The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk Roaring Twenties. Sarah Zama's Author Blog

Archive for the tag “dark mood”

Murder Mystery Game – The Crime: Feathers and Blood

From the fame thread:

Dear Museum Colleagues,

I have just been notified by security of a car break-in in the parking lot. Broken glass was found by a valet attendant. Please be aware of your surroundings, and do not leave your valuables unattended.

“Meet me in the room of the Storyteller exhibit after the gala. There’s something I think you should know.” That’s all the woman whispered to her. But when Ombretta got there, she only found a few black feathers in a pool of dark blood.

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘crime’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything
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Murder Mystery Game – The Scene: The Hexagonal Room

From the fame thread:

Dear Museum Colleagues,

I was informed earlier today of a mix-up in the availability of the Etruscan Antiquities Room for our Gala Dinner. Renovations are scheduled to begin sooner than expected, and preparations to clear the room will begin immediately.

Part 2 – Please assist in these last minute changes by suggesting other possible Museum locations (i.e., the crime scene) for our Gala Dinner.

The Hexagonal Room in the south wing still display the exibition ‘Memory of the Storyteller’, but it’s perfect for a round table, so the stuff had made it available for our Gala Dinner. They are always so kind, aren’t they?

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘scene’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

Murder Mystery Game – The suspect: The Warrior Queen

When she first went to Ireland, Ombretta was fascinated by the tales of the Morrigan. This goddess of the earth, protector of kings, but also caller of death, destroyer of warriors.

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘suspect’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

Thursday Quotables – The Trumpet

The lights dimmed and a sole spotlight shone over him. The applause ceased and all Terry could see from beyond the stage was darkness. Was he alone? He heard light footsteps tap the wooden stage floor, growing steadily closer.

A figure emerged from the darkness. As it grew closer, Terry observed it possessed the stature of a man, wore a fine black suit, a black bowler hat, and was dreadfully skinny coupled with an abnormal height. The man laughed and clapped, covered in shadow.

“What a wonderful performance. You truly are a talented one, Terrence Jones!” The man praised Terry with a voice both gentle and frightening.

Terry tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come. He stood there, grasping the silver trumpet firmly, watching the enigmatic man in the darkness.

“Let me start by introducing myself, my frightened little lamb. I go by many names, but you can call me Andromaleus. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Theatre of Shadows.”

quotation-marks4The Trumpet is a mild dieselpunk story set in the Twenties, with a very cool core idea, though not as strong as an execution, in my opinion. The fantasy parts, which all condensed in the Theatre of Shadows sequences, are by far the most effective for me. They are haunting, have a great mood and they are the ones that advance the story the most. This is a brief excerpt from the first of them.

You can read my review of the story here.

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Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
  2. Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

The Trumpet

One morsel review: A fantasy story historically set in the Twenties, this is a smart intuition, executed with more than a few uncertainties.

51eWJOzXNSLThe Trumpet
Damian Fredericks

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Genre: dieselpunk
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While trying to avoid the police on the street at night, a jazzman comes across a tramp who gives him his trumpet in exchange of the jazzman’s old one. The instrument turns out to be of exceptional quality… it also has the power to make all the man’s dream come true.
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The premise of this story is a classic – the deal with the devil – but the author succeeded in making it fresh and enjoyable in spite of its familiarity. Just a shame I discovered at the end… there was no ending. This is not the entire story, but just the first instalment and honestly I’d have preferred to know it up front, rather than at the end.

When Terry, jazz cornet player, stumbles into a tramp in a alley, he sure doesn’t expect the man to offer him his high quality cornet in exchange of the old cornet Terry’s father gave to him. When he tries the cornet, Terry can’t believe his good luck, because he has never heard such poor, beautiful sound. But then, the tramp seems not to believe his good luck either.
The cornet is truly sublime. With its exquisite sound, it almost seem to turn Terry into a better jazzman. But something else also happens: Strange dreams of the Theatre of Shadows start haunting Terry and every time he wakes up, he discovers reality has changed in accord to his desires.

