Monday, May 28, 2018

Magic From The Sky - Part 1 on Steemit!


Jarik Davin and his robotic assistant Wilson investigate a crashed spaceship for salvage. Will what they find be their greatest haul yet, or spell their doom?

https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/magic-from-the-sky-part-1

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep.89 ft. Jesse Abraham Lucas



Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the podcast! This week I finally get the recording with Discord and OBS working properly and get to talk to Jesse Abraham Lucas! We discuss the pulp revolution, storytelling, wonder in stories, realism, and all kinds of other things! Now we did have a bit of an issue with Jesse cutting out at times, but you can understand what he's saying, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. In the interest of not having you guys think I'm cutting him off or deceptively editing, I've left those gaps of dead air in when we had technical difficulties and some of his discussion gets cut off. He also calls me on a couple of contentions we've butted heads on in the past! Hope y'all enjoy!

MP3 download of this episode: 
https://ia800408.us.archive.org/25/items/jimfear_audio_productions/ep89.mp3


Jesse's links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseLucasSaga

PulpRev dot com: http://www.pulprev.com/

Blogspot: https://jesseabrahamlucas.blogspot.com/


Social Media Dump:

FeedBurner: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jimfear138

Maker Support: https://www.makersupport.com/JimFear138

Ko-Fi: http://ko-fi.com/jimfear

Steemit: https://steemit.com/@jimfear138

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jimfear138/id1107844659?mt=2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LichJim

Tumblr: https://jimthedefiant.tumblr.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JimFear138

Blogspot: http://jimfear138.blogspot.com/

Wordpress: https://jimfear138.wordpress.com/

Bandcamp: https://jimfear138.bandcamp.com/

Gab: https://gab.ai/JimFear138

Minds: https://www.minds.com/JimFear138

Dailymotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/jimfear138

Opening Music:
Honey Bee by Kevin Macleod: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100755
Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Sunday, May 27, 2018

STASIS Review: Super Evil Space Science


It's been a while since I've done a game review, so I thought I'd write one up on a game I just finished called Stasis. For those of you who've never heard of this one, Stasis is a point-and-click adventure game that follows more in the vein of Event Horizon, The Thing, and Alien than something like Myst. It promises a terrifying environment with engaging puzzles and a story that makes you pee yourself, but does it deliver?

Well, yes and no. Don't get too excited about the comparisons, because while it bears similarities to those movies, it tends to fall flat in certain areas. As per usual with these reviews I'll give you a basic plot synopsis and an overview of my general opinion so that if you're just looking for a recommendation (or something to avoid) without getting into Spoilertown then you can know where I stand and not have the story ruined. And it's a good thing I do it that way because after that we're gonna get into some heavy, heavy, game-ending-ruining level spoilers because I've got some shit I need to get off my chest about this particular...thing. But I'll warn you before those come up, so no worries.

Stasis is the story of a man, John Maracheck, and his quest to rescue his wife and child (Ellen and Rebecca, respectively) from what basically amounts to hell on a spaceship. He wakes up from a stasis chamber, badly injured, and after getting some medical attention he's contacted by a woman named Te-ah who promises to help him find them and get off this ship. Over the course of the game's story, delivered through PDA logs and computer terminals and emails, he discovers that science has gone mad in space (again), and this entire ship is host to dangerous creatures that want nothing more than to nibble on your soft, meaty bits. They've killed almost all of the crew, and it's up to John to solve puzzles, collect items, and survive long enough to see his family back to saner areas of the universe.

The first thing I'll say about Stasis is that the atmosphere is quite good. They were going for Alien meets Event Horizon, and they hit that area perfectly. The technology has an almost retro-futuristic feel to it, not quite at the level of Alien: Isolation, but getting there, and impressive for an indie title like this one with a very small team. Seriously, the credits were about 15 lines long. But with that small team they made this ship feel like a real place with real danger, even if they did go a bit too heavy on the shock/disgust factor of SPATTER EVERYTHING IN GORE. But the Groomlake (the ship) feels at once wide open and oppressively claustrophobic, alive and dead, highly advanced yet falling apart, and I have to give props to The Brotherhood for nailing the atmosphere to the wall with industrial medical staples.

