“Top Ten” Steps to My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly list-event hosted by the “Broke and the Bookish” blog, has as its theme for today “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.”

In roughly ascending order:

Things that make me click the link/pick it up:

1. Good cover/Catchy title

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Diversity in Games

The YouTube team ExtraCredits creates short, thought-provoking videos about the craft of game design, story creation, the philosophy and psychology of building and playing video games, and other cool stuff.

One of their videos discusses Rust by Facepunch Studios, a multi-player survival game. In Rust, the physical appearance of every player’s character is randomly generated: specifically their skin color. The format doesn’t allow for re-rolling, so whatever your character looks like is what you’re stuck with – what you’re “born with,” as it were.

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10 Things I’ll Miss Post-Apocalypse

I’m facing the imminent collapse of my nation. “Imminent” might mean (hopefully means) fifty or seventy years from now, but the full end of the United States is inevitable. It happened to Rome, to the U.S.S.R., to the Ming dynasty, to Babel…

Image credit : christinprophecy.org

But I’m not here to talk about cultural suicide or political theory. I’m here to offer a eulogy of sorts to ten things I will miss when civilization as I know it takes a turn for the worst. It’s how I cope, okay? 😛 Continue reading

“Superheroes Aliens Robots Zombies” by Mark Boss

Junk Food for Zombie Lovers

SARZ-51kVl+YZFoL This book is like mind candy for the science fiction apocalypse lover. Zombies – quick, coordinated, and flesh-eating – mixed with aliens – small, big-eyed and green – and robots for a wild, active romp thru cliché and disaster-tales.

If only the violence weren’t so medically accurate…and if only the author had learned that “series” is not code for “serial”. Continue reading

Primordia

Snarky and Bittersweet – Two Great Emotions…

Primordia_cover On a sand-swept wasteland, Horatio Nullbuilt, version 5, and his floating companion Crispin Horatiobuilt, v. 1, live in their broken rocket-ship of a home – until the day a big robot with laser-shooting claws steals their power core, leaving them with days or weeks to find a replacement before they and their home are left helpless and drained.

It’s MacGyver in the post-robot revolution-apocalypse, or Pajama Sam‘s more intellectual older brother, and a slow start didn’t prevent this point-and-click puzzle game from having a profound, slam-bang ending.

Plus, I and my “gameplay associate” completed it without consulting a walkthrough (ahem – personal achievement right there)! Continue reading

Ten Books to Read in One Sitting

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week is “Read In One Sitting Theme”. I’ve filed my choices into three categories: stories that drag you along, begging to be read all at once; stories whose length and format suit them to comprehensive reading; and stories suited to periods of interrupted reading time.

Gripping Stories

Rats-of-NIMH-51q9wWLOq4L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brian

We used this as our bedtime story once. Mr. O’Brian puts his chapter breaks in exactly the right places – in a way. While we didn’t quite finish it in one read-through, the story pulled us along from chapter to chapter, long past when Dad had first said, “Well, just one more.”

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“Necromancer Awakening” by Nat Russo

NecAwake_61Av9vyX4AL I’ll admit Necromancer Awakening has one of the most gripping opening chapters I’ve seen. Nicholas Murray, archeology student, is getting ready for his adoptive father’s funeral – a man who took him on as a teenager and got him where he is now – when supernatural visions cloud his sight and he’s sucked into another world before his girlfriend’s eyes.

I’m afraid the first third of the book was a struggle to get through. While I acknowledge that being yanked away from everything you’ve ever known would be stressful and disorienting, the cliché of whiny, clueless protagonists and grumpy, impatient mentor-figures gets old fast. Continue reading

Top “Ten” Romances

Ten Eleven Romance Hits and Near-Misses!

