Mission: Colonial Venture 2 (CV2-2131-US/EU/RU)
Vessel: IJCC-CDC-3 Galileo
Crew Population: 241 Total / 109 M / 132 F
Chief Officer: Captain Nikola Drake
Nominal Designation: Rhea
Distance from Earth: 12.4ly (1.17313057828*10^14km)
Departure Date: April 2, 2131
Estimated Arrival: June, 2193
Subjective Duration: Approximately 60 years
Post-stasis Briefing: Hello. Welcome back to the waking world. The International Joint Colonial Commission wishes to thank you once more for your service, and the decision to accompany the Galileo and the rest of its crew on this mission. This is the first of your briefings following the extended stasis of your journey. Amazing how quickly sixty years can pass isn’t it? What follows is a basic overview of our data on your soon to be new home. Once you’ve completed your review of this basic data please take some time to reacquaint yourself with your fellow crew members, and in a short time you will be receiving an in-depth report of the data relevant to your areas of expertise. Once again, the IJCC thanks you for your bold spirit, welcome to Rhea! (more…)
I was visiting a friend over the weekend, and he showed me a game on his PS4 called Outlast. He got it as part of a free promotion since he has a paid PSN account, but it is also available on Steam for like $20. It’s a survival horror game, and boy does it live up to that genre.
In Outlast you play the part of an investigative reporter with more guts than brains. He takes on an investigation into a nearby asylum that was abandoned in the 70s and recently reopened by a sketchy corporate R&D department. What could possibly go wrong? As you’d expect, everything. Once inside your exit is shortly blocked and you have no choice but to delve deeper into the hospital and its mysteries to escape.
I didn’t play a lot of the game (just up through the end of the first Act, or maybe Scene), but there are a few things that make Outlast standout from other survival horror games. The first is that the dev team completely understands the importance of both environmental atmosphere, and active tension. They do a great job of creating an oppressive, dark, terrifying atmosphere. Everything from the labored sound of your character’s breathing, to the utter blackness of some rooms, it’s all very effective at instilling fear. Additionally they do a good job of drawing out the expectation of action, increasing tension until right when you think you can’t take it anymore, then relieving it with a scene or sight that leads you deeper into the darkness. I should point out that it is gory and brutally violent, but it fits the setting, and does not rely on the gore to be scary (something I have always found cheap and ineffective anyway).
Second: they understand that the heart of fear is powerlessness. At least as far as I played through you have but 1 weapon in the game: your camcorder and it’s night-vision function (which drains battery at an alarming rate). That’s it. No crowbar or gun, no special powers or allies. Nothing but a grainy screen with which to see in the dark, and the speed of your own feet (which tires you fairly quickly). Now, powerless does not equal helpless; if you’re quick, and paying attention to where you’re going, you can survive. But damned if it isn’t a difficult, heart pounding, feat to do so.
I was playing this game in the middle of the day, with my friend in the room, and I still ended up quitting after my first death. I could have gone back and kept going, but honestly, I needed a break. It is that intense. So, when I’ve got a bit of cash on hand I’ll grab it off Steam and see if I can play it alone in the dark. And if being scared shitless is your thing, I suggest you try it as well.
So you all know how much I love sharing Kickstarters I think you should a least take a look at. Well here’s another. One a little more personal to me. Fantasy Scroll Magazine is a great little zine trying to get off the ground now. They have a good aesthetic sense, and a bold plan to provide quality speculative fiction on all electronic platforms. Something that a lot of digital venues seem to ignore, instead choosing a safe niche.
Now, in addition to thinking this is a good concept, and a zine I definitely plan to keep an eye on, I do have a bit of a stake in it getting funded. Not much of one yet, as my story Hack Job is only short listed, not officially selected; but just a bit of one. So, what do you say? Help an awesome project get Kickstarted, and maybe help me out a little as well. It’ll be fun. I promise.
Here’s the link to their site: http://www.fantasyscrollmag.com/
And here’s the Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iulianionescu/fantasy-scroll-magazine-fantasy-sci-fi-and-horror
Published my first ebook to Amazon’s Kindle store. It’s a short anthology of a few poems and a few stories. It’s free until midnight tonight, so go check it out! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J5UOMI2
Just something I threw together as a favor to the wildly inaccurate internet. 1869 my ass.
*Edit: Sorry for the weird formatting, trying to make it GIS friendly.
“Symbiosis is a Creative Commons licensed, world-building art book by comic and concept artist Steven Sanders. It explores a world where there are no mechanical sources of power. Instead, humanity has learned to utilize biological engines that harness a “bio-ether” present on the planet. They can control and feel what these bio-engines feel via a “Resonance Tooth.” Consider it 1940s era bio-punk.
The Creative Commons licensing turns this book into a world-building toolkit that you can use to make your own RPGs, comics, cosplay, novels, or anything you can imagine that is inspired by the world in this book.”
As always, I’m a huge supporter of Creative Commons licensing (see: My Licensing), and this sounds like a pretty cool idea. So, to that end, I encourage everyone to go check it out and hopefully back it. There’s only a few days left, and just under $3000 to go (as of my writing this), so PLEASE, go help fund this awesome project. Crowdsourced funding and CC licensing are two powerful ideas that need to proliferate, so go do your part!
The gray of stone, and green of moss.
Arches high and low. The forest where it lingers near,
and rivers where they flow. Once I dwelt as near
to them, as far I have now come. Yet though I’ve lived
here many years, my heart has not yet gone.
For I remember an isle in mist, and trees
that stretched so high. The moss it grew in banks
and hills, roving yon and nigh. The babble of brook
and forest scent, near brought me to my knees.
And now I wish that I had stayed; there among the trees.
For here I sit and reminisce, missing heart and soul,
an isle in Maine, surrounded by mist,
where I learned what my heart holds.
Forgot to post my wife’s Steampunk(ish) Pistol when she finished! Oops! Here it is:
- Custom Made Steampunk Nerf Batman Blaster Pistol (neatorama.com)
At long last I am done with the Wheel of Time! Amazing. I’ve been reading this series for over a decade now, and can’t believe it’s finally over. Excellent final book. I started re-reading the series in late October, and finished Towers of Midnight the day before A Memory of Light arrived. I could hardly put it down. I have a couple of minor complaints, but over all it was a very enjoyable read. I think I’ll be posting a full retrospective on the series in the coming days, so keep an eye out for that. For now though, I just had to share that at long last the journey has ended. I shall miss it in a way, but I can always go back and revisit it.
He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone. – from The Dragon Reborn, by Loial, son of Arent son of Halan, the Fourth Age.
- Can’t wait for A Memory of Light (nmichaelhawe.wordpress.com)
- Announcing the Party Reborn! A Midnight A Memory of Light NYC Release Event (tor.com)
- Interview: Brandon Sanderson on The Wheel of Time and A Memory of Light (nethspace.blogspot.com)