80: Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny

Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 02:29 // Themes and Games 09:12 // Magic and Technology 09:28 // Sabriel 09:53 // Trollbabe 15:11 // Tidally locked worlds 16:37 // concepts of day and night; no astronomers or astrologers // idea for setting between two singularities 20:56 // Further reading 26:07 (City in the Middle of the Night, Inverted World, Arktos)

Further Reading

Life on a Tidally Locked Planet by Ashok K. Singal
City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
Inverted World by Christopher Priest
Arktos by Jocelyn Goodwin

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

79: The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock (Tale of the Eternal Champion vol. 2)

The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

Millenium edition, 1992 HB ISBN 1 85798 026 3

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // The Cover 00:39 // Foreword 01:15 // Summaries 02:18 (The Eternal Champion, Phoenix in Obsidian, The Dragon in the Sword) // Favorite bits 19:10 (Arrival of Erekose, The Good One, no good deaths, endings) // 31:48 This volume in sequence // Mirenburg FC (thanks John Hagan) 34:27

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

78: Von Bek by Michael Moorcock (Tale of the Eternal Champion vol 1)

Von Bek by Michael Moorcock

Millenium edition, 1992 HB ISBN 1 85798 023 9

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Preface to this edition 02:30 // Summaries 05:17 (The Warhound and the World’s Pain, the City in the Autumn Stars, the Pleasure Gardens of Filipe Saggitarius) // Favorite bits 15:01 (Demon in the Sphere at Bakinax, The Eagle in the Sword, Antichrist Ritual, Arrival in the City // Mirenburg as Viriconium 22:24 // Von Bek in sequence 24:40

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

StormHack: Knights of the Husk

The supplement for StormHack, entitled Knights of the Husk, is here. Additionally an updated/corrected StormHack is here.

Knights of the Husk is a city building framework that describes a City Above and the Husk (history, remmants, dreams) Below. It’s a work in progress. There are few examples.

Random tables can be expected in the 3rd volume the Book of Decans.

anyway, thought you might be interested.

77: Interview with Dave Morris

Interview with Dave Morris, author of Can You Brexit Without Breaking Britain, Dragon Warriors, Jewel Spider, Mirabilis and more!

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Can You Brexit Without Breaking Britain? 00:35 // Frankenstein 29:45 // Politics in games 35:43 // Design Mechanism’s Lyonesse 47:32 // Tekumel and Tirikelu 53:18 // Dragon Warriors and Jewel Spider 57:12 // Tetsubo 1:01:04 // Abraxas/Sparta 1:09:39 // Mirabilis 1:13:27

Links

Can You Brexit?
Fabled Lands blog
Mirabilis
Patreon for Jewel Spider
The Frankenstein app
Tirikelu

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

StormHack Beta v3

This is the third draft of my OSR game StormHack. From the introduction:

This is my OSR game. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It’s supposed to emulate a classic 1980s RPG based on the multiversal fantasy of a British fantasy author.

It’s also a remix of familiar OSR system objects and names from the Worlds Favourite Fantasy Game (such as Ability Scores, monster stat blocks, etc.). That should make it easy to use other OSR resources while repurposing some game elements.

Inspiration

Whitehack by Christian Mehrstam
The Black Hack by David Black
Beyond the Wall by Flatland Games
The Stormbringer RPG (1st edition) by Ken St. Andre and Steve Perrin

The Google Slides version is here. Or you can get the pdf here.

I plan to run this with the classic Stormbringer campaign The Madcap Laughs from White Dwarf issues 95-98.

Two books to follow:

  • The Book of Decans will be a bunch of random tables for both generating characters, and game situations based on the almanac of the 36 stations of the night sky. Inspired in part by Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle.
  • Knights of the Husk will be a city and campaign tool of the city above and the Husk below. Inspired by Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip, and of course Viriconium by M. John Harrison, and taking cues from the RPG equivalent In Corpathium from the Last Gasp Grimoire.

Comments welcome, watch this space.

Back to the beginning.

My two influential authors are Clive Barker, and Michael Moorcock. Of those, Barker had a bigger effect on roleplaying, first with Call of Cthulhu and then with the World of Darkness.

I didn’t think of applying Moorcock to fantasy gaming until later, but I was influenced in more subtle ways; the idea of an eternal champion, of avatars adopting the same roles in multiple realities, and of bloodlines that fed into significant cosmic events throughout time and space… that was always my jam.

The first Moorcock I read was Hawkmoon, in the gorgeous oversize Millennium edition from the early 90s. I took that as my reading list — I was cash poor at the time so where I couldn’t buy the new imprint heavily discounted I found previous editions in libraries and remaindered bookshops. I read Corum in the Grafton editions from the mid 1980s, including this omnibus edition of the first trilogy:

So by frugal purchasing and borrowing I read pretty much all of the 14 volumes; but never in the order in which they were published. Which is where this series comes in.

This podcast has become a little serious. It’s always worked around themes, based on the games I fancy running or designing at the time, or the topics I need to discuss. But I feel the need to step back a bit and reflect.

This is what I’m going to do. Having now closed the remaining gaps in my Millenium Moorcock editions (thanks to certain online 2nd hand sellers) I’m going to read them in sequence, and do a ‘cast about each one.

This won’t follow the usual format… with 14 volumes, each with at least 3 novels this would take too long and no doubt I would run out of steam. So this is the proposed format for this occasional series:

  • in the first part, I’ll summarise each novel on an index card to encourage brevity. This will form an overview, rather than a detailed synopsis
  • in the second part, I’ll pick out key scenes or chapters that are worthy of note
  • and finally in the third part, I’ll discuss how each book in the sequence contributes to the overall arc of the Eternal Champion, starting with Von Bek and concluding with Count Brass.

There will be other episodes. But I wanted to write this as a way to commit to the project. Do these novels still capture my imagination nearly 30 years on?

This won’t be the only thing I read — I intend to pace myself and read other books in between each volume. All told this is going to take a year at least, quite probably two.

Let me know what you think, and if you have a similar relationship with Moorcock.

OK, that’s it. Speak soon.

76: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 03:03 // Themes 15:57 // recap 1984 16:24 // Motives 16:48 // Tools 17:32 (art, counter-surveillance, state removing rights, media, consumption and the true enemy) // Other Reading 32:53 // Wasp by Eric Frank Russell

Little Brother teaching guides

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Three” and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take Off and Shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

PSA: Audacity on MacOS

I do editing with Audacity on a mac (and sometimes on linux).

With MacOS Mojave editing was a real pain. The program would only run sensibly when windowed. Through various investigations it seemed that the smooth running was dependent on resolution (we’re using a high res monitor). Don’t ask me why.

There’s a simple fix that worked for me: run the program in low resolution mode. Go to Get Info (command-I) on the application (in application folder) and check the box in the window that pops up

This seems to have fixed things. No idea why it’s an issue in the first place, but I can now do editing full screen again.

75: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 (anniversaries of sorts) // Synopsis 05:06 // Themes 19:02 // Motives // Tools 24:14 (language, media, propaganda, surveillance, revisionism, war) // Other Reading 38:52 // George Floyd // Dystopia as aesthetic // confusing Dystopia and Post-Apocalypse // Dystopocalypse

Other book references:

The Citadel of the Autarch by Gene Wolfe
The Watchtowers from The Voices of Time by J G Ballard
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Children of Morrow by H M Hoover
Silo Trilogy by Hugh Howey

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Three” and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take Off and Shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

74: Days by James Lovegrove

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 02:50 // Commentary 15:20 // The Outside (what kind of a world has gigastores?) 15:28 // Manufactured cultures (zaibatsus and phyles) 16:26 // Grant Morrison (intelligent cities and corporations as planetary contagion) 16:48 // City as organism 17:20 // (autocracy) 18:36 // (microcosm) 19:01 // (visitors) 19:41 // (spaces) 24:26 // (scenes) 29:16 // (pacing) 32:43 // (rise and fall) 33:52 // Extra 34:42 // High Rise by J G Ballard 34:51 // The Hope by James Lovegrove 39:14

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

73: The Squares of the City by John Brunner

The Squares Of The City by John Brunner

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 04:16 // Commentary 15:05 // Further Reading 21:35

Links

The City Shaped and The City Assembled by Spiro Kostov

City by P.D. Smith

The City Accelerated, a city building tool by Ralph Lovegrove

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take off and shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “I don’t know where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

72: The City & The City by China Mieville

The City & The City by China Mieville

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 01:47 // Commentary 12:02 // Breach 12:26 // Politics 18:14 // Conspiricies 19:24 // Precursor Age 25:01 // Tololgangers 28:19 // Further Reading 32:50

Links

What happened at the prom by Elizabeth Lovegrove

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take off and shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “I don’t know where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 71: Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip (fantasy cities pt. 3)

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 02:21 // Commentary 12:39 // Modelling the shadow city 13:00 // Crossing between worlds 14:55 // Mapping 22:53 // Further Reading 30:50

Links

Corpathium (lastgaspgrimoire.com)

Other fiction mentioned in the episode

Neverwhere and Sandman: World’s End by Neil Gaiman The City and The City by China Mieville Wanted by Mark Millar The Invisibles (and Marvel Boy) by Grant Morrison The films Night Watch and Day Watch

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take off and shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “I don’t know where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episdode 70: Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle (cities pt. 2)

Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle

Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 05:30 // Commentary 36:05 // Bleed 36:05 // Magic 39:09 // Magicians, Runequest and Mage: The Ascension 41:01 // Dialect 47:14 // Resources 53:45 (Yates, Agrippa, Authentic Thaumaturgy)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take off and shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 69: Viriconium by M. John Harrison (cities series pt 1)

Viriconium by M. John Harrison

Show Notes

Synopsis 03:47 // Act 1 (Viriconium Knights, The Pastel City, Lords of Misrule) 04:13 // Act 2 (Strange Great Sins, A Storm Of Wings, The Dancer and the Dance, The Luck in the Head, The Lamia and Lord Cromis) 09:47 // Act 3 (In Viriconium, A Young Man’s Journey To Viriconium) 19:19 // Themes 26:54 // Artists 26:55 // Symbols and foreshadowing 29:25 // Time and “mutant future” 31:48 // The City (Glory, Thief: Dark Project) 34:49 // Roleplaying 40:24 // OSR and Appendix N (Sorcerer and Sword, DCC, Plot Points podcast, etc.) 40:25 // City building tools (Corpathium, City Accelerated) 56:07

Links

Links to resources I mentioned in this episode:

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Fly inverted past a Jenny” from Stunt Island // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 68: Mythago Wood and Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock

Mythago Wood and Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock

Show Notes

Synopsis 01:10 // Mythago Wood 01:15 (plot dump 02:46) // Lavondyss 08:27 (Blavatsky 08:30) // Themes 20:07 // “British rural fantasy” 20:07 (Robin of Sherwood, Children of the Stones, Century Falls) // The “rural fantasy formula” 22:37 // Landscape 26:09 (Wizardry and Wild Romance, M John Harrison’s “great clomping foot of nerdism”) // Three perspectives on the Mythago 31:10 // RPG 33:33 (liminal fantasy, representing ) // Afterthoughts 38:32 (Pale Assassins, etc.)

Links

Quite a few references here.

For podcasts check out The Grognard Files episodes on Robin of Sherwood, part 1 and part 2, and The Good Friends of Jackson Elias on Heaven and Earth

And from this podcast, check out the episodes for Pale Fire, The Magicians, The Land of Laughs, The King in Yellow part 1 and part 2

About Michael Moorcock’s Wizardry and Wild Romance

An old blog post on Department V including M John Harrison’s Very Afraid essay and link to Warren Ellis’s blog

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 67: Cyberpunk further reading

Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis
Wild Palms
Vurt by Jeff Noon
Burning Chrome by William Gibson

Show Notes

Stand on Zanzibar 00:30 // Transmetropolitan 01:55 // Wild Palms 09:50 // Vurt 14:15 // Burning Chrome (and others) 22:00

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 66: The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman

The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman

Show Notes

Plot and Setting 01:18 (viral learning, accelerated childhood, photosynthesis, viral augmented reality, living history, communism, living history, viral empaths) // Themes 15:04 (utopia and distopia, invading thoughts in the gestalt, J G Ballard, Anne Leckie, the bigger picture, Big Questions, Cyberpunk cheats death, constrained by time, death and transcendence, editing the soul) // The Roleplaying Bit 29:38 (two experience tracks, Brexit, countdown to apocalypse, local and global collapse, the Village)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “But enough about me Bill Paxton” from Direct to Video // “Cylinder four” from Cylinders // “I can’t imagine where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 65: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Show Notes

Synopsis 02:19 // Themes 06:51 // activism // corporate totalitarianism // biotech // Roleplaying 19:11 // corporate dystopia // cyberprep // PbtA and Urban Shadows (storms/fronts) // the contract // dual advancement tracks // “Village fiction” (The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, Wayward Pines)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “But enough about me Bill Paxton” from Direct to Video // “Cylinder four” from Cylinders // “I can’t imagine where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Tinyletter

Hi there. I’m experimenting with something new: a newsletter powered by Tinyletter (Mailchimp). If you’re interested, use the form below (also found at this page), or go to http://tinyletter.com/Fictoplasm

The content will be related to fiction, RPGs and the podcast, and probably monthly. It’s more musings on what future content might be as well as expanding comments and inviting discussion on previous episodes. If that sounds like your cup of tea, please subscribe. Cheers!

powered by TinyLetter

Episode 64: Until the End of the World, Strange Days

This episode I’m revisiting two charming 90s near-future films: Wim Wender’s Until the End of the World, and Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days.

Show Notes

Until the End of the World 01:17 // Strange Days 06:26 // Themes 10:49 // Brain taping, addiction to dreams, Snow Crash, Dollhouse, Sense8 10:53 // Fear of the future, The Last Policeman 13:43 // Games 16:48

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 63: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Show Notes

Plot and Setting 00:55 // Themes and Images 08:12 // Retrofuturism 09:05 // Baseline 09:24 // Analog 10:14 // Cyberpunk 1984 11:10 // The Gibson Continuum 13:32 // 1.cyberspace 13:54 // 2.corporate governance 14:58 // physical augmentation 16:11 // 4.prefab 17:15 // 5.individual vs collective identity 17:30 // 6.gig economy 18:16 // 7.living conditions 18:55 // 8.exotic locations 20:17 // consumers vs professionals 24:58 // analog geekery 28:44 // magic 29:02 // gods in cyberspace 32:44 // The RPG bit 34:09 // commercial Cyberpunk RPGs 34:29 // roleplaying idea: prefab community 38:15 // don’t use a Cyberpunk RPG, use Apocalypse World 40:57

Links

Notes towards a CyberPunk manifesto
Tears of Envy
Rekall.me
The Gibson Continuum (zacfinger)
Science Fiction Studies: The Gibson Continuum by Thomas A. Bredehoft

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Cylinder One”, “Cylinder Six” and “Cylinder Eight” from Cylinders // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 62: Interview with Tod Foley

Fractopia

Interview with Tod Foley, leader of this is Fractopia and editor of Ubiquicity, author of Day Trippers RPG and Cyberspace.

Show Notes

Sample topics, in approximate order:

  • What is Fractopia?
  • Hierarchical vs. Anarchistic Frameworks (Day-trippers vs The Strange)
  • Daytrippers, an open-ended, multidimensional system
  • Who buys the games? Socialist overtones of the early indie RPGs
  • Why Tod isn’t into Cyberpunk
  • Snowcrash and postmodernism
  • Capitalist realism
  • Fractopian principles
  • Curated worlds
  • Digital and reputation economies
  • Fractopian podcast
  • Cyberpunk as “what we should avoid”
  • 50 things that made the modern economy
  • PC Character Sheets, 25 dollars and 5 cubic meters
  • Golden Age Adventures
  • Where to get it

Realistic Capitalism

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 61: King in Yellow coda

This is a companion to and additional content that didn’t make into Episode 60.

The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

Show Notes

Plot and Setting 01:56 // Themes and Images 07:10 (False Documents, vectors, Tommy Westphall, Dollhouse, Snow Crash, Marvel Boy, The Invisibles, Kult, Hellraiser) // The RPG bit 19:23 (Freeform Games, Carcosan Bingo)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Cylinder One”, “Cylinder Six” and “Cylinder Eight” from Cylinders // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 60: The King in Yellow with Scott Dorward

The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

With Scott Dorward from the Good Friends of Jackson Elias! Visit their site for their ongoing series on the King in Yellow.

Show Notes

defining cosmic horror 04:30 // gothic horror 07:50 // everything is delusion 09:50 // gothic motifs (question for Matt Sanderson) 13:20 // cosmic horror without Lovecraft 15:07 // house on the borderlands 16:54 // what would Sandy Petersen’s KiY look like? 21:05 // 1980s game design and Dallas 27:43 // Pelgrane’s Yellow King (Hillfolk vs Gumshoe) 34:55 // investigative horror 36:25 // consent 38:04 // Hellraiser comics and damned by crossword 39:11 // memes 50:58 // cosmology 53:44 // the stars are gods 55:37 // Shakespeare’s King in Yellow 58:20 // Clive Barker’s living city-gods 1:00:17 // uncaring vs. moralistic gods 1:02:10 // Scott’s dream team of fan writers (Karl Edward Wagner, Robert Aickman, Clive Barker, Brett Easton Ellis, Ramsay Campbell, Nathan Ballingrud) 1:03:44

Extra

The Brett Easton Ellis RPG character sheet

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 59: Time Trap by Nicholas Fisk

Time Trap by Nicholas Fisk

Show Notes

Synopsis 01:37 // Themes 07:00 (time travel by hypnosis, portal fantasy, dystopian authority, tangled timelines, consensus reality) // Games 16:42 (generation ships, competing timelines, Sapphire and Steel, Event Horizon, Microscope, A Penny For My Thoughts, Chrononauts, marginalised timelines)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 58: Imajica part 3

Imajica by Clive Barker

(chapters 43-62, approx 450 of 1100 pages)

Show Notes

Synopsis 00:40 // Themes 12:05 // Wonderlands of Flesh and Blood by Christian Daumann 12:15 // Metaphors for the body 13:41 // The Patriarchal God 14:44 // Gender: female 15:22 // Gender: male 18:41 // Pie’oh’Pah 20:34 // Carnivale and the grotesque 21:53 // Corporeal transformation and extension 27:53 // Cities 28:05 (City Accelerated) // Games 30:56 // Mechanising gender 32:35 // LARP is awful 33:36 // Sagas of the Icelanders 36:01 // Representing the spirit 40:42 // Nephilim 41:50 // Imajica card game 46:28

System Mastery 87: Nephilim

Wonderlands in Flesh and Blood by Christian Daumann

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 57: Imajica part 2

Imajica by Clive Barker

(chapters 18-42, approx 500 of 1100 pages)

Show Notes

Synopsis 00:35 // Themes 13:25 // What is Portal Fantasy? 13:52 // The sub-genre (self-contained, relative to our world, superstructures, identity, travellers, geography) 17:25// Dopplegangers 26:00 // Games (Portal Rats, Day Trippers, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, Everway, Grand Tableau) 32:33

Links

Bibliography

Blog posts

Other Games

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 56: Imajica by Clive Barker pt1

This is the first in a series of 3 episodes discussing Imajica by Clive Barker, covering chapters 1-17.

Show Notes

Synopsis 04:45 // Themes 16:39 in which I rant about 1e vs 2e Vampire the Masquerade, plus some waffle about the Urban Fantasy genre // Games Keeping Urban Fantasy “fresh” 21:15 // Department V (embarassing nostalgia; Blavatsky, Atlantean Colonies; Arktos) 31:36 // Options for interesting modern fantasy (Conspiracy X 2.0; Silent Legions; why PbtA sucks for mystery games)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Perfidious Albion on Speed

If you’re British, or even if you aren’t, a good chunk of your news feed will have been swallowed by the Brexit pantomime, including hilarious exchanges like the one between Will Self and Mark Francois:

WS: Your problem… is since 2016 you don’t need to be a racist or anti-semite to vote for Brexit, it’s just that every racist and anti-semite in the country did. MF: I think that’s a slur on 17.4 million people and I think you should apologise on national television. I think that’s an outrageous thing to say WS: Well, you seem to find a lot of things outrageous MF: Are you saying that 17.4 million people are racist and bigots… WS: No, that’s not what I said MF: That’s pretty close to what you said WS: It’s not remotely close to what I said. You seem to be a bit exorcised, sir MF: Well, I’m offended WS: The politics of offence, eh? What I said was that every racist and anti-semite in the country, pretty much, probably voted for Brexit. MF: How can you know that? WS: I suspect it. MF: Well, I think you should apologise. WS: To who? Racists and anti-semites?

OK, pretty funny although the best comment on the showdown was by Sara Pascoe on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order saying (IIRC) “What you’re seeing there is a clash between two different kinds of alpha male”. Everyone should wind their neck in.

