Dracula Untold and Vampires in Virgil’s World

I wanted, so very, very much, to hate this but it actually doesn’t look half bad. Did Dracula need an origin story? No, certainly not, and definitely not as the hero, but it looks like it’ll be better than Maleficent or I, Frankenstein. I have yet to see it, but if the trailer and reviews are any indication, it was horrible. At least Frankenstein’s Monster is a bit sympathetic, I don’t know how they screwed it up so badly.

Trailer for Dracula Untold on TrailerAddict.

I’ve been wanting to write a short story about Vampires for a while, and this just might have goaded me into action. I hate that Vampires have lost their monstrous quality, that the only dynamic anyone wants to tell anymore is that of the sympathetic, abused, misunderstood, glittery, romantic immortal. Even in stories like Underworld, where the vampires are the baddies, they’re really just guys that fangs and guns that are a bit tougher. They downplay the raw power, the awe, of a legend that has haunted mankind for millennia, crossing across nearly every culture. At least with this, they seem to have gotten the Sorcerer aspect of that right.

From a purely emotional level, I think my favorite portrayal was Salem’s Lot. King said he wanted to portray the vampire as a monster, a ravenous unthinking beast, barely contained and concealed behind the facade of an elegant and dignified noble. It wasn’t a curse, not to the vampire, but the true source of his power. He celebrated that but was intelligent and stylistic enough to know that each had its place and time. This is a complete opposite from, say, a werewolf which is usually victim to their other self. Vampires, Dracula in particular, were rarely the victim, always in charge, unstoppable, a force of nature.

That’s a true villain of the night.

So, I’m gonna try and crank out a short story. Who knows how long that’ll take, but I’ll send it out in my email but may put it on the site as well. Like everything else in Virgil’s world, it reflects my favorite aspects of fantasy and how I see things, and in this case I want everyone to know how I feel.

I think I’ve got a fun take on how Vampires should be.

The Game of Thrones is About to Jump the Rails

I don’t really watch GOT. I’ve seen the first season, which was very enjoyable, but I have neither HBO or the patience and talent to obtain the series in a more illicit manner, nor the finances to buy each season. Nevertheless, I have followed how the series progressed. I, like most readers, loved watching people’s reaction to the Red Wedding, along with the other major moments like the Red Viper’s death. The memes have been great and watching the world learn to love and appreciate the Imp has been something I never really thought I would get to see.

So, even though I don’t watch the show, I’ve kept up with it.

There have been a lot of articles about what GOT will do if it catches up with the books. This is a valid concern, one that is stressed by the way A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons is constructed. For the uneducated, it breaks up the POV characters into two novels. Basically, you have all of Westeros in Feast and the Wall, Dany, and Tyrion in Dance. For the books, this was a little hard to chew. A lot happens in Feast, but it lacks Jon Snow and Tyrion, my favorite parts. A lot happens in Dance too, but focuses very heavily on Dany, my least favorite part.

Let’s take a quick break for that, since everyone is always so surprised that I hate Dany. She is an idiot but that’s not really my problem with her. My problem is her dogged insistence that her family was betrayed, usurped by the “rebellious” lords of her father’s kingdom. I get that this is a world that has never seen democracy, so I’m kinda supposed to approach this with a certain amount of fealty, but the Targaryens that were overthrown in Robert’s Rebellion were monsters, descended from an inbred line of lunatics. Now, I can get behind much of that lunacy, but their actions have continuously ripped Westeros apart, and every single horror that has befallen their bloodlines was earned through years of faulty rule.

Oh, but Dany doesn’t know that?

She would if she would listen to anyone! All of her advisers come along and say, “you know, you’re dad wasn’t all that great” and she throws a hissy fit. Maybe, just maybe, she should remember her psychotic incestuous brother who her Sun and Stars crowned with a pot of molten gold? Maybe she should think about where her horrible sibling got some of those traits?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand she’s a child queen and barely into her teenage years. Who cares! This is a series that has many child characters (Bran, Sansa, Arya) and they get along just fine without being morons. Well, not Sansa but I don’t think anyone thinks that has anything to do with age.

Anyway, the books split up the POV characters. The series has to deal with that. It looks like they’re already incorporating elements from Feast, such as Bran finding the last Greenseer, but it’s still one hell of a task to tackle. Probably, the best way would be to take all the POVs from Feast and Dance and cut it in half, making that a season.

Here’s the problem with that, that’s a lot of content, more than a Storm of Swords. Some people have said it’s a couple seasons in that book and a half, I think it’s more like three or four, depending on how much they want to retain. Then you will have Winds of Winter and whatever comes after that, unless Mr. Martin decides to go ahead and do an eighth. That could be a good, solid decade down the road, if not fifteen years, and by then there could be a ninth and tenth!

Based on some of the changes they’ve been making in the show, and some of the talk from the cast, I’m willing to make a hypothesis. I could be wrong, and honestly the only reason I’m writing it down is so I can say “I knew it!”.

