Log in

No account? Create an account

Getting Ready for Friday Night Gaming

Got home from shopping for groceries about an hour ago, put the groceries away, had a cuppa with a bit of cake with SteveR, and have just lay back and rested for a bit. In a lot of pain, to be honest. Decided that I'll be running this evening's game with the Friday night group tonight.

So gaming for this evening is on! The Friday night gamers are pretty excited and pleased, as they'll be continuing on with their Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk fantasy rpg game this evening.

Looking forward to tonight's game session, for a variety of reasons.

In the meantime, I need to get upstairs and make something for supper. All I know for sure is that it will include salad and a side veggie.

Have a good evening, folks. :)

A Terrible Anniversary

Eighteen years ago today, a terrible series of events occurred. We call it 9/11.

Once more, it occurred to me today that I was at the sf bookstore I owned and ran back in those days, Basilisk Dreams Books, getting paperwork done for the morning and getting ready to open the door, when the kind lady who owned the store next door (a video store that also sold tvs, vcrs, and dvd players) knocked on the door, and said that I needed to come to her store and see the terrible tragedy that had occurred and was still ongoing.

Needless to say, the complexion of the rest of that day was forever changed. And the world changed that day forever as well.

I want to once more offer my condolences to those who lost loved ones on that day, and my heartfelt thanks for those who toiled and struggled and bravely survived that day.

On this day, take the time to remember where you were on 9/11. And how your life was affected by the terrible, tragic events of that day.

Sunday Afternoon Gaming Cancelled

Gaming for this afternoon with the Sunday players was scheduled to take place.

However, I received a call from Tammy yesterday (Saturday), and she informed me that she was having to work on-call this weekend once more.

As a result, today's game session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign is off. I can't say that I'm sad not to be gaming today, as my head is rather fuzzy and stuffed up. (Hoping it's allergies, but who can tell?)

In the meantime, it gives me the opportunity to relax, lie back, close my eyes, and forget that the room is spinning somewhat...

Books Read in August, 2019

As is my standard usage of my blog space at or near the beginning of the month, I present the listing of my August, 2019 reads.

Books Read in August, 2019

July, 2019 Locus

Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #208 - 215 (Comics) (r)

Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk Roleplaying Game by Graham Bottley (RPG) (r)

July/August, 2019 Reader’s Digest

Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Stealing Light by Gary Gibson

Karate Kid Vol 1 #1 (Comics) (r)

Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry

And that was my reading for August, 2019. This was a pretty decent month of reading all things considered an given the sheer size of some of the novels I read, with a good number of comics thrown in for good measure. It was actually an average month of reading for me, and most of the books this month were pretty enjoyable, though only three stood out for the most part. Anyway, the books that I enjoyed the most were...

Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter - I have to admit that I was not familiar with the author in any way, shape or form when I picked up the book, but the concept was fascinating. Noumenon is one of the best Big Dumb Object novels I've read in some time. The author merges quite a few classic tropes in this debut novel, but it is so much more than just a nostalgia trip for lovers of old school science fiction. The plot concerns the discovery of a star that exhibits some very strange behavior and a generation ship made of scientists sent to investigate it. I'm a sucker for generation ship sagas, but this one is different. The successive generations on this ship are made up of exact genetic clones of the original crew, and also, the FTL drive used to propel the ship has a time dilation effect that causes a few hundred years to go by on the ship, while thousands pass on earth – meaning they have no idea what will happen to Earth society and culture over the course of the journey, and when contact with Earth inexplicably ends they can only guess at what will be there, and whether they will be accepted, when they finally return. From Clarke to Haldeman to Poul Anderson and even to authors such as Neal Stephenson, there are nods in almost every direction for science fiction fans to enjoy. Make no mistake, Noumenon is no pastiche; it has a grand scope as the authors mentioned above have, but... Rather than follow one long plot or choose a single clone line as the book’s “protagonist,” Noumenon is structured as a series of vignettes that continually jump forward in time to different characters at different points over the course the journey - the one there and the return trip - all tied together by the thoughts and experiences of the AI tasked with overseeing the mission. The mysterious star they are travelling to and then investigating is the MacGuffin, but the journey itself is the point of the novel. It's a sociological experiment that goes right as often as it goes wrong, in some instances terrifyingly so. The scope of the overall Noumenon mission is terrific and the author got it *so* right, but it's the intimacy with which she depicts the smaller, human moments amid the grander events is where the novel excels. An outstanding novel that deserves, nay needs, to be read. Recommended!!

Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley P. Beaulieu - One of the things I adore about the author's first book in The Shattered Sands series so far is the mythology and texture that folklore plays in the books. Serving as a prequel of sorts to Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, the first book in that series, Of Sand and Malice Made is a thoroughly entertaining story that adds another layer to the world created by the author. Consisting of three interlinked tales, this is a book that goes beyond mere setting and culture to put a true Arabian Nights spin on epic fantasy. While that fact doesn't surprise me, for it seems rather fitting that our heroine, Çeda's, first chapter should have such a familiar, classic sort of feel to it. These aren't quite fables or folk tales, but all the elements are there, right from supernatural deities to charms and curses. Free of the pacing issues and narrative flashbacks that were something of a challenge in Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, this is a story that all but races along as it gets the heart racing. What really excited me about it is that there is a feeling of genuine risk involved, which is hard to pull off in a prequel where you already know the fates of the main character. This is a perfect little novella, entirely suitable as an introduction for new readers, yet completely rewarding for fans of the series. It has all of the humour, the wonder, and the excitement you'd expect of the author, with the addition of an entirely chilling new villain. Highly recommended.

Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry - I mean, come on! Look at the title of the book...how could I not read this? Let me first say that you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than in the cast of Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry. This book takes place in a science fiction universe where humans encountered aliens, and they were actually the creatures out of fantasy and a few other, more sf-nal species. With that out of the way, this book features a motley cast consisting of a magical half unicorn/half human, three humans, and a team of spaceship dwelling dwarves. Oh, and the human pilot wants to kill the unicorn. For reasons I'll not spoil here. While the characters of this book certainly stand out, the plot also takes unpredictable turns as it careens down seemingly the simplest of plots: get from point A to point B. Yes, I kid you not. The creatures of human myth, such as unicorns, really have been aliens attempting to contact humanity. However, the humans have discovered that the aliens have special powers: most importantly that unicorn horn can power faster-than-light spaceships. Let's just say that in this highly creative book, fantasy crashes into science fiction and creates chaotic magic and wonder. Surprisingly enough, it all knits together pretty smoothly. Unicorns can heal nearly any wound and their horns (once shaved off) can be thrown into engines and used as fuel aboard stoneships. (Don't ask, just read the book.) Other mythological creatures have super-powers, too. Dryads control nature, faeries can fly, dwarves are master mechanics, and the Greys (you know, those aliens you see in most alien movies) act as all powerful administrators. The main protagonist, Gary Cobalt, just wants to live in peace, but a totalitarian intergalactic human government has strict rules about unicorns and other mythological creatures’ rights. Gary as mentioned is half-unicorn/half-human (his mom got pregnant by magic) so he has a horn and hooves, but everything else looks human. He finishes up his ten-year prison sentence for murder, and immediately goes on the run from government officials who want to exploit his horn by teaming up with murderous thugs Jenny Perata and Cowboy Jim who framed him in the first place. The weirdness in this story piles up, and sometimes gets to be a bit too much. Some folks will find the novel (concepts) to be off-putting, but this is space opera on the true fantaxy level and there's some very strange delights to be found here. I recommend it.

Overall, I managed to read 5 novels, 1 RPG and RPG product, 2 magazines, 9 comics, and 0 graphic novels in August. This brings the year total in 2019 to a set of numbers that look like this: 57 books, 10 RPGs and RPG products, 14 magazines, 127 comics, and 3 graphic novels.

Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)

Labour Day

Hope everyone is having a good day.

It's the Labour Day weekend Monday here in Canada, so most folks are off work for the day.

While the week ahead is likely to be a tough one, what with a doctor's appointment and a couple of other things I'm not going to talk about, I'm planning on taking it relatively easy today and not going to stress out over anything if I can help it.

In any event, hope everyone has a good day. :)
Gaming for this afternoon with the Sunday group is off, due to the fact that it's the long, Labour Day weekend.

I cannot say that I'm sad I'm not gaming today, as to be honest, my head really isn't in a gaming mood at the moment. This will give me a chance to go out to the west end of the city to the Comic Book Shoppe, and pick up the month worth of comics that is waiting for me (including the first appearance by the new Legion of Super-Heroes) as well as the 10 new comic boxes that I've got waiting for me there.

