AMAZING NEWS: 12/20/15

Enterprise shaped buildings…a film premiere, a psychedelic moon and more

SPECIAL NOTE: Get and read Matthew Foster’s Welcome to the Doomsphere:  Sad Puppies, Hugos and Politics

PRESS RELEASES & NEWSLETTERS (See below for full text)

RPG Newsletter #34, Extinction Biome Release from Abbadon; StarShipSofa Goes Naked



Gender Equality in the US Sucks – but then that was just the assessment of three foreigners

What scares elite US fighting forces?  PMS, apparently

Women don’t want to be called “Gamers”.  Some wonder why


actually, it should say “I was there…and there…and there…and there…and then I bought the album…and the poster…and the novel Foster ghosted…and the toys…and

A hoodie just for graying old fandom (obviously they chose a hoodie so we could hide our gray and fading hair….)

N3F’s original fannish glossary publication

Some companies have too much money

There was a science fantasy movie premiere a few days ago in case you missed it

…because you were listening to the latest issue of StarShipSofa

Dino Egg Candle “Hatches”

Could Snake Plisken be Star Lord’s dad?

David Brin’s Pinterest Page

Insider’s review of Star Wars premiere

Sucharitkul reminisces over his first encounter with the Jedi


Anne & Jeff are soliciting your suggestions for the Big Book of Science Fiction from Vintage (After 65 years I suppose its ok to re-use an anthology title)

Boskone interviews James Patrick Kelly & Bruce Coville

…and Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

We Are All SF con startup looking for backing and panelists

Great Steve Stiles/Wally Wood mashup for Lunacon


moonScience Fiction doesn’t predict the future…that would be silly

Whatever they were handing out at the US Geological Survey offices in the 70s, I want some

Saturnalia!  Enceladus & Tethys – stunning photo.  I hear the strains of classical music….

Apollo 11 capsule being scanned for a detailed view

Neighbors in side view mirror may be closer than you think:  planets in Goldilocks zone only 14 LY away



RPGnet Newsletter #34
December 15, 2015

We’ve got just one day left on our membership drive this year, and we’ve been very appreciative of the support we’ve received so far. The 111 backers we’ve already gotten is more than any other drive to date. You can still sign up to be one of our members by joining the membership drive. Help us set an impressive milestone for years to come!

Because of the success of this drive, we’ll be improving RPGnet’s mobile experience in 2016 and also spending at least one week of additional work on proactive RPGnet development. If we manage to hit $6,500 (which is a way off), we’ll also have a mandate to improve RPGnet reviews and columns.

Oh, and there are free PDFs! Every member in January and February will get eight of them. We’ve told you about five in previous newsletters. The last three we grouped together because they’re all Cthulhu-related.

First up, we have two issues of The Unspeakable Oath, #23 and #24. At this point, The Unspeakable Oath is the oldest currently published magazine in the roleplaying industry. It’s been offering Cthulhu goodness since 1991, which means it has a twenty-fifth birthday coming up. Yeah, that’s just an issue a year, but it’s still an impressive record for an industry that’s always been hard on magazines. So see what TUO is doing now!

Second up, we have Extraordinary Renditions, the newest book of Delta Green short fiction. This was the setting that totally reinvented Call of Cthulhu roleplaying in the ’90s, and it’s now being reinvented itself in the early 21st century.

And that’s it for our eight PDFs. Please consider supporting RPGnet by becoming a member.

New Columns

RPGnet added two new columns last week.

First, as almost always, Christopher Cecil published another edition of Fuzzy Thinking: “Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight?”. This comic represents more success in getting PCs to negotiate than yr. humble editor typically experiences.

Also returning was Sandy Antunes of Sandy’s Soapbox (and, you know RPGnet generally) with a request for requests for writing projects and column topics: “Will Sell Soul for College Tuition”.

New Reviews

Wow. RPGnet published a ton of new reviews last week:

Threads You Might Have Missed

“How does fear affect you?” This question – posed in Tabletop Roleplaying Game Design last week – has some obvious import for most types of RPG experiences. If you’re at all interested in digging deeper into the game mechanics of being scared (or psychological states generally), this thread is worth your time. (Related sleeper hit with self-explanatory title: “So what I just have “asskickin'” as an attribute?”)

Continuing with this week’s “questions” theme, head over to TRO for “Ever give your weapon of choice a name?”. It’s a quick, fun read and may provide inspiration for your own games.

