On My Shelves: Persona 3 and Persona 4

         While they are separate games, the two most recent entries in the Persona series for the Shin Megami Tensei multiverse, Persona 3 and Persona 4, are connected enough that I feel they're best discussed together. The link for Persona 3 goes to the FES  extended play version; and the link for Persona 4 goes to the soon-to-be-released Persona 4 Golden, which is also an expanded version.        I actually played a small amount of the first Persona game way back when, but I couldn't play through enough of it at the time to [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

       Having played The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, I looked forward very much to the chance to play Skyrim, the next installment in the Elder Scrolls franchise.        Both installments of course share a good deal; they have very similar mechanics, are set in the same world (although in a different portion of it – Skyrim takes place in the eponymous region of Tamriel, while Oblivion took place in Cyrodil), and even begin with your characters in the same position: imprisoned by the local authorities. However, things are a bit more … [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Thoughts on the Chronicles of Narnia

         Once upon a time, there was a man who had an image in his head, of a faun walking through a snowy wood, carrying parcels and with an umbrella held above him. And the man decided one day to write a story about that image, a story centered around some children sent away from London during the Blitz.        The man was C. S. Lewis, and that story was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first of the Chronicles of Narnia to be written and published.        The seven Narnia books – in internal chronological [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Fullmetal Alchemist (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi)

         "To obtain anything, something of equal value must be lost. This is the principle of Equivalent Exchange."        In an alternate world in which the mystical scientific discipline of "Alchemy" (renkinjutsu) serves as the central power for development of mankind's capabilities, the early 1900s are both wildly different and yet somehow familiar. Edward Elric and his brother Alfonse are orphaned when their mother dies, their father having left mysteriously years before. But Edward and Alfonse are young alchemists, and [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Thirteenth Child

    This was a really excellent book. On the Amazon scale, I'd give it four-and-a-half stars (unfortunate that Amazon doesn't permit half-star ratings to be given out)   First-person protagonist "Eff" (her first initial; her actual name is hardly ever mentioned in the book) is the eponymous Thirteenth Child, one supposedly born with cursed magic and destined to go bad according to many in her society. Her plight is made worse by the fact that she is the elder twin sister to a fourteenth child, her few minutes younger brother [ Continue reading... ]

Under the Influence: The Dawn of the Network Age

       I grew up as part of the last generation that can remember computers being something that only Scientists and Universities and Governments had – arcane hunks of metal with das blinkenlights and whirr-whirr-whirr tape drives and big, washing-machine sized magnetic disk drives (which held orders of magnitude less than your USB thumb drive does today).        So while ARPANet/the Internet was born when I was considerably younger, I was part of the first generation who had the opportunity to see and operate a computer when we [ Continue reading... ]

Under the Influence: Robert A. Heinlein

         In some ways it seems almost pointless to write this post; what could I possibly write about Robert Anson Heinlein, good or bad, that hasn't been written a thousand times before? Heinlein isn't, like Doc Smith, a forgotten legend; nor is he, like Schmitz, a man who failed to quite get the fame he might have deserved. He is, instead, a titan of the field, one of the few names that dominated the genre for multiple decades and whose fame at least sometimes strayed well outside of the limits of that genre. Reams upon reams have [ Continue reading... ]

Here’s my Albacon Schedule!

Finally have my schedule for Albacon (which is next week!!!)Friday, October 19th:8:00 PM Ice Cream Social: Hey, come visit, eat ice cream. MMM. Ice cream. Room: Cole/Church10:00PM: Anime Films You Should See At Least Once: From the text, it seems that this also includes series. Let's see what people recommend! :) Room: ColeSaturday, October 20th: (a very busy day)10:00AM: Reading (for a full hour!): I'll be reading from Phoenix Rising, and maybe something else.  Room: Reading. How apropos!12 Noon: Signing: Come get me to write in your copies of [ Continue reading... ]

Under The Influence: Kathleen Moffre-Spoor

         How can I talk about influences without mentioning the greatest influence in my life (in some ways,even more so than my parents), Kathleen?        I originally met Kathleen through her best friend, Dana. I had befriended Dana at the local community college and was at the time starting to date her. One of the primary connections between us was our gaming interests – both of us played RPGs of various types. So I ended up running a D&D game for Dana and her friend Kathleen.        At the time, I was… not [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

         The Elder Scrolls is a long-running videogame series, but I had never had any opportunity to play it as the first three installments were for PC and later Xbox, and I've always had Macs as my computers and the platforms I've had were SNES, PS, PS2, and finally PS3.        But finally, the fourth title in the series – Oblivion – was released for the PS3. I actually had no real expectations, or knowledge about, the series when I put the disc in for the first time, just that it was a well-received part of one of the [ Continue reading... ]