is a free political simulation game founded by author Max Barry
back in 2002 (previously
). Loosely based on his dystopian corporate thriller Jennifer Government
, the game starts
by asking players to provide some national trappings and answer a few civics questions, then generates a virtual country with a matching political outlook. Periodic policy decisions
like mining rights and compulsory voting allow players to further modify their country along axes of social, political, and economic freedom
, arriving at one of twenty-seven colorful government types
like Tyranny By Majority or Scandinavian Liberal Paradise. There's also a healthy roleplaying community -- players can discuss current events in the General forum
, practice wargaming in International Incidents
, form cooperative Regions to debate internal affairs (many of which form their own communities
), and elect Delegates to send to the World Assembly
(so renamed after an amusing cease-and-desist from the real-world U.N.
). Their collective history is thoroughly recorded in the 35,000-article NSWiki
, which provides a detailed legislative record
, gameplay guide
, and profiles on many of the 90,000 active nations
, 8,000 player regions
, and countless characters
that currently make up the game world.
posted by Rhaomi
on May 9, 2011 -
The Edgewise Guide To Filmmaking.
Screenwriter Lisa Morton kept a diary while making the very, very strange 1989 movie Meet The Hollowheads
). The low-budget sci-fi/horror/social comment/sitcom takes place in a dystopian underground suburb whose entire infrastructure, operated by monopolist corporation United Umblicial, consists of flexible tubes which carry waste, energy, and slimy and sometimes still living comestibles. The movie, the one and only directorial effort of horror FX and make-up man Tom Burman
, inspires confusion
in most viewers. Hollowheads
stars John Glover
and features a 14-year-old Juliette Lewis, her big brother Lightfield, a musical instrument made out of a live chicken
, an eyeball attached to a large intestine that lives in a glass tank, and an uncredited Bobcat Goldthwait as a lascivious cop, whose few lines include "When will children learn to just say no to butt polish?"
posted by escabeche
on May 1, 2011 -
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan
has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms
), The Gipsy Charmer
), The Tragedy of Elina
), The Activists
), The Wooden Pauper's Bride
), and Sampo
), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala
. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita
is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo
was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 30, 2011 -
Blogging the Hugos: Decline
, part 2
, part 3
), is a series of blog posts covering some dystopian trends in recent Hugo nominees and itself winner
of the of the BSFA award for non fiction. Meanwhile the 2011 Hugo finalists have been announced
, with Mefi favorites featuring strongly: In Best Novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects
by Ted Chiang (previously
), In Best Short Story The Things
by Peter Watts (previously
). Doctor who features heavily under Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (too many posts to mention
), but has strong competition from Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
posted by Artw
on Apr 24, 2011 -
Alan Moore and Ian Gibson's
epic story The Ballad of Halo Jones
concluded 25 years ago today (bar the odd strange one page appearance
hinting at why it did not return). Despite being unpopular with readers at first due to it's female protagonist and relative lack of action it is now rightly regarded as one of 2000ads classic stories. However despite Quality Comics reprinting a color monthly version (which was anything but quality) it has remained a rarity in the US, until now
. But how would the other 6 chapters of the planned 9 part chapter have gone? Moore revealed how it would have ended
in a recent interview
posted by Artw
on Apr 19, 2011 -
Following the success of The Haunter of The Dark
, the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcasts presents two new readings, From Beyond
and The Picture in The House
, by Andrew Leman and Bruce Green. Both recordings are available "In 3D". Alternatively if you like your Lovecraft with both pictures AND sound, the HP Lovecraft Historical Society version of The Whisperer in Darkness
is complete and being shown at worldwide film festivals - it's a talkie! (The HPLHS are now also offering a rather handsome "official membership"
pack.) Want something more interactive? Cthulhu Dark
offers a complete Lovecraftian tabletop RPG system that fits on two sides of a sheet of paper. Please note: "If you fight any creature you meet, you will die. Thus, in these core rules, there are no combat rules or health levels. Instead, roll to hide or escape."
posted by Artw
on Mar 29, 2011 -
Aboriginal Science Fiction
was started in 1987 to rethink the look and feel of SF magazines; Charles Ryan published it in full sized magazine format, on glossy paper, with four-color interior illustrations and it sold well. Aboriginal
kept up a full schedule
through 1991, when a personal financial crisis nearly shut him down. He kept putting out the occasional issue until 2001, but the irregularity made it hard to find.
