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Month: June 2017

Ep. 54 – Xbox One X, E3 Predictions, movie hype

In today’s episode we talk about the newly announced (and poorly named) Xbox One X. We then talk about upcoming games we hope to see more of at E3 2017. We double down on our criticism of the newest Star Wars movies before sharing our wild wishes, predictions and fears for The Last Jedi and other upcoming films.  Recorded 06-11-2017.

(Released to Patreon 06-11-2017, available to the public 06-19-2017)

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Drawing the Dragon – Red’s reads

Drawing the Dragon  By April Adams

Review by Red


     This was possibly one of the most interesting and complex books I’ve read in a long time. Without using any spoilers, it is difficult to summarize the book in detail. Best said, it is the start of a war, the start of characters questioning all they’ve known, heartache on so many levels, and the start of a bond deeper than space and time. And with it all in this amazing sci-fi/futuristic/fantasy setting, none of that really makes a lot of sense until you read the book.

     The main storyline of this book revolves around a set of three pilots. Their official rank is Jordan, or dragon pilot. This gives them a highly specialized rank in the military, and grants the ability to give themselves new names. Our Jordans named Blue, Scarlett, and Jade go through an interesting set of challenges and dilemmas throughout the entirety of the book. Scarlett, who has worked extra hard to become a Jordan, projects a tough exterior with a chip on her shoulder when others seem to do well. Blue is trying to escape her family’s history of helping to start the Chimerian War. Jade searches for his purpose, though it doesn’t turn out to be what he expected. The story also involves the Chimera, who are constructs, or androids, and are starting a war against the galactic counsel.

     There are multiple secondary storylines. One of the secondary storylines helps to tell the history of how this universe came to be the way it is. Another secondary storyline talks through the Jordan training program. All of the secondary storylines end up merging into the main one helping to create a wonderfully well-rounded universe and setting for the books.

     My initial reaction after hearing about the book was excitement. I loved the idea of the story. I’ve always been a dragon fan and merging them into cyber organic starships, adding a Sci-Fi flare to everything really peaked my interest. I was only further intrigued by the adding in of the android/construct aspect of the Chimera. The book reads as a definite Sci-Fi book more than fantasy. There are fantasy parts but they are not the main genre. It works very well and blends seamlessly.

     As I began to read Drawing the Dragon, I initially was concerned because it is a very “hard start”. It drops you into what seems to be the middle of the story. The story starts to clear and, looking back on it, the “hard start” is a fitting beginning. Though, I did have a hard time keeping track of the different story lines at first. The point of view tends to change quite a bit and until you get a little more familiar with the characters it’s hard to keep track of things as they’re progressing. And there is a large cast of characters. You have the Jordans, their support personnel, the characters from the secondary storylines, and of course the dragons. But then you end up becoming so involved with what’s going on with all these characters that it becomes very easy to tell who is in what storyline and that’s easier to keep straight. About one-third to halfway through the book everything started to make total sense and was easy to follow along with.  

     I did like how the story lines all ended up merging together into the main storyline and completing the story, finishing thoughts and answering questions that I had had while I was reading. I was also really really intrigued by how some of the characters interacted with each other almost like siblings but not liking each other at all. The character development and stories that happen are well done. A few took turns I was NOT expecting. Another part I enjoyed was the concept for the book being so spectacularly original. I’ve never heard of anybody else having an idea for this style of universe or even just taking elves and dragons and putting them with humans in a futuristic setting making it sci-fi heavily influenced by fantasy depictions.

     To give you an idea of how well this book works I’m going to give you a summarization of part of the book that really made me love the storyline. It sticks out because while it is at a climactic part of story, it is a very introspective look at the relationships of the Jordans.  You have Scarlett in her Dragon, Fledge, with her friend Calyph, who is an engineer on the main dragon. They are looking for Blue and Jade. Calyph asks Scarlett “How will you find them?” “I can feel them,” Scarlett​ tells him. “I guess I always could. I just never realized it, like how I never think of my toes unless my boots are too tight. Then I am painfully aware of them. Does that make any sense?” Calyph says, “A little.” Then he asks, “And you never noticed this before?” Scarlett​ shakes her head and replies, “How much do you notice the bone in your ankle? Even though it sticks out from the bottom of your leg, you probably don’t notice it until something goes wrong.”

     There is one point in the book that, while not wanting to give things away, I feel does need to get brought up. It is a war situation in the book so things are not always friendly. There is a slight amount of described torture. I feel this needs to be brought up because it was described very well. It was something that I cringed at while reading. It didn’t detract from the story, it did make me pause for a moment and let it sink in.

     As this is only book one of an eight-part series, the book does leave a lot of open-ended questions. The author has already written five of the books so I’m sure there will be answers to come and more questions to be answered. But the author seems to want people to think about their existence, their choices, and their intentions, and this does get brought up in various places within the book itself.

