Letters From the Labyrinth 279
In an effort to exercise more, Mary and I have joined a Fitbit group with fellow writers Jeff Strand, Samantha Kolesnik, Bridgett Nelson, pre-reader Tod Clark, audiobook narrator Sean Duregger, and former Brian Keene Forum moderator and the ‘Person With the Most Brian Keene Tattoos’ Paul Synuria. It’s very competitive, and I figured I would do okay, given that I hike at least two miles every day. But it rained here a good bit of the week, and that’s not conducive to hiking.
It’s also not conducive to fishing. I had intended to take Todd Keisling’s pen fishing this week, but due to the rain, I instead opted to use it as a toilet brush.
Good morning. My name is Brian Keene and this is Letters From the Labyrinth, a weekly newsletter for friends, family and fans of my work. Previous issues can be read here. You can also leave comments, which I’ll read and answer as time allows.
* * *
I’m a Guest of Honor at StokerCon 2022, which is coming up in just a few weeks, May 12th through the 15th in Denver, Colorado. Full details here. Here is my schedule, for those of you attending.
Thursday, May 12
5pm - Panel - Red Flags! When an Editor or Publisher Might Not be Right for You
6pm - Panel - Welcome to the Horror Shows: Defining horror in different media.
8pm - Opening Ceremony
Friday, May 13
11:30am - Panel - Hardcore Horror: Body horror, splatterpunk, and other branches of extreme horror fiction.
2:00pm - Panel - Horror in the 21st Century: What are the books published since 2001 that define the genre? What are today's Frankenstein, Dracula, I Am Legend, and The Stand?
3:30pm - Panel - Different Paths to Horror Success
Saturday, May 14
10:00 - Reading (me and fellow GoH Gemma Files)
2:00pm - Panel - The Rules of Horror: The Guest of Honor Panel
4:00pm - Panel - Hey, That's Me!: Creating Relatable Characters
In addition to all of this, you might see me talking to a camera crew at some point, while at the convention. I’m not allowed to tell you why they are filming me, because I’ve signed an NDA. But otherwise, I intend to just socialize, because it has been too long. Hope to see some of you there!
* * *
On the latest episode of Defenders Dialogue, the Falcon soars into the spotlight as Christopher Golden and I discuss his 1980s solo-series, guest-starring Electro, the Sentinels, Captain America, and more. Available for free wherever you listen to podcasts and also this link.
* * *
If you were a listener to The Horror Show with Brian Keene during its nearly six-year run, then you’ll no doubt remember my youngest son, who went by the name Dungeonmaster 77.1.
Well, now he’s 14 and goes by FirelordHD, and has his own YouTube Channel. He’s also a writer. He’s done short stories, comics, poetry, and has now written his first piece of non-fiction — an overview of the Fallout franchise. He asked me if I’d like to include it in my newsletter, and I said I’d love to, so here it is. He would appreciate some feedback, so if you have a moment, please leave a comment.
* * *
Hello, this is Brian Keene’s youngest son. I know a lot of you don’t play video games, but for those of you who are huge Fallout nerds like me, I hope you may like this section. Recently, I have been playing a ton of Fallout: New Vegas (the best Fallout game), and have accumulated over fifty-three hours in the game, of which my friends and I joke about. I thoroughly enjoy the game and plan to fully complete it. So far I have gotten every single ending to the main questline in the game, most recently completing the game for the idiot slavers, also known as the Legion.
Since I play the game through Steam, I have found that the community creates many helpful guides that have improved my experience greatly. One of these guides piqued my interest more than any other, this guide being on How to get every skill to one hundred. I was originally suspicious, thinking it involved mods, exploits, or console commands that I hardly ever use, as I play the game normally and completely vanilla. Surprisingly though, the guide actually made sense and could theoretically work. So I booted up a new save file, followed the instructions, and it actually worked.
To say the least I was shocked, but pleased as I knew I could create a very overpowered character. The build suggested was not one I would typically play, but it seemed to be fun, and I wanted to try it out. Also talking about New Vegas, I will be making a series on my YouTube channel of my experience playing the full game, DLCs included. I plan on buying Fallout 3 after I finish New Vegas. I have tried to talk my father into replaying New Vegas, but he seems hell bent on grinding in Fallout 76. I suggest you all make covers of American Pie for him, it is his favorite song and he listens to it almost every day.
