August 9th, 2004


another FREE blogger entry by Caitlín R. Kiernan, Lady Writer and Alien Malcontent

I honestly didn't mean to ruffle feathers yesterday when I expressed my disappointment with Morrowind, but I apparently have, and I should clarify a couple of points (and if this nerdy stuff bores you, skip ahead to the other nerdy stuff). I did spent about three more hours yesterday evening with the game and would now describe it as dull and frustrating, yet inexplicably compelling. Anyway, to clarify and retort. I wrote:

...the characters [in Morrowind] themselves are stiff beyond belief. The first time I pressed "jump," I actually laughed out loud. As Spooky remarked, it's like moving paper dolls about through very pretty places. I fear I have become entirely too accustomed to playing characters with fluid, lifelike movement to find these jerky people fun to play with. How do I adapt to the uninteresting, uninvolving waxworks of Morrowind when I've played Tenchu 3: Wrath of Heaven and Beyond Good and Evil?

Now, what I was saying here was not that I was having trouble because my level-one character can't do very much (jump very high, can be killed by almost anyone and anything, and so forth). That's not the problem. I play D&D, and I expected that. What I was saying was that the character design and animation is very primitive ("stiff"). I've been playing PS2 and XBox games with much more advanced animation, and it's spoiled me, I suppose. Yesterday, I counted, and my Morrowind character has only nine points of articulation. That's pretty old school.

There are things that I like. For example, I like the way the game deals with the passage of time and the weather. I love the enviroments, for the most part. Creature design is fairly nice. I like how I can run off into the wilderness and find the hull of an old ship washed up on the shore and use it as a base camp while I spend several days just exploring the countryside. I like the concept of the game. I think I just need to wait until its animation catches up with more advanced games, until its lost that paper-doll feel Spooky spoke of, before it's a game that I can enjoy. And if you're into Morrowind and have no idea what I'm talking about, I would suggest that perhaps you step away from Morrowind for a bit and look at the animation in, say, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or Primal. I think you'll see what I mean. I can even understand how the flexibility and intricacy of Morrowind would be so seductive to some that they might look the other way when it comes to the crappy animation. But I'm not one of those people. I need more than nine points of articulation, please.


We got news yesterday afternoon that Spooky's father, who is currently doing fieldwork in Vietnam, came down with appendicitis in Nah Trang and had to have emergency surgery. So, things have been a little tense hereabouts. But he seems to be doing just fine (Spooky's on the phone with her mom in Rhode Island right now). You can read more about this in Spooky's humglum LJ.

This morning I had a phone meeting with an editor at Marvel. I have another in a couple of weeks. If it leads to anything, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, yesterday we did manage to finish the read-through on The Dry Salvages, three more hours spent reading the novella, and today I shall do a number of revisions based on this read-through. Mostly this is continuity and correcting a few dumb scientific errors and miscalculations. But I have to finish today, because I've spent far too much time polishing this story and absolutely have to get on to other things. On and off, I've been working on The Dry Salvages since the end of last year, and it's time for it to move along. But I will say, I love this story, and I hope it finds many receptive readers.

Jennifer, who handles all the account information and business relating to my website (I mean my homepage, Pain and Wonder, though she takes care of, as well), was looking into the fact that our bandwidth requirements have gone up quite a bit recently, and she pointed out that I have access to a lot more data regarding who views the site and how often they do so than I thought I did. The journal is responsible for more than 60% of my traffic, which isn't surprising. But I was surprised to learn that I'm getting about five times the traffic I thought I was getting. Damn, there are a lot of you. Which is cool. I very much appreciate your attention. Now, if we could only manage to translate all those Blogger and LJ readers into actual book readers (hint, hint), I'd have a happy editor at Penguin. More importantly, I'd have a happy me. Seriously, I spend a lot of time on this journal, time that would otherwise be spent writing fiction or otherwise working. This blog is here to give you a little insight into the process of writing and publishing and to promote my work. All I ask in return is that you complete the circuit by buying and reading what I write. In the past, when I've expressed annoyance at all the people who read the journal and then write to tell me they love it but don't read my novels (and I've received many e-mails like that, kiddos), there's been a lot of whining and "yeah, but I..." and harrumphing that I would even have the nerve to be annoyed. Don't complain or make excuses. Don't preach to me about information wanting to be free. Just buy my books. Please. And I will continue, fearlessly, to blog about writing them.
  • Current Music
    Peter Murphy, "All Night Long"

Beauty and the Beast

Addendum: Fay Wray's dead. I just picked it up via "news pollution." I hate to admit that I thought she must have died years ago. I've been obsessed with King Kong since I was about five years old and am also very fond of The Four Feathers.

She was ninety six, was Fay Wray. I can't even imagine living that long, having had a whole career back in that other black-and-white world and then living on through all the changes she witnessed. Of course, I've said the same thing of my grandmother (who is merely ninety).

Anyway, there you go. King Kong is one of the films that I often sleep to, and I think it's one of cinema's best bits of weird fiction. So, for all those times I've dozed off to Ann Darrow's screams as she was carried aloft through the squirming, primordial jungles of Skull Island, I just felt I should note her passing (even if I'd ignorantly thought she'd passed already).
  • Current Music
    the cries of pterodactyls