Welcome to the 2nd edition of Rune with a view this academic year. (Recently this is an acheivement.) Thankyou to everyone who has contributed to the magazine.
For some strange reason however, very few people are using the library. This contains more than a thousand books, and is available for use by anyone who wants to borrow books. All the major (and many minor) SF writers are represented. lf you have email, just contact IFIS chat with your book requirements and we shall see what can be done. The mailing lists often run announcements of when the library is open for business, and of course, if you come to the Ascot on a Thursday evening, you can speak to people there about it.
Gamesoc has been running several ongoing games, including Necromunda on Mondays. (More about Necromunda later) | am about to include a list of plugs for the various roleplay campaigns that are being run or planned.
My campaign1 - ADND - this takes place on Sunday evenings on campus, normally in a lecture block. lf my playek have any major complaint, k N that my jokes are awful. Ho hum.
Simon Richardson is running a percentile based roleplay on Sundays. What he says about it-
Post-revolution America is a violent, dangerous place, wkh political intrigues, powerful foreign govemments and insane cults all vying for control of the nation.
These are ... interesting ... times.
He also runs a roleplay whose system is based on 2d6 Pirates, ancient
treasures, South Sea tribes, broadsdies, ritual sacrifice, shivering
timbers, pieces of eight, swashed buckles and hideous politics all come
together in Tudor Pirates. Historians welcome, but watching "Blackadder 2"
is probably history enough.
"Delta Green" is a Pagan Press campaign module for a contemporary setting, using Call of Cthulhu rules. lt's a Horror game, and a kind of a cross bemeen X-Files and Men ln Black.
lt's paranormal investigation/conspiracy theory/alien abduction stuff, with occasional bouts of extreme prejudice. What it ISN'T is a standard Cthulhu campaign. Obviously anyone who's read the campaign sourcebook (which |'|| be leaning on heavily) is excluded from the campaign.
The starting party will be US government employees, probably (but by no means necessarily) from the FBl.
The timing, hequency and location of this campaign have yet to be decided. Anyone interested should contact me by email. (dominic_tannis.demon.co.uk)
ln the final stages of development, exprienced/enthusiastic boardgamers now required for playtesting "lndependence!".
lt's authors describe it as a political strategy game on top of an economic simulation. |'ve played it, and it already measures up to the standards of many commercial games.
The board and pieces are well made and look appropriate. The rules are fairly straghtfomard, (so long as you've always got the "turn sequence" page handy), and once you've started, it's quite capable of holding your attention for an afternoon.
Each player takes the role of arranging for the transport and trade of materials and goods in and out of their country. They also defend it wkh their armies and witkh threats/diplomacy/economic sanctions. War, as appropriate, is the last resort of the incompetent or insane.
The goal is to make enough money to lift your squalid little country out of obscurity and into the United Nations without performing too many acts of public barbarity that might provoke international outrage.
lf enough playtesters in the Egham area can be found, the author of the game will bring it along and run a session at your convenience. Up to six players can be accomodated at a time.
For more information, contact one of the authors:- ivorw@, or myself, dominic@
Everyone reading this magazine presumably joined IFIS with some interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Does this include reading? lf so, IFIS has a large collection of books available for loan. These are in a cupboard in the Student Union. The books are soon to be in racks, to make them easier to access.
Our chairman Luke has stood there throughout the weeks every Thursday afternoon awaiting eager readers, almost in vain. | also have a key, and am now available to open the library on Sunday afternoons, if there is any demand for it. ln fact, any keen and eager volunteers who want access and to 'organize' access would be welcome, I'm sure. Talk to your committee!
As it is, these books are being read by very few people. This is a shame, as there is some very good stuff. lf there are potential readers out there, proivde us with some feedback, please. The society has funds to buy new books, so requests from readers are likely to be bought.
ln the words of Mr Norden : 'What do you want, IFIS member ?"
We have a new computerised recommendation system for books, accessed using the World Wide Web. There are many people who can show non-computer literate people for help in using this. lt does this working with all sorts of categories people have put books in. Several people have selected groups of a few books they feel are similar. From this information, it can recommend similar books. You can also select those books you think relate to each other. The more people who do this, the cleverer it will get.
So you enjoy SF - but how much of these strange things do you expect to see happen in real life? Fantasy is just that, but some science fiction may one day be science fact. The original definition of science fiction was, broadly, to take reality, add a few small science based assumptions and develop a story around them.
Many well-thought-out science fiction futures are reasonable extrapolations. Many of the things described in Science Fiction are becoming science fact. We have indeed walked on the moon, even if not during most of your life-times! Mobile phones, computers and such grow more and more powerful. ideas behind fusion power are talked about seriously. The science behind a method of extending the life of our cells (a major part of an immortality treatment) may now have been discovered. Our understanding of genetics is becoming good enough to treat cancers and genetic abnormalities. The ethics of cloning is under serious discussion, as it is now a matter of medicine rather than science.
ls the idea of mankind travelling to the stars possible, and if so what will we find out there? The scale of the Universe is huge. lf you follow B5, which I do, you will see an example of a reasonably wellthought out future.
