Tag Archives: Interview

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Interview: Platypus Con 2017 – Comparative Opinions Episode 29

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, David interviewed Josh of Platypus-Con! They talk starting a gaming con, collecting a game library, and talk some details about this year’s convention. Thinking of starting a con? Give this one a listen! Considering going this year? Give this one a listen! Find out more and buy tickets at platypusgaming.org.

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

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Interview: Platypus Con 2016!

Platypus Gaming logo by Pat Race

The new Platypus Gaming logo (by Pat Race: http://alaskarobotics.com/)

While we haven’t been able to do as much this year with Platypus Con as we did last year (just going to throw the Geek Baby under the bus here and blame her…), we’re still excited for the convention – and it’s this coming weekend! The busy event organizer took a few minutes and answered some questions about the Con, now in its second year.

You can find more about Platypus Con on their site, Platypus Gaming, and you can buy tickets here.

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Interview of Luther Siler: Author, Teacher, Geek

Our blogging friend Luther Siler of infinitefreetime.com has a book that came out this week, Searching for Malumba. It’s about Education, a topic we’re passionate about. Links below to get you to the book and many other writings by Luther!

CG: Hi Luther, you’re a new name here on Comparative Geeks. How about a quick bio for those new to you. You know… Kind of a station identification, if you will.
L: I’m a teacher and independent author who has spent most of my life bouncing around between Indiana and Chicago.  I’m married to a lovely and patient woman and have a four-year-old son.  I spend most of my time online at my blog,www.infinitefreetime.com, and on Twitter at @nfinitefreetime.  I have at least three books out right now depending on when you run this interview, since the fourth, a book about teaching called SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA: WHY TEACHING IS TERRIBLE… AND WHY WE DO IT ANYWAY comes out on October 27th.
One of these days, I hope to own an ocelot.
Snowpiercer CoverCG: So one of the most interesting posts I’ve read on infinitefreetime.com is your Snowpiercer review… A movie you did not like. You made me go back and read my own review… And how I talked about it being such a departure from the comic. Hmmm, not really a question there… tell me a blog post that you really liked!
L: Aaugh, that Snowpiercer review.  It’s the #1 Google result if you search for “Snowpiercer stupid.”  A bit of perspective: my site right now has just under 200,000 pageviews over its entire lifetime.  The Snowpiercer review is responsible for sixteen thousand of them.  My wife keeps telling me I should watch the movie again, liveblog why it’s stupid minute by minute, and then put the entire thing on Amazon for $2.99.  It would outsell all of my other books by a ridiculous margin, I think.
As far as a blog post I really liked?  Hmm.  There is a story of attempting to be a good parent called MOAR BUTTZ that I think is pretty good.  My wife nearly laughed herself into a heart attack the first time she read it.  It’s here.
CG: OH. MY. GOD. Everyone should follow that link.
It sounds like you’ve turned some of your blogging and other non-fiction writing into Searching for Malumba. Tell us a little about what that process has been like.
Searching for MalumbaL: I’ve known the title of my book about teaching was going to be called SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA (available here, in print and digitally!) for almost as long as I’ve had a teaching career, and I started in 2000.  Most of the material in the book has been previously published somewhere, but the majority of it isn’t available any longer and you would have to have been reading me for a really, really long time, I think, to feel like you weren’t getting your money’s worth. It’s basically a Best of Luther Siler on Teaching; if you read my blog and you’ve enjoyed my talking about my job, I think you’ll like MALUMBA quite a lot.
The process itself involved learning to work with a new program– this was my first book written in Scrivener– and an awful lot of reading and thinking about my career.  I’m so ADORABLE in those early essays.  I almost left them out, but every teacher is adorable during their first year or two.
CG: I haven’t spent too much time with it, but I do really like the IDEA of Scrivener.
Malumba is about education, and so I have to ask, a topic we’ve hit on a few times here on the blog… what do you think is the Purpose of Education?
L: That’s a difficult question for me to answer, honestly; it’s like asking what the purpose of light or air or gravity is: I dunno that it has a purpose, per se, but I know I can’t live without it.  I’m one of those people who is almost never satisfied with how much I know about anything, and one of my lifelong difficulties with my job is a serious inability to connect with kids who don’t want to know things.  I don’t care what it is.  I want to know more about it than I do now.  Education is the background radiation of my entire life.