The puzzles are also very well thought out. I'm basically an idiot, but for some reason I love point-and-click puzzle solvers, even if I do need some help with the occasional fiendishly difficult puzzle. But, after getting the help, I feel like a dolt because more often than not it just involves creative use of the environment and what's in my inventory, like most P&C games. However, I will say that in some instances you could wander about for hours (if you're just determined to not look it up) pixel hunting the environment for that one single item you're missing to solve everything. That kind of thing makes certain areas of this game more than a little frustrating, but apart from three or four instances I found all the items very handily. The puzzles are fun, challenging, and creative, and there are very, very few instances where I thought, "I don't know how the fuck they expected me to figure that out."

The voice acting is tight the vast majority of the time, but other times leaves a little to be desired. I don't want to talk too much shit about an indie studio, because they might not have been able to hire professionals, or even semi-pro VA's, and for the most part the lines are delivered well with the proper amount of emotion behind them. The VA's try, even if they don't nail their performances 100% of the time. Although, for some reason, you can't pause while the voice reel scenes are going. Can't work that out, but set aside some time to play this one if you pick it up. 

The graphics are also serviceable. Now the backgrounds are downright gorgeous at certain points, and a lot of detail went into them. I can't fault the background designs one bit. They were always interesting to look at and hunt through. The character models, on the other hand, felt a little wooden, and looked more like they were sliding across the screen rather than interacting with the scenery at times. Granted, this is an isometric P&C game, so this isn't really all that important, just something I noticed more often than I should've in the game. But, indie title, so some things can be forgiven.

The soundtrack is also very well put together, and adds the proper level of creepy to the environment. The sound effects are very well made too. They're good sound quality, and honestly if you get it I'd recommend playing it at night, in the dark, with isolation headphones on to get the full effect. I don't know if I'd pay an extra five bucks to get the soundtrack downloadable on its own, but it does what it's supposed to and never detracts from the overall experience like pixel hunting or the somewhat wooden character models occasionally do.

Now, for the bad shit. I feel like I've given a balanced accounting of this game's various features, laying out good and bad, but this is so bad it needed its own section before you throw down your money.

As I've said several times, this is a point-and-click adventure game in a horror environment, and gameplay is centered around puzzle solving. They go to a lot of effort to make you feel like you're directly in danger a lot of the time, as if a monster is going to leap out at any moment and tear your head off Dead Space style. However, in order to give the player ample time to actually solve the puzzles, that literally never happens. Apart from certain points wherein the dangerous thing is on a track and completely avoidable, you are almost never in direct danger. This excludes a couple of timed puzzles wherein you have to take care of a certain thing in a certain time or die, no avoiding it, but overall you have all the time you need to search for items, combine them, try them on different things, backtrack, whatever you need. 

Once you realize this the game quickly goes from, "For a P&C game this is really creepy and scary," to, "Okay how much longer will I have to scrape my mouse over the screen to find that one thing I'm missing?" The sense of danger is completely gone, and even in those instances where something does kill you it's just a matter of trial and error till you learn how to avoid it. So really this is less like Silent Hill and more like Dark Souls, in the sense that you don't feel directly threatened, but if you are you have infinite lives so you've got plenty of time to learn how to deal with it. So while the atmosphere in the game is plenty creepy, it's not played to the effect it could've been if John's life were actually in direct danger more than four or five times in the entire game.

I mean, this is a horror game, for god's sake. Atmosphere that never materializes into anything becomes background noise after like an hour of dithering around the medical facility.

So far as a verdict goes, if you dig horror games and point and click adventure puzzle solvers, this is worth a buy on sale. At the time of this writing it costs $20.00 USD, $25 for the Deluxe Edition on GOG dot com. I just have the basic, and I'm pretty sure I got it on sale myself. Put simply it's just not worth $20 in my estimation. For a game with only one ending, one storyline, extremely limited replayability, about 9 hours of story in that one line, and a depressing lack of danger for a horror game, it's worth playing, but drop that price down to around $15 and we'll start talking. $10 would be a lot more fair, in my mind, but for an indie title it's well put together and doesn't try to be more than what it is gameplay-wise. They knew what they were doing and did it competently. My recommendation is drop it in your wishlist and pick it up when GOG puts it up on sale. If you're into a good puzzle solver with some damn fine atmosphere (problems with that taken into account) this game won't disappoint and is actually fun to play.

Now we're gonna get into serious spoiler territory, so back out now if you actually want to play this thing and don't want the ending ruined because I'm about to bend that shit over a table and fuck it to death. I should mention again that, as a game, Stasis is perfectly playable, didn't crash, and was entertaining for however long it took me to get through the story. I have very few issues with this game as a game, apart from personal nitpicks mentioned above.

As a story, however, I have some very large fucking problems, and since this is getting into personal taste and my opinions on the horror genre in general, I've left it for this section of the review instead of bringing it up beforehand.

Okay so, as stated, this is about Evil Science Being Evil In Space. Fair enough. That's been done a lot, but this game takes a new little twist on it that I don't see a lot in sci-fi horror. Everything on this ship is 100% the fault of humans spitting in God's eye. There's no aliens, they don't go to hell like in Event Horizon, there's no cosmic evil, just human scientists being completely evil little shits and taking experiments far beyond the bounds of ethics and sanity.

This isn't a problem in and of itself. It was actually pretty cool. I thought there was going to be some alien organism, but no. The plot of this game can basically be summed up as:



So we've got mad scientists, a crippled spaceship far beyond the bounds of traveled space, genetically engineered monsters eating people, and one guy wanting to find his family and get the fuck out as fast as possible. Ostensibly this is a really good setup for a sci-fi horror story. How, you may ask, could they fuck this up?

They fundamentally misunderstand how this type of horror story is supposed to go, especially within a video game like this. This game has a bad end, and only a bad end.

Now I should mention that I have no problem with horror stories ending badly. Most of H.P. Lovecraft's stories ended badly, and I love movies like Requiem For A Dream. Not every horror story has to have a happy ending, and indeed some stories are better served by ending badly. The issue with a story like Stasis, compared to something like, say, In The Mouth Of Madness by John Carpenter, is that the bad end in Mouth Of Madness was set up from the very beginning. It was obvious as the movie progressed that John Trent wasn't going to make it out because it starts off with him in a mental institution covered in charcoal-drawn crosses.

We know where this is going from the jump.

However, with a story like Stasis, we're expecting some kind of reward for all our hard work, and maybe this has something to do with Stasis being a video game rather than a movie. In a movie, we're drawn along with the story, we don't actively do anything to advance it. Asses in seats, we watch along as the story washes over us and no work is required on our part.

In a game, on the other hand, we do put in that work. What takes 2 hours max to tell in a movie takes upwards of 5 to sometimes more than 60 in a game, and on top of the time investment we also have effort invested into it. With a game like Stasis we've gathered items, combined them, put them places, solved increasingly difficult puzzles, and followed along with John's emotional turmoil as he's discovered exactly how fucked up this ship is and imagined what could be happening to his wife and daughter. Because of this, we want them to make it out.

Spoilers, they don't.

Nobody does.

This is a big, catastrophically fucking huge problem with this game's story. At least in my incredibly arrogant opinion. The big kick in the balls, the point I started to actively dislike this game's story, was late-late in the game where we have to sit there and watch one of the abominations Dr. Malan (the mad scientist in charge of this deathtrap) has created rip John's daughter to squishy wet bits in front of our faces without being able to do anything about it. 

This feels like you're betraying me. Like you're saying, "Oh, you thought there would actually be some kind of glimmer of hope in this universe? How stupid of you! Our story is much better when you see everything you thought you were working for killed in front of you! You don't get to have hope, you silly pleb! Hope is for losers! Grimdark and eternal sadness is what makes stories grown up!"

Yeah, piss on my back and tell me it's raining.

So okay, the daughter is dead in a horrendously grotesque fashion and he had to watch it happen, but Ellen is still alive, right? We still have a chance for a moderately happy ending in all this death and misery! Yeah, their daughter's dead, but we can link up with Te-ah, make Malan pay for that, and then escape from this hellship and inform the government about what Cayne Corp. (the evil corporation bankrolling the Groomlake) has been doing out here where nobody can hear me scream!

No, you retard. That's not how things really work! How fucking stupid of you to have hope! That's for fags!

So you go through some more puzzles and finally make it to the hangar where Malan has Te-ah at gunpoint, and your wife is in a stasis tube near Te-ah's escape craft. After some puzzle solving wizardry you take out Malan, then Te-ah turns on you! After all the help you gave her, she decides to leave you for dead because your wife's bone marrow has the research in it (somehow) and she wants to sell it to some other corporation so that she can ruin Cayne for killing her husband years ago. So after another quick puzzle you wind up killing Te-ah, but because the other stasis pod was damaged there's no hope for John.