But this is Fictoplasm, so there’s going to be a fiction element — and that’s this piece by Will Self in the aftermath of his face-off, where he name-checks J G Ballard:

Perhaps the pivotal years were around middle of the noughties – at any rate, that’s when I went to speak to my friend and mentor JG Ballard about what would prove to be his final novel, Kingdom Come. Jim was as bluff and strange as ever – he had the manner of the RAF pilot he might have become if he’d completed his training, combined with the thousand-yard stare at what’s immediately to hand, which is the sure sign of a surrealist. He pointed out to me the flags flying in the front gardens along Old Charlton Road, the utterly bland suburban road in Shepperton (an utterly bland Surrey dormitory town), where he’d lived for 40 extremely odd years. For him, the flying of the Cross of St George was undoubtedly minatory: it had come about through a synergy between football fandom and the rise of ethnic nationalism; these were the years of the British National Party’s ascent to the giddy heights of the 2010 general election, when their candidates won over half a million votes. Reviewing Kingdom Come in the Guardian, Phil Baker succinctly noted “Ballard’s central idea is that consumerism slides into fascism when politics simply gives the punters what they want”. Well, Jim was always prescient – this was the writer who conceived of the celebrity car crash as a catalyst of collective hysteria a quarter-century before Diana Spencer was killed in the Pont de l’Alma underpass, and who also anticipated the baleful impacts of global warming as early as the late 1950s. Jim got that English nationalism was on the rise – and that under neo-liberal conditions favouring consumption over production, it was likely to become a vector for the most troubling aspects of the famously ‘tolerant’ English psyche.

Meanwhile, Mark Francois is providing meme-tastic soundbites like Perfidious Albion on Speed.

Perfidious Albion on Speed is too fussy a title to be Ballardian. In fact, Perfidious Albion is already the title of Sam Byers’ second novel, which didn’t start out as a Brexit novel but perhaps it evolved that way:

The honest truth is that it began in a much more speculative fashion. I did the bulk of the work on this book in 2015 and 2016, and while it’s true I continually adjusted for events such as Brexit, I think what really happened is that the world just caught up with me in surprising and disturbing ways, and so I accepted the idea that rather than continually reinventing things in order to be out in front of the phenomena I was depicting, I should anchor myself and play more with the ways in which the context of the book was evolving.

Here’s a video of the author:

Episode 55: Cocaine Nights by J G Ballard

Cocaine Nights by J G Ballard

Show Notes

Synopsis 01:15 // Themes 15:15 (three act structures, crossing boundaries, Futureworld and cultists) // Games 23:11 (Lag, spheres of comfort, trusting NPCs)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 54: The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith

The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith

Show Notes

Synopsis 02:48 // Themes 19:01 // Spheres // Speed of communication // Emotional and factual communication // RPG 25:58 // Dramasystem // Malandros // Lag // Next 49:34 // Cocaine Nights

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Blog post: Bite Me!

+1 Forward did a great interview with Becky Annison on her game Bite Me! which is currently mid-Kickstarter.

I recommend checking out the podcast first because Becky goes into a lot of depth regarding the pack setup, different playbooks and how the play group creates their dynamic. If that sounds like your cup of tea, think about backing the KS.

During the podcast they mention Kelly Armstrong’s Bitten (TV series and book). If you want to hear more about that, and indeed some of the early ideas Becky had for her game, you can hear her and Liz talk about the Women of the Otherworld way back in Fictoplasm episode 08.

Episode 53: Big Planet by Jack Vance

Big Planet by Jack Vance

Show Notes

Synopsis 01:05 // Themes 04:25 // Big Planet is Big 04:27 // Kaiju and Cthulhu 05:56 // Superstition 06:48 // Expanding consciousness 08:48 // And then there were none 10:01 // Games 10:12 // Dramasystem 11:27 // Further Afield 12:40 // Carcosa 13:54 // The Black Hack and resource dice 14:16 // BRP and Traveller 15:30 // Silent Legions 16:30 // Appendix N (or not?) 17:22

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Three” “Cylinder Four” Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

fictoplasm

Fictoplasm episode 52: The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Show Notes

High and low fantasy definitions 01:03 // Synopsis 02:32 // A digression 04:05 // Synopsis resumed 05:05 // Themes and roleplaying 10:43 // Pale Assassins, Hope and Nabokov 12:16

Pale Assassins blog post (April 2017, DepartmentV) The Prisoner of Zenda (Nov 2016, Fictoplasm) Pale Fire (April 2017, Fictoplasm)

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 51: fiction within fiction, part 1 (The Magicians, When the Dark is Gone)

This is the first of a series looking at secondary worlds that exist as known fiction inside a primary, fictional world. In this episode Ralph tackles Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and talks to Becky Annison about her game When the Dark is Gone.

Show Notes

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
When the Dark is Gone, a game by Becky Annison, part of the Seven Wonders anthology

Synopsis 00:56 // Themes and remarks 05:38 // When the Dark is Gone with Becky Annison 14:00 // end bit 44:05

Music Credits

All of the music in this podcast was composed and performed by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive). This episode included Is That You Or Are You You? from Reappear, Cylinder Three, Cylinder Four and Cylinder Nine from Cylinders, and Another Version Of You from Thoughtless.

404: Under the Skin by Michael Faber

This is our 50th episode! Not doing anything special, just sipping a gin and talking about Michael Faber’s Under the Skin.

Show Notes

Under the Skin by Michael Faber Under the Skin (film) directed by Jonathan Glazer

  • Synopsis 00:56
  • Themes 05:22
  • Film adaptation 12:05
  • RPG bit 16:08

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Pick of podcasts in June 2018

Real life has been interfering with my episode schedule again. New recordings will be coming out shortly, but for now here’s five podcasts I listened to in June 2018.

The Pen Addict 305

Episode 305 covers “standards”. You’d think I’d listen to more of these being the stationery obsessive, but a fifteen minute discussion on “A5-ish” paper sizing (dimensions, as opposed to applying filler or glaze) approaches even my limit. Still, it’s a nice podcast and I really enjoy their blog.

Hardcore Histories 61: Painfotainment

I heard about Dan Carlin’s Hardcore Histories while researching the solo podcast format. This episode is more than four and a half hours long, and it’s all about the spectacle of, and attitudes to, public execution From the late medieval period through early modern to the 20th and (extrapolating into) the 21st centuries. Carlin is both unflinching and sensitive with the subject matter. I thought it was brilliant but also horrible, so listener discretion is advised, obv.

Not Alone 63 and 64: The Toynbee Tiles

Not Alone is a podcast about the unexplained and supernatural. Episodes 63 and 64 discuss the Toynbee Tiles, strange linoleum tiles imprinted onto bricks with the message “Toynbee idea from movie 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter”.

There’s a bonus episode sandwiched between these two that’s also worth checking out as it lists a whole lot of other podcasts.

Original picture taken from Wikipedia, shared under CC BY-SA 2.5 by user Spike Brennan.

Mega City Book Club 68: A Game Of You

The Mega City Book Club podcast normally covers 2000AD titles, but here they diverge with a really great episode covering A Game Of You, the fifth Sandman book. A lot of discussion about trans identity and Wanda being the first decently rounded trans character for many readers in the early 90s, and also how impressions of Dream change with repeated readings.

Blogs on Tape 54: Dice Clocks

Blogs on Tape is a great idea — the best blog posts from the OSR curated and read aloud in a 10-20 min podcast. Episode 54 is actually one of my own blog posts, which have always been a bit stream-of-consciousness and it’s a bit strange to hear my own words read back to me with the attendant figurative ums and ahs.

What we’re listening to in May 2018

Plot Points 98: 5 Generations of D&D Design

Plot Points 98 wasn’t as interesting as I hoped it would be but there’s some interesting stuff there, for example the way that Basic D&D is a great teaching resource and a crappy reference book, whilst the opposite is true of AD&D.

Myoclonic Jerk 11: The Long View

Daniel Kaufman’s series Myoclonic Jerk is supposedly 20 episodes long, although to date we’re up to episode 11 which is all about our broader view of the universe. The show notes are comprehensive and the guests are great.

One cool fictional idea: after the death of suns which collapse into neutron stars and black holes, stellar civilisations harness the energies of the singularities to continue their existence.

System Mastery 87: Nephilim

On my trip to NYC I managed to get a copy of Serpent Moon from The Compleat Strategist, thus completing my collection of Nephilim books so the spines sort of line up like this:

Rock and roll. Anyway, System Mastery episode 87 is spot on about Nephilim being a game all about character generation and not much else, and how the eponymous nephilim are monstrous and evil.

Grognard Files 20 part 2 (Golden Heroes)

Thanos is Nigel Farage

The second part of the Golden Heroes episode with more comments from Simon Burley including an interesting perspective on the Comics Code.

Pounded in the butt by my own podcast

Finally, I’ve been enjoying the Night Vale produced podcast where guests read Chuck Tingle’s fiction and try to keep a straight face. I particularly liked I’m Gay For My Living Billionaire Jet Plane.

4.03: The Last Policeman, Hard Sun, The Three Body Problem

Ralph briefly discusses three pre-apocalyptic novels, with the conclusion that all that matters is how much time you’ve got left.

Show Notes

Links

  1. This episode is partially inspired by the thread Nihilism: Gaming in a Hard Sun world on the UKRoleplayers forum.
  2. Here’s a fun stackexchange thread) on Hard Sun’s possible extinction event.

Music Credits

“Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 4.02: Excession by Iain M. Banks

Rhi and Paul join Ralph to talk about Iain M. Banks’ Excession and The Culture. Post-scarcity, intelligent starships, body modification and first contact.

Show Notes

Excession (and other Culture novels) by Iain M. Banks

Rhiannon Lassiter, Paul Mitchener and Ralph Lovegrove

  • Overview of The Culture 00:50
  • Synopsis of Excession 05:40
  • Themes 12:05
    • Diverging human cultures
    • What do utopians do with their free time?
    • Benevolent interference in other civilisations
    • The edge of ascension
    • Contact and Special Circumstances
    • Sex positive
    • Transhumanism before it was famous
    • Death
  • Aside:The Player of Games 32:50
  • RPGs 38:30
    • Mindjammer by Sarah Newton
    • Flotsam (Josh Fox, based on Dream Askew by Avery Alder)
    • Microscope and Kingdom by Ben Robbins
    • Dramasystem by Robin D. Laws
  • First Contact scenarios 48:05
    • Event Horizon
    • Unto Leviathan by Richard Paul Russo
    • Eon by Greg Bear
    • 2001 and 2010
    • The Fifth Element

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 4.01: what we’re reading, new year 2018

Rhi, Josh and Ralph talk about books they’re reading, and other things.

