by Mike Shea on 9 March 2005
Time for a quick Mike Shea life dump.
I finished reading a few Asimov and Clark books including The Hammer of God, and Foundation. Hammer of God is one of the better books on the theme of asteroids hitting the earth. It's probably the book they based Armageddon on only without all of the crappy Ben Aflick animal-crackers-down-her-panties scenes. Foundation is the first of a huge series that I plan to further investigate. It's a strong book but with a very weak ending. It turns from an excellent science fiction novel to a Scoobie Doo episode. Worth the read but it doesn't have near the strong ending that Arthur C. Clark's Childhood's End had.
I started reading George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones a couple of weeks ago. I was afraid it would be another 900 page book about two kids riding in a cart in the rain like that gawd aweful Eye of the World book that Robert Jordan vomited up. Instead, Martin's book has me enchanted for the six or eight pages a night I read. I really enjoy it and I look forward to reading further.
I'm still on an H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard kick. I found a bunch of his stories on the web and also created a mirror of his stories here at http://mikeshea.net/lovecraft/. You can download the entire set in a zip full of H.P. Lovecraft Stories to put up at your own site or to view locally.
There is a new Lovecraft collection called "Lovecraft: Tales" edited by Peter Straub available. I plan to pick it up once I know it's written on acid free paper.
I saw Eternal Sunshine for a Spotless Mind, a movie written by Charlie Kaufman, the guy who wrote Being John Malcovich, Adaptation, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It's an excellent science fiction movie without a single real special effect or set. It's great stuff. Unlike Forgotten, a science fiction movie that could probably suck worse but would have to work at it. Avoid that one.
I downloaded the Cars Greatest Hits and Pink Floyd's The Wall from allofmp3. It's so nice to get good platform independent music for the right price.
Last night I ordered a Namiki Vanishing Point fountain pen from fountain pen hospital. It's the most expensive pen I purchased but it has a 14k gold nib and is highly recommended by the Moleskine junkies over at Moleskinerie. I've heard nothing but good things about it and yesterday I got to see one in action. I hope to see it by early next week. I added in another bottle of Noodler's black ink as well. I love that stuff.
I also ordered up a couple of decks of the new Magic the Gathering pre-built decks from the Betrayers of Kamigawa and Champions of Kamigawa. I really like the $8 to $12 pre-built decks you can get now. Custom building a deck is always more fun than using a pre-constructed deck, but for the money you get an excellent, tuned, and powerful theme deck that shows you the strength and quirks of that particular set. I will add these four decks to the four I got from the Mirroden set which gives me eight decks ready to play.
I wrote quite a few article and stories over the past few weeks. I wrote a few Mobhunter articles, one a week, including a review of Dragons of Norrath. I have a story for Loralciriclight.com just about finished as well and a new article sent out to Caster's Realm due for publication sometime soon. I also just finished a new draft of The Bear for the werebeast anthology published by Comstar Media. I got some excellent edits back from the editor over there and I also found out that the book will be available from Amazon. I won't get too excited until I see it in print, but it's on the right track!
I'm also working on a few new stories in my Faigon world. Faigon is a fantasy world started putting together based around a mix of Conan-style desert wastelands and 17th century European technologies. There are muskets, flintlocks, sabers, werewolves, three-cornered hats, secret telepathic societies, tall leather boots, witches, barbarians, demons, slaver empires, and pirates.
Two different stories come out of this world so far. One is the more 17th century flintlock stories with werewolves and telepaths. I finished a story called "Loyalty" set in this world. The other type of story is in my Vrenna series. Vrenna is a mix of Aeon Flux, the hot white-haired chick from Heavy Metal, and Conan. It's a more hard-edged dark fantasy with lot of sex and violence in it. I wrote three Vrenna stories so far: Vrenna, Vrenna and the Red Stone, and Vrenna and Togaru Village. I have one or two more Vrenna stories in my head: Vrenna and the Pits of Glazeron, and Vrenna and the Red Stone Part Two. If it doesn't have a topless woman whipping a slave girl, it's not a good Vrenna story.
Both of these types of stories fit in the same world but they are very different. Vrenna is set on the outskirts of civilization, in the southern deserts of the lost empire. It is a hard world down there with slave masters and corrupt kings. In the north, the Faigon empire rules with firearms and telepaths. Soldiers of the Emperor wearing leather three-cornered hats and ornately carved flintlock pistols battle the remaining hoards of Voth barbarians. Voth witches worship horrible gods from ages long past. The telepathic society of the Eye seeks to find and mark every telepath in the known world.
Yesterday I received a rejection letter from Asimov's Science Fiction magazine for a story called "Traffic Jam" that I actually wrote while in a traffic jam. I'll add it to the ones from Weird Tales for "Fall of the Knives", Strange Horizons for "Shock", and Ideomancer for "Mad Cow". I have to set my sights lower. I don't think Asimov of Fantasy and Science Fiction are within reach. Anyway, its all about getting the submissions out so time to send it out again!
Anyway, lots of fun there and lots to write about. I hope to get a story out every month, a marker I think I can achieve. Right now I'm lucky to get 500 words out a day. Like diet and exersize, two other things I fail miserably at, its all about routine and motivation. Perhaps my fancy Namiki vanishing point fountain pen will give me the motivation I need.
I started writing my latest Faigon tale in one of the Renaissance Art leather journals I bought a few weeks ago. It's much better but much more expensive than a Moleskine. It's perfect for writing tales of high fantasy or dark tales of the macabre but too fancy and expensive for general note taking. Right now I'm using a Waterman Phileas fine point fountain pen with black Noodler's ink for the Renaissance Art journals and a Waterman Expert 2 fine point with my pocket Moleskines.
My honey bought me a Nintendo DS for Valentine's Day. So far I've only played Mario DS on it, but its a lot of fun. They try to use (and sometimes overuse) the touch screen as much as they can. In Metroid Hunters, for example, you use the bottom screen to aim as if it was a mouse touchpad on a laptop. It sounds bad but it works pretty well. Unfortunately the touch pad doesn't work that well in Mario. It isn't easy to run your thumb over the pad like it was an analog D button. The Nintendo DS has 802.11 and a microphone jack for voice making this the first portable system capable of playing a massive online game out of the box. Right now, however, the game selection for the DS is slim.
Most of my free time I spend in Dragons of Norrath, the latest Everquest expansion. Like Lost Dungeons of Norrath, this expansion focuses on single-group hunts that reward crystals you can turn in for new items. It also includes an instanced guild hall for your guild. It is great fun and the best Everquest expansion yet.
SOE announced the first D&D-like adventure pack for Everquest 2 called the Bloodline Chronicles. Unfortunately the adventure pack starts at level 30 and my poor Swashbuckler is only level 24. Last night SOE added in the mentor system, a system where high level people can lower their level and hunt with their lower level friends. This is one of the best improvements in any massive online game and I only wish that we would see it in Everquest where it would make a much bigger difference due to the wide existing level range.
Thus ends the Mike Shea life dump. Here's a great quote I plan to upchuck when people mock my pen obsession:
"The only aesthetic question that working artists discuss is where to buy decent turpentine." - Pablo Picasso