Sunday, July 26, 2015

Amazing Screw-On Head

Well, I've gotta get something done today. I have another Primal Frontier story in editing and am almost finished with a horror western that for some reason stubbornly refuses to have a satisfactory ending. I don't know what it is, but for some reason climactic final battles are always the hardest for me. You've got to set things out so that everything comes together and makes sense. So many things have to happen for it to work right, and right now it just isn't cooperating. So fine Mines of Madness, sit there and sulk in the corner. 

Where was I? Oh yes! I became recently aware of what is possibly the funniest steampunk/weird west video ever, the Amazing Screw-On Head! Behold it's glory!

In just twenty minutes this entire thing grabbed me. Emperor Zombie is now one of my favorite villains, and at the half-way point the story literally broke my brain. I know Weird West is supposed to be weird, but wow this raised the bar! It's hilarious, much of it nonsensical, and yet somehow holds itself together. But it's all creative, all fun, and all awesome.

Sounds like a fun romp, right? Well, apparently whoever controls entertainment disagreed and decided to abort this series before it could take off. 
I have no idea why, but it feels like someone in some position of power in the entertainment industry is dead set against murdering exceptional Weird West shows. Firefly, The Adventures of Brisco County Junior, and now Amazing Screw-On Head? Does someone have a vendetta here? Did The Wild Wild West blow up his house in the 60's? Cuz that's the only Weird West show that ever lasted past one season. 

What other gems have been buried in this mass grave of talent? I want answers dangit! Someone has to pay! And is this the same person who also killed Terra Nova? Maybe that was James Cameron. I wouldn't be surprised if someone told the "story" of Avatar in a much more interesting and likable way and he decided to put a hit out on the competition. 

Anyway, sorry for the rant. For now let us enjoy what little we have of this blessing from the Steampunk gods!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Finally got a Twitter account...

I resisted as long as I could. I really did. I tried and I tried, but I was brow-beaten until I finally submitted. I'm one of the only people of my age demographic that doesn't care about rapid communication and internet sensations. I got a Facebook account because everyone else in the world uses it, and you get tarred and feathered if you don't use it. I'm very much an 80 year old curmudgeon when it comes to online trends like this, yelling at all those kids to get off of my lawn.
I'm using Twitter purely as a promotional tool. What can I say? I have to find my audience for writing! And thankfully there are some fellow Weird West fans thereabouts. Who knows? Maybe I'll make a few friends there. If you wanna help spread the love of Weird West writing (including mine) with minimal effort on your part, well now is your chance!

Wish me luck!

Anthology review: Black Pulp

How to begin with this? Well, before talking about the interior content, I'd like to discuss how I came about purchasing this. As usual I was scanning through Amazon, hunting for good bargain bundles, and I stumbled across this. It most definitely caught my eye, but I wasn't positive how to feel about it at first. I'm just gonna come out and say it, but anytime someone uses race as a marketing point for me, I get suspicious. I know, I know, I'm an ignorant idiot. Just that in my experience those are usually preachy stories rather than fun, which is what I'm after.

Then I took some time to think about this particular collection, because when I reflected back on the history of pulp, marketing an anthology with black protagonists wasn't necessarily all that uncalled for.

For those of you who don't know, pulp writing started out in the early 1900's and tapered off in the 1940's. During those times, being a black person wasn't a trip to Disneyland. America was still very much dealing with prejudices and overcoming segregation and other issues regarding race. Needless to say, publishers weren't going to be keen on printing stories with black protagonists, and for the most part stuck with usual archetypes. Especially during the Depression Era, I have difficulty imagining publishers trying to be diversifying at that point. So basically, black people got the literary shaft for the most part.
I'm sure there were exceptions, but they were just that: Exceptions.

