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Love, Simeon Posts

Reading Update 06/10/2020 – Reading Polygamy

Mediums, as they say, are the spice of life! No, wait. They say that about variety. Well, mediums are the… uh… medium of variety! There, that’s better.

Recently, as I discovered the “new” frontier of audiobooks, I also started splitting my attention between books. I have always been a “one book at a time” kinda boy. But lately, as “reading” has invaded parts of my day usually reserved for podcasts, things have started to change. So if I lie in bed with a book, I am currently reading Zen Cho’s The Order of the Pure Moon, Reflected in Water. If I am biking somewhere, it’s a great time for a story from the anthology The Mythic Dream. And video game time is all about that Vorkossigan Saga life.

It is something I never used to do before. Juggling two or three paper or e-books has always added unnecessary pressure to choose. Now I don’t have to. I can’t read while eating, biking, or gaming. But I can listen. And since listening apparently takes a completely different part of my brain, I can also compartmentalize when and what I listen to.

All of this to say — audiobooks are still a life-changing addition to my existence, and I am still in love with them. They can never replace paper for me, because I am old and stuck in my ways. But as an “and”, rather than “or”, they are a miracle!

Working on the Craft: Friendship

Today’s exercise seemed a bit too close to journaling for my tastes, so I went fictional with it. The point was to describe friendship in a response to an amazingly convoluted Samuel Becket quote. Insert, as Kiteley puts it, “a little poison into the sunny world the word usually describes”. In the end, I created a made-up person — a composite of my actual close friends — and put him through a situation many of them have found themselves in with me.

Sorry! But in my defense, y’all knew what you were signing up for…

I stop talking – whether because I have finished venting, or to take a breath, I am not sure – and he does the literal worst possible thing he could have done in this situation: he offers advice.

It’s not the first time either. The temerity!

I love him like a brother. Or rather, I love him the way I imagine I would love a brother, if I had one. It seems to involve a consistently low-boiling desire for manslaughter. Still though. We connect on a quantum level, you might say. I express a thought, however awkwardly, and I don’t have to worry about clarifying. He gets it. Instinctively. He understands not just the words, but the convoluted meanderings of my brain, lurking behind them. When he doesn’t, he asks the right questions.

I get him just as well, or at least it flatters me to think that I do. He is sticking around, so if it’s not that, it must be my sharp wit or something.

He is hot too, but that’s beside the point. That ship has had its run, and has now sailed safely beyond the horizon. Brother, as previously stated. But hey, in this life everything is a status symbol!

Where he fails – where he utterly, bombastically, dramatically betrays me – is in dealing with my drama.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a whole lot of drama in my life. I am too self-analytical for genuine MTV/VH1, ‘Teen Moms of Jacksonville, Florida’ drama. Usually. But when I do, I go full Shakespeare with it. World on fire, woe-is-me kinda deal. Naturally, the massive performative aspect of this experience demands that I share it. It’s therapeutic too, in a way. Better out than in, and it frees up space for actually addressing problems. Being a mature adult, or the placebo effect version of one.

But when I vent, I want commiseration. Absolute, obedient agreement, and more than that – simple acknowledgement. I am a smart guy,  and it’s my problem. I’ll figure it out. Hands off! Your role in this is to tell me how right I am or cushion the blow of how right I’m not. Not to solve shit for me.

But he does try. Invariably, he wants not just to listen, but to help. It is a little dance we dance. I come to him, whining or ranting as the occasion demands. He listens. Understands. Sympathizes. Then, in an utter disregard of karmic justice, he starts telling me what I did wrong, and how to fix it. And naturally I want to murder him.

But here is the cheat code for all this. He knows what I need. In an infuriatingly masturbatory way – one both sub- and super-liminal – I have made something obvious. While I definitely don’t want to be offered solutions, the complete disregard of my wishes is actually the perfect distraction from my woes. I don’t know if he is conscious of his role in this little farce, but he plays it enthusiastically. In making me annoyed at him, he takes my mind off my actual problem. Helps me reconnect the synapses. Figure out solutions that are – duh – way better than his suggestions.

In the least convenient, most obnoxious way possible, he ends up helping me solve my problem. Completely unprompted, butting in where he is not invited.

This is love. This is friendship. I can’t say with any degree of certainty that I deserve it. Him. But it is my fervent hope that I am able to do something this meaningful for him as well.

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

My first reaction upon hearing that the Hunger Games was about to have a prequel, was confusion. As a moderate fan of the series, I welcomed another journey into the world of Panem, of course. But the 10th Hunger Games specifically? When there are so many potentially cooler moments in the past we could visit? Who asked for this?

