30 Day Book Challenge, Day 2

Here we are on Groundhog Day, and the second day of our 30 Day Book Challenge.

Today’s challenge is: A book that you’ve read more than 3 times.

Honestly, I have dozens of books which fit this category. I return from time to time to old favorites, to remind myself of why I love them, or just because I feel like it’s been too long since I last read them. They’re comfort food, for the most part.

Which is, honestly, why I picked today’s book. It’s the most comfortable of comfort foods — a media tie-in paperback which I read as a 15-year old, which I loved, and which I’ve read many times since.

THE FINAL REFLECTION by John Ford was the first attempt at creating a fictional culture for Star Trek’s villains, The Klingons. It’s a novel within a frame story, as Kirk sits down to read a “historical novel” about the Klingon Empire. What I love about this book is the detail given to the Klingon culture and language — remember that this book came out in 1984: Years before Star Trek: The Next Generation turned the Klingons into “Samurai Space-Vikings.” The culture that Ford presents here is unique, and, if I’m being honest, I like it a great deal more than what became canon.

Ford was also a tabletop RPG writer, and used the culture he created as the basis for the Klingon Sourcebook for the first Star Trek RPG, published by FASA. I also had the opportunity to work with Ford (I was his editor on GURPS Traveller: Starports), before he passed away in 2006.

I recently wrote the section on the Klingon Empire for the Beta Quadrant Sourcebook of the current Star Trek Adventures RPG, and I’m pleased to say that I included a small tribute to Ford in my work. Look for it when the Sourcebook is released later this year.

THE FINAL REFLECTION is available at Amazon. Click the image to be taken to the book’s page.

30 Day Book Challenge, Day 1

February has begun, and I’m eager to maintain this habit I’m developing, of posting daily to this blog. I know that these daily challenge things aren’t the most gripping content, but they’re reinforcing the habit, and as the month progresses, I’m going to try to also post non-challenge items as well.

The decision to do this particular challenge has come from a private chat server I’m on with some fellow creators, to whom I’d brought the Song challenge last month. They enjoyed it, as it sparked some good conversation, and so it was suggested to continue the theme, with books, and perhaps comics next month.

So, today’s challenge: Best book you read last year.

Most of the books I read last year were non-fiction — research for various projects. But in all honesty, the best book I read last year was fiction, which I absolutely devoured in the final three weeks of the year, after picking it up on the day it became available.

The best book I read in 2017 was the 7th book in The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey (the pen name of writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. I’m an absolutely raving fanboy of this series, which is, in my opinion, the best science fiction series that I’ve read in years — a series that combines political intrigue, social commentary, adventure and a detailed, realistic look at human life spread throughout our solar system (and, later in the series, beyond our system — while also examining the sociopolitical effect that such a leap forward would have upon us).

Folks who are interested can click through via the image above. The other books in the series are available via the “Customers Also Purchased” gallery along the bottom of the page. Or you can check out the 2 seasons of the television adaptation of the series, which have already aired and are available in various formats (the TV series is about 1 1/2 books in, so far).

So there we go — Day 1. Hope to see you back here tomorrow.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 30

The month is not quite over, but the challenge is. Thank you to everyone who has bothered to check in to my lonely little outpost on the internet, as I used this meme as a way to train myself to post something every day. I’ll be continuing — and if there’s any sort of content that you’d like to read from me, please feel free to leave a comment below.

So, for the last challenge: A song about your spiritual beliefs.

That’s a tough one. I was raised Irish Catholic. I gave that up by my teens. I found paganism, and it spoke to me — but only as a solitary. I found that when in group worship, things were brought down to the common denominator which made it seem, well, goofy to me. I had no sense of the mystic or divine in group efforts. Now? I’m not so sure. Agnostic?

But this is a pop song that has always spoken to me — and I once described it as feeling “Hymnal” to me. It gives me chills at times. The calling sound of the synth is part of it, but the lyrics drive it home:

“I’m standing here on the ground
The sky above won’t fall down
See no evil in all direction
Resolution of happiness
Things have been dark
For too long
Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me”

It makes me feel hopeful — and really, that’s a prime goal of spirituality, for me.