Yesterday, I wrote 1,027 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." It's slow going, as this story is not set in one of my fictional universes, but in that of another author (I don't think I'm supposed to say who, not yet). Someone on Facebook had the gall to say, yesterday, that this constitutes "cheating," to which I reply "bullshit." I'd always much rather be playing in my own world and by my own rules, no matter how honored I might be at being allowed into that of another author. Staying true to their vision, not only the facts of that world but also the spirit of that world, it's no easy undertaking. I think I might be halfway through this story. If so, I should finish it on Wednesday.
And I'll post these links one last time, as there was another Solstice/Cephalopodmas gift inquiry yesterday evening. Here's the link to my Amazon wishlist, and here's the link to Spooky's. We are always just as happy to receive used copies of books, DVDs, and movies, by the way.
Back on Thursday, when the news went out that Kirkus Reviews is folding after seventy-six years (and I never got a bad review from them), I was dumbfounded and a bit saddened. After all, it's yet another sign that the publishing industry has been much healthier than it is right now. But, at the same time, I have been heartened to see that competent, literate bloggers who are also competent readers have begun picking up the slack. This has been more evident with The Red Tree than with any of my previous novels. Indeed, a number of the blurbs that will be included when the mass-market paperback is released next year will be from such blog reviews. Even as the easy chirping of Twitter and snarking of Facebook seem to be supplanting mass blogging, literary blogging seems to be coming into its own. For example, this morning I was greeted by this very fine review of The Red Tree at "The Black Letters" (even if it does deem me "snarly").
So, last night Spooky and I took Suraa and Shaharrazad (respectively) away from Outland and into Northrend, by way of the Howling Fjord. And it seems only fair that I should bestow upon Blizzard some deserved praise, after yesterday bestowing all that deserved scorn. Which is to say that Northrend is fucking beautiful, and the quests are great. My impression so far is that this extension is a vast improvement over the mismatched chaos and chintz of The Burning Crusade extension. We've only made it as far as the Tauren encampment of Winterhoof and the southern slopes of the Grizzly Hills, but these environments are gorgeous. The graphics are of an entirely different level than those from Outland. We found ourselves pausing in gameplay last night, just to stare at the sun sparkling off the snow, or the aurora coruscating above the fjord, or the mist lying thick in the boreal forests. This is a far more mature and fully realized world than we've previously seen on Azeroth, and I hope that when the big Cataclysm reboot roles around in 2010, the whole world is given this sort of face lift. Because Northrend makes the rest of WoW look shabby and cartoonish, it's that good. Also, nice to be fighting the "good" fight against the Alliance again, and hopefully all that Aldor vs. Scryers crap is behind us. No more Argent Dawn, please.
Before heading off to Winterhoof, we relocated to the inn at Vengeance Landing, fought the Alliance bastards at the Derelict Strand and then went off to battle the Vrykul at Baleheim. By the way, I thought the Vrykul were especially well realized, though I'd have liked to see women among them. WoW has this habit of tossing races at you, races which exist primarily to offer up adversaries, and making every member of that race male. They've done it with the orges, the trogs, the kobolds, and so forth. Are we supposed to suspect that these races are hermaphroditic or reproduce by budding? Is this just more neglect of female gamers? Come on, the boys would love to see giant Vrykul boobies. Well, the gay boys probably wouldn't. Maybe that's it. WoW is pandering to teh gay...
Anyway, yes, Northrend is absolutely amazing.
And now I have to go write.