A Little Less Art In The World

Quinton Hoover

Artist Quinton Hoover has died.

I didn’t know Quinton very well, but he did quite a few cards for us back when I was working on White Wolf’s Rage (best CCG evar):

Rage Card

We got to know each other a bit more on Facebook, and I was actually hoping to possibly recruit him to work on an Outlaw Moon book with me at some point. I’m sad that’ll never happen.

Here’s a posted eulogy from Quinton’s son, Justin:

Today we lost an incredible man. Most only knew him as an artist. A small few knew him as a friend; however only a select few got to know him as a father and husband. My father was an incredible person, even in time of strife. With all of the pride and stubbornness, he fought. He fought for alot of things. Mainly his families lively hood. It brings me great sadness to have lost a man I spent a life time trying to emulate. The last few years had become strenuous, but the little things kept him going. The picture with this eulogy shows that very reasoning. A simple day spent with his friend taking pictures and being outside doing what he loved. Much like the rest of his family, I feel he was taken from us far to early. There was so much he wanted to do, to name a few he wanted to come to my wedding and meet my family for the first time. Unfortunately this was taken away. Out of all this pain and anguish, I know he is finally at peace. My Dad had a lot of hard times, and was in considerable amounts of pain. No more will he have to suffer the things that hurt him the most. Whereever he may be now, I know he will still be fighting for the well being of his family. Truly one of the most selfless people I proudly got to spend 27 years knowing and speaking with. Dad, no matter where you went to, know that myself, my family, and your family have and will always love you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for everything you gave and tought to me. From shooting my first gun, to the last piece of lead I lay on paper.
He knew I wouldn’t leave him.
He’ll never leave me.
Quinton Hoover was a good man
I Love You

Rage Art

More great art by Quinton after the jump: Continue reading

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Childish Things

Hearing this week’s song of the week today brought to mind a discussion I had with another writer on Facebook a few weeks ago. The release of World of Warcraft‘s latest expansion was nigh and, as many of you know, it was introducing the pandaren as a playable race. The pandaren are basically kung-fu pandas, mystical shaolin-style monks, and their homeland is based heavily in eastern cultural tropes. (They also predate the Kung-Fu Panda movies by several years).

Now, I haven’t played WoW in many years, but my son still does occasionally, and I’d watched him play some of this content during its beta testing. It was fun stuff. the pandaren had a lot of charm and character, their abilities were clever and different than the stock WoW fare, and the world-building for their lands was gorgeous and epic in its scope.

Anyway, this writer snorted derisively at any grown-ups out there who were actually looking forward to playing panda warriors. Why? Because pandas are cute, naturally, and only children could conceivably want to play such cute creatures. I challenged him on it, because not only do I see the pandaren as neither more nor less intrinsically ridiculous than elves, dwarves, gnomes, or any of the other fantasy races you can play in WoW and similar games, but I think a fantasist attacking other people’s fantasies rather unbecoming. This writer makes his living writing face-to-face roleplaying games in which the players pretend to be monsters (as indeed I used to when I was a writer for White Wolf Games). Quite a few people would consider that sort of thing childish.

I wrote:

I just have an innate negative reaction to arguments that denigrate the tastes of others in ways like calling them “childish,” when as far as I’m concerned pretending to be a kung-fu panda is no more ridiculous or childish than pretending to be a stalwart shaman cow. Or a magical mystical mummy, for that matter.

He wrote:

I *completely* accept that the pandaren might be considered cool by players of a given age range, those of commensurately immature taste, and those who engage them as part of spending time with their kids, and I hope you’re right that those folks enjoy playing the hell out of it. But it’s not for me, play-wise, nor for the adults with whom I game on the regular…Pretending to be a bouncing anime panda-person may not be more ridiculous than pretending to be a shambling mummy, but it *is* more childish, and there’s just no way around that.

Note the pointless zealotry, the refusal to accept that any mature adult might be able to enjoy playing these fantasy creatures, while playing other fantasy creatures is presumably quite adult. Pandaren might be enjoyed by players “of a given age range” or “commensurately immature taste” or those playing alongside their children. He couldn’t just take a reasonable step back and think, “Maybe an adult might enjoy this simply because it’s fun and they get a kick out of it.” He had to insist that an adult who liked this sort of thing was not the proper sort of adult at all.

I replied:

To personalize it, I think the pandaren are cool, and were I still playing WoW I’d be looking forward to playing one. To therefore say that only people of a certain age range or “commensurately immature taste” can find them cool is insulting. I seriously doubt my tastes are any less mature than yours, and in fact the tendency to argue the “maturity” of such things seems to me an immature one.

