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[Comments] (4) Constellation Games Author Commentary #22, "Nerfed": This chapter is bad news for Ariel but good news for me, because yesterday I got my box of author copies. That means those of you who ordered paperbacks should be getting them soon. This EXCLUSIVE SIDE COVER REVEAL shows the playtime synergies possible for those who shelled out for the Adamantium package with its USB key.

In a couple weeks I may do a special spoiler post so that those who've read the whole book can ask me questions about stuff that hasn't been serialized yet, rather than waiting until the appropriate chapter comes up in the serialization.

There's a solitary tweet in last week's microblog archive. Let's move on to the commentary:

I came into this chapter treating it like a chess problem. I had all the pieces on the board and the question was how Ariel would outsmart the BEA again, the way he did with Dana. I sat down and puzzled over this and had a long conversation with Beth trying to figure out how to get Ariel out of this scrape.

And after about forty-five minutes of being totally stumped I asked myself the obvious question: Why am I trying to get Ariel out of this?

At this point I knew how the book would end (it turns out I only knew how Part Two would end). I didn't have the plot planned out between now and then, but at some point I needed to break Ariel. This is the perfect time to start. He's stressed out from Sayable Spice work, shaken from his encounter with Her and the revelation of Curic's ambivalence. Let's just go for it.

So I destroyed Ariel's house. He tries all the clever gambits I thought of for him, and they don't work, and he loses. And that was the single best thing that ever happened to the book. From this point on the characters are developed enough that I can do whatever horrible things I want to them. They'll either figure something out and come out on top, or they'll lose, and either way it'll be interesting reading.

A lot of this week's commentary is me telling stories that are at best tangentially related to the chapter. But if that's good enough for big-name DVD commentaries, it's good enough for me:

Pretty chunky commentary this week, hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to tune in next week for chapter 23, when Jenny will say, "I don't masturbate to it."

Image credits: yours truly, the city of Austin, NASA/Ames, Wikimedia Commons user Hoshie.

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