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.