Tag: steampunk (page 2 of 3)

IT CAME FROM NETFLIX! Sherlock Holmes

Logo courtesy Netflix.  No logos were harmed in the creation of this banner.

[audio:http://www.blueinkalchemy.com/uploads/holmes.mp3]

Necessity is the mother of invention. Along with being something Sherlock Holmes himself might utter while investigating a case, this idiom is also the reason I’m reviewing Guy Ritchie’s recent feature-film treatment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective. I was originally planning to subject myself to the apparent mediocrity of The Taking of Pelham 123, since it’s been a while since I’ve found a movie average enough to warrant my ire, but my financial situation has caused Netflix to give me dirty looks instead of instantly streaming movies until I get my act together. Surprisingly, though, my desire to sound more like a critic and less like a fanboy is still going to be satisfied. You see, if it weren’t for the presence of Holmes & Watson, Sherlock Holmes would feel a lot like a movie that’s trying to both follow the lead of Pirates of the Caribbean and shamelessly appeal to the steampunk kids.

Courtesy Warner Bros.

When it comes to Victorian England it’s hard to imagine a detective with more fame, quirks and intensity than Sherlock Holmes. He’s often called in by Scotland Yard to help them solve the more baffling crimes that cross their desk, when he isn’t employed by private interests. For years, assistance has come to Holmes in the person of John Watson, an Army veteran and skilled doctor. However, Watson is intending to get married which means he’ll be moving out of their shared living quarters on 221B Baker Street. Holmes is, for his part, unhappy with this situation and thus begins acting out, until the perpetrator of the last case on which the men worked, one Lord Blackwood, apparently rises from the dead. If there’s anybody from London that can figure out how this resurrection worked, it’s Sherlock Holmes.

Then again, neither Encyclopedia Brown nor Nancy Drew had been born yet. The main plot of Sherlock Holmes isn’t really all that mysterious. There’s no real cunning at work that Dan Brown couldn’t cook up to sell a few more novels that have readers picturing Tom Hanks in a hilarious mullet. It isn’t necessarily bad writing, as the facts do come together relatively well without major plot holes. If you pay attention, you can see what’s really going on even as people are bandying about words like “the dark arts” and “sacred order” as if Voldemort’s about to show up. (Wow, I am really going for a high score of pop culture references, aren’t I?)

Courtesy Warner Bros.
The definition of bromance.

Now, if that was where the film stopped, just at the not-so-mysterious mystery plot, I’d pass it up. But it gives us something great wrapped around this somewhat mediocre story. Robert Downey Jr. is, to be honest, the sort of Holmes I always envisioned Holmes as being. Now, I’ve enjoyed the portrayal of the legendary detective by the likes of Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett, but this disheveled, twitchy, slightly neurotic and way too brilliant for his own good Holmes really strikes a chord with me. Brilliance and madness are separated by only the thinnest of lines, and while past Holmes often play with that division, Downey dances across that line with a sense of abandon that’s a joy to behold. He’s not quite as great as Hugh Laurie’s Doctor House, but he’s pretty damn close.

Over and above Downey’s performance is that of Jude Law as Watson. A lot of people who’ve gotten hold of Doyle’s material seem to think that Holmes should always be the brilliant one and Watson should only play second fiddle, being two steps behind Holmes or so rotund he has trouble keeping up. Guy Ritchie and the writers chuck those previous notions out the window, embracing Watson as an equal to Holmes, not just a straight man to the main act. Again, someone’s been watching episodes of House, since this Watson, which may be the best I’ve ever seen, strikes a resemblance with that mad doctor’s long-suffering best friend, Wilson. Together, Downey and Law have fantastic chemistry that makes the B-plot of Watson’s upcoming marriage every bit as engaging as the arcane conspiracy A-plot tries to be.

Courtesy Warner Bros.
“Join me, Holmes, and I’ll make you forget all about Watson. We’ll be together every night.”
“…Blackwood, are you asking me out?”

On top of the two leading men are multiple things for Sherlockians to enjoy. There’s a lot of references to things mentioned even in passing within the pages of Doyle’s 56 short stories and 4 novels featuring Holmes. From a certain bullet pattern to Holmes’ substance abuse, if you pay attention you’ll be able to draw all sorts of parallels and point to where these references are rooted. A reference that requires no research is the presence of Irene Adler, played delightfully by Rachel McAdams. Mentioned in one story as a woman that bested Holmes at his own game, Adler has grown to rather gargantuan proportions in later fan works. The notion that Holmes would occasionally box is ramped up to give the film more action, and a gadget fixation that was tangential at best allows some of the technology of the Victorian era that inspired the steampunk movement to appear along side the two-fisted adventuring and witty banter. None of this is bad, per se, but it does feel at times like a bit of pandering.

