Episode 210: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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 205: The Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark

fictoplasm
Episode 205: The Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark
/

In this short solo episode Ralph talks about millennial fears and isolation in Jan Mark’s Eclipse of the Century.

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 204: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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

fictoplasm
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)