In this issue
As 2020 draws to a close, we want to say thank you to all of our loyal readers. This has been a year like no other, the sort of tale for which you sincerely hope no sequel will ever be made. It appears that we'll turn the corner on the virus, and with luck, on the economy. There's more to do, on climate action, on equality, on moving from discord to discourse in our public forums. Perhaps this is the year we can say we made a start on those.
Whatever you celebrate – and we have readers all over the world, so we know that includes Christmas, Hanukka, 正月, the solstice, and probably Beltane as well — we wish you the very best of fortune in the new year.
As a gift for the end of the year, I've written a new short story in the world of Knots. Escher and Emeline have brought a tree into the house to decorate, and Trefoil the cat must investigate, of course. There's something not quite right about this tree — they've brought trouble into the house along with it. It's up to Trefoil to guard the house against the mayhem that ensues. If he doesn't get put outside first.
One of the enduring themes of science fiction has always been that one day humankind will leave its home on earth and expand into the cosmos. We will explore and colonize the moon, nearby planets and then make our way to ever more distant destinations. As we grow and learn from our experiences, our technology becomes more sophisticated, allowing ever grander endeavors.
Many board games tell stories; there is a genre of games that seek to capture the wonder and glory of an epic future as humans leave home and reach for the stars. Players can run their own tabletop space program, competing against rivals in a long-term race across the solar system and beyond. The games employ realistic technology and present players with risks extrapolated from known science. At the lighter end of the spectrum, games are abstract, accessible, and easy to learn and play. At the higher end, you might feel they require an astrophysics degree, needing mastery of complex rules and taking a dozen hours or more to complete a single game.
SpaceCorp weighs in near the lighter end. Players control corporations that explore and expand across space in search of success and profit. The game plays out over three eras: first the inner solar system, then the outer solar system, and finally the nearest stars. Each era plays differently as technology evolves and history unfolds. Players vie for cards that grant them the technologies to build the spacecraft, equipment, buildings, and breakthroughs to try to be the first to colonize or develop new areas. No prior understanding of spaceflight or planetary science is required. Still, by the end of the game, players will come face-to-face with concepts such as overcoming gravity fields, the benefits of Lagrange points, strengths and weaknesses of different types of propulsion, dangers of radiation in deep space, and the thrill of discovering life on other worlds. Technology increases dramatically from era to era. There is a real sense of growing, building, and expanding, with difficult choices to make along the way.
Learn more about SpaceCorp and check out some longer text and video reviews at BoardGameGeek.com
Knots is a compelling story filled with unexpected characters, plot twists, literal location twists, mystery and redemption.
It's rare to find a story that defies convention/formulae and confidently goes where it needs to go.
Loved the book and the writing style such as the excerpts from the archives that connects back to the story (or maybe even to real world events).Buy on Bookshop.org amazon
This book delighted on so many levels. It's smart, insightful, and wise. The many passages I highlighted are to remind myself how to be a better person.
... this story bolstered my faith that someone can still write decent sci-fi.
This story contains all you expect from SciFi: alien creatures, epic battles, and strange worlds; but even more it's a story about the best in people, whether human or otherwise.Buy on Bookshop.org amazon