PC Koshinbun – Anime, Appendix N, and Strong Women

Cirsova reviews Cute Knight

ckdss3

Cute Knight, for PC, looks to be a quirky anime-style RPG with a number of tried and proven mechanics (e.g. dating sim style stat and money balancing activities). Alex shares his thoughts after three play-throughs, and though this particular one won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it does sound worth a look.

Getting to know the Man(ly)

In what looks to be a multi-part series, Oghma tells of how he became acquainted with the works of  Manly Wade Wellman – a great blend of personal anecdote and appreciation for another great writer we’d do well to check out. “Silver John” – what a cool-sounding character!

Sizzling hot princess, beef

In honor of Women’s Day, Jon M. decided to highlight one of SFF’s most underappreciated (and hottest) strong women – Dejah Thoris. *Trigger warning: this post contains a delicious steak sandwich recipe. You may not want to read if you’re hungry and have no steak on hand.

prv14853_cov

Get a’writing (via Seagull Rising)!

Indie publishing seems to have really taken off, especially among the Pulp Revolution crowd. But outlets like Cirsova can only fit so much. What’s an aspiring short fiction writer to do? Well, there are other outlets out there. Jon shared one recently – StoryHack Action & Adventure is currently accepting submissions, and it’s worth checking out if you’ve got something you can send in by April 1st!

(Japanese) picture of a good “strong female” character

Over at SupervisiveSF, Anthony looks at Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky and concludes that Sheeta is a much more attractive and effective strong female character than many in contemporary storytelling. As he points out, a well-done woman character can be brave, competent, and feminine. Humility is an attractive virtue, not a weakness, and a good woman should be complementary to a man, not overtly usurp his role or compete with him. Double thumbs up for the Rey-bashing.

c2a5561fb1de9d8f94035a0dfe943844

Comparing Heinlein

I must confess I haven’t read either of these books, but HP does a commendable job looking at two Young Adult SF stories – one very recent, and one over half a century old. The bottom line seems to be that while there are many imitators, it’s hard to match Heinlein at his best. Lest you think that’s all there is to HP’s review, though:

“Have Space Suit—Will Travel and Martians Abroad couldn’t be more different.  The former is emphatically blue SF and the latter is emphatically pink SF.  They aren’t even in the same sub-genre.”

Princess Monomoke – BEST MOVIE EVER

I must confess I was a little skeptical at first; I’m a fan of Princess Mononoke, but it might not even be in my top 10 animated film picks. Still, Malcolm makes a great argument for the depth and supervisiveness that many viewers may miss. Game of Thrones grayness but hopeful instead of nihilistic? That’s actually some pretty potent stuff.

1579879_orig

Some…different…monsters

There’s a great post over at Tribality with twenty ghosts and spirits from various cultures that don’t get much play (literally). Some time ago Jeffro noted an observation by game designer James Raggi:  “Because monsters should be unnatural and hopefully a little terrifying, using stock examples goes against the purpose of using monsters to begin with.”

So why not spice up your game with some more obscure or unique demons and specters? Of course we’re most likely all familiar with the banshee, but personally I had never heard of most of these.

Potentially great inspiration for writers, too!

Getting fired up by Anderson

Poul Anderson is another awesome old SFF writer that I had never heard of before diving into the pulp scene. It’s great to see him getting some play! Jon Del Arroz recently read Fire Time, and shares his impressions.

Castalia House sweeps the scene

It’s hard to cover everything, so I don’t even try! Be sure to check out Jeffro’s latest sensor sweep over at the Castalia House blog for some more noteworthy articles. There may be one or two overlaps, so feel free to read those particular posts twice!

The Kaiju

Also if you’ve been following Kaiju’s sword and sorcery tale, be sure to check out his latest installment. Plenty of action and gore in this one!

-Bushi

bushi

Advertisements

PC Koshinbun: Castalia House and the PulpRev scene are bustling!

Jeffro’s been doing Sensor Sweeps for a while now, and I highly recommend checking them out from time to time for some good highlights of what’s been going on with the pulp/classic SFF crowd and some tabletop gaming commentary.

Back at my old blog, I used to do periodic roundups or features of interesting Japan-related content in that corner of the web. One of the things I really like about this neck of the woods is how much support there is for budding bloggers and other aspirants who want to get their thoughts out there and contribute to the scene. When I was starting out, I remember how exciting it was to get a plug from Jeffro or Cirsova (not that it’s not still exciting). Or getting a retweet from Daddy Warpig (11k followers and he noticed me…!).

Now that we’ve built a small but awesome audience, I hope to contribute in bringing light and eyes to some of the more excellent content I’ve been discovering. Unfortunately I can’t cover everything and everyone, but I’ll try to make sure these aren’t too infrequent. Also I beg your indulgence if I shamelessly highlight some of our own content, too.

