Iāve been very busy on another short-deadline project that I canāt talk about yet, and itās absorbing all of my time and attention. I think itās something many of you will be very excited about when you hear what Iāve been up to, but my boss will have my head if I spill the beans now. Suffice it to say that between Dark Sun, Gamma World, and this New Coolness, Iāve had a very busy and interesting year or so in the game-design biz. And that doesnāt even count at least three other Really Cool Things coming up in the next few months that Iāll get to work on outside of the D&D multiverse. I promise I'll tell you all about them when I can!
Some Reading Recommendations
For a couple of months now Iāve been working my way through my āChristmas stack,ā the new books I got around the holidays. I thought Iād say a few words about what Iāve been reading just in case anybody finds it interesting. Two of the best SF titles Iāve read in a very long time: Ilium by Dan Simmons, and Anathem by Neal Stephenson. There was a period a couple of years ago when I was beginning to wonder if the great science fiction was slowly vanishing in a sea of fantasy titles; Iām glad to say that I didnāt have much to worry about. Ilium manages to mix up The Time Machine, the Iliad, the Tempest, and the singularity in a brilliant batter that I almost couldnāt put down. Itās great stuff. Anathem is another masterful work, one of the most thought-provoking premises Iāve run across in a long, long time. If you think a book that draws heavily on the history of philosophy might sound boring, youād be mistakenāthis is a great read.
In terms of nonfiction, I just read a great examination of the Battle of Midway called Shattered Sword, by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Midway, being a big WW2 naval buff, but Shattered Sword really opened my eyes. Iām often a little skeptical of revisionist history, but the authors did an excellent job in isolating the misunderstandings that have become part of the story of the battle for fifty years or more. All of you IJNCVLF guys out there need to own a copy of this bookāyou will gain an incredible understanding of Imperial naval aviation, its strengths, and its fatal flaws.
(Why is it thereās only been one movie ever made about Midway? The old Charlton Heston film is OK, but it certainly contributes to the mistaken mythology of the battle reexamined in Shattered Sword. For that matter, why arenāt there more WW2 naval movies? The groundpounders got meticulously crafted films like Saving Private Ryan and Flags of Our Fathers. Take out submarine movies and Pearl Harbor, and what do you have left? In Harmās Way, and Sink the Bismarck. OK, sure, youāve got Mr. Roberts and The Caine Mutiny, but those arenāt movies about battles. Somebody get on that, or at least tell me a couple of good films Iām overlooking.)
My Fantasy Baseball Team
I mentioned last time that Iām playing an ESPN fantasy baseball league with some old TSR colleagues and their friends. Our automated draft took place at oh-dark-thirty on Easter Sunday, and Iāve got my team. It looks like I drew a pretty weak draft position (9th out of 10 teams) but I feel that I wound up with a team thatās probably about fourth-best in the league out of the gate. There are a couple of teams that are clearly better, and a couple of teams that I think are clearly worse. Some of my big stars: Adrian Gonzalez, Evan Longoria, Pablo Sandoval, Zach Greinke, Jake Peavy, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Josh Johnson (I love my starting pitching). Iāve got a couple of intriguing younger players in Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce, and Stephen Strasburg.
I feel like I need another big outfield bat to really compete, but big seasons out of Heyward and Bruce would put me in pretty good shape. I wound up with no Phillies or Mariners, which is a bit of a bummer, ācause I do like to have a couple of home-towners anchoring my roster. On the other hand, thereās an old saying about eggs in baskets that seems to apply when stacking up your favorite teamās players on your fantasy roster. A bad season or big injury hurts twice as bad when itās affecting the standings in two leagues!