Monday, March 16, 2015

Kickstarter Day 27 (2 to go): Spearhead and a classic sword-and-planet tale

Two days left on The Labyrinth of Flame Kickstarter! So close to the end that the Kickstarter page has started counting down in hours, not days.  As I write this, 59 left until 9pm MDT Tuesday!  We continue to inch ever closer to that interior art goal...I'm trying not to look at the page too many times. ;)

Today's pics feature an area I've visited many times: Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I've done the hike up to Black Lake and beyond in every season of the year; the trailhead is only an hour's drive from my house.  Yet I still haven't climbed Spearhead, the massive rock formation that dominates the upper gorge.  It's pretty high on my wish list; and now that my son's getting older, the time to start knocking items off that wish list is coming soon.  Even if you don't climb, the basin is lovely.  Particularly in fall, when the aspens are gold.

Hiking near Black Lake in Glacier Gorge
Spearhead.  Just look at that rock face! There's also a class 3 scrambling route to the summit (the route is used as a descent by climbers)
Fall colors 
Much as I love fantasy, I have to admit that I miss one thing about the days when SF was the more popular genre: all the sword-and-planet tales of SF adventure.  Sure, lots of them were thinly disguised fantasy - the author wanted to write a fantasy story, but needed to sell it as SF, so they set the tale on a "lost colony" planet where civilization has reverted to pre-technological status.  But at the same time, authors felt free to use SF tropes; their settings had alien races and flora and fauna, and they didn't hesitate to mix magic and "ancient" technology.  That was really fun to read, and I think it's a shame there aren't more sword-and-planet novels these days.

Today's rec is for one such book I really enjoyed back in the day: Marcia J. Bennett's Where the Ni-Lach.  The protagonist is a young man who has thought all his life he's human, only to discover he's in truth one of the feared Ni-Lach, a race that was exterminated by the human colonists.  An unscrupulous man seeks to force him to find the Ni-Lach's long-lost treasure, and adventure ensues.  It's a solidly enjoyable story with engaging characters, and is the first in a similarly enjoyable series.  Bennett's books are out of print and sadly unavailable in electronic form, but I still mention the series because I loved it too much to have it vanish, forgotten by modern readers, as so many other books I loved as a child seem to have.  (Thank goodness for libraries! Books like Bennett's can still be found through the Prospector system and other inter-library loan programs.)


  1. Wow, I really should have done more trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. Spent less time in Colorado Springs and more up there. Rats.
    (My virus didn't help with this either)

    1. A lot of the best places in RMNP require 8+ mile hikes, which wouldn't have been fun for you while sick. Obviously you just need to come back one day! :)

  2. The more I see of the wilderness out there, the more I wish we all had hoverboards, so everyone can zoom through the valleys and enjoy them. But then they wouldn't be the same at all, so I'm glad they belong to the intrepid few, and that they share the views.

    And neat book - love the wide-eyed monkey on the cover, like he's thinking, "Dude, that's a dragon! I think I'll just go have a little lie down somewhere."