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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Wormholes and Bookworms Presents: Dungeons and Dragons with Authors

 Wormholes and Bookworms Presents: 

The Monster of Wonderia

A special blog post today, as I have an exciting new project to talk about. 

Two of the main passions in my life right now are books and Dungeons and Dragons. I have this book blog and my Twitter and Instagram accounts where I talk a lot about books, what I'm reading and what I'm excited about, and I'm also a Resident Dungeon Master and Community Cartography Lead at Triden Games, a large and fantastic online community where we play Dungeons and Dragons together.

For quite some time now I've dreamed about combining these two interests. Dungeons and Dragons is all about collaborative story telling after all, and I was fascinated by the idea of sharing that with some talented authors, to see how they'd approach the game. Over the last year I've mooted the idea a couple of times on Twitter, and a few people have expressed an interest, but I've never previously had the confidence and self-assurance to carry it through to realisation until now. 2022 is the year of just doing it, for me, I'm running an awful lot of games and building up my experience both on Triden and at major conventions like GameHoleCon and GaryCon, so I finally realised that actually I did have the experience and confidence to pull this off!

One of the first people who had expressed an interest in playing was Rachel Delahaye. Rachel is one of my favourite authors and an absolutely lovely person. Her Jim Reaper trilogy is absolutely gorgeous, a powerful mix of humour, emotion and grief. You can read my review of the trilogy here. She is also the author of the gruesomely funny Mort the Meek series, and her new book, Day of the Whale, is something I was lucky enough to read an early draft of and it's really something very special. So Rachel was definitely my first choice to play in my first of these games. I quickly expanded my "pool of volunteers" from authors to include other publishing people when Leonie Lock, an editor at Firefly Press and bookseller for a large high street bookstore chain (who am I kidding? The large high street bookstore chain) asked if she could play too. A couple of other authors expressed an interest only to have to drop out due to scheduling or personal issues, and then Leonie got Kieran Larwood to agree to play! I've actually met Kieran a few years ago when I did a mapmaking workshop at Barnes Children's Literature Festival and I knew he'd be a great fit! Now, one of my best friends, Vicky Bishop, a teacher and fellow book blogger, had agreed to help me DM this game, as Vicky is an accomplished Dungeon Master herself, but she's also a Kieran Larwood mega-fan so as soon as we had him confirmed I told her she could play alongside him instead. After we'd resolved all our scheduling issues, we had a fantastic party of four players.

I chose a lovely little adventure, The Monster of Wonderia by Anthony Joyce and learned how to stream games. There was a slight technical hiccup when I hit "start recording" instead of "start streaming", but the video of our game is now available to watch on my YouTube channel here

It was a lot of fun to play, and I hope you enjoy watching it!

It was Rachel Delahaye's first ever game of Dungeons and Dragons, so after we'd finished I took a little time to talk to her about her experience.

You'd never played Dungeons and Dragons before, right? What made you decide to give it a try?

I've always been fascinated by how it grips people. Anything that makes people passionate is something I want to explore. It helps that DnD is about battles and fantasy. My first loves were Star Wars, The Dark is Rising and Excalibur. 

How did creating a character to play compare with creating a character for a book?

I didn't have as long to create my character, but it was similar in that I wanted to give my character something she wanted and something she needed, strengths, weaknesses and flaws.

Can you tell us about your character?

The character I came up with was Wildlip Delforce, an elf barbarian, and the youngest sibling in a large family of powerful characters. While her siblings have already found their birth right powers, Wildlip is certain she hasn't discovered hers yet - and she flings herself into battles, hoping that the power will show itself. Her tenacity and determination is a power in itself, but her real power is compassion. It gets her into trouble, but it also makes her friends.

I always find that I never really know a character until I've played them in a game. Did your character change or develop while we played?

It was hard playing Wildlip. As I got involved in the game, I kept wanting her to reflect what I, personally, was thinking, and I kept having to pull her back into character. I felt like we were fighting each other sometimes. Also, when other characters were being considerate of a situation, I felt ashamed that Wildlip was battling on, struggling to be a warrior! It's so different to writing, where you can sit back and consider your next move in your own time.

Would you play again, and are there any other authors you'd particularly like to play with?

I'd love to play again. Perhaps with Gareth P Jones, as his dark humour would be amusing and interesting in DnD. Also Jennifer Killick, who creates such good characters. Gabriel Dylan, because I know he writes incredible dark adventures, and James Harris, because FUN!

Wormholes and Bookworms Presents: will be an ongoing series, though as scheduling is always the toughest enemy to overcome in Dungeons and Dragons I don't have any fixed timescales. I have had a fantastic response to it on Twitter, and I now have an enviable list of authors names who are interested in joining me for future games. I have picked out four amazing authors I'm hoping to bring to my table next month.

If you watch it, please let me know what you think, either in comments here or on YouTube or Twitter, and subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates on future games.


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