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Just trying something new. In the spirit of Robin D. Laws' experiment a couple of years ago building an RPG society through group consensus and polling, I'm going to try to create a sci-fi planet suitable for stories or roleplaying by posting occasional polls and taking the results and commentary in consideration when creating the details.

Ground Rules:

1. Polls will be posted every few days, minimum once per week, until we run out of details to consider or everyone gets bored.

2. The planet will have an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and a gravity field survivable by unagumented humans, possibly with exotic properties that might require breathing apparatus, but basically something a human can walk around in without need of a spacesuit.

3. Anything else is open to discussion.

Let's get building!

[Poll #1867444]
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Just a reminder to those who may not have heard. Terinu, a science-fiction webcomic written and drawn by Australian Peta [ profile] chaypeta Hewitt is back online after the website was hacked several months ago, and is reposting the archives a few pages at a time to drawn in new readers. Now is a good time to start reading as the first major story arc is coming to its climax.
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Both found on Amazon for the Kindle.

The first is one of [ profile] james_nicoll's (ahem) personal favorites, H.Beam Piper's Space Viking, about a man who avenges the death of his wife by becoming an even worse threat to society himself. I'm not sure about the copyright on this one. AFAIK it isn't up on Gutenberg, but the confusion about what copyrights are still active on HBP's works means this may or may not be a legally published copy.

Next is a very early work by Robert Silverberg, titled Starman's Quest. This early edition definitely is out of copyright. Unfortunately that's mostly due to an oversight of Silverberg's part, and as you can see in the reviews he's not really happy about it.
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Space: 2099. Supposedly going to be a bit lighter and fluffier than the original, though that wouldn't be too hard given how dire dour Space:1999 was.
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John Clute and Peter Nichols have recently created a 3rd edition of their massive Science Fiction Encyclopedia and put it up for free online. Basically it's now a massive, if closed, wiki project supervised by them. While the scholarship is top notch, I'll admit there are annoying gaps. In particular web comics aren't mentioned at all, the sole entry on comics concerning itself with traditional dead tree printing. Hopefully someone will point them in the direction of Freefall and Schlock Mercenary at least and correct the void.

(Okay, I'd love to see one in there for Terinu as well, but realistically it doesn't have audience of the first two I mentioned, despite superior artwork.)
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Amazon has The Green Slime for sale, a movie I haven't seen since the Sunday Monster Theater on Channel 20.

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Had this High Concept pop into my head over lunch. Might give this a try for this year's NanoWriMo. Or if not, I might take it slow and then try and get an agent's attention with it.

* * *


Air Force Captain Alexandria Wing-Davis is caught between several worlds.

As a Chinese born American, she has only fading memories of the country of her birth, growing up in a United States that's both hostile and fearful of China's growing superpower status.

As a USAF combat pilot she's never flown an aircraft into the heat of battle, only guided drones to drop their payloads on targets half a world away.

As a NASA astronaut, she's only flown in space aboard Russian rockets, as NASA's prestige continues to slip along with the possibility of it ever re-developing a manned space vehicle again.

Now she finds herself in a desperate race to revive a secret military Space Shuttle, as a military coup in China results in the launch of an armed space platform manned by desperate fanatics, fanatics with nuclear weapons and an agenda to halt China's slide into openness and liberalization. Soon Alexandria is in the fight of her life to pilot the USAF Intrepid towards the rogue platform in an attempt to stop it before it can plunge the world into World War III.
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For [ profile] mjkj 's prompt of "Something concerning the Red Vixen ." Also featuring [ profile] lilfluff 's Madeline and Charles.

Cut for minor suggestiveness )
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Summary: Bob Howard, government IT specialist with a license to exorcise, is sent out once again by the Laundry, Britain's primary defence against Things Man Was Not Meant to Know (But Screws With Anyway) to defend The Realm. This time around he's sent out to stop the plans of a billionaire megalomaniac determined to bring up a Deep Ones artifact from the ocean floor, using Howard Hughes' resurrected Glomar Explorer, before it's Too Late.

Now if he could just figure out why vodka martinis taste like shit.

Spoilers under the cut )
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Summary: Bob Howard is just your average government IT worker in Great Britain, fixing computers, ignoring his penny pinching superiors as much as he can get away with, and earning some time and a half pay breaking into a computer company to erase the hard drive of a programmer on the verge of discovering Turing's (Deliberately) Lost Theorem and creating a genuine AI and potentially bringing the Old Ones back into our home universe and sucking out our brains through a straw.

