Niche Game: Space Station Silicon Valley

Each type of animal has its own set of abilities which must be used to solve environmental puzzles in the game. The sheep is one of the first animals you encounter. It has no attack, but it can glide slowly down, floating like the little puffy cloud that it resembles, which lets it cross long gaps easily. Also in the early stages you can become a dog which can jump and bite. Hyenas have contagious laughter which causes area-of-effect damaging hysteria. Pigeons can grip dormant robots and carry them from place to place. You get the point.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

PerdidoCoverPerdido Street Section is a great book, well worth the read. This is the first story I’ve read by China Mieville, but I will now be on the lookout for more from this author. It doesn’t take long to recognize China Mieville’s obvious skill at worldbuilding. The city of New Crobuzon is multi-faceted and schizophrenic, populated by humans and a multitude of semi-human races. But it does have its flaws. The good parts were great enough that I am still happy to recommend it.

Niche Game: Laura Bow 2: The Dagger of Amon-Ra

LauraBow2Besides the cool notebook idea, I really loved the sense of humor instilled in the game from the very beginning, in particular the manner of obtaining a press pass near the beginning is very funny (I won’t tell you the details to spoil the fun of figuring it out yourself). Also, the murders in a museum setting are always fun. Lots of cool artifacts from various eras surround and can be murder weapons, and I had fun just wandering from room to room and examining all the different items.

The Best of Pseudopod

PseudobanSince July I’ve been plumbing the depths of Pseudopod’s backlog and now I’m sad to say I’ve listened to everything they’ve offered to date. Now I only get one new Pseudopod a week like the rest of the world (released every Friday). But now that I’ve listened to all of Pseudopod’s offerings, I feel qualified to make a list of the Best of Pseudopod, my top ten favorite stories that have been posted to the site (and a few that ALMOST made the list). If you think you might want to give this audio fiction thing a try, these stories are a great place to start.

Niche Game: Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters

Star Control II The best part of the original game, also done well in Star Control II, is the combat. Each round of fighting pits 2 ships against each other in a battle to the death. Each alien race has their own ship design, each varying wildly from the others. As you play, you see an image of that alien race manipulating its controls as you press each button, which I always found amusing. Each ship has two resources they must draw on: crew, and energy. Crew is the number of crew members left on board. These are basically used as hit points for the ship. The energy is what is drawn on for most of the weapons systems (with a few exceptions). Except for one or two exceptions, crew do not regenerate, so once you lose a crew member you can never regain that. Energy is depleted by a specified amount each time a weapon is fired. Different weapons require different amounts of energy, and each ship type regenerates energy at a different rate. In addition, each ship has a different mass, acceleration, and top speed (though that speed can be exceeded by using gravity slings, more on that later).

Dark Muse Within: Jeremy C. Shipp

jeremyphotoEven before I knew how to write, I enjoyed storytelling and using my imagination. My brothers and I would play pretend and create strange worlds and characters. Super-powered robots, friendly mummies, Neanderthal side-kicks, the grim reaper. Then, in 4th grade, I wrote my first short story, and I loved the experience. So on the one hand, I’m a writer because I love writing. On the other hand, I want to do what I can to affect people positively. And I might as well have a good time doing that.

The Absent Willow Review 2009 Anthology is Here!

Absent Willow Review 2009 AnthologyThe first annual Absent Willow Review Anthology is now available here.

You can learn more about The Absent Willow Review at their website.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, you will be able to read my story, Normal, in their January 16th, 2010 issue. Be sure and check it out!

Niche Game: The Lost Treasures of Infocom

LostTreasuresThe Lost Treasures of Infocom is a package of 20 Infocom games that was released in 1991. The collection was released by Activision, who had closed Infocom, then their child company, back in 1989. The games included are Zork 1, Zork 2, Zork 3, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, Enchanter, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, Deadline, The Witness, Suspect, The Lurking Horror, Ballyhoo, Infidel, Moonmist, Starcross, Suspended, Planetfall, Stationfall, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I Only Paint Dead Cowboys: Nick Rose

Nick RoseThe face of “Horror” has changed. It takes more and more to scare us. For a while Hollywood thought, “Gore” was the answer, but it wasn’t. It just cut into the profit made from snacks at the Theater. Hollywood has run out of options. They have remade the movies of past that scared audiences 50 years ago, but now make them yawn.