Jesse Pohlman Writing Update, March 12, 2014!

Hello, friends!

I wanted to send out a general update on how my writing has been faring in the past few weeks.  This isn’t a comprehensive, all-exhausting diatribe, but rather a short little update just to clue everyone in.

First things first, health-wise I am doing better.  I’ve received a pair of botox shots (no joke), one into each of my trapezius muscles, near my neck.  This has reduced the pain of my muscle spasms by a not-insignificant degree, though I imagine I’m going to need further treatment at some point down the line.

Updates on Protostar!

Protostar by Jesse Pohlman

Protostar by Jesse Pohlman

 

Perhaps my best-selling novel is Protostar:  Memoirs Of The Messenger.  It’s a Kindle-exclusive, at least for the time being, and I am working on a sequel!  The word count has just crossed the 15,000 mark; not many, but not too few, indeed.  For those of you who remember Captain Lahira Ocean, let’s just say that right now she’s very intoxicated as she tries to remember what happened in a recent battle, seeing as she has a case of retrograde amnesia.  As for the first book, I’d like to announce that, thanks to the help of the lovely and talented Katherine Anguera, I’m going to be updating the cover art for it!  Allow me to give you a sneak peek!

 

Pillars of the Kingdom – The Editing Kingdom

I independently released my very first novel, Pillars Of The Kingdom:  The Forming, through Lulu Press in 2005.  I’ve written two full-length novels and a short story collection set in the world of Emor, and I have probably 90% of the finale written and ready to release.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the original novel is ten years old, and contains dozens of errors that require rectification.  Lulu doesn’t permit me to simply upload a new .PDF file and make the appropriate changes, I’d need to completely and totally overhaul it, and that would cost me money I frankly don’t have.

Additionally on the negative spectrum, we have the weakness of Lulu as a sales platform – Amazon is far superior, far less expensive for the end-user (that’s you, the reader!), and ultimately has better distribution options.  Whereas a digital copy of the currently-standing first novel costs over four dollars, I can knock that price down to ninety-nine cents on Kindle.  I can release a “Second Edition” of Volume One, then an updated version of Volume Two, and finish it off by completing the trilogy and releasing that digitally, as well.  I could even compress all three novels into one physical book.  It would be a large, expensive tome (Volume One is over 100,000 words), but it would be a much better value to you, my dear readers.

 

In other Jesse Pohlman news…

The Weekly Freeporter remains an active enterprise, but I haven’t been focusing much on it.  Mainly there’s just nothing relevant to say.  People seem to like when I write about gaming, so maybe I’ll write another article about that?  Physics Trincarnate is a work in progress, with 3,655 words.  I had the pleasure of completely re-writing a few paragraphs of that novel, just for the sake of effectiveness, but I work on it in my free time.  Finally, there’s a pet project I’ve vacillated on here and there, a political-activism sort of book that requires heavy research and lots of footnotes.  Unfortunately, time is a relevant factor in getting things done.

Alas, that’s all there is to say about that.

 

Jesse Pohlman is a writer from Long Island, New York.  You’re presently at his website, and reading an update about his writing.  Since you’re interested in that, why don’t you check out some of the novels he’s written?  Thank you!

Price reduction on Physics Reincarnate by Jesse Pohlman!

Hello, everyone!

I’d like to make a quick announcement:  Physics Reincarnate, the sequel to Physics Incarnate, has enjoyed a steep price reduction for the kindle version!  Instead of two dollars and ninety-nine cents, it’s now available for $0.99!  The reason for this is pretty simple:  Much of the feedback I’ve received on the original book is that Emmett Eisenberg is indeed an interesting character, but that people wish he’d used his powers more often.  Physics Reincarnate by Jesse Pohlman serves that exact function.  We get to see Emmett, James Lowery, Jethro Marx, and many others put their powers to the ultimate test, against enemies truly capable of great evil – all in the name of the greatest good!

Purchase Physics Reincarnate now, on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader.  List price:  Now only ninety-nine cents!  For good!

Or, go all out and buy Physics Reincarnate in paperback!  List price:  Nine dollars, ninety-nine cents!

Dystopian Review: Shadowrun Returns

Hello, all!

Just wanted to post a video embed to the latest episode of Dystopian Review, centered around Shadowrun Returns!  Below that, you’ll find a cut-and-paste of the original Dystopian Review article I wrote for Suite101.  It’s been over a year; I can do that, right?  (Note:  I doubt they’ll care; originally written December 20,2012.)

