I'm reading every Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award winner. Here's my reviews of the up to 1980 (Vol 4)
It is that time once more, folks. Links to previous posts at the end, links to full length blog reviews are all in one comment. Man Plus by Frederik Pohl
Plot: A normal human could not survive on Mars... our only option? Cyborgs!
Page Count: 183
Award: 1976 Nebula
Worth a read: No... but consider it for a laugh.
Primary Driver: (?????????)
Bechdel Test: Pass... but a real weak pass.
Review: Imagine if you took subplots from a trashy romance, a political thriller, a horror flick, and a space travel story... and forgot to put in the main plot. Starts decently, spirals wildly out of control with astounding speed. Almost worth reading to experience the hilarious concluding deus ex machina. This one is probably in the "so bad it's good category" - but sweet skittles is it bad. Also, turn on safe search if you look this book up.
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
Plot: After a pandemic causes infertility (and every other apocalypse hits), the only way for humans to survive is through cloning. But are they really human?
Page Count: 251
Award: 1977 Hugo and 1977 Locus
Worth a read: No
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Review: Disappointing and disjointed. There are a lot of messages here that just get blended together to nothingness. Cumbersome writing, uncompelling characters, bland dystopia, and just a dull story. Odd choices on where to discuss science at length and where to just skip over it. First third was its own story originally, and is the best part.
Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle
Plot: There is no joy like dying to advance science, at least according to Doctor Rat.
Page Count: 243
Award: 1977 World Fantasy Award
Worth a read: No... but worth a glance at a chapter or two.
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: N/A
Technobabble: Frequent descriptions of animal experiments.
Review: This book is truly horrifying to read. It's about the gruesome nature of animal testing - and cruelty to animals in general - and is chock full of graphic animal gore. It's the child of The Jungle and Animal Farm but without subtext. Consider checking it out to read a couple of chapters - the grotesque fascination wears thin. Some might consider the unambiguous use of Nazi imagery for animal testing to be a step or three too far.
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Plot: The Heechee left behind technology so advanced that we cannot understand it; that doesn't stop us from using it to get rich or die trying.
Page Count: 313
Award: 1977 Nebula, 1978 Hugo, and 1978 Locus SF
Worth a read: Yes. Very yes.
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Review: Really good. Cleverly bounces between the story as it unfolds and therapy sessions afterwards - we know that our hero survives, but something terrible has happened. A bit too Freudian. Still, excellent job of making a complex protagonist, interesting world, compelling story. Wanting to know what went wrong kept me reading - and it pays off.
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
Plot: Turns out Middle Earth had other jewelry too.
Page Count: 386
Award: 1978 Locus Fantasy Award
Worth a read: Yes.
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Review: This is epic fantasy in its purest form; it is myth and legend, at times obtuse, but absolutely riveting. Tolkien's world is fully immersive. Had the physical book to follow the story, the audiobook for pronunciation, and laptop for family trees. Absolutely worth it - even as a casual LoTR fan.
Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber
Plot: Something sinister is haunting Franz Westen, and dealing with it involves unearthing answers that might be best left buried.
Page Count: 183
Award: World Fantasy Award 1978
Worth a read: Yes
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Review: This is a horror story. Atmosphere is excellent. Book begins with some truly unsettling images and world building. The narrative itself is slow and frequently self-indulgent, but atmosphere stays on point. A qualified recommendation; but some scenes from this will stick with me for quite a while.
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
Plot: Long after the end of the world as we know it, Snake wanders the world, healing those she meets to the best of her abilities.
Page Count: 288
Award: 1978 Nebula, 1979 Hugo, and 1979 Locus
Worth a read: Yes
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Technobabble: Minimal to moderate.
Review: Less-is-more world building with good execution. A lot of interesting tidbits to keep you wondering what the rules are, who the people are, and so on. Story itself can be slow and stakes are consistently low. "I'm going to a place, surprise! something comes up, I will go to another place along the way." Characters are well written though not particularly complex.
Gloriana, or The Unfulfill'd Queen by Michael Moorcock
Plot: In an alternate timeline, Queen Elizabeth I rules over the vast empire of Albion and must do her best to manage a corrupt and twisted court.
Page Count: 368
Award: 1979 World Fantasy Award
Worth a read: Absolutely No.
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Review: This book is remarkable in that it combines shockingly dull and lengthy exposition with some truly awful and problematic ideas about sex. A whole lot of parallel world court intrigue that just does not matter at all. The actual plot starts developing halfway or later into the book - and is not interesting. The title addressing Gloriana's inability to orgasm is a big ol' red flag. A deeply unpleasant read. Really awful.
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
Plot: Humans have built many marvels, but nothing can compete with a space elevator.
Page Count: 317
Award: 1980 Hugo and 1979 Nebula
Worth a read: Yes
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Fail
Review: Overall enjoyable. Main narrative is about the space elevator, secondary is about an equally ambitious ancient building project - woven together in interesting ways. The science and vision offered are interesting, though characters are not and tension is infrequent. Marred somewhat by some truly bizarre (and underdeveloped) side plots and unnecessary epilogue.
The Riddle-Master Trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip
Plot: All the wizards left behind were riddles, and the only one who might be able to solve them is the biggest riddle of all.
Page Count: 578 (Full Trilogy)
Award:Harpist in the Wind (Book 3): 1980 Locus Fantasy
Worth a read: Yes
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Technobabble: Fantasy Babble: Minimal.
Review: It's an epic fantasy trilogy. It's a good one. Kinda loved it. Heroes and villains are complex, magic is interesting and coherent. Excellent characters. Cool development of powers, though it is far more power sprint than power crawl. Pacing can be odd; a few long pauses followed by frenetic scenes. Very well written. A satisfying read.
Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn
Plot: The Southerners picked the wrong keep to invade; Ryke will do everything he can to get it back.
Page Count: 240
Award: World Fantasy Award 1980
Worth a read: No
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Technobabble: Fantasy Babble: Minimal.
Review: The sweet, sweet taste of subpar writing. World building: "You people from the hot South are not used to how cold it is here up North!" Character Development: "You mean... I don't just need to indiscriminately murder people?!" and "You mean... women can fight too?!" Writing Quality (Verbatim): "He thought it might have ben a room in Tornor. The room was hot. He went to the window to open the shutters. They stuck. He had to force the latch. At last one opened."
Titan by John Varley
Plot: The intrepid crew of the Ringmaster crash in alien territory and must figure out how to survive.
Page Count: 309
Award: 1980 Locus SF
Worth a read: No
Primary Driver: (Plot, World, or Character)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Technobabble: Minimal to moderate.
Review: It is hard to find such a dumb book that takes itself so seriously. Some legitimately interesting exploration bits not enough to redeem this one. Extremely juvenile. Raises interesting questions and offers insultingly insipid answers. There are elements that are quite good - particularly some crisp dialogue - but it's just not worth it.
Any questions or comments? Fire away! A truly massive thank you to u/gremdelfor mailing me a bunch of books! People like you are what make this endeavor worth the effort. I’ve been using this spreadsheet, as well as a couple others that kind Redditors have sent. So a huge thanks to u/velzerat and u/BaltSHOWPLACE At the request of a number of you, I’ve written up extended reviews of everything and made a blog for them. I’ve included the links with the posts for individual books. I try to put up new reviews as fast as I read them. Take a look in the comments for that link! The Bechdel Test is a simple question: do two named female characters converse about something other than a man. Whether or not a book passes is not a condemnation so much as an observation; it provides an easy binary marker. Seems like a good way to see how writing has evolved over the years. At the suggestion of some folks, I’m loosening it to non-male identified characters to better capture some of the ways that science fiction tackles sex and gender. For a better explanation of why it’s useful, check out this comment from u/Gemmabeta
Download any of these for free at https://oppfiles.com/585933 DM me if you have any requests for anything not on the list. If you want solution manuals/testbanks, you can also request them Almost all the books are in their latest editions and some of them are available in multiple editions too. Please subscribe the sub to find all the latest textbook releases. Enjoy! [Book] Art is an endangered species: a History of western art, Paleolithic Romanesque(self) 1 [BOOK] Above the Fray: The Red Cross and the Making of the Humanitarian NGO Sector by Shai Dromi(self) 2 [Book] Prehospital Emergency Care 11th Edition(self) 1 [Book] JAMA Guide to Statistics and Methods 1st Edition by Edward Livingston, Roger Lewis(self) 3 [Book] Annual Editions: Anthropology 42/e, Elvio ANGELONI(self) 4 [Book] Donnelly, Seth 2019 The Lie of Global Prosperity: How Neoliberals Distort Data to Mask Poverty & Exploitation. 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20 Point and Click Games You Should Play Right Now!
