Walking the Planes 1: Introduction

bodhran_retouched_600

As prom­ised, my series about Plan­es­cape and the Planes in Dun­geons & Dragons kicked off this month. The first in­stalment is only an intro­ductory piece, in which I set out my ideas for the future of the series. Hope­fully it will whet your interest; check back here or on The Onto­logical Geek soon for the second piece! […Read more…]

A Guest Beyond the Final Frontier

space-engine

For The Onto­lo­gical Geek, I wrote a short piece on dif­ferent ways games can rep­resent space explor­a­tion. I take a look at Star Con­trol 2, Mir­ror­Moon EP, Noctis, and Space Engine, and try to explain why the last two make me feel most at ease. […Read more…]

Future Nostalgia (A Fictional Review of Bientôt l’été)

bientot

[From a friend who wishes to remain ano­nymous, I re­ceived the ori­ginal ver­sion of the mes­sage below, which was picked up using radio ob­ser­vation of sig­nals from outer space. For the reader’s con­venience, I have ren­dered it in con­tem­po­rary Eng­lish, rather than the early mo­dern Eng­lish in which it was written.] Archive: Des­bares­des belt > Giraud γ > Orbit of Giraud γ 3 > Wreck­age of Sigil, or­bital torus space sta­tion File: Ano­nymous jour­nal entry, text­ual, untitled, dated 2321÷12÷16 Descrip­tion: This log entry, re­trieved during the sal­vage of Sigil sta­tion in 2456, appears to be an assess­ment of a par­ticular type of inter­active expe­rience avail­able to users of the sta­tion at the time through use of holo­communi­cation trans­mitters. Rem­nants of the soft­ware which is referred to in the entry have been found in the data logs of Sigil sta­tion, and various other sta­tions through­out the galaxy; see > T. Beach Proj­ector. […Read more…]

2012: A Year in Books

Lori Nix - 'Library' (2007)

What did I read in 2012? I’ve found looking back at my last year in books helps me chart some themes and devel­op­ments in my (mental life), so I’ve decided to do it again this year. I read 92 books in 2012, a little fewer than in 2011, but they were bigger books, and my page total ended up higher. This doesn’t count all the art­icles I’ve read, but we’ve got to draw the reading ner­dage line some­where. It’s all slightly arbit­rary anyway. […Read more…]

Noctis: The Loneliness of Night

Beautiful constrast of sky and soil.

If there is one thing astro­nomy has taught us, it is the rea­li­sation that a planet like Earth, with its abun­dance of life, is incre­dibly rare in the vast­ness of the uni­verse. We do know that there are bil­lions of gala­xies each contai­ning bil­lions of stars, so it is pro­bable that life is to be found some­where else in space; yet we are lonely all the same. We could - in a manner of speaking - travel for an eter­nity in any direc­tion without encoun­tering any sign of life. That over­whelm­ing sense of lone­li­ness on a cosmic scale is what strikes me the most while playing Noctis. […Read more…]

Asteroids and the Human Near Future in Space

(Image: ESA)

If news reports from earlier this year are to be believed, aster­oids are high on the list of celes­tial bodies to be explored - and manip­u­lated. On May 13th, The Tele­graph revealed that British astro­naut Tim Peake was going to be trained by NASA for an asteroid sur­face mis­sion. Only weeks earlier, on April 24th, the Amer­ican com­pany Plan­etary Resources announced its plans to invest in asteroid mining tech­no­logy. In the back­ground the impressive explor­a­tion data from NASA’s Dawn mis­sion to the asteroid belt trickles in, mainly con­cerning pro­to­planets Vesta and Ceres. […Read more…]

The Viewpoint of Eternity

time scale

I came across the schema below in Olaf Staple­don’s book Star Maker. The book in gene­ral made a very favour­able im­press­ion on me, as you can read in the short review I wrote on Good­reads. How­ever, this one bit in par­ticular I wanted to high­light on this blog, as it speaks direct­ly to the title, Sub Specie. […Read more…]