Fred Saberhagen’s Swords Trilogy

At the end of 2017, we were treated to the news that Amazon was planning a new series based on Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings series. The response on the internet seemed to be a bit of a collective groan, as the last Hobbit movie just came out four years ago, and the last of the epic Lord of the Rings movies was only 15 years ago.  Many, including myself, asked: aren’t there any other epic fantasy series that could be adapted instead?

Of course there are many. One example...

Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker

They are intelligent machines the size of a small moon, packed with enough weaponry to cauterize the surface of countless planets and destroy any defenders. They bear the scars of countless battles, which they have always won.  They were built millennia ago by one alien empire to eradicate the other — the doomsday weapons followed their programming to the letter and eliminated both.  They have one purpose: the extermination of all life.

And now they have come across...

Keepers of the Flame: The vintage RPGs that still survive and thrive

I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately, investigating (and buying) copies and components of those classic pen-and-paper role-playing games that I played or always wanted to play. Along the way, I’ve learned that quite a few of these early RPGs still have dedicated communities and fan followings that keep them alive — “keeping the flame burning,” so to speak.  I thought it would be fun to talk about a few of these in a short post!

Dawn Patrol...

1891: Chandler finds a wobble

Sometimes, in science, it turns out that the best way to find something is to not be looking for it at all.

This is more or less what happened in 1891, when an amateur astronomer and full-time insurance actuary observed and correctly interpreted a small anomalous motion of the Earth that other astronomers had been looking for decades, a motion now known at the Chandler wobble.

No, not this sort of Chandler wobble.

This is a fun story of serendipitous scientific discovery, and highlights...

The Endless Fall, by Jeffrey Thomas

Though I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk the past few months due to life, work and stress, I managed to find one thing that helped me break out of it: long airline flights. Between recent trips to Seattle and Los Angeles (which I should probably blog about), I ended up reading a lot of lovely books, including research for my upcoming cat physics book as well as some excellent fiction.  I tend to stock up my kindle with a lot of books by authors I’m unfamiliar with, and one...

Non-Stop, by Brian Aldiss

I often come across classic books to read through unexpected, even surprising, avenues. An example of this is Non-Stop (1958), by Brian Aldiss, which I just finished reading the other day and enjoyed immensely.

I only learned about Non-Stop because it ended up being the inspiration for the very first science fiction role-playing game, Metamorphosis Alpha, a classic in its own right.  (I discussed Metamorphosis Alpha in a recent blog post.)  It is a magnificent and unusual...

Spoiler-filled The Last Jedi thoughts and open discussion thread

When I saw The Force Awakens two years ago, I needed a place to share my thoughts without sharing Star Wars spoilers all over the internet, and my blog turned out to be the perfect place to do it. The same problem arises for The Last Jedi which, on a whim, I went and saw super-late on opening night Thursday. My only twitter comment:

This response also seemed appropriate:

1965: Rabbits versus relativity

One of a number of posts that I’ll be sharing based on things discovered during research into my book on cat physics, coming next year!  The previous post on the Chandler wobble is another post in this series.

The ability of cats to land on their feet when they fall from a height, no matter how they fall, is almost legendary.  It has been explored by scientists and engineers for a variety of reasons for at least 150 years (though I have found that scientific interest actually...

Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings, by Orrin Grey

The first time I encountered Orrin Grey’s work, it wasn’t even his fiction! He wrote the introduction to the Valancourt edition of J.B. Priestley’s 1927 novel Benighted, and I was struck then with his knowledge and insight into classic horror.  Since then, I’ve been following his work with interest and enjoyment, and was delighted to support the Kickstarter for a reprint and expansion of his original short story collection, Never Bet the Devil...

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume 2

Just in time to enjoy for Halloween, Valancourt Books has recently released their second volume of horror stories, in The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume 2!

The volume contains 14 stories of terror and the supernatural in VBHSv2, encompassing nearly 200 years of horror history.  It includes a number of stunningly rare and never reprinted tales, including two that have never been published anywhere else.

Once again, as I said for VBHSv1, I am impressed with the cleverness...

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