(I know, it’s not January, it’s May)

Show Notes

Rhi has been reading What Makes This Book So Great? by Jo Walton and Heriot by Margaret Mahy, and has just started Imaginary Cities by Darran Anderson. She’s looking forward to reading The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente.

Josh has been reading Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, and The Tale Of The Axe by David Miles. He’s currently running Blades In The Dark.

Ralph has been reading Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem, and the anthology Ubiquicity collected by Todd Foley. He’s still writing Stormhack.

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

What we’re listening to, April 2018

I listen to a fair number of podcasts on my commute. Here’s a run down of what I’ve been listening to this month.

What Would The Smart Party Do?

episode 68: Roleplaying games of the 90s

What Witchcraft did was it tried to fulfil the need that the World of Darkness players had to do crossovers

Great year by year list of 90s games including Over the Edge, Nephilim, Castle Falkenstein, Amber (but not Everway — come on, chaps).

Fear of a Black Dragon

Operation Unfathomable

This is my favourite show among the Gauntlet’s broad offering of quality podcasts. Their main podcast and +1 Forward are good listens but FotBD raises the bar with its structure, focus on utility and insightful comments. The Operation Unfathomable episode is typical of this high standard. Also Tom uses my favourite word (liminal).

The Grognard Files

Paranoia (episode 19) and Golden Heroes pt. 1 (episode 20)

More gaming nostalgia! The Grognard Files goes from strength to strength. Golden Heroes is the most recent episode but I wanted to mention Paranoia too, for the comment about how that game never really settled on one coherent theme or presentation — I would have loved to run it as a grim Brazil-esque satire, but our games always devolved into backstabbing and grassing each other’s clones to the computer within minutes. Actually I always thought the 1st edition system had some genuine innovations like the damage columns and skill trees, it’s just these were totally out of place when the PCs were so ephemeral.

Also check out the Golden Heroes unboxing:

Welcome to Night Vale

A door ajar pt 3 (episode 126)

Twin Peaks, Pontypool, Al Amarja, Royston Vasey, Night Vale.

Come on down to the pancake house, check if any of your loved ones have been affected by this horrible disaster, and enjoy free hot cakes. One hot cake per missing loved one.

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias

Episode 128: Cats

And finally the perennial favourite returns with a discussion of cats. Which reminds me, I must re-read The Cats Of Seroster.

Episode 4.00 Annihilation Redux

Ralph talks about running Cthulhu Dark: Annihilation at Concrete Cow, the differences between Jeff Vandermeer’s book and Alex Garland’s film, and managing player expectations in one-shots and beyond.

Show Notes

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer // Annihilation by Alex Garland

Planning Cthulhu Dark: Annihilation

Annihilation the movie 00:45 // Differences between novel and film 03:15 // What you might change going from book to RPG 07:10 // Available technology, communicating with the outside, appeals to authority 11:20 // Party cohesion 13:25 // Cthulhu Dark: Annihilation at Concrete Cow 15:30 // The Cthulhu Dark formula (and the Colour out of Space) 18:15 // Over prepping 21:15 // Setting expectations for con games 24:40

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 310: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

For our second seasonal episode Ralph and Liz discuss Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising as part of the worldwide #thedarkisreading hashtag.

Show Notes

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 00:35
  • Themes 10:50
    • Comparisons with The Box Of Delights
    • Winter and isolation
    • Myth and prophecy
    • Time travel
    • Transformed landscape
  • RPG bit 22:55
    • Ralph’s idea: The Dark Is Rising meets The Hunger Games meets Power Rangers/Chronicle
    • Liz’s idea: The Dark Is Rising without the supernatural
    • Dialect
    • Alas Vegas and Yet Already
  • Last words 34:30

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 309: The Box of Delights by John Masefield

Just in time for Christmas, Ralph and Liz discuss the book and TV series of the children’s fantasy The Box of Delights by John Masefield.

Show Notes

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

Adapted for the BBC by Alan Seymour

  • Synopsis 01:05
  • Themes 10:15
    • Pagan myth vs. warring magicians
    • Sapphire and Steel vs. Dr Who
  • The RPG bit 25:05
    • Night Witches, Malandros, Tales from the Loop
    • A Taste for Murder
    • Monsterhearts
    • The Just City by Jo Walton
  • Coming soon: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 308: return to the Southern Reach

Ralph briefly returns to Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.

Show Notes

The Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance) by Jeff Vandermeer.

  • Annihilation episode recap 01:05
  • Authority 04:35
  • Acceptance 08:40
  • RPG bit (Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Dark and Lovecraftesque) 11:45

Music credits

“Cylinder Three“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 307: Fictoplasm at Dragonmeet

Liz, Becky, Paul and Josh discuss turning your favourite fiction into RPGs at the Dragonmeet panel on December 2nd 2017

Show notes

“Turning your favourite fiction into roleplaying games”
Dragonmeet, London, Saturday 2nd December 2017

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Paul Mitchener, Josh Fox, Becky Annison (chair)

Music credits

“Another version of you” from Thoughtless by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 306: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

Ralph and Tim discuss Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain, a more manageable Middle Earth, the power of recurring characters and emotional growth.

Show Notes

The Chronicles of Prydain (The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Lyr, Taran Wanderer, The High King) by Lloyd Alexander

Tim Harford and Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 1:30
  • Themes 9:30
    • The power of myth
    • Emotional character development
    • The Cauldron born
    • Annuvin and other remote places
    • Sense of scale
    • Recurring characters and motifs
  • RPG bit 45:05
    • Recurring NPCs
    • Short vs. Long term campaigns (and getting old)
    • Cross genre and transposing characters
    • The political landscape
    • BECMI D&D, Pendragon, Ars Magica
    • Descents, ascents, Unknown Armies

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 305: Black God’s Kiss by C.L. Moore

This episode Ralph talks about C.L. Moore’s hero Jirel of Joiry, and Liz talks about the anthology Dragons and Warrior Daughters.

Show Notes

Black God’s Kiss and other stories by C.L. Moore
Dragons and Warrior Daughters by Jessica Yates (ed)

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Part One Black God’s Kiss 00:10
  • Part Two Dragons and Warrior Daughters 15:55
    • Further reading: Frances Hardinge, Tamora Pierce, Tanith Lee, Diana Wynne Jones, Jo Walton, Rosemary Kirsten

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

“Cylinder Three” and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 304: The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

This episode Liz, Ralph and guest Rhiannon Lassiter experience a magical awakening in Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover

Show Notes

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

Rhiannon Lassiter, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 2:55
  • Themes 6:30
  • RPG bit 22:40
    • Liz’s game 22:45
    • Rhi’s game 26:55
    • Ralph’s idea 30:57
  • Closing 42:36

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 303: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

We discuss Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Content warning: themes of abuse, rape and infertility.

Show Notes

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Becky Annison, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 2:00
  • Themes 13:50
    • Children of Men (PD James)
    • Apocalypse: scarcity
    • Dystopia: control of information
  • RPG bit 32:45
    • Rise and Fall
    • The Academics

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 302: Interview with Roz Morris

Interview with Roz Morris, author of Not Quite Lost, Lifeform Three and My Memories Of A Future Life

Show Notes

  • Introduction to Roz Morris 00:35
  • Literary inspiration 01:25
  • Genre 04:40
    • The Bridge by Iain Banks
    • Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    • Blindness by Jose Saramago (note: the film I was struggling to remember is Perfect Sense, starring Eva Green and Ewan McGregor and scored by Max Richter)
    • Night Work by Thomas Glavinic
    • Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark
    • The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
    • On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  • Worldbuilding 13:50
    • Where do you start?
    • The process
    • Other player input
    • Other starting points
    • Light of Other Days by Bob Shaw
  • Pony books 36:05
    • Authors: Mary Gervaise, Ruby Ferguson, Christine, Josephine and Diana Pullein-Thompson
    • Pony Action RPG
  • Self-publishing 50:20
    • Editing
    • Attitudes to self-publishing
    • Getting reviewed
    • Social media
  • Not Quite Lost 60:50

Music Credits

“Cylinder 9” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

“Pick Up A Convict On Alcatraz” from Stunt Island by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 301: Werewolves

We open our third season on Halloween with a look at werewolves.

Show Notes

Our analysis of the werewolf in book, film and television, plus roleplaying games.

Becky Annison, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Introduction and scope 00:15
  • Books section (Becky) starts at 01:35
    • Kelly Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld)
    • Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson)
    • Gail Carriger
    • Tanya Huff
    • Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber)
    • Darker than you think by Jack Williamson
    • Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevey
    • Anita Blake novels by Laurel K. Hamilton
  • Film section (Ralph) at 11:10
    • Physical effects in The Howling, American Werewolf in London, Teen Wolf, A Company of Wolves, Fright Night
    • CGI in Twilight, Underworld
    • Sean Pertwee in Dog Soldiers
  • Television section (Liz) at 19:40
    • Teen Wolf
    • Bitten
    • Buffy
    • Grimm
    • True Blood
    • Hemlock Grove
  • Themes 32:15
    • Metaphors for sex
    • Social dominance
    • Exiles on the fringes
    • Mythic roles
    • The Village
  • RPGs 40:35
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse
    • The Werewolf party game
    • The Romance Trilogy by Emily Care Boss
    • You must break up with your werewolf boyfriend by Caitlin Belle
    • Fantasy treatments in D&D and RuneQuest
    • Chill (Mayfair Games)
    • Interviewing Becky about Bite Me! starts 50:25
    • Liz’s RPG idea (police procedural)
    • Ralph’s RPG idea (terrorize them)
  • Last words 69:30
    • Werewolf myth in the ascendant
    • Clive Barker’s Cabal

Pride and Prejudice with Derek and Stiles

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Special: Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare!

It’s one year since we released our first episode! We talk about the coming season 3, plus our son’s favourite book…

Show Notes

Liz and Ralph with some pre-Season 3 ramblings, plus Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare! by Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Season 3 ideas 02:10 // Synopsis 07:50 // Themes 09:45 // Liz’s game 14:50 // Dread 18:05 // Ralph’s game 18:55 // Before the Storm 21:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Summer Special: Beyond the Wall

In this seasonal special, Ralph interviews John Cocking and Peter Williams, authors of Beyond the Wall.

Show Notes

Ralph Lovegrove with John Cocking and Peter Williams of Flatland Games.