In a last heroic act before he dies, John (you) send your wife off in the escape craft (already on autopilot). He watches the ship fly off out of the hangar, away from the Groomlake, and into space towards safety! We get a nice big panning shot of the Groomlake, see Te-ah's ship flying away, zoom in on the inside, close up on the stasis pod, take a look inside, and...

Ellen's a fucking corpse. Sunken eye sockets, dried out skin, the full nine. She's fucking dead, John. Everything you worked for in this game has come to absolutely jack and shit, and jack left town.


I cannot properly put into words how badly this pisses me off after sinking like 8 or 9 hours into this game's storyline. If it weren't for the clever puzzles and all the effort they put into writing the PDA notes and the music and the fun I had actually playing the game, this would absolutely be a fucking deal breaker for me. As it stands I'm currently on the fence about whether I should've recommended people pick it up earlier, even on sale.

As a horror junkie who's put a lot of time into understanding this genre, let me explain what makes a satisfying horror story. 

Satisfying horror stories have one of two ends, good end or bad end. Satisfying bad end horror stories telegraph that shit well beforehand, so you know what you're getting into. In Requiem For A Dream, they're all drug addicts, and there is literally no glimmer of hope in the entire movie. You know precisely what you're getting into from the jump, from word go, and what makes that movie effective is knowing they're fucked and watching their self-destructive behaviors run their natural course.

Or in Return of the Living Dead. This is the series with the immortal zombies you literally cannot get rid of. The extinction-event zombie movies. They never get better. There is literally no part of that movie wherein you think, "They might have a way to stop this." Not one spot. So when you get to the end and they're burning the bodies, and the virus gets up into the clouds and rains down on a graveyard to animate the corpses, it just cements the "YOU'RE FUCKED" nature of those films, which puts them in sharp contrast to George Romero's zombie movies.

Now, in a story like what Stasis could've been, exemplified in something like Silent Hill, if you do everything right along the way there's a good end to that game. Harry makes it out, rescues and adopts the baby, and even the police lady gets to live. It was happily ever after until Silent Hill 3 happened, but my point is at the end of SH1 you were satisfied because you put in the work, solved the puzzles, killed the monsters, and saved everybody. The hope for making it out alive was always there, and in the proper ending of the game it pays off in spades.

Or for another example that's closer to sci-fi horror, Alien. In Alien Ellen Ripley(oh I just caught that, I bet the devs thought they were slick) has to deal with this fucking monster slaughtering all her friends on the crew, runs a marathon of trials, and makes it out at the end. Even the cat lives (They kill the cat in Stasis. Pissed me OFF.). That even translates over to the sequel. It has a satisfying ending because our heroine overcomes the danger and escapes. 

With the amount of work a game like Stasis expects you to put in, having it end like that is A: cheap as fuck and B: seriously dissatisfying. Like I said, it was nearly a deal breaker for my recommendation. You just couldn't let us have a nice thing at the end of this hellish series of trials you've designed for us. Fuck's sake even Portal has a good ending. Once again I'm finding it difficult to put into words precisely how bad of a decision this was, and precisely how angry it makes me.

Really I think this anger stems from having the main character watch his daughter get ripped to pieces in front of him. It almost feels like the original ending of Clerks.

For those unfamiliar, the Kevin Smith movie Clerks actually ends with Randall and Dante cleaning up and leaving the store to come back to work the next day. In the original ending, however, a robber runs in at the end and shoots Dante in the chest, killing him. This ending was changed because a professional filmmaker sat Smith down and told him, "You can't just kill your main character because you don't know how to end your movie."

That's what this feels like. They didn't know how to end the game on a good note, so they just killed everyone and called it a day. Even the heroic sacrifice of John trying to at least let his wife escape is completely undercut and pissed on by having her be dead this entire time. It makes the entire struggle of the game, the emotional investment I as a player put into it, and the story itself feel pointless and like it might as well not have been told.

Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon about this. Likesay, the game is competent and does what it intends to, but that ending just rankled me so damn badly I had to rant about it. But this post is too long by half, so I'll wrap it up now. If you want to play this game after knowing that, go to and good luck, but get it on sale. Can't stress that enough. I'm sure when they were designing it and writing it they felt that this was a great subversion of your standard horror story ending and that it was a remarkably clever thing to do, but all it did was piss me off and make me not want to pick up any of the other games with their studio name on it.

This was worth the time sink and the money, but by god did that ending piss me off. Grab it if you dare, but don't say I didn't warn you.