CG: I now have a burning desire to write a series of posts about the Purpose of Air/Gravity.
Of course, education isn’t the only thing you blog about… read any good comics lately?
L: Man, I’ve read almost nothing BUT good comics lately.  The Iron Man relaunch is really promising.  Gail Simone’s CLEAN ROOM just started and it’s great.  DOCTOR STRANGE.  THOR.  KARNAK.  MS. MARVEL. SAGA.  COPPERHEAD.  All of the comics– yes, ALL of them– in the recent STAR WARS relaunch have been great.  So long as you don’t touch DC, we’re in the midst of quite a renaissance right now.  There’s more good stuff out there than I can read.
(There have been times where I’ve been quite the DC fan.  Right now nothing they’re doing appeals to me.  I keep trying, though.)
CG: Yeah, I had almost gotten into the New 52 when they ended it.
Comics related question: if you could have any one superpower, what would it be?
I’d go for one of the super-scientists, Tony Stark or Batman or Reed Richards or Hank Pym without the domestic violence.  The ability to make stuff to solve whatever other superpower needs I happen to have seems promising.
CG: So basically, you want to be Forge. Sounds good!
When you’re not writing non-fiction, I hear you write fiction. I think it’s my Amazon account telling me that, since I’ve picked up a couple of your books (as yet unread, sorry…). You’ve got short stories and novels both – which do you find easier to write?
The Benevolence ArchivesL: Short stories are easier, but novels are a lot more fun.  My BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES series is a novella with six short stories and a full-length novel, and the next project in that series will be another (novel-length) short story collection.  My other series, which is going to be called THE JOHANNES CYCLE as soon as the second book is out, is full-length novels, the first of which is called SKYLIGHTS.  That said, what I’m working on this week is two short stories.  So what the heck do I know?  🙂
CG: I hear you know something about promoting Mars exploration stories around the time Mars exploration movies come out…
You have self-published your work. Any advice for others looking at self-publishing – or finding a publisher?
L: I have an article here I keep pointing people toward, about how to publish your book.
My problem in life is that I have very little patience, and my computer skills are versatile enough that I’m not especially terrified by any of the technical demands that come with self-publishing.  Since I have no patience, the thought of slaving over query letters so that I can wait six months to be told no and then start all over again is not something I’m super interested in.  As of this precise second, my books have been downloaded or purchased 2,244 times since May of 2014.  There are writers who are not that successful and there are writers who are ENORMOUSLY more successful than that.  But not a single one of those books would be out there had I not decided to self-publish.  Sooner or later, someone with some pull will read something I’ve written, and if it’s good enough, that’s the day my life is gonna change.  I’m just gonna keep hustling until that happens rather than waiting to get lucky in a slush pile somewhere.
As far as advice?  Write every day.  And if you decide to write a book, start writing it and DO NOT STOP until it is good.  That’s how you write a book: you start, and you don’t stop until it’s good.  It sounds snide, but it’s as close to the truth as I’ve been able to get.
SkylightsCG: You have to choose, favorite thing you’ve published. Go!
L: It’s actually not that hard of a choice:  SKYLIGHTS, the first book of the Johannes cycle.  SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA is really close, though.  I love THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES a lot, but it’s not as personal as either of the other books.
CG: And finally, have I talked you into reading the Snowpiercer comic yet?…
L: I’ll try anything once.
CG: How about Hickman’s Avengers?
L: One of these days, man, I’m gonna have some extra money in my pocket at the comic shop and come home with a ton of Hickman trade paperbacks.  (Sidenote: I just bought the TPB of Warren Ellis’ INJECTION, a series I’d bought on inertia without any real idea what was going on, and it was SO MUCH BETTER in trade form.)  For my money, the best Avengers story ever told was the “Under Siege” arc Roger Stern wrote, in issues 270-276.
Thanks so much for the interview, David and Holly!  I really appreciate it!

And thanks to Luther for the interview! Hopefully you’re not even here reading this now… you’re off perusing Luther’s books and blog – or maybe some of his stuff on Sourcerer! In closing: #LutherForHugos!

Interview of Natacha Guyot: Author, Star Wars fan, and Comparative Geek!

Our blogging friend and Comparative Geeks contributor Natacha Guyot, of Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom, has a book coming out this week! It’s about Star Wars, something she has blogged here about before.

The book is called A Galaxy of Possibilities, and it’s out on September 9th. Details below on how to get it! But with that all coming together, we thought it would be fun to interview her about the book and about Star Wars. With that, I hope you enjoy!