Well, it turns out we all did. We just didn’t know it.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes us 64 years into the past. The war between the Capitol and the 13 Districts has only been over for a decade, and reconstruction is slow. Parts of the once shining city are still in ruins. Its once celebrated noble families cling to the glory of old names, even when their riches are gone. And if it is even worse in the Districts, young Capitol Academy student Coriolanus Snow doesn’t care. Having lost both his parents in the war, he now lives in their once resplendent penthouse with his equally orphaned cousin Tigris and their “Grandma’am”, who is slowly going senile.

His one chance of a future lies in a scholarship to attend University after graduation. But to earn that, he must first prove himself in the first batch of Mentors in the Hunger Games. If he could lead his assigned Tribute to victory, his path forward is guaranteed. Except, he gets assigned the flamboyant performer Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. And all his carefully laid plans blow up.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes could have easily been a very problematic book. President Snow is an unapologetic villain in the original trilogy. There was a risk that this prequel could have been a sappy attempt at sympathy. But Suzanne Collins elegantly makes us care for “Coryo”, while sowing the seeds of what he would become from the very beginning. He is earnest, but vain. Kind, but calculated. Friendly to the less fortunate, but secretly feeling superior to them. In a way, he is a victim of his class, surroundings, and history. But he also makes all his choices. At no point do we feel that he is too good to become the horrifying mastermind of 64 years later. But we also understand what path took him there, and we can understand him enough to like him.

This masterful balancing act transforms The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Instead of a pointless prequel, it becomes a fascinating portrait of a historic figure, and the world that created it. But Collins also delivers an exciting story to go along with it. The Capitol is a far cry from its future splendor, and so are the Hunger Games. As Gamemakers experiment with new ideas to turn a bunch of starved kids killing each other inside a ruined coliseum into a national entertainment, we see the nuggets that will flower into the diabolical contest of the original trilogy. As expected, Coriolanus plays a huge part in this evolution, sometimes unwittingly, but often deliberately.

Lucy Gray Baird plays an important part both in the story, and in Coryo’s development. A talented singer from a group of traveling musicians, she is a cunning performer, and the reader is never 100% certain of her motives. Collins plays any possible connections to the original trilogy close to the chest, but suffice to say Lucy is the one who composes “The Hanging Tree”. Make of that what you will.

All in all, I enjoyed The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes quite a bit more than I expected. It fleshes out the past, and one of the world’s most important characters in an honest, complex, and exciting way. It is also perfectly self-contained, while welcoming the possibility of sequels. But whether Collins decides to continue the tale of Coriolanus Snow, or chooses to jump to a different point in time, I am excited for what comes next.

Destiny Needs Some Conclusions

I love the world of Destiny. I have been part of it since the midnight release of the first game back in 2014. And I have stuck with the series through its highs and lows, even when so many others left. This post however will not be about the serious issues the franchise is dealing with in maintaining player interest. Rather, I want to talk about lore.

The grimdark, post-apocalyptic solar system of Destiny is one of the most complex and original universes I have ever encountered. And I don’t just mean video games here. Thanks to phenomenal talents like Seth Dickinson, Jon Goff, and many other writers, the stories of humanity and the numerous threats that arrived to claim the wreckage of its collapse, have grown alive in the 6 years since the game’s release.

Problem is, so far the glorious wealth of Destiny lore does not include too many endings. And to an extent, this makes sense. For all its dwindling popularity, this is a regularly updated MMO game. Ending its story means cutting its life short. But this only applies on a macro level. Throughout its lifetime, this franchise has generated a ton of subplots, many of which incredibly compelling, but not necessarily vital to the main conflict. And yet, with each new season, these separate stories either get more complicated, or completely ignored.

What is Uldren’s part in all of this? Where is Savathun? Has Emperor Calus’ daughter usurped the Cabal? What about the Shadows of Yor? The Vex that aren’t slaves to the Darkness? The three major factions vying for control of the devastated Fallen Houses? What war is the Exo Stranger fighting? Is Queen Mara Sov ever coming back to the Dreaming City? What is even happening in the Dreaming City, now that the time-loop curse seems to be indefinitely part of it? Will we find out more about the Deepstone Crypt?

I can go on, and on, and on. And I am fully aware that most of these questions aren’t even something the player community of Destiny at large is aware of. But I want to explain why the amount of open storylines bothers me.

