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I’m a wizard in search of magic, an astronaut in need of space, and a hopeless enthusiast of frivolity. I’ve shot things with giant lasers, worn an astronaut costume for over 100 days to try and get into space, and made my own soap. A graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, I write science fiction and fantasy in the Canadian prairies.
I love board games, and so I feel an unnerving pressure to attend local events. A good kind of pressure, a deep-tissue massage.
We only went for the last afternoon, but we experienced what happens every time I crack open a new board game: new paradigms, new lenses through which we see microcosms before total immersion. I lose myself in these worlds, loving the way mechanics can be reflective of our own rules, things we might strive toward, or just ways in which we can be something more than ourselves.
The best game we played this year was Naga Raja, a two-player duelling treasure hunt game that entwines betting, combat, Indian Jones exploration and the satisfaction of pipeworks grid puzzles. The game had the wonderful combination of multiple interacting elements and mechanics, while remaining easy enough to understand the basic structure and flow. I regret to inform you I didn’t win the match, nor did I win the raffled copy of the game. Somehow, however, I feel that a serpentine ruler will slither its way into my game cupboard nevertheless…
Another game by the same company (Ilo 307) was Planet, where you build a planet by attaching magnetic tiles to your very own dodecahedron. Animals will spontaneously emerge, or perhaps flock to, the planet most abundant in a particular type of biome. While the mechanics were simple, the three-dimensional tactile aspect retained interest as we flipped our own, and each other’s planets to try and plan the next moves. Trying to keep a mental model throughout proved a form of calisthenics for spatial reasoning.
Tiny Towns was an adorable game that showed how resource acquisition can be a double-edged sword, discouraging wanton hoarding or collecting of anything but what you need, a notion and theme that is perhaps an appropriate lesson for the young and old.
Then there was Tokyo Highway. Oh, Tokyo Highway. What I’d like to call String Railroad 3D. What a neat concept, but wow, do I wish I had surgeon’s hands to be successful. In a two-player version, I managed to demolish highways faster than a sharknado. I can only imagine the rich satisfaction a 4-player game would entail, which would no doubt harbour toddler-level joy through ruination of an established order.
Thank goodness we have such outlets as games, or who knows what the babbling, insufferably adorable destructoids might do to the world as we know it.
The next instalment in Rhonda Parrish’s ambitious alphabet anthologies, F is for Fairy, is coming out soon (May 7th). To celebrate, I have both its gorgeous cover and a list of pre-order links*!
*Links at the end of the post
It includes my story, “I”, a political satire featuring an idiot king and talking animals. You’ll have to read the story to find out what “I” stands for (that’s how these anthologies work–a story for each letter of the alphabet).
Here is the back-cover blurb:
“Anyone who believes that faeries are wee, golden-haired creatures with dragon-fly wings and sweet intentions has never met a real faerie.” –Suzanne Willis, “A Silver Thread Between Worlds”
Retellings of familiar favourites from new perspectives, and brand new stories share the pages of this fairy-themed collection. Within these offerings you’ll find fairy music and food, contracts (making and breaking them), changelings, circles and curses–these stories deliver all the things you already love about fairies and a few new tricks as well.
A dusting of dragons, shapeshifters and ogres accompany these tales which include feminist fairies overcoming trauma, Norse fairies breaking the rules to interfere in human affairs, intergalactic fairies hitching a ride to a new home, political satire featuring an idiot king and talking animals, a new Robin Archer story, fairy run nightclubs and so, so much more.
Altogether this collection includes twenty-six brand new stories–one for each letter of the alphabet–from contributors Pete Aldin, Steve Bornstein, Andrew Bourelle, Stephanie A. Cain, Beth Cato, Sara Cleto, Cory Cone, Danielle Davis, Megan Engelhardt, Michael Fosburg, Joseph Halden, Lynn Hardaker, L.S. Johnson, Michael M. Jones, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, C.S. MacCath, Jonathan C. Parrish, Alexandra Seidel, Michael B. Tager, Rachel M. Thompson, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Brittany Warman, Lilah Wild, Suzanne J. Willis and BD Wilson.
Pre-order it below!
The other day I got a snazzy ARC of Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say. This was as a reward for winning a small competition for suggested subtitles of the anthology (so I’m responsible for the “Not the Fairy Tale They Say” part). It’s a gorgeous-looking anthology, and from the reviews it looks pretty good. I’m glad to have played a small part in it, and look forward to curling up with it sometime with a cup of lactose-free eggnog.
Thursday night (Nov 9) Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first woman in space, will be speaking at Festival Place. https://festivalplace.ab.ca/view/shows/id/1004#showtimes