Sunday, September 30, 2018

End of Year Three

This post concludes the end of my third year of daily blogging here at the Retreat.

While the blog's growth tapered off, the readership has more or less remained steady overall; the posts that get the most view tend to be the ones that are most akin to timely clickbait material, which isn't necessarily a good thing (as the glorified bloggers at PolyTakuGN (or whatever front name it is this week) as well as the mainstream media generally demonstrate too well, but the regular engagement I get from the emerging core readers is far more encouraging. In short, the Retreat found its niche and therefore its readership, and those leaning to other parts are now happy that I maintain the weekly blogs for those interests.

I talked a lot about what I'd like to do at this time last year. After looking back at the start of this year, I can say that deciding to commit to writing novels was the only way forward for me given what I've had to work with until now. I had neither the skill nor the tools to do anything else. Furthermore, the streaming environment changed significantly over this past year as did the YouTube style of video channel, making me reconsider those as anything but adjuncts to the writing business.

TL/DR: Don't expect me getting into livestreaming or podcasting anything soon. While I have recently, at last, been able to get better tools I still lack the skills and my time is (for now) better spent on mastering writing than learning another skillset, not when I also have to learn the business side of the writing world.

No point in bemoaning the point any further. I'm going from amateur to pro science fiction author now, and we'll see how well I've done by this time next year.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Narrative Warfare: The Mouse Empire Strikes Back (& That's Good For Us)

While I was enjoying the evening with some pals, word that the Mouse Empire chose to double-down on Culty Kathy got out. The Supreme Dark Lord was amused.

Why? Because doubling down is what SJWs do. After all, they can't possibly admit they were wrong and those evil NaziHaterWhiteSupremacists who said the movies sucked were right, can they?

This is great news, as far as I am concerned. Opportunity beckons....

While it is possible that this is all PR to make her departure look like something else, using this contract as a golden parachute, the proof will be in the Mouse Wars schedule starting next year. I thought she was gone, and I should have considered that her backers had sufficient stroke to use their convergence to keep her in control of the controlled demolition of Uncle George's creation.

But I share the Supreme Dark Lord's sentiment. This is good for those of us already doing #StarWarsNotStarWars. This is good for #AGundam4us. This is good for the #PulpRev scene, and we have got to position ourselves--individually and collectively--to pounce upon this opportunity. There is no way that Culty Kathy can satisfy the Star Wars audience; she doesn't even want to try, and she's out to do a demographic replacement no less severe than the SJW-converged governments of the West wish to execute.

There is no saving Mouse Wars. There is now only the diaspora of dissaffected fans looking for something new to replace it. That's where we come in.

We need to come together and boost each other up, and not just in science fiction novels. We need to boost our allies in indie comics, and get more material across those media lines (as Jon del Arroz and Vox Day are doing). We can't afford to waste this window we've got, because the demolition of Star Wars on the altar to Social Justice will compel people to seek us out. We have to be ready, willing, and able to meet them and bring them aboard.

And that's got to go beyond our own stuff. We need to push the old classics, the other mil-SF/Space Opera guys who do like we do, and otherwise get those disaffected fans comfortable with all of the competing material out there- and get them to remember that it was we who showed them the wider world when they left the reservation. If what I write isn't what Bob's wanting, maybe Cole & Anspach will do, or Niemeier, or Jay Allen, or some old BattleTech books, or Legend of the Galactic Heroes. You get the idea.

Disney has given us an early Christmas gift, folks. Make the most of it.

Friday, September 28, 2018

My Life As A Writer: The XSeed Media Train Stops At Jim Fear's Podcast

Dragon Award winner and nominee Brian Niemeier (and my editor for Reavers of the Void) continued his media tour in support of Combat Frame XSeed with his appearance on The Jim Fear Podcast. You can find that audio-only podcast here and it's guaranteed to be far more interesting than whatever you usually put on to listen to on a Friday afternoon. Again, if you've not backed the campaign then you can do so here.

