ursula: (icosahedron)
Justice Calling, an urban fantasy novella by Annie Bellet. This is new-style urban fantasy, with shapeshifters and hot guys (albeit, in this case, not much of an urb: it's set in a fictional small town in Idaho). The sensibility is television-istic: fast pace, witty banter, tragic backstories, and a general tendency to prioritize things that look cool over things that make sense.

An innovative conceit sets this story apart from others in its genre: the heroine uses modern fantasy and science fiction, particularly Dungeons and Dragons, as a frame for understanding her innate magical powers. This is an excuse for lots of nerdy references-- Annie's an old friend, and at times I felt like we were kicking back and reminiscing about campaigns gone by-- but it also makes a lot of sense. Why would someone resort to paging through old tomes, when there are so many ideas about magic readily available?

The conceit makes for some interesting problem-solving on the heroine's part (a Dune reference plays a crucial role in the big showdown, for example). It also offers endless opportunities for readerly metagaming (why hasn't Jade heard of Locate Person?) I want this book to have a fandom so I can argue about it.

gaming!

Mar. 11th, 2008 10:29 pm
ursula: (icosahedron)
[livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu asked for a post about gaming. I'm assuming that, like any right-minded individual, she means tabletop RPGs. At the moment I don't have a game going ([livejournal.com profile] glasseye's campaign seems to have succumbed to the dual pressures of school and players who insist on gallivanting round the world). I keep meaning to run a couple of sessions of GURPS Goblins, but this involves either doing a bunch of arithmetic so my players can make characters without ripping my single set of books apart or feeling their heads explode, or else figuring out how to port the entire setting to a less arithmetically demanding system without losing the basic idea of a character built entirely from disadvantages.

[livejournal.com profile] cattifer and I have talked a little bit about doing a D&D-themed webcomic. I've been thinking a little bit about how one might set up a literal dwarven point of view, with humans disconcerting and monolithic.

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