So I thought I’d write a little about some of the books I’ve read recently. But the list got too long, so I’ll do this semi-regularly, three at a time.
14theditch’s The Empire of Ice Cream. Once you tear yourself away from the lovely John Picacio cover, you’ll find an exemplary short story collection, written in a variety of modes. I could name some of my favorites–“The Annals of Eelin-Ok," “A Night in the Tropics," “Boatman’s Holiday"–but there’s no point. They’re all splendid. This is the sort of short story collection that justifies the form and will, if there’s any justice in the world, get Jeff many, many devotees.
Allan Mallinson’s A Close Run Thing. Reading through the Aubreyad infected me with a taste for Napoleonic-era historical fiction, and while in London in December I picked this one up. It’s an attempt to write O’Brian, but with cavalrymen--Mallinson freely acknowledges the O’Brian influence. Mallinson isn’t as successful as O’Brian (few would be), and A Close Run Thing has the marks of a first novel–there are moments when a lighter touch would been more effective than the more obvious and emphatic approach that Mallinson took. But he knows his horses and describes cavalry in action effectively, and the novel is a promising debut, and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series. Good, solid historical novel fun.
chadu’s The Zorcerer of Zo. Zo is a roleplaying game about adventuring in the lands of fairy tales. I’m one of those odd ducks who buy rps primarily to read them, since the chances of me playing any games, geographically isolated as I am, are remote. On that basis alone, Zo is well worth the money. I’m certain the game plays well–Chad wouldn’t write a game that didn’t–but judging Zo just as a reading experience, it’s a resounding success. The game looks lovely, it’s written with both knowledge of and affection for the subject matter, and the working out of the concepts of the game is both imaginative and often sophisticated. I’m surprised no one has done an rpg on the subject before Chad did; after Chad, I’ll be surprised if anyone writes one, since, with Zo’s existence, there’s no need for another.
Thanks for the info, Jess! Especially on chadu's latest game. I didn't realize he had another one written yet.
AFIACR, there are a few other fairy-tale RPGs. They just tend not to do too well. Knowing the quality of Chad's work I'm sure this one will be worth my time and money.
Finally, I also tend to read RPGs rather than play them. Although I'd like to get Godsend Agenda 2nd Edition game off the ground. Aliens masquerading as gods masquerading as superheroes and villians? Sign me up!
Aha! Another game reader. Excellent!
I've never seen another fairy tale game--which doesn't mean anything, of course, as most of my life I've lived far away from gaming stores. But I'm dead certain Chad's whups their cumulative pixie-dust-covered butt.
Oh thank you, I didn't know Jeffrey had a LJ account. (We published The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque last April.)
By the way, don't you happen to know, when the Absolute edition of the Black Dossier is supposed to follow (if trade edition really appears in October)?