There’s those words again.

THE END.

I got to write them again. I’ve finished the first draft of another novella, and I’m still surprised that this is a thing that I can do. That this is a thing I’ve chosen to do. That this is a thing that I’m still doing.

Something was definitely different this time. This story wasn’t a re-work of something I’d written before. Like The Remembrance, it was a story that I needed to tell, and had characters that I wanted to visit for a time, irrevocably changing everything that they knew. This time, which was different from every single other time, I saw places that would need to be improved as I wrote them. I looked forward to revising. I didn’t just know that revising was a thing that I was going to have to slog through, but I knew that it would give me an opportunity to make it better.

This is something that usually has to be drilled into me from the outside. And from the outside, it’s usually been Nikki.

But, this time… THIS time… it was just a thing. It was “I’m going to make a note about this here, and it should be fixed like this, and I’ll take care of it on the next pass.” So, the plan is to do a light revision when I move the story from paper notebook to digital, and then send it out to my steadfast alpha readers. If you’d like to be added to that alpha reader list, drop me a line!

Writing Journal

Originally written on 13 February 2018

Notes:

How do I want to handle the “last” conversation between Susan and Nat? Nat will have done her homework, and tried to prepare for her journey as best she could, without worrying the police officers too much.

Adam’s not with them, and is likely still sleeping back at the apartment.

Susan is exhausted, even after a day’s sleep. She’s traumatized, much like her sister, and is barely keeping her cheese on her cracker. She knows that “losing” her sister is inevitable, at this point, but it doesn’t make any of this easier.

They’ll start just hugging, I think. Crying quietly. They’ll talk, sort of, about the demon. They’ll talk about what’s in store for each of them. Nat will reveal that she’s known about Susan’s other family, and urge her to leave. When they’re done talking, and Susan is leaving, she’ll turn back to say something, and Nat will be gone, along with the stuff.

Susan will stay upright, with the help of the wall, and then will head off to Yeong-Cheol.

Edits

  • The coffee bar needs to change to the Wormhole in Wicker Park. That neighborhood fits who Susan wants to be like a glove.
  • Car fire should be on the border of residential and industrial zones in the South or West side.
  • Nat’s house should be in Edgewater.

The problem with my favorite game.

Hob box art from Runic GamesHob is my favorite game. It’s a puzzle/action/adventure game with absolutely zero dialogue. That’s right, no text, no voice over, no nothin’. The few characters in the game do communicate, but you’re not let in on it. You explore the world, and you discover that it’s your job to put it back together. To fix the world.

This powerful idea spoke to me immediately. I signed up for the newsletter and eagerly awaited the game’s release. I didn’t even think that as someone who played games on YouTube and Twitch that I could’ve signed up for a free copy. I’m still facepalming over that one. In any case, I immediately purchased the game on release. When Runic Games shuttered weeks later, I picked up as much Hob merch as they offered, in case it disappeared off the face of the net. I streamed it from start to finish, and every time, I bemoaned that my next streaming schedule had the gall to be a whole week away. Oh, how I griped.

Have I convinced you that I love this game? Because I do. It’s a powerful, amazing story that I was immersed in, and invested in. I cared about the main character (I still don’t know if Hob is his name), and about the robot who gave its arm and its guidance.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The end was… problematic. An alien creature had landed on their world, and wanted to become part of it. At being excluded from having representation, it became enraged and sent the entire world into disarray. That’s not the problem. The natives of Hob’s world, including the ruling council, seem to be all male. The alien presence, and the warrior that fights for it, is decidedly female. The difference was obvious and emphasized.

In the end of the game, we discover that the all-male ruling council of this world discriminated against the female alien, who was just as smart and as capable as they were. In response to this injustice, the game creators have this world’s embodiment of femininity throw a giant fit and decide that if she can’t have it, no one can.

To add insult to injury, there are two endings to choose from. You can side with the ruling council, or you can side with the alien. If you side with the council, you destroy the alien, and return the world to its status quo, allowing all of the other (male) citizens of the world to come out of hiding. If you side with the alien, in response to her being the victim of discrimination, you see your robot friend open up another bunker, and the story starts all over.

This ending perpetuates the myth that women are overly emotional. It sets the status quo of an all-male government as the good ending, and the rejection of that as a world-destroying apocalypse. That’s not exaggeration, the main character is putting the world back together from exactly that.

I wish that Runic Games hadn’t closed, so I could ask them why they chose to do that.

Am I going to abandon my love for the game because of a problematic ending? Nope.

Am I going to stop telling people how amazing this game is? Nope.

Am I going to warn them that the ending comes across as anti-woman? You bet I am.

Ta ta for now

I’m all packed up and will be heading to Union Station soon. Chicago is awesome and amazing and full of people and problems and goodness. I will miss it, until my next visit.

Amtrak leveled up

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the East Lansing Amtrak station that full. Could be the snow storm, but whatever it is, there are a lot of people riding the rails today. Congrats, Midwest Amtrak!