Wild Bill Coyote never played a hand of poker unless his back was to the wall, except the time when a kid put a bullet through his brain. Jim Jason wasn’t going to make a similar mistake, as he nestled himself in the corner of the Wallace Terrence Library gazing across the large open atrium. Jim Jason harassed, berated, and bullied at school never thought he would be able to exact revenge against his fellow students. Then one day he finds an ancient book, the tome. The many varied short stories whisper to him, telling Jim how to get even, to take what he wants in the world. He realizes the power on the yellowed pages and focuses all his lusts and desires onto the one girl he wishes to have. What are the costs for this power to bend time and the minds of others?
This is a short book at approximately 35 pages or so. We’re introduced to Jim Jason, a voracious reader who suffers at the hands of most everyone, like most voracious readers. He is approached by one girl Selena, though, and she tells him of a bookstore that is open in town. He gets terrorized by the local bully and finds himself late for the bus. He walks to town and heads to the bookstore where he finds this old book. Within the book are stories that help young Mr. Jason with the bullies in his life. And does he make use of magic contained within the book. I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting the ending of the book. I guess I should have, it just wasn’t where my brain was headed with the story.
Mr. Christensen believes that the devil resides in Morgantown, Ky. It is highly likely. I, too, live in Kentucky, but not that town. I’ll just be certain to keep my distance from that town now, thank you, very much! The premise of the story is good. It is somewhat macabre and dark. It could be fleshed out more and the back story gone into more detail. I feel like this is more of a taste than the actual story. Which is a good thing because it means I want to read more. The downside of this story is it is in need of an editor. There are simple grammatical errors that the editor would be able to correct, like verb tense, spelling, and incorrect word usage. (an incorrectly used “there/their/they’re”) The only other question I have is the use of certain words. Not that they are incorrectly used or even a wrong word, but they’re not commonly used words and the average joe might not understand them. Granted many of them are being used by a voracious reader and many of such people have rather large vocabularies, but I wonder if it might off-put some of those reading this book. All in all, the story is good. With the help of an editor and maybe making it longer (please! :D) it would do rather well.
About the Author
In 1980 Troy Christensen published a little book called Phantasm Adventures. Perhaps 50 copies of this game were printed — to this day there are about 19 of these books unaccounted for. Phantasm Adventures is a role-playing game with a unique set of rules that included personal and racial statistics allowing for equal play of huge giants to tiny sprites. With more than 200 skills and dozens of professions, it is a rich and complicated game system. The magic casting system is utterly unique with no two wizards in the game being alike; there are 12 circles of magic with each having ten or more spells.
It was 1983 that Troy was introduced to V&V (the first super hero role-playing game). In 1984 he wrote his first adventure module for V&V called The Devil’s Domain. The adventure centered upon a demonic figure trapped in another dimension trying to escape to Earth and a group of stalwart heroes trying to stop him. In 1985 Troy released a compendium of super villains for V&V called Most Wanted III, having the prior two Most Wanted written by Jeff Dee and Jack Herman. And finally in 1986 he released his third and last V&V adventure called The Dawn of the Devil.
In 1987 through 1988 Mr. Christensen moved to Japan for a yearlong exchange program with the International Christian University. It was during the early part of his stay that he visited a bookstore and bought a Japanese game magazine called Game Graphix. It was during this time that he wrote and published Phantasm Adventures, Bloodbath, Bloodchant, and Multiverse.
For the next ten years Troy Christensen worked with every major game publisher including TSR, Steve Jackson Games, Iron Crown Enterprises, and Different World Magazines. He still wrote expansions, modules, and map sets for the Japanese.
It was between 1987 and 1997 that he wrote such works as The Castle Guide and the Equipment Guide for 2nd edition AD&D. Christensen also wrote a huge compendium for RoleMaster under the title of Heroes & Rogues. Troy also took a hand at editing for Hero Games, working on several super hero adventures for Champions. The Japanese continued to buy his creations including Advanced Phantasm Adventures.
It was during this period that he was on fire on creating home-brewed game systems, just as desktop publishing was taking off. Troy created a dozen RPG systems all-seeing a very limited print but became a center of gaming fury in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Recently Troy has released a new version of Phantasm Adventures on Amazon.