1.Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Monkey Island 2 follows Guybrush's continuing adventures some time after defeating the Ghost Pirate LeChuck. His arrival on Scabb Island was in pursuit of the legendary treasure of Big Whoop.LeChuck's Revenge plays like most SCUMM-based point-and-click adventure games. Actions and dialogues are depicted on an Animation Window which covers the top of the screen; verbal commands are listed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, while Inventory items are shown as icons on the lower right-hand corner. A Sentence Line is located below the Animation Window and serves in describing the actions of the player.The game was one of the few adventure games that offered the player a choice in levels of puzzle difficulty. In some versions, before starting the game, the player is prompted to choose between regular version and "Monkey 2 Lite", a relatively stripped-down experience that bypasses many puzzles entirely. On the back of the game's packaging it is (jokingly) stated that this mode is intended for video-game reviewers. 2.Day of the Tentacle The game, a loose sequel to Maniac Mansion, is focused on Bernard Bernoulli — the only one of the three playable characters that was featured in the first game — and his friends Laverne and Hoagie, as they help Dr. Fred Edison using a time machine to prevent Purple Tentacle from taking over the world. The game utilizes time travel and the effects of changing history as part of the many puzzles to be solved in the game. Day of the Tentacle follows the point-and-click two-dimensional adventure game formula, first established by the original Maniac Mansion. Players direct the controllable characters around the game world by clicking with the computer mouse. To interact with the game world, players choose from a set of nine commands arrayed on the screen (such as "pick up", "use", or "talk to") and then on an object in the world. This was the last SCUMM game to use the original interface of having the bottom of the screen being taken up by a verb selection and inventory; starting with the next game to use the SCUMM engine, Sam & Max Hit the Road, the engine was modified to scroll through a more concise list of verbs with the right mouse button and having the inventory on a separate screen.Day of the Tentacle uses time travel extensively; early in the game, the three main protagonists are separated across time by the effects of a faulty time machine. The player, after completing certain puzzles, can then freely switch between these characters, interacting with the game's world in the separate time periods. Certain small inventory items can be shared by placing the item into the "Chron-o-Johns", modified portable toilets that instantly transport objects to one of the other time periods, while other items are shared by simply leaving the item in a past time period to be picked up by a character in a future period. Changes made to a past time period will affect a future one, and many of the game's puzzles are based on the effect of time travel, aging of certain items, and alterations of the time stream. For example, one puzzle requires the player, while in the future era where Purple Tentacle has succeeded, to send a medical chart of a Tentacle back to the past, having it used as the design of the American flag, then collecting one such flag in the future to be used as a Tentacle disguise to allow that character to roam freely.The whole original Maniac Mansion game can be played on a computer resembling a Commodore 64 inside the Day of the Tentacle game; this practice has since been repeated by other game developers, but at the time of Day of the Tentacle's release, it was unprecedented. 3.The Secret of Monkey Island It takes place in a fantastical version of the Caribbean during the age of piracy. The player assumes the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who dreams of becoming a pirate and explores fictional islands while solving puzzles. The Secret of Monkey Island is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Via a point-and-click interface, the player guides protagonist Guybrush Threepwood through the game's world and interacts with the environment by selecting from twelve verb commands (nine in newer versions) such as "talk to" for communicating with characters and "pick up" for collecting items between commands and the world's objects in order to successfully solve puzzles and thus progress in the game. While conversing with other characters, the player may choose between topics for discussion that are listed in a dialog tree; the game is one of the first to incorporate such a system. The in-game action is frequently interrupted by cutscenes. Like other LucasArts adventure games, The Secret of Monkey Island features a design philosophy that makes the player character's death nearly impossible (Guybrush does drown if he stays underwater for more than ten minutes). 4.Loom Loom is based on a serious and complex fantasy story. With its experimental interface, it eschewed the traditional paradigm of graphical adventures, where puzzles usually involve interactions between the game character, the environment, and items the character has in their possession. Loom's gameplay centers instead around magical four-note tunes known as "drafts" that the protagonist, Bobbin Threadbare, can play on his distaff. Each draft is a spell that has an effect of a certain type, such as "Opening" or "Night Vision." Some drafts can be reversed by playing their notes backwards, so the "Dye" draft played backwards becomes "Bleach," while others, such as the "Terror" draft, are palindromes (e.g. C–E–E–C) and so cannot be reversed in this manner. Bobbin can learn drafts by observing an object that possesses the qualities of the desired draft; for example, by examining a blade while it is being sharpened, Bobbin can learn the "Sharpening" draft. When the game begins, Bobbin is only able to play drafts using the notes C, D and E, limiting his ability to reproduce more powerful drafts. As the game progresses and additional notes become available, so his ability to play new drafts increases. The game can be played at three difficulty levels, each differing in how clearly the notes being played are labeled. For example, the "Standard" level indicates the notes on a scale below the distaff, while the "Expert" level shows no notes and must be played by ear. In the original release, expert players are rewarded with a cutscene that does not appear for the other two difficulties. The later CD-ROM release, however, shows an abridged version of this scene to all players. 5.Beneath a Steel Sky Beneath a Steel Sky is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The player uses a point-and-click interface to interact with the environment and to guide protagonist Robert Foster through the game's world. To solve puzzles and progress in the game, the player collects items that may be combined with one another, used on the environment, or given to non-player characters (NPCs).The protagonist converses with NPCs via dialogue trees to learn about the game's puzzles and plot.Clues and other information are obtained by clicking on items in the inventory and on objects in the environment.Unlike in most adventure games at the time, the protagonist's death is possible, after which the player starts from the last save point.The player controls a character called Rob Foster. Rob was rescued by a tribe of bandits as a child after he was found as the only surviving member of a helicopter crash, on which his mother was also a passenger. He is raised by the tribe and comes to look upon them as his family, learning skills such as hunting and building himself a robot from discarded scraps found in local garbage dumps. They inhabit a barren wasteland known as "The Gap", a deserted area that was once part of the Australian outback, a harsh place where daily survival is a struggle. 6. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure Last Crusade was one of the most innovative of the LucasArts adventures. It expanded on LucasArts' traditional adventure game structure by including a flexible point system—the IQ score, or "Indy Quotient"—and by allowing the game to be completed in several different ways.The point system was similar to that of Sierra's adventure games, however when the game was restarted or restored, the total IQ of the previous game was retained. The only way to reach the maximum IQ of 800 was by finding alternative solutions to puzzles, such as fighting a guard instead of avoiding him.This countered one common criticism of adventures games, whereby since there is only one way to finish the game, they have no replay value.Also, the point system helped the game to appeal to a variety of player types. Some of the alternative fights, such as the one with the Zeppelin attendant, were very difficult to pass, so the maximum IQ was very difficult to achieve. 7.Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis The plot is set in the fictional Indiana Jones universe and revolves around the eponymous protagonist's global search for the legendary sunken city of Atlantis. Sophia Hapgood, an old co-worker of Indiana Jones who gave up her archaeological career to become a psychic, supports him along the journey. The two partners are pursued by the Nazis who seek to use the power of Atlantis for warfare, and serve as the adventure's antagonists.Fate of Atlantis is based on the SCUMM story system by Ron Gilbert, Aric Wilmunder, Brad P. Taylor, and Vince Lee, thus employing similar gameplay to other point-and-click adventures developed by LucasArts in the 1980s and 1990s.The player explores the game's static environments while interacting with sprite-based characters and objects; they may use the pointer to construct and give commands with a number of predetermined verbs such as "Pick up", "Use" and "Talk to".Conversations with non-playable characters unfold in a series of selectable questions and answers.Early on, the player is given the choice between three different game modes, each with unique cutscenes, puzzles to solve and locations to visit: the Team Path, the Wits Path, and the Fists Path.In the Team Path, protagonist Indiana Jones is joined by his partner Sophia Hapgood who will provide support throughout the game.The Wits Path features an abundance of complex puzzles, while the Fists Path focuses heavily on action sequences and fist fighting, the latter of which is completely optional in the other two modes.Atypical for LucasArts titles, it is possible for the player character to die at certain points in the game, though dangerous situations were designed to be easily recognizable.A score system, the Indy Quotient Points, keeps track of the puzzles solved, the obstacles overcome and the important objects found. 8.Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Sins of the Fathers follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, owner of a rare book store, and fledgling writer, as he investigates a series of local murders he plans to use as the basis for his new novel.Its story unfolds, mostly linearly, over a sequence of "days", each of which has a required set of actions which must be performed before proceeding to the next day. However, within each day, play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game, a running score is kept as new challenges, both required and optional, are completed.Unlike newer graphical adventure games using context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the Fathers uses "dumb icons" or "dumb cursors" so that the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on- screen object. The various cursors are accessed by either selecting the respective icon from the "icon bar" or by cycling through the cursors in a predefined order. The available cursors are: "WALK", "LOOK", "ASK", "TALK", "PICKUP", "OPEN/CLOSE", "OPERATE", and "MOVE". Inventory items can also be used as cursors with the active inventory item also available in the cursor cycle.Also located on the "icon bar" are the "INVENTORY" and "RECORDER" buttons, the active inventory item window, score, and the "CONTROLS" and "HELP" buttons. Clicking on the "INVENTORY" button will open the inventory window, where items can be selected and combined as well as cursor icons that allow the player to use "READ", "OPEN", and "LOOK" commands with any inventory item.The "ASK" and "TALK" cursors differ in their functions. The "TALK" cursor functions as a short, general, interaction with most characters. The "ASK" cursor is available in "interrogation mode" and is only available with main characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the displayed list. Global Topics may be asked of any character and are always present in the lists, while specific topics are unique to each character and are subject to change. Past conversations are accessible through the "RECORDER" button which opens a recorder tapes window that displays tapes for each of the main characters.At certain points during the game, the player is required to translate and send Drum Codes and Voodoo Codes. This is done by either selecting the correct character for the Voodoo code or by selecting the correct sequence for the drum code. 9.Full Throttle Set in the near future, the game's story follows Ben, the leader of a biker gang, who is framed for the murder of a beloved motorcycle manufacturing mogul and seeks to clear his and his gang's names. Players can move the player character to any place on the scene, interact with objects that are highlighted by the cursor, or leave scenes via exits - either on foot for most scenes, or via the character's motorbike, both types denoted by their own icon. As with other LucasArts graphic adventure games of the era, dialogue plays a large part in the game, presenting story elements and information necessary to advance, as well as fleshing out the characters. During conversations with other characters, several choices of dialogue are presented. The currently selected choice is highlighted, and once clicked, the player character responds with the selected choice. Choosing the correct response allows the player to advance the conversation and ultimately advance the scene.Following on from LucasArts' previous graphic adventure, Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993), which introduced a new inventory and interaction system to replace those of their prior games,Full Throttle continued to refine on the changes introduced in Sam & Max Hit the Road: Objects or characters with which Ben can interact are indicated by a red square appearing around the cursor's crosshairs when it is placed over the object. When this occurs, holding down the control on this causes a contextual pie menu to appear - designed upon the emblem of Ben's biker gang: a flaming circle topped by a skull and flanked by a boot and a gloved hand. The player hovers the cursor over elements of the emblem and then releases the mouse button to attempt various interactions with the object; for example, selecting the skull's mouth to speak to a character, its eyes to examine an object, or the hand to pick up, use, or pull the object. Right-clicking anywhere on the screen brings up the player's inventory of collected objects, which can be examined or dragged and dropped in order to use them with other items in the inventory, or with objects or characters in the scene. 