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Zovarue

Zeugma's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 876 posts (1,038 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 4 aliases.


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Qadira

Still reading the Francis Stevens collection. I laughed at the egregious racism and blatant sexism in "The Labyrinth." The sexism isn't SO bad compared to other works I've seen from the period (1910s-20s), but there are a lot of assumptions that we don't make anymore, and one particular gender assumption is the key to the plot, so I found the story less engaging than I might have otherwise.

e.g. that a single-woman is automatically assumed to have loose morals if she is alone with a man who is also single. #doublestandard.

I shouldn't have been surprised at the racism since Stevens was an influence on Lovecraft, but several of her racist statements still took me aback. I'd include an example of the racism here but I really don't want to feed THAT particular internet troll. I'll just say that Stevens took the "Yellow Peril" seriously in 1918 and leave it at that.

Qadira

Marc, there is already a Community thread on the messageboards. I'm not complaining about your information. It's great and I'm glad you are spreading the news about Community but wouldn't the info fit better there?

Qadira

I enjoyed tonight's D&D Part II episode. The best part of it was the dean and I laughed out loud a lot. I'd totally love to play D&D (or Pathfinder) with dean Pelton! Jim Rash is such a great ham!

Qadira

@doc the grey:
I got an autographed copy of "A Natural History of Dragons"! I hadn't heard of Marie Brennan before, but she was by far one of the best panelists who spoke at the book fair I attended, so I bought her book figuring someone so well-spoken is bound to be a good writer. It was a delight! I still haven't bought "Tropic of Serpents" but my b-day is approaching so I think I will treat myself to it.

Right now I'm still reading Francis Stevens, this time a short story collection. I recommend "The Nightmare" for its very Gygaxian features. Lost islands full of carnivorous giant plants and strange fungi? Yes, please!

Qadira

Reviving (cloning?) the thread: I'd recently watched "Logan's Run" on TV so I had a lot of fun watching last week's episode. The way Jeff became a 5 was hilarious! Some of my favorite scenes in the show are between Shirley and Jeff, so I liked getting to see them spar once again. Joel McHale and Yvette Nicole Brown are my 2 favorite actors on the show.

Qadira

What Kahn Zordlon said is unfortunately true. While in the U.S.A. we have the ADA and other laws to protect people with disabilities in the work place, oftentimes those laws get side-stepped or ignored. Don't lie about your ASD if asked, it's always best to tell the truth, but don't bring it up if you don't have to. Once you have the job, if you need reasonable accommodation ask for it discreetly through HR.

Feros's advice is also good. I'd also recommend if you get an interview to go over some practice questions the day before in the mirror, doing a self-interview. You should be able to find typical practice questions online, such as "Why do you want this job?" and "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" etc. Answer each question until the answer is fluid and concise. It doesn't have to be the same each time, but it should roll off your tongue easily.

Before/during/after the interview phase, it's really important to network with people in your field; if there's a convention, meeting, or social gathering in your area go to it! I know this can be hard/intimidating for people with ASD, but keep in mind that even the most socially-minded people can get nervous meeting new people in big crowds. I don't do this kind of in-person networking often enough myself but some of my best job interviews have come from it. I still don't have a job in the field I've trained in (this is due more to cutbacks in my field than any personal qualities, I think), but my network contacts have been invaluable in getting me to the interview phase.

Qadira

I ended up reading Julie Halpern's Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. It wasn't that good a novel; it had some cute/aww moments and an "after-school special" vibe about personal growth, "being yourself" and "not judging books by their covers." The representation of D&D was not inaccurate, but not really detailed enough to give anything but a hint of what a high school gaming group is like. A lot of the characters' personalities were underdeveloped.

I've decided to read some non-fic for awhile. Geoff Nicholson's "The Lost Art of Walking." And maybe some more Francis Stevens after that.

Qadira

Dieben wrote:

Additionally, it is considered strongly misguided to strive to "cure" ASD by the ASD community itself. This is because it characterizes us as a disease in need of a cure. Rather than striving for a "cure", what is desired is a societal progression from the present age of autism awareness to an age of autism understanding.

[/soapbox]

2 points: 1) who are we actually talking about when we talk about the ASD community "itself"? Sure there are some people with ASD who feel talk of a "cure" threatens their identity as individuals, that any attempt to negate symptoms is a negation of personality, but others on the spectrum actively wish that they did not have the social deficits they are all too aware they have. It's a lonely life when you can't be sure of others' intentions towards you, eh? Actively educating yourself on body language, etc., can only get you so far when the "natural ability" to read people regresses or fails to develop in childhood.

2) I agree that society needs to move from a "victim" mindset towards people with disabilities of all kinds, especially ASD; and that a good faith effort to understand people on the spectrum should also be met by an equally good-faith effort on the part of people with ASD to understand and accommodate the ways of the "neurotypicals" with whom we all must live.

Spoiler:

[rant]
I speak of the Aspie's good-faith attempt to accommodate "neurotypicals" because I personally had a bad experience: as a tutor to a student with ASD who annoyed me no end by treating "tutor" and "I don't need to put in any personal effort" as synonymous. Having had an IEP and accommodation myself in school, having taken advantage of tutoring myself, in good faith, I had equally high expectations for the person I tutored. I know his lackadaisical attitude isn't true of other people with ASD/disabilities, and his attitude was likely a symptom of internalized victimization/learned helplessness, but it still irked me. Taking advantage of a service is one thing, taking advantage of people trying to help you is another. [/end rant]

Full disclosure: I received a Title 9 IEP when I was a child. I actually don't know whether or not I'd take a "magic pill" to erase my disabilities - at my age, I've arrived at a more nuanced understanding of how my diagnosis has both hindered me and benefited me (in the "it builds character" kind of way). I don't think I'd be able to put myself in a "pro-cure" or "pro-spectrum-acceptance" camp since ASD really isn't like cochlear implants, where one device can change everything.

Qadira

I just finished Francis Stevens' Citadel of Fear. It was very 1918 H.P. Lovecraft-inspiring pulpy/racist (or is that synonymous?) entertainment. Features: vile monstrous creatures beyond mortal comprehension, evil idols, and women in nightgowns fainting hither and yon.

Now I am pondering reading
a) non-fiction from the Jenga pile of books on my nightstand,
b) more Francis Stevens books I have in my library account queue, or
c) Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern, which is a YA novel that features teen D&D players. I have mixed feelings about this last choice as pink-cover YA isn't my usual fare but I also want to know what non-gamers/avid teen readers might be thinking if this book is their only exposure to the hobby.

Qadira

I just finished Francis Stevens' The Heads of Cerberus. You can read my review on the "Advanced Readings in Dungeons & Dragons" thread.

Next up: Stevens' The Citadel of Fear.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some further thoughts on THoC:

The aspects of the novel that seem most D&D-like are:
-"magic" dust that lets people travel to an astral plane.
-a gate-way into another dimension that the heroes HAVE to go through.
-a big THINGY OF DOOM that Thou Shalt Not Touch, and someone touches it anyway.

Oh, and the contest the heroes are forced to compete in is a bit like some contest-based modules where the PCs need to use their own particular skills to succeed.

Spoiler:

There's even a Thief character in the story who uses his pick-pocket skills to get around in alt-Philly, and is forced to compete against the Chief of Police in the "Hunger Games"-like contest.

If I were to borrow from THoC for my own role-playing game, I'd probably have Ulithia be a place, because the White Weaver is certainly cool, but the more satiric-alt-timeline stuff I likely wouldn't use. However, I could see someone else using it, especially if they like mixing in "real world" stuff with their fantasy, like the "Reign of Winter" Pathfinder book where the PCs get to kill Rasputin.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A review of Francis Stevens' The Heads of Cerberus:

Spoiler:

The plot may be a bit hard to summarize so please bear with me. The premise of the book is that three normal people from 1918 (the modern day when the story was serialized) accidentally snort the "Dust of Purgatory" and travel to an astral-plane called Ulithia, where time flows backwards & forwards. The lady in charge there (The White Weaver) tells them to pass through the moon-gate, and when they do, they think they've returned home to 1918 Philadelphia...it looks just like the normal world they left! Almost...
It turns out the moon-gate leads them to another dimension, an alternate-dimension future (the year 2118) where they're stuck in a dystopian society, where the lower classes are known by numbers, not names and all knowledge is controlled by a corrupt elite. Because they're outsiders and ignorant of alt-Philly's laws, the good-guys are to be put to death! But! There's a chance for them to escape death by competing in a "Hunger Games"-like contest (only less "Hunger Games," more...Gulliver's Travels meets Star-Search). Action and adventure ensue. Guns and fist-fights are involved; two of the adventurers fall in love with each other in the course of fighting for their lives (hetero-style, because 1918).
Finally, at the very last minute, they manage to escape by ringing the big red Bell of Doom that EVERYONE says they Should. Not. Ring. (that part really does remind me of some D&D games I've played in). The alt-Philly timeline dissolves and they find themselves in the "real" Philadelphia they left, and discover that only several hours had passed in their world, while many days had passed in alt-Philly world.

The sci-fi part comes in when the guy who was trying to steal the "Dust of Purgatory" in the first place explains Star-Trek style that the dust is really a strange alchemical substance that allows people's "sympathetic vibrations" to vibrate in a pattern that leads them to become out-of-phase with the atomic structure of this world, and helps them visit the astral plane of Ulithia; that there are other worlds "within worlds" through the moon-gate and infinite-timelines, that they just visited one of them. The explanation reminded me of that episode of ST:NG when Ensign Ro Laren and Geordi LaForge are "out of phase" with normal matter because of a cloaking-device malfunction (ep: "The Next Phase"); only in this case, instead of the protagonists being able to see-and-hear the "real" Philadelphia, they're totally phased into alt-Philadelphia. When the Bell of Doom gets rung, the "sympathetic vibrations" of the bell knock their molecules back into alignment with the world they came from and they return home.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay! I read "The Heads of Cerberus"! Time for a review.

My preliminary thoughts, which I wrote on a secret map made of moonlight:
Weird/occult/sci-fi written in 1918. Definitely has some Gygax-like flourishes: A bit of astral-plane hopping; an alternate-history time-line; Star Trek-like explanations for said time-line ("as you know, Scotty..."), adventure (fights! romance!) with a dash of "1984" and/or "Gulliver's Travels" dystopian satire. Also: bad Irish stereotypes and accents (see: 1918).

A more involved review to follow (spoilered for length/and-or you really want to be surprised!)

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Div-blooded sorcerer! Yay! :)

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The US Trademark Office is a silly place. Next, they will go after the OED for including <gasp> WORDS, as in "Words with Friends," in their product!

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Francis Steven books came! I got "The Citadel of Fear", but, more excitingly: "The Heads of Cerberus" in a 1st edition library binding, with illustrations and a foreword by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach! He describes THoC:

Eshbach wrote:
Of her works, only The Heads of Cerberus can be called science fiction -- though even in this story a strong inclination toward a wilder fantasy is evident.

More review will be forthcoming, once the novel is read.

Qadira

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

:(

What a movie that would've been...

I must confess that while reading that part of Kings I couldn't help but picture her and Gregory Peck in my head.

Also, Zeugma, I picked up a copy of Bette and Leslie in OHB at the library today, too! Synergistic weirdiosity!

What is OHB?

Edit: nevermind. I just figured it out.

Qadira

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Zeugma, do you have a review of Stevens for us? Please do share!

Not yet. I actually haven't gotten around to looking because I have a tower of to-be-read books on my nightstand and it's starting to look like a Jenga game.

Edit: And now I have 3 more books (all Francis Stevens) added to my lengthy "holds" queue in my library account. Thanks, Kirth! [/sarcasm]

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

And I want to see Bette Davis as Jezebel.

Um...I'm pretty sure the Bette Davis "Jezebel" has nothing to do with the Old Testament. Jezebel on imdb

Also:

Spoiler:

Mel Brooks wrote:


15!...10! 10 Commandments!

Qadira

So, I'd never played a barbarian before, and I am a very casual gamer. The sort of gamer who is generally okay letting the other people at the table and the GM check my character sheet. Some people have to have the GM check their sheet because they try to cheat-with-math. Me? I wouldn't know HOW to cheat. I'm one step above the player who lets the GM make and level up their character for them. It's because I have a hard time with the rules. Individually I understand them, but once modifiers start getting stacked I tend to get confused. e.g. Did I already add that bonus? Do I add the bonus or modify the ability for that other bonus first? Oh wait, is this a 2-handed weapon? Am I using my off-hand to attack?...etc.

So I am happy to announce that I have finally, after 6 levels, figured out all my damage modifiers for my barbarian. I had to reread the rules about four or five times but I think I've finally got it.

This is a place to share your similar triumphs in learning the ropes of Pathfinder. Where's your learning curve? What parts of the game/a new class have you struggled to master? I know I can't be the only one!

Qadira

I've gotta agree with Lord Snow. Except I did like the Pierce's Haunted House episode, with Chevy's "National Lampoon" style portrait on the wall and the room that Troy thinks is for "puppies." It may be shallow, but I laughed anyway.

Qadira

Hitdice wrote:
Any of you read anything by Jane Yolen? 'Cause I was sorting through my file cabinets, and I found one of her books, and I said, "I'll just read a couple of pages," and suddenly it was dark outside, I was really hungry, and I had to go to the bathroom really badly. Anyhow, she's a really terrific author.

I read Briar Rose (1992) and some of her short fantasy fiction. She is a good author, although she tends to write a particular kind of female character that sometimes I really dig, and sometimes I do not. I should check out some of her more recent work as it may be different from what I remember.

Edit: I also read Wizard's Hall, which is a kid's story that I really loved.

Qadira

I would have gone with Infernal bloodline, but it doesn't have that "destructive" aspect of the divs, and I felt it was too closely tied to devils. I like to keep my enemies guessing. Still, if I were to really optimize and stick with the theme, I'd probably go with the Infernal bloodline, provided I'm playing with a well-rounded party.

Qadira

Lord Ahriman wrote:
Abyssal bloodline, pity.

Is the there a div bloodline in one of the books, m'lord? Pitifully, I do not have them all.

Qadira

A Div-Spawn (Spitespawn) rogue/sorcerer with the Abyssal bloodline.

Qadira

Can people play as Fabricants? Are they and the Forgecursed both player races or are only Fabricants a player race? Are they in opposition to each other because of their different origins? Are there any limitations for them? I am imagining they are equivalent to the Warforged in the Eberron setting, but I don't want to make assumptions.

Qadira

Umbral Reaver wrote:

For a while, I've been thinking that maybe my depression-fueled lack of progress is something of a defense mechanism against suicide. So long as I have more and more things I'm not done with yet, I am more reluctant to kill myself.

I feel like I genuinely do want to die, but I also want to work on my stuff. Too bad there's no way to die and keep working. I cannot abide my own existence, nor can I abide unfinished work. But if I finish it, my reason to be is gone.

Bleh.

I hear you on the terror of finishing work.

When I was seriously depressed, I couldn't write, and such end-goal work didn't help me. I found that playing an instrument helped. I didn't derive joy from practicing scales, but it was something that I could do and keep improving at, with audible progress, and that never had an end-goal; you can't ever really "finish" practicing scales and there's never a point when I could say "I can't get any better at Minuet in G."

