16 07 2013

Here is the link for the RAFFLE!!!


OK, down to business. I’ve already posted something describing the elves in my fantasy world (it would probably qualify as ribbing, actually, if the darn things actually existed…) But here’s the specific roles of a particular elves that appear in my series, The Talan Revolt

RAINGUN (Book 1)
The hero, Rick Rivoire, sees the abuse of an elven slave and attempts to help her. In the end, he is terribly disappointed on how little he is able to improve her situation. This happens the night after a battle in which he played a critical role in defending a city from an onslaught of undead monsters, during which he is being celebrated for his courage. These events make him question whether defending such a society is truly as heroic as he thought it was, and whether this is really what he should be doing.

Later in the story, Rick fights in a prolonged hit-and-run battle against elves in their native forest. They fight like Aztecs, with swords of wood and obsidian, wearing leather armor filled with rock salt. Unfortunately, they also have ritual magic at their disposal that makes survival difficult.

As I recall, no elves make an appearance here.

A powerful elven enchantress appears to Rick in a vampire’s lair, explaining that they share the vampire as a common enemy. She provides Rick with a lot of aid, but he’s suspicious of why she doesn’t seem to want anything in return.

OK, that’s it (or mostly it) for the elves.

I use orcs, and shallorians with much greater frequency. Neither of these races are good or evil at heart, but neither race has done very well under the rule of humans. They are mostly used for manual labor, or as cannon fodder. Orcs, with their thick skin as proof against insects and poisonous plants, are at home in the swamps that humanity doesn’t want; shallorians enjoy deep forests — sometimes coexisting with the elves, sometimes fighting them for territory.

The orcs didn’t always live near humans in large numbers, but they were driven off the plains by goblins who ride wolves. Orcs are poor at handling both horses and firearms, and are thus easy prey for goblin mounted archers.

Rick’s stepfather Leon Pristov, who is the mayor of his hometown, employs one orc (Targ) and one shallorian (Ragshaw) as “muscle”. They enjoyed bullying him as a child, and they don’t care for him much now either. While they enjoy arguing and insulting each other while in the company of others, they do enjoy the crude camaraderie of those who believe they’ve been screwed by a common oppressor (in this case, humanity). On at least one occasion, they’ve been observed drinking together and singing a song on that subject: “Whiskers and Tusks”.


Dosvidanya, DELOCATED

7 07 2013

I’m still recovering from the end of Delocated, an Adult Swim show by Jon Glazer . . . like a lot of other shows on Adult Swim, most people seem to love it or hate it. 

I was sorry to see the show go. I caught the “Finale” by accident one evening while working out in front of cable TV, and it made a hell of an impression on me. After all these months, I think I finally understand why.

“Delocated” satirized reality TV. 

Some people rolled their eyes at this, with an obvious reaction: “What’s the point of satire or parody being targeted at something that’s so ridiculous to start with? Can you even do it?”

The assumption is that satire does sort of require that its target have a certain level of dignity, or pretense of dignity, or history of dignity, or (at least) delusions of dignity. Reality TV has none of those. . . so surely, that makes it impossible to satirize?

No, it doesn’t. Either that, or “Delocated” did the impossible. 

Jon Glazer did this by trying to be as ridiculous as possible. This, by itself, is not so surprising; people try it in comedy all the time. What set him apart was how he did it. 

He didn’t just try to portray reality TV as ridiculous, or try to push to some “new frontier” of crazy on the front of reality TV. He left reality TV just as it was — he showed it as any other sort of (somewhat risky) business with moments of craziness, run by more or less rational people who often made reckless decisions. TV viewers have seen TV executives portrayed that way for decades. . . no one would consider that ridiculous.

The ridiculous part was having the reality show be about a family in the Witness Protection Program who willingly chose to be on camera 24-7; that they wore ski masks and spoke in garbled voices 24-7; that they were followed around by FBI agents 24-7; and that, in all other ways, they went about their business in a perfectly normal way that obviously made them the easiest murder targets that any Russian hit man could ask for.

After Season 1, the pitiful, bumbling Yvgeny wasn’t cutting it as a villain, so he was pushed aside by Sergei, another assassin for the Russian mob: but this one was all business. He never said anything funny, had a strong streak of sadism, and was cold as ice when it came to killing people (which he did a lot).

Light-hearted humor would go to sheer terror, and back again, in the blink of an eye. . . at levels that most TV producers would never go for. 

To me, it proved that the best targets for satire aren’t authority figures, pompous people, or other easy targets that we all learned to satirize in eighth grade. 

The juiciest targets for satire are . . . situations!