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for today is “All About Romance Tropes/Types.” I’m not a huge fan of romance for its own sake, but I do have some favorite fictional couples and almost-couples:

  1. The Big Show” — Dragnet

In this episode of Dragnet, a military officer’s wife doesn’t see him for two years, and in her loneliness has a baby out of wedlock. To avoid hurting her husband, she decides to secretly give up the baby. It might not sound very profound explained like that, but the profound part is when her husband returns to the country, he not only forgives her, but takes the baby as his own. Now, that’s the kind of romance I can get behind!

51nv1z-uvsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_2. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane — Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, Busman’s Honeymoon, Dorothy L. Sayers

While irritating to the traditional romance lovers, I admire Peter and Harriet’s slow, cautious, intellectual courtship. They have emotional baggage and a rocky meeting to overcome, same as any classic lovers, but their relationship plumbs the integrity of their characters, without focusing on superficial aspects such as appearance or kissing. It may have taken three books to get to the engagement, but they did get to an engagement – which is of course the proper way to conduct a romantic relationship.

And when’s the last time a gentleman said it was the girl’s talent for telling the truth that attracted him to her? More, please.

3. Princess Irene and Curdie — The Princess and the Goblin & The Princess and Curdie, George MacDonald

Princess Irene (the young one, not the magically allegorical one) goes through a lot – from goblins attacking her mountainous childhood home, to the nobles of her father’s court conspiring against her family. One thing she can count on, though, is her good friend Curdie the miner coming to her aid. He does have his own struggles and faults, but his devotion to his princess (plus the help of her great-grandmother) carries them through.

51gXPuf6mPL._SY445_4. Prince “Kit” and Ella — Cinderella (2015)

Sure, the prince was smitten from the first moment they met, but as he says, “She wasn’t just a pretty girl…She was so much more than that.” One more reason the recent live-action movie was a positive improvement on the original animated film, in my opinion.

5. Jo March and Professor Bhaer— Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

I admit to having a soft spot in my heart for literary people and relationships, and I for one couldn’t be happier that Laurie recovered from Jo’s rejection and married Amy, and I think this arrangement of couples suits the participants best.

I always related with Jo, given our shared love of writing, and having her marry an intelligent, scholarly gentlemen who urged her to aspire to higher things in her writing just seemed most fitting.

(Same goes for Rose and Mac in Alcott’s Rose in Bloom. Bookish guys are the best.)

6. Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan — StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty & Heart of the Swarm

It’s hard to communicate the impact of this relationship in just a few words. When Sarah is taken by the alien swarm the Zerg and transformed into a genocidal monster, Jim chases to the ends of the galaxy to rescue her. Then, in Heart of the Swarm Kerrigan believes he’s been killed and takes back the power of the Zerg Swarm to avenge him. Even after seeing her undo his work – and embrace the power her hatred gives her – Jim, while knowing their chance at a relationship is done, still covers her back…’cause that’s what a gentleman does.

7. The Hawaiian Love-birds:

Near-Misses

8. Cyril and Nellie — When London Burned, G.A. Henty

Writing for “lads”, G.A. Henty’s adventure stories didn’t usually dwell on a relationship with a female. There were exceptions; but for this example I’d like to mention Cyril in When London Burned, who early in the book met his landlord’s daughter, and even had an adventure rescuing her from a villainous suitor. Near the end of the book, they tell Cyril that she’s engaged. The young lady blushes heavily. Cyril smiles and asks who the lucky man is.

Ha, ha! It’s some young man we haven’t heard of before! You didn’t think Cyril would marry her, did you? He ends up marrying a girl who was at least mentioned in passing; while her character was not really explored, he did rescue her from the Great Fire of 1666, so they at least have that…

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.18.06 PM9. Master Chief and Cortana — Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Bungie

It’s hard to call this one a romance, since he’s a human super-soldier and she’s an artificial intelligence (AKA computer program), but they do have some neat chemistry (when she’s not being annoying) and their professional relationship of mutual respect, trust, and care just sends shivers down the spine.

(Also, nothing after Halo 3 counts.)

