Τρίτη, 17 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

What I think About Stuff-Next Year in Review (a 2014 Futurospective)

“Lemme tell you about the future. The future is just as shit as the present and twice more shit than the past”

2013 was a fucking disappointment on so many levels. We got out next generation games, our top-notch superhero movies (except for the shit ones where Christopher Nolan had a part), we got the Chinese on the Moon, we got drawing of dongs by virtue of remote-controlled treads on Mars but we also got a fascist party in the Greek Parliament, we mourned the loss of science fiction greats like Iain M. Banks, Syria was enveloped in a gruesomely bloody civil war, children die in their dozens by lead poisoning as a result of shitty  working conditions as gold miners and Slavoj Zizek became a pop culture icon, for re-examining American cinema through the dusty, red-tinted glasses of Stalinist political theory.

If your shitty political theory ended up killing twenty million people and driving them to the extremes of poverty the first time, then try again.

But you’re not here to read about terrible stuff, now. What you want to read is my little bit of augury, about the new vidyagames and movies that are coming out next year! So y’all best get good and fucked up on peyote and have your significant other strap you on your safety chair, cause we’re going future-surfing!

Movies I won’t Watch and Games I won’t Play-A Shapescapes 2014 futurospective.

FOR OPTIMAL VIEWING Adjust screen brightness until the screaming cockroaches in the background are barely visible.

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Δευτέρα, 9 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Games from the Multiverse-Beyond: Two Souls

The mess to outhype and outproduce the Dr Who 50th anniversary special…

Games From The Multiverse-Beyond: Two Souls

DISCLAIMER: In light of this being my 150th post, I have decided to epxeriment with podcasting this very same article. If you think it sucks, let me know and simply click on the title to read it, instead! Intro music mashup courtesy of Fotis Wiz Frikiman Kyriazidis

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Τρίτη, 3 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

What I Think About Stuff-The 10 Things I wish someone had told me when I decided to become a writer

Damn, is that romantic approach so full of shit...

Ah, the joys of writing! Sitting down at a vintage typewriter, as the camera pans out to show your old, dusty room, bookshelves crammed with literary heroes as the rain and the wind rattle your windows and the electrical bills pile up under the door. The infinite joys of seeing your name in print; a publication among your chosen genre’s greats! A movie deal, just around the corner! Baying fangirls (or fanboys) clustered around your coffee shop! Sounds good, doesn’t it? Except it’s not, not really…

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Παρασκευή, 29 Νοεμβρίου 2013

What I Think About Stuff-Why Hans Zimmer needs to be smacked in the face (guest article by Fotis Wiz Frikiman Kyriazidis)

Well, besides the obvious reason: he DOES appear to have a very punchable face.

Greetings, Shapescapers! In this post, I'm going to rant about today's most overrated film composer, the one and only Hans “BWOOOMMM” Zimmer.

This guy has become a celebrity among composers, having achieved a god-like status by fanboys who feed on anything even remotely “epic” sounding. I'm about to discuss some of the uglier truths about his more recent output and focus on the drivel that he has churned out for the Christopher Nolan films, which (in a just and caring Universe) should have destroyed his career instead of raising his popularity.

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Σάββατο, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Capes & Clockwork-An interview with Robert J. Krog

Robert Krog: Weaver of Worlds, Caretaker of Orchards and all around stand-up dude

With me today is Robert J. Krog, a family man, a certified, lawn care, spray tech, and above all, a writer. I see that you like asking people why do they write, so I think I should take it in another direction and ask: why don't you stop writing? What's that thing that makes you want to sit down on your keyboard and come up with worlds?
I don’t stop writing, because if I did, I’d just be a Walter Mitty, and I can’t stand the thought.  I also have a little arrogance in me that tells me I’m a pretty good writer and maybe it’s what God put me here to do.  If so, I’m not carrying out the duty all that well, but I try.  I’m a natural daydreamer, much like Walter Mitty, and the stories and other worlds come to be whenever my hands are busy, but my mind is free.  It seems a shame to waste them all.  I probably let two or three stories die, unwritten every day, but some, I hold onto, take notes for and attempt to get down in full.  Some of these even see publication somewhere, sometimes.  I won’t say I’m compelled or unable to stop, but it does feel that way at times. 
I actually have tried to stop a few times, tried to give it up as futile, and failed.  I’m nearly forty, and my first story, excepting a couple of bits in the high school literary journal, didn’t see print until just four years ago.  That’s a long time to go unpublished and not give up.  My natural thought patterns are stories and essays.  I’m not sure how I’d change that, but I wouldn’t want to try.  I love storytelling.  

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Παρασκευή, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2013

What I think About Stuff-Capes & Clockwork Mega-Interview

Spandex and Steam and Ether and Lead-Spitting repeaters. This…is Capes & Clockwork.

What I think About Stuff-Capes & Clockwork Mega-Interview

A while ago, I stumbled on a submissions call for an anthology called Capes & Clockwork. The idea of getting to write a story about steampunk superheroes was more than a welcome challenge, but getting my stuff accepted in it? Hot diggity damn.

Artist’s reproduction of my victory dance

In the interest of getting to brag about this instance of excellent news, I have decided (after some careful consideration) to get you, the reader, to know some of the people behind the awesome stories in this. And while my original intention was to get every single one of the good people in this anthology in one room and shine a cold, hard light on each of their faces as I bombarded them with questions, circumstances forced me to adopt an entirely different approach:

The classy kind.

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Σάββατο, 21 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

The Glass-Dad

The hardest part about losing your dad is when your mom just can’t be a grown up about it. It’s even worse when she tries to replace him.

I look at the glass-dad with the transparent head sitting on the kitchen table and I daren’t even come in so I can get my cereal. My belly’s rumbling as I look at the waffles going cold on the table, but I won’t touch them, because I know that its microscopic camera-lens eyes are looking at them.

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Σάββατο, 7 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

What I think About Stuff-Red Phone Box Review

And old thing, out of its appointed time and place, marooned in the 21st century…

What I Think About Stuff-Red Phone Box, or I know I’m not supposed to call it an Anti-TARDIS, but I’m gonna anyway.

There was this game I used to play a lot in High School, called Exquisite Corpse. For those of you unfamiliar the rules, it kinda goes like this:

Dude A writes a short story that’s about anything. Strippers with hearts of depleted uranium, robot-children on their way to Mars or a boring pencil-pusher in Hell. He then passes it on to Lass B, who continues the story based only on the last line of Dude A’s story. The result (provided the people you are playing with aren’t a bunch of boring-as-fuck squares) is usually magnificent

Or hints at the summoning of an ancient fertility-god via a human vessel somehow. Hilarity ensues.

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Κυριακή, 18 Αυγούστου 2013

What I Think About Stuff-From Post Apocalypse to Post Misery

Ain’t no party like an “Everybody’s dead” party

What I Think About Stuff-From Post-Apocalypse to Post-Misery

The idea of the end of the world and the annihilation of our species (along with everything else) is nothing new to fiction. As a matter of fact, the end of the world has been a staple of human civilization since the time of the Babylonians, who were the first to annihilate the world by floods, barely a few thousand years into the birth of civilization.

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Σάββατο, 3 Αυγούστου 2013

Shapescapes goes on Hiatus

Cover by Lionel Liko Kokkinis
That's right, Shapescapes is going on a bit of a hiatus from now on. The reason is depicted above, this being a novel that is currently in progress, which is taking up most of my time. That and the fact that I'm swamped with work, so I can't guarantee regular Saturday updates.

What will the book be about? I think an excerpt is in order.

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Σάββατο, 27 Ιουλίου 2013

The Mother of Monsters

Based on an image By Josef Fadel Simon

Behold Her, the Mother of Monsters
born of the Primordial Abyss and the First Winter

I remember my birth quite vividly: the sliding down the fleshy tunnel from where I was created, born from mortal seed and her blasphemous egg. I remember how I screamed, when I beheld the light for the first time, as I was dragged by pious men out into the world above.

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Σάββατο, 20 Ιουλίου 2013


THE TOY OF THE FUTURE, TODAY! (created by Spiros Meander Makridakis)

Heeeeeey kids!

Are you tired of your old toys? Bored of having to do all the work for them on playtime? Do regular robots disappoint you? Had enough of those same old transforming tricks?

Well have we got a treat for you! Introducing SINGULARIT-O, the toy of the future! What can it do that other toys can’t I hear you ask? Why , SINGULARIT-O is equipped with a highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence, allowing him to not only take initiative for any game, but also to do a number of things!

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Παρασκευή, 12 Ιουλίου 2013

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, Part 14-Machinations of the Space Princess

 MotSP-making balls-to-the-wall space opera action sexy again.

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation-Machinations of the Space Princess or Faster than the speed of awesome.

It takes a lot to sell me on a science fiction role-playing game. Sure, I love science fiction as a genre; in fact, I find it to be the most thought-provocative and entertaining medium in all of fiction

Mostly because its best and greatest examples involve predicting the madcap world of tomorrow that’s just around the corner.

But its representatives in tabletop roleplaying have been-in my experience-inadequate at best. This could be because I live in a country where D&D and its clones are mostly the only games in town (with the exception of WoD, for which I do not care for) but also because most of the science fiction rpgs I have come across so far have been huge, convoluted disappointments.

It would take a long for a science fiction rpg to sell me (especially in my current, overworked, grumpy state). It’d have to be easy on the uptake, lighter than a feather rules-wise and above all, fun. Which is why when I first encountered Machinations of the Space Princess, I did so with considerable prejudice. 

About 40 pages into it, I was so glad James Desborough had made me feel like a dick over my (unfounded) preoccupation. I couldn’t put the book down and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself taking down notes, modifying my Stormtroopers On The Lam campaign idea to fit it into the overall universe and philosophy of Machinations.

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Σάββατο, 29 Ιουνίου 2013

Movies from the Multiverse-Captain Planet

So yeah, this is the creepiest thing I’ve seen all week…

Movies From the Multiverse-Captain Planet

I used to be in love with the idea of gritty remakes of good, old-fashioned kid’s shows. I used to laugh at the murderous little shock skits of Robot Chicken, where the Hanna Barbera characters would turn into serial killers and I died laughing when I saw the Batman-gets-his-spine-broken gag on the DC comics special.

It very nearly ruined Dark Kinght Returns for me, to be honest. Couldn’t stop singing the jig whenever Bane did something badass.

But I got pretty sick of it, really fast, mostly because Hollywood has become drunk off its pornography of pessimism, counting on shock value and nostalgia to produce dark, grimy movies with no entertainment value beyond the first screening. However, as this trend does not show any real signs of waning, I have chosen to place my two cents on the Internet, in the vain hope that maybe I can make abuse a franchise that has so far eluded any attempts to remake it, mostly due to its overwhelming cheesiness.

With that in mind, I give you:

The Shapescapes Captain Planet Grim and Gritty Remake:

Cue over-produced chorus remake of the Captain planet theme song

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Παρασκευή, 21 Ιουνίου 2013

What i Think About Stuff-Man Of Steel


What I Think About Stuff-Man Of Steel

Disclaimer: This is not strictly a review, but more of a short presentation on my opinion on Man Of Steel. If you were looking for a comprehensive analysis on the movie, then you won’t find it here. What you WILL find is the opinion of a Superman nerd on the latest movie. For a complete take-down, visit Rhamy Payne’s Cross-Up blog and follow his blow-by-blow analysis of the film’s flaws.

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Παρασκευή, 14 Ιουνίου 2013

Imperium Reginae, Part Two-Races of the Empire

Life begets life, begets intelligence.
Imperium Reginae, Part Two-Races of the Empire

The Austro-Russian Empire spans four planets, each brimming with life. Its subjects range from plain old, boring humanity to the Elves and Drow of Selene to even the alien Rakasha of Agathodaimon.
But what is the role and function of each of intelligent race of the Empire? How do they fit in the greater scheme of things? What is their position and function? In the interest of avoiding going into too much detail, I will instead provide a rough guide to the class and caste distinction of Imperial Society.

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Παρασκευή, 7 Ιουνίου 2013

Mister Patches

My grandma gave me Mister Patches when I was just four years old and still afraid of the dark.

“Just hold it close when the lights go out and make sure you don’t let go” she’d whispered in my ear, as she handed me the disheveled teddy bear. Mister Patches was a veteran of two World Wars, and it showed: he had a button for an eye and a square of tricolette fabric on his belly. He had plaid armpits and the ends of his feet were clad in felt. His smile was crooked, the black thread that originally outlined his mouth long since torn, replaced halfway through by a bright blue thread. It made his mouth look funny, like he was smiling two different kinds of smiles:

“One” my grandma said, pointing at the black-thread half “is for children that have good-dreams. The other” she turned Mister Patches, showing the mad zig-zag of blue “is for bogeymen, which Mister Patches eats.”

