in the air -- they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build,
too. --Henrik Ibsen
Long before I started selling anything, I wrote
background material. Lots of it, for my own amusement. I'm still in the
habit of doing so before getting into a writing project but I've learned
to not inflict the research on my readers where it isn't necessary. So I
usually have a variety of bits and bobs left over from things I publish.
But on the theory that some people might want to see them, err,
here's some of it:
It's been quite a while since I updated this site,
partly because much of what I had to say was being posted on my LiveJournal, linked below.
However, development is now nearly complete (barring art
and layout, with which I have little to do), and the book -- Sword Worlds, formerly known as At Sword's Point, formerly known as On the Edge -- has been formally
announced by Steve Jackson Games.
You can see the announcement,
and the lovely
cover by Wayne
I have another Traveller project on the go right now,
but it's under the wraps of an NDA for now. To the extent that I can
discuss it, the development blog is still a going concern, and I also
blather on about other things to fill the time. Doesn't that sound
400 Starship Names
This started out a while ago because I was always
running to a variety of sources for naming the space ships in my
Traveller writing. After a while I just decided to pull them all into
one place. After that I decided
to make it generally available for download. 400 Starship Names is the result.
I've released it to the public domain, so
feel free to download it, place it on your own site, give it away,
enhance it with more names and rename it 500 Starship Names, light it on
fire...you get the picture.
Antares Sector Downloads
A lot of what I do is set in Antares sector of the
Traveller universe. Before really getting going on that I spent several
weeks cleaning up the Sunbane
data for it (particularly the names -- blech). These are the
files I use when trolling around for a world to write up (a la Corolane, Sarrebinor, Ogguengan, or Yarkand). I don't
wed myself to the Core data's UWPs, but I try to stick to them as much
as I can without breaking the story I have in mind. The fruits of this
...And JTAS is
the primary outlet for writing in the Traveller universe. They've had
the good taste to print most of my paying pieces of work, so they get
their own page of related items. Head this way for a list of free downloads that relate to articles they've
Esterna is a fantasy setting with (as always for me)
realism and originality as the goals. As realistic as you can get with
magic and gods and undead, anyway. I can't stand the way the cold hand
Tolkien has lain on fantasy for the last fifty years -- no fault of
Tolkien's, but there's not been a lot since that isn't feeding on his
literary corpse. Esterna deliberately has no elves, or dwarfs, or
dragons. I've also shifted the time period forward a bit, to something
like the mid-14th century rather than bog-standard quasi-medieval.
Cannon have been invented in living memory, and a few people are
starting to look out into the ocean and wonder what might be there.
This is the setting I've been working on the longest,
with elements of it stretching back ten years or more. Most of the work
was done a few years back, but I'm in the process of updating it and
extending it with the knowledge and skills I've gained in the last
couple of years. "Good enough for now, going to get better".
Hans Explains Everything
One of my co-authors, Hans Rancke-Madsen, has written a
document explaining the basics of the Traveller universe, the area
around Regina in the Spinward Marches, and some basics about the space
transport company Oberlindes Lines as a quick-and-dirty campign starter.
You can see this
document in HTML format. A link to a downloadable Word version of
the page can be found there are well.
I've an abiding interest in the vagaries of history,
despite Harry Turtledove's recent best efforts to ruin it. As well as
fiddling endlessly with a crosstime setting (not currently available
on-line), I engage in AAR writing. That's short for "After Action
Report" and, while not peculiar to Paradox Games products, the term has
been co-opted to mean "an alternative history based on a playthrough of
one of their games -- Europa Universalis 2, Hearts of Iron, or Victoria.
Recently Paradox changed their copyright policy so that they owned AARs
posted to there rather than the author, so I've started sticking my
pieces up here.
Also see my one published alternate history, Taxila, on the Pyramid
What Paul's Reading
The Quantity Theory of Insanity,
Will Self. A writer I've been meaning to read for ages, I came across
this one in the remainder bin and no longer had any excuses. This is his
first book, a collection of four long short stories, vaguely
interconnected. Self is an erdudite and very funny Englishman with a
truly jaundiced view on the world that keeps his books from being of the
laugh-out-loud variety. Most of this book is set in the odd world of
psychiatry and mental institutions, and he gets one wincing as often as
laughing -- and usually both at the same time, as befits the best satire.