Fictoplasm 2/03

Fictoplasm is a podcast about turning fiction into roleplaying games.

Ralph Lovegrove and I chat about Angela Carter’s wonderful novel The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman in the third episode of its second series:-

There’s also this great episode from the first series in which Ralph chats to Dave Morris and Tim Harford about the Lyonesse trilogy by Jack Vance:-



We’ll Always Have Paris

Matrilineal ancestors of the mother you’ve just shot in the head silently mouthing words you can no longer understand because you’ve given up all memory of your mother-tongue of Lakȟóta to the ritual to dismiss Quachil Uttaus…

Another Pillar of Sanity shattered when you realise you’ve travelled ten years into the future to witness the London blitz of 1941 and your only option is to turn back into the dread path of the Treader in the Dust…

Chanting the Hyperborean phrases gleaned from the handwritten copy of the Testament of Carnamagos bound in shagreen you retrieved from the broken-but-still-living husk of Lt Col Percival Fawcett, mapping the gestures of the dubious insignia he’d written into the endpapers of The Mummies of Mt. Ampato and East Peru (1912), gesticulating in accordance to the most secret moves of The First Temple of Umbanda Branca (1921), as you tear each never-to-be-regained memory from your colleagues to give to the approaching Outer God: It reaches out one huge hand to deliver the most despairing and meaningless gift of Immortality ever an Ape might receive…

The denouement of The Last Catalogue of Ramon Dégas did not disappoint: everyone ended in the Sanatorium. There was some discussion afterward about whether or not any of the player-characters would be in a fit state to return for our forthcoming Dreamhounds of Paris campaign.

Edward Cody will return, having lost all memory of his ancestry and the attendant meaning it gave to his existence, now engaged in a desperate bid to retrieve fragments of his preconscious memory by automatic writing; he’s been given a letter of introduction to the dream medium Robert Desnos.

“Crooked Bob” Nottingham, now bound to a wheelchair and long evenings spent alone in dusty libraries, will accompany Cody to Paris. He intends to decipher a document written in an invented language he discovered at Miskatonic University called The Society of Dreamers.

It all proved too much for dear old James William Barnes. The former rationalist and believer in scientific inquiry has founded the West Country Church of Christ Almighty and travels the by-ways and backwaters of America in a sandwich-board of corrugated iron.

Space Monkey took away the bound folder of Dreamhounds at the end of the session and was eyeing up Kiki de Montparnasse as his next player-character, remarking only that he had “lots of photos to use for inspiration.” Best not to ask.


Issue 1

Issue 1 of the fanzine Machineries of Joy is dedicated to STALKER: The SciFi Roleplaying Game by Ville Vuorela and is being distributed free of charge to the tired, the poor and the outcast.

Issue 2 will be dedicated to games from the Nørwegian Surreal and further issues to particular games or genres of game that I love.



Last night’s Stalker two-parter ended tragically with Mistral watching White Wheel spinning endlessly at the heart of an all-encompassing Black Dog and Deptford Dave realising he was a replica of himself. Next we’re going to try Dream Askew, a game I’ve wanted to play for some considerable time. The guys were picking their outfits as I left.


Europa Report

Found Footage forms the basis of this uneasy-but-interesting mixture of Spacesuit Film and Horror in SF told through the visual syntax of the drama-documentary. A series of well-designed but dramatically stilted scenes involving international crew, Captain William Xu (Wu), pilot Rosa Dasque (Marinca), science officer Daniel Luxembourg (Camargo), marine biologist Katya Petrovna (Wydra) and engineers James Corrigan (Copley) and Andrei Blok (Nyqvist) soon gives way to the depiction of the psychological impact on the Scientists of losing their Communications feed to Earth, of failing to fix the plethora of technical problems plaguing the privately-funded Europa One mission and, as the prospects of returning home diminish entirely, of each member of the crew sacrificing his or her life to preserve the data of the mission: Europa Report is in effect an attempt to dramatize the scientific method by showing its impact at the scale of the human:-

Europa Report