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Completing the 2020 Bingo Challenge: Short Story Edition
Completing the 2020 Bingo Challenge: Short Story Edition One of the rules of the Fantasy Bingo Reading Challenge is that you can read an anthology or collection for any of the squares. I’ve always been a fan of short fiction, so I’ve occasionally used this rule to complete my Bingo Card (I used three collections outside of the Five Short Stories square last year, for example). When planning my card for the 2020 Bingo, I noticed that several of the squares fit quite well for some of the collections and anthologies I had (a Star Trek anthology for Exploration, books with colors or numbers in their names, etc.). “What if…” I wondered, “…I can do it for every square?” Thus, my project is born: Complete my Bingo card using only books of short stories, following all the other rules of Bingo. I did not repeat a single author from one square to another, and I even made sure not to repeat editors, either. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! A brief aside before we start, some terms I use that some may not be familiar to some:
Anthology: A book of short stories by multiple authors, usually assembled by an editor whose name is attached to the book (i.e. The Book of Dragons edited by Jonathan Strahan)
Collection: A book of short stories by a single author (i.e. Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor)
Short Story Cycle: A book of short stories that has its own narrative (i.e. Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood). Some similarities with “interlinked collection,” “mosaic novel,” and “fix-up novel” (The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury being a famous example of the latter).
Reprint and Original: Many anthologies/collections reprint stories published previously (reprint) vs. originally written for the book in question (original). Some collections will mix it up (such as a reprint collection with one original story to encourage readers who have read the others to pick up the new book).
Why? What did I hope to accomplish by doing this particular short fiction challenge? Some of my friends will complain about the Five Short Stories square (especially the hard mode requirement to read a book), and I wanted to spite them a little bit and also demonstrate that there’s a lot of different and interesting books out there to read in that format! Planning: The hardest thing about this was the original planning, as several books I thought would be an easy match for the square didn’t work because another anthology I planned to use already included that author, so I had to dig a bit deeper to find something that didn’t repeat any authors. Also, in past Bingo Challenges, my cards are usually quite fluid as I shift books around throughout the year. Because of all the authors I was juggling, I couldn’t easily do that (though it was vastly easier to do with collections instead of anthologies, for obvious reasons). Numbers: For this card, I officially read 32 books for the 25 squares: One of those books was quite short, so I read an additional three to meet the length requirement. For the original Five Short Stories square, I decided to be obnoxious and read five collections. These 32 books included 1 short novel (included in one of the collections), 8 novellas, 106 novelettes, 498 short stories, and 3 poems for a total of at least 2,739,975 words (the rough equivalent of reading the first nine novels of The Wheel of Time). I read 189 different authors. In addition to the 32 books above, I read 15 “pre-Bingo” books—books I felt I needed to read to be able to read the anthology or collection I actually used for my Bingo Card. Fifteen of the 32 books were ones I already owned. Nine books I checked out from the library. Five books I bought specific for Bingo, and three books were free (gifts or free online). 1. Novel Translated from Its Original Language: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (reprint collection)
Reason: I couldn’t read my first choice so I looked through my TBR list to find another SF/F collection I thought would be a translation. It also won the 2010 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection.
Favorite Story: “My Love” as I really liked how the characters grew apart and then back together again.
Recommended: Only if you like short depressing literary fiction that mostly hinge on dreams and ghosts.
Hard Mode: Yes, Pretrushevskaya is a woman.
Other Options: I really wanted to read Xia Jia’s A Summer Beyond Your Reach, but she had a story in another anthology I read. I also considered one of Ken Liu’s Chinese SF/F anthologies (Invisible Planets or Broken Stars). I read Jurado & Lara’s Spanish Women of Wonder last year. Etgar Keret’s Fly Already, Kenji Miyazawa’s Once and Forever, or Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge also looked promising.
2. Setting Featuring Snow, Ice, or Cold: Frozen Fairy Tales edited by Kate Wolford (original anthology)
Reason: I literally searched snow and anthology and this was one of the early options.
Favorite Story: tie between “The Stolen Heart” by Christina Ruth Johnson and “Death in Winter” by Lissa Sloan; the first just felt great, and the second has this haunting feel I loved.
Recommended: Yes; a good selection of fairy tale-inspired stories. Read during the summer, though, it felt really cold.
Hard Mode: Yes, every story is in a snowy or cold setting.
Other Options: I’m kind of mad that I didn’t come across Snowpocalypse: Tales of the End of the World (edited by Clint Collins and Scott Woodward) until after I read my original choice. I like silly titles.
3. Optimistic Spec Fic: Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson (short story cycle, 1 original to this book)
Reason: I’ve had a copy of this book for a couple years, and I needed an excuse to read it. It’s actually an omnibus of Henderson’s two People collections plus some previously uncollected stories. I’ve read the first People collection (Pilgrimage) several times people).
Favorite Story: I’ll say “Ararat” here, but the first six stories (the original Pilgrimage collection) are amazingly wonderful and heartwarming.
Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Zenna Henderson deserves more attention.
Hard Mode: Yes. <3
Other Options: If Henderson’s book hadn’t worked out, I considered Heiroglyph (edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer) and Salena Ulibarri’s two Glass and Gardens anthologies (Solarpunk Summers and Solarpunk Winters), but that would’ve required juggling my card.
4. Novel Featuring Necromancy: The Book of the Dead edited by Jared Shurin (original anthology)
Reason: I asked Jared Shurin (pornokitsch) if he knew of any anthologies with a necromantic theme, and he rattled off five or six options before remembering that he himself had edited an anthology about mummies. I don’t know how you forget something like that.
Favorite Story: tie between “Old Souls” by David Thomas Moore and “Three Memories of Death” by Will Hill (non-SF/F)
Recommended: Yes, but it’s out of print! Several of the stories were reprinted in Paula Guran’s The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, including “Three Memories of Death.”
Hard Mode: No, through several do have mummies as protagonists.
Other Options: I was considering Brian McNaughton’s The Throne of Bones since the description seemed rather death-magicky. At this point, the Paula Guran anthology above would probably be a good choice.
5. Ace/Aro Spec Fic: Life Within Parole, Volume 1 by RoAnna Sylver (collection, mix of reprint and original)
Reason: A friend found this on Claudie Arseneault’s asexual recommendations website, which was good, but I felt I needed to read her novel Chameleon Moon first to understand the collection. I’m glad I did.
Favorite Story: Reluctantly “Phoenix Down” as it felt the most self-contained.
Recommended: Only if you loved Chameleon Moon, which I only recommend if you like a sample of the writing. It’s amazingly diverse in representation, but my frustrations with the novel related more towards its pacing and worldbuilding. Plus I don’t like superheroes.
Hard Mode: Yes, half the stories have an asexual or aromantic protagaonist.
Other Options: My original choice was Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology edited by Claudie Arseneault, C.T. Callahan, B.R. Sanders, and RoAnna Sylver, a Kickstarter-funded book. However, due to the pandemic, the publication was pushed back, and I didn't want to wait any longer. I also seriously considered Chuck Tingle’s Not Pounded in the Butt.
6. Novel Featuring a Ghost: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James (collection, mix of reprint and original)
Reason: I just searched ghost anthology, and this was a top result. I have actually never heard of M. R. James before this year, but I gather he’s a huge influence since he’s written so many ghost stories.
Favorite Story: “The Mezzotint” as it was the one that creeped me out the most.
Recommended: Yes, but only if you realize that it’s got an older style to them (since this book came out in 1904), and that most of these stories won’t creep you out in the year 2020.
Hard Mode: No, the ghosts are either antagonists or obstacles.
Other Options: I actually don’t know, I stopped searching after I found the book. M. R. James does have 3 more collections of ghost stories, though (all of 4 of which have been gathered in Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James).
7. Novel Featuring Exploration: No Limits edited by Peter David (original anthology)
Reason: I read the first few Star Trek: New Frontier novels back in the late 1990s, but never finished it, so I got all the books for a personal readthrough. Star Trek is by definition perfect for the exploration square, so I read the books. However, I was reading them in publication order, so I had to read the first 14 books before I could get to the anthology!
Favorite Story: “Waiting for G’Doh, or, How I Learned to Stop Moving” is a rather funny story about the security officer Zak Kebron at the beginning of his career.
Recommended: Yes, but only if you’ve read at least the first six Star Trek: New Frontier novels (all the stories are set before the first book, but most of the characters aren’t really established until you’ve read the first four).
Hard Mode: Maybe, nearly all the stories feature exploration, but the plots are often about backstories for the main characters of the series.
Other Options: I considered James Alan Gardner’s Gravity Wells (his novel Expendable is a perfect exploration book, so I was hoping the collection would work). Past anthologies that would probably work is Federations edited by John Joseph Adams, Galactic Empires edited by Neil Clarke, and maybe Alastair Reynolds’s Deep Navigation or Galactic North.
8. Climate Fiction: Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction edited by Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez, & Joey Eschrich (original anthology)
Reason: A friend recommended to me as this theme was getting difficult for me to find, as all my other options included stories by authors I had to read for other squares. This book was produced from a short story contest run by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University and judged in part by Kim Stanley Robinson.
Favorite Story: “On Darwin Tides” by Shauna O’Meara, which follows a “sea gypsy” in Malaysia as she struggles in this new dystopian future.
Recommended: Only if the topic appeals to you—because it was a contest, the stories are mostly from amateur writers and the quality mostly shows. It’s free online, though, and there’s a second book, Everything Change II, which I’ve been told is better.
Hard Mode: No, most of them are apocalyptic or post-apocalypse.
Other Options: My original choice was Drowned Worlds edited by Jonathan Strahan, but there’s also Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction edited by John Joseph Adams, and I imagine a lot of solarpunk-themed books could work for this, too.
9. Novel with a Color in the Title: The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (original collection)
Reason: I already had it (it’s available on Project Gutenberg)
Favorite Story: “In the Court of the Dragon” which felt like one of the creepier stories to me.
Recommended: Honestly, no. Only half the stories are SF/F, the other half are all stories about bohemian artists in Paris. This book is known for the stories involving “The King in Yellow” play, but they didn’t really work for me.
Hard Mode: Yes.
Other Options: I considered using Judith Tarr’s Nine White Horses, the anthology Blackguards, Jack Vance’s Wild Thyme, Green Magic, Walter Jon Williams’s The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories, Black Feathers edited by Ellen Datlow, or How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin.
10. AnyFantasyBook Club Book of the Month ORFantasyReadalong Book: Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker (reprint collection, 1 original to this book)
Reason: The Goodreads Book of the Month club picked it for June this year. I did own or read all the other options that were available at the time.
Favorite Story: tie between “And Then There Were (N-One)” and “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind”
Recommended: Yes! There’s only one story I would rate less than 4 stars in this book.
Hard Mode: Yes, I actually led the discussion for the book in June.
Other Options: We don’t read very many collections or anthologies for the Fantasy book clubs, so my only choices were Fritz Leiber’s Sword and Deviltry (Classics club, November 2017), Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin’s anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories (RAB, May 2018), and we currently have Daniel M. Lavery’s The Merry Spinster for FIF (September 2020). There’s also the Dresden Files read-along which did two of Butcher’s collections, and the Uncanny Magazine Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction/Fantasy read-along (those would’ve been rereads for me, though).
11. Self-Published Novel: In the Stars I'll Find You & Other Tales of Futures Fantastic by Bradley P. Beaulieu (mostly reprint collection)
Reason: I already owned this, it was basically the oldest self-published collection I had.
Favorite Story: tie between “Flashed Forward” and “No Viviremos Como Presos” – both dealing with a lot of emotions.
Recommended: Yes, the only other stories by Beaulieu I’ve read were 2 co-written novellas, and I felt this collection was better. I haven’t read his novels so I can’t compare.
Hard Mode: Yes, at the time of this post, it has 18 ratings on Goodreads.