The interesting thing is, none of these elements that I’ve taken shots at really stop the film from holding up as a well-paced period adventure. Sherlock Holmes works, and I was entertained pretty much from start to finish. If the mystery had been a little bit more clever I would be tempted to consider it a must-buy. As it is, it’s definitely worth a rental before you decide to buy it. I’m definitely curious to watch it again to see if there are more Doyle references I missed the first time. There’s also the fact I watched it without my wife and she’s going to love this Holmes.

Courtesy Warner Bros.
“Blackwood came on to me, if you can believe that.”
“I can indeed. You do look like Tony Stark.”
“…Who?”

In closing, I can’t help but feel like Guy Ritchie cribbed a few notes from Christopher Nolan. Yeah, I know, more pop culture references incoming, but stick with me. At the end of Batman Begins, Gordon hands the Caped Crusader a particular playing card. Guess who showed up in The Dark Knight and pretty much walked away with the whole damn picture? Now, I’m not saying that the similar mention made in Sherlock Holmes is going to result in a similar outcome, but I’ve heard the likes of Chrisoph Waltz and Daniel Day-Lewis are up for the part in question. I think we’ll be finding out next year, and I’ll be trying really hard not to get my hopes up. With a Holmes and Watson this good, could we please have a villain worthy of their abilities that doesn’t come off as over-the-top or campy? Can we please have a sequel to a film based on one of the foundational works responsible for my interest in fiction that works as well as The Two Towers did in relation to Fellowship of the Ring? Guy Ritchie, if you read or hear this, mate, would you please make sure the sequel to Sherlock Holmes doesn’t suck?

Please?

Josh Loomis can’t always make it to the local megaplex, and thus must turn to alternative forms of cinematic entertainment. There might not be overpriced soda pop & over-buttered popcorn, and it’s unclear if this week’s film came in the mail or was delivered via the dark & mysterious tubes of the Internet. Only one thing is certain… IT CAME FROM NETFLIX.

For Doctor Mercury: Like Out Of Clockwork

Gears

His practiced fingers carefully lay one gear beside the other. This painstaking work has taken years. Designs, prototypes, failures, so many have come before. And now, he’s so close. Experienced eyes peer through multiple lenses on specialized spectacles to ensure every wire, sprocket and connection are exactly where they need to be. Within its bright brass body, the inner workings of this mechanical wonder are surprisingly delicate. He strokes his beard, wonder if he’s forgotten anything. Shaking his head and muttering, he makes the last connection and whispers a small prayer.

Sparks fly from the thing’s belly. There’s a moment of silence, filled with smoke and anticipation. Then, the ruby eyes flicker to life. Slowly, under its own power, the clockwork creature rights itself into an upright position, resting back on its haunches with a soft clicking noise. It raises its snout towards its creator, eyes shimmering with an obvious intelligence and curiosity. Steam hisses from its nostrils and it chirps inquisitively.

The inventor cries out in joy and claps his hands. He picks up the tiny simulacrum and carries it to the window. The creature looks out across the rooftops, then back towards its creator. The old man smiles and gestures for the little thing to try out its wings. It crooks its head towards its back, flapping the multi-flapped brass contraptions experimentally. Then, turning back with a nod, it moves to face the window. It’s not very tall, about eight inches from snout to tail with a wingspan around twelve, and yet when it alighted from that windowsill it glided with a grace that’d be the envy of any natural bird in the sky. The creator, an inventor of some seventy years, had never been happier in his life.

It’s almost a shame to see his elation through the scope of my sniper rifle.

The clockwork dragon sees the reflection from my telescopic lens and flies in my direction. I’ve anticipated this. I’ve studied its creator’s work, retrieved his failed prototypes and some of his notes. The smell of specialized coal burning in the engine furnaces of my doom zeppelin will attract it, as it’s probably better quality than whatever the old man gave it to set off its spark of life. It flies unerringly towards me. I lay prone on the zeppelin’s lower deck, the wind in my hair as I lay the crosshairs carefully on the wrinkled, graying pate of the inventor. Seventy years he’s waited for this moment, to see his creation take flight on its own, and I wait for the joy on his face to reach its apex before I squeeze the trigger.

His frazzled head snaps back and the body collapses within the workshop. The dragon takes no notice, alighting on the windowsill next to me. I offer it a bit of the alchemically prepared anthricite. It cocks its head to one side, then nibbles on the brittle stone. Its metal jaws quickly chew off a few bits, and I can see the flexible tube of its throat move as it swallows. Its ruby eyes blink, and then it grabs my hand with both of its fore paws and devours the coal in earnest. In spite of the life I’ve taken, I smile. This little operation was like out of clockwork.

It’s a new life. A new device. Something potentially deadly, but full of innocent and silent wonder. I set my doom zeppelin’s course for the secret location known only to a few.

The starchild, my Doctor Mercury, is going to love this gift.

Game Review: BioShock 2

Courtesy 2K Games
“Somewhere… beyond the sea, somewhere… waiting for me…”

I mentioned in my review of the first BioShock that Rapture is a living, breathing entity. One of the biggest impressions made by its sequel is that the underwater city didn’t just up and disappear after the conclusion of the first game. Rapture marched on without us, and when we return to it, the city is both instantly recognizable and possessed with the feeling that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

…Okay, Rapture wasn’t that great a place to live to begin with, at least when we’re first introduced to it. But whereas in the first game the Splicers felt like a disorganized and individualistic mob of gibbering pseudo-zombies driven mad by their psychic powers, here they have been given purpose, direction and even promises of redemption. There are still forces struggling to control Rapture and maintain the flow of the precious material known as ADAM that functions as the life-blood of the city.

Into this volatile mix of elements comes Subject Delta, a prototype Big Daddy awakened from hibernation. Unlike the other not-so-gentle giants, Delta can use plasmids and shares a bond with a particular Little Sister. Like Jack, the protagonist of the first game, we as Delta are presented with both overarching obstacles to overcome and the means, through our choices and actions (or inactions), to change Rapture forever.

Since the introduction of Something in the Sea, I was looking forward to this release. The first game did a fantastic job building atmosphere, telling a story and actually having underlying themes and concepts that extended the game beyond yet another exercise in shooting bullets at things until they fall down. So how did the sequel fare?

Stuff I Didn’t Like

Courtesy 2K Games
“What’s that? There’s a lack of innovation? NOOOOOOOO!

BioShock, for all of its echoes of, callbacks to and inspiration from System Shock 2, broke new ground in the realm of console shooters. Its narrative complexity, philosophical grounding and unique aesthetic set it head and shoulders above others in the genre, most of whom are trying to capture the money-making magic of Halo. BioShock 2 feels much less innovative. While there isn’t anything wrong with taking what worked in a successful title and attempting to improve it, the feeling that we’ve been here before can water the enthusiasm of the player somewhat. The first half of the game, beyond the novelty of Delta’s abilities as a Big Daddy, feel awfully similar to most of the preceding title. There’s something about the story’s structure and pacing that feels somewhat “safe”, at least at first. It’s difficult for me to fully articulate why this bothered me. Reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary when making a sequel, after all.

Anyway, the only thing persistent from the first game that really continued to bug me as I played was the knowledge that what Yahtzee calls “that side-tracking shit” was going to get pulled on me any time the objective at hand seemed simple to complete. In fact, my wife and I both quoted the Zero Punctuation review of BioShock many, many times as I played through. The main antagonist in BioShock 2 is female which makes it feel even more like she’s SHODAN with skin on. Again, this is a minor complaint, and to be honest it’s really the only complaint I can make.

Stuff About Which I’m Ambivalent

Courtesy 2K Games
A new section in my reviews. Shocking, no?

So I dove into the multiplayer that I spent some time saying we didn’t need and I’m ambivalent about it. I don’t love it but I’m also a bit surprised in that I don’t loathe it. As much as I appreciate its attempt to mix up the online shooter formula with trials, unlockable loadouts & items and something that vaguely resembles a story available through your apartments’ radio announcements and audio logs, it’s still an online shooter. There’s some fun to be had as you combine plasmids with firearms and especially when you stumble across a Big Daddy suit, but I stand by my initial feeling that it’s a little tacked on.

Stuff I Liked

Courtesy 2K Games
Gives new meaning to the phrase “Drill, baby, drill.”

First of all, you’re a Big Daddy. You’re a towering, ponderous, super-strong giant in an armored diving suit and your melee weapon of choice is a huge drill. There’s nothing about this concept I don’t like. Now, if you’ll recall, in the first BioShock Big Daddies can be taken down by either our silent protagonist or a mob of Splicers. What differentiates you from those other unfortunate Big Daddies is the fact you have (at least I’m hoping) a functional frontal lobe. Tactics actually come into play in this game beyond “chase down the bad guys and set them on fire”, which is something I’ll discuss in the next section.

The slight changes to the weapons loadout work well. Having the drill & rivet gun definitely add to the “You’re a Big Daddy now” feeling, and wielding a double-barreled shotgun made me wonder how Bruce Campbell would fare in this situation. A chainsaw isn’t that far removed from a drill, after all. Anyway, there’s also the fact that you can use your plasmids at the same time as your other weapons, which not only saves time in switching from one to the other but also allows for some of that creative thinking stuff. The game actually rewards you for being creative and switching things up with the research bonuses.

While the voice-acting isn’t quite as immersive as that of the first BioShock, it’s still quite good, especially when it comes to the characters of Eleanor and Alex. I’ll stop my train of thought at that station because I don’t want to spoil it for you. Finally, the plumbing system from the first game is replaced with a much more straightforward mini-game for hacking. Unlike the replacement systems for decryption and bypasses in Mass Effect 2, it’s far less tedious and a bit more challenging to hack something, and it’s quite rewarding when you pull a hack off while under enemy fire.

Stuff I Loved

Courtesy 2K Games
…Oh God.

“You might stop fearing death,” said a member of TV Tropes about the games Vita-Chambers, “but that doesn’t stop you from being afraid.” No character drives this point home more than the Big Sisters. Originally planned to be a single recurring villain, the Big Sister is an extremely elite sort of antagonistic creature that really, really doesn’t like you messing with her pint-sized dress-wearing barefoot counterparts. Unlike the huge and often passive Big Daddies, Big Sisters actively seek you out, chasing you through Rapture and using combinations of lithe acrobatics, highly evolved plasmids and a wicked sword-like ADAM extraction needle to encourage you to stop. The knowledge that you can pop out of a Vita-Chamber nearby after she hands you a severe ass-kicking never stops the blood-curdling screech they emit as they track you down from being terrifying.

The game tells you to “Prepare yourself” when the Big Sister is coming for you. Thankfully you can channel your fear into those preparations by laying traps, hacking security systems and loading up on more effective ammunition. BioShock 2 rewards creative thinking, as I’ve said, and this includes setting up some very nasty surprises for enemies coming your way. Both when dealing with a Big Sister and watching over an adopted Little Sister as she gathers ADAM from a corpse, the best way to ensure your survival and conserve your resources is to examine the area, plot out possible routes of approach and trap them accordingly. The dead strewn about Rapture lets you pick and choose where your gathering operations take place, and on more than one occasion I’d come into a room with a vent and smile, because I knew exactly where I’d be meeting the Big Sister. This didn’t make the experience of fighting them less harrowing, for me, and I played on Normal difficulty. I suspect future playthroughs will have me cursing more and voiding myself less when the screaming Big Sister comes at me out of a haze of fire and terror.

This brings me to the Little Sisters.

Courtesy 2K Games

Maybe my paternal instincts kick in hardcore when I see one. Maybe the team at 2K have really made them more sympathetic over the years. Maybe I’m just a pussy. However, when the Little Sister looks up from the broken body of “Mr. Bubbles” only to smile brightly at you, and in some cases hop up and down excitedly (“Are we going to be together now, Daddy?”), there’s no way in hell I can bring myself to tear them apart for the sake of holding a flailing sea slug in my hand. And killing Little Sisters, besides guaranteeing one of the games ‘bad’ endings, would deprive you of some very funny and rather heartwarming lines of dialog.

For example, carry a Little Sister on your shoulders, then zap a Splicer with the Electro Bolt plasmid and/or pelt them with bullets from the machine gun. “Look, Daddy!” the Little Sister cries with glee. “He’s dancing!” And if you’re in the middle of a gathering operation, and one of the Splicers gets to your Little Sister, rush over with your drill in full spin. As you reduce the would-be pederast to little bloody chunks, the Little Sister proclaims “Nobody messes with my daddy!” Finally, there’s the “Daddy? You always save me from the monsters” line when you pick her up after a harrowing battle, and the very soft and heart-felt “Thank you” spoken to you after some of them crawl into their vents after being rescued.

