"Your species requires a visual referance point. This shall be your referance point."
Hello, and welcome to the first; Rune with A View for this year. Greetings and Salutations to our New members, and welcome back for another year of the same old stuff to our existing ones.
This is the officail newsletter/ magazine of IFIS, the Sci-Fi group, and GAMESOC, the roleplaying games society. The mag is edited by ME, the IFIS secretary, using material submitted by YOU, the members. I'll take articles on any aspect of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Role- playing. Articles should be either rought in person to Williamson 13 (my room) or left in the 'A' hole in the Athlone pidgeon holes, clearly marked A Rune with A View, and Philip Ayres (My Name). Also put your name on the article. We like to name the guilty here. If enough of you write me something I'll be able to produce another mag sometime soon (IE before the end of this academic year) If you don't write me something I'll be found threatening people with pump-action water pistol until they do !
While I'm here I suppose I'd better tell you something about what we are and what we do. IFIS meet every Thursday night at 8pm in The Royal Ascot Pub on Egham Hill. Thre pub is in fact just over the A30 from the campus, so to get theere you cross the Founder's Bridge, and turn left down the Hill towards Egham. We occupy one corner of the Pub from about 8pm till chucking out time. while you are in resdince you will hear discussed such topics as:
A) The current size of Chris's Overdraft (in excess of one grand the time of writing)
B) What would win in a showdown between a Borg cube and a Death Star (My money says the Borg would go through the Death Star like hot knife through butter)
C) Is the latest Star Trek good/average/the worst load of Dingo's Kidneys it's ever been my misfortune to see (That honour goes to Eldorado and I've only seen 30 second of that !)
D) How the local campaigns are going (who shot/shagged/sold out who ?, why did you napalm the tent full of girl) guides and how we moshed the 50 hit die monster in 2 rounds !)
E) when is Mostly Harmless (Hitch Hikers 5) coming out ? (The publisher is currently claiming October, but we've heard that before !)
F) (Most Importantly) Who's round is it anyway ? (Not mine but a pint of Cider or New Castle Brown in this direction please.)
In addition to getting pissed every week (which is, lets face it, the purpose of every University society) IFIS also runs a few other things. we have a library of books availible, but at time of writing I know not where they are to reside this year; Please? avail your- selves of this service, and suggestions for new purchases are welcome.
We have Video nights regularly where we stay up all night in Leccy A watching Sci-Fi and Fantasy videos. we also ( hold a quiz night every once in a while, run by the IFIS Vogon Security Officer, Colin. we are in the process of sorting out introductory? meetings for both societies, details will (hopefully) be availible at the Fresher's Fair.
Right, that's about all from me for now. A drink to the first person to tell me where the quote at the top of the page is from, and who said it- I've said enough. Someone else can waffle on for a bit.
Roleplaying has been a part of GAMESOC since the dawn of time (or at least as long as I can remember !) Small groups of 4- 7 people get together weekly to pursue some quest. I've hears several definitions of what a good roleplaying gama should be. Some people regard the game as a theatrical studio, where characterisation is the be all and end all of roleplay. Others regard teamwork, and Hack & Slay as the primary requisits to the roleplay session. The arguements over which is the best style seem set to continue. However, I feel that both groups tend to miss out. The best roleplay sessions are those which combine the two, where characters are chosen in order to sit in with the party's aims & goals. In these games, the best characterisation & temawork come together to provide a superior form of entertainment.
At the end of the day, the only way of telling if you will enjoy roleplaying is to take part in a session or two (and slagging off the gamesmater down the pub afterwards (Thanks Chris, I knew I'd left something off the list of things we talks about - editor))
If you want to join a roleplaying campaign, then I will be pleased to point you in the direction of those running these events.
It's been a bit of a quiet summer for Sci-Fi, but things are getting moving now. BBC 2 have started running Star Trek, at 6pm on a wednesday night. A tip for the freshers: Any attempt to watch Star Trek in the common rooms is thwarted by Home & Away fans. Find someone with a TV to watch to avoid being abused by these poor, sad, unenlightened individuals. Also on the same night, on Channel 4, there is a re-run of the Prisoner, starting from the first episode. The promissed second half of the Doctor who repeat season has been postponed until January, The repeat season will then start with the newly recoloured The Daemons, followed by a story from each of the remaining Doctors Planet of Evil has been mentioned for Tom Baker, and as for the remaining Doctors how about Resurection of the Daleks for Davidson, Attack of the Cybermen for Baker C, and Rememberance of the Daleks for McCoy (Surely the best story for many a year. This is unlikely because the Beeb have scheduled it for release next year.) The remainder of this years WHO videos come out in November, and are Mawdryn Undead 8. The Aztecs. In 1993 we are promissed Terminus, Enlightenment, Curse of Peladon, Vengance on Varos, The Chase 8. the aforementioned Rememberance among others. Star Trek video releases continue apace with NEXT GEN season five coming out at two tapes a month. October's releases include Unification, the Spock story. Meanwhile as Season Six is shown in the states we see the concluding part of Time's Arrow, Q-Me (no explanation need there) and Relics, which features Mr. Scott in the 24th century, and the original Enterprise brige rebuilt on the Holodeck. Deep Space Nine is filming at the moment, for a new year broadcast in the states. Finally this term sees Douglas Adam's Mostly Harmless released, possibly in October, & Terry Pratchett's Lords & Ladies at about the samer time.
