The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars is now available!The original publication of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland's manuscript to fit GDW's adventure format. The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the "author's cut" of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!
Old news is still available on the News Page.
Although almost five years has passed since the release of the last issue of the Ether Society News (ESN), there has been little change in the general state of Space: 1889 affairs. The most notable event: GDW, the publisher of Space: 1889, is no longer in business. The rights to Space: 1889 have reverted to Frank Chadwick. There are no ongoing efforts to re-publish the game at this time. In fact, given the poor commercial performance of Space: 1889 the first time around it is unlikely that distributors would even be interested. Maybe with a name change?
As for the Space: 1889 movie mentioned several times previously in ESN, Anders International continues to show an interest. They recently renewed their licensing agreement, and continue to pursue motion picture and television development. However, there is no indication they are any closer to production than before.
One bright spot in the Space: 1889 world is the continuing development of the Game Tech line of miniatures for Sky Galleons of Mars. They now have over thirty different ships in their product line, with a mix of many different nationalities. You can see the catalog and pictures of the ships at the following website:
All of the back issues of Transactions of the Royal Martian Geographical Society (TRMGS) are now in print again through the kind offices of Heliograph, Inc. Published in two handsome volumes, they include a new introduction by yours truly, new art and illustrations, and copies of the TRMGS guides to Space: 1889 products and to Space: 1889 articles published in Challenge magazine. Order your copy today here!
Finally, TRMGS is a going publication again. Of course you knew that already, since you found this article. Anyway, we'll be putting out an article a week as long as Heliograph lets us, and you can look forward to a hard copy reprint in mid-2000 of our new material as TRMGS volume 3.
Ever wonder what folks in the 19th century thought dinosaurs looked like? William Tozier sent me the following suggestion for those who would like to find out.
"In order to help your players think like Victorians, may I recommend the excellent (though slightly dry) Scenes from Deep Time : Early Pictorial Representations of the Prehistoric World by Martin J. S. Rudwick, available through amazon.com. This is a scholarly work focusing for the most part on the representation
and illustration of palaeontological discoveries in the Times of Our Mutual Interest. I happily read our local lending library's copy some months ago, and found it pleasantly diverting. Included in the text are explicit listings of the misapprehensions of early palaeographic conjectures, not least of which is the matter of the iguanadon's thumb."
Caleb Carr, The Alienist
_________, The Angel of Darkness
_________, The Devil Soldier
Caleb Carr is the object of my envy - a historian who has become a best-selling author. The Alienist, his best known work, was on the New York Times bestseller list for months, rather a surprising performance for such a long, densely written novel about murder in the late 19th century. Despite its daunting length (over 700 pages), there is much here for the 19th century roleplayer, mostly because Carr does a good job of getting his facts straight.
The Alienist is a solid psychological thriller. The title comes from the term used to describe psychologists in the late 19th century. The plot focuses on the search for a deranged murderer who is terrorizing New York City. The murders are ultimately solved by a group of player characters - there really is no other way to describe the group of individuals whose actions are the center of the novel. A well-connected journalist, a liberated female woman about town, a psychologist who specializes in criminal behavior (the alienist of the title), twin Jewish police detectives, and so on. Any roleplayer will find the mix of characters and the way they work together familiar.
The core of the novel is how the group goes about solving the crime using essentially 20th century criminological methods, methods that were just on the edge of introduction in the late 19th century. Forensic evidence, especially psychological evidence, turns out to be key.
Of course, there is more to the novel than that. Carr takes us on a tour of New York, lets us meet some historic figures (most notably Teddy Roosevelt), and makes reference to then-current social trends and technological changes. All in all it is rather well done, though there is one section towards the middle of the book where the psychologist explains his methods in a long speech that just about bores the reader to tears as it goes on for page after page (note: plow through - it does get better).
The Angel of Darkness is a sequel to The Alienist, uses the same cast of characters in the same way, and does much the same workmanlike job. In contrast to the first book, the characters travel outside of New York to other cities in the Empire State, but other than that it is pretty much the same plot and content as the first book. Both are well worth reading for anyone interested in this period, particularly those who want to learn more about urban New York.
In contrast to the other two books, The Devil Soldier is a conventional historical treatment of the life of Frederick Townsend Ward, an American mercenary soldier who fought for the emperor of china during the Taiping rebellion. Although the period covered is the 1860s, there is much here of interest to the roleplayer, especially for those interested in military affairs on the Mars of Space: 1889. This is a convoluted and fascinating story, and Ward is a strange man, to put it mildly. As a result, the book provides all sorts of plot ideas of how a human mercenary might make his way working for a Martian Prince. Highly recommended.
Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:52:00 EDT