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Viidad’s Q and A with David The Good concerning the latest Castalia House release, the number one gardening bestseller on Amazon: COMPOST EVERYTHING: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. Viidad: Why did you write Compost Everything? David The Good: I suppose I should say “because I love our mother the earth” or “because I want […]

I go to a lot of conventions each year, usually half a dozen between February and late October.  Some conventions are an every-year occurrence, some conventions are a “once every two or three year” thing.  Over the years, I’ve come up with some guidelines for what needs to get packed and how to avoid the […]

Perhaps even more important to how a roleplaying game resolves whether or not a fighter strikes home at his foe is how his opponent reacts when struck. I’ve been reading Jon Peterson’s “Playing at the World” recently, a densely packed and quite informative history of games, gaming, and (most specifically) Dungeons and Dragons. In it, […]

Postapocalyptic fiction in the tradition of Mad Max II and Planet of the Apes was not merely a byproduct of seventies era dystopianism. Indeed, the genre goes back surprisingly far. Just seven years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Andre Norton presented everything you’d need to run a pretty fair Gamma World campaign. It’s got […]

Some of the histories of fantasy fiction will mention that fantasy in general and sword and sorcery in particular disappeared during the 1940s. While this is technically true if given a strict interpretation, it is a mischaracterization. Sword and sorcery was disguised as adventure science fiction. There were writers including Leigh Brackett, Gardner Fox, and […]

“With 21st Century Science Fiction, David Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden give us a vivid snapshot of the fast-changing world of SF. Long recognised as trusted arbiters of the genre, these multiple award-winning editors showcase recent stories by science fiction’s brightest up-and-coming talents…” Back in the 20th century, Hartwell and Hayden were interviewed in Publisher’s […]

I recently got to go through, for lack of a better term, the game design slushpile for another publisher (I work, from time to time, as a freelance rules analyst/game fixer/game editor).  I’m not going to name names, of either the publisher or the submitters, but I will highlight a common failing.  Many game designers […]

If one is to discuss combat in RPGs, one might as well start with the medieval fantasy genre that still dominates the industry. For many games, hand-to-hand (or hand-to-tentacle, hand-to-claw, hand-to-mouth . . . ) combat is a central point of the game, hearkening back to the origin of fantasy RPGs in wargaming. This column […]

This is pretty much the original source for what ended up becoming TSR’s Gamma World setting. Oh, there are differences, sure. The equivalent of the surviving “pure strain humans” here almost all have some degree of telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance. There is nothing quite like the mutated plant creatures of the game. And there’s a complete lack […]

F. van Wyck Mason was well known for sailing ship, American Revolution, and American Civil War historical novels. Before he was a best selling novelist, he wrote for the pulp magazines. His Captain North, a sort of proto-James Bond series appeared in Short Stories before the hardback novels. He wrote adventure stories as F. V. […]

Tolkien Solves the Problem of Evil “Thus it came to pass that of the Ainur some abode still with Illúvatar beyond the confines of the World; but others, and among them many of the greatest and most fair, took the leave of Illúvatar and descended into it. But this condition Illúvatar made, or it is […]