Once more the time is upon us when Union societies engage in a desperate recruiting drive to desperately recruit desperate first years desperate to find things to do before they give up & go home to Mummy & Daddy every weekand. Everybody writes bright?eyed artic- les encouraging freshers to come and enjoy the pleasures of this or that society, and generally enthuse about the joys of campus life. Unfortunately this Blue Peter aproach seems to be by people who have forgotton the terrors of the first week and the ennui of the following six, even if they went through it but one year ago. So I won't address myself to 'freshers' except to say "Wait, ignore the drivel (and the ridiculous chat up flines at the FAF disco), and take time to find out who that spotty kid (or bearded fool) is before making your move. And if you meet me later on in the term, and if you have poor enough judgement to talk to me, I'll tell you why they call it the FAF disco.
Which brings me to the rest of you. Or at least those which have the hankering to indulge yourselves in roleplaying games and the running thereof. Please indulge yourselves. My campaigns are fairly well subscribed. They were last year when I was just running a wednesday Group, and still are now I'm running a Monday group as well. I appreciate that some of you are going to suffer work overloads, but I'm NOT going to add another campaign. If there is a deluge of firstyears wanting to play then SOMEONE ELSE is going to have to help out. We can hope for some superb ref among these firstyears, but can't rely on it. Intrested Freshers must be directed to campaigns where their roleplaying talents will not be squished, so a couple of new camp- aigns, with a mix of new and exper- ienced players are called for. So those of you which have always wanted to be omnipotent, omniscient and the other one, here is your oppotunity. So here are my thoughts on what you should consider before creating that universe. Feel free to debate (IE Disagree uterley)!
First thing that you need is a gang of players. If you have little or none reffing experience then do get some experienced players. Choose some that have knowledge of the system that you are going to ref, and that have the maturity not to take advantage of this. Be aware that some experienced players proove a hanful to the experienced ref. Ask around and do not invite these people to your first session (I'm not going to name them in print). Do also get some inexperienced players. A good balance of levels of experience should add enthusiasm. They will also teach you to describe the thing the experienced players take for granted. It also means that you are describing YOUR universe, not that of the experienced player Once again, ask around. we know who we are talking about. (I would add that I'm one of the worst offenders at these player problems. A lot of this is due to the fact that I'm used to running the show).
Decide on a rule system. I have seen experienced and succesful refs having a hard time introducing new players to an experimental rules system. They can't read the book, and they can' t understand a lot of what is going on. when I first rolled dice in the intrest of role playing, I refereed, but I used 2nd edition Rune Quest, Straight. We all had the book, we all understood what was going on. As time went on (10 years in fact), this has been revised until we have a system which was part Runequest, part D&D (the D&D spells are great aren't they ?) but also heavily modified relative to all of these. I would not recom- end that an inexperienced ref to begin with my system, unless he first waited the six months that it would take me to write the rulebook, and the five years it would take me to get round to it. So pick an easy one.
A D&D. Runequest 3. Traveller. Anything with a rulebook (& exper- ienced players !)
Get a world. Game worlds need to be places where the charcters can be developed, ambitions fulfi- lled and frustrated, and a good time can be had by all. One of the most difficult parts about a game world is Game Balance. Game balance is essentialy the whole of the problem with being a referee. (Not a storyteller. That is another problem) You need to be fair to each player (even when they may be conflicting) and to the NPCs that make up your world. If the players can get everything they want to achieve with no effort then they will get bored, and you will find your most carefully crafted scenarios razed, your favourite NPC's massacred, and the Masters of the Universe played by unenthusiastic players. On the other hand if you kill the player characters for the slightest slip, then you will never get them to identify with this hell hole. They will leave you in sheer frustration. There are 2 systems based on this idea, Paranoia & Call of Cthulu. I recomend neither for the inexperienced ref. If you have to err on one side frustrate. Frustration will kill your campaign, but boredom will kill it real quick. By all means adopt a world. All of the common roleplaying systems come fitted with a world. In the system I started with it was Glorantha. Never used it much myself, but my family had created a world that we all knew, and Runequest lends itself to the assumption of other worlds. If you do adopt a world from a fiction series make sure you know it inside out. There is no point in refing Star Trek if someone tells you about episode 37 where the alien demonstrated that ability. Know your material !
Then get around to prepare for that all important first session. Some refs prepare for their first session by carefully writing up all the details of the plot. I don't but that's just a matter of style. My players often divert their characters to pursue side-issues, and sometimes surprise the hell out of me by utterly sidestepping the original issue. If you do plan every detail you will need methods of keeping the party on the rails. Signposts do the trick, and so do chases. Read any of the comercialy availible scenarios, and look at the devices used to get the players to go through the hoops. Some players get bored of this, and end up taking out their frustrations on the plot. If you donlt think that you can get them to go through the hoops you need to be shit hot at thinking on the.hoof. I can do it if I'm not too tired. If I am, well I can always blitz the players. They get to hack and slay for a session, and I get to soak my brain in Alchoal. It seems to work for my style.
