Thursday, April 30, 2015

Terrible Things Said in My Skull Late at Night

You know what? You were a bitch and that's why life has struck you dumb. It's true. everyone knows it and the only time that it's ever questioned is when you cry out at inopportune times for attention. "Look at me," you scream at the top of your lungs, "I'm in pain and I can't tell you why!" It's fucking bullshit when you do that and you know it. It always has been and will be. But that's what you get for being so simple minded and worthless.

Just a fucking attention hog hoping that the rest of us will fall for your schtick once again. 

It's these god-damned, soul sucking orcs that keep fucking up my head late at night. Worming their way into my ears whispering secret temptations for where I should go next and the terrible things I should say. 

Oh, it's not that bad, you silly bitch. 

Fuck you, it isn't.

God Wanted Things This Way, Don't You Know.


It's a silly joke, I know, but I just love the idea that over at Wizards of the Coast that they've suddenly gotten really in your face about what it means to be a part of this huge legacy of quality products. Every time I think about Mike Mearls or Chris Perkins getting a comment about the Forgotten Realms and being all, "Fuck your Realms, son! We're mother fucking Greyhawk up in this bitch!" I laugh my ass off.

As always if you like these Greyhawk posters, or just enjoy making Mearls and Co. miserable by filling their twitter feeds with Greyhawk noise, send it to them. Send them your favorite cover and tell them I WANT MOAR GREYHAWKS! Don't let them think that the only people who need official products are the Forgotten Realms kids!

The Wizard Cats on Twitter (that I know about)
@Mike Mearls Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Ideas Man
@Chris Perkins Dungeon Master to the Stars, Lead Story Manager, and more
@Jeremy Crawford Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Rules Guru
@Greg Bilsland Senior Producer for D&D
@Nathan Stewart Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons
@Bart Carroll Producer of Wizards D&D website
@Greg Tito Communications Manager for D&D
@Rodney Thompson Game Designer at Wizards of the Coast, worked on Fifth Edition
@Trevor Kidd Master of Social Media, Wizards Guru

Holy Shit did I just have one hell of an idea!

I'm emailing the legal department right now to see how far I can go with it but fuck this is a fantastic idea.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Book Shelf: Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline



Since it first debuted in 2012 Ready Player One: A Novel has been garnering a lot of praise not only from traditional literary reviews but from sectors that don't typically review many books (like gaming websites). As a result of all the positive press I went into this novel with high expectations and with a fair bit of trepidation.

The novel starts out quickly and then almost immediately drops into a nihilistic bent that nearly made me put the book down. This turn comes as a result of the world the book is couched in, a possible future where things have gone completely over the edge. Traditional fossil fuels have finally run out and as a result people have over crowded the cities leaving their cars to rot behind them when they ran out of gas. In a lot of ways it feels like the worst predictions of our potential future coming home to roost. But then there's the game.

The game, OASIS, is a massive, online game that players encounter through a sophisticated virtual reality world that far exceeds anything we have today but that is nonetheless plausible. It's in the OASIS simulation that most of the book's action takes place. These segments in the OASIS are often exhilarating moments filled with intrigue and intense action. Cline brilliantly uses the depressing and dull real world that the main protagonist, Wade Watts, lives in as a counter part to the more vibrant, virtual reality that dominates much of the story to pace the action and steadily lull the reader into a false sense of security where it's all just a game. Wade isn't in any real danger - that is until events cross over and his actual death becomes an imminent possibility.

The story of Ready Player One: A Novel is propelled forward by a treasure hunt within the OASIS for the greatest prize imaginable. It's creator has left a multibillion dollar prize, and control of his company, for whoever can solve his puzzles and complete the challenges within the game. Cline's tight writing excels at making the moments of discovery within the game feel exciting and his pacing throughout the novel is fantastic.

I won't lie, though, I struggled to get through the first thirty or so pages as the bleak world picture that Cline created felt like an oppressive weight pressing down on me; but just when things felt like they were becoming too much he picked up the pace and the whole book changed. It became a fast read that I had trouble putting down at times as I wracked my own memory trying to solve the puzzles and held my breath hoping that Wade would make it through the next scene without dying and losing everything.

In the end the novel surpassed my expectations and made me a huge fan of Cline's writing. This book deserves every bit of praise it has received and more. Pick it up if you have the opportunity and you won't be disappointed.


From the back of the book: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines - puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win - and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

What City of the Gods?

So my Greyhawk stuff doesn't look like anyone else's that I've been able to see online. I mean there are no knights swinging swords over their heads or cartoonish monsters (though certainly there are cartoonish people) howling as they swing their cudgels at hapless heroes that are begging for their lives. Still, I like them.

That doesn't mean that everyone does.

Last night I received an e-mail that asked - no, that isn't quite right - that demanded that I stop presenting Greyhawk like this. It isn't the Greyhawk that my e-mailer grew up with; nor is it one that they appreciate. "My God," they said as they clutched their pearls to their chest, "could you imagine what Mr. Gygax would say if he saw this, this filth!"

Well I tell you friends that I just couldn't be compelled to give less of a fuck. I mean I really tried to get worked up about that e-mail. I even tried to shed a tear. Really, I got choked up and everything. But not one fuck was given.

Look these covers are done like the things I grew up with and that left a lasting impression on me: jazz albums and movie posters. If you look at the other covers I've done they all feel that way because those are my influences. My Greyhawk is a bit crasser, more aggressive, and fully aware of the idea that if I'm not having fun then neither are my players. Sure I could be worrying with the minutia and stressing out about what happens when someone from Dyvers wanders into Ket in the year 437 CY, or I could just jump in my rocket ship and not give a fuck.

