Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Survival Tips for the Frustrated Fantasist

“Life is what happens to you when you are trying to game and blog.”   
Th. the Obscure, D.M. (Doctor Mythopoeiae)

So, long-time readers already knew I was having an academic year that was consuming my life.  I added a new home and everything that goes with that into the mix and recovering from an injury, and all blogging and gaming pretty much disappeared from my life.  (I might could have squeezed in a little gaming, if similar things hadn’t happened to the members of my little group.)  The flame would have gone out over here if it were not for Mike Welham and Craig Johnston (thanks, guys!).  So, how have I been surviving this challenge to La Mitopoietica Vita?  I have to read.

Part of this is just my personality.  Recreational reading helps me to retain my humanity and my sanity.  I must read.  (Feel free to google for escapsim quotes by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, then come back.)  I need fantastical fiction.  My primary recourse in these months as been to the ever-reliable Steven Brust.  I have read seven Vlad Taltos novels (see picture above) and two of the Khaavren romances (see picture below). 

Damn, Brust can write.  Dense, complex plots for this genre, but not so much that you choke on them.  Intriguing characterization that makes me care about characters that I can't imagine caring about if all I had was a bare-bones character sketch of them.  And while he's not my favorite world-builder, he does a lot in his under-stated way.  And the things that stand out (the Houses, the Orb, the Cycle, the reversals or twists around "humanity" are enjoyable and make the world alien).  When it comes to food, he's the Patrick O'Brian of fantasy food.

If you haven't treated yourself to Brust, I'm telling you he is on my required reading list and you don't have to give me anything in return for the recommendation, though your comments are always appreciated.  If you haven't heard Atomic Array's interview of him, I recommend that, too.  He's done a fantastic job of keeping me fed as a Mythopoet under pressure and short of leisure.  How will it inform my gaming when I return?  I think that Brust's swashbuckling in particular will be an excellent inspiration when I can return to Swords & Wizardry in Waterdeep, and the politics among the Dragaeran houses could give me fuel for what to do with the noble houses of Waterdeep.  All this will be in the cooker when I can return to gaming.

So, what I am reading while I'm taking a break from my Brustian bacchanal?  An Elric reread: I'm closing in on the end of volume 3 in Del Ray's excellent definitive collection.  After that, I may read Paths of the Dead or stretch things out a little more by inserting a collection of Peter S. Beagle's short stories.  I picked it up here in San Antonio when The Last Unicorn tour came to town.  (While the first leg of the tour is done, keep an eye on the website for future developments in your area which will be forthcoming.  Seeing Rone Barton in action and having a conversation with Peter are worth the price of admission alone, but I was impressed by how clean the copy of the TLU is.) Well, that's it for this Tomeful Tuesday.  Baby steps back to blogging, my fellow ramblers, baby steps.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back Theodric! You have been missed. Let me add a my appreciation to Craig and Mike for ably holding down the fort in your absence. Have a great adventuring summer!