I could barely drag myself to class after having gotten started reading "Big Ideas, Grand Vision." I spent about five hours today pouring over the website and loved it! Anders, you did an incredible job not only of creating a logical game universe but one that is beautiful and highly imaginative, so congratulations to you. If there were a "Hugo" for game supplements you would be in the running. I can see how having really good players could give you ideas in collaboration that you could not do on your own.
I loved the whole scenario of sublight colony ships leaving a troubled earth
only to be caught-up with by FTL possessing neighbors years later. I need
to read my copy now of John Barnes "A Million Open Doors" which has a
somewhat similar plotline. He is more conventional though with a
"Federation" showing up to knit things together.
Each colony felt to me like a possible scenario for our own world. I would love to live in Atlantis but encounter those amazing Arcadians in their hive cities! On second thought I would rather be a posthuman Solarian! So when STL colony ships start leaving earth I am staying right here so my descendants and I get the full benefits of the singularity and don't wind up in the backward frontier! lol I am being optimistic of course. As with finishing a great novel, I'm sad that I can't actually visit these places and meet these people.
The aliens were very intriguing to me. I liked how you had three levels of power regarding them, at least as I saw it. The Trahans were to me a little like Japan in the 1860's with a leadership willing to adapt but only in some ways. The Mothers had that Arthur C. Clarke alien feel to them(the Rama series) and are a good foil/friend for humanity. The Filigree I thought were great as as you yourself said in sort of the "Star Trek" V'ger role.
I liked how you described the Solarian approach to dealing with their visiting "primitive" country cousins. I read a science-fiction short story once where the first FTL spacecraft built by Earth is sent to a huge alien spacestation that had been spotted by humans but always refused to ever communicate with us by radio. When the proud little Earthship shows up at the moon-sized station they get a message that roughly translates "parking for you is in the rear." No red carpet greeting is given to us and so I liked your portrayal of things.
I did wonder why you had nanotech as a unmastered technology among the strong colonies but then if they had it mastered the societal structure would be quite different, especially where starship building and expