Ty Johnston: life on the written page

Home to fantasy, horror and literary fiction author Ty Johnston

Friday, February 05, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 3 -- The Indian Captive

by Matthew Brayton

Started: Feb. 3
Finished: Feb. 5

Notes: Apparently this is the true tale, told by the man himself, of a fellow who as captured by a tribe when he was only 8 years old, and then he didn't manage to escape for 34 years. This edition was published in 1896 after the original 1860-ish date, and this story is apparently the real deal, at least according to the small amount of research I've done online to prove its authenticity.

Mini review: Told in a fairly straight-forward, almost journalistic manner as is common to many such 19th Century works, there's not a lot of excitement here, but there are a few tidbits of interesting information from time to time. I was especially interested in the details of a buffalo hunt and some of the information about how Indians dealt with wounds after a battle. A short read, this is worth the while of those with interests in the time period and/or Native Americans.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 2 -- Necroscope

by Brian Lumley

Started: Jan. 11
Finished: Feb. 3

Notes: After having just read Twilight, I figured I needed to man up and read about some real vampires, which is why I turned to Necroscope. This novel was popular when it came out in 1986, spawning numerous sequels, but somehow I missed it back then even though I was reading lots of horror at the time. I hope it has stood up well to the years.

Mini review: I didn't care much for the writing style, especially as I found it somewhat repetitive and filled with too much exposition, but the characters were interesting enough and the plot is not too bad. I was always guessing, which is a good thing in my opinion. The ending became a little over the top, almost comic-bookish, but it seemed to fit the story and the characters, reminding me a little of the end of the first Matrix movie, in which the story leaves open the possibility for just about anything to happen in the future. One nice touch was the different take on vampires here, but I won't give it away. Will I give this author another go? Sure, at some point.

At Nerdarchy.com: Dungeons & Dragons and rock 'n' roll

This week over at Nerdarchy, I give a rundown of some of the more well known instances in which D&D and fantasy in general have come to light in rock music through the years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

At Nerdarchy.com: Dungeon Crate

Are you familiar with those subscription box services? For a price a box full of goodies is mailed to you each month. There are tons of these services for just about everything, from chocolate to beer to toys, etc. In some circles they are still called gift-of-the-month clubs. Well, finally there is one for tabletop role players, called Dungeon Crate, and I write a little about it over at this week's Nerdarchy article.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

At Nerdarchy.com: I skip D&D editions

Even though I've played D&D for at least 35 years now (wow, that sounds like a long time), I've not played every single edition, or at least I've not played very much of some editions. Why? Find out more at my weekly Nerdarchy.com article.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 1 -- Twilight

by Stephenie Meyer

Started: Jan. 1
Finished: Jan. 11

Notes: Evidence I'll read just about anything? Stop your laughing. My late wife left this one behind, and she didn't have good things to say about it though she did like the movie. A lot of people have not had good things to say about this one, but I prefer to judge it myself. With all its sales and popularity, this book and series must have done something right, even if it might be something in which I myself am not interested. Either way, if I do have bad things to say, at least they will be based upon experience and not just because others have said so.

Mini review: Honestly, I'm a bit embarrassed to say this, but I found this a delightful read. No, it's not Faulkner or Hemingway or even King, not by a long shot, but it kept my attention more than a lot of modern novels I've read. And it was funny, making me chuckle more than once at some of the vampire humor. Nowhere near as pretentious or moody as the movie, though there's a touch of that here and there. Yes, it's somewhat juvenile, even immature in parts, but it's a first-person tale told by a 17-year-old girl who is experiencing her very first crush, though that crush happens to be a vampire, and I wouldn't expect it not to be juvenile and immature at times. I also feel the Bella character has gotten a bad rap (probably more because of the movie than this novel) because she actually shows a fair amount of bravery here, though by no means is she an action-driven character. Some of the things from the movie which did not make sense to me were better explained here, especially concerning the character motivations of the vampires. And then there's the sparkling. I freely admit the notion of sparkling vampires is downright silly, but it's actually a very small portion of this book, maybe three pages, so I can overlook that to some extent. Will I read on to other books in this series? Hmm, probably not, or at least I won't go out of my way to do so, for this really isn't my kind of thing, but if somehow I ended up with free copies, yeah, I might give them a go. Okay, you can start laughing again.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

At Nerdarchy.com: English not your first tongue?

This week my Nerdarchy article offers some suggestions for tabletop role players who do not have English as a first language. The gist is that they should view it as a strength, not a weakness.