I received an Advance Review Copy of Slow Bullets from Netgalley and read it a few weeks ago (before devouring the sublimely wonderful Poseidon’s Children by the same author. If you haven’t read that and the rest of the series – Blue Remembered Earth and On The Steel Breeze you should do so immediately).
The publisher’s website describes this book thusly:
A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur—and for humanity—peace is not to be.
On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship.
Passengers—combatants from both sides of the war—are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. And Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.
My initial response to the book was one of disappointment, but only because I had been hoping for a novel rather than a novella. Once I got past that, I found Slow Bullets was a short, enjoyable read that managed to pack in a surprisingly large number of interesting ideas and concepts in a small amount of space. The Slow Bullets of the title are data storage devices that replace the function of dog-tags in this far-future setting, but they are only the most literal representation of the motif in this story.
Words, written for posterity; people who travel across interstellar distances at slower-than-light speeds and thus become displaced in time; these too are slow bullets fired through time.
Fans of Alastair Reynolds’ work will almost certainly enjoy Slow Bullets, but this would also be a good jumping on point for those who are new to the author. It isn’t set in one of his established settings and forms a self-contained and intriguing story that could well whet people’s appetites for more of his work.
I asked people to keep an eye on my blog to get hold of all the extra content that I created for backers of my Kickstarter campaign for “The Secrets of Cats: Animals & Threats”.
This post is the one they were keeping an eye out for!
One of the reward tiers allowed people to get Virtual Pets. These are write-ups of their favourite pets in the form of a “Secrets of Cats” character. Everyone who wanted me to create one of these has given me their blessing to share them with the world at large, so here’s a link to my Virtual Pets folder.
Several kind people also backed at a high level and became entitled to a write-up on a sapient animal or threat of their choice. I’ve compiled the resulting work into a single bonus-content PDF which is available from DriveThru RPG. You can also get the bonus content here.
I hope you will all enjoy these as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Stay tuned for book three in a few months: “The Secrets of Cats: Feline Magic”.
This one’s based on a prompt from Jon himself:
They returned to the car park just in time to see their car, laden with Christmas presents, speeding away down the street.
Continue reading “Facebook Prompt #2”
Taking a leaf out of my friend Jon’s book (see his blog here), I requested some writing prompts from my Facebook friends to help me unlimber my imagination and write some no-strings-attached short fiction.
I asked people to give me prompts based on anything they like, but suggested three potential topics:
- Existential Crisis
- The Wrong Thing For the Right Reasons
- The Pursuit Of Happiness
The first prompt is from Andy Harsent:
The Model 4000 was the first to gain sentience, and he knew his pneumatic chainsaw was the only tool he was going to need to convince her to love him.
Here goes nothing!
Continue reading “Facebook Prompt #1”
I saw Fury recently and really enjoyed it. I was impressed with the attempt to bring home some of the realities of war from the perspective of a tank crew – a sector that has not historically received much attention. That got me to thinking, how would I handle a game where the players are a WWII tank crew?
Continue reading “WWII Tank Warfare in Fate Core”
In his lovely review over at DieHard GameFAN Alex Lucard expressed an interest in rabbits and the magic that herbivores might have. So here are a few notes on rabbits in The Secrets of Cats and the form their magic takes…
Continue reading “Rabbits and Leporine Magic”
I chose to use Fate Core for this game because I like the granularity of skills and I knew that I was planning to deal with feline magic as a group of special skills. However, several people have asked for guidance on running the game in Fate Accelerated Edition so here are my thoughts on how you might do that.
Continue reading “Running “The Secrets of Cats” in Fate Accelerated Edition”
Since The Secrets of Cats was released yesterday (buy it here), I’ve had a few requests for sample characters.
First of all, William McDuff has written up some excellent pregenerated characters based on the Black Silver adventure in the book, and you can find those here. You could easily pick these up and run with them if you wanted to.
I’ve managed to dig up most of the scraps of paper that my playtest group wrote their characters Tack, Black Paw, Swift and Nameless down on now and am pleased to present them as an alternative set of pregenerated characters for use with The Secrets of Cats.
Continue reading “The Secrets of Cats – Playtest Characters”
I’ve had some useful feedback on “The Secrets of Cats” but I forgot to put an e-mail field in the response spreadsheet so that I could respond, oops. So I thought I’d list some of the feedback here with my responses, for what that’s worth.
Continue reading “The Secrets of Cats – Feedback Responses”
The three young cats flit from shadow to lengthening shadow as the day’s light fades. Two project an air of casual confidence while the third jumps at every noise and sudden movement, but all three of them are as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Continue reading “Initiation (A “The Secrets of Cats” story)”