Other Options: There are hundreds of options, but I could’ve read Lawrence M. Schoen’s recent collection The Rule of Three and Other Stories (his other collection, Buffalito Bundle, has stories featuring The Amazing Conroy and are lots of fun.)
12. Novel with Chapter Epigraphs: Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson (short story cycle)
Reason: This was another difficult square, as I knew a short story cycle had the best chance of having epigraphs before every story. I finally found this book by Kate Atkinson. (Ironically, I realized later that my Politics choice also had epigraphs.)
Favorite Story: “The Cat Lover,” I guess.
Recommended: No, unless you like literary magical realism where stories just kind of end.
Hard Mode: No, all of the epigraphs are quotes from Latin or Shakespeare.
Other Options: Apparently, Retief! by Keith Laumer would’ve worked from my options. It really is a difficult thing because in a collection some authors might have an epigraph for a story, but not all or most of them.
13. Novel Published in 2020: Shadows & Tall Trees 8 edited by Michael Kelly (original anthology)
Reason: I picked this off Locus Magazine’s forthcoming books list and bought it.
Favorite Story: tie between “The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell” by Brian Evenson and “Child of Shower and Gleam” by Rebecca Campbell – the first is creepy as hell, and the second is strange and lovely.
Recommended: Yes, if you’re comfortable with weird or darker fantasy stories.
Hard Mode: No, Michael Kelly has edited several anthologies before.
Other Options: I had planned to use The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu, but I needed Liu for another square. I also considered A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell, and I had three anthologies from Joshua Palmatier I could’ve used (Apocalyptic, Galactic Stew, and My Battery is Low and It is Getting Dark) but I needed another Palmatier anthology for another square. Any of the various “Best Science Fiction or Fantasy of the Year” type anthologies that came out in 2020 would’ve been appropriate as well (Jonathan Strahan, Neil Clarke, Rich Horton, Paula Guran, Ellen Datlow, Bogi Takács, and Jared Shurin all edit “Year’s Best” or “Best of Year”-style anthologies).
14. Novel Set in a School or University: Sideways Stories from Wayside School; Wayside School is Falling Down; Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger; and Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar (short story cycles)
Reason: Strangely, one of the first books I thought of for this square. Plus, the most recent book had come out. I decided to read all four as each book is really short (only about 20,000 words per book). Only the first one or two was a reread.
Favorite Story: None, they’re all funny and good.
Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Maybe better for kids, but I smiled a lot while reading these.
Hard Mode: Yes.
Other Options: Witch High edited by Denise Little would’ve been good, but included a story by Esther M. Friesner whom I needed for another square. A Kickstarter-funded anthology, Schoolbooks & Sorcery edited by Michael M. Jones, would’ve worked, but it’s not out yet.
15. Book About Books: Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore edited by Paula Guran (reprint anthology)
Reason: This was another difficult square because did you know that searching “book anthology” does not narrow things down at all?? I finally hit upon just searching “library anthology” which did the trick, but this one anthology predetermined at least 3 other squares because of its authors (I couldn’t use Ken Liu, Xia Jia, Amal El-Mohtar, and others because they were all in here).
Favorite Story: tie between “In the House of the Seven Librarians” by Ellen Klages and “Summer Reading” by Ken Liu. Klages’s story about “feral librarians raising a child” is just wonderful, and Liu’s is very, very sweet.
Recommended: Yes, absolutely. This also contains Scott Lynch’s excellent “In the Stacks” and I will never not say no to Kage Baker.
Hard Mode: No, libraries are an integral part of most of the stories.
Other Options: *gestures wildly* I don’t know!
16. A Book That Made You Laugh: Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories by Alex Shvartsman (mostly reprint collection)
Reason: Alex Shvartsman edits an annual humorous SF/F anthology series called Unidentified Funny Objects (the 8th volume is out this fall), but even though I have them all, they all shared authors with other squares until I remember that I had two collections from Shvartsman, and this was one of them.
Favorite Story: “Things We Leave Behind” is a semiautobiographical story about books. Absolutely lovely.
Recommended: Yes, but I understand most won’t share his sense of humor. He also tends to write very short stories, so don’t read these for immersion.
Hard Mode: Yes.
Other Options: Books making you laugh is so subjective, so any author you like probably has something that could work (you only need one story to make you laugh after all). John Scalzi has a couple collections that could work, Connie Willis has a great sense of humor.
17. Five Short Stories:
Reason: To be obnoxious I decided to read five collections for this square (instead of just five short stories). I decided to read 5 that I already owned by women/non-binary people. I picked semi-randomly (Hand and McHugh), by older ones I owned (Wurts), and by a couple new ones I was excited about (Datt Sharma and Slatter).
Not for Use in Navigation: Thirteen Stories by Iona Datt Sharma (reprint collection)
Favorite Story: “Quarter Days” is a full third of this book, and it’s an interesting post-WWI setting with magic.
Recommended: Yes, they have an interesting outlook, and one of the stories has an Indian wedding in space.
Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand (reprint collection, 1 original)
Favorite Story: “The Least Trumps” should appeal to the booklover in every single one of us.
Recommended: These are definitely interesting stories, but I’d only recommend for “The Least Trumps” and “Cleopatra Brimstone.” She’s got a poetic style here that didn't always work for me.
After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh (reprint collection, 2 original)
Favorite Story: “Special Economics” which follows a Chinese girl trapped into working at a factory.
Recommended: Yes, though it’s also one of the few themed collections (versus themed anthologies) that I’ve seen, with every story dealing with apocalypse in some way.
Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter (mostly original collection/short story cycle)
Favorite Story: “Gallowberries” which features Patience from the Tor.com novella Of Sorrow and Such as a young woman.
Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Every story is in the same setting, and they all interconnect with each other. I can’t wait to read more from Slatter (I already have The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings).
That Ways Lies Camelot by Janny Wurts (mostly reprint collection)
Favorite Story: tie between “Wayfinder” and “That Way Lies Camelot” – both are great stories, the first a coming of age, and the other is bittersweet.
Recommended: Yes, definitely. In addition to the above, “Dreambridge” is also awesome. I wasn’t as fond of the three ElfQuest stories, but it was interesting to read Wurts’s 4 Fleet stories as I never realized she ever wrote anything close to straight science fiction.
Hard Mode: … Yes?
Other Options: This is the most open-ended square for this particular Bingo Card, especially since at the time of this post, I own 121 unread anthologies and collections.
18. Big Dumb Object: Alien Artifacts edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray (original anthology)
Reason: This was one of the books that made me realize I could do an all-short-story card. I thought the anthology’s theme would perfectly encapsulate the square.
Favorite Story: “Me and Alice” by Angela Penrose – a kid finds a strange artifact while digging at a site.
Recommended: Yes, though a few stories weren’t to my taste.
Hard Mode: No, while the classical BDO is present in several stories, most would fall in the wider definition being used for Bingo.
Other Options: I’m at a loss here, as I never looked for more after I found this.
19. Feminist Novel: Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson (collection, mix of reprint and original)
Reason: I owned this already from a Humble Bundle.
Favorite Story: “And the Lillies-Them A-Blow” – a woman is inspired to reconsider her life.
Hard Mode: Yes, Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian.
Other Options: I had a few other books from the same Humble Bundle called Women of SFF. Most of them would’ve worked.
20. Novel by a Canadian Author: The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint (reprint collection)
Reason: It appears I picked this up in 2014 for some reason (I’ve never read de Lint before this year). But he’s Canadian!
Favorite Story: There are honestly too many to say, but I’ll say “In the Pines” for now.
Recommended: Yes, yes, yes. I basically added everything he’s written to my TBR.
Hard Mode: Maybe, it was originally published in 2010 with Tachyon Publications, but in 2014 it was reprinted by de Lint’s Triskell Press (which is the copy I have), which would count.
Other Options: A friend sent me an anthology edited by Dominik Parisien called Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction, though I would’ve had to juggle square to get it to work. Nalo Hopkinson is Canadian, so Skin Folk would’ve worked, too. Jo Walton has a collection called Starlings.
21. Novel with a Number in the Title: Nine White Horses: Nine Tales of Horses and Magic by Judith Tarr (reprint collection)
Reason: At the time, the only collection I had with a number that I could use.
Favorite Story: “Classical Horses” – an absolutely lovely story that mixes real life and fantasy, and appeals to my Classics nerd background.
Recommended: Yes! Tarr is a wonderful writer.
Hard Mode: Yes.
Other Options: I could’ve used The Golem of Deneb Seven and Other Stories by Alex Shvartsman, Nine Hundred Grandmothers by R. A. Lafferty, and The Rule of Three and Other Stories by Lawrence M. Schoen.
22. Romantic Fantasy/Paranormal Romance: Once Upon a Kiss: 17 Romantic Faerie Tales published by Anthea Sharp (original anthology)
Reason: My original first choice was a bust when I realized quickly that the stories involved love, but were not romance stories. This was an emergency backup as I was nearing the end of reading for this Bingo Challenge.
Favorite Story: “The Bakers Grimm” by Hailey Edwards, which is a sweet little story about baking under pressure.
Recommended: No. 99% of the stories are direct appeals to try to get you to buy their books. Many of the stories don’t even really feel like short stories. I had a friend who only read urban fantasy who was adamant that she hated reading short stories and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I do. Many of these read more like vignettes than proper short stories.
Hard Mode: No, the HEA Club hasn’t done any anthologies or collections for me to participate in.
Other Options: My backup would’ve been to find some paranormal romance series and look for a collection or anthology in that world, but it would’ve involved more prep reading.
23. Novel with a Magical Pet: No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar edited by Mercedes Lackey (original anthology)
Reason: Valdemar is an easy setting to choose for this square, and even though I had stopped reading the yearly anthologies (they’re up to 13 or 14 now), I decided to grab the 8th anthology from the library.
Favorite Story: “A Dream Reborn” by Dylan Birtolo, a beggar girl with a gift grows a conscience.
Recommended: Only if you’re a Valdemar fan and you literally can’t get enough of the world (I’d recommend sticking with the novels up until the Collegium Chronicles).
Hard Mode: Yes, Companions can usually speak telepathically with their Heralds and a select few others.
Other Options: I’m sure there’s a themed anthology perfect for this, but I honestly don’t know offhand if there is one, since this was an easy choice for me.
24. Graphic Novel (at least 1 volume) OR Audiobook/Audiodrama: Eerie Archives, Volume 1 edited by Archie Goodwin (original comic book anthology)
Reason: I searched “comics anthology” into my library’s digital catalog. This showed up.
Favorite Story: No real favorite, but I guess “Flame Fiend” by Eando Binder, about a man desperate to avoid fire.
Recommended: Yes, if you’re interested in 1960s horror comics anthology magazines. Each story is about 6-10 pages long, but many felt like cheesy horror to my modern eyes.
Hard Mode: Maybe, each story is standalone, but this book contained the first 5 issues of Eerie comics. I’m going with No because Eerie is a running series.
Other Options: I considered The Escapist (inspired from Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), a Mouse Guard comics anthology, and Thrilling Adventure Hour before finding Eerie. I also though the Eisner Awards were a good source of finding potential comics anthologies, since that's a category.
25. Novel Featuring Politics: Retief! by Keith Laumer (reprint collection)
Reason: I knew the main character was a problem-solving diplomat, so this was an easy pick.
Favorite Story: “Diplomat-at-Arms” which is a great story of following an experienced old man on a mission, and “Cultural Exchange,” a really funny bureaucratic tale (and this one is free on Project Gutenberg).
Recommended: Yes, with reservations. They’re all stories from the 1960s, they’re bureaucratic galactic pulp fiction where Retief always knows better than his bumbling superiors and women only show up in secretarial or minor support roles. The stories also feel a bit repetitive as a whole, so if you read these, space it out.
Hard Mode: No, several of the stories feature royalty.
Other Options: I felt like this was a nebulous category, but offhand, I’d suggest Do Not Go Quietly: An Anthology of Victory in Defiance edited by Jason Sizemore & Lesley Conner and Resist: Tales from a Future Worth Fighting Against edited by Gary Whitta, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey for two explicitly political anthologies, and maybe something like Harry Turtledove’s interlinked collection Agent of Byzantium for an alternate history take on a Byzantine special agent.
Favorite collections:The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint, Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker, Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter, and Nine White Horses by Judith Tarr
Favorite anthologies: Ex Libris edited by Paula Guran and The Book of the Dead edited by Jared Shurin
Favorite overall short stories: In addition to my favorite stories in the books above, I’d also give a special place to The Very Best of Charles de Lint (“In the Pines,” “In the House of My Enemy,” “A Wish Named Arnold,” “Mr. Truepenny's Book Emporium and Gallery,” “Pixel Pixies,” “The Badger in the Bag,” “Timeskip,” “Into the Green,” “Birds,” and “Pal o' Mine”) and to Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea (“And Then There Were (N-One),” “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” “Our Lady of the Open Road,” “Wind Will Rove,” and “A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide”).
An Aside: My father died suddenly in the middle of my reading for this challenge. The books I read from Zenna Henderson and Charles de Lint really helped me during this time, with de Lint’s book making me cry multiple times (in a good way).
The End Sometime last year after touting one short story or another to my friends, I said, “Oh, I don’t think I read *that* much short fiction,” and they all looked at me funny for some reason. Oh. Never mind. I get it now. All joking aside, I’ve read SF/F magazines off and on growing up, and I always enjoyed the occasional Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology from Gardner Dozois, and Robert Silverberg’s Legends anthologies were rather formative to my growth as a fantasy reader (that’s where I read George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb for the first time). Some of my favorite writers have done amazing short stories (in fact, I think I like Alastair Reynolds better at the short length than the novel; witness my love for his story “Zima Blue”!). Even if you don’t read more than the usual five short stories for the Bingo Challenge, please consider branching out! I hope I’ve shown with my own card how much variety is out there. If you’re not sure where to start, your favorite author may have some short stories of their own, either in an anthology or one of their own collections. Mary Robinette Kowal is one of my favorites, and I loved her collection Word Puppets. If they’re prolific enough, they may have a “Best of” book, like The Best of Connie Willis or The Very Best of Kate Elliott. Trying one of the Year’s Best anthologies I mention under #13, Published in 2020, is also a fun way to explore short fiction. And even though I didn’t read any for my Bingo Challenge, there are tons of SF/F magazines out there to read from on a daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly schedule. My personal recommendation is for Asimov’s SF, FIYAH, and Fantasy & Science Fiction for subscription-only options, and places like Clarkesworld, Uncanny, Fireside, and Tor.com for free online stories. There are also some great magazines/sites like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Daily Science Fiction. Looking at award lists is a fun way to get started, as most of the major awards also have short fiction categories. Find out where they were published and try out a magazine issue or an anthology. I’ll end this with the following:
an interview by our own tctippens with Jonathan Strahan over at the Fantasy Inn Podcast where they discuss not only his new anthology The Book of Dragons, but reading short fiction in general.
One of my favorite short story writers is John Wiswell, and I’d like to link two of his wonderful stories: "Tank!" follows a sentient tank attending its first SF convention, and "Open House on Haunted Hill" is a very sweet story about a haunted house trying to get sold to a new family. Both stories are quite short and you can read each in just a few minutes.
A very long, very indepth attempt at analizing Teemo
Warning, this is extremely long. Like 12 pages on a google doc long. You have been warned.
So there has been a lot of discussion about Teemo recently, from what his iconic skills are(all of them), to what items he can build(all of them), to what position he can be played in(... all of them), and it’s kinda went nowhere fast as Teemo, and by extension his player base, is just too flexible to be defined in any of these ways. So what actually makes Teemo unique? His playstyle. Teemo is an old style of champion. I'm not talking about his art, or his kit(though both of these are technically also true), I'm talking about how Teemo’s goal isn’t to all in and combo his opponent down on their first mistake and snowball from there, but rather to create a lead from dozens of small victories. Your goal isn’t necessarily kill your opponent (though that’s always good) but to force them back, causing them to miss cs and xp repeatedly, or waste their time smashing blindly into a bush. And later in the game, while, again, killing people is now the goal, forcing them to have to back after tripping a few shrooms, or leading them on a fruitless chase through the jungle after splitpushing are just as useful to Teemo. If I had to describe Teemo's playstyle, it would be
Attritional, Rapid Force, Psycologically Manipulative, War Mastermind of Breakdown
I'm only half joking, as even though this is from a Spongebob theory video on Plankton, it actually describes Teemo to some degree. As The Theorizer(the guy who made the video Im referencing) put it:
Attritional, someone who engages in attrition warfare. Rapid force, very fast, very hard attacks. Psychologically manipulative, basically, very good at trickery and getting people to do what you want. War mastermind, well duh, someone who is good with war. Breakdown, to break something down.
Only instead of getting a burger recipe, we are getting our enemies to tilt. But with every new release Teemo has gotten more and more outclassed, as his opponents get more and more mobility that a small 10-52% movespeed boost can’t escape from. We all recognize that Teemo needs a rework, a Morgana/Ezreal level rework that modernizes Teemo’s kit without changing its functionality that much, but a rework nonetheless. Last year u/RiotJag attempted to do a mini rework on Teemo, starting with this:
Base Mana Regen increased from 1.92 to 2.5 Mana Regen per level increased from 0.09 to 0.15 Mana/lvl up increased from 20 to 25 Toxic Shot (Passive) Teemo’s basic attacks now deal 10-50 bonus magic damage and leave a Poison DoT that deals 24-192 magic damage over 4 seconds. Toxic Shot damage (both the on-hit and the DoT) is amped by 50% whenever there are other Poison debuffs on the target Blinding Dart (Q) Base damage lowered from 80/125/170/215/260 to 80/115/150/185/220 AP Ratio lowered from 0.8 to 0.6 Now is a Poison Debuff Move Quick (W) No longer breaks stealth Guerilla Warfare (E) [New Active] After a 1 second delay, Teemo enters Camouflage for 3-5 seconds. Teemo is slowed by 25/22.5/20/17.5/15% during this effect, and gains 20/30/40/50/60% Attack Speed for 3 seconds when it ends. Camouflage does not tick down while Teemo is in a brush or is standing still. Noxious Trap (R) Base Damage lowered from 200/325/450 to 150/250/350 AP ratio lowered from 0.5 to 0.4 Mushrooms health increased from from [6 at all ranks] to [6/8/10] Mushroom max ammo count up from [3 at all ranks] to [3/4/5]
And then after a few iterations it ended up like this
Base Mana Regen increased from 1.92 to 2.5 Mana Regen per level increased from 0.09 to 0.15 Mana/lvl up increased from 20 to 25 Base damage lowered from 54 to 51 Attack speed per level lowered from 3.38 to 2 Toxic Shot (Passive) Teemo’s basic attacks now deal 8-50 bonus magic damage and leave a Poison DoT that deals 24-180 magic damage over 4 seconds. Toxic Shot damage (both the on-hit and the DoT) is amped by 50% whenever there are other Poison debuffs on the target Blinding Dart (Q) Base damage lowered from 80/125/170/215/260 to 70/105/140/175/210 mana cost increased from 70/75/80/85/90 to 80/85/90/95/100 AP Ratio lowered from 0.8 to 0.6 Now is a Poison Debuff Move Quick (W) No longer breaks stealth Guerilla Warfare (E) Cooldown: 40/37/34/31/28
[New] "After a 1 second delay, Teemo becomes Invisible indefinitely if standing still or in brush, and can move up to 7/7.5/8/8.5/9 Teemos while out of brush, but any non-periodic damage from champions will break him out. Teemo can see 25% farther while stealthed. Upon breaking Guerilla Warfare, Teemo gains 20/30/40/50/60% Attack Speed for 3 seconds. While on cooldown, standing in brush will tick down guerilla Warfare's cooldown faster." Stealth duration while moving: 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 >Noxious Trap (R) Base Damage lowered from 200/325/450 to 150/250/350 AP ratio lowered from 0.5 to 0.4 Mushroom max ammo count up from [3 at all ranks] to [3/4/5] Traps now become invisible after 1 second Traps can continue to bounce on other traps Additionally there were these prospective changes that were scrapped due to the community’s disinterest in the rework direction.
"Most recent version in testing was pretty E focused as follows (differences all versus previous prototype version, not versus live Teemo): - No longer granted extra sight range - CD didn't tick down faster in brush - Distance while invisible up a bit - CD lower - Standing in brush slowly replenished distance Teemo could move while invisible Haven't heard how playtesting with that went though. Expect this will likely continue as a slow burn project rather than something that gets released or killed quickly, especially given it's the secondary priority of the designer working on it."
After it was scrapped we got the quality of life buffs that we have now. But lets discuss the rework. I honestly thing that the _concept_ is the best shot at reworking Teemo. The numbers and exact implementation are debatable, but switching e and passive is a great idea as, after the shrooms, Teemo’s on hit poision is his most iconic ability. Not to mention it freed Teemo up to be able to max his abilities depending on what he needed for his matchup, rather than e max always, and then either q or w depending on choice. The things people didn’t like about it though were:
The shrooms being nerfed damage wise.
I understand this one, Doomshroom Teemo is my favorite build, but his shrooms are problematic in their current state as they take up a large amount of Teemo's power budget, but also can amount to nothing as the enemy gets 5 sweepers and clears all of them. Not to mention how they synergize so well with Liandrie’s that its a core item for Teemo, despite the fact that his q, the only other ability that can proc it, does not utilize it all that well due to being a medium cooldown, single target spell that can only proc it once. And this is going to be a problem, as in the item update Liandries will be a mythic item, and Teemo builds Liandries [77.5% of the time!](https://www.leagueofgraphs.com/champions/items/teemo) To put this into perspective, Nashors tooth is only bought 61.5% of the time. An item that gives Teemo every stat he wants regardless of build(ignoring Tankmo) and reinforces Teemo's main damage outlet(basically increases e's on-hit damage by 150-30% depending on e rank, and the on-hit scaling from .3 to .45 AP), is bought 16.5% less often than an item that only synergizes with one skill. If this continues after the update, which it likely will as Liandries increases Shroom damage by 20-200%(depending on when it's bought, the target hit, and other items bought. The 200% would be lvl 1 ult, no other ap, and an 1000 health target with 50 mr) and its being _buffed_ via the mythic item stat bonus, that will be above the threshold that will cause Teemo to be changed due to [hardbinding](https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/news/dev/dev-updated-approach-to-item-balancing/). Unless Zyra and Brand also buy it at the same rates after the update(as that would trigger the “nerf item” option), but unlike Teemo the item actually synergizes with their entire kit(plants and blaze, which utilize every ability) rather than just one ability.
It didn’t improve the w
This was a major hole in the rework, as while switching e and p is great, it wouldn’t be awful if they stayed the same. Meanwhile Teemo’s w is supposed to put the “swift” in his title of Swift Scout, and it does so… barely. Exactly what should happen with it is, as always, up to debate, but it needs changing to be on par with current LoL as the current w is supposed to help Teemo kite, yet even if you dodge everything thrown at you it can get disabled by a ludens proc hitting an ally.
The camo stealth makes him a worse Twitch.
This is half true. The first one, yes absolutely. But it didn’t stay as a camouflage ability. Sure, both are marksmen that can go invisible, but Twitch’s is for long distances and to keep him safe while he positions to obliterate the enemy team from 800 range, while Teemo’s is restricted range wise, and is more useful to dodge enemy's notice or wait for them to come to you rather than you going to them. At that point, they only share the fact that they both come out of stealth to surprise people(and a DOT, if 30 damage after 6 attacks at lvl 18 deserves to be called one), which every camoflage user does And my own complaint about both proposed rework and live Teemo:
His kit has limited synergy.
Each part of Teemo's kit doesn't help the other parts very much. Over the years Teemo players have worked the separate parts of his kit into a cohesive playstyle, but each part of his kit just does it's own thing. Like for instance, in theory his blind should support keeping his w up, but in reality every champ, even Udyr, has a non auto attack way of hitting Teemo(Udyr typically has smite and he always can rush up to you with Bear and activate Phoenix stance), and many have attacks that are undodgable(unless you count not being in range to be targeted as dodging it, which for many champs is just being outside Teemo's attack range). So, where should we go from here?
Well, we should discuss the purpose of his abilities.
If every part of his kit is iconic, and replacing them completely would change Teemo in a way that the playerbase wouldn’t like, then we should decide what role each of his abilities plays in his playstyle, and how they could be changed to better fit them.
This is the base of Teemo’s kit. Doing DOT damage after autoing someone is key to Teemo's attritional playstyle in lane, and hit and run/kiting playstyle later in the game. It has a decent base damage and a great scaling, and is just as useful for pure AP builds as on hit ones. It does exactly what it needs to, nothing about it needs to be changed.
Teemo's reactive defense in a fight. On one hand, it's extremely powerful as can completely shut down the main damage of auto reliant champions(Yi, Udyr, some ADC's) for up to 2.5 seconds, provided they don't have on hit effects that ignore the blind and hit anyway. On the other hand, it's completely useless against every other type of champ(mages, assassins, tanks, spellslinger ADC's, most Juggernauts). Its not healthy for Teemo's main defensive tool to be useless(or of limited use, as I counted champs like Nunu who auto attack, but don't rely on it to do their job as part of it being useless) against 70% of the champion roster. As people have talked about, Teemo _needs_ this in order to stay safe, yet in most of his matchups(regardless of role) it can't do anything to protect him, let alone later in the game when he has to face the other 4 enemy champs. And that's not counting the fact that ranged auto's that are in transit before the blind hits are not blocked, which means that even against a Vayne with Condenm on cooldown, it still can’t keep Teemo’s w up as even if you blind her first chance she probably will have lanched an auto already.
If blinding dart is a reactive defense, then Move Quick is supposed to be Teemo's proactive defense. When he was added, it allowed him to more easily kite slower enemy champions as there were fewer speedboosts and dashes, and in general lower mobility. Nowadays, the passive is deactivated rather quickly in a fight, and 3 seconds of MS isnt enough to give him a fighting chance of escaping/keeping up. The intention of the skill is to allow Teemo greater kiting potential in fights, while giving enemies a way to shut it down to have a chance of catching Teemo. But the reality is that unless you are against a champ like Garen who has zero ranged attacks, you are not going to be able to keep it active, making it feel like an out of combat passive. The issue is keeping the balance between Teemo having kiting power in a fight, and allowing enemies a chance to slow down Teemo, because whether we like it or not, Riot does want enemies to be able to catch kiting champs like Teemo, Kalista, and Ashe, because they would be horrible to play against otherwise. Right now, the balance is heavily skewed towards enemies, as any kind of damage will reduce Teemo's ability to kite enemies with matching boots to a singular 3 second burst for the rest of the fight.
The most underultilized part of Teemo's kit. In its current form it's incredibly strong, yet is extremely situational. Its a decent strategic option for positioning mid game, as it can allow you to dodge an enemy(providing they didn't see you yet), or allow you to ambush people, but to use it offensively requires an enemy to come to you as you can only move inside bushes, and defensively it's limited to: Dodging people that have not seen you Becoming invincible to enemies that only have point and click damage(Vayne, Yi,) Stalling for time so an ally can come save you For such an integral part of Teemo’s kit… it feels a little tacked on. Its a situational fight opener or utility tool, and any attempt to use it while near enemy champs usually ends up with them knowing where you are and throwing skillshot after skillshot at you. Its not _bad,_ but to say it can’t be improved would be a lie. Personally I like the sound of that last version, as it would differentiate between Teemo’s e and Twitch’s q, while fitting into Teemo’s playstyle nicely(or, at least, I already dash from bush to bush while in the enemy jungle to check if the coast is clear. Not sure about the rest of you). The fact that you would have to “charge up” movement time by staying in bushes helps give the feel that you are creeping around, without actually slowing Teemo down like the first version of the change.
Shrooms have 3 main uses: Damage, be it wearing down enemies as they attempt to move throughout the map, making it so they always enter fights below full health or killing low health fleeing enemies Granting vision of important areas, such as Dragon, Baron, and the enemy jungler's camps(or your jungle camps, if your jungler is being invaded) CC, cutting off engage or escape paths, slowing enemies so that Teemo/his team have a chance to escape/engage. Right now they do all of these well, except damage vs tanks, and don't have to be changed. But like I pointed out before Liandries is a massive amount of their power, and that isn't healthy as unless you are planning on ignoring the shrooms damage completely you have to buy it, and mythinc item, hardbinding, yada yada yada.... So if the Shrooms are changed they should aim to keep the same power, but less oppressive against squishes and more effective(or, rather, less ineffective) against tanky targets without having to rely on Liandries to the point where its a core item even against full squishy teams.
Suggestions on what could change
The only thing I would change about it is move it's ticks from 1/s to 4/s, like Singe's poison, Karthus's aoe, or 2/s like Casdiopia's poison. It would give a better readability on the damage for everyone involved, which, while it is a slight nerf to Teemo, clarity changes that increase counterplay allow for more power to be added elsewhere. Also, unlike Singer's poison or Karthus's e, Teemo doesn't have a "turn on for one tick to farm and turn off" mechanic for his poison like they did, so other than age I can't think of why it is one second between ticks. The ‘surprise’ factor of how much damage it does is good for Teemo, but how much damage the enemy is taking shouldn't be something that is obscured.
The simplest change would be to make it apply nearsighted, which would have 3 effects.
make it less of a hard counter to melee auto centric champs,while still allowing it utility
Improves its usability against all kinds of champs, and opens up more uses than "damage" and "no auto attack for you"
Allows Teemo to actually participate in gurilla warfare, making it possible for him to pop up, attack, and disappear on an enemy champ, providing he is outside their truncated vision range.
I have other ideas as to what can be done with this ability, but it makes more sense in context so that will be below.
I have two ideas for how this could be changed to be better:
It does not break on damage from poisoned enemies, as well as increasing it to 10-30% because round numbers.
This one is kinda obvious of how it helps Teemo, but I like it because it allows Teemo to keep his speed if he gets the drop on enemies, but if they get in the first attack then they are rewarded with a Teemo that is easier to catch.
Teemo’s base MS down to 325 (WAIT, don’t crucify me just yet), and decrease the % MS boost from 10-26% to 10-19%, and then add on +5-25 base MS per rank.
Now that sounds broken, as an increase of 5 base ms is a huge increase in winrate usually, but hear me out. Rank 1: Teemo would have 325+5+10%= 330+10%=363 which is exactly the same as live. Rank 2: Teemo would have 325+10+12.25%= 335+12.25%=376 the same as live. Rank 3: Teemo would have 325+15+14.5%= 340+14.5%=389 the same as live. Rank 4: Teemo would have 325+20+16.75%= 345+16.75%=403 the same as live. Rank 5: Teemo would have 325+25+19%= 350+19%=416 the same as live. Though a note is that with boots, ranks 1-4 actually give less ms than live. Its only 5-1 ms difference, which may not even end up showing up after the Movement speed soft caps apply. Except for Mobie boots, there is a significant difference there after the MS cap, but Teemo only builds them .03% of the time or so, and they are deactivated whenever someone trips a shroom, so that’s a sacrifice I'm willing to make. The only noticeable thing that would change is how fast Teemo is when the passive is down, and how fast he is when using the w active(if im doing the math right it is slower by a max of 18 ms, with Mobie boots, but that makes sense as we are dropping 14% bonus ms on the w active in exchange for 25 flat ms, which means less of a boost with just it, but it scales better with other % movement boosts) [Here is my compiled list of Teemo’s movement speed with every kind of boot + w](https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mkKCcFzXV8PbXseYadoi6z1rs9SN0xGRCFMjw4z3Ito/edit?usp=sharing), and [here is a graph that allows you to easily put in the variables if you want to check it out yourself](https://www.desmos.com/calculatoirneett3wh).
In addition to the prospective changes that we never saw, which to me sounds like the best version(assuming the numbers are not terrible), here are a few ideas I thought of: Teemo’s e breaks on damage outside bushes, but while inside a bush Teemo is obscured(you know, that broken “true stealth” thing Akali had, only there are no bushes inside tower range and Teemo doesn’t have 3 dashes so it should be less obnoxious) and the invisibility doesn’t break. What this basically means is if an enemy hits a scyre bloom or an ability that gives true sight on Teemo when he is inside a bush, he is still not able to be clicked on. Standing still for 1 second increases shroom vision range over the next two seconds. I like this one, as it enhances the scouting aspect of his theme, but enemies can interact with it and it has to be something Teemo is actively doing, rather than just passive extra vision.
Assuming we are touching these, I honestly think having it apply % current health(better against tanks, not as oppressive against squishies), along with the passive poison would allow it to function both as a weakening chip damage, and potential low health killer, without getting into the 2 shot shroom territory as that feels bad to be on the end of. They should be able to kill if you run into a ton of them in a row, but not automatic death after hitting one from a fed Teemo. I honestly haven’t thought of a better way other than that to keep the balance between chip damage and kill threat without entering the binary “die by 2 shrooms or 5 Sweepers” territory And now for my Rework suggestion(do note that while I have considered the numbers I gave things, numbers are easily changed about and as such laying out the mechanics is my goal):
Toxic Shot Teemo laces his attacks with poison from his Kumongu shrooms, causing his basic attacks to deal [10-50 + .3 AP] damage, and his basic attacks and spells to poison the target for [1.5-11.25 +.025 AP] every .25 seconds for 4 seconds. Poisons from unique attacks(autos would be one unique attack, q is one, and shrooms count as one) stack up to three times, each new stack at 50% extra damage(so 175%, which max damage without refreshing the poison would be 315 + .7AP total at level 18, for landing a shroom, an auto, and a q).
Similar to Sol’s passive, I'm suggesting Teemo’s passive be the main source of his damage and tie his entire kit together. Maybe 175% is too low for 3 stacks, but I thought 200% might be too overbearing. Anyway, its not like numbers are not constantly changed.
Sporecloud Dart Skillshot, 700 range, AOE detonation, 300 range, 80/85/90/95/100 mana cost Does 50/75/100/125/150 +.4AP + 1bAD(bonus AD) damage to main target, applying on hit effects(not passive’s on hit), reduces vision range for them for 1.5/1.6/1.7/1.8/1.9/2 seconds, spreads passive DOT(not on hit) to target and nearby enemies
This one has many reasons: By changing it to a skill shot, from a targeted skill, it allows enemies to do more than just “don’t get near Teemo” to avoid it, but in return the cc is better against a wider assortment of enemies rather than just auto reliant ones. It also means that if an enemy can get on you, they have a chance of actually hitting you, but it also keeps his ability to shut down enemy ADC’s intact, if a little less duration. As it is a skill shot, I gave it slightly increased range so that Teemo has something to do in teamfights, but also increased its mana cost so it can’t be spammed The reason it applies the passive in AOE is because I was inspired by Teemo’s skill in this TFT set, which is where the name comes from, and it addresses his issue in the jungle of having poor multi-target damage pre-6. This gives him a pre-6 option for clearing camps/pushing waves, and makes up in part for the damage that is lost from the shrooms(keep reading for that, its not as bad as you might think)
Move quick 10/15/20/25/30% ms Does not break on damage from poisoned targets
That other option I outlined above would also work, I just thought of this one first and it fits with Teemo spreading poison everywhere.
