Fandemonium 2011

Every year at the Nampa Civic Center is a Sci-fi & Fantasy convention called Fandemonium. The last time I went was in 09, and it was the year local writer Ken McConnell came. It was the first time I had a Sci-fi writer in my presence.

        And the gist of the authors panel  was that anyone can publish a book. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you love writing, that’s all that matters.

         And every year at this convention they have a speculative short story contest. The winner’s submission will be published online. In 09, I didn’t submit because frankly, I was scared. Scared I would embarrass myself. And scared of  the dreaded rejection slip.

    This year, I am submitting. Because I now have more faith in my writing ability. I am going to take a classic sword & sorcery tale I wrote called “Days of Ice”. This story is one that has never been published in an ezine. And to make it the best, I’m going to edit the living daylights out of the story.

    Even if I lose, I’m going to be proud. Because after all, anyone can write.

NOTE: Stay tuned for a review of  Ken McConnell’s “Tyrmia” !

UPDATE: I will not be submitting, I just found out you have to be pre-registered. I’m going to now probably send my submission around to short story mags. Wish me luck!

Game Review: Magic the Gathering-Duels of the Planeswalkers

Overview

I love card games. Apples to Apples, Uno, you name it. But, what if you combine those card games with fantasy role playing? Then Magic the Gathering: Duel of the Planeswalkers is the game for you!

 

Game-play

The object of the game is to destroy your opponent’s life-source by battling with creatures and spells. It’s a lot more complicated than that. There are a lot of rules. So, if you’ve played like real-time strategy games, role playing games, and/or the Pokemon card game, you should be fine.

If you have no idea what I just was talking about, you’re in luck. There are tutorials to help you.

There are also plenty of modes: campaign mode, multiplayer, co-op, and puzzle. As you play, the game gets harder and harder, almost a little too fast, like I’ve been stuck on level 4 for almost an eternity it seems. But, you have an opportunity to unlock more cards every time you replay any of the previous levels. The cool thing about replaying previous levels is that the AI doesn’t use the same cards over and over, and that makes you able to get better. Stainless Games did amazing work.

   

 Story

Not much of a story in this game. Just that you play as a wizard and fight others wizards to become the best. This isn’t the next Final Fantasy.

Multiplayer

The only multiplayer is over the internet or via system link, but no split screen. I played using Xbox Live. It was a little while before I was able to connect with someone. When I played the first time, I lost horribly. This is probably because I didn’t buy the game add-ons, thus the only cards I had were unlocked from playing campaign. So, before you play online, get at least one expansion, or unlock more cards that are by default in the game.

Graphics & Controls

The cards have always had beautiful artwork. The artwork looks better than ever. The graphics for the game could have had a smoother interface.

The controls are better. They are responsive, and the controller vibrates a little when you move cards.

Overall not a bad game for a downloadable game, I give it 3 ½ stars.

Platforms supported: Digital download for PS3, X360, PC

“The Desert of Souls” by Howard Andrew Jones REVIEW

Summary

An evil magian is on a mission to bring a lost city destroyed by Allah back out of the desert, and master it’s secrets to become all powerful. Asim and Dabir, servants of Jaffar the Bromacide, go on a quest to stop  him.

This work is not epic fantasy.  It is far from it.  It is swords against sorcery with historical fiction thrown in.  Think of Robert E. Howard and Harold Lamb kind of writing, thrown in with the Arabian Night’s.   8th century Baghdad is just teeming with life! Its like watching those old school sword and sandals movies.

This book is not just a no brain’s hack and slash romp.  The characters are not grunting Barbarians, they are fully fleshed out, and realistic.  No big babies here.  And the plot is like a roller coaster, going from one turn to another.  The writing is like a love child between Robert Ludlum and Michael Moorcock.  Very exceptional.  If this is the only fantasy book you read this year, read this one.

I was also surprised to see that the book had heavy moral fiber and themes. I didn’t expect it. It was a pleasant break from kill, kill, and more kill.   True heroism, true love, and many others themes are exposed.  There is violence yes, but the book was not just about violence.

I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil it!

Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

Click pic to buy from Amazon.com!