Take me home.

I’ve just finished a first draft of the novelette (I ultimately didn’t go with the restructuring I was hopping to do, because of time contraints) and given it to my weekly writing group for crit, and this morning I was casting about to find something to distract me from “oh dear god did I actually leave all those things in there they are so goofy.”

Bethesda stepped up.

I was gleeful to start with, and then someone pointed out that at 0:29, you can see a date on the PIP-Boy, and that the year is 2102. In-universe, this puts it 25 years after the Great War and 159 years before the first Fallout.

It’s not that I don’t love the Fallout setting, and the way the institutions have grown up over time (and yes, still ridiculously pleased that the Khans survived New Vegas; they’ve been around longer than the NCR!), but I love the Fallout world, too, and am very curious to see what it was like a mere generation after the bombs fell.

I am so very much looking forward to this.

Well that was a fortnight and change.

I have learned several things in the last couple of weeks.

  1. I get a bit sad when I can’t be at home for Hallowe’en. I’m not saying I won’t ever go to a convention on Hallowe’en again, but I’m definitely going to keep it in mind when planning stuff in the future.
  2. A weekend away with nothing to do, minimal internet access, smart kind people, good food, lovely scenery, silly or good movies, makeup, and a bottle of wine is kind of lovely. I want to do it again.
  3. Nonetheless, two weekends away from home at once throws me for a loop. I think if I do something like that again, I definitely need to look at booking a day off to get back into
  4. Fallout 4 is making me happy. It’s good to be back.
  5. For NaNoWriMo: discounting the two days I didn’t write, I’m averaging 1739 words a day; discounting the three I was sick, I’m averaging 2011. I’m behind where I’d like to be, but if I keep up my pace, I should be able to finish on time.
  6. Knitting is still not happening. This was pretty upsetting to me, but I’m hoping it changes in the future.
  7. I have found Cat Rambo’s post on preparing for NaNoWriMo to be really helpful, actually. I did not do so well with #2, clearing the decks, but I’ve known for a several months that not playing Fallout 4 in November was not going to be an option.
  8. Related to this: Novels are hard. Novelettes are a thing that I’ve accidentally committed a couple of times, because I write long, but novels? Novels are a whole different beast. It’s like the difference between knitting in the round (a fiddly act which involves double-pointed needles that are, nonetheless, usually held pretty firmly in place by yarn) and trying to juggle a handful of spaghetti. There are ends and connections everywhere.
  9. Yes, this is with an outline. Admittedly not a super-complete one.

That’s about the state of the month so far. If I don’t manage to update a bit more often, I’ll be back in December. Right now, though, I have managed to gouge out enough time to catch up on The Flash and I am by-god going to do that.

(Cisco isn’t naming people. It’s so wrong.)

A shining example to humanity.

Lately I’ve been… hmh. Rediscovering my fannish side, I suppose. Fallout 4 is coming out in 17 days (and 14 hours and 7 minutes and yes I think it is perfectly normal to have a countdown timer on my phone), and Hallowe’en is coming up sooner, and there is a local convention that has specifically mentioned costuming and there is also an okay to wear costumes at work.

Also the light of my life got me a PIP-Boy. So there’s that.

I am not a good costume-maker, for the record–my interest only tends to spike far-too-close to an event for me to comfortably have time to assemble something–but I am mucking about a bit with assorted paints applied to existing objects. What I am hoping for will be a very low-grade costume, no more remarkable than a sports jacket, but I hope it will be fun.

Make it a pome. Real pomes rhyme.

I have rhymes in my head this morning; a little bit of Poe, a little bit of lyrics from the Traveling Wilburys[1], the perpetual stressed-silver-and-dust chime of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm”.

I didn’t get as much done as I’d like to have gotten done over the last few days, but on the flipside, it was actually really relaxing. The weekend felt like it was a weekend, not just a recovery period.

Possibly related to this: the light of my life has set up his controller in my office, and I got to play video games again for the first time in a while. There is a bit of a learning curve with the new controls, but it’s definitely a workable solution. At least for Fallout: New Vegas, which is what I have especially been craving lately.

(Also, I cleaned off everything which had slowly accumulated on my desk. Currently my desk is much neater, and I hope to finish sorting the accumulata by the end of the week.)

[1] I am constantly astounded that I never heard of them until this year. First, I am really fond of at least two of their songs, and second, their lineup is the kind of thing I would expect to have heard of.

Mayyyybe… you’ll think of me…

PIPBoyThe light of my life got me a PIP-Boy.

I’d explain, but there is too much. Let me sum up.

Lo these many years ago, I ran across a computer RPG called Fallout. It was a retrofuturistic[1] post-apocalyptic game, in which you travel out from the great underground Vault where your people have lived for generations to find a replacement for the chip for the water purifier.

It spoiled me, in a lot of ways. (I used to approach other games just naturally expecting that I could play a female character unless there was a reason, and expecting many-many-lots options for how to deal with problems. Fallout, I love you–I have loved you for many years–but you’re probably a chunk of the reason that shooters bore me to tears.)

Anyway. The characters–the protagonists you play, I mean–have a PIP-Boy; a Personal Information Processor Boy, which keeps track of such useful in-game things as inventory and quests and maps and the like. (In Fallout, there were buttons to pick the various options. The button for “Clue” had been ripped out, and the label had been near-completely scratched off.) The PIP-Boy is… it’s as iconic as the whip of Indiana Jones, the pipe of Sherlock Holmes, the sonic screwdriver of the Doctor.

pip-boyThe collector’s edition of Fallout 4[2] comes with a PIP-Boy, and you can put little foam inserts in it so whatever phone you have fits in there. I wanted one. I really really wanted one. I am being fiscally responsible, and held off.

And the light of my life brought me a PIP-Boy created on a 3D printer specifically to fit my phone, that I get to paint all by myself. I can even add little LEDs, too. And it’s light enough I can wear it, and it fits, and…

I have a PIP-Boy.

[1] Ray guns? Yes. Super-mutants? Yes. Cellphones and LCD monitors? God no, no-one’s ever seen one of those.
[2] Finally. …I still have a spare copy of Fallout: New Vegas to give away, by the way! Only on Steam, though.

Hopes for the weeke– oh, right, free game!

Fallout_NV_logo I was going to mention this last, but I figured that was very much burying the lede; I have a spare copy of Fallout: New Vegas on Steam to give away. It’s an action/RPG, set in a post-apocalyptic retro-futuristic Nevada. It’s honestly a rather cheery setting; less the actual wasteland than an idea of the wasteland that might have been spawned from the ATOMIC SCIENCE of the 50s, crossed with Mad Max and given a cheerful jolt of early- and mid-20th century music.

If you think you might want it, there’s a more detailed summary here. That page also has the system requirements. If you do want it, drop a comment and we can figure out the logistics?

With that out of the way: yesterday work had an incident with spray paint fumes (for a pumpkin; yes, really), and I had been working long hours last week and this week both, so I am at home today. It will mean no headache and being at home.

Am optimistic about the weekend! In addition to Hallowe’en happening (either today or in several hours, depends on where you count from), tomorrow I’ll be making a trip out to Carp to visit the Diefenbunker. It’ll be a day trip; go early, visit the museum before they close it to get ready for their Hallowe’en tour, get lunch or something, and then go back for the Hallowe’en tour that explains just exactly what happened on the night of June 21, 1994.

…I have non-post-apocalyptic interests. I’m just not focussing on them right now, it seems.

And then Sunday is actually getting together with people and playing board games, which is something I enjoy that I just haven’t had a chance to do in months. I’m thinking of bringing a copy of Gloom, a cheerful little board game in which you try to get your own spooky gothic family killed off before the other players can kill off their own spookily gothic family. It’s entertaining.

Post-apocalyptic vs post… well, post-something-else.

By Thibault Fischer; click for a better look.
By Thibault Fischer; click for a better look.

A while back, I got into a discussion with someone about post-apocalyptic settings, and they referred to A Handmaid’s Tale as post-apocalyptic. It didn’t seem to meet the definition, but I didn’t have a chance to sit down and actually hammer out what I thought the definition was until now.

I think (and this is possibly heavily influenced by what I currently take for granted) a post-apocalyptic setting has two elements; an apocalyptic event[1], and a destruction of the larger social infrastructure. That might be because there are too few people left to sustain it, because the roads were ruined in the earthquake and roads are kind of essential, because the things that have lovely Victorian clothes and far too many teeth are coming through every fifteen hours and twenty minutes[2] and it’s completely shot everyone’s focus to hell… For whatever reason, the larger social infrastructure is gone.

(By the way, the Fractured anthology has some very good post-apocalyptic stories. Just saying. Also you can currently see it on my GoodReads feed, down in the widget corner.)

If you get an apocalyptic event without a destruction of the social infrastructure, then what you have is either a reconstruction setting or a dystopia, depending on how people reacted. (This is how I’d classify A Handmaid’s Tale or 1984 if they’d been precipitated by an apocalyptic event[3]. This is also how I’d classify Deadlands, actually, with a side-order of monsters so deep in the shadows that almost no-one knows that there’s been an apocalyptic event.) There’s an apparently stable and effective government operating on a federal level over a huge territory; if that is post-apocalyptic, it’s so far post-apocalyptic that the apocalypse has become irrelevant.

I don’t think a reconstruction setting needs to have that large or effective a government, mind. I’d call Fallout: New Vegas more reconstruction than post-apocalyptic, with the world starting to knit itself together again, and the territories claimed by the various factions certainly aren’t continent-spanning.

(Also, I will just note that I still have a spare Steam copy of F:NV to give away, because I collect them expressly for that purpose.)

If you get the destruction of the social infrastructure without an apocalyptic event, then what you have is… well, it’s rather cynical, and I can’t think of cases where I’ve actually seen it. But if it doesn’t have an apocalyptic event to have happened after then it’s by definition not post-apocalyptic, dammit.

Just some thoughts, I guess. Feels good to get them down, even if I’m not sure where they’re going yet.

[1] I am absolutely willing to count slow or soft events as apocalyptic–total economic collapse, widespread drought or famine, humanity becoming sterile[4], etcetera. Doesn’t have to be bombs or plague.
[2] I’m short-changing Bob Leman’s “Window” horribly, here.
[3] I personally wouldn’t classify the event precipitating the Republic of Gilead’s creation as apocalyptic, but I understand that if you find the story focuses closely enough on the US, you can consider it to be so.
[4] See [3]; if you turn the narrative focus from “things potentially affected by an apocalypse” down to the narrower focus of “humanity”, you can tell an apocalyptic story even when the vast majority of life on earth will be fine. See also “There Will Come Soft Rains“, and yes, that was a deliberate link to the poem and not the story.

Loss of time.

So I got home, and it was tired and quiet, and I had an idea for something to do.

Instead of doing it, I… er. Well. Sort of Pinterested for an hour.

…possibly a little more than an hour.

This was, I feel, less than strictly useful. (On the other hand, I have figured out that I can declutter my likes, which I often use as a “decide if I will pin this later” holding pen, by creating a board for fonts, posters, and bookcovers.)

I did discover that there’s an annual event called the Wasteland Weekend in Southern California, which involves… uhm, well, it looks like a four-day post-apocalyptic version of a Society for Creative Anachronism party. I am charmed[1] by the aesthetic, which is pretty heavily Mad Max. (Their site notes that it is a post-modern apocalypse: laser guns, powered exoskeletons, cyborgs, zombies, and high-tech robots need not apply. But Pip-Boys are okay.)

So it has not been a productive evening. But it has been a relaxing one, and I am at least going to go to bed managing to enjoy the fact I’ve looked at pretty things, if not done everything I wanted to do.

[1] I initially wrote “weirdly charmed” but… well, know thyself, and all that.

Sticks and string (and probably bloodthirsty radioactive mutants).

I am fond of post-apocalyptic settings. I’m particularly fond of ones with a retro-futuristic styling[1]; god knows why I keep coming back to that, since it’s not as if there haven’t been some beautifully detailed and realized post-apocalyptic settings which don’t conform to that aesthetic.  I imagine it hooks into that part of my brain that always argues for finding a diner[2] if one is looking for a restaurant.

I also knit.

These two things meet in my brain not infrequently, and apparently I’m not alone. Alex Tinsley is editing a book called Doomsday Knits, which also includes lovely photos and amusing flow charts to assist you in identifying your apocalypse, and I am so there. (I think that of the patterns I’ve seen on the blog tour so far, I am particularly fond of the Fennec shrug. Am just sorry I missed the Kickstarter.)

It’ll be coming out next month. Something to look forward to.

[1] For those who don’t know me: why yes, this covers the excellent game settings Deadlands and Fallout, particularly Fallout: New Vegas. For those who do: yes, I’ve got my brain in Deadlands and Fallout again.  Hush. It’s just one of those things that happens every now and then.
[2] This is occasionally overruled by other parts of my brain. My brain is large; it contains multitudes. Still, I acknowledge the impulse. Tangentially: diners are apparently called coney islands in Detroit. (Also, would totally accept Detroit as a future Fallout setting. Michigan has been sadly underused. Also Ronto.)

Slipping away.

The week started with a post, actually. A post about how, when you were doing one job and learning another and trying to catch up on three days work besides, learning that you might need to tear out a wall of your home was just a cymbal-crash finale to the day.

(As I was writing that post, my bus home drove past me without stopping.)

Then I exited without saving the draft.  So there was no post that day.

Rest of the week was equally packed, and delicately spiced with such highlights as “double work loads” and “four hours of sleep.”  And the lack of posts continued.

Trying to pull myself back together and relax. Saw Boondock Saints II and picked at Fallout 3 a bit; I’m pretty close to finding Harold, I think.

Not getting any writing done. I keep being caught up in thinking about a co-writing project and the person I’m working with… Yeesh, just realized haven’t heard from her in a week. Trying to overcome my natural tendency to fret.