--


If you enjoyed this post, you can find many more like it here on my website, or on my Steemit page. You can also find free original science fiction and fantasy stories, as well as my contributions to the anthology Darkest of Dreams from DimensionBucket Media on Amazon. Feel free to check out my other work, including my weekly podcast and audiobooks I've produced. You can also throw me a tip if you like at Ko-fi.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Ancient Forest Temple - Part 3 on Steemit!


The old hermit Entwhistle leads Artemis & Co. to the ancient temple in the forest, but will it hold their escape from this land, or death?

https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-ancient-forest-temple-part-3

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep.88 - Emergency Ramblecast



Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the podcast! Now I know you guys were expecting me to have Jesse Abraham Lucas on the show this week, but unfortunately there was a completely unfixable problem with the audio recording, and I'm forced to scrap that. I've talked with him, and we're going to try for the next podcast, barring life getting in the way. In the meantime, have this rambling talk about the new Tumblrcats Meow show and the motivations behind such an atrocity, and a talk about Robert E. Howard and how his writing has effected my own style since I've started reading him seriously. There was no plan to this one, so expect plenty of divergences, but I hope y'all enjoy it all the same!

MP3 download of this episode: 
https://ia800408.us.archive.org/25/items/jimfear_audio_productions/ep88.mp3

Relevant Links:

Superversive by Tom Simon: 
https://bondwine.com/2003/10/19/superversive/

Why Thundercats Roar Sucks by Just Some Guy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZBmYOCWJ9o

The Ideological Conquest of Science Fiction by Dan & QuQu: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ3pbxp3QKU


Social Media Dump:

FeedBurner: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jimfear138

Maker Support: https://www.makersupport.com/JimFear138

Ko-Fi: http://ko-fi.com/jimfear

Steemit: https://steemit.com/@jimfear138

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jimfear138/id1107844659?mt=2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LichJim

Tumblr: https://jimthedefiant.tumblr.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JimFear138

Blogspot: http://jimfear138.blogspot.com/

Wordpress: https://jimfear138.wordpress.com/

Bandcamp: https://jimfear138.bandcamp.com/

Gab: https://gab.ai/JimFear138

Minds: https://www.minds.com/JimFear138

Dailymotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/jimfear138

Opening Music:
Honey Bee by Kevin Macleod: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100755
Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New Original Fiction Page!



So, because I'm a complete goober, I never actually put all my fiction in one place. I just kind of assumed people would go to my steemit profile and read it if they wanted. Like an idiot, I just left it floating out there in the ether, because I'm not a clever man, apparently. However I've now taken steps to fix this. If you look at the top bar of the blog you'll now see a button called "Original Fiction". 

Should you click this, you'll find links to all the parts of all my steemit stories, in order from oldest to newest. It will be continually updated as more stories are released. I'm trying to get about a story a week out, but honestly I need to write more. I'll get on that, I promise. Lots of ideas for stories, I just need to put on some tunes and buckle down and write them. I'm not gonna match Robert E. Howard's or, heaven forbid, Walter B. Gibson's output by shitposting on twitter.

Fun as that is.

But yeah, that's it. Now you can find all my stories collected neatly in one place, and no longer have to go hunting all over the four corners of the net for them. I hope you guys enjoy the stories, and keep coming back for more, because god knows I've got more to give!

And speaking of, part 4 of Bringing Down The Mountain will be out tomorrow! Don't miss the thrilling conclusion!

Bringing Down The Mountain - Part 3 on Steemit!

The giant seems unstoppable, the monsters thick as an ocean, and Squad 7 responds to a distress call. Can they save their compatriots, and the day?

https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/bringing-down-the-mountain-part-3

Monday, May 14, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Review: Galaxy's Edge - Legionnaire



I know it's been a while since I've done a book review, but you guys had to know that wouldn't last forever. Regardless of how slow I read, I do read, and lately I've been getting caught up on the book with the best tagline in history alongside being the best damn Star Wars replacement I've encountered. You guys already know how I do things, but if you don't I'll give you a quick rundown for old time's sake as well as the new people who might've showed up.

