Category Archives: Fiction

A space for creative writing, once I feel brave enough to show any to the public.

Punching Trees Gives Me Wood: Settling In

Well, it’s been a bit longer than I would have liked since my last installment. I hope I haven’t lost the thread. It may end up being like starting over, but let’s soldier on anyway.  I’d like to have this series go up at least once a week, but I promise nothing.

You have survived your first night in this strange land, but you still have no idea where you are. You are surrounded by hills, but they are nowhere near undulating. Rather, they seem terraced, a series of one meter cubes stacked one on top of the other. Even the trees and the leaves are cubic.

You look behind you at your feeble shelter from the night before. In the daylight it looks more like a tomb, enclosing only enough space for you to stand up and move around slightly. You’re sure you can do better.

Looking around, you spy a slightly higher hill to the east. You work your way up to the top, having to hop up from one terrace level to the next. Luckily, this repetitive jumping doesn’t seem to leave you overly tired. Once you reach the summit you find a flat spot with a few trees. Without hesitation you start in on the trees, punching them until logs (one meter cubes, of course) fall into your hands. You clear out the bottom of the trees first, punching straight up from the hollow spot and effectively coring the tree. The leaves stay suspended after the trunk is gone, but quickly begin to fade. Some drop things as they disappear. You end up holding an apple and what appear to be a few saplings.

You get ready to start building house out of your logs when you stop. There must be a better way to use these resources. You close your eyes to think, and can practically see a small grid in front of your eyes. Great, even your imagination has been squared off. But this gives you an idea: you visualize one of your logs on the grid. It changes, breaking into a set of wooded planks. The vision is so strong that you can’t help but reach out your hand to the planks, and when you open your eyes, you are holding them in front of your face.

You don’t know what you just did, but it sure is useful. It looks like your resources will stretch much farther if you craft them, so you go about doing so. Logs quickly become planks, and before too long (the sun is still high, but has started its downward arc) you have created something resembling a house, complete with four walls, a roof, and even a plywood floor. It’s practically cozy.

You have some planks left over, and you can’t help but feel there’s even more you could be creating. You close your eyes again, and the grid returns easily enough. But you notice it’s only got four spots, in a 2 by 2 layout. Maybe that’s what’s limiting you. Is there any way you could expand the grid? You tug on it with your mind, but all you succeed in doing is giving yourself the start of what could be a very bad headache.

On a whim, you visualize four stacks of planks (in one meter cubes, of course) on the grid. Sure enough, this gets you a result: a crafting table! You open your eyes and place it in a corner of your shack. Looking closely, you can see a small grid inlaid on the surface, but this one has nine slots. The possibilities are endless!.

You quickly get to work with this new grid, trying combinations in an almost random fashion. The dirt blocks you have don’t seem to be of any use, but wood is proving to be quite useful. And the more you experiment, the more you come to get a feel for the logic of crafting. Things seem to be roughly visual: you can use the grid to visualize a rough approximation of the object you desire. Sticks are the result of stacking two planks into a stick shape. A door is crafted using six wood plank blocks laid out in the shape of a door.

You can even craft tools. By the time the sun sets, you have managed to craft yourself a wooden sword, pickaxe, shovel, and axe. You are sure your knuckles, square as they may be, will thank you in the long run.

But the moon is rising in the east, and you can already hear the monsters stirring. You pass the night experimenting with more crafting recipes, although it gets hard to see in the dark. You decide: first thing tomorrow, you’re going to go looking for a light.

Punching Trees Gives Me Wood – Part 1: The First Night

Even though I have a bunch of serious topics I’d like to talk about, I’m feeling the need to write something more lighthearted. So let’s talk about games. People like games, right?

Let’s talk about Minecraft.

What is Minecraft? I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you if you’re anything like me, I’d never see you again. At its most basic level, Minecraft is a pretty much what it says on the tin: a game about mining and crafting. But that comes nowhere close do doing it justice. Instead, I will attempt to communicate a small fraction of the wonder (and addicting qualities) this game can instill through a series of vignettes. Imagine if you will:

Continue reading