Back to Fallout, I bought the original game on steam for ten dollars, and it was a nostalgic experience. I love the way Black Isle managed to turn a simple top down RPG into an unforgettable experience. I absolutely love the game, although it is incredibly difficult to play. The controls and game functions aged somewhat poorly, although the game itself is fun. It is weird to see how the original Fallout is nothing like the current games. The original game is bleak, cruel, and merciless in its functions. The story is wonderfully written and is original in its telling.
I believe that Bethesda did a good job with the 3D aspect of the current games, but I believe that the Black Isle studio’s and the remnants of the Studio who went to Obsidian created much more thrilling and story oriented games combined with a thrilling open world RPG/Shooter. However, the Bethesda versions do have their perks. For example, the shooting mechanics and the overall fighting and animation is much more in depth and well made. However, the writing in my opinion is atrocious, especially in Fallout 4; I hate the writing in that game, and so does my dad.
The story in that game is bland and predictable, the same problem happens with the main story in Fallout 3, however, I think the story was less predictable and had a better overall plot. I also think the DLC in Fallout 3 is much more well developed and well written than the DLC in Fallout 4, but both of those don’t compare in the high quality DLC that lives in Fallout: New Vegas. Well that’s enough ranting about Fallout for this newsletter. Until we meet again, I’ve been some homeless man ranting on the street about my pet pigeon who defecates on my head every day while I’m trying to eat a half-eaten banana.
* * *
As discussed here previously, I’ve been helping Deena with Dave Thomas’s personal effects, and have been listing some of his books on eBay. As there are quite literally thousands of books, I’ll also have a vendor table at Camp Necon this year, and will be selling them there, as well.
Each week, I’ll put four or five books up for auction. Each book will come with a Letter of Authenticity signed by me confirming they are from Dave’s personal collection (so if you were a fan of Dave’s from either The Horror Show with Brian Keene or The Ghost Writer’s Podcast, this is your chance to own a personal memento). The items currently available include:
A signed hardcover of Phantoms, signed and personalized to Dave by Dean Koontz. Click here to bid.
A signed paperback of NO REST FOR THE WICKED REDUX, signed and personalized to Dave by myself and artist Kenneth Waters. Click here to bid.
A signed hardcover of Mine, signed and personalized to Dave by Robert R. McCammon. Click here to bid.
A flat-signed hardcover of Boy’s Life, signed by Robert R. McCammon. Click here to bid.
A Stealth Press bookplate signed by Dennis Etchison. Still has the adhesive backing. Click here to bid.
* * *
Currently Reading: Physician To The Universe - The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Vol. 2
Currently Listening: Lots and lots of 1980’s New Wave and Pop.
Currently Watching: Mary is currently in New Jersey, so I promised her I wouldn’t watch the season finale of Snowfall without her. We did watch the first two episodes of the new season of Better Call Saul before she left.
* * *
This past week’s workdays consisted of proofing the galleys for SUBMERGED: THE LABYRINTH Book 2, THINGS LEFT BEHIND, and They by J.F. Gonzalez (for the Dark Worlds line of Jesus’s books published by Thunderstorm Books). Also worked on signing stuff for Lifetime Subscribers.
There are two chapters left on the first draft of INVISIBLE MONSTERS. I am deeply unhappy with this draft, and suspect that after those last two chapters are posted to Patreon, I’ll end up doing a second first draft. A draft 1.0, if you will. All the parts of the novel are there, but they need rearranged, and some things need rewritten, and some things need expanded upon. I like the story, but I don’t like the structure.
Lot of folks have been asking about ISLAND OF THE DEAD. I had to put it aside for a bit, due to other obligations and deadlines, and the fact that — so far — Kindle Vella isn’t financially viable. But I’ll be returning to it within the next two weeks, and expect regular updates after that.
* * *
And now, back by popular demand, is another installment of Brian Keene’s Time Machine. This week, we’re traveling back to the year 2000. Cassandra and I were living in Baltimore at the time, and I had a party that got out of control because I mentioned it on the old Horrornet message board forum (this is what we used before social media was invented) and the next thing you know, Richard Laymon and his family showed up (they happened to be on the East Coast for vacation), and Edward Lee made the trek, and Linda Addison, Gerard Houarner, Daniel Harms and Mason Winfield all came in from New York, and Feo Amante drove in from Texas, and Eoghain O’Keefe flew in from Ireland, and it became insane. The whole party (including the arrival of the police) is recounted in SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (which you can buy here).
As a fan, I was so tickled that folks like Dick Laymon, Edward Lee, Gerard Houarner, and Linda Addison came and hung out for a weekend. Two decades and change later, I still am.
* * *
And that does it for this week.
I hope that all is well in your part of the world. See you back here next week!