Friday November 15, 2013
Here are some things I don't want you to miss, but which have dropped way below the fold:
Also, this weekend is Comfy Con!
I'm doing a live Hangout on Saturday at 1pm EST with Spike Trotman (Iron Circus/@iron_spike), Zach Weinersmith (SMBC/@ZachWeiner), Kel McDonald (Sorcery 101/@kellhound), Aaron Diaz (Dresden Codak/@dresdencodak), and Hope Nicholson (@HopeLNicholson). We'll be talking about Kickstarter, and answering questions submitted from the audience.
UPDATE: We're all done hanging out, but you can still watch! Here is the link for the YouTube video.
Friday November 15, 2013
Last month at Conjecture I acquired a signed copy of Bowl of Heaven, by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven. During the summer of 2012 I got to hear Dr. Benford lecture, and he talked about the book, which wasn't out yet. Then, because I don't take notes, I totally forgot about it.
But then I remembered! Because it was right in front of me, and Larry Niven was standing right next to me.
It's a BDO book. Big Dumb Objects (Dyson spheres, Ringworld, Culture orbitals, Can Full of Sky) are a staple of science fiction, and I love them, end employ them shamelessly. In fact, at this moment in Schlock Mercenary we are inside of one. So I knew I'd enjoy Bowl of Heaven, and I turned out to be right. In addition to the eponymous BDO, the book features alien aliens, smart characters out-of-their-depth, and piles of fun science.
The problem with Bowl of Heaven is that it's half the story. Shipstar, the sequel (or 2nd installment? I don't know) comes out in April, and while Bowl of Heaven was satisfying, I didn't find quite enough resolution in the ending. I did, however, find plenty of desire to order Shipstar. Will you want to wait? Maybe. I suppose it depends on how patient you are.
Friday November 15, 2013
I saw Thor: The Dark World a week ago, but got pretty busy doing other things so I didn't get around to reviewing it until just now.
Short version? Satisfying and fun. It clears my Threshold of Awesome on the strength of Tom Hiddleston and a very entertaining climactic battle. Most superhero movies seem to assume that we just want flying and punching and destruction at the end. Me, I like there to be some story and some tension in the fight. Also, something new. Thor 2 delivered that for me.
If you enjoyed Marvel's first Avengers-era Thor installment I'm confident that you'll enjoy this one. It is better! And the reverse may be true: I found that after watching this one I enjoyed the first Thor film quite a bit more (my daughter insisted we watch it after she came home from seeing The Dark World with Sandra.)
The film's biggest weakness is the prologue. I love watching a story unfold, and learning secrets of the past as the characters learn them. This prologue was unecessary, and robbed the film of some tension. There are good prologues, of course, but this wasn't one of them. Fortunately, the film overcame my scowl of deep disdain fairly early on.
Be sure to stick around for the very end-most credits. There's the usual Marvel teaser following the dressed-up credits (is there a name for those?) and then after the long black-and-white scroll we get another couple of goodies.
Thor: The Dark World comes in at #8 for me, just ahead of Pacific Rim.
Monday November 11, 2013
Pre-orders for the Schlock Mercenary 2014 Calendar are open!
Also, things are on sale!
I'm very happy with the way the calendar turned out. Travis did a bang-up job on the colors, and I some of my very best work on the composition and line art. The monthly calendar features Maxims 25 through 36 from The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries, and includes a fairly comprehensive set of holidays right on the monthly grid!
(We provided a separate "enter your own holidays" list in years past, and many of you liked that, but far more of you expressed an interest in having the calendar be useful straight out of the box. We listened!)
But what's on sale? Lots of things! Of special note, however, are the MC1 bundles. When we moved into the warehouse we found exactly 90 of these 5-books-in-a-slip-case sets.We're clearing these out for just $85, but if you pre-order the 2014 calendar (bringing the total to $100) we'll add a Tagon's Toughs coin for free!
Here are the store links:
We also have dice, magnets, coins, and more. Noodle around in the store and stack your cart! With flat-rate shipping it only makes sense.
A word to our international friends: shipping heavy paper products overseas continues to be oppressively priced. We're eating $10 of the $60 flat-rate package, so if you factor shipping into the bundled things, you can get all nine books, the calendar, and a coin for $215, which is just $10 more what you'd pay for them if I sold them to you in person at a convention.
Digital-only ordering of the calendar will open in a couple of weeks. The wallpapers aren't ready yet, and we realize that when people buy digital things, they like instant gratification. Paper calendars will include a link to the PDF, and both the digital and the paper calendars will include links for the wallpapers.
Please note that I'm only doing 350 sketch editions of the 2014 calendar. My hand and brain need more time for other projects.
Thank you for your support! We look forward to shipping this handsome collection of art and aphorism to you during the week of November 22nd.
Thursday November 7, 2013
You may recall Sandra Tayler and Angela Call's picture book from 2008, Hold on to Your Horses -- a book for people, especially younger people, who have some impulse control issues. It's available here, and you can even read it and admire the pictures free of charge here.
Sandra is Kickstarting the sequel. The words are done and the art is done. All the remains is to wrap a cover around it and put it in the hands of the children (and parents, and others) who need it.
I realize this is well outside the usual Schlock Mercenary spectrum. I also realize that many of you are parents, or know people who are. Check out the project! It's about a quarter of the way to funding as of this writing, and some of the reward tiers are very limited because they include original art from Angela. Her colored pencil work is absolutely stunning, and believe me, as gorgeous as the scans are, the originals are even better.
Strength of Wild Horses won't be ready in time for Christmas this year, but we still have a few hundred copies of the first book, and we have been led to understand that they make delightful gifts.