Posted by : David Guyll August 10, 2014

I suppose The Dresden Files would count (especially once you get a few books in), what with there being a Dresden Files role-playing game and all, but I thought I'd go with something a bit more...unusual.

You're probably aware of the latest edition of Gamma World: it was like a lighter version of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, except that you had a bonus to most of your shit based on your level, you randomly rolled two traits and mashed 'em together to get a character, and there were card draws to determine what weird-ass power you would have access to.

What you might not be aware of are the pair of novels that used the property: Sooner Dead and Red Sails in the Fallout. Even if you are I'm willing to bet you haven't read them, but I did some three years ago and while I recall Sooner Dead being basically okay (maybe a bit more on the meh side), I seemed to dig Red Sails in the Fallout based on a brief review I wrote about it:

"My judgement might be skewed in light of having just come away from Under the Crimson Sun, but I found this heartwarming tale of two anthropomorphic female animals literally playing grab-ass across the desert—along with a swarm of insects, racist human, and carnivorous plant—to be a pretty entertaining read that plays out very much like an adventure arc might.

The characters were enjoyable (especially Shaani), the pop culture references were not too tiresome (except perhaps for Wigwig's lolcat speak, but your mileage might vary), and the pacing flowed well up until the end, after which it felt kind of rushed; you never found out what happened to Watering Hole, but presumably they made out alright, how the Plodder's dealt with having their wombats exploded, and for better or worse Xoota and Shaani never got past the "playful-spanking" phase.

I found it to be a good deal better than Sooner Dead, so if you liked that I would give this a read, too."

I remember Under the Crimson Sun being so bad I couldn't finish it, which I guess was marginally better than most of the other D&D "novels" at the time. Yeah, coming away from a lengthy series of huge disappointments might have skewed my opinion, but I think I also might have enjoyed this because it took something as crazy as Gamma World and owned it, alpha fluxes and all.

It really felt like someone played the game and made a coherent story out of it, and goddamn it now I want to give it a proper go.

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