Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Review

A couple of days before Christmas, I went to see the new American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (TGWTDT). I'm not going to call this a remake, since it was an adaptation of the book, rather than a remake of the Swedish movie (which I have not seen).

I read the book of TGWTDT back in August, and I have been looking forward to this movie since I heard it announced. Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara both do a good job of looking like the characters that I had in my mind as I read the book, Craig pulling off an admirable Blomkvist and completely making me forget about James Bond.

The filming of the movie, the cinematography, captured the brooding environment of the book. Much like in the movie Fargo, they managed to make winter a character in the movie, making you feel the cold and isolation that the characters must have felt. Blomkvist wandering about in a couple of scenes, his hand held out with his cell phone while trying to find a signal really captured this isolation.

Mara does a turn as Salander that is award-worthy. She manages to bring to life the quiet desperation and sometimes torturous existence of her character. The scenes where Salander's new "guardian" shows her how they can "work together" are particularly chilling to see brought to life on the screen.

The music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross made great measures towards the feel of the movie with their score. The music would often weave in and out of scenes, as characters moved through physical spaces or used electronics. The title sequence cover of Led Zepplin's Immigrant Song (with vocals from Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who also did the music from 2009's Where The Wild Things Are) will go down as one of my favorite songs of 2011.

There were a couple of subplots from the book that were dropped from the movie. The subplot dealing with Blomkvist's relationship with one of the Vanger "sisters," as well as the subplot of Millennium's ongoing financial and legal battles, were both dropped from the movie. Admittedly, this was already nearly three hours of screen time but I really think that the plot of Millennium's trials and hassles would have really added to the overall feel of the story, not to mention making you happy for the end that Wennerstrom comes to in the movie. That conclusion seemed a bit too speedily wrapped up, maybe because of the fact that we lost the Millennium subplot.

Regardless, TGWTDT was an excellent movie. It drew me into its fictional world early on and kept me engrossed in what was happening, even though I already knew what would happen from reading the book. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes detective/investigative stories, or to any geek who wants to see a well-made movie and wants to escape from the doldrums of genre movies.

Culture Bully's 2011 Mashed


File this under Music and Mashups. Culture Bully has posted their 2011 Mashed compilation. You can find it here. This incredible production from The Reborn Identity (one of my favorite producers) kicks off the compilation.

The Reborn Identity - Cosmic Lifeforms (Florence + The Machine vs Carbon Based Lifeforms) by The Reborn Identity

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of Bootie 2011

Here is Bootie's Best of Bootie 2011 mashup compilation. This is the continuous mix version. They also have an unmixed version with the individual tracks available.


Best of Bootie 2011 by bootie

Downloads and extras can be found at the Best of Bootie 2011 page. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Review: Marvel's Defenders #1

I will admit that I'm not a Marvel fanboy. This is the first Marvel comic that I have bought since Agents of Atlas was cancelled. Mostly it's a taste issue...the currently in vogue style of storytelling at the House of Ideas isn't what I am interested in when reading a comic book.

That said, I have been a huge fan of the Defenders since I was a kid. I found The Defenders not long after I discovered The Avengers. For me, the appeal of The Defenders has always been that they are the weird and creepy super-heroes, tucked off in a dark corner of the Marvel Universe. This feeling is the foundation on which this incarnation of The Defenders is built. I'm pretty sure that the last book written by Matt Fraction that I read was his run on Iron Fist (who is a character in this book as well). This issue, to me, had a similar tone to those issues, more than just because Iron Fist is a member of this new version of the team. I liked that feel in Iron Fist, and so far I like that feel here in The Defenders.

The Defenders rolls out of the story of Marvel's latest big event, Fear Itself, but so far I have found that reading that event is not necessary for this book. This first story, The Defenders are brought together by The Hulk to deal with a menace from that book that he is responsible for. "Imagine all of my rage...and power and strength and hate -- imagine it taking a shape," is how The Hulk describes this menace to The Silver Surfer.

The portrayals of The Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange are probably most likely to be sticking points for some long-time Marvel fans. The Silver Surfer is shown at his most alien in this issue. I like that. It is nice to see a comic book alien being portrayed as being, well, alien for a change. This isn't just some guy in silver body paint, this is an inhuman, near-cosmic entity that just does not see the world in the same way, or interact with it in the same way, as his more human companions.

While I (surprisingly to myself) liked the new take on Doctor Strange, I'm not sure that everyone is going to like Hipster Doctor Strange. Hipster you say? When asked about his choice of reading material at one point Doctor Strange responds with "It is something very old and rather frightening I'm afraid. I don't think you'd know it." Yes, Doctor Strange read that old book before everyone else, and probably has a copy of it on vinyl as well. The good Doctor is also introduced in a post-coital scene that has been talked about in a negative manner in a few blogs already. Really, it didn't bother me all that much. Back in the day, Doctor Strange was always shown as one of the more sexual of super-heroes, with he and Clea in states of undress and seemingly interrupted during sex more than once in a comic. So, Doctor Strange having a hook-up, or using his "spooky old conjurer" status (as Namor calls it at one point) to try to pick up women is not really all that big of a stretch to me.

I have to add that I like the way that Fraction approaches the unnaturalness of Doctor Strange in this book, as well as his approach to magic. In some pre-publication publicity, Fraction mentioned that he wanted to give Doctor Strange a sort of William S. Burroughs quality in his "been there, done that" approach to the weirdness of the world. So far, I think it is successful.

The story is nothing spectacular, just your standard "let's get the band together" first issue for a team book. Geoff Johns should look at this story as an example of how to actually get all of the characters on the cover together and into the book. There is a lot of Marvel Universe esoterica in this issue, particularly the stuff with Wondagore Mountain. There isn't a lengthy exposition on it's history in the Marvel Universe, which could be good or bad. I think most comics these days assume that the reader will have more than a passing knowledge of continuity and that there aren't going to be many uninitiated readers picking up a book as there might have once been. There is just enough explanation to justify the story.

I think that, all in all, this was a fairly successful first issue that made me want to pick up the second issue when it comes out. I would have liked a bit more of an introduction to the new Red She-Hulk. If I didn't already know about the character it wouldn't have been obvious that she was long time Hulk supporting character Betty Ross. Also, neither Namor or The Silver Surfer were given much introduction as it was assumed by the writer that these characters would be known to readers already. This is probably the most negative that I had about the issue: do a better job of introducing the main characters. I really think that this issues (particularly being a number one) could have used a few more pages of story to get the cast introduced.

This leads me directly to my main negative. There's too many damn advertisements in this issue. Eight pages were given over to ads for other Marvel books (mostly X-Men books) and I think that half of those could have been cut to give a couple of more pages of background on the characters.

However, for me, the positives outweigh the negatives and I enjoyed this book. I will definitely pick up number two and hope that this book finds enough of a readership to keep it on the stands in this rough comics market. The Defenders has been, at best, always a fringe title and I hope this version finds its way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Epic Snowball Fight For Freedom Begins


 Comic Creators Participate in National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

(December 1, 2011, Columbus OH) Comic Creators For Freedom announced today that the prep work for their third annual fundraiser against Human Trafficking Awareness has begun. Each year comic creators (web and print) collaborate to create an image that is available in both digital and print formats. This year’s theme is the “Epic Snowball Fight”. Poster prints will be available from all three fundraising campaigns. As always, the image will be available digitally in exchange for donations.  The donation drive starts on January 9th to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Day which is January 11, 2012. The drive ends Friday January 20, 2012. The official website for the drive is www.comiccreatorsforfreedom.com. Artists who wish to participate must submit artwork by the end of the year and can contact organizer Lora Innes at comics4freedom@gmail.com.This years returning artists already include  Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots), Crystal Yates (Earthsong), Scott Christian Sava (The Dreamland Chronicles), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes).  

This annual drive has raised over $15,000 to the cause with over 100+ creators helping in the event. Organizer and award winning creator, Lora Innes states, “ Human Trafficking has reached seriously dangerous proportions and it is one of the top 3 crimes globally falling right under drugs and guns. 80% of victims are women and 50% are kids.  This is movie level evil and it’s happening right now. Comics are often about heroes of all shapes and sizes and the ordinary person doing the extraordinary.  Be the hero in this and participate in the drive.”

A special podcast for the event is available at http://tgtmedia.com/podcast/ep193-comiccreatorsforfreedom/. 100% of donations are being split between Love 146 (www.love146.org) and Grace Haven House (www.gracehavenhouse.org).
Friend us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Comic-Creators-For-Freedom/318481431502342
Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/Comics4FreedomFor more information visit www.comiccreatorsforfreedom.com

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Love Living In The Future!

Just a quick test post to show that I can blog from my new tablet. Once I get used to the keyboard, I may use this for blogging all the time.


