The Dire Cafe is Uncle Bear's latest experiment in internet technology, offering "social networking for escapist geeks". What's an escapist geek? That's a question that's been debated ad infinitum at Uncle Bear, but the basic definition seems to come down this: escapist geeks are slightly less intense versions of normal geeks.
I'm not sure if that definition will hold up in the long run, but if you like to talk about comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror, movies, or RPGs without having the conversation devolve into mindless fanboy ranting, then you'll probably fit in just fine at the Dire Cafe.
Heroes has continued to impress since returning from its December/January hiatus, consistently delivering episodes that have answered important questions while ratcheting up the serialized tension.
For any other series, last night would have been a season-ending clifhanger of epic proportions. But in an example of why Heroes is such a damn good show, they don't play for the cheap, easy shows that end up stretching out the story's continuum for years on end (like say, LOST). Instead, they take us to the future -- five years into the future -- and show us the consequences of not saving the world.
The book review web site and blog Emerald City is ceasing publication. I'm sad to see it go -- the site featured a wide range of speculative fiction web reviews, and its blog was a useful way to stay up on the scifi literary scene.
Our brave adventurers are back in the dwarven stronghold of Khelez-Mar after nearly being consumed by a duegar-built green slime trap in the Obsidian Maze. The group argued mightily about the retreat, with the dwarves eager to press on and the others stating that a withdrawal to the stronghold was needed to restock and perhaps seek out a trapfinder. In the end, the dwarves reluctantly agreed, with Kull assigned to seek out the potential new recruit at one of the stronghold's taverns.
This Washington Post review of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Children of Hurin opens with this lede:
If anyone still labors under the delusion that J.R.R. Tolkien was a writer of twee fantasies for children, this novel should set them straight. A bleak, darkly beautiful tale played out against the background of the First Age of Tolkien's Middle Earth, The Children of Hurin possesses the mythic resonance and grim sense of inexorable fate found in Greek tragedy.
After reading the Lord of the Rings novels, after seeing the Peter Jackson movies, could anyone -- anyone -- really think that Tolkien's works were "fantasies for children"?
It was a bitter-sweet game day on Friday as Paizo Publishing and Wizards of the Coast announced Dragon and Dungeon magazines would cease publication after Wizards pulled the license to publish the books from Paizo. Since they didn't give it to anyone else, this means that the magazines will cease publication in August with Dragon #359 and Dungeon #150.
The Children of Hurin written by J.R.R. Tolkien and edited into shape by his son Christopher, will be released by HarperCollins. This expands upon an earlier version told in The Silmarillion.
The story is set long before "The Lord of the Rings" in a part of Middle-earth that was drowned before Hobbits ever appeared, and tells the tragic tale of Turin and his sister Nienor who are cursed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord.
The 2007 Hugo Award nominees have been announced, and unlike last year I haven't read a book on the list. I've read other books by those nominated for best novel -- Vernor Vinge and Michael Flynn -- but not these. In Vinge's case, I was aware of Rainbow's End, but hadn't gotten around to picking it up yet. I had no idea that Flynn had Eifelheim out, which just goes to show I need to pay more attention to Analog's "Reference Library".
This week's edition of Strange Horizons features speculations on French language, architecture and tourism in the column "Dispatches from Planet France: Châteaux, Part I" by Susannah Mandel, the speculative fiction short story "Painted", by Becca De La Rosa, the poem "Rehydration", by Tina Connolly and reviews of the books Primeval, The Last Mimzy and Glorifying Terrorism.
This week's Game Day sees us returning to role-playing with Khelez-Mar: The Dwarven Imperative. If memory serves, our last adventure saw the dwarves at the cusp of entering the Obsidian Maze, a sprawling subterranean dungeon in the Drachensgrab Hills of the Pomarj in the World of Greyhawk. It's been years since our campaign ventured back into one of Greyhawk's largest death traps, and the last expedition was run by me. I'm looking forward to seeing what our current game master, Evil Genius, does with the old dungeon.