As your campaign develops you will get to learn more about your universe. So will they. Beware of loaded queations. If people wish to develop charcters singly, and you have the time, this do so. But divert them away from the group, as you are not beingl fair to the rest of the party if they get to the end of their six week quest to discover that this player has done it all first. Single char- acter development gets you into the realms of party interaction. Make up a timeline and stick to it. This may start as a blank sheet of paper, or as a timeline with future history. But it must be their if you are going to consider multiple parties. This is the reason why in my universe acurate time travel is all but impossible. The reason is because with multiple parties it is impossible to referee. You have been warned!
The final word I have is one of warning. Roleplaying is a powerful dramatic technique more powerful than theatre or film. In the hands of an experienced and skilled ref it is possible to make the players feel anything. Possible is however not always desirable. Players identify with their characters, sometimes more than is healthy. As a referee you must watch out for this, and make ?sure that you do not let things get out of your control. Most people would agree that some form of censorship is desirable (although they would disagree as to how much), and this is an important issue for the referee. You are the only one with the power to censor. Unless you are very sure, be careful with things like sex. Particularly sex between player characters ! Closely related to that is the issue of dividing fantasy from reality. This is a roleplaying game. People come to your campaign and assume a personae. If they cannot abandon that personae, then problems occur, both during the session and outside A perfectly reasonable relationship between two players should not be affected by two players charac- ters double crossing each other. However, it does. Preventing this is your job. Experienced players should know the diffrence, but inexperienced ones won't. Take care when planning the scenario (don't write Judas plots until you are sure of your players maturity) and during play. As voices raise remind them you are in character. If there is a problem, get them out of character, and remind them they are among friends, and this is just a roleplaying game. For the same reason make sure when your players leave, be sure they are leaving a role playing game, not a Paladin cut adrift in the 20th century. well that was my thoughts. Other experienced refs and players could add a lot too this, and I'm sure they will. If you want to have a go, I want to encourage you. Go for it.
Now here's a question for out female readership (and I know your out there !) what do you do when a chap asks you to go down to the woods with him at night with a bunch of his mates
Do you : A) Accept eagerly
B) Ask him if he can't manage without his mates for moral (or immoral) support
C) Ask him if weapons are provided and are they short on monsters?
If you answered C, you know what I'm talking about: The wild and wonderful world of live action roleplay. For those of the uniniated, Live Action Roleplay at its most basic consists of charging around in a dark wood, being ambushed by the bad guys, and swining a foam covered sword indiscriminately at all comers. This latter technique is known as 'Moshing' and is shunned by some of the more experienced role- players, but it's a lot of fun. It's the best way I know to relieve stress with your clothes on.
I recall my first experience of LAR. Dominic talked me into it, & I viewed the ?undertaking with some trepidation. Earlier in the day a concerned friend had asked me if I wasn't worried about meeting some strange man creeping about in the woods. I replied cheerfully that the only strnage men in the woods wou d be the ones that I'd be playing with. (Should I rephrase that ?)
I ended up playing a paladin. I wasn't quite sure what thatw was, but was assured that it gave me 'heaps of hit. points'. To my relief I wasn't the only girl on the trail. Kate had also been talked into trying it by her boyfriend and was every bit as bemused as I was. It became less confusing when I had something to hit. I was just starting to get the hang of it when I was captured and was forced to play a simulacrum of myself. In this role I lured Kate from the path and we hid. Every now and then some 'monster' would come close to our hiding place and we'd hold our breath to stop ourselves from giggling. Unknown to us, the game had stopped, because we were missing, and those 'monsters' were frantically trying to find us. Eventualy someone had the sense to yell "we're not playing" and we gave ourselves up. Kate went on to rescue the whole party. Not bad for a firsttimer.
I've come a long way since that first paladin. I've played a variety of monsters, an assassin, a barbarian, and even a Christmas hating psychotic in a quest to murder Santa Claus! If you think you might like to give it a try ask Chris Haynes for details, or come to the IFIS meeting in the Ascot every Thursday, where someone will be able to point you in the right direction. Then the next time some strange chap invites you down to the woods with his mates at least give him a chance to explain !
This is meant to be a guide to some of the best (and worst) places that we've found to buy books, comics, mags & vids of a vaguely sci-fi & fantasy nature. Itis by no means a complete guide, any the opinions of the rest of you on anywhere else you've been to would be welcome.
TWILIGHT ZONE High Street, Egham
This shop only opened just before we all buggered off for the summer, but we already know the bloke that runs it quite well. It?s a specialist Sci-Fi merchandiser, the main line of business being the STAR WARS toys we all used to (And some still do) buy in our younger days. So if you're looking for that elusive last figure, or any other sci-?fi toy, I'd say this would be the best place for you to start.
