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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  • 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.
  • In general, I liked the tactic of skipping the confrontations. It made Harry Gilmour's big landing-party action on the Russian tug surprising in its immediate detail, but then also allowed Black to fake us out with thinking that he was dead and then…
  • The sense of claustrophobia was well done. Also, the physical closeness of the crew (something about being so close you couldn't fit a ruler between their faces struck me). The sense of danger was constant, along with the limited options and the con…
  • Sounds very cool. "World's End" is a very fitting inspiration for a concept album, with all the different genres and the frame structure of "travelers stuck at an inn telling stories during a storm."
  • Surgeries are no fun. Hope that your wife is on the mend soon.
  • I'm late to the party, but I've still got a few weeks so I looked at the Amazon price. I don't know if I hit a one-day sale or something, but the regular price for the audiobook was $10.49 on Audible (owned by Amazon), or $8.99 if I bought it on the…
  • Huh, I've never read it but have a worn copy on my shelf. Must have picked it up at a used book store some time. February is a tough month as far as reading time goes, but maybe this is a sign that I need to do more to participate.
  • I'm enjoying the narrative style, but maybe I just have weird taste. The bit that @Apocryphal quotes is when Essun is so stressed that she loses control of her powers. The fact that the narrative voice loses control of itself at the same time makes …
  • Also, another observation I had was that the strong, distinctive narrator's voice teases the idea that the narrator will be a character and the fact of the narration will figure into the story itself. I'm a sucker for stories that exist within thems…
  • I really enjoyed the style of the writing. I'm not 100% certain why I connected with this, and am excited to learn more, when I often bounce off cryptic world building. Maybe it's because the fantastical setting is described using a pretty standard …
  • Ah, I see. That's the "public link". But this is the "shareable link" https://calendar.google.com/calendar?cid=NWlhcjc4bHJ1MGhnYWlsa2MxdW82bGg2YWdAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQ Here's the web page embed code: <iframe sr…
  • Awesome! The revised Google calendar is up: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=5iar78lru0hgailkc1uo6lh6ag%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America%2FNew_York If anyone has any issues, or wants the specialized URLs for embedding, link…