Sunday, July 22, 2012

Readercon

A week ago, Kristin and I went to Readercon.  Readercon is only the second Writer's convention that I've gone to, and the first with a genre focus.  It was also the first convention that I went to with Kristin, and where we decided to start dating three years ago.  As such, it's an important convention for us.

Readercon is a convention with a focus on the literary side of speculative fiction.  It's less fan focused that writer focused, and discusses topics such as culture, historical influences, and why we all hate paranormal romance (unless we happen to be writers of it).  It's not really a very how-to con, but it's still interesting.  The best panel we went to was on world-building and culture, and how to make them realistic.  The writers mentioned a few ideas, but there was a limit to what could be covered in an hour.

But mainly, it's a place to meet new people, especially writers and editors, and have interesting conversations.

But then, that's what most conventions are like.  Later this year, we'll be going to Worldcon and World Fantasy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Backpacking

Kristin and I went on a three-day backpacking a couple of weekends ago.  For those of you who may be even less outdoorsy than me, backpacking is different from camping, in that it entails carrying all your supplies with you, over miles of mountain trails.  We went to NH, just north of Berlin, and hiked along the Mill Brook Trail, the Kilkenny Ridge Trail, and the Unknown Pond Trail.  In truth, it was not a particularly difficult hike, but it's probably the limit of what we're capable of, given our current physical fitness.  It had its moments, but I came away pretty badly bruised (I slipped in the mud and broke my fall on a jagged, pointy rock).

But, despite the exhausting nature of the trip, there were some beautiful views.
The view from the Roger's Ledge.

Unknown Pond
Overall, I'd do it again, but not until this bruise goes away.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Swordsmanship and computer games

Medieval European swordsmanship has the advantage of a number of contemporary training manuals, and recently there's been something of a revival as people have been attempting to recreate the techniques depicted in the manuals.  Another recent development is the explosion of motion sensors in video game systems, as evidenced by the Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move, and Xbox Kinect. Naturally, sword games are a great fit for these systems, as they naturally have a lot of movement.  Unfortunately, realistic swordplay, based on reconstructed techniques, is much harder to find.  That's something I'd be very interested in playing.

Me and Neal Stephenson, apparently.  Neal has gotten behind Clang, a Kickstarter project to develop a computer game based on incorporating Medieval sword fighting techniques.  Kickstarter, if you're not familiar with it, is a way to raise money for creative projects.  People pledge money and, if you reach your minimum funding goal, everyone's credit card is charged for their pledge, and the project receives the money.  Unfortunately, with only three days to go, Clang is still short of their goal by $70,000. I'd hate to see this project fail, but I've already pledged as much as I reasonably can.  So instead I get to pester other people into giving.

So, if you're at all interested in Medieval swordsmanship or computer games, take a look, and consider pledging.