Sensate Saturday: Fantasy is the Highest Form of Fiction

Hey all I’m back this week for Sensate Saturday with a quick essay on my feelings about Fantasy. Fantasy is the Highest Form of Fiction, in my opinion!

What do you mean highest form?: I mean that if Fantasy is done correctly it’s the best genre in all of fiction. It serves the purpose of literature to allow readers to experience things they otherwise couldn’t, and while many contemporary fiction books cover rare or hard to experience situations and events, they aren’t out of the reach of people, just costly or impractical, or illegal.

Why?: Well if Fantasy is done correctly than no other genre of fiction can really take you to completely alien worlds and cultures. I’ll point to any of Brandon Sanderson’s many Cosmere works as shining examples of what I’m talking about, and they are also my personal gold standard for judging any and all books. The Cosmere novels completely take you away to worlds that just don’t exist, and yet they make sense to us and we can easily relate to the characters. Not many authors can achieve the mastery of the genre as well as Sanderson, and the masterful way he comes up with complete worlds, with customs, cultures, religions, magic and many other things is truly spectacular. That isn’t even including his incredible pace for writing either.

Why isn’t (Insert other Genre here) as good as Fantasy?: Because if done correctly it’s still a world that is Earth, or a culture we can relate to because of it being distinctly “Terran”. That isn’t to say there aren’t masterworks in other genres, I’m not arrogant enough to believe that and I personally love many other books that just aren’t in the Fantasy genre. The Harry Bosch series is one of my favorite series of all time and yet it’s completely grounded in American culture. Connelly pulls off amazing mysteries, but they just aren’t as unique or otherworldly as stuff Brandon Sanderson writes.

This is all of course my opinion as is everything else I write and personally I’d love to read other’s thoughts on the matter. Do you agree or disagree with my claim that Fantasy is the Highest Form of Fiction? Leave your comments down below.

Bookish Wednesday: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the second entry in the Mistborn Adventure Series. It’s Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson!

Plot Synopsis: The trilogy’s heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian but also, until recently, a lawman in the ungoverned frontier region known as the Roughs. There he worked with his eccentric but effective buddy, Wayne. They are “twinborn,” meaning they are able to use both Allomantic and Feruchemical magic.

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism.

Plot: The plot is excellent, and I appreciate the fact that the Mistborn Adventure series isn’t as depressing as the original trilogy. I love the original trilogy, but it’s hard to go back and enjoy it because it’s so depressing. This book is great though, and I love how it expands on the world we were reintroduced to in Alloy of Law. Scadriel is now entering the late stages of the industrial revolution and it’s great to see how that affects a world where people use to be able fly through the sky by using magic to “push” against pieces of metal. It also has plenty of action and I love it. I’m also incredibly happy that I don’t have to wait more than a few months to get to read the sequel to this!

Characters: We get introduced to a few new faces, and we even get to see some old faces from the original trilogy sort of. I won’t spoil who pops back up, but I’ll just say that they still aren’t as good as Wayne when it comes to making me laugh out loud. Wayne is probably my favorite character in this series so far, although Sterris isn’t far behind. Wow I never thought I’d say that, as Sterris was a bore in the first book.

Overall: An excellent sequel and entry in the Cosmere mega series. Keep an eye out for everyone’s favorite world-hopping wanderer!

 

Video Game Tuesday: Possible MMOs I’d love to play

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to talk about games I’d love to play. It’s all about Possible MMOs!

A Cosmere MMO: As anyone who reads my Wednesday posts knows I love Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere novels, and because he’s so amazing at creating magic systems, he’s already laid the foundation for amazing gameplay. The only problem with this is the fact that the Cosmere series is still about 20 years from being complete at the minimum. That being said new books could also make for some amazing expansions to the game.  I’d love to get a FullDive MMO that was in the Cosmere, because that would absolutely awesome to experience Steel Pushing or Windrunning with all five senses.

The Belgariad and Mallorean Universe: This could make for some interesting gameplay as there are so many different varied cultures in this setting.  The magic in this series however leaves a lot to be desired compared to any of the Cosmere novels.

One Piece: Hey why not, I’d love to experience the world of One Piece as an MMO, maybe it could take place in the 7 years between Luffy getting Shank’s hat and his departure.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday for me, but what would you love to see as an MMO? Leave a comment below with your ideas!

 

Book Series Wednesday: Books to Look forward to in 2015!

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This week for Book Series Wednesday I’m talking about books I’m looking forward to in the upcoming year!

Shadows of Self (Sequel to Alloy of Law): Another Wax and Wayne novel is going to be really fun, plus Brandon has already written the third book.

White Sands: The first volume of this Graphic Novel Cosmere story should be coming out in 2015! I’m super excited to possibly see Hoid finally drawn.

Peace Talks (Dresden Files Book 16): Another Dresden Files book that may come out next year, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Jim Butcher typically releases one Dresden book a year so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it out next year. Supposedly this will focus on Molly which is super exciting.

Doors of Stone(Kingkiller Chronicle Day 3): No confirmation of this book coming out next year, but one can always hope!

That’s it for this year for me! I’ll see you all next year (Read: I’ve got a post going up tomorrow like always)

Video Game Tuesday: The 2nd Rule of Game Design

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover the Second Rule of Game Design. Sorry if you wanted me to keep talking about Destiny I may in the future go back to it (Read: Yes I will probably be talking about The Dark Below, just not today).

The First Rule: I mentioned in a previous Video Game Tuesday the first rule, which is KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid. This sounds easier than it is actually done in Game Design, like I mentioned in that article. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today.

The Second Rule: Steal Other’s Idea’s. So you may be thinking, “Michael you are condoning theft of other’s ideas?”. I am in a certain way, and not outright thievery. If you can use someones idea instead of having to come up with all on your own you should do so, why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.  The most obvious way this happens in the Video Game industry is through the use of game engine software, such as the Unreal Engine Series or CryEngine. Companies who can come up with a really good engine to make a game don’t just make money off the game(s) themselves they can also make money by letting other’s pay huge amounts of money to use their software to make a game. Of course that takes a lot of money and most Indie devs can’t afford to do that, which makes games like the upcoming No Man’s Sky really amazing from a game design standpoint.

Another way you may notice this happen in the Video Game industry is through the use of game mechanics, where a game plays very similarly to another game. A very recent example of how to do so properly is Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor. The Developers who made that game also made the Arkham series of games, and they took the excellent combat system from those games and used it in Shadows of Mordor. I can’t think of a poor example at the moment as I’m still coming off this blasted cold I got on the way back home from Thanksgiving, but they are out there.

So yes Game Developers (and lots of other industries as well) often use other peoples ideas to get their games to sell, like I said above “Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to?”

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Leave any comments or questions below.