Thursday, December 29, 2016

End of 2016 yeilds more outrage, and other updates

It's not looking like I'm going to get another book review in this year. The book I'm reading is really good, but it's dense non-fiction, so it's taking me more time. Keep watch for my review of Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws.

In other book news, Simon and Schuster announced a book by Milo Yiannopolous today, with Milo obtaining a 250k advance for his work.  I personally wouldn't have recommended an advance that large, but whatever. The SJW crowd is going BONKERS over this, including Chicago Book Review. Yes, a major "book review" has announced it's boycotting ALL of S&S books for 2017 if they keep Milo in the mix. Like the Twitter ban, this will make him more popular. As Daddy Warpig stated, "STOP TRYING TO TRICK ME INTO SUPPORTING A BIG 5 PUBLISHER‬."

Personally I don't think they're that smart. I think they're earnest in the hate they have for Milo, and any words that disagree with their mental illness worldview. I also have to wonder, as a media establishment, as to the integrity of their book reviews. Do they actually read the books they review? Do they just read the blurbs? Do they chat with their buddy SJW author about his book, and then write up his thoughts as a book review? I'm calling fake book reviews.

And I should have had that thought back when Publisher's Weekly "reviewed"  Ben Zwycky's Beyond the Mist so badly I had to fisk it. Which leads to the question, how prevalent are fake book reviews? I know they happen on GoodReads(who doesn't care) and Amazon(who does, but owns GoodReads), but what about at the professional level? Have they also descended to the level of making things up, of lying, and going along with the narrative? I can't answer that at this time, and I may never take the initiative to research it.  On the other hand, I'm fairly sure my author friends might have better informed opinions of their professional reviews.

In gaming, I got a four player game of Scythe from Stegmaier Games in on Monday, and was just as great fun as the first game, if not more. We played with the new expansion, drew factions randomly, and ended up with 3 new parts in the game. This was a kind of farewell play with one friend, who is leaving for at least 18 months for trade school.

I've seen some posts praising the game for gender diversity, but that's BS. As Bradford Walker would point out, they're just a unique pawn. There's great flavor art and text, but they aren't real, and thus have no sex.  I would applaud the diversity of play experience the game affords, though. No two games have played the same, and the final numbers are all that count.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Injustice Book Review: The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we have a tale of adventure beyond simple definitions. In fact, a lack of adequacy led one reviewer to coin the term "Niemeierian" to describe the amalgamations that his works are, and truly, I hope we shall see more of this style. On to the charges!

Once again, we have the spectre of a real hell. This implication of real evil and eternal consequence is a primary crime against the Narrative. Even though the religions within are fictitious, they bear resemblance to real religions, that is, there are real consequences, and the deities thereof, even flawed, have eternal goals in mind.

Heroism and sacrifice are once again presented as great things. These things are truly beyond the comprehension of the forces of SocJus. Impossible odds mean far less than doing the right thing. 

The flawed characters of this tale indeed present some things that are comprehensible to the light of SocJus. There are betrayals, a drive for revenge, Byzantine plots of treachery, and a will to make all the same. I find this a great reflection of the desire of them to believe in "equality", a thing truly not applicable to different people outside of judgement before God.

There is one more crime against the Narrative that flows throughout this book: redemption. We start the tale with two characters in a state called zadokim, a clear reference to the tzedakim of Judaic traditions and legends. The fact of redemption, and its requisite continued effort, are anathema to SocJus. It simply cannot tolerate the idea of brokenness, sin, and repentance.

While there are many more crimes, and much more to discuss regarding this book, they would require a far more careful enumeration and progressive writing than I am willing to embark on. The scope of this tome is vast, and in reaction, I am limited to broad strokes in its judgement. In some ways, I find this series akin to Mr. Wright's Escahaton sequence, or his masterful Somewhither, in being too vast to give proper attention to in review. My colleagues at Puppy of the Month Book Club are more adequately suited to this task, as they proceed in a more scholarly and patient manner, with only one text per month(normally).

This fragment of the Soul Cycle is ultimately filled with action, fun, and crimes against Social Justice. I wish him the best in his part of the restoration of SFF. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fake news, passing the baton, and appropriate measures

Yep, if you can't tell, this is going to be a fairly pure political post; I'll try to keep things to the proper length, if not a little shorter.

So the biggest Fake news outlet, Clinton's News Network(ht: John Nolte), is currently all in arms over Trump's actions regarding the UN vote on Israel today. Their analysts are making statements along the lines that it is unprecedented for a president-elect to influence current policy.  Some have stated that it's completely inappropriate, along the same lines as his taking a call from Taiwan.

Of course, they ignore the fact that if Obama takes actions that Trump will undo, then he will be seen as making empty stands. Also, if Obama takes actions that Mr. Trump has no choice but to reverse radically(such as actions regarding the Russian ambassadorial assassination), then if things go well as a result, Obama not only looks foolish, but bad.  Of course, he did already make the foolish move of going golfing after hearing about the ambassador and the German Christmas market attack, but that's more of a non-move in his case.

I honestly believed we narrowly dodged WWIII this week. Hilary's followers are amazingly paranoid about Putin and Russia at this time, just four years after Obama pointed out to Romney in debate that the Cold War is over. I cannot help but believe we would be inching along towards war with Russia if she had been elected, if not already making overt moves toward such conflict.

NATO is a joke these days. Recent wargame simulations have demonstrated that NATO cannot win against Russia in a short enough span to matter. If Russia actually wanted Ukraine, and actively pursued it, we could not have stopped them. Russia recently tested another satellite killer weapon, likely as a rhetorical deterrent to remind certain parties how quickly any advantages they have might disappear.

I do not pretend to know what else Mr. Trump will do as time closes to the inauguration, but the delay of the UN vote on Israeli settlements has for now prevented us from having to undergo a radical realignment on that front. Regaining the confidence of the Philippines should be a priority.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Injustice Book Review: A Sea of Skulls, part 1

Cower not, fierce reader! We have this glorious day the joy to bear witness to the further crimes of Vox Day in his Selenoth world. Suffice to say, the forces of Social Justice have only two choices with regards to this tome: ignore it(which I find more likely), or decry it. Let us view the charges!

Firstly, of course, is the genetic charge that it is from the "misogynistic white supremacist" Vox Day. This charge is, as usual, of the first order, and a part of why the Tor boycott is ongoing. (Yes, we know it isn't bleeding them, but another few cuts each year don't help a dying publisher.)  Should  any actually deign to read the text, they should find that the fiction writing of Vox has improved, making the already difficult hurdle of him being the worst writer Castalia House publishes even higher.

Secondly, the book, like its predecessor, advocates for the good effects of soldiering. The discipline and focus required to be properly prepared for war is presented wholly positively, and the lack of such is even presented as a properly negative thing. Logistics is shown as the greater part of preparation, and defensible positions, even temporary ones, are part of that. The author even references some of his own strategy authors from his role as editor/publisher.

Third, there's a few segments of discussion of traditional sex roles. The benefits of this are discussed, as growth necessary for a people to be able to defend itself. Also shown is the lie of the young career, followed by a transition into family life, as it becomes more difficult for one to change from dalliances to commitment. Of course, this is the highest offense to SJWs, being a crime against the narrative of equality.

Fourth, there's a greater and clearer moral difference between the good and evil forces. This is no ripoff of RapeRape's work, the evil is easily discernible, and makes one more than simply uncomfortable. Evil is real, and properly depicted here. This of course, flies in the face of apologists for all discyvic movements, from the invasion apologists to those that advocate a world without religion.

In conclusion, I must commend this book to any who despise snowflake culture and enjoy proper fantasy literature. While he's no John C. Wright, Vox has accomplished an impressive work, filled with unique characters, and diverse views and cultures. It is with great anticipation I await the final sections of this fine work. 9 of 10 fell deeds

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Apology of the Converged Institution

So, some of my traffic from the last day has been from Geek and Sundry, the You Tube/social media leftist geek media institution that hosts Wil Wheaton and his Tabletop show. Why? Because they wrote an article by way of an apology to our dear friend Monica Valentinelli.  Monica complained:
I am a Gen Con Industry Insider. Only, my credits are scrutinized. I’m lumped in as a data point, and am told women do not matter and we’re ruining gaming.
 And G&S went on:
 This led to charges that the women selected were, essentially, affirmative action hires, and “just data points,” as Monica wrote. One blogger dismissed Monica as “a busy small timer” despite having been lead developer and writer for a game based on a major Hollywood property.
 Of course, the reason for the article comes up next:
Geek & Sundry is in line for some shame here. In an article on her Shadowrun release, Court of Shadows, Monica points out the following:
My new Shadowrun book is covered by Geek and Sundry. Terry Pratchett’s poem erases my 40,000+ word contribution. I am invisible once again. Terry Pratchett was never mentioned in that supplement. I am grateful for the coverage.
And she’s right. In an article about a book on which she was the lead writer, we never once mentioned her name, and devoted precious column inches to a Terry Pratchett poem which has no link to the book, other than both are about elves. It’s not our finest moment.