CG: So let’s start with the easiest and hardest question: why Star Wars?

N: I have been a Star Wars fan since I was a child. I grew up with the Original Trilogy, the Expanded Universe books and video games and loved the Prequels when I was in my teens. Star Wars has been important in my decision to get into professional cinema school and then go to university for Media Studies. There is so much I love about Star Wars, the story, the characters, the themes. There is a richness that allows for rewatch, reread and so many things to research, even almost 40 years after A New Hope’s release.

Galaxy - Revised CoverCG: This isn’t the first edition of A Galaxy of Possibilities, but a revised edition. What brought you back to the text to add more?

N: The first edition came together rather organically but I still had the impression I could develop a bit more. It was when I began thinking about a print edition that I realized I could truly add bonus chapters. The original edition was a bit short was a good print version. In the end, I revised everything besides writing two new pieces. I think that the new edition makes for a more meaningful essay collection in regards to the themes I develop in it: representation and storytelling.

CG: What got you writing about Star Wars in the first place?

N: Several of my first times in writing had to do with Star Wars, included my first published piece, nonfiction about Christian symbols in the movies (shortly after The Phantom Menace release if I recall correctly). Many of my research papers in higher education involved Star Wars one way or the other. Continuing to work on this fictional universe is natural as I grow as an author. I had several pieces about Star Wars that eventually gave birth to the idea of A Galaxy of Possibilities and from there; I wrote more chapters and organized them.

CG: If you could live in any Star Wars era, which would it be and why?

N: This is a tough question! Can I travel in time to visit several of them?! It is a tie between the Old Republic and post Return of the Jedi eras. I’d rather avoid war times, so I could travel more without being in danger. I think I’d need a few lifetimes just to see all the planets and people I’d love to meet.

CG: We are pro-Time Travel at Comparative Geeks, so that answer works!
Star Wars has a new studio at the helm in Disney. What are you hoping they bring to the universe? What are you afraid that they bring to the universe?

N: I’m not really afraid of what could happen. Even if they produce books, movies or TV shows I don’t like, I will just pretend they don’t exist. I did this before with every story that took place after the end of the New Jedi Order series. In such large media franchises, it is rare to like everything. I am also in what seems the minority who loves the Prequels!

As for what I’d hope to see, I would like to see TV shows and/or movies taking place in the MMORPG, The Old Republic times, with some of the game’s characters. This would be a treat!

CG: One of the big things that happened with the Disney purchase was the end of LucasArts. How do you feel about the future of Star Wars video games?

N: I have played a fair number of the Star Wars video games, though mostly the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series and the KOTOR ones. I hope to see more Bioware/EA games for the franchise. Right now, I am looking forward the third expansion of SWTOR. As long as it is RPG games, I may be likely to play them.

CG: I have to admit, I learned the word Transmedia from you and your blog. Tell us about your interest in it!

N: I like that Transmedia has a more inclusive ring to it than its predecessor Multi Media has. With how stories can be shared on so many platforms, it adds to their “mythical” aspect in how they touch so many people and can last in their minds.

I got acquainted with the notion after high school, when I studied more about media franchises, and it happens that several universes I love fall into this Transmedia category. I have worked on franchises, especially Science Fiction, for the past ten years. This is how Transmedia started to be included in my nonfiction writing.

CG: This isn’t your first book about Star Wars. What else have you written?

N: I wrote an eBook about Star Wars: The Old Republic and how female characters were portrayed in the MMORPG. Back then, only the original game had been released, but I hope to write about the game again within the next couple of years, now that several expansions have been released. My second year’s paper research (from my first MA) was also published (in French). It looked at Star Wars’s multicultural influences and how it turned it into a “cult” universe.

The next Star Wars book project I have is one about the Prequels and why they matter. After seeing so much hate for them, I feel the need to show that they have qualities and that they shouldn’t be put under a rug.

CG: Alright, so the revised edition of A Galaxy of Possibilities is out on September 9, 2015. Where can people get their (digital) hands on it?

You can find the New Revised Edition on all Amazon websites, including Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia. You can also check the book’s Goodreads page. I hope you enjoy reading it! The print version will be available through several retailers within the next months as well. So stay tuned, if you’d like to hold the book in your non-digital hands.

Thank you very much for this interview, David and Holly!

Thanks to Natacha for the interview! Check out this book or her others, her blog, what have you! Find her on Twitter @natachaguyot!