Monday, November 21, 2011

OneBookShelf Announces Launch of DriveThruFiction, New Digital and Print Retailer

OneBookShelf, Inc., the parent company of DriveThruRPG.com and DriveThruComics.com, announced today that they recently launched DriveThruFiction.com.

DriveThruFiction.com is a genre-focused website that will offer e-books, audio, visual, and print editions of short stories, novellas, novels, and more. Readers can subscribe to their favorite authors and publishers in science fiction, horror, fantasy, and several popular sub-genres including steampunk and paranormal romance.

Independent and traditional publishers can take advantage of on-site marketing tools when they sign up for an account. These tools are unique to the DriveThru family of sites and are offered at no charge.

Currently, the website has dozens of new and established publishers already signed up including Apex Publications, Bards & Sages, Blackstone Audio, FW Media, Morrigan Books, Northern Frights Publishing, and White Wolf Publishing. There are also a number of authors publishing their own titles on DriveThruFiction such as Greg Stolze, Joseph Nassise, Paul S. Kemp, and R.A. Salvatore.

The publisher relations manager for DriveThruFiction.com is Matt M McElroy.

About DriveThruFiction: DriveThruFiction.com is part of the OneBookShelf family of sites that includes DriveThruRPG, DriveThruComics, RPGNow and WarGameVault. OneBookShelf has been operating e-book marketplaces for over ten years, sending millions in royalties each year to thousands of publishers and authors.

On the Web

Website: DriveThruFiction.com
Twitter: @DriveThruFic
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/DriveThruFiction/220171504716619

Friday, November 11, 2011

Early Adopters, RPG Publishers and POD Technology

This, my readers, is opinion writing.

In this current economy, in this current market for the tabletop gaming industry, it is sometimes a fight for each and every sale that a publisher makes. More and more, there is a reliance on the early adopter, or the so-called "alpha gamer," to help create buzz and talk up your games online, in gaming groups, and other places to lead to sales. The right words from enough of the right people can lead to good sales for an RPG publisher. Early adopters can be very important, they are what drive things like Kickstarter projects to be so successful.

The problem comes when you kick the early adopters to the curb. Yeah, I know this is strong language and that is intentional.

I'm not going to crouch this post in vague language about "some publisher" out there. This is in response to the specific action of a specific publisher: Arc Dream Publishing.

Part of the reason for my making this post is because this isn't the first time this has happened. I know, there are many out there in gaming fandom who do not think we should talk poorly of publishers. "It's just a one man operation." "He's not in it for money, it's for the hobby." The same things we hear each time a publisher slips at something. Yes, we all do it, but for those trying to be a business, they should be treated like a business. Arc Dream Publishing is a business.

At GenCon Arc Dream was selling the new Fate edition of their Kerberos Club setting. It's a great book, and Mike Olson did a bang up job of creating his Strange Fate variant for the setting. I love the game, have spoken highly of it both online and off, and I have recommended it to a good number of gamers. GenCon was in August.

Thanks now to POD (Print On Demand for those who do not know) technology, Arc Dream is offering a revised edition of the Fate edition of Kerberos Club. Errors were found by those early adopters, and those who bought copies of the game because of the praises of those early adopters (myself among them, obviously). Yes, this means that a up-to-date ruleset is available for those currently purchasing the game...mostly due to the praise of the early adopters. Let me say that again: a new revised edition in just a couple of months. Yes, the technology makes doing this possible but does that mean that a publisher should do it? Could a simple booklet of errata have been done and distributed to old and new purchasers?

People get upset when a new edition of a game comes out in a few years after the game they purchased, but now we have that cycle shortened by technology to a few months. I know that some people will say that this is not a new edition. I say that if you are going to say something is revised, it is a new edition.

Part of the problem is that this is not the first time this has happened. A few years ago, also at GenCon, Arc Dream also released a new book...the Wild Talents Essential Edition (which I also purchased from them at the time it was first released). Quickly, it became apparent that there were a number of mistakes and errata threads started appearing on the Wild Talents mailing list, and places like RPGNet. Arc Dream compiled all the errata, along with some of their own, fixed the stuff in the new book and offered up a revised printing. What did they do differently back then? They made an offer that any one who bought the first printing could mail it back to them and get a copy of the fixed new printing.

What are they doing this time? Offering the new version at an additional charge. Yeah, it's only ten dollars. I realize that. It's the point of rushing something to press, to get the book out at GenCon (not once but twice) only to have it need to be corrected. Why? Because of that important buzz from early adopters and bloggers out of GenCon. How many times, however, are people going to be willing to be the early adopters when they realize that the books they are buying are just going to be replaced in a few months? How much good buzz is it when someone has to write a blog post like this about a publisher?

Yes, I am one man and one blog. I don't speak for the masses of geeks, dorks, or gamers out there in the world. I only speak for myself, and I think that this stinks.

Friday, November 04, 2011

D&D limited edition Dragon Collector’s Set released

About the Dragon Collector’s Set
Each dragon is a deadly match for an experienced band of adventurers.
 
Of all the monsters in the world, dragons are the most feared. A fledgling group of adventurers might have what it takes to best a weak dragon, but the most powerful dragons are awesome, devastating creatures that rival even the gods.
 
 
Key Features:
  • This set includes the five most iconic evil dragons in the Dungeons & Dragons game, with origins tracing back to the game’s earliest editions.
  • Two of the dragons are new sculpts that have never appeared in any previous D&D miniatures product.
  • The pre-painted plastic dragons in this set appeal to both D&D players as well as dragon aficionados.
Each box contains five non-random, pre-painted, durable plastic miniatures for use in the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game, and has a suggested retail price of $44.99.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

National Game Design Month: What Is Urban Fantasy?

For National Game Design Month I am working on a role-playing game, an urban fantasy game to be named later. One of the questions I get a lot, as a fan of urban fantasy, is "What is urban fantasy?" Well, while I'm not sure that I want to really tie down that definition completely, I know that I can tell what it looks like to me. I confuse this further by using urban fantasy to also describe what is also sometimes called Paranormal Romance fiction. Why? I think it's silly to have two labels describing the same thing and I really don't need "romance" as a descriptor in my genre titles. I'm not against romance, as a matter of fact I think that romantic subplots are an important part of any story's overall plot...I just don't have to have it right there on the tin. This essay will be cleaned up to be a part of the game, obviously. There is enough disagreement

I will admit up front that I do prefer urban fantasy written by women, although I don't have to have female protagonists in them. I think this is the only genre where I have a gender-bias for writers, but I have it. I think the Night Watch books by Sergei Lukyanenko are the only exception to this preference, although Simon R. Green's Nightside books aren't too bad either. I will say that I'm not a fan of the Dresden books as much, something about the genre mashup just hasn't sat as well with me.

Basically the reason for this essay/post is to outline what urban fantasy is to me and show the influences that will work their way into my NaGaDeMon work.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Matt Forbeck's Amortals

Last week, after I finally started reading this book, I tweeted that it read like a cross between Robert Heinlein and Rudy Rucker. Now that I have finished the book, I think that I am going to stick to that analogy and broaden it a bit.

This book represents why I like to read Science Fiction. It had a wild energy that drew me into it's world of the future, and the way that Forbeck breathed life into the personalities of his characters kept me interested in the world and the actions of the plot. If Matt Forbeck's Amortals had come out in 1986, I would have been grouping it along side of some of the greats of the cyberpunk movement. I think this is a book that can stand beside Gibson's Neuromancer, Sterling's Islands in the Net, Rucker's Ware novels, or Williams' Hardwired. Anyone who knows me, and knows my tastes, knows that those are some of my favorite science fiction novels and not names that I toss around lightly.

Amortals takes place within a couple of hundred years from now. The central concept of the novel, and the world, is that the rich and powerful of the world have managed to take advantage of a form of serial immortality where, after death, they are brought back through a form of cloning technology called the Amortal Project. I don't think that the similarity of the name to amoral is unintentional. The ultra-rich, popular celebrities and powerful politicians have all become amortal, meaning that when they die (from some reason or another) they come back in a cloned body that is younger and stronger than they were when they died. Because of the ultra-rich and ultra-powerful having an end run around death and illness, healthcare has lagged behind...because even if an amortal catches a terminal illness they will get better when they come back. The earth of Amortals is classic cyberpunk...a great place if you are rich and powerful, but not so great for everyone else in the world.

Forbeck's eyes for the reader into the world of Amortals is a Secret Service agent named Ronan Dooley. Dooley has lived for nearly two-hundred years, and was the first amortal. Dooley is the only amortal who is not a part of rich and powerful, but he was given amortality for giving his life to save a president...and because the Amortal Project needed a heroic poster child to get the funding and governmental approval they wanted.

The action of the book starts with Dooley "waking up" from the dead and given a special murder case to solve...his own. This draws Dooley into a web of crime, political intrigue, and amortality that reveals shadowy goings on behind the scenes, and reveals dark secrets of the amortality process itself.