So we have motive for the pointing to me as EVIL. They wanted to be better than somebody horrible.  Of course, they ignored my stated methodology for judging people's worthiness(BGG and RPGG credits), and just think that having a game based on a "major hollywood property" makes you a notable designer. It doesn't, nor does it make you a good one. Or does nobody remember all the lousy tie in games from movies and TV? Columbo, Escape from New York, not to mention all the terrible games that came from Lord of the Rings and Star Wars? And with one season and one movie, Firefly is not a major property. It is a property with a large following, sure. But CW's DC shows have far better claim to major property status based on screen time.

Maybe if Monica quit celebrating "womyn in gaming" and started caring about the quality of games she and her fellow designers were producing, she wouldn't be a data point. As to her accomplishments, a poem erasing a 40k word contribution? HAHAHAHA. You're invisible because your sex politics make you irrelevant, Monica, not Sir Terry's poem. Your credits don't disappear from the book or RPGGeek because a good writer got quoted.

And being a busy small timer is no insult. There are numerous small time authors that make good money by writing LOTS of books. Are they even mid-tier authors? No, they don't have to be. They have more work out there. That's respectable in it's own right. But, to say that she isn't the GRRM of gaming is apparently the highest insult. Well, he doesn't get my money, either.

Crafty games should thank you for limiting their sales, Monica. I was tempted by the new Mistborn book until I found out you were involved. Now? No  thanks.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Music blog: Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66

Some fun tunes. For the Derek Flint style soundtrack.

Injustice Quick Reviews 8

Cower not, fierce reader! Before us this day we have a feast to make the light of SocJus flee. Let us partake greatly in the bounty of darkness!

Swan Knight's Sword by John C. Wright- This world may no longer be new and startling, but it is still very different and charming. A fine and satisfying end to the first part of the tale. Of course, the SJW crowd will avoid it for Mr. Wright alone. Major crime: A knight that is honest, honorable, and pure. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

 Reaper's Run by David Van Dyke and Ryan King- An excellent continuation of the story begun in The Eden Plague. Media narratives and prejudices are shown for their shallowness and falsehood. Desperation bears the fruit of dangerous choices. Major crime: How easy it is to create totalitarianism. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

Tunnel Rats Episode 1: the Diggers by Nick Cole and Michael Bunker- We have an apocalypse! We have day to day subsistence living! We have gangs and forces moved by dark supernatural forces! There is much to be admired here. Oh, and it links to Mr. Cole's Wyrd novels. Major crime: Assumption of responsibility to and for each other. 8 of 10 fell deeds. 

An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity by J. Mulrooney-  Castalia makes another venture into the literary satire category, and I found it well worth reading. The bargaining, backstabbing, false conspiracies and more keep the story moving along, despite our protagonist's naivete and lack of imagination. Major crime: Hell is real. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

Take the Star Road by Peter Grant- Yes, I know book 5 just came out. I figured I should read book 1 finally. There are some commonalities with Rod Walker's Mutiny in Space, which isn't a bad thing, and the story is good workman entertainment.  Major crime: Speaking against socialism, high taxes, and other restrictive government. 7 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Kickstarter Spotlight

All right, it's time for a little bit of Kickstarter chat.

Mostly because Russell Newquist has launched his Lyonesse project. If you like short fiction, and want more fiction in the vein of their previous anthologies(I certainly do), I highly recommend this project. $7 gets you the stories in your email, $25 gets you ebook quarterly anthologies, and $59 gets you to quarterly print as well.  Seriously, I highly doubt you'll regret backing this project.

Retro SF Dice Tower- The pulp crowd might like this. If you've a 3d printer, you can get yourself plans, or you spend a bit more, and they'll ship you the rocketship dice tower.

Abaddon: While this is the least regarded of the Command and Colors games, it is also the coolest looking. There's now an expansion, and you can get the whole for pretty reasonable cost.

For the wargamers, there's a naval battle project. I have no experience with modern period naval wargames, but it might be worthwhile.

Humor selections:

Ok, my tag line? Apparently Poe's law applies.  Me, I had figured maybe someday doing a parody set of rules/cards for Pandemic. But, somebody believes in the UN.

Philanthropy is the game for people that believe you can legislate all the problems of the world away. If you're reading this blog, I'm going to guess you're more likely to visit the project for a laugh. From the end of the project page:
In accordance with Kickstarter guidelines, we cannot promise to donate any money to charities. Therefore, no exact amount is promised. However, by us spreading the word about these charities and you playing these games with friends (with the charities' information present), we know that they will be able to receive your future support. Also, Josh (one of the two creators of the game) works full-time feeding refugees in Turkey and half of the profits from our project go to him being able to continue to do this work. So in an indirect way, you are still helping refugees from Syria in the Middle East. Thank you!
 YEAH. Not helping with people that want to kill me for existing. And, how much of this is going to import more, and how much goes to Infanticide, Inc.?

Metaphorosis- This initially looked like MAYBE they were about stories. But then, there's this:
Are you vegan-friendly?
We are! Our editor is a long-time vegan, and we give a vague and unspecified number of bonus points to vegan submissions. We're not sticklers about it, and we publish mostly non-vegan stories, but you won't find many stories about hunting on our pages. We also plan to publish a Best Vegan SFF of the year, full of great stories that just happen to be vegan.
The future is mushrooms and sprouts, apparently. Their stories are "hand-crafted by talented artisans working in dark, lonely caves". I prefer authors that work with either pen or keyboard that don't live in third world virtue signalling factories.

These reminders so that you know:

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

DC TV Invasion! Event

Ok, I know I'm a couple of days after the last episode aired, but that hopefully won't make this less informative. I waited until I had both watched the entire thing and read the original Invasion! event to begin this. I'm unfortunately going to have a few gripes to air.

First, this was advertised as a four night event. Give me a moment.

Right. If you count the breaches showing up in Supergirl, and the less than one minute appearance by Barry and Cisco, sure, they're right. I don't. A crossover needs to start CROSSING OVER at least before halfway through the first part.

Second, this bears so little resemblance to the original event it's laughable. Of course there are things that logistically wouldn't work in the TV series, like the alliance of aliens, and the sheer number of heroes involved. But there was no real motivation from what I saw on behalf of the Dominators. And while that is how they look, roughly, they don't fight themselves, they're an intellectual race that rules through planning and implementation. The Daxamites even had a role in the crossover, as "neutral observers" who got powers when they reached Earth, and were betrayed by the Dominators.

Third, there was so little use of the apprentice heroes from each show. Mon-El, being a Daxamite, would have been useful, not to mention J'onn. Kid Flash could have learned some hard lessons. Ragman, Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, and even the revealed traitor Artemis would have made some impact. What were the others doing while the non-powered heroes were captured, aside from Vibe and team Arrow? Why didn't anyone else STEP UP? Crossovers are the perfect time to lay a seed or two. They don't have to become a show, but you could lay groundwork for one next year where the crossover begins a new series, if that's what you want.

Fourth, what happened in all the other cities? Sure, Flash and Supergirl planted  the pain devices, but what did they do before they got there? Who was kidnapped, or killed? Who will blame the heroes, and who will become one?

Fifth, the shared dream felt more like either the Alan Moore story "For the Man Who Has Everything", or one of the numerous times the JLA gets trapped in a hallucinatory trap.  I was quite unhappy that Oliver didn't go nuts on them after that, and that we didn't see what Thea did after getting back to Earth.

What did they do well? The characters actually felt like all the writers knew them, so that may be partly why the new guys didn't cross over. On the other hand, writing teams could have mixed a bit for this, and been managed like a comic book crossover. The fights were overall decently choreographed, and the camera kept the focus moving to raise the implied threat level.

The meta-bomb is actually very close to the comic, as the Dominators had a rogue scientist who detonated such after their loss, but even that got changed, and we had no internal politics or struggles within the Dominators.

Professor Stein and Jackson have faced a moral struggle once going into this, and faced on in the aftermath. The fact that they can't avoid creating some changes to the timeline, and need to tread carefully, is a nice touch. Also, the desire to avoid undoing what good has come from their changes was enjoyable.

Thankfully mostly absent were the Social Justice wailings that have become more common this year in the Berlantiverse. The DEO is going to be a new and potentially frightening aspect on Earth 1, and perhaps we end up with a show around that, but I don't think so.

The Hall of Justice might see future play, though honestly I'd have thought this a good time to bring that missing Ferris Air test pilot back, as Green Lantern against some aliens would make for good TV, even as a latecomer. And the new villain we saw in Arrow might be fun later on.

Anyway, without the SocJus aspects going full force, I did find the story more fun. So, the Berlantiverse gets viewed for a while longer. Until they decide to start playing again.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Injustice Quick Reviews 7

Cower not, fierce reader! We have a collection of fine works today, including one that likely won't trigger anyone. Let the charges commence!

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz- Yes, this is a licensed property, based on the deck building game. The author is new to the world of novels, but wrote the flavor fiction for Doomtown: Reloaded, and was quite good at that; he sent me a copy for review after getting bashed by liberals for a few days. Fighting, intrigue, corrupt corporations, and a magnetic central character. Major crime: not trusting either government 7 of 10 fell deeds.

Murphy's Law of Vampires by Declan Finn- Yeah, I know, he's put a lot out lately, and I read it all. We get more of the Honor at Stake characters, I do recommend reading Honor first(more for fun, I think it works on its own), and as there's vampires, Vatican ninjas, some decent  theological points, and some great action, get on it if you haven't. Seriously. READ THIS BOOK! Major crime:  So many elements that it doesn't fit nicely anywhere; oh, lots of Catholicism, too. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

'Til Death by Jason Anspach- This was Mr. Anspach's first novel, and I thought I should read it after his fine Wyrd Western short. This book has a little self-awareness to it, and that's an enjoyable touch. We've got the Cold War, Russian spies, a dead financier, and on top of it all, people come back as Returns occasionally to correct something from their lives. Major crime: I did mention we've got a fight against Commies, right? 8 of 10 fell deeds.

The Eden Plague by David VanDyke- I grabbed this due to the Castalia House announcement of their publishing print editions, as I hadn't heard of them (Somewhither was my impetus for an ebook reader). And now I have more proof of the publishing establishment being completely out of touch. This book was full of action, internal conflict, cool sf ideas, and moral dilemmas. Corporate bad guys seeking power and major government conspiracies are full in play. Major crime: An acknowledgement that we are all broken. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

 Days of Future Past by John Van Stry- First, a caveat: this book has a very active love triangle, so some may wish to pass. Now: This is a nice combination of apocalyptic and fantastic fiction, with action enough to satisy, good characterizations, and a proper chunk of attitude. Mr. Van Stry did provide me with this copy, and I'm genuinely glad for having read it. Major crime: Distrust of authority, and an authority that consistently shows it can't be trusted. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, November 28, 2016

An open letter to Comic Book Companies

To the publishers of four color(or b+w, full color, etc.) adventures:

Look, I love graphic storytelling. It grants drama, tension, wonder, and more in a way that few things can really match. Movies can't do the textual depth, and books have a harder time with landscape and detailed backgrounds. You have more frame and presentation choices than either, and generally a love for your audiences.

But, I don't want to read five books, just for the ability to understand one. It's a part of why I don't get mainstream hero books these days. It's why I've avoided most Marvel properties for over a decade. I won't touch Superman or Bat-families for the same reason. And when it comes to my main point, smaller companies are bad at it, too.

Which actually brings me to the point. Crossovers. We love them when they're good, ignore them when they're bad, and hate having our books interrupted in the meantime for this four-five week(month in the case of Civil War II) monster that eats up a lot of titles. Honestly, I love the cool factor of seeing characters interact that aren't normally together. I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with your presentation.

Here's my idea, please consider it and give it a shot.

There are four or five fifth weeks in a year. These are generally dead weeks, where you ship something late, or fill with trades and one-shots. So, get your editorial butts in gear, because this will be work. Set up the books for a crossover to come to a point that puts them into the crossover, be it a story end, or a location or plot connection, and have all this happen in the issues(yes, all of them) before the fifth week. This is very important, because on the fifth week, you release it.

The entire crossover, in one trade. No issues to chase, no story interruption, no out of sequence reading. I don't even care how you tell the story that much. You can cut the page count a bit, because you don't need to reintroduce the characters each and every book. You advance the story so far, shift perspectives. Repeat. Figure out who has the best vantage on the plot twists and reveals.

Yes some folks might ignore it, but I think it'll be worth a shot. Sure there's a little less urgency. Unless of course everything step out of the trade affected by it immediately. Then your readers of EACH book need to read it to know wtf just happened. Use them to shake up the status quo of the books, but now you can be efficient about it, instead of  making readers angry because they can't read an issue or three of several books until the event is actually finished. You might even cross pollinate your readerships better.

This doesn't get rid of one shots that introduce us to new heroes, villains, etc. I'm just wanting you to go for a screwdriver when you've been using a hammer for ages. Event books are cool, collections of events are better, as we aren't trying to keep it all together in order. In fact ordered collections are likely the best presentation.

As part of your audience, I don't expect you to listen to me. I'm just a guy with a wallet, who likes to read. A lot. Check out the book review tab and comics tab if you don't believe me. The book reviews are just this year.

Alfred Genesson

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Movie Night: Castro is Dead edition

Ladies and gentlemen, let us take some time to reflect upon this historic moment. Yes, the people of Cuba are still under Raul and the Communist Party. Yes, Cuba is still home to ancient automobiles, and an economy supposedly crippled by ONE nation not trading with them.

But the figure that was Fidel Castro is no more. From the keyboard of Jon Del Arroz:
"I ran for congress in 2010, and I spoke in front of a large group of Cuban-Americans, many of whom either directly came from Cuba in the 1950s or were the sons and daughters of those refugees. What's interesting is it was one of the few speeches I gave where I didn't do much of the talking, but they went around and told me the dangers of socialism/liberalism and what it cost their families personally. I will never forget the one man who told me about how his family was dragged out of their own house and he and his brother watched Castro's soldiers shoot his parents. He was shot in the eye when he escaped later but survived. This man and his doctrines are pure evil. Let us never forget that. Burn in hell, Castro."

Of course, many liberal figures are in mourning, especially heads of state and media members(and they wonder why we don't trust them). It must be nice to continually forget the one nation we have for decades, without pause, accepted refugees from.

Submitted for approval of the death of a tyrant, I suggest an underrated classic film, that underscored in many ways the thuggishness and depths of the evil of the world communist regimes.

Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz. Here's the trailer:

Watch it in good cheer, knowing that one source of evil has left the world. Yet another reminder:

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Set to Kill by Declan Finn

Cower not, fierce readers! Today we have a fine tale from Declan Finn, who graciously provided me with a copy of the book.  He had actually boasted a bit about this book before launch, and that had me a bit concerned, but those were mislaid. Declan has written a very fine tale, full of crimes against the Narrative. Let the charges begin!

First, this book is an action parody of persons and events that may be familiar to the reader. If one is remotely acquainted with the Sad and Rabid Puppies groups, and the Hugo Award ceremonies of the last years, you have a background to laugh at the real and imagined versions of these actors. Mr. Tom Knighton does appear as a version of himself herein, but all the others are identifiable parody caricatures.

To expand, some sections of the book are rewritten and edited versions of entries in Declan's Sad Puppies Bite Back blog entries. While not a necessary read, I do recommend it, as well as the previous Sean Ryan material for background. The parody of the boycotted publisher is better here than the original.

Second, religion plays a fair sized role within this, though less than is customary for one of Mr. Finn's novels. Sean Ryan is a Catholic, but many of the players in the Tearful Puppies are of course White Mormon Males. And one or two also have great racks.

Third, the fictional convention, WyvernCon, is a pretty good depiction of a con getting demolished. Not actual demolition, but there's mayhem. Not having been to DragonCon, I cannot comment on the reflection of that, but there are elements definitely in common with GenCon, from the SocJus idiots to the cosplay contingent, which is heaviest on Saturday.

 Ah, I'll drop the facade a little. This book hooked me harder than anything he's written yet, and I really like his previous stuff. The pacing was amazing, all the slow parts had purpose, and the action didn't let up until bodies fell. I felt like there wasn't a wasted word in this book(yes, there are a few small proof edits that could be fixed, I'm not gonna complain about those).  I went and read very late when I finished, and I have to get up EARLY for work.  My only minor quibble about this is that some of Sean's supporting cast don't get as rich a treatment as they have previously. Other than that, I was amazed at what Declan spun out of the cloth of Sad Puppies bite back and Sean Ryan.