About Flatland Games 00:30 // Reading background 01:35 // Fantasy and D&D 04:40 // Swallows and Amazons 05:40 // Aiming for a roleplaying experience 07:05 // The lone wolf hero in fiction and RPGs 08:30 // The World of Darkness 10:45 // A shout out for Dragon Warriors 18:35 // How Beyond the Wall came to be 20:45 // What is the “D&D experience”? 24:30 // A four year-old’s perspective on system matching 25:55 // The lingua franca 29:30 // The playbooks and layers for other D&D 31:05 // BtW’s spells (and Ars Magica) 33:10 // Design — what came first? 36:25 // BtW and Appendix N 41:40 // Other fiction properties that should be RPGs 43:00 // Your favourite Eternal Champion (Ralph blathers a bit here…) 44:50 // Stormbringer RPG 48:30 // US-UK cross-cultural 49:20 // Flatland Games’ other offerings (Action Movie World, Wizard’s Museum Construction Kit) 52:20

Music credits

“Cylinder Eight“ and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 217: Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

In our last episode of the season Ralph, Liz and Josh struggle to communicate over Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17.

Show Notes

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:45 // Jo Walton’s review 04:30 // Themes 05:10 // The Dead on tape 08:00 // Translation and Memory 12:40 // Hyperspace 14:25 // Non-binary life partners 15:45 // Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 24:00 // Sleeper agents 28:35 // Gaming by hypnosis 30:25 // Faceless invaders 34:15 // RPG bit — Josh 37:55 // Liz (Grunting, Dialect RPGs) 39:00 // Ralph 44:40 // Last bits 52:20

Book References

Since we mentioned several titles in this episode, here’s our mini bibliography.

The Babel-17 wiki page lists other works that were influenced by this book including Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Ted Chiang’s Story Of Your Life (made into the film Arrival).

Finally, here’s Jo Walton’s review of Babel-17.

Game Notes

Five Conversational Hypnosis Tools For MCs by Pete Kautz.

Grunting is a free RPG by Jen Spencer.

Dialect is a game about how language dies. It’s post-Kickstarter (but I guess you can pre-order it).

We mentioned Night Witches (yes, AGAIN).

Ralph has started his Dramasystem/OSR mashup anyway (yeah, DEAL WITH IT JOSH). It’s called StormHack. Mini SRD here.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 216: Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Ralph, Liz and Josh give each other the side eye trying to work out which of the others are human… we read Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety.

Show Notes

Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis and comments start 00:30 // BSG 05:00 // The 100 13:25 // RPG bit starts with Liz 15:05 // Josh’s Game 16:50 // Ralph’s Game 19:50

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 215: Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer

Ralph and Josh board Le Transperceneige a.k.a. the Snowpiercer.

Show Notes

Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, made into the film Snowpiercer by Bong Joon-Ho

Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Film Synopsis 00:45 // Graphic Novels 03:35 // Themes 08:05 // Oldboy 11:55 // The Hope by James Lovegrove 24:20 // The RPG bit (it’s Apocalpse World, innit) 26:00 // Wool by Hugh Howey 30:20 // Rise and Fall 37:00 // Last words 39:00 // Hollowpoint 39:25 // Actually these are the last words 39:30 // No, really, these are the last words 40:20 // The Bed Sitting Room and the London Underground (and Neverwhere) 40:30

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 214: Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

This episode Liz, Becky and Ralph hang around long after they should have moved on, chatting about Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee.

Show Notes

Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Becky Annison with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:30 // Comments 02:15 // Sabriel 19:15 // RPG bit starts 21:10 // Liz’s game 21:20 // (Ralph’s superhero WaRP) 23:00 // (Lights, Camera, Action!) 28:10 // Becky’s Game 34:40 // Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne 35:15 // The Mountain Witch 38:10 // Ralph’s Game 40:10 // Wraith 43:20 // (it takes two, baby) 46:35 // Did we like it? (plus other works: Elephantasm, Night’s Master, Don’t Bite The Sun) 47:50 // The Blake’s 7 connection 51:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 213: Kiteworld by Keith Roberts

(see our previous episode)

Keith Roberts wrote nine groups of short stories, four of which are linked novellas. Kiteworld was published nearly 20 years after Pavane and bears more than a passing resemblance to the earlier collection, despite it’s post-apocalyptic setting.

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 212: Pavane by Keith Roberts

This episode is a collaboration between Fictoplasm and the Tabletop Roleplayer’s Book Club. Ralph discusses their April book choice, Keith Roberts’ alternate history Pavane with guests Ray Otus and Paul Mitchener.

Show Notes

Pavane by Keith Roberts

Paul Mitchener and Ray Otus with Ralph Lovegrove

Introducing the Tabletop Roleplayer’s Book Club 00:50 // Synopsis 02:00 // Comments 05:10 // Fairies 06:15 // Darkness and the economics of light 10:45 // Caught up in events 17:40 // Isolation 20:15 // Independence 29:00 // The RPG bit — Paul’s Game 35:20 // Ray’s ideas 36:20 // Callisto and De Profundis 36:45 // Itras By 38:40 // Apocryphal Chris’s idea 39:50 // Ralph’s Game 41:35 // Rise and Fall 41:50 // Microscope and Kingdom 42:05 // The Village 44:50 // Binary games 46:50 // Last words 49:00

Extra

See this infinityplus review and the comments on the Coda.

Tim Harford’s 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy includes this episode on The Lightbulb.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 211: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Special guest Tom McGrenery joins Mo and Ralph to discuss Ruritanian Romance, fictional places and the fine art of bullshitting in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

Show Notes

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Mo Holkar and special guest Tom McGrenery, with Ralph Lovegrove

The Ruritanian Romance 01:00 // Synopsis 02:10 // Linear vs Nonsequential reading, and other comments 08:10 // The RPG Bit — Mo 12:20 // Microscope, Kaliedoscope, Endoscope 13:00 // Tom’s Bit 18:15 // Historical RPGs (and the fear of getting them wrong) 19:30 // Ruritania in Delta Green 19:45 // Imaginary Places 20:30 // The Shab Al-Hiri Roach 23:40 // Ralph’s Bit 24:55 // When the Dark is Gone (trauma from imaginary places) 25:35 // Planetary 9: Planet Fiction 26:15 // It Follows 27:05 // Ralph’s spy game (Pale Assassins) 28:35 // Last words 31:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Runequest’s Appendix N

Following on from this post, a friend pointed out that Runequest also had its own Appendix N. I don’t know which edition (I don’t think it’s in my Games Workshop one) but the text has apparently been copied verbatim (with spelling errors) by peopletobe, including a commentary at the end. A slightly longer post on doug’s devices & desires takes this further with some comments on the content. These posts come from 2010 and 2011 and the latter is “in production”.

Since the web is a transient thing and sometimes posts vanish, I’ve reproduced the bibliography without further comment. Many thanks to the original poster.

APPENDIX N. Bibliography
Bibby, George. 4000 Years Ago – check your library for other titles as well; anything by Bibby is recommended.
Byfield, Barbarbara N. The Book of Weird (formerly The Glass Harmonica) – a delightfully-written and illustrated encyclopedia of things fantastical.
Coles, John. Archeology by Experiment – excellent description of the practical side of archeology, easily relatable to FRP games.
Conally, Peter. The Greek Armies, The Roman Army, and Enemies of Rome – three educational picture books of incredible detail and content.
Draeger, Donn F. and Smith, Robert W. Asian Fighting Arts – an excellent survey of what it really takes to master a weapon.
Foote, Peter(ed.) The Saga of Grettir the Strong – on version of the making of a hero, direct from the Age of Heroes of Iceland.
Funcken, Lillane and Fred. Arms and Uniforms: Ancient Egypt to the 18th Century – first-class illustrated book of historical costumes and weapons.
Howard, Robert E. Conan (and others) – the archetypical noble and savage barbarian written with muscle and guts; his notes have been finished with less gusto by other writers as well.
Keegan, John. The Face of Battle – the descriptions in this book are a must for anyone wanting to know some truth in grisly detail about ancient and medieval warfare.
Leiber, Fritz. Swords in the Mist (and others) – a basic source of modern fantasy; the stories about Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are classics.
Magnusson, Magnus (ed.). Njal’s Saga – an excellent look at a Dark Ages culture, and some rousing fighting besides.
Malory, Thomas. Le Morte d’Arthur – more information on heroic actions, though of a limited cult. Useful too for inspiration on possible event for FRP.
Moorcock, Michael. Elric (and others) – a basic source of modern fantasy.
Smith, Clark Ashton. Hyperborea (and others) – more standards of fantasy fiction, which everyone should at least taste.
Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Constuction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor – heavy emphasis on Japanese fighting gear, but worth it anyway.
Sturlasson, Snorri. King Harald’s Saga – a superb epic tale by Iceland’s most famous saga writer, proving you do not need fantasy to create a legend.
Tolkien, J. R. R. Lord of the Rings – a modern fantasy classic. Tolkien is rightfully accorded as the Master of fantasy, and if you have not yet read LotR, please do yourself a favor. Of his other works, see also The Silmarilion – notes of the Master compiled posthumously by his son, Christopher. These are a chronicle of the earlier ages of Middle Earth.
OTHER FANTASY ROLEPLAYING GAMES
Chivalry & Sorcery; Bunnies & Burrows; Flash Gordon & the Warriors of Mongo; Starships & Spacemen – all from Fantasy Games Unlimited, PO Box 182, Roslyn NY 11576.
Empire of the Petal Throne; Knights of the Round Table; Space Patrol; Superhero 2044 – all from Gamescience (Lou Zocchi & Associates), 1956 Pass Rd., Gulfport MS 39501.
Advanced D&D; Dungeons & Dragons; Gamma World; Metamorphosis Alpha; Star Probe; Star Empires – all from TSR Hobbies, Inc., PO Box 756, Lake Geneva WI 53147.
Bushido; Space Quest – Tyr Gamemakers Ltd., PO Box 414, Arlington VA 22210.
The Fantasy Trip (included Wizard and Melee) – Metagaming, PO Box 15346, Austin TX 78761.
Tunnels & Trolls; Monsters! Monsters!; Starfaring – all from Flying Buffal, Inc., PO Box 1467, Scottsdale AZ 85252.
Traveller; En Garde! – Game Designers’ Workshop, 203 North St., Normal IL 61761.
Legacy – Legacy Press, 217 Harmon Rd., Camden MI 49232.
Arduin Grimoire; Welcome to Skull Tower; Runes of Doom – all from James E. Mathis, 2428 Ellsworth (102), Berkeley CA 94704.
Star Trek – Heritage Models, Inc., 9840 Monroe Dr. (Bldg. 106), Dallas TX 75220.
FOR LIVING IN THE PERIOD
The Society for Creative Anachronism. Write to Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc., Office of the Registry, PO Box 594, Concord, Calif. 94522
FOR MULTI-SIDED DICE
Write for prices to Lou Zocchi & Associates, 1956 Pass Rd. Gulfport MS 39501,or see you local hobby or game store.

