Sol Invictus, the sequel to Heavy Metal Thunder, now available as an app!

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I’m laid out on a metal table and a man is standing over me with a device like a hose. It’s very, very sharp on one end, and as he holds it overhead he explains that it has finally become necessary to jam this thing into my forehead, turn the suction up all the way, and drain something like hamburger meat mixed with fish slurry from my body. There’s a man on the other end of the hose prepping a container that looks like it could hold at least ten gallons, so I think this might be curtains for Kyle B. I explain to the man standing over me that I need to make a blog post to get the word out about Sol Invictus, my latest gamebook app. He sighs and looks at his watch.

“Fine,” he says, “but you need to make it quick.”

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For those of you who don’t know, Heavy Metal Thunder was a gamebook app developed by Cubus Games, and it allowed players to direct a sci-fi story involving a mentally unstable jetpack infantryman in a journey across a solar system occupied by alien invaders. Now the sequel, Sol Invictus, is available, and it continues the tale of that same jetpack infantryman as he takes part in a series of military operations in outer space that result in a climax so senses-shattering that it’s been known to cast gamers to the floor in a broken heap.

It’s available for iOS and Android!

Here’s an in-depth review that really blew my mind, and here’s an interview of me that was so controversial it resulted in me being laid on a metal table and having my body shaved and ritualistically cleansed in preparation for a ceremonial mercy killing!

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To those of you wondering why I still haven’t delivered Demonworld Book Six into your hands, well… this is pretty good as far as consolation prizes go, don’t you think?

Heavy Metal Thunder now available for iPhone and iPad!

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 The long-awaited day is finally here. If you’re a fan of gamebooks or RPGs or video games and you’re looking for a new kind of game that’ll take you to the edge and back again, then it’s time to ascend balls-first into the most intense gamebook experience ever developed by the human species.

 

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If you’re not sure what Heavy Metal Thunder is, check out my interview with Cubus Games, the guys who developed the app version of Heavy Metal Thunder. That piece explains it all.

For only three bucks (the price of a cat’s tongue and a wad of human hair on the black market), why not check it out? To see the iPhone / iPad version, click here. If you’re an Android user – just hang in there!

 

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Update: Demonworld 6 and Heavy Metal Thunder App

Dear readers, I know it seems like the world has grown dark and all Kyle B. Stiffs have been lost. In an endless labyrinth of enslavement, the tale of Wodan has become only scattered fragments, a faded poster on a broken down bus, a chipped action figure clutched by a skeletal hand on the edge of a battlefield… you get the idea. Oh, the frustration that Demonworld Six is not yet available to the public!!!

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Well, here’s one piece of good news. My gamebook, Heavy Metal Thunder, is being turned into an app complete with music and illustrations by Cubus Games. I’ve been hard at work beating this thing into shape and making it worthy of the attention of the human species. We’re hoping for a release date at the end of June for all iProducts.

As for Demonworld Book Six: The Love of Tyrants, progress is being made, I assure you! I have to interact with the outside world more than I used to, but I’m researching ways for introverts to sustain and preserve their energetic life-force so that after an introvert clocks out he can truly unleash his New Age juices onto worthwhile projects. Demonworld Six is a beast, a monster, what people in the industry call “a large book”. It’s taking all I’ve got to keep things on track (note: things haven’t been kept on track very well), but I’m hoping it will be available by the end of the year.

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In the meantime, if you’re already a fan of Demonworld, then tell someone else about it. There’s no need for people to be reading a bunch of ridiculous nonsense written by jokers who don’t really care about their fans and, let’s face it, have probably written less than fifteen books before they started picking up massive checks and going on long vacations. And if you haven’t tried Demonworld yet, then… what gives?! The first book’s free!

Turns Out Harry Potter is the Hero of the Harry Potter Series

I’ve seen a lot of stuff on the internet about pulling your head out of your ass and finding out that Hermione Granger is the hero of the Harry Potter series, or Ron, or that kid that swung the sword around at the end. I’m not a scholar of the Harry Potter series. I read a couple of the books and watched the movies, and that’s it. However, I do know a great deal about storytelling, so I can say with some amount of confidence that Harry Potter is in fact the hero of the Harry Potter series.

How can I say something so utterly unenlightened and completely uninteresting? I’ll lay out my points.

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ONE. Harry is a rebel, and a hero have a very wide rebellious streak. In the beginning, when Harry is coming up with outlandish plots and batshit shenanigans, Hermione and Ron almost always argue against him (rational arguments from Hermione and outright cowardice from Ron). The general trend of any and every story ever told is that you can’t save the day by following the rules. You have to break the law to save civilization. Sounds counterintuitive, but that’s the way heroes think.

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TWO. It doesn’t matter that Harry was a jock and Hermione was a brilliant nerd. That point only matters to bookish internet types. Having high “stats” in multiple areas, like a really good role-playing game character, only makes you better able to handle various situations. It doesn’t necessarily make you the hero of the narrative you’re working within. See point one for further explanation.

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THREE. Just because neither Hermione nor Ron nor the kid who swung the sword around at the end were the main hero does not rob them of their importance. You don’t have to be the hero in order to be important. It’s egomaniacal to think so. That sort of thinking leads to the production of corporate pamphlets and posters that say things like, “THE SCENERY ONLY CHANGES IF YOU’RE THE LEAD DOG!” Just because Hermione wasn’t the hero doesn’t mean she will be rewarded with looking at an asshole for the duration of the series.

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FOUR. Harry Potter endures a death and rebirth ritual. This is another counterintuitive point, but all heroes must die and be reborn. This is symbolic of the fact that as we go through life, our ego must “die”, or be diminished, so that we can grow. Problems can’t be solved by the same mode of thought that created them, you have to lose yourself to find yourself, et cetera and all that.

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FIVE. “But Harry’s dad was an asshole and Harry didn’t do anything to deserve being the hero!” Doesn’t matter; life isn’t fair, and heroes usually need more than a drop or two of cruelty in them anyway. True heroes have to go beyond concepts like “good” and “evil” and embody all sorts of elements in themselves, even elements that make normal people uncomfortable, in order to accomplish something beyond rational devising.

 

X-Men: Kyle B. Stiffs of Future Past

Spoiler-free Thoughts by Kyle B. Stiff

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Sometimes all it takes is a scene from a blockbuster to wake your soul up from a dream of endless death!

The scene in question involved the Professor Xavier of 1970-something speaking with the Xavier of the distant future. The Xavier of the past needed to accomplish a certain goal, but he was a screaming hot mess. His chick had left him, his best friend turned out to be a total turd, the Kickstarter campaign to fund his school for gifted youngsters fell short at the last minute, the only person who could stand to be around him was a dufus trying to invent crystal meth for mutants, plus he was being harassed by a muscular Canadian goon covered in so many veins that his entire body looked like a dick. Times were tough. Xavier wasn’t the giant he was destined to become… he was just a sad sap with a degree in feeling sorry for himself.

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But he ends up in a situation where he gets to meet a much older version of himself. A version of himself who ran a school full of horny superpowered freaks (no easy task), then planned the logistical nightmare of fighting a war against an unstoppable foe (also not easy). The future version of himself didn’t have time to cry over pictures of a girl while listening to The Cure. He would never consider butting heads with his best friend because he knew they needed to work together despite their voting preferences.

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But the thing that got to me during their meeting was the idea that the same person could hold two different perspectives in mind. The young version of Xavier saw his problems as all-encompassing. There was “nothing” he could do, no way to pull through. He was a failure and would always be a failure and no one could help him, not now, not ever. The future Xavier, however, had already pulled through a million challenges. None of them had been worth worrying over, not really. The future Xavier was able to shake the younger version’s perspective with a few wise words dropped while sitting with the posture of one who simply cannot be stopped.

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This scene got to me because recently I felt despair over my writing. Not the quality, of course; every day  I slam-dunk the finest prose and pull three-pointers from the beginning of the game until the buzzer sounds and they pry the ball from my hands and put (yet another) trophy in its place. No, I felt despair because my Demonworld sales took a nosedive some time ago, and now I have to work fulltime. Sometimes I’m so brain-dead by the time I get home that I can’t even write; I can only stare at my notes for an hour or two until I realize that I can’t comprehend what I’m looking at, then I’ll look at the clock and instead of numbers I’ll see something that looks like a ballsack going into my mouth. The other night I found myself in a pile of empty bottles with heroin syringes hanging out of my neck and ass and a poorly written suicide note explaining that I don’t have the energy to finish Demonworld. While I explained my situation in a whiny, high-pitched voice, my wife stood over me and said, “You’re not being very heroic right now.”

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She was right!

Seeing Charles Xavier going through a similar situation really got to me. Imagine if you could go back in time and see yourself when you were a child. What if you had been worrying over something as silly as giving a speech in front of class? At the time, you might have been puking your guts out or quietly shitting yourself. But would the twenty or thirty or forty year old version of you ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying over that same speech? No, you wouldn’t. That seemingly insurmountable challenge would be yet another slam dunk in a long journey of endless slam dunks that made up the whole of your life.

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This idea is just the inspiration I needed to get through endless days of enslavement and use what little time I have to finish Demonworld, Heavy Metal Thunder, and all the other projects I want to make for you guys. It took a real badass to inspire me to keep on keepin’ on… an old guy who lives in a future we can hardly imagine, a hardass who’s forgotten more about writing than most writers will ever learn, a fighter whose hands are super soft because he doesn’t do anything but touch keyboards, peel bills, and pet cats, and a wise old wizard who, like me, bears the burden of knowing how Demonworld ends, but unlike me, he knows all the strange and surprising ins and outs that happen along the way.

And, of course, that future badass goes by the name… KYLE B. STIFF!!!

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Movie review: X-Men was a blast, eighteen thumbs up, unless someone has left a mysterious rainbow-colored egg in your house and you want to stay home because you think it’s about to hatch, go see it and cry like a baby just like I did.

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Story synopsis: In the distant future of 2015, Galactus threatens to destroy the world and Wolverine has to go to space to suck him off and distract him while Professor X and Gambit take everyone on earth to a planet that is identical to earth (buildings and everything) and they get away before Galactus destroys the original earth. Wolverine loses the adamantium on the left side of his body but then he gets it back without too much trouble.