Set to Kill is bound to trigger anyone who is a devotee of Tor books, or believes that the Hugos are still prestigious and valid in the world of sff. It not only goes against the narrative, but openly mocks it for its cronyism, othering, inconsistency, and lack of tolerance.  With a good measure of over the top, but almost believable violence. Verdict: 9 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Thanksgiving Post

As this is my first Thanksgiving with this blog, I find it appropriate to post some things for which I am indeed blessed and thankful.

Fierce readers, first I wish to thank you for deigning to visit this corner of the internet. I pray I continue to entertain and inform, and beg your patience for the times when my ambitions and energies run low.

I wish to thank the authors that I review, for providing me with material worth reading, and stories worth championing. I also wish to thank some of these for their friendship, and hope this continues and grows. Declan Finn, Brian Niemeier, Dawn Witzke, Marina Fontaine, Russell and Morgon Newquist, John and Jagi Wright, Nick Cole, Jeff Duntemann, and more, I thank you much.

I wish to thank a few for giving me models of blogging, the discipline, the passion, and the craft you have presented. Bradford Walker, Peter Grant(definitely not just a blogger, but you do a lot), and likely the busiest blogger there is, Vox Day. 

And of course, I am thankful for my enemies, that they are ridiculous. May they remain so; it makes things fun and interesting.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Music blog: Collin Raye

I like story songs, and here are some fun ones.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Anthology Review: Skelos issue 1

Cower not, fierce readers! You! In the back! Stop cowering! This is not a safe space, and if you need one, I recommend the disemvoweling sites of SFF.

Anyway, yes, I am considering Skelos as an anthology. The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy is rather sizable at 150+ pages. That's a bit much for a "magazine", though perhaps small for an anthology. I'm ok with that, there's a lot here, and some will definitely make the SocJus  crowd wail.

The Dead Unicorn by Scott Cupp- This is a quick and frightful way to start the anthology. The first half of the first page of the story feels fairly normal for fantasy. Then things go horribly wrong.

The Drowned Dead Shape by Keith Taylor- Ooh. Yeah, that's the stuff. Very much a Weird Fiction tale. The old Irish culture is a nice  backdrop for fear, paranoia and desperation.

Hungry by Charles Gramlich- This was unexpected. A proper weird SF tale with regret, compulsion, and resignation. The stark notes make me want more from this author.

Diary of a Sorceress by Ashley Dioses- The first poetry piece in here. Honestly,  It felt like the start of something, and then an end. Decently done, it just felt incomplete to me.

The Night Maere by Scott Hannan- Gah! Courage, fierce reader! You are not the target within this tale. Well done, and enough to creep some out for days. I had to go back to work, instead.

Nameless Tribes by Jeffery Shanks- I'm not going to type the full name of this scholarly text. It's a fine paper on Robert E. Howard's worldbuilding, specifically his tribes. This is followed by the examples the paper is specifically about:

The Nameless Tribe Drafts by Robert E. Howard- This is really interesting to see the growth and changes in REH's writing via drafts. It grants me more confidence in my abilities, if I'm willing to try to find what methods work for me.

Midnight in the Ebon Rose Bower by K. A. Opperman- This second poem is likewise short, but pulled me in just enough, gave just enough images, to feel like a half glimpsed dream.

One Less Hand for the Shaping of Things- by Jason Ray Carney- This is a faerie tale of survival, dissatisfaction, and obsession. There is loss, abandonment, and an eventual embrace.

The Writer by Jason Hardy- Another poem, this one is a bit more on the tongue in cheek side of Weird Fiction.

The Casualty of the Somme by Frank Coffman- This poem has a descent to the horror side as it goes along. Well metered and written.

Grettirr and the Draugr  adapted by Jeffry Shanks and Illustrated by Samuel Dillon- Illustrated Norse mythology. Yeah, it's good stuff. A collection of this would put Northlanders on watch.

From the Cosmos to the Test-Tube by Karen Joan Kohoutek- Another scholarly work, and while somewhat interesting, I honestly drift off reading about HP and Machen. That said, there is some reminder that men who were intimately aware of the Bible wrote much better than our modern version of materialist/atheist.

The Yellow Death by David Hardy- Ok, you've got me. This feels like a Edgar Allen Poe story, perhaps rewritten by Howard.  The language is tight, and the narrator reminds one of that of The Cask of Amontillado.

Totem by Pat Calhoun- Yes, there's more poetry. If you don't care for it, I think you're missing out.

The Burning Messenger by Matt Sullivan- More in the Norse mythos vein.  A village of warriors gets hit by something...other.

A Sword-edge Beauty as Keen as Blades by Nicole Emmelhainz- I haven't read much C.L. Moore, and that probably kept me out of this paper somewhat. Of course, the fact that it's about "gender dynamics" is likely the rest. No offense, but your topic bores me.

Dangerous Pearl by Ethan Nahte- A tale of a fierce pirate crew, and their unfortunate encounter in the fog.

Surtur by Kenneth Bykerk- A final poem of mythology, filled with alliteration, and rhyming rhythm to be read aloud.

The Bone Yard- Skelos' selection of reviews of Weird Fiction. Well written, and filled with materials previously unknown to me. I may grab the Western collection mentioned.

I enjoyed much within this volume, and I lay no fault for the parts I cared less for; scholarly work on only a few segments of fiction interest me. Either way, Skelos is a haunt-filled volume to chill the heart. I grant this volume 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

When the blacklist makes itself...

I missed something I should have had a bit of fun with this week. Last Sunday(updated Tuesday), a group of game industry people put out a letter supporting Hilary Clinton. I'd make less of this if they talked about policy, but instead they present imaginary versions of each as a gamer. If you haven't seen the letter, and care to read it, here.

Now, there are some decent game designers here. I don't have a problem with them being of a different political opinion than me; they have that right. But, to choose to engage in name calling of a significant portion of the population(it's looking like over half the popular vote), is bad business. I'm not calling for anyone to be fired, but you might think twice about any games from some of these folks.

Here's some notables, in alphabetical order, because they're helpful like that.

Peter Adkinson- apparently the owner of GenCon, and a former WotC CEO. I was considering not attending this year as it was, this won't make my mind up, it's just another piece.

Christopher Badell- the brains behind Sentinels of the Multiverse. Not shocked, but disappointed severely. He should know better as a Midwesterner than to alienate customers.

Kieth Baker- is every designer that's been around for years with only one hit going to be on this list?

Emily Care Boss- yeah, she was already on the don't buy list, but confirmation is always amusing.

Chad Brown- works on the Pathfinder card game and the lamented Betrayal expansion

Mark Carroll- Surprised to see that someone working with Conan and John Carter doesn't know his prime audiences.

Chris Cieslik- I'd have thought the OWNER of a game company would be smarter. Especially after some of the good things he has published. Have fun with the drain.

Yesenia Cisneros- A marketing person doesn't get the idea of bad publicity. Pokemon corp. might need to have a word.

Bruce Cordell- Has done some interesting things. Too bad he put ID politics over making games.

Luke Crane- Has the Mouse Guard and Burning Wheel credits, and is head of games at Kickstarter. How long before a good alternative shows up?

Rob Daviau- This is a real disappointment. Not that he's a liberal, but that he's dumb enough to sign such a letter.

Roberto Di Meglio- Another letdown. I'd think someone behind two major LotR games and a Conan game would not be the type to discuss his politics publicly.

Ben Dobbins- I'm not shocked. Zombie Orpheus went from being a gentle poke at gamers to calling us racist misogynists.

Glen Drover- For a guy that designed some well respected conflict games, I think he'd respect the idea of mitigating odds more.

James Ernest- Not surprised. Though this is his first big time at name-calling. No more Cheapass for me.

Richard Garfield- WHAT THE HELL are you thinking? Is your echo chamber that insular? This is a HUGE disappointment. Stop trusting the liars, Richard.

Trin Garritano- Gee, somebody with Cards against Humanity supports Hilary. What are the odds? Oh, right: 1.

Justin Gary- Ascension is on the crap list now. That's alright, it's not got that many tricks.

Jonathan Gilmour- The designer of Dead of Winter is a zombiecrat. Go figure.

Bruce Glassco- What, ruining you own game, Betrayal, wasn't enough for you?

Shane Ivey- You'd think the designer of Delta Green would know better than to insult the folks that support the military.

Tom Jolly- I'm sure the kids made Uncle Tom very Jolly.

