Sandy hasn’t yet finished blowing and raining, and the damage to South Jersey looks pretty shocking. I grew up in Philadelphia and spent many summers down the shore. It’s been decades since I made one of those trips, but seeing that those collapsed sections of boardwalk and ruined houses is heartbreaking.
I hope everyone reading this came through okay.
making books personal The outside world: internet moi? publishing
by Harry Connolly
It’s not great secret that Amazon.com has been acting like a pack of ruthless sociopaths for the last few years. What good does it do to pursue your own self-interest if you define it so narrowly that the people you do business with hate you so much they can’t wait for the chance to slip a poisoned knife in your back? I’m not talking about competitors; I mean your suppliers and customers.
Nevermind this article here, which details how Luxembourg-based Amazon.co.uk only pays 3% VAT tax yet demands a 20% VAT tax payment from UK publishers.
At this point, they’re now turning on their customers. One woman discovered that her account had been closed and all of her books deleted. Why? Amazon doesn’t feel that it has any reason to explain. They take your money, they erase the goods they sold you, they act like shitheels when you ask for their reasons.
You know what sucks? I sell the Twenty Palaces prequel through every service I can, from Smashwords to B&N to this very site, but the overwhelming proportion of my sales come through Amazon. We’re talking 95%. Also, a few years back I spent a full month posting affiliate links exclusively to Indiebound and then a full month doing the same with Mysterious Galaxy. No one bought anything. They only bought books when I linked to Amazon.
This puts me someplace I really don’t want to be: Most of the money I’ve earned this year has come from a company that I’ve grown to hate. I feel dirty doing business with them. I’ve been a customer of theirs, too.
So how screwed up is it that I can’t wait from someone to come along and kick their asses?
As the fourth round of the Pokemon Fall Regional Championship was about to start, I was standing at the edge of the play area. Spectators–especially nervous parents like me–are supposed to keep well back to minimize the urge to interfere, but as I scanned the crowd, I could not see my son anywhere.
There were 90 kids playing in his age division, packed together at long tables, and he was not the largest of them by far. Still, I know my own child, right? But I couldn’t spot him. And why was some kid’s mom sitting at the end seat, waving at the judges?
Then she turned around and I realized she was not a mom at all; she was one of the players, and I couldn’t see my son because he was sitting opposite her. I hurried over and took a picture of them setting up for their match. No, she wasn’t an adult, but she did look more like my son’s Teaching Assistant than a kid in his age division.
Monday night my son and I returned (via 24-hour (plus!) train ride each way) from San Jose, where the Pokemon Fall Regional Championships took place. The event covers both video game (played on the DS) and the TCG (which stands for “Trading Card Game”). In the 21st century you might think the video game would dominate everyone’s time and attention, but in fact there were about 150 VG players and nearly 500 TCG players.
My own son is firmly on the card-game side.
This wasn’t my son’s first regionals. Last spring I took him up to Surrey, BC for the spring regionals there. He placed sixth out of forty-four kids, which is pretty good–at least, the border official who interviewed us on the way back into the country seemed impressed. I was pretty happy with his performance, too.
However, Worlds took place last July (August? I know it was summertime), which means the end of one season and the start of another. With the start of the new season, you get the annual change in age divisions: They sort players into three age divisions, and if my kid had been born only six days later, he would be the oldest of the Juniors this season (and kicking ass) instead of the youngest of the Seniors.
Oh my god, I am not kidding when I say he looks so small next to some of these kids.
But that’s the nature of these things: he’s a ten-year-old boy battling 14- and 15-year-old boys and girls, and sometimes the disparity is jarring.
For instance: in his first round he was matched against a kid he knew (and respected) online; in person, he looked like a high school shooting forward. I suspect this kid shaves more often than I do, and to pass along some info that may not seem terribly surprising, he won the that very important first match against my son.
A quick explanation: TCG tournaments are typically in “Swiss rounds” with the number of rounds determined by the number of kids. Ninety kids = seven rounds. In the second round, they match 1-0 players against other 1-0 players and 0-1 against 0-1. In the fourth round, it’s 4-0 vs 4-0, 1-3 vs 1-3, etc.
Here’s why that’s important: With 90 kids and seven rounds, you might end up with one undefeated, 5 with a 6-1 record, and 15 kids who went 5-2. How can you decide which 5-2 players deserve to round out the 16 kids who make “Top Cut” (the TCG version of playoffs)?
The answer is that in Swiss rounds you compare the winning percentages of their opponents. If one 5-2 player faced stronger players than another, they rank higher. And if two players tie in their record and they have a tie for opponents’ win percentage, the next step is to compare the opponents’ opponents’ win percentage. More on that later.
So the important thing, clearly, is not only to win, but to win early so you’re more likely to face winning players. Losing in the first round means you start off facing 0-1 players less likely to give you that vital opponents’ percentage, assuming you can make a comeback. If you want to do really well, you need to beat kids who never lose to anyone but you.
That’s what my son wanted, and that’s what he’s done in the past–not only as a Junior but as a Senior, too. He had hopes to place very high in this tournament and a first round loss was a tough setback.
In the second round he faced another 0-1 kid who was closer to his age and who had brought a deck that should have been a big challenge for my kid. Still, my son beat him. In the third round he faced a kid with a deck that was once pretty popular. My son beat him, too.
At 2-1 after three rounds, he was doing okay. Better to have gotten that loss on round 3 than round one, (his first round opponent was 1-2 at this point. His second round opponent was 0-3). Still, if he kept racking up wins had a chance at Top Cut.
Then: round four against the girl I thought was an adult. She told him before the match that she had come for the VG tournament but brought along a “joke deck” to play in the TCG event.
And she won. Worse, not only did she win, but she beat him with an incredibly frustrating strategy that left his active Pokemon paralyzed. His deck was completely set up to do all his attacks, but he couldn’t. She won the match because he ran out of cards to draw before she did, and not a single Pokemon had been knocked out.
He came over to me with tears in his eyes.
Now, I’ve seen many, many kids cry after they lose a match, and I don’t just mean the littlest kids, either. They’re competitive players with high expectations who work really freaking hard at this game, studying deck lists and strategies endlessly.
But all that work goes up in a puff when you lose.
At this point in the tournament, I had a secret plan. After the first round loss, I worried that he was not going to do well and decided I should have a nice surprise for him. You know, just in case.
So while he was playing a match, I went to the vendor at the side of the room (because if there’s Pokemon going on there’s an opportunity to swipe your credit card down to a plastic wafer three molecules thick) and looked for a plushie Ampharos. (That’s an electrical sheep sort of thing, and for some reason it’s the boy’s favorite.)
My next question: “Do you have a Lanturn Prime?”
Vendor: “Er, Lanturn Prime is a card; the Pokemon is just ‘Lanturn.’ And no, we don’t have it.”
At this point I was tapped out, because those were the only two I was sure he liked. Then the vendor said: “This is a very popular Pokemon with the kids, though, and it’s the only one we have. It’s a Hydreigon.”
It wasn’t very big, just about the size of my hand, and it looks like a mix of a dragon and purplish daisy. I thought He’s playing a Hydreigon deck… why not? “What’s it cost?”
He looked at the label: “Twenty dollars.” At least he had the decency to sound embarrassed.
I bought it anyway and stuffed it into the bottom of my bag for later than night.
But what’s the first thing my teary-eyed son said when he came over after his loss? “I knew I shouldn’t have brought my Hydreigon deck! I knew it!”
My stomach turned sour. I’d just spend twenty bucks on a memento to frustration and loss.
He talked a bit about why he lost and how the game played out, wiping his eyes as he talked. Then he talked about how badly he wanted to make Top Cut, and I tried to tell him all the platitudes parents tell kids when they compete: You did your best. It’s a tough competition. You gotta keep pushing and playing your hardest.