The thing about pulp is that it is meant to be fun across a wide spectrum of people. It's not meant to be exclusive to just one audience. There's something about it that makes it popular and appealing across many different people. The action pulp in particular still manages to have a voice even today when competing with video games, movies, comics, and other media. Being a lover of pulp, I resolved that it was my duty as a fan to at least give this anthology a chance. I owe it to myself and others to see if there were some pulp gems hidden away in here.

Lo and behold, there were!
To my unspeakable relief I didn't come across a single preachy story, which is one of my greatest fears when grabbing a book. Nope! These all knew what they were: Imaginative and fun. We have a pretty good selection here, and although I've not yet read all the content, I've sussed out some pretty darned compelling stories that I'm glad I got into. Some of these stories just sizzle with skill!
What I really found compelling and what I appreciated was that these stories address much of the social stigma attached to the characters' ethnicity in different time eras, but it only served to strengthen them and wasn't used as a bludgeon for social commentary. Each and every one that I read handled this with finesse and made me fascinated and sympathetic. That's not something you see a lot of these days. The story came first, and many of these authors knew their craft.

Some... just didn't grab me. One in particular made me bail because it missed a huge opportunity to have an amazing description of a character transforming into a werewolf, but summed it up in a very blase' manner in just one sentence. Talk about underwhelming. But I'm not going to focus on that. I'm going to focus on the stories that really jumped out at me and made me want to keep going!

First one on the list is Six Finger Jack. Our protagonist, who surprisingly is nameless throughout this story, so I'll just call him Joe for now, tells us of his escapade in assassinating the gangster Six Finger Jack to collect some money for a crime boss.
Normally stories with a murderer as the main character turns me off instantly, but this one in particular is quite compelling. Joe here isn't doing this murder for fun. He's in a rough town with rough people, and he wants out. Collecting a bounty of one hundred grand is perhaps the best chance he has to get out of this dirt hole and start a new life without constantly worrying about being stabbed or shot. The writer makes him surprisingly sympathetic in this manner. Sure, he's not a good guy by any stretch, but you understand where he's coming from. And I'm the guy that always plays Mass Effect with all Paragon points.

The murder itself is only about half of the story. The other half is dealing with the gangster paying the bounty, Big O. This guy is legit spooky. He's like Jabba the Hutt mixed with Al Capone. What makes Big O spooky is that he won't just off you if you screw with him. No, he'll end you in frigging awful ways. He apparently has a cement fetish, as his primary method of disposing of annoyances consists of burying them alive in cement on property he owns. If you're claustrophobic, you will want to keep some distance from this fella!

Sadly, as is so often the case with crime groups, Joe gets stiffed on the payment after a rather harrowing fight in which he himself almost dies, and is left destitute. He's not quite pleased with this, and makes the mistake of voicing his desire to off Big O. Big mistake. Hearing of this, the big bad Hutt has Joe captured in his car and shoves his vehicle in a pit that was going to be an in ground pool. Guess what happens from there? Yup. Cement truck backs up, and buries our protagonist inside. Very eerie way to go.
Like I said, none of the people here are really good guys, but I was surprised at how taken with the main character I was. That thar is some skill!

Next up is Mtimu, and this one really struck an awesome pulp vibe. It starts off in the African jungle and we get a fantastic example of someone's point of view to something totally alien to them, in this case Mtimu seeing a biplane making a very poor landing on account of the engine deciding to call it a day early. This intro was fascinating. We see something that the reader clearly has knowledge of, but the observer doesn't, and does a fantastic job of doing things through his perception of the world. It does a marvelous job of not only starting the story, but revealing a great deal about the character.
We know what he's seeing, but he doesn't. So dangit I liked that.

We then meet the pilot, an African American woman, Enid Brown, who is a pretty darned good pilot putting up with the nuisance of crashing in an unfamiliar environment. She's a pretty stout young lady, not a run of the mill damsel in distress. She just doesn't know how to deliver a decent throat punch when trouble comes. I wish more women knew how to fight these days. Anyway, this has a very Tarzan vibe to it, as she gets attacked by a leopard and from the shadows Mtimu emerges and whups it's arse, throttling the thing, and helps Enid out.

