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THE RANT OF TODAY

09 August 2006

The reaction to the computerized typeface or font has been a bit negative, but rest assured that it is only temporary. Once this arc is over it's back to hand-drawn letters. The digital font is necessary though, because as you've noticed by now this arc is extremely wordy. Lots of big-huge sentences and explanations involved. Would I have written it all out by hand; there wouldn't have been any room anymore for the, you know, pictures.

Let's talk Jeff Grubb. You may not know that he is an American author who has written several pulp novels for Blizzard of their various franchises. Since I have an extensive library of these novels, the name Jeff Grubb appears a few times on my bookshelf. The first book I read of him was Guardians of Destiny in the Warcraft line, and it was abysmal. Now abysmal is too strong a word here, but I'm exaggerating for the sake of my point. There were spelling errors, there was a general complacency to the tale and although there were characters that caught my interest because they appeared in the original games that inspired these books, the core canon if you will, this was through no blessed prose of the book itself. All in all, I had the feeling it had been rushed out in ten days without any editorial intervention because the publishers thought that we would swallow it whole anyway.

So it was with reluctance that I started reading Liberty's Crusade, Jeff's venture into the Starcraft universe. At the time when I started I had a bit of a Warcraft overdose what with my playing the MMORPG again, so I thought some science fiction would balance it nicely. Would this book again be a detestable bundle of spelling errors and mediocre writing? No! Something had happened! Was this the Jeff Grubb that I knew and thought mildly negative of? How was it possible that all of a sudden here was a pulp novel that actually had flair and was -though obviously pulp, as I was saying, and therefore prone to all the delicious superficiality that we love- actually interestingly told. Liberty's Crusade starts with the standard storytelling technique of letting its prologue be about the main character as he is at the end of the story. He tells of terrible events, blah blah, and then says he's written this down in a manifesto (as he is a reporter). Jeff then takes a leaf from the Dune books, and every consequent chapter starts with a bit from that report, prophesizing its events from hindsight perspective. Now this is absolutely no revolutionary technique, but damn it if it doesn't work.

There are other factors that help make me love this book. One is that I had forgotten how intricately wonderful the story of Starcraft is. There are more complex characters there than in the Warcraft universe and its plot is just a little more adult, a little more political and a bit less happy-go-lucky high fantasy. I had forgotten that, and so my re-introduction into the stellar revolving of that epic struggle pleased me. Another important factor is where the Warcraft books had touched upon events that happened before the games or in the sidelines, Liberty's Crusade was directly woven into the primary plotline of Starcraft, making everything feel important and epic, not to mention deepening the game itself.

In the end, it's still pulp. But it makes me appreciate that wonderfully familiar, yet almost forgotten science fiction universe again. And even in a not-too-shabby way! Jeff Grubb, you have totally redeemed yourself.

Roderick.