Last week I got a message from Black Chicken Studios about their new Kickstarter, Victory Belles. I read the blurb and thought it sounded pretty neat – a dating simulator set in WW2, where the major warring factions are forced to team up and fight a bigger threat, the Morganas. Being wholly unfamiliar with dating simulators, I was picturing some kind of intriguing visual novel-style game where people of the different and often opposed factions were teaming up to fight this new threat. (I was thinking of something similar to Voltage‘s My Killer Romance or the hilarious White Lies and Sweet Nothings, both of which I tried a few years ago to get a feel for the genre). But then I watched the Victory Belles Kickstarter video, and realized I was somewhat mistaken. The Belles of the title are the spirits of warships likened to valkyries or kami and you get to collect them into a fleet to battle this new foe. Oh, but don’t worry, you can still date the ships (it IS a dating sim afterall).
After watching the video, I realized that all of the Belles were female. This led me to wonder about ships and how they are gendered in English to be a “she.” I don’t know if this is true as much nowadays (Grammarphobia said back in 2010 that doing so has become quaint; “it” and “its” may be replacing “she” and “her” in English). Leading further from that thought, I also started to wonder if other languages gender their ships the way we do (or did) in English.
Not knowing where to look, I turned to Google with a couple of vague searches like “do other languages refer to ships as she.” This was really frustrating because it brought up a lot of links talking about why ships are referred to as female in English. But then on Yahoo Answers, one of the answers I found noted that in Russian, ships are masculine. Following up on that, I managed to find this discussion here, which confirmed that generally Russian ships are masculine. There are some exceptions, like submarines. This is apparently true in South Asian cultures as well (ships=masculine, submarines=feminine). So it looks like I have my answer: other languages do gender their ships, but do not always refer to them as female.
During this research, I was chatting a bit with my friend at Black Chicken Studios. I posed the question to him, and he said that the German Bismarck “was considered so powerful that the Germans decided that only a male could have such power.” A WW2 German ship referred to as a male? How interesting. I asked if they’d made the Bismarck into a Belle. He said no, the Bismarck wasn’t commissioned in 1939 and so will not be appearing in the game. Which made me sad, because I really wanted to see the masculine Bismarck interpreted as a Belle. I guess I’ll just have to settle for the Russian Kirov instead.
Check out the Black Chicken Studios Kickstarter for Victory Belles here!
Back in June of 2013, I did some content writing for the Gamebook Holdfast: Record of the Dwarven Kingdom Volume 1 (originally titled Holdfast: A Gamebook of Dwarven Vengeance on the Kickstarter page). I received my copy of Holdfast in December 2013, and have been showing people it since then. A lot of people have asked me where they could get a copy of the gamebook; unfortunately it was only available to the people who backed it on Kickstarter. But today, that all changed – Holdfast is now available as a PDF on DriveThruRPG!
According to the Kickstarter update, so far only the main book is available on DriveThruRPG. But Black Chicken Studios has plans to release the add-on material over the next couple of months as well.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I’ve been retweeting a lot from Lightspeed Magazine this last month. Lightspeed Magazine was running a campaign on Kickstarter entitled Women Destroy Science Fiction, which ended yesterday. Everyday, Lightspeed was sending essays from women science fiction writers, who spoke about their experiences, both good and bad, writing in the genre. In a way, I’m a bit sad that the campaign is over (although happy that they wildly exceeded their goal) because I’m going to miss the daily essays. But now that the campaign is over, I thought I’d share my favourite essays here:
I realize that the list is a bit long (I just listed off 18 essays), but I thought they were all really great. I loved hearing how different authors found their way into science fiction (for a really funny one, read Stina Leicht’s “The Wendybird”). All of the essays (including the ones I didn’t highlight here) are going to be included in the Women Destroy Science Fiction issue. If you missed the Kickstarter, be sure to check out Lightspeed’s website, where they will let you preorder the special issue in the near future.
Back in June, I talked about some work I did for a friend and his team on Holdfast, a gamebook that was funded through Kickstarter. The book shipped this December, and made it here a few days ago!
I’m still so excited to see my name in print. 🙂
I haven’t read through the book yet, but I did flip through and find a few pieces of what I wrote. It looks like the characters I created back in June made it into the final product (I found my three Battle Priests and four of the five Pit Fighters I created).
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed that this week I’ve been working quite a bit on creating characters and working out plots. All of it is for a friend and his team (Black Chicken Studios); I agreed to write a week’s worth of content for their newest project, Holdfast.
Holdfast was recently funded through Kickstarter. I followed along with the campaign and was really excited for the book, mainly because I’ve never actually tried playing a game book before (although I did enjoy reading Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid). The setting seems really rich, making it a lot of fun to work on (if you’re interested in checking out some tidbits from the setting, be sure to check out the Kickstarter updates!)
My involvement with Black Chicken Studios will be wrapping up late tomorrow night. I’ll probably be taking a few days off before hopefully getting back to the game I’m designing with friends.