10.Sam & Max Hit the Road Based on the 1989 Sam & Max comic On the Road, the duo take the case of a missing bigfoot from a nearby carnival, traveling to many Americana tourist sites to solve the mystery. The player uses Sam to explore the pre-rendered cartoon environments of the game and solve a series of puzzles using a simple point-and-click interface.The game's puzzles have logical solutions, although a number of them have far-fetched solutions due to the game's cartoon setting. Players can set the game's cursor in a particular mode to designate how Sam interacts with the environment: Sam can walk around an area, talk to other characters, look at objects, pick them up or otherwise try to use them.The cursor's graphic changes when it is hovered over an in-game entity that Sam can interact with. When talking to another character, the player is given a choice of subject areas to discuss, depicted in a conversation tree as icons at the base of the screen. In addition to specific topics involving the game's plot, Sam can inject unconnected exclamations, questions and non sequiturs into a conversation.The game incorporates an inventory system for items that Sam picks up during the course of the game. Items can be used on other entities in the game world, or can often be combined with other inventory items to provide a new object necessary for solving a puzzle. Although Max's character will walk around the game's areas by his own will, Sam can also use Max at various points by using an inventory icon of Max's head on game objects—usually on characters where the solution to a problem involves violence.Sam and Max travel to different locations in the game using their black and white 1960 DeSoto Adventurer, which when clicked on in-game will present a map of the United States with all the available locations the pair can travel to shown. As the game progresses, the number of locations on the map increases.In addition to the main game, Sam & Max Hit the Road includes several minigames. Some of these, such as a carnival game based on Whac-A-Mole but involving live rats, must be completed in order to receive new items and further the game's plot, while others, such as a car-themed version of Battleship, are entirely optional as to whether the player uses them.As with the majority of LucasArts adventure games, Sam & Max Hit the Road is designed so that the player characters cannot die or reach a complete dead-end. 11.Simon the Sorcerer The game follows a boy named Simon, who is transported to a parallel universe to embark on a mission to rescue a wizard called Calypso from an evil sorcerer named Sordid. As a point-and-click adventure game, the player controls Simon using the mouse.Gameplay involves moving Simon around and interacting with objects and other characters. The player can make Simon perform actions such as giving an item to another character, talk to another character, and pick up (add to inventory), examine, use, move, consume, wear, or open or close an item. Some actions are binary: they involve two objects and the player sometimes, after telling Simon to use an item, needs to specify what to use it with.A map that enables Simon to instantly transport to a major landmark (if it has been discovered) is provided.The postcard is used to load, save, or quit the game.The game includes parodies of various popular books and fairy tales, including Rapunzel, The Lord of the Rings, Discworld, The Chronicles of Narnia, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. 12.Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe The Evil wizard Sordid is brought back to life when a magic-book of his is set ablaze and thrown into the middle of a chalkboard pentagram by the father of Runt, a young boy wanting to become a mighty sorcerer. Sordid promises him that he can become his apprentice if he helps him exact his vengeance on Simon.Several months later, Sordid's Fortress of Doom is reconstructed and Sordid has a new robotic body. He sends a magical wardrobe to fetch Simon but it accidentally ends up on the doorstep of Calypso, the wizard Simon had to save in the last game. Simon then starts to look for a fuel called mucusade which he needs to power the wardrobe in order to get home. 13.Flight of the Amazon Queen Flight of the Amazon Queen is a point and click graphic adventure game. It follows a pilot for hire named Joe King who is hired to fly a famous actress to her next job, but ends up in a lightning storm and crashes deep in the Amazon Jungle. In the jungle, Joe uncovers a plot by a mad scientist to take over the world by creating an army of dinosaur women created from Amazon women. 14. Dark Seed Unlike most point-and-click adventure games, which give the player time to explore, many actions in Dark Seed must occur within precise time limits, or the game will end up in an unwinnable state. As a result of this, one must start over repeatedly to win without resorting to a walkthrough. Amiga Format, in its review, stated with regards to Darkseed's gameplay: "Too many things in the game need to be done within a specific time, or in a certain order, and you don't necessarily know when you've passed that 'critical point' after which you're fighting a lost cause. As a result, you often have to play the game several times over, going through scenes you've seen countless times before." Certain events/puzzles rely on the player dying and then learning from there what to do: for instance, on day two, police wait outside Dawson's house in the afternoon to arrest him if he steps outside the front door, with no clue as to their presence until it's too late, resulting in a game over. Similarly, the player must take a painkiller each morning in the bathroom or the protagonist continually complains about a headache after every line of dialogue; there is no hint or indication to do this.The player has three real time hours within which they must complete the game, which is the equivalent of three in-game days. Time can also be passed by using the in-game wait function, and the time can be checked by looking at Dawson's watch, or by inspecting the grandfather clock in the house. At the end of each day, Dawson goes to sleep and upon going to bed, each night he has a nightmare of the Dark World. Dawson automatically goes to sleep at ten P.M. each night, regardless of where the player is. If it becomes night while Dawson is in the Dark World, he will fall asleep and die, resulting in a game over. Dawson is able to access the Dark World on day two upon receiving a piece of a mirror in the mail and re-assembling it with the rest of the mirror, creating a portal to the Dark World. Every room, person and object in the normal world has a Dark World equivalent and this is often necessary for puzzle solving.When interacting with objects, the options available to the player include look/inquire, touch/manipulate, and move, denoted by a "?", a hand, and four arrows pointing inwards respectively. Looking at an object and manipulating an object are context-sensitive: the "?" becomes a "!" when the cursor is over items or areas of interest and the hand icon points upwards when the cursor is over items that can be picked up or manipulated. 15.The Dig In the game, the player takes the role of Commander Boston Low, part of a five-man team planting explosives on an asteroid in order to avert its collision course with Earth. Discovering the asteroid is hollow, Low and two of his team are transported to a long-abandoned complex, filled with advanced technology, on a strange alien world. Low and his companions must utilize xenoarchaeology to learn how the technology works, discover the fate of the alien race that built it, and solve other mysteries to find a way to return home. The Dig is a point-and-click adventure game, where the player, as Commander Boston Low, uses the mouse cursor to point to people, objects, and other parts of the environment to look at or interact with them, collect and use items in their inventory, and talk to non-player characters. The game runs on the SCUMM game engine, and was the eleventh LucasArts game to do so. A minigame can be found on the communicator menu, consisting of "Asteroid Lander", a Lunar Lander like game. During development, there were plans to include role-playing game elements, but these were scrapped before the game's release. 16.Maniac Mansion It follows teenage protagonist Dave Miller as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend Sandy Pantz from a mad scientist, whose mind has been enslaved by a sentient meteor. Maniac Mansion is a graphic adventure game in which the player uses a point-and-click interface to guide characters through a two-dimensional game world and to solve puzzles. Fifteen action commands, such as "Walk To" and "Unlock", may be selected by the player from a menu on the screen's lower half. The player starts the game by choosing two out of six characters to accompany protagonist Dave Miller: Bernard, Jeff, Michael, Razor, Syd, and Wendy. Each character possesses unique abilities: for example, Syd and Razor can play musical instruments, while Bernard can repair appliances. The game may be completed with any combination of characters; but, since many puzzles are solvable only by certain characters, different paths must be taken based on the group's composition. Maniac Mansion features cutscenes, a word coined by Ron Gilbert, that interrupt gameplay to advance the story and inform the player about offscreen events.The game takes place in the mansion of the fictional Edison family: Dr. Fred, a mad scientist; Nurse Edna, his wife; and their son Weird Ed. Living with the Edisons are two large, disembodied tentacles, one purple and the other green. The intro sequence shows that a sentient meteor crashed near the mansion twenty years earlier; it brainwashed the Edisons and directed Dr. Fred to obtain human brains for use in experiments. The game begins as Dave Miller prepares to enter the mansion to rescue his girlfriend, Sandy Pantz, who had been kidnapped by Dr. Fred. With the exception of the green tentacle, the mansion's inhabitants are hostile, and will throw the player characters into the dungeon—or, in some situations, kill them—if they see them. When a character dies, the player must choose a replacement from the unselected characters; and the game ends if all characters are killed. Maniac Mansion has five possible endings, based on which characters are chosen, which survive, and what the characters accomplish. 17.The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel In November 1888, Sherlock Holmes is engaged by Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to help with the murder investigation of a young actress, Sarah Carroway. She was killed outside a theatre in the Mayfair area of London. Lestrade thinks the manner of her death shows that this is another strike by Jack the Ripper, but Holmes believes someone else committed the crime. It appears that the victim was killed with an unusual knife, one shaped like a scalpel but with a serrated blade.The investigation takes Holmes and Dr. Watson to many parts of late 19th Century London, including a perfume shop, the zoological gardens, the morgue, a pub, several dwellings, Surrey Commercial Dock, Savoy Street Pier, St Pancras Station, and of course 221B Baker Street. They encounter a number of characters connected to the case and also get assistance from Inspector Gregson, the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars named Wiggins, and the invaluable tracking dog Toby. The player moves around London via an elaborate overview map. Additional locations become available when Holmes finds additional leads. In each location, the player can select nine different verbal options to interact with objects or people. When accessing the inventory menu, the player has three different verbal actions to manipulate any items Holmes has picked up. When talking to people, Holmes has different dialogue options to gain information or try to get their cooperation. Dr. Watson can give his views, which may serve as puzzle hints. He may even help Holmes to perform an action he cannot do alone. Dr. Watson's journal also references the events in the gameplay.The graphics are VGA, with MIDI music and a few scenes with digitalized speech (in the intro and end sequence, and the cutscene at St Pancras Station. In the other scenes there are sound effects, but no speech). The player interacts with the characters through a command menu with verb icons that is intuitive for anyone who had played other adventure games of the period. The 3DO version consists of full voiced dialogue and the portraits of the talkers were replaced by clips with filmed actors, but also drops Dr. Watson's journal feature.In the video clips in the 3DO version, Sherlock Holmes was played by David Ian Davies, and Dr. Watson was played by Laurie Main. 18.Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders The story is set in 1997, 9 years after the game's production. The plot follows Zak (full name Francis Zachary McKracken), a writer for the National Inquisitor, a tabloid newspaper (the name is a thinly veiled allusion to the National Enquirer); Annie Larris, a freelance scientist; along with Melissa China and Leslie Bennett, two Yale University coed students, in their attempt to prevent the nefarious alien Caponians (who have taken over "The Phone Company", an amalgamation of various telecommunication companies around the world) from slowly reducing the intelligence of everybody on Earth by emitting a 60 Hz "hum" from their "Mind Bending Machine". The Skolarians, another ancient alien race, have left a defense mechanism hanging around to repulse the Caponians (the "Skolarian Device"), which needs reassembly and start-up. Unfortunately, the parts are spread all over Earth and Mars. 19.The Curse of Monkey Island The game's story centers on Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who must lift a curse from his love Elaine Marley. As the story progresses, he must deal with a band of mysterious pirates, a rival stereotypical French buccaneer, a band of cutthroat smugglers, as well as his old nemesis Captain LeChuck. The Curse of Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game. The SCUMM engine was also used in this Monkey Island installment but it was upgraded to a "verb coin" (modelled after Full Throttle), an interface that consisted in a coin-shaped menu with three icons: a hand, a skull, and a parrot, basically representing actions related to hands, eyes and mouth, respectively. These icons implied the actions Guybrush would perform with an object. The hand icon would usually mean actions such as picking something up, operating a mechanism or hitting someone, the skull icon was most used for examining or looking at objects and the parrot icon was used to issue Guybrush commands such as talking to someone or opening a bottle with his teeth. The inventory and actions were thus visible on click, rather than on the bottom of the screen as previous point-and-click games by Lucasarts.The player controlled a white 'X' cursor with the mouse, that turned red whenever landing onto an object (or person) with which Guybrush could interact. Holding left click over an object, whether in or outside the inventory, would bring up the coin menu, while right clicking it would perform the most obvious action with this particular object. Right clicking a door, for example, made Guybrush attempt to open it, while right clicking a person meant talking to him or her. 20.Grim Fandango Grim Fandango takes place in the Land of the Dead (the Eighth Underworld), where recently departed souls aim to make their way to the Land of Eternal Rest (the Ninth Underworld) on the Four Year Journey of the Soul. Good deeds in life are rewarded by access to better travel packages to assist in making the journey (such as sports cars and luxury ocean cruises), the best of which is the Number Nine, an express train that takes four minutes to reach the gate to the Ninth Underworld. However, souls who did not lead a kind life are left to travel through the Land of the Dead on foot, which would take around four years. Such souls often lose faith in the existence of the Ninth Underworld and instead find jobs in the Land of the Dead. The travel agents of the Department of Death act as the Grim Reaper to escort the souls from the Land of the Living to the Land of the Dead, and then determine which mode of transport the soul has merited. Each year on the Day of the Dead, these souls are allowed to visit their families in the Land of the Living.The souls in the Land of the Dead appear as skeletal calaca figures. Alongside them are demons that have been summoned to help with the more mundane tasks of day-to-day life, such as vehicle maintenance and even drink service. The souls themselves can suffer death-within-death by being "sprouted", the result of being shot with "sproutella"-filled darts that cause flowers to grow out through the bones. Many of the characters are Mexican and occasional Spanish words are interspersed into the English dialogue, resulting in Spanglish. Many of the characters smoke, following a film noir tradition; the manual asks players to consider that every smoker in the game is dead. Grim Fandango is an adventure game, in which the player controls Manuel "Manny" Calavera (calavera being Spanish for 'skull') as he follows Mercedes "Meche" Colomar in the Underworld. The game uses the GrimE engine, pre-rendering static backgrounds from 3D models, while the main objects and characters are animated in 3D. Additionally, cutscenes in the game have also been pre-rendered in 3D. The player controls Manny's movements and actions with a keyboard, a joystick, or a gamepad. The remastered edition allows control via a mouse as well. Manny must collect objects that can be used with either other collectible objects, parts of the scenery, or with other people in the Land of the Dead in order to solve puzzles and progress in the game. The game lacks any type of HUD. Unlike the earlier 2D LucasArts games, the player is informed of objects or persons of interest not by text floating on the screen when the player passes a cursor over them, but instead by the fact that Manny will turn his head towards that object or person as he walks by. The player reviews the inventory of items that Manny has collected by watching him pull each item in and out of his coat jacket. Manny can engage in dialogue with other characters through conversation trees to gain hints of what needs to be done to solve the puzzles or to progress the plot. As in most LucasArts adventure games, the player can never die or otherwise get into a no-win situation (that prevents completion of the game).