And then he broke my heart by apologizing to me. “I’m sorry, Dad,” he said, “for making you come all this way.”
As though I was disappointed in him. As though he owed me something.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything better for a kid than a safe space where they can strive and fail, then strive again. Personal development, right? It’s necessary to make him into a happy adult.
But when I’m sitting beside him and he’s wiping tears away, I want to say fuck all that development bullshit. This kid is still too small and fragile for this. I want to step in and fix things for him, somehow. Not that I really could, and not that he’d let me.
Anyway, what I said next is sort of a blur, but I’m pretty sure I insisted that he never apologize to me for this sort of thing again. I told him how proud I was and reminded him that for the first time he was facing much older players in a heavily competitive environment. He also needed to be reminded, apparently, that he was here to make friends with many of these other kids–some of whom had been nothing more than usernames on a message board until then–and he was doing that.
Finally, I’m sure I told him I knew he was going to stick it out for the rest of the tournament and play his best in every round.
Anyway, he went right out and won his fifth round, then his sixth. He knew he might still make Top Cut if he won his last match of the day–some of the kids who make 5-2 would get in. However, the final match was against another kid from Seattle who is at least two years older and a really good player. But my son beat him.
In the end, at 5-2, he “bubbled” which means he was close to making the final 16 but fell short. He took 18th place out of 90 players, and the difference between that and the kid who took 16th came down to a 2.5% difference in their opponents’ win percentage. In fact, he tied opponents’ win percentage with the kid in 17th place, falling behind him because of the opponents’ opponents’ percentage.
But he was happy. He had turned things around and came out with a decent score. It wasn’t what he was hoping for, but he met a lot of great kids, played a shitload of Pokemon, and dragged me to McDonalds three times. He also loved the stuffed Hydreigon, laughed when I told him the story of buying it, and hugged me when I gave it to him. He says Hydreigon is his third favorite Pokemon.
Me, I got no damn writing done at all. I was just too stressed out.
making books personal: internet moi? publishing the boy words
by Harry Connolly
It’s pretty clear what the new Amazon Author Rank system is supposed to do. (For those who haven’t heard of it: they now show sales rank numbers for authors as well as their books.) It’s supposed to be a way for authors to promote themselves.
The author becomes a “top ten” author on Amazon (for an hour) and starts using that in their publicity, as though it’s some sort of bestseller list. Not only does this get Amazon’s name out in front of people but it will inevitably push some authors to work like crazy to bump their sales. Writers, while pursuing that supposedly-valuable label, put money in Amazon’s bank accounts.
Me, I don’t much care. I stopped following Amazon’s sales rankings for my books right around the time Random House started giving me accurate sales figures, updated weekly. Do I want to look at “rankings” which only compare me to other authors without giving me actual sales data, and which are calculated in secret, or do I want to look at the number of books sold? No contest for me at all.
In other news, tomorrow I take a long, long weekend away from home. My son and I are catching a train for northern California so he can compete in the Pokemon regionals. I have no idea what sort of internet connectivity I’ll have (certainly none on the train) so don’t expect to see me around much. I’ll do my best to visit at least one Starbucks a day to check email, but I’m not sure I can promise even that much.
Finally, Black Gate has begun to feature fiction on their website, and their latest offering in the first short story I ever sold. To be honest, it’s been available for free since it was published, but they’re featuring it again. Check it out. Special thanks to author Martha Wells for pointing it out. Good thing I read her LiveJournal, eh?
All right. There are errands and packing to do. Signing off for a while.
I’m sure you all know people who hide from their problems. Maybe you’re one of those people yourself–I’ve certainly been there and understand the urge. The short-term pain of telling someone something they don’t want to hear–along with the chance that they will truly freak out and lose their cool–can be so upsetting that people put it off as long as they can. Yeah, it will all be worse someday, but at least they’re avoiding the pain of right now.
