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John Snead
A progressive, pagan, poly, SF fan, cook, & RPG designer
A progressive, pagan, poly, SF fan, cook, & RPG designer

John's posts

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My awesome partner AJ (who wrote all the excellent fiction in the book) has nifty things to say about Eldritch Skies (which is selling quite well).
And a personal note on Eldritch Skies - taken in part from a comment I just made on One of the most difficult parts, setting out to edit this enormous book John had made and write fiction for it, was deciding where to start. Kept searching for some kind of central zeitgeist: the heart of the book, as it were.

I found that central point when I wrote "Vectors", the opening fiction.

I realized staying true to a Lovecraftian universe meant focusing on themes which in his original stories were very racist: Xenophobia, and otherness, and the anxiety of proximity to people and beings that are different from ourselves. The feeling of being surrounded, lost in someone else's world. The premise: "Diversity is inevitable, and it is larger and stranger than you have ever imagined."

But I could take those themes and look at them from a different perspective. In ES, diversity is inevitable, but it may be terrifying or amazing or simply present. People, being limited in terms of our cognition, still make value judgments, but the Universe does not.

In short - we didn't want to throw out the baby (race) with the bathwater (racism). So we decided to pay attention to these themes rather than making them invisible. To show diverse peoples, human and sometimes alien, living side by side... not in some utopian conflict-free universe, but in a universe where people scare each other and love each other and are awkward at each other, where everyone's perspective counts for something. We probably didn't do perfectly on every point, but I'm pretty happy with what we did on the colony planets, and with the final version of my story "Vectors".

I thought, "_If Nyarlathotep is the Other, what does the Other look like? Well, it depends on who's looking..._" and I'm pretty proud of how my answer to that question turned out.

Check it out if you want to know more. :-)

Eldritch Skies is finally out! It's available as a PDF on drivethrurpg. I love the art, I love the short fiction pieces Alice Luxton wrote, and I thing the book is 270 pages of awesome that I'm really happy with.

Please let anyone you think might be interested in this game know about it. I get half the profits, and so in addition to being quite proud of it, I'd also like to actually make some money off of it.

You can order it at:

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Reall cool Star Trek cat furniture, what's not to love.

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This is an excellent discussion of Doctor Who. I haven't watched all of it (I tried some 1st Dr eps and they were too terrible to watch), I loathed the 6th Dr. and never watched the 7th. In any case, according to this schema, my favorites were (in no particular order)

3. An Avengers knock-off
4. Gothic horror movies
9. A postwar survivor's story
10. A relationship comedy with universe-shattering consequences

I'm also now interested in seeing some of the last part of the 7th Doctor's arc, with Ace, since that actually sounds quite nifty.

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There's now a service and soon an app where their version of an alarm clock is strangers call at the correct time to wake you up (it keeps your phone number private), definitely an odd and slightly disturbing (at least to me) version of crowdsourcing.

Steampunk Thoughts
Although I have several projects before it (some of which I should definitely be working on now), I'm hopeful that sometime in late 2012, I'll be able to write a steampunk rpg, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that the only way steampunk makes sense to me is as fantasy. I found Sterling and Gibson's 1990 novel The Difference Engine every bit as exciting as watching paint dry, and the entire concept of steampunk SF strikes me as both dull and annoying in the way that I find so much retrotech "SF". However, when I consider the idea of a fantasy world industrializing, using magical power sources, various supernatural materials, and exotic techniques (presumably kept secret by various arcane guilds), then I'm all over the idea. Also, that gives me an excellent excuse for non-humans, and from my PoV all RPGs are better with non-humans of various sorts. Definite features will be airships (because steampunk isn't steampunk w/o airships) and some of the gorgeous early airplanes, like the Blériot XI (ériot_XI).

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Impressive News From Iceland
Iceland's financial collapse definitely looked inevitable in retrospect, but until I read this article I didn't know what had been happening there within the last year or so. It pleases me no end to see a nation treat the IMF as the vile parasites that they so definitely are and to actually win back their independence from the ultra-rich elite, which is admittedly considerably easier in a nation in the developed world and when the ultra-rich elite are almost exclusively foreign. Iceland gets something like actual freedom and social justice, while the US and the UK respectively get vile and moronic puppets of the ultra-rich and merely vile puppets of the ultra-rich

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Links about the London riots worth seeing
The video is good, and this article is powerful and contains a great deal of truth:

Part 1:
Part 2:

Of course, one of the saddest facts is that the UK is actually doing considerably better than the US wrt the treatment of the poor and racial and ethnic minorities.

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Conservative Evil That's Almost Subtle
This article starts of interesting, but rapidly dives into the idea that denying vetrans disability benefits can allegedly "urges them to pursue recovery" (meaning of course, that lacking disability payments, the vetran now has a choice between acting functional enough to hold a job or starving), while giving out disability benefits for PTSD too easily can supposedly produce a "a downward spiral of invalidism". In short, the same old conservative ideas of survival of the fittest supposedly cast as supposed compassion. Of course, at the end of the article, I saw that the author is "a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute", which is hotbed of extreme neoconservatism. If they were honest, the entire far right would have a joint slogan about how they support the survival of the fittest, except of course that the fundies would object because while they are strongly in favor of social darwinism, actual Darwinian evolution is anathema to them.

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Looters Both Rich and Poor
The recent riots in London reminded me a great deal of the 1992 Rodney King riots in LA. I lived in LA at that time, and during the riots all local TV stations only broadcast images of the riots (which was both surreal and disturbing), and so I saw a great deal more of the riots than anyone not living in LA (as well as hearing numerous first-person accounts)

I saw numerous images of people who were clearly well off looting stores in middle class neighborhoods selling high end stereos and electronics, but the national news only showed images of looting by the poor in the worst parts of the city. What I learned from the LA riots was that once the social order breaks down enough there are people from all social classes who will look at this as an opportunity to simply take what they want. Most people of any social class are not like this, but it's clear that a minority of people are only restrained from violence and theft by the threat of punishment.
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