News for CatTotW, HALLS, Pickett’s Castle, and Towers of Dream

Since I’m not on Twitter, I can’t really shill for myself very loudly and get any #RebuildInitiative love. But hey, I don’t necessarily have to take advantage of the fact that the bar to call oneself a game-dev has been set incredibly low; I actually AM a game developer, though only the eBook of City at the Top of the World with its sweet hyperlinking action allows me the obtuse claim to the title of video game developer.

I have HALLS (High Adventure Low Level System), which could use some polish, and I did write a B/X Halloween micro-module, as well as a surreal tower mini-module.

But where was I going with this? Oh, right. My exclusive term with Amazon is about to expire for City at the Top of the World. I’ll have a pdf version of City (one which reflects the print version) available at Drive Thru before the end of the month, which means I’ll also be able to have up some of my other gaming titles available there as well.

I’ll probably have some sort of update around the 22nd, at which point I can push all of that stuff live. I want to keep most of my game stuff free, but Drive-thru requires at least one for-pay item, and City at the Top of the World is something I feel comfortable charging for.

Truth about HALLS is that it probably needs a lot of work to make into a balanced system, but it has a few ideas I think that are worthwhile. Anyway, it will probably continue to be free in a pay what you want form.  The main difference is, my stuff will all be in one spot instead of spread across years of posts here at Cirsova.

Bad and/or Weird Books I’ve Been Reading

Not long ago, I mentioned how I’d been reading Clan of the Cave Bear and then suddenly the second-hand book market got flooded with hardcover copies of several of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children books. In the middle of Clan and loving the hell out of it, I picked up several of the sequels for a couple bucks a piece.

Well, I’m about 2/3s of the way through Valley of the Horses, and I’m a little blah about the direction it’s been going. The first half of the book is like two different books that have been spliced together. The first book is the actual sequel to Clan of the Cave Bear in which Ayla finds herself struggling to live in exile, adapting to life along, and winning over awesome animal companions. The second book, whose chapters are interspersed with the first, is rather awkwardly written and fairly explicit caveman erotica. The inevitable conclusion is going to be when Ayla and the new protagonist finally meet up and Ayla’s loneliness and isolation is cured by the new male protagonist’s giant caveman dong.*

I plan on finishing it, because I really hate not finishing books I’m in the middle of, but I don’t know if I’m going to read any of the other sequels.

Now, one book that I don’t think i can finish is Godhunter. It was one of several free books I downloaded from Drive-Thru Fiction months ago. Of the books I downloaded, the one of the only ones I was able to read all the way through was Thieves at Heart. I wanted to like Thieves at Heart, and at times I really did enjoy it, but it took some really bizarre turns, and I doubt I’ll ever get around to finishing the series. It sells itself as a fantasy take on Oliver Twist, only Oliver in this is a half-elf girl and the Fagin character has on his one ward and is not so entirely characterized in terms of his Jewishness. It had some nice slice of life, life of a petty thief and shill stuff that might give you some interesting game ideas, but the later portion of the book gives a pretty strong focus to the protagonist’s puberty, upon the reaching of which she goes into full-on sex-fiend mode. While it’s nowhere near as explicit as Valley of the Horses, it was not particularly pleasant. When I grabbed Godhunter, I didn’t know that it was an “erotic thriller” though despite that, it is generally less explicit than either Thieves at Heart or Valley of the Horses. It is laughably bad, though laughable badness can only carry one so far through a book before the boredom sets in. Godhunter is a tongue-in-cheek-but-not-parody-unless-Poe’s-Law story of a woman who kills gods who are actually ancient-evil-atlanteans-who-have-deceived-mankind-but-not-all-of-them-are-evil-some-want-to-save-mankind-from-the-evil-ones. The protagonist ends up having a rocky relationship with Thor, who, honest-to-god, is written in such a way that I can’t imagine him being anything other than Aquaman from Batman: Brave and the Bold. Seriously, imagine this guy as the male love interest in a smutty romance novel:

Like I said, the “oh, god, this is so bad it’s funny” humor only got me so far, and I don’t think I can force myself to finish this trainwreck. I can totally understand why people are so apprehensive of self-published ebooks, especially free ones. The ones I’ve read so far have been pretty iffy. Except Ava Delany. Thirst was okay, I guess, but I don’t think I’m going to read any of the others in the series.

I think I’m going to turn to non-fiction for a book or two once I’m done with Valley of the Horses. I’ve got a bio of Tallyrand that’s just screaming to be read.

*:like serious, it’s an important character development point how big this dude’s dong is, and he’s kind of mopey that none of the cavewomen he meets on his adventure are able to take all of it.