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Messages - Yora

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I am currently playing Dragon Age 2 again, as I never completed it the first time. As much as I enjoyed the semi-noninear story, it really reduces the games replaybility. Should hopefully get better when I get to the later parts, which I havn't seen so often yet.

I am watching Mushishi, a japanese cartoon about a ghost hunter who travels the land of 19th century Japan to help people deal with their spirit problems. The mushi are the most basic form of life, sometimes resembling incorporeal insects, but having generally more in common with amoeba or plankton. They don't want anything and mostly lack any kind of sentience, they simply are everywhere and do what is their nature. Sometimes mushi can become an infestation of a place or parasite of a person, and being tiny invisible spirits, things around them start getting weird. People go deaf or are pained by light, pictures come alive, and geographical features move around. Some people can see the mushi and are trained in dealing with them, who are called the Mushishi. The series follows a specific mushishi, Ginko, who travels wherever people are tormented by ghosts and curses, as most of the time the strange phenomena are caused by mushi. Almost every episode is self-contained and deals with a different case in a different place, so it's easy to watch just one or two whenever one strikes the mood. And as common for anime shows, an episode is just about 20 minutes each.
The great thing about the series is that it looks both gorgeous, but is also very minimalistic. Lots of silence where nothing happens, with some extended dialogs in hushed and mumbing voices. Almost no action other than the occasional exorcisms. The other great aspect is that Ginko usually can not reverse any damage that has been caused by the mushi. He is no wizard and the best he can usually do is to make the mushi travel to another place and make the survivors learn to live with the damage their bodies and minds have suffered during the infestation. And as free of malice as the mushi may be, many of the people affected by them are beyond Ginkos help.

It's a unique and very remarkable show, which I recommend to everyone watching the first two or three episodes.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« on: September 21, 2014, 06:00:44 PM »
I remember that my brother and I both started reading grown up novels when we were about 10 each. Granted, most Star Trek and Star Wars novels are not necessarily high literature, but I can remember for certain my brother digging through 300 page books in a weekend when he was in 4th grade.
We read so much Star Wars novels that I think at some point we had every book that had been translated to German. And I do remember when the Young Jedi Knights series, which was probably aimed at what is now the Young Adult market, we dismissed it as "kiddy-books" and never bought a single one of it. And looking up the release dates, that must have been in 1998 or 1999, when we were about 15 and 12. Now we might be an unusually literate family, but when we were just starting to enter the target audience group, we already considered ourselves much too old for it.
Overlord mentioned one defining element of young adult books being lessons and morals. Now it has been a few years since I was a teen, and I was far from being a rebellious kid, but "morals and lessons" still sounds to me as something that would make teens run away like nothing else. Maybe it works and they like it if you feed it to them secretly while disguising that you are doing so. But all the books aimed at teenagers I read in the 90s were just terrible at that. Using the term "young adult" seems to me like a step to avoid the problem, since the target audience appears to be actually "older kids". Not sure how well it is working out for publishers to label something as young adult, but I do see also a risk of maybe scaring away another audience who even might like the books if they would read them.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: September 21, 2014, 05:28:18 PM »
I am currently reading Swords Against Death by Fritz Leiber. Much more for research than entertainment, though. Since I am considering trying my hands at Sword & Sorcery and Leiber created the term with his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories (among others) in mind, I feel like I have to at least know his work to maybe get some better understanding how the genre ticks and what makes it work. Unfortunately, Swords Against Death is not something I would call good, and the chronological first book Swords and Deviltry was downright terrible. And one of the stories in that one got a Hugo Award.

However after that one, I have Swords and Dark Magic, a multi-author anthology from 2010. I have much higher hopes for that one.

Writers' Corner / Re: Worldbuilding - Maps and Bioms
« on: September 21, 2014, 05:04:31 PM »
In my experience from roleplaying games, where consistent geography and accurate maps are much more important than in stories, you can get very far in map making with just common sense. Cold at the poles and on top of high mountains, tropical jungles near the equator, and deserts mostly north and south of the jungle belt. Rivers flow from high places to lower ones, and merge with other rivers but almost never split (coastal river deltas being the exception).
You can dive deeper than that by adding considerations for wind directions and mountains blocking the transport of moisture from the sea, but that's something that generally goes completely unnoticed by anyone who isn't an expert in these things, too.

If you avoid blatant errors, you can get away with a lot. I think most famous fantasy world maps have a very low climatic consistency. If you're having fun with learning about the details, there's no reason to stop it. But I consider the subject something a writer doesn't need to lose any sleep on. It's really not that important.

Reminds me of the american trailer for Ghost in the Shell. The very first thing in it is a narrator giving away the ending. I stopped watching trailers for anything a long time ago.
Havn't experienced that with a book though.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Your Most Hated Fantasy Book Ever
« on: September 21, 2014, 04:44:29 PM »
For me, that's easily both Hand of Fire and Crown of Fire by Ed Greenwood. The first book in the series, Spellfire, was already bad. But the second and third just got increasingly worse.
Somehow I still read them to the end, but they were really bad. Today I probably give up halfway through the first one if I got something that terrible.

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