Speaking of inspiration (boy, that segue was ham-handed), don’t miss “Exalted/ fantasay in general 32 flavours of local custom.” This thread has dozens of great ideas for unique cultural, economic, and social quirks to fill out your game worlds.

Sign Off

Happy holidays, everyone!


Abaddon launches Extinction Biome

New military SF series to be penned by renowned military recluse (and his assistants)

Abaddon is delighted to announce a bold new military scifi series: Extinction Biome.

The brainchild of elusive (and fictional) military genius Addison Gunn, Extinction Biome is a new shared world in which some of the most talented new authors showcase their finest allaction SF under Gunns bulletproof umbrella.

The first outing for Extinction Biome is Invasion, a pulse pounding and innovative series which will be released in five eBook novellas throughout the first half of 2016, culminating

in a collected print edition in the summer.

The novellas, penned by Anne Tibbets and Malcolm Cross under the strict tutelage of the mysterious Gunn, will chart humanitys efforts to battle an ancient parasite that has awoken to infect and destroy humanity. In the finest Abaddon traditions, expect blood, guts and very little glory...

Abaddon Commissioning Editor David Thomas Moore commented:

Its never been a more exciting time for military SF; a richer, more complex tradition, challenging the old gungho heroism and asking whether its worth saving the human race at the cost of their humanity, is growing out of the conversation. Addison Gunn and Addisons able assistants, Anne Tibbets and Malcolm Cross have thrown themselves into that conversation, with a story of survival, horror and ecocide, in which the infection turns the human race against itself. Its dark, and strange, and challenging, without compromising the bulletfuelled, edgeoftheseat action.


Extinction Biome: Invasion

Four years in the military, training for a war that never happened, left Alexander Miller disillusioned and apathetic. Now, as second in command of COBALT, a corporate bodyguard unit for the biotech giant SchaefferYeager, hes little more than a glorified chauffeur to the wealthy elite. But times change.

A threat from the ancient past has reawakened, and like a Biblical plague it threatens to consume every ecosystem on Earth. Hordes of parasiteinfected humans riot against the increasingly powerless authorities as vast fungal blooms destroy crops and terrifying beasts stalk city streets.

The last time this happened, TRex found itself on the menu. But mankinds got more than teeth it‘s got guns. Miller and the men and women of COBALT are pressed into service to fight the onslaught, but they have no idea how cutthroat their corporate masters can be...

Extinction Biome: Invasion

The series will be published efirst, with a collected edition hitting shelves in June 2016. The novella release schedule can be found below:

#1 Operation Honshu Wolf by Malcolm Cross & Anne Tibbets February 2016

#2 Operation Wild Tarpan by Anne Tibbets & Malcolm Cross March 2016

#3 Operation Caspian Tiger by Anne Tibbets & Malcolm Cross April 2016

#4 Operation Sea Mink by Anne Tibbets May 2016

#5 Operation Atlas Lion by Anne Tibbets June 2016

Extinction Biome: Invasion by Addison Gunn, with Malcolm Cross and Anne Tibbets June 2016

About the authors

Extinction Biome: Invasion is the creation of jungle warrior, revolutionary, counterrevolutionary and outdoorsperson Addison Gunn. But who is Addison Gunn? Addisons too damn busy to answer that. Instead Gunns wrangled some of the best new talents in the genre to pen this exciting new series...

After writing for Childrens television, Anne Tibbets found her way to writing novels by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals. Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and two furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

Malcolm Cross lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistent landmarks, Malcolm is likely to be writing. A member of the furry fandom, he won the 2012

Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction.

Extinction Biome: Invasion #1

Operation Honshu Wolf

by Addison Gunn with Malcolm Cross & Anne Tibbets

Abaddon, February 2016

eBook preorder: Amazo n UK|Amazon US

Extinction Biome: Invasion #2

Operation Wild Tarpan

by Addison Gunn with Anne Tibbets & Malcolm Cross

Abaddon, March 2016

Extinction Biome: Invasion #3

Operation Caspian Tiger

by Addison Gunn with Anne Tibbets & Malcolm Cross

Abaddon, April 2016

Extinction Biome: Invasion #1

Operation Sea Mink

by Addison Gunn with Anne Tibbets

Abaddon, May 2016

Extinction Biome: Invasion #2

Operation Wild Tarpan

by Addison Gunn with Anne Tibbets

Abaddon, June 2016

Extinction Biome: Invasion

by Addison Gunn with Anne Tibbets & Malcolm Cross

Abaddon, June 2016

Preorder: Amazo n UK|Amaz on US


District of Wonders

Yes… I bet that got you wondering. But we are going naked – that bit is true. We are now naked with our newsletters. What did you think I meant? No more images going forward 2016 with the newsletters. I want to concentrate on content and not just a flowery magazine style feel. We were spending loads of time tweaking images and layout and that’s not what I want… I want to provide you with great information and content. So let’s pretend there’s sprigs of holly pasted around this email and you can hear very subtle sleigh bells in the background! Imagination is what the District of Wonders is all about!

