Just finished an Advanced Read Copy of “American Predator” by Maureen Callahan. This was a bad ARC for me to read, as it sucked me in immediately and I had to take a bit of extra time where I could find it for a couple days to finish it off quickly. Couldn’t put it down without feeling pain at the need to keep reading!
I only find that once or twice a year… If I am lucky.
So if your looking for a great page turner, be sure to pre-order this one!
Wow, that is a long title! Let’s take another look at that. Today we are going to talk about the book written by Richard Garriott and David Fisher titled “Explore/Create: My Life in Pursuit of New Frontiers, Hidden Worlds, and the Creative Spark.”
Getting the necessaries out of the way. This article will contain some minor spoilers, but I will be hiding them in spoiler boxes.
This book has not been published yet and is being released 1/10/2017 on Amazon. My references are in regards to an Advanced Read Copy (ARC) I won in a random giveaway on Goodreads, and ready this week.
The legendary entrepreneur and online gaming pioneer—creator of the Ultima series and the forthcoming Shroud of Avatar—and private space travel advocate examines the importance of adventure and curiosity in his life in this inspiring memoir, complete with interactive tie-ins, puzzles, tricks, and secret codes
An inventor, adventurer, entrepreneur, collector, and entertainer, and son of legendary scientist-astronaut Owen Garriott, Richard Garriott de Cayeux has been behind some of the most exciting undertakings of our time. A video game industry leader known by his handle “Lord British”—and a member of every gaming Hall of Fame—Richard pioneered the massively multiplayer, online role-playing game (MMORPG), and coined the term “Avatar” to describe an individual’s online character.
and coined the term “Avatar” to describe an individual’s online character.
A lifelong adventurer and member of the Explorers Club, Richard has used his extensive gaming fortune to finance thrilling expeditions. He has plumbed the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to see the remains of the Titanic, hunted for meteorites in Antarctica, and in 2008 became one of the first private citizens to be launched into space. On the leading edge of the private space industry—the man who arranged a zero-G flight for Stephen Hawking—Richard has invested his time and energy into making space travel more accessible.
in 2008 became one of the first private citizens to be launched into space.
Combining the two guiding tenets of his life, exploration and creation, Richard now invites us on the great adventure that is his life and introduces us to the wondrous and magical in the world around us, including our own backyards. Yet Explore/Create is no ordinary memoir; throughout, Richard engages readers with interactive activities and challenges them with “secret codes” for his games. An audacious genius with an insatiable curiosity and an irrepressible playfulness, Explore/Create is enlightening, thrilling, and fun.
I am going to talk about this book first from an overall perspective as a sort of quick review piece. Following that, I will do a quick chapter by chapter commentary which will be hidden by a spoiler box to make it easier on the eyes.
Some of my comments will be of a personal nature while others may be about the content. Anything goes!
Please understand that I am not an objective reader. I have had contact with Richard on numerous occasions in various formats, including in person. From that association and common interests I share with him, this has led into us sharing several common friends, a couple of which are even mentioned in his book!
Thereby my review, while I will try to make it object where it should be, may be colored by biases I do not even realize I have. You have been told!
As someone who had already been patiently waiting for the release of this book, I was rather excited when I won it in a Goodreads giveaway. This was followed by a slight bit of disappointment at the 30-day timeline only to turn once again into excitement when the book arrived a few days later, which for me was two days ago.
While I was very interested in receiving it, I also was worried that I would find it somewhat boring. Not due to lack of being well written or good content but rather as someone who has been following Richard Garriott at some level or another most of my life, I was worried it would all be old news to me.
Quite the contrary, there were only a couple sections of the book that feel this way to me. Areas that I had heard stories about from Richard or seen on Youtube had new insights and revelations. To my astonishment, I even learned about a few of Richard’s adventures in life I had not known of. I attribute this to the fact that as a public personality, time alone in private with him is rare. So topics tend to be the ones that the majority of the public pull from him.
This book allows for a format in which Richard gets to share adventures that may not be as popular, but I find none the less intriguing.
While he certainly offers some advice here and there, it is more narrative and story driven. Recounting major stories, turning points, and adventures in his life with some commentary. I personally, was then able to draw some corollary’s in my own life and learn from his experience.
Being done this way led to a fun story that at many times completely engaged me, drew me in, and made me feel like I was living it a bit. Not in the way a good Fiction Novel would, but well enough to help me feel the experiences he describes.
David Fisher did a fantastic job overall in capturing the nuances of Richards personality in person, in print. I have had the honor to engage with Richard face to face on occasion and many times as I read this book I could easily hear him telling me the story!
There can be a lot of reasons someone may be interested in this book. Hoping to gain some insight or wisdom from a creative individual perhaps. You may be a fan or follow of one area of his life such as video game or space travel and are looking for things specific to that. Maybe you just find him and his stories fun or exciting.
