Review: Cerberus Nurtured

January 31, 2014

I had almost let this one pass as I don’t read much in the way of contemporary fiction these days. A quick glance at the blurb piqued my interest and so I gave Cerberus Nurtured by J J Shurte a chance. I was not disappointed.

The book is split into three, each with a diary-like retelling of events from the three main protagonists from their point of view. As all three of the characters have a relationship with each other in one form or another, so there were the particular instances where events would cross over. This is where the device known as the Unreliable Narrator comes into full effect. The differing interpretations of the crossed over events drive each of the plots in their own paths. You discover more about the characters as their perceptions play out and contrast in surprising ways when retold from another point of view, revealing facets of the previous character that they would have not disclosed personally to themselves.

While each of the characters formed many traits less savoury of a human being, each and every one of them I could empathise with fully. As more history was revealed from each of the characters from internal conflicts and struggles they’ve had to overcome, and in some cases have to learn to deal with, the external personas described by the others, reveal so much more about all of them.

The novel itself is littered with various clues and red herrings, so keep a watch out for them too.

A thoroughly good read, but be warned, there is a fair amount of profanity through it, as well as a few unsettling moments that pushed my regular reading comfort zone.

New Year, New Plan

January 31, 2014

Welcome to 2014, and given what day it is today, Happy Chinese New Year!

Year of the Horse they say will bring luck for romance, marriages and babies, but also bad weather, disease and political change. Sounds like it’s going to be an interesting year.

I’ve been thinking a lot last year in how I plan to utilise this blog more effectively. So I’ve decided to scrap a lot of the monthly personal ramblings, because really, who wants to know what I’m doing every single day of my life? It would be as bad as the first tweets on Twitter about how you’re tweeting on the toilet and incidentally you’ve run out of toilet paper. The next tweet would have Bob in the apartment go down to the store to get some more.

But I digress. For this year I will try to be more proactive in my writing activities, use this blog as a review platform for various books, movies, games I’ve thoroughly examined, and overall make this blog more useful to me for projects in the near future. Might even throw in some article/news discussion as well.

I’ve been challenged to get something published this year, so there’s that.

So, this will be the most likely be the last personal thing you’ll ever see. Following immediately after this will be a review of J J Shurte’s Cerberus Nurtured, which I’ll post and link shortly.

Write On, Write Off

December 3, 2013

November. It came with a flurry of activity that despite all my best efforts, all my planning… ok, all my incomplete planning, overwhelmed me, letting loose the deeply hidden thoughts that would have otherwise remained hidden if not for that single push. And that was just the first day.

Yes folks, I attempted National Novel Writing Month again. Not only that, I actually succeeded in getting my 50,319 words out with barely half an hour until midnight. Eleventh hour craziness, which I was quite positive a fair amount of wibbly wobbly time wimey was involved, because even I don’t know how I managed to get those last 5k words in. You can check out my very consistent, strict and regimental progress chart here. :P

So what happens now, you ask? Well, I keep writing presumably. My novel is far from finished as I really do need to tidy up the final act as well as edit the living hell out of it, if I want to get it to first draft quality. I could just throw this one into the pile of other incomplete works, but I think my characters have grown on me. Even the horse I ‘killed’. So I must persevere and give my story a fitting resolution. After that I can get on with the other little side plots/arcs/craziness in that world I created.

It has been a while since my last blog post, seven months of weird happenings, random meetings with awesome people and everything in between. After two months of scouring Auckland for work, I returned back to Christchurch in failure. It dawned on me that, despite my background and my wide range of skill sets, I believe I had lost the motivation, the drive to make games. It had been a long time passion of mine, and to feel this level of disinterest in it had me rethink options as well as the future. After numerous interviews with mixed reasons for the same results, I had quite nearly given up altogether this year. But then, and if it wasn’t already stressful enough during November, I had acquired some regular, out-of-town web monkey work. Pays decently for part time, but at least it’s becoming fairly regular now. Even makes the half hour commute worth it.

I have a lot of things to sort out for the remainder of the year, largely because I’m planning to return to tertiary education again, not as a teacher this time, but as a student again. Enrolled at the University of Canterbury for a Computer Science Degree. Despite the fact that it is very much THE burgeoning industry to get into (which really to take the full advantage of it, I should have done this 10 years ago instead of working haha), it can only get bigger. While I do have some industry knowledge under my belt already, I do not expect it to grant me any favours. Well, not too much hopefully. I might consider it a pipe dream, a fruitless attempt at reigniting the love for making games again, and that may well happen, be it a success or failure. I feel that I need to do this, that I have to do this in order to find my direction again.

To summarise the events of the last seven months:

May: Gone to Auckland. Begging for work.
June: Still in Auckland, though helped out with a giant logo for the Annual Brick Show 2013.
July: Short Week in Chch for the Brickshow then back to Auckland for a bit.
August: Back to Christchurch. Resumed begging for work.
September: Social circuit. Along with the Christchurch Writers’ Guild, SpecFicNZ and the NZ Society of Authors, I stumbled across Drawfest Christchurch and a local board games group. Odd bit of freelance 3d.
October: Halloween related things, NaNoWriMo prep, listening to authors talk. Random work.
November: NaNoWriMo, as I mentioned earlier. Also told a girl I liked her a lot in the most high school ways of ways. Never too old for silly stuff. Also being a Web Monkey.
December: ???
2014: Profit!

Might get a Christmas related one in later, but chances are I’ll be driving around the North Island for a few weeks.