Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bioshock—One of the Greatest Sci-Fi Games of All

The following is a guest post by Sci-Fi Bloggers. Sci-Fi Bloggers is an online magazine covering all things science fiction and fantasy: movies, TV, books, video games, comics and more.
Bioshock was released in 2007, making it a bit dated now. However, it is still well known for having one of the best storyline twists in gaming history (no spoilers here). The Bioshock franchise is still operating, with Bioshock Infinite currently scheduled for release on February 26th, 2013. However, the reason the franchise has been so successful is of course due to the original game.

Bioshock tells a chilling story as the protagonist (you) is in a plane crash and ends up entering the underwater city of Rapture. The story immediately drags you into the setting as you go underwater. Everything feels like something out of the 1920s-1940s and that image works really well with the game, just as the choice of radio music did for Fallout 3. You receive help from a man who talks to you over the radio, whom you only know as Atlas. He helps you survive conflicts with splicers, people who have rewritten some of their genetic code and essentially gone crazy in this destroyed city.

One of Bioshock's defining and most remarkable aspects is the concept of the big daddy and little sister. Little sisters are little girls who have the ability to harvest adam, which is used to rewrite genetic code and make yourself much more powerful. By taking the adam from these little sisters, you're able to upgrade yourself with abilities like shooting bees from your hands or taking less damage from enemy attacks. Bioshock however, presents you with a choice, do you destroy the girl and get a lot of adam, or rescue her, turning her back into a normal little girl and harvesting less adam in the process? The choice is yours. Whatever you decide though, in order to get to a little sister you have to go through the big daddy. Big daddies are massive beasts in old school diving suits. These behemoths can absorb a lot of damage before they go down and have absolutely no problems dishing it out, making them the toughest enemies in the game. Once you beat the big daddy though, the little sister is yours.

Bioshock is a game that really proved that the single player experience still isn't dead in gaming. As much as multiplayer games have taken over the gaming industry (for good reason) there is still a lot to be said for those single player games that are just so much fun you play them over and over. I've personally beat Bioshock five times, let me tell you, Bioshock 2 doesn't hold a candle to it. Bioshock's game play is very unique (or was) and it's story and characters were fantastic. In many games, you find things like audio tracks and other such things. Bioshock is probably the only game I've ever played where I actually listened to the audio tracks. The voice acting was well done and the dialogue was interesting. Some of those audio tracks are just so disturbing and wonderful and help you delve just that much deeper into the game. For example, the audio tracks "The Iceman Cometh" and "The Wild Bunny".

I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Bioshock. It's a wonderful game and it's not very expensive anymore. Not only is it engaging, thought provoking, and sometimes outright terrifying, it's just plain fun. It's one of those games you can lose track of time playing and come to six or seven hours later and realize you still don't want to stop. So play it, especially if you're considering getting Bioshock Infinite. (You can skip Bioshock 2. It's good, but it's not THAT good)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Batman's Greatest Foes

The following is a guest post by Sci-Fi Bloggers. Sci-Fi Bloggers is an online magazine covering all things science fiction and fantasy: movies, TV, books, video games, comics and more. 

Batman has one of the greatest rogue galleries in all of comics. The Joker. Two-Face. Penguin. Catwoman. Even people who don't read comics know these iconic characters. But who do I think is the ultimate villain in Gotham City, the one master criminal who rises far above the rest to bring pain to Batman and his never ending struggle to protect Gotham? Read on.
There is one reason why Two-Face is one of Batman's most dangerous foes, and he was once an ally. He was once a righteous district attorney by the name of Harvey Dent, helping Batman and Jim Gordon clean the mean streets of Gotham City. Until he got acid thrown on half of his face and went insane. After that moment Harvey Dent was no more, and a new persona took over, one by the name of Two-Face. He blames Batman for the terrible turn that his life took and seeks to cause him pain whenever possible. Itís the tragedy of the character of Harvey Dent that makes Two-Face a compelling villain.
Everybody knows who the Joker is, but not where he came from. The mystery surrounding his origin is part of what makes the Joker so terrifying and compelling. He is the polar opposite of Batman in many ways, the antithesis to everything Batman does. He's also one of the most brutal criminals Batman has ever faced. He beat Jason Todd, then Robin, to death and crippled Barbara Gordon with a gunshot to the spine, and Batman will always remember the events as two of his biggest failures.
Few villains have accomplished what Bane has. Bane became obsessed with defeating Batman, learning his identity, his habits and his patterns. He waited for months for his plan to exhaust Batman to come to fruition. Then, when the moment was finally right, he snuck into the Batcave and he did the impossible; he broke Batman, mentally and physically. He took the Dark Knight out of the picture for a significant amount of time. That is no small feat, and in my book places Bane as Batman's deadliest foe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Necronomicon, St. Pete, FL—Where I'll Be!

