“A Soldier of the City” will be reprinted in War and Space: Recent Combat, edited by Rich Horton and Sean Wallace. I’m particularly pleased to share a table of contents with Alan DeNiro, whose story, “Have You Any Wool?” Susan Groppi and I originally published in Twenty Epics. (I was disappointed not to see Yoon Ha Lee’s “Hopscotch” from that same book, but I see W&S:RC includes her “Between Two Dragons” so no harm done.)
On an unrelated note, it’s increasingly clear that, collectively, Rich Horton and John Joseph Adams are the new Martin H. Greenberg.
“The answer’s in Knuth” is not an algorithm. It’s practically a tautology.
The bad news is I still default to writing about depressive loners. The good news is I can now write about depressive loners in multiple languages.
قد أصبح المترجم وحيد ببطء. خدع وحده. قد فضل المترجم دائما الفلسفة على الترجمة، ولكن الآن فضل حقا التلفزة أكثر من كلهما. كان عندهم زورق صغير وأزرق الذي لم يستخدمه. قد تمتعوا المترجم وزوجتهم بالتزلج على الماء. الأن دهب نادرا قريب من البحر. في الصباح تفرج على كرة اليد وبعد الضهر تفرج على تنس الطاولة. نام كثيرا. كان المترجم سعيد رسميا.
The translator had become alone slowly. He deceived himself. The translator had always preferred philosophy to translation but now, in truth, he preferred television over either. He had a small blue boat that he never used. The translator and his wife had enjoyed water-skiing. Now he rarely went near the ocean. In the morning he watched handball and in the evening he watched table-tennis. He slept a lot. Officially, the translator was happy.
(Fifty extra points if you can guess what part of speech we’re learning this chapter. Two hundred and fifty if you can guess the subject of this chapter’s text.)
Attention conservation notice: extended bitching about certain video games, which will mean nothing if you haven’t played them.
Six or seven hours in to Mass Effect 3 and pretty disappointed so far. The biggest innovation in the original Mass Effect was the dialogue, but in ME3 they’ve apparently decided that so long as a conversation doesn’t alter the course of the plot (or at least give you Paragon/Renegade points) they might as well just railroad you through it with no dialogue tree. The result is that the Commander Shepard I’m watching on the screen feels like Bioware’s Shepard, not the one I’ve been playing for two games.
And it does feel like I’m watching, not playing. I hope it’ll improve — maybe they blew the budget on acts two and three? (The cut scene where the Asari councillor tells you the Asari won’t be showing up for the summit, for instance, wedged into the end of the Turian chapter for no good reason, just screams budget cuts.) But right now it’s awfully railroad, and compressed in a way that makes it feel disjointed too. The beginning of ME2 was railroad, but it opened up quickly, and in the railroad segments, when you met your old ME1 party members it was a revelation and it meant something. Here it just feels like filler.
If I was in the mood just to shoot things and watch cut scenes, I’d be playing Halo or Gears of War, not Mass Effect. As it is, if I wasn’t a completist and hadn’t paid full price I’d probably put it down and go back to Old Republic.
As seen on Twitter: Guess it’s safe to announce my story “Chitai Heiki Koronbīn” will be in The Future is Japanese, edited by Nick Mamatas, due out this May from Haikasoru.
For those of you keeping score at home, “CHK” is a sort of follow-on to a flash piece called “What We Talk About When We Talk About Giant Robots,” which I wrote for the 40th anniversary issue of Daruma, the student-run literary magazine of the American School in Japan. It’s flash, it’s short; you can read it here. I’m not sure just where Maddy Flores is going, but I don’t think the journey’s over yet.