Friday, November 22, 2013

Commentary On The New Sci Fi Show - Helix And Some Classic Public Domain Resources For Your Old School Science Fiction Campaigns

 The Official Website

Take one part Andromeda Strain, two part The Thing By John Carpenter, and weird alien invasion virus from space then you might have Sci Fi new show ~ Helix coming in January.
 According to wiki : 
According to the SyFy Channel press release, "Helix is an intense thriller about a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic, Arctic Biosystems, to investigate a possible disease outbreak, only to find themselves pulled into a terrifying life-and-death struggle that may hold the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation. However, the lethal threat is just the tip of the iceberg, and as the virus evolves, the chilling truth begins to unravel."

 Helix looks like it travels along the same tight end bio terror and science fiction that Andromeda Strain trod so many years ago.
I don't think this will be an up date so much as a new thing.
Reading up on Helix I definitely got a bit of a Lovecraftian or John Carpenter vibe. I can honestly say that this look intriguing and weird but I can't say if it will be a classic or another Sci Fi flash in the pain. 

The Idea of the "Invaders from Outside" is both a familiar one and a terrifying one at the same time. The themes of isolation and terror within the Artic hearkens back to themes we saw and used very effectively in John Carpenter's the Thing. 

Helix could go that extra mile and offer the pandemic as well. There's elements of a mega corporation as well in the form of the 
high-tech research facility in the Arctic, Arctic Biosystems.
They sound very shadowy and slightly cyberpunky. Could they have stumbled upon the weird remains of some Lovecraftian entity or some possible relic of the Elder Things? 

Body horror and science fiction gaming have always been unsteady bed mates at the best of times. I've played in games that used this to great effect from Call of Cthulhu to D&D. Disease often makes things tricky and weird during play. Kult,even Torg pulled the balance well if A. The DM has the right mix of players and is willing to play to the audience. There are two seminal works of this genre.
At The Mountains of Madness and Who Goes There which both touch the isolation and terror that one finds in HP Lovecraft and
John W. Campbell, Jr classic. 

Read The Classic Who Goes There Right HERE
Small note many consider Who Goes There to be an uncounted Doc Savage Novel according to wiki : 
"It has been suggested by fans of pulp hero Doc Savage that Savage and the character of McReady are actually one and the same. The text describes McReady as a "bronze giant of a man"; Savage is popularly known as "The Man of Bronze". If so, this would make Who Goes There a "forgotten" Doc Savage adventure (see the Wold Newton family)."
At The Mountains of Madness has its own small mythos built around it these day. Here are a few of the links that may help a DM to utilize this wonderful novel to  its fullest via wiki: 

Helix treads on the familiar tropes of the unknown and the mutation of the human body.

Many of the elements and ideas of Helix might fit Call of Cthulhu best but there are plenty of old school games that would suit this style of game to a tee. But for now I'm looking forward to seeing Helix when it comes out in January. 

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