I choose the latter.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Invites are Away

I went ahead and sent out all the information for the project this afternoon. There's still time to sign up if you want to, but I wanted to get the thing online before my son deleted one of the posts again.

Two year olds.

Anyway if you've signed up and didn't get a notice let me know and I'll key you in on Google+.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

30 hrs Left to Sign Up and Tell Us About Your Favorite Game!

The latest project is already off to an exciting start with a fantastic group of authors lining up to tell the world about their favorite games. Who's joined up so far?

The Authors and Their Games (tenative)
+Kevin Smith - Savage Worlds
+Judd Karlman - Burning Wheel
+Roger Brasslett - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1st ed)
+Kelvin Green - Call of Cthulhu
+David Guyll - Dungeon World / 4th Edition D&D
+Ralph Lovegrove - Lace & Steel / Everway
+Adam Dickstein - Star Wars d6
+Jens D. - Hackmaster 4th Edition
+Timothy Brannan - D&D Basic (Moldva) / C. J. Carella's Witchcraft
+Phil Nicholls - HeroQuest 2
+Andrew Davis - Talislanta
+Patrick Henry Downs - Apocalypse World
+Stelios V. Perdios - Dungeon Crawl Classics
+Vb Wyrde - (Homebrew) Ethos RPG
+Mark Van Vlack - DC Heroes 3rd (Mayfaire Exponential System)
+Rod Thompson - Adventurer, Conqueror, King
+Nicholas Bergquist - Basic Roleplay
Duncan - Harnmaster (Original System)
+Richard Halpin - Rolemaster
+Travis Milam - 5th Edition D&D
+Douglas Cole - GURPS
+David McGuire - Advanced D&D (1st edition)
+Murky Master - Mage: the Ascension
+Denis McCarthy - BlueHolme
+Chris Patrick Carias Stas - Advanced D&D Second Edition
+Erik Tenkar - Swords & Wizardry
+Peter Maranci - RuneQuest
+Richard Booher - Basic D&D (Holmes)
+Zach H - Basic D&D (Holmes)
+Charles Akins - 3.5 Edition D&D 
+Rob Abrazado - 13th Age
+Noah Doyle - Risus
+Tim Shorts - Esoterrorists
+Henry “Zenvis” Bingham - Palladium Fantasy Role-Play
+David Ferguson - World of Darkness
+Sean Bircher - Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Cinematic Unisystem
+Marty Walser - Paranoia
+Gus L - White Box OD&D
+Otto Q - Castles and Crusaders
+Thaumiel Nerub - Lamentations of the Flame Princess
+Jay McCarten - Amazing Adventurers and Incredible Exploits (Homebrew)
+Mo Holkar - When the Dark is Gone
+Tim Snider - Timemaster 
+Nick Foster - 3.0 D&D
 

So what's this project all about?
The core idea of this project is best sumed up as "Let me tell you why I love this Game."  Now that seems like something that you could do any day of the week by doing a search online; but here's the thing: when you go searching for that game online you're going to run into some wet blanket who makes it their personal mission to tell you why that game actually sucks or you're going to see some jerk launching into a minor skermish in their lifelong edition war. 

That sucks.

With this project all of the authors are going to be writing about what they love about these games and why they're the ones that keep them coming back to role-playing. There are no edition wars and no wet blankets because after we're done posting these online they're going into a free PDF that anyone can download. The hope is that by making it free it will create a great resource for people to find their next role-playing game experience.

Why the limited time to sign up?
By keeping the sign up time limited it makes sure that I'm able to get everyone on the same page without having people joining up later and having to reexplain everything, or worse, delay the publication of the project. 

When is it going live
Late July / Early August. By giving this project that much lead time it allows for everyone to actually get it done.

How many words does it have to be?
At a minimum each article needs to be 1200 words (which is incredibly easy to do for something you love) and there is no maximum word count. 

My favorite game isn't on that list.
Then sign up now so that it can be! If you've got a blog, a G+ account, a Tumblr, or an e-mail you can join this project. Just let me know what game you'd like to represent by leaving me a comment here, on the original post, or the G+ post. Or you can hit me up on Twitter @Thatakinsboy or E-Mail me (be sure to title your e-mail "I'd like to join the Favorite Games Project").

Do I have to have a G+ account?
It really does help as it allows me to tell everything just once. But if you don't have one I need to know your e-mail address so that I can keep you in the loop.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tell Me About Your Favorite Game

So after proposing the idea yesterday I was kind of worried that this would be one of those things that I thought would be a good idea but everyone else was all "Wut?" Thankfully that turned out to be a foolish worry as I've already been joined by a bunch of great people on this project. Who's joining me on this project? These cool people: +Judd Karlman, +Roger Brasslett, +Kelvin Green, +David Guyll, +Ralph Lovegrove, +Adam Dickstein, +Jens D.+Stelios V. Perdios+Douglas Cole, +Peter Maranci, +Mark Van Vlack+Travis Milam+Timothy Brannan+Nicholas Bergquist, +Richard Halpin, +Rod Thompson, +Patrick Henry Downs, +Andrew Davis  +Vb Wyrde+David McGuire+Murky Master+Denis McCarthy+Chris Patrick Carias Stas, +Erik Tenkar, Rob Abrazado+Zach H  and +Kevin Smith!

The sign up period for this project doesn't end until Monday, April 27, 2015. If you're on the fence there's still lots of time left to pick out your favorite game and join up. We've got a lot of games still left to be spoken for so here's a short list of games I'm hoping to have included (the ones struckthrough have already been definitively spoken for) that is by no means complete. If your favorite game isn't listed then join up and tell me you want to talk about it! I'll add it to the list because this is a project where the more people we have involved, the more games we talk about, the better!  

Remember, if no one signs up for one of the systems then it won't be in the PDF and it won't be in the online series. Don't let your favorite be left out!



Games Available (by no means a complete list)
Original Dungeons & Dragons
Basic Dungeons & Dragons (Holmes)
Basic Dungeons & Dragons (Moldvay)
Basic Dungeons & Dragons (Mentzer)
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons
3.5 Dungeons & Dragons
Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons
Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons
Fifth Edition Basic Dungeons & Dragons
Call of Cthulhu
Dungeon World
Burning Wheel
Rifts
Palladium Fantasy Role-Play
Hackmaster 4th Edition
Savage Worlds
Iron Kingdoms
Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play
Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord
Blueholme
OSRIC
Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Star Wars d6
Star Trek 
Champions  (any edition)
GURPS (any edition)
Rolemaster
RuneQuest
The Strange
Numenera
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Dragon Age
Pathfinder
FATE
Microscope
13th Age
Far Away Land
DC Heroes 3rd Edition (Mayfaire Exponential system)  
Witchcraft
Harnmaster
Basic Roleplaying 
Adventurer Conqueror King 
Apocalypse World 
Talislanta
Ethos RPG
Mage: the Ascension


What's this whole project about?
The core idea of this project is, "I love this game, now let me tell you why." What we're doing as a group is each author is taking their favorite game; telling you what they love about it; posting it on their blogs; and then at the end I'm compiling all of the posts into a single Free PDF. 

If I want to join do I have to pick one of those games?
Absolutely not! If you've got an obscure, out-of-print favorite that has been rocking your world then talk about it! If your favorite game is a little known indie game that has been the best experience of your gaming life then tell us about it!

What if I want to join but don't have a blog?
Do you have Google+? A Tumblr? Do you have e-mail? If you answered any of these then you can totally join this project. 

How do I join?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Have This Idea I'd Like You to Check Out

So here's the idea that I've had bouncing around in my head for about a month. I'd like to do a series where people write about their favorite role-playing game  -  whether it's an edition of Dungeons & Dragons or the latest Indie sensation. The idea would be to write these polemics that don't take a dump on other editions or games but that just embrace the hell out of your personal favorite (Which doesn't mean that you can't compare, just don't edition war. So you could totally write, "Like previous editions of the game, 4e made the Battle Axe the best weapon ever." Just avoid things like, "Unlike those other shitty editions, Earthdawn 2nd ed wasn't a stupid waste of paper.") I want to make this into one of those things that people look at and say, "That's what it's like to play Burning Wheel? Oh my God, I've got to get that game now!" I want this the sort of thing that is actually useful to people and that helps them find the game that they never knew they wanted.

Over on the original post in G+ I've keyed in a few people who I thought might want in on this project but I don't want to just limit this idea to the people that have me in their circles or that are on G00gle+. Look, there are so many people who love their games and if you'd like to jump in on this you're welcome to come along for the ride. I'm going to have sign-ups for this open until Monday, April 26, 2014

Once we've all spoken up I'm going to create a private circle on G+ so we can all keep up and get us together on who's writing what and when we'll all publish. Then, once we've all posted them on our blogs, I'm going to put everything into a free pdf that anyone can download. If this sounds like something you'd like to get in on leave me a comment below with what you'd like to write about and if no one else has already taken it, it's yours.


Oh, and if there's someone who makes you excited to play Swords & Wizardry or RIFTS key them into this conversation so they can see it and (hopefully) join the project. At the end of everything everyone who has announced that they'd like to join I'll put into another conversation so that we can all plot out what we're wanting to do.

Just to be clear: this is open to anyone who wants in. All you have to do is tell me what game you want to write about. You don't have to have a blog. Anyone who wants to share their love of their favorite game can join it and we'll work out how to get your post public outside of the PDF.

 If more than one of us wants to write about the same game we'll talk about it and pick the best writer for the project.

And I want D&D 3.5. 

Greyhawk, Bringing the Ladies to the Front

A couple more Greyhawk covers that I worked up last night and this morning. Hope you cats like them.

Oh, and if you like them, or just enjoy making Mearls and Co. miserable by filling their twitter feeds with Greyhawk noise, send these to them. Send them your favorite cover and tell them I WANT MOAR GREYHAWKS! Don't let them think that the only people who need official products are the Forgotten Realms kids!

The Wizard Cats on Twitter (that I know about)

@Mike Mearls Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Ideas Man
@Chris PerkinsDungeon Master to the Stars, Lead Story Manager, and more
@Jeremy Crawford Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Rules Guru
@Greg Bilsland Senior Producer for D&D
@Nathan Stewart Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons
@Bart Carroll Producer of Wizards D&D website
@Greg Tito Communications Manager for D&D
@Rodney Thompson Game Designer at Wizards of the Coast, worked on Fifth Edition
@Trevor Kidd Master of Social Media, Wizards Guru






Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What's Your Default?

So one of the things that I've discovered since really investing in the online world of social media is that there is a pretty vocal group who want you to know that your default when you read a character in a book is a Cis/White Male. According to these cats any character that you read who isn't specified is automatically a Cis/White Male. 

Obviously I have been reading books wrong all of my life. You see when I read a book and the character's race or sexuality isn't specified I never think about them. Not once in my entire life have I ever even cared. Now you might be asking yourself, "Self, I wonder what he does picture when those things aren't mentioned?" Line drawing with graphite shading.  I grew up drawing and until the author decides to fill in the lines with a skin color they remain blank spaces just like they would if I were working on them myself. 

Anyway, I want to play a game. I'm going to give you a passages from one of my favorite books and I want you to tell me what skin color the character is; and if you give a damn about it (which I really don't) what sexuality they are. Ready?
"When Zarathustra was thirty years old he left his home and the lake of his home and went into the mountains. Here he enjoyed his sirit and his solitude, and for ten years did not tire of it. But at last a change came over his heart, and one morning he rose with the dawn, stepped before the sun, and spoke to it . . ." (Kaufmann, 121)
So there you have it. What's your default?



