Painting With Shotguns XXXVII
Digging Up (And Into) The Bones
Part of gaming — gaming at the table, I mean — is the dice. The feel in your hands. The local table-side myths surrounding said dice. The mojo. The voodoo. The math. The possibility. Well, the Brothers Hindmarch and Tidball put together a book of many thoughts about dice, and that book is The Bones.
That book features essays by a number of people I adore and respect (I mean, c’mon, Fred Hicks, Jess Hartley, Wil Wheaton, Matt Forbeck, Jesse Scoble, John Kovalic, Kenneth Hite — shit, the list goes on and on, and there’s not a bad name on that list), and I’m proud to say that somehow, by an error of computing or a bad roll of the dice, I ended up with an essay in the book.
I also rolled a critical, because that photo you see on the cover, that’s also mine. And it also constitutes my first paid photo credit, which is sort of insane. Needless to say, I’m very, very geeked about this book.
You don’t have to be a game nerd to love this book.
You just have to love good writing. Focused writing. C’mon, you’ve played with dice. You’ve played Yahtzee. Dice are awesome. Random is awesome. Probability is bad-ass.
What I’m saying is, the book is now available in a (drum roll please) Special Edition.
Deadline for preordering is soon, June 6th.
If you love me, and I know you do because you keep sending me flowers and candy and little squirrel heads wrapped in pretty pink bows, then you’ll get on over there and place your preorder. Don’t make me come over there. Don’t make me.
Patient Zero, by Jonathan Maberry
I’m not big on book reviews, so I’ll keep this one short.
Joe Ledger is snarky. He’s a little grumpy. He kicks ten kinds of ass.
He’s recruited by a mysterious government agent to fight terrorists.
Because the terrorists are the zombies. And the zombies are the terrorists. And the terrorists want everybody to be zombies.
Right there, if I haven’t sold you, then you just need to walk on by. Are you seriously going to sit around and tell me you don’t like some combination of high-powered weapons, martial arts, terrorism, conspiracy, and a zombie plague? You’re really going to tell me that this book — which is effectively, “What if Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy had a baby and that baby grew up to be Stephen King?” — won’t wet your whistle?
Mm. Don’t lie.
See, this is pretty much one of those perfect summer novels. Escapist, but not stupid. Fun, but not “light.” It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s gory. I’ve sadly never read any of Maberry’s other books (doubly ironic because he’s a local fella, if I remember correctly), but this book has convinced me to correct that oversight. The guy can write a fight scene, too — they go on a hair too long for my tastes, but even still, they’re exciting and orchestrated in a great “ballet of violence” kind of way.
Dude doesn’t mess around.
Neither should you. It’s a recommended read. Pulpy action-horror. Or horror-action. Horraction. Actiorror. More coffee. More coffee, stat.
Riddle Me This: Lost’s Unanswered Questions
Yes, I want to keep talking about Lost.
No, you don’t have to like that. No, you don’t have to read it. Seriously, no nerd tribey, geek-clan nonsense here. I saw the Lost finale. I watched all six seasons of the goddamn show. I really enjoyed it, and now I want to talk about it, and if you don’t like it, then please exit my house until I’m done talking about it. I don’t want into a room where people are talking about the Super Bowl or cross-stitching and say, “I do not want to talk about this! Please stop talking about this! Your cross-stitching fails to amuse me!” Feel me? I said, do you feel me? *grabs crotch* Hah! Get it? Feel me? Like, feel my junk drawer? My man-stuff? My crotch monster? Yeah.
A handful of unanswered questions.
Mostly, I don’t care. I mean, it’s over. They handled the things I wanted them to handle, so everything else on top of that is icing. Still, who doesn’t like icing? Especially when sucked from a hobo’s beard. Mmmm.
I’ve seen compilations of unanswered questions all over the web at this point, and I figure it’d be fun to take some of those here — and any you care to add in the comments — and see if they don’t have easy answers. Because I suspect most of them probably do. Ready? Begin.
What’s up with Walt?