THEY WALK AMONG US 30 Union Court, Sheen Rd, Richmond. Nearest Br: Richmond
Directions: Left out the station, down to the lights, left & down an alley way opposite Waitrose.
Ok, I'm biased, I have a standing order here, and was their first ever customer), but I reckon that this is one of the best places in London. This place stocks all the usual Marvel, DC and Independent current stock, which we shall assume, unless otherwise stated that all the other comic shops have. On top of that we have a wide selection of Back Issues at very good prices Compilation Comic Books, Posters, and a modest range of Sci-Fi and fantasy books. Enough to keep the average student's grant and, overdraft occupied for some time.
AT THE SIGN OF THE DRAGON 131 Sheen Lane, SW14 Nearest BR: Mortlake
This is the closest specialist Sci?Fi/Fantasy bookshop to us, and realy is rather good. They specialise in Star Trek (Classic & Next Gen) and Doctor who. They stock the current complete run of all three sets of books, along with a huge range of other books. Also availible are a range of Sci-Fi mags, .and Videos for all of the above? mentioned series. Highly Recomended.
FANTASY INN Charing Cross Road Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
I realy used to like this place. Covered all the usual stuff at a reasonable price. Sadly it had a fire earlier on in the year and has been closed evr since. We are assured that they will be reopening shortly, and the sooner the better.
FORBIDDEN PLANET 71 New Oxford Street Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
FP used to have 2 shops just round the corner from each other. About five years back they merged to form one Huge shop with one of the largest selections of books, comics, and related merchandise I've seen in one Shop. The only problem with this place is that it's back issues tend to be pricey elsewhere, and then come here sfter you?ve checked out the other places
GOSH! COMICS 39 Great Russel Street Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
Good on the current stuff, but the best thing about this place is their Back Issue selection. It's virtualy the cheapest place in London (that I know of) on most back issues. If you?re trying to find that ellusive issue I'd make this one of your stops.
PARADISE ALLEY Denmark Street. Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
This is actualy in an alley just off Denmark Street. It's a small shop, so small that the bloke on the counter? will demand your bag before he'll let you in. The Shop contains a huge ammount of cheep back issues, and some older sci-fi toys as well. Worth the effort of seeking this place out.
COMICS SHOWCASE 76 Neal Street Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
If you want an average comic shop then this is it. Comics and Back issues at middle of the range prices. Bares a striking similarity to the layout of the old FP comic shop.
Fantastic Store Virgin Megastore, Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
Stocks some back issues, and the latest comics. A bit pricey for my tastes (and bank balance)
TOP TEN COICS UNIT 3, 9-l2 St Anne's Court, Soho Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
Messers Ross (wossss) & Gambacinni are more better known for their achievements in time entertainment world (One is (allegedly) a chat show host, while the other is a DJ and writes books on records) but they are also the proprietors of this rather nice comic shop tucked away in the soho back streets. Pretty good prices on the back issues, and 10% discount on new back issues on production of a Union Card, or so Chris tells me!
That's most of the comic shops in the central London area, and anything that we know of on the way. There are of course many other specialist shops, and most self respecting book shops carry at least a small range of stuff, and some have quite a large selection. The last thing on the list isn?t a shop but is highly deserving of a mention.
The Titan Distributors Comic Mart TUC House, Great Russel Street Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road Dates: lst Sundays in Feb, April, June, August, October & December
Lots of Comic Dealers = Lots of Comics. This is exactly what is here, along with the widest range of associated merchandise that you'll ever likely to see anywhere (Where else do you think I got my Groo Chronicles Hardback and my pirate Doctor who videos from ?)
Well I hope that helps everyone who?s asked me where such and such a place is this year. with a map, a 1 day travel card, and this you should be able to spend you're money until it (or your overdraft) runs out.
Tomb is a piece of classic WHO that we're lucky to have around. The original recordings were destroyed to save space & money by the BBC, the same people who throw millions at shows like Eldorado. Talk about priorities. Anyway earlier on this year copies were retreived from a cellar in Hong Kong of all places ("good place to hide things in are cellars" The Doctor -Rememberance of the Daleks) and were brought: back to Britain and released quickly onto video.
As for the story itself the pace and thrills are unrelenting and the plot, though simplistic keeps you gripped to the end. For those not in the know the story centres around zum archeological expedition to Telos, the Cyberman's home planet, where their undergound city has been discovered, and the inevitable reactivation of the cybermen contained within. without excessive violence ?and modern gadgetry, Tomb manages to be a damn fine science fiction thriller, and serves as a good reminder as to why the series has survived for Twenty Nine years; personally I'd forgotton just howi good Patrick Troughton. realy was. He presents us with a unique, enigmatic yet sympathetic hero and posses a good raport with his long term companion Jamie. The scene where the Doctor consoles his other? companion, Victoria, and goes on to reminiss about his own family is a rare and moving insight into the Time Lord's Past. In Tomb plot, pacing, suspence and performance combine to make a superb piece of who which wins on sheer entertainment value.