Game of Thrones is about to jump the rails.

What I mean by this is the show is going to diverge from what the books are doing. It might not scoop any of the elements from the series, but it’s about to become its own thing. The stories we know from Feast and Dance…

SPOILERS!!!

…with Tyrion going over to Essos, getting kidnapped by Jorah, Jon dealing with Stannis, Arya becoming an assassin, all that stuff, I think is going to get boiled down to some essential elements. From this point on, it will be a separate entity from the books. I know over the years, A Song of Ice and Fire has become more than what George R. R. Martin originally saw it as. That makes me think, based on my own ways of writing, that he had other ideas that he abandoned for this sprawling epic the books have become. This could be an opportunity to go with one of his earlier drafts, when it was still envisioned as four or five books.

But what about his plan, you might ask? He was on the cover of Vanity Fair talking about his plan to wrap things up, doing interviews on talk shows, blogging about how the show will still follow the books.

That, my friends, is a lie.

That’s what I’m really boiling this down to. Next season and for the rest of the series, I think the readers who watch the show are in for a few surprises. We’re going to hit a point where Martin looks at us through the screen and say, “What, you though you were safe?” We will see some surprises as the show begins to veer, much to his malicious enjoyment, I’m sure, and readers and watchers are united in their surprise as the Game of Thrones separates itself from the paper and ink that birthed it.

Pillars of Eternity

Didn’t realize this had a name beyond Project Eternity. This was started back before Kickstarter really shook things up or was well known. I didn’t pledge then, but I certainly have now after seeing this. For those that don’t know, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn is basically the best video game of all time.

Ever.

No, you don’t understand. There is no hyperbole here. I am ranking it against Bioshock, Pokemon, Chrono Cross, Deus Ex, Half-Life, every single game that I have ever experienced and that has helped mold me into the person I am today.

Nothing has ever topped the experiences I had with Baldur’s Gate. When I have those ridiculous fantasies all authors have of their book being turned into…everything, you know, movie, tv show, comic, video game, that’s how I picture it. Because that is perfetion.

Seriously, ever.

Anyway, I don’t know if Eternity will live up to that. Probably not, because I just vomited my affection allover this post and I don’t see anything really being able to match mythical nostalgia. Nevertheless, I am excited.

I Love Amazon but the Fire Phone…Snore….

I followed a bit of the Amazon announcement during lunch yesterday, then recapped it later. I’m not exactly in the market for a new phone, I’ve had my Note 3 for almost a year and enjoy it just fine, but I was interested to see a new player on the market. Apple and Samsung have been conquering as far as smartphones go, and frankly it’s just sometimes fun to find a new gadget to want that I can’t necessarily have.

After seeing what they’re offering though, I’m nothing but underwhelmed. Amazon is a fantastic company and I use them for a number of things. I’m a Prime subscriber (though I do prefer Netflix for streaming) and I love them for ebooks and music and most everything else. Oh, yeah, and they’re my numero uno for selling my own books. Nevertheless, they’re not the best hardware maker. I have a Kindle Fire but I hardly ever use it, preferring the simplicity and familiarity of my Note. I found the Kindle Fire to be alright from a hardware standpoint but a little clunky to use.

It looks like the Fire Phone (which is a stupid name) suffers from a lot of that. I don’t really know what they could have done extra that Apple and Samsung haven’t already nailed down, but it mimics a lot of what’s out there, promising a better 3-D experience and interface that, at least from my standpoint, most people don’t care about. Until it’s a watch or brace that emits a full blown hologram (I want an Omnitool, damnit!!!), 3-D means nothing.

Part of the reason I’m disappointed is due to the speculation I read beforehand. One of the most interesting things I heard, that I don’t see anywhere, was the possibility of free data with a Prime membership. Even if it were only for Amazon applications, being able to stream movies and music without tearing a gaping maw in my data plan would have been a pretty good reason to buy the phone.

Forbes had an article (that I can’t find now) about it just being another platform to buy Amazon stuff with, and I’m afraid they’re correct on this. Actually, it seems like a lot of people are having the same comments and general disappointment. I’m not saying it’s going to fail, they have the money to make it succeed, but there were a lot of missed opportunities and I think it’ll be a few iterations before I’m interested.

Writing FayTown Calling 6/15/14

Better today than last night. This afternoon I worked on the section that’s been troubling me, adding 1,250 words to the story.

Not a lot more than that. Usually, I have something to add about storytelling or writing…but, nope.

Anyway, this week is going to be a bit dicey as far as time goes. That’s not really any different than usual, it’s what held up last week, so I’m declaring a plan. Get up early and spend time making new words with a goal of a thousand before I leave for work. At night, do the same thing, or, edit. There is a lot of polish I need to start adding to the story now that things have passed by, so it’s time for that second coat of paint.

That’s the plan. See ya’ll tomorrow.