For additional comment, googling turns up hits on Black Gate and Grognaridia.

Episode 210: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Liz, Becky and Ralph discuss Jane Austen’s Regency romance and satire Pride and Prejudice.

Show Notes

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Becky Annison and Elizabeth Lovegrove with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:40 // Comments 03:50 // the BBC version 05:10 // Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 07:40 // The Penguin special clothbound edition 08:40 // balls 10:20 // teh Establishment suks 13:50 // Kitty the Aircaptain 16:20 // The RPG Bit — Liz’s Game (Sagas of the Derbyshirelanders) 18:10 // Court Whispers (Stiainin Jackson — under playtest) 19:10 // Monsterhearts 19:40 // Anti-Establishment PCs (that would be all of them) 25:15 // Inferno and Inc. 26:05 // social proximity and introductions 27:15 // Becky’s Game 31:00 // Breaking the Ice 31:20 // Nomic 33:20 // TOWIE 36:10 // like Archipelago? 36:25 // sh.t games for vampires 38:35 // changing rules mid-scenario 39:35 // Dogs In The Vineyard (and Human Resources) 41:20 // Final Remarks 44:10

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Appendix N and cousins

AD&D grognards and in particular OSR types seem fixated on Appendix N of the original Dungeon Master’s Guide, which boiled down to a list of fictional sources that Gygax liked.

Next to Appendix N, the “inspirational reading material” from the Moldvay Basic D&D set gets short shrift, which is both sad and puzzling given how much richer and diverse the content is. At one time, one OSR author I spoke with pretty much waved away its existence, which is frankly absurd given how much closer Basic D&D is to the stripped down ethos of many OSR retroclones than AD&D.

Then there’s D&D5e’s Appendix E which is basically a modernized (and diversified) Appendix N, with some very curious additions (in a really good way).

Appendix N

The original from the DMG. It’s trivial to find this list with a quick google search (e.g. here).

Anderson, Poul: THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
Bellairs, John: THE FACE IN THE FROST
Brackett, Leigh
Brown, Frederic
Burroughs, Edgar Rice: “Pellucidar” series; Mars series; Venus series
Carter, Lin: “World’s End” series
de Camp, L. Sprague: LEST DARKNESS FALL; THE FALLIBLE FIEND; et al
de Camp & Pratt: “Harold Shea” series; THE CARNELIAN CUBE
Derleth, August
Dunsany, Lord
Farmer, P. J.: “The World of the Tiers” series; et al
Fox, Gardner: “Kothar” series; “Kyrik” series; et al
Howard, R. E.: “Conan” series
Lanier, Sterling: HIERO’S JOURNEY
Leiber, Fritz: “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” series; et al
Lovecraft, H. P.
Merritt, A.: CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al
Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” series (esp. the first three books)
Norton, Andre
Offutt, Andrew J.: editor of SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III
Pratt, Fletcher: BLUE STAR; et al
Saberhagen, Fred: CHANGELING EARTH; et al
St. Clair, Margaret: THE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
Tolkien, J. R. R.: THE HOBBIT; “Ring trilogy”
Vance, Jack: THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al
Weinbaum, Stanley
Wellman, Manley Wade
Williamson, Jack
Zelazny, Roger: JACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” series; et al

Moldvay’s Inspirational Reading

Appearing in the Moldvay Basic D&D set (which predates my Mentzer copy). According to this source, compiled by Barbara Davis. A scan here and what appears to be the complete text here.

FICTION: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Alexander, Lloyd — The Book of Three; Black Cauldron; Castle of Llyr, et al.
Baum, L. Frank — The Wizard of Oz; The Emerald City of Oz; The Land of Oz, et al.
Bellairs, John — The Face In the Frost; The House Without a Clock on Its Walls; The Figure In the Shadows, et al.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice — A Princess of Mars; At the Earth’s Core; Tarzan of the Apes, et al.
Carroll, Lewis — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass
Garner, Alan — Elidor, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen; The Moon of Gomrath, et al.
Le Guin, Ursula K. — A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore, et al.
Lewis, C. S. — The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”, et al.
NON-FICTION: YOUNG ADULT
Barber, Richard — A Companion to World Mythology
Buehr, Walter — Chivalry and the Mailed Knight
Coolidge, Olivia — Greek Myths; The Trojan War; Legends of the North
d’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin — Norse Gods and Giants; Trolls
Hazeltine, Alice — Hero Tales from Many Lands
Hillyer, Virgil — Young People’s Story of the Ancient World: Prehistory — 500 B.C.
Jacobs, Joseph — English Folk and Fairy Tales
Macauley, David — Castles
McHargue, Georgess — The Beasts of Never: A History Natural and Unnatural of Monsters, Mythical and Magical; The Impossible People
Renault, Mary — The Lion in the Gateway
Sellow, Catherine F. — Adventures with the Giants
Sutcliff, Rosemary — Tristram and Iseult
Williams, Jay — Life in the Middle Ages
Winer, Bart — Life in the Ancient World
FICTION: ADULT FANTASY
Anderson, Poul — Three Hearts and Three Lions; The Broken Sword; The Merman’s Children, et al.
Anthony, Piers — A Spell for Chameleon; The Source of Magic; Castle Roogna
Asprin, Robert — Another Fine Myth
Brackett, Leigh — The Coming of the Terrans; The Secret of Sinharat; People of the Talisman, et al.
Campbell, J. Ramsey —Demons by Daylight
Davidson, Avram — The Island Under the Earth; Ursus of Ultima Thule; The Phoenix in the Mirror, et al.
de Camp, L. Sprague — The Fallible Fiend; The Goblin Tower, et al.
de Camp, L. Sprague and Pratt, Fletcher — The Incomplete Enchanter; Land of Unreason, et al.
Dunsany, Lord — Over the Hills and Far Away; Book of Wonder; The King of Elfland’s Daughter, et al.
Eddison, E. R. — The Worm Ouroboros
Eisenstein, Phyllis — Born to Exile; Sorcerer’s Son
Farmer, Phillip Jose — The Gates of Creation; The Maker of Universes; A Private Cosmos, et al.
Finney, Charles G. — The Unholy City; The Circus of Dr. Lao
Heinlein, Robert A. — Glory Road
Howard, Robert E. — Conan; Red Nails; Pigeons from Hell
Lee, Tanith — Night’s Master; The Storm Lord; The Birthgrave, et al.
Leiber, Fritz — The Swords of Lankhmar; Swords Against Wizardry; Swords Against Death, et al.
Lovecraft, H. P. — The Doom that Came to Sarnath; The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Dunwich Honor
Merritt, A. E. — The Moon Pool; Dwellers in the Mirage; The Ship of Ishtar, et al.
Moorcock, Michael — The Stealer of Souls; The Knight of the Swords; Gloriana, et al.
Mundy, Talbot — Tros of Samothrace
Niven, Larry — The Flight of the Horse; The Magic Goes Away
Norton, Andre — Witch World; The Year of the Unicorn; The Crystal Gryphon, et al.
Offutt, Andrew — The Iron Lords; Shadows Out of Hell
Pratt, Fletcher — The Blue Star; The Well of the Unicorn
Smith, Clark Ashton — Xiccarph; Lost Worlds; Genius Loci
Stewart, Mary — The Crystal Cave; The Hollow Hills; The Last Enchantment
Stoker, Bram — Dracula
Swann, Thomas Burnett — Cry Silver Bells; The Tournament of the Thorns; Moondust, et al.
Tolkien. J. R. R. — The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings (trilogy)
Vance, Jack — The Eyes of the Overworld; Dying Earth; The Dragon Masters, et al.
Wagner, Karl Edward — Bloodstone; Death Angel’s Shadow; Dark Crusade, et al.
White, Theodore H. — The Once and Future King
Zelazny, Roger — Jack of Shadows; Lord of Light; Nine Princes in Amber, et al.
Some additional authors of fantasy fiction are:
Beagle, Peter S.
Bok, Hannes
Cabell, James Branch
Carter, Lin
Cherryh, C. J.
Delany, Samuel R.
Fox, Gardner
Gaskell, Jane
Green, Roland
Haggard, H. Rider
Jakes, John
Kunz, Katherine
Lanier, Sterling
McCaffrey, Anne
McKillip, Patricia A.
Moore, C. L.
Myers, John Myers
Peake, Mervyn
Saberhagen, Fred
Walton, Evangeline
Wellman, Manly Wade
Williamson, Jack
SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS:
Carter, Lin (ed.) — The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories (in several volumes); Flashing Swords (also in several volumes)
Offutt, Andrew (ed.) — Swords Against Darkness (in several volumes)
NON-FICTION
Borges, Jorge Luis — The Book of Imaginary Beings
Bullfinch, Thomas — Bullfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry
Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend

Appendix E

5th Edition D&D, supposedly the “most OSR-like” mainstream D&D ever, has its own list which is essentially an updated Appendix N. In 2014 Matt Staggs authored an article on the modern additions which include Lynch, Pratchett, Martin and even Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon. I’ve reproduced the additions below.

Ahmed, Saladin: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Alexander, Lloyd: The Book of Three and the rest of the Chronicles of Prydain series.
Anthony, Piers: Split Infinity and the rest of the Apprentice Adept series
Augusta, Lady Gregory: Gods and Fighting Men
Bear, Elizabeth: Range of Ghosts and the rest of the Eternal Sky trilogy
Brooks, Terry: The Sword of Shannara and the rest of the Shannara series
Cook, Glen: The Black Company and the rest of the Black Company series
Froud, Brian & Alan Lee: Faeries
Hickman, Tracy & Margaret Weis, Dragons of Autumn Twilight and the rest of the Chronicles Trilogy
Hodgson, William Hope: The Night Land
Jemisen, N.K.: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and the rest of the Inheritance series, The Killing Moon, and The Shadowed Sun
Jordan, Robert: The Eye of the World and the rest of the Wheel of Time series
Kay, Guy Gavriel: Tigana
King, Stephen: The Eyes of the Dragon
LeGuin, Ursula: A Wizard of Earthsea and the rest of the Earthsea series
Lynch, Scott: The Lies of Locke Lamora and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastard series
Martin, George R.R: A Game of Thrones and the rest of the Song of Ice and Fire series
McKillip, Patricia: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Mieville, China: Perdido Street Station and the other Bas-Lag novels
Peake, Mervyn: Titus Groan and the rest of the Gormenghast series
Pratchett, Terry. The Colour of Magic and the rest of the Discworld series
Rothfuss, Patrick: The Name of the Wind and the rest of the Kingkiller series
Salvatore, R.A.: The Crystal Shard and the rest of The Legend of Drizzt
Sanderson, Brandon: Mistborn and the rest of the Mistborn trilogy
Tolstoy, Nikolai: The Coming of the King
Wolfe, Gene: The Shadow of the Torturer and the rest of The Book of the New Sun

Remarks

Obviously here at Fictoplasm we’re keen on genre representation and conscious appropriation of literary sources. If the goal of your RPG is to capture the essence of Appendix N (to the exclusion of other sources) then great; but that presupposes that Appendix N is a tightly focused body of work. I’ve not read widely enough to say it is or is not, but aside from some lowest common denominator stuff (the weird of HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, the “amoral vigour” of Leiber and Howard, etc.) I’m struggling to see that focal point.