As C.S. Lewis put it, “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

But, to be agreeable, I’ll cede your point that making believe you’re a scary monster is much more grown up than making believe that you’re a panda-esque warrior. Because what the hell.

Don’t try too hard to be a grown-up, folks. It’s something that happens naturally in its course, and it has nothing to do with whether you can still have fun or not.

Here’s James McMurty with our song of the week…

DOC WILDE: Looking for a Doc Savage pastiche and a Lovecraftian adventure all in one? Look no further.

As we enter its final week, The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde Kickstarter is at 141% of its original goal and (hopefully) still climbing. After building the project around three novels (all being published this year), in recent days I added an option allowing supporters to also get the 4th book, Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness, which will be released in the first half of 2013.

The most popular option supporters are choosing gets all four novels in ebook format for only $20. Higher level rewards include trade paperback copies, signed limited editions, several additional short Doc Wilde adventures, and other cool stuff.

I also added a bonus reward that all supporters will get for free if we pass 200% of goal, which you can read about here.

Over the course of the Doc Wilde Kickstarter (which ends April 28th), I’m sharing a few of my favorite reviews that the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, received when it was originally published by Putnam. Today’s is by novelist Bill Crider:

Looking for a Doc Savage pastiche and a Lovecraftian adventure all in one?  Look no further.  Tim Byrd has it for you right here.  Doctor Spartacus Wilde and his two kids, Brian and Wren, are plunged into action almost from page one when they learn of the disappearance of Grandpa Wilde.  They go from the top of what’s obviously the Empire State Building to the South American jungle, tangling with all kinds of weird frogs, not to mention frog-men, along the way.

Wilde is so much like Savage that I expected to him to start trilling on any page.  He never did, but his shirt is always ripped.  So is Grandpa Wilde’s, for that matter.  Like their dad, the kids are fluent in many languages, know more science than a college prof, know more literature than your average English teacher, and are as agile as monkeys.  Doc’s other companions are the ape-like Declan mac Coul and the cultivated Phineas Bartlett (he’s “good with quotations”).  The whole crew speeds from one cliffhanger to the next so fast that you’ll hardly be able to keep up.

Byrd is clearly out to hook both the youngsters and the older folks who’ve read Doc Savage.  Who else would he expect to get this joke: “The impact rattled the man of brawn’s skeleton, . . .”  I’ll bet Byrd’s been waiting years to get that one into print.

It’s all in good fun, and you should know by now if this is your kind of thing.  If it is, you’re probably already waiting for the sequels, which should come along very soon.

Looking for Adventure? GO WILDE!!!

DOC WILDE ADVENTURES: “Over the top at times, rip roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more!”

The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde Kickstarter is still doing well, currently at 123% of its original goal and (hopefully) still climbing. After building the project around three novels (all being published this year), in recent days I added an option allowing supporters to also get the 4th book, Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness, which will be released in the first half of 2013.

The most popular option supporters are choosing gets all four novels in ebook format for only $20. Higher level rewards include trade paperback copies, signed limited editions, several additional short Doc Wilde adventures, and other cool stuff.

Yesterday I also added a bonus reward that all supporters will get for free if we pass 200% of goal, which you can read about here.

Over the course of the Doc Wilde Kickstarter (which ends April 28th), I’m sharing a few of my favorite reviews that the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, received when it was originally published by Putnam. Todays, by novelist Barry Hunter, is from The Baryon Review:

Just a quick note about a new book. It has a May publication date and is a joy. If you remember the pulps and Doc Savage, you need to pick this one up. It’s a true delight and will be something your children will enjoy as well.

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM by Tim Byrd, Putnam, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Sometimes as you get older you think about some of the joys and memories you have accumulated over the years: your first comic book, your first trip to the library, or your first trip to the movie theatre. All these are fond memories, but another of mine stands out as well. It was the first time reading Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider in the original pulp appearance. They enjoyed a revival in the seventies, but what of the new readers that have come along since then? 

This book helps to solve that problem. Tim Byrd has taken the basics from the pulps and the world spanning adventures they brought into our lives on a monthly basis. Doc Wilde is a descendant of those pulps and starts off with an adventure that is straight out of the thirties.

Doc Wilde has trained his two children, Brian and Wren, from an early age to be physically fit, mentally alert and to expect the unexpected at a moments notice. 

In this adventure, their grandfather has disappeared, they are attacked by mutant frogs and mutated frog men, travel to Hidalgo on a rescue mission, and uncover the mystery and the master who is hoping to take over the world.

Byrd has taken Doc Savage, added in a pinch of Robert E. Howard, a liberal dose of H.P. Lovecraft, and mixed it all together in a well done, enchanting pastiche of the pulps that will appeal to the adult audience as well as the young adult readers. It is over the top at times, rip roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more. I hope to see more from Tim Byrd and Doc Wilde in the future. 

