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