It makes a lot more sense to treat Appendix N as a point of origin or hub from which your sources will deviate, and Appendix E makes total sense in this case: it’s informed by a changing landscape of new fiction as well as divergent tastes and a critical eye on past omissions — so we get Gene Wolfe, Ursula K Le Guin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Scott Lynch, Saladin Ahmed and so on.

The really interesting one is the Moldvay list. Unlike Appendices N and E which have and will persist thanks to market penetration and the availability of the books, that list is a casualty of the gradual metamorphosis of B/X into BECMI (and then the Rules Cyclopedia). But what a brilliant list — a mixture of both fiction and non-fiction, Young Adult and Adult fiction which inclues Alan Garner, Lewis Carroll, Frank L. Baum, Jorges Luis Borges, Mary Renault, E.R. Eddission, Tanith Lee and others.

Now, you could argue that such a list is too long and diverse; but I think that argument only holds if you think Appendix N has an actual point, other than being a collection of (mostly) worthwhile fantasy novels.

Naturally, take the “definitions” implied by such lists with a pinch of salt. After all Vance’s Lyonesse is missing — to be expected having been published in 1983 — although the omission of Harrison’s The Pastel City (1971) has no such excuse.

Episode 209: Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Josh, Ralph and special guest Paul Mitchener voyage across Usula Le Guin’s classic fantasy Earthsea.

Show Notes

A Wizard Of Earthsea // The Tombs of Atuan // The Farthest Shore // Tehanu // plus other short fiction set in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea

Josh Fox, Ralph Lovegrove, Paul Mitchener

Synopsis (the original trilogy) 00:40 // Tehanu 05:45 // Themes 09:25 // The RPG Bit — Josh’s Game 26:00 // Paul’s Game (Everway) 27:25 // Ralph’s Game (Beyond the Wall by Flatland Games) 30:05 // Archipelago 34:30 // Last Words 36:55

Shameless Plug

Ralph’s Beyond the Waves idea for Beyond the Wall (halfway between Earthsea and Zelda: The Windwaker)

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 208: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Mo, Liz, Ralph and special guest Paul Mitchener discuss Ursula Le Guin’s magnificent The Dispossessed.

Show Notes

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Paul Mitchener, Mo Holkar, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 01:40 // “The Hobbit, basically” 05:50 // Remarks 09:35 // Paul’s game (Hot War) 15:00 // Mo’s game (hacking Rise and Fall) 18:10 // Liz’s game (inc. Bite Me) 20:50 // Ralph’s game 25:00 // The Hainish Cycle 29:30

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode A.1: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

In this very special episode we decided the best way to treat Herman Melville’s classic was to go back to our analogue roots. We discuss open seas, confined spaces, love among the sailors, Ahab the Eternal Champion, and more.

To get your copy please send a stamped self-addressed envelope together with a 50p cheque or postal order to the address given at the end of the podcast.

Episode 207: Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Ralph, Liz and Josh consider Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, inter-party relationships, re-skinned D&D, expertise, god, and getting old.

Show Notes

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Josh Fox, Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:35 // It’s D&D, isn’t it? 09:30 // Old Age 17:45 // Other modern fantasy 23:30 // What is expertise? 36:00 // Night Witches 40:30 // Hot War and Malandros 47:45 // Closing remarks 51:30

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 206: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Ralph is joined by special guest Baz Stevens to discuss traction cities, airships and Municipal Darwinism in Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines.

Show Notes

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Ralph Lovegrove joined by Baz Stevens, one half of the Smart Party podcast

Synopsis 02:15 // Comments 06:15 // Slipstream 23:30 // Baz’s RPG ideas 27:40 // Moorcock’s Revenge of the Rose 28:00 // FAE and Spirit of the Century 28:25 // Castle Falkenstein 34:00 // Lace and Steel 34:45 // James Lovegrove’s The Hope 39:15 // Paranoia (as Brazil) 40:25 // Lost boys and Blades in the Dark 42:15 // Closing remarks 44:45

Enough About Me, Bill Paxton

Shortly after we recorded this episode Bill Paxton died on the 25th of February. Roleplayers will fondly remember his contributions to speculative genre films such as Aliens, Near Dark and Edge of Tomorrow.

Slipstream was a commercial and critical flop despite starring Paxton alongside Mark Hamill, Kitty Aldridge, Bob Peck, Ben Kingsley and F. Murray Abraham among others and directed by Star Wars collaborator Gary Kurtz. It’s not a great film. Perhaps if it had been made today with modern CGI and post-Fury Road sensibilities (a diverse cast, maybe) then the apocalyptic scope of the film would be realized.

RIP Bill Paxton.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 204: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Becky, Ralph and special guest Tod Foley discuss the bizarre, creeping horror in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach series.

Show Notes

Annihilation (and sequels) by Jeff Vandermeer.

Ralph Lovegrove with Becky Annison and Tod Foley

Bronson Pinchot has a lovely voice 01:05 // Synopsis (and general conversation) 01:45 // RPG ideas start 07:40 // Man Against Fire (Black Mirror) 08:35 // Archipelago and Itras By 11:30 // Itras By 11:40 // Lots more RPG options from Tod 13:40 // Bleed 15:45 // De Profundis 19:40 // Hot War 32:20 // LARP 42:50

RPGs

We covered a lot of different games in this episode, so here they are in order of mention:

  • Archipelago
  • Itras By
  • Stalker RPG
  • Day Trippers
  • Cypher System
  • Dread
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • De Profundis
  • Hot War

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 203: The Infernal Desire Machines Of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter

Ralph and special guest Mathew Downward discuss consensus reality in Angela Carter’s The Inferal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman.

Show Notes

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter.

Synopsis 01:05 // Comments begin 13:05 // Mage: The Ascension 18:30 // Psychosis RPG 26:35 // Social Contracts 29:55 // Everway 30:50 // RuneQuest III 39:05 // Crypts and Things 40:00 // Black Dog Derive (for the Stalker RPG) 43:25 // PbtA moaning 48:10 // What we like about OSR (Sine Nomine, LotFP) 50:20

Extra!

We recorded the podcast last year but it so happens that just yesterday, the 25th anniversary of Carter’s death, Mathew released Infernal Desire Machines, the hack of the Psychosis RPG mentioned around halfway into the episode. Read it, absorb it, play!

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 202: The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper

In this episode Becky, Liz and Ralph split off and explore the many lives of The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper.

Show Notes

The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper

Becky Annison, Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:33 // Comments 05:30 // RPGs, shared characters and concluding the game 11:30 // Becky’s RPG 20:30 // Liz’s RPG 25:30 // Ralph’s RPG and Blake’s 7 29:00 // Non-simultaneous travel and communication (and Ursula Le Guin) 38:00 // Other Tepper recommendations 40:10

(we namecheck Beyond the Wall and Traveller in this episode)

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 2.01: Grass by Sheri S. Tepper

In this episode Liz, Mo and Ralph dive into Grass by Sheri S. Tepper.

This is the first of two episodes on Tepper, whose death in 2016 was pretty much overshadowed by more prominent celebs and/or politics.

Show Notes

Grass by Sheri S. Tepper

Mo Holkar, Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:30 // Comment starts 08:00 // “Puzzle Planets” 13:30 // The History Problem 18:00 // Liz’s game 19:45 // Mo’s game 22:00 // Ralph’s game 25:20

Other “Puzzle Planet” Books

  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  • Dune by Frank Herbert

For another treatment of Grass and its literary and historical roots, see this article (infinityplus)

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Xmas Episode 02: Our Picks

We pitch 7 books for future consideration.

Show Notes

Mo Holkar, Josh Fox, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

The books:

  • Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  • No Good Men Among The Living by Anand Gopal
  • Factoring Humanity by Robert Sawyer
  • The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
  • The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

Mo’s bit (Vonnegut) 00:40 // Josh’s bit (Gopal, Sawyer) 08:10 // Liz’ bit (Chambers, Austen) 17:50 // Ralph’s bit (Stapledon, Barker) 25:30

Other Stuff

The Chaucer Twitter Feed

M. John Harrison’s essay on the Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism from Warren Ellis’ blog (original can be found via Wayback Machine)

Music credits

“I can’t imagine where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” both from Thoughtless by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Xmas Episode 01: Lyonesse by Jack Vance

In this special holiday episode Dave, Tim and Ralph talk about Jack Vance’s exceptional fantasy trilogy Lyonesse.

Show Notes

The Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance

Ralph Lovegrove with special guests Dave Morris and Tim Harford

Synopsis 00:45 // The RPG Bit 28:33 // Skulduggery and The Dying Earth 29:12 // Dragon Warriors 34:56 // Pendragon 56:53 // Whitehack 69:41

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Downtime

Fictoplasm has concluded its first run of 14 shows, and we’re pleased with the results (even if they’re a bit rough and ready). Right now we’re taking a short break and lining up shows for the second season in early 2017. We’re going to refine the current formula, invite some guest speakers and try a few new things.

In the meantime, a couple of things to share. First, positive messages mean a lot to us so thanks to anyone who’s commented, reshared or liked our stuff on social media. It’s only been three months so we don’t have high expectations, but getting a thumbs up here and there is really nice and encouraging.

Second, we’re always open to suggestions for books and other content, as well as comments. If you want to get in touch our details are on the Contact page here, and we’ll gladly accept your suggestions/comments/abuse in the comment feeds here, on G+ and Facebook, Twitter (@fictoplasm) or you can email me at ralph-at-fictoplasm-dot-net. Let us know what you think, what you’d like to hear more or less of.

TTFN
Ralph

Episode 13pt2: The Prisoner of Zenda

The second part of our season finale looks at the fictional Ruritania of Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda, the Ruritanian Romance, and fictional or liminal countries such as Interzone and Annexia in Cronenburg’s The Naked Lunch and the Upside Down of Stranger Things.

