Invalid characterset or character set not supported I'm Still Alive, 2/15/23

I'm Still Alive, 2/15/23
February 15, 2023

I'm still here, I'm still writing. However, work is kicking my ass pretty soundly. I was able to get my crew's population up, only for it to dwindle again, which has led to the occasional 12- to 14-hour days and not a lot of energy for anything but light gaming and sleeping. And sometimes reading.

Where reading is concerned, I got through a handful of books recently:

The Djinn by Graham Masterton: A sequel to Masterton's cult favorite, The Manitou (which was adapted into a film way back starring Tony Curtis). This one picks up after that book, in which the prior novel's protagonist now must face a djinn trapped in an ornate vase. Unfortunately for him, it turns out to be one of the worst of its kind, known for killing its victims in a multitude of horrible ways. It's an decent enough book, though its conclusion leaves a bit to be desired. Still, it got me into the Harry Erskine series... 3/5

Video Night by Adam Cesare: Part alien takeover, part body horror, part existential horror, part '80s splatter throwback. Four teens fend off bug-like aliens who either A) incubate eggs in their hosts that cause their young to painfully burst out of their victims' mouths, or B) take control of their minds and slowly absorb their personalities. Four teens fight off infected neighbors, including an older sister and a sheriff who badly want to infect them. 4/5

Defiant Light by Jason Venter: What is this? A novel by our editor-in-chief? Yes! I know Jason has written other material more recently, but I wanted to give this one a chance before I dug into any of those. And you know what? It's quite delightful! It's like a dystopian fantasy novel in which the entire world has become shrouded in darkness, leading to a kingdom ruled by a power-hungry (and possibly paranoid?) king who requires that anyone with light magic give up their abilities "for the good of the kingdom." This sounds noble in theory because their forced sacrifice (which sometimes kills them) allows the kingdom to establish a new light fixture somewhere. Unfortunately, there isn't much of a need for such lights presently, so the mages are giving up their powers for reasons that barely benefit the kingdom. Our protagonist, Nigel, realizes this and tries to find a way out of town and into the pitch-black land beyond it. 4/5

Nightwing by Martin Cruz Smith: A Hopi priest-turned-witch enacts a deadly curse in the hopes of restarting the corrupt world, and only a reservation deputy, a nurse, and a chiropterologist can stop it. Chiropterologist? You mean a bat expert? Yeah, the curse takes the form of abnormally large, voracious vampire bats crawling with fleas that spread a new, deadly type of plague. Though this is a pre-apocalyptic piece of horror, it focuses more on reservation life and how the Hopi and Navajo see both each other and outsiders. It's a refreshing novel, but one that sometimes loses momentum when it focuses too closely on some less compelling character histories or chaotic inner thoughts. 3/5

Expect reviews from:
Solar Striker - GB
Hylics - PC
Capsized - PC

I'm also currently playing:
Chronus Arc - Switch
Chrono Trigger - PC
Shadow Complex Remastered - PC

Most recent blog posts from Joseph Shaffer...

honestgamer honestgamer - February 16, 2023 (10:07 AM)
I'm glad you enjoyed my oldest published novel, Joe. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! I published it through Xlibris, which means I don't have a lot of control over it unless I decide to reclaim my rights and publish it myself... which I may eventually do. I just have too much on my plate right now. As do you, it sounds like. Thanks for spending some of that precious free time on my fiction!

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