All in all it's been quite a good year for the Cybermen fans amongst us (and quite a terrifying one for our .resdient. Cyberphobic). First of all Tomb was recovered, then we had the release of the Cyberman compilation tape, and finally the long overdue release of Earthshock, quite probably the best of the modern Cybermen stories. The story is probably best remembered for the first apearance of the modern versions of the Cybes (complete on this occasion with a perspex mouth piece, allowing you to see Cyber Leader Banks' mouth moving under? neath), and the death of a comp anion for the first time since the veritable massacre of time travelling companions in The Dalek Masterplan way back in Hartnell's time (They killed 2 companions in 12 episodes). Plot Simple, but effective. Acting Superb, (even Beryl Ried, as the freighter captain is good). well worth watching, and can Sandie have the pillow to hide behind while she sees it please?
Just a quick mention for these three compilation tapes.
Shada is the legendary lost Doctor who Story written by one D.N.Adams This was never completed, and the remaining? material has been linked here by Tom Baker. Viewers may find some plot elements similar (identical) to those in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detec- tive Agency (Also by D.N.Adams).
The Daleks & Cybermen tapes are what is left. of some of their early Hartnell & Troughton apearances, from those stories that have been partialy wiped from the archives. All three are aimed at the real who freaks among us, but Roy (Dalek/Cyberman) Skelton puts on a good performance on interview on both of these tapes, and at the end of the Cybes tape performs two of his other characters that you may be familiar? with from elsewhere rin your youth.
Not too bad but definitely for the completists among us.
Now I can understand how frustrated the Trekkies in the states get between the seasons. For the last few years Paramount have dished rua a cliffhanger ending on the last episode of the season, to be resolved in the first episode of the next season. They have to wait a few months to find out what happens. We were exposed to the same treatment on the videos this year due to an agreement by CIC & Paramount not to release the tapes until a year after' the episodes have been shown in the states. Redemption II continues the story started in the last episode of season 4m wonderful effects, look out for the shot of the B of Ps crashing into the sun, the shot of several federation ships, and the extensive use of the Nebula class starship. Riker & Data get to command ships in a fleet asembled to catch the Romulans supplying the Duras family, and we get to meet a new vilainess. This pair of episodes resolves the long running worf's Honour! Duras/Gowron plot, but opens a whole new can of Gagh on the Romulan front !
Darmok is one of the best episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation I've seen and for me is right up there with the great episodes from season 3 (Yesterday's Enter?? prise, The Offspring, Sins of the Father, Sarek 8. The Best Of Both Worlds (I 8. II) The plot involves Picard trying to comunicate with the captain of a race of aliens who use a totaly diffrent form of language. Absoloutely brilliant this episode is a must for even the most casual ST:TNG fan.
Ensign Ro introduces a new officer to the Enterprise. She is a Bajoran, a race who have been made homeless by the annexation of their homeworld by the Cardasians (From season 4's The wounded), but has spent the last few years in prison serving a sentence relating to a number of deaths on an away team she was in command of. She's brought aboard the Enterprise by a Starfleet admiral who wants Picard to apprehend a group of Bajoran terrorists who have been attacking federation outposts. All is, however, not as it seems.
Silicon Avatar features the return of the Crystaline entity (First seen in season 1's Datalore) It's continued it's path of destruction, and a scientist has come aboard the Enterprise determined to put an end to it.
These tapes mark a good start to season 5, which includes next month the 25th anniversary story, Unification, which guest stars a certain member of the original crew with pointed ears. You know who I mean. However from here season 5 dives through the floor with a succession of human intrest stories, and real science fiction is not resumed until I, Borg & Time's Arrow at the seasons end.
I couldn't have put it better myself. The title says it all realy. A Trek with everything: characterisation, conflict, innovation, heart-?stopping susp-? ense, and of course some wond-?? erfully quotable lines (You will become one with the Borg. You will all become one with the Borg) From they initial panorama of Borg devestation: a city scooped from a planet like ice cream * from a tub, then the one sided I holding action by the Enterprise l against the Borg, the episode I thunders towards what must be , one of the most unbearable cliff- E hangers ever when the full horror 2 of the Borg is revealed, and Riker must make the most important y decision of his life with the} future of the Federation at stake.
"Mr Worf, Fire !?
?To be continued' ?
Part 2 follows a desperate running battle through the massacre of the federation fleet, to the heart of the federation and the brink of mankind's extinction.
In the course of the story each character gets a chance to shine, the script bringing out the best in the performances of the cast, honours going to messers Frakes Stewart (Shower attachment, reading light & all) and Whoopi Goldberg for the ever intriguing Guinan.
The Best of Both worlds represents a peak in Trek material, matched thus far only by Yesterday's Enterprise.
Tremendous. Tremendously tremen- dous. If Brian Blessed were in it it would be perfect.
While walking through Dillons recently, I saw this book. "A new Pratchett novel, there's some good reading in that I said to myself. ?15.00 and 272 pages later my observation was prooved correct.
For those of you who are unaware (where have you been hiding ? ? editor) Small Gods is the latest (13th) novel in the Discworld saga. If anyone is not yet acqu- ainted with these books (And you should be) the Discworld is a flatish disc, carried on the back of ?four elephants, who in. turn stand on the back of a giant turtle (sex nmknown) This world is the setting for one of the funniest series of books in the english language.
