers. No idea if it works for anyone else, but amusingly it doesn't for UK viewers, but then they can get it on the iPlayer instead.


The Bantam STAR WARS novels (starting with the Thrawn Trilogy and ending just before the New Jedi Orders) got a bad rep for being overly reliant on superweapons: the Sun Crusher, Centrepoint Station, Super Duper Star Destroyers, the Darksabre, the old Prototype Death Star etc.


Chuck Wendig is an author I've had recommended quite a bit for his own fiction, but I have to agree that his response to this situation has been poor.

First off, there have been LGBT characters in STAR WARS before. Not a lot, agreed, but a few, and a fairly prominent one in Paul Kemp's LORDS OF THE SITH, which is another of the "New EU" books. Also, AFTERMATH does indicated that KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC 1 & 2, and THE OLD REPUBLIC all remain in the new canon (backed up by the "Star Wars Story Group" now getting acknowledgements in the OLD REPUBLIC credits after the last update), and Juhani in KotOR is lesbian and the first LGBT character to appear in STAR WARS, thirteen years ago. So Wendig claiming to have introduced such characters to STAR WARS when he didn't is a bit lame.

Secondly, the overwhelming majority of issues with the novel seem to be with the prose first, then complaints about the canon change (not Wendig's fault, I agree) and only a very small number of morons are moaning about about the LGBT issue. It's not the primary complaint at all, and its fairly intellectually dishonest to try to strawman large numbers of people, some of them LGBT themselves, by saying it's because they're all 'phobic. The core problem, instead, is that the novel sucks.


Drejk wrote:
According to their page, the 1.03 update introduces x3 damage mode.

Yeah, for everyone. So bad guys die faster but so do you.

They make the bullet time mode an integral part of the game as well, which is handy.


Been playing this for a few hours. Thoughts:

1) It looks amazing. For a small game (1.5GB install), not to mention a Kickstarted one operating on a small budget, it looks incredible. The attention to detail is impressive and it's great to play a cyberpunk game with vivid colour rather than just grit 'n' neon.

2) It's not just a reboot of SYNDICATE. SYNDICATE was amazing in 1993 but it was also focused on combat and converting people. There was a very primitive stealth system but it was ropey as hell and it was almost impossible to finish any level without killing any enemies. SATELLITE REIGN has a more vigourous stealth system, better AI and gives you multiple ways of completing each objective. You can still run in and kill everyone in sight if you want to, but it's much harder (especially at the start of the game).

3) It's pretty tough, but fair. If you are overwhelmed and die, you know exactly why and how it all went wrong. The game also has a recloning feature to avoid save-scumming your way through the game. It might be a little too generous in that regard and rather unrealistic (especially as you can die 15 times trying to do the same objective and still come back to it and try again), but at least it's trying to help the player a bit.

4) There's not much in the way of a narrative. You have a job to do and a whole city to do it with and complete freedom of how to do it. After a brief and fairly succinct tutorial, you're left to get on with it.

5) Weapons don't seem to have much punch, which was the key problem with SYNDICATE WARS as well. Given in every other respect the game borrows from the (superior) first SYNDICATE, it's a bit odd why they went with the weedy gun firing and sound effects from SYNDICATE WARS. Maybe it improves later on.

6) You can still mind-control people to walk around as bullet sponges for you, but it's harder. You can also send people back to your lab to be pulped for genetic material to help you when you resurrect (as your stats degrade a little every time it happens). This is kind of gruesome and impressive at the same time.

Overall, a very solid and interesting game that feels like a SYNDICATE for the modern age, rather than just being a revamp of the original game. More interesting is what they could do with the engine. Put on a turn-based mode and give it to Harebrained, and they could make their next wave of SHADOWRUN games on this engine and it would be absolutely amazing.


Killing the fantasy world was really weird. WH40K was doing okay until DAWN OF WAR was released, but then sales of the entire range (novels, models, board games etc) took off hugely, especially in the States. If TOTAL WARHAMMER (which is what I'm calling it and damn the actual title) had even a quarter of the impact, it would have probably made the fantasy game much more viable again. Ditching it in 2015 rather than waiting to see the impact of the video game was a dumb move.

Anyway, a new in-engine cinematic featuring dwarves. Dwarves are cool.


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And yeah...Goodkind starts out okay.

The mind always boggles at this. WIZARDS' FIRST RULE is easily one of the very worst fantasy novels ever written. The second book, which I dropped halfway through, was even worse. Reading plot summaries of the rest of the series, it was clear that it somehow managed to go even more downhill.

However, it is apparently amusingly effective if you read the books with the viewpoint that Richard and Kahlan are the villains. Read in that light, they seem to make a hell of a lot more sense than they do if read straight.


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Novella 4: Winterfair Gifts

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Winterfair on Barrayar and the unthinkable is happening: Miles Vorkosigan is getting married. For his family this is a time of great happiness and joy. For Armsman Roic, one of Miles's long-suffering security officers, it's a time of paranoia, vigilance and stress. When things start to go wrong, Roic joins forces with one of Miles's old Dendarii comrades to ensure that the wedding goes off without a hitch.

