New England Role Players Association Gets Paranoid

The role-playing game Paranoia.

The New England Role Players Association (NERPA) has posted a new episode of their actual play podcast. In this outing, they dive into Alpha Complex, the main setting of the classic role-playing game Paranoia, which satirized the Cold War, automation, post-apocalypses and more:

When PARANOIA was first published almost 20 years ago, amid fears of nuclear war and job loss to those newfangled desktop PCs, it was instantly popular for its vision of a high-tech, post-holocaust, totalitarian future ruled by a deranged Computer. It won attention too for turning the basic paradigm of RPGs players cooperate on its head, making all players secret traitors who can only advance by uncovering treason. Happily, today those fears are obsolete. Instead, we have spam, viruses, trojans, malware, distributed denial of service attacks, the RIAA, cyberwarfare, identify theft, terrorists, the Patriot Act, terrifying new diseases, the threat of environmental catastrophe, the grey goo scenario, and weapons of mass destruction.

As NERPA’s home page notes, “some episodes contain vulgar language, humor and violence.” Apply headphones where advisable.

Museum Exhibit: Time Machines: Robots, Rockets and Steampunk

Flash Gordon Puzzle

The Shelburne Museum will be launching a new exhibit next week that will explore various elements of science fiction in three main sections: Space Exploration, Robots and Steampunk!

Running from June 16th through October 28th, the Time Machines: Robots, Rockets and Steampunk exhibit will be housed in the Webb Gallery at the museum. From their website:

Time Machines explores the power of imagination to transport us to another time and place. From Flash Gordon to neo-Victorian steampunk, Time Machines is a fanciful and nostalgic exploration of dreams of the future.

The exhibit includes toys and textiles, decorative, graphic and fine art representing the Golden Age of sci-fi – the 1930s-1950s – as well as work by contemporary artists and designers.

The exhibit was funded through a grant of $25,000 from the People’s United Bank:

“People’s United Bank is a vital partner in helping Shelburne Museum to develop new exhibits and programming each year that explore broad topics in art, design, and history that reach over 100,000 people annually, “ said Tom Denenberg, Director. “The museum is proud to have the support of People’s United Bank in our efforts to contribute to a great cultural and educational environment in Vermont.”

For more information on the exhibit, take a look here.

Get Vatican Assassin & Vatican Ambassador for Free

Vermont Science Fiction writer Mike Luoma has recently updated the covers for his science fiction trilogy, and for the next couple of days on Smashwords, the books will be avaliable for free.

Here’s what they’re about:

Assassin: An assassin for the Pope struggles with his work’s inherent contradictions while trying to take care of “business” during an out of control interplanetary war in 2109. War between the west and Islam has been raging. We meet the Vatican Assassin Bernard Campion on his latest assignment: Assassinating Meredith McEntyre, Governor of Lunar Prime, the non-aligned city-state on the Moon! 

Ambassador: BERNARD CAMPION killed for the Pope in the ongoing war in 2109-10. But now the old pope is gone, and the new one is no friend to BC! BC helped Governor Marc Edwards rebuild Lunar Prime. Can he help build peace between The Universal Islamic Nation (UIN), The Universal Trade Zone (UTZ) and the New catholic Church (NcC)? And just what is the mysterious Project? And do aliens really want us all dead? 

You can head over to get Vatican Assassin and Vatican Ambassador here. You’ll need to sign up for an account, and input the coupon codes over on the site.

The Whisperer in Darkness Hits the Festival Circuit

Fresh new about the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s second film, The Whisperer in Darkness, has come to light. When last we looked in on Whisperer, set in the low, green mountains of southern Vermont, the crew was wrapping up post-production. Now the film is complete and making the rounds of film festivals all over the world.

Locally, it screened recently at the Berkshire International Film Festival in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The next regional screening is at the Fantasia film festival in Montreal on July 26th.

Work on the home video version continues as well, with standard DVD and Blu-ray versions in the offing. Features include lots of language tracks — 25 at last count — interviews, behind the scenes footage and more. Drop date is estimated somewhere within October 2011. Here’s to a Halloween treat!

Middlebury Town Hall Theater Science Fiction Series

This summer, the Middlebury Town Hall Theater will begin a summer run of science fiction films, with E.T.: The Extraterrestrial screening tonight. According to Shelburne News, the screening is part of a fundraising drive for the 2011-2012 season: “Aliens Demand: Take Me to Your Theater!”. Prior to the film will be a screening of the 1902 French short film ‘A Trip to the Moon‘ with live accompaniment by Aaron Morse.

Films to follow this summer are ‘It Came from Outer Space‘, on August 18th, with a talk by Filmmaker Tim Joy, and with ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘ on the big screen on September 1st, with a talk by filmmaker Daniel Frye.

All tickets will be $3, and will be held on their respective nights at 7pm. More information can be found at (802) 382-9222, and you can purchase tickets ahead of time.


New Release, Leviathan Wakes

A while ago, I was reading through a new space opera epic
, Leviathan Wakes, by James A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), and came across a fantastic reference to Vermont. The copy that I had was an advanced reader’s copy, but you can now read it too: it’s out in stores today! Call up your favorite local bookstore and demand good science fiction!

Obviously, don’t buy it just for the Vermont reference: get it because it’s an awesome book, and the start of an awesome series.

My review for the book can be found here and here, and SF Signal has the interview that I conducted with the authors here.

Daily Science Fiction Features VT Writer

Daily Science Fictionis an awesome website: want a new sci-fi story in your inbox every day? Look no further. There’s some excellent talent being published there, and May 31st’s  short story is by Vermont writer Douglas Beagley. Here’s his bio:

Douglas Beagley is a father, husband, and Vermonter. He writes short stories, novels, and detailed procedures that tell pediatricians how to use their charting and billing software.

Want to read his story? Go right here.

Complete SciFi Library of Award Winners For Sale

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I came across this ad on craigslist the other day. Looking to expand your library with what looks like a great collection? Someone in Colchester is selling theirs.

A Complete SciFi Award Winners Library containg all the Hugo Award winning novels, all the Nebula Award winning novels, all the British Science Fiction Award winng novels, and all the World Fantasy Award winning novels, from the the first awards through to today, including the Retro Hugo Award winners.

This library contains all the winning novels and consists of 140+ paperbacks, 40+ softcover, and 22 hardcover books – 15 feet of books in all.

Some of these books are hard to find. A couple are autographed. This library would cost over $2400 new, If you could finds them all. This is the best of science fiction writing.

Interested? Go here.