Friday, August 13, 2004

Reading Is Fundamental

This week I had to return Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants to the friendly neighborhood library. Mucho gracias to the Los Alamos Public Library for sending the book out via interlibrary loan. I made some photocopies before returning it. At first I just wanted to copy the entries for Valentine's Chess (my original reason for seeking this arcane tome) and Enochian Chess (to expand upon my article on the subject), but in the end I also photocopied some pages at semi-random. Maybe I'll write about these various variants at some point, maybe I'll try playing them. Who knows?

My buddy Pat is always good for handing me nifty reading materials. This week it was a book and a trade paperback. The book is The Zombie Survival Handbook by Max Brooks. Scratch that off the old Amazon wishlist. Not because it's bad, mind you. I just don't need to go to pains to get it, knowing that Pat has a copy I can access. I can see why at least one person over at wants to use this book as the basis for a All Flesh Must Be Eaten campaign. Good stuff. I might be tempted to use it too. Every once in a while I get an urge to run a certain kind of scenario and I just can't shake it. I need to run the darn thing to get it out of my system. That's the way it was with my Superfriends game at Winter War. That game haunted me for months. I had to run the damn thing. I feel that same way about my unfinished Jack the Ripper scenario for Call of Cthulhu. And more and more it seems that a zombie scenario is on the list of must-run games for me. Not necessarily because I want to, but because I have to do it. Some pithy writer once wrote something like "I dabble in writing the same way an alcoholic dabbles in liquor." I get that way about games sometimes. It doesn't ruin my life, but I feel these strange compulsions that must be addressed.

Anyhoo, the tradepaperback Pat gave me to read is JLA One Million, the mini-series from DC One Million, one of the few big comic-crossovers that interest me. (The others that I dig on are the original Secret Wars, Crisis On Infinite Earths, and the Amalgam projects. I have yet to read the Crisis, but it's always struck me as one of those comic events that I should read.) The trade paperback collected only the four issues of the mini-series proper, so I lacked the crossover issues from other titles. That made the story a tad bit disconnected, but it was still a ripping good yarn, chock full of big ideas. Whole campaigns worth of superheroing are hidden away in throwaway lines. And it's nice to know that even in the year 82,000 the Superfriends still kick ass.

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