Surprisingly, he knows some English and speaks with a Southern accent, although he isn't American. His backstory is actually pretty cool and has a backstory just as awesome as Tarzan. And Mtimu is a beast master too! There is a group of unusual apes that he interacts with, higher up the ladder than most, but I'll get more into that later.

Our villain is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, he is indisputably a bad guy that you want to see die, and he isn't a push over, so we root that much harder for our leads when this guy looms in. He uses the popular sleep darts to capture both Mtimu and Enid early on, puts one in a cage, and at first puts on a nice guy act when talking with Enid. Clive Bailey is reputed to be an amazing tracker and hunter, complete with pith helmet, capturing animals for zoos and circuses around the world. Impressive credentials!

However, his evil plan doesn't make much sense as it moves on. He wants to capture Mtimu as a bit of an oddity, a reputed jungle-man and a test of his skill. But then he wants to mutilate Enid, remove her tongue, and dress her up as Mtimu's mate so he can increase his fame even further. This don't make much sense, as he's obviously corrupt enough to do the same to someone who isn't well known. I mean, sure, she's convenient, but you'd think he could do that up with anyone he came across. At the same time, it's also very well established that this guy is crazy, and crazy people are prone to doing stupid things, so I'll let that slide. In the end he is what he needs to be: A dangerous and despicable villain that we want our leads to brutally kill.

And when this guy starts pulling crap with Enid, Mtimu pulls out the stops, summons his animal friends, bends the bars of his cage like licorice, kicks all sorts of arse, and whisks our damsel off to safety. While simple, I actually really like Mtimu. You get what his deal is, and his simplicity and innocence makes him rather charming and endearing. And when crap starts you want him to take the gloves off and go to town. And that he does!

Mtimu was overall a pretty solid story and I found myself wanting to read more about him. I wanted to see this ebony warrior ghosting through the jungle righting other wrongs, fighting beasts and conquering villains. The fact that I placed him on the same tier as Tarzan for guys I like should be telling!

Rocket Crockett and the Jade Dragon is the next one up, and wow was this one fun. Crockett is a smooth jet pilot fighting in the Korean War conquering both Korean planes and various women alike. Normally I really don't like characters that are players but... this guy is just so confident! The writer really gets across that this guy is awesome and he knows it, but doesn't come across as arrogant. He just knows that he's good and doesn't sell himself short. I get a Lando Calrissian vibe from him. He just has this charismatic swagger that ya'll can't help but admire.

The plot revolves mostly around him getting swept up in a strange political conflict revolving around a dragon statue carved from pure jade with extraordinary influence, and this is one fight he can't solve with the blazing guns of his jet or his best friend downstairs.

This one is just plain fun. The writing style has a wonderful flair that really gets Crockett's character across and really gets you into the mood to see him kick some arse. He's frigging magnetic like that! If anyone plans to make a fist-fighting womanizer character that readers will like, look at this as a template!

The Lawman is a tribute to one of my favorite folks from the Old West, one of the greatest bounty hunters and waddies of the era, Bass Reeves. For those of you who don't know, Bass Reeves was one of the most hardcore and amazing people to ever set foot upon the rugged frontier of the American West, having rounded up an estimated three thousand criminal arrests in a time and place where everyone had a gun and killing a black man usually didn't raise an eyebrow. The fact that he was one of the few lawmen that wasn't killed in the line of duty alone makes him one of the best men of that era in my opinion.

Ahem, anyway, forgive my drooling fanboy-ism. This is a very worthy tribute to the old bounty hunter, showing his rise to the position, several of his fights, and watching his first child come into this world which comes close to being a tear jerker. The fight scenes are some of the most pulse-pounding I've ever read. I had to re-read one of them, but to my shock it was only two pages! It felt WAY longer than that! It was like the writer took the climax of a Western movie and condensed it into just a few paragraphs and yet felt like you lost nothing. That's amazing. How did he sodding do that? I wanna learn how!