Now, I don't want to give much more than that because this novel is every much a thriller, and a big part of the driving force of the plot is the slow reveal of what is secretly going on behind the scenes of politics and the Amortal Project. This book was a page turner as I read it and more than a couple of night's worth of sleep were "ruined" because I needed to read "just one more chapter" of the book before bed. I can't, however, recommend this strongly enough. I do admit to knowing the author through professional circles, we have met a few times through role-playing game designer events over the years, but that did not impact my review of this book.

If you like noirish science fiction novels, or really even mystery fiction and you're willing to put up with some science, I suggest tracking down a copy of this novel  (there's a publisher's link at the top of this review as well) for yourself. I enjoyed it thoroughly and want others to do the same.






Thursday, October 27, 2011

RCRD LBL Free Halloween Mixtape

As long as I am posting "mixtapes," here's one of Halloween-type music compiled by the fine folk over at RCRD LBL. Like music? Like free music? You should check them out.
For me, Halloween is strictly about screams and sweat, straight up thrills, nightmarish parties, and sweet sweet (ear) candy. The louder, the weirder, the filthier, the better. Between witchy Purity remixes, Hussle Club dubstep, blinded-by-blood Atari Teenage Riot cries and Koralleven’s rave horsewhip skinning Britney Spears, our Halloween Thrillers playlist will prepare you for the darkest day of the year. And when it comes, you best dance ‘til you die.




Akira The Don Puts Out Manga Entertainment Tribute Mixtape

Artist, musician and our buddy Akira the Don has released a new mixtape, titled Manga Music, featuring “a tribute to the monumental works of Manga Entertainment, who this year celebrate 20 years of serving us Westerners with the very finest anime.” Each song samples and is named after one of their releases, such as Evangelion, Full Metal Alchemist, Crying Freeman and, naturally, Akira.
 

Or click over to Soundcloud directly here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talking About D101 Games' OpenQuest

OpenQuest is a game that readily admits to standing on the shoulders of giants. Much of the foundation of it, as a game, were laid by the multitude of designers from Chaosium and Mongoose working on Basic Roleplaying and the games that it inspired. That does not, however, make this a knock off by any stretch of the imagination. Like many games being put out today, particularly those among the retro-gaming and Old School Renaissance movements, OpenQuest is first and foremost a labor of love by its creator Newt Newport.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Necronomicon 2011 Schedule

Necronomicon 2011 (the 30th anniversary of the convention) starts today in sunny St. Petersburg, FL. This is my schedule for the weekend (I added myself to a couple of panels because I didn't have anything to do during that time, and the panels had openings). Stop by and say hello at some point. I'll also be hanging around the table of an author friend, selling some PDFs of HeartQuest and another game book.



I've put up the spreadsheet onto Google Docs and highlighted my panels in yellow. Sadly, there was no pretty way to past from the spreadsheet into the blog post. If you want to contact me direct while I'm at the con, try my email. That's a "work" email.











Friday, September 30, 2011

Rogue Games Kickstarts Containment RPG

(Chicago) September 30, 2011: Rogue Games Kickstarts Containment RPG

The Second World War has ended and a the battle for the world has begun, a war fought not with armies and fleets but in the shadows and whose battle lines are not clearly drawn. Two years ago, Germany and Japan were the enemies and the USSR an ally, but times change and the West now turns to former Nazis and their expertise in a bid to stop the red tide of Communism from washing across the world.

Containment is an espionage roleplaying game set at the dawn of the Cold War, with players assuming the roles of American, British, or French espionage agents as they grapple not just with Communist infiltration but with the dark legacies of Nazism -- including black magic and super-science. Flexibly designed, Containment supports play either as a straight-up historical espionage RPG covering the years 1947-1953 or as a game of occult conspiracy in the aftermath of World War II.

Written and designed by Richard Iorio II (Colonial Gothic & Shadow, Sword & Spell) and James Maliszewski (Thousand Suns), Containment harkens back not just to an earlier time in world history but also to an earlier time in the roleplaying hobby, when games came complete and ready-to-play in a single box. Containment therefore includes the following:

  • Rulebook: All the rules needed for play.
  • Gamemaster’s Book: Everything the GM needs for play: world background, campaign advice, character advancement rules, adventure creation guidelines, and sample threats.
  • 2 Adventures (one a straight up espionage adventure, and the other set in the occult conspiracy)
  • Dice
If this Kickstarter project succeeds, Rogue Games will not only publish this boxed set, but keep it in print for others to enjoy. Further support for the game, in the form of sourcebooks and adventures, may appear in the future, if there is sufficient interest. If successful, Containment will be released in the following formats:
  • Boxed Set (includes everything mentioned above)
  • PDF version (includes everything but the dice)
  • eBook version of the game (includes everything but the dice)
Here is a breakdown of the proposed budget for the project:
  • Printing is the estimated cost of printing approximately 500 copies of the boxed set.
  • Shipping and Handling is the expected total cost of packing, shipping, and handling to send the boxed set to supporters, based on past sales and fundraisers.
  • Writing & Graphic Design goes to Richard & James (the writers) and Richard (Graphic Designer), to pay them for work they have done, and continue to do, in creating the games Rogue Games publishes.
Rogue Games believes that a complete, boxed roleplaying game is neither a thing of the past nor an expensive pipe dream and asks your help in making Containment possible.

To become a backer, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ri2/containment-the-rpg.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out: I Am A Geek!

There's really no getting around it (even if I somehow wanted to avoid it), I am a geek. Not only am I posting this to a blog that I call Dorkland, but I am tapping away at this particular post on a smartphone.

I am a lucky geek. Despite growing up in a smaller town in Indiana, I managed to have a pretty tolerant time of my formative years. No football players, or other jocks either, ever stuffed me into a locker, tried to beat me up, bullied me, or threatened me with violence. I never had to worry about being different at any point.

Like I said, I am a lucky geek.


Because of this, I've been lucky to be able to fly my geek flag, and be proud of it. True, there were ups and downs, just like there always are in life. However, I've always been open about who I am (and why I knew so much about computers) and I've been lucky to work places where nobody gave a crap. I've read comics and gaming books at lunch time in work cafeterias. Sometimes someone would ask a well-intentioned question, showing interest in my hobbies, but most of the time they would just go about their own business because they didn't care.

For me, every day is one where I speak geek, because it is who I am. I love music, of all types. I love comic books, and will happily spend hours arguing if The Hulk is stronger than Thor (for the record I am on Team Thor in this argument...Hulk is mighty but Thor is still a god). I love some good, thought-provoking speculative fiction and escapist fantasy. I read paranormal romance. I love and create role-playing games.

In short...I am a geek.

I am a bit sad at the reason behind why Speak Out With Your Geek Out got started. Jon Finkel, a world champion Magic The Gathering player got publicly mocked for being a geek in an online article about a woman looking for dates (allegedly) on the site OKCupid. He gets called out, not because he was a horrible date or abusive or a dick, or anything like that. No, he had the audacity to be a geek. Not just a geek, but a successful geek who had managed to make a hell of a lot of money doing what he loved doing.

We should all be so lucky to be able to make the kind of money he has made, doing something he loves, geek or non-geek.

So, because of that he gets mocked. I'm not going to insult or belittle or rake the woman who wrote that article over hot coals. It's been done enough already. Too much if you ask me. Really, all the negativity from the geek side doesn't cancel out the negativity from the non-geek side. It just makes for more negativity, and that doesn't do any of us any good.
If you read this today, or any day in the future for that matter, honor what has happened, honor who you are, honor every other geek out there (whether you know them or not) by proudly doing something geeky. Read a comic on a bus. Read that D&D book at the coffee shop. If someone asks you what you're reading look them in the eye and tell them. You never know, you might be meeting the next member of your gaming group, or even a future partner.

Every day is a day to be proud of being a geek. Speak out every day.

[Note: As I wrote this on my phone, I will go back and likely revise/edit and probably add an image or two. Fear not if this should change slightly on multiple viewings].

Friday, September 02, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

Are you a geek? Well, if you're reading a blog with a name like Dorkland! there's a good chance that you are one. Because of a recent article that appeared online mocking a certain Magic: The Gathering world champion (that we're not going to encourage by linking to because the website pays according to the number of clicks that an article generates) there's a movement afoot to get people to talk, with pride, about their geekiness. Does it matter what kind of geek you are? Hell, no. Are you a comic geek? Check. Are you a gamer? Check. Are you a music geek? Check. Hell, are you a geek about geek music? That gets you two check marks. Really, it's time for us to stop being ashamed of who and what we are and it's time for us to be proud of being geeks. It is time, my friends, to show the world our numbers and to show that we are happy and proud of who we are.