It's increasingly clear that Brian's got a plan for every stage of the indie publishing game, and his past experience is doing him good service here. If you, like me, are new to the game then you have another reason to listen to Brian's media tour; he's showing how to play the game and win by his action as much by his words, and that's invaluable to going from newbie to paying bills by writing as fast as you can.

It's brief, but a key lesson is here in this podcast: not every editor is for every book project. Brian's a mecha guy like me, so he's good for what I've written; learn to know who's good for what sort of project. More wisdom is within, so carve out the time and put this one on folks. You won't regret it.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Take Your Propaganda To The Trash, CAH

Today's example of "Get Woke, Go Broke":

Scratch another game publisher off your lists folks. This isn't politics, this is direct activism masquerading as sales, and that means "propaganda". Gaming and propaganda don't mix, which is why "Get Woke, Go Broke" is a thing that keeps happening. Into the trash you go, Cards Against Humanity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Vox Day Talks Alt-Hero:Q

The Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day, appeared during daylight hours today to talk about Alt-Hero: Q and the waning hours of the successful Indiegogo campaign for it.

The man's doing all the smart things that comics publishers need to do know, and the tell is in the success that Arkhaven Comics has in the field- such that even the Big Two are scared of Arkhaven now. The North American market is getting disrupted, and more readers find this to be good than bad. It's why the SJWs watching that niche are so virulent about attacking Arkhaven and anyone associated with it- whether they want to be or not. (Looking at you, Sciver.)

I note that neither the European nor the Asian comics publishers give a shit, and that's because we aren't dealing with SJWs using comics as Commie propaganda fronts there. (Well, maybe in Europe that could be a problem, but I haven't seen any Japanese comics that do.) They don't have a problem with Arkhaven, apparently, so it's telling that this is a huge problem with the Big Two and the parasites swarming around them.

I knew when Vox Day announced this new publishing business that he'd be successful and hit hard with his launch, much as he has with Castalia House. As of this post there's about 8 hours left in the campaign, so if you're into last-minute backing this is the time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Vox Day & Jon Del Arroz On The Lunch Stream Today!

Today saw the Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day be interviewed by the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction, Jon del Arroz on the later's "lunchstream" (which is live as of this post, so that time got bent somewhat for this occasion). This is going to be a good time, so fire up your browsers and put this one on as you go about your business. Don't be surprised if you find yourself paying close attention because something of interest gets said and you go "Wait, what?"

Well worth the time spent, folks, especially if you're looking to get into the head of the leading player in independent genre fiction today.

Monday, September 24, 2018

My Life As A Writer: XSeed on Superversive Live!

Continuing his media tour, Dragon Award winner and nominee Brian Niemeier appeared on the Superversive Livestream yesterday to promote his upcoming military SF novel Combat Frame XSeed, and you will have a good time listening to this podcast if you enjoyed the Geek Gab appearance.

If you haven't taken the opportunity to back his Indiegogo campaign, go here and get a guaranteed e-book in November (in addition to whatever else you put your money down for). This man is the editor for Reavers of the Void, so you know he's got an eye for making good stories better, and thus is worthy of your support.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: The Pundit Exposes WOTC's Pivoting of D&D Into a Lifestyle Brand

The RPG Pundit put out a video about the survey that Wizards of the Coast recently put out about Dungeons & Dragons.

He wasn't the only one suspecting this. I did too, and seeing that the survey's cooked to push this meme disease is sufficient confirmation for me to decide to cut WOTC off entirely (and with it, all versions of D&D after Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition). This is the softer form of "Getting Woke", and just like the hard SJW form the result is the same: You Go Broke.

Fuck this for a game of soldiers. Time to burn the Sea-Tac Complex to the ground and burn out the cult with it. The Pundit was right, again.

Real Gaming or Get The Fuck Out. Regress HARDER!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Business: Geek Gab Hosts Brian Niemeier & Talks "Combat Frame XSeed"

The senior author among we doing #AGundam4Us, Dragon Award winner and nominee, returns as a guest to Geek Gab today to talk Combat Frame XSeed and the Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund it. You don't want to miss this, so I'm posting this before it happens just to ensure that you have plenty of time to either make the time to catch this live and participate in the chat or to wait on the replay to become available for you to listen to ASAP after the fact.