So as you can tell, I'm very enthusiastic about this particular story. Bass Reeves doesn't get nearly as much attention as he deserves. I think I'll write an article on him at some point, but for now, pulp ahoy!

The last one to really get my attention is probably the best, that being The Hammer of Norgill. This one really threw me for a loop. Best way to describe it is for one of the greatest American legends pulls a John Carter of Mars and gets mysteriously transported to another realm after his death.
If you haven't heard of Bass Reeves, then you have better heard of John Henry, the man who beat the machine. If you haven't, then I'm not even sure I want you around.

We start off watching the legendary showdown, John Henry trying to outperform the steam contraption that threatens to take the jobs of hundreds of honest workers. Some things never change, huh? The thing you'll notice instantly is the writing style. It is one of the most superb, energy-charged, and poetic writing styles I've ever laid eyes upon. More than any other story here it embodies the pinnacle of pulp style. My eyes glazed over and I drooled at how good it was. And it doesn't let up at all!

As the tale goes, John Henry wins the match, but the strain put upon his body is too much and he dies in his wife's arms, having secured the future for her and the fellow workers at the cost of his own life. But this time the tale doesn't end there. By means unknown he wakes up! But not upon the Earth we know, but some strange land with strange people. We have no clue how he gets there, or what it is. Is it another planet? Another dimension? Some magical realm on another plane? We don't know! But see what I mean with the John Carter thing?

John awakes in an alien environment, but to his astonishment sees what looks like an angel bending over him. Some strange things take place, with him mysteriously learning how to understand the language of this being and others, but they both end up captured by a tyrannical race of cat-like people who crush the lives of others beneath their heels.
John again wakes up, but this time in a jail cell and in chains. Oh no. Bad idea. This is most displeasing to the juggernaut, and in spite of his captors insisting most fervently with ranged cattle-prods for him to stay put, he breaks his chains and insists back that he see she who had ministered unto him earlier.

Oh her? She's up in the fighting arena being tortured horribly of course, for daring to spread false doctrine and dare to oppose the ruler of the land. John, called Ham-ur by the locals, seems to fit an eerily specific legend and is reputed to be the one who will set the subjugated races free of their bondage. Those in charge think he is some impostor and don't take him too seriously. So his two guards? They decide since he's not such a threat, cuz, y'know, he just broke chains like cheese, might as well show up where his only friend on this planet is getting tortured with weapons that discharge Sith Lightening.

He gets up to the fighting arena, hoards of onlookers watching either in horror, or for the bad guys, delight, as the poor winged woman who acted out of hope is now being mercilessly tormented. John thinks that this is quite enough, and because he is pretty much a tank clothed in flesh, crushes his two guards with his bare hands and looks around for weapons to use to carve his way through his other enemies to commence his rescue. And what does he find laying on the rack of weapons? He forgoes the swords, spears and axes for... a pair of huge hammers! Yes, you read that correctly.

We are then treated to one of the most glorious battle scenes I have ever beheld in any medium of entertainment. We behold John Henry wielding a pair of massive hammers as he fights off throngs of strange beings with the type of bombastic writing flair that would make Robert E. Howard weep tears of envy. I certainly did! There are no words that I can write that can adequately convey just how magnificent this action scene is. It's one of the greatest things I've ever read. Ham-ur of Norgill, save us all!

Phew... Okay. I think I'm done now. As you may have gathered, I really like this story. It's easily the best in this entire anthology and would grace the pages of any collection. This alone makes the pack worth buying. We get to see John frigging Henry liberate an entire realm loaded with oppression and become a legend in two different cultures! If anyone doesn't want to read that, then I don't want to meet them.

In conclusion, I am SO happy that I bought this bundle. There is some fantastic talent in here and it should be read by any fan of pulp. Not only do some of the stories match the high bar set by some authors back in the day, but some of them surpass that bar! If you want some good stories, then please buy this anthology. It is worth every penny. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll read Hamur of Norgill again!

