Monday, July 30, 2007

Th1rte3n by Richard K. Morgan

OK, so I just finished reading what is probably among the best mystery/Science Fiction novels of the last five years. Richard K. Morgan brought us brilliant stories with the Takeshi Kovacs series (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies) as well as a gruesome and uncompromising look at the future of business in Market Forces. Now, Morgan explores a near future with a divided USA, and genetic 'variant' humans, where man is still the most dangerous creature of all.

Meet Carl Marsalis, bounty hunter for the United Nations Genetic Legislation Authority (UNGLA), a ruthless killer and uncompromising warrior made so by a combination of brutal creche upbringing and genetic variant 13 hardwiring. Marsalis is brought in to a strange case where a variant 13 from the Mars penal colony has hijacked a starship, crashed it into the Pacific and gone on a killing spree. The novel that follows these events is gripping and highly emotionally charged.

I definitely recommend you read this book!

Friday, July 27, 2007

I know your dark secret... Craig-con 2007

This Craigcon was a bit stranger than most (and trust me, when gamers band together to play it gets downright weird), and since I have the capacity I figure it is only fair to share the experience with those unable to make it in person.

Friday started around noon with a gaggle of pubescents screeching at the door to Reality's Edge like a maddened Barbarian horde (assuming that Visigoths were looking for Halo 2 time in Rome duringthe sack). Once we had subdued the little cretins (no I will not tell you what we did, use your imaginations, it rhymes with 'by quill') we proceeded to run the first RP scenario of Craigcon. We started off with a debut of my newly written rules for Renegade Legion Leviathan. FASA's Renegade Legion universe was always one of my favorites and my new simplified rules for Leviathan have allowed me to share the game with a new generation of gamers. The players mounted a raid on the VLCA of Ancona and a good time was had as we explored the ins and outs of starship combat. Mike Dunn played a cheerful version of Rear-Admiral Foster, and Craig's mono-maniacal Fighter Squadron commander was great, as was the tech-obsessed Destroyer commodore played by Justin Heba.

We then transitioned into a great session of Game of Thrones, where Andy Bradbury got the chance to show that he was, indeed, the Maester of Disaester as he managed to fumble pretty much every roll (I think he even accidentally stabbed himself at dinner). Mike Dunn did a fantastic job running his scenario for us, and I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that a good time was had by all. Just one other note to Dave Yaeger on this one: I told you he was a traitor!

Segueing into the next game, Andy Bradbury ran a Cross Setting game for a small group of us. A Cross Setting Game involve players using their favorite characters in a new adventure that takes them from their normal environs and into whole new worlds. In this particular game, characters from around the multiverse had been summoned forth to do battle with a god from the Birthright plane who was, in fact, a great old one. All I can say is that one Elemental Monolith and a bunch of crazy actions later, we where halfway through the outer planes! A fun time was had by all, and yes, Yaeger, you do get a bonus for that!

Saturday started with a second cross-setting game run by Craig Hatler. This one used a new system called Mortal Coil ( which was developed by SFSNNJ former guest speaker Brennan Taylor. It was a great RP narrative, and we all had a lot of fun. I turned into a puddle and oozed away at the first hint of violence. Go figure. By the way - CLANG!

The Cross Setting Game was followed by rampant chaos as we broke down into three tables (one of which was Chuck Garofalo's regular Arvon table and the other two of which were Burning Empires demo tables). The Burning Empires demos went swimmingly, and I think somebody crshed a starship into a city. Good clean fun there.

Next was the Battle Royal (e) and the competative nature of the interpersonal conflict threatened to tear a hole in space time. Mike Sciame's poor Rakshasa got flash frozen by Andy Bradbury's Druid, while poor Mike Dunn got filleted by my Cohort and my Familiar. Meanwhile Abdul Manikram and Thom Purdy dueled to Thom's character's death, and Justin Heba and Chuck played a long game of cat and mouse. In the end, the brackets pitted me against Andy and it became the duel of the environmental books as Frostburn and Sandstorm based characters duked. It was a heated battle, and I lost primarily due to my own stupidity. My dying words were, yet again, "D'oh! Ill get you next time gadget... NEXT TIIIIIIIME!!!!!!"

The orc game followed, with much thumping, whumping, and calls of, "Duh, yeah boss!" and "Can't touch her, she girl, gots cooties!" Brian O'Dell did a great job of brawling with a bunch of superpowered Orc Badboys, and we all had many laughs as random encounters constantly thumped us. It ain't easy being an Orc.

The last day of Craigcon was taken up primarily by Clay Wheatley's Aberrant game, which was great fun and a high-powered duel between super-powered heroes. It is not every day that you get to see the bad guy turn a 1000 year old fortress into a puddle of cooling glass. Fun!

If any of this sounded interesting, check out the Heroes and Rogues Yahoo Group and join us for more various and sundry fun!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summer Season Spectacular

This summer has truly been a fantastic one for Science Fiction, and it only promises to get better. With blockbusters like Spider-man III, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fantastic Four, Transformers, Harry Potter, Shrek, and more already under our belts, what more have we to look forward to?

Well Stardust looks gorgeous, and with that all-star cast it should be a feast for movie-goers of all ages. Adapted from a fantastic Niel Gaiman book, this promises to be worth the wait.

Sunlight is being billed as the next 2001. The visuals look amazing and many of the team that worked on blockbusters like Independence Day and 2001 are working on this. This should also be a good summer blockbuster.

The Simpsons Movie promises to be a fun romp in Springfield, and many of our favorites will do battle to save the Earth. We are counting on Homer J. Simpson to save life as we know it... d'oh!

On a more serious note, there are more things coming out than I can keep track of, which is why I will be going to Films to Come at 8pm at the Borders in Ramsey. Feel free to drop in and let Barry Weinberger fill you in on everything about the summer movie schedule!

Monday, July 16, 2007


Hi Folks I apologize, but with everything going on lately I have not had the time to post anywhere near as frequently as I would have liked. I hope to resume posting at least trwice a week starting next week. In the mean time, please check out our website at and our forum at Thank you!