You can get more information at the Speak Out With Your Geek Out website: http://speakoutwithyourgeekout.tumblr.com/

For those of you Twitterati out there, the offical hashtag is ‎#speakgeek.
SPEAK OUT WITH YOUR GEEK OUT

Sometime during the week of Monday, September 12th to Friday, September 16th post about what geeky hobby you love. Then, tell us why we should try it, too. Leave your fears (and edition wars) at the door. Forget about your latest rant. Tap into that well of positive energy and share in the excitement of all things geek.Let us invite those who would stereotype us to sit at our table and share our interests.

UPDATE: The Facebook event is public and live! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=190025581068159

As of time of this writing, there's a little over 400 people who have said that their going to talk about this and the Speak Out With Your Geek Out people would like to see 1,000 people pledged to talk about their geekiness in a positive way. I, however, don't think that's enough people. I know that there are so many more of us out there in the great, big world, and I would like to see at least three times that number. That's right, I think we can hit 3,000 geeks around the world, getting down with geek selves.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Hugo Award Winners

BEST NOVEL

Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)

BEST NOVELLA

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)

BEST NOVELETTE

“The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010)

BEST SHORT STORY

“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)

BEST RELATED WORK

Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea (Mad Norwegian)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY

Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse,
written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by
Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven
Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM

Sheila Williams

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM

Lou Anders

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

Shaun Tan

BEST SEMIPROZINE

Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace;
podcast directed by Kate Baker

BEST FANZINE

The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon

BEST FAN WRITER

Claire Brialey

BEST FAN ARTIST

Brad W. Foster

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer
of 2009 or 2010, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

Lev Grossman

The 2011 Hugo Award winners were announced on Saturday evening, August 20, at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada. Jay Lake and Ken Scholes presided as masters of ceremony, with additional presenters including Renovation Guests of Honor Tim Powers, Boris Vallejo, and Ellen Asher, along with leading genre writers George R.R. Martin and Robert Silverberg.

The unique 2011 Hugo trophy base design was revealed at the ceremony by designer and Hugo base design contest winner Marina Gelineau.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Donna Prior from Heatwave Interactive at GenCon

This (only slightly rambling) interview with Donna Prior was done at GenCon. Thrill to the crowd sounds as talk in a hallway about gaming (both tabletop RPGs and computer MMOs) and inclusiveness in gaming. Donna Prior from Heatwave Interactive at GenCon by dorkland. Uploaded with SoundCloud Android

20% Off DriveThruRPG/RPGNow Codes for Readers

I have some 20% off codes from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow for Iron Dynasty, Volume 3 of the Field Guide to Superheroes, VampireHunter$, Genius Guide to Another 110 Spell Variants and a cof other fine games/supplements. This code will be good until September 20, 2011. I am not responsible for the sale code, so the items covered and length of time the code works are not up to me (nor can I change them).


The 20% off code for these PDFs is AfterGenConGlow2011. Apply it in the coupon space when you get to the checkout on the site. I have included an affiliate code that I'd appreciate you keeping up as you go through the process.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Brief Talk With Steve Jackson at GenCon

A Brief Talk With Steve Jackson at GenCon by dorkland. Uploaded with SoundCloud Android

GenCon 2011 Attendance Numbers

The way that I had these attendance numbers explained to me on Twitter was this: Turnstile numbers are Badge Per Day, so a weekend (4-day) badge would equal four Turnstiles, while unique equals the number of different people. A person buying a Friday/Saturday badge would be one Unique and Two Turnstiles. Hopefully that makes sense of the numbers for everyone, or at least as much sense as the system for generating those numbers makes. 
INDIANAPOLIS  (August 11, 2011) - Gen Con Indy, the nation’s largest annual consumer fantasy, sci-fi and adventure gaming convention experienced stunning growth this year. Turnstile attendance was over 119,707 with 36,733 unique attendees present for 96 hours of gaming, cosplay, music, shopping and more. This positive spike in turnout represents a greater than 20% increase in a single year. Game event participation grew even more steeply, with over 250,000 event tickets yielding an over 26% expansion throughout the Best Four Days In Gaming!

“Gen Con Indy 2011 was simply the best Gen Con ever for us,” said Adrian Swartout, CEO of Gen Con LLC. “We had such incredible support from our exhibitors, sponsors, event organizers and volunteers, and of course, the amazing businesses and people of Indianapolis. We are so thankful to have their partnership in crafting the world’s finest experience in gaming. Next year, Gen Con has its 45th anniversary. We are too excited for words at the amount of fun we are already planning for next August.”

