Weekend update

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! A few items of interest for you:

1. Parvusimperator and I recorded a new episode of Crossbox last night, which should be coming out sometime this coming week. I do believe this is the first time we’ve hit a monthly episode cycle, which would be a cool thing to maintain, going forward. Keep an eye on the Soapbox, slash on weekend updates.

2. OpenTafl has seen some major updates in the past week or two. Read about ’em here1. The v0.2.x release cycle is winding down, and we have a bunch of new features since the v0.1.x stable releases: replays, saved games, commentaries, tablut variants, and in-game rules, to name a few.

3. I’m three scenes and an epilogue away from finishing The Long Retreat, a short story which ended up being half a novel. (It along with Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross would make a good double feature paperback, I think. Maybe throw in some essays and nonfiction to bulk it out to 250 pages or so, say.) I hope to make some serious progress on that front tonight.

4. Once The Long Retreat is in the books, I’ll be working on two things before I start my next story: first, I’m finally going to get We Sail Off To War into print (well, e-print). Second, I’m going to spend a week or two pounding away at a writing project for another friend of mine. (You’ve read about it in these pages before, but I’ll leave it to be a surprise.) After that, I’ll be diving into a Nathaniel Cannon project; after that, I haven’t decided. I may jump into a Sam Hill story, or I may stick with Cannon. I have good ideas for both.

5. Fishbreath Recommends: Zootopia, a good animated movie, where ‘good’ attaches directly to ‘movie’, rather than qualifying ‘animated’2. The story of fresh-faced beat cop Judy Hopps as she leaves her small-town roots and heads to the big city to make a difference, only to stumble onto a series of mysterious disappearances, and the larger story behind them all, it’s a solid buddy cop movie3. Also, in case you’ve been living under a rock, the characters are all adorable anthropomorphized animals. J. K. Simmons has a voice role, too; he’s one of my favorite actors/voice talents these days, so go support his career.

6. Fishbreath Also Recommends: Harebrained Schemes’ Shadowrun games. CRPGs in the classic mold, set in the Shadowrun universe. I’m in the middle of the first one, and like most Shadowrun material, it’s a cyberpunk urban fantasy film noir extravaganza. Give it a try if any of those words sounds good to you.

1. I heard from a friend of mine this week that ’em as a contraction for ‘them’ is not, in fact, a contraction of ‘them’. Rather, it’s a contraction of Middle English ‘hem’, which comes from Old English ‘hoem’, or them, in the dative case. It’s related to the Dutch ‘hun’ and the German ‘ihnen’. You learn something new every day.
2. This is a little unfair to animated movies, which I generally enjoy; then again, I suppose I seek out the ones for which the footnoted sentence holds true.
3. After the podcast last night, parvusimperator asked, “Put it on a scale of 1 to Lethal Weapon.” I said 6, solidly above average. It hits your traditional story beats: optimistic newcomer meets cynical local embedded in the system; fish out of water adapts to life on the force in a big city; mismatched partners forced to work together distrust each other at first, then form a strong bond. Although there’s a good mystery going on in the background, none of it feels forced—the mystery and the character arcs feed off of and drive one another. The end result is a deeply enjoyable 1:48 in a lovingly-crafted world realized beautifully on-screen. I would watch a sequel. Or, indeed, I would watch this one again.

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