If you haven't been to the campaign page yet, then point your browser here and pledge your support. Brian's proven himself a solid science fiction author, so you know he's good on delivering both the goods and the expectations he sets. If there's anyone amongst us worthy of support, it's him.

And if you're looking for more about my stuff, this week's Study post is live.

Friday, September 21, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: The Pundit on Fudging Dice Rolls & More

Back with another video, The RPG Pundit has some wisdom to dispense regarding what any other gaming format would rightly regard as cheating: fudging dice rolls.

It's the Pundit. You should know by now what to expect from him. If you think he's big on this, you don't know the man.

I'm not going to gild this lily. I will go where the Pundit won't: never fudge the dice rolls. It ceases to be a game when you do that, and once that's gone the core of the medium's appeal is gone with it- the virtual testing of one's skill and acumen against whatever situation comes your way, with the GM as no more than Crom--a neutral, disinterested arbiter and referee who gives no shits if your man lives or dies--and as such your wins are your own as well as your losses. The accomplishment is virtual, but they are still real in a properly run tabletop RPG campaign.

I've been at this long enough to see what happens when players know that the dice aren't the final word. It warps the perceptions, often completely out of bounds, and more than a few times I've seen players flat-out troll the GM with doing things that they know force more fudging to preserve whatever the GM is trying to keep in once piece until the GM gives up and either stops doing it or kills the campaign. In short, it inevitably leads to freakouts like the death on Critical Role did, and it's not fun.

Just don't. Let their man suffer and die when the dice screw them; crunch them all, and the players--if they really want to play--will just reroll and play on. (Which is another reason for why slow PC generation and complex PC mechancs are bad; it makes rerolling painful when it shouldn't. Basic D&D and Classic Traveller got this right.)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

My Life In Fandom: At Last A Sign of Sanity in Star Wars

The World Class Bullshitters got this out earlier today. The headline alone is good news.

The news isn't all sunshine and roses, but this is good news. Bob Iger finally did what we expected and reined in Culty Kathy. That he's the face behind these comments and announcements is a sign that someone doesn't want to Go Broke, and we can hope this leads to the house-cleaning that we want done in Lucasfilm for a while now.

Hopefully this is not glad-handing, and we'll soon see if it is or not, but--at the very least--the practice of a film a year will end and that's a good thing; go back to the tri-annual release that Uncle George established and don't do side-stories until your main sequence plan is finished. (Hint: Side Stories are what you do on TV.) It turns out that the return of Clone Wars was more than just a cheap, desperate ploy; it was a sign that sanity was coming back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Life In Fandom: Captain Marvel - The Decline of the MCU Comes

The turn came before this point, but we're now seeing that Captain Marvel is where the poz took hold for certain. The MCU has had mistakes due to the SJWs elsewhere exerting influence, but now they're inside the studio and convergence comes good and hard. What's below is excerpt from the World Class Bullshitters' morning show, "Good Morning Pop Culture", and addresses this.

In short, I fully expect a repeat of Black Panther: lots of sound and fury, lots of flash, and then forgotten until the character appears in Avengers 4.

That's not good. No movie lead should be so forgettable, and neither should it inspire contempt in the target audience, but we can expect that from this film due to the politics surrounding it. No, the lead actress isn't doing herself, the film, or the franchise any favors with her behavior to date (or in the future since she hasn't gotten the memo yet).

At this rate we can expect a collapse mirroring that of the Star Wars franchise in a fraction of the time once the original cadre of film stars leave the franchise, and when that happens we can expect the Bullshitters to document the merchandise's failure as they have for the once-great brainchild of Uncle George (as we can see here)>. Unless Feige unfucks himself, the MCU is doomed; seeing a franchise rises and fall in just over a decade is something business schools a generation or so hence will study to see why SJW cultism (in whatever form it takes later on) is not good for business.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My Life As A Writer: Arkhaven's Big Indie Comics Move

The Supreme Dark Lord made a big comics-related announcement tonight on the Arkstream:

This is what I've been talking about for a while now: independent SF authors need to strike deals with independent comics players to adapt novels into comics. Someone's been listening, because this is now happening. This is a big deal because Vox Day sees, as I do, that this sort of move is necessary for the future viability of independent fiction as a business enterprise; sure, plenty of readers still exist, but far more prefer comics and audiobooks over prose (and an order of magnitude or more prefer film/TV, but that's getting ahead of ourselves).

