Friday, November 13, 2009

RPG Party - This Saturday

Role-playing Game Geek Out Party!

When: Saturday, November 14, 2pm - Late
Where: My house in Costa Mesa.

>20 people coming. We'll have Call of Cthulhu, D&D, Dragonstorm, Unknown Armies, and FATE games going on. Two main sessions, before and after (pizza) dinner.

Email me for details, or check out the official Meetup Page. The event is full on Meetup, but we might be able to handle a few game crashers. Email me if you are interested...

Carl Sagan Music Video

If, like me, you wish astronomy was better represented in popular music, you will enjoy this hot new music video posthumously starring Carl Sagan...

Banjos and Decaying Civilizations

I've been burning through Jack Vance books lately. I was greatly entertained by the Tschai series and now I am just finishing up the Durdane trilogy. Next up are Demon Princes books. I love Vance's variations on the theme of civilizations evolving in isolation, usually in various states of drift, decay, and decadence. The character dialogue in his books is amazing, often hitting a chill-inducing sweet spot between hilarity and beauty.

Actually the main reason I like Vance is because he plays jugband music on his banjo, much like myself. I love the space jazz musician protagonist of the Durdane books.

I was surprised a few months back when the NY Times published a laudatory article on Vance.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jack Gaughan - Relic of Empire

Worlds of If cover by Jack Gaughan, December 1966. This illustration is for the Larry Niven story Relic of Empire. Gaughan is awesome!

NASA Astronomy Pictures

Here is a NASA website offering up a new astronomy picture every day. You can browse through previous postings.

I could easily spend all day looking at this site... whaaa!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Davis Meltzer

Davis Meltzer did a number of psychedelicious sci-fi paperback covers in the 70s. His name doesn't come up very frequently today, and I can't say much about him. I wish I knew more. The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon cover painting (the first one, with the wolf faces in the cosmic tower) is hanging in my living room, and it's a pretty cool lil' painting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hannes Bok, 1944. The Sentry.

Hannes Bok is one of my favorite fantasist painters. He worked using a technique popularized by Maxfield Parrish - painstakingly adding layer after layer of semi-translucent glazes to get a glowing color effect. His paintings grace various covers of mid-tier pulp magazines and some book covers (Arkham House in particular) of the mid-20th century. Bok hung out with the L.A. Clifton's Cafeteria sci-fi crew in the 1930s. With the demise of the pulp markets in the late 50s/60s Bok became a professional astrologer and dropped out of sight. It is interesting that during this period the great illustrator Virgil Finlay also got into the astrology market to make up for the loss of sci-fi jobs.

Here's a very nice 1944 Bok painting called "The Sentry: A Being Guarding the Entrance to a Martian Canyon."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Labyrinth Lord!

Labyrinth Lord game from last week. Fighting rock goblins on the ledge of a tower in a vast underground cavern...

Monster Manual - The music video

Jason of Star Command

Yes - that is James Doohan there at the end. For some reason, though, this Lou Scheimer masterpiece never caught on as well as Star Trek. Scheimer et al. went on from Jason of Star Command to make He-Man.

Ed Emshwiller. 1958. Rat in the Skull

Worlds of If cover by Ed Emshwiller, 1958. Perfect! Emsh's style got more crazy and psychedelic in the 1960s with his Ace paperbacks - all very cool!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Frank R. Paul - End of the world

Amazing Frank R Paul Amazing Stories cover. One of the best and earliest images of worlds colliding.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Jack Gaughan - Jewel of Jarhen

Great cover by Jack Gaughan from ~1974. A splendid mix of pulpy drama, otherworldly weirdness, and 60s/70s stylism.

Erol Otus

A Ghoul (top) and a Grippli (bottom)... AD&D Monster Card illustrations by Erol Otus c. 1981. Wonderfully evocative of the warm and lazy afternoons of my youth spent with polyhedral dice and graph paper.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tomorrow and Beyond - 1978 - David Schleinkofer