First Chapter Previous Chapter The view of Sanctuary was made even more impressive as An’Ra and his team waited in the V-Lift. Through the window, they can see the ornate streets curving through resplendent pools underneath, dotted by the occasional fountain. “I hate this.” Vora groaned, dressed in a soldier’s standard battle uniform. “Why are we here, Commander?” “We were investigating genocide and possible use of bioweapons,” Sonak explained, “Even without the first part, Strain Y is going to scare a lot of people. I think it’s reasonable for the Council to take a personal interest in this. Besides, I think the real issue here is the fact you might actually have to speak to the Council.” “But...ugh, fine. Yes, I wasn’t mentally prepared for it when An’Ra came along and went, Party’s over, ass to the Council, now.” “Hey now.” An’Ra feigned offense, “I didn’t say it that way, did I?” “Kind of close, Commander.” Sonak chuckled. “But still, I think that this isn’t about keeping the galaxy safe.” Vora sighed. “I think the Council’s keeping an eye open for any opportunity to to convince the galaxy they’re still in charge.” “Or maybe they genuinely want to make sure that we’re not at risk of dying a horrible death by watching our own bodies melt.” Sonak shrugged. “Strain Y doesn’t care if you’re an officer or infantry.” “That assumes the Council cares about what’s going on outside of these walls.” Vora glanced over, wariness in her look. “Either way, we’re going to get our answer. Eyes open.” An’Ra said as the V-Lift doors parted ways, revealing the same ornate architecture within. Trees and grasses stole the eye as they walked through the hallways, various government officials from the myriad races conversing and conducting whatever business they were doing. After walking up some steps, they arrived at the large double-doors that lead to the Council Chambers. Standing on each side were the guards constantly on watch for any potential attack. Both of them Anaran, as expected. On approach, the guards opened up the doors to allow An’Ra and his team in. When they entered, the room was probably more magnificent than they expected. A grand, curved window dominated the view. An unintrusive look into the beautiful splendor of Sanctuary. Directly in front of An’Ra and his team was a pathway that led to a semi-circular desk, standing in front of the raised platform that the Council sat, who had just now noticed the arrivals and are settling themselves in. And it was there An’Ra got a good look at the Council. Four of them, half Esti, half Huak. An’Ra secretly never liked the Esti, the way he could see menacing fangs when their flat mouths opened, or those flaps of scale that expands outward into a hood. It just unnerved him, a reason he could never really find out. As soon as he sensed that they were ready, he walked up to the desk, wearing his officer’s dress uniform, comprised of a fine, smooth fabric shirt, adorned with a fluffy sash that went from his right shoulder down to his left side, shoulder pads accented with shining studs and finished with awards placed on his top-left chest, awards hard earned back in the Great War. “Commander An’Ra.” The Huak councilor on the far right side, Neual, began, thick fingers interlaced together as he rested his hands on the desk. “Thank you for agreeing to this unusual request, we are very appreciative.” “It’s no trouble, Councilor.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “How can I help?” “We’ll start at the beginning.” The first Esti councilor, Zhur, stated, holding up a secure datapad to ensure the information is easily accessible. “Strain Y. Your report says that while there is confirmation it was used, it was not used in significant quantities. Can you elaborate on that for us?” “Previous uses of Strain Y all had one thing in common,” An’Ra began, “The amount deployed saturated the atmosphere of the planets they were used on. This is because, despite its lethality, is not actually that infectious. In order to guarantee the total elimination of a planet’s population, you will need to deploy it in such large numbers that everyone will be infected within minutes of deployment. In this case, for Planet 3, there simply wasn’t enough to reach that threshold.” “At which you go on to state that thermal weapons were used in a state of panic,” Yhiz, the second Esti councilor, added, “Can you explain your reasoning for us?” “As established before, Strain Y was used on the planet. My working theory is that, when they discovered that they grossly underestimated the amount needed, they panicked and used thermal weapons to both try and burn out the supplies used and finish the genocide they started.” “But if thermal weapons were indeed used, how did you confirm Strain Y was deployed?” Zhur spoke up. “We found pieces of Strain Y’s genetic material on the planet’s surface.” An’Ra glanced over to Zhur’s direction. “And as I arrived back in the system, I received a quantum packet from the expedition, stating that they have confirmed that Strain Y was indeed used. Adding that with the obvious use of thermal weaponry, I concluded that the attackers didn’t use enough of the weapon to guarantee extinction.” Zhur leaned back in her seat, scarlet eyes fixated on the desk. An’Ra couldn’t tell if she was trying to find a counter argument or just processing the information. “Have you found any evidence that can tell us if there’s more of the strain out in the galaxy?” Neual asked after giving a sigh through his wide nostrils. “I’m afraid not, sir. All I can definitively say is that this planet fell victim to a biological Cruel Weapon.” “I’m more concerned about the native life.” Ghala, the final and second Huak councilor, stated after being silent. “Are you absolutely certain that none of the planet’s indigenous life survived?” “The scientific team said that there’s a very low chance of that.” An’Ra’s ears flattened. “And after seeing the surface myself, I must agree. I don’t think we should wait for a miracle.” “Ah...I see.” Ghala leaned back in his chair, obviously disheartened. “Even if the planet is now incapable of supporting life, we still wish to move forward with a more symbolic gesture and statement by declaring Planet 3 of System AQ 115-4A illegal for colonization.” “But let’s move onto what I believe is the most pressing issue: the identity of the attackers.” Neual leaned forward. “Based on your report, you and the team have found nothing that neither confirms nor clears any potential suspect?” “That’s correct, Councilor.” An’Ra nodded. “We’ve found nothing, within the system and on the planet itself, that tells us anything about who did it.” “Are there any surviving infrastructure on the planet?” Ghala asked, straightening his posture. “Even if there isn’t much, maybe the natives’ equipment has something we can use?” “As established before, the planet was devastated terribly. There are indeed ruins of their civilization, but whether or not we can salvage anything from them is a different story.” An’Ra answered with a sigh. “So in that case, the Qu’Rathi are still the likely aggressors then.” Zhur stated. “I’m not convinced.” An’Ra shook his head. “Everything we have so far is just circumstantial, nothing solid.” “Yes, that proves they did it. But looking at it from a different perspective, nothing that proves they didn’t do it either.” Zhur countered, her eyes squinting some. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to press forward with what I think you’re planning, Councilor.” An’Ra leaned forward on the table, ears flattening back. “If you do, and we uncover evidence that clearly proves their innocence, you will be pushing an innocent race away.” “But if we uncover evidence that proves their guilt, then the trial will be much more expedient.” Yhiz joined in, his eyes also squinting slightly. “With respect Council, I still think that’s the worst decision you can make.” An’Ra’s teeth began to bare as he spoke. “We can’t make any decision until we acquire more evidence.” “Nothing we have proves that Strain Y is permanently removed as a future threat.” Zhur started, “Nothing we have proves that the Federation did not do anything. Right now, we have the threat of a Class 4 Cruel Weapon looming over everyone’s heads. People will start becoming scared, start wondering if their shadows will melt them at any time.” “I know that Councilors!” An’Ra raised his voice. “Give me time! I’m not saying this is over yet, just let me keep looking!” “We aren’t stopping your investigation, Commander.” Neual said, holding his hand up slightly. “We’re just informing you that you may not have the time you thought you had.” “What does that mean?” An’Ra’s ears stuck out at an angle, mixed between stiffening and anger. The councilors looked at each other for a few moments before Zhur stood up and took in a deep breath. “Commander, based on both the collected evidence so far, and lack of any other evidence, the Council has decided to proceed with charging the Qu’Rathi Federation on counts of Genocide, possession of a Cruel Weapon, and deployment of Cruel Weapons with intent for malicious harm. Out of respect for your efforts, Commander, we will give you eight months to continue your investigation. Beyond that, we will close your investigation to allow the courts time to process and review what has been collected.” “Are you insane?!” An’Ra shouted. “Do you even realize what would happen if you’re wrong?!” “We do, Commander.” Zhur nodded. “But the risk is just too high. The safety of the galaxy and justice for the inhabitants of System AQ 115-4A must be our top priority. This debrief is over.” An’Ra stood in complete and stunned silence, watching the Council casually get up from their seats and dispersing to their own private offices. It wasn’t until that they have fully left the chambers that An’Ra finally found the will to move and regroup with Sonak and Vora, both of whom are also equally stunned. “Those ekas!” Vora exclaimed. “It’s bad enough to be quick at accusing someone, but how dare they claim this is for those humans!” “And here I thought all those things the news were saying was just to get people to watch them.” Sonak muttered softly. “Commander, obviously this is bad.” “I know, Sonak.” An’Ra crossed his arms, ears now pointing straight back and teeth fully bared. “We can’t let them do this.” “But what can we do?” Sonak exclaimed. “What options do we have?” “Alliance Enforcement!” Vora declared. “Commander, what if you filed a complaint to the Lord-Enforcer? Tell him what’s going on?” “That’s a good idea actually.” Sonak nodded. “If we convince the Lord-Enforcer that the Council is being too hasty with our investigation, which shouldn’t be hard, he just might deny the Council’s request for prosecution!” “I can’t imagine the Lord-Enforcer approving this even without our complaint.” An’Ra replied. “Still, never hurts to be prepared. Come on, let’s get to it.” Jur’El leaned back in the puffy seat he was assigned to. The restaurant he entered had a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The lighting was dimmed, which complimented the dark but cozy ambiance of the room. The walls and floor each had a dark-themed color scheme, the seats were of a different scheme but not too different to oppose the goal set by the designer. And although the building was packed with customers, their conversations did not threaten to turn anyone deaf. It was a quiet and relaxed experience, something he needed desperately. Even now, as hard as he tried to focus on how delicious his food was, how balanced the flavor and texture of it was, he was still forced to relive what happened on Planet 3. He could hear the sudden screams of his colony group. The scientists who were first awoken that wanted to find out why their Life world was so different to the data they were given. To the families and menial workers who were just talking amongst themselves and organizing the supplies when those machines stormed the ship. And what still terrifies him, still sends his heart racing, was when that one machine entered the control room, blood drenching its chassis. Bits and pieces of Qu’Rathi innards on its cold mechanical manipulators. How it just stared at him, lifelessly, with