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Last Week: Aconyte Books, Return of the Crimson Guard, ST:DISCO, Improv Triple Decker

Looks Like I Did Nothing

Which is kinda cool. I need down weeks, and from what I recall, last week was one of them. I’ve been working hard, learning a bunch of new things as our first print deadline at Aconyte rapidly approaches, axe in hand with little regard for doors or faces. That’s incredibly exciting though – after nearly a year and a half of work, we’ll finally get tangible evidence of that effort, in the beautiful obtangular form of Wrath of N’kai by Josh Reynolds and Tales from the Crucible, edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells (I know, waaay too many Ls, you wouldn’t believe how hard her name has become to type). That’s our first adventure in the Lovecraftian mythos of Arkham Horror and an anthology of stories from KeyForge. They’re both splendid, and I’m very happy to have played a large part in their cover spreads and internal layouts, as well contributing to the commissioning process for the stories themselves. Oh, and, in the one-hundred word synopses, which is my new artform. They’re out in May! Buy them! Keep me employed! 

Reading: Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian C Esslemont

Finally finished this! This is strictly me moaning about being slow and inept, and I knew the second in Esslemont’s Malazan series was nearly twice the length of the first, but still! Totally worth it though. I’m beginning to feel the differences between this and the parallel series by Steven Erikson, though they’re still hard to articulate. These ones feel closer, not that they lack vast scope, but the cast at least doesn’t yet feel as vast. I’m also seeing my favourite groups showing up like the horse-riding Wickans, and a lot of kickass mage action. I’ve read very few epic fantasy series with such a fantastic grasp of battle, and even fewer in which I’m content to linger in that battle for whole chapters at a time, shifting between groups of soldiers and switching sides. It’s great, but remember – these bad boys are 702 pages long! Commit and love them.

Doing: LEGO

So yeah, after blood, sweat etc, I turned to LEGO in the evenings of last week… Since I’ve been making such good use of my time, it’s been well invested here, in lovely LEGO bricks. As you can see below I’ve regularised the shapes around the sides, and added yet more fiddly details at the top and made them all a little higher. Once again I’ve made something I can’t bloody see inside of, so I guess that’ll have to be for me alone… I’m pretty pleased with the outside, with some nice sideways stacked masonry-profile bricks. It’s all becoming increasingly fragile, of course, and I’ve exploded sections of it several times. The walls are at least attached to each other now… At the rear I’m inserting a back wall and shrine kinda thing… I discovered that the best sand green figure I’ve got is this adorable chap from LEGO Atlantis, so I guess it’s his temple now. This section sits neatly on some square jumper plates so I can pop it in and out without wreaking too much havoc. Gonna drop him a little lower I think, and get some more green texture in. I’m very happy that I’ve been gathering sand green and gold and have finally put them to such good use. Next I’ll need to utilise the tonnes of foliage and put the shrine in a place, or something.

Watching: Star Trek: Discovery

Of the various Star Trek series, only Deep Space Nine has ever really spoken to me, and is thus the one I’ve fully rewatched at least five times (I mean c’mon, that’s only 132 hours of entertainment!) I didn’t get on with the characters in Voyager, though I liked all the Borg stuff, The Next Generation is where all the cool stuff started, but it feels patchy as all hell. Enterprise doesn’t even reach watchable. So, I’ve been absolutely delighted with ST: DISCO. It looks incredible, in a way that truly sets it apart from the other series, and the script and performances are polished to the same sheen. My sole complaint is that we don’t get the same soap opera-y character episodes that I adore in DS9. It’s not that they skimp on character development for the core cast, for whom the whole thing is an incredible rollercoaster, especially season two. It’s the sheer brevity of the show, with just fifteen episodes in season one, compared to twenty-four in Deep Space Nine, which makes it pacy and thrilling, but I still have no idea who most of the people on the bridge are, and I feel as if I should… There is very little space to breathe, and rewatching it has been a real boon. Now I actually know what happened! There’s so much going on and so little room in between that I don’t think I managed to take it in. 

I reckon it’s got some more re-watch potential, but for now roll on season three!

Watching: MissImp’s Improv Triple Decker at Nottingham Playhouse

Such a fun show! It’s still a real pleasure to have lots of shows to go to that I’m not actually in. For such a long time there were only a handful of us doing shows, but this time we had three teams with none of the MissImp exec in at all. Five Chubby FoxesDenise’s 50th and The Improclaimers. It was a splendid mix, beginning with The Improclaimers’ mock cover-band singer-songwriter duo, followed by awkward stepmum drama with Denise’s 50th and a ridiculous octopus hunt from Five Chubby Foxes. I had a really good evening, furthered by the traditional post-show pubbery, in which we headed off to the Crafty Crow because our usual spot, The Roundhouse, was closed. Sad face, but great booze and brilliant chats. I mean, just look at these lovely folks!


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