When people recommended the young adult novel Elatsoe to me, it was never as a quirky take on a fantasy world. That’s what it is, though: a modern America with spirit summoners, vicious vampires, and fairy children as its typical citizens. Magic is a known factor that makes travel convenient, complicates crime scenes, causes fantastical global warming.
Rather, the book was introduced to me as a story about grief, healing, and ghosts that features a Native lead. This is also a true statement about what Elatsoe is. What interests me about the discrepancy is how people don’t see a need to mention the setting, bizarre though it may be. Seemingly nobody is saying, “Brace yourselves, because this story has kind of an unusual world…”
That must be because the setting’s not so weird after all. Not since approximately 2005.
Recently—and with a whirlwind passion—I have gotten interested in solo RPGs. Not video games, but tabletop, pen-and-paper, cards-and-dice affairs. Most of what I’ve done is itch.io browsing and theorizing about what mechanics I’d like to put in my own games.
Until now: yesterday I did my first run of Four Against Darkness (and today I will do another). In the niche world of solo games, this one is quite popular, with multitudes of players and expansions.
When I opened this book, I had a strong feeling that I’d already seen the best this series has to offer. But I was wrong, because this book contains what I believe to be the best joke in the entire series.
This book is the first (and therefore only) one in the series where the characters are allowed to curse. The character who throws the first (and only) “bitch”: none other than Mrs. Weasley.
I didn’t want to grade papers, so I made a game for myself.
I know, I’m the teacher, the role model, the honorary adult as it were, but, to
be fair, this is my first time playing this sort of make-believe. So I wasn’t always this immature.