About Shadowrun, the RPG…

Tomorrow, on December 21st, 2012, the world is going to end; at least according to some interpretations of the Mayan Long Count.  In Shadowrun, currently owned by Catalyst Game Labs, that just means magic and dragons return alongside of cybernetics and mega-corporations!  But can a pen-and-paper roleplaying game reallyqualify as a serious Dystopian art form?  The answer may surprise you!

 

Shadowrun – Dystopian Decking

To begin with, Shadowrun is currently in its fourth edition of existence.  I was introduced to the game in college, and as you may have guessed that was during the third edition.  With each edition, the world that players explore has gotten older; 3E (as it’s called in geek-speak) was set in 2060-2063, while 4E is set in 2070 and later.  The first thing a player would notice, therefore, is that technology has advanced – and it mirrors the real world technology of the time.  Let’s take the Matrix…

No, not that Matrix; we’ll get to that another time!  In Shadowrun, characters can have cybernetic data-ports implanted in their body and can connect to a virtual-reality internet called the Matrix.  Remember, Shadowrun was originally created in the 1980’s; this isn’t a bite off of the movie.  In 2060, the only connections typically seen are direct and hard-wired.  By 2070, thanks in part to a massive computer disaster caused by a rogue AI (long story), the Matrix has been rebuilt to be mostly wireless.  The comparison to real-world technology is virtually obvious.

Now, if this sounds a lot like some of the scenes in William Gibson’s work, such as Johnny Mnemonic (in particular, the movie adaptation!), that’s because they are incredibly alike.  Where Shadowrun divorces Gibson is in its interpretation of the Mayan “Long Count,” and the supposed apocalypse we’re in for – at the time of my writing this article – 24 hours from now!  The “fifth” world comes to an end, and the “sixth” begins with a bang.  A magical bang.

Magic returns to the world with a vengeance; those peoples who remained spiritual (Native Americans, Australian Aborigines) are the first to recognize and seize this power – and with it, their former lands.  America is torn asunder as a result, while in Iran the city of Theran is conqured by Aden, one of many Great Dragons which rise from their slumber.  As “the Awakening” continues, people seem to transform at random into Orks, Trolls, Elves, Dwarves, and other mythical “Metahumans.”  Racial discrimination exists in a brand new form, as non-“Human” people are unable to become fully-fledged citizens – never mind the hate-groups which spawn.  Then again, those who are find themselves with a System Identification Number (SIN), which is tracked wherever they go and used to monitor their lives.

As everything settles down, however, the nightmare really begins:  Corporations have steadily increased their strength, and have received a similar – no, probably greater – status than sovereign nations have.  The property they own is essentially independent of the country it exists in.  Without a SIN, working for one legitimately is almost impossible.  Therefore, all too many Metahumans are forced into the shadows, running illegal missions to help one Mega-Corp gain power over another.

 

Running the shadows – for fun and profit.  And nightmare worlds!

So now that we know where the name of the game came from, the first question to answer is whether or not it’s any fun.  The first part of the answer is the old D&D standard – “The rules are just guidelines.”  But even under the most stereotypical of circumstances, Shadowrun is fun.  Yes, it takes hours to play; and, yes, sometimes a bad dice roll can spell doom for your character.  But that’s part of the fun – characters are up against the odds, struggling to survive and make a few “cred.”  It sounds familiar to the starving artist!

As to whether or not Shadowrun delivers a satisfactory Dystopian experience, my answer is simple:  Absolutely.  Novels, movies, and artwork such as comics or paintings each have their own way of injecting the reader/watcher/viewer into the horror, but role-playing adds a new dimension to it.  While it’s fair to say that most forms of art “interact” with the audience, none of them – not even the best modern-day video games – can create as vibrant a dialogue as a player struggling to figure out how to break into Renraku’s newest facility and save their friend.  Pen-and-paper games have no limitations in their programming because they have none.  There is no end to the game; if one player’s character dies, he just rolls up a new one and joins the old team, and the story continues!

Shadowrun is a product of fusion – dungeons of dragons meeting a cyberpunk future, where “street samurais” who are armed to the teeth with cybernetic limbs and firearms end up going toe-to-toe with corporation-employed mages who can fling balls of fire from their hands.  Is it original?  It’s hard to say that any of it’s ideas, taken independently, are brand new.  But as a solution?  As a blended drink?  It’s damned tasty.  It’s also a damned horrifying world, too, satisfying the Dystopian genre quite well.

And if the world does end tomorrow, even if it “ends” the way Shadowrun stipulates it will, hey – it was a great run!