Long-running franchises cannot focus on everything at once. This not only requires unrealistically large technical capabilities, but it would also hurt the storytelling itself. A good story needs a throughline. Sure, in Destiny 2: Forsaken we dealt with Prince Uldren’s betrayal, and the Scorn, and the death of Cayde-6. We dealt with the Taken, and the Ahamkara, and the Awoken, and the Hive. BUT, we did it in a thematically coherent way. All of these storylines converged in one strong and unified narrative, giving us the most brilliant expansion since The Taken King.

But the story of Cayde-6 and our vengeance for his murder was completed. The reveal and hunt for the Taken Ahamkara Riven was finished. And yes, all of those have had lasting repercussions to the world’s lore, but the very completion of these strong arcs allowed us to have patience. The repercussions would be dealt with, in time. They were parked.

Similar argument can be made of many other threads of the Destiny tapestry, such as The Nine and the Black Armory, for example. We don’t know everything about these stories, they aren’t necessarily finished. But they have reached a plateau. A point where we feel enough satisfaction, that we can move on to another part of the universe.

But too many of the current storylines keep being teased, hinted at, mentioned in lore tabs. They have immediate questions attached, unresolved tensions. Except, they never get pulled to the forefront. In 2018 Uldren awoke as a Guardian with no memory of his previous life and crimes. That was two years ago, both in real world, and in-game. In that time, we have read some minor lore about how miserable and ostracized he is. But none of it answers the burning questions about his fate. By rule of the Vanguard Dare, Uldren (or however he calls himself now) should be the new Hunter Vanguard. Instead, he is nowhere, and unlikely to be a focus of any particular story coming in the near future.

And as the pyramid ships are now halfway into Sol, I wonder if Destiny’s future won’t be cut short. The Darkness is the ultimate enemy after all. They single-handedly destroyed humanity’s Golden Age. And an entire fleet of them is now within our system, ready to deliver a second Collapse.

So, I have to ask myself, how much of the beloved stories I have lived and breathed for over half a decade will even find conclusion? Or at least a plateau point where I can feel a measure of contentment over abandoning them in the short term? And will there be enough long term for Bungie to fully end at least some of them?

Destiny has what it takes to be a historic example of gaming (and overall) storytelling. But however long its planned life-span is, it needs to start concluding things. Because, if recent dragon- and lightsaber-based franchises have taught us anything, it is that a story, for all its brilliant moments, is only ever as good as its ending.

Review: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Boundless, terrifying freedom…

Final Fantasy VII is one of the greatest J-RPGs of all time. It popularized the franchise outside of Japan, and single-handedly turned PSOne into a global phenomenon. It gave birth to three spin-off games, two feature-length movies, and a ton of other tie-in media. It is the quintessential gaming classic. And now, nearly a quarter century after its release, we finally get a remake.

…Sort of.

Before I say anything further, I need to specify something that isn’t immediately apparent from the marketing. This game does not cover the entirety of the story. The roughly 35 hours of the main campaign only adapt the first 8 of the original game – the Midgar arc.

Final Fantasy VII Remake takes place in the city of Midgar. The corporation Shinra is mining Mako — the life force of the planet — to use as a power source, threatening all life. Only a small group of eco-terrorists, known as Avalanche, are willing to defend their world. The story begins with mercenary-for-hire Cloud Strife and a small group of freedom fighters, as they try to blow up a Mako reactor. This will start a chain of events that will change the entire world.

If you’ve played the original, you know how much bigger the story becomes. It includes ancient secrets, genetic experimentation, and extraterrestrial threats. As well as some of the greatest moments of tragedy and heroism in the history of gaming.


From the very beginning, Final Fantasy VII Remake gives indication that something isn’t quite right. Minor events happen differently from the original. And not long after, Cloud encounters a group of mysterious shades (think Dimentors made of dust). They sometimes attack our heroes, and sometimes help them. Always in key points where the story diverges from its predecessor. Little by little we realize that this game has the potential to take its characters in a completely new direction.

The rest, as they say, is spoilers.

The gameplay is standard for a modern J-RPG. The Active Time Battle system is tried and true, though occasionally there is too much going on for the player to feel fully in control. Luckily, those moments are rare, and the variety of skills and magic makes combat exciting and fun. You can have a maximum of three characters, only directly controlling one at any given time. The other two will follow commands, but without those they only use their basic attacks, and block. Like, they will block a lot.