For me, it is a combination of all these things and many others, which put this book was on my wish list. Whichever reason you are considering purchasing it for, do yourself a favor and get on the preorder list. It’s not lengthy which for some will be positive. For myself, that was the only negative.
If you want to hear some of my fun commentaries about the book, the following is a chapter by chapter commentary that overall I keep short. Spoilers will exist but will be mostly minor. I will try to avoid sharing anything that might ruin reading it for yourself!
I am jealous of Richard’s experience in school with computers. I signed up for a class in which it was clear I knew more than the teacher. That may have been ok, except the content was a joke as well. I learned more at home from other people on the local BBS.
My mom programmed in Fortran!
If you want to PLAY D&D1, Richard’s first game on tape, you can! Get yourself a Shroud of the Avatar account, Richard’s new game he is working on. Then make your way to Central Brittany and go to the docks, say hi to the Town Crier. Set your compass on “Oddjob” from the list the crier gives you and go inside! You will find a teletype that has D&D1 imported in the game that is fully playable!
One of the reasons I have always enjoyed Richard Garriott is because he is a very humble human being. He is a joy to spend time with whether it is a quick conversation or if it’s dinner. He may pick up your tab on a social dinner occasion at a restaurant, but he never lords what he has over you. I have personally seen him put people with little in life at ease being around him and making them feel he was approachable to them.
What I never realized was how close he had come to becoming “that type” of a person at one point in his life. My sincere appreciation to his friends who stepped up and helped him not stray from his path. For a Richard that was a dick, would not be one that I would be proud to know or that would be creating the value to this world that he is creating for all of the human race in his many projects; from space exploration to back down here on earth with things such as Rapid Transport Systems (not in his book).
I never heard this story, absolutely awesome! I wonder how often treasure is found when doing that sort of the first dive on that sort of trip? I also wonder if the take was over the costs and by how much?
Chapter 12 – The End of the Beginning of the World
I wanted to visit Richards Geocache when I was in Austin, but I was on limited time with a busy schedule. Richard doesn’t mention this in his book, but you can do his Geocache in about 30 minutes if you know the shortcut. I decided I didn’t want to rush it and am hoping to go back and spend a day of it sometime.
I had recently done a review on the book “Dungeon Born” by “Dakota Krout”, as a book, I would recommend, found a bit unusual from the norm, and just really enjoyed overall. Gave me some great ideas for an RPG system or how I would alter one of my own to run in the future as well.
Having enjoyed it, I decided to try out a similar novel called “The Slime Dungeon” by “Jeffrey “Falcon” Logue.” This one is a two part series (at the moment), and I did read both of them.
I have to report back that I both enjoyed and was disappointed in this series.
Taken objectively it was an enjoyable read. Being that the “slime” was one of my favorite “mobs” in the Ultima Games and Shroud of the Avatar, to read a book in which the dungeon setup revolves around slimes was very enjoyable for me. In fact, some guild members and I were just killing slimes in Serpent’s Mine in SotA a few nights ago!
On the other hand, these books were VERY familiar. To the extent that if someone told me it was the same writer under a pen name, or another writer trying to copy one and change it just enough to get away with it, I would not be surprised at all. That is where the disappointment came from. In some ways it was unique, but in many ways, it seemed very much like a remake… That was not done quite as well.
While I did not enjoy it as much as Dungeon Born, to give it it’s fair due, taken on its own I am glad I read it. I would have preferred to have read these two first, then Dungeon born but you cannot go wrong with any of them!
I hereby dedicate this article to all the slimes I have killed in Ultima over my life!
Many of you have seen me mention I have been reading a lot of books in the LITRPG genre over the last few years (do not worry, though, I do not ignore other genre’s!).
One that has passed across my screen as I have ben looking for something to read, many times is “Dungeon Born” by Dakota Krout.
I passed it up many times, not because I did not feel it would be good but after reading the description, it was not a taste I was in the mood for.
Finally felt like this would “hit the spot” recently, grabbed it, read it, and am now talking about it because it was fantastic!
It has the feel of a Pen and Paper RPG but unlike some LITRPG, does not present the story as a game, or use game mechanics to describe things.
The concept is that Dungeons are born as a gem and that the dungeons are an extension of themselves. Or to give it a vibe I liked, you could picture you being the GM in a game, playing the dungeon.
What was fun about this story is it did give a lot of plausible thoughts to the things your party always cry about. You know things like, why is the gold mine always by the entrance? Why is the entrance not hidden? Why does it continually respawn!!!!
All in all, it was an enjoyable read combined with the willingness to let my disbelief go for a bit.
What I would very much like to see, if it’s not already done (I haven’t checked yet so there may be!), is a RPG pen and paper version of this. I think it could make for some great gameplay and ma fun mechanics system for the GM!