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Παρασκευή, 31 Μαΐου 2013

Imperium Reginae, Part One

Orbs spinning in the void, kept in line by ruthless gravity

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation-Imperium Reginae (a bare-bones attempt at creating a steampunk setting)

I was never really partial to steampunk. Not because I found the genre to be beneath me, but because when you’ve been raised on a steady diet of British trip-your-balls-off science fiction and Japanese psychic supermen, well…

You can’t exactly go back to pretending like you give a damn about Star Trek

But steampunk (for all the unnecessary goggles, dials and cogs that it has added to perfectly functional designs), has also added a great deal of awesome to pop culture, the kind that you can’t exactly shrug off and pretend like it doesn’t exist. It bridges fantasy and science fiction in that very special, bullshit science kind of way that I have come to respect and admire.

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Σάββατο, 25 Μαΐου 2013

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, Part 13-Sexy In Spandex (short)

I’m only eating this dude because he’s EVIL! What? Eating people’s wrong now? Oh screw you, society, screw you!

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, Part 13 (shortie)-Sexy In Spandex

I was always curious as to why almost every attempt of mine to run anything other than a fantasy campaign failed so utterly. It took me about ten years before I made an honest, earnest attempt at setting up an overarching plot, devoting all my brainjuice into this singular act of weaving a long-running supers story and two years before I could properly run it, before I realized what I had been doing wrong.

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Τετάρτη, 22 Μαΐου 2013


Intelligent, Playful, Resourceful Jar-Pet For Adoption!

Are you a busy, energetic person with too much responsibility and too little time on their hands? Do you feel like a regular pet requires too much care for you to handle? Thankfully, I have the solution!
The Jar-Pet is the kind of pet that’s a perfect fit for your everyday life! A chance for you to both be a pet owner and focus on your career at the same time! What’s a Jar-Pet, you’ll ask? It’s the answer to your prayers!

I found my Jar-Pet in my home’s cellar, where it had been abandoned by its previous owner, mere days before the tragic death of himself and his family. Upon discovering it, I realized that it was very intelligent, conversant and highly adaptable. The Jar-Pet is fluent in a number of languages (a number of them, I was later informed, long since dead) and has knowledge of a number of subjects, up to (and including) extinct culture customs!

But that’s not all there is to the perks of a Jar-Pet! The Jar-Pet is also highly resilient and can subsist for weeks without food, air or water. It is highly resistant to harm and also immune to standard pet diseases, requiring no vaccination whatsoever! It requires absolutely no care, except for occasional mental stimulation (a mutually beneficial arrangement!).

It is important to mention, however, that at no time are you to remove the Jar-Pet from its container (which is provided FOR FREE). The Jar-pet is resourceful and may immediately seek shelter in a hard-to-reach area of the house, where it might nest, thus becoming a nuisance! 

Interested in adopting a Jar-Pet? Then call the number below!

WARNING: The Jar-Pet is not intended to be owned by, or exposed to, children. It must not be kept in a room containing -or exposed to- religious symbols. Owners of the Jar-Pet accept full responsibility for its dietary needs at the moment of adoption. Should the Jar-Pet nest and/or breed inside a tenement the previous owner holds no responsibility toward its actions. The previous owner cannot be held accountable for any injury or loss of human life caused by the Jar-Pet.

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Σάββατο, 18 Μαΐου 2013

What I Think About Stuff-Y the Last Man Review

Yorick Brown, hard at work trying not to look like he’s taking a shit.

What I Think About Stuff-Y The Last Man

I don’t like Y the Last Man.

But it’s the feminist comic book epic of the decade, effenti!

Yes. I know. And I don’t like it. To be honest, I didn’t not enjoy it because it was poorly written, or because the premise offended my overly masculine sensibilities or because its art was shit or even because the comic book failed miserably at bringing its point across. This is not at all the case.

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Πέμπτη, 16 Μαΐου 2013

Foundation Initiation, Take One


"You were chosen" the man with the sandpaper-on-marble voice said between drags of his cigarette "because you survived."

"You saw the things that dwelt inside and beside and within reality, or you looked too closely into the places where the universe burst at the seams or you crossed into the wrong time through the wrong place, but you made it through. Whether by luck, ability or sheer bloody minded determination, you're here because you came out of something that defied understanding, sanity or the fundamental laws of physics without losing your minds."

The man with the sandpaper-on-marble voice stopped, flicked the ash from his cigarette and let out a steady stream of smoke from his nostrils, furnace-thick and acrid.

"You were dragged from the ruins of your life, torn and bloodied, screaming obscenities at your Gods, thinking that it was God's will or doing that brought you there, to the wasteland of mind and memory.

"It wasn't. It was terror and tragedy that had been transmitted into the fabric of your lives in indecipherable tongues that you could never even comprehend, never mind translate or understand.

"You were ants caught in a flash flood, that crawled into the mud and hid, as your world was swept away in the dark, screaming."

The man coughed once, then flicked his cigarette in the nether regions off-screen.

"That is no longer the case."

The reel ended without fanfare or ritual. There was only the sound of old film, whipping itself in the reel like an old Flagellant, whipping the skin off his back out of habit, his God's wrath long since abated. There was the whisper of silk, polyester and cotton on skin as the assorted men and women rustled uneasily in their seats and the nervous, repeated flicks of lighters as their owners seeked to conjure flame.

There was a 60-second silence that seemed to last forever. It was the doctor's words that broke the spell, his four-word incantation:

"Welcome to the Foundation"

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Σάββατο, 11 Μαΐου 2013

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, Part 12-Chillin wit' Da Villains

I find your lack of phat beats…disturbing.

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, Part 12-Chillin’ Like Villains

In the previous installment of the series, I detailed a few stepw toward generating a campaign villain: a creature that, despite its complexities and motivations, is wholly and utterly commandeered and controlled by you, the Storyteller, for the duration of the campaign.

Fellow redittor MetaMeh commented on last week’s article, proposing I focus on giving some tips (or more specifically, my own ideas) on handling the dynamics of more than one villains. As this is a subject that requires almost an entire thesis on its presentation and handling, I have instead chosen to take the easier road and try to address something that, again, focuses on a number of evil people, but does not require any in-depth look into campaign dynamics.

In short, evil characters.

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Σάββατο, 4 Μαΐου 2013

Why Haven't You read This? Part 4-I Can't do this Rhyming Shit Anymore

First Google result when you type ‘read’ that’s not a stock photo. The internet IS marvelous.

Why Haven’t You Read This? Part 4-Can’t do this rhyming shit anymore

Moving on to cheap entertainment alternatives on the Internet that aren’t cat videos (and are in fact, more than competent works of fiction), here’s the 4th installment to cheap, awesome stuff you can find online for free!

But before we move on, a quick nod to fellow scifi nerd and reviewer, Rusty Keele, who has done me the huge favor of letting me do short science fiction story reviews on his website, Bestsciencefictionstories.com. By the time you’re reading this, Rusty, it will be the 1-year anniversary of our collaboration! I’d buy you dinner, dude, but since we’re both at either ends of the planet, here’s a cool robot that’s flying above the Earth!

There’s a lady riding on top of it, but you’re the pilot!

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Παρασκευή, 26 Απριλίου 2013

Movies from the Multiverse-Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Always wanted to do that…

Movies from the Multiverse-Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I don’t know about you guys, but I loved the Mummy Movies (1&2 that is). They were cheesy, they were dumb but above all, they were entertaining as all Hell. The Mummy 2 especially was knee-slappingly hilarious, with its attempt to create a mythos that would, in turn, spawn a franchise but remaining above all competent at its attempt to carry a pretty straightforward narrative across.

Oh sure, it made a bunch of Egyptians and Egyptiologists mad and probably got Tutankhamen rolling in his grave, but those were the party-poopers that probably laughed along with everyone else when Xena: Warrior Princess took a major dump all over Greek Mythology, thereby rendering me oblivious to their collective butthurt.

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Σάββατο, 20 Απριλίου 2013

Human Slaves Of An Insect Nation, Part 11-Villainin'

Pitch-black schemes hatched in pitch-black depths, by ArchAngel73

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, Part 11-Villainin’

A good friend of mine once said, as I was busy explaining to him my outline of Prototype’s plot in a manner that made its story appear, at the very least, competent, that…

‘Villains are important, dude. They like, make up for half the game.’

Needless to say, this was the sort of casual use of ABSOLUTE NARRATIVE WISDOM that occasionally grips my friends mid-conversation that just stuck in my brain and gave me the burning desire to elaborate on.

Of course, my constant attempts to bring back this spark of cosmic epiphany to my friend, failed; the bastard, after dispensing his bit, had left me to do the heavy lifting.

That was two years ago.

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Σάββατο, 13 Απριλίου 2013

Argo by Vasileios Kalampakas

Under the harsh light of an alien world...

The sound of small, shuffling feet roused Penthesileia from an uneasy, troubled sleep.

She rolled to the other side of her bed and slowly opened her eyes; she saw Heraclea standing by
the bedside in the dim blueish light of the glowstrips. The child’s face was pale white and taut
with fright. Her mouth was half-open, as if her scream had been sucked into the silent void.

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