This particular volume centres on the adventures of one novice and his god. The god, Om, has a minor problem. He has only one believer, the novice Brutha, whose only talents are growing melons and remembering things. Lack of belief has led to a limitation on Om's powers, the result of which is the god being trapped in the body of a tortoise (There's good eating on a tortoise...) The plot centres on their involvement in the schemes of Vorbis, the head of the notorious Quisition (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition ! OOPS, Sorry wrong religion, Editor)
This is not in all honesty the best Pratchett novel. That honour lies with Pyramids or Sourcery (Mort, Wyrd Sisters 8. Guards Guards! : Editor's favourites) However, it is still a highly amusing book, and features cameos by Xeno 8. Ibid, the philosophers from Pyramids, The Librarian, and of course, everyone's favourite Anthromorphic Projection, Death, making his obligatory appearance. As with any other Pratchett book (bar Strata) my recomendation is that you read it as soon as possible.
Anyone who reads Marvel comics can't have failed to notice that several of their top names have disapeared. Well they've got together, formed their own company and are trying to put out a range of independant creator owned titles.
Having seen Rob Liefield's work on New Mutants & X Factor, and holding the man in the highest regard for the creation of Cable I was looking forward to Young- blood, the first Image title. Recycled Old Blood more like. Looks pretty, but it looks pretty like X??Force. what little plot it had stunk. A huge let down. I was on the point of giving the rest of the Image line a wide bearth.
Then came Todd McFarlane?s Spawn. I can quite honestly say that Spawn is one of the best comic books I've read in a long time,
Apparently a lot of people agree with me on this one, because Jon in They Walk Among Us says he shifted 200 copies of issue l, in very quick time. What's more is the series has managed to keep up the standards set by the first issue. Top marks to Todd for bringing us this absoloute gem.
Next up is Eric Larson's Savage Dragon. Wonderful stuff. Imagine a green Superman doing a Punisher. Well that's Sav Drag in a nutshell and I love it, in spite of ?not being a fan of either of the above characters. The next release was Jim (X??Men) Lee?s Wildcats. More brilliant art, good plot, and a title that seems to have direction to go in.
Unlike Youngblood, and to a certain extent Brigade. A Youngblood spin (rip) off, it has more plot than Youngblood. But not much.
The last title to pass into my Grubby little mits is Shadowhawk. The cover on this is wonderful. Totaly black, apart from a silver embossed picture of Hawk's helmet. I wasn't sure of the art to start with but it's growing on me.
Image has several problems that they have to iron out quickly if they are to suceed. The first thing they must do is get a bit of plot for their comics. It's OK to look pretty, but we need some story as well .
The second problem is that all of their titles so far resemble previous work by their creators. For Younblood / Brigade read X?- Force or New Mutants, Sav Drag is a combination of Spiderman, Superman, Punisher & The Hulk, Wildcats is The X-Men. Both Spawn 8. Shadowhawk seem reasonably orig- inal. but I can see in these titles elements from elsewhere. Even the up & coming titles suffer from the. same problem. PITT from Dale Keowan is the Hulk, The Others by Jim Valentino is Guardians of the Galaxy, and the promising looking WETWORKS from Whilce Portacio resembles an X Men team made up of Punishers
The third problem that Image have is an inability by most of their creators to get the goods in to be published on time. All their titles are supposed to be monthly, but only Spawn is running on schedule. In Four months I've seen only two issues of Youngblood, and I've been desperately waiting for SAV DRAG 2 for near enough my entire summer vacation.
Get your fingers out ! You could do so much better than this ! is the message I would like to pass onto the vast. majority of the Image Boys, but if you?ve got a quid going pick up Spawn. You won't regret it.
Meanwhile the old firm are open for business as usual. The Four main mutant titles are getting together for their now (almost) annual X over. This year the name is the X-cutioner's Song. Prof X is shot by Cable (Stryfe ?) Cyclops & Marvel Girl are kid- napped by the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Mr Sinister is lurking. This tie in, along with the excellent Cable limited series (Drawn wonderfully by John Romita Jnr) should reveal to us something of the history of the mysterious Cable, and his sinister opponent & double Stryfe. I've got my bets on who he is. Maybe we'll know before too long. If you've let your comic buying slip, or have never started here is ann ideal oppotunity to jump on the band wagon.
An uplifting and life affirming cinematic experience ..... is Dead Poets Society. Director David Finter's conclusion to the alien trilogy on the other hand is a movie for everyone who wnats to end it all but hasn't got the guts to pull the trigger (Hello Chris !)
Having twice defeated the perfect killing organism, Rip van Ripley, once more awakened from hyper sleep finally admits defeat : to Headlice ! Shaved bald with the rest of the cast at the director's insistance (why ?) Sigourney finds herself in need of a weave (in the Elton John sense of the word) The film itself is as bleak and lifeless as the heads of the stars (well at least if their heads are lifeless it?s one big blow against the Headlice - editor) and the plot is more a product of professional cynacism than scriptwring. The wasted (in more ways than one) supporting cast serve merely as numerous faceless expendables for the alien to hack and chew it?s way through, too unsympathetic and underdeveloped to sympathise with. As a result there is none of the sense of suspense or tradgedy that, for example, the deaths of Captain Dallas or PFC Hudson exited.
