Thursday 4 October 2018

A Writer, Reading - Review of The Space between the Stars

When you write, you have to read.

That's what everyone says, but a lot of writers I know don't read all that much, they settle for watching the latest TV series or skimming over the top of the latest best sellers.  The truth is, you have to read, and read thoroughly, because every once in a while, you come across a book that makes a difference in how you look at your own writing.

The Space between the Stars is such a book.

The human race is over and no one won.  A killer virus came along that wiped out everyone except a very scant few, amounting to around Nought point nought nought nought one percent of the population.  The virus mutates with every single victim, so even if you escaped it when you caught it the first time, stay around the virus long enough and it'll get you the second or third time.  The virus leaves nothing behind, breaking down the structure of the body till only dust remains.

The idea that there's nothing left behind is central to the story, what remains when there's nothing to look for, no bodies left behind, nothing at all?  It begins with Jamie Allenby, a vet on a backwater world, waking to find that she's survived, and that her troubles are only just beginning.  She sets out in search of Daniel, the man she had shared life and death with, who she'd left behind, and the forlorn hope that he might be one of the Nought point nought nought nought one who survived like her, as if love could be a defence against such a plague.

There are, of course, others that have survived the plague, and each tries to make sense of the new world in their own way.  Civilisation is still there, all the good and bad parts of it, and mention of a class system still being in place resonated to my English sensibilities.  But what made this book for me is the character of Jamie, a straight talking woman with all the complexities of a real person, who finds that not every she'd hoped for was in fact all she wanted.  The places they go are only touched upon, but the characters shine in every scene and I wanted them to succeed, to learn what they really want and then to get it.

That, and I didn't see the twist at the end, and I love it when any story catches me like that.

From a writers point of view, what I got most from this was that characters can hold a story far more than a scene, and that if you write your characters with their own intents and purposes, they become so much more alive.

Recommended, really good book, I'm looking forwards to seeing what comes next from Anne Corlett

Friday 13 April 2018

Alright, so what happened?

Because with the exception of a few posts in February, I've pretty much dropped off the planet with regards to social media presence.  Well, there is a simple explanation.

Mum died.

Five years of beating cancer and it coming back, and then beating it again, only for it to come back again, and in the end, not beating it.  I don't think I've fully processed what it meant to lose mum, I haven't taken any time away from work except for the funeral, and I've continued working at full pace on everything, including taking on a whole bunch of new responsibilities for conventions that aren't anything to do with games.

There's a part of me that thinks that I should have taken some time to stop and howl at the sky at the unfairness of everything, but there's a part greater than that, that says that what I should be doing is working harder to prove that all the effort Mum put in wasn't wasted on me.

I'm not sure, but I'm thinking the hard work option is where it's at, life isn't fair, and Mum never got to see the things I've been most proud of (Expo, Quest, Dragonmeet), and without Mum, it's unlikely Dad will ever come down to see them. But I'm going to continue, because this was when mum was most happy, when I came home from doing something epic, not depressed at what I have to do to pay the bills, but when I came from something I wanted to do, something I put my heart into, and won.

So I'm onwards, still here, still working.

and hopefully I'll be around a bit more...

Saturday 10 February 2018

Quest Kickstarter now live

What if an army from another world attacked a planet where magic not only existed, but was central to their way of life...?  Where the invaders were met not with Ironclads and Maxim guns but Lightning Bolts and Magical Weapons.

Quest is a fantasy roleplaying game where the characters are survivors of a war that lasted for centuries, only to find that others, watching from beyond their world, have been waiting for the war to finish, so they could finish off a weakened and demoralised people.  But those who were left were not the ragged remnants of once proud civilisations, they were the chosen of Alenis, Goddess of the Viahem, and they would not yield their hard won lands to the invaders.

Just made it live, thanks to everyone who helped get me here

Thursday 8 February 2018

New Kickstarter coming soon

And this time, it's mine...

Last minute prep underway, if anyone watching wants to take a look at this

and let me know if there's anything that might be done to improve things, it would be appreciated.