Speaking of: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from ALL of us at the District of Wonders. I hope you will have a great time over the festive season. No word of a lie… we have had the Christmas decorations up since the 11th November at District HQ, I kid you not! May I also say a massive thank you to all who have signed up to the newsletter lately? It means a lot. Thank you all.

A little technical news now. We are in the middle of transitioning our newsletter from Mailchimp to Convertkit. I’ll be asking you some questions now and going forward in order to make sure you receive the articles and resources that are most helpful to you. I’ll be writing and delivering material about few different topics, and we have eBooks and courses developed that are geared toward certain interests. To make sure you get just the material you want, I’m now inviting you now to join this list.

This is what it’s about:

All of you out there who want to grow your audience (for any creative ventures – Writing, Podcasts, Kickstarter campaigns, etc) and Make Money from your content, CLICK THIS LINK to join this Newsletter. Here’s what it will get you: Whether you are a writer, blogger, podcaster, Kickstarter or Patreon client, etc., I will be sharing my experience of how to build an engaged audience that want to support your work, and invest in your products and campaigns. I’ve been doing this for ten years and have had over 7 million downloads of my shows in that time – not to mention building an amazing supportive community who have put their time, dollars, blood, sweat, and tears into loads of successful projects and events. This is your chance to find out how. If you’re a writer, I have loads of advice for getting out of the slush pile and onto an editor’s desk. We will have guest editors here sharing valuable tips on what you can do to improve your chances to get your work published. Plus, you will be invited into the Submissions Desk Club House. This is a place where you can chat with fellow writers, and share your experiences of the highs and lows of marketing your stories. And that’s just the beginning! My goal is to make this “new” newsletter your gateway to loads of information and material that will really help you on your way in this world of online engagement. Please please please click on the link to be on this email list… and let us know what you think!So… on with the show – enjoy.


Rcommended Book: Roboteers by Alex Lamb

Human embryos were “edited” in China this year, and the scientific world is up in arms about it. CRISPR and Cas9 technologies allow DNA to be manipulated in a fashion analogous to the way script-kiddies download and stitch together blocks of code to create new applications; for example, creating designer micro pets. This was controversial, but prepared no-one for the furore which broke out in 2015 over the possible creation of viable human embryos in Chinese laboratories. Disputes over the nature of “purity” of human beings will be more multi-faceted than the simpler pro-life/pro-choice debates of the last fifty years, but probably just as heated. How will different societies respond?

Alex Lamb showed uncanny timing when he released his Hard SF novel Roboteer under the tagline, “One species. One Universe. Two Sides.” He projects the dilemmas that genetech will create into our futures. The background to the book is a familiar conflict: Mother Earth wants her errant children to come back to her arms. Momma knows best and the kids have been so terribly naughty. Lamb’s future Earth is ruled by a tyrannical zealot who employs science, religion and warfare to bring former colonies to heel. Unlike the Earthers, the colonials adapt to their environs with genetic and cybernetic mods to make them faster, stronger, tougher and networked. They are heavily outnumbered, and the real story begins when they find a sublimed gardener civilisation and its deadly weapons.

Colonial Roboteer, Will Kuno-Monet and his people will be OK because the sublimed want to prune only those civilisations who do not wish to improve and grow. Does Will owe his oppressors any protection from the judgement of the sublimed?

Lamb’s writing is solid, and the range of character types allows his novel to comfortably fall into the category of Space Opera. Although the book is Hard SF, the science leans towards “conveniently magical.” An interesting feature of the story is the descriptions of ships as complex leviathans with only tiny pockets of crew space. Military buffs with an eye to the Cold War will recognise weapons platforms where the crew were annoying biological afterthoughts. Similarly, the book takes us to conceivable scenarios for the effects of automation on economies and societies. Ultimately, the book can be recommended for the typical Sofanaut as it’s chock-full of compelling baddies, light years of space chases and buckets of derring-do. In particular, ‘Roboteers’ would find a home in the Chrimbo stocking of any Space Opera or Military SF fan.

Please Help Us Keep The Shows Running

This is how we survive and bring you those great shows. Help us by supporting us. Please show your love and support us!