I particularly like this catch of the changing reality in accord to Terry’s desires, especially because, after a while, it becomes apparent these might not be Terry’s own true, more deep desires, but rather the trumpet’s suggestion of a easier, more desirable reality which is materialistically more comfortable. And there’s a price attached to it and Terry knows it.

The fantasy part of the story is the one I enjoyed the most. Not only I find the idea of the changing reality crafted by the trumpet fascinating, but also the place where it may come from, the Theatre of Shadows. In his dreams, Terry finds himself in this theatre full of people but cloaked in shadows, and even if he stands of the stage, he can only see a few of the people listening to him, which is quite haunting and even creepy at times. In this theatre, Terry meets a man (the devil?) who knows a lot about him and his supposed desires and tries to allure Terry into doing what the trumpet wants. These are very atmospheric, suggestive sequences, very effective.

Can’t say the same for the historical setting, and I’ll admit I didn’t like it because I personally think it wasn’t historically very accurate.
The author seems to tap into the surface of the era, but didn’t really researched it. This comes out in the details especially, details that clearly portray today’s life and simply transport it in the Twenties, regardless of things having been sometimes very different back then. This tells of a very superficial portrayal of the era, which spoiled the story for me, because, as good as the idea is, this sloppy handling of the historical setting detracts from the story itself.
Just a shame, because the story – at lest the part I read – was quite entertaining.

Murder Mystery Game – The suspect: The secret paths

Where Ombretta was born, deep in the mountain, ‘benandanti’ walked the path between realities in the old days, but still today, people walking the woods say when you under the trees’ shadows, away from any road, and you hear them whispering among themselves, you can never be shure what you actually see.

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘suspect’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

Murder Mystery Game – The suspect: Ombretta Vivaldi

I’ve just joined a team on Etsy that organises a mystery. That’s right and that’s the reason why I joined them. They have a very unique way to create treasuries, giving them such a form that will actually tell some kind of story. They call themselves The Museum of Made and Found and generally act as if every treasury were a find to showcase in the museum. Kind of a RPG if you will.

When I discovered them a couple of weeks ago they had just started a mystery. There will be five parts to the game and the goal is to create treasuries that will speak about the different elements of the mystery. The first part was the introduction of your suspect.

Well, you see I couldn’t resist. And of course you’ll see my suspect has a distinctive dieselpunk falvour to her.

So, here she is, Miss Ombretta Vivaldi.

Ombretta Vivaldi was born deep on the Dolomites.
She’s an archeologist, specialized in human remains and ritual artefacts. She’s always thought there is a lot more inside what we hold in our hands after digging it out of the earth than we actually see.

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘suspect’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

 

Thursday Quotables – The Troubleshooter

Whoever said that misery loves company was right on the money – and probably the loneliest soul on the planet. Because the problem is that company doesn’t love you back. Being miserable is actually  a rather dismal and insular experience, something I can relate to from prolonged exposure.

Naturally the depression was complimented by the sound of rain pounding the pavement outside my grime-streaked windows. I didn’t complain, though. Most folks hate the rain ‘cause they’re thinking about their hair  or their darb rags that are about to get socked. Then you got those daisies that get all depressed and sit around crying and writing poetry and all.

But me?

Suited my mood just fine. The office air conditioner blew its circuits a while back, so I kinda like it when the rain cools things down. You know; washed some of the grime off the streets and into the gutters where it belongs. It never lasted. The cleanness, I mean. That’s about the only thing you could bank on in New Heaven.

quotation-marks4This is the opening from The Troubleshooter – New Heaven Blues by Bard Constantine. This is a fun story, where fun means a lot a of things happen all of the time and you rushed thought the story breathless, wanting to know what will happen next. I’m enjoying it, and what I’m enjoying the most is the language. I like this narration, so close to spoken language. It makes it sound as if the author were telling us the story rather than let us read it.

This is a very grim dieselpunk story, with a lot of shady and downright dark characters, in a place where life is cheap and smartness is your best bet at survival. A fun place to read.

Dark Sonata

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Wherever the Steel Track of Night Brings Me

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