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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lucas sold Lucasfilm and everything it owns, including STAR WARS in its entirety, to Disney. So no, Lucas does not have power of veto over there being a DVD/Blu-Ray release. In fact, it's been pretty widely reported behind the scenes that Lucasfilm/Disney had been trying to get a good deal going with Fox for a Blu-Ray release of the original trilogy out in time for the new film. That's still possible (they could announce it with 2-3 months to go in a couple of weeks) but seems less likely now.
Actually, the stormtroopers on the cover are from the original trilogy. And the Falcon is still in its original state (with the original dish rather than the one lost in the DS2). Apparently these were deliberate choices on the part of Abrams and Lucasfilm, not mistakes. What it means is anyone's guess (although some believe it's a hint to an OT Blu-Ray announcement, as above :) ).
the empire yes, the sith, no.
In the EU, the Sith originally were aliens, and the humanoid Sith picked up where they left off with their teachings (also, Darth Maul was an alien). Whilst the EU proper has been eliminated from canon, the historical background stuff, especially that related to the ongoing OLD REPUBLIC video game, is in a much hazier state, so this may still apply.
As long as they don't abandon the 3rd person view entirely (I don't believe they are)... if it ever becomes entirely 1st person I won't be able to play their games any more (I'm one of those people who gets sick playing first person games -- sadly it's one of those things that's getting worse with age rather than better, & it's not the kind of thing you can do repeatedly to "get used to it"--I used to be able to play some 1st person games when I was younger and can't now).
Have you tried adjusting the FOV of the games? In fact, I don't know if you could for 3 and NV, but modern games usually offer it as an option.
Oh, and Lucas is fine with it since he still has creative control of Star Wars.
Lucas gave up creative control of Star Wars when he sold Lucasfilm. He gave them outlines for Eps 7-9 but they've pretty much ignored them. He's available as a consultant, but it sounds like they didn't use him much, or at all, based on his comments that he's looking forwards to seeing 7 in the cinema and has no idea what to expect.
iirc, there was some confusion at the end of rotj because the imperial fleet was far, far larger than the rebel one, and a war of attrition would have easily gone to the imperials.
The size of the Imperial Fleet was a problem, as they couldn't fire on the rebels without hitting one another, so the rebels were able to take out Star Destroyers by focusing the full strength of their fleet on small parts of the enemy line at one point (the Roman Battle of Pharsalus, where Caesar defeated a larger enemy force by focusing his strength on the enemy's weakest point, was similar), i.e. knocking out the Executor. Combined with the destruction of the DS2 and the loss of the Executor, Vader, Emperor and most of the command staff for the fleet, it's quite plausible that the Imperials would retreat, especially the senior admirals in the fleet who realised they could build up their own power base.
The novels had it that the Emperor was reinforcing the fleet through the Force (+2 Leadership Bonus, I guess), and his death removed that and left the fleet disoriented. I'm not a massive fan of that idea, but it does sound like the sort of thing the Emperor would do.
I don't really care if they discontinue most of the EU and other things, but I think if the general public starts saying...WTH is going on with this...I think the Star Wars films may have one first really good profits, and then it will die a VERY HARD, QUICK death
Well, we'll get three regardless: 7 is in post, ROGUE ONE is filming now and 8 is in pre-production to start shooting in a couple of months. If 7 and ROGUE ONE absolutely bomb, maybe they'll cancel 9 and the other stand-alones but...they're not going to bomb, clearly.
Yes and no. Without Lucas we wouldn't have STAR WARS, clearly, but a lot of other people worked on hard on the original movies. Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett wrote THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Irvin Kershner directed it and Gary Kurtz produced it both EMPIRE and the original film. Lucas had the least to do with it and it's, by a country mile, the most popular and critically-acclaimed STAR WARS movie. Lucas was irked by this and seized back control for JEDI, cancelling his original (and much more interesting) story outline, which so annoyed Kurtz that he walked out on the franchise despite the millions he could have made by staying with it. Kasdan was retained to write JEDI, but Lucas fiddled around with the script a lot more (which is why JEDI seems to alternate being awesome and then irritating with almost every other scene).
The prequels were garbage because Lucas did pretty much everything himself. The plurality of voices and perspectives on the original trilogy were not present and were replaced by a ton of yes-men who never put the brakes on Lucas's crazier ideas.
So yes, without Lucas there wouldn't be STAR WARS. But without a ton of other people, there wouldn't have been any really good STAR WARS.
Red Eagle are no longer suing Robert Jordan's widow, but discussions remain "ongoing" about the ownership of the film/TV rights.
My guess is that Red Eagle either 1) deliberately launched the lawsuit so they could withdraw it later on as a pre-emptive bargaining chip, or 2) realised they were on a hiding to nothing and quit whilst they were ahead.
At the moment I'm going to guess that the Jordan Estate technically get the rights back, but the Red Eagle company retains a nominal producer's credit. If the WHEEL OF TIME TV series does end up with Sony, that would at least make sense because Red Eagle set up the deal, even if it falls to the Estate to execute it.
So hopefully a final end to this mess is in sight, because WoT is in danger of missing the boat as other fantasy properties are picked up all over the shop.
One thing that is interesting: Universal may also be back interested since they missed out big time in the recent D&D legal shenanigans. If they want a slice of the fantasy pie, this is their best bet.
I doubt very much the third D&D movie had $12 million. Even $1.2 million seems high for the production quality they got, especially considering that the third film was almost certainly made for the sole purpose of retaining the film rights for another few years.
If it was $12 million, they must have flushed 90% of it down the toilet. Movies like CENTURION and IRONCLAD had budgets in that region and looked reasonably decent. The most expensive episode of GoT ever made was more like $8-9 million and looked even better.
They're going to spend money on it. Certainly more than $100 million and probably closer to $200. Maybe not more than that, Hasbro probably learned its lesson from BATTLESHIP and Warner Brothers aren't quite as crazy as Universal (who actually made BATTLESHIP). But OTOH a D&D FR movie is going to have an enormous amount of stories, characters and lore to draw upon and has a lot more franchise/sequel potential.
I can see them going fairly crazy with the money for this film if they really want.
I think we can safely say this is definitely happening: both sides have spent way too much money in legal fees alone to wimp out now, and Hasbro clearly want (rather unedifyingly in their desperation) a DC/Marvel/Star Wars-style mega-franchise, which D&D rather uniquely fits.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not hopeful of the end product being any good, but we are going to see a big-budget movie based on an RPG hitting the screen, which is kind of crazy. In fact, if Hasbro were bonkers enough to help raise $220 million for the Battleship film, I wonder what they're going to bet on a movie based on something that has actual stories attached to it. It'd be rather insulting if it was much less.
Tremble mortals, and despair. The mighty armies of Hasbro and Warner Brothers have lined for battle. Their lawyers prepare to unleash litigious fury and, oh, hang on, they've all kissed and made up.
So yeah, Warner Brothers and Hasbro have unexpectedly joined forces with the redoubtable Courtney Solomon and have greenlit an official D&D movie set in the Forgotten Realms, with proper money and (hopefully) a decent director behind it.
That just happened.
Harebrained Schemes have announced that a new BATTLETECH video game is in the works.
This game will feature turn-based strategy and RPG elements, allowing you to build your own mechs and take part in an open-ended campaign where you choose which mission to take on next (this feature is partially inspired by the MECHWARRIOR MERCENARIES games). There'll be a Kickstarter in the autumn.
The game is being made by the same team behind the SHADOWRUN RETURNS games (the last of which, HONG KONG, arrives on 28 August), including of course Jordan Weisman, co-creator of the BATTLETECH/MECHWARRIOR franchise. Based on the quality of SHADOWRUN RETURNS, this should be good.
Just a few female SF authors and key works:
Nancy Kress: BEGGARS IN SPAIN and its (increasingly unnecessary) sequels. This book was based around what happens when you genetically engineer people to survive without sleep, and the unexpected consequences of that.
C.J. Cherryh: DOWNBELOW STATION is a political-military SF thriller set on a space station caught between two warring factions. There are many, many prequels and sequels set in a complex shared universe.
Ursula K. LeGuin: THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is about a planet with gender-changing aliens and challenges gender assumptions. THE DISPOSSESSED is a (slightly) more traditional story about politics and cold wars between two neighbouring planets.
Jaine Fenn: PRINCIPLES OF ANGELS and several sequels are set in a coherent future universe full of bizarre technology and various alien threats. The first book is the best, coming off as China Mieville-lite, but the sequels are a bit more traditional.
Connie Willis: THE DOOMSDAY BOOK is a time travel story in which a research travels back to Medieval England during the Black Death whilst the society she travelled back from is battling its own futuristic plague.
I haven't read them, but Liz Williams and Elizabeth Moon seem to be well-regarded.
Just completed X-WING ALLIANCE using the ALLIANCE UPGRADE mod, which updates all the ships and visuals and applies an automatic widescreen update (you have to fiddle with the controls to make sure the cut-scenes stay at original res, otherwise they get stretched out hugely).
Still an excellent game, probably the best in the series. I know TIE FIGHTER gets a lot of love, but it pulls its punches too much (it never makes you do anything really dubious, missing the point of the "playing the bad guy" approach) and it gets ridiculously over-powered later on. Games are generally supposed to get tougher, but in the later missions playing as the TIE Advanced, Defender or Missile Boat (or even just the regular gunboat) you might as well have God Mode on. Nothing can touch you. XWA does get tougher as it goes along and the final assault on the Death Star II is just preposterously difficult. Still doable with some good strategy though. I also find XWA has the best AI, the biggest battles and also requires some deft command strategy as well as doing things yourself solo. The only real oddity is that Star Destroyers seem a lot weaker in XWA. It really shouldn't be possible to destroy them almost at will in a beat up old freighter.
I should pick up REPUBLIC COMMANDO. I only ever played the demo and by all accounts it's a great game.
The fact it isn't as good as HEIR TO THE EMPIRE we could expect. They knocked it out of the park with that book in a way no-on expected at a time when STAR WARS was dead. The same circumstances are never going to happen again.
However, not being anywhere near as good as even THE TRUCE AT BAKURA?
Owch. Didn't see that coming.
Both get a lot better later on. WHEEL OF TIME in particular was a shame because Robert Jordan wanted to write a more autobiographical story about a war veteran who discovers much later in life that he's the "chosen one" and has to deal with that. Publishers convinced him that making everyone young and then a bit more LotR-like was a good idea. He rebelled against that massively after the first book and took a completely different path, fortunately.
It may have been inspired by Lord of the Rings but it certainly isn't the same.
THE SWORD OF SHANNARA is a plot-by-plot, character-by-character knock-off of LORD OF THE RINGS. No-one, certainly not Terry Brooks himself, seriously argues with this and it is clearly the reason that SWORD is not being adapted.
The second book is reasonably different, which is why they've started with it, and they've played up the post-apocalyptic Earth setting (which is much more subtle in the books) to differentiate it from the usual fantasy cheese. I daresay they'll jump on the later books' leanings into proto-steampunk as well.
So to be fair, the complaint that SHANNARA starts off as a rip-off of LotR is completely accurate. However, the defence that it starts off that way but soon finds its own path is also accurate. The later books (or arguably just all of the books after SWORD) are certainly not ripped off from Tolkien or anyone. None of the books are very well written - Brooks is a cheesy, obvious writer a lot of the time - but there's certainly far worse fantasy around (some of it, like Goodkind and Paolini, already adapted for TV or film).
There are other reasons why they've chosen SHANNARA. It's one of the biggest-selling fantasy series of all time: only Middle-earth, Narnia, DISCWORLD, WHEEL OF TIME and A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE have sold more copies, and they're all tied up in rights disputes or have already been made. SHANNARA has sold roughly the same as Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings and R.A. Salvatore, so it's a big deal. It's also historically important, with SWORD being one of the first books to kick off the modern epic fantasy genre.
I think the general idea is that a BG3 would not be a sequel to BG1/2, although there would be scope for characters to show up, but would be a new adventure in a similar vein.
In fact, Black Isle spent some time working on BALDUR'S GATE 3: THE BLACK HOUND (before Black Isle tanked and BG3 was cancelled) and it was a stand-alone, new adventure set in the Dalelands. I think there were hints that Minsc might show up but otherwise the links to the first two games were fairly slender.
How much more is there in the books before we get into the unknown territory in which the producers will need to start relying on Martin's secret outline of the story's conclusion?
Arya: More or less caught up, save a couple of moments.Bran: The books are a tiny bit further forward.
Jon: Caught up with the books.
Samwell: About a book behind, but I strongly suspect the show will skip most or all of his book story and may pick up with him much later.
Brienne/Pod/Stannis: Unknown, as their story is now totally different.
Jaime/Bronn: Also unknown, their story is totally different as well.
Theon: Almost caught up, but Theon's story is now going to be different due to Stannis's fate.
Yara/Iron Islands: Way, way behind the books. According to rumour, the Iron Islands plot from Books 4/5 will feature in Season 6 instead.
Daenerys: Caught up.
Tyrion: Appears to now be ahead of the books.
Cersei: Caught up.
Kevan/Pycelle: A little bit behind the books.
So. VII remake. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that Square said, way back when, that VII wouldn't get remade until another FF game outsold it. Has that finally happened or did they just change their minds?
No, they said they'd make it when they felt satisfied they could do it justice and a new FF game came out that was better. I suspect they'll claim this for FFXV (regardless of its actual reception).
Chris Avellone leaving for inXile does make some sense. Avellone is one of the best-regarded CRPG writers in the world, but Obsidian's development slate right now includes games where he is doing nothing (such as the new tank MMO) or playing second-fiddle to Josh Sawyer (on PILLARS OF ETERNITY and the forthcoming DLCs and sequel). I get the impression that Avellone and Sawyer get on and work well together, but Avellone would like to head a project for a change. And given that his solo-led projects (FALLOUT 2, PLANESCAPE: TORMENT and MASK OF THE BETRAYER) have gotten way more acclaim than the Sawyer-led ones (ICEWIND DALE 2 and NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 2 basic) or their collaborative ones (ALPHA PROTOCOL, NEW VEGAS and PoE), I can see his frustration.
inXile, on the other hand, are finishing off TORMENT: TIDES OF NUMENERA, are planning WASTELAND 3, are making BARD'S TALE IV and now have VAN BUREN in the planning stage, although I'm of the opinion they are more likely to fold VB into WASTELAND 3. Getting the VB licence I think was only important because of the core idea Avellone developed which he never got a chance to use, the idea of there being "other PC parties", controlled by the AI, going about their business in the world and you run into them and either collaborate or become enemies or rivals. No other game has really done that. With inXile I think Avellone might see more opportunities to do interesting stuff.
Either that or he's finally going to write some novels, as some people have wanted him to do for years. Avellone go-founded Obsidian and funded most of the start-up costs, so if the others have bought him out, he's likely set up for life.
Either due to a change in actors or to a faulty memory on my part, I failed to recognize the armored perv that caught Arya's attention this episode. Someone on her List, presumably?
Ser Meryn Trant, one of the Kingsguard. Amongst his claims to fame were beating up Sansa on Joffrey's orders and killing Syrio Forel, Arya's sword-fighting teacher in Season 1 (which is why she's particularly keen to avenge him).
Overall XCOM 2 looks awesome. The only issue is that I would need a new computer for this (and Fallout 4).
