We’ve seen Radish Saumet’s spacecraft, Happy Delivery, before! Her spacecraft doesn’t have much of an aesthetic (except for the spraypainted Jolly Roger on the side) because it’s so modular; Radish swaps parts as needed, keeping the ISp and thrust as high as she can afford.
Her spacesuit, on the other hand, is another matter. Over time, she’s swapped dozens of parts in and out to match her tiny frame and her habits. Barring repairs, though, it’s remained the way it is for the last couple of years. Continue reading Captain Radish Saumet’s Spacesuit→
Corvosapiens (or, as they call themselves, “people”) have a rich and varied physical culture. However, because of their greater mobility than earthbound humans, aesthetic principles and philosophical structures often spread more quickly than they did when primates were the custodians of the civilization meme.
A million years from now, Corvosapiens is the greatest intelligence on Earth. Humans are now a matter for their archaeologists to debate, while none yet realize that the Third Order Stars are the last remaining artificial satellites.
But they will soon. Their three-dimensional assumptions, in addition to the observations of the planet made by athletes flying at high altitudes, give them an easier philosophical route to space than humans ever had. Continue reading The Corvosapien→
First contact stories, with their inherent and explicit contact with The Other, approach the Platonic ideal of Science Fiction. They highlight what we think is true about ourselves (for whatever value of “ourselves” the author cares about) and contrast it with an alien that possesses a critical difference in that dimension. Through the meeting of “us” and “them”, the author then gets to make an assertion about the society in which they live, for better and worse, and then get to stretch their imagination to do all the really fun, skiffy stuff, like determining how their aliens’ different physiological needs presents them with different cultural options.
The Happy Delivery is Captain “Radish” Saumet’s grudging pride and joy. Built out of discarded (and “discarded”) pieces of abandoned (or surrendered) spacecraft, she plies the asteroid belt for goods worth carrying.
About a year ago, I posted a roleplaying game based on my story, Lover of Jet & Gold about the Namedealers of the setting: those who speak the secret Language of Names to all the phenomena of the demon-haunted world in which they live. For the most part, they’re the “sorcerers” of the Sword & Sorcery setting.
Namedealers are like Mosheh, Thetis, and Merlin. But they’re also not all that far from Bugs Bunny and Cugel, all of whose power comes from their ability to perceive and tell truths, but whose weakness in overestimating their importance to rather more direct individuals at the wrong moment. In a recent game, the inestimable Quinn Murphy equated his namedealer to Wile E. Coyote, fleeing the consequence of each overreach by putting himself in a slightly more desperate debt.
It was, and I quote a player at PAX East 2015 here, “The most fun I’ve ever had being eaten by a crocodile.”*
The Soviet Almaz space station system is an adaptable set of orbit-assemblable parts that forms the basis of the Soviet Space Force of 1979. For the last several years, hundreds have been constructed and launched from Star City, most as spy satellites and platforms from which to drop their crewed nuclear bombs.
When the USSR launched its first piloted orbital nuclear warhead into orbit in 1959, the United States responded by electing Richard M. Nixon to his first term as President. Nixon buoyed by the fear of existential crisis, boosted the United States’ military space program to orbit and left President Goldwater with a legacy of programs he would need to meet the Soviets face-to-face on the Moon — and to contend for Mars.
Now, in 1979, the night sky is filled with glittering necklaces of warheads, satellites, and orbital interceptors. Dangerous and unreliable, these craft are crewed by conscripted, coerced undesirables from both the Soviet Union and the United States.
The IS-9 Raven, known as the Crow Crap by those who have to handle it, is an orbital interceptor based on Boeing’s Dyna-Soar return vehicle. This production model is designed to destroy Soviet satellites and orbital interceptors. In practice, it’s also used to ferry American saboteurs to Soviet spacecraft.
But American and Soviet conscripts might find they have more in common with each other than with the nations of Earth that have ejected them from the cradle of humanity.
This is one of my early concept sketches for Fate Space. I’m having a ball working on these settings with the Evil Hatters and look forward to presenting you with the complete work! You’ll see more as the project takes shape!
We stand now at an amazing moment in the history of our people. Just a 18 herds of migrations ago, our people were unable to build meaning with our hands, for we had neither the digits, nor the consciousness, to build. But here, now, all herds of the Southern Steppe share those genes, and the herds of the Northwest are adapting as well, with genes gained from when our migrations meet during rut. Those hatchlings without these genes, fail and die before reaching personhood; or, reaching personhood, fail to find carriers for their eggs. Just one herd of migrations ago, we would have left them to die of exposure, or be consumed by our old threat, the cleavers.