Usually my reviews are pretty glowing, and this'll be no exception. It can't be helped. Not only am I fairly easy to please, I'm also acutely aware that I have a limited amount of lifetime and don't want to spend it reading and watching things that I'm pretty sure I won't enjoy. There's a reason I talked a lot of shit on Twitter about Fight Club (the book) and never formally reviewed it. Anyway, the way this usually goes is I give a spoiler free breakdown of my verdict and why I liked it, then I get into plot synopses while leaving out as much as possible because I don't want people to think they can get the full story from my cliff notes book report. So now that you know what's coming, here's my verdict:

Go buy this book and read it. If you like military science fiction that even delves into the realms of fantasy, much like a certain other space opera series I've already named here, then you're going to love this. It's tightly written, tightly focused, has great characters, and a lot of emotional impact with highs, lows, and moments of supreme wonder that will leave you absolutely rabid for more. I've got the rest of the books in the series thanks to my brother having turned into an absolute lunatic for this series, and with good reason, so I'm gonna be devouring the absolute hell out of the rest of them and will report back when I'm done.

Here's an affiliate link to where you can buy the kindle version. If you're not familiar, don't worry. Affiliate links don't affect Nick or Jason's profits from the book sales. Amazon just gives me a kickback for sending people over there to buy it from their side of the profits. As of the time of this writing, it's $3.50 or so, and for the amount of action packed into this book (along with everything else), you can't beat that with a stick. This link will also appear at the bottom of the post so you guys don't have to scroll all the way back up here.

So with that said, turn back if you don't want spoilers, because they're a-coming. You've got the link, go buy the thing and give it a read if you don't want to know a surface level understanding of what goes on in it.

All right then.

I am not in any way fucking around when I say that Galaxy's Edge: Legionnaire is some of the best military science fiction I've read since Starship Troopers. Admittedly, this isn't a genre I spend too much time in. I've read the aforementioned Heinlein, The Catherine Kimbridge Chronicles, and a few other books here and there. I find the genre greatly entertaining, but I'm not a soldier and I've never served in the military, so I don't have much frame of reference to know how accurate they're getting to what being in the real military is like.

Given that, I'm not touching that one with a ten foot pole. I can only say that given what I've heard of the military from people who've served in it over the course of my life, this book seems to capture the experience fairly accurately. But again, I don't know, so I'll leave that to the people who do know. 

But my lack of military expertise aside, it'd probably be useful to get into a brief plot synopsis. Legionnaire follows Victory Company, a bunch of what seem like Marines if I were to equivocate to current American armed forces, as they are moving towards Moona Village on the planet Kublar in Galaxy's Edge. Turns out that's more than just a cool name for the series, it's an actual place, and it's about what you'd expect if you've watched shows like Firefly or Babylon 5. 

The purpose of Victory Company's visit is to facilitate the integration of Kublar into the Republic, as they've been supposedly newly conquered and now have their own senator. But all is not roses and unicorn farts on the planet of the frog-men. As they're approaching the village, their caravan gets run up on by insurgent forces and blown to absolute shit, and as the attack happens one soldier, Chhun by name, looks into the sky and sees the Capital ship they arrived on, The Chiasm (uber cool name, btw), explode.

This isn't a heavy spoiler, this is like the ending of chapter one, here. Don't worry, I'm just whetting your whistle. Much like they do in this book. Like I said, this thing is masterfully put together. 

So from that point on Victory Company is basically fucked. Completely and utterly. They have no backup, a lot of them are dead, there's no hope of rescue, and their one real base has been destroyed by the insurgents. Oh, and they're being dogged by a combined force of native Kublarans and an army of the Mid-Core Rebellion, the insurgents trying to topple the Republic. The book follows these brave soldiers as they attempt to get off this hellspawned rock, and let me tell you it's one page-turning, rip-roaring motherfucker of a yarn from start to finish.

The characters are exactly who you'd expect to be in a situation like this. There's Chhun and Wraith, the two who are in command through most of the book, although not by choice as the chain of command had more than a few links broken thanks to the attacks. Wraith appears calm and collected most of the time, and Chhun defers to him more often than not. Chhun is our main character, and we see this story through his eyes, but more on this later.

The cast is filled out by various grunts including Rook, Twenties, Exo, Maldorn, Devers, Doc Quigs, and Pappy, and I just gotta say these names are bad ass. I love everything about this book, and these two knocked it out of the park. I wish I could come up with names this badass in my own work. But these guys have various levels of involvement with the story, and the relationships between the various characters are played straight and to the hilt. Especially the relationship between most everybody else, but Exo in particular, and Devers, the "point". 