You can purchase right here!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Computer upgrading on a budget

It's no secret that I'm tech illiterate. Usually when my computer has a problem I'll do things like insult it, insult its heritage, sacrifice some chickens, unplug and replug stuff, which works most of the time. However when it comes to upgrading my software, you could tell me that I could put a sack of rusty bolts in there and it'd help, and I'd likely believe it.
So when I want to play more high powered games, I have to rely on some of my more savvy acquaintances to assist me in my recreational endeavors. Problem is that computer stuff is expensive, and I'm a miser.

So when my friend and his brother ask me how much I'm willing to save up to upgrade, I respond that I'm willing to go to X amount of dollars. I then get a reply saying that this is the computer I'll have to make due with on that sort of budget.

Hey, if it'll let me play Fallout 4, I'll buy it! I may need help figuring out where to plug the mouse into however. Don't I just have the most helpful friends? :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Curious Expedition game

Adventure awaits!

Well now, here is a game that got my attention. Curious Expedition is an interesting low graphics game based on exploration, roleplaying, resource management and turn based combat. It's not about to win game of the year, but I find it to be quite charming. The extremely low graphics harken back to the early days of gaming where your pixels were quite limited and you had to make the best with what you had. Although the graphics are low, the detail is really quite astonishing. They are able to set a dark mysterious mood, evoke Lost Ark sensations and make you feel quite lonely, and the music helps out too. This feels like a good example of making the most of what you have. And as of this writing it's still in Alpha stages! That's pretty darned good.

Now, a lot of you kids will likely have trouble getting over the low graphics, but they've honestly never been a problem for me. I don't know why precisely, but they never really caught me the way it did most others. I can look past all sorts of graphics if the gameplay is solid. And is the gameplay solid here? I think so, but that brings me to my next point. This is perhaps one of the most masochistic games I've ever seen.

It's one of those games that knows how to torment you by installing more pitfalls and traps than an Indiana Jones-themed amusement park, and yet I find myself coming back for more. Now, most gamers are familiar with games that treat them rough, but that only makes them try that much harder to beat it and show it who's boss. This isn't quite like that. The game is genuinely fun, and when you do get cacked by something it doesn't really feel unfair. No, it's more like Russian roulette where the chamber is loaded with different types of bullets instead of five empty chambers. I almost guarantee that you'll lose your first attempts at completing this game. It took me 11 hours to win this thing just once!

And that's not because it's really long, no. You can win a single expedition in 20 minutes. It's because there are just so many ways that you can fail. See, you start off choosing one of a multitude of famous historical figures from the Victorian era. It let's you play as amazing people such as Courtney Selous, Harriet Tubman, Nikola Tesla, and plenty of others. Each is started out with a set of equipment, helpers and abilities. Every selection has something different to offer.

Your overall goal is to complete six expeditions to unexplored regions, discover the golden pyramid, and collect more fame than your five randomly selected competitors. You have to gather items of importance and either donate them to a museum for fame, or sell them for money. And you will need the money.

You see, this is less like an Indiana Jones game, and more like a real world expedition simulator for that era. I've described it to others as Oregon Trails designed by a sadist with a love for the Victorian era. Remember how I said that this is like Russian roulette? That's not an exaggeration. For example, one of the best ways to find valuable items is to visit shrines. They are guaranteed to have good loot that you can make a lot of money or fame off of. Except that anytime you do something bad will happen. The variety of ways how this will screw you are amazing.

If you're lucky a giant chasm will open up and threaten to swallow up your little caravan of guys. That's the best case scenario. The worst I ever found actually opened up a void that began sucking up the entire map, dragging all sorts of denizens in and leaving me isolated and frantically running around for help. Usually some sort of famine will sweep the land and ravage the landscape. You might think, no big deal, the landscape doesn't bother me. But it will! Cuz guess what? Travelling costs you.