That last part was a bit of a disappointment. Considering that this game took half a decade to make, I would have expected a bit more intelligence from your party. What’s more, Final Fantasy has had phenomenal algorithms of behavior since literally two generations ago. Even the Gambit system from Final Fantasy XII (PS2) would have made of this game an absolute delight. However, the overall difficulty level is pretty low (even on ‘hard’, where you cannot use items, and don’t regain MP until chapter breaks). The command menu slows time to a crawl, and its navigation is intuitive enough, so telling everyone what to do is not a chore. But it still feels a bit lazy.

Visually, Final Fantasy VII Remake is absolutely gorgeous. Action and magic animations are fluid and colorful, without being too chaotic. The monster design is traditional Final Fantasy fare, but it is still wonderful to see old favorites get a glow-up.

While the art style might remind some people of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a direct comparison shows that the new game has a slightly more cartoon-ish approach to character depiction (back in 2005, the movie’s goal was to create hyper-realistic people in contrast with the original). The transition between cut-scenes and gameplay is seamless, and the city of Midgar is absolutely breathtaking. From the dystopian techno-complexes of Shinra, to the slums beneath the city’s giant metal plate, this world is bright and full of life. And for those of us who recall these sights in their 1997 glory, the nostalgia is real.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a fairly streamlined, almost entirely linear experience. Although there are some secrets to find, nothing is truly missable. Completing the game gives players a chapter select option, retaining all progress. If you want to go for the Platinum trophy, it will take 55-75 hours, depending on pacing.

Overall, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a medium, but satisfying challenge, relying more on skill than grind. Understanding gear and ability customization makes a huge difference, which I always appreciate in a game. It is a beautiful return to a beloved world, telling a story that holds infinite promise. And although it ends before giving you most of the answers, there is still a sense of completion. I admit, I have certain (very plot-based, very spoilerific) fears regarding the future of this new franchise. But if its first installment is any indication, that future is going to be bright.

Review: Network Effect (Murderbot #5)

I adore Murderbot. Martha Wells’ dissociative, depressive, anxious, asexual, agender, soap-opera-loving AI is among the most brilliant and deeply human characters of modern science fiction. The four novellas that form the first arc of SecUnit’s life as a free agent are an absolute delight of cyberpunk espionage and military SF. So, when I knew a full-blown novel was coming, I. Could. Not. Wait.

Network Effect is listed as “Book 5” in the series, but really, it’s kind of Arc 2. Or possibly even just the beginning of it. The story follows Murderbot, living on the planet Preservation after the events in Exit Strategy. On the way back from a survey mission, its team is intercepted by a familiar space vessel. Some of them are taken captive, including Murderbot itself.

Things only get weird from there.

Network Effect is a more ambitious work than the preceding stories. It expands into various directions — from alien remnants and corporate intrigue, to AI identity and the extreme awkwardness of bots trying to figure out how friendship works. Some-magical-how, Murderbot manages to both be its lovable autistic self, and visibly grow before the reader’s eyes. The book even offers the POV of another SecUnit at some point, in a brilliant demonstration of how unique these individuals are.

The book takes a second to fire up all cylinders (like I know how cars work…). The first third is a tad slower than I would have liked. But it makes up for it with a much higher level of mystery, and a way more complex story. Once the entire cast is on stage, and the revelations start piling up, Network Effect not only reaches, but surpasses its predecessors on practically every level.

Martha Wells has unlimited credit with me at this point. If she only writes Murderbot novels for the rest of her life (I hope she does not, but, yunno, if), I will still be the happiest non-augmented human on Earth. And if you are yet to experience the brilliance of this series, there is a solution! First, find a shame nun meme, and look at it until you regret the choices that led you here. Then attack All Systems Red with extreme prejudice.

And for those of us up to date — Book 6, Fugitive Telemetry is coming out in less than a year!

Reading Update 05/27/20 – Ethan of Athos is Gay

My Vorkossigan Saga re-“reading” project on Audible just covered a book I had never read before. Ethan of Athos is a side story that only mentions Miles. Furthermore, it wasn’t even published in Bulgarian back when I read the series as a teenager. So, it was fun to experience something new in that universe.

It’s a lukewarm spy action story on a space station. We’ve all read those (and if you haven’t — what’s the matter with you?!), and Ethan delivers nothing new. With that said, it is also a story of a gay man, coming from an all-male planet that relies on technology for procreation. It does it awkwardly, with outdated ideas of bigotry that already aren’t all that prevalent, and are unlikely to survive a galactic expansion.

