Michael_S_Miller

Michael S. Miller has played with stories all his life. As a game designer, he has published the superhero role-playing game With Great Power. As a writer, he pens the sword-and-sorcery tales of Oshala the Hex. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, three cats, and far more books, comics, games, and movies than his grandchildren will possibly want to inherit. ipressgames.com

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Michael_S_Miller
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  • This story is so well-done as a novel, I have trouble imagining adapting it to any other medium. Adapting pieces to gaming might be possible, but everything would suffer in the translation. I'm not very familiar with the game, but perhaps Sagas of …
  • (Quote) Completely agree. The world keeps spinning after the storybooks close. (Quote) That is a great insight, and the sort of thing that makes magic in Earthsea so, well, magical. The workings of magic are so tied into the basic substance of the …
  • Forgot to add that Tenar's magical transformation into "bitch" at the end left me feeling so disturbed when I first read the book 15 years ago that I didn't touch another Earthsea book until rereading A Wizard of Earthsea with the club 2 y…
  • I definitely agree that the book deals more with the status quo of women, rather than women's potential. It's implied that there will not be a new Archmage of Earthsea until the masters of Roke can confer with "a woman on Gont." Does that …
  • Thanks for the insights into poetry, @RichardAbbott . Always appreciated. Maybe I was looking for it, but I saw the use of names throughout the book. The very first paragraph introduces us to Tenar without naming her at all, only describing her rel…
  • I like @RichardAbbott 's idea that this book explores society's transmission from one state of development to another one. Unlike the other books that frame their transitions as a journey, this one takes a domestic point-of-view. This is what a chan…
  • Discussion questions have been posted here.
  • Thanks for the newsletter, @Apocryphal , and welcome to all our new members. I've started on the discussion questions for Tehanu and will have them up in a day or two. Space Opera looks fun.
  • Apologies. Work and life have been very demanding recently. I think I'll need another weekend to finish rereading and prepare for the discussion. Hope to start around the 8th or so of September.
  • Thanks, @RichardAbbott I remembered it being a bit of an emotionally-draining read twenty years ago, so I was somewhat reluctant to pick it. But I am enjoying the reread, particularly Le Guin's skill with language. So, I"m glad I picked it, too!
  • Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
  • Words fail at times like these. My condolences, @RichardAbbott Losses are never easy, even when they are long-expected. But also, congratulations on your granddaughter. Best of luck navigating these strange times.
  • Sorry. I have fallen woefully behind. January and February are always extremely busy for me, plus several family members had serious medical issues. I had hoped to catch up in March, but the current situation has made that highly unlikely. Sorry to…
  • Thanks for the invite. Working from home has been draining, with so many phone calls. Maybe next week.
  • (Quote) Oooooh. That's very good. They wanted to send a Culture player, but they didn't want to send a saint. They wanted someone who had the capacity to really understand the Azadian point of view.
  • Excellent point, @NeilNjae I don't recall any drones during the pick up game on the train that primes Gurgeh to later cheat against the young upstart, but maybe I missed them?
  • You are absolutely right. We don't know what happened and we're given very little information about what happens to the remains of the Empire after the events of the book. It's possible that the Minds that pulled off this years-long con to manipulat…
  • (Quote) I think that is absolutely the case. Particularly at the very end, the sign-off has Flere-Imsaho's full name, with ("Mahrin-Skel") after it in both quotation marks and parentheses, which indicate, to me at least, that it is a compl…
  • I liked Gurgeh, from his grappling with the permutations of blackmail in a society that doesn’t really deal with it, to his resolve to go all the way after seeing the slums of the Empire, to his deep appreciation of the beauty of the game. The Impr…
  • Destabilizing the Empire will (we are to assume) decrease the suffering of many people, both who live under its regime and who might have become targets of its conquest. The morality of The Culture is all about decreasing suffering. For the record,…
  • Based solely on this book, I guess the most devious part of the Minds and the Drones is how the Drones appear to be individuals, but actually work in concert with the goals of the Minds to manipulate humans, or at least Gurgeh. I mean, three of the …
  • This was my first Banks novel, so I certainly had plenty of surprises just with the way The Culture is set up, and then which parts of our own world would get projected onto the Empire. I don’t think the predictability of the plot is particularly a …
  • I really enjoyed the descriptions of the games, particularly the way Banks is able to describe the feel of gameplay without getting into any of the actual rules. The alliances, betrayals, feints and attacks are all so vivid, because I’ve done those …
  • Yes, The Culture is definitely a utopia. People want for nothing. I love the detail that scary urban legends start with “and they left their Terminal at home” the same way ours start with “I had no cell phone reception”, because being in contact wit…
  • Finished the audiobook yesterday. Really enjoyed it.
  • Yes, but I think that actually added to my confusion. In The Graveyard Book, they were actual, individual characters. Here, Jack Tar is a sort of collective noun that's addressed in the singular. "Jack doesn't like that" means (I think) &q…
  • Other than it being set in the Royal Navy and all the characters being British subjects, one of the British-isms that tripped me up a bit was the use of "Jack" or "Jack Tar" as a collective for all enlisted men in service. At one…
  • Yes, the characters were great and really vivid. It was a nice contrast that one of the very first non-Harry Gilmour characters we get a glimpse of is the arrogant, high-class spotter plane pilot, and then we close out with that assistant to the VIP…
  • Yes, the engineering details were clear and illuminating. It helped convey the constant danger they were living in and the constant effort needed to simply stay alive.