Works Cited

Kaufmann, Walter (1976). Thus Spoke Zarathustra. (Ed. and Trans). The Portable Nietzsche (103 - 439). United States: Penguin Books. Print

Hold Up, Someone Is Playing the Game Wrong and They Must Be Stopped!

Before the reformatting of my computer happened I disappeared down a rabbit hole of pseudo-intellectualism that wrapped itself up in a self-righteous cloak of quoted text to protect each of the combatants within a cocoon of ignorance masquerading as brilliance. There were two sides of this debate. On this side you found a loud and protracted mewling chorus of voices screaming out, "GYGAX SAID THIS AND THUS IT WAS WRITTEN IN STONE AND SHALL NEVER BE CHANGED!" Arrayed against them were a slew of flagellating warriors mindlessly repeating the chants of their forefathers, "YOU KILL THE ORC AS A STAND IN FOR THE BLACK! YOU SLIGHT THE WOMAN IN YOUR STATISTICAL ABILITIES TO PROTECT YOUR BOYS CLUB FROM THEIR COOTIES! THE OLD WAYS MUST BE COMPLETELY ABANDONED AND CAST INTO THE DUST OF TIME TO BE FORGOTTEN!"

There was no progress made by either side and reading through the morass of mindless grandstanding and infantile attempts to score points with cutting words across the infinite void of the internet it became clear to me that no one had any real interest in finding a middle ground between the two sides.  In spite of more than a dozen calls for changes in tone and for a real exchange of ideas neither of those things was actually the goal of the people foaming at the mouth in that kerfuffle. They were there to be seen and heard not to change hearts and minds.

By the time I had finished reading through the thread I was out of wine and disgusted with the whole affair. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were some real moments of hilarity in there like when one of the Gygaxian faithful started flailing about telling everyone who would listen that the only way they were getting his D&D books was by prying them from his cold, dead hands. Then there was the lady with an ambiguous user name like 247Jonesn4Scotch who started screaming that they were all "mansplaining" to her because of their sexism!

Good stuff, good stuff. 

Anyway this evening I was reading through James P. Carse's Finite and Infinite Games when I saw a line that reminded me of this little rabbit hole I had been down. The ". . . [r]ules are not valid because . . . God pronounced them through Moses . . . They are valid only if and when players freely play by them . . ." (Carse 10). In other words just because you find a rule written down it doesn't mean that you have to use it. You don't like that women have lower stats than men in the early versions of Dungeons & Dragons; and if you don't then you don't have to use the rule. Role-playing games aren't holy scriptures written in stone with Enforcers standing at the door of every Hobby Shop watching to ensure that each nerd picks up their books with trembling hands and a whispered prayer to the designer that they might play the game correctly. 

Hell, Gary himself once wrote these rules ". . . are guidelines to follow in designing your own fantastic-medieval campaign. They provide the framework around which you will build a game of simplicity or tremendous complexity — your time and imagination are about the only limiting factors . . ." (Gygax  4). He was telling you all the way back in 1974 that you could absolutely modify the hell out of this shit because role-playing games are like a living language that morphs to fit the needs of those involved. That's the whole reason why there are people actively involved in DIY projects on the web and in your local gaming communities right now. They looked at their favorite games - RIFTS, Dungeons & Dragons, Savage Lands, GURPS, FATE, Star Wars d6 - and decided that it wasn't meeting their needs. Then they went out and made something that did. They made Carcosa, Iron Kingdoms, Red & Pleasant Land, Microlite 74, and a million other games that have helped change what we think of when we say we're playing a role-playing game. So to argue that we have to play the game as it was written always mystifies me.

Don't get me wrong, the other side of this debate was completely full of shit too. 

Look if in your games you want to explore what it's like to sexually molested or to deal with racism because you've never experienced either of them than more power to you. It's not my idea of a good time, but to each his own; because there's plenty of room for all of us to have fun in our own ways. BUT that isn't what happens. Instead I get some half crazed jack waggon coming along every so often who wants to tell me that the reason I like killing orcs is because they're a stand-in for my repressed bigotry. Never mind that I have close friends across all racial, and most of the sexual, lines and involved them heavily in my games when they showed an interest OR that I've got family who fit into those categories. No, I kill orcs so I must be a bigot.

I get it, I really do. You've got issues with people of color, women, transgendered folk, and queers so it's impossible for you to imagine that anyone else could not work out their issues in the game because that's what you do. The thing is that not everyone is like you. I can like killing imaginary creatures simply because it's fun and not because I'm a closeted bigot. So seriously, stop projecting your own issues on everyone else and enjoy the game.


Works Cited 

Carse, James P. Finite and Infinite Games. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986. 10

Gygax, Gary and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons Vol 1: Men and Magic.  Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1974.  4

Monday, April 20, 2015

MOAR GREYHAWK!!!!

Listen, I like doing these Greyhawk covers because they make me happy. If you like them, or just enjoy making Mearls and Co miserable by filling their twitter feeds with Greyhawk noise, send these to them. Send them your favorite cover and tell them I WANT MOAR GREYHAWKS! Don't let them think that the only people who need official products are the Forgotten Realms kids!

The Wizard Cats on Twitter (that I know about)
@Mike Mearls Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Ideas Man
@Chris PerkinsDungeon Master to the Stars, Lead Story Manager, and more
@Jeremy Crawford Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Rules Guru
@Greg Bilsland Senior Producer for D&D
@Nathan Stewart Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons
@Bart Carroll Producer of Wizards D&D website
@Greg Tito Communications Manager for D&D
@Rodney Thompson Game Designer at Wizards of the Coast, worked on Fifth Edition
@Trevor Kidd Master of Social Media, Wizards Guru

 All the Covers (Newest Ones First)















Go Back Inside the Coyote Said, And I Didn't Listen


I was sitting on the stoop in the rain last night with my cocktail getting refilled by God when a coyote came wandering up to me. It was soaked to the bones so I waved it over and offered it a drink to warm it up.

"I don't mind if I do," the Coyote said as I poured him a bit of vodka into a bowl. We sat there beside each other drinking in the rain while the night birds watched us from their limbs with wide-eyed wonder. "I don't mean to pry," he said with a polite cough, "but don't you think you ought to go back inside?"

"Inside," I mutely said, "inside to what? The house is quiet and my drinking disturbs her slumbers."

"Pity," said the Coyote, "I would have thought that after all the years you've been together that she would have built up a tolerance."

I smacked him on the nose, "Enough of that talk."

"That was an unkind turn," he said as he ran a paw along his snout. "And to think I had considered telling you where the hid that gold they took off the Spainards.”

“Your lies were more convincing back in the days of my youth when you came to me with tales of dragons and dying knights watching their ladies fair waste away on the stake.”He sat there on his rear looking out into the night for a moment before he gave a little shrug and said, “Things are hard all over these days.

“The Children of Adam are too busy to remember to dream any longer and when they do it is only about money and laying down with strangers who scream their names in orgasmic glee for years to come.”

I refilled his glass as we watched the rain come down harder. Old Owl sat in the magnolia tree near us listening to the silence. For a time he was content with that but that did not last. “What I want to know Son of Adam is why your kind have taken to poisoning the mice in my field.”

“Which field,” I asked him.

“The one behind you here. Where the deer run from Coyote’s children and the wild dogs play their silly games.”


“Oh,” I said with a shrug and another sip of my vodka water, “that was me.”

He flapped his wings in anger and hooted loudly, “Why in the seven hells would you think to do that!”

“Mother fuckers should have stayed out of my house.”

“Mother fuckers,” repeated the Coyote. 

I refilled his glass.“What I don’t understand,” I said as I took another sip, “is why the only literature that really speaks to my soul these days is wrapped up in the doom of my generation. Existential Man makes me want to slit my throat; Tropic of Cancer has me wishing that I could hide a forty-five in my mouth long enough to pull the trigger; and there is no salvation in the fantasies that creep into my dreams.

“I am bereft of hope. Cast out on a shore from which there are no shipping lanes going near me, no flights over head, and no currents going back out into the ocean. I am alone here in my head bound up in a grief that threatens to overwhelm me entirely.”

“So you drink,” said the Coyote flatly.

“So I drink with the Coyote by my side refusing to listen to your counsels and lies.”

“But you killed the mice with poison,” the owl in his outrage hooted!

“Your god-damned right I did,” I said as I rose up, “I killed them with a poison that burns them up from the inside because I wanted them to suffer. I wanted them to writhe in agony like I did when I had throw out eight hundred dollars of food that they shit and pissed over when they snuck into my house and had their orgies in my pantry! I wanted them to thirst like my son did when they broke his formula containers and painted my walls with their crude graffiti!

“I poisoned them the same way that I’m poisoning the ants that have made a fortress in my walls! Listen to them owl,” I said as I pointed at the light, “listen to them in there whispering to each other about the next great suck and fuck fest they’re going to be throwing tomorrow when they play their electronic music and bang their drums over my son’s bedroom giving him nightmares about gigantic dinosaurs without boundaries that keep trying to get him to just try a little E!”

“Does that actually happen,” Coyote asked as he raised up from his bowl.

“Fuck no,” I said as I sat back down and refilled my glass, “but it should.”

“Poison is bad for all of us Charlie,” Owl admonished me.

“The fuck you say.” I responded flatly. “Imagine that, Coyote, the Owl is trying to lecture me on the use of poisons. It’s not like he taught us how to use Mustard Gas for the first World War when he wanted us to slip off the face of the earth again.”

“Really now,” Owl said, “are you never going to let that go.”

“I certainly wouldn’t,” Coyote said as he crept under the tree. “The Sons of Adam are not known for their short memories you know.”

“For that you get a steak!”

“No need,” Coyote said as he leapt into the tree and caught Owl in his jaws. “I’ve got more than enough to eat here.”

“I -,” I began, but then I heard it. A little voice crying out into the night, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy I need you!”

“Got to go kids.”

Coyote let Owl go to tell me goodbye and raced into the night looking for mischief to be had while Owl hooted once and said, “You should forget about that War and stop using the poisons.”

“Fuck you Owl. I forget nothing.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

Four More Greyhawk Covers

So I had so much fun making those last few covers that I decided to make a few more. Hope you like them.

If you like them, or just enjoy making Mearls and Co miserable by filling their twitter feeds with Greyhawk noise, send these to them. Send them your favorite cover and tell them I WANT MOAR GREYHAWKS! Don't let them think that the only people who need official products are the Forgotten Realms kids!

The Wizard Cats on Twitter (that I know about)
@Mike Mearls Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Ideas Man
@Chris PerkinsDungeon Master to the Stars, Lead Story Manager, and more
@Jeremy Crawford Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Rules Guru
@Greg Bilsland Senior Producer for D&D
@Nathan Stewart Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons
@Bart Carroll Producer of Wizards D&D website
@Greg Tito Communications Manager for D&D
@Rodney Thompson Game Designer at Wizards of the Coast, worked on Fifth Edition
@Trevor Kidd Master of Social Media, Wizards Guru










Three Greyhawk Covers

I'm still kind of bummed that we're not going to see an official Greyhawk anything from Wizards of the Coast for a while so I decided to make a few of my own. If you click on them they should all get bigger as I designed all of them to be around the 8.5 X 11 inch size. 