It’s always better to be as up front as possible: This book will be late, there’s a problem with these checks, chain store X won’t be carrying your books. Present the problem as soon as you know for sure you can’t avoid it. Present a plan to fix it. Apologize for the difficulties it will cause. Yeah, there may still be anger and embarrassment, but it will be less.
Now, I don’t *know* this was the problem with Ridan Publishing (Context), but the particular author mentioned in that post did a good bit of research into them before she signed with them to make sure they were legit, and still things turned weird. No payments. No communication. No acknowledgements that contracts have been terminated.
But that’s what it sounds like.
The good news is that the publisher has contacted the unpaid author in question with the promise that communication will resume and issues will be addressed. It’s a good first step, but I’d like to hear that all royalties have been paid.
Whatever the cause, I realize it’s not as simple as saying “Always be upfront about problems.” Of course that’s easy to say, right? I know that it life can sometimes seem overwhelming and stress can make us do the wrong thing even when we know it’s wrong. Still, however hard, doing the right thing is usually less painful than doing the wrong one.
In other news, I completely forgot that Brickcon is this weekend. Maybe my son will want to go tomorrow, since today is already dedicated to errang running.
See, yesterday afternoon my internet suddenly shut off. I tried all the usual tricks but couldn’t reconnect, and my son hovering at my shoulder (he had a multi-player Minecraft session planned) didn’t help. Eventually, the help tech at my ISP declared that my problem was my modem and, although it bounced back for a while last night, I have to spend most of this afternoon on a three-bus trip to buy a replacement.
I hate going to Best Buy.
Anyway, it’s another writing day shot all to hell. Ah well. At least I’m not pretending the modem is just fine and I don’t have to do anything about it.
One of the most dangerous things I do, in terms of my productivity, is leave my house with the wifi still live. I always mean to do work, but somehow I get caught up in email/Facebook/Twitter, and Twitter is the worst of all. It’s not just that the messages keep coming, prompting me to load new ones; it’s also that they are usually full of links to completely awesome things elseweb.
That means a 50-character leads to a long Kate Beaton cartoon, or an article Olympic drama, or health care politics, or that excellent “How to Kill Yourself and Others in America Slowly” essay I linked to everywhere last week.
Today it was the Readercon public statement, a couple of articles about sexist coverage of the Olympics, a change in the comments policy of a popular writer’s blog, and…
Really, does it matter? All that matters is that I’m not at work on my book. So I’m going to do the grown up thing now and turn on Freedom for a few hours.
My last (maybe) day of the raw veg only “fast” and I just took a very hot, long shower.
Normally that would trigger a massive hive outbreak and unbearable itchiness, but today I only have the ugly red welts. I seriously have more spots than a cheetah.
However, the itching is almost non-existent. I call that progress, but I don’t know if it means I should continue on or not. I’ll discuss it with my wife later.
I’m part way through the second day of my “unjuice fast,” in which I partake of a juice fast that focuses on ingesting large amounts of green veg and nothing else, except without actually juicing them. Instead, I’m setting a large bowl of uncooked, undressed greens beside me and chowing down.
Yes, it’s been difficult. (Details, and some digestive TMI, behind the cut) more »
For new or forgetful folks, the not-birthday concept is pretty straight-forward: my wife and I have the same birthday, which sucks, so I moved mine back a month.
What this means: omelet with oven-roasted potatoes for breakfast, pizza at some point, possibly a bottle of quality beer.
Then, on Monday, I’m starting an unjuice fast. Health-related stuff behind the cut. more »
And by “not a virtue” I don’t mean that it’s a vice or it’s something awful. I mean, it’s not a wonderful thing that people have or don’t have.
Okay, so, I’m an NPR-listener. Yeah, I often hear this expert or that being interviewed… so many of them that they sometimes run together. Sometimes I’ll hear something that sticks with me and I have to go back to find it again. Like this interview with David Eagleman.