'Nuff said.

The Start of September, A New Month

It's the start of September. A new month.

I'm really glad to see the back end of August. While there were a few good things that happened in August, most of the month was pretty miserable for me. The middle of the month was particularly bad, with allergies and other bad stuff health-wise.

While the beginning of September hasn't been all that much fun, the weather has been somewhat cooler and more fall-like today. I'm really hoping that September is a good month for me and that I get a chance to do some gaming, some reading, that my feet and legs get a chance to rest and perhaps start to feel better. And that the rest of my body does something...right.

In the meantime, I'm spending the afternoon today down at the Comic Book Shoppe here in Ottawa, since I need to pick up the comics that have accumulated for the last month and I also need to grab the ten (10!) comic boxes that are waiting for me there.

RPGaDay in August - August 31st: Last

And we wrap up #RPGaDay in August.



Day 31 - Last

And so we wrap up this year's edition of RPGaDay with the word "Last."

So, I'll talk about some lasts...

The Last game I ran: Actually ran it last night. Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk.
The Last game I played: John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game.
The Last convention I attended: CanGames, 2019.
The Last piece of advice for RPGaDay: Enjoy the creation of shared game stories and shared game worlds, and the camaraderie of the people you play with around the gaming table. That's what gaming is all about.

And there you have this thirty-first, and last, post for #RPGaDay for August, 2019. Hope folks have enjoyed this month's worth of thoughts about various aspects of roleplaying games and gaming. Comments, thoughts, questions, etc. are all welcome, of course.

Getting Ready for Friday Night Gaming

It's Friday night, and this is the week that the Friday night players come out for gaming.

Gaming for this evening is on. The Friday night gamers are pretty excited, as they're going to start their Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk fantasy rpg game this evening. If everything goes according to plan tonight, they'll be going through some sample combat as well as some sorcerous stuff as well, and then will proceed to the start of the actual campaign.

I'm rather looking forward to this.

In the meantime, I need to get upstairs and make something for supper.

Have a good evening, folks. :)

Karate Kid Vol 1 #1

Next up in the Legion of Super-Heroes comic re-reads is the first issue of the Karate Kid title...

Karate Kid Vol 1 #1
March-April (April) 1976
”My World Begins in Yesterday"
Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciller: Ric Estrada
Inker: Joe Staton
Letterer: Uncredited
Colourist: Uncredited
Cover: Mike Grell (signed)
Editor: Joe Orlando

Karate Kid

Mission Monitor Board:
Brainiac 5, Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Saturn Girl

Nemesis Kid

The first issue begins in typical Karate Kid form, with a bang-up fight between Karate Kid and his foe, Nemesis Kid, in a major city in the 20th Century. Karate Kid appears to have the upper hand, though he is physically weakened somewhat, when a Legion time bubble arrives. This allows Nemesis Kid to develop the teleportation power to make his escape...for now. Brainiac 5, Mon-El, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl emerge from the time bubble, and confront Karate Kid. We learn how Nemesis Kid escaped from a cell that was supposed to be foolproof, and left an after-image that fooled the Legion for over a year. When Nemesis Kid issued Karate Kid a challenge to come after him, Karate Kid did so, much to Mon-El’s annoyance. With the arrival of the Legionnaires, this allowed Nemesis Kid to escape because he was facing multiple foes. Val (Armorr) is quite ticked off, and he takes it out on Brainiac 5. This is only the beginning however, as after Brainy doubts Val's ability to defeat Nemesis Kid, Lightning Lad calls him dumb. So Karate Kid fights back against both Lightning Lad and team leader Mon-El. The Legion decides to leave Karate Kid here in the 20th Century to pursue Nemesis Kid, and they’ll only return when he calls for help. As the Legionnaires travel back to the 30th Century, they try to get their head around the communications gap they have with Karate Kid. Only Saturn Girl understands Val’s point of view, and even as she tries to explain it to her love, Lightning Lad, even he can't get his head around it. Karate Kid is on his own. Confronted by the cops, who think that he’s an actor in some movie, dressed like Bruce Lee in kung fu pajamas, Karate Kid flies away courtesy of his Legion flight ring. Unfortunately it was damaged in the fight with Nemesis Kid. Flailing away, he grabs onto a window three floors up and meets school teacher Iris Jacobs. The two become fast friends, Karate Kid oblivious to how Iris perceives him. Val is evasive, not really answering her questions, and he casually tosses away his damaged flight ring. With Iris’s help, Karate Kid makes his way to the roof, only to discover that Nemesis Kid has taken the time bubble and his meager possessions. However, he has left him a chronal energy detector, exactly the device that Karate Kid needs to find him with! Despite walking into an obvious trap, Val goes in search of the villain. Iris gives him a bus token, and Karate Kid heads out in search of his foe using mundane transportation. After chasing down a hood on the street shouldering a 30th Century weapon, Karate Kid determines the weapon was made by a company called Futuretech Inc..
At Futuretech, Karate Kid fights his way through a gauntlet of goons and security measures to get to the villain. From there, he fights his way through laser traps in the empty elevator shaft that he climbs up via the cables, and then faces a nuclear-powered Nemesis Kid. Thrown out of the top floor window of the building, he survives the drop of several floors and then launches himself back into the fray against Nemesis Kid. Capturing his foe with some deft footwork and dodging of nuclear beams that destroy the equipment on the floor, Karate Kid sends Nemesis Kid back to the 30th Century in the time bubble, with a letter to the Legionnaires telling them not to come after him, as he’ll get in touch with them when he’s good and ready.