     Overall I am delighted I read this book, I have every intention of finishing the series. I will be reviewing the other books soon — and quite happily.

💃🏻

 

Be sure to visit the Author’s website and grab yourself a copy! http://apriladams.me/

Ep. 53 – Movie talkers, founding father tweets, and alien probes

A few of the topics for Episode 53 include: People who talk at the theater and how to handle them. What if every president in history had twitter? If an alien leaves their probes at home, is there a convenience store they can visit?

Tales of the Con has no ads. Everything is out of our own pockets, and the kind support of our fans. Support us on Patreon and get exclusive content! Early access to the podcast, a video version, and more. http://patreon.com/talesofthecon

The Bean: Riddles & Shrooms – Flavor of the Week

This week’s Flavor of the Week is The Bean: Riddles & Shrooms, volume one of the series. Written, illustrated and published by Travis Hanson

Published by Bean Lead Press

This title on Amazon:
http://amzn.to/2sShqlX

I just want to say a quick Thank You to all of our friends and subscribers! As of Monday June 12th, 2017 I’ve been doing FOTW for a full year! I want to thank everyone for the continual support of me and Tales of the Con. Make sure to keep an eye out for more awesome content through the next year 😀
-Alex the Human

Florida Game Night w/ Samantha

The head of our Florida division Samantha (aka @queenbeeoftotc) attended Game Night at Venom’s Back Room Bar & Grill. She wrote in about her experience.

 

Let me start off by saying I had no idea what to expect out of game night, considering it was hosted at a bar (Venoms back room bar and grill) that’s infamous for hosting metal shows on a weekly basis.

Arriving at Venoms, I met my newly hired intern and longtime friend Cody Eddins. Cody helps me cover events and holds his own online interactive D&D campaign called Epic Interactions. He and I have a long history over the years of playing video games daily till we lose track of time. As per usual we exchanged sarcastic insults to each other before heading inside. As soon as we entered the doors we were greeted by Anthony Marra (the man that put the whole event together with his company Nocturnal Productions and Frank Wood, who used to host a gamer night at another place called Insomniacs).

Anthony is a good friend of mine who is also a lead vocalist in the metal band, Made From Stars. His vision for game night was to see a revival of the gamer community in his area and bring all his gamer friends together under one roof. Although our friendship is still pretty fresh we both have bonded through the mutual love of metal, Cons, games, and comic book heroes. His company, Nocturnal Productions, is based around art and entertainment, mainly music, concerts, and night life. They specialize in working with bands to help promote them, help with booking, merchandizing, and graphic design. I thoroughly enjoy all of their clothing and wire wrapped crystals that they make from hand (I had put in a little help making necklaces).

Anthony led Cody and I over to where all of the game consoles were hooked up, and holy shit was it a sight. A row of 6 flat screen TVs, each hooked up to a different gaming system. They had Nintendo 64, PlayStation 3, NES, Sega, and my own personal PlayStation 4. When we first walked in there was only abut 11 people but later grew to be what seemed like 50. As soon as we got my PlayStation hooked up, Anthony walked over with a couple games, the first one I noticed was Injustice 2 and I grabbed that shit so fast The Flash would have been impressed. We popped that sucker in and went to work. I personally was so excited about Injustice 2 not only because it just came out but because it was tradition to play Injustice every year at Phoenix Comic Con with the TOTC crew. After moving to Florida (AKA Gods blind spot) back in late October, and with Comic Con going on back in Arizona, I was feeling extremely homesick and really missed my nerd herd. So, this made me feel a little less left out and almost like I was back home. After unlocking a few maps, I decided to let Cody have a go so I could grab us a couple of beers. I headed to the bar and asked the oh so lovely bartender Sam for a couple bottles of Yuengling and went back to my spot where Cody was waiting patiently to kick my ass in a quick round. After I got my ass handed to me, I ventured over to see what other games I could get into. They had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario, Super Smash Bros, Mortal Combat, Call of Duty, and of course Injustice 2.

For most of the night everyone in the bar took turns rotating between consoles until it was time for the beer pong competition. Cody and I grabbed a pitcher of Shocktop and greeted our opponents who were a lovely couple that ultimately ended up beating us and moving forward for the cash prize. The round lasted about half an hour because all of us, except Cody, sucked at beer pong but somehow, we lost anyway. It was still a fun time nonetheless and Cody ended up leaving right after that and I stayed to see the rest of the night through, even though it was only about an hour.

I really gotta say game night turned out fantastically and I am very much looking forward to the next one. It was good to see so many people nerding out together and bonding through the art of gaming. I could tell people definitely enjoyed their nights as well, so well I basically had to pry some guy off of my PlayStation when it was time to wrap it all up. Anthony and Nocturnal Productions did a great job bringing out everyone’s inner nerd and I hope one day in the near future TOTC can collaborate with them to do something truly incredible for the nerd community.

🐝