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> New Novel Available: Shaken (No Job Too Small), Read stuff!
Critias
post Jul 17 2015, 05:37 PM
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Hey guys, just wanted to let folks know that my new Kincaid novel, follow-up to the e-novella Neat, is out now. The first in a planned trilogy, Shaken (No Job Too Small) is available as an e-book at DTRPG or Amazon, and physical copies should be available through your local Barnes and Noble or FLGS, with an e-book/dead-tree bundle available from BattleShop. So far reviews've been pretty positive, starting with a nice one from Diehard Game Fan; it's hard not to love it when your first novel's first review ends with
QUOTE
Shaken: No Job Too Small is a reminder of the glory days of Shadowrun novels that we had back in the 90s. With two terrific books that are amongst the best gaming fiction released this year, this is shaping up to be the best time to read about Shadowrun in two decades. Let us hope CGL and their writers can keep the streak alive. Go buy this.


Hopefully the trend will keep up and new readers will like it just as much!

I hope folks enjoy it, and as always, feedback, questions, comments, (and reviews in particular!) are appreciated.
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bannockburn
post Jul 17 2015, 08:09 PM
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Thanks for the heads up.
I liked Neat a lot and I'll soon read it, once I'm done with all my Discworld novels. (18 to go (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) )
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Sengir
post Jul 22 2015, 10:52 AM
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I don't really give Diehard GF any credibility... All the more reason to read it myself (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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hermit
post Aug 14 2015, 08:33 PM
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Wow, this. This is what a shadowrun novel should be like.

Shaken tells a story in the life of PI/vigilante/runner Jimmy Kinkaid, a near-burnout street mage with an attitude, the mentor to match, and the hots for his ally spirit. This alone all but guarantees I like this book. But it's narrated interestingly, the protagonist is appropriately biased, the book does give him is share of sucker-punches - and I really like the narrative flow, even if it may seem a little slow to some. It's not Michael Bay, it's Fargo. It's a voyage through the decrepit, broken world of Jimmy Kinkaid and damn, it's a nice ride.

The best part about this novel - and I'm saying this on top of excellent immersion, well-written characters, and similar world-building - is the fact it is very Noir, very hard-boiled, without neglecting typical tropes and elements of cyberpunk in general and Shadowrun in particular. Jimmy Kincaid is the archetypical Noir protagonist - an anti-hero, a broken, damaged man, struggling as best as he can to stem both the darkness of the world around and the darkness within himself. It also has a detective story, well-executed twists and turns, and a well fleshed out world that is a protagonist in itself (I'm such a sucker for off-hand brand drops), it has an unreachable femme fatale (with a twist that, haha, resonates fandom jokes, too, without being obnoxious about it - a feat to pull off in itself), well-scaled action scenes and a resolution that, while satisfying for the reader, may not entirely be for the protagonist. Classic.

Now, I've always felt Cyberpunk was more Noir in the digital age than Science Fiction. In Cyberpunk, for all that technology and exotic-hypermodern surface gloss, the heart of the story is deeply human - it's about alienation, about handling the invasion of life by technology, about losing one's self by replacing oneself with technology. It's made of tales of the human condition, much more in the tradition of American Gothic (which largely shares Cyberpunk's neophobia) and Romantic literature than classic Science Fiction with it's libertarian, modernist technophilia that sees technology as the salvation of mankind (Transhumanism would fit the same technological niche Cyberpunk occupies with a more traditional Science Fiction narrative). With its heavily Noir attitude, using most, if not all, classic tropes, and its adherence to classic Noir tales, Shaken (no Job too small) is all I could have asked from a Shadowrun novel, and much more - it could (and would deserve to) stand on its own as a work in Cyberpunk, rather than be considered 'just' a francise book. It's made of the best the world of Shadowrun has to offer, in a way that hasn't been around since Findley (in the same way Harebrained Schemes' writing does when at the top of their game). I imagine Dirk Montgomery's buddy from the Friends of Film Noir madly applauding and cheering this book.

Please, more novels like this.
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Critias
post Aug 14 2015, 09:10 PM
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Well. That's about as solid and generous a review as a fella could hope for. I'm glad you picked up the things I put down.

Thanks, Hermit. I mean it. I'd appreciate a similar sentiment being posted to Amazon, DTRPG, or where ever else you bought it from, if it's not too much to ask. Every little bit helps guarantee they'll keep lettin' me do this, y'know?
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hermit
post Aug 14 2015, 09:17 PM
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On it. But I'll have to vary it a bit, since it's not on a fan forum. Bought it on Barnes&Noble and DTRPG, but will see if Amazon lets me rate it anyway.
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Critias
post Aug 14 2015, 09:20 PM
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It's appreciated, man. Like I said, every review I can point to is helpful, when it comes time to pitch new stuff, or even -- someday -- talk contracts/payment a little more seriously, and stuff like that, to say nothing of the effect positive reviews have on sales in the shorter term.