a rifle aiming right at his chest. And those drills. Those ghenning drills. He was forced out of his torment by the rough poking of his shoulder. When he looked, it was another Qu’Rathi. “Captain Jur’El, right?” “Uh..yes, who are you?” He nodded in confusion. “Jhen.” She introduced herself, quickly taking a seat opposite from him. “I need to talk to you.” “About what?” “The expedition to that system deep in the Dead Zone.” She glared at him, mandibles tense. “The same system who’s Life world had a native population, the very same world being investigated as a genocide site, where your expedition went to settle.” “Jhen, please, we had no idea what was going on.” Jur’El leaned back, hands raised in a defensive posture. “All we were told was that this was the most pristine and beautiful Life world ever discovered in a system rich with stellar bodies.” “I don’t care about that. What I care is how you seem to be the only one who came back.” Jhen started raising herself from her seat. “I’m pretty sure that anyone who attempts to colonize a freshly cleansed world is forcibly removed from that planet and returned to their respective people. So where is everyone?” Jur’El’s eyes went wide. He knew exactly where this was going. “I...I can’t tell you.” “Don’t you dare.” Jhen snarled, now leaning over the table. “I’ve heard enough of that from the company, I’m not here to be force-fed more of it!” “Just...trust me,” Jur’El spoke softly, shakily leaving his seat, “You don’t want to know.” “Don’t you ghenning walk away from me!” Jhen shouted, grabbing Jur’El’s shoulder firmly, the other patrons now locking eyes to the two. “Two of my sons were on that mission! What happened to them?!” Jur’El clutched his head with a hand firmly, feeling tears exploding out of his eyes. His mind rushing back to those scenes. The sounds, the smell, the fear. Everything crashed into him all at once. And they’re not just memories now. They’re all coming back to him as if he was transported in time and placed back to the exact moment it started. Back to the moment where he was screaming for his wife and son to hide, to find a corner of the ship that was hard to see and to stay there until the shooting stopped. How he felt his heart give out when he heard them beg for their life when they were found, cut short by the merciless cracks of their alien weapons. How every possible feeling melted away when the clanking of the machine’s walking approached him, when he realized there was no nowhere in the control room to hide, not with how thorough those things were being. The frantic, mindless begging he got into when he saw the blood covered machine hold that weapon to him. “You’re safe!” A voice rang out. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to come back. That scene melting away back into the restaurant. All those smells and sights to be gone. When he was certain that it was over, he looked around. There was Jhen, face beaten and currently being restrained by a blue-furred Anaran. And in front of him was another, gray-furred one. “You hear me? You’re safe now!” “I...wh-what happened?” “We saw what was going on. The Qu’Rathi over there? She was just screaming down your throat, all while you were just on the floor. Ken’A there nearly caved her face in by the time we got some distance between you two.” “Th...thank you.” Jur’El muttered, shakily getting himself back on his feet with the help of the gray Anaran. Jur’El was just about to walk away when the Anaran firmly, but not threateningly, gripped his shoulder. “I know the signs, friend.” He began softly. “Your soul is badly wounded and is bleeding heavily. Just like a doctor if you’re shot or cut, you need to find someone to talk to, get your soul back together.” “As long as I don’t run into another person like her, I’ll be fine.” Jur’El countered, trying to walk away still. “No, you won’t.” The Anaran still held his grip. “I need you to trust me. With how bad your soul is right now, doing anything other than talking to someone will just make it worse. And when your soul dies, well...believe me, it’s not a good experience, for anybody.” Jur’El stared into the gray Anaran’s orange eyes for a moment before he let out a sigh. “You’re not going to give up, are you?” “I’ve seen what happens too many times. Good Battle-Brothers, completely different people. Either they’re just shadows of themselves, or doomed to forever relive their horrors. If I have the chance to prevent it happening again, I’m giving it my all.” Jur’El looked aside for a few moments, internally fighting himself as to whether he should comply or keep resisting. He finally reached his decision when he became certain that the Anaran would most likely hunt him down as a life mission if he didn’t seek therapy. “Fine, I’ll do it. Got anyone in mind?” “A dear friend of mine. He’ll get you back on track, promise.” The Anaran patted Jur’El’s shoulder a few times before proceeding to lead him, motioning for Ken’A to let go of Jhen and follow. Michael, accompanied by his newly founded Praetorian Guard, continued his leisurely stroll down the surprisingly spacious corridor. The hallway itself was typical. All-metal construction with evenly spaced rows of blue-white lights. The Praetorian Guard themselves are comprised of those Servants who display both extreme scores in combat efficiency and effectiveness in defensive situations. Armed with the absolute best in magnetic-ballistics, the most impenetrable of armor designs and the highest optimized combat-frames, even a squad of these guards can hold off a virtual army, provided they aren’t subjected to bombardment or heavy ordinance. Just as Michael was about to enter the main command center of the station he was touring, Central contacted him on a private channel. “Master? Your new administration is ready.” He declared proudly. “Alright, let’s begin the introductions.” Michael replied, signaling the guardsmen that he’s about to enter a meeting. Although unneeded, the Guard promptly took up a defensive formation around him. He assumes this is mostly to keep unwelcome guests from interrupting him. The scenery of the tranquil design of the corridor melted away into the virtual world built by neon-blue blocks, the same visual that he witnessed when he first received the interface. After a few moments, several other Servants materialized and stood attention in a semi-circle in front of him. “My Lord.” The first Servant bowed, its voice deep, if gruff. “I’m Supreme Commander Schwarzkopf, in charge of managing our armed forces and overseeing the grand strategy of the Imperium.” “I am Secretary Elizabeth.” The second spoke with a calming, soothing feminine voice. “I’m responsible for ensuring our economy runs perfectly. In short, I make sure every project gets the hammers and resources it needs.” “I’m Foreign Minister Edward, at your service m’Lord.” The third, with a distinct British accent and of a composed, controlled voice. “While regretfully I’m useless at this stage, the moment we initiate contact with xeno species, I’ll handle diplomatic affairs and achieving our goals through negotiations when possible.” “No offense, but I thought every Servant wants to see aliens dead?” Michael spoke up with slight confusion. “Oh, of course. The very idea of ripping out the entrails of a xeno and suffocating them with it brings such joy it’s therapeutic.” Benjamin replied. Michael was unsure if he was joking or not. “I was appointed because I displayed the most effective ability at hiding such feelings.” “Ah...good to know.” Michael nodded dryly, not exactly assured. “Back to where we were?” “Yes, Lord. I’m Director Mansfield.” The fourth spoke with an eloquent-sounding voice. “I’m in charge of Imperial Intelligence, running operations abroad and managing counter-intelligence on the homefront. I give you my word that we will know everything about the aliens and they will know nothing about us.” “And that leaves me, Master.” Central began. “As a result of this delegation, I now possess more processing cycles towards research and development. That means that I’ll be in charge of ensuring Imperial dominance in technology. I will also act as your adjutant, filtering out information that does not need your attention.” “Well...shit, this sounds like an actual government I’m in charge of.” Michael gave out a nervous chuckle. “All the more reason to get down to business though. Let’s start with the first matter. Schwarzkopf, how’s our military coming along?” “It’s growing rapidly, your majesty.” He answered with distinct pride. “Already we have several hundred frigates, fifty light cruisers and twenty heavy cruisers, with the first wave of battleships due to exit the drydocks within a few days. Additionally, we have established four different army groups with fifty divisions each.” “I thought we’d take a lot longer.” Michael stated with no hidden amazement. “There’s great benefit in our workforce able to operate at a hundred percent every hour of the day.” Elizabeth commented, her emotion-flags also indicating pride. “And speaking of which, our population of Servants grows geometrically. That benefits both our economy and the military. Our economy by providing more workers in skilled and unskilled labor, and the military by providing more crew members and soldiers.” “So in short, it won’t be long before we become a virtual powerhouse.” Michael said, arms crossed. “Especially if we continue expanding.” Elizabeth nodded. “On that note, we have already claimed several dozen more systems.” “With Rigel and Betelgeuse selected as naval bases.” Schwarzkopf chimed in. “So we’re expanding in all the ways, got it.” Michael nodded. “Now the second matter. Terraforming Mars.” “At present, there are two issues that must be resolved.” Central answered. “The first problem is the planet’s lack of a magnetosphere. Without that, any and all organic life would perish under lethal bombardment of the Sun’s solar wind, in addition to any sustainable atmosphere being lost to space. The second problem is Mars’ inability to retain heat, the cause for it’s known low planetary temperature.” “And knowing you, you already have possible answers?” Mansfield shrugged. “Correct. The heat issue is rather trivial to solve. Mars already has an abundant amount of carbon-dioxide within the atmosphere, a well known greenhouse gas. Combined with even more of the gas locked planet side, once temperatures begin to rise, we will set off a snowball effect. However, that is all for naught if the atmosphere is allowed to escape into space by solar wind.” “So basically the key here is the magnetosphere.” Michael added. “Build that and everything becomes simple.” “Exactly.” Central affirmed. “Already there are two main methods. One is to build superconducting rings around the planet and drive them with direct current. With enough power, we can generate magnetic fields strong enough to form a virtual magnetosphere.” “And what’s the second?” Elizabeth said. “The second is to construct a station at the L1 Lagrange Point that will generate a dipole magnetic field, diverting the solar wind around the planet instead of into it. Although it was simulated using slower, binary processing, the results indicate that Mars would gain half the atmospheric pressure of Earth’s within a few years.” “So then, the main focus is building that magnetic shield.” Michael spoke firmly. “Elizabeth? Let’s get the ball rolling. Coordinate with Central as needed.” “At once, my Lord.” Elizabeth bowed. Unlike the Council chambers, the office of the Lord-Enforcer was much less opulent and more pragmatic. After going through the receptionist area, An’Ra and his team were escorted into the main office itself. However, just like the chambers, a large window dominated the view on entry, granting another view of a city district on Sanctuary. And sitting in the more rectangular desk was the Lord-Enforcer himself, Dura. Blue eyed, with a fur of dull-orange it reminds of a sunset. As soon as An’Ra and his team walked into the office, the Enforcer sat up, tail wagging. “Commander An’Ra, in my office!” He exclaimed, arms out to his sides. “Forgive me sir, but I never thought I’d see the day!” “A pleasure to meet you, sir.” An’Ra replied warmly, greeting the Enforcer with their fists clasped together and pulling themselves inward, shoulder to shoulder. “Please, no need to be formal with me.” Dura chuckled. “Sit down, what brings you here?” After taking their respective seats, An’Ra looked at Dura grimly. “I’m here to file a delay on a request for prosecution against the Federation.” Dura’s ears angled themselves in a mixture of stiffening and lowering. “I just got the paperwork from the Council. And I can tell you that won’t be needed. I’ve already submitted my rejection.” “With respect, sir.” Sonak spoke up. “I get the feeling that the Council might fight that.” “Don’t worry, I’m not going to present my back to them just because they ask.” Dura gave off a grin. “I might be some paper-tosser now, but that just means the battlefield is different. Don’t worry Commander, as long as I’m here, you’ll get the chance to finish this investigation properly.” “Thank you, Enforcer.” An’Ra smiled as he got up from his seat. “With any luck, you won’t have to fight long.” “Oh, take your time!” Dura replied with an inflection of humor. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve had in years. Was just about to smash my head on this desk any day now actually.” “Wait, really?” Vora asked, ears stiffened. “It’s just a joke, Vora.” Sonak assured dryly. “Oh...” Her ears flattened as the team exited the office. When they arrived in the main plaza where the Enforcer’s office is located, they congregated in a small collection of benches nearby an ornate fountain that commemorated the Anaran defense of Felaal IV, largely considered the turning point of the Great War, which further enhanced the beauty of the surrounding scenery of floating walkways above crystal-clear waters. “Well, that’s a relief, hopefully.” An’Ra began, letting out a decompressing sigh. “I meant what I said earlier, An’Ra.” Sonak said. “If the Council are determined to charge the Federation, which I’m sure they made abundantly clear, they’re not going to let the Enforcer drop mines in their path just like that.” “Which just means we can’t lose our focus.” Vora replied sternly. “So, what are our options? We can’t exactly go back to Planet 3, there’s really no leads there.” “What about that Detective we met when we arrived?” Sonak suggested. “He was handling that whistle blower. Maybe that’s something worth looking into?” “There’s also the Nav-Net.” Vora said. “All we got right now is that the Feds were at that location, but what if we look at the rest of the network? Try and trace their path?” “The network doesn’t extend into the Dead Zone.” Sonak countered. “No, not like that. We look at the network across Alliance space. We start with the logs that end at the Dead Zone, and we try to backtrack their route.” “We’ll need to obtain legal authorization for that, Vora.” An’Ra stated. “Actually, if I could add something.” Sonak said with his arms crossed. “If the Federation didn’t actually do it, then that questions the credibility of those codes. I think there’s a question that hasn’t been asked yet. And that is, are those codes faked?” “That’s...a good point actually.” Vora acceded. “If we get the legal permission to examine the NavNet logs, then if the Federation didn’t do it, the logs across the network won’t support it. Think about it. You need a big fleet to do what just happened, and that fleet has to come from somewhere.” “And that would mean if this was a frame job, they need a way to account for that.” An’Ra continued, confidence flaring. “It’s one thing to trick a single Nav-Buoy, but I really doubt anyone is capable enough of affecting the network itself.” “We still need the Enforcer’s help to get access to the network.” Sonak reminded. “Let’s go get it then.” An’Ra stated firmly. With that, the team left their meeting spot and began returning to the Enforcer’s office. With confidence in their step, the walk back to the office was much shorter compared to before. However, things took a turn when An’Ra and the team noticed a large gathering of officers around the office entrance. They didn’t have to time to wonder when a group exited the office, dragging a combative Dura out with them. “Commander, this isn’t good.” Sonak growled under his breath. An’Ra simply stepped forward and grabbed one of the arresting officers. “What in Arenar’s Sword is going on here?” “Dura’s under arrest on suspicion of corruption.” The officer replied flatly. “Lil’Al has been appointed as acting Lord-Enforcer.” “The Council’s behind this, Commander!” Dura shouted, his feet literally dragging along the floor as four officers were taking him away. “Don’t believe a word they say about me!” An’Ra and his team just stood there in stunned silence, watching and hearing the Anaran official being dragged virtually kicking and screaming. By the time they returned to their senses, hushed conversations was populating both the room and outside. “We’re not going to get in the network, are we?” Sonak asked, still recovering. “We still have to try, come on.” An’Ra said, already moving. When the team returned to the office, standing next to the desk was a slender Esti. No doubt Lil’al. She was looking out the window when she turned around upon hearing the encroaching footsteps. “Yes, may I help you?” She began. “Acting Lord-Enforcer Lil’Al?” An’Ra began, trying the diplomatic route first. “I’m Commander An’Ra, investigating the genocide by use of Strain Y. We’d like to request legal authorization to examine the logs of the Nav-Net.” “For what purpose?” She replied, taking her seat. “We believe that it may hold evidence that either confirms or disproves the Federation’s alleged involvement in the attack.” Lil’Al leaned back in her seat, staring at them. “The Nav-Net is the lifeblood of, well, everything. Commerce, tourism, law enforcement. It holds great information about who has gone where, and in what ship, Commander. You realize that, don’t you?” “I do, and what you’ve said precisely states how important that is, how important the potential evidence is.” Lil’Al stayed motionless for a few moments, her long, lithe fingers twiddling about that indicates her thought. “Very well, I’ll start the paperwork to get you authorization, just be mindful of what you’re about to analyze.” “Thank you.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “In addition, I’m not sure if it’s been passed along, but Dura has rejected the Council’s request for prosecuting the Federation. Can I assume you’ll uphold that?” “I’m afraid not, Commander.” Lil’Al replied flatly. “The galaxy has suffered a great loss through the genocide of a race who’ve suffered the universe’s cruel sense of humor by being placed both far away from us and deep within an almost uninhabitable region. I have overturned Dura’s rash decision and accepted the Council’s request.” “Then I’d like to file a delay on that decision, immediately.” An’Ra replied, ears flattened back. “On what grounds?” “Lack of decisive evidence, to start.” “Same could be said on your side, Commander.” Lil’Al let out a sigh. “Yes, all the evidence collected thus far is not...ideal. However, the most significant points at this time are that a young race who was just about to leave their homeworld was exterminated through the most horrible of all options. We cannot ignore that.” “But we also can’t rush to conclusions. We need to continue investigating and only go after someone if we have at least one crucial piece of information.” An’Ra countered, arms crossed and his teeth starting to bare. “And I agree, that’s how it should be done.” Lil’Al replied. “But if we do, we risk dragging out an investigation to such a length we may end up forgetting this tragedy. We cannot allow such an insult to Planet 3’s memory. I’m sorry, but I must reject your petition for judiciary delay.” Next Chapter AN: Every single time I paste this in, Reddit is just determined to put it in some code block. Anyways, As of now, I've finally completely locked in the plot for this story, just one major question that could've changed a lot was on my mind for a while. Enjoy!
Hello, To practise some programming, I made an analysis of the user reviews left on penguin magic. I thought you could be interested in some of the results. It made me check a lot of products that I did not know about. I excluded the reviews for expos and gift cards to analyse only physical items and tricks. I investigated only the items with at least one review. I combined items as Penguin did. This left me with 87761 reviews for 11318 items. 50 Most Reviewed Items
Born to Perform Card Magic by Oz Pearlman
Self Tying Shoelace by Jay Noblezada
Melt 2.0 by Matthew Johnson
The Stealth Pen presented by Rick Lax
Coffee Break by Gregory Wilson David Gripenwaldt
Torched and Restored by Brent Braun
All Seeing Eye by Dan Harlan
The Poker Test 2.0 by Erik Casey
Binary Code by Rick Lax
The End by Rick Lax
Starcle by Dan Harlan
OneTrix by Mario Lopez
Close-Up Illusion by Larry Jennings presented by Michael Ammar
Hummes Whirling Card
Two Dollar Window by Jay Noblezada
GREED Starring Daniel Garcia
Modern Transportation by David Regal
Vuja De by Rick Lax
DRESSCODE by Calen Morelli
Predixion by Max Maven
The Secrets of Magic by Rick Lax
In the Beginning There Were Coins Starring Jay Noblezada
Panic by Aaron Fisher
Or Not by Dani DaOrtiz
Bicycle Elite Edition Playing Cards
Super Soft Deluxe Nest of Wallets 2.0 by Nick Einhorn and Alan Wong
Tornado by Justin Flom and Rick Lax
BWave DELUXE by Max Maven
Bently by Chris Hanowell
Binary Code 2 by Rick Lax
Copycat by David Parr
BITCOIN by Rick Lax
Muldoon Match by Paul Gordon
ID7 by Rick Lax
Monkey in the Middle by Bill Goldman presented by Magick Balay
Little Door by Roddy McGhie
SPONGE Starring Jay Noblezada
Eclipse by Dave Loosley
Peter Turner LIVE
Position Impossible by Brent Braun
Clutch by Oz Pearlman
Zoltar by Shaun Dunn presented by Lewis Le Val
BANDIT by Darryl Davis & Daryl Williams (a.k.a. The Other Brothers)
The Known by Thom Peterson
The Ultimate Three Domino Monte
Psypher PRO by Robert Smith
Mnemonica Trainer by Rick Lax
25 5 Star (5*) Items There are a lot of (3245 to be precise) items that received only perfect 5* reviews. But of course, that could be only one reviewer giving 5* and that would not mean a lot. The following table shows most reviewed yet still rated 5* items.
Diamond Jim Tyler LIVE
Carisa Hendrix LIVE ACTS
David Corsaro LIVE
Halloween by Natalia Silva
Howard Hamburg LIVE
Daniel Chard LIVE ACT
Sibyl by Phedon Bilek
Ian Rowland LIVE ACT
John (Fast Jack) Farrell LIVE
Morgan and West LIVE
Red Pill by Chris Ramsay
Jay Noblezada presents HTG LIVE: Hypnosis Training Group
NX11 :: The Noblezada Experience
QA Masterclass by Bob Cassidy
Takamiz Usui LIVE
Venom Cube by Henry Harrius
Move Zero (Vol 1) by John Bannon and Big Blind Media
Tom Wright LIVE
TC Tahoe LIVE
Jonathan Pendragon LIVE
Jan Forster LIVE ACT
13 Steps To Mentalism (6 DVDs) by Richard Osterlind
Jermays Mind (DVD Set) by Luke Jermay
Tarbell 77: X-Ray Eyes and Blindfold Effects
50 Top Rated Items I'll list the top-rated items. I'll include only the items that have at least 20 reviews. (This leaves us with 995 items to order).
Diamond Jim Tyler LIVE
Carisa Hendrix LIVE ACTS
David Corsaro LIVE
Halloween by Natalia Silva
Howard Hamburg LIVE
Daniel Chard LIVE ACT
Sibyl by Phedon Bilek
Diamond Jim Tyler LIVE 2
David Williamson LIVE
Drew Backenstoss LIVE ACT
Jay Scott Berry LIVE
David Hira LIVE
Toibox Card To Box System by Jonathan Kamm
Jason England LIVE
Dyno by Joe Rindfleisch
Paul Gordon LIVE
Roberto Giobbi LIVE
SvenPad® Minis Black Cover Pair
Mark Mason LIVE
Marc Paul LIVE ACT
Joshua Jay LIVE
Brent Braun LIVE
Seth Kramer LIVE ACT
Robert Temple LIVE
Bandwidth by Greg Wilson
Stegosaurus by Phill Smith
TRIUMPH Starring Oz Pearlman
Fiber Optics Extended by Richard Sanders
Name and Place by Bob Cassidy
The Special Assortment Deck
Cody Fisher LIVE ACT
Blank Face Bicycle Deck
Richard Osterlind LIVE 2: Pocket Mentalism
Scratch by Chad Long
Caught Red-Handed by Michael Mode & Arthur Ottney
Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo
Dave Loosley LIVE
Mark James LIVE
Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz
Acrobatic Knot (with DVD) by Daryl
DMC ELITES : ROUGE marked deck
Shin Lim LIVE: Visual Magic.
