I'm sorry I haven't got a long, drawn out post to present this evening about the trade system or some other worthy topic. I'm working on my book and, having eaten some fuel, I have to get back to it. But I wanted to post the results of the poll before taking it off the sidebar.
So, more material on trade would be a good idea. So noted. The next big problem is taking all those references about goods and services and making them work for you in terms of creating prices. I've been steadily working on my own pricing table week by week, distributing it out to the three people who have pledged $10 on Patreon; they're looking at the very guts of my work, as it gets structured. Those with a sharp eye will watch me change lines, shift details and fix numbers when I need them to fit what I know will be the player's preconception of pricing.
Worked all last week and I had today and yesterday off. Most of the nicks and cuts on my hands have scabbed, so I'm ready to go get a bunch of new ones tomorrow. Right now, I count 14 days before I'm responsible for putting out a preview of The Fifth Man. Most of the main characters will be introduced and most of the continuity is worked out. A few people who paid for character names will be disappointed, since their characters appear later in the book than the preview.
I am really enjoying the content as it fleshes out. The characters come across as real, distinctive, likeable. As near as I can tell, I haven't had to resort to any tropes that could be defined as bad writing: no handwaving or deus ex, both of which infuriate me when I read a book or see a film.
Quickly now - I've seen two movies in the last two weeks that I feel are worth remarking upon. First, there was The Hateful Eight. This is just dreck. Dreck. The expositional writing is so awful there might as well be a ticker-tape across the bottom of the screen, like on the Fox Channel, reading "Tarentino just couldn't think of a better way to introduce these two characters than this; please stand by." There is literally a scene where one character walks up to another and says, blatantly, "What's your story" - before then moving on and doing it again. Two more times. Over and over, he was apparently unable to move the exposition in any other way. It's painful to watch - and it just goes on, mawkish minute after mawkish minute, in an interminable stylistic suck that Tarentino has managed to dupe an audience with because there's blood and swearing. Personally, I like blood and swearing. I swear all the fucking time on the blog and when people on screen get shot, I like seeing blood is going to come out - because that's what happens and it doesn't shock, offend or even disturb me (it would in real life, but shit, this is a movie). I do, however, have a problem when the amount of blood changes from scene to scene, is conveniently easy to clean up when it ought to be all over a wooden floor, conveniently fails to have any impact on the players who should be smelling it a mile from the main setting and ultimately exists in a kind of cartoonish silliness for the purpose of exploitation. Great director? Bleh.
The Martian. Surprised me. After Prometheus I swore I'd never see another fucking Ridley Scott movie again - and watching Exodus go by I was bloody grateful for the promise. But . . . after watching that doof Neil deGrasse Tyson promote it (I respect what the guy knows, respect his intelligence, like it when he gets pissed at stupid people; but I'm exhausted when he dumbs down science so that 'everyone' gets it - fuck everyone, Tyson; they don't care), I conceded to giving it a watch. Wasn't bad. Thought it was going to be dreck. Wasn't. Wasn't great, either. The Matt Damon parts were smart but watching the bureaucracy jerk itself around arguing about money and time reminded me of much better movies made 40 years ago. It's supposed to be drama, instead it's a domino-line of tropes, blathered by people without personalities or proven merit (and sorry, giving a character's title at the start of the scene does NOT constitute evidence of merit). There's a little trope called informed ability and woah, is this movie ever stuffed full of it. Just more lazy writing. But the Matt Damon parts were good - despite the fact that I can't for the life of me remember the name of the character, because the name was absolutely of no importance in the film, just like every other personality trait. The science was wonderful - when it was on screen. My main issue with the film is this, however (spoiler): we all knew that the ship heading back to Earth was ultimately going to come back to Mars to rescue him. This is an American film and we know how Americans think: leave no one behind, not even dead people, ever. Unfortunately, we had to wait three quarters of the film for the characters to come around to this realization, along with a very convenient rocket explosion and a series of other very convenient plot points that guaranteed that the end would be tense and full of speed and terror and lots of importance. Which it wasn't, because of the director's fingerprints, drool, jizz and virtually every other bodily fluid smeared all over the fucking film. This one could have been great, really great. Unfortunately, it was directed by another "great" director who has far, far more fame than he has ability.
Well, hope that didn't piss off too many people. I have to go back to writing now.