(this recording was recorded in three bits which is why the later section sounds a bit different. That tinkling noise you can hear towards the end is the sound of gin being sipped over ice)

Show Notes

The Prizoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Elizabeth and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:22 // Gender Swapped Prisoner of Zenda 03:27 // The Evidence for Ruritania 04:10 // Ruritanian Romance 04:42 // Naked Lunch 05:52 // RPG Bit starts: uncertain customs 08:47 // Lace and Steel 13:37 // Stranger Things 15:27 // Course of the Heart 18:02 // Mage the Ascension 18:27 // Inferno 24:37

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 13pt1: The Course of the Heart by M. John Harrison

We’ve split our “season finale” into two separate episodes, the first of which is a bit of an experiment — it’s quite short and a solo recording which I did a while ago. But, it’s thematically linked to the next episode, which will follow shortly.

Ralph muses over the liminal fantasy genre and M. John Harrison’s The Course Of The Heart.

“Liminal Fantasy” 00:35 // Synopsis 00:45 // RPG bit 04:05 // Changelings 04:50 // Tarot Tales and The Horse Of Iron 07:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 12: More Short Stories

It’s National World Short Story Novel Mustache Reading Writing Knitting Month, so we’re doing more short stories — this time from Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and Cory Doctorow. Also, Rod Steiger, Charlie Brooker and the Sandman!

Show Notes

The Evening, The Morning and The Night by Octavia Butler, curated in the Sisters of the Revolution anthology by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth by Cory Doctorow

Fever Dream (from The Day It Rained Forever) and The Veldt (from The Illustrated Man) by Ray Bradbury

Elizabeth and Ralph Lovegrove, with Rowan on percussion

Octavia Butler 00:40 // Cory Doctorow 06:33 // Ray Bradbury 09:22 // Themes 10:55 // Games 17:27 // Microbes, HP Blavatsky, Nazis 18:49 // Modified Werewolf Game 26:12 // The Veldt 27:22 // Rod Steiger 29:17 // Charlie Brooker 31:27 // Framing Devices 31:57 // World’s End 32:12

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 11: The Matter of Seggri and Coppola’s Dracula

This episode Liz and Ralph recommend short stories to each other: The Matter of Seggri by Ursula Le Guin, and Coppola’s Dracula by Kim Newman.

Show Notes

The Matter of Seggri from The Birthday of the World by Ursula Le Guin

Coppola’s Dracula by Kim Newman which you can read online here.

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

The Matter of Seggri 00:45 // Game ideas 08:40 // Coppola’s Dracula 12:30 // Game ideas 19:05 // The Quiet Year 24:55 // Dream Park 25:40

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 10: The Dream Archipelago by Christopher Priest

This episode Mo and Ralph drift around Christopher Priest’s Dream Archipelago.

Show Notes

The Affirmation, The Dream Archipelago, The Islanders and The Adjacent are novels and short stories by Christopher Priest

Speaking: Mo Holkar and Ralph Lovegrove

The Affirmation 01:00 // The Dream Archipelago 03:00 // The Equatorial Moment 05:05 // The Islanders 05:40 // The Adjacent 11:50 // Comments 13:25 // Mo’s Game 18:05 // Fugue and Alas Vegas 22:20 // Ralph’s Game 26:30

Ralph’s Beyond the Waves for Beyond the Wall is a work in progress. You can find the download here, where you’ll also find a guide to the bits missing from Fugue.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 09: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

A near-future Johannesburg where the urban sprawl mixes with Southern African legend in a post-cyberpunk detective novel.

Show Notes

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

00:39 Synopsis // 04:35 Fake academic papers and His Dark Materials // 06:00 Penny Miller’s Myths and Legends of Southern Africa // 11:15 Games here // 17:00 Ralph gushes about WaRP // 19:05 PbtA all the way down // 22:56 Malandros (again) // 24:10 (off topic) our book lists

Ralph and Liz’s book lists

We set each other a challenge of reading ten books the other had read. These is my list from Liz:

  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum / Kate Atkinson
  • The Robber Bride / Margaret Atwood
  • The Sparrow / Mary Dora Russell
  • Parable of the Sower / Octavia Butler
  • To Kill A Mockingbird / Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple / Alice Walker
  • Gaudy Night / Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Among Others / Jo Walton
  • Zoo City / Lauren Beukes
  • Tipping the Velvet / Sarah Waters

(Note: Parable of the Sower was originally Fledgeling but changed for reasons)

And this is Liz’s list from me:

  • Behold the Man / Michael Moorcock
  • The Pastel City / M. John Harrison
  • Cocaine Nights / J. G. Ballard
  • The Forever War / Joe Haldeman
  • The Land of Laughs / Jonathan Carroll
  • The Demolished Man / Alfred Bester
  • Norstrilia / Cordwainer Smith
  • Ubik / Philip K. Dick
  • The Western Lands / William Burroughs
  • Neuromancer / William Gibson

Scores so far are 3.5 (for me) to 1.5 (for Liz)

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 08: Women of the Otherworld by Kelly Armstrong

This episode Liz and Becky discuss Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld and talk about pack mentality

Show Notes

The Women of the Otherworld (series) by Kelly Armstrong

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Becky Annison with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis starts at 00:40, RPGs at 16:05

Games

Bite Me! by Becky Annison is a Powered by the Apocalypse Game debuting at the Revelation convention in Sheffield on 25th and 26th February 2017

Other games Ralph mentioned in a desperate attempt to be relevant to the conversation: Werewolf (White Wolf publishing) // Buffy and Angel (now OOP, Eden Studios) // Ghosts of Albion (Eden Studios)

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 07: Roger Zelazny’s Amber

Ralph and Becky spend an extra-long episode dissecting Roger Zelazny’s Amber, and consider different systems for running an Amberite game

Show Notes

The Amber series by Roger Zelazny

Ralph Lovegrove and Becky Annison

Synopsis 00:15 // World-building 8:10 // RPGs start with Amber Diceless at 19:10 // Lords of Gossamer and Shadow 24:50 // Hillfolk 40:00 // Malandros 41:40 // Everway 50:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 06: Elric of Melnibone and The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

This episode Josh and Ralph dip into Moorcock’s Multiverse!

Show Notes

Elric of Melnibone and The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

Ralph Lovegrove and Josh Fox

Elric of Melnibone synopsis 00:50 // Eternal Champion synopsis 04:00 // Themes 10:10 // Stormbringer RPG and others 23:30 // Dungeon Crawl Classics 28:30 // Sorcerer 30:00 // Sorcerer and Sword 31:10 // Josh’s game 35:10 // Ralph’s game 41:30

Games

Stormbringer by Ken St Andre, Lynn Willis et al // Elric! by Lynn Willis, Richard Watts, Mark Morrison et al // Elric of Melnibone by Mongoose Publishing // Mournblade by Department des Sombres Projets // Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games // Sorcerer by Ron Edwards // Vast and Starlit by Epidiah Ravachol

Moves

When you sense social, political or metaphysical upheaval, roll +Ennui.

On a 10+, take +3 forward when confronting the change.

On a 7-9 take +1 forward but lose

  • An eye
  • A hand
  • Your childhood love
  • Your sanity

On a miss, lose two of the above

Other

You can read Ralph’s Mournblade review (with run down of other Moorcock RPGs) here

Also Ralph’s WIP on OSR demons: part one and part two

We mentioned Kill the Dead and Night’s Master by Tanith Lee

Music

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 05: Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

This episode Mo and Ralph leap into the very far future of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun quartet.

Show Notes

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

Mo Holkar and Ralph Lovegrove

Book starts at 01:20, games around 12:15

Games

GURPS New Sun by Michael Andre-Driussi (Steve Jackson Games) // Chronicles of Future Earth by Sarah Newton

Other

Lexicon Urthus by Michael Andre-Driussi

Music

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 04: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Zeitgeisty! The team read the 2016 Hugo-winning novella Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.

Show Notes

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
exerpt

Ralph Lovegrove with Elizabeth Lovegrove and Mo Holkar

00:26 Synopsis // 02:47 Comments // 10:10 Liz’s Game // 14:28 Mo’s Game // 19:31 Ralph’s Game

Games

Dog Eat Dog by Liam Liwanag Burke // De Profundis by Michal Oracz

Music

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

“Gone” from Music for Podcasts 2 by Lee Rosevere (happy puppy records bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 03: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

This episode we abandon hopes of getting the DVD player working again and embrace the apocalypse with Emily St John’s Station Eleven

Show Notes

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Ralph Lovegrove and Elizabeth Lovegrove

00:20 Synopsis // 06:40 Dystopia // 09:40 The Knowledge // 12:25 The Games

Games

Apocalypse World by D. Vincent Baker & Meguey Baker // Summerland by Greg Saunders // Other Dust by Sine Nomine Games // Unknown Armies by Greg Stolze & John Tynes

Other Things

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and the film adaptation

The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell

Music

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie “Cylinder 3” and “Cylinder 4” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

“Gone” from Music for Podcasts 2 by Lee Rosevere (happy puppy records bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 02: Sabriel by Garth Nix

In this episode we claw our way up through the precincts of Death to talk about Sabriel by Garth Nix.

Show Notes

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Ralph Lovegrove and Elizabeth Lovegrove

Games

Beyond the Wall by Flatland Games // Death Comes To Wyverley (Playset for Beyond the Wall) by Ralph Lovegrove // Monsterhearts by Avery McDaldno

Other

Rhiannon Lassiter’s website

Music

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie “But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

“Content” from Music For Podcasts by Lee Rosevere (happy puppy records bandcamp free music archive)

Episode 01: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

In our first episode we talk about the utopian post-scarcity, post-gender space opera of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

Show Notes

Fictoplasm episode 1: Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie, part of the Imperial Radch Trilogy

Ralph Lovegrove, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Becky Annison

01:00 Synopsis // 05:00 Comments // 12:20 Start of the RPG bit // 12:30 Liz’s game idea // 19:00 Becky’s game idea // 24:30 Ralph’s game idea

Games

Mellan Himmel och Hav (Between Heaven and Sea) by Eliot Wieslander and Katarina Björk // Livsgald by Simon Svensson, Kajsa Seinegaard, Carl Nordblom and Jennie Nyberg // Dream Askew by Avery McDaldno // Microscope by Ben Robbins // Archipelago by Matthijs Holter // Lovecraftesque by Becky Annison and Josh Fox // Rise and Fall by Elizabeth Lovegrove is part of the Seven Wonders anthology.

Music

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

“Content” from Music For Podcasts by Lee Rosevere (happy puppy records bandcamp free music archive)