If you're in the Tampa Bay area, please stop by Necronomicon on October 26 - 28, 2012 at the Hilton Bayfront in St. Petersburg, FL. I'll have an author's table that weekend to sell and sign books, as well as participating in the following panel discussions (subject to change, but for now, here they are)

Friday, October 26
  • 1:00 PM—ST PETE 3—The Resurgence of Fairy Tales 
  • 3:00 PM—ST PETE 3—The Best Movie Superhero Team Ever!
  • 8:00 PM—DEMENS—QUILTBAG: Spanning the Gamut of Gender Orientation in Fiction
  • 10:00 PM—ST PETE 3—LGBT Characters in Genre Literature & Film

Saturday, October 27
  • 1:00 PM—ST PETE 3—Military SF: What Does It Tell Us About Ourselves?
  • 7:00 PM—HTC 3—Diversity in SF & F

Sunday, October 28
  • 10:00 AM—DEMENS—Erotica Vs. Porn

Books in the Basin Commercial

I will be one of the authors at the Books in the Basin festival in Odessa, TX on October 6, 2012. Here is the commercial announcing the festival (aired in Odessa and environs, I would imagine).

My Interview on Edin Road Radio tonight @ 6:30 p.m. EST

Come listen to my interview with Jesse Coffey of Edin Road Radio at 6:30 p.m. EST at Edin Road's website: I'll be reading an excerpt from Task Force: Gaea as well as speaking about writing, other projects, and whatever else we decide to chat about.

If you can't listen live, then a podcast of the interview will be posted as a follow up. I hope you enjoy what you hear!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Journey - All the Pages in Between

I've often been asked, "How did you come up with the idea for your novel?" Well, I've commented here in the past about my interests in Greek mythology and comics, two tremendous interests of mine that merged. What it comes down to is wanting to tell a story. Being a reader for as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to share my loves with others. I don't think anyone really knows when he or she decides to write whether there's an audience out there. Most of us write at first because we just want to put onto paper the ideas floating around in our head, to make sense of the random bits and pieces of narration. That raw language that makes it onto paper, or computer screen, doesn't stay raw for long, and through much editing, soul-searching, and even some tears, writers bring forth the polished pieces that bring them the most pride.

I fell in love with my novel when it was in its infancy, I think. Just like parents bond with newborns, writers hold fast to their tales, never wanting them to leave their sight or their touch. I had months when I was an over-protective parent, and then I had months when I needed to leave it all alone. Like a teenager, it challenges us, pushes our buttons, and even makes us angry, especially when we don't know what to do with it. 

The thoughts and ramblings that coalesced into the novel came about through great emotional upheaval. How do you write the end of a novel when you want it to be a mystery even to you? I mean, doesn't every reader want to be surprised by the ending of a novel? Isn't it that anticipation that keeps us reading? It took years for me to find my path, the path to the last page. Once I knew where the story was going, at least in the first book, I actually felt a sense of relief. I had an end point. I had a "point B" for my "point A," and it actually made me cry. It was at that point I knew my story would have to end.

Now, I have a "point C" and "D" and so much more to write. Ideas now flow like a river unrestrained, sometimes like raging rapids. The process of creation never truly ends, and even the last page of one novel is simply the first page of the future.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Primordials 101

According to the Greek poet, Hesiod, KHAOS, the Great Void, was the first being to emerge at creation. According to a variety of sources, she birthed other protogenoi (proto-YEN-oy) or primordial beings, like Eros, Nyx, Tartaros, Erebos, Aether, Hemera, and Gaea. Some say the Moirae, or The Fates, came from Khaos as well.

Here's a little information on a few of the Primordials, just so you have the basics (and for when you read Task Force: Gaea).

EROS, the embodiment of love, was viewed by a primordial emerging fully formed at the dawn of creation, but also as the son of Aphrodite—depends on the source.

NYX, night incarnate, allegedly gave birth to many beings, including Moros, Ker, Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), the Hesperides, the Keres, the Morae, Nemesis, the Erinyes (the Furies), Hekate, et al. Again, different sources!

TARTAROS, the great pit of the underworld, was where souls experienced unimaginable torment.

EREBOS, darkness incarnate, spouse of Nyx. Some say he was the son of Khaos.

AETHER, the protogenos of the bright, upper air of heaven, where light existed, and son of Nyx and Erebos, or just Khaos.

HEMERA, protogenos of day, daughter of Nyx and Erebos, or just Khaos.

OURANOS, the starry heavens, was the son/husband of Gaea.

GAEA, the earth itself.

OUREA, the protogenoi of the mountains.

PONTOS and THALASSA, protogenoi of the sea, male and female, respectively.

THANATOS, death incarnate.

Um, yeah. Not far from the truth!

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