What Eagleman said, for those who don’t want to click through to the show, is that our brains aren’t this unified thing. We, ourselves, aren’t a unified identity. Different parts of our brain want us to do different things: Lose weight, exercise, sleep in, work hard, order the fries, watch that TV show… We’re full of conflicting impulses.
This is certainly true of me. I have long battled with myself over all sorts of indulgences, and different parts of me fight in different ways. When I get up early to work on my book, I feel a sense of accomplishment. When faced with the opportunity to eat something I shouldn’t, I feel a sense hopeless despair.
And in recent years, it’s been a tossup which part of my brain would win, except for the despair. Hopeless despair has been a trump card in my life; I have a hard time beating it.
However! Lately I have stopped looking at myself as a complete whole. Lately I have tried to recognize that there are several different personalities living inside me, and that my brain plays dirty tricks on my to make me do things I shouldn’t. In essence, I’m accepting the fact that my own brain is often my enemy.
I’ve talked about this before: It can be hard to say no to food when the despair hits. It can be hard to get up early to work when I know I need sleep, too. But for the past few weeks, I have not been using willpower to win these internal battles. It might look like willpower, but it’s not. What I’ve been doing is keeping my goals in the forefront of my mind and treating all impulses that get in the way as an enemy attack. It’s not willpower to refuse to go over to my enemy camp.
It’s been working, too. For me, I mean. I don’t know how well this would work for anyone else.
 If you’re thinking of “parts of my brain” in an anatomical sense, you’re being too literal. I’m talking about competing impulses.
Back in 2010 when the health care debate was going on (and before it) I kept pretty careful track of the health care debate. In truth, I stressed out over it to an unhealthy degree. I couldn’t contain my disgust when Ben Nelson demanded the end of the public option, and I was livid with hate when Joe Leiberman revenged himself on the liberals who primaried him by ending voluntary Medicare buy-in for folks over 55.
In short, I spent a shitload of my time following reports on the legislation, annoyed and alienated friends with my arguments, and generally made myself unhappy. In the last few weeks, I’ve been following the news in only the most general way, trying not to let myself get distracted.
Now that the Supreme Court has (rightly, in my view) upheld the individual mandate, the ACA is going forward. This is going to be a very good thing for me, personally, because the health care plan my family has (bought as an individual) is outrageously expensive. Obamacare will ease that burden. I mean, I have health insurance right now, but I won’t go to the doctor to have my foot checked (I have a possible stress fracture) because my outrageous deductible means the expense would all come out of my pocket.
Anyway, people are saying dumb things on my Facebook feed, and on Twitter, and everywhere. Me, I’m going to stay offline and keep working, to preserve my sanity.
I may be hard to reach, and I know I owe some folks email. Please be patient with me.
making books personal The outside world: a blessing of monsters games giveaway moi? the boy wasting time
by Harry Connolly
Today is the last day to eligible-ize yourself to win a free book–all you have to do is sign up for my I-have-a-new-thing-out newsletter. Details here.
For those of you concerned about being spammed with my newsletter, let me mention that later tonight, when I send out the message about the new book giveaway, it will be the first ever issue of this newsletter.
In other non-news, since my wife has to work on Sunday and my son has a tournament on Saturday, today is my Father’s Day. We’re celebrating by having breakfast at a restaurant (I love restaurant breakfast, for serious) and having burgers for dinner. With buns. I know, crazy, right?
I’ve asked to have the Chris McGrath prints of my Twenty Palaces cover art either framed or matted as my Dad’s Day gift–like most people, I don’t need more stuff. However, my wife and son have been eyeballing a flat screen TV for our Netflixing. Nevermind that I think our 19″ CRT still works just fine; they have the temptation and I may be the excuse.
Anyway, I’m going to do a bit of work in the Star$$ until they get here, then they’ll leave and I’ll work some more. Work! It’s what’s for dinner.
