Leave a comment

TV Tropes Monday: Standard Sci-Fi History


Tweet of the Day: A Many Patterned Strangeness 

You heard about the Standard Sci-Fi Army.

You loved the Standard Sci-Fi Fleet.

Now comes the Standard Sci-Fi History!

And one stop shop for all things sci-fi history. It has wars, rumors of wars, great discoveries, and an easy explanation on How We Got Here. It is shorthand that a lot of readers (and not a few writers) expect in their works. In fact, any deviation from it would raise some eyebrows. The history given is concise, covers most of the bases of socioeconomic and technological advance, and answers many a question that would otherwise derail a story if the writer has to stop and explain the details every five pages or so. At the same time, since it is a general view of history, the author can fill in the blanks or modify any part of it as they see fit. I tend to skip WWIII myself, it just seems so Cold War to me. And what I really like about it is that it has all that nice coherency and consistency that I love.

So, deploy your standard historical analogies, this is the Standard Sci-Fi History.


Leave a comment

Post Hurricane Maria Post: Still Alive

It’s been awhile….

It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it?

Well I just got my internet, although it and the power are still shaky.

So…I’m back….

Still alive!


Hurricane Season Post

As you might have heard another hurricane is barreling down toward my beloved island. This one will make landfall, it is juts a matter of seeing if it hits with a Category 3 or Category 4 force winds. The last time we were hit was with Hugo, and it was a Cat 3. The problem is that the island infrastructure is so degraded that it barely withstood a brush by Irma (a Cat 5 storm, but we got hit by the edge, the equivalent of a Cat 1).

So while expect a miracle at any moment, that is unlikely to happen.

We are hunkering down and will continue to post as long as the power holds.

Take care and stay safe.

Leave a comment

Tales from the D&D Table: Not the Best Man for the Job.


Tweet of the Day: Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction 

“You’re going to be late,” Liandra said, her nose buried in her book.

I adjusted my pantaloons, “I will not be late. I am never late.”

“Just like you were not late for Da and Ma anniversary?” she asked.

I tucked in my shirt, “Raisa need some help with gown.”

“Yes, of all the tailor’s in Waterdeep she could have asked to help her, she asked you instead.”

I checked the sleeves. They felt a wee bit to short, “I am always ready to help.”

“The same way you helped the ladies of the Smiling Siren all through the day of the Guildhall’s opening.”

“Madame Trodau insisted that stay and pump the morale of those unfortunate girls.”

“As much as you pumped my dear friend Alyssa under the kitchen table while we waited for Da’s announcement of his new expedition to Amn.”

“Well she felt a bit under the weather and need a bit of cheering up,” I said.

With her eyes still on the page, Liandra placed an hourglass on the table beside the mirror, “And now you are going to be late to your best friend wedding.”

I glance at the nearly empty hourglass, grains of white sand slipped through the neck and piled at the bottom, “Gods! Well gotta go.” I ran past Liandra, raced down the bottom of the stairs, gave Ma a quick peck on the cheek, busted through estate front doors, jumped into the back of my horse, and galloped into the streets of the city in a mad race against time.

I made it with moments to spare. Large fluted columns held aloft heavy gold threaded drapes over the rows of pews full with the creme of the city’s aristocracy. They provided ribbons of shade from the late spring sun. And near the altar stood my friend Landrew, the groom to be.

A deep frown creased his face, “Where in all the Nine Hells were you?”

“Getting ready, of course, wouldn’t want to miss your wedding.”

He shook his head, “Of course not.”

Mother Altea frowned even deeper than Landrew. Her plump jowls trembled as she spoke, “If it were up to me, boy, I would have you flayed alive in the city’s square. Of all the days, and of all the places-”

“Ahem, here comes the bride,” I said

And enter she did, for Shayanne of House Ravengard outshone all with her blue and purple dress. Keen green eyes shone underneath the gossamer veil that covered her pale face. Landrew trembled visibly at the sight of his wife to be.

“Easy now. Follow Mother’s Altea’s words and you will be fine. Also breathing, breathing would help.”

“How would you know, you never been married,” said Landrew through clenched teeth.

“I dodged enough nuptials to pick up a few things.”

“I bet,” murmured Mother Altea.

Shayanne reached the altar and knelled. Landrew followed suit.