The exception to the rule is the cynical, but whimsical medic, Clemens, portrayed with conviction and sensitivity by good old Charles Dance who gets away with it for about half of the film before the director spoils it has Clemens rather pointlessly despatched in a character development in which the character's head and body are developed in diffrent directions.
Likewise the previous films survivors are despatched (on the basis of being dangerously intresting and sympathetic) leaving only prison administrator Canon, his assistant Fodder, and two dozen expendables to kill over the rear.
of the film. In case you have lost track at this point, here's a plot summary : everyone dies and .. err .. that's it; realy ! Lacking the characterisation and emotional depth (not to men- tion plot) of it's predecessors Alien ? is a soul without direction.
First they gave us Alien : In space no one can here you scream, Then Aliens : This time it's war. Now Alien ?? : In space no one takes two bottles into the shower ( or indeed, any bottle at all) or Alien ? : This time it's a bit naff, actualy.
The Question is do we want realy want it ?
These 4 books make up the Timewyrm series, Virgin Publishings first attempt into the world of original who fiction, along the same lines as Titan's two Star Trek ranges. I hadn't been bothered to buy these, but they were pushed in my direction by a friend who had bothered, and I was, to coin a phrase, well impressed. There is a definite cohesion between the books, with the vilainy of the Timewyrm as the running theme. Yet ?all three are adventures within them selves. My personal feeling that the best of the books was Exodus, a story centring on time being altered during the second world war, but all four are highly readable and enjoyable. Revelation gets a bit confusing (oh no, everything's gone a bit tricky !) in places, but it features the most original character that I've come across for a long time. Buy them now.
Who is Cable ? This is a question that has been occupying the minds of the readers of X-Men & X-Force for some time now. The storyline in the comics is heading towards a point where we should find out, so I'm going to reveal my thoughts on the matter, and probably get prooved hideously wrong in a few months time.
For those who are not regular readers of the titles, and; are not familiar with Cable, a brief resume. Cable is the leader of the mutant team known as X-Force. The team is a relatively new one having come out of the remains of the old New Mutants group. Their major foes are a terrorist organisation, the MLF, and it's leader Stryfe, who has recently been revealed to be Cable's double! clone/android copy/temporal dupl- icate or whatever. They seem to be one and the same, only they can't be because we've seen them going head to head on several occasions. Back to Cable himself. He's a 6?8" cyborg mutant. His right eye, and left arm & shoulder are obviously cybernetic, and a recent accident involving Cable's face has revealed more cybernetic circuitary underneath (The Termin- ator look is obviously in this year) He has access to high techn- ology equipment including weapons and a teleport (bodyslide) system. His home base, which has been recently shown to be above Earth, is run by a sentient computer called "professor", and serviced by robots, of whom "Scott", "Jean", and "Hank" have been shown so far. Cable is widely known in the present day' Marvel universe, and has known the mutant known as "wolverine" for some time.
So who is Cable ?
It is my belief that Cable is Nathan Summers, the son of Scott Summers, Cyclops oft the X-Men, and Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey, Marvel Girl of the X-Men. Here are my reasons :
1 Both characters have the same name was revealed to be Nathan in New Mutants 98.
2 Stryfe claims to have been held "helpless before Apocalypse" Nathan Summers was kidnapped by Apocalypse in X-Factor 67 & 68.
3 Professor X was recently injured in an atack by either Stryfe or Cable. The result of the attack resembles the effects of the virus used by Apocalypse on Nathan in X-Factor 68. 4 In X-Factor 68 Nathan is illus- trated as being affected by the virus over his body, but mainly on his right eye and left arm. These areas match Cable's cyber- netic parts.
5 Nathan was rescued from this situation by Askani, a cyborg mutant from the future. Her people are illustrated as having cyber technology to a great enough extent to repair the damage to Nathan.
6 when Nathan travelled to the future, the disembodied mind of X-Factor's ship went with him. Professor claims that at a time when Nathan was a child, he was just a projected energy matrix, and his memories of this time are unclear. I believe that Professor is the mind of the ship.
7 Cable's Computer and robots are named after X-Men and X-Factor members.
8 Cable has shown powers similar to those of Jean Grey, the woman his mother was cloned from (In X-Force 1, and Cable 1 he uses telekinisis). A flash that has been seen to appear round Cable's eye could be a mutation on the abbilities of his father.
Those are the most solid clues that I've found so far. There are others, but the evidence starts getting even more tenuous. And beyond this there's still the mystery of Stryfe !
Note: 20100930: I got that one right!
Like every organisation and society someone has to organise things, spend the money and generaly get blamed when things go wrong. This is the list of people who were democratically elected to posistions of power within the societies at last year's AGM :
As you can see from above we are deficent in the publicity dept, so if you's like to do something that would look very good on any C.V., talk to one of the committee.