I dunno. He’s special. Do we need to know more than that?
Why wasn’t he on the show?
Because he’s huge. Unrecognizable. Puberty did what puberty does; he grew up fast.
Why couldn’t women conceive on the island?
I assume it’s because of what happened when Jacob and the MiB came to the island. Their own mother ends up bludgeoned by Witchy McHooHa, which possibly curses that process. Or, when Jacob throws the MiB into the Glowy Happy Cave and it flenses body-from-soul, maybe that’s a taint (heh, taint) on the island’s healing abilities.
What is the island?
Really? Do we really need to answer that? It’s an island and it’s goddamn special. That’s it. That’s all we’re going to get and all we’re going to need. It’s special the way the Force is special. Or the way magic in Harry Potter just plain fucking exists. That’s a nonsense question. You’re ejected from parliament! Get out!
Why was Desmond special?
Nope, not sure. Once more, like with Walt or the island, not sure it matters.
Why did Desmond see flashes of the Sideways limbo?
Tricky one — I assume it’s because he’s basically suffering near-death experiences (much like when Juliet is dying after Jughead’s explosion she quotes lines from the Sideways world). Or maybe we’re left to assume that the Sideways limbo is still a timeline unto itself, even if one given to spiritual provenance, and that Desmond can do what Desmond can always do: hop into and out of those different timelines.
Who was shooting at the characters in the canoe when they were time-jumping in Season Five?
Ehhh. This one, I’m not sure. You could assume that it’s… well, whoever was out there at that time, be they the Others or Dharma, or Rosseau’s people, maybe. It’s not a critical question, but feels a bit dead-endy.
Did the Jughead explosion do anything?
I think so. But not what everybody expected. I think it just filled in the timeline of “what had already happened,” meaning, it becomes The Incident. And it catapults them forward where they can battle Smokey. So, that makes it not a failure, per se. Did Juliet die for nothing? I’d say not exactly, but certainly to a degree — but you can’t say this show doesn’t have some measure of tragedy.
What was the black horse?
Smokey, I guess. Then again, hard to say. A rewatch of the series might yield some answers to, “Who were actual ghosts (ala Michael), and who was just Smokey?”
If Smokey was Christian Shepherd on the island, how did Christian Shepherd appear off-island in Los Angeles?
Best answer: that Christian was a hallucination. But that’s possibly a bad best answer. I really don’t know.
So, what else?
Do I have any of these answers wrong in your mind? What questions do you feel remain unanswered? Are you unsatisfied with any answers? My head’s still circling Lost as a series; let’s talk about it.
Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp
I’m fortunate enough to have the manuscript for Frank Bill’s DONNYBROOK, and it’s a meth-fueled backwoods noir. Really. It’s so good. I can’t wait till it winds its way onto your bookshelves. In the meantime, Steve “Pedal to the Metal” Weddle interviewed Frank, and so you should go and check that out right fucking now.
Guy “The Dread Pirate LeCharles” Gonzalez tells you a secret truth: “Writers Write, Even When They Don’t Realize It.”
Pugranhas. Sharkodiles. Sharkopotomuses. Demon chickens. You know you want to read some flash fiction based on that SyFy-style mashup. Courtesy of Chris Holm (mistyped as “Christ Holm”).
Mystery Team is now out on DVD. From Derrick Comedy. I got mine coming to me from Netflix. Seriously, click here and watch the preview, and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Finally, tonight, we head out on a crazy culinary adventure. A local restaurant, Honey, does this thing called their “Surrender Menu,” which sounds like there’s bondage involved, and metaphorically, maybe there is. Honey does tapas, small plates, and this menu is a 16-course-tasting menu. It’s omakase, but with more than just sushi. So, this tasting menu is the chef basically just throwing all sorts of crazy foods at you. They make it clear when you call for reservations, “We’re not effing around over here. We’re going to put some crazy shit in front of your face. Raw. Offal. Whatever we want.” If you want one dude’s description of his meal, you can click here to check it out. I’ll do a full report at some point.