Ty Johnston: life on the written page

Home to fantasy, horror and literary fiction author Ty Johnston

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

At Nerdarchy.com: You c---sucker!

This week over at Nerdarchy, I create a D&D version of the infamous Al Swearengen, crime boss, runner of whores, knife fighter, throat slitter, and all around nasty guy from the HBO TV show Deadwood. If you don't know Al, then you should. He's great.

Really. No kidding. He made the show.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 53 -- Killing Jesus

by Stephen Mansfield

Started: Oct. 14
Finished: Oct. 17

Notes: This book apparently takes a look at the execution of Jesus from a political point of view, which currently interests me more than another rehash of the religious angle. So, I'll give it a try.

Mini review: For the casual Christian reader this might be of some interest, but I found this mainly to be little more than a prose version of the last few days of the life of Jesus. It's not written badly, but this is no deep scholarly work. Most of the information is based upon the Bible, which is to be expected, but I had already read the non-Biblical sources, such as Josephus, etc. Some of this information might be new to others, but it wasn't to me. So, basically, this one wasn't for me. No big deal. I did pick up a few interesting tidbits here and there, but that was about it. I've found most mainstream Christian non-fiction works to either be overly reaffirming, which is annoying and I don't feel necessary for myself, or else they present nothing new, which is more the case here. Probably I should stick to apologists or secular Christian scholars, for at least there I find intellectual challenges.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 52 -- The Sable City: Book One of The Norothian Cycle

by M. Edward McNally

Started: Sept. 28
Finished: Oct. 13

Notes: As I do from time to time, I like to try out authors unfamiliar to me, especially indie authors. So, I'm giving this one a go.

Mini review: Once every century the doors of an ancient city open to allow adventurers to enter and search for loot. It sounds like a bad Dungeons & Dragons adventure, but it actually all fits together quite well, even though it's obvious the world is based upon the D&D game to the point even many of the monsters have the same names as their gaming counterparts. The writing here is quite good, and the characters are strong and have a likability quality to them, even the ones who border on darkness. I did think the first chapter was pretty much a waste, being little more than information that was or could have been handed out piecemeal later in the story. And a few characters introduced towards the end had a flippancy I didn't think went along with the seriousness of the rest of the tale, but these are just quibbles. This was excellent epic fantasy writing, and I can highly recommend this book and author to others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

At Nerdarchy.com: Dr. Strange

Yes, there's a Doctor Strange movie coming out next month, but did you know there was a Dr. Strange made-for-TV movie back in 1978? I discuss it over at my weekly Nerdarchy article.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 51 -- Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

by J.K Rowling and John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Started: Sept. 27
Finished: Sept. 28

Notes: To be honest, I've not heard much good about this late addition to the Harry Potter series, but maybe that's to be expected since this is actually a play and not another novel. Either way, I've read all the other Potter books, so I thought I'd give this one a go.

Mini review: I don't know what all the grumbling is about, because I thought this was a pretty good story, at least a pretty good Harry Potter story. Yes, there were a few things that seemed out of place when compared to the original series of 7 books, but (SPOILER ALERT) this was a time travel story which briefly included alternate timelines, so things can be expected to be a little different. Plus, this being a play, it's action isn't going to be reflected in the same way as a novel. All in all, this felt very Harry Potter-ish to me, so if you're a fan of the original books and movies, you should like this one.

At Nerdarchy.com: D&D animated

For those who don't know, back in the early '80s there was an animated Dungeons & Dragons TV show on Saturday mornings, back when Saturday morning cartoons still existed. Find out more at my weekly Nerdarchy article.