This is the first issue of the Karate Kid solo series that came out in March of 1976. It was the first spin-off comic from the Legion main series, but I always considered it questionable. When I first heard about the comic back in the day, I wasn’t sure about the title. Karate Kid was a character in the Legion who had been seriously abused in a lot of ways since Jim Shooter brought him in way back in Adventure Comics Vol 1 #346, and I have to say that I wasn’t a Karate Kid fan. The comic was likely created to take advantage of and appeal to the martial arts crowd with the popularity of Bruce Lee and the kung fu fighting movies. However, the series turned out to be very uneven, and frankly, lost its way with the martial arts *super-hero* effects that are not what makes Karate Kid the character that he is. That said, the cover of this issue is a beautiful piece by Mike Grell, though it does have a lopsided time bubble on it. What’s interesting about the cover is that it features Karate Kid leaping out of the time bubble, leaving a void in the bubble next to Superboy, and it’s rather strange as Karate Kid is actually coming to Superman’s time. Or perhaps deliberate? This issue marks an early appearance of a Paul Levitz script in the context of the Legion. However, this is well before his golden age period on the Legion, but he was hitting his stride on JSA at this time. This is not Levitz’s best work, let alone best Legion work, and it is marred moreso by the art on the story, with pencils by Ric Estrada and inks by Joe Staton. These two gentleman do very good art at times, but this is not an example of that; it seems rushed at times, and their styles are indistinguishable to me here. It’s not…pretty. The use of Nemesis Kid as the opponent for the first issue of Karate Kid’s own title is appropriate here. They have been rivals and enemies ever since - along with Princess Projectra and Ferro Lad - they joined the Legion of Super-Heroes back in Adventure Comics Vol 1 #346. Nemesis Kid’s powers have always been very vague in definition, and for the most part he is not used all that well here. The revelation of the Futuretech Inc. company is one that raises questions. How long was Nemesis Kid here in the past? Is a year long enough to start a company, start production, start an arms network, hire thugs, build a whole building? And why didn't anyone else notice a guy in the street with a big future weapon over his shoulder? No one in New York blinks at a guy with ordinance that big and fancy? And where are New York’s protectors during this time? Paul Levitz calls the sequence a ballet of murder, and the nine-panel fight scene between Karate Kid and his martial arts cliche opponents is absolutely brilliant, a triumph of fight choreography, the mention of the Black Dragon, and finally the winning out and arrival of Val Armorr, Karate Kid. This is the sort of martial arts action one might expect of a comic series such as this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last for the entire series.

Finally, Karate Kid tells the Legionnaires that he has decided to remain in the 20th Century because the time period makes him feel alive and allows him to be the hero he was meant to be, relying on his wits and martial prowess, rather than relying on his teammates’ super-powers. It turns out later in the series we learn the real reasons for his staying in the past, but what he tells the Legionnaires is actually a good enough reason and he certainly means it at the time.


John Kahane

Latest Month

September 2019



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars