greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:







And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.

Date: 2011-12-01 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpine137.livejournal.com
That is a very nice cover.

Date: 2011-12-01 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpine137.livejournal.com
Expecting another leather-panted 'urban fantasy' cover I'm guessing ?

Date: 2011-12-01 05:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-01 05:49 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
From: [personal profile] sovay
As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012

It's a cover that doesn't suck! Mazel tov!

A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

That is a striking image.

Date: 2011-12-01 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It's a cover that doesn't suck! Mazel tov!

I half suspect it was an accident.

That is a striking image.

I have failed to do it justice.

Date: 2011-12-01 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jdack.livejournal.com
That cover is excellent.

Re: foot travel in SWtOR, that's interesting, as it was a major problem with SW: Galaxies for a long time. We'd often have to set a destination, enable auto-run, and then go do something else for twenty minutes to get anywhere.

When they finally put in mounts, they were barely faster than running. Speeders took I think over a year to be added, and when they did show up, a bug that kept you from being able to store the speeder led to a hilarious clusterfuck of burning/exploding speeders covering nearly every square foot of most of the cities.

Good times.

Date: 2011-12-01 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Re: foot travel in SWtOR, that's interesting, as it was a major problem with SW: Galaxies for a long time. We'd often have to set a destination, enable auto-run, and then go do something else for twenty minutes to get anywhere.

Just didn't bother me, but I was coming from fantasy tradition of run, run, run.

Speeders took I think over a year to be added, and when they did show up, a bug that kept you from being able to store the speeder led to a hilarious clusterfuck of burning/exploding speeders covering nearly every square foot of most of the cities.

That's funny.

Date: 2011-12-01 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wood-dragon.livejournal.com
Oh such a lovely cover! (And my Kickstarter reward arrived yesterday! Wonderful pictures to come home to after a long day at the office!)

Date: 2011-12-01 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

(And my Kickstarter reward arrived yesterday! Wonderful pictures to come home to after a long day at the office!)

Woot!

Date: 2011-12-01 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kylecassidy.livejournal.com
I approve of the use of Engravers Gothic.

Date: 2011-12-01 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I approve of the use of Engravers Gothic.

I didn't even know it was called that, but now I'm glad. A fine name for a font.

Date: 2011-12-29 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kylecassidy.livejournal.com
It was designed by a woman named Olga Chavez who worked at Paratype. I wrote her a fan letter once. She never wrote back. Possibly because she only speaks Russian. Possibly because she's buried in fan letters after designing Engraver's Gothic. I'm happy with either thought.

Date: 2011-12-01 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
Is that a red oak leaf in the water? Nice touch.

Date: 2011-12-01 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Is that a red oak leaf in the water? Nice touch.

Yes. I take it as both a reference to The Red Tree, and as an apology for that novel's putrid cover.

Date: 2011-12-01 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
There were thousands of red oaks around our hotel in New Jersey; I thought a lot of that novel.

I re-read Onion a couple of nights ago; it remains one of my favourites. I wonder how those white peaches might have tasted? "One good mystery is worth a thousand solutions." I couldn't agree more.

Date: 2011-12-01 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

"One good mystery is worth a thousand solutions."

I have my moments.

Date: 2011-12-01 06:48 pm (UTC)
mithriltabby: Rotating angelic and demonic versions of Happy Bunny. (Evil)
From: [personal profile] mithriltabby
Does the game punish Sith for selfish kindness, or just for selfless kindness? (I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around what a functional Dark Side would look like; too many of the depictions of Sith are intrinsically self-defeating. I’m trying for the kind of culture that fosters rational-but-cold attitudes like this exchange from The Force Unleashed: “Did Vader tell you that he killed our last pilot?” “No. But I can only assume that he gave Lord Vader good cause to do so. I will not.” “Let’s hope so. I’m sick of training new pilots.”)

Date: 2011-12-01 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Does the game punish Sith for selfish kindness, or just for selfless kindness?

Well, from an evolutionary point of view, I maintain that all kindness is, at root, selfish. So this question is fairly meaningless to me. I suppose would say the game punishes Sith (and anyone on the Federation side, perhaps) for anything that may be construed as the smallest act of kindness.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around what a functional Dark Side would look like; too many of the depictions of Sith are intrinsically self-defeating.

At this point in the story, the Sith are more the bearers of a philosophy in diametrical opposition to that of the Jedi. "There is no peace, only passion." Which I rather like. But, ideally, I'd like to see a Sith/Jedi balance, an understanding that both "sides" of the Force are necessary and equally valid.

Date: 2011-12-01 08:04 pm (UTC)
mithriltabby: Serene silver tabby (Moment)
From: [personal profile] mithriltabby
Hmmm... I don’t think any of my players read your LJ, but just in case someone in my Rise of the Jedi game is reading this, this is a spoiler.

The background metaphysic in my game is that “sides” to the Force are constructs people are trying to apply to it, and that “the will of the Force” is that Shit Should Happen; the Force is essentially the cosmic principle of “pop some popcorn and let’s see a throwdown!” (This is why the Force will guide people to confrontations when they’re just about ready for it, rather than getting them crushed.)

The notion of a “dark side” or “light side” is just about which emotions you call upon to focus the Force. If you focus with fear, hatred, and rage, they call that the dark side; if you focus with compassion, serenity, and hope, they call that the light side. But what of love? The Jedi are afraid to love because that could test their self-control; the Sith are afraid to love because that could become a weakness. (Jolee Bindo, renegade Jedi and generally awesome character, in the first KotOR game: “Love itself will save, not condemn you.”) There is a path that has neither the addictive power-hunger of the Sith nor the passionless self-denial of the Jedi, but it’s a difficult, esoteric one, requiring the willpower not to get hooked on the feedback loop of “the more I despise those who oppose me, the more power I have!” That’s the sort of path the Gray Jedi follow.

Date: 2011-12-01 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

There is a path that has neither the addictive power-hunger of the Sith nor the passionless self-denial of the Jedi, but it’s a difficult, esoteric one, requiring the willpower not to get hooked on the feedback loop of “the more I despise those who oppose me, the more power I have!” That’s the sort of path the Gray Jedi follow.

That's an interesting parallel with the grey witchcraft I practice. If only that were a player option in SWotR. Though I do greatly enjoy being truly, truly bad.

Also, you're a vastly more intense Star Wars than am I.

Date: 2011-12-01 09:17 pm (UTC)
mithriltabby: Serene silver tabby (H1D20)
From: [personal profile] mithriltabby
When I run games, I go on research binges— when I was running an Oriental fantasy game, I read up on daily life in ancient China and Japan and Outlaws of the Marsh and the four-volume translation of Journey to the West as well as the martial arts novels of Jin Yong/Louis Cha that I was able to find in translation. (Amazing stuff— it reads like an action film.) I go with the Warren Ellis approach for creativity: just pour stuff into my head until it all starts connecting up. (Still not emitting sex rays. Obviously I need to work more at it.)

My friend [livejournal.com profile] silverstreak is an amazing Star Wars fan, to the degree that when someone gave him the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game, we knew to handicap him by requiring that he answer all the questions on a card while the rest of us only had to answer one. He still won when the best other trivia master in the group only had a single piece of “pie”. And he complained that no one ever wanted to run a Star Wars game. I later had the inspiration for setting a game at the dawn of the Old Republic, with as many things different as possible, so there could be surprises for him, and that percolated for a good while; I’ve never been a particular Star Wars fan, but I thought this could be a good story to tell. I eventually went on a Star Wars research binge and now know way too much about the universe.

Ironically, by the time I had this game ready to run, he’d drifted away from the long-time Saturday game, and I’d moved the Saturday game to Friday nights, and he had a conflict. I have enough friends who want to play in this story that I want to run a second campaign if I can just find the time...

Date: 2011-12-01 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phaedrine.livejournal.com
Truly lovely cover! My anticipation grows by the day.

I really love being evil in SWTOR. I loved getting yelled at for making slightly merciful decisions. I loved that masters struck down acolytes for not being good enough. I loved getting rewarded for doing bad things.

I'm really happy that the game is made by BioWare. Their handling of character and voice acting has impressed me in their console games (Dragon Age, Mass Effect), and has really thrilled me here.

Date: 2011-12-01 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

My anticipation grows by the day.

As well it should.

I really love being evil in SWTOR. I loved getting yelled at for making slightly merciful decisions. I loved that masters struck down acolytes for not being good enough. I loved getting rewarded for doing bad things.

Yes!

Date: 2011-12-01 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alumiere.livejournal.com
Pretty, and well designed. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the best mass market cover I've seen for your work so far.

Also, a thank you for mentioning American Horror Story - we like it a lot. Oddly creepy and T thinks reminiscent of Amityville, but I'm looking forward to new episodes.

Date: 2011-12-01 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the best mass market cover I've seen for your work so far.

Agreed. Though I am fond of the original Threshold cover.

Also, a thank you for mentioning American Horror Story

You're welcome.

Date: 2011-12-01 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pisceanblue.livejournal.com
The cover is wonderful and the blurbs are entirely appropriate for a Beast of your stature.

Date: 2011-12-01 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

and the blurbs are entirely appropriate for a Beast of your stature.

I cannot help but agree. And there are lots of other great ones elsewhere in and on the book.

Date: 2011-12-01 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kendare-blake.livejournal.com
Love the cover. Can't wait to read it.

Also, occasionally I envy your dreams. But only occasionally.

Date: 2011-12-01 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Also, occasionally I envy your dreams. But only occasionally.

yeah, it's a dubious envy. The "brightness" of them can be blinding upon awakening to this dull and shabby world.

Date: 2011-12-01 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aarontbc.livejournal.com
And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover ...

Still, it's kind of nice that there will be this "extra" piece of info for those that turn to the title page. Something that might deepen the mystery suggested by the cover image.

Well, that's what I would think anyway.

Lovely cover by the way. It rings with a beautiful melancholy.

Date: 2011-12-02 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] everville340.livejournal.com
Hauntingly striking cover, and superb that the final version has the NYT quote...here's hoping Amazon corrects the image as soon as they can to reflect it.

Date: 2011-12-02 08:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pepsiswinger.livejournal.com
The Drowning Girl AND The Hunger Games movie.

March is gonna be a good month for me.

The force tha can be forced-

Date: 2011-12-02 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bdef.livejournal.com
-is not the true Force.

I don't suppose you ever tried Matthew Woodring Stover's SW novels? I like his 'take' on the Force and the dark side. His Traitor was a game changer and in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor he postulated a genuinely anti-Force philosophy based on the second law of thermodynamics: the bad guy basically takes up Agent Smith's belief that the purpose of life is to end.

About the Jedi/Sith, I remember Palpatine telling Anakin that the Jedi and Sith are similar in almost every way. He was right. There's only one difference between em: Jedi value life, Sith value control over life. Sure, the Jedi often control others, but it's only to keep the crap from hitting the fan. So they argue anyway.

Date: 2011-12-02 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fusijui.livejournal.com
You're getting me interested in SW:toR! I certainly enjoyed the console RPGs... particularly the latter (despite its hasty editing and premature release), for its extended deconstruction on the whole 'Force/Sith' notion.

I don't mind running, and I don't really mind grinding either -- but what does piss me off, and has driven me off every MMORPG I've met, is, as you say, the forced ganging-up. Forced socialization I might be able to stomach, even with non-RP'ing dickwipes, but the mandatory belonging to groups of other players and doing stuff together... fuck that. I can do that in the real world, I want escapism!

Might check it out! Personally, I was charmed by the technologically & socially stagnant galactic civilization...

Date: 2011-12-02 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mizliz13.livejournal.com
Exquisite cover. For an exquisite book, I'm sure.

Date: 2011-12-11 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kore-on-lj.livejournal.com
That cover is gorgeous. I really cannot wait for that book.

Profile

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

S M T W T F S
    1 234
56 7 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829   

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 28th, 2017 12:24 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios