Dancing for Keeps

Playing for Keeps - August 25, 2008

I have a select few moral imperatives. Topping the list is this: no dancing. Oh, sure, slow dancing with a partner is wonderful, but frenzied, bouncing public epileptic fits are a thing that I just don’t engage in. I have been frequently told that I am “awkward,” “gangly,” or “silly-looking” whenever I’ve attempted said spectacle in the past. Furthermore, I recognize this to be true, and beyond that, completely agree with Stephen Fry’s cogent analysis on the ridiculousness of the current social role of group dancing.

That said, there is something that I will break this moral imperative for.

As previously noted, Mur Lafferty‘s excellent novel Playing for Keeps is being published by Swarm Press, and will be released on August 25. If you’ve listened to the podiobook (and if you haven’t, for all that is good and right in the world, why not?), you know that Beatnik Turtle created the theme song Playing for Keeps just for that production. As a way to promote the book’s release, Mur has decided to put together a music video for the song, starring… you.

The details are here, but the summation is this – if you want to participate, drop her an email, and she’ll respond with a 20-30 second portion of the song for you to create a video segment of. Dancing, lip synching, or creating a skit are all fair game – the more creative and entertaining, the better. But what’s in it for you, you ask?

If your segment ends up in the final video, you’ll win one of many fabulous prizes, including books from Swarm Press, Beatnik Turtle CD’s, and a Flip camera! You will also have helped do a great thing to promote an awesome book, and become a bonafide interwebs video celebrity in the process. Finally, if enough people participate, Mur will contribute her own dancing video to the effort… and she says, she’s “the geek who doesn’t dance.”

So get the details now, as this is time sensitive – all entries need to be in by August 15. And aren’t you the least bit curious to see what I’ll come up with? I know I am…

Naught But Dust

Dust by Fantasy Flight Games

Last week i09 had a brief look at Dust, Fantasy Flight‘s new strategy board game. It was one of our Origins acquisitions, and is very high on my “needs to be played” list. We first noticed it at the the Adventure Retail booth on Sunday morning, where it was labeled with the following post-it note:

“Did not win the Origins Award, but did place 1st in the swimsuit competition.”

Attention thus attracted, and with some positive information from Mario, I am unashamed to say that my thought process was as follows:

“Prominently illustrated women with WWII style costumery and large guns -> alternate history with mechs and alien technology -> global domination -> over 800 fiddly bits -> squee! WANT”

And so it came to pass that said game was made ours. (Laura‘s thought process was startlingly similar, although perhaps without the “illustrated women” factor.) With the shorter version of gameplay weighing in at two hours for experienced players, it may be awhile before we have a chance to break it out, but you’ll get a report when we do. More information on Dust can be found here and here. Image by: Fantasy Flight Games

Brave Men Run… and jump to print on July 13

Brave Men RunIn need of something to do this Sunday? Hungering for some new fiction? It turns out that I have a suggestion for you.

Matthew Wayne Selznick‘s Brave Men Run: A Novel of the Sovereign Era is an excellent tale, summed up best by Matt himself as a “teen movie / comic book mash-up,” ala the X-Men meet The Breakfast Club. From the website:

“Brave Men Run” is the story of Nate Charters. Born different, unsure of his origins, he’s an outcast at Abbeque Valley High School, a self-proclaimed “boy freak” with few friends and low self-esteem. When the Sovereign Era dramatically dawns, Nate finds himself in a quest to discover the truth: is he more than he seems, a misfit in a miraculous and powerful new minority… or something else entirely?

The book was among the first free serialized audiobooks on Podiobooks.com (where it still remains available), and was a finalist for the 2006 Parsec Award for Long Fiction. On this Sunday, July 13, Brave Men Run will see print release in a high quality, trade paperback edition from Swarm Press. To both celebrate this momentous event and promote it’s availability on Amazon.com that day, Matt is holding an eight-hour video Book Release Web-a-thon starting at 10:00 EST. During this event, he will be reading original short stories set in his Sovereign Era universe by several top podcast authors (including Mur Lafferty, Matt Wallace, and J.C. Hutchins, to name a few), along with giving live updates on the progress of the novel on Amazon’s sales charts. More details can be found at the official website, as well as Mur’s excellent interview with him for I Should Be Writing.

Tune in to the video Web-a-thon on Sunday, order a copy of Brave Men Run on July 13 on Amazon, and you will be rewarded with wonderful tales! ’nuff said.

io9 on Origins

Dastardly work and events of this week have prevented me from finishing my Origins recap as of yet, although that will be up in the very near future, and be a wondrous thing to behold. Until then, feast on io9’s coverage of Origins, namely over some cool things that I didn’t have the chance to check out personally:

  • Martian Chess – Yet another Looney Labs game that incorporates those darn Treehouse pieces. Like many of their games, it sounds simple, but appears to have some interesting tactical depth underlying it.
  • Terrorwerks – I have heard about this before from the Gamer: The Podcasting folks. Run for the second year in a row, it is essentially an hour-long LARP of the space marines v. alien horrors variety, where players portray said marines. The production values are intense, the reviews are great, and as such, I may need to make time for this next year.
  • Astrosmash – A massive tabletop tactical space battle game with deliciously detailed miniatures, based on a expanded version of Silent Death. It sounds completely over-the-top and a hell of a lot of fun.
  • Car Wars: Rogue Arena – Vehicular combat. A 12-foot by 8-foot miniature city block. Wrecks and carnage. Yes.

For those of you in the US, have a fun and safe July 4th!