Before I get to the meat – what’s a koshinbun? Well, shinbun (新聞) is the Japanese word for “newspaper.” During the early to mid Meiji period (mid-late 1800’s), there were two major types of papers in J-Land: the oshinbun (大新聞), which were the big, usually political publications, and the koshinbun (小新聞), which were more focused on “pop” topics, like local news or fiction.

Anyway, here we go:

Castalia House blog is booming!

Jeffro brought several new writers onboard this year to bolster an already strong stable of columnists. Daddy Warpig (Jasyn Jones) and Morgan have been stirring the pot with Jeffro in some sharp criticisms of Campbellian SFF. Worth reading, even if you disagree. For my part, here are the three pieces I’ve contributed so far:

Mount and Blade and the spirit of roleplaying
Man’s Best (SFF) Friend
Solomon Kane: The Original Dark Knight

 

Geek Gab is GREAT

Before straying too far from Daddy Warpig, I have to mention this podcast. I’d seen links to it before, but I don’t listen to much talk stuff on the computer. The other day it occurred to me that I could look for it on iTunes, as I do a lot of listening during my daily commutes. Hey – there it was! I’ve listened to two episodes so far and really enjoyed them both. It’s basically a bunch of intelligent, enthusiastic, nerdy guys sitting around talking about nerdy stuff. It’s a lot of fun! Daddy Warpig, along with Brian Niemeier and John McGlynn and their guests, are definitely worth a listen if you’re into SFF (and not just literary).

 

Here be dragons

I’ve been following Oghma on Twitter for a while now, and his blog has gotten off to a roaring start. His stuff has been very thoughtful and thought-provoking. He’s shared some very candid life tales as well as some lighter nerd fare. To start, I’d draw your attention to:

In RPG’s do we even need races? – what do Hobbits bring to the table?
Props in Narrative Gaming – some great music and how-to’s on making a super cool scroll and other props that may liven up your pen and paper sessions.

scroll

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs on fiction

Over at the Pulp Archivist, Nathan reminds us of some wise words from Edgar Rice Burroughs – that “entertainment is fiction’s purpose.” We would all do well to remember this!

 

The Mixed GM schools his players 

I’ve written before about how there’s merit to newer editions of D&D, which afford players more room to be awesome (or overpowered, as the case may be) and is less punishing when it comes to player character death. Many old hands resent this approach to dungeon crawling, but it is what it is. Just because I’ve advocated for the more recent style of play doesn’t mean I’m in favor of coddling players when they play stupidly. The Mixed GM illustrates a good example here of where and how to draw the line.

 

HiLo Brow’s top adventure stories of 1907

Very specific! This one caught my eye because I’m an Oz fan, and Joshua’s number 2 pick is Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz. Baum was actually mentioned on Geek Gab recently as one of the more underrated fantasy authors of his time. Other names you may recognize on the list – H Rider Haggard and William Hope Hodgson.

ozmaoz

 

Legends never die

In what’s shaping up to be a series of posts, Kestutis Kalvaitis has been writing about Timothy Zahn and his Thrawn trilogy – arguably some of the best work of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. He also mentions some of Zahn’s other scifi work in passing. I never did explore anything he did outside of Star Wars, but sounds worth a look.

 

Defending the screwdriver guys

Keith West expounds on how many of us enjoy both the pulps and Campbellian SFF, and lands on the fact that there’s room for both subgenres. I’ve argued this point myself, recently, and I think Keith’s voice strengthens my own view of the matter.

 

Howard out-Lovecrafted Lovecraft!

Alexandru Constantin puts forward a somewhat provocative idea –

“I think Howard writes Lovecraftian fiction better than Lovecraft. I like the idea of Lovecraftian more than I actually like Lovecraft’s writing. I find all his crap boring as all shit, filled with idiotic purple prose.”

He goes on to talk about how Howard manages to get that sense of weird and horror, but employs exciting, competent protagonists who take it to the unspeakable evil. Alexandru also brings up Howard’s pioneering of the “weird western” subgenre!

worms

Some homegrown SFF for ya

Our own Kaiju and Gitabushi have been working on some sweet stories, both as of yet untitled. Feel free to check’em out:

Kaiju’s sword and sorcery-type: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Gitabushi’s zombie outbreak: – Part 1, Part 2

 

-Bushi

bushi

 

16 Nerdy blogs for your perusal

I was talking with Twitter friends @Emily30Red and @Brainfertilizer earlier about SFF matters – the latter fellow trying to get back into writing and thinking of exploring some blogs. Red Emily also expressed interest in a few recommendations. So here are some that I’ve found and enjoyed recently, mostly pertaining to classic SFF and gaming, but with some overlap into other nerdy spheres, culture, and religion, as well:

John C Wright’s Journal

http://www.scifiwright.com/

Notes: Blog of author and atheist -to-Catholic convert, John C Wright. I’ve been reading this one the longest of any on my list. Some of his posts are novel-length, but he makes some very sharp observations about both culture and nerd matters (lit, film, games, etc). A lot of content to explore.

