Archive for the 'geekery' Category

“War Stars” Is Out There, In The World, Right Now

War Stars

War Stars

Perhaps you’ve seen me mentioning the ReWired Tales project on Twitter, G+, or Tumblr already — I hope you have! — and you’ve thought you’d get around to them. Here’s another reason to get around to them: the March tale, called “War Stars,” is now available!

Here’s what the story is about… sort of:

Not long from now, in a war-torn city, a journalist embedded with a military force confronts a contrast between the wars we idolize and the wars we fight. Stranded in a blasted metropolis, the journalist travels with her wounded unit on a dangerous mission to use next-generation weaponry and support robots to locate and eliminate a hidden rebel base. But in the fog of war, the story we want isn’t always the story we get.

Here’s what the story is about, in another way:

I sat down with the March issue of Wired magazine to seek out inspiration for the next ReWired tale and discovered the issue had a lot to say about Star Wars, in one section, and things to say about the art of war, in another section. Those combined to inspire “War Stars,” a story that’s about our future as much as it’s about inspiration and awareness. But, of course, I know more about Star Wars than I do about actual warfare, and maybe that’ll be obvious as you wade into this tale. I’ve intentionally (and maybe, in some places, accidentally) hidden quite a few little references and allusions into this story — some are obvious, some are meaningful, and some are different combinations of obvious and meaningful. This is a playful tale.

(The cover is drab, I know. I’ll talk about why that is in another post.)

Once you’ve read the new story, I’d love to hear what you think of it — and which allusions you found in the text. Sound off in the comments?

You can find the new story, “War Stars,” up at DriveThruFiction and at Amazon for about one dollar at each venue. That dollar gets you the story for the Kindle at Amazon and it gets you a ZIP file containing the story in a few ebook formats at DriveThru.

Want a quick peek at the story itself?

Read more »

Soundtrack: Ocean’s Twelve

When I write, I put on music. When I play RPGs, I put on music. I don’t know anything about music, really, but here’s something I’m listening to.

Ocean's TwelveDavid Holmes, composer and DJ, made the music for such Soderbergh films as Out of Sight and Haywire, plus every film in Soderbergh’s Ocean trilogy. All of those films have great sounds — Out of Sight’s soundtrack is so sharply put together that the last time I saw the movie, parts of the film fell away into memories of the soundtrack album — but one of these discs has driven me through work in a way the others have not: Ocean’s Twelve.

We can talk about the movie itself someplace else. This is about the sound.

As a writer, I find something about the energy and juxtaposition on this disc propulsive. The way the graceful charm of Ornella Vanoni’s “L’Appuntamento” transitions into the bassy, distorted verve of Holmes’s own “$165 Million + Interest (Into) The Round Up” takes me from contemplation into action. (The back half of that “Round Up” sometimes grates on me, though.)

For writing or play, you’ve got a slew of playful and melodramatic tracks here that build in terrific ways. “What R We Stealing” and “The Real Story” have terrific energies. “Yen On A Carousel” is a fantastic, uplifting sound for a swanky victory pulled from an ugly defeat.

Want to just get a taste of this? Two additional tracks came out as a single from this album: “Amsterdam” and “I Love Art… Really!” Both are repetitive motifs that loop well to create a bit of playful fun for any con.

My favorite piece out of all of these, though, is the dramatic, grandiose, complex sound of “7/29/04 The Day Of.” I play that track for dramatic arrivals, travel montages, moments of ecstatic panic, and all sorts of spirited scenes. The moment around 1:49, when the track gets anxious, is a great dramatic shift if you can nail it. If you miss it in the moment, the through-line sound of the track is still great for action-packed heists.

The mid-century-style swagger and cool on this album reminds me of Lalo Schifrin’s original Mission: Impossible sounds with all the military vibes stripped out. It’s a great sound for surreptitious antics and heisty shenanigans.

I bought Ocean’s Twelve on CD… I can’t remember where. It’s available, disc and download, from Amazon, iTunes, and elsewhere.

TableTop Season 2 Is A Thing That Is Real

Wil Wheaton’s fun and fantastic tabletop hobby-gaming series, TableTop, returns to Geek & Sundry on April 4th. That’s soon!

Soundtrack: The Indiana Jones Soundtrack Collection

When I write, I put on music. When I play RPGs, I put on music. I don’t know anything about music, really, but here’s something I’m listening to.

I’ve written about Indiana Jones elsewhere this week, so I thought I should take a post to underline this wonderful set. John Williams’s musical scores for the Indiana Jones movies are classics. Each one contains a host of unique and stirring themes and each one runs a range from mysterious to adventurous. I do a lot of writing to these scores and I’ve been using them in RPG play since forever.

I had to seek out the Temple of Doom score as a Japanese import years ago because it was otherwise out of print on CD. (I also have it on vinyl.) Now you can get all the scores alone or together as disc or download, including a bonus disc of tracks from the first three films. Get them. These are musts for any soundtrack collection.

I got the physical boxed set of the complete collection as a gift when it came out. Recommended.

Soundtrack: Tomb Raider

When I write, I put on music. When I play RPGs, I put on music. I don’t know anything about music, really, but here’s something I’m listening to.

I thought Jason Graves was a strange choice for Tomb Raider at first. I associate his name with Dead Space, where I first heard of him, and I’m not familiar with the soundtracks for those games yet. The big thing that Lara Croft has been missing, musically, in my opinion, is a terrific theme. Would Jason Graves provide that?

Sort of. Tomb Raider features a pretty decent theme for Lara Croft… but we barely get to hear it in this score and I remain skeptical whether it’s a theme that we’ll hear build or expand in follow-up games. Even the Lara Croft movies failed to stick to a musical theme for her. A shame.

Having played Tomb Raider now [here's my review] I see why Jason Graves was chosen. It’s sort of an adventure game but it’s definitely a survival game — and it’s sometimes horrific. Graves brings urgency, dread, melancholy, and hope to the score, especially through wonderful percussion motifs, but the menace and action is often frantic. I’ve listened to the score a few times now but my first impression was that it was too aggressive to fall into the background while I wrote. Yet I have it on now and the sound is coming across as something more varied than my first listen suggested. So I’ll give it a shot for certain writing projects — I certainly enjoy the textured strings and variety of percussive elements in here.

If Graves can build on the Tomb Raider theme here in a future game, I’ll be happy.

I got Tomb Raider from the Amazon MP3 store.

« Previous PageNext Page »