I don't know if that will help you manage your depression because I don't know if you play an instrument, but possibly you could take one up? The recorder is pretty low-barrier to getting started.

Another thing that helps me with winter depression (SAD) is getting as much sunlight as I can during daylight hours. Eating lots of turkey and other tryptophan foods also helps. I don't know if you have SAD, but it's possible such a condition can intensify existing depression and it can easily go unrecognized.

Qadira

Found a new/old Weird/Proto-Sci-fi pulp author (Francis Stevens) on the Kirkus Reviews website.

I am inclined to ask, if Francis Stevens were so influential, why have I never heard of her? But why ask why when she had a story about

Andrew Liptak wrote:
a would-be rescuer caught in a deadly labyrinth run by a madman.

I think I have some New Years reading ahead of me!

Qadira

I'm reading Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, which is like a funnier Jane Eyre meets "The Wolfman" for 12-year-olds. I've seen the series compared to Lemony Snickett's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," but I actually think Wood's series is better written, with more literary allusions. I'm on book 3, "The Unseen Guest," so far.

Qadira

I really do need to find that book by St. Clair. I was totally blown away the first time I read about the "Shaver mysteries" (without taking them seriously, of course) and am someone who likes Lucius Shepard's Griaule stories. So, yeah. I like a little Weird in my fantasy. Despite all the ragging on the Tor critics, I think it has been a worthy series of critiques, and I've gotten to add to my ever-growing "To Read" list.

Qadira

Is this thread even about books anymore?

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh dang, I just noticed a BIG mistake in that review. Knode misidentifies Brackett as the author of The Big Sleep. Raymond Chandler totally wrote that book! Maybe Brackett was involved in the screenplay, but that does not excuse a mistake THAT big!

Qadira

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:


She's got Bette Davis eyes

That singer sounds like a pack-a-day smoker. I like the lyrics, but that poor singer needs a throat lozenge.

In other news, Knode reviews Leigh Brackett. Not the BEST review IMO, because I wanted more about the story and less about Leigh, whom we all know and love, amirite?

Because of the title, I'd been expecting someone...not white on the cover? That said, the lady on the cover is wearing an AWESOME outfit I'd love to cosplay! (I probably would NOT be the best cosplayer EVAH, but I'd be willing to try!)

Qadira

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
All I meant was that everybody else had probably already got it and I hadn't, and I'm kind of upset that it isn't about a Mexican dominatrix (or is it?).
Oh. Carry on, then! (I'll admit that, while vaguely familiar with SW Maugham and some of his titles, I never actually sat down and read OHB, either.)

I've seen the movie! This one!

Qadira

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

The only books by Delany that my library has access to are Dhalgren, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue and About Writing.

In my never-ending hunt through used bookstores, the only Delany I've ever seen is The Jewels of Aptor.

Now, it is, alas, true that New Hampshire isn't exactly a cultural center, but I go to Boston, too. Delany's one obscure dude, Dicey.

One obscure dude who has just won the Grand Master award.

Confessions: I have an excerpt of Atlantis: Model 1924 in my Anthology of African American Literature (Henry Louis Gates. Jr., ed.) and I have never been able to get through it...I've decided Delany is not "bedtime" reading.

His short story "The Star Pit" is in my copy of Modern Classic Short Novels of Science Fiction (Gardner Dozios, ed.)

So, maybe you'll be able to find him in the library in someone else's anthology. The problem as I see it is that oftentimes a poor front-end LPAC doesn't capture all the info provided in a catalog entry. Good luck.

Qadira

John Woodford wrote:
LazarX wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

Genre authors, ESPECIALLY Science fiction authors, seem to usually have or develop belief systems that are probably not in line with the mainstream.

Robert Heinlein would have fit right in with many of the Libertarian Ayn Rand crowd.
At some points in his life, yes, but he did run for the California State Assembly as a socialist.

Who hasn't run for the California State Assembly? Srsly.

Qadira

Yeah! Bring your A game! I was too busy to really follow the contest last year, but this year I hope I can be in the cheering section and maybe get a Voter badge!

Qadira

Reading the erotic titles on Offutt's Wikipedia page made me giggle. No wonder he used pseudonyms.

Hmm...maybe Tor should do a review of Offutt's other works?

Qadira

Jezred wrote:


I also like Foundation by Asimov. I haven't read the others. Probably because of my experience with the Ender books.

In my opinion Asimov becomes a better writer as the Foundation series progresses. What he loses in swashbuckling derring-do he starts to make up for in better characterization and plotting. It's like I can see his evolution as a writer as I read.

That said, I must agree that Foundation didn't meet my preconception of what it would be about. I was told it was "hard SF" and when I started reading it, it didn't strike me that way at all. Yes, there is the concept of an advanced psycho-history/sociology, but the way it plays out (at least in the first three books Asimov wrote) is not at all what I would have expected.

Qadira

The review of Andrew Offutt is up!

I'm surprised no one commented on how the creature from the black lagoon is touching that swordsman...I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought that was kind of naughty.

Qadira

I finally finished Norwich's Shakespeare's Kings. Now I can treat myself to watching the plays on TV and laughing at the anachronisms and chronological liberties! I'm thinking of expanding the series with Chris Marlowe's "Edward II" and Shakespeare's other plays; "King John" and "Henry VII", which Norwich doesn't really discuss at all. But first I need to find movies of them, and I doubt Netflix has them.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

F5, F5, F5, F5!

Qadira

I really enjoyed this story, though I wish there had been a bit more background on Kryllic and his motives at some point, aside from his physical description. As it is I liked the twist ending and hope I can check out "Stalking the Beast" sometime soon.

Qadira

Ooh. I really want to read this one! They had me at "skulking elves."

Qadira

*cries because the art is so pretty.

Thanks for pointing to it Nate Z!

I really really really hope I have a job by January so that I can afford to subscribe to this AP!

Qadira

kevin_video wrote:
Zeugma wrote:

I usually try to avoid reading these threads since I'm playing in this campaign, but I just wanted to say that my party has just started "Call Forth Darkness" and we had a great time this past weekend.

We are on the trail (if that's the right word) to the Horn of Abaddon and ** spoiler omitted **

It's been great fun so far and I am looking forward to more Fire Mountain Games adventures.

Really? Would love to hear from your GM as to how that went about, and why exactly. I'm curious as to the reasoning for that encounter.

I think it had to do with our loot-per-level being too low.

Spoiler:
It was a young dragon and, although it was a challenge to beat, we did get a small hoard out of it and discovered what happened to some members of another Knot who went missing (they became dragon chow)
Either that or it was a random encounter. [shrugs]
Qadira

I usually try to avoid reading these threads since I'm playing in this campaign, but I just wanted to say that my party has just started "Call Forth Darkness" and we had a great time this past weekend.

We are on the trail (if that's the right word) to the Horn of Abaddon and

Spoiler:
we just slew a green dragon!

It's been great fun so far and I am looking forward to more Fire Mountain Games adventures.

Qadira

Since no one has yet mentioned it, I will post that the review of Lord Dunsany is up on Tor.com.

"King of Elfland's Daughter" seems way more trippy than I expected. I'll have to see if I can get it at my local public library.

Qadira

It came today. I needn't have worried. Thanks, Sara Marie.

Qadira

Hi.
UPS stopped tracking my order on November 11. It is now the 18th and I have no way of tracking the package via USPS, to whom they handed it off. Should I wait some more before trying to contact my local post office? I ordered my book on Nov. 5 and had hoped it would be here before Hanukah (which is also Thanksgiving this year). I don't want to cause a fuss but it is less than 10 days away now, and there's been no sign of my book nor a note from the USPS telling me they couldn't deliver/pick up.

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