[CharacterName] Dies

Character deaths can pretty easily become a tired gimmick as an author, especially when it comes to edgy adult genre fiction. There are so many dudes out there writing “dark fantasy” who are spoken of in terms of The Body Count. You pick up their latest books or watch TV adaptations and you do so wondering who’s gonna go. It’s the big question when people discuss the work. Is your favorite character gonna die?

And it’s a pretty effective way to push paper out of warehouses, but I find it painfully boring and offputting. Because it’s not really the character’s death that you care about so much: it’s the aftermath. What will the story be like without them? That can be interesting when done right, but lately I’m just finding it really schlocky.

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Solstice War Watch 7/24/15

Yo since I’m not gonna be on tumblr much anymore I might as well shill my projects on this blog instead (this is a concept that has been termed, by accredited scientists at robust research institutions, as “cross-promotion”). Chapter 41 of the Solstice War, Ghede River Warfare, is out. What is The Solstice War? It’s my free, online, original fiction serial novel about the war between the Federation of Northern States and the Socialist Dominances of Solstice for control of the Indo-African melange continent of Ayvarta. It’s got diverse characters, strong militaria, and it’s based on my obsessive knowledge of World War 2.

I originally planned to name this chapter “HAUS” but I only do the all-caps name chapters for when the thing in the title is really, really, really significant and hype. And Haus didn’t end up being both as I originally planned. In the original draft, Haus did way too much and it felt really forced and improbable, so I changed some things around, and instead gave the chapter a much more descriptive name, Ghede River Warfare. That’s out, and marks the end of the three-chapter Nocht mini-arc in the middle of the Rangda story arc. Next time we’re back to Rangda proper.

Keep your eyes peeled for more great Solstice War stuff, and if you enjoy the story, take a moment to vote on Top Web Fiction for The Solstice War. This helps other people find the story! Maybe they’ll enjoy it too!

Daily Thought: The Robot Is A Tool

I was listening to the latest Giant Beastcast today at work and Vinny Caravella was talking about Gundam, and how Gundam views its robots like tanks or guns, with a production line, rather than as superhero stand-ins. It is a description that really resonated with me, as I am obsessed with tanks and guns and production lines, and really bored to death by superheroes. I don’t know how I didn’t have that revelation before, myself. It seems, on the face of it, really easy to walk into.

I was never really into mech shows before. I envisioned them all being whacky super robot style shenanigans that I just didn’t care for. Code Geass was my first “real robot” (ostensibly) show, and it caught my eye. (Evangelion doesn’t count.) I got into the game hella late on this. I watched OG, 1979 Gundam last year, and then watched the MS IGLOO stuff on a friend’s recommendation. I started watching Zeta, and I really liked it, but it was such an undertaking and my free time fairly limited and I set it aside to watch some non-robot shows. This year I wanna finish Zeta and maybe some of the in-between stuff like 8th MS Team, because I loved the Gundam I watched. It hit all the military aesthetic stuff I like, but in space with robots.

And the thing is, that description really hits on what excites me about Gundam. Mobile suits are tools, of which many are made, and they are revised, new models are introduced, and the arms race reaches epic heights. I never really dug Super Robot shows, they just don’t excite me, I don’t really care about the one or two robots with the big flashy powers. I watched Gurenn Lagann, and it was ok to me, but it’s the difference between “watch show, have some fun, then forget everything that happened in it a few months later” and “become a walking wikia page for the show.” Universal Century Gundam is the latter, for me, for this reason. More shows need to treat their robots as a production line, rather than superpowers. I don’t really care about the hypercool special fx powers and super badass dudes who scream in the cockpit. I like grounded conflicts with a wide array of weapons and tactics carried by otherwise vulnerable humans.

Anyway, that was a daily thought. These’ll be short posts I do from time to time to get something out of my head. While I’m talking a lot about anime lately on this blog, I’ll warn that I won’t talk exclusively about anime and this isn’t an anime blog. It’s just a blog about shit I like. Next post might be some weird masturbatory thing about Soviet history. You never know.