CLEAR CHOICE by Thinking Paradox
Choose Five for 99
True Triumph by Paul Cummins
Eugene Burger LIVE
Predixion by Max Maven
Bill Malone LIVE
25 Least Liked Items Following table shows the 25 items that have the worst ratings and at least 10 reviews.
Phantom by Peter Eggink
RETRIEVE (Gimmick and Online Instructions) by Smagic Productions
Penciltration by Jesse Feinberg
Force of Will by Dave Hooper - DVD
Phone Phreak by Jeff Prace & Paul Harris
PK Coin by Nathan Kranzo
POST_NOTE By Antonio Smith-Plata
Never There by Morgan Strebler - DVD
Spirit by Arnel Renegado
The Gecko by Jim Rosenbaum
The Incredible Shrinking Finger by Dan Hauss (Additional handling by Paul Harris)
The Wizards Flip Book
Phone-omenon by Doug McKenzie
Elevator by Peter Loughran
BLAZE by Thinking Paradox
Ambitious Finger by Mario Lopez
Absolute Zero (Gimmick and Online Instructions) by SansMinds
Cheese Smile by Smagic Productions
Liquid Metal 2 by Morgan Strebler
Sealed by Menny Lindenfeld
GREEN FACES by Dalton Wayne
Ice Cold: Propless Mentalism (2 DVD Set) Limited Edition by Morgan Strebler and SansMinds - DVD
Nathan Kranzo LIVE 3
Jay Sankeys ORIGINAL Wrap It Up! (Trick Only)
Sharp This by Vanishing Inc
30 Most Controversial Items I tried to measure controversiality with a ranking system. If all the reviewers gave the same rating for an item, then the controversiality is calculated as 0%. And the most divided option, where half of the reviewers rate an item 1* while the other half reviews it 5*, is rated as 100% controversiality. Here are the most controversial items with at least 10 reviews:
Chris Mayhew LIVE
Sharp This by Vanishing Inc
Justin Miller LIVE
CARD IN THE KEYCHAIN by Stefano Curci
Cut 2.0 LIMITED by Ran Pink
P'INK by Ran Pink
Ice Cold: Propless Mentalism (2 DVD Set) Limited Edition by Morgan Strebler and SansMinds - DVD
Winner's Dice (Gimmicks and Online Instructions) by Secret Factory
Stained Glass by Adam Grace
Joe Monti LIVE
Elevator by Peter Loughran
Strongman by Jimmy Strange
GREEN FACES by Dalton Wayne
iMove by Oliver Smith
Jay Sankey's GEMINI POUCH (Trick Only)
Nathan Kranzo LIVE 3
Titan's Finger by Titanas
vACAANt by Area52
Triple C (Red Gimmicks and Online Instructions) by Christian Engblom
The Switch by Shin Lim
Memoria by Luke Jermay (Instant Download)
Rudy Hunter's Total Control with Cards
Phone-omenon by Doug McKenzie
SansMinds Sharpie (DVD and Gimmick) by Will Tsai
Derren Brown LIVE
Hidden Hand by Sean Fields
Harlan's No Tape, No Glue, No Scissors, 20-second Setup Torn & Restored Newspaper
Darryl Vanamburg's "Black Widow"
Absolute Zero (Gimmick and Online Instructions) by SansMinds
As I’ve done every year for the last couple years, I’ve done an overly in-depth look at all the cards submitted for the 2018 Reddit Fantasy Bingo Challenge. I am NOT an actual statistician, but I have once figured how much to tip in my head. PRELIMINARY NOTES Before I get into the numbers, here are some notes:
I am not someone who determines of anyone gets a bingo, so when assembling this information, I don’t question a book you may have read or where you placed it on your bingo card.
To make it easier for my analysis, I followed the idea of one book per square (or up to five for short stories). If you submitted the name of a series or an omnibus volume, I took only the first book in the series or omnibus (I didn’t do this in a couple minor cases, however). If you said you read Heartstrikers by Rachel Aaron, for example, I wrote down that you read Nice Dragons Finish Last so I could compare you against others who read only the first book.
Graphic Novels: I subdivided the Graphic Novels/Audiobooks square into its component parts. It's possible that I made a mistake if you weren't clear that you were reading an audiobook versus a graphic novel (I hate everyone who read the comic of or listened to Rivers of London). I found it is more much useful to compare comic book series against each other instead of by volume, so the person who read Monstress Volume 1 was compared with one who read Monstress Volume 3.
I attempted a gender breakdown, but I may be wrong! I said female/male/nonbinary/other based on the pronoun the authors preferred (author bios were useful in this regard), but sometimes I guessed. In a few rare occasions, I couldn't find evidence either way and left it alone. If you notice an error on my part, please let me know.
I did not look to see if the author was a person of color or other demographic data such as language or country of origin or other interesting information. It took me about 60 hours to get the data to its current point, and with almost 1500 individual authors read, it’s far too much work for me to research.
If you want to see my raw data, please click this link. I don’t include anyone’s username on this sheet. Though I only show the most popular books and authors per square below, I do have exactly how many people read what and whom, so if you’re curious about a specific author or book, feel free to ask in the comments!
PART I: What Is Popular?
Overall Bingo Cards
By the time the submissions were closed, I had 282 bingo cards from 264 people. (In 2017, we had 243 cards from 228 people, which is not as great an increase as the previous 3 bingos.)
Not everyone turned in a complete cards, though—47 cards turned in incomplete cards, though all had at least 5. (And one card was submitted with 24 complete—ouch!). So there are 6616 squares of books, short stories, and graphic novels to sift through (up from 5731 last year). 434 squares were left blank (6.2% of all squares).
I counted 6856 total items submitted (+681 from 2017). 2634 of these were unique (+173). 7097 total authors (+703) wrote these books with 1484 of them unique (+69).
Of these 6856 entries, I have 3551 by men only (51.8%), 3124 by women only (45.6%), 90 by mixed authors (1.3%), 46 nonbinary (0.7%), 20 unknown/uncredited (0.3%), 25 by male editors with female contributors (from anthologies) (0.4%).
The square most often left blank was surprisingly Five Short Stories on 25 cards; Novel by a RRAWR Author OR Keeping Up With the Classics was left blank on 24 cards. All 25 squares were left blank at least 12 times.
The square most often substituted with the new rule was Novel by a RRAWR Author OR Keeping Up With the Classics on 12 cards with Fantasy Novel that Takes Place Entirely Within One City and Self Published Novel tying for 11 substitutions each. Only Novel that was Reviewed on Fantasy and Novel from the fantasy LGBTQ+ Database were never substituted.
The most often avoided square (left blank or substituted) is then Novel by a RRAWR Author OR Keeping Up With the Classics at 36 times.
Most Read Books Overall:
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang was the most read book (64 times) (9.3% of all books)
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (58 times)
Circe by Madeline Miller (57 times).
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (53 times)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (43 times)
The Poppy War was used on 9 different bingo squares. The book with the lowest ratio of number of times read to squares used (minimum 10 times used) was The Monster Baru Cormorant (11 times in 7 squares). Most Authors Read Overall:
Once again, Brandon Sanderson was the most read author (121 times) (17% of all authors)
(tie) Naomi Novik & Terry Pratchett (98)
Neil Gaiman (86)
Becky Chambers (80)
Martha Wells (72)
Brandon Sanderson was the most widely used author in 20 squares, followed by Neil Gaiman in 15 squares, and Naomi Novik, Terry Pratchett, Michael J. Sullivan, and N. K. Jemisin tied for 14 squares. Random Note: Something I realized is that someone read a Roald Dahl book for this bingo... and it was the first ever in 4 years anyone had read a Dahl book before. It's always interesting what people do and do not read for Bingo versus their possible general popularity in the real world. 1. Novel that was Reviewed on Fantasy Books:
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (7 times)
(tie) Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence & Witchmark by C. L. Polk (4)
TOTAL: 268 books (204 unique) LEFT BLANK: 14 / SUBSTITUTED: 9 *Authors: * 1. (tie) Josiah Bancroft & Mark Lawrence (9 times) 2. (tie) Brand don Sanderson & Nicholas Eames (7) TOTAL: 272 authors (166 unique) GENDER: 153 by men (56.3%) / 116 by women (42.6%) / 2 by nonbinary (0.7%) / 1 unknown Note: I was pleasantly surprised by how many different books we got for this one; aside from the short story square, the only other square with more options was the "Fewer than 2500 Goodreads Ratings." When you have it wide open like this, you get a lot of choices, though still leaning male and "Fantasy popular." 2. Novel Featuring a Non-Western Setting Books:
(tie) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi & The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (13 times)
Jade City by Fonda Lee (12)
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden & The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (10)
TOTAL: 276 authors (103 unique) GENDER: 147 by women (53.3%) / 122 by men (44.2%) / 4 by nonbinary (1.4%) / 3 unknown (1.1%) Note: The first square that women "win," thanks to the popularity of 3 of the 4 most popular books. 3. Five Short Stories Short Stories (all tied at 3 times):
“Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
“I, Kane” by Laura M. Hughes
“In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch
“No Fairytale” by Ben Galley
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience” by Rebecca Roanhorse
TOTAL: 300 short stories (261 unique) Authors:
(tie) H. P. Lovecraft & Ken Liu (14 times)
Neil Gaiman (9)
(tie) Brandon Sanderson & Tanith Lee (7)
TOTAL: 304 authors (170 unique) GENDER: 156 by men (51.3%) / 137 by women (45.1%) / 11 by nonbinary (3.6%) Note: 60 people chose to read 5 short stories instead of reading an anthology but it was quite obviously with some of you that you were reading FROM a collection/anthology; why didn't you finish them? Collections & Anthologies:
(tie) Brief Cases by Jim Butcher; Lost Lore by Terrible Ten; & The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu (9 times)
(tie) Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson & The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (6)
TOTAL: 214 authors (105 unique) GENDER: 122 by men (57%) / 80 by women (37.4%) / 1 nonbinary (0.5%)/ 11 unknown (5.1%) Note: Not too many surprises for me, Ken Liu is a pretty popular short story writer, and Brief Cases came out last summer, and Sanderson and Sapkowski are subreddit faves. 4. Novel Adapted by Stage, Screen, or Game Books:
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (11 times)
The Princess Bride by William Goldman (10)
(tie) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski; The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle; & The Magicians by Lev Grossman (8)
TOTAL: 269 authors (90 unique) GENDER: 211 by men (78.4%) / 57 by women (21.2%) / 1 unknown Note: This was the most male-dominated square on here, I think we can all guess why. 5. Hopeful Spec-Fic Books:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (12 times)
(tie) The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold & Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (11)
(tie) Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron & Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin (8)
TOTAL: 266 authors (113 unique) GENDER: 152 by women (57.1%) / 112 by men (42.1%) / 2 unknown Note: Even though NOT reading Chambers and Aaron would be hard mode, plenty of people wanted to read them anyway. 6. Fantasy Novel that Takes Place Entirely Within One City Books:
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (22 times)
(tie) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch & The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung (16)
TOTAL: 250 authors (136 unique) GENDER: 163 by men (65.2%) / 83 by women (33.2%) / 4 unknown Note: I think most of the top authors here have a presence on the subreddit, but I'm definitely surprised that Rowe's books took BOTH top slots for this square. 8. Novel Published Before You Were Born Books:
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (10 times)
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip (7)
(tie) Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce; Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey; & The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (4)
(tie) Anne McCaffrey; J. R. R. Tolkien; & Robert Jordan (6)
TOTAL: 262 authors (127 unique) GENDER: 156 by men (59.5%) / 105 by women (40.1%) / 1 unknown Note: Le Guin dominates this, as an easy recommendation for most of the younguns on the sub. 9. Any fantasy Goodreads Group Book of the Month Books:
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (54 times)
Circe by Madeline Miller (17)
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (15)
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (14)
(tie) Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett & Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (12)
TOTAL: 262 authors (53 unique) GENDER: 161 by women (61.5%) / 96 by men (36.6%) / 5 by nonbinary (1.9%) Note: Wells and Miller contribute to the women's domination of this category, with the overwhelming popularity of Murderbot quite evident. This is also a rather restrictive square, as there were only 68 books to choose from. 10. Novel Featuring a Library Books:
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (40 times)
TOTAL: 264 authors (96 unique) GENDER: 150 by men (56.8%) / 113 by women (42.8%) / 1 unknown Note: People love libraries and they love Cogman & Hawkins. Also, only 5 out of the 110 books had "Library" in their title... but 3 of them are in the top 4, hmm. 11. Subgenre: Historical Fantasy OR Alternate History Books:
His Majesty’s Dragon/Temeraire by Naomi Novik (11 times)
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (9)
(tie) A Star-Reckoner’s Lot by Darrell Drake & The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (8)
TOTAL: 269 authors (128 unique) GENDER: 176 by women (65.4%) / 87 by men (32.3%) / 6 by nonbinary (2.2%) Note: Another women-heavy square, I'm not surprised by any of the popular books or authors here. 12. Novel Published in 2018 Books:
TOTAL: 275 authors (133 unique) GENDER: 140 by women (50.9%) / 134 by men (48.7%) / 1 unknown Note: You're going to see Poppy War again and again. 13. Novel Featuring a Protagonist Who is a Writer, Artist or Musician (NOT: Kingkiller Chronicles) Books:
Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (14 times)
Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick
(tie) Dust and Light by Carol Berg & Song of the Beast by Carol Berg (8)
TOTAL: 260 authors (102 unique) GENDER: 140 by women (53.8%) / 120 by men (46.2%) Note: I'm highly amused that two different Berg books tied in this case. Also, even though the highest ranked book by Sanderson is only 31st overall, his general popularity means he may not always win a category but he's often around somewhere, especially with the 20 different squares he's used for. 14. Novel Featuring a Mountain Setting Books:
The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer (29 times)
TOTAL: 257 authors (110 unique) GENDER: 154 by women (59.9%) / 101 by men (39.3%) / 1 by nonbinary (0.4%) / 1 unknown Note: If you read The Whitefire Crossing you read it for this square, no question. This was the most popular book only used for one square. Also, only 3 books have "Mountain" or "Mount" in them, and the highest ranked one is all the way down in 9th at 4 books. 15. 2017 fantasy Top Novels List Books:
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (15 times)
(tie) Krista D. Ball; Liam Perrin; & Phil Tucker (5)
TOTAL: 272 authors (217 unique) GENDER: 146 by men (53.7%) / 124 by women (45.6%) / 1 by nonbinary (0.4%) / 1 unknown Note: Another one of my favorite squares for the sure number of unique books. Almost 80% of the cards have this square unique. If you look at the raw data, I recommend scrolling this section to see what might be new and interesting for you. 17. Novel with a One Word Title Books:
Touch by Claire North (11 times)
Mort by Terry Pratchett (8)
Worm by Wildbow (7)
(tie) Borne by Jeff VanderMeer & Circe by Madeline Miller (5)
(tie) Brandon Sanderson & Terry Pratchett (13 times)
Claire North (11)
Jeff VanderMeer (8)
TOTAL: 272 authors (149 unique) GENDER: 166 by men (61%) / 106 by women (39%) Note: The longest one-word title was Transformation by Carol Berg; the shortest was Ra by Sam Hughes. I think the longest one with one syllable is Scourged by Kevin Hearne. The shortest with multiple syllables is probably City (Simak) or Fyre (Sage) depending on you say that last one. 18. Novel Featuring a God as a Character Books:
TOTAL: 275 authors (88 unique) GENDER: 151 by men (54.9%) / 124 by women (45.1%) Note: Miller adds to her Circe lead with a bit of Song of Achilles. 19. Novel by an Author Writing Under a Pseudonym Books:
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (28 times)
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (11)
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (9)
(tie) 84K by Claire North & A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (8)
TOTAL: 288 total (70 unique) GENDER: 184 by women (63.9%) / 102 by men (35.4%) / 2 unknown Note: Raise your hand if you were surprised by this AT ALL, and I still wouldn't believe you. 20. Subgenre: Space Opera Books:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (20 times)
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (19)
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (9)
(tie) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie & Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (7)
TOTAL: 278 authors (85 unique) GENDER: 154 by men (55.4%) / 118 by women (42.4%) / 6 by nonbinary (2.2%) Note: I'm disappointed in you all for not getting the actual book called Space Opera to the top. 21. Stand Alone Fantasy Novel Books:
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (9 times)
The Night Circus (8)
(tie) Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle; Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik; & Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (6)
TOTAL: 278 books (151 unique) GENDER: 146 by men (52.5%) / 132 by women (47.5%) Note: It's interesting to see Riddle's book make it so high here compared to the general popularity/recommendations of the others mentioned here. 22. Novel by a RRAWR Author OR Keeping Up With the Classics Books:
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft (20 times) [RRAWR]
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (18) [Classics]
The Princess Bride by William Goldman (17) [Classics]
TOTAL: 250 authors (43 unique) GENDER: 176 by men (70.4%) / 74 by women (29.6%) Note: I'm pleasantly surprised that the divide between the two clubs here is almost even: 125 books (25 unique) for RRAWR / 121 books (22 unique) for Classics. This was always going to be a tough square because of the limited number of books (only 24 in the end for Classics, and only about 24 authors for RRAWR [now RAB]). 23. Novel from the fantasy LGBTQ+ Database Books:
(tie) On the Shoulders of Titans by Andrew Rowe & Sorcerous Rivalry by Kayleigh Nicol (10 times)
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (9)
TOTAL: 281 authors (130 unique) GENDER: 158 by women (56.2%) / 112 by men (39.9%) / 11 by nonbinary (3.9%) Note: I'm glad to see that people took the challenge! 24. Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook Graphic Novels:
Monstress by Marjorie Liu (19 times)
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (9)
(tie) White Sand by Brandon Sanderson & Rik Hoskin & Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (7)
TOTAL: 171 graphic novels (109 unique) LEFT BLANK: 20 / SUBSTITUTED: 6 [shared with Audiobooks] Authors:
Marjorie Liu (19 times)
Brian K. Vaughan (12)
Noelle Stevenson (9)
TOTAL: 200 authors (111 unique) GENDER: 138 by men (69%) / 62 by women (31%) Note: I actually tried to convince lrich1024 to make the hard mode this year both Saga AND Monstress, so I'm not surprised Monstress had a good showing here! Audiobooks: All tied at 2 each:
Midnight Riot/Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Authors: All tied at 3 each
TOTAL: 88 authors (76 unique) GENDER: 62 by men / 26 by women LEFT BLANK: 20 / SUBSTITUTED: 6 [shared with Graphic Novels] Another crazy square in which no one really dominates because of the lack of restrictions otherwise. 25. Novel Featuring the Fae Books:
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (11 times)
Fae: The Wild Hunt by Graham Austin-King (9)
(tie) Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire & Stardust by Neil Gaiman (8)
TOTAL: 263 authors (101 unique) GENDER: 158 by women (60%) / 105 by men (40%) Substitutions Out of 282 cards, 102 used the Substitution rule. Books: No books were used as substitutes more than once except for the following 4 books: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant; Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor; The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie; & The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. Squares: 36 squares from past Bingos were used as substitutes with the most popular being:
(tie) Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic / Apocalyptic / Dying Earth (from 2017) & Sequel: Not the First Book in the Series (from 2017) (8 times)
(tie) Non-fiction Fantasy Related Book (from 2017) & Science Fantasy OR Sci-Fi (from 2016) (7)
Just One Damned Thing After Another was the only one used for the Time Travel substitute, which happened twice. Of the 102 substituted books, 54 were by women (52.9%) Note: Someone apparently would rather read a 1000+-page book by Brandon Sanderson (Oathbringer) than read Five Short Stories. I can't stop laughing at this. Also, another bingo participant decided to replace the Hopeful Spec-Fic square with Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic / Apocalyptic / Dying Earth. Who hurt you?
PART II: The People You Know and Love
In addition to the popularity charts above, I also ran through each individual card to figure out a few things:
How much of your card did you submit (a full 25, or less than that?)
How many squares had women/non-binary people in them?
What was the unique title count? As in, how much of what you read was unique to your card?
How many people have done the Bingo more than once?
NEW: How did Hard Mode go this year?
Card Completion 282 cards were submitted by 264 people. Of the multiple-card submitters, 16 turned in 2 cards and two turned in 3 (among the secondary cards, 3 were incomplete). 47 out of 282 cards (16.7%) did not fill out all 25 squares. Each submitted card had at least 5 squares filled. In 2017, 44 out 243 cards (18%) weren't fully filled out. One person had cards with only 24 squares submitted. Ouch! Better luck next year. :) Gender in Cards I counted a card as having a woman/non-binary person on it if at least one woman/non-binary person was involved. So if you read an anthology that had at least one story by a woman, it counts. If you submitted 5 short stories and one was by a woman, it counts. 6 out of 282 cards (2%) had zero men on them (with one incomplete card having all 18 squares by women/nonbinary). 16 other cards had at least 20 women. There was an average of 11.4 women/nonbinary across all cards. The average raises to 12.2 for complete cards. This differs only slightly from 2016's 12.3 average for complete cards. Two cards had zero women/nonbinary on them (both were 5-square-only cards). Among the 235 completed cards, two of them had only 1 woman/nonbinary on them Unique Title Count I specifically did not count short stories submitted, but did count anthologies and collections. (There were 300 short stories submitted and they had a very high unique rate overall). For 2018, the average number of unique titles per card was 5.2. Three cards had 0 unique titles (everything they read was read by someone else). 8 cards had at least 12 unique titles, with only one person at 15 unique titles. As more people join Bingo, it becomes harder to get those unique titles. (For 2017, the average number of unique titles per card was 5.3. Ten cards had 0 unique titles. 17 cards had at least 12 unique titles, with only one person at 17 unique titles. In 2016, the average unique count was 6.8, and no cards had 0. 11 cards had at least 12, with one person at 15. In 2015, the average unique count 8.0, and no cards had 0. 18 cards had at least 12, with one person at 18.) Repeat Bingo Readers From the survey we included int he Google Form, 31 of the 264 of you (11.7%) have done Bingo each year since 2015. Well done you! Amazingly 113 say this is your first time doing Bingo--that's 42.8%! Wow. NEW: Hard Mode 30 out of 282 cards were 100% hard mode cards. Another 7 just missed it by one square. 9 people didn’t bother with hard mode at all, including 6 complete cards. Average hard mode count was 11 squares, 12.3 for complete cards. EDIT: Thanks to mantrasong for the calculating the following: Fewest Hard Mode entries:
Novel by a RRAWR Author OR Keeping Up With the Classics (61/246 - 24.8%)
Any fantasy Goodreads Group Book of the Month (69/262 - 26.34%)
Novel Published Before You Were Born (73/255 - 28.63%)
Novel from the fantasy LGBTQ+ Database (78/270 - 28.63%)
Novel Featuring a Non-Western Setting (78/265 - 29.85%)
Most Hard Mode Entries:
Novel Featuring a Library (167/260 - 64.23%)
Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook (174/256 - 67.97%)
Stand Alone Fantasy Novel (176/268 - 65.67%)
Five Short Stories (193/253 - 76.28%)
Hopeful Spec-Fic (195/260 - 75%)
PART III: Measuring Variety
Something I've been interested in for the last couple years is trying to figure out how to meaningfully measure the overall variety of selections per square. For example, in the 2015 bingo, in the Comic Fantasy square, Terry Pratchett was read for 42 of the 88 cards. The next most popular author had only 5 reads. That's quite lopsided!!! In the end, I decided to try to use the Gini index. The Gini coefficient is used by economists to measure income inequality, where 0 = everyone has the same income to 1 (or 100 in my case) = the income is concentrated in one individual. In our case, instead of income, I'm using the number of books read and authors read. If, for example, 25 different books are each read once, its "FarraGini" index would be 0 (all books were read equally). If 24 books were read once and the 25th book was read 51 times, its FarraGini index would be 64. So the more widely spread a category is read, the lower its index number. I've created a table below of all the categories (splitting short stories into individual Stories & Collections, and Graphic Novel and Audio) and their FarraGini indices per book and author. You'll notice that the FarraGini index for Goodreads Group Book of the Month has the highest single number for book as All Systems Red dominated its category, but also that Pseudonym has the highest FarraGini index for author, since Robin Hobb accounts for 20% of all books in that category.
As you can see above, the numbers paint a picture that we've seen in the individual square sections above--the FarraGini indices for Reviewed and <2500 Goodreads ratings are pretty low because of the variety (with Audiobooks at an insane number), where Goodreads Book of the Month and Pseudonym indicate that a book or author is really weighting numbers towards it.
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