Did I mention the electrified pentagram his roommates have in the basement of their flat?

Spoilers of Yug Shoggoth )
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In this early series of stories by Hogarth (aka [ profile] haikujaguar), we explore the universe through the eyes of the Pelted, genetically engineered "furry" slaves who eventually fled their human creators and spread throughout the stars, forming a thriving federation and leaving Earth to fall behind them.

"A Distant Sun"

Summary: Kellen Grove is the new Pelted teacher at Silvergate Academy, a private school where he teaches both Pelted and humans the harsh history of the Pelted's myriad of races. Unfortunately that history becomes personal when he's confronted by the collapse of a student and has to face the fact that some pieces of history cannot be gotten over.

Review: A nice moody piece that points out the problems inherent in genetically "improving" on Humanity, which is that a lot of your work is going to be flawed in ways that won't be understood several generations down the line, and that your creations are going to have ot live with your mistakes, both physically and emotionally.

"Dark Lighthouse:

Summary: Commander Taylitha Basil, seen earlier as a newly minted ensign in Hogarth's Second, is now a ship's commander delivering supplies to a distant monitor outpost, where she meets the human station commander and an enjoys with him a mutual love of good food and very esoteric fencing styles. Unfortunately she finds herself confronted by her own prejudices as they express their mutual interest in the latter.

Review: A short, sad read, as Taylitha tries to work past her own assumptions, and proves that prejudice isn't always a one way street.


Summary: Isidore Wyatt is a human ship commander on loan to the Pelted Federation, who finds himself bonding tightly to his crew when they go after a pirate ship marauding innocent freighters.

Review: A short, relatively light read, but nicely heavy on the action. I'd like to read more about this fellow.

And we move on to a couple of non-Pelted stories, before coming up to the last in the bunch.

"Living the Moment"

Summary: Simon Voar is an art (read: one step above porn) photographer who specializes in photographing The Moment, when the act of sex turns into an act of transcendence. But finding himself bored with human subjects he goes offworld to the home of the Tsipia-aliens, whose unique three sexed biology should provide new Moments to capture, assuming he can let his own walls of defense down.

Review: Despite the subject matter this isn't really a porn story. It's really about intimacy, and letting oneself become open to experience, rather than standing a distance and being merely a unaffected observer. Like any good story examining an alien culture it's not an automatically easy read either, but I recommend it.

"The Blade to Your Hand"

Summary: Zalen is a young lady pirate living with her adoptive "father" a cruel pirate captain who would likely cut off her head (or worse) if he discovered her true gender, who takes a chance at freedom when her pirate ship raids the wrong town.

Review: A nifty furry pirate tale, which turns out to be intensely frustrating because Hogarth stuffs at least a novel's worth of plot into less than 10k words. We meet Zalen, her crewmates and cruel father, and the lady cheetah who might be her savoir, and then rush along to the ending before the story has barely begun. This story begs to be expanded into a proper novel, because frankly as just short tale it's too over too quickly to really appreciate it.

And now for the real problem child of the bunch, Hogarth's early Pelted novel, Alysha's Fall

Cut for spoilers, language and rape triggers )
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Since I haven't really been writing much here aside from posting story updates and stupid video and news links.

1 – How did you first get into writing fanfic, and what was the first fandom you wrote for? What do you think it was about that fandom that pulled you in?

My first fandom, I'm pretty certain, was Star Trek TOS (The Only Series back then) when I was pre-teenager. I din't know I was writing fanfic at the time, just that I ended up writing a short scene with Kirk, Spock and McCoy going on a roller coaster for a creative writing assignment in class. I got into the show because back in the late-seventies if you were a young science fiction fan who wanted The Good Stuff to watch on TV, it was Star Trek, The Twilight Zone or nothing. Okay, once PBS showed 2001: A Space Odyssey, but even back then I knew that was beyond weird.
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SCENE: Terinu, Matt, Rufus, Melika, Gwen and Marvra Chan as sitting on the couch in front of the TV, having just finished watching a show. Teri and Matt look stunned, holding onto each other tightly. Gwen in weeping in Melika's arms as Rufus gives Mavra a Death Glare

Mavra: I don't what all of you are complaining about. You asked for a classic 70's or 80's British TV sci-fi drama that wasn't Doctor Who, Quatermass or Blakes 7.

Rufus: Damn you, Mavra! Threads is not family viewing material!

Mavra: It was in mine.

Rufus: That says more than I ever really wanted to know about you.

September 2017

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