Guerrilla Warfare 1.5 second arm time, indefinite while still/in bushes. Can move 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds while stealthed, recharges slowly in bushes. Element of Surprise: 20/30/40/50/60 AS for 3 seconds
Optional bonus:>! After standing still for 1 second, shroom's vision radius grows by 10/20/30/40/50% over the next 2 seconds.!< Basically the prospective changes that we never saw. Not sure what the cooldown was going to be though. The optional bonus is a different take on the “Teemo gains 25% sight range while stealthed” from the most recent one. Im not sure if it would be overpowered or not, but I thought why not? Its not like they haven’t removed mechanics before. Anyway, the idea would be that Teemo can set up a vision network, which enemies are already looking to clear because shrooms, but at the cost of doing things. Great for ambushes, not so much for watching for a gank.
Noxious Trap Deal 10/15/20% max health, and applies Toxic Shot’s DOT(not the on hit) Enemies effected by shrooms take .75% extra damage from Toxic Shot for every 1% missing health, capping at 50% damage(so 109/lvl 6 - 270/lvl 18 +.6 ap total damage, when they are at 33% health for just the shroom, and 472 +1.05 AP for 3 stacks)
Assuming the combo is just one auto, q, and shroom, that is a max of 100% tAD+ 100% bAD + 50 + 150 + 472 + 10% current health + 175% AP(so 672 + 175% AP + auto damage) when the enemy is at ⅓ health. That sounds like a lot, but its not that much for just one combo. For reference, Vigar can do 650 +150% AP with just his ult alone, and then has another 540+160% AP from his other abilities. Anyway, the % current health would allow Teemo to affect Tanks with his Shrooms, without making it overbearing for squishies, while the pseudo-execute extra passive damage makes it so that Teemo can still kill with Shrooms, be it in fights or on fleeing enemies. The idea is to make 2 shot shrooms less feasible, but allow the damage to scale better. It also would only apply Liandries only once, which, while is a nerf, is one that ultimately benefits Teemo as Liandries would be an effective option for 2-3 tank teams, but not a mandatory item for every game you don’t go with On Hit Teemo.
VR is not what a lot of people think it is. It's not comparable to racing wheels, Kinect, or 3DTVs. It offers a shift that the game industry hasn't had before; a first of it's kind. I'm going to outline what VR is like today in despite of the many misconceptions around it and what it will be like as it grows. What people find to be insurmountable problems are often solvable. What is VR in 2020? Something far more versatile and far-reaching than people comprehend. All game genres and camera perspectives work, so you're still able to access the types of games you've always enjoyed. It is often thought that VR is a 1st person medium and that's all it can do, but 3rd person and top-down VR games are a thing and in various cases are highly praised. Astro Bot, a 3rd person platformer, was the highest rated VR game before Half-Life: Alyx. Lets crush some misconceptions of 2020 VR:
The buy-in is $400 on average, not $1000 as that is Valve Index pricing.
Motion sickness is easily avoidable for most people by sticking to games that have 1:1 fully synced or mostly synced body movement like Beat Saber or even Alyx with teleportation.
Most VR games offer locomotion options so teleporting is certainly not a required norm.
You don't need a PC or console; Oculus Quest is the start of the new norm where headsets are self-contained.
You are not required to stand or move about. VR has always allowed you to relax in the same way as traditional gaming by sitting on the couch with a gamepad.
VR isn't anti-social. It's actually the pinnacle of social communication devices. What it is (currently) is potentially isolating depending on how you use it.
People will disabilities often think VR is not for them, when in all likelihood it probably is, because most disabilities work fine with VR and even have a lot to gain from the use of it.
The setup of VR is much faster and quicker than it was just a few years ago thanks to inside-out tracking and standalones. A Quest user can get going within 10 seconds.
So what are the problems with VR in 2020?
Low resolution and low FoV.
Wireless isn't standard.
Only a few released AAA exclusive games.
Potential for eye strain and headaches.
Some headsets feel really outdated. (PSVR)
Full body avatars don't align correctly.
Despite these downsides, VR still offers something truly special. What it enables is not just a more immersive way to game, but new ways to feel, to experience stories, to cooperate or fight against other players, and a plethora of new ways to interact which is the beating heart of gaming as a medium. To give some examples, Boneworks is a game that has experimental full body physics and the amount of extra agency it provides is staggering. When you can actually manipulate physics on a level this intimately where you are able to directly control and manipulate things in a way that traditional gaming simply can't allow, it opens up a whole new avenue of gameplay and game design. Things aren't based on a series of state machines anymore. "Is the player pressing the action button to climb this ladder or not?" "Is the player pressing the aim button to aim down the sights or not?" These aren't binary choices in VR. Everything is freeform and you can basically be in any number of states at a given time. Instead of climbing a ladder with an animation lock, you can grab on with one hand while aiming with the other, or if it's physically modelled, you could find a way to pick it up and plant it on a pipe sticking out of the ground to make your own makeshift trap where you spin it around as it pivots on top of the pipe, knocking anything away that comes close by. That's the power of physics in VR. You do things you think of in the same vain as reality instead of thinking inside the set limitations of the designers. Even MGSV has it's limitations with the freedom it provides, but that expands exponentially with 6DoF VR input and physics. I talked about how VR could make you feel things. A character or person that gets close to you in VR is going to invade your literal personal space. Heights are possibly going to start feeling like you are biologically in danger. The idea of tight spaces in say, a horror game, can cause claustrophobia. The way you move or interact with things can give off subtle almost phantom-limb like feelings because of the overwhelming visual and audio stimulation that enables you to do things that you haven't experienced with your real body; an example being floating around in zero gravity in Lone Echo. So it's not without it's share of problems, but it's an incredibly versatile gaming technology in 2020. It's also worth noting just how important it is as a non-gaming device as well, because there simply isn't a more suitably combative device against a world-wide pandemic than VR. Simply put, it's one of the most important devices you can get right now for that reason alone as you can socially connect with no distancing with face to face communication, travel and attend all sorts of events, and simply manage your mental and physical health in ways that the average person wishes so badly for right now. Where VR is (probably) going to be in 5 years You can expect a lot. A seismic shift that will make the VR of today feel like something very different. This is because the underlying technology is being reinvented with entirely custom tech that no longer relies on cell phone panels and lenses that have existed for decades.
The resolution will be around the equivalent of 1080p monitors, so you'd probably be looking at 4K x 4K per eye or higher.
The field of view will be 30-40% higher.
Eye strain and headaches will be solved via varifocal displays and VR will become even more comfortable visually than 2D displays, as they still have these issues which can be only be solved in stereoscopic displays.
Isolation will be solved with mixed reality reconstruction enabling the real world to bleed into VR on a per object basis in real time. VR headsets are now in all senses MR headsets. (VR+AR in one device)
There will be plenty of non-gaming apps gaining bigger traction like some sort of social space or event-based app.
PlayStation and Xbox will both support VR and a PSVR2 headset will have launched.
That's enough to solve almost all the issues of the technology and make it a buy-in for the average gamer. In 5 years, we should really start to see the blending of reality and virtual reality and how close the two can feel Where VR is (probably) going to be in 10 years
VR is now effectively photorealistic in the visual and audio department and it's extremely hard if not impossible at times to tell the difference between the real world and the virtual world.
Quite a number of people start to live big chunks of their lives in VR.
Light-field 6DoF video will be common allowing you to move inside live videos or a playback of a video that are in every way indistinguishable from reality, at least visually/audibly.
Streaming becomes mainstream as an option to consume games and it is now starting to become feasible to stream VR games as well.
VAR start to replace traditional displays and devices with monitors, phones and handhelds especially on their way out, but TVs very likely still hold a strong presence due to their communal nature.
If consoles still exist, their new features are now focused mostly on VR and how to integrate as seamlessly as possible into the VAR experience. Traditional gaming is still likely the most popular way to play, but consoles must find ways to market towards the new.
VAR are the new norm for work, education, communication, entertainment and a lot of aspects of daily life.
AAA VRMMORPGs start to get popular and become the new standard for the genre, revitalizing it.
The metaverse starts to form in some small way, not yet reaching the magnitude of something like the OASIS, but still a very large and versatile world or web of worlds where the phrase "Do anything, go anywhere, become anyone, be with anyone" is the truest it's ever been.
In short, as good as if not better than the base technology of Ready Player One which consists of a visor and gloves. Interestingly, RPO missed out on the merging of VR and AR which will play an important part of the future of HMDs as they will become more versatile, easier to multi-task with, and more engrained into daily life where physical isolation is only a user choice. Useful treadmills and/or treadmill shoes as well as haptic suits will likely become (and stay) enthusiast items that are incredible in their own right but due to the commitment, aren't applicable to the average person - in a way, just like RPO. At this stage, VR is mainstream with loads of AAA content coming out yearly and providing gaming experiences that are incomprehensible to most people today. Overall, the future of VR couldn't be brighter. It's absolutely here to stay, it's more incredible than people realize today, and it's only going to get exponentially better and more convenient in ways that people can't imagine.
MAME 0.223 has finally arrived, and what a release it is – there’s definitely something for everyone! Starting with some of the more esoteric additions, Linus Åkesson’s AVR-based hardware chiptune project and Power Ninja Action Challenge demos are now supported. These demos use minimal hardware to generate sound and/or video, relying on precise CPU timings to work. With this release, every hand-held LCD game from Nintendo’s Game & Watch and related lines is supported in MAME, with Donkey Kong Hockey bringing up the rear. Also of note is the Bassmate Computer fishing aid, made by Nintendo and marketed by Telko and other companies, which is clearly based on the dual-screen Game & Watch design. The steady stream of TV games hasn’t stopped, with a number of French releases from Conny/VideoJet among this month’s batch. For the first time ever, games running on the Barcrest MPU4 video system are emulated well enough to be playable. Titles that are now working include several games based on the popular British TV game show The Crystal Maze, Adders and Ladders, The Mating Game, and Prize Tetris. In a clear win for MAME’s modular architecture, the breakthrough came through the discovery of a significant flaw in our Motorola MC6840 Programmable Timer Module emulation that was causing issues for the Fairlight CMI IIx synthesiser. In the same manner, the Busicom 141-PF desk calculator is now working, thanks to improvements made to Intel 4004 CPU emulation that came out of emulating the INTELLEC 4 development system and the prototype 4004-based controller board for Flicker pinball. The Busicom 141-PF is historically significant, being the first application of Intel’s first microprocessor. Fans of classic vector arcade games are in for a treat this month. Former project coordinator Aaron Giles has contributed netlist-based sound emulation for thirteen Cinematronics vector games: Space War, Barrier, Star Hawk, Speed Freak, Star Castle, War of the Worlds, Sundance, Tail Gunner, Rip Off, Armor Attack, Warrior, Solar Quest and Boxing Bugs. This resolves long-standing issues with the previous simulation based on playing recorded samples. Colin Howell has also refined the sound emulation for Midway’s 280-ZZZAP and Gun Fight. V.Smile joystick inputs are now working for all dumped cartridges, and with fixes for ROM bank selection the V.Smile Motion software is also usable. The accelerometer-based V.Smile Motion controller is not emulated, but the software can all be used with the standard V.Smile joystick controller. Another pair of systems with inputs that now work is the original Macintosh (128K/512K/512Ke) and Macintosh Plus. These systems’ keyboards are now fully emulated, including the separate numeric keypad available for the original Macintosh, the Macintosh Plus keyboard with integrated numeric keypad, and a few European ISO layout keyboards for the original Macintosh. There are still some emulation issues, but you can play Beyond Dark Castle with MAME’s Macintosh Plus emulation again. In other home computer emulation news, MAME’s SAM Coupé driver now supports a number of peripherals that connect to the rear expansion port, a software list containing IRIX hard disk installations for SGI MIPS workstations has been added, and tape loading now works for the Specialist system (a DIY computer designed in the USSR). Of course, there’s far more to enjoy, and you can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. (For brevity, promoted V.Smile software list entries and new Barcrest MPU4 clones made up from existing dumps have been omitted here.)
