Games of the New World

Author’s Note:

Hi everyone, a few things to talk about.

First off, I’m going on vacation this weekend, so this Sunday’s update is going up now.  Next Wednesday’s should be up at the usual time.

Second, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the person who has been commenting on my earlier updates, pointing out spelling mistakes and the like.  That is really helpful to me, as it lets me go back and fix them.  Cannot thank you enough.

Lastly, my usual begging.  If you like TFD please use the button on the top of the page to vote for it on TopWebFiction.  If I get 4+ a link appears on TopWebFiction, which usually brings some people by to check the story out.  Big thanks to anyone who votes for my story.


You can tell a lot about a culture by the way that its games are structured.  Games are what we wish the young to learn.  They are the only avenue that most citizens have to unambiguously lose at anything in their day to day life.  They are vital.

Your job is what you have to do.  Your games are what you choose to do.  It is arguable which is the more important, but games are pretty clearly more revealing.

The old world’s games were staid things, reflecting the settled worldview of a more civilized age.

Go is a good example.  Every stone as powerful as every other.  Victory determined by the space that they surrounded.

Chess is another.  There are more powerful pieces here, sure, but they are ultimately yolked to the cause of the comparatively feeble King.  This reflected a world with mighty tanks and far striking planes, all subordinate to the wills of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and other feeble humans.

The modern era’s games are more..exacting. Most of them have a time limit, measured not in terms, but in minutes.  Nearly every one of them incorporates a mechanic that mimics the Process, removing large numbers of weak pieces to generate a few stronger ones.

Another commonality concerns the ‘identity’ of the factions.  As opposed to older games, where one took the side of ‘white’ or ‘black’, modern games tend to identify players with particular pieces.  The most powerful piece on a given side tends to be the one whose fortunes are tied to the gamer’s performance.  These lead pieces can betray their sides in games with more than two opponents. They can be assassinated to bring about a swift defeat.

The fundamental conflict of our times, these games understand, is not between the Regime and the Pantheon, but between Prevailer and Zeus.  The victor will not be a nation or any other imaginary concept, but a person.

If the games of old are ever to return, it would have to be because something happened that called this wisdom into question.  The titans which bestride the world would need to be toppled, not by their equals, but by those that they consider vermin, those they grind underfoot.

This seems unlikely, but one must always remember that the ancients, too, thought that they’d seen the final shape of the world.

7 thoughts on “Games of the New World

  1. Hmmm well you definitely get the vote. Unsong and Twig can do just fine without, and this definitely deserves more readers.

  2. I follow you, but haven’t yet voted for you. I see interesting things in your writing, but I hesitate to “recommend”.
    I am very interested to find out how the process works. I think you have brought a unique way of explaining the introduction of powers, and I want to know more. Haunter’s power is genius.
    I really dig her character. As far as I am concerned, the whole thing could (should?) be her POV. I also like very much how you describe physical transference of power (that the being has to touch the object, but not through extensions). Cool! So now, a few criticisms that I hope you can take with a grain of salt; you are doing hard work, and you should stick to it!

    I know you are too far in to change format, but switching first person POV’s is difficult to read, especially when it is so chopped up by world building entries. Perhaps a slight tweaking of the format (world building as a chapter end?) would help. Also, some of your cliff hangers leave me annoyed, not interested. For example, in your last chapter on Preventer: I would either like better foreshadowing of what she is thinking, or I would like you to write about what she is suggesting that preventer do for an ending. That way it sticks in my mind, and I want to come back and find out how things unfold, rather than feeling annoyed (to be fair, I can only articulate this due to a Writing Excuses podcast I heard a while ago).
    Finally, I think the overly-sexualized parts of the serial are disgusting. I would prefer not to read about those things.

    Keep working hard, writing is hard!

  3. Thanks for the comment, friend! I always appreciate feedback.

    As far as POV goes, I originally tried to write the whole thing from Haunter’s POV, but I ultimately needed to use the perspective of inhabitants of the new world to get across the enormity of what she is struggling against. It was definitely a narrow decision though.

  4. I’m just commenting to say I agree with Josh on most counts. However, I think changing the POV isn’t bad in itself. The problem is the fact that changng the POV often interrupts the course of the action, as if it were an entirely different thing. POV changes serve as excuse to cut to a later time in the future, leaving much still unsaid. It only tends to create uninteresting cliffhangers that actually feel a little annoying. You often use the POV not to reveal new views from different characters, but to hide information from the reader.

    For example, Hook’s POV doesn’t tell us anything really interesting we couldn’t know about from Haunter’s observations of their actions. Indulger is utterly predictive (although his POV assures us that it’s not a façade). Comdemner is not very interesting too, and very predictable. Nirav’s POV does help us in determining who is in charge at a rtain moment, but that probably makes the story different, not better. Preventer is a different case. Her proximity to tne inner circle of the Regime is important, but her deceptions would be more interesting from the outside, probably.

    Prevailer’s POV is invaluable and very interesting for obvious reasons. It’s the only thing that kinda portrays her as a mature adult, instead of the child-god other think she is.

    Again, multiple POVs can work great, but the problem here is that they conceal rather than reveal (from the reader).

    1. Thanks again for the feedback Nim!

      You got me cold when you point out that I often hide info with POV shifts. I’m trying to rely less on cliffhangers as the story goes on, but I still go to the well of “leaving someone on the verge of making a choice, then swapping over to someone else” a little too often.

      As far as the POV’s go, some are definitely more equal than others. It has certainly been a learning experience.

      1. If I may, I’d like to suggest a concrete improvement for the future: just tell us everything the character’s discovered when she discovers it. At least among the Fist (it might be risky to do it wiyh Prevailer). None of the cliffhangers are essential to the story, and none of them made me want to keep reading (quite the opposite at some times :p).

        For example, the identity of the Linker should have been revealed when the Hook discovers. Hiding it made it look like a puzzle we could solve, and I spent more time than I should trying to figure it out. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible as it comes out of the blue :p

        The story is interesting enough not to need any tricks to make us keep reading it

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