Roundup: Istas and Ryan stories, Spellslingers, Civ 5

Istas and Ryan: “Red as Snow”, “Black as Blood”, “White as a Raven’s Wing”

Borrowed from

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: Istas and Ryan are an odd couple, and it’s easier to make it work when they don’t have to deal with their families. Though at least Ryan is close to his–Istas comes from a brutal people, and when her family gets involved, violence and death tends to follow…

Series: A series of three short stories following side characters from the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire.

POV: First person.

Available: First story is in Fiction River’s Hex in the City anthology, second two are available (along with many, many other fun stories in the InCryptid universe) here, towards the bottom.

I love the stories about these two. They’re so much fun, and they come from completely different backgrounds with completely different life experiences–yet they make it work. Ryan doesn’t freak out (too much) when Istas’ family comes to kidnap her and kill him on principle. Istas gets on a plane to meet Ryan’s family, without eating any of the other passengers.

And they both need something different than the norm for their culture. Ryan comes from an uber-social race, from which he occasionally needs his space. Istas comes from a species that thrives in the frozen tundra, occasionally eats its young, and doesn’t care much for clothing. Yet she lives in Manhattan, wants to be a good mother to whatever children she might have in the future, and loves fashion to death. The more lace, the better.

Their stories tend to be unusual yet cute (if slightly brutal, due to the nature of Istas’ species–she’s pretty terrifying in her own right, too), and I like them.

Favorite Quotes:

“The world, which sometimes seemed so small, was vast enough that there would always be things I could not experience for myself. There was something comforting in that thought.”


Synopsis: Day[9] takes on various geek culture icons in Magic: The Gathering.

Series: Second season is on.

I’ve Watched: A varied assortment of episodes.

Verdict: Entertaining.

Another Geek and Sundry production, unsurprisingly. This is usually a quick, entertaining show, accessible to people who aren’t overly familiar with the game. And especially fun when the guest is someone you know of. Also, seeing Felicia Day and Alan Tudyk team up (again) made my day.

Civ 5

Borrowed from

Genre: Strategy/historical.

Synopsis: Take your civilization from a single city in the Ancient Era to a modern/future civilization.

Series: Can totally stand alone.

Verdict: Fun.

I’m new to the Civilization series, but I’ve long enjoyed strategy games–especially ones that have more going from them than just combat. I got Civ 5 bundled with all the expansions, so I can’t separate the base game from that. But I really enjoyed the various mechanisms that came into play, including founding cities, spreading a religion, researching technologies, upgrading culture, and engaging in limited diplomacy. I might possibly be a little fanatical when it comes to converting everyone to my religion.

Also, there’s a steampunk-based special scenario. Which is one of my favorites, along with Wonders of the Ancient World.

So overall, this is a fun strategy game, and has shorter scenarios available for when you don’t have all day.