Pretty much everybody in this story but Devers is an actual soldier, while Devers is a "point" who's in command not because of prowess or valor in battle but because he's graduated from an officer's academy. Now, just saying, I already love this trope. The cocksure douche-canoe who just can't help being an arrogant piece of shit to everyone around him because he graduated from Buttfuck Academy with honors and they're just regular soldiers who then gets his ass completely handed to him one way or another and realizes he needs to let the guys with experience handle the situation. I love it, and this story delivers on this trope in spades. It's very satisfyingly played, and makes the ending all the more poignant, because [SPOILERS REDACTED].

But all of the characters are lovingly handled and presented, which makes the deaths of several of them hit you that much harder. They feel like real people, which is how characters in a novel should be presented. Especially given that the story is told through the eyes of Sergeant/Lieutenant Chhun, and these men are his friends and battle brothers. And I said I had more on that, so here it is.

The way this book is written is very interesting, because it's almost all told in first person present-tense. This is a very rare feat, and Cole and Anspach accomplish it very well. I was actually left a bit gobsmacked as I first got into the book, because I'm not used to anybody writing in first person present tense, but after a while you settle down and get into the groove of the story. They don't mess this up once, so far as I was able to catch, and it was able to draw me in so thoroughly that when I got to the epilogue (which is told in the traditional style) I had to shake my head and adjust because it was so different from the style of the rest of the book. This is the kind of undertaking that makes tons of writers shit their pants at the mere thought, and here these guys are out doing it and making it look easy.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of that skill. 

The action in this book is as lovingly detailed as the characters, and when Twenties puts a sniper round through a Koob you can hear the crack of the rifle and see the gore spatter across the desert topsoil. It gets hot and heavy, and a lot of this book is taken up by conflagrations and firefights. And they never get old, not even to the last stand at the end, which feels like something right out of a classic war movie. 

The politics in this book are also very well worked out, and right from the jump you get the net that things are not well in the Republic. The tagline, "The galaxy is a dumpster fire," is also the opening line of the book, with Chhun regaling us with precisely how fucked up a universe this is, and how little there is that can be done about it. This isn't the focus of this book, being a military sf novel concentrated on the plight of Victory Company, but I feel its necessary to bring it up because of what it does.

As I said, this book is tightly focused. We don't leave Kublar until the very end, and even that's just for the epilogue. However the discussions between the characters and little hints that drop in Chhun's internal monologue which forms the prose of the novel inform the reader of a much, much larger universe that you just want to go out and explore. There are a few other franchises that do this, such as Star Wars and Mass Effect (the first one, at least), but none of them in such a fashion as this.

In those other franchises, you actually do get to go out and explore, so it scratches that itch fairly readily. Star Wars in particular has been around long enough that if you want to go tripping around the galaxy there are more than enough avenues for you to readily accomplish that goal. From the expanded universe novels and short story anthologies, to the other movies in the series, to the video games like Knights of the Old Republic, it's really easy to just pick a point and jump into the Star Wars Universe and just see what's going on elsewhere.

In Mass Effect your primary goal is to run around and get people on your side to help fight the Reapers, and find out what their goals are. You go to several planets, and there's a ton of lore in readables and the internal encyclopedia of the game. So if you've got a question about Mass Effect, there's probably somewhere in the game itself that it's been answered.

In Legionnaire, however, all you get are little hints. Names dropped here and there. A few historical touchstones like The Savage Wars that get talked about in the vaguest terms. All this comes together to leave the reader ravenous for more information about this place they find themselves in, and the authors handled this slow drip of information expertly.

When these guys said they were making a Star Wars replacement, I cannot put into words how little they were fucking around.

In the final analysis, this book is amazing. It's also fairly short, which I find to be a point in its favor. Depending on how much time you've got on your hands you can read it in a day or two. It's a gripping military adventure on par with Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, Starship Troopers (the book), and pretty much any other great military story you'd care to name. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

Particularly if you've been left cold and dissatisfied with the recent offerings in the Star Wars canon since Disney picked it up. I'm one of those people, to the point of having written off Star Wars near-entirely barring the original three films and the Expanded Universe material. I'm upset about what's happened to one of my favorite stories in the hands of people who do not care about it or the fans and customers who keep it afloat, and I've been in the market for a new space opera I can actually get excited about in the wake of the devastation of Star Wars.

I can promise you that Galaxy's Edge absolutely delivers, at least in the first novel. I'll let you know about the rest when I read them, but my brother's gone through the rest of the books and he assures me that it's like the old Star Wars never left. Full of mystery, spiritualism, space wizards, space magic, and awesome military combat. Now I can't say for sure because I'm not there yet, but his tastes and mine in this area align very closely, so I'm inclined to believe him.