Altea began her recitation, “We are gathered here under the watchfull eye of the Great Mother, Goddess of Li-”

“YOU!” came the shout from behind us.

Heads whipped about like startled chickens. A small group of swordsmen entered the park, five or six in all followed by a bored young lady whose pouty cherry red lips I recognized in a heart beat.

“Yes you!” shouted the man leading the pack.

Landrew looked ready to fight, as did most of House Talion, “What do you want, Frederick?”

“Shut your mouth Landrew this is about-”

“Is that him!” shouted another angry young man dragging a familiar and extremely put upon beauty. His retinue was about seven or eight strong, all armed with long daggers and a few bucklers. And the young lady dragged about was even more familiar to me.

“For the love of all the Goddesses, what are you doing here,” shouted Altea.

But before any of the interlopers could answer a stream of obscenities echoed through the gardens of the park as an even larger group approached the wedding party.

“Listen to you jackass, if you lay a hand on him, I swear by all the heavens that I will cut your manhood and dangled it from the city walls,” said the lady in question.

The leader of the pack, beet red from embarrassment, hurried to avoid the woman’s scathing words.

Landrew turned to me, “This is your doing, isn’t it?”


“Fix this.”

“Of course,” I said. I stepped forward, “Gentlemen, what seems to be the matter?”

“The matter? You knave, you took my sister’s virtue,” said the leader of the first group. Lubya, the raven beauty, rolled her eyes in disgust.

“And you besmirched my family’s honor. She broke up her engagement with Lord Farquat.” Lady Aerid looked like she was about to faint at her brother’s accusation.

“And you-”

Lady Charlotte jumped in, “Shut it you!”

“But nothing.”

“I am sorry m’lord, but one can not steal what is freely given” I said. Once again my tongue moved faster than my mind. Lady Lubya replied with a wink. “Beside, m’lords, this is a wedding. This is no time for hostilities.”

Martin, Lubya’s brother drew his sword, “This is about to become a funeral.”

Acting on instinct, and with the full intent to scare, not harm, I pointed my finger over Martin’s head and launched a speck of fire in his direction. Too bad that a very pregnant and flammable curtain laid in the path of the spell. Flames engulfed it and spread across the drapes. Shouts erupted from the guests as everyone scrambled to safety. With switfness that would startled a lion, the bride to be hoisted Landrew over her shoulder and made a run for it. I fired off a few more spells to cover our retreat. Fleet of foot, Shayanne led the way through the streets of the city until we reached a nearby ale house. She flopped Landrew on a nearby chair, ordered some ale and tore her veil off.

“Well now, and I thought you lot were a boring bunch,” she pinched Landrew’s cheek, “handsome but boring. Glad to see I was proven wrong. Mind you I will never hear the end of it from Father, but who cares.”

I drank deep from the mug, “This one a keep Lan, this one is a keeper.”


Leave a comment

The Life and Death of Mass Effect: A Failed Trilogy


Tweet of the Day: Mass Effect: Andromeda- Update from the Studio

It is almost official, the Mass Effect gaming franchise is dead. But how did it come to this?

Leave a comment

Lessons Learned Podcast: Implementing Diversity in Video Games






More on diversity with my co-host Chapomon:


Leave a comment

TV Tropes Monday: Black-Tie Infiltration


Tweet of the Day:  Wonder Woman vs. Atomic Blonde- What Truly Makes a Powerful Female Character

The heroes (or the villains) need access to a McGuffin, which is usually heavily guarded. Just getting in will be a shore. But what if you can get invited in? Welcome to the Black-Tie Infiltration, where you can simply waltz through the front door in your best attire. Now the tropes page gives some good reasons why the protagonist might chose this route into the villains lair, but the truth is that it is an excuse to put them in some eye catching clothing and maybe set the stage for some flirting. The added tension from the social situation (a faux pas can attract too much attention, although a well timed accident can work wonders.

This trope can get the characters in the door, but rarely does it deliver the McGuffin into their hands. That is were a combination of distractions, technology, witty banter, and a few punches (or silenced shots) will carry them to their goal. Getting out can be as easy as calling it an night or as difficult as fighting your way through an army of thugs. Either way, the protagonist will look good doing it, and may even swipe a bottle of expensive champagne on their way out.

%d bloggers like this: