Saturday brought the first taste of winter, with a storm that was poo-poohed on the news Friday morning but ultimately dumped well over half a foot of snow on us. At first I was excited – I love the first snow – but later my excitement turned to rage when I managed to get the car stuck at the end of the block (just visible in the photo).
Luckily it was a quick job to get it out, and I was able to get the ol’ Human Transport Ark Eltreum back into the garage and venture out in the truck. Guess it’s time for new tires…
Last weekend was the Days of Ice and Fire event, hosted by Fantasy Flight Games – conveniently headquartered in Roseville. It was a three day event of geekery revolving around George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, including appearances each day by the author himself. It also was a showcase for the three games set in the world of the novels: a card game, a tactical war game, and a board game. Mrs. Melobi and I have been playing the card game and the war game, and to her great credit she came to the event with me. I’ve spent many hours in the geek world, hanging out at dimly-lit game stores with men of questionable hygiene and worse social skills, playing obscure games until all hours of the night, so the environment was familiar for me (and indeed, a bit of a homecoming as well – a topic for another post). But Melobi, while fairly well-versed in geek lore (being a huge fantasy and sci-fi
fan in her own right, combined with the education I’ve given her in anime and gaming), had never attended an event of this sortbefore. As it turned out, we both had a great time. We even got cards for the game of the author himself, and had them autographed. I’m not much for autographs, but when I saw the author card in the swag bag, getting that signed was too cool to pass up.
I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire (or ASOIAF, as it’s known on the internet) a few months ago, and it’s fantastic. It builds momentum like a freight train – slow to get started, because of the massive weight of the numerous characters and the Byzantine plotting, but becomes an unstoppable force by the end of the first book. It’s not mind-expanding, galaxy-encompassing stuff like Frank Herbert’s Dune series; nor is it a sardonic, contemporary destruction of fantasy tropes like Glen Cook’s Black Company books. Rather, it’s gritty, brutal, and amoral, a world where almost no one (even the children) is good (even the kids are killers and are brutally killed in turn). It’s packed with mind-blowing twists and bizarre gut-punches – ASOIAF is one of the very few book series that has made me put down the book and say “whoa” after reading a doozy of a passage. If you have any interest in fantasy (or just brutal shit in general), you owe it to yourself to read it – but don’t fall in love with any character, because they might end up dead or worse.
The card game is awesome too, but that’s another post.