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Archive for June 14th, 2007

Announcements

Pulpcon 36 is coming up, July 5-8 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio. If you’ve never been, and if you are interested in the pulps or indeed in twentieth century popular literature, this is the convention for you. The primary action is in the Pulp Room (ie, buying pulp magazines, old books, pulpy paperbacks, and related items, and conversing with the dealers and customers) and at the auction, but the talks in the evening, the group runs to local bookstores, and the conversation at the dinners are also worth the price of admission. (Which, alas, has been raised considerably over the last few years. But it’s still very reasonable, compared to other conventions.)

The only bad thing is that, now that I’m healthy enough to go, it’s the same days this year as Origins in Columbus. (Big huge gaming convention.) If you want to game, this is definitely the place for you. If they don’t have people playing every kind of game on earth, somewhere in the huge exhibitions halls is a dealer who will sell it to you. Also the dealer room attracts a great source for old war movies in foreign languages, often without subtitles. However, being a jaded old gaming chick, I’ll admit that I’m really only interested in the amazingly interesting military history classes and briefings on contemporary militaries’ assets and ideas at the Origins War College, and the fascinating internecine negotiation sessions of NSDM, the National Security Decision-Making game.

(NSDM: You get assigned a part, or you trade for one you like better. You role-play being a cabinet member in a real life country, playing against 1) everybody else in your government, 2) a host of non-government interests among your citizens, 3) all the role-players playing a country in rivalry with yours, and 4) referees role-playing public and governmental actions and reactions in other countries, international corporations, and NGO’s. There are usually forty or fifty Machiavellian roleplayers in the rooms, all negotiating and blackmailing for all they’re worth, and about ten to fifteen referees, trying hard to keep up with all the supplemental parts they play. Occasionally you get CNN news reports (very occasionally, if playing a non-free country) and government announcements. Everybody plays very hard and realistically for about seven hours: maneuvering for power; creating programs; and/or launching coups, civil wars, and invasions. In the last hour, when people are tired, they deliberately start a nuclear war so they can throw the giant red six-sided dice and figuratively nuke a whole bunch of innocent bystander countries. Non-players usually rubberneck for this part. I’m not particularly good at it, because I stink at talking to people and thinking of neat things to do. But I do enjoy it. Here’s some funny quotes overheard by referees playing the game, to give you the flavor.)

Finally, if you thought I was kidding about how groggy I’ve been getting, I very nearly sprained my ankle last night by sliding off the edge of a curb. (Usually I only do that in the winter, when I have ice to blame.) I haven’t burned my hand this year, though, and I think I’m finally coming out of the sleepies.

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Idea Department

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a theme week. (Er… about a year and a half, actually.) So I’ve had a few ideas to shake things up.

1) Magazine Week: I pick out a good magazine that’s not too long, and read the whole thing. (Well, maybe not the ads.) I already have totally public domain material for this — a 1907 copy of The Scrap Book (with a Turgenev story — woot!) , and an Argosy All-Story Weekly from 1922. (Either of which would mean that you’d only get one part of the serials, alas, or that I’d have to skip them altogether, alas.)

2) Vacation Bible School Week: Run through some Bible commentary from one of the Fathers, or a good chunk thereof. Maybe parallel it with something from a later Biblical scholar.

Do you like these ideas? Do you have any other ideas?

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