10. Houston Plunkett and Nuala King — Operation: Zulu Redemption, Ronie Kendig51mp1f2omsl

One of the disappointments in this book was the way it didn’t tie off its romance-string-art. The upside of this, though, is that every reader can pair off their own personal favorites with no canon to nay-say them. If I had my way, I’d marry off the tech wizard and the sniper chick.

11. Eris Morn and Cayde-6 — Destiny, Bungie

Eris herself has a tragic back-story. The sole surviver of a six-Guardian team that invaded the fortress of the evil Hive, Eris’s melancholy is matched only by her penchant for dire warnings about the Hive…and her disdain for Cayde.

eris_mornIn contrast, Cayde-6 is upbeat, energetic, and determined to get Eris to smile again. Of course, he did have her ship blown up – accidentally – while fighting the Hive…which led to an “awkward conversation.”

800px-e3_2014_exo_hunterIt could just be one professional – one soldier of the Light – trying to encourage another and goad her out of her despondency…or it could be Cayde teases Eris – and she loathes him – because of some other connection. Hey, a fan-girl can dream, right?


Kimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little. Join the mailing list to learn more about her upcoming cheerful post-apocalyptic series!

“Gemini Rue”

We Are More Than Memories

GeminiRue_wallpaper_1920x1200 Ex-assassin Azriel Odin – who has been working with the police to counter organized crime – lands on the mafia-controled planet of Barracus to meet a friend from ten years ago – and his own brother – who now hope to defect to the police.

Meanwhile, a young man called Delta-Six wakes in a forbidding facility  with no memory. He’s told that his memory was wiped after an escape attempt, and that if he cooperates with certain “tests” he’ll be released.

What can I say? This game’s premise grabbed me from the start, and with the gameplay, puzzles, characters, story, and ending, it delivered an experience that still has me in “game-hang-over.” Continue reading

5 Fixes for a Brother Who Grew (WITHOUT Permission!)

5 Ways to Fix a Little Brother Who Grew
WITHOUT PERMISSION

The brother. At first he was a manageable size – perhaps bread-box sized. Next he started moving around, and was more dog-sized, but that was all right, since you’d grown, too. Eventually, he was allowed out of the high chair, because he was too big for that, but you didn’t need to investigate your options prematurely…

Then. Then you got up one morning and there he was: an enormous creature, towering over you. How? Why? And how was it you weren’t consulted?

20161013_114108Take heart – I’ve walked this path, too. I feel the trauma, and I have 5 solutions to offer the desperately out-grown:

  1. Bricks on his head.

Ideally, this should be done before the growth takes place, but if you are at a stage when slowing him down won’t help, the best you can hope for is that they’ll 1) telescope his spine, or 2) give him a bad stoop, bringing him back to eye-level.

2. Platform shoes.

The poor girl’s solution, and not really feasible if you are a short older brother.

3. Instill in him a proper respect for authority.

Again, this is ideally begun at an earlier stage, but there’s no harm done in attacking the root of the issue. Young men who respect their elders and betters will naturally refrain from dominating the head-space.

4. Only appear next to him in forced perspective.

This might seem like a band-aid solution, but if it protects your pride, that’s a vital organ to protect.

5. LAST RESORT SOLUTION: Bludgeon him into submission and make him crawl on his hands and knees.

20161013_113154This should only be undertaken under the most drastic of circumstances. Tip: if bludgeoning is not an option for moral, physical, or financial reasons, hiding his game controller or unplugging his computer might yield similar results.

(If you succeed in subjugating him, congratulate yourself! You may have lost the height battle, but you’ve gained a minion, and the usefulness of those as cannon fodder and hero-distractions cannot be minimized.)


cropped-IMGP5698-wVerse.jpgKimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little. Now she writes to give the people living in her head a chance at life, and to make beautiful things with words.

Her wonderful little brother turns 19 on February 8th. 😊