?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:







And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.

Comments

( 35 comments — Have your say! )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
vulpine137
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
That is a very nice cover.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)

It was a great relief.
(no subject) - vulpine137 - Dec. 1st, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Dec. 1st, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
sovay
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012

It's a cover that doesn't suck! Mazel tov!

A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

That is a striking image.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)

It's a cover that doesn't suck! Mazel tov!

I half suspect it was an accident.

That is a striking image.

I have failed to do it justice.
jdack
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
That cover is excellent.

Re: foot travel in SWtOR, that's interesting, as it was a major problem with SW: Galaxies for a long time. We'd often have to set a destination, enable auto-run, and then go do something else for twenty minutes to get anywhere.

When they finally put in mounts, they were barely faster than running. Speeders took I think over a year to be added, and when they did show up, a bug that kept you from being able to store the speeder led to a hilarious clusterfuck of burning/exploding speeders covering nearly every square foot of most of the cities.

Good times.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)

Re: foot travel in SWtOR, that's interesting, as it was a major problem with SW: Galaxies for a long time. We'd often have to set a destination, enable auto-run, and then go do something else for twenty minutes to get anywhere.

Just didn't bother me, but I was coming from fantasy tradition of run, run, run.

Speeders took I think over a year to be added, and when they did show up, a bug that kept you from being able to store the speeder led to a hilarious clusterfuck of burning/exploding speeders covering nearly every square foot of most of the cities.

That's funny.
wood_dragon
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
Oh such a lovely cover! (And my Kickstarter reward arrived yesterday! Wonderful pictures to come home to after a long day at the office!)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)

(And my Kickstarter reward arrived yesterday! Wonderful pictures to come home to after a long day at the office!)

Woot!
kylecassidy
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
I approve of the use of Engravers Gothic.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)

I approve of the use of Engravers Gothic.

I didn't even know it was called that, but now I'm glad. A fine name for a font.
(no subject) - kylecassidy - Dec. 29th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
ashlyme
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
Is that a red oak leaf in the water? Nice touch.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)

Is that a red oak leaf in the water? Nice touch.

Yes. I take it as both a reference to The Red Tree, and as an apology for that novel's putrid cover.
(no subject) - ashlyme - Dec. 1st, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Dec. 1st, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
slothman
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
Does the game punish Sith for selfish kindness, or just for selfless kindness? (I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around what a functional Dark Side would look like; too many of the depictions of Sith are intrinsically self-defeating. I’m trying for the kind of culture that fosters rational-but-cold attitudes like this exchange from The Force Unleashed: “Did Vader tell you that he killed our last pilot?” “No. But I can only assume that he gave Lord Vader good cause to do so. I will not.” “Let’s hope so. I’m sick of training new pilots.”)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)

Does the game punish Sith for selfish kindness, or just for selfless kindness?

Well, from an evolutionary point of view, I maintain that all kindness is, at root, selfish. So this question is fairly meaningless to me. I suppose would say the game punishes Sith (and anyone on the Federation side, perhaps) for anything that may be construed as the smallest act of kindness.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around what a functional Dark Side would look like; too many of the depictions of Sith are intrinsically self-defeating.

At this point in the story, the Sith are more the bearers of a philosophy in diametrical opposition to that of the Jedi. "There is no peace, only passion." Which I rather like. But, ideally, I'd like to see a Sith/Jedi balance, an understanding that both "sides" of the Force are necessary and equally valid.
(no subject) - slothman - Dec. 1st, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Dec. 1st, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - slothman - Dec. 1st, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
phaedrine
Dec. 1st, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Truly lovely cover! My anticipation grows by the day.

I really love being evil in SWTOR. I loved getting yelled at for making slightly merciful decisions. I loved that masters struck down acolytes for not being good enough. I loved getting rewarded for doing bad things.

I'm really happy that the game is made by BioWare. Their handling of character and voice acting has impressed me in their console games (Dragon Age, Mass Effect), and has really thrilled me here.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)

My anticipation grows by the day.

As well it should.

I really love being evil in SWTOR. I loved getting yelled at for making slightly merciful decisions. I loved that masters struck down acolytes for not being good enough. I loved getting rewarded for doing bad things.

Yes!
alumiere
Dec. 1st, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Pretty, and well designed. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the best mass market cover I've seen for your work so far.

Also, a thank you for mentioning American Horror Story - we like it a lot. Oddly creepy and T thinks reminiscent of Amityville, but I'm looking forward to new episodes.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the best mass market cover I've seen for your work so far.

Agreed. Though I am fond of the original Threshold cover.

Also, a thank you for mentioning American Horror Story

You're welcome.
pisceanblue
Dec. 1st, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
The cover is wonderful and the blurbs are entirely appropriate for a Beast of your stature.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)

and the blurbs are entirely appropriate for a Beast of your stature.

I cannot help but agree. And there are lots of other great ones elsewhere in and on the book.
kendare_blake
Dec. 1st, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
Love the cover. Can't wait to read it.

Also, occasionally I envy your dreams. But only occasionally.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)

Also, occasionally I envy your dreams. But only occasionally.

yeah, it's a dubious envy. The "brightness" of them can be blinding upon awakening to this dull and shabby world.
aarontbc
Dec. 1st, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover ...

Still, it's kind of nice that there will be this "extra" piece of info for those that turn to the title page. Something that might deepen the mystery suggested by the cover image.

Well, that's what I would think anyway.

Lovely cover by the way. It rings with a beautiful melancholy.
everville340
Dec. 2nd, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
Hauntingly striking cover, and superb that the final version has the NYT quote...here's hoping Amazon corrects the image as soon as they can to reflect it.
pepsiswinger
Dec. 2nd, 2011 08:45 am (UTC)
The Drowning Girl AND The Hunger Games movie.

March is gonna be a good month for me.
bdef
Dec. 2nd, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
The force tha can be forced-
-is not the true Force.

I don't suppose you ever tried Matthew Woodring Stover's SW novels? I like his 'take' on the Force and the dark side. His Traitor was a game changer and in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor he postulated a genuinely anti-Force philosophy based on the second law of thermodynamics: the bad guy basically takes up Agent Smith's belief that the purpose of life is to end.

About the Jedi/Sith, I remember Palpatine telling Anakin that the Jedi and Sith are similar in almost every way. He was right. There's only one difference between em: Jedi value life, Sith value control over life. Sure, the Jedi often control others, but it's only to keep the crap from hitting the fan. So they argue anyway.
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 35 comments — Have your say! )