Lazy Sunday Report

Some days, you just don’t have it in you to get to everything you should. On most of those days in question, you are obligated to get to it anyway, because, well, gotta get stuff done.

I write every day. That’s the pithy way of putting it. I work on my writing in one way or another each day. Most days that means laying down the words one after the other, and some days it means doing work that will later support the bricklaying work in days to come. Then, on occasion, you get these blogs, for which I know you are eternally grateful.

Hey, I’m grateful anyway, because it takes some pressure off the ol’ brain pan for a bit. But believe it or not, blogs are not my only (or even main) source of stress relief!

Here are some of the distractions I’ve enjoyed in the last week or so.

A HYMN BEFORE BATTLE, by John Ringo (Legacy of the Aldenata, book 1)

Military science fiction is not exactly my thing. That is to say, I don’t tend to seek it out and I certainly do not envision a future of me writing any. Good entries to this sub-genre are so technical, so precise, that it is almost alienating to those who do not have the background to readily absorb the information coming at you.

Well, this book definitely has a fair bit of that, as it’s set in the more or less current times (though since its events occur in 2001 and 2002, could we not consider it an alternate history as well?). The modern military is the focus of just about every aspect of the story. The difference, to me, is that the military structure is changing drastically in response to new technologies and new threats, so even the soldiers and officers need to clarify the new terms.

It’s an interesting take on the sort of tired human-alien relations trope, where the aliens are peaceful and view the Earthlings as almost crazy in their warlike natures. That is still true here, but the aliens need our skill at war, due to long term pacifism making them ill prepared to defend themselves from another hostile race.

I am intrigued enough by what I’ve read so far (I’m about eighty percent through the first book) that I will probably give the series another book or two to see if it really captures me. Also, if the betrayal I suspect happens at the end of this book, there’s a good chance I’ll be hooked for a while more.

Here’s a little bonus, by the way: you can get this book for free on Kindle. Then, if you are like me and prefer the audio experience, you can then head over to Audible and get the companion audiobook for two bucks. That’s a tough deal to beat, people.

Of note, the second book in the series, GUST FRONT, is also free on Kindle, though I do not believe the price cut audiobook deal applies with that edition.

PROVINCE, by Laboratory

Just to mess with you, I’m going to switch over to tabletop gaming! Some time ago, Heidi and I backed the Kickstarter campaign for this little game. It’s a one on one miniature European-style board game wherein you vie for resources to construct buildings and meet goals, all for the glorious victory points.

The game shipped in a standard envelope, if that gives you an idea as to its size. You could easily fit the entire thing, in its included plastic zip baggie, into your pocket or bag or cranial cavity. PROVINCE is not quite as convenient for play on the go, as it has a lot of little pieces that you can’t afford to lose.

What is that? What do I hear? An outcry from those who wish that such resource grabbing could be made a mobile experience without risk of jail time?

Well, the folks at Laboratory have got your back. Well, they have your back if you own an iPad, anyway. It’s a start, and we can hope for future expansion to other devices, but right now the iPad version is available for free. I do not think this will last long, so do not delay in your acquisition of said app. The app, like the game it represents, is tiny, maybe 24 MB? That’s pretty impressive, if you ask me, and I know you wanted to do that.

Get PROVINCE on iPad here. Then leave a nice review.

What I like about PROVINCE is the way that, though the rules are relatively simple (the learning curve will only last through about half of the first playthrough, I suspect, for most) any given strategy is not guaranteed to work from game to game. There is not a lot of luck that factors into it, the only things left to chance are the stack of five goals (selected from 9 available at random) and the effect of the docks. Mostly, you have to decide how much to react to your opponent versus trying to make your opponent react to you.

Plus, games are relatively short. An average game of PROVINCE will, in general, last five to fifteen minutes. That means there is enough time to go double or nothing for a larger share of the onion ring appetizer. (Heidi and I did play PROVINCE at a sit down restaurant shortly after receiving it in the mail. We shared appetizer equally, as couples should, even in the face of egregious defeat.)

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA

Heidi and I had a movie night and the movie was chosen more or less at random from our collection. I gotta say, I do not recommend this film.

It’s kind of boring in a way it shouldn’t be, and rather confusing and disconnected. I am not sure how long it actually was, but it felt like about a three hour movie.

Not even Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins could save this movie from itself. And that is saying something, folks.

Now it is time to prepare for a new week. See you there.

Leave a Reply