It's going to go beyond crowdfunding efforts soon, because this is the sort of move that builds not only an audience but also the infrastructure that satisfies that audience's demand. It's clear that Vox looks to be able to keep what Arkhaven (and Dark Legion) publishes available long after the crowdfunding campaign is done and backers get their stuff, and that this is going to take some time to work out the details, but once he's got that sorted he'll move to threaten not only the Big Two in the U.S. but their counterparts in Europe in a very short time.

By this time next year, the only comicbook publishers that aren't going to be worried about Arkhaven/Dark Legion will be the Japanese publishers and their Korean and Chinese counterparts. Once I have the prose versions of #StarKnight sorted, it looks like my first choice for comic adaptation publishing will be Arkhaven (and if I can do that in the aesthetic of my source material, so much the better). I expect that my fellow #AGundam4Us authors will come to the same conclusion as this project bears fruit.

Monday, September 17, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Capcom's Classic Brawlers Finally Coming Back

A while back I lamented that Capcom just isn't releasing their classic brawlers for consoles and PC like they did the D&D brawlers. Well, that's changing.

That's seven of the best they ever made. It's not all of them, because those left out are licensed tie-ins (e.g. Cadillacs & Dinosaurs), but of their original works this is what so many of us longed for- and sought out emulators like MAME to play. The side-scrolling brawler is one of the purest expressions of the Way of the Gamer: no bullshit, no fluff, no wasted time- just get on with it and get it on good and hard. When you play later successors such as Castle Crashers and Viking Squad, this is what they are calling back to and it remains as glorious now as it was in the heydays of the arcades.

Niche Gamer passed on the announcement recently, along with a follow-up of the PC version's delay, but nonetheless this is going on my Wish List for both PC and (as soon as I can get one) PS4.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: When You Use The Truth To Lie

Mike Mearls decided to toss out a Tweet thread on game design, again, yesterday.

Mike, you might want to tell your peers that, because they are all about "fixing obnoxious people". Just because you say in public that the game should not do this doesn't mean that your peers believe you, because--by their behavior--they don't believe you. They're doing just that, socially engineering their audiences as best they can to "fix problematic people", using whatever means they have control over- all in the name of "social justice".

Yes, it's nice that you recognized that Mech Piloting doesn't actually work in social engineering, but it's dishonest to say that D&D got out of that business; your peers are all about that business--including your co-workers--and it comes out routinely in the SJW-friendly politics in Organized Play regimes, official setting material (or did you miss the Pundit's video on this), etc. as well as that by your "competition" at Paizo and the farm league that is so many of the SJW "companies" that exist solely to sucker support from gullible gamers.

Yes, it's nice that you acknowledged the truth. You also know that the shot-callers won't act on that acknowledgement because they're down with the cause and so will slam their heads against that wall for as long as it takes to make gaming "woke". That's why this thread is such a disingenuous line of bullshit.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Geek Gab Talks Final Fantasy XV, The Predator 2K18, and Paranoia 40K

It's Saturday and that means another episode of Geek Gab with your hosts Dorrinal and Daddy Warpig. This week it's all about Predators and Paranoia. Enjoy!

The commentary about the Final Fantasy franchise is on point, and I find that Daddy Warpig's take is not an uncommon one. The Predator rant is classic Warpig goodiness, and it's the climax of the episode. You do not want to miss it. This movie is not good, however entertaining, and we can now see why Olivia Munn had no qualms about throwing it and her costars under the bus- it's trash, and she's nuking the PR game to save her own ass.