Looking for Adventure? GO WILDE!!!

DOC WILDE ADVENTURES: Tim Byrd has “the keen eye for the plausible impossibility shared by many of the pulp greats”

 

Over the remaining three weeks of the Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter, I’m going to share a few of my favorite reviews the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, received when it was originally published by Putnam. First up, the esteemed Ken Hite’s view…

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Kenneth Hite is a smart man.

He’s a writer of various things, particularly in the roleplaying game field. He’s a true polymath, carrying vast stores of knowledge about a vast array of topics around in his brain. He’s one of the few human beings I have ever met who makes me feel kind of dumb.

He’s also a scholar of pulp fiction, particularly the works of H.P. Lovecraft. So it thrills me to share with you his review of my first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, which is of course an homage to both the pulp heroes of the 1930s and ’40s and to H.P. Lovecraft’s unspeakable horror tales. It’s my first review by someone I’m not only sure gets everything I tried to do in the book, but who I suspect gets stuff I don’t even realize is in there.

Here’s his review of the book from Flames Rising: Continue reading

Ken Hite on DOC WILDE: Tim Byrd has “the keen eye for the plausible impossibility shared by many of the pulp greats”

 

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Kenneth Hite is a smart man.

He’s a writer of various things, particularly in the roleplaying game field. He’s a true polymath, carrying vast stores of knowledge about a vast array of topics around in his brain. He’s one of the few human beings I have ever met who makes me feel kind of dumb.

He’s also a scholar of pulp fiction, particularly the works of H.P. Lovecraft. So it thrills me to share with you his review of my first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, which is of course an homage to both the pulp heroes of the 1930s and ’40s and to H.P. Lovecraft’s unspeakable horror tales. It’s my first review by someone I’m not only sure gets everything I tried to do in the book, but who I suspect gets stuff I don’t even realize is in there.

Here’s a taste; the rest is here.

Despite our young heroes’ impressive abilities, the threat of the Frog God Frogon builds to a genuinely scary level by the end, with a properly Lovecraftian threat to the universe (and to one of Doc’s sidekicks, a burly Irishman named Declan mac Coul) waiting in the depths of a South American cave inhabited by the titular Frogs of Doom. Byrd plays with amphibian biology, and with plenty of other sciences from nanotech to aerodynamics, with the keen eye for the plausible impossibility shared by Dent, Lovecraft, and many of the pulp greats.

I suspect that readers out of middle school will appreciate Byrd’s tribute first and foremost as a tribute — spotting the references and shout-outs is our own little adventure mystery — but it will surprise you by engaging you with its youthful characters as well…the words themselves reel out at pulp speed, and tickle two kinds of nostalgia at once: nostalgia for reading Doc Savage, and for reading Doc Savage for the first time, when you were eleven and hadn’t yet talked yourself into being tired of heroes.

You can get the book here.

Doc Wilde “a fast mad dash through a landscape littered with mines [of] geek-love”

I just came across the latest review of my book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, and it’s from someone who knows ’em some pulp.

docwilde2

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Back in March, I blogged about some oddly inspiring material I found in a new roleplaying game I’d bought (Optimism, Action, and How To Be The Neighborhood Pulp Hero). The text in question “caused a synaptic hiccup and made me think about my life.” Pretty darn cool for a game manual.

The game, Spirit of the Century, is not only the best-by-far pulp game I’ve ever found (and I know most of them, all the way back to the first, 1982’s Daredevils from Fantasy Games Unlimited), it’s quite possibly the greatest face-to-face rpg. I’m reserving final judgment till after I actually have time to play the game, at which time it’ll get a full review here.

My copy of SotC had some issues, alas, but Fred Hicks, one of the game’s co-authors, exhibited some first class customer service and sent me a new copy. These are truly good guys in an industry with an often razor-thin profit margin. I was greatly appreciative at this, so I sent him a signed copy of my book.

Well, apparently Fred read the book, because on October 20th, he gave it a quick review on his blog.

While set in the modern day, this book LOVES pulp (and Lovecraft, for that matter) and makes a bunch of oblique and not so oblique references to it throughout. It’s a breezy, very fast read for an adult, but an adult will be entertained precisely because of those references. It’s like a fast mad dash through a landscape littered with mines that explode with geek-love every now and again.

To summarize the plot would be to tell the story of the whole book, so I’m going to leave that out of this. It’s a fun family romp, has good life lessons for kids, and features a boy child and a girl child who both compete with each other and value each other…And if you’re looking to get your kids primed with some excitement about high-pulp adventure…I think Doc Wilde would be a handy tool for giving that to ’em…

There’s a bit more, which can be found here.