Monday, August 1, 2022

The Forgotten Science Fictions Author & the Forgotten Earth -John Brunner As Hostile Rpg & Earth Sector Rpg Inspiration

 There are three Science Fiction  books that carved up the Nineties for a young college student that were found in a nameless box at a .25 cent book sale. These are John Brunner's Apocalpyse classic trio. These lovelies were decades ahead. Everyone claims William Gibson is the father of Cyberpunk but John Brunner was there already way ahead of the curve. John Brunner wiki entrygoes into the basics;  ;"John Kilian Houston Brunner (24 September 1934 – 25 August 1995) was a British author of science fiction novels and stories. His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, about an overpopulated world, won the 1969 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel, and the BSFA award the same year. The Jagged Orbit won the BSFA award in 1970." Let me first say that this is not our Earth in anyway but the Earth's past of our Shoulder of Orion campaign. 

According to John Brunner's Wiki entry; "His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar exploits the fragmented organizational style that American writer John Dos Passos created for his USA trilogy, but updates it in terms of the theory of media popularised by Canadian academic Marshall McLuhan, a major cultural figure of the period.

The Jagged Orbit (1969) is set in a United States dominated by weapons proliferation and interracial violence. Its 100 numbered chapters vary in length from a single syllable to several pages. The Sheep Look Up (1972) depicts ecological catastrophe in America.

Brunner is credited with coining the term "worm" (in computing) and predicting the emergence of computer viruses[4] in his 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider, in which he used the term to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network. Brunner's work has also been credited for prefiguring modern developments such as genetic engineeringsame-sex marriageonline encyclopedias, the legalization of cannabis, and the development of Viagra.[5]

These four novels Stand on Zanzibar (1968), The Jagged Orbit (1969), The Sheep Look Up (1972) and The Shockwave Rider (1975), have been called the "Club of Rome Quartet", named after the Club of Rome, whose 1972 report The Limits to Growth warned of the dire effects of overpopulation"  If your thinking that this sounds like the 00's John Brunner was a   decade ahead of his time; "

"Cyberpunk, population stresses, environmental disaster...
Also had antibiotic resistant germs, mass-shooters being a multi-daily occurance so only the ones with exceptional body count or cruelty stand out, China replacing Russia as the threat to the USA, rise of racism after a period of decline, overpopulation and rent/housing stress but also with empty areas..." 

But what does a Science Fiction author whose passed into the great beyond have anything to do with 2d6 action of Hostile & Independence Games Earth sector?! A bit of everything really, this is an Earth bursting at the seams just before the discovery of FTL & hyperspace that changes everything. 
The world of John Brunner would be perfect for Independence Games Diverse Roles where the careers of your PC's help to fuel the future. 

John Brunner's Earth is a world in the later 00's struggling to find it's place in the universe. And super soldier programs are just starting to see fruit here. And the seeds of the altered humans movement is taking hold and here's where Tree of Life: Altrants in Clement Sector comes into play. We also see the results of early uplift experiments in the Shock Wave Rider which is perfect for Wondrous Menagerie to come into play. 
The retro technology of Hostile is at play in all three of the Apocalpyse triology. And perhaps more so with two story tall A.I. and the like. The baby steps of the synthetic's movement are being made. But clone soldiers are certainly available. 

How could the works of John Brunner be used for 2d6 OSR gaming goodness?! Easily the works of JB could be used as an alternative Earth for a time travel adventure or even a mini campaign. And the issues he confronts could become ancient history for the PC's as they struggle to get back to their own Earth timeline. Another possibility is to actually travel back in time to avoid the ecological disasters that befall the poor SOB's in 'The Sheep Look Up' if it's even possible. 

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