The best part of the episode was Daddy Warpig's recounting of how Paranoia and Warhammer 40,000 work so well together such that you can (and should) try playing it. Nothing captures how impossible Imperial Guard and low-level Inquisition life can be as playing it via Paranoia can do.

Oh, and if you want have some fun, take Dorrinal's writing challenge and give him something to read aloud for next week's show. I call it "The John Wick Challenge" (after this scene in John Wick 2).

Geek Gab: They suffer the bad stuff so you don't have to.

Friday, September 14, 2018

My Life As A Writer: When The Muse Strikes With a Rocket Punch

While figuring out stuff for Book Two of #StarKnight, I got an inspiration for a later book. Let me give you a hint as to what we're going to do down the road:

If you can recall what these two images have in common--and no, it's not Tomino working on Mazinger Z--then you're on my wavelength here, and you'll enjoy what's coming down the road. Both figures have a common theme through their lives. It's that theme that's what I'm going to riff off of in creating the Sun Imperium's Supreme Super Robot.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

My Life As A Writer: The Glory of the Fan Artists

One of the best parts of anime fandom comes from the fan art creations. The music video subset in particular has put out some fantastic stuff over the years, and the Macross fandom has some of the best ever made. This is one of those classic Anime Music Videos, remastered in High Definition, for Macross Plus.

I have no idea if the writers/directors/actors/musicians behind the most popular anime and manga ever see these things, but I would like to think that (a) some do (b) they see it for the flattery it is (regardless of how good it is) and (c) appreciate the display of passion and engagement that prompts a man to do such things.

I'm one of those folks. I want readers (and, I wish, viewers/listeners down the road) to be so fired up that they turn out illustrations, music, poetry, videos, and more when I make Star Knight real for the masses. All those shout-outs, wordplays, and so on? For you, folks; think of them as prompts to run with. Show me your illustrations of Pope Simon I during the Wars of the Damned. Draw your ships, and your ships, and display them proudly. (Just remember to credit properly; I'm understanding, but my future estate trustees may not.) Make your icons of Saints Itano and Hayha. Go for it, and when I get asked to make convention appearances bring them with you.

The future I want to see has a lot of #StarKnight fans in it. Soon it will begin in earnest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Narrative Warfare: The Pundit Shows That Convergence Is Real

The Pundit says that WOTC is doing what we all knew would happen when SJWs take over things: they start imposing upon all the things therein, no matter how fucking retarded it is (or how impossible it is).

I said years ago that the people running these companies want to centralize the hobby. Using Muh Wokeness as the means is as good as any other, so far as that end is concerned, but knowing that this is done in tandem with using Let's Play shows like Critical Role to demonstrate how the game is meant to be (tantrums and all for dying) demonstrates that this threat is not idle.

Leftists get that institutions of all sorts work on waves of participation, so if they can control the intake then they can execute entryism over time. This video shows that the SJWs in tabletop RPGs are sufficiently confident that they can now impose their ideology upon an entire property, and they can use the peer pressure of Organized Play and Let's Play audiences to enforce conformity to that ideology.

(Just wait until wrongthinkers get expelled from stores and networks for non-compliance, and online stores--including Amazon--to disallow sale to wrongthinkers as well as of competing products due to wrongthink. It just happened to Roosh, so that is on the table.)

Walk away from D&D5 and SJW TRPGdom now. Regress Harder. Play the Old School and those faithful to it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Narrative Warfare: The Dark World Persists

It's that day again. All I have to say has already been said by Ivan Throne.

And that doesn't stop at our borders. We have our own war here to win. The Dark World--as Throne says--is the real world, and reality trumps fantasy every single time, so you can either profit from it or be destroyed by it. The would-be Masters of the Universe want to wield the Narrative against us, gaslighting us into that very lethal delusion that would be our death (or worse). A relentless commitment to Truth is the only antidote, and that is what facing the Dark World is about- and that's why I listen to Throne.

Monday, September 10, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Peterson's Past-Delving Reveals More Secrets

The man behind Playing at the World put up a new post over the weekend, which you can find here. It has a promising start:

When it comes to unearthing the influences behind Chainmail (1971), Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren's medieval rules with a fantasy twist, you need to cast a wide net. Many authors (myself included) have been guilty of singling out Tony Bath as the primary influence behind the mass combat rules in Chainmail, but that has always been something of an oversimplification. There are elements of Perren's medieval rules which drew directly from a 1957 archery system proposed by Charles Sweet, one that recurs in the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association (LGTSA) rules up to the publication of Chainmail. A clear connection can be observed in the values in this chart from Sweet's rules, originally published in War Game Digest Vol. 1 No. 4.

Much like Jeffro Johnson's Appendix N, Jon Peterson's Playing at the World throws a light on the early days of tabletop RPGs generally and Dungeons & Dragons in particular. Since he published that tome he's been keeping up at the tie-in blog of the same name. The impact that Jeffro's had with Science Fiction has not be identical with tabletop RPGs, but you can see something slower--yet similar--going on and Peterson's role has been to show how the old ways works.

Posts like these are why.

Tabletop RPG design is a cargo cult. No one working in the business knows what they are doing or why because they don't understand what they are reacting against--and most design decisions stem from a reaction to an old game mechanic or practice--so they're blind men leading the blind. The aforementioned tome, and posts like this, remove that blindness by putting decisions into context and connecting what we see in the rulebooks to their origins. Once you know how something came to be, you see where the decision to use that thing came from; you learn how the game is intended to be played.

Once you know how the people who made the game everyone's riffed off of for over 40 years, then you can actually figure out how to properly make your own rulings for your home game without fucking things up down the road- and once you get that, making wholly new games that actually find audiences and become juggernauts in their own right becomes not only possible, but inevitable. In short, this is how you can become a competent game designer- something this field is sorely lacking in, especially for the major properties.

Regress Harder. It's not just for the genre fiction field, folks. Good gaming returns by going that route also.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Business: Geek Gab Talks Cirsova Magazine

P. Alexander appeared on Geek Gab yesterday. He's the man behind Cirsova Magazine, and on the wake of a successful crowdfunding campaign he appears to talk about the fiction that drives the magazine as well as mentioning a new submissions window for October. If you're out to get something into the upcoming issues, then this is your time well spent; have your notepads ready to jot down what he's looking for to enhance your odds of getting accepted.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

My Life As A Writer: "Combat Frame XSeed" Campaign Already In The Stretch Goals

My friend and college Brian Niemeier launched his Indiegogo campaign yesterday for his own #AGundam4Us project: Combat Frame XSeed.

In just over 14 hours, Brian hit his initial goal. That is fantastic! His initial goal is $1K, same as mine, and he's also aiming to raise funds for finishing things up. He\s offering perks and a delivery schedule much like my own. The big difference? His proven record of a complete series, comprising four novels, two getting Dragon Award nominations and one getting him an award, have a lot to do with how he got past that first hump so fast. It's the difference between an ace and a talented rookie, and you can't hate on that.

I'm looking forward to seeing what he's got, and if you want to get an idea go to his blog (linked above) and read the sample chapters. He's doing something far different from me, and yet just as exciting; he's going deep into the Real Robot end of things and if that's your jam then he's your man and XSeed if your huckleberry.

Friday, September 7, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: I Told You Pathfinder 2 Wasn't Worth It

The RPGPundit cut a video explaining why Pathfinder's second edition doesn't matter, which makes its SJW-convergence even less of a problem than most would say. "Get Woke, Go Broke"? They'll be broke before the wokeness breaks them.

There is no reason to go to PF2 if you're well-invested into PF1, and if you're into Mech-Piloting you might as well sell off your PF/3.X library entirely and go play World of Warcraft where that sensibility is encouraged and rewarded handsomely. If you want a hefty game with a big user network, D&D5 is your huckleberry now and not Pathfinder.

And if you want real D&D, you want and Old-School game such as Adventurer, Conqueror, King and the pre-3rd Edition D&D versions (and their clones/remixes), or games in that mode (e.g. Palladium Fantasy)- and for fuck's sake, play the game and don't just watch. Watchers are wankers. (Looking at you, Critical Role & company.)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

My Life As A Writer: Trying To Avoid Wheel Reinvention

I'm doing work on Book Two for #StarKnight, and while I figure out the novel's narrative (and with it the plot outline), I've had a few ancillary things come up. First, I want you folks to satisfy a curiosity of mine by hitting up the Tweet below and saying Yes or No to the question given:

Second, I'd like to talk about how some mecha designs are just so good (and therefore influential) that it's hard to make something that doesn't infringe upon them. Shoji Kawamori shall forever be remembered for making one of those designs: the VF-1 series Valkyrie and its descendants.

Not that it can't be done, because it has--successfully--multiple times, but damn if it's hard to not just come up with a clone of the Valkyrie due to how well that design works. I think I'll figure it out by the time my Not-Valkyrie pilots show up.

This is one time when figuring out how the machine works and then accurately describe how it works--lorework--is going to have significant payoff well after the novel itself is finished. The lack of windows alone should be a big enough change to allow me to make a notable design that doesn't risk a nastygram from either Harmony Gold or anyone else with Macross rights. (And yes, that's the real concern; getting SLAPPed by Harmony Gold.)

Compared to this, just saying "beam sword" for "lightsaber" (which has decades of prior art) is cake.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

My Life In Fandom: How Not To Make Nice With The Folks That Pay You

In case you needed yet another reason to walk away from The Mouse Empire forever, here you go:

His pre-Star Wars hype is gone, with it his future in this business. You have to be a colossal fuck up to make Jar Jar Abrams look good, and Abrams somehow managed to fuck up Star Trek enough to kill the film franchise and thus precipitate the present train-wreck of that franchise.

So, when you make such a colossal blunder as this, what do you do to fix it? You start with making nice with the folks who pay for the merch and the tickets so they show up for the next one. You don't go after the influencers in the fan scene who can make or break (and have) your career.

Rian Johnson didn't get that memo. He went after Mike Zeroh, who is bottom-tier of influencers (for good reason) in terms of Star Wars, instead of making nice with we who are increasingly looking at #StarWarsNotStarWars alternatives such as Galaxy's Edge, Galaxy Ascendant, and the #StarKnight Saga.

Enjoy that final season of Clone Wars, gang. After that, evacuate the system and say goodbye because it's time for the franchise to end.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Narrative Warfare: All The Dark Lord Does Is Win

Behold the majesty of the Supreme Dark Lord!

At long last, he has a distribution channel that SJWs cannot touch for use with comics. In his mercy, he announces that others may make use of it for a price. #ComicsGate e-celebs promptly freak out at someone who's done this dance before multiple times actually doing something useful and effective, so they decide to shit all over it- to no effect, but a lot of sound and (impotent) fury.

While they do their best Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi impressions, all the Supreme Dark Lord does is win:

Let the ComicsGatekeepers gnash their teeth all they like. While they have been talking, talking, and talking some more, we have published 22 digital editions and 11 print editions in the last eight months. And based on an author who signed with us last night, it is safe to anticipate that some of the loudest voices raised against us will be publishing with us in less than a year.

"I own the word ComicsGate. It belongs to me and I will fight him in court for it. Nobody will make a line of ComicsGate comics except for me."

Yeah, so, about that... it's a pretty poor prophet who has to eat his words less than 8 hours later. Ethan isn't going to fight anyone in court over ownership of the word ComicsGate. I very much doubt that he is dumb enough to throw all his crowdfunded money away on a hopeless legal case in a foreign jurisdiction when he hasn't even bothered to spend $7k on the URL, which was registered in 2013. It sounds as if someone is going to have to explain the concepts of "dilution", "prior usage", and "jurisdiction" to him.

Vox Day is our Trump, and I stick with someone who wants to win and knows how. It's also why I heed Ivan Throne and many others of similar quality. The freakout over this revealed the character of many, and that character turned out to be lacking; I'm not the only one to notice and disapprove of this poor display of emotional immaturity. All you had to do was to read this and calm your tits:

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Business: An Open Letter To LoreTube's Three Big Players

Dear Spacedock, Templin Institute, & Eckhart's Ladder:

It's time we talked.

You three channels represent a section of YouTube whose content is focused upon taking the lore of a fictional property and making video presentations of it. It doesn't matter if you're talking about a machine, an individual, a faction, an event (including battles), or settings wherein epoch-defining happenings occur.

From the moves each of you--now in an alliance--have recently made, it is clear that you're starting to run out of existing lore from major properties that will draw in audiences. You're starting to branch out into original projects or ancillary topics while you wait for the Next Big Thing.

You should be paying attention to the independent Science Fiction world. We're creating a lot of fun, engaging, Space Opera and related genres that are all-but tailor-made for your channels. Nick Cole & Jason Anspach's Galaxy's Edge series is one of the most perfect matches for all three of you to do (and growing). Their peers, such as Jay Allen and Evan Currie, are no less suited to your channels' primary interests.

Brian Niemeier's Soul Cycle series has plenty for you to dig your teeth into, and his upcoming Combat Frame XSeed will be the perfect gateway to get you moving East to address that Death Star-sized void that is your lack of anime and manga coverage. My own Star Knight Saga will do the same, as well as bring to your attention your lack of coverage of classic Space Opera (as in "Before Starship Troopers").

All this and more awaits you, but you need to read more books and comics and watch less film and television; as good as some of it is, you're going to waste your time more often than not looking for something notable to bring viewers to your channels as those aging franchises go moribund or die- and no, don't expect gaming to pick up the slack, not until after the next crash. Why not collaborate with us? Some of you already have experience in doing that sort of thing, only you'd be coming in far closer to the ground level and not well after the fact, and you'll get a chance to not only court new audiences but to help--at no risk to you--revitalize a scene that you know has serious issues.

Come join us indie SF folks. We have cookies, and you get away from the creeping rot in the mainstream of the genre.


--Bradford C. Walker

Sunday, September 2, 2018

My Life As A Writer: It's About The Journey, Stupid!

Specifically, The Hero's Journey. Scream all you want about how Hollywood reduced it to Save The Cat, but this is now empirically-proven practical psychology and you're a fool to not be familiar with it- not if you want to actually get somewhere with your fiction. Professor Geek's video below gets into why SJWs aversion to this is part of the reason their fiction fails.

Yes, you can do this in seemingly non-epic stories. It happens routinely. Yes, you can do this with Iconic Heroes. This too happens routinely. The trick? It's done to a secondary character.

Example: Dredd. Judge Dredd is one of the most solid of Iconic Heroes around. The world doesn't change him; he changes (restores order to) the world. The dynamic character change one associates with The Hero's Journey typically applies to another in his stories, and in the aforementioned film that's Anderson. You came to see Dredd be Dredd (same as his comics), but if there is a major secondary character (like Anderson) then count on that character getting the big character-defining arc instead.

Now go back to yesterday's Geek Gab episode. I mentioned this sort of thing in the chat when the issue of how to deal with stories wherein the character you're there to see (like Dredd) has to be a very focused professional just to do their job (e.g. being a Judge in Mega-City One) as intended. The same principle applies; you put the drama-llama chores on the secondary character. Go watch those big franchise films with Iconic Heroes again (like the classic Bond movies) and you'll see this used often when they want some sort of dramatic arc in the narrative.

For my work, at present, this is the role that both Creton and (in a different mode) Gabriela play; Ramsey and Sibley are Iconic sorts, so they aren't there to be changed by events- they exist to refine their being through expressing their core ethos upon the world, which (in varying forms) is to restore order when chaos disrupts it.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

My Life As A Writer: Geek Gab Talks Action & Thrillers w/ Peter Nealen

This week's Geek Gab episode is a fantastic episode with author Peter Nealan. They go on about how to write convincing thrillers in various genres, avoiding the threat of having experts toss your book across the room as they proclaim you as full of shit, and (of course) talk about how these things and more get addressed in Peter's works. (Gotta look into the Unity series; if his take on the Clone Wars is good, you'll know about it.)