This 3D puzzle…

THIS FIGGIN 3D PUZZLE

I would not have guessed that it doubles as a metaphor for a thing that what it is is often a metaphor for. Butterflies? Flowers? Fragility of life? Fragility by gravity??

Crystal Butterfly

Pretty, right? Pretty ridiculous. Pretty hard. Currently it is sitting on the counter with superglue on it because it does not stay together otherwise. I feel like it’s under ridiculous pressure and gravitational forces and at the slightest touch will literally explode.

This. While putting it together, I had to tape parts of it together to hold it together while I put it together.

flowertape

The first two puzzles I did–that panda and bird–were challengey, and though there were a few points where I had to squeeze pieces into place, it wasn’t liable to explode (although at one point I had to rebuild the bird, but the pieces were organized so I knew where each one was).

The butterfly was easy. A few instances of difficulty, and a couple pieces aren’t completely firm, but it’s okay. The flower was awful. Getting all the petals together required more finesse than someone without telekinesis has. I still have no idea how I got them all together, which is why I immediately went for the tape. Then I got the other parts in and could not figure out the tightening rod in the center–it didn’t seem long enough. Once more I had to squeeze it in there. Finally, the butterfly stays on, but at the slightest touch it falls. It doesn’t actually snap in; it only stays on by sheer counterbalance forces.

So, again: metaphor for fragility of how life exists in just an extremely smooth spot between complete destruction. I glued the butterfly to the notches where it goes. It will not be flapping its wings to cause any storms.

Apparently my reviewing of 3D puzzles is now a recurring feature, ’cause I got more coming.

Oh, right, and by the way, this is a level one puzzle. That bird was level 2 and it was easier. This butterfly should be a level 5. (It only goes to 3.)

Hm, maybe I should actually put this up as a review on where I got it. There are currently no reviews

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Character Profile: The Conqueror

The main antagonist of my new novel (released today!) Slubes is an intergalactic tyrant who travels the cosmos and conquers worlds–as the name suggests. With four long tentacles and a rather small body, the vast amount of his mass comes from a giant, menacing, bulbous head that lets him tower over most anyone and glare at them with his teardrop-shaped eyes. Also, the back of his head is replaced with a glass case, so you can see his brain!

The Conqueror is a megalomaniac, sure, but he also has a high belief in his qualifications for rule. That is, he’s really smart. He’s calculating and scheming, but quick to anger. Everyone is below him—even if he has respect for someone, they’re still below him in his eyes (of course it helps that he’s taller than a lot of people).

The Conqueror is the instigator of these events; he comes to Mintop in a scouting space station to examine the planet before he launches a full invasion. In scanning the planet, he comes across a crystal with a vast amount of energy contained within. His plans to take it for himself go awry, though, but he doesn’t intend to let such a powerful artifact slip from his grasp.

My novel is out now—you can read all about The Conqueror’s plans and how the trio of slubes face them by getting it here! Before you do, though, here’s one more excerpt:

The rebels yelped; they were grabbed by The Conqueror’s long tentacles and pulled away. He held the four rebels each in one tentacle.

“You thought you could rebel against The Great Conqueror!?” shouted The Great Conqueror as he held them at eye level.

“I thought you were just ‘The Conqueror’,” a rebel said with all the cheek a creature without cheeks could muster.

“Great or not, you have made a fatal mistake,” The Conqueror told it. Every previous attempt to rebel against him had failed, and the resulting public torture… It led to a stronger grip on the planet that saw the torture. But for a spleech to try and rebel…

“So… you’re not actually great?” asked the rebel.

…and then try to mock him!? The Conqueror tightened his grip on that rebel and threatened, “I would watch what you say, for there is nothing stopping me from squeezing the life out of you.” He suspected there were more rebels and would need to interrogate these four. However, one less captive would not matter…

While this exchange was going on, one of the rebels freed its mechanical tentacle. The end of it opened and shot out a bomb. It exploded, blasting the control panel apart.

“NO!” cried The Conqueror. The computer smoked and fell silent, ceasing all activity.

The spleech began working furiously to get a status update on the crystal. “We’re losing visual on the crystal, sir!”

“Power signals decreasing!”

“They’re spreading out!”

“Crystal gem entering Mintop atmosphere!”

“Sir! It appears the crystal is breaking apart in the atmosphere!”

“What!?” The screen before them showed dots on the map of Mintop. Each dot marked where the crystal landed after breaking up. “This rather multiplies the problem, then…”

“Sorry, Conqueror,” said the cheeky rebel, “but your crystal is in another ca-” The Conqueror cut it off by tightening his grip again.

The Conqueror ordered in some guards. “Lock these rebels up. Interrogate them. Find out who else dares to go against the might of The Conqueror.” He wanted to interrogate them himself, but he now had more pressing concerns. Turning to the spleech at the computers, he said, “Find those shards! This isn’t over! I will have that crystal!”

And Now, a Brief Glimpse at Doom

With two weeks until the release of my novel, Slubes, here’s an excerpt from early on in my novel, Slubes. It involves DOOOOOM or something

 

As they continued their conversation, Cherry looked up into the sky, blue and clear with but a single cloud.

Suddenly the sky flashed, like a sheet of lightning radiating out above the town. “Hey, hey, hey,” Cherry said, interrupting Paige and Gern; “what’s that?” They looked up. The sky flashed again, repeating at a quicker pace.

The flashing intensified. Light from the sun distorted. The rest of the town took notice, looking up at the phenomenon. They were unsure of what to make of it…

A giant, crackling pillar appeared like a second sun shooting down towards Nottle. It was falling towards the very center of town. There sat a pear-shaped, crystalline gem the size of a slube. The pillar’s light shined off the dark gray gem in a rainbow of colors.

With a deafening boom, the pillar slammed into the crystal. A shattering, reverberating screech like high-pitched thunder flooded Nottle.

The townspeople went into a panic. They were under attack! The pillar was like a vacuum, pulling things towards it. Everyone fled for their homes, trying to not get pulled in, their screams drowned out by the screech.

The crystal was ripped up from the ground it was in and drawn into the pillar. The surrounding soil broke up as it was also pulled up. By now the entire market, all of Nottle seemed empty as a ghost town… Everyone had hidden in their homes as the crystal was lifted up into the sky…

 

Check back this Sunday as I begin to introduce the main characters of Slubes one by one.