Now, we can all agree that the Vorkossigan Saga isn’t the most progressive series in the galaxy by today’s standards. The rigid duality of male and female, the cringe-inducing use of “it” to describe in-between genders. The overtly patriarchal and classist undertones. It doesn’t hold up when placed next to works like Ancillary Justice for example.

But most of the Vorkossigan Saga was written a long time ago, and by those standards, it is staggering how progressive it actually is.

Ethan of Athos was published in 1986. For all that I find Ethan himself to be obnoxiously naive, snooty, and annoying, he is a sympathetic portrayal of a gay man dealing with homophobia and misguided prejudice. And thriving. What’s more, Bujold gave him to us in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, in the year when the term “HIV” was created. In a mainstream entertainment genre, as part of an already successful series.

When viewed through the lens of that time period, Ethan of Athos is a truly remarkable work. And while it will never get near my favorite list of stories in that universe, I am very happy to have read it. Apparently, I could love Lois McMaster Bujold more.

Working on the Craft: Absent

Today’s exceptionally dorky text aims to describe a person who isn’t there. As Kiteley himself says, there are plenty of ways to do this — through physical observation, recounting actions, etc. For some reason, I immediately decided that my character would have just left a place and the POV would be that of people who are hiding from him. Then it got a little weird…

“Is he gone?” I asked, peering through the slits of the supply locker.

“He has to be, right?” Shari mumbled, doing the same to my right.

The locker was pretty intimate, what with the amount of mummified heads stacked neatly on every available surface – and imagine, if you will, my need to be trapped in a place devoid of dried-up body parts – but right now neither Shari, nor I were in any rush to get out.

“I haven’t heard an air cycle signal so far,” I pointed out. The only response was a groan.

I was groaning too, on the inside. Why either of us had thought it was a good plan to sneak aboard this particular ship, just as it was about to jump into Gatespace, was beyond me. No, wait. It wasn’t. We needed to make ourselves scarce, and fast. The station Lyctor had decided we were just the right shape and size to be scapegoated for the string of murders. It made sense to run away before she closed in on us.

It didn’t make sense to find ourselves into the ship of the actual killer. If that’s what the tall man with the strange globular helmet was.

“These were sounds of docking,” Shuri said after some more silence, punctuated only by the creaks and beeps of Gateship interior. “He was putting on an exposure tunic, you saw him.”

“Could mean he is going somewhere,” I agreed. “Could mean he is about to collect some more heads.”

I didn’t look her way, but I could smell her disapproval. “Even if that’s the case, Lim, let’s take it to the logical conclusion. Where does he keep his heads.”

“One is poking my butt,” I had to admit.


“Yes, therefore.”

I had no more arguments. The Gateship was small enough, that coming out of the supply locker was a risk. But the supply locker was small enough, that we would certainly be extremely discovered if he were to open it.

She began pressing her hands against the door, searching for the opening mechanism. “Did you see his eyes? He looks so–“

“Sexy, I know.”

“–psychotic,” Shari finished, her effort to open the door paused.

“Yep.” I was too diligent in trying to find the mechanism myself to meet her eyes. “Psychotic. Took the words right out of my mouth.”

“He kills people and decapitates them, Lim. Not even you are that desperate.” But she returned to her work.

Soon, there was a soft beeping sound – my memoirs will claim I’d found the lock first – and the door opened. We came out, both of us trying to look in every direction at once. There was no sound of footsteps, but then again, there hadn’t been any when he’d appeared in the hallway an hour ago either. He seemed to almost glide above the metal floor, his lean frame like some kind of attractive, decapitating kite.

“How long have we been out of Gatespace, do you think?” I asked Shari, trying to distract myself.

“About half an hour.” She was fairly distracted herself, leading the way down the corridor, peering behind corners before motioning me to follow.

“Do you think he docked with another station, or a ship?”

“No stations that close to ours.”


Another station would have meant a chance to slip out of the ship and escape. A ship? Well, where there was one sexy murderer, there could be more.

“Why do you think he kept the heads?” I asked.

Shari paused, turned around. “Lim.”



“Stop that. I am just curious.”

She rolled her eyes. “You have to stop this. Your taste in men is what got us into this?”

This was too much. It was exaggerated enough that I could ignore the kernel of truth and opt for being indignant. “Come on! In what universe is this my fault?”

Shari crossed her arms, raised her chin. I cringed.

“They have to be excessively damaged for you to like them. They have to be emotionally unavailable.”

“I don’t see how–“

AND…” She raised a finger to shush me. “They have to be borderline criminals.”

“I am not sure that’s fair.”

“That boy in the hyposlam ring?”

“He was duped.”

“The psycho that was skimming feed from engineering?”

“It was never proven…”

The actual literal burglar you tried to date after he robbed us?!

I had nothing for that one, so I kept silent. Shari’s crossed arms were judging me. “So, I am telling you, right now. I am drawing the line at “guy who cuts heads and mummifies them,” she continued. “I have been with you through a lot, but this is my hard no. And before you say anything more, know that–“

I never found out what I was supposed to know before I said anything more. She found it suddenly hard to express herself, due to the extremely prejudiced decapitation. An impressive length of flat, sharp metal hovered around where her head had just been, attached to a long, muscular arm. I suddenly found myself unable to look past that hand, so instead, I stared at the floor.

“Hi. I’m Lim,” I said. I was sure I was blushing.

How to Be a Dick to People, And Make a Good Story Out of It

At this point, I have vomited several hundred thousand words of text unto the world. A “practice” insta-trunk novel, nearly two complete drafts of a second one. A novella and several short stories. One might say I am beginning to gain “some experience”.

But in that experience, nothing gives me more cold sweat, than creating conflicts for my characters.

(Disclaimer: I am bundling here interpersonal, emotional, and outside conflicts. Naturally, all of those are profoundly different, and require different solutions. But the core principle of resolving them is, I believe, similar.)

Conflicts are tough for anxious people with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. One, I try to avoid them at all cost in real life. Two, my mind goes into overdrive, scrambling to figure out the optimal course of resolution. Add it all together, and my writing really resists lending itself to making life hard for my characters.

Don’t get me wrong. I do it. But creating the conflict is actually the easy part. Ultimately, we can all imagine bad shit happening to us or people around us. We can all come up with hurtful or otherwise problematic interpersonal interaction. The real problem is the resolution. As a discovery writer, I constantly catch myself failing to use tools such as “try/fail” cycles. My instinct is always to just have the characters come up with what I see as the perfect solution, and then have it work.

But a working solution is not a working solution. It makes for a boring linear story. So, in my present writing, I am doing my damnedest to stick to at least the spirit, if not the letter of the following pattern. (I take no credit, of course. This has been invented by much smarter and far more experienced people than myself.)

1. What is the worst/most problematic thing that could happen in the current situation the character is in? DO THAT!

2. What is the smartest possible solution that the character could use? Have them try it, and make it fail spectacularly. Maybe even create further problems.

3. What is a new thing that could solve the problem? Have them try that too, and maybe resolve only part of the problem.

4. Keep going until your character is an emotional or physical wreck. Then repeat.

Of course, this is fiction. There are numerable permutations. But the most important storytelling tool I have found so far, is to challenge myself to fail at the “best course”. If I can have my own best laid plans collapse in flames, I am pushed to come up with a less obvious solution. And sure enough, one could overdo this and get into Convolution Town. But ultimately, it is the right course to create a conflict that won’t bore the reader.

I just wish it came to me easier. Maybe that’s my own try/fail cycle…

Reading Update 05/20/20 – The Bujold Cascade

In this week’s thrilling episode of “Adventures in Audiobooks”, our intrepid hero discovers another new thing about himself! Something magical occurred, and I don’t quite know how to explain it. Of course, it is of interest exclusively to me, and literally no one else in the universe, but hey! It’s my blog ^_^

So, after finishing Barrayar, I naturally slid into the next book in Bujold’s Vorkossigan Saga The Warrior’s Apprentice. Miles’ first adventure is cute, if far from her best work, but what happened next MIGHT SHOCK YOU!

Just kidding. I started listening to The Vor Game. Finished that one last night. Guess what I am listening to now? Yep, you got it — Cetaganda.

What is the point of this boring list, you ask?

Here’s the thing. I am not a serial reader. I have always struggled to maintain interest for the same writer/series over more than a couple of books. This has nothing to do with engagement or quality of the works. It genuinely hasn’t seemed to matter how interested I was when I read the last page. If it is a second or third novel in the same series, or by the same author, I find my capacity to continue drastically diminished. I need a break of pacing, a change in direction. Always have. My reading lists, when they include series, tend to be a checkerboard.

Not so with audiobooks. It seems that my brain is treating the information differently. Perhaps it’s due to how used I am to listening to podcasts. However, unless something changes, it appears that I can just keep going with a series indefinitely. Already 4 books into the Vorkossigan Saga, I feel like I can go on forever.

Moral of the story — as far as Simeon is concerned, audiobooks are good for re-reads and long series!