 

Cirsova

https://cirsova.wordpress.com/

@cirsova

Notes: I’ve been following this one for a while now. It’s affiliated with the relatively new retro-SFF magazine of the same name. Some posts with music recommendations and a few reflections on cultural trends (usually anti-SJW), but a lot of incisive commentary and reviews on classic SFF and gaming materials. This was my gateway to Jeffro and a whole mess of other blogs. Highly recommended; a lot of good archive material.

 

Castalia House

http://www.castaliahouse.com/posts/

@CastaliaHouse

Notes: The official site and blog of the Castalia House publishing company. Alex of Cirsova and Jeffro (see next entry) and a couple other writers post regular articles related to classic SFF and tabletop gaming.  To my knowledge Jeffro runs the Twitter account. Highly Recommended.

 

Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog

https://jeffro.wordpress.com/

Notes: Jeffro is pretty active on Google+ and the Castalia House blog, but he will sometimes post to his personal site, as well. There are periods of long inactivity, but some very interesting posts here. Dig into the archives. Highly recommended.

 

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

https://everydayshouldbetuesday.wordpress.com/

@tuesdayreviews

Notes: Attorney and book reviewer HP writes mostly reviews of speculative fiction (including his Throwback Thursdays devoted to classic SFF), with miscellaneous other nerdbits thrown in. Great blog.

 

The Catholic Geeks

https://thecatholicgeeks.com/

thecatholicgeeks.com

Notes: As the name suggests, this is a geek blog from a Catholic outlook. As you may imagine, some religious content here. Mostly you’ll find commentary and reviews on books, film, TV shows, comics, etc. I haven’t read this one extensively but have liked what I’ve seen.

 

Don’t Split the Party

https://harbingergames.blogspot.com/

Notes: Old school gamer Rick Stump lays out very astute reviews on TV and film (check out his posts on Blade Runner and Stranger Things!), as well as gaming materials and other nerdy things. Very good!

 

Black Gate

https://www.blackgate.com/

@BlackGateDotCom

Notes: Another publishing house’s blog. This one is hit or miss; some nice book/magazine reviews, but also some banal SJWish content on occasion (see my post making fun of one such review).

 

The Land of Nod

https://matt-landofnod.blogspot.com/

Notes: RPG writer’s blog focusing mostly on tabletop resources and ideas, with a smattering of literature reviews and other stuff. I haven’t delved too deeply, but seems cool.

 

Dyvers

https://dyverscampaign.blogspot.com/

Notes: A nerd hobbyist’s blog about tabletop RPGs, video games, comics, art, etc. An interesting variety of material, and he puts together a giant blog list (almost) every year.

 

Tales to Astound

https://talestoastound.wordpress.com/

Notes: A blog that seems mostly focused on resources and inspirations for the Traveller tabletop RPG. Also haven’t dug too deep here, but some of the article titles have caught my eye.

 

The Frisky Pagan

https://friskypagan.wordpress.com/

@TheDrag0n

Notes: A bilingual blog about culture, gaming, and other nerdy pursuits. Good variety of content.

 

Seagull Rising

https://seagullrising.blogspot.com/

@NotJonMollison

Notes: A (as of this writing) young blog mostly about culture, gaming, and fiction. Jon and I hold opposing views on a number of issues, but he strikes me as well-spoken, respectful, and affable.  Worth checking out!

 

Campaign Mastery

http://www.campaignmastery.com/blog/

@gamewriterMike

Notes: Mostly a gaming (pen and paper RPG) resource for DMs. Some material is interesting to read even outside of that context, like this post exploring possible explanations of/for in-game (or in-story) magic.

 

Battered, Tattered, Yellow, and Creased

https://yellowedandcreased.wordpress.com/

Notes: A blog devoted to reviewing and analyzing vintage “genre” fiction. Not updated so often anymore, but it has a great index of book reviews, including many SFF items.

 

Trollsmyth

https://trollsmyth.blogspot.com/

Another blog that I haven’t read extensively, but has some eye-catching posts about games and films. It was originally his two reviews of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that drew my attention.

 

Bonus resource:

If you’re interested in classic SFF and haven’t yet checked out my Grand List, I shamelessly invite you to do so!

 

-Bushi

bushi