Pic of the day: Children are cute, especially when you can turn them off and go to sleep. (Screenshot from The Sims.)
True story. I came into the supermarket, and there was this incredibly cute little girl following her mother. (Not as cute as J., but very.) She was older than a toddler, but hardly old enough to start school yet, and she looked so sweet and innocent. Looking at the little child, I felt suddenly a kind of emptiness inside, a sudden and unexpected longing to have my own ... copy of Sims 2. I see they are putting a lot more work into the children in this version...
But of course, Sims 2 won't be available until sometime next year, and who knows what will have happened by then? Entire civilizations may rise and fall during those months. In fact, I'm in the process of raising a new nomad civilization in Master of Magic. Like the previous, it is all white magic and Stream of Life. But this time is tougher. Not just because I play on a harder difficulty level, but also because I had the luck of starting between two angry bitches who like to dabble in death and destruction. Last time I had a whole continent and all of Myrror for myself. This time I have to try to escape detection by as many wizards as possible, while I fight off wave after wave of armies from an opponent with a head start. Oh well. This keeps me from falling asleep in the evening before bedtime.
Another clash of civilizations takes place in Through the Darkness, the third book in Harry Turtledove's Darkness series about a world war in a world where magic works. The parallels to our own World War II start to become more visible, although you still cannot identify particular people. Well, unless you're an expert perhaps. King Mezentio is certainly nothing like the Hitler we know; he's horribly ruthless but otherwise quite a traditional medieval king with 1940-level firepower. It would seem that Turtledove subscribes to the idea that WW2 was not caused by the aberrant phenomenon of Hitler and Nazism, but was a natural and necessary result of the high level of military technology and lack of political counterbalance, as well as unresolved grudges from an earlier war and an ignorant and prejudiced populace nationally and internationally. He may be right. I have long had trouble swallowing the idea that Hitler was a minor dark god risen from Hell to magically enslave the minds of an innocent nation. I think the Germans elected Hitler rather than the other way around, and I believe history will prove me right. Of course, by then history will have forgotten me. This may be just as well, even though it does not feel that way now.
Anyway, I finished the third book now, and started on the fourth (Rulers of the Darkness), the last one available locally. The pace has slowed down a bit, but it is still not boring. Turtledove loves the actual war scenes, it seems, although the strength of the earlier books was really in the way they portrayed common people. He was basically saying that because people did not stop to question their authorities, the descent into madness was unavoidable. There is indeed a country where people are a bit more enlightened. Kuusamo, which in the books has roughly Finnish language and culture, has a ruling council of 7 princes rather than a king, and devote more resources to science and education than we see elsewhere. In the world war, they play the role of the USA. Although they declare war on Algarve (Germany) when they become aware of the genocide rather than waiting until they are attacked. Also the initial attack is on the country's capital city rather than its fleet. But it seems pretty clear that they are the functional equivalents of the USA, and they are in the process of developing the magical equivalent of a nuclear bomb right about now.
I wish people would write more stories like this, since I'm still not in the shape to write my own. My right arm is better for the while, probably because I use the left to play Master of Magic. But it is still not good enough to write much (like, much more than this), and my brain is also rather frazzled from sleeping too little all week long. It's not like I suffer from insomnia, it's just that there are too many geeky things to do. This must surely be the golden age of geekiness. Even if I could have a life, I cannot imagine how I would get time for it.
No rain today either.
Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.