Aboriginal courted new writers, one of whom was Robert A. Metzger
, an electrical engineer and laser specialist who wrote quirky, fun hard SF stories. After Aboriginal mostly folded and he got shafted on his first book deal
, he mostly walked away from writing. He's drifted back in a bit since 2001, but fortunately at some point along the way he decided to put some of his boomerang era pieces
online. And that's how it's possible for you to read one of the most haunting, breathtaking short stories I've ever read:
In the Shadow of Bones
posted by localroger
on Mar 17, 2011 -
is a hip hop EP inspired by Duncan Jones' fine science fiction film Moon. The beats, which heavily sample Clint Mansell's score for the movie, were created by Max Tannone, best known for mashup album Jaydiohead, Doublecheck Your Head and Mos Dub/Dub Kweli. The MC is Brooklyn rapper Richard Rich.
posted by Kattullus
on Feb 23, 2011 -
, the Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, is the paper of record in the science fiction community. Every year the editors and reviewers at Locus publish a recommended reading list which includes novels, YA novels, first novels, anthologies and collections, related non-fiction, art books, and three types of shorter work (novellas
, and short stories). If you are at all interested in the current state of the SF&F genre you can't do better than Locus' yearly effort. The list for 2010
appears in the February issue. [more inside]
posted by Justinian
on Feb 18, 2011 -
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance.
So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2]
-- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation.
Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix
trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster.
Using a blend of faux documentary footage
and visual metaphor
, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world.
Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions
galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for.
But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix
franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix
, a collection of nine superb anime films
in a wide variety of styles
designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies.
Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics
, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some
of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Feb 14, 2011 -
Starship Schematics Database
: dedicated to the sole purpose of archiving every single starship design ever conceived in the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Space Battleship Yamato (A.K.A. Star Blazers in the USA) Universes, both official and unofficial, interesting and mediocre.
posted by Joe Beese
on Feb 12, 2011 -
"Let's do those drive-in totals. We have: Nineteen dead bodies (plus fragments)
. Ten breasts (shame on you, TNT censors)
. Two zombie breasts. One-hundred twenty-five zombies. Mummy dogs. One-half zombie dog. Ten gallons blood. Brain-eating. Gratuitous embalming. Zombie fu. Nekkid punk-rocker fondue. Gratuitous midget zombie. Torso S&M. One motor vehicle chase (totalled by zombies)
. Pool cue fu. No aardvarking. Heads roll. Brains roll. Arms roll. Hands roll. Joe Bob says, Check It Out."
Only on MonsterVision
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 3, 2011 -
is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied.
A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop
, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light.
Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 27, 2010 -
, 102 pages of power armour, guns, mega-scale rapidly mutating biological horror, cancer sticks, tanks and general comics mahem by James Stokoe.
posted by Artw
on Dec 2, 2010 -
"The project was the brainchild of three good friends of mine.
One was an astronaut, one was a communications genius who used to work with Walter Cronkite and the third was a highly respected scientist, and the one thing I won’t tell you about them is their names. You see, the three of them collectively cooked up one of the very best ideas I have ever heard, and they overcame all obstacles to make it come to pass. But then they messed up one tiny, inconsequential little detail. That turned the whole enterprise into a catastrophic confusion which gave great pleasure to some but cost others, including one of its principle intended beneficiaries of the idea, the Holland America cruise ship line, a ton of money." - Frederik Pohl
] [more inside]
posted by brundlefly
on Nov 30, 2010 -
"We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for 'Caprica' and are very proud of the producers, cast, writers and the rest of the amazing team that has been committed to this fine series. Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, 'Caprica' has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season."
- The Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica
has been cancelled
, and it's final episodes consigned to 2011. As ever there is debate as to what went wrong
, though it looks like one complaint, the shows relative lack of action, will be addressed by the next spin-off: Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
, set during the war years of a young William Adama.
posted by Artw
on Oct 28, 2010 -