They help in those ways, but it's also just kick-ass to see that folks appreciate the work and energy I put into this puppy. So, yeah. Just...thanks, man.
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Bearclaw
post Aug 14 2015, 09:52 PM
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I just read Shaken this weekend. Best SR book I've read in a long time. Even better than a lot of the "classics".
I didn't have to forgive a lack of understanding of the game, or the world, or just bad writing. I could relax and soak in Puyalup.
I will definitely recommend both Kincaid stories to my friends.
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hermit
post Aug 14 2015, 10:12 PM
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What kind of daemonic creature designed Barnes&Noble's page. No, I am NOT a guest, you can see that in how I am LOGGED IN with my new account! Stupid page. Grrr to you.

Anyway, reviews on DTRPG and Amazon (Amazon says it wants to review my review, though).

Oh, and mad props for Gentry, Panther Modern Matrix Wizard. Forgot that in my review.
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Critias
post Aug 15 2015, 02:29 AM
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QUOTE (Bearclaw @ Aug 14 2015, 03:52 PM) *
I just read Shaken this weekend. Best SR book I've read in a long time. Even better than a lot of the "classics".
I didn't have to forgive a lack of understanding of the game, or the world, or just bad writing. I could relax and soak in Puyalup.
I will definitely recommend both Kincaid stories to my friends.

Awesome, Bear, I'm glad you enjoyed it (and thanks for the recommendations). "Lack of understanding of the game, or the world," is never a problem for me, I like to think. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

QUOTE (hermit @ Aug 14 2015, 04:12 PM) *
What kind of daemonic creature designed Barnes&Noble's page. No, I am NOT a guest, you can see that in how I am LOGGED IN with my new account! Stupid page. Grrr to you.

I really don't know what happened at B&N, especially where this book is concerned. Neither I nor my kick-ass editor know where they even GOT the sell sheet they had posted, or why they don't have the artwork posted, or...anything. It's weird. I really don't know what's going on with them.

QUOTE
Anyway, reviews on DTRPG and Amazon (Amazon says it wants to review my review, though).

Fantastic, man. It's greatly appreciated (especially since I know you were planning to edit/rewrite part of it, making it double the work).

QUOTE
Oh, and mad props for Gentry, Panther Modern Matrix Wizard. Forgot that in my review.

I thought the two -- a cheerful but low-Charisma elf wannabe, and a high-Charisma (but gruff) elf who couldn't care less -- would be fun to write, and I needed a hacker, and it just fell into place. I think it worked pretty well, and added some levity (which parts of the book certainly needed), too. The SR5 core crew will be showing up in a few more places (and all of 'em, not just Gentry), too, so I'm glad folks have been enjoying the guest appearances.
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JesterZero
post Aug 15 2015, 10:34 PM
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I've gushed about Neat in the past; glad to hear that lightning has struck twice.

I'll necro-post my review when I get a chance to read it; I've been trying to work through the SR5 novels in publication order, but it sounds like Hermit is making a really strong case for just sending this one to the head of the line.
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Warchild
post Aug 16 2015, 01:36 AM
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All very good reads but Shaken is the best to date IMHO as well. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sarcastic.gif)
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Vegetaman
post Aug 16 2015, 06:50 AM
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Whoa, I need to get on dumpshock more. I really enjoyed Neat, so adding this to the list for my next round of book buying. Hope to snag a physical copy of this one.
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hermit
post Aug 16 2015, 10:00 AM
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They're on sale at Barnes&Noble's online store.
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Serbitar
post Aug 28 2015, 07:40 PM
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Nice writing style and good references to to shadowrun world and gear.
But some glaring power level issues and plot holes. Too much style over substance for my taste.
Will recommend it to my friends, though, as some are more style over substance and less critical as I am and the writing style is good (although sometimes too repetitive).
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Critias
post Aug 30 2015, 07:52 PM
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I'm not sure how to get more detail or address your concerns in the thread (if that's even what you'd like me to do) without spoiling stuff, Serbitar, but if you'd like to shoot me a PM, I'd be glad to discuss it with you more, or explain a few of the choices I made.
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adamu
post Sep 7 2015, 01:31 PM
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Read about a zillion SR novels back in the day, but there was, to my mind, a sharp drop off in quality about 15 years ago and I hadn't read one since.

But saw this in my FLGS, and the back said it was about Puyallup, where my character's been spending a lot of time lately, so picked it up hoping for a better feel of the place.

Loved this book. Loved the style. Loved the main character. Loved what I bought it for - a thoughtful treatment of northern Puyallup.

Thanks!
I really felt like Shadowrun had stopped being authentically dirty/sweaty/gritty quite a while ago, but that was resurrected with this book.
That might be just my personal preference, but this was indeed my cup of tea, and will recommend to friends.

I have sort of limited patience for reading prose on the screen, but am going to check out the story about Rook I found over on Shadowgrid next.

Will buy more from this author.