LITRPG stands for Literature or Literary (varies from person to person), Role Play Game. The most prolific example of this type of work would be Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.
In fact, while this article is not about Shroud of the Avatar, the developers of that game did, in fact, work with Ernest Cline somewhat and using some inspiration from him and Ready Player One put some elements in the game. This is how Row Housing came about.
If you go further back in time with the same company, Portalarium, they also worked with Ernest Cline during the beta stages of one of their games “Ultimate Garage Sale Collector.” While that particular game did not work out, I do remember taking place in the game elements that revolved around a Ready Play One Contest.
Reading Ready Player One myself lead me to my interest in the LITRPG genre. When I say I have read a lot of it, believe me, I have read a LOT. From horrible to amazing I have read just about anything I could get my hands on while the market catches up with me from time to time.
I recently started “Ascend Online” which I am enjoying enough I am willing to say “yeah, go read this.” I can tell it’s going to be fantastic even though I am only midway through the first book.
It is important to understand that the LITRPG genre has a broad range of styles in the genre. The primary theme, of course, is that the feel of the book, in some way, is as if the characters are playing an MMORPG game.
This can vary from only a character perspective, story and plot tone, and scene is presented so as to create the feel that the characters are in some video game. Here is a prime example of that style.
Alternatively and more commonly, the characters themselves are playing a video game, and know they are doing so. This can be from a low level of VR technology all the way up to brain transference and any other number of things in between.
So as I have read and continue to read this genre I have found myself concluding that the books I often enjoy the most, often present game mechanics and gameplay that make me feel like I would enjoy the hell out of the game!
This leads me to wonder how much inspiration developers may get from the LITRPG genre and if they even try to utilize that opportunity. Keep in mind, the LITRPG had only recently broken ground and gained a lot of popularity. Books are coming out now at extremely fast rates by authors being able to self-publish them. It would be very understandable for this to be an untapped resource.
It would be impossible to pursue them all, but putting the biggest sellers on your reading list and pulling inspiration from what people “like” seems like a solid development resource.
So I say yes, most definitely. I think it is reasonable that developers should keep eyes on some of the novels from this genre as a resource for improving their games. I also feel caution has to be taken though as programming and computers are not capable of all that the imagination can provide, and so realistic inspiration is necessary!
THE MINUS FACTION is a super-powered sci-fi thriller about extraordinary abilities and how not to use them. In Episode One . . . Beaten. Burned. Broken. Capt. John Regent returns a paraplegic after escaping months of captivity and torture — except no one knows who took him or what he disclosed.
When a government agent comes for answers, she discovers John’s fantastical secret and sets him at war with his own country. But the veteran in the wheelchair has one last mission, and he’ll fight off the powers-that-be long enough to save the life of a troubled soldier — even if it costs John his own.
I really enjoyed this series! Check it out for yourself!
I am behind on several book recommendations! For those of who are wondering when ones they know I am supposed to get done are going to be done, I say now. Soon!
If you like Science Fiction, do not mind if it’s a little unplausible, and don’t mind losing sleep because you can’t put a book down then read this series!
From Book 1: THE OVERWHELMINGLY POPULAR #1 BESTSELLER!!!
****ONE OF THE HIGHEST-RATED SCIENCE FICTION THRILLERS ON AMAZON!!***
One of the reasons I have been a bit behind on things of late is this series. Absolutely can not pick this book up and get to bed at a decent time! I am mid-way through the third book, so cannot say yet how well I like the ending but I can tell you this reader will be reading everything this author writes!
You can currently read these from Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, which is how I found them. Here is an image link to the first book, go grab it!
THE OVERWHELMINGLY POPULAR #1 BESTSELLER!!! ****ONE OF THE HIGHEST-RATED MILITARY SCI-FI NOVELS ON AMAZON!!*** PARASITE PUBLICATIONS ~ Character Sci-Fi The Legend of ZERO begins the epic journey of 14-year-old Joe Dobbs in a post-apocalyptic universe following a massive alien invasion of Earth. The oldest of the children drafted from humanity’s devastated planet, Joe is impressed into service by the alien Congressional Ground Force—and becomes the unwitting centerpiece in a millennia-long alien struggle for independence. Once his training begins, one of the elusive and prophetic Trith appears to give Joe a spine chilling prophecy that the universe has been anticipating for millions of years: Joe will be the one to finally shatter the vast alien government known as Congress. And the Trith cannot lie.… But first Joe has to make it through bootcamp.
If you aren’t an Amazon Kindle Member. Think about trying it out for free and most of these books are free!
Some of these books may be one’s I have purchased, though.
All stuff I have read recently. Clicking the image will take you to Amazon! I do read all the books in sets, so if it’s a later volume I read the earlier ones. Be sure to grab the earliest book in the series if you decide to try it out!