In any event, I can't recommend Legionnaire strongly enough. It's one of the best recently released sci-fi books I've read, and it had me straight glued to my kindle whenever I had a spare moment to read. I even dropped the other five or so books I'm currently reading to finish it. It's that good.

So as I said, do yourselves a favor and pick this one up. It's absolutely worth your time, and comes in kindle, paperback, and audio, available on Amazon Dot Com. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel, and I'll report back as soon as I tear through that one and let you guys know how the story goes.

Here's that link again in case I've convinced any of you to do what you should be doing and go buy this book.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Airship Pirates Part 4 on Steemit!

And blogger still won't let me post a picture. Well damn. On with the show I guess.

The thrilling conclusion arrives! Having "successfully" fled the Elfin navy, Artemis & Co. find themselves stranded in an ancient and mighty forest! What dangers and surprises does it hold?

https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-airship-pirates-part-4

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Airship Pirates - Part 3 on Steemit!

I keep trying, and blogger keeps frustrating me. Apologies again for the lack of a cool airship picture, but I swear you can see the cool airship picture on steemit if you click the link. Now on with your regularly scheduled silly hype line from a 50's radio drama.

Having successfully destroyed the "power source" for the Elfin airship, Artemis & Co. make their way back to the Highreach and escape! But the guns of the Elfin navy have other plans...

https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-airship-pirates-part-3

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Airship Pirates - Part 2 on Steemit

And blogger still won't let me post that neat picture over here, so my apologies about that.

A fierce battle, a daring boarding action, and a horrible secret! Can our heroes disable the Elfin airship and make it back to their own vessel?

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep.87 - London v NYC, Gun Talk, & Worthless Conservatives



Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the podcast! This time I go over the absolute state of the city of London and how it compares to New York City, take down an OP by a California Democrat about gun buybacks, spend a little while talking about Hoteps, and then let The Heritage Foundation absolutely have it for their milquetoast, weak stance on social media censorship. Hope y'all enjoy!

MP3 Download of this episode:  https://ia800408.us.archive.org/25/items/jimfear_audio_productions/Ep87.mp3

Rats in the Sewers by me: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/rats-in-the-sewers-part-1

Man in court for having potato peeler in public place: http://www.dunfermlinepress.com/news/16197023.Man_in_court_for_having_potato_peeler_in_public_place/

London's murder rate surpasses New York's for 1st time ever: https://archive.fo/dhvBl

Ban assault weapons, buy them back, go after resisters: Ex-prosecutor in Congress: https://archive.fo/M4FwC

Braving Ruin on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB7M2FJjnrVTprc9sBWbYWg

The Battle of Athens: A History Lesson on Guns: http://jimfear138.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-battle-of-athens-history-lesson-on.html

I'm Not A Conservative (J.D. Alden): https://twitter.com/roughcoat13/status/992151106787659778

archive: https://archive.fo/TTk6t

That Guy T on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ThatLibertarianT

Heritage Foundation Defends Facebook’s ‘Right’ to Censor, Will Oppose Regulation: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/05/03/heritage-foundation-defends-facebooks-right-to-censor-will-oppose-regulation/

archive: https://archive.fo/edx4h



Social Media Dump:

FeedBurner: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jimfear138

Maker Support: https://www.makersupport.com/JimFear138

Steemit: https://steemit.com/@jimfear138

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jimfear138/id1107844659?mt=2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LichJim

Tumblr: https://jimthedefiant.tumblr.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JimFear138

Blogspot: http://jimfear138.blogspot.com/

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Bandcamp: https://jimfear138.bandcamp.com/

Gab: https://gab.ai/JimFear138

Minds: https://www.minds.com/JimFear138

Dailymotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/jimfear138

Opening Music:
Honey Bee by Kevin Macleod: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100755
Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Airship Pirates - Part 1 on Steemit

Apologies for lack of an image on this post, but Blogger for some reason won't process the cool airship picture I managed to find, so you'll have to go to the story itself if you want to see it, I guess. Anyway.

The adventures of Artemis Cromwell, Monster Hunter, continue! High above an ancient forest, Artemis and his charge find themselves in league with pirates pursued by Elfs. Can they escape from this flying navy?

https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-airship-pirates-part-1