Is there a way to find out what parts of what (if any) upcoming rulebooks he is writing?
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Jaid
post Sep 7 2015, 06:22 PM
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QUOTE (adamu @ Sep 7 2015, 09:31 AM) *
Is there a way to find out what parts of what (if any) upcoming rulebooks he is writing?


depends. afaict, they generally don't talk about it in advance. speculatively, this may be due to a NDA that they almost definitely have to sign. not sure whether the NDA would mean they can't talk about what book they're writing (i've never signed a CGL NDA, nor seen one), so i don't really know that.

after the fact, many authors are fairly open about which parts of which books they wrote... though not necessarily before letting people comment on them a bit, possibly in an effort to get neutral feedback, though that is entirely speculation.

in any event, the most sure-fire way is likely to be asking the author directly. you may not be able to get anything from them (as mentioned above, they may have signed an NDA, and whether it covers the specific situation or not nobody wants to get into litigation over what is ultimately a hobby that they get paid slightly more than nothing for doing it).
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Critias
post Sep 7 2015, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE (adamu @ Sep 7 2015, 08:31 AM) *
Read about a zillion SR novels back in the day, but there was, to my mind, a sharp drop off in quality about 15 years ago and I hadn't read one since.

But saw this in my FLGS, and the back said it was about Puyallup, where my character's been spending a lot of time lately, so picked it up hoping for a better feel of the place.

Loved this book. Loved the style. Loved the main character. Loved what I bought it for - a thoughtful treatment of northern Puyallup.

Thanks!
I really felt like Shadowrun had stopped being authentically dirty/sweaty/gritty quite a while ago, but that was resurrected with this book.
That might be just my personal preference, but this was indeed my cup of tea, and will recommend to friends.

I have sort of limited patience for reading prose on the screen, but am going to check out the story about Rook I found over on Shadowgrid next.

Will buy more from this author.

Is there a way to find out what parts of what (if any) upcoming rulebooks he is writing?

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Adamu!

Just FYI, but my name is "Russell Zimmerman" in Shadowrun credits, so if you're looking for sourcebooks I contributed to, that should help narrow it down. I don't have a whole lot of crunch on my plate right now (what with the novels and all, I've spent the last few years mostly transitioning to fiction instead of rules), and I'm afraid my NDA means I can't give details of what I am planning to work on in the near future. I've enjoyed having the opportunity to flesh out Puyallup a little more, though (instead of always writing it off as Barrens), so it's awesome you're digging on that (and that you seem to have felt the same way, focusing on the north side of town a little).

Kincaid's dominating my Shadowrun schedule, though, and if you've enjoyed it so far, I think you'll like what's coming (also, be sure to check out Neat, Kincaid's original e-novella).
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hermit
post Sep 9 2015, 12:04 AM
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QUOTE
what with the novels and all

QUOTE
novels

That sounds interesting!

On a side note, I've been working on and off on a very large map of Shadowrun Seattle based on google sattelite images, though it's kind of a bummer what they did with maps (it's total crap now), the maps being based on the SSB's original maps of Shadowrun seattle, wich detail all roads and hence, which parts of the Sprawl are built up and which aren't. It's a lot different to today's Seattle metro region.

On topic, I noticed that SR's Puyallup contains a HUGE built-up section - a section the size of modern Seattle - and that the place's population increased by a factor of 10 from current Puyallup county. The only canon reference I found to that huge slab of concrete where today there are mostly meadows and woods is a place called "Hope" in one of the ancient 1st Ed adventures - I think it was Total Eclipse, but I'd have to look it up again. Also, matching Lava flows to existing terrain is super tedious.
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Beta
post Sep 9 2015, 12:02 PM
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QUOTE (hermit @ Sep 9 2015, 01:04 AM) *
Also, matching Lava flows to existing terrain is super tedious.


I wonder if you could fine maps with elevation lines somewhere? Presumably lava will tend to flow with gravity, so could probably make some assumptions about starting points, then figure where it is more likely to have flowed?

And back on topic: I've based my game around northern Puyalup, so while I've been avoiding gaming novels for the past twenty years, I might have to go make an exception for this one (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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hermit
post Sep 9 2015, 01:10 PM
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Using a height map already, but getting the flows to look good with the photoshop bend tool isn't easy.
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Remnar
post Sep 17 2015, 07:47 PM
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Loved it. Kincaid is the only elf protagonist in any fiction that I've really liked (hey, I'm pro Ork and anti-Elf as a general rule).

Though I am happy to have new Shadowrun fiction, $8.99 for a < 300 page ebook made me sad, and delayed my purchase. Totally worth it for Shaken, but it makes me a little leery of the other new novels.

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Hild
post Sep 25 2015, 02:12 PM
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Been following Shadowrun since SR1, read a lot of the novels, and frankly Neat and Shaken blow most of them away. Fantastic job and I love the characters. Kincaid really lives up to his literary spiritual forebears and Arianna is easily one of my favorite characters. She's a great foil for his personality. This book really reminded me just how much I love Shadowrun even though I haven't had a chance to game in years.

Glad to hear more is to come, you've already sold me on any other James Kincaid novels coming down the pike. Absolutely great work all around.
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tisoz
post Oct 24 2015, 04:57 PM
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I a pleased to see you get some favorable reviews and hope to see lots more novels from you. Maybe you will write enough of them to start searching for dedications and I'll get a mention for my small part in getting you started. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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