But it doesn't cost you in food, it costs you in sanity. See, this game is going for the realistic portrayal of expeditions from the old days, where if things went really bad, your subordinates might start doing freaking horrifying things. I'm talking Donner Party type horror, and you're invited to that party. Depending on who your companions are and what conditions they have, they might run screaming into the night, steal valuable equipment and try to escape to civilization on their own, or worse, take one of your other companions off into the bush and cannibalize them! Usually the natives behave best in this regard, because they'll just give you a parting gift and not attempt to murder your fellow teammates. And you really have to manage these guys, because you can only have four of them with you, maximum.

So almost anytime you go anywhere, you have to be careful. Jungle, desert, hills and swamp all slow you down dramatically, and if you aren't careful your group will be eating each other in no time. To help with this you can buy equipment, which negates the huge penalty. In addition you can drink whiskey or eat chocolate to regain some sanity. If you're lucky and you can stay in a local village, you can spend the night and recover. There are other places to do this, but they are few and far between. This is one reason having a cook along is a good idea. They can take raw meat, usually a trading item, and cook it to regain sanity! But you'd better have a good store along, because it won't last long.

The combat is actually pretty innovative I think, and it's not essential. You can totally choose to avoid combat, but you have to be careful about it, much like in real life. Depending on what types of units you have in your party and what level they are at, you can roll defensive, attack and intelligence dice. You can link these together for combos to defend or attack, or if you have a gun, you can use that with the perception dice to aim and deal uber damage. You can easily get screwed by this though. Sometimes the dice just plain won't be on your side, and your party might get messed up pretty badly.
Even so, it is fun and encourages you to make the most of what you have.

But what do you end up fighting? Thankfully fighting natives is extraordinarily rare. They'll only get their knickers in a twist if you completely exhaust their patience and might end up fighting you. Mostly it's animals you'll be fighting. You'll have to deal with anything from hyenas, leopards, tigers, crocodiles, elephants, to downright strange things like terror birds, theropods, or weird humanoid monsters that pop up from time to time, often your own mutated party members! Sometimes you'll encounter giant crabs, like something out of the Forbidden Island movie based on the Jules Verne book.

I should note that the map design is rather clever. Using a hex system each and every map is unique, because at the start of each expedition the entire thing is randomly generated in seconds. So you think you can just memorize the map and abuse that? Nope! Each time it's a new bag, so be prepared to treat it like the sim that it is.

Surprisingly, this game also introduces really good writing, particularly moral quandaries. How is that in a game this simple you ask? Well, quite often. Your followers have personalities and leanings and aren't afraid to make them known. Sometimes you'll have outright racist bigots in your ranks, and if you try staying in a native village overnight, they'll make their displeasure quite well known. Often you'll come across statues with offerings left by natives as tribute, which you can totally steal, often without any negative consequences. But not always. Normally you won't have to steal anything, as there is rarely anything of major value.

But you might feel differently when your party is on its last legs, starving and contemplating eating each other and you stumble upon this pile of sanity-giving fruit! So what if it's tribute by innocent natives? It's just some pagan fantasy and you need that food a heck of a lot more than they do! Or what about stealing a precious idol of theirs? Sure, you intend to immortalize it in a museum for all to study and appreciate, but you're frigging stealing it! Or what if you find a cash of mummies, thousands of years old? You can totally grab those, but then you're pretty much grave robbing! And there are times where the locals will make you very aware that they aren't pleased with your activities.

Sometimes you'll come across 'traders' and even slave camps! The traders are basically scavengers and will trade stuff they looted from other dead expeditions. The slave camps totally allow you to buy or sell people, which is pretty chilling, yet very realistic for that time period. Sometimes you'll come across church missions, giving you the merciful ability to rest overnight to regain sanity, and also awesome, you can stash stuff there for free and they'll send it back to civilization later!  It doesn't always work out well though. This game likes reminding you of that.