For those who do not, there are quke a few alien races (maybe 20?) who are named by humans after the real Earth name for their stars. An examination of where the stars Minbar, Centarii etc. cetera, are located will reveal that they only occupy a tiny fraction of the galaxy (a Known Space region). The older races are referred to having gone to the galactic Rim, which is a great deal further away.
lf there are aliens, and intelligent life is a common part of the way the Universe is made, then we are by no means a First One. For life, you need the elements found on our planet. That means that you need a second-generation sun (i.e. one formed out of the remnants of previous suns that has gone nova). But these ingredients formed several billions of years before the solar system. Therefore, there could well be aliens wrth a head-start of billions of years on us. lf they 'are' out there, then most likely, they have been so for quite a while.
The galaxy contains hundreds of millions of stars, and is only one out of a vast number of galaxies. This is something difficult to come to grip with. If there are aliens out there, where are they? Don't they want to explore?
Even if there are many of them, that does not covert the vast scale of things: space is 'big'. So, is faster-than-light travel theoretically possible? We don't know yet. lf there are lots of them, are we in a zoo until we "grow up", and that is what UFOs are? Are we being watched over by some galactic federation?
Many of the UFO reports are dismissed as ravings of loons. why is that? A good scientist looks at the facts and tries to make the best hypothesis. Flexibility of outlook is therefore required, as well as a lack of naive taking on board of all stories. The point when a well-documented alien arrives and chats on the White House lawn might well shake up a few people.
History is a snapshot of the existence of the Earth. Maybe intestellar travel will amays be slow and too difficult for much traffic. lf aliens exist, maybe they have been through our solar system long ago. lf they are long-gone, then perhaps they would have left us something. Like, for instance some huge sculpture of a face, plus some pyramids on Mars, where it would not be damaged by weather or wind!
lf you believe in God, why did he build the Universe so damn big if it was meant for just us! lf there is no purpose to the Universe, and we are the only intelligent life, that seems an incredible fluke. Soon, the debating society will be putting on "Do Aliens Exist". what side are you going to debate?
Now I'm starting to get old, (the wrong side of 25) and responsible (wife and a month old baby, there are very few images from the TV of my youth that remain with me. chief among these tend to come from Science fiction series. The Doctor hanging his hat on the end of a Dalek gun arm, Meglos halfway through his shapechange into the Doctor, Sapphire being attacked by the Roundhead soldiers, Steel being confused by a doorknob that lights up without a power source (or element come to think of it), Sapphire and Steel gazing out of the window as it floats off into infinity, and many others.
A disproportionate number of these images come from Sapphire And Steel considering that there were only 17 hours of Sapphire and Steel ever made. The reason for tnis must be that k was an absolutely brilliant series.
lt did not try to be helpful to the viewers in many ways, no titles were given for any adventure. The episodes of each adventure were not even numbered. The best it gave was a recap of the last two minutes of the previous episode.
As far as information about the main characters was concerned, there were many hints but nothing conclusive. They were not from our world, this was obvious (Steel when asked if he knew his history,- "I know MY history") but as to their origins, another steel quote- "I have perfectly good origins, inexplainable maybe, but I have perfectly good origins." They had differing priorities to us. Sapphire in one episode refers to "our destruction", Steel in another episode asks if she has been damaged. All we know for certain about them is that they are operatives not specialists, and in Steel's opinion the specialists should be sent to watch large collections of antiques for time breaking through.
That is what they do. When Time,or creatures from time, (this too is unclear) aNempt to break through into the world, Sapphire and Steel (among other "elemental" agents are sent to deal with the time break. lf they cannot destroy it they should at least contain it.
Sapphire and Steel make an effective team. Like the good cop/bad cop combination. Sapphire is the diplomat, speaking nicely to people to get information, though she has many psychic abilities to draw on as well. She can tell anything about any object she touches. More impressively, she can "take time back" so an event can be changed.
Steel's sole psychic ability is telepathy with other agents. He does however have other more physical resources. He appears magnetic from time to time, (he never needs a key) and can operate a computer without touching it. He also appears invulnerable to iron type weapons, and has superhuman strength. His personality is cold, calculating and at times unbelievably ruthless.
lt was a truly strange but amazingly executed series. I would say much more about it but space and time are fleeting.
Are you all alone in the
Do your tastes run to the slightly exotic?
Personal services are free but my friends get to watch.
Quote from satisfied customer
Do you think that you are just this guy, yah? Do not worry the this is
totally typical behaviour for someone with your personality problems.
If you want more reassurance, then please contact Dr Gag Halfrunt
Assistant required for middle aged jelly baby fancier. Keen traveller a
necessity. Good pair of lungs and a piercing scream also an advantage.
Call The Doctor.
I think you ought to know, I'm feeling very depressed. If you are also
feeling depressed, then please do not hesitate to go away. I've got enough
problems of my own without having to listen to yours as well. I mean look
at me. Here I am, brain the size of a planet and I'm writing to a personals
...And here I am with a pain in all the diodes down my left hand side.
Are you a telepath?
Do you wish to be of service to an entire species?
Do you think that Narn males are handsome?
Mate with me. I'll give you whatever you want.
Ex Psi cop Will do anything for money but not that.
Call Lyta Alexander
"I know what you want"
Do you want to surprise your girlfriend on her birthday?
Michael Garibaldi will give her the time of her life when he delivers her a Bruce Willis-a-gram at your request
Is your planet infested by giant spiders from outer space?
Call Sheridan pest removal services.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best value around.
TARDIS for sale
Bigger than it looks.
Will swap for anything with a reliable navigation system
Call The Doctor
I am Chris Lyth