Hope you like them.







If you like them, or just enjoy making Mearls and Co miserable by filling their twitter feeds with Greyhawk noise, send these to them. Send them your favorite cover and tell them I WANT MOAR GREYHAWKS! Don't let them think that the only people who need official products are the Forgotten Realms kids!

The Wizard Cats on Twitter (that I know about)
@Mike Mearls Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Ideas Man
@Chris PerkinsDungeon Master to the Stars, Lead Story Manager, and more
@Jeremy Crawford Co-designer of Fifth Edition and Rules Guru
@Greg Bilsland Senior Producer for D&D
@Nathan Stewart Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons
@Bart Carroll Producer of Wizards D&D website
@Greg Tito Communications Manager for D&D
@Rodney Thompson Game Designer at Wizards of the Coast, worked on Fifth Edition
@Trevor Kidd Master of Social Media, Wizards Guru

Thursday, April 16, 2015

She Climbed in Bed with Forgotten Hands Still Clinging to Her Flesh.

She woke me up in the middle of the night when she came and sat down on the edge of the bed. She was crying. "Honey," I said, "what's wrong?"

"It's nothing," she lied.

"My darling," I whispered as I sat up and wrapped my arms about her, "what's happened?"

She started crying and laid her head against my shoulder, "They won't stop stealing my stuff!"

"Who won't?"

"The Forgotten Realms!"
Look, I get it. The Forgotten Realms are the most popular setting for Wizards of the Coast and have been for a long time, but do they really have to steal all the Greyhawk lore for it? I mean if you're going to keep taking stuff from Greyhawk why don't you just fucking release Greyhawk!

Too much to ask? Probably.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nobody Makes It Out Alive Free PDF

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_btfruzzXzDemtydzlPODBpMFU/view?usp=sharing

So one of the things that I've gotten a lot of request for over the last couple of month is a PDF copy of the short story Nobody Makes It Out Alive which followed an actual game that occurred. Today I'm happy to announce that I have finally gotten it completed with some revisions. Nothing major was done that might change the story. Clarifications to the text were made, a few misspellings were corrected, and the grammar was cleaned up to make sure that the story flowed better overall.

This story is still under my copyright and cannot be included in anyone else's publications without first receiving permission from me. That said you are free to share it with as many people as you like so long as it is linked back here and there are no alterations to the document or the text.

Hope you all enjoy it!


Or

You Say You Want More But You Never Really Mean It

So I got an e-mail the other night asking me if I was planning on releasing any short stories soon. The answer is yes. Yes I am.

More later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Book Shelf: Leviathans of Jupiter by Ben Bova



The Leviathans of Jupiter follows Deirdre Ambrose from her home in Chrysalis II to Jupiter and into an adventure of a lifetime with the massive Leviathans within its depths. The pacing of the book is fast and the 500 page volume is easy to quickly read in large chunks as Bova's writing style is pitch perfect for the adventure within. 

Where Bova excels in this novel is when he's describing moments of action - the Faraday's first trip into Jupiter's endless sea, the crew's first contact with the Leviathans - and in moving his characters quickly through the plot, developing them along the way into nuanced and relatively complicated individuals. But it is in the development of those characters that a major weakness for this novel is exposed: the interpersonal relationships make no sense. 

The main villain of the book, Katherine Westfall, goes from being power hungry to a full blown psychopath without any reasonable explanation. Which is a shame because early in the book it's easy to root for her, as well as, Deirdre and her friends. Westfall is manipulative yet her drive makes her relatable and then she suddenly shifts gears and becomes a psychopath with no warning beforehand. It's as if the woman who's trying to become your company president suddenly decided that instead of bribing people to get what she wants she takes a .38 and starts shooting people. It just makes no sense with where the character was earlier in the book. 

Then there are the romantic relationships. These just appear to come to fruition without any explanation or actual, real build-up and yet we're supposed to accept that these are meaningful to the characters in a way that simply doesn't happen. It's an upsetting aspect of the book that found me putting it down and wondering why it was done.

The Leviathans of Jupiter is a book that succeeds on many levels, yet falls into contrived pitfalls of the author's own making at times. I will definitely be reading another Ben Bova book as this one was very enjoyable other than the few, minor, issues with Westfall and the romances. Well worth picking up if you can find it for a good price.



By the way the cover of Leviathans of Jupiter was made by John Harris and was the whole reason why I originally picked up this book. It's fantastic and I am actively saving money to pick one of the prints from his website.

Leviathans of Jupiter by John Harris

Answering Questions: What Keeps You Motivated - Mark Van Vlack

What keeps you motivated to do the things you do for your blog?

You put a good deal of work into this blog, sometimes not so fun tedious work and yet you always seem to have two or three large projects going. Whut up wit dat? Reason for asking: I am far less ambitious on my blog and even I burn out every three or four months. What stokes the furnace that is Charles? - +Mark Van Vlack
What keeps me motivated is that I set goals for my blog and push myself to get there. When I first started I just wanted to get 1 person to read me which I thought would never happen; and then +Jens D. found me (god bless him) and started commenting on my blog. So I made a new goal that I would get 25 people to follow my blog. Then 50, then 100. Each time I achieve a goal I make a new one. I'm incredibly goal oriented so doing that is a big motivator for me. Right now my goal is to get the blog up to 2,000 page views a day (I'm currently hovering right at 1,250 page views every day for the last couple of weeks).

As for the tedious stuff, like publishing my blog statistics and reading everyone for the Best Reads Series, if it wasn't fun I wouldn't do it. I like looking into things, investigating, and reading what other people are doing. It keeps my mind sharp and gets me to rethinking my own ways. Now as for things like fixing the banner and tweaking the layout I'm just never satisfied and I can't stand to have my name attached to things that I don't find up to a level I want representing me. 
 
Oh, and large projects are just fun - especially when you're doing them with other people that you really like and respect. 

Did that answer you question Holmes?

Answering Questions: The Hugos - Multiple

Why don't you support my side of the Hugo controversy - multiple. 

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but while I like reading about the Hugo controversy and doing things like making a complete list of all the Hugo Award Winning Novels, I don't really give a damn about the controversy itself. To me it's no different than any other award show that allows anyone with enough money to vote. In other words it has no meaningful impact on my life. 

The Sad Puppies voting block has made their presence known. If you don't like it vote No Award or organize your own voting block for next year to make sure your favorite authors are on the list. That's about as much of an opinion as I have about it. 

Oh, and I hope +Jeffro Johnson wins in his category. I like him.

Answering Questions: Where's Project X Sitting? - Multiple

I got a lot of questions about the various projects that I'm working on right now. Most of them were either about the Americas Campaign, Artisan Toolkits, or Let's Forget the World and Be Friends. So I thought I would just cover all the ones I got asked about right here.

Star Cairns: This project has gone into limbo because I got bored with it and wanted to wait until Fifth Edition came out. Well, Fifth Edition is here and I'm still not feeling all that excited about this project. I've still got the file on my computer (which I managed to save from being deleted during the computer reset) and I work on it from time to time. It's just a long time in-between periods when I feel like opening it up. 

We Used to Go On Grand Adventures: This short story started out as probably the best thing I've ever written. It certainly is one of the things that I'm most proud of on the blog. The first two parts seemed to just explode out of me, but part three has been coming out like molasses. I've got the draft in Blogger, it's just no where near ready to launch. 

Americas Campaign: Still working on this project but getting the map done has proven to be a real pain in the ass. My son keeps drawing on them when I'm not looking - which is always a problem with two year olds. I'm currently working on a post about Horses in the Americas.

Let's Forget the World and Be Friends: This project is currently going on in the background. It's got more authors than ever before and I think you'll all love what we're working on. Should be out late June /  early July if everything works out.

Answering Questions: Political Leanings - Multiple

I'd be curious to know more about your politics, though, Charles. I've always assumed that you were kind of a liberal guy, but the closest I see to some of these viewpoints comes across from some of my (many) conservative friends. I'm not judging. I have friends from both sides of the spectrum. I'm just curious where you fall. - +Dan Head*

A joke among my friends is that I'm the most liberal person any of them know. Personally I think of myself as financially conservative and socially liberal. Which means that I believe that we should do things like recognize gay marriage, provide medical coverage for everyone, fund the arts, invest heavily in education, and the like - BUT if we do anything that costs money we have to find a way to pay for it. There are no blank checks being written.

If you'd like to talk about any specific issues let me know and we can discuss them. I'm generally good with talking about most anything.


* Dan actually asked his question before the Q&A call went out but due to the large number of people who asked me about this I decided to use his version as it came first. I hope Dan doesn't mind.

Answering Questions: A Strange Thing Happened This Time

I love doing these Dyvers Q&As because you never know how many you're going to get or who's going to ask you a question. But this time a couple of really interesting things happened. First I got almost all of my questions through e-mail (a complete reversal to how things normally go) and a lot of people asked the same questions with slight variations. So I'm going to just combine their questions into a single post using the person who asked first for the wording of the question.

While I got twenty-five questions they combined down to four so you're not going to see the sheer volume of responses that I've done in the past. Hope everyone who asked a question is cool with this change. 

Now, on with the questions!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Hugo Award Winners for Best Novel

After reading through the Hugo Awards controversy over the last few days it occurred to me that I don't actually know how many of the Award winners for Best Novel that I've actually read over the years. One? Fifty? None? To remedy that I decided to go through and list all of the winners for Best Novel and build my own reading list out of the group. I figured that if I'm going to all this trouble I might as well share it with the world at large.

Hugo Best Novel Award Winners



1939 - The Sword and the Stone by T.H. White (Retro Awards)

I read this novel when it was included in the Once and Future King. I deeply enjoyed this story when I first read it in high school. My English teacher gave it to us instead of Atlas Shrugged (which is just an awful mess of a book) and we spent an entire nine weeks going over the book looking for all the references and allusions within. Brilliant book and it holds up years later as one of my all time favorite books.


 
1946 - The Mule by Issac Asimov (Retro Awards)


1951 - Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein (Retro Awards)

I actually just picked up this book at my library's used book store. As some of you know I've been working on trying to pick up all of the Heinlein books and this just happened to be the latest addition. Really excited to read it now.


1953 - The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester



1954 - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 

Read this one in High School too. Good book and an excellent read anytime you get to thinking that certain people need to be eliminated from the conversation because you don't like what they're saying.


1955 -  They’d Rather Be Right 
by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley


1956 -  Double Star by Robert Heinlein 

Another Heinlein novel but one I haven't run across out in the wilds. Good luck buying a new copy instead of used if Amazon's sellers have anything to say about it. $1,854.96 is stupid money to spend on a book you can get used for $2.09.


1958 - The Big Time by Fritz Lieber

Actually picked this one up at the Flea Market last week in a 4 for $1 bundle. I started reading it last night while I was putting my son to bed. Good so far (though I am only 50 pages in).


1959 - A Case of Conscience by James Blish


1960 - Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein

This was actually the first Heinlein book I had ever read - and it took me years to crack it's pages. When I was younger I had seen the movie based incredibly loosely on the book and I thought the book would be all but kicking and taking names. But it's not and the back cover made that abundantly clear.

Stupidly I let it sit on my shelf for the better part of fifteen years before I finally opened it up over Christmas and couldn't put it down. Fantastic novel that just hit a real sweet spot for me and made me a huge Heinlein fan.


1961 -  A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr

I actually finished this one earlier this year and what a fantastic book. Easily in my top ten books that I've ever read. Unlike many novels it centers around the inhabitants of a monastery as the world recovers from a nuclear war that nearly wiped us all out. At times it will make you laugh, then hold your breath as things turn very wrong. Brilliant book and I'll be having a review of it up on the blog later.

If you run across this book absolutely pick it.


1962 - Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein  

My current car book. Slow going right now but nevertheless an enjoyable read. 


1963 - The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Already on my wishlist as are nearly all of Dick's novels.


1964 - Here Gather the Stars (alt: Way Station) by Clifford D. Simak


1965 - The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber


1966 - Dune by Frank Herbert (Split Prize)


1966 -  …And Call Me Conrad (alt: This Immortal) by Roger Zelazny (Split Prize)


1967 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

I actually have this one sitting on my to read pile right now. It's about four novels off as I really want to finish Stranger in a Strange Land first. May not happen but it's the goal. 


1968 - Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny


1969 - Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner



1970 - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin


1971 - Ringworld by Larry Niven


1972 - To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer


1973 - The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov


1974 - Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke


1975 - The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

My current bathroom book. Really good read so far, but then I've yet to read anything by Le Guin that wasn't.


1976 - The Forever War by Joe Haldeman


1977 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm


1978 - Gateway by Frederik Pohl


1979 - Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre


1980 - The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke


1981 - The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge


1982 - Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh

I need this book. I need it like flowers need the sun. Someone who's read it please tell me that it's as good as the blurb makes it seem! Please!


1983 - Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov


1984 - Startide Rising by David Brin


1985 - Neuromancer by William Gibson


1986 - Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I've tried to read Ender's Game nearly a dozen times over the years and have never made it further than forty pages in. My brother swears that I'm missing out but I just can't get into it. I'm planning on giving it another try this summer but honestly it just kind of doesn't trip my trigger. Maybe it's like Robert Jordan?


1987 - Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card


1988 - The Uplift War by David Brin


1989 - Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh


 1990 - Hyperion by Dan Simmons


1991 - The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold


1992 - Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold


1993 - A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (Split Prize)


1993 - Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Split Prize)


1994 - Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


1995 - Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold


1996 - The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson


1997 - Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


1998 - Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman


1999 - To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis


2000 - A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge


2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

I would never have imagined that a Harry Potter book would have won a Hugo Award. It doesn't hurt that this is arguably the best out of the series but it does make me wonder if they weren't reach for some relevance with a wider audience.


2002 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman

One of the few Neil Gaiman books that I haven't read. The man is brilliant so it's definitely one that I must pick up.


2003 - Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer


2004 - Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold


2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke


2006 - Spin by Robert Charles Wilson


2007 - Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge


2008 - The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon


2009 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Oh Lord how I love this book. Beautifully written with a steady pace that lets you catch your breath just long enough to have Gaiman take it again. Great, great book!


2010 - The City & The City, China Miéville (Split Prize) 

I've never read anything by Mieville but a lot of people that I like have and recommend the novels. I will definitely be picking this one up.


2010 - The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Split Prize) 


2011 - Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

As far as I've been able to tell this is the only time the prize was split between two novels and both of them were written by the same author. Certainly makes me intrigued. 


2012 - Among Others by Jo Walton


2013 - Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi

Man, I love the concept for this book. Definitely picking it up soon.


2014 - Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

Quick Breakdown (READ/OWN)
1939 - The Sword and the Stone by T.H. White (Retro Awards)
1946 - The Mule by Issac Asimov (Retro Awards)
1951 - Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein (Retro Awards)
1953 - The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
1954 - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
1955 -  They’d Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley
1956 -  Double Star by Robert Heinlein
1958 - The Big Time by Fritz Lieber
1959 - A Case of Conscience by James Blish
1960 - Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
1961 -  A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr
1962 - Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein  
1963 - The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
1964 - Here Gather the Stars (alt: Way Station) by Clifford D. Simak
1965 - The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber
1966 - Dune by Frank Herbert (Split Prize)
1966 -  …And Call Me Conrad (alt: This Immortal) by Roger Zelazny (Split Prize)
1967 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
1968 - Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
1969 - Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
1970 - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
1971 - Ringworld by Larry Niven
1972 - To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
1973 - The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
1974 - Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
1975 - The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
1976 - The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
1977 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
1978 - Gateway by Frederik Pohl
1979 - Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
1980 - The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
1981 - The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
1982 - Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh
1983 - Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov
1984 - Startide Rising by David Brin
1985 - Neuromancer by William Gibson
1986 - Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
1987 - Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
1988 - The Uplift War by David Brin
1989 - Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh
1990 - Hyperion by Dan Simmons
1991 - The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
1992 - Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
1993 - A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (Split Prize)
1993 - Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Split Prize)
1994 - Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
1995 - Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
1996 - The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
1997 - Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
1998 - Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
1999 - To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
2000 - A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
2002 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman
2003 - Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
2004 - Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2006 - Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
2007 - Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
2008 - The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
2009 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2010 - The City & The City, China Miéville (Split Prize)
2010 - The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Split Prize)
2011 - Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
2012 - Among Others by Jo Walton
2013 - Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi
2014 - Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

After working my way through the list I've read less than a dozen of the award winners so I've got a lot of books to catch up on. What about you cats? How many have you read? What were your favorites? Which one would you recommend I read next?

Just a Little Update

Just a few quick notes for those of you wondering about Dyvers. I'm currently working on a project in my spare time that is taking...