Winterfair Gifts is a short novella set after the events of A Civil Campaign. It centres on Roic, a minor supporting character most notable at this point for engaging in combat with overzealous offworld security officers whilst half-naked and covered in butter (produced by insectoids from another planet, but that's another story). The novella actually feels a bit like an apology from Bujold to her character, giving him a chance to shine in his own story.

It's an enjoyable piece, with some laughs, some drama and some pathos in the relationship between Roic and Taura, the genetically-engineered soldier Miles rescued from Jackson's Whole. The drama part of the novel - including an assassination attempt and a dramatic arrest - feels almost tacked on, with much of the pivotal action happening off-page. Bujold's focus is on the two main characters, their development and their unexpected relationship, which is effective and touching.

A minor interlude in the overall Vorkosigan Saga, then, but one that is enjoyable and worth reading. It is available now as part of the Miles in Love omnibus (UK, USA).


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That's another hole with these awards, they don't include self-published titles.

As said above, they do. Most of the fanzines are certainly self-published, and there are no rules against self-published books.

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And as a cynic, I wonder just what the response to Game of Thrones would be if Vox Day wrote it. Let's postulate a world where Martin kicked off about 90 or so from a heart attack; we take all the manuscripts for Game of Thrones to an alternate world and give them to Vox Day to publish through whatever his publishing house is.

Day wrote a GAME OF THRONES rip-off novel. It was terrible.


40 minutes of SWORD COAST LEGENDS. Looking decent so far.


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sunbeam wrote:

In that thread that got closed I made the point that according to historic vote totals you could have apparently won a Hugo by spending 10 to 20 thousand dollars by making up fake people and voting for yourself. Or having a lot of friends or employees who could be persuaded to vote. I think you could have done it for about 5 thousand in a number of years for certain awards as well.

Seems to me that a lot of publishers along the way would have had some kind of interest in putting "Hugo Winner for 19XX" on the dustjacket.

No way this thing wasn't gamed along the way, and fairly frequently at that.

The only other time it was gamed was in 1987, when Scientologists bought up memberships to block-vote for L. Ron Hubbard's novel BLACK GENESIS. It was clear they were doing it, they didn't particularly deny it, but when it came to the awards themselves it got curb-stomped, came in last and the bulk of the winning votes went to Orson Scott Card's SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD (genuinely a good novel, and this was also before Card went off the deep end).

Other attempts to game the award have been minor compared to the number of votes required to actually win anything.

It's also counter-productive to spend $10K on gaming the awards when the likely financial rewards of getting the award are negligible: the Hugos used to result in a minor sales bump in the USA and absolutely nowhere else at all. Now they barely register in the USA either. Some Hugo winners from the last decade or so - most notably SPIN and RAINBOW'S END - couldn't even get a publishing deal in many countries outside of the USA, regardless of their awards.

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And he's won three Hugos? He seems remarkably dull to me. Where's the big idea? Do he write like Jack Vance or Gene Wolfe? Plot out stories like Alan Moore?

Scalzi isn't that great a writer, to be honest. He's a good blogger and critic, but REDSHIRTS (his novel that won the Hugo) was extremely mediocre. It's certainly the poorest novel to actually win a Hugo in many years, and actually spurred some of the current issues.

He's also Tolstoy, Proust and Tolkien rolled into one compared to Vox Day's excruciating writing abilities.

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I'd love to see sales figures for the books mentioned in this piece.

Scalzi's sold a couple of million. He also made a bit of side-money (and won a lot of new fans) by being an advisor on STARGATE UNIVERSE and had film rights to his books sold a few times.

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Time to split things up. Then everyone can be happy.

That's not really the problem. Fandom has splintered before: the David Gemmell Awards were started in 2008 at least in part due to the feeling that other awards (including the Hugos) were not rewarding the field of epic fantasy despite huge sales and tons of readers. The Nebulas, the Arthur C. Clarke and the World Fantasy Awards are all regarded as more prestigious than the Hugo because they are juried.

The issue is that Hugo is still the big one because of momentum, continuity and history. You can start another award tomorrow, but it simply won't have the prestige that 75 years of history gives to the Hugos.


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One of the best arguments against DragonLance I heard was when a friend offered to run a game in that setting (we wanted to play with 2E rules for a while), and another friend said "I don't want to be a side character in someone else's story"

And it struck me as completely correct. You can't really do anything important. It's already been done.

That was the difference between DRAGONLANCE and FORGOTTEN REALMS: DL was really one big narrative (the War of the Lance, with Raistlin's misadventures in the following three books as a major side-story) and attempts to extend the universe beyond that story have been patchy, at best. FORGOTTEN REALMS is one big world with room for absolute tons of stories with the idea of lots of adventurers doing stuff built into the fabric of the setting. The FR started going downhill when WotC decided to keep piling big epic events on top of one another so it made the "normal" adventurers feel small and pointless.

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