Again, maybe it’s just me. Maybe you’ll go into this game with the intent to rip every single one of these toddling terrors to shreds. That’s your call. For me, protecting and rescuing the Little Sisters added depth to the game and really pulled me into the experience. We learn a lot more about them, what they go through in the rather horrific process that creates them and how they see Rapture. Especially after those experiences, harvesting them for their parasites rather than setting them free seems as cruel an act as anything perpetuated by the game’s villains.

BioShock 2 isn’t just BioShock with a fresh coat of paint and a few cool new weapons. It’s not entirely different, either, and if you haven’t played the first game you might feel a bit lost, confused or even disinterested. Fans of the first game are in for a treat, and while it doesn’t really push the envelope in any way, it does what the first game did very well and, in some cases, better. In a world where sequels are often an ever-extending litany of disappointments in light of the original title, BioShock 2 does what good sequels always should.

Bottom Line: You may want to play the first game before picking this one up. But even if you don’t, in my opinion, it’s worth your time, it’s fun to play and it still tells a good story that has something going on besides loud gunplay and teabagging. Buy it.

Game Review: BioShock

Courtesy Take 2
Hope you survive your visit.

Like my review of Mass Effect, this is in preparation for my acquisition of Bioshock 2, which was released in stores yesterday. Now, I know a whole lot of people are all over this sequel and you’ve probably already moved on yourself, but until I too have gained enough of that arbitrary capitalist-fuel bank-managed digital data called “money” – because, let’s face it, most wealth is measured in 1s and 0s than it is in bullion these days – I’m still playing older games since I can’t afford the new ones. Except Star Trek Online.

Yes, I know that makes me dull, shut up already.

Our story begins in 1960 with a spectacular plane crash. The protagonist, Jack, is the only survivor. Amazingly, at no point does the perspective shift away from that of Jack, keeping us immersed in the experiences of living through a traumatic event, struggling to survive in the vastness of the ocean before we pick up anything resembling a weapon and the discovery of the vast underwater city known as Rapture. Once we descend into the hidden metropolis, accompanied at first only by the chilling introduction of the city’s themes and philosophy by Andrew Ryan, we are confronted with an environment both alien and familiar. There’s something special about Jack, and only by surviving the experience of wandering through Rapture and encountering its inhabitants will the truth be revealed.

Stuff I Didn’t Like

Courtesy Take 2
What? Pipe Dream? Rapture runs on Windows 95?

  • I know the game has a water theme going on, being at the bottom of the ocean and all, but circuitry is still circuitry even in a vaguely steampunk setting. Did the hacking system really need to be a clone of Pipe Dream? I mean it’s nice for all of the gibbering Splicers and menacing Big Daddies to wait for me to finish rearranging the flow of water (or whatever it is) to hack a turret so it’ll tear them to shreds, and it looks as good as anything else in the game, but considering how much of the game is focused on the action, including this kind of simplistic puzzle-solving is, to me, a little cognitively dissonant.
  • Speaking of action, this game is billed as a ‘spiritual successor’ to System Shock 2. I loved the hell out of System Shock 2, and not just because it was an immersively atmospheric shooter. There were elements of role-playing as well, from the beginning where you picked your branch of service to the specialization that came from collecting cybernetic modules. If you wanted to use the BFG 9000, and weren’t a Marine, you’d better’ve hoarded those modules since the start, mister. In BioShock, on the other hand, Jack can pick up and use any weapon or psi-power (“Plasmid”) he finds in Rapture no matter what it might be. A Chemical Thrower is every bit at home in his hands as the magical heat-seeking bees that live there after you pick up a particular Plasmid. It keeps the game flowing in an action-related sense but it could have added another layer to the game.
  • The Vita-Chambers that restore you to life are another hold-over from System Shock 2. However, in the previous game you had to find missing components on the level in question and install them at a specific location in order to essentially unlock a spawn point. In BioShock, Vita-Chambers are sprinkled liberally throughout Rapture, and using one doesn’t cost you a dime, while bathroom stalls charge you for their use. In an objectivist utopia, you’d think that a machine that does something so otherworldly as bring the dead back to life would cost you a fortune. But no, you just pop out of the thing after that Big Daddy stomped your face into the floor.

    Jack: “MY TURN NOW, BITCH!”

    Me: “Okay, now I’m kinda bored.”

  • There’s a moral choice system at work in the game, but your choices are “Savior of the Universe” and “Absolute Bastard.” There’s no room for you to be a normal, flawed guy just trying to survive.
  • The third act of the game is kind of disappointing, for me.

Stuff I Liked

Courtesy Take 2
“Why’s he shooting at us, Daddy? I just wanna play with him!”

  • The inhabitants of Rapture are a varied and interesting bunch. It comes to a point where you can pick out what’s waiting for you around the corner if you listen for a moment. The sound design in BioShock is top-notch. Like the aforementioned predecessor, a big part of the atmosphere is in the sounds made by the structures and creatures. Also, like Fallout 3, there’s some soundtrack dissonance to be had as something swing-era and gentle plays while you’re backing away from the Splicer hurling obscenities and bullets at you as you attempt to defend yourself. And the occasional public announcement really adds to the somewhat disturbing atmosphere.
  • The undercurrent of Ayn Rand’s philosophy running throughout the game makes the experience even more interesting. I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers, so I’ll just say that this feeling lasts for a very long time, up to and including your encounter with a pivotal character in Rapture’s history. After that encounter the game moves into its third act which, as I said before, kind of let me down.

Stuff I Loved

Courtesy Take 2
Rapture itself makes up for a lot of shortcomings.

  • I’ll begin my gushing with the art direction. A lot of games rendered for current consoles look good, but BioShock‘s setting, characters and sequences all feel remarkably fresh and hauntingly nostalgic at the same time. There’s an old-fashioned sensibility about Rapture, the clothes people wear there and even the weapons you pick up that really reinforce the period feel of the game.
  • The storytelling in this game is outstanding. From the overall arc of the plot (even if it does waver a bit at the end) to the characterization of major NPCs, the game is written extremely well. If the art and sound design weren’t enough to draw people in, the plight of the people who speak with Jack and the emotions they convey drive the point home and yank us into the experience.
  • Jack begins as your standard-issue silent protagonist. But the more we get into the game, the more we realize that he is a fully-realized character, and there’s that one sequence that helps us feel moments hesitation and even fear despite facing down Big Daddies and surviving quite a while in Rapture’s hostile environment. He many never say a word, but we get to know Jack pretty well, and our connection to him begins to extend beyond his role as a player surrogate.
  • The Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Not only are these folks icons for the entire game and its dissonant themes and mood, but they’re extremely well realized characters that, again, need very little dialogue. We never see the face of a Big Daddy, as they convey emotion through body language and whale-like sounds alone. Little Sisters, barefoot in pretty dresses, are all the more menacing for their unassuming appearance, especially when they start screaming for our blood when we open up on their colossal protectors. We need them, though, and the mysterious substance they collect from the dead, and as much as you might hate them and choose the ‘Harvest’ option every time, seeing them sobbing over the inert body of a Big Daddy, for me, tends to give a moment’s pause. How much is survival worth? Is it enough to merely survive, or should we struggle to do something more, to be better than an animal vying for the right to exist? It’s a question that is posed to the player without a single mention of such a line of thought in any of the written or spoken messages in the game. Then again, that could just be me.

Bottom Line: I adore BioShock. In spite of the things I don’t like about it, the little bits from System Shock 2 that could have made the game even better, this is a solid, well-produced and fantastic shooter that manages to be more than just another run-and-gun title. It’s got something to say. It’s actually about something. And that’s more than most shooters could ever hope to claim.

If you haven’t bought it already, it’s worth the money.

Things to Come

Bard

With work kicked into high gear since the departure of two friends, this week’s IT CAME FROM NETFLIX! has unfortunately been delayed. I do, however, have some good news to share related to my nascent career as a writer.

I responded to an advert from Polymancer Studios which said they were looking for writers and would-be writers for a new publication related to tabletop gaming. I suggested a column about creative DMing, full of tips for the guy or gal behind the screen aimed at keeping things exciting for the players, from villains with deep motivations to the inclusion of politics in the lands through which the players travel. Polymancer liked the idea, and contacted me about coming aboard as a regular columnist.

Now that alone would be enough to excite me, but then Sandra from Polymaner said this:

I looked over your blog “The Blue Ink” and I liked what I read, would you consider writing for one of our fiction publications as well?

Would I? You bet your ass I would.

I looked through my little bits of fiction, teased out possible ongoing plot threads and character growth and finally settled on Captain Pendragon. Sandra showed it to the others at Polymancer, and…

We like your idea and would love to see this serialized as part of Polygraff’s content. How does that sound to you?

Courtesy travelblog.org

So, yeah. Watch this space. Good things are happening, slowly but surely.

In other news, if anybody wants to sketch the characters or settings in the aforementioned story, feel free. I can picture these folks and technology in my head but I can’t draw to save my life.

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