Moving pictures. Or static pictures. Or voices on the wind.

So, as I have been reminded, I actually get to nominate works for the Hugos this year.

I think I am okay with coming up for nominations for written work. However, I would love a few more suggestions for art/artists, for graphic story, and for best dramatic presentation[1], both long form and short form.

Will cheerfully take suggestions that are either direct nominations or that are in the vein of “hey, did you know that a whole lot of people are listing their qualifying works over at this webpage?”

(And now I’m going to go have my quiet conniption fit because oh god, I have flight tickets and a hotel reservation and a con membership and it’s all real. Eeeek.)

[1] (Usually that’s movies or TV shows, with the 90-minute mark being the divisor, but it also applies to radio, live theater, computer games or music).

Juggling duties.

Looking forward to the long weekend.  I wouldn’t say my time’s already booked, but I expect I know how most of it is going to go.  Hoping I can get a couple of hours in to sit down and write, and a chance to goof off and relax so I actually feel up to same.

(Running around an alien mothership without your faithful canine companion: totally relaxing.)

I need to reorganize my office again.  My London-and-Mythos shelf needs to become just a Mythos shelf; with the latest anthology, there’s no more room for them both.  Even if I relocate the London stuff, there’s only about another foot of space, but it’ll last for a bit.

Have work for at least a few months, which is nice, since I just found out that Pelgrane is putting out another sourcebook in the vein of The Dead White World. Mind, I’m not sure I would ever actually get to run anything; all the gamers I know aren’t local or wouldn’t be interested.  I wish gaming books were something you could get at the library; it seems like a waste to buy one and then not do anything with it.  They’re not like most books; they’re not just for reading.  More like recipe collections or knitting books.  Buying them and not doing anything with them is sad, and rather cluttered.

Notes from a dying laptop.

Huh.  822 words in just a bit under 57 minutes.  I think that’s actually pretty close to the “two hundred and fifty words every quarter hour.”  Mind, half of them need to be dragged out and shot, but there are words!

Had an interesting discussion about Dale (of Walking Dead), Glen Bateman (of The Stand), and Bobby (from Supernatural) with John, earlier today.  I was frustrated because I didn’t have quite the right words for them, and couldn’t pin down the common elements.  (Besides, you know, all three of them have made me cry once.  Damn characters.)

It’s hard to get into this without getting into spoilers, and my laptop is telling me “shut it down, dummy, you have 8 minutes left”, but the end result of the discussion was that we started with the idea of father figures and what they mean the hero has to do, and from there went through the concept of homemakers on to culture heros, tricksters, and civilizing influences.  TV Tropes has failed me, and that’s okay, because while it’s a nice thing to check in on occasionally I am actually perfectly fine with opinions that aren’t pre-listed on it.  (Still need a better breakdown of pet monster idea, too.)

4 minutes power left, warning light blinking, more later.

First, the hook…

A brief digression on story hooks.

There’s this thing Fallout does–all four RPGs, I mean.  I can’t speak to Tactics.  You start out with an important goal, and once you’ve done it, the elements of the world you were travelling through coalesce and you have the second bigger goal.  (You find the water chip, but the important thing is now to deal with the Master. You find get the GECK for your village, but the important thing is now to deal with the Enclave. You find out who shot you and why, but the important thing is now the second Battle of Hoover Dam and the ultimate fate of New Vegas.)

What’s important, I think, is that the first goal is not irrelevant; you do not fail at it, you never discover it didn’t matter.  But the process of achieving it results in you learning about the world, and gives you a chance to care about the second goal.  It’s interesting; and as far as I can tell, it’s fairly unique in video games.  I mean, I need to play more of them, but…

I’m not sure the technique would work as well in written stories or movies; the involvement is a bit more distant.  Still, possibly bits of it are adaptable.  Will keep an eye out for examples.

Like one who on a lonesome road/Doth walk in fear and dread

Moving into what I guess is close to the last stretch of Fallout: New Vegas – I’ve finished the first three DLCs, and while there’re probably still a ton of quests I am really wanting to see the Battle of Hoover Dam.  (With the Boomers.  I’m actually trying to figure out if I can set the game up to play the final scenes on our TV.)  And after 250 hours, well, I do want to see the end of the game.

So anyway.  I started on the Lonesome Road[1] this weekend.  It’s actually probably my least favourite of all the DLC–I think it might be my least favourite part of New Vegas as a whole–and I finally realized why.

The Mojave of F:NV is a gently rounded post-apocalyptic chunk of the south-western-ish US; generally this means a lot of visual brown, a bottlecap-based economy, a Mad Max fashion sense, and settlements that are mostly still-standing remnants of what went before.  Two hundred years smooths a lot of the jagged edges off, after all.

The Divide may have been like this as well.  But then the bombs went off, and they did that in your lifetime.  Probably no more than twenty years ago at most, and myself I’m getting more of a “maybe seven or eight” feeling.  It’s a hectic, jagged, clashing sort of place–grim and dark and smokey, with you picking your way through jagged gouges in the earth and hurrying through the patches of radiation, hoping not to get shot at, blown up, or chewed on.  It has one of what I think is only two timed events in the game, and the one it has is by far the more dangerous.  Everything’s tilted and falling sideways and off-balance and occasionally chunks of the surroundings fall on you.  It’s a distinctly uncomfortable place to be.  Everything is jarred and shattered.

It’s not a fun environment to play in–really, without ED-E’s story I’m not sure I wouldn’t have headed back out of the DLC–and after a while, I concluded that this is okay.  The fragmented feel makes sense, and I’ll treat it as deliberate, because this is what it’d be like right after.  The Fallout games haven’t ever dealt with this; the earliest one took place over a century after the bombs fell.

It’s interesting.  It really echoes the begin again/but learn how to let go theme that all the DLC have been running with.  And it adds something to the rest of the setting; that tired or miserable as the Mojave can be, holy hell people have come a long way to building things back up.

[1] Naming your DLC with excerpts from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is cheating, in terms of marketing, and I am a sucker for it.