Where to start?
At the beginning, I suppose. The flight from Vancouver was good, got into the air without a hitch and the flight was comfortable (except for the over-ripe Dutch woman beside my girlfriend who couldn’t help but take up all the space she paid for… plus half of my girlfriend’s.) Getting off the plane was interesting, though. When we arrived in Schipol airport, we couldn’t help but notice all the dozens of guards armed with machine gun. I suppose that’s what happens, though, when you arrive in a westernized country on September 11th. Despite the guards, we arrived safe and sound… to find the city of Amsterdam taking a beating from a torrential downpour!
Use of Weapons
Author – Iain M. Banks
Pages: 512 pages
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: Feb. 1st, 1990
It had always seemed to him that the ideal man was either a soldier or a poet, and so, having spent most of his years being one of those â€“ to him â€“ polar opposites, he determined to attempt to turn his life around and become the other.
So opens Chapter VI of Use of Weapons a militaristic Science Fiction novel that many consider to be one of Iain M. Banks’ best works. Coincidentally, this passage also very accurately describes Banks as both a writer and a storyteller.
Use of Weapons balances the fine line between being a poetically over-complicated piece of literature and a frenetic tale of revenge and warfare. The tale often hops back and forth between the two styles and with each change I found myself jarred out of the experience. Part of this is the result of the actual structure of the story, which is, in many ways, a short story collection wrapped around a longer piece of fiction, each short story adding to the longer overall narrative.
Being a strict narccisist, I just thought some of you might be interested in a couple of links from around the web concerning A Dribble of Ink.
The first is another edition of Grasping for the Wind‘s ‘Ask the Bloggers’ series of articles. This time around John asks us about maps:
Should SF&F books have maps included for the readers? Are there any special conditions when they should or should not? Was there ever a book you wished had map that didn’t? Or vice versa?
Certainly an interesting bevvy of responses, all of which can be found HERE.
The second is a great article by Ana and Thea (the girls behind The Book Smugglers, which you should check out, if you haven’t already!) about the rise of online book reviews and the impact it’s having on print reviews.
Not only do they have a few nice words for A Dribble of Ink, but it’s a damn good article in its own right! You can find it HERE.
A long, bloody time in the making, Spore finally hit store shelves (of course it had to be 3 days before I leave the country…) and I couldn’t resist picking it up to finally get my hands on it, despite how crappy my PC might run the game. Still, I’ve put a bit of time into the game and have come away utterly charmed!
While the game is a shadow of what was promised years ago (more or less and ‘Everything’-simulator), what is there shines. Spore‘s success lives or dies on its creature creator and, though I’ve only hit the second stage of evolution for my creature (called a Kruppe!), I’m already astounded by the level of customization available and how it all works! The flexibility of the engine becomes rather mind boggling when one takes a look at the Sporepedia and peruses the creatures created by all the other players in the world, a number over 10 million strong.
Here’s a look at the creatures made by my brother and I:
If you want to follow along with my creations (well, mostly my brother’s while I’m gone), you can head on over to my profile in the Sporepedia and see everything that’s come out of my twisted mind!
If you’ve got Spore, be sure to leave my your name so I can add you in game and have your creatures populate my galaxy!
Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Next week is going to be a big time for me, but a sore time for A Dribble of Ink. Iâ€™ll be flying away from my lovely country of Canada and making again for the wild shores of Europe.
Thisâ€™ll mark the second time that my girlfriend and I have up and left everything behind, teeming into the wild yonder together in search of adventure. Hardships are sure to come at us from all sides, but through our strength weâ€™ll persevere!
Heh, alright, Iâ€™ll stop talking like a clichÃ©-ridden adventure fantasy novel.