Satellite Earth

February 19, 2014 by
Primary would be the dominant presence in the sky

Primary would be the dominant presence in the sky

After having written on the Jovian system in Space 1889, I began to wonder what a habitable satellite of a Jovian might be like.

The jovian – from now on called Primary, would have to be in its star’s habitable zone ie about 1 AU from a Sun-like star. This is quite possible, it is now known that jovians can be quite close in to their sun, so one at 1AU in a circular orbit is not implausible. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Saltire and Time Portals

April 6, 2012 by

Scottish Flag I was reading something about the origins of the Scottish flag recently and it gave me an idea for possible wierdness that could be incorporated into a role-playing campaign Read the rest of this entry »

Crap Guardian Review of Game of Thrones

April 3, 2012 by

The Guardian’s John Crace has reviewed Episode 1 of Series 2 of Game of Thrones. I don’t think he liked it. Said he couldn’t follow it. It might have helped if he had watched Series 1 first. Read the rest of this entry »

The Emberverse – an RPG Background

February 14, 2012 by

The Emberverse has become the name for S.M. Stirling’s series of novels set in a post catastrophe world. The catastrophe, referred to as “The Change”, is that all modern technology simply stops working. It occurs to me that the post-Change world would make a good setting for a fantasy RPG. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 in review

January 1, 2012 by

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Gambling Grand Slam

August 25, 2011 by


I play Bridge occasionally so I thought I’d put some interesting hands up here when they occur and I remember enough about them for it to be worthwhile. This one involves making a grand slamat a duplicate event which no-one else even bid. Read the rest of this entry »

The Jovian System in Space 1889

August 13, 2011 by

Role-Playing In a More Civilised Time
The official Space 1889 universe consists of Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon and Mars. It is stated in the official rules that the solar boilers that power the ether ships do not work due to being too far from the Sun when the ships get much beyond Mars. However,it occurred to me that an exploratory vessel with a secondary power system with its own fuel supply might make through the Asteroid Belt to the Jovian System, particularly with the invention of the steam turbine in the 1890s. In our world Sir Charles Parsons built the SS Turbinia and disrupted the Spithead Review in 1894. In the Space 1889 Universe he could have followed that up with a trip to Jupiter. Read the rest of this entry »

World of the White Dwarf

August 1, 2011 by

No, not the account of the life of a pale-skinned person of restricted growth but thoughts on the possibilities raised by the concept of life on the planet of a white dwarf star as discussed in Ken Croswell’s article in the 2 July 2011 issue of New Scientist. Read the rest of this entry »

Argos Index

June 12, 2011 by

The final issue


Argos was a short lived (3 issues) magazine that appeared in 1988. It ought to have been successful: it featured some big-name writers – Larry Niven, Keith Laumer, John Brunner, Janet Morris and Mike Resnick (who had a story in every issue). It is always difficult for a new magazine to gain prominence on news-stands and this may have been part of the problem.

The rather amateurish cover for issue 1 probably did the magazine no favours either. Later covers were better and in my view the best was Deborah Skilton’s illustration for Jack Lovejoy’s “The Gatekeeper” that graced the final issue.

Issues 2 & 3 featured a non-fiction column by Keith Laumer and Issue 3 added a multi-author book review column. Read the rest of this entry »

Analog 1970s Non-Fiction Index

June 9, 2011 by

Non-Fiction sometimes made the cover


Here as promised is the 1970s non-fiction index for Analog.

The articles were a varied bunch, from popular science through speculation to what is now frequently termed woo. I have also included the editorials, which were articles in their own right. Ben Bova introduced a policy of publishing some guest editorials, which are so marked under the authors’ listings.

Also included are the book review columns which appeared in almost every issue. Read the rest of this entry »