Also, having finished, sent off, and celebrated Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts, I finally felt as though I had permission to play a bit of computer game.
Now, I’m not exactly Mr. Moderation, so I don’t play all that much. I tend to get stuck in games, trying to do one more thing one more thing. Of course, the games are designed to make you do exactly that, which sort of sucks. As a result, I have to keep away from them for the most part if I want to create books, stay married, pay rent, move my body, and/or feed myself.
But sometimes, I say what the hell. Last night after I did the dishes, I turned on Neverwinter Nights. (It was an Oppressmas gift.) I turned it off at 4 am.
It’s possible that my wife is correct when she points out that these games aren’t good for me. And that I’m a boring husband when I play. Worse, I still couldn’t find that third werewolf. And why am I carrying around this troll head? I know someone wants it, but…
Anyway, I will now get back to formatting my son’s 10K comic fantasy for publishing on the blog while I wait for the fam. Have a great day, everyone.
making books: a blessing of monsters giveaway moi?
by Harry Connolly
As I mentioned yesterday on Twitter, I finished Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts yesterday and sent it off to my agent. This is a big deal for a lot of reasons and I have so very many things I want to say about it, but at the moment what I feel is a genuine relief. Anyway, let me skate over some of those topics.
1) No dull parts? God, I hope so. There’s one scene where they eat kabob that could maybe go, but…
1A) After sending to my agent, my son immediately found a grammar error on page one. It’s too late to do anything about it now, but, shit.
2) It’s 136,000 words long. That’s HUGE! Take a look at the printed manuscript with a life-sized Batman statue beside it!
I’ve never written anything that long before. All the Twenty Palaces books were 90- to 105K words. Weirdly, as I wrote, plot elements ended up taking way, way more space on the page than I’d expected. It’s epic, right? Epic is big? Well, I’d promised to make this a stand alone novel, but I’m breaking that promise. It’s going to be two books. (But no more! I’m serious!)
3) I started it on October 7th by doing the exercises in Adventures in Fantasy by John Gust. It was a homeschool project for my son, and he wouldn’t have done it without me. Actually, it turned out to be fun for us to do the exercises together. Being me, I had to mess around with the plot format, which I’m sure is a gigantic surprise to everyone.
However, when I sat down with my agent last summer, she told me that it would be good to be more prolific without a loss in quality. Two books a year, people, that’s what she suggested. That’s what I was aiming for.
Obviously I didn’t manage it, because this was just over eight months to finish. In my defense, the death of my father-in-law shut off all productivity for weeks and it was tough to get my momentum back. Still, only 8 months!
4) I was still late with it. Most of you reading this have probably watched Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement Speech, in which he talks about freelancers staying in business if they have two out of three things: they do good work, they’re easy to get along with, and they meet their deadlines. Me, I’m afraid to admit that I’ve had problems with deadlines.
I’m not talking about externally-imposed deadlines, either. I find it incredibly difficult to judge how long a particular job will take. I promised my agent that I would send the revised manuscript to her in early May. This is mid-June. Not cool.
There’s no production schedule to ruin, no publishing slots to miss. This is just me, the pages in front of me, and my ability to sensibly judge how much time I need to finish a book.
To remedy this, I’m going to start carefully recording everything I do, writing-wise. Every day of the week, how many hours of writing, how many words I write, how many words I revise. It won’t be a goad to productivity; it will help me understand the way I work right now.
5) Last night, I celebrated the completion of a new manuscript in the traditional way:
My kid took the picture, and he didn’t know to zoom in so the freeze frame of Burn Notice would be cropped out.
Today is for reading and recharging my creative batteries. Maybe I’ll even (gasp!) get to play a video game! I know! Crazy!
6) You know how the latest big thing in fantasy is twisty grim pseudo-medieval political fantasy with very little magic? I didn’t write that. Whether that’s a smart choice or not, I dunno, but there it is.
Bonus last thing: My book giveaway is getting a lot of sign ups. If you missed the post yesterday, I’m giving away a signed copy of an anthology I’m in.
Time for a break from sitting and typing. Catch you guys later.
The column rode out of the city, armor gleaming, lances high, banners snapping in the wind. An old tinker, resting on a stump at the side of the road, called out: “Mean you to ride to the Mountains of Dhoom?”
“We do! We should arrive there just as the leaves turn. We’re going to tap those kegs, do a little fishing… you know, guy time.”
Honest to God, I do not want to see something like “The Mountains of Dhoom” written on a fantasy map unless the protagonist has a time-share there, and they love to ride paddle boats on Lake Dheath and plan to take their toddler to pick wildflowers on Dhestruction Meadow.
Eye of the World is an old book, I know, and I’m sure these jokes have all been told before, but as dull as this thing is, “Dhoom” hit me pretty hard. I took it as a personal insult.
Anyway, I’m nearly finished with it and plan to write up a post about why I suspect it was so popular. Soonish.
In other news, I’m writing this Thursday night and setting it to publish Friday am. I’ll be off the web pretty much all day, this being my wife’s birthday and all. I’ll be making meals, cleaning up, and generally making things easy on her today, and that means I won’t have much time for posting and tweeting. See you Saturday.
making books: a blessing of monsters moi? progress words
by Harry Connolly
“I’ll never buy one of your books!”
Seriously. Don’t say this.
It used to be that, whenever authors went online, people told them “Be careful what you say! Don’t be political! Don’t be controversial! You’ll drive away readers!” And people believed that, too, until it became clear that it just wasn’t true.
The truth is that most writers don’t care about some stranger who pops up and swears they won’t give us money. That just means they’re part of the largest set of human beings on the planet: My non-fans.
What’s more, it just makes a reader look silly. So if you are never going to read some particular author’s work again, go for it. Hey, blog about it or Twitter about it with your friends. But don’t bother telling the author, because they don’t care.
In other news, life has been determined to interfere with my revisions on A Blessing of Monsters but I’m making headway. In fact, I’d be nearly finished with them right now if I hadn’t come up with a startling new idea that really pulls things together.
Tomorrow is going to be another big working day. I’m tempted to go on an internet fast so I can wrap this sucker up.
As I mentioned last month, I had an idea to create a homeschool project based on Mur Lafferty’s post on sexism. Basically, I asked my son to keep watch for three instances of girl-hate just like in the opening of BURN NOTICE.
It took a few weeks (we don’t watch a lot of TV or partake of other media), but he identified them. Two came straight out of episodes of BN, basically “punch like a girl” type stuff.
But the third one makes me a little sad. There’s a game I really like called Sentinels of the Multiverse; the boy and I play it a couple of times a month. In the course of supporting and following their Kickstarter, I discovered they have fun downloads on their site, one of which is a group of story challenges.
It’s a cool idea: You give yourself points based on in-game challenges they set: Defeat Baron Blade while playing as Legacy. Defeat a villain using only two heroes. Deal 20 or more damage in a single attack. Let the enraged T-Rex defeat the villain for you. Each is worth a certain number of points, and you get to count them up.
The problem comes from this challenge: “Catfight: Win a four-hero game against Citizen Dawn while using only female heroes.” Citizen Dawn is sort of a Magneto-style villain, the leader of a large number of low-powered villains and she’s pretty tough. However, as I explained to my son, if you have to come up with a special word for it when women do it…
Anyway, it’s still a great game and I still enjoy playing it. I really like trying to work out the best ways to pick heroes whose powers complement each other, especially against a specific villain. When the second edition comes out, I plan to push it to you guys (or you can still get it from Kickstarter.) But, you know, I wish I hadn’t had to explain this thing to my son.
Lesson over. I hope it sticks.
The second symptom of a kid’s sickness is a ruined schedule. In a few hours, my wife will return home and I can tag-team out to do some
Luckily, I’m utterly immune to disease of all kinds, like a paladin.