Jon Kovalic- A cartoonist stuck getting most of his money from Munchkin. I'm sure the rest pays, but another reason to not play that unbalanced mess.

Eric Lang- Good grief. Keep doubling down. You'll be an albatross.

Matt Leacock- Insanely too bad. Now I really need to work on my little idea.

Peter Lee- Wasn't Lords of Waterdeep diverse enough for you?

WJ MacGuffin- The Laundry is unclean. Paranoia is out to get us.

John and Michelle Nephew- Atlas Games has sucked for awhile. This tells me why.

Douglas Seacat- I'm shocked Privateer Press doesn't have a Social media policy about things like this. Some place that take customers seriously, you'd be fired in a heartbeat.

Mike Selinker- Again, no shock. Lone Shark is supremely insular.

Stephanie Straw- Yep, that explains why you look like a quickly aging feminist in videos for BGG.

Monica Valentinelli- Dear, sweet Monica, everybody knows you hate white males already. You really don't have to keep reminding us.

C. Joshua Villines- Another Privateer employee. Still surprised there isn't a policy about making the company look bad.

Aaron Wiessblum- 10 days to needing a new market

Wil Wheaton- Shut up, Wesley. How many spots on your YouTube show did you offer?

This of course, is just a very few of the fine folks not wanting our money. Others work on Magic, D&D, FATE, and other games that should remain apolitical. Like I said, I don't care if they are liberals, I just have to think about them getting any of my money now. I mean, they practically said they don't want it.

You know who isn't on this list? Steve Jackson. Jamey Stegmaier. I suspect Steve's a libertarian, and Jamey a liberal, but both know better than to alienate a significant portion of the market.  Then again, they actually are in pluralistic towns, rather than progressive ones.

Until they learn,

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Brother, Frank by Michael Bunker

Cower not, fierce reader! This fine day, we shall look at the sins contained within this tome from Amish Science Fiction author Michael Bunker. This case shall be brief, but the darkness of Injustice must expose this contrast to the light of SocJus!

First, this is another of Mr. Bunker's fine Amish SF stories. This of course, is a first order offense, as religion being portrayed as anything other than the domain of the foolish and stupid is unacceptable. Mr. Bunker portrays the Amish life here both from without and within,  the characters having their own appropriate opinions toward them.

Second, this tale has elements of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein without being a retelling. Some of the same points are made, especially about playing God with life and death. The metaphysics doesn't stop there, and there are many other points contemplating the nature of existence, life, and man's place with God.

Third, this book deals with autism, its treatment, and the development of the autistic mind. While the author meets the autistic where he is, the ultimate goal is to approach normal relational skillls. The idea of a standard of relational ability, is of course foreign to SocJus, as is true empathy for those with similar developmental problems like Down's Syndrome.

This book deals in life, death, and faith. There is confrontation with truth, redemption, damnation, and the gamut of human emotion. Action is certainly present, though only in the amounts the story needs. It is not an action book, but a book of humanity. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Batman: the Return of the Caped Crusaders, and the return of Young Justice

The inestimable John C. Wright has alerted me to a piece of good news: WB Animation has begun production on a third season of Young Justice. A good part of me wishes I were a bit younger, that I might have the energy to jump and dance for joy.

Young Justice was, in some ways, the peak of DC's animated storytelling. The animation was good, easy to follow, and the fights even looked right. The episodes were had a good story arc that carried across the series, with the characters having their own arcs. Honestly, you should already know this, so why am I writing?

Because of the optimistic hope I have, and the cautious nervousness I feel. It's been years, and there are SO many ways they could screw this up. Ignoring the larger arc of the story so far is one. If they can't get the voice talent back, inadequate replacements is another. And of course, playing Social Justice would be the big one. Because I really don't want lectures on feminism in my hero shows. Give us stories and good action, with compelling characters, and we'll be happy.

Now, to our bit of near flashback material.

WB Animation recently released Batman: the Return of the Caped Crusaders. Yes, it is a Batman '66 animated feature. They went and got Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar to reprise their roles from the show. I REALLY wish they had done this a few years back, so Yvonne Craig could have been in and played Batgirl once more. Anyway, onto the show!

There's a few things definitely wrong here, and I'm not talking about the voices. Those are mostly right. I don't get the feeling this was written by people that really got the show, at least for moments. There's some bits that just don't get the tongue in cheek nature the show and movie had. And there are moments that are a bit more of the grim dark nature that just don't fit.

There's even some flaws they could have avoided easily. The atomic pile is to the left of the Batpoles, not the right and a background piece for the Batmobile. When they first get in the Batmobile, Robin doesn't say: "Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed." Come on, this was in all the episodes. If you're going to do it, DO IT. Don't leave something out because you don't like it, or it seems silly. Things like that made the show.

They did get some things very well, though. The substitute voices are good, even if not the original supervillains and supporting cast. The Catwoman/Batman dynamic is very good, and the ending part of that works very well. The vision of the three versions of Batman '66 Catwoman was a very nice touch. The addition of all the other villains from the show was a rather good bit, even if not all of them are worth reusing.  The villain plot and traps are appropriately absurd.

Overall, I think it's worthwhile. At least once you get past the flaws, there's some good work here. If you get a chance to watch it, I think you'll have some fun.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Injustice Quick Reviews 6

Cower not, fierce reader! I have another collection of tales to trigger the puff, melt the snowflake, and send rabbits to their warrens. Let us shine the darkness of Injustice on these fine reads.

Wolf Killer by John Van Stry- Mr. Van Stry was kind enough to provide me with a copy of this book, which is part of a series. There's decent action; I believe this should appeal to most that would read "urban fantasy" if it weren't filled with sex scenes. There's also a Catholic presence here, though it's more part of the setting than a player(I haven't read the other books, so it may differ there.)Major crime: Faith is present and good; and there also isn't a graphic sex scene. 6 of 10 fell deeds.

In the Days of the Witch-Queens by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt- This is a short story that is the first of a series of short stories. I found this via the Castalia House blog. There's an intriguing bit of worldbuilding here, and I look forward to seeing more glimpses in hopes of a reflection of reality. Major crime: Self sacrifice. 7 of 10 fell deeds.

The Lost Castle by Nick Cole- Ah, the apocalypse is back and all is well with the world! If you're not into this series(The Wyrd), I recommend you check out book one, The Red King. If you are, and you haven't gotten this one, get to it! There's plenty of surreality at the eschaton.  Major crime: staying on mission. 7 of 10 fell deeds.

Codename: Unsub by Declan Finn and Alan Yoskowitz- Declan and Alan revisit their own somewhat apocalyptic future, and I'm glad they did. This story moves. Be careful you don't get whiplash. Major crime: San Fransisco is regularly referred to as hell. Right now's just the pre-party. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

Down the Dragon Hole and A Midsummer's Party by Morgon Newquist- This is a light and fun pair of stories in the vein of happenings at a fantasy adventuring academy. I say happenings, but truly, they are miniature adventures. Not "Orc and the Pie" small, but only a few short scenes each. Major crime: Pointing out the hazards of intellectual isolationism. 8 of 10 and 7 of 10 fell deeds, respectively.

When you play Socail Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Berlanti obviously doesn't read this blog...

Or he wouldn't allow all of the shows he's running for CW to be filled with message fiction. Of course, my readers know exactly what type of messages I'm talking about: Social Justice messages.  This week's episodes of Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow were really heavily into the message fiction. Arrow and the Flash had less this week, so I'm going to discuss the newer shows.


Firstly, I have to say the Superman they introduced felt more like Supes than the current film incarnation. That is, he felt more human, and more like he enjoys himself while he's saving the world. Maggie Sawyer got introduced last week, and the show has her as a xenophilic lesbian. M'gann M'orzz was also revealed to us, and she, like all the other active redhead characters in the Berlantiverse, has been made black. I don't mind a little of it, and sure, the DCU in comics has a disproportionate amount of redheads, but let us keep one or two. The Berlantiverse is close to 50/50 black/white, which is nowhere near the USA's demographics. Also, why can't you show us one or more of J'onn's alternate identities? He's got dozens in the DCU he occasionally uses, to gain perspectives on humanity.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow:

Oh, man. You actually had an interesting story with the Civil War zombies. But, you went and called it the "very worst of humanity". I'm appalled at you lack of historical knowledge and perspective. Is it dark? Most certainly, but great light shone against the institution.  In the 1930's and 40's, eugenics was popular scientific thought. Laws were passed, and mandatory sterilizations of some minority people happened under the law of the United States. Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger, as a measure to exterminate the black population, which was targeted by the sterilization laws already. In some ways, I find these to be far scarier and darker than the open hatred displayed by slavery in the USA.

Contrary to what students are being taught in schools today, slavery was not invented in the United States of America. Every sizable civilization has contained this institution at some point, and several countries still contain it today. Nor was the South the worst practitioner of this. Romans had them fight each other to the death. Other, more modern versions are less palatable.

And the Romans? Even they, during their pagan years, valued life. Hannibal and the forces of Carthage worshipped Moloch, sacrificing live children of multiple years old. They burned their own children in ritual for their deity, hoping for power and victory. Rome even fell for awhile, and rose again and destroyed the empire, the city, and the earth where they stood, so reviled by this were they. Yes, the pagans fought and destroyed what truly was the worst and darkest time in history.

Berlanti, if you keep this up, you'll lose viewers eventually. This is despite being some of the best superhero presentation there is today. And now, for an altered version of my last line:

When you play Social Justice, the multiverse loses.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Music blog: Kris Kristofferson

An accomplished songwriter, and far more. Taught at West Point, Golden Glove boxer, and more.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Looking back at the first 10 months of the Injustice Gamer

My friend Declan Finn does a retrospective post after every thousand posts. I'm just over the first hundred, but I have been through 10 months now, so here's the 10 most popular posts, and a bit of perspective on them.

1. The Hurt is Strong at File 770

This is the newest post on the list, and it's the most popular. Dipping into the venomous pit that is the comment section after the Dragon Awards yielded the results that were predicted by many, but of course, they deny that we were told to make our own awards.

2. GenCon 2016 "Industry Insider" Program

I'd heard there was some crowing about who was on the list, and that it was a victory for minorities. So, I went and did some research on who was there, using Boardgamegeek and RPGgeek as my primary sources, as they are the best tabletop databases online. 

Of course it was a victory for minorities. It was largely a loss for gaming.

3. An open letter to Splotter Spellen

I was pretty raw about the fact that Splotter didn't feel like they should take care of the people that made the print run possible, before making the rest of the run available to others. I stand by that, if you run a preorder, with the possible exception of major conventions, your material should go absolutely first to the people that paid to make it happen.

No, it's not Kickstarter, that doesn't change what should be the proper method of taking care of the people that backed you.

4. Interview with the RPG Pundit

This is my first interview, and I haven't done any for awhile. But, it exposed me a bit to the OSR ideas, and some of the fight against Social Justice there. I know the Pundit and Jeffro Johnson have a massive disagreement on Appendix N, which I did not address, but the Appendix N stuff I've read has been a lot of fun. Not my primary reading style, but fun nonetheless.

5. Post Hugo thoughts

Ah, it seemed everyone was doing posts about the Hugo results. I thought I'd put my two cents in, and it seems folks liked that post. I stand by "Nuts to you, Neil Gaiman."

6. Heh. Reddit SJWs hate me

This was in reaction to some of the flaming directed at me after my Hugo post, especially regarding my saying "Nuts to you, Neil Gaiman." Perhaps I shouldn't have responded to the projection and lies about my geekdom, but I don't like libel and slander. I had a few days of hatefans, it was a good time.

7. Betrayal at House on the Hill: SJW expansion

This post was my first detail search on multiple SJWs in a project, which became a model for the GenCon post. It has also recently proven relevant, as some are regretting their purchase and finding out why belatedly. I likely should make that my featured post.

8. Injustice Book Review: A Pius Man trilogy

Yes, this is my most popular book review. I'm pretty pleased by that, as Declan doesn't have the notoriety that Mr. Wright does. A.P. Ryan is a blast of a character, and I've enjoyed everything he shows up in. 

9. Monica, you don't get a pass

Came after the GenCon post. The thing that does Firefly attacked me for it behind my back, and I smacked back, in a civilized, open manner, quoting her extensively. I then made sure she knew about it via Twitter, and she promptly blocked me. I'm sure she had a nice victory dance after.

10.  Fisking Publisher's Weekly Review of Beyond the Mist

Some paid moron at PW didn't know how to do a book review of something they didn't like or comprehend. I couldn't let that slide; Mr. Zwycky wrote a fine tale I await the sequel to, and his first novel got me started on book reviews.

Lessons to be gained: Book reviews pull in some regulars, but the flame war posts get tons of views. I likely need to do a bit more of those now and then.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Halloween Treat

Dawn Witzke published a second Halloween story today on her website. Last year, she published one on Liberty Island for their Halloween contest. Please, fierce reader, go and read these treats at your leisure.

For those not in the know, Dawn is working on several books currently. She is however, more known (for now) for the book covers she's been doing, getting a bit better each time. She's done a fair number of covers for Declan Finn's work, including the new Codename: Unsub, which I'll get to as soon as I'm done with Nick Cole's new book. Yes, I'm telegraphing some reviews. I DON'T CARE.

Dawn, I love these little treats.  Please keep them up; I have a hard time passing on a new take on an old story that works.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Discovery by Karina Fabian

Cower not, fierce reader! This is my first reading of any of Karina Fabian's works, but this will not be my last. I know that some others have been raving about this book, and it's past time that the dark acts of Injustice contained herein were exposed!

Firstly, this book is Catholic. Not just "It was written by a Catholic.", or "It has some Catholic ideas in it.". No, this tale makes no qualms about the fact that faith is central to the lives of many of the characters. There is redemption, reconciliation, and repentance in this book.

Second, there is a presentation of an atheism that has no comprehension of Christianity in general. Like most versions of atheism, this has evolved into a legalistic religion, with sex and ego as the central fixtures. Don't be worried, no such acts are presented herein, though the characters of such orientation clearly have similar acts in their past.

Thirdly, there is a Protestant faith here that has great misunderstandings of Catholicism. There are multiple reasons for this reflection of the truth. Firstly, a great many misunderstandings take place from use of the same word, with different doctrine. Secondly, many people these days do not study the history, but take the word of others on faith. Third, there are indeed those that lie maliciously about the Catholicism, many even in good faith. This is not to excuse these occurrences, merely to explain the reality reflected within this tale.

This is in several ways an old school SF romance. By that I mean the romantic era, with tales full of adventure, though not adventure stories. Stories with religion, but not religious texts. Stories, yes, with romance, but largely not a story about romance. This is a proper smorgasbord of storytelling, with complex characters of all stripes, and proper passions throughout the tale. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Cautionary Tale

Last night, a new reader posted a comment regarding the Betrayal at the House on the Hill expansion that I covered here. I'm going to post most of the comment here, so if you've read the post, don't feel the need to visit it to check it out.

From Dave and Liz, a couple I'm guessing that just found this blog:

We love the game, and bought the expansion... I didn't know it was socjus tainted.
The first new haunt we played was so poorly worded, that even as avid veterans, we couldn't figure out what was supposed to be occurring. I had to correct the scenario's rules as we went along. Most of the flavor text was devoted to gushing about how stunning and brave and respected the beautiful female monster was.
Seeing authors grabbing attention under the haunts was new- and didn't seem like a welcome development... And, of course, Zoe's haunt- haven't played it yet- was titled "Make America Disintegrate Again." 
Because that's why we play a haunted house game- to get politics shoved in our faces. 
The whole thing reeks as being more focused on fulfilling a millenial circle-jerk than actually focused on good gameplay.
Hopefully some of the haunts are actually decent, but so far it's awful. Wish I would have done some research instead of just trusting the company producing it.

This is a big part of why I call my self the Injustice Gamer. Yes, I post more book reviews than game posts these days, but I do try to keep up with the boardgaming world. Please note prime marks of Social Justice referred to: bad writing and editing, bad rules, false courage clich├ęs, celebrity name-dropping, and tired versions of politcal ideals.

If WotC/AH/Hasborg had been actually interested in putting out a good expansion(they should have been, the game's plenty popular), it would have happened years ago, and you'd have to struggle to find out who wrote what. This was a pure money/SocJus play. Yes, there are enough SocJus people in gaming to make money that way. Don't trust the big companies inherently.

Firstly, I'd like to say if you have a question about a boardgame or boardgame expansion,  PLEASE contact me. Twitter/ @aelfredwessex . If I don't have any idea, I know where to research it, and I might just turn it into a post. I'm here to help. Secondly, if you want a game with stories that are interesting(I have NO CLUE as to the SocJus stance of the writers), I commend Above and Below by Ryan Laukat, and his upcoming Near and Far.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bye, Crazy Lady. Please, get better.

So, the blogger at gomakemeasandwich has decided to hang up her keyboard, at least for awhile. We do know Vox's first law here, and will not trust her to stay silent, but will take the blessed peace while it lasts.

She has cited mental health reasons, as well as the cost to her reputation due to being "controversial". Our dear blogger apparently obsesses over the amount of words each week people write about what a terrible person she is. She states that "anxiety is my life now". She states that she kept blogging out of a sense of obligation to her daughter, to make gaming a "safe space" for her to exist and play in.

And so on. I'm not even going to continue through this. Vox mentioned it a few days ago at Alpha Game, and I was a bit saddened for a loss of future material.

Anna Krieder, our dear blogger, has many of the wrong ideas. First, she cares what her opponents think about her, kind of like the "respectable Republicans"(I've never considered myself respectable). Second, she thinks that blogging about what she thinks are the problems in gaming will help her daughter. NO, being a parent and playing with your daughter will help her. Third, you believe women have to have the same conclusions for success as men, and that they can and should do everything the same. Fourth, you experience severe anxiety, and you put yourself forward as a leader?

Anna, please stop hating. Stop hating men and God and society. Stop playing Social Justice, and perhaps actually do some. Get some help. Play with your daughter, and let her have her own dreams.

Goodbye Anna. Know that the Injustice Gamer is praying for you and yours.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reading's been slow, so: All hallow's eve suggestions

So I'm still not adjusted to how much my new job has slowed down my reading and my energy levels. That said, it's good to be working.

So, in the interest of perhaps keeping a few people interested in what I have, I'm going to make a few entertainment suggestions to occupy any who dare follow them for awhile. I should have posted these much earlier in the month, as they'd be more reasonable, but they're still entertaining, so here goes.

Ray Bradbury Theatre: Because this is my original October binge. Here's the first episode:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Because murder, intrigue, and violence belong in the home. Great teleplays, and here's a sample:

The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's masterpiece. Don't even bother with the newer version; it's dead without him. And here's one of the best:

Kolchak, The Night Stalker: This is a wonderful series with Darrin McGavin. Cheesy effects(they all were), but put that aside and fall into the story.

There are of course, other entertainments you might try this with. Boris Karloff's Thriller or Beyond the Veil; The Outer Limits; One Step Beyond; and more. But these are some I recommend binging on first.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Throwback Comics: Lords of the Ultra-Realm

So about a week ago, I found a complete run of a miniseries, with the subsequent special, called Lords of the Ultra-Realm. This book was published in 1986, and has largely amazing art and writing. Here's one of the covers:
Pretty awesome cover, right? Well, the interior artwork is much the same. Lots of lines, details, and of course, 80's styling.

Honestly, when I started reading this, I was blown away. There's layers of story; characters that are complex, even if they are stereotypes of the age; and a plot that isn't lazy. I felt like I was experiencing something akin to what Jeffro did with his Appendix N research: an overlooked, undervalued and unjustly dismissed story that should be held as an example of good storytelling.

Now, the story does drift into left New Age directions here and there, but even then, it doesn't come across as preachy. Even in being derivative, it's more original than most comic books today, even the science fiction and fantasy being done today. It was an age for miniseries, great creativity, and what killed it? Watchmen, apparently. It succeeded too well, and comics followed those examples instead of pursuing the type of work that made it happen in the first place.

Now, I think I want to track down some more from this era. I'm going hunting for Sonic Disrupters next.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Music blog: I never

A few years back, Philip Glass wrote a new score for the Bela Lugosi starred Dracula. This is an excellent and creepy soundtrack. Listen as much as you like, or go find the movie backed by this.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Injustice Quick Reviews 5

Cower not, fierce reader! I bring today a fine assortment of Acts of Injustice for the fine collector. Please, take your time, and cherish the darkness within.

Sad Puppies Bite Back by Declan Finn- You knew I'd review it if you read this blog. This comedy tome was originally a series of blogposts, but the material within has been brushed off and tightened up a bit, plus there's some new material here. If you want to see the lighter side of the Puppy campaigns, the Hugos, and SWATing, take the time to breathe between the incidents contained herein. Major crime: It's funny, and the puppies are the heroes. Do I need more? 7 of 10 fell deeds

Alien Game by Rod Walker- I'm going to do a bit of a spoiler here, but  I don't think that will diminish anyone's enjoyment. Take the story The Most Dangerous Game, ditch the anti-gun/hunting bit, toss it on an alien world, and have it written by someone that might be said to be channeling Heinlein when he was fun. That'll get you close to how this book is. Major crimes: Dislike of government, an appreciation for competence, and a penchant for shooting and explosions. 7 of 10 fell deeds

Feast of the Elfs by John C. Wright- I'm going to be in the minority in that I liked Swan Knight's Son better, but this book was still excellent. Mr. Wright continues to demonstrate that Tor has bet a lot of money on the wrong horse. Crimes: Catholicism, Medievalism, adventure, and an ending that makes you cry for the next book.  9 of 10 fell deeds

Snakehand by Chuck Dixon and John Neal- This is more of an action book set in the West than a Western, and by that I mean there's more fighting in this than just about anything. There's a gunfighter seeking a path to redemption, a town run on corruption, rowdy cowhand, ladies of questionable virtue, and the temperance movement. Major crimes: It's a WESTERN, there's a respect for faith among those without it, and lots of bullets. 7 of 10 fell deeds

Catskinner's Book by Misha Burnett- Mr. Burnett kindly supplied me with a copy of his book.This will trigger a lot of folks. There's action, so it's not even up the lefties' aisle to begin with. There are serious conspiracy theories going on, and the Weird elements of this should help it appeal to the Appendix N fans. It's got a bit of a twist, as it's the protagonist is one of the Weird creatures. Hard to put down, though there's one element that threw me for awhile, but it was explained well later on. Major crime- We've got a nice take on Weird fiction a bit in the Robert E. Howard vein. 8 of 10 fell deeds

The Product by Marina Fontaine- I'm a subscriber to SciPhi Journal, and in addition to all the cool stories they put out, they just gave this to subscribers. So this is a nice dystopian tale, with a just enough action to move the story.  The setting is very totalitarian, and Marina knows a bit about totalitarian regimes, and writes them well.  It took me too long to figure out what the Product was, and I will someday write a post on that myself, or rather on my philosophy relating to it. Well done, Masha. 9 of 10 fell deeds

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

And now for my Gallagher impersonation

I took a look yesterday at the gomakemeasandwich blog. This place is apparently the stupid that keeps on giving. Currently, there are two posts about the "problematic" nature of the D&D 5E module The Curse of Strahd.

Now, I really don't want to spend the time to fisk two long posts, but I will go through the larger strokes, and try to consolidate things to one post.

First "problem": The Vistani

They are renamed gypsies. Roma, Romani, whatever. The first problem is apparently the stereotypical dress of them.We
Ok. So? They apparently also adhere to gypsy stereotypes of being drunks and thieves. Well, the stereotypes exist for reasons. Also, that they are liars, gamblers, kidnappers, lay curses, and tell fortunes. Again, so? It's not entirely untrue, and makes for good STORY. And if you can't differentiate between reality and fiction, well, you have issues. That should grant institutionalization.

Now,  the author that I'm going against decides to play the Godwin card. Yep, literally Hitler killed 250k of them, neo-nazis in Canada marched against them(as blogged against by a Roma that shoved the TV stereotypes onto Irish Travelers), and the fact of a child was removed from legal custody from a Roma couple because she wasn't Roma.

The first is a laughable virtue card. The second is both a proper immigration issue, with projection and racism on the part of the author. The third is a tragic reality. Perhaps we should find some decent number of pertinent examples first.

Second "problem": miscegnation

We have the issue of mongrelfolk, and how race mixing laws were struck down as unconstitutional. That's the real world, this is fiction. Get over it. By the way, there's decent medical reasons against it. Bone marrow matches are harder to find if you're mixed race. I know that means organ transplants are likely similar.

Then our dear blogger goes into the portrayal of mongrelfolk in the game. First, it's a game, and a fictional story. Second, when you mix ogres, elves, dwarves, humans, orcs, kobolds, and who knows what else, you will get deformities, likely speech problems, and who knows what else, it's FANTASY.

The mongrelfolk are an "inferior subspecies". Well yeah. The reflection in the real world  is mostly a false comparison. But, we already established a medical inferiority in reality. Then, our dear blogger goes on to address pre Civil War stereotypes used to justify slavery, and makes mention of the fact that James Watson stated in 2007 that Africans are less intelligent than Westerners. So, let's take a look at the map.  Sure looks like there MIGHT be a link. And Mr. Watson was subsequently disemployed by the forces of SocJus.

Then our blogger mentions the One Drop Rule. Which is still the law regarding EEOC applications, as far as I can tell. So, do Quarter, Eighth, and Sixteenth Black lives matter or not? I'm confused by her lack of stating what she wants. Oh, wait. That's how to continually maintain outrage.

Third "problem": Strahd the entitled

So Strahd fell in love with a woman that loved his brother. Strahd made a deal with the Dark Powers of the region, killed his brother on the wedding day, drank his blood, and she killed herself. Ok, pretty standard villain origin, when dealing with Dark Powers. Now the girl's soul has been reborn, and Strahd supposedly thinks she belongs to him.

I haven't read the module, but that sounds like a decent story. He's the BAD GUY. He's not supposed to be kind, proper, generous, or humane. He's supposed to be a monster. Get over it.

Fourth "problem": Strahd as vampire and his "brides" as spawn

In which our dear blogger goes into how problematic it is that Strahd keeps his brides in the crypts beneath his castle. And bemoans their lack of agency. THEY'RE MONSTERS, and not even the full version, as they don't have the pact with the Dark Powers. And of course, there are two male spawn, one free, and the other imprisoned by his father. Her point being that they have more freedom.

Most people have more freedom than they can handle. They focus on their feelings instead of facts, feigned injury over real dangers and threats.

Fifth and sixth problem: Number of murdered children to be dark and edgy

You know what? I'm going to partly agree with our dear blogger here. Lots of murdered kids and raped and murdered women is lazy writing. That said, it has nothing to do with the Patriarchy, it has to do with bad writing. The women weren't murdered by male entitlement, they were murdered by a corrupted version of male power. Bad writing, check.

Seventh problem: Insanity

In two parts, our dear blogger goes after madness here. First, the mongrelfolk are all shown as mad, and kept in an asylum in horrifying conditions. It's objected to that the module states the mongrelfolk are irredeemably mad. I don't get why that's a problem, honestly. It's keeping things simple for the thousands of GMs running this in organized play. Did you want to team up with the demons in DOOM, dear blogger?

Second part, our dear blogger starts railing against the "gendered" madness issue. Of course, ignoring the fact that some women do go mad from one person being mean to them. Ignoring the fact that people in power are generally catered to, unless and until they present a danger to their realm. I'm not even going to go into brain chemistry.

Why not? It's a bit of a historical presentation of asylums. Partly inhumane, stereotyped as irredeemable, and written off in favor of people in power? Sounds pretty accurate.

Problematic final thoughts

Our dear blogger then laments the Gypsy stereotyping again, wants to see the mongrelfolk freed, and the victim count moved to parity. And then hypothesizes the Roma being absent.

Why not just remove Strahd while you're at it? He's just as "problematic".

Here's a radical idea: instead of focusing on modules, why not play the game for real. Write your own campaigns. Work for your characters and story, quit playing generic drivel. Make your own worlds, create, explore, make things different.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Arrow, the new heroes

I thought I might give a bit of a background on some of the new characters in the TV DCU. I'm going to stick with the characters from Arrow for this post, because I want to cover things well, and for the research time; I'm no comic  historian.

Wild Dog- This is the first one we encounter. He shows up in the first fight, goes to defuse the bomb, which is already being defused by Felicity. Oliver then does the proper recruitment technique of shooting him in the leg.

In the comics, Wild Dog was created by Max Allan Collins, Ted Beatty, and Dick Giordano, for a four issue miniseries, and then went into a story in the weekly incarnation of Action Comics between 1987-1989. The original was an ex-marine by the name of Jack Wheeler, who operated in the Quad Cities, appropriate for a Max Allan Collins hero.(Yes, I'm not entirely happy the made the TV character "diverse"). Another point against his diversification is the hockey theme of the character: he wears a hockey mask and jersey, and hockey is a VERY white sport. That said, the guy appears to be a decent actor, and I'll give him a chance.

Which brings us to Evelyn Sharpe. She has no comic book history that I can find, so the episode where she stole the Black Canary tech/uniform is really all we've got.

Onto Curtis Holt. There's no Curtis Holt in the comics, but there is a Michael Holt. Michael Holt is one of the smartest people in the DCU, as well as a gold medalist at decatholon. He invented the T-Spheres, which we've seen a version of, and possesses 14 PH.D.s. The T-mask should be coming, the Fair Play jacket already exists. Mr. Holt is the second Mr. Terrific; the first is part of the original JSA, named Terry Sloane.

Now to Ragman. The character's name is the same as the comics, though the origin different. Rory Regan in the comics has been originally Irish, and then retconned to Jewish(don't know why).  In the comics, Rory is saved by a costume bought for him by his father to wear for Halloween, when his father's shop is held up and his father and friends killed. Currently, the costume is made of rags containing the souls of villains killed by the suit, and powered by them as well. I believe the show mad mention of ancient Egypt, so it's going to be a different version of the suit.

Now, where will this lead us, as far as teams? Well, this might get us closer to a Justice League, but I don't know. Personally, I want to see a version of the Question.  Give us an Earth 2 show, with John Wesley Shipp as the Flash. Oh, wait. I mean again. With more characters, like Citizen Cold, perhaps the Jester. Just some thoughts. And please, stop playing Social Justice. Because:

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Well, Essen's here, so I should look at some games.

For those not in the know, the Essen toy fair is a huge game con open to the public in Germany, with an attendance around 150k. Yes, it dwarfs GenCon. Germany also is still home to the most concentrated gaming culture. As there will be several new things out there, I'm going to go through the preview list on BoardgameGeek. I will not be listing anything that was at GenCon, though it's still likely new to many, and certainly to the European market. A few came close to getting on here, but I was trying to speed through the 31 page geeklist at one go.

The Exiled: Siege- This is the second edition of an interesting coop game, fighting against the hazards of a fantasy medieval wilderness. The new edition adds a one vs. all mode as well, and the campaign sounds pretty cool. I did not back it on KS, but I did come close.

Peak Oil- You better believe there's some "clean energy" worship going on here. That said, there appear to be some good game ideas, and I'd still be interested in playing. But, I'd want to play before buying this one.

Secret Weapons of the Third Reich- Unfortunately, the art is getting redone on this one. But, it's part coop, part drafting, part worker placement. And, one might become a traitor as the allies advance and possibly take the technologies you worked so hard for.

Outlive- This is a post apocalyptic worker displacement game. There's occasionally a fight over goods, you have a shelter to rebuild, and there's other cool ideas here as well. I did back this game when it was on KS.

Empires: Galactic Rebellion- Well, it's a "sequel" to Empires: Age of Discovery, which a lot of folks really liked. I was not a big fan of the game, but this looks like it has more paths available, which might mean more victory options, addressing my biggest qualm. I'd personally want to see it played, and it has some potential.

Cottage Garden- Because Uwe Rosenberg does interesting things with "dull" topics. Agricola, Mercator, Glass Road, The Gates of Loyang, and his money machine Bohnanza(to name a few). He wants to do things with polyominos? Let me see it.

Great Western Trail- A game about a cattle run? With buildings to use/build and workers to hire? Show me more.

Gentleman's Deal- I'm not one for party games generally, but this looks worthwhile. Mostly due to the fact that there's some game theory involved. The Dealer offers an amount to each player, they vote simultaneously on accepting, and the Dealer gets the rest if accepted, or loses a turn if not.  There's a bit more here, and I'll likely watch for it. 5-9 player games that are good are rare.

The Arrival- This is an Irish themed reimplementation of Martin Wallace's Mordred. Reading my way through Skelos issue 1, I think I might like the idea of this version better. A combination of resources, corruption, and fighting the Formori.

Not Alone- Big scaling possibilities(2-7), asymmetric play, and the only drawback is the generic SF theme? Just pretend it's The Thing, and you're characters are in Antarctica. Soundtrack by Mr. Carpenter recommended.

Drachenturm- Yeah, it's from German publisher HABA. Yes, it's a kid's coop game. Just take a look and you'll see there's some great kid's games out there. In fact, just look at HABA's games period. Lady Richmond, Meduris, Hamsterbande, and Lumina all look like a lot of fun.

TZARR- I was going to avoid any two player abstracts, but a GIPF project reissue? Too good to pass. Also, ZERTZ.

Snowblind: Race for the Pole- A press your luck game about racing back from the South Pole. At least, that's what the list says, maybe they have it backwards. The weather is against you as you try to balance speed, supplies, and health of you expedition.

Key to the City- London- This has a LOT in common with Keyflower. I'm more than alright with that. Some streamlining, but some new elements, too. So, I look forward to having a chance to someday play this one.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.