Family Fun & Sunday Attendance
The Family Fun Pavilion continues to be popular with the next generation of game players and their parents. Companies with all-ages entertainment products were swarmed with children, grandparents, educators and librarians looking for games for upcoming birthdays, holidays and back-to-school. Between family fun and regular Sunday badges, nearly 3,000 additional people joined Gen Con Sunday – adding considerable traffic to the show and helping exhibitors reach new fans.

Charity
Over the years, Gen Con has maintained its efforts in helping children and benefiting educational programs through its charity events. This year to keep up the tradition, Gen Con chose School on Wheels, which enhances and enriches educational opportunities for school-aged homeless children as the recipient of the charity fundraising. 100% of the proceeds from the following charity events were donated to the cause: Ace of Aces VIII– Charity Speed Paint and Auction, Cardhalla, and Charity Auction, Fandom United Jail-n-Bail.  In total over $18,000 was raised from all the different charity events at Gen Con.

Future Gen Con Indy Show Dates
Gen Con has been in Indianapolis since 2003 and has signed a five-year extension with the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) for 2011-2015. Below are the upcoming show dates.
August 16-19, 2012
August 15-18, 2013
August 14-17, 2014
July 30 - August 2, 2015

About Gen Con
Gen Con, LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, sci-fi and adventure game convention in North America. It was acquired in 2002 by former CEO and Founder of Wizards of the Coast Peter Adkison, who owns the company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Gen Con is a consumer and trade experience dedicated to gaming culture and community. For more information visit the website at www.gencon.com  . For up-to-the minute details, find us at www.facebook.com/genconindy and at www.twitter.com/gen_con .

Monday, August 08, 2011

We Heart GenCon: A Look Back

It was a long weekend. (Photo via Phil Reed)

I met a lot of people that I've only known as tiny Twitpics and screen names on Twitter, Google+, and forums like RPG.net. That is one of my favorite parts of any convention, connecting to others. I'm kind of weird that way. I also got to meet Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games, Munchkin, GURPS, Ogre, et al. As a matter of fact I got to speak briefly with him between GenCon meetings and record our talk. That will show up here in the next couple of days, once I am home and rested up again.

I also got to meet Alex and Patrick of Crafty Games and talk with them about some of their upcoming plans. I have the primer for their upcoming Mistborn RPG (based on the novels by Brandon Sanderson). That is in my queue to read and write about on here. I think that the Mistborn RPG is going to surprise a lot of people who think of Crafty as being these super-crunchy designers, due to the volume of rules in Spycraft 2.0. Mistborn is a rules light game with an emphasis on storytelling that has me interested. I'm sure, beyond when I write about the primer, that I am going to have more about that to share with you in the future.

I did a lot of Tweeting from GenCon. It was nice to expand the number of tools that I can use in covering an event. There were a lot of eyes on my Twitter feed during the Margaret Weis Productions panel where they announced that they were going to be producing a Marvel Heroes RPG (based on the Marvel comics). I am really psyched, excited, and many other enthusiastic adjectives about this announcements. I do still have to track down Cam Banks for some follow ups, but GenCon is a very busy convention and with everyone working it can be hard to sync up schedules. Speaking of Margaret Weis Productions, I also have a copy of their Dragon Brigade Quickstart. This is a swashbuckling fantasy game coming out from them, based on one of Weis' writings. The implementation of Cortex+ for it looks very interesting to me.

On the last day of GenCon, I managed to pick up a copy of the new Fate edition of Kereberos Club. If you don't know about this, Kereberos Club is a Victorian-era super-powered setting from the mind of Benjamin Baugh and published by Arc Dream Publishing. Originally published using the O.R.E. rules, this is the third version of the setting published for different rules sets (the other being for the popular Savage Worlds rules).  I have been looking forward to this for a while, having followed the blog and forum posts of the author. Having discussed a relaunch of Heartquest as a Fate-powered game, I think these rules are definitely going to inform what I do with that game. I got to meet Mike Olson, the author, and had a very short talk with him. I did get his card, so we'll talk more int he future. Mike does, by the way, get bonus points for having a random job table on the back of his card.

All in all, a busy convention, but it was a lot of fun. It was tiring too. Right now, I am sitting in the food court of the Indianapolis airport, drinking some coffee while I wait to be able to check in with my airline going home. I thought I would fire off a blog post (since the spotty and generally crappy wifi at the convention made liveblogging problematic at best) and wrap up my feelings about this, my second ever GenCon.