September 3, 2015

Zombicide (again), Asimov's 1979 (Part 4), So Early in the Morning

The first board game 'reviewed' here was Zombicide.  Since then, Guillotine Games has expanded this universe and CJ and I have been along for the ride.   Each iteration incorporates new zombie types (each with their own special mechanic), additional weapons, and a variation of places and pieces; all of which add interesting variables to previous and future Zombicide missions.

Remembering all the rules and mechanics for the expanding zombie population can be tricky.  Resources are available on boardgamegeek.com (recommended) if you desire summaries and rules clarification.  A great game for groups (4+); throw a few drinks down and Zombicide will keep y'all entertained for a full evening.  The Murder of Crowz and VIP sets arrived this week at the Fort, I cannot wait to see them in action!

If you have already picked up a copy of Season 1 from your friendly local neighborhood game shop (and a set or two), I highly recommend continuing to expand.

*

A couple posts ago I mentioned Asimov's October issue was kind of a bust for me, however November and December made it difficult to suss out favorites!

The search for the perfect scene can be a complex and arduous affair; Milton A. Rothman exposes this difficulty in The Eternal Genesis.  Opening November's pack of science fiction, the protagonist's pessimism threatens to ruin a good tale, however persistence always leads to a happier ending - usually predicting more difficult tasks ahead?


Steve Perry probably gives the ending away in Flamegame too soon, though arguably the subtle reveal focuses the reader, giving us a break to enjoy the rest of the story.  And enjoy it you shall.  Action from beginning to end makes this a quick, sweet morsel after some of the larger courses preceding it.

The Fare immediately follows Perry's, however sets a very different tone.  It would be easy to mistake Sherri Roth's tale as belonging to The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, and would surely be described as an inspired episode, luckily Asimov's was able to snatch it.  Teleportation has become commonplace, however its inventor refuses to utilize the creation.  One journalist, seeking her out, unravels the dark secret behind this technology, perhaps sacrificing more on this report than expected. 

December hides a gem about a quarter of the way through the issue in Somtow Sucharitkul's The Web Dancer.  An expert in acrobatics, our heroine is persuaded to a higher calling and develops a competitive and ultimately symbiotic relationship with an alien life-form.  Learning to what benefit and to what risk push her to the limit.

The Cow in the Cellar by Bill Earls was probably the most fun of the whole lot.  In a time where resources are controlled, acquiring fresh grocery items can be a struggle.  As you can tell from the title, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

The narrative rounding out 1979 is Jack C. Haldeman II's Hear the Crash, Hear the Roar, and I could not have anticipated a better way to close out the decade.   It took a second for me to get into this one, however the patience was worth it.  From the sidelines of a demolition derby arena, an admirer for the art of the sport cleans up after every match, trying to understand life though his hero's eyes.

*

So Early in the Morning
by Charles Simic

It pains me to see an old woman fret over
A few small coins outside a grocery store—
How swiftly I forget her as my own grief
Finds me again—a friend at death’s door
And the memory of the night we spent together.

I had so much love in my heart afterward,
I could have run into the street naked,
Confident anyone I met would understand
My madness and my need to tell them
About life being both cruel and beautiful,

But I did not—despite the overwhelming evidence:
A crow bent over a dead squirrel in the road,
The lilac bushes flowering in some yard,
And the sight of a dog free from his chain
Searching through a neighbor’s trash can.