I would say probably not. XCOM2 is using the original engine and doesn't look like it's been updated too far. Firaxis's attitude is that they don't see any reason to have hardcore, all-singing and all-dancing graphics and alienate half their player base, so the game will be playable on fairly old systems.
FALLOUT 4 is still using the Creation/GameBryo Engine. It's been updated a little bit with some fancier lighting, but that's about it from the look of it. If your system can handle SKYRIM with the settings fairly high, I suspect it can handle XCOM2 fine.
Three Dog can't be on the radio, because I killed him. Multiple times, even!
They could either simply say that it's pre-recorded stuff from before his death, or canonically rule that he's still alive. Or was rebuilt as an android. Or had a twin brother.
There is a precedent for this, as the previous games all had to rule on what actually happened in FO1 and 2 (which both had many multiple endings), and it'll be hard for them not to confirm whether the water purifier was used or not in FO3 in FO4. The location means that what happened in NV shouldn't be too much of an issue.
The new POWERPLAY update in a few weeks will change mining. It adds drones which can recover minerals for you and better scanning options. It'll still be a niche activity, but at least it will be a bit more interesting than now. There will also be more varied missions with the greater focus on factions and sub-factions.
There is a great ASoIaF/GAME OF THRONES mod for MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR (the last game in the series that permitted total conversion mods), as well as the utterly brilliant THIRD AGE: TOTAL WAR (a LORD OF THE RINGS mod) which somehow did a lot of things the engine wasn't designed to do. WARHAMMER already has a great M2 mod (CALL OF WARHAMMER) and I believe CA has (unofficially) acknowledged it as an inspiration. Bizarrely, there's even a ZELDA mod for MEDIEVAL II which is apparently really good as well.
There was a WHEEL OF TIME mod in development for a few years for ROME I (!) and then MEDIEVAL II, but ultimately it was judged that it was too unsatisfying because they couldn't integrate the One Power and flying units like draghkar satisfactorily in the engine, so they avoided it.
Perhaps Asians would be more interested if the novel and other categories included something by ASIANS (as in, from Asia...you know, that place which has Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, a whole slew of Sci Fi shows and cartoons that Americans have never...
Worldcon 2007 took place in Japan. It was by all accounts a lot of fun, lots of Japanese fans came along and there was some good stuff going on, but almost no Japanese writers or artists made it onto the ballot that year or afterwards and the con lost a ton of money. The lack of impact of Worldcon on Japan or vice versa is one reason why the proposed Beijing Worldcon has only ever gotten a lukewarm response.
There are some more non-American/European writers doing things and getting noticed, like Zen Cho (Malaysian), Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Thai, and very controversial herself), Ramez Naam (Egyptian, raised in the USA) and Ashok Banker (Indian), but the pool should be pushed a lot more in the US and other western markets, and there should be more translations available.
In the UK, "politically correct" was coined in the 1980s and used to refer to the policies and ideology of Thatcher's government: anti-union, anti-worker, pro-bankers, pro-big business. It was later conflated with the rampant corruption and collusion with business that blighted the end of the Conservative Party's two-decade rule of the country. Those on the right started using it to mock Blair and his right-on attitude and there's been an attempt (as in America) to use it to excuse various 'ist' behaviour.
I keep hearing that the combat is awful and your party members stand around doing nothing when they should be helping. Is this true?
No. In fact, the characters are pretty good at automatically engaging the next enemy once an enemy is killed, better than either the original BG games and certainly better than the recent DRAGON AGE ones.
Combat itself is pretty much the same as the Infinity Engine games, except that rather that using the D&D combat rounds, the game is fully in real time and 'turns' are limited by the characters' combat speeds, which vary depending on stats and the size and type of weapon they are using.
The title is GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN and the book is set after CRYOBURN. It will focus on Cordelia as the main character, for the first time since BARRAYAR.
2016 is also the 30th anniversary of the series (SHARDS OF HONOUR, THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE and ETHAN OF ATHOS were all published in 1986) and apparently there'll be some other stuff going on to celebrate it.