Zack Parsons, Something Awful's resident writer of much weirdness (oldest articles in that listing may be misattributed) has resumed his beloved series with Steve Sumner (the Max to his Sam), WTF D&D. While Zack still writes for Something Awful, he and Steve's reviews of weird pen-and-paper RPG sourcebooks and art, and their rollicking RPG campaigns, have resumed on Zack's new site, The Bad Guys Win, which also features other new articles from Zack (all of the new WTF D&D, currently a two-part adventure in the Ravenloft setting starring Steve as an idiot monk, is collected under Games). [more inside]
Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
... Buckaroo Banzai is paradoxically decades ahead of its time and yet completely of its time; it’s profoundly a movie by, for, and of geeks and nerds at a time before geek/nerd culture was mainstreamed, and a movie whose pre-CG special effects and pre-Computer Age production design were an essential part of its good-natured enthusiasm. What at the time was a hip, modern take on classic SF is now, almost thirty years later, almost indistinguishable from the SF cinema that inspired it in terms of the appeal to modern viewers: the charmingly old-fashioned special effects, and the comparatively innocent earnestness of its tone. - Danny Bowes [more inside]
Why Mass Effect is the most important science fiction universe of our generation (Contains SPOILERS for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2)
Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. (previously)
NationStates 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.
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."
Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
The New York Times profiles Jack Vance (but fails to mention Vancian Magic. (Curse you Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition!)
Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1, part 2, part 3), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame - a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.