On rare occasions you'll have weird requests from your own party members. One that really stood out to me was one of my female followers had fallen in love with the native chief's daughter and asked for me to help smuggle her out so they could live together. Wow. Talk about putting you on the spot! I've only gotten that encounter once by the way.

So yeah, I really like the writing. The makers of the game are actually German, so for the English to come through so clearly and vividly is most appreciated. If I hadn't specifically looked it up I wouldn't have guessed!

Overall, this game is great if you love Victorian Era history or exploration. Most games get swept up into scifi or fantasy, and this is a tiny little pulp-flavored niche that is just begging to be exploited. It's a delightful little game that treats you rough, but not out of malice. It wants you to feel like you've worked hard to earn that victory. It's extremely charming and I find myself coming back to it constantly even amidst a lineup of all sorts of other games I have on my Steam account. The creators, a mere pair of programmers that left a bigger company to go indie, really seem to have their hearts into this game. The care and joy they poured into this really seems to shine through! And it's still getting updated!

So yeah, I'd recommend this game if you want a different flavor of game that really stands out from the crowd. I mean, in this day and age, how many games aren't MMO, zombie based, have space marines, aliens, orcs, magic, fully automatic weapons, or even vehicles? This little gem stands proudly by itself and I plan to keep playing! As of now I've racked up 42 hours of gameplay. And more are sure to come! You can purchase at the link below!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Primal Frontier: Quick and dirty language guide

One of the problems I encountered almost immediately when working on realistic alternate history with dinosaurs is that I had to throw out all scientific dinosaur names from the start. Almost all dinosaur names were given to skeletal fragments that simply wouldn't apply if they saw the whole animal, and these were given mostly during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Albertosaurus? That one is out. No Alberta in Primal Frontier. Mosasaurus? Named after a skull found, meaning "lizard from the River Meus." And that's not counting the misnomers.

So I realized pretty quickly that almost everyone would be adopting whatever the natives who had been interacting with the dinosaurs for thousands of years were calling them and go from there. I try my best to describe the dinos as best I can so that anyone with any dinosaur knowledge can deduce what they are, but just to help keep track of general terms I'm writing this basic guide to help ya'll out, along with some of the other words the natives use. That way you won't have to go back between books to catalog a frigging language!

Afratex: Blanket term for Dromeosaurs, roughly translating to "hook claws". This can apply to anything from the tiny actual sized Velociraptors to the huge Utahraptors.

Jakura: Blanket term for large predatory theropods, applying to anything from Alioramus to the giant T-Rex and company. Megalosaurus and Allosaurs are the most common. I have a soft spot for Allosaurus, he doesn't get enough love in fiction.

Katatonda: Blanket term for Iguanodonts and duck billed dinosaurs, everything from Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus, Corythosaurus and the likes. The name roughly translates to "the ones that sing."

Thamapa: Blanket term applying to sauropods, everything from Apatosaurus to Brachiosaurus. The name roughly translates to "the mountains that move."

Ankton: Basic term for Anklyosaurs, although I'm contemplating whether I should use it to also apply to Stegosaurs. I'm not sure yet. I really want to get a Kentrosaurus into one story. One of my favorite dinosaurs! He doesn't get proper love.

Stryk: Basic term for Pachycephalosaurs.

Prayan: Blanket term for horned dinosaurs, roughly translating to "shield necks." These include Protoceratops, Triceratops and Chasmosaurus for examples.

Dwarl: Blanket term for flying reptiles, everything from Dimorphodon to Pteranodon.

I still have to come up with more general terms for other dinosaur groups and primitive reptiles, as there are just so many! I'm also extremely anal about these sorts of names, because I feel like every name I come up with feels like something a child would come up with. I'm hoping they don't sound too bad!

I'll continue to update as I come up with more linguistic things as I release more books. I'll probably write down the more specific animal designations as well so that the paleo-fans know for sure what some of these animals are and they don't suffer an stroke.