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Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

A new game from Massive Damage:

A rogue-like sci-fi strategy survival game with base building, tactical combat, crew management and emergent storytelling.

90% of the words in that sentence make me so happy. Feels like equal parts X-Com, Civilization, and FTL. It looks great, too. The visual aesthetic is this kind of atemporal “18-bit” style that never really existed. The whole thing is really well done. I can’t wait.

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Typeset In The Future

A blog dedicated to identifying fonts in science fiction.

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Plaid Stallions on The Dune Coloring Book

This is an incredible cultural artifact. I was skeptical as to it’s existence, but you can still find copies on eBay and Amazon.

Any coloring book with “I will burn out the sickness” in the text of one of the pages is worth preserving.

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The Prize of Peril by Robert Sheckley

A 1958 short story by one of my favorite sci-fi authors, which contains much of what we’d eventually call Reality TV. See also: Nigel Kneal’s 1968 BBC production “The Year of the Sex Olympics”.

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L5

A “Hard Science Fiction Miniseries for the Web” which raised $10k on Kickstarter. I wish them luck.

via Warren Ellis.

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Math advice for paranoid aliens

John August crowd-sources answers to some screenwriting issues in his blog comments.

Far away on a distant planet, an intelligent but very paranoid species is constructing a series of terrestrial watchtowers to scan the heavens, making sure no space-traveling enemies sneak up on them.

You can think of these watchtowers as observatories, each one watching a 180-degree (half-sphere) swath of the sky. For this simplest version, you can ignore complications like atmospheric distortion or possible moons.

Question #1: For complete coverage, what is the minimum number of watchtowers they need to build?

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Terry Pratchett on Doctor Who

Terry, who as he says himself was “there at the beginning”:

The unexpected, unadvertised solution which kisses it all better is known as a deus ex machina – literally, a god from the machine. And a god from the machine is what the Doctor now is. A decent detective story provides you with enough tantalising information to allow you to make a stab at a solution before the famous detective struts his stuff in the library. Doctor Who replaces this with speed, fast talking, and what appears to be that wonderful element “makeitupasyougalongeum”.

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“At the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry”

Bruce Sterling’s keynote, given at the launch of Layar’s Layer Reality Browser, is fun, smart, and full of a genuine excitement from Bruce that I really enjoy.