The people listed above got elected using the democratic processes known to these societies : IE everyone yelled out "I nominate so & so", and then a vote was cast by all those present (bar nominees) to see who the lucky winner (unlucky victim) was.
Our long serving member Danial Celano, having come to the end of his course, and thinking he could do a runner for good was, unanamously, elected into life membership. Congratulations, Danial, No one gets away from us that easily !
Last year, when starting to think about the mag, I thought what a nice idea it would be to profile our committee, and the prominent members. So I devised a little questionaire for them all to fill in to tell all of you a little about themselves. Here's the results, and to show I'm no coward mine's going first ! .
NAME Philip Ayres
AGE 19 .
DEPARTMENTS Maths/Computer Science
Position in Society Secretary/On the floor
FAVOURITE POSITION Under Lorraine
PERVERSIONS?Lorraine/ the colour black
FILM Star wars/Empire/Return/Star Trek VI
TV Doctor who, Trek, Red Dwarf
BOOKS Pratchett / Adams
MAG TV ZONE
OVERDRAFT SIZE ?200
PURITY TEST SCORE 71% and falling!
COMMENTS will Lorraine please go to bed with him, will ANY female fresher please wear black & visit WOI3 offering sexual favours !
MINE'S A PINT OF Cider
NAME Nick Waterman
NICKNAME Sweetie BEE 20
DEPT Comp Sci
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES Attached to Estelle, Also brown leather jacket,pocket computer & clipboard
Posistion Chairman of IFIS
Fav. Posisition Chairman of IFIS
PERVERSIONS Choclate sauce, Hot Choclate, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate !! FAVORITE
BOOK Hitch Hikers
FILM wierd Science/T2/Runaway
TV Red Dwarf
OVERDRAFT SIZE None, sorry !
PURITY TEST SCORE TBA
COMMENTS THE person who organises the video evenings
MINE'S A PINT OF Cider
NAME Richard Taylor
NICKNAME Little Rich
YEAR year out between 2nd & 3rd
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES 5'4"
POS IN SOCIETY Treasurer
FAVOURITE POSITION Yet to find one
BOOK STTNG Tech Manual, Foundation Trilogy. Star wars & Trek novels
TV ST TNG, Red Dwarf
MAG ST TNG (US)
COMIC Star Wars
QVERDRAFT SIZE I'm in the black!
PURITY TEST SCORE 83%
MINE'S A PINT OF Cider
NAME Colin Goswell
AGE 32 .
YEAR N/A Has taken up residence.
Distinggishing Features Overgrown Hobbit
Pos in Society Tenuous
Fav Pos Karma Sutra 327 (illus ed.)
PERVERSIONS Small, Furry Animals (Stuffed) (Stuffed where ? Editor)
BOOKS H P LOVECRAFT
Film Flesh Gordon
Ty Red Dwarf
QAQ TV ZONE
QVERDRAFT SIZE ?8,000,000 (to pay for furry animal palimony !)
COMMENTS As VSO I'm looking forward to beating the S#*+ out of people, shouting "Resistance is uselss" and reading some of my poetry!
MINE'S A PINT OF Guiness
NAME Chris Lyth
NICKNAMES Chris Pratt. Drac
AGE 20 (21 on October 23rd)
Dist. Features Intelligent,Handsome (Jimmy Hill, Chinny Reckon)
Pos in Society Official Scrounge
Fave. Position Doggy,69,captured by nymphos (demos availible to brunette females on reuest)
Perversions Little Boys
Book Sea of Glass, Pratchett
Film Enemy Mine, T2
TV ST TNG
Mag TV Zone
Overdraft Size ?11l6 and rising
Purity Test Score 75 and has been for nigh on a decade
Comments Going to win the quiz
Mine's a pint of Cider
Name Simon Richardson
Nickname The Ref .
AGE young enough to be mistaken for a fresher
Year lst (Honest, guv)
Dept Computer Science
Dist Features Wild Eyed Look
Pos in society Bottom
Fave pos. Likewise
Book Nova by SR Delany
OVERDRAFT SIZE ?2,300
PURITY TEST SCORE 0%(Impossible !)
COMMENTS Honesty 0%
Mine?s a gint of Abbots
FOR SALE Property availible for sale in 'picturesque' Spanish Vilage. One Previous Owner. Nearly New. Apply Eldorado Production Office, B.B.C.
Thats about it from us for now.
Credit where credit is due: Thanks to Anna for the cover, Chris Haynes Simon, Ange, Matthew & Chris Lyth for writing and to those poor souls who filled in their details on the questionaire. More of them to come later (Unless I See the colour of Nigel & Wendy's money first !) .
Next time out, we'll speak to the forger who made the health certificates on the walls of the Boog and the Time Lord who's looking for a TV slot to fight the forces of evil in. This magazine is the property of the RHBNC IFIS & GAMESOC. No material contained within may be reproduced without the prior permission of author and editor, on Pain of being hit repeatedly about the head with a Graham Hick 405* Cricket bat.
"Be seeing you !"