Time machine

George R. R. Martin, Robert Sheckley. Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, all those science fiction icons are renown for their great novels, but also for brilliant short stories. Today we live in an era of thick 500 pages-long books that always are the first part of long series. The market changed. Today no one sells a good idea in the form of 20 pages short story published in a weird fiction magazine.

It was different back then. The whole genre, the golden era of science fiction, shined with brilliant concepts about time travel, first contact, weird gizmos, and all different space adventures. I was first introduced to science-fiction in 1990 thanks to the anthology Rakietowe Dzieci (Rocket Kids) that somehow ended up in my hands. I was 14 year old and I was a perfect target of this book. It was 240 pages long collection of science fiction stories. The tome collected:

  1. Ray Bradbury – The Small Assassin
  2. Mark Clifton – Star Bright
  3. Fritz Leiber – A Pail of Air
  4. Jerome Bixby – It’s a Good Life
  5. Poul Anderson – Terminal Quest
  6. Theodore Sturgeon – Mewhu’s Jet
  7. Frederik Pohl – The Man Who Ate the World
  8. Gardner Dozois – Chains of the Sea

The stories sucked me. I wanted more. I started looking for more things like that. I discovered Sheckley, Zelazny, Silverberg, and all other great sf writers. It took me less than a few months to become sf nerd.

It was 30 years ago, and although I love some thick books of the size of the brick, although I love my Game of Thrones, Dune, and other epic novels, I kept in my heart this special place for a good short story. For the brilliant idea, for the gig you sell on 10 pages and close with a clever punchline.

I mention this to provide you some context to the shoutout I am going to give today. Shoutout to LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS, the anthology of animated shorts that is a magnificent tribute to the golden era of science fiction, to the weird novels, pulp magazines, and the brilliance of the right punchline.

Do yourself a favor and watch the series. And if by any chance your story relates to mine, and you discovered sf through brilliant short stories from Sheckley, Silverberg, and Zelazny, I have good news – LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS is a time machine. Fasten seatbelts. You are going to be 14 years old again.

(Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels)

I did it justice

I remember being a kid and being honestly perplexed when my school friends were complaining about Robinson Crusoe. Thick, boring book, with no dialogues. They whined. In Poland, Robinson Crusoe was mandatory reading in school. Every kid was complaining. For me, it was the novel of my life, even though my life was like ten years long at the moment. I loved it.

Years passed. High school. College. Life. I was a book worm, and geek, and a gamer. I discovered RPG, found a game company, wrote few RPG games, started a family. Robinson Crusoe was with me all the time. I read it few more times, watch all the movies about it, even designed an indie RPG game about castaways that never got published.

Then I discovered board games. I designed Witchcraft (2008), Stronghold (2009), 51st State (2010), and Pret-a-Porter (2010). Early 2011 I felt I am ready. I felt I have enough skills and knowledge about game design to do Robinson Crusoe justice and make it into the best board game I can ever design.

It was 10 years ago.

As for today, the game has nearly 100k logged plays on BGG. It sold in more than 200k copies worldwide. Released in 12 different languages all over the planet. And exactly today, on Sunday, April 11th, 2021, the new edition of the game, this full-blown fantastic Collector’s Edition, passed 2 million USD on the Gamefound platform. Quite the milestone.

And even though the design is 10 years old, I still look at it with pride and satisfaction, and I strongly believe I did Robinson Crusoe justice.

I like to think that this 10 years old Ignacy would be pretty darn proud of me right now.

Here is an idea…

pobrany plik

I am reading Troll Slayer by William King. This is an old Games Workshop novel, or rather a collection of short stories, dedicated to one of the most iconic characters of the Warhammer Fantasy world.

Let’s face it – the book is rather stupid. It’s just Gotrek and Felix marching and killing everything they meet.

The Polish translation is rather poor. As in most such cases, it was probably done by some young fan of Warhammer who did it for the lowest rate possible.

I know. There is like a million better books out there.

And yet, I am enjoying it entirely. I devour each page with a smile on my face. I feel my skin tingle after each of these short stories comes to an end.

How’s that possible?

Warhammer was my high school love. I discovered this dark fantasy world when I was a 15-year-old kid and I felt for it with my whole heart. I was running Warhammer RPG sessions, I was playing Warhammer Battle, I was really one hardcore fan. Years later I debuted in a Polish RPG magazine with a Warhammer scenario. Years later I founded Portal Games and Wthe arhammer section was a highlight of every issue of the magazine.

Today I make board games, but the fact is – I’ve lived with Warhammer for most of my life.

Next year I will turn 40. I might be getting sentimental during this holiday season, but I’m telling you this – reading about adventures of Gotrek is freaking awesome.

So here is my idea, folks. Take a book you loved when you were in high school. Buy a DVD with a movie you loved in your teens (yes, I am talking about Willow, mate) and treat yourself to the best Christmas ever. Magic works. Trust me.

 

edited by Piotr

Strong recommendation!

I am huge sf fan. Which is a tricky thing these days. There is so many sf movies in cinema. Every damn month we have more new sf movies than we had per year when I was a kid. The problem is – well, at least from my perspective – that when I was a kid we had Blade Runner, E.T., Terminator, Alien, Abyss, Total Recall. Great stories with poor special effects.

Now we have the opposite – awesome special effects and no story at all.

That’s why a good sf movie deserves a post. That is why good sci fi makes me happy as a kid. That’s why once again this weekend I was proud to be sf fan.

Edge of Tomorrow, baby!

Lannister

PrintI bought the book the month it was released in Poland. I was in college, it was 1997 or 1998, I don’t remember exactly. Huge novel, well promoted. Since I was quite busy at the moment, I didn’t start to read it. I lent it to my fellow mate from our gaming club. He said it is an amazing novel. Other fellow mate asked me so I lent it again. And then I lent it again. And then, few months later I was the only person in our club who didn’t read the book. Me, the owner of the book.

When finally the copy of the book came back, I was busy again. I forgot about it. But then, few years later FFG published A Game of Thrones CCG. Man, I was into it. I played a lot. I even played in tournaments. I love that game. I was really into the story. And yet, I still couldn’t catch up with the novel, I knew the world only from cards and pictures. Book was on my to-read list. For years…

And then, few years later HBO made a TV series. What a hit! Everybody, literally everybody was talking about it. It was 2011. I had Pret-a-Porter and New Era and Convoy on my head. I had no single weekend that would be free. So everybody was talking about new episodes and I… and I was keeping GoT on my to-read and to-watch list. It was ridiculous. I was the guy who bought the book in 1998! I made all my friends fell in love with the story. And now everybody was talking about it and me… Still waiting. Still believing that one day I will catch up…

Yeah.

Finally I made it. I just watched two first episodes of GoT HBO season 1. I have many episodes to catch up, but at least I made first step.

And after watching these two first episodes my question is: How the hell it is possible anyone on that planet wants to play Lannisters kin (in CCG/LCG or board game). They are f… assholes. Pure evil. Snakes. I f… hate them. I would never play this faction. And I will always attack them, no matter what. You play Lannister? I attack you. From the very first turn.

Yeah, that’s me. Catching up with the story you all already know. I’ll have fun, will I?