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Last week was #SpaceOperaWeek, so I’m a bit late to the party. Still, any time is a good time for space opera! Being a relative newcomer to both Appendix N and the pulps is a mixed bag. On the one hand, oh man – what an embarrassment of riches! Of what I’ve been able to […]

“I, the One” is a short story in an etheric reality where souls are hunted, captured, consumed and willpower distinguishes the strong from the weak.

Referent, by Ray Bradbury writing under the shared pseud Brett Sterling, appeared in the October 1948 Issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. The October 1948 issue ends on a bizarre note with another Ray Bradbury short (this time under the pseud Brett Sterling). Referent features a boy in a sort of educational crèche colony; some sort […]

My exposure to Brackett had been all of one short story, but for some reason I’ve long associated her with Edgar Rice Burroughs. After reading these two novellas, I think the better comparison is to Robert E. Howard (more on that in a bit). Whoever it is, I have no doubt that Brackett deserves to […]

Role-playing games can be played without reference to the rules. People have character sheets. The game master has a rough idea of a situation. And things just coast along somehow with the the numbers on the character sheets being used however the mood strikes him. If combat is not engaged, little more than a tithe […]

Cast your mind back to the late 1930s, a world in transition: The world was finally emerging from a crushing depression, Europe was in turmoil following the Great War and a series of socialist and other revolutions, Hitler’s Germany was on the rise, having successfully annexed both Austria and Czechoslovakia while the great powers dithered, […]

This was the big one. After ten or so scenarios of all sizes that get you up to speed on all the ships, weapons, and tactics of the game… the developers finally throw you into the biggest monster space battle in the box with the highest stakes imaginable: the fate of Earth hangs in the […]

The tramp freighter plying the star lanes, struggling to make ends meet, taking on illicit cargo, avoiding the law while trying to stay one jump ahead of debt collectors…is there anything more iconic in science fiction? This is a well-tapped vein that shows up everywhere from Northwest Smith to Han Solo to Mal Reynolds.  It’s […]

Two items somewhere near the top of my bucket list is hiking the Pacific Coast Trail and organizing a multiplayer campaign using a large WW2 simulation such as SPI’s War in Europe. I mentioned the Pacific Coast Trail for a reason. My vision of an excellent campaign would be to have multiple players on each side. […]

I just got some interesting feedback from David R. Megarry on an old post: I fail to see why nobody looks at the journey through the Caves of Moira when they do a comparison between Tolkien and D&D. The description is a perfect example of a dungeon crawl. It is the image I had in […]

If I were to draw a Venn diagram of the artistic inspirations of the new video game Prey, there’d be a big blue circle marked “Bioshock” and a big red circle marked “Dead Space 2” and where they overlapped, all that purple space would be marked Prey. Now, I’m not saying Prey is ripped off from […]

#SpaceOperaWeek (SuperversiveSF) When New Is (Not) Best–The Degradation of Grand Master Anne McCaffrey — “I don’t know what is more shocking to me: That this person who supposedly reviews SF spoke so lightly of this Grand Master who changed the field and who still sells today. That a person who is so old-fashioned as to […]