Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Delicious Feast of Boiled Lobster

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Island of the Lizard King at the local used bookstore. This might by a common occurrence in the UK, but in my neck of the woods it's a rare thing. The sight of the dubiously rendered American covers was like spying a glint of gold and I snapped both books up at just over a dollar each. Despite their legacy I've never adventured in these two books--and having a few moments to myself today--I sampled what Ian Livingstone's island had to offer. I can't think of a better way to launch this blog than by nit-picking of a twenty year old title.

The background doesn't provide any details as to who we are, just that we're traveling south from Fang to the secluded fishing village of Oyster Bay. I wonder if the implication here is that we're the same adventurer from the previous book in the series Deathtrap Dungeon? If that's the case then a vacation to a remote and quiet village where there's no possibility of danger makes oodles of sense.

I rolled up a 12 for skill (huzzah!), a 16 for stamina, and an 8 for luck. This suggests to me that our character is the glass cannon sort. Maybe a tricky rogue? Prone to nasty maneuvers that quickly incapacitate the enemy while leaving his squishy frame intact. We are told that an old adventuring friend of ours named Mungo lives in Oyster Bay. I feel like "old adventuring friend" for this character means "served under him in the military."

So here's our character: Lord Charles de Charlemont. A minor noble who served a token military stint where Mungo operated as his Lieutenant and muscle. Charles is a self-serving sort who will easily employ underhanded tactics to get what he wants (and to prevent bodily harm). And while he does have an inclination towards avarice, he's not entirely selfish.While visiting Mungo on his way back from attending the Trail of Champions ceremonies he learned that the children of Oyster Bay had been kidnapped by Lizard Men from the infamous Fire Island. Surprising his old comrade, he volunteered to join Mungo on a rescue mission. Let's see how he does.

Monday, March 24, 2014

An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain

"'I lay claim in this novel,' I have heard him say, 'to the essential features of all games: symmetry, arbitrary rules, tedium.'"

I hope that Mr. Borges doesn't object to my use of his imagined book of branching paths for the title of this blog, or else I have some interesting hauntings to look forward to.

"I do not know if I should mention that once April March was published, Quain regretted the ternary order and predicted that whoever would imitate him would choose a binary arrangement [...] And that demiurges and gods would choose an infinite scheme: infinite stories, infinitely divided."