Back in May, I posted some links to a few entries at Hitherby Dragons. I still haven't gone back to read the story arc entries--I'm intimidated by the sheer volume of them--but I keep coming across other entries in various contexts, and I thought it was worth mentioning the site again.
The author, Rebecca, is a roleplaying game writer with a Ph.D. in CS. I just found out that she wrote Nobilis, possibly the most gorgeously produced RPG ever, though I've never played the game itself. Nor read the game rules/book, for that matter, but the production values made me drool. Not onto the book, of course.
Anyway, so Hitherby is sort of a blog, sort of an ongoing story, sort of an ongoing collection of mini-stories. It includes entertaining standalone pieces like these three in a row:
- Higher Jam, in which a mad(ish) scientist and her indifferently faithful assistant attempt to get a jam jar off a high shelf; bits of it remind me obliquely of Karen's conversations with Pär.
- An Oracle for NP, a seriocomic exploration of truths derived from torture.
- Wednesday 12/14: "Wednesdays are probably made of a glittering, sticky tar that they mine in Mexico . . . You cannot make Wednesdays out of unprocessed tar. Never ever! If you make a Wednesday out of unprocessed tar you wind up with a disaster like Ash Wednesday, when people have to rub ashes on their foreheads or die."
and, of course, the entries I linked to last time I mentioned Hitherby, especially Aslan Shrugged: The Wardrobe, which turns out to be part one of a three-part series that's preceded by an Author's Note of a sort. The ending of part 3 is particularly entertaining.
Oh, yes, and then there's the eight-part story House of Saints, all about the sorting hat at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth, which sorts people (some of whom are named Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, Sally, and Linus, though they aren't really who those names might suggest) into the House of Saints, the House of Dreams, or the House of Hunger. Also featuring Vidar's Boot (in space!), and the graveyard of the hats, and the Fenris Wolf. Plus assorted Fun Facts, like: "Fun Fact! If you have unholy zealotry in your voice, you can gargle with salt water to get it out!"
Hitherby also includes an ongoing story arc (none of the above are directly part of it) that sounds totally fascinating but that I think I would want to start reading from the beginning, which looks to be a project for some putative future time when I have, oh, a few weeks of uninterrupted free time.
The site also includes non-Hitherby stuff like Structure and Meaning in Roleplaying Game Design.
Plus extensive comments from a loyal band of readers.
Anyway, my real point is this: go read Hitherby! It's good stuff. The non-arc stories don't require any background, though you should probably start with the description of the site that I linked to up at the top of this entry.
You might also keep Hitherby in mind next time there's a Best Website Hugo--it's not that it couldn't be done on paper, but I don't think it would be done on paper, and I don't think it would work as well.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation at all with the Hitherby site or its creator; I'm just a fan.