From Tales to Terrify: The Most Horrible X-mas Ever” – Invader Zim

by Scott Silk

This holiday season, while many are snuggling up to watch Charlie Brown attempt to decorate an impotent evergreen, I will be enjoying my own favorite animated X-mas special which portrays a slightly darker vision of holiday cheer. I’m referring, of course, to “The Most Horrible X-mas Ever” episode of the Invader Zim television series.

In 2001, when Invader Zim first aired, I was already a fan of his more adult-oriented comic books like “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac” and “Squee!,” and I remember being somewhat awed that Vasquez had managed to maintain a style mostly unsuitable for children when putting together the series for the Nickelodeon network. The series is centered around alien invader Zim and his failed attempts to conquer Earth. To this end, he disguises his malfunctioning robot sidekick as a green dog and himself as a green-skinned, human schoolchild. He is recognized and often thwarted by his paranormal-minded schoolmate, Dib.

If you’ve never been exposed to the work of Jhonen Vasquez, it’s best described as dark comedic horror. The settings are frequently nightmare worlds which are parodies of our own, and the people who populate Vasquez’s worlds, especially the children, are frequently portrayed as revolting creatures. In Invader Zim, for example, the fast food “shakes” at MacMeaties are made entirely of nauseatingly processed meats, an obvious jab at McDonald’s french fries containing inexplicable cow flavorings, but the populous appears to love nothing more.

The scene of the X-mas special opens on Mr. Sludgy, the robotic snowman, 2 million years in the future. He’s telling a group of small, hideous children gathered around a fire the story of The Most Horrible X-mas Ever. That holiday season, Zim hatched a plan to impersonate Santa Claus in order to convince the entire population of Earth to build a space teleporter capable of sending all humans to their doom. One human asks, “Will being teleported to our doom be fun and X-masy?” Of course it will.

SPOILER ALERT As usual, Zim’s technology turns on him, and the Santa suit he created as a disguise gains a mind of it’s own and transforms into a horrifying X-mas monster. Thankfully, Dib, with the help of his sister and father, is able to subdue the suit and save X-mas by shooting Santa into space. Back in the future with Mr. Sludgy, Santa apparently lives on. Not in the hearts and minds of the children, but in space, where he rests and gains power in order to return to Earth for another X-mas attack.


I received another message by chronorobopigeon from 2005, back when I started StarShipSofa. See if you can make any sense of it, ’cause I’m b*ggered if I can!:
Dear Tony,
I can’t believe I’ve finally seen the last ever Star Wars movie – and it’s left me with so many more questions than I had when I saw the first one. Why does ObiWan Kenobi wear Jedi Uniform on Tatooine when he’s trying to hide and look after young Luke? Why doesn’t anyone recognise C3PO and R2D2? What is the point of the Jedi Academy if you can learn to be a Jedi in a week in a swamp? Why would Vader (or Palpatine?) let there be 3 Sith if they managed to turn Luke to the Dark Side? Someone would get killed! What happened to R2D2’s rockets? How did C3PO get built in the first place? How can Leia remember her “Kind but Sad” mum? Did George Lucas actually watch Eps 4 5 and 6 before making 1 2 and 3??? Well Tony, when you read this in ten years time, hopefully Star Wars will have faded from public consciousness along with the bad taste in my mouth. I hope they’re still making Science Fiction movies in the future. What’s the blockbuster this year? I hope it’s not some godawful rubbish from Disney.


Craig Napier, Gold Coast Australia, 12 Dec 2005.

And there you have it – all wrapped up for 2015. We will be taking a break over the festive holiday. The District of Wonders Newsletter will be back inJanuary 2016. So… however you celebrate this time of year, have a great time over the holidays. Let me know what you get up to – I’d love to hear from you.

See you in 2016! Tony

StarShipSofa #13 Joe Haldeman

StarShipSofa No14 L Ron Hubbard

Past Freebies

Show #1 Alfred Beste

StarShipSofa #2 John Brunner

StarShipSofa #3 Algis Budrys

StarShipSofa #4 Cordwainer Smith

StarShipSofa #5 Stanislaw Lem

StarShipSofa #6 Dark Star

StarShipSofa No7 Philip K Dick Part 1

StarShipSofa #8 Philip K Dick Part 2

StarShipSofa #9 Philip K Dick Part 3

StarShipSofa No10 Capricorn One

StarShipSofa No 11 Henry Kuttner

StarShipSofa No 12 Robert Silverberg

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.