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Archive for August, 2013

My Lonestarcon schedule

Well, I’m in San Antonio wrapping up some time with the family before they flee back to the sane weather in the Pacific Northwest, and I continue here in the land of hot and humid. This little trip has been interesting. Always good to reconnect with family and honestly not spend too much time dealing with my day job for a while. I love my job, but getting away every now and again is a good thing to do.

Starting Thursday, this vacation evolves into Worldcon – Lonestarcon. The third time San Antonio has hosted World Science Fiction convention. I’m looking forward to seeing folks I know, and meeting new people along the way. My last Worldcon was in Reno and it was also HOT. I’m beginning to think we should maybe support the Helsinki bid for one of the upcoming Worldcons, if for no other reason than to balance the temperature. :)

Okay, here’s my schedule. If you want to meet me, here’s where I’ll be. Stop me and chat a bit if you see me around. Never fear, I’ll let you know if I’m jammed, but I love to meet people.

Writers Workshop F

Friday 13:00 – 15:00

Alex Shvartsman, John Pitts
Food in Science Fiction and/or Fantasy

Saturday 12:00 – 13:00

From soylent green, to vat-grown protein, to descriptions of lavish meals in Game of Thrones, food is depicted in many forms in science fiction and fantasy. Our panellists discuss the role of food in world-building. There may even be recipes, although probably not for soylent green.

Chris O’Halloran (M), Liz Argall, Fran Wilde, John Pitts
The Impact of SF on Economies and Scientific Development

Sunday 18:00 – 19:00

The SF Community regards either itself or the literature as having had some impact on the larger world. We dare ask: Have we really?

Sam Scheiner (M), Yasser Bahjatt, Clifford (Kip) McMurray, John Pitts

Autographing: Elizabeth Bear, Gabriele de Cuir, EIleen Gunn, John Pitts

Monday 10:00 – 11:00

Eileen Gunn, Gabrielle de Cuir, Elizabeth Bear, John Pitts


My kingdom for a sack of rat tails

I’m definitely writing. But I’m struggling today with an overwhelming desire to log into Everquest and check out my old addiction. Apparently it’s free to play and they still have my account live on their website. Just don’t know if any of my old characters are still around or anything.

But, I know I’ll be disappointed. Too much has changed. Everquest jumped the shark years ago with the Planes of Power upgrade turning the game into a raider/grinder fest with almost no value to the casual gamer. Makes me sad, because when I first started playing it just a few months after launch, I was enthralled in the world and the game play. I absolutely loved the risk and reward the game provided. But as more and more raiders appeared, they started dumbing down the risk and making it so you had to be online for an epic amount of time to get anything accomplished.

I used to run a guild. We had fun exploring new territories, trying out different classes/races and generally enjoying the game.

When I left, I could no longer advance without a full party and I had no chance of getting upgraded gear without raiding and farming way beyond the world of reasonable game play.

Granted, there are those out there with no limit to their free time, and they were on all the time. There are even professional farmers (or there were) who ran on macros to do nothing but kill a certain mob over and over and loot what they dropped. No real human interaction.

I know it’s just nostalgia, but I miss those early days where you took a chance by exploring new territory and how the difference between life or death was being able to craft a wolf skin armor or make a decent enough batch of arrows.

I remember hunting rats in Freeport in hope of earning enough money to buy an actual back pack. Or trying to stop Orc Hill from being overrun when some idiot got lost and trained a dozen of the beasties on top of those who were just trying to explore, level, etc.

My first run from Freeport to Qeynos was harrowing. There were zones there that I had NO business being in, but I couldn’t afford a wizard or druid to port me via their standing stones.

That was fun. Later, when all you had to do was walk into the newbie zones and touch a book, and you could travel anywhere with no time and of course, no risk, the game started becoming boring and tedious.

I want to run around East Commons healing random people as they try to survive the suddenly appearing mummy when they just wanted to kill a few snakes — all the while listening to people hawking their wares from the tunnels near the black market.

Oh, well. I’ll never find it’s like again, I’m afraid. Games today are geared to the power players, the raiders and the grinders. No love in the world for those of us who want to get into a scrap or two, finish a quest, and retire to town for a nice cold ale and to sell a sack full of rat tails.

Mores the pity.



The wild ox; strength and power.


Creativity; words, music, and art.


The troll cross; wealth and prosperity.


The sun; energy, honor, guidance.


Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.


The harvest; patience and promise.


The chariot; journey and travel.

Note: This is not the real book cover.