The History Of Science Fiction Special — Traveller

Traveller wasn't the first roleplaying game or even the first science fiction roleplaying game (that prize goes to either Empire of the Petal Throne (1975) if you count science fantasy or Metamorphosis Alpha (1976) both of which were published by TSR) but it does count as the first space opera roleplaying game, it's also the longest lived SF RPG and the most influential both on RPGs and on gaming in general. All of which makes it deserving of a History of Science Fiction special I think. Traveller was designed by Mark Miller and published by Games Designers Workshop in 1977.  The setting and style of the game was influenced by …Read more  »

Review: The Expanse S01E05 — Back to the Butcher

If the latest episode of The Expanse doesn't have the level of tension that the previous one did, that does at least give the show a chance to do yet more world building and let its characters breathe a little. One of the biggest problems with this show for people who aren't familiar with the books is the amount of characters and locations and story that are being crammed into a mere 10 episode season. At the very least that can make it hard to keep everything straight. Up to now each episode has been packed with events and characters and stuff.  This week though if you just wrote down what …Read more  »

TV Review: Colony S01E01 — Pilot

I am predisposed to like science fiction shows so it's probably not a good sign when part way through the pilot of USA Network's new show Colony I found my attention drifting away from the screen and over to my laptop. It's not that it was boring so much as that I just didn't care about what was happening to the people on my screen. I guess the opening sequence which subtly revealed the status quo of the world (it's been invaded by aliens, spoilers!) through the lens of a family just going about doing it's normal morning routine should probably have been a clue about the sort of show this …Read more  »

TV Review: The Expanse S01E01 — Dulcinea

Those of you lamenting the lack of space based science fiction on tv should be very pleased about SyFy's latest series The Expanse which is adapted from a series of books by James S. A. Corey (actually a pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) because we're firmly in Space Opera territory here. While the story is set within our solar system we're looking at a (partially) terraformed Mars and assorted space stations. The reason you don't see shows like this on TV very much is that even with modern CGI, doing them convincingly is expensive. People have become so used to movie style special effects that they are not at …Read more  »

Doctor Who Review: S09E01 — The Magician’s Apprentice

Don't spend too long thinking about the title, its significance is likely not that great and besides you'll need to concentrate to catch everything that's going on in this episode. Despite being the return of two-parters (something I am terribly happy about)  there is no noticeable slowing of Doctor Who's break-neck pace here. If anything Moffat goes overboard in scattering ideas that could probably have sustained an entire episode in their own right only to sweep them aside and move on. But that's a minor criticism for what is not only a very enjoyable but also dense (in plot and character) episode of Doctor Who. And there's so much to like that …Read more  »

Martian Lunar Eclipse Photographed

This set of three photos taken by the Curiosity rover on Mars shows the larger of Mars two moons, Phobos in an annular eclipse of the sun. A sight that is quite literally not of this earth. Notice the irregular shape of Phobos which is thought to have originally been an asteroid that got caught in Mars' orbit.

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol 2

Saga Vol 2 gives us issues 7 through 12 of the ongoing Saga... saga written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples. And this is very much an ongoing book so we come in mid-story and we go out mid-story. If you can, get Vol 1 first, but either way read Saga. Beyond simply being one of the best comics published today, Saga is a Space Fantasy (think Star Wars) on a galactic scale. We have magic, we have technology, we have robot bounty hunters (who happen to be royalty). There's guys with wings. There's guys with horns. There's naked giants with warty scrotums (I am not kidding). …Read more  »

Map of Space Debris

No doubt you have heard mention that there's a lot of debris up in space these days as a result of satellite launches etc. But do you realize just how much? This map of every bit of space debris gives you an idea of the scale of the mess we are making. Space is big, but still this will become a problem.