I bet you can do something better! Douglas Berry did this cool cover for Twilight’s Peak. Bruce Johnson did this scary cover for Signal GK. What can you do with the Pulp-o-Mizer? Please place a link to your image in the comments.
Space Marines is a term that has been used in science fiction since 1932. In Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein from 1948 the term is used. Games Workshop is now going after an author (MCA Hogarth) who wrote a book called “Spots the Space Marine“.
Games Workshop needs to be stopped. A boycott was suggested by two Traveller fans at the Zhodani Base Facebook page. I hope they then will understand that they cannot hijack science fiction archetypes.
It’s easy for me to boycott GW. I haven’t bought anything from them for a long time. I hope you can do the same, and spread the word. Don’t buy anything from Games Workshop until they repent their behaviour and drop their trade mark of the term Space Marine.
Update: Good news from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The battle is won, but the war continues.
He was a huge inspiration for Traveller. One of the eight example Heroes and Villains characters in LBB Supplement-1 was based on James DiGriz from The Stainless Steel Rat. One of the nine example Heroes and Villains characters in LBB Supplement-4 was based on Jason dinAlt from the Deathworld Trilogy.
You can read or download a few of his stories for free at the Project Gutenberg.
Traveller was first published 1977, and was inspired by even older science fiction. While this means that the computer rules used in traveller might feel a bit obsolete, it also means that for some of the books it was inspired by, the copyright has expired. (The computer rules are quite easy to ignore or modify anyway, so that doesn’t matter much.)
Here is a suggestion of five books for you to download:
In Space Viking, there is a group of planets called Sword Worlds that are named after legendary swords. Doesn’t that seem familiar… The image below of the spherical ships is from the book. They look a lot like the Mercenary Cruisers from traveller.
Jason dinAlt is the hero of the Deathworld books. In the Traveller Supplement 1, 1001 Characters, you can find his stats as hero #3, the Rapscallion Gambler. Jason dinAlt is skilled in gambling and also has a psionic talent, that can help his gambling. In Traveller, gambling is a skill, and psionics isn’t impossible.
Jame Retief is a Diplomat for the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne. In Traveller Supplement 4, Citizens of the Imperium you can find his stats as hero #5.
Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.
This is one book that I know I ought to have read a lot earlier, but as always there is never time enough to do everything I want to. Since this is one of the most well known books by Heinlein I felt that I had to read it. It is also important since this is the book where the word “grok” was invented.
The first part of the book is very interesting. The human Valentine Michael Smith, who has been raised by martians has problems with the Terran humans and their rules and cultural values. The martian ways of doing things are very different. This can be an inspiration when dealing with aliens in Traveller.
The second part of the book is just a religious rambling (with lots of sex). For me this part of the book was just silly, but others have founded religions based on it.
Finally, there is the Ultra-Condensed version.
This is one of Heinlein’s so called juveniles stories. It’s about young boys training to become officers in the Interplanetary Patrol. No girls are allowed there. It’s a kind of adventure that boys in the end of the 40′s might have liked. The science is silly as well. Even when this was written, it wouldn’t have seemed likely to find intelligent beings on Mars and Venus and in the asteroid belt. I had hoped that this book was a Starship Troopers light version, but it wasn’t.
Eventhough I didn’t enjoy reading this, there was some good parts in the book. The meeting with the primitives on Venus was interesting. When it turned out that the primitives actually were the advanced venusians I thought about when I read something similar… Oh yes, is was the 2300AD adventure called “Ranger”.
I have just read 1632 and 1633 by Eric Flint. 1632 was an interesting story set in an alternative universe where a small American modern town ended up in Germany in 1632. I think the idea for this book was great, and that the story was very good. I especially like Gustavus Adolphus, and that he wasn’t killed in Lützen. (No more spoilers here…)
1633 was the next book in the series. David Weber helped Eric Flint with this book. Personally I guess that was the wrong person to pick for such a project. The main character became something of a super hero. Just like in his Harrington books. My friend Jonas, who read these books just before me had warned me about this. The book was still quite good, but not as good as 1632.
I’ll probably read some other book in the series since the setting was nice. There is also a RPG about this setting. From what I read about it, I guess that it would be better to use GURPS (or other generic rules) for this setting instead. GURPS Alternate Earths or Infinite Worlds would be helpful. Then You can use maps and ideas from the 1632 Fan Site.
Image from Wikimedia. Public Domain
I first read Dune in 1984. I liked it a lot and later read and enjoyed the five sequels.
When I read Dune and the following novels by Frank Herbert I could see where the ideas for the nobles in Traveller has got (some of) its inspiration from. I also liked the style in which these books was written, with chapters about the different adversaries that met in a confrontation in the final chapters.
Other than that there wasn’t many ideas from the books that could be used in Traveller. There are no personal shields in Traveller, nor are there any Guild monopoly for transportation, and not much cloning (with restored memories) either. But this doesn’t matter. These books are still a great source for inspiration for Traveller just because of how the nobles are describes. It is also some of the best science fiction that I have read.
Now I have read one of the new prequels called House Atreides by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. This was an interesting book written in the same style as Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. It described the intrigues of the nobility in the Dune Universe very nicely, and the book also had a good plot. Now I just must read the rest of the prequels.