MAME Testers Bugs Fixed
02603: [Sound] (cinemat.cpp) tailg: Phasor sample plays incorrectly. (Aaron Giles)
Toy Story 3 (Lexibook) [Sean Riddle, Kamaal Brown, David Haywood]
unknown 'TE06' [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca]
Unknown Compumatic ProSPDP based darts machine [jordigahan, ClawGrip]
VideoJet Kiu Games [Sean Riddle, David Haywood]
Virtual TV Ping Pong [TeamEurope, David Haywood]
Yataimura Kingyosukui (4-player, China, Ver 1.000) [Darksoft]
New clones marked as NOT_WORKING
Funhouse (L-2) [PinMAME]
Funhouse (L-2, prototype PA-1 System 11 sound) [PinMAME]
Laser Ball (L-2, PROM sound) [PinMAME]
Last Action Hero (1.04 France) [PinMAME]
Last Action Hero (1.07) [José Renato Castro Milanez, Sergio Munemori]
Magic Card - Wien (Sicherheitsversion 1.2) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca]
Nove Diamante (bootleg) [Ioannis Bampoulas]
New working software list additions
fmtowns_cd: Akiko - Premium Version, Cal III - Kanketsu-hen, Chiemi & Naomi, Curse, Eikan wa Kimi ni 2 - Koukou Yakyuu Zenkoku Taikai, FM Towns Application Catalog CD-ROM - Original Soft-hen, G5 (HMA-206), Gambler - Queen's Cup, Gokuraku Mandala, Hyper Fetishism, Illust Hyakka - Yamashita Hideki no Ikiiki Cut-shuu, Iris-tei Serenade, Jouhou Club - Card Processor Ver. 1.1, Mahjong Musashi, Manami no Doko made Iku no? 2 - Return of the Kuro Pack, The Manhole (1990-08-01), Marionette Mind, Mirage 2 - Torry, Neat & Roan Fairladies in MagicLand, Noushuku Angel 120%, Shamhat - The Holy Circlet (FM Towns Marty version), Tenshin Ranma, Two Shot Diary, Viper-V12 RS, Viper-V8 Turbo RS, YES! HG - Erotic Voice Version [redump.org, r09]
Rayman IV (Rayman - Sunshine of Trip) (unlicensed) (protection hacked) [RibShark]
Crash Advance IV (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Digimon - Ruby and Sapphire (unlicensed) (protection hacked), The Lord of the Rings IV - The Fellowship of the Ring (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Pokemon - Sapphire Version (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Rayman IV (Rayman - Puteshestviye Solnechnogo Sveta) (unlicensed) (Russian) (protection hacked), Sonic 3 - Fighter Sonic (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Super Mario DX (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Ultraman - Confrontation Between Justice And Evil (Ul'traman - Konfrontatsiya mezhdu spravedlivost'yu i zlom) (unlicensed) (Russian) (protection hacked), X-Man - Armour of Might (X-men) (unlicensed) (Russian) (protection hacked) [taizou]
Bloodwych (Quest & Glory Compilation) (Euro), Bloodwych (USA), Budokan - The Martial Spirit (5.25"), The Colonel's Bequest (3.5"), The Colonel's Bequest (5.25"), Dragon's Lair (5.25"), F29 Retaliator, Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs (3.5"), Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) (5.25"), Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Mario Andretti's Racing Challenge, Speedball 2 - Brutal Deluxe (Euro, 3.5"), TV Sports Basketball (3.5", USA, EGA/TANDY version), TV Sports Basketball (3.5", USA, VGA version), TV Sports Basketball (5.25", UK, EGA/TANDY version), TV Sports Basketball (5.25", UK, VGA version), Xenon 2: Megablast [ArcadeShadow]
SCO XENIX System V Development System version 2.1.3 [archive.org, Davide Cavalca]
IBM Personal Computer Interactive Executive (PC/IX) 1.00 [WinWorld, Davide Cavalca]
ibm5170: B-17 Flying Fortress (5.25"), Corridor 7: Alien Invasion (demo), Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (France), Out of this World (USA, 3.5" DD), Out of this World (USA, 5.25" HD), Sam & Max Hit the Road (Germany) [ArcadeShadow]
pc98_cd: F15 Strike Eagle III, if 2 - Invitations from Fantastic Stories, Manami no Doko made Iku no? 2 - Return of the Kuro Pack, Phobos, Pro Student G (ALS-0010), YES! HG - Erotic Voice Version, Yuurou - Transient Sands [redump.org, r09]
Desktop Special Edition 1.0, European Language Module 1.1, European Language Module 1.3.1, Hot Mix 5, Hot Mix 7, IndiZone 1.0, IRIX 5.2 for Indy R4600PC and Challenge SX, IRIX Patch 184.108.40.206, ONC3/NFS for IRIX 6.2 Version 1, ONC3/NFS for IRIX 6.2 with Indigo2 IMPACT 10000 Version 1, Support Advantage 10/94, Support Advantage 6/95, SupportFolio 2/97, SupportFolio 4/97 [darkstar]
Disney/Pixar Wall-E (China) [tenyuhuang, Ryan Holtz]
Les Bisounours - Le monde merveilleux des Bisounours (France), Nickelodeon Bob L'éponge - Une journée dans la vie d'une éponge (France) [DisizDream]
Disney/Pixar Cars 2 (France), Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 (France), DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda - La mission de Po (France), Football Challenge (France), Martin Le Dauphin (France), Nickelodeon Dora L'Exploratrice - Les adventures de Dora Apprentie Mécano (France), Sporti'Folies (France) [DisizDream, Ryan Holtz]
Action Mania (USA), Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 (USA), Marvel Spider-Man & Friends - Secret Missions (USA), Soccer Challenge (USA) [Sean Riddle, TeamEurope, Ryan Holtz]
mobigo_cart: Disney Jake and the Neverland Pirates (USA, alt), Disney Princess (USA, alt), Disney/Pixar Brave (USA), Dreamworks Shrek - Forever After (US), NAND User Cartridge (unknown data, set 1), NAND User Cartridge (unknown data, set 2), Sesame Street - Elmo and Abby - Nature Explorers (USA) [TeamEurope]
novag_ssensor4: Quartz Chess Clock [Berger]
pc98_cd: DOR Special Edition '93, DOR Special Edition '93 (alt), Kanji Land 3-nen, Kyrandia II - The Hand of Fate, Lemon Cocktail Collection, Lip 3 - Lipstick Adventure 3, Mirage 2 - Torry, Neat & Roan Fairladies in MagicLand [redump.org, r09]
pi_storyreader_cart: Disney Blanca Nieves y los siete enanos (Spain), Disney El Rey León (Spain), Walt Disney Peter Pan (Spain) [TeamEurope, ClawGrip]
Basketball (EU) [ClawGrip, TeamEurope]
Basketball (US) [Sean Riddle, David Haywood]
vsmileb_cart: Teletubbies (France) [DisizDream]
Merged pull requests
6825: docs: Improved analog joystick mapping documentation, and added health warnings. [Firehawke]
6837: debugger: Added loadr and saver commands for loading or saving data to/from a memory region. [bombzj]
6838: fmtowns_cd.xml: Added 28 new entries, and replaced 22 entries with improved dumps. [redump.org, r09]
6844: gigatron: Hooked up CPU output callback, fixed program counter wrapping, and added CPU input callback. [Sterophonick]
I've seen there are a ton of existing threads about this, but honestly I guess I haven't found one from the perspective of a American non-binary person from the South. I know West Coast people, and I guess New England people don't like being called simadam. However, anyone who lives or grew up in the South knows we always say "yes, ma'am/madam". If not, it's as rude as not saying please and thank you, like you will get the stink eye. Anyway, anyone out there have an options? Also, please don't mention Mx since that's definitely more for Mister, Miss, Mrs, and Ms. I'm looking for a gender neutral option, third option, to Sir, Ma'am, and ??? Any non-binary linguists out there with any ideas?
The motion to delay and revise the re-entry plan is not a binary issue. Don't buy the politics.
TLDR: People are being goaded into taking sides on whether or not we should open schools. This is not the issue at hand when considering the motions made by Mr. Shurr at the most recent Special Session of the school board. The issue at hand is whether the current plan (Published June 30) is the most inventive solution we can offer that minimizes the risk of lifelong disability and/or death for the students and, more immediately, the many high-risk adults who work in the public schools around the country. If you’ve ever been in an American workplace, you know that leaders (especially exhausted ones) can find running out the clock on a decision period more desirable than engaging in critical discussion. With stakes as high as they are, the motions are meant to ensure this does not happen with our public schools. Here is a link to the most critical 20 minutes of the Special Session of the school board meeting from Tuesday, July 21st. The Details: This is a throwaway account, and an attempt at a complete statement of my opinion. This does not reflect anyone’s opinion but my own based on public information. Feel free to share any and all of this if you’d like. I don’t plan to respond to comments or DMs. A considerable number of parents, students, and teachers (many of whom are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or live with an elder who is) feel the traditional school model poses too much risk and that we need to pause and revise the plan. Fairly, many people who need the child care/specialized services provided by the schools have voiced their frustration and unwillingness to support such a measure because they believe this must mean that schools will be closed for an extended period of time. This fabricated binary allows an outdated plan to look preferable to pausing and revising because:
Alotof work went into this
This should be irrelevant. If you spent a year developing plans for your dream home, then figured out you had picked a spot with terrible drainage and stability, would you really plow ahead with the plan because you'd sunk so much time into it? Even knowing that the foundation would eventually fail?)
“Everyone is taking the same risk and has a choice”
Teachers are taking on much more risk than students, parents, administrators, and central administration.
Here are office policies laid out in the publicly published back to school plans at each high school:
The main office will be restricted. Item drop-off or pick-up will be done in the school vestibule. Video or teleconferencing will be utilized for parent meetings. Students will request meetings electronically via emails or Canvas to meet with administrators or counselors.
While we cannot have visitors and families into the main office at this time, we are happy to assist you via phone or video conferencing. Any drop offs/picks up will occur at our secure building entrance. We look forward to safely seeing our teachers and students, so Main Office doors will be clearly marked Entry/Exit for flow and social distancing marked as well. -Forms will be digitized and hard copies will be available, when necessary, in teacher rooms to reduce traffic flow in hallways and offices.
Building size is a major determiner in how effective sanitation efforts can/will be.
A lot of peoplewanta 5 day schedule fortheirchild.
This makes total sense on an individual family level. You want your child to have as normal a year and as much opportunity for support as possible.
The motion for a five-day option was rushed through at the end of the special school board meeting, and no one asked whether they had discussed it with teachers & buildings (unlike some of the other motions). Why? Someone who works in a school would tell you that the accurate and authentic way to phrase that question would be some combination of the following:
HIGH SCHOOL: Would you prefer your student to attend with over 1000 (1600 minus the estimated 20% online and off-day hybrid students) or 500 students?
Do you want students, teachers and staff to be able to stay six feet apart in a classroom, or three feet apart in a classroom?
Should class size remain near the low 30s/high 20s, or is a smaller size more appropriate?
Do you want students to be able to have 6 feet of distance in hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms, cafeteria, and other common areas? Are you willing to accept the risk of students being shoulder-to-shoulder during every class transition period?
There is no point to the hybrid model when it does nothing to meaningfully reduce the number of people in the building each day. The five day option cripples schools’ ability to have smaller class sizes and appropriate social distancing.
Parents with high-need situations driven by exceptional needs, socioeconomic restraints, etc. have been led to believe that the only conceivable options for childcare/support is the traditional 5-day schedule we've always used.
This misguided notion is connected to the first bullet point and protecting the pride connected to the initial plan.
Schools have the following resources at their disposal:
Rationales and models for doing online instruction without locking down the building so as to allow our students with extra needs the support and socialization they deserve. Edit: This has been referred to as using the school as a "Learning Center".
Well-educated, willing, low-risk staff who can and do help students with all subject areas. This already happens every day in the traditional model via student-selected remediation/help-session/enrichment periods and after-school tutoring programs.
