Behind the Scenes: Hero Shots

What’s a hero shot, you ask? Well, it’s the distilled essence of a moment of epicness, the high point of a heroic act of daring, the emotion-charged second when against all odds a hero confronts seemingly unstoppable evil.

So, basically, a cool scene with two clear characters facing off.

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Wayland Terraformers, INC: Rogue Planet

(Previous Episode)

Fenmoor is a little known planet in the deep suneast, barely lit by a red dwarf star whose rays struggle through a fog of rock dust.  Life on Fenmoor is gloomy and tough, and so are those who live there–outcasts from the solar system, too bad at being bad to stay out of jail anywhere else in the galaxy.

But then, Fenmoor is a rogue planet–not owned by Earthcorp or Krancore, or by one of the little guys like Liberium or Envision.  It’s not even all owned by a single person–like the Rockefeller System or the Duchy of Jupiter-Winslow.  Most of Fenmoor is no man’s land, and the rest is a medley of tiny stake outs–usually a long day’s walk from each other–where each family independently farms just enough to feed and clothe themselves–most of the time.

Without capital–and without resources to attract it–terraforming has been slow in Fenmoor.  Aegis, the biggest terraformer of the galaxy, hasn’t touched it with the long end of a stick ever since Jim Settler (formerly the notorious con artist Jamie Kalypso) scammed them out of a fifty acre wheat field and the waterworks to match by promising an Earthcorp job that wasn’t his to offer.  Aegis tried to get Krancore to go after Settler, but Fenmoor was too far off the beaten path to go hunting con artists and besides, Krancore’s board felt that it served Aegis right for wanting to work with Earthcorp.

Can anything interesting happen on such a planet?

Wayland Terraformers, INC: A Little Bit of Everything

This story was inspired by a recent collaborative LEGO project I did with my siblings. I enjoyed caricaturing our personalities for the story.

Jaydie (Geneva), H.O. (Josiah), West Alia (Anna), Bronth (Isaiah)

Jaydie was late to lunch as usual and H.O threw a sandwich at her.  “You missed the briefing,” he said.

“No one told me it was an important one,” Jaydie said, deftly catching the sandwich as it floated through the hatch.

“You’re supposed to be at ALL the briefings,” said Bronth, lazily stretched out on the roof, sucking a straw.  “Also this one was actually important.”

“Sorry, decided getting the ship’s reserve air condensers back up and running was more critical.  You’ll have to fill me in.”

“Well,” Bronth said, sitting up and flipping his holographic visor down over his face, “when the meeting started we were at T minus two hours of landing on Craxis L.  Now it’s T minus forty-three minutes.”  He touched the right of his visor and swiped, looking for the first slide.

What says the slide?? Read on… (but don’t expect a precise answer)

Book Review: An Old-Fashioned Girl (by Louisa May Alcott)

Polly the country girl is off on a visit to her city friend Fanny—and Fanny’s rich, somewhat dissipated lifestyle throws several perplexing challenges in Polly’s way.  How will Polly do walking the tightrope between sticking stubbornly out like a sore thumb and letting worldly wisdom spoil her?

An Old-Fashioned Girl isn’t a long book—shorter than Anne of Green Gables, around the length of The Railway Children or The Scarlet Pimpernel.

The book is written for a young girl audience—it’s probably aimed at 10+ but a younger audience might enjoy hearing it read too.  It’s thoughtful enough that older readers may also find it interesting.

As usual, jump to the end if you just want a brief conclusion, or go straight through for all the details!

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Book Review: Little Dorrit (by Charles Dickens)

Born and raised in a debtor’s prison, with a broken father, a haughty sister, and a thoughtless brother, Amy Dorrit’s patient, gentle character is still able to find happiness in serving others.  But when her father inherits a vast estate and is suddenly freed, her old life is relentlessly swept away—the old friendships and simple pleasures as well as the old hardships and trials.  How will Amy cope with the wealth that instantly spoils the rest of her family?

Little Dorrit is no afternoon read—it’s long, rivalling Bleak House, War and Peace, or The Count of Monte Cristo.

Given its length and Dickens’ literary writing style, Little Dorrit would be hard for younger readers to wade through, but readers 15+ would likely enjoy the book.  Readers is a key word though—if you don’t like reading much, Little Dorrit is not the book for you!

Jump straight to the bottom to avoid spoilers and catch my brief conclusion along with a link to the ebook, or read on through for the details!

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Book Review: The Circuit Rider (by Edward Eggleston)

Set in a bygone era of second generation pioneers, The Circuit Rider commemorates a little remembered group of heroic men—early Methodist preachers who gave up comfort, convenience, and sometimes even their lives in order to ride their preaching circuits and establish their church on the very borders of civilization.

The Circuit Rider is not a very long book—it’s around the length of Anne of Green Gables or Northanger Abbey.  I’m having a bit of trouble estimating its age range—the plot is not super complex and might be interesting to some young readers, but it’s historical side and just Eggleston’s writing tone in general is aimed for a slightly older audience, say 15+.

You can jump straight to the end if you’d like to read my brief conclusion on the book and find a link to the ebook—or read on through for all the details!

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LEGO Windmill

A few weeks ago I was brainstorming for my next LEGO build. I wanted something with some fun motion and lots of gears. A windmill seemed like a good idea: the basic problems of windmill gears were solved hundreds of years ago, so I wouldn’t have to design anything from scratch, but turning that motion into LEGO would still take some trial and error!

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