These faculty members should have immediate access to other teachers via school communication infrastructure to immediately contact another teacher when there is confusion or frustration.
Electronic infrastructure for students who don’t have reliable internet access
Large common areas where students could socially distance (gymnasiums, library, cafeteria, auditorium, large group instruction rooms, and monitored classrooms where teachers would be coordinating and delivering online instruction
Edit: This would minimize the need for students and staff to come into close contact in "choke points" like stairwells, narrow hallways, classroom entrances, etc. and allow high-risk teachers to focus on digital curriculum.
This would greatly reduce the number of students using school transportation, as many would utilize the bus only on days they choose to enter the building for additional support. EDIT: Yes, for some students this may mean 5 days a week!
This also would allow students who utilize the Free and Reduced Lunch program to access morning and afternoon meals.
This would not result in the elimination/furlough of custodian, security, or other hourly positions (many of whom, if social media is to believed, may have people fleeing due to their concerns about personal health).
All this said, the parents who need their students in school are justified in their attitudes and arguments. At one of the large high schools
30.9% of students are socioeconomically disadvantaged,
2.5% of students are English Language Learners (ELL)
Even if you ignore the certain occurrence of some crossover within these categories, this is still less than half of the total student population. A number of these students may still choose to stay home with the online option. Similarly, there are probably students who do not fall into these categories but still need to come to school sometimes for some reason or another. Either way, this suggests that there is an opportunity to serve a MUCH smaller number of students in the building and reduce risk to everyone involved. I will admit this would be harder to organize at the elementary level, where districting decisions have left some schools in a more difficult situation than others in terms of student needs because some schools have:
Perhaps the lesser risk in general at the elementary level doesn’t demand an alternative-to-traditional model. Perhaps identifying students who need to be in a learning center and finding a way to get them to a less crowded school should be part of the conversation. Regardless, I imagine that some schools will already be operating at a much lower capacity than normal due to the online option while others will be close to full. All of this should show that this is:
A terrible situation for everyone involved
One that appears to have two options: Full online or plow ahead
One that actually has plenty of unresolved questions, potential solutions, and the opportunity to give students the opportunity to learn in a way that is both better than spring e-learning AND interested in keeping high-risk teachers and other staff out of caskets.
As a big MMORPG fan i was delighted when Amazon announced that they are developing a proper, big, full scale, no bullcrap MMORPG with action combat and immediatelly reached for my wallet to get a pre order. Several month later when Amazon announced a betalike "Density test" i badly wanted to participate in it, so i can look how things are going. Would i like fighting mechanics, skill and such? Would i like the game in general? I played it and i wasn't dissapointed! The game ran quite smoothly, graphics were fine and mechanics, especially crafting, was awesome. In this type of free action game MMO i've always wanted to try and play as a huntearcher type, because i assumed that if i'm getting true satisfaction when i'm hitting something in shooters or battle royal games, then this feeling should be similar and even deeper when all those juicy MMO layers of complexity as of skills, specs and etc. will add up. While i was playing that density test i was fascinated how precise was the shooting in PVE: "they even have headshots!". Too bad density test ended really soon and i wasn't able to test the most interesting aspect for me - PVP. Now we are having New World Preview and my plan was to try out that pvp and find out what's what. For me, 1v1 and small group pvp balance is most important in MMO games, especially in ones, that center around PVP in general. Mass pvp often is a bit different story and mostly required proper classes or specs and coordination then personal skill of players involved, on the other hand, small group or 1v1 pvp is where you can show your skill, gear and overall show off as a player, and let's speak frankly,showing off is what keeps people playing the game. So how is new world PVP at the stage of preview 08.27.20? It is aweful! Basic fighting mechanics have several major design mistakes, so I will take mr. Scot Lane's offer to give feedback very seriously and explain why small scale pvp in new world is broken and how to fix, talking from my personal experience of playing other MMOs. Binary pvp, pushback stunlocking and sprinting. At the moment NW pvp can be described as: you stunlock your opponent or it rans away (or vice versa) The regular LMB click hit with melee weapon makes your opponent to experience a pushback, the very basic example would be Diablo 2 game. if you receive a hit you are incapacitated of some sort for a fraction of a second and if you attack your opponent that happens to him too. For a diablo game it is ok. It punishes a player for getting surrounded by many enemies and he gets beaten down and it let's a player to pushback with attacks to hold off waves of foes. The problem is that it is a PVE game. Most common D2 melee specs were zeal paladin, berserk warrior and wolfy druid. Why is that? Because those specs provided the player with most attack speed boost, making you pushback enemies much more often then with other specs and that raised your survivability greatly because you received no fightback. In case of NW it backfired with players going 1h sword and hatchet, because you can spam click your opponent with LMB and just stunlock it to death. The solution is obvious: you remove pushback from basic LMB attack and make attack to be able to perform while running, so your target won't just ran off as you are mashing buttons. Second option make your pushback specifically affect running only and not interrupting attacks and breaking skills in mid animation. So what happens if your target just escaped your pushback stunlock? it presses shift button and runs... Doing a few zigzags to prevent projectiles from hitting its back. There are absolutely no mechanics that can prevent a dedicated sprinter to not be able to escape your wrath. That issue was addressed in a game Age of Conan: Hyborian adventures. They have reworked sprint several times and on the latest iteration it worked better. Just make sprint drain your energy source. It can be the same bar as for dodge/step use or it can be absolutelly different bar dedicated strictly to sprint. Range hell. Hit detection and useless talents. While i was doing pve quests and slaying mobs with my bow i wasn't experiencing any issues with shooting but when it came down to PVP, it appears that it is absolutely impossible to hit anyone futher then 5 meters away from yourself. If it charges toward you - easy, but if it rans away or trying to evade your shots or moving in any sporadic trajectory - impossible. Missing with shots was expected, but the proportion of that is demeaning to my shooter self esteem. I can fully understand that it's impossible to make server tick rate similar to some shooting games, no MMO server will survive that, but NW team should understand that there are people that would like to play range classes as their main specs and would like to play with kite like evasive gameplay. If i am trying to hit someone there are a lot of factors tha prevent me from hitting. 1st: not shooter like fps, it is very hard to ran MMO game with 128 fps or higher without complete reduction of graphics and view distance and lower fps affects aiming greatly. 2nd: aiming behaves akwardly with that 3rd person "from the back" camera. 3rd, if the enemy is a bit far, like 10 meters or futher it's harder to notice it with all that HDR and other traits that help reduce lag in MMO. 4th Lags.. If you are having a decent rig and you're fighting somewhere in a private place that is not an issue, but if you are trying to shoot someone that rans out of the city ...lag adds up 5th projectile speed, especially for a bow is really low. 6th projectile fall. 7 Hit detection itself. So how do u expect to ran away from a clicker insta rotate and hit the target that constantly changes direction and speed due to sprinting not metioning that if its a heavy armor enemy you scratch it once or twice, then prepare to get clicked to death or sprint away. The solution: make a bigger hit box for projectiles and/or bigger projectiles hit box so it is easier to hit, get a bigger headshot box, not only head but like 30% of top body. If peaople will start to damage too much nerf the damage a bit. Right now i see a ton of ppl that shooting each other and no one hits anyone and that looks a bit stupid. Weapon leveling and leveling in general. While the gathering system is precise and thought out, weapon leveling can be described as awkward at best. Right now you can have 10 weapon skills and that is enough for you to get to the last tire talent of any weapon spec. How do you get those? Mob tagging. Magically, if you tag a mob and a bunch of anrgy levelers will attack that mob you will get 100% of exp for that creature and 100% of weapon exp depending on what type of weapon you were using to attack that mob. At level 15 i'm getting much more weapon exp then i was at level 1, and leveling weapons is really, really ez. It is a VERY BAD THING!! Why is that? We are living in 2020 and not in 2004. People nowadays do like to go full meta and minmax. What would happend if one spec would be a bit more competitive compared to others? It would lead to playerbase not having any spec diversity in the game, you will have a week of healing staves, a month of bow, a current "hatchet meta" and etc. Weapon leveling should be like gathering skills. You can not gather that rock or that herb till you got level 30 herbing. You go low level location and waste A LOT of time to get to level 30 skill and so on. Solution: give exp and weapon experience in proportion to percentage of damage you have dealt with each kind of weapon and make attack with a weapon that has low skill point do significantly less damage to high level creatures. (Example: you are lvl 20 and you hit a lvl 24 mob with a hatchet and deal 40% damage, then you do damage with lvl 1 fire stave and deal 10% more damage, then some people finish your mob mob. As a result you should receive 50% exp, 40% weapon exp to hatchet and 10% exp to stave. At the moment you just tag it with fire stave and if it is killed by whoever, you will still get 100% exp and 100% weapon exp to your desired fire stave). That will solve mob tag abuse and will make people go extra mile to get other desired weapon skill ranked up. I understand that the game is still in development and it will grow and get more complicated, but i wanted to add my 5 cents. I do really believe that developers will make the game interesting and competive and we as an MMO community will waste tons of our hours exploring the world of Aeternum. P.S. English ain't my first language, so there are possible grammar mistakes in this wall of text. I'm sorry for that in advance.
Gravity's Rainbow Group Read | Sections 13-16 | Week 5
Well folks, this was a doozy of a week, wasn’t it? Some of these sections are quite challenging, for a variety of reasons. But we also see some pretty critical plot developments, and some genuine hilarity at poor Slothrop’s expense, too. Gotta love that cubeb. This is also where the book really takes off in terms of it’s story arc (especially Slothrop’s origin story), as well as its embrace of sexual deviancy in all its forms, so I’m very curious to see the reactions from the first-timers. It’s a lot to take in. Anyhoo, I’ll start this with a broader summary of themes, then break the summary and analysis down by section, and include some discussion prompts at the end. There’s a lot to work with this week - this section was twice as long as previous weeks. This analysis is going to be lengthy, but I’ll try to keep as focused as I can. Several broad themes start to crystallize by this point in the narrative, especially opposition, which takes a multitude of forms: 1-0, white-black, death-life, social control-anarchy, Capitalism-black market, division-unification, colonizer-colonized, domination-submission, Elect-Preterite. My ordering of items in those pairings is intentional. This book (and Pynchon) sees white, Euro-American colonial culture as intimately tied to a need for control, domination, and a belief in salvation (everyone likes to think they’re part of the Elect, nicht wahr?), which results in a culture of death and division. The War is the embodiment of this. Pynchon repeatedly takes the side of the Preterite - the anarchist, the minority, the colonized. Pigs, which Pynch clearly loves, seem to be emblematic of this noble-yet-humble Preterite. Related to that is the idea of resisting baser desires and human nature vs accepting them vs sublimating them into full-blown pathologies (e.g. colonialism, Crutchfield the Westwardman). Many of the worst symptoms of society stem from our artificial divisions and denial of the natural order. So, if we have deadly, pervasive, controlling systems, what are us poor folks stuck inside them to do? How do we free ourselves from the System? From Them? Pynchon brings up at least three options in this week’s reading: 1.Escape (Katje leaving, vs Gottfried’s passive waiting for salvation) 2.Enjoy the good and ignore the negative (Jessica trying to live in her bubble with Roger, vs. Roger’s unhappy focus on the negatives without being able to change them) 3.Blow it all up (Katje’s option for Schußstelle 3, which she decides against, vs what? Death, perhaps?) Finally, I’d like to discuss an underlying theme based on a separate work that has strongly influenced Pynchon, and Gravity’s Rainbow: T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. I never realized this before, but I’ve read the poem probably 75 times since I last read GR, so I’m pretty familiar with it by this point. I highly recommend reading it, but it’s primarily about the decline of Europe after WWI into a wasteland and the death-and-rebirth cycle. A central theme relates to the ancient belief that the harvest god (or later, the king, such as in Arthurian legend) was fundamentally tied to the land. If the king was young and vibrant, the land would be fertile. As the king became old or fell ill, the land would become barren. Thus the king (or harvest god - see the Hanged Man of the tarot) would be sacrificed, either literally or symbolically, so he could be reborn and the land could be restored. “Death is a debt to nature due…” as ol’ Constant Slothrop’s epitaph read. We see this concept explicitly addressed in section 16 (p. 131):
If he’s not in fact the War then he’s its child-surrogate, living high for a certain term but come the ceremonial day, look out. The true king only dies a mock death. Remember. Any number of young men may be selected to die in his place while the real king, foxy old bastard, goes on.
The king is dead. Long live the king. So how does this connect to our broader themes? Remember earlier when we discussed the invisible hand of the market, and how the economy and even social order are now hidden, directionless systems with no ruler? If the king is the land and the land is the king, what do we think would happen to the land, to society, if we replaced the king with an invisible, incomprehensible force that operated under its own rules, outside human control? The chaos of WWII? The mass death without clear cause? The markets taking on a life of their own? I think that’s what Pynchon’s getting at here. Would love your take. On to our section summaries… Section 13 YouTube Recording by u/ShisusBolton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69MV1vafocs Here we delve further into formal psychology and it’s specific application not just on dogs, but humans. We are finally shown the origin of Slothrop’s unique ability - psychological conditioning by Professor Jampf on poor “Infant Tyrone,” in an experiment that echoes the very real “Little Albert” experiment. We also learn why the connection is sexual - a simple matter of binary practicality to make it easier for lab assistants to measure the response to stimulus x. But what IS this mysterious stimulus? More importantly, was Infant Tyrone properly de-conditioned? It would appear not. Here we get a direct quote from Pavlov, the source for this part’s title. The concept of a “silent extinction beyond the zero,” the failure of which is the source of Slothrop’s rather intimate connection to the V2. Slothrop is part of the psychological Preterite - a poor sap doomed from the beginning to be abnormal, no chance for salvation here. Controlled entirely by outside forces he’s not even aware of. Apparently Slothrop’s “talent” is pretty damn precise, since his stars line up perfectly with the rocket strikes. We see some competing explanations for how this could be - from psychokinesis to some echo back through time of the rocket’s blast. We see characters all desperate to figure out why so they can predict where next? Maybe find out if they’re part of the Elect or not. The one possibility none of them consider, cannot consider: what if it’s all random? That’s too terrifying to contemplate for people who believe in predestination. Of course, only Jessica has the empathy to wonder if the women have all died or not. As a slight aside, on p. 85 we get a linguistic exploration of the concept of “beyond the zero” by Mexico that I really loved:
Odd, odd, odd - think of the word: such white finality in its closing clap of the tongue. It implies moving past the tongue-stop - beyond the zero - and into the other realm. Of course, you don’t move past. But you do realize, intellectually, that’s how you ought to be moving.
The play on “ought” as the extension of “odd” beyond the zero is delightful. Here we also see “white” (remember our many examples of opposition?) being tied to finality. No death-rebirth cycle here. We are then witness to a discussion between Pointsman and Mexico where the opposition of their personalities comes into sharp relief. Pointsman seeks binary cause/effect, Mexico seeks alternative between the 1 and the 0 - he proposes to “strike off at some other angle.” That scares Pointsman - it undermines not just his science but his fundamental worldview. His is one of predestination. This also ties into the broader idea of how everyone’s actions and beliefs are consistently shaped by their (often unconscious) fundamental view of the nature of reality and how the world works. Thus, every character’s actions reflect not just their personalities, but distinct assumptions about the nature of causality, of human behavior, of society, of life and death. Misc. notes: The abbey near the White Visitation is described as a ruin on a cliff (p. 86) - it brings to mind the Tower from the Tarot and the related imagery of the Castle Perilous (both referenced in The Waste Land). On p. 90-91 - I’m not positive, but this jumped out to me as an allusion to the play Waiting for Godot. The phrasing and pace of the segment starting “Why do you need me” and ending on the next page with “Help me” sounds very similar to an early scene in Godot, and the works share the themes of purposelessness, meaningless, invisible control, and the question of salvation. Section 14 YouTube Recording by u/BodinethePig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6RFKZPX8rQ Back to the mansion of the opening scene’s banana breakfast. An anonymous cameraman (is it us, the reader?) lends an element of voyeurism, as Katje models for the camera - but why? Meanwhile, Osbie Feel is busy making psychedelic cigarettes from mushrooms grown on the roof. Pynchon notes Katje’s dress, and I suspect the focus on the name used for that particular cocoa shade is a subtle example of England’s casual racism and colonial past. A derogatory term repurposed for a product. A view of Osbie’s oven triggers a flashback for Katje, to her time as a double-agent reporting to Pirate on the rocket battery Schußstelle 3, under the command of the sadistic Captain Blicero. We first heard of him back during the seance. His true name is Weissmann (literally white man), and his code name, Blicero, is the Teutonic name for death. I mentioned the theme of opposition at the beginning of this increasingly-lengthy post, and Blicero is emblematic of one pole - literally white, male, colonizing death. But his teeth reveal hidden decay behind the white exterior. If Blicero is the personification of white Euro-American colonial culture, Pynchon’s saying there’s rot there, and it ain’t pretty. Here’s where S&M comes into the narrative, in a darkly graphic way. Pynchon is fully willing to make the reader uncomfortable by confronting the parts of life that we normally avoid talking about or acknowledging, including those on the fringe. On top of that, we get the image of Der Kinderofen, echoing both Grimm’s fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel as well as the ovens of the concentration camps. The house that Blicero, Katje, and Gottfried inhabit is a microcosm of colonialism and/or modern society. It’s literally referred to as “their Little State.” If that’s the case, Katje and Gottfried represent two responses to such a scenario: Katje decides that quitting the game is only way out, whereas Gottfried waits for salvation. Gottfried is confident he’s part of the Elect, but Katje isn’t so sure, and takes matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, the oven looms in the background - both the base of the State, and its ultimate destruction (p. 99). Is Pynchon implying that the modern state is fundamentally self-destructive? It would seem so. We also get our first look at the other end of the arc: the rockets being fired. Interestingly, we realize they’re not as all-powerful and precise as they first appear. Deadly, sure, but many are exploding right after launch, even on the launchpad, killing the operators. The flashback to Blicero’s history in colonial Africa introduces us to the Herero people, including Blicero’s lover, Enzian. Enzian represents an entirely different worldview from Blicero - a non-European, non-binary, non-Christian perspective. One of his gods, Ndjambi Karunga, represents the merging of the opposing forces that are so disconnected in the European’s worldview. Back to the house, and we get more insight into Gottfried’s character. He’s clearly a passive participant, submissive, willing to do as he’s told. “If you cannot sing Siegfried at least you can carry a spear.” (p. 103). He accepts the suffering he endures as part of the system, a normal stage in life before moving on to some career of his own, some form of autonomy. But he doesn’t see any action required on his part to make this happen. After all, “He knows, like everyone, that captive children are always freed in the moment of maximum danger.” (p. 103). That’s the faith of one convinced he’s part of the Elect. Here we see one of the most well-known quotes from the book - “Don’t forget the real business of the War is buying and selling…. The true war is a celebration of markets.” (p. 105). In the interest of brevity, I’ll leave it to y’all to delve more into this critical section, but at least on the surface, it gives one of Pynchon’s more direct statements on the nature of war, its function, and its objectification of human life. We also get a fascinating aside on Katje’s ancestor committing avian genocide against the dodoes, that most unfortunate of birds. Yet again, we’re examining the conflict of Preterite vs Elect, and how the fantasy of salvation is is a way to pacify those who are doomed in their current lives. If not that, then all is chance and the dodoes are “only our prey. God could not be that cruel.” (p. 111). But couldn’t he? The evidence doesn’t appear in god’s favor, does it? Last but not least, we see Katje’s film being put to use to condition good ol’ octopus Grigori. But again, to what end? Section 15 YouTube Recording (by yours truly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPgiptRr-W0 Mrs. Quoad! One of the funniest scenes in the book, and one of my favorites. It showcases both Pynchon’s visceral descriptive abilities as well as the insanity of prewar British candy. Before the Disgusting English Candy Drill, we see Slothrop’s exit from a controlled, laboratory setting and instead being released “into the wild” for observation. He is moving toward Pointsman’s Rorschach-esque experiment, the nature of which is as-yet unknown, but which occupies much of Book 2. This also marks the beginning of Slothrop’s (fully justified) paranoia. In the words of my father, “it’s not paranoia if they’re actually watching you.” Slothrop senses he’s being followed, observed, and starts to get a bit jumpy. Wouldn’t you? My analysis is already far too long, so I’m grateful for this mercifully short and simple section. I think we all needed some levity after Blicero, no? Something tells me Pynchon was thinking the same thing in granting the reader this reprieve. Section 16 YouTube Recording by u/DanteNathanael: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NapZnTK3TRU In this section, we see more of Roger and Jessica’s history together, and the contrast between his more fearful, negative recognition of the System in which they live, and Jessica’s more carefree willingness to focus on the moments of joy she can find. But even nihilistic Roger finds some beauty on this Christmas eve walk. An aside: the line, “who are all these people…. Freaks! Freeeeaks!” absolutely cracks me up. The rest of this section alludes heavily to another poem by our friend T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi. It’s fairly short and accessible, and a truly beautiful work. It’s told from the point of view of one of the magi, looking back on his journey:
All this was a long time ago, I remember, / And I would do it again, but set down / This set down / This: were we led all that way for / Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly / We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, / But had thought they were different; this Birth was / Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We get glimpses into how the War has worn down the population, drained them, recycled even the most mundane objects (e.g. toothpaste tubes) into material for the war. But we also see a reversal of this, with Spam tins recycled into toys for children. An echo of the death/rebirth cycle we previously saw with the king and the land, and in the poem above. A glimmer of hope? Pynchon discusses how the War relies on the illusion of unity but in fact is founded on disunity, on division. Society and the System depend on broad perception of rational, ordered, mechanistic system. Surrealism, the removal of this illusion of borders, en masse is societal suicide. But also an inextricable part of it. As with the microcosm of Blicero’s oven, the end is baked into the origin. The ordered reality of the System is a facade - even time’s sped up thanks to the War. In fact, Roger’s first moment of optimism, of faith, comes after the choir’s act of “minor surrealism” - the removal of artificial boundaries between race, culture, language (p. 129). The War destroys the death/rebirth cycle: its death is a finality, with just a gold start as a consolation prize for the dead who lay buried under the snow in a bomb crater, and humans subdivided to the point of being individually numbered. But for a second, for just a second on Christmas eve, people can forget that - even Roger, who enters the ultraparadoxical phase when sound of the choir overcomes his knee-jerk nihilism and actually brings him back around to hope, if just for that night. Questions
What are your thoughts on Professor Jampf’s experiment on poor Infant Tyrone? What might be variable “x”? Does that even matter?
Is Slothrop “sensing” the rockets before they are launched? Are the rockets somehow drawn to the locations of his sexual forays? Is he reading the minds of the rocket operators? Or worse, and most terrifyingly, is it all somehow coincidence?
What was your initial reaction to the section with Blicero, Katje, and Gottfried? Did your perspective change after you finished the entire section?
Why didn’t Katja give up location of Schußstelle 3?
How does “the Change” that Blicero is fixated on play into our larger themes? There’s an allusion here to both Ovid’s Metamorphoses and several Romantic poets. How would you define Blicero’s desires?
The Mrs. Quoad scene seems to largely be a light aside to break up some pretty heavy material. But is there anything more to it? Any other insights to be pulled from the candy jar?
Well, if you made it all the way to the end of this, thank you. I think I put more energy into this than several college essays I turned in, but it was a lot of fun, and I’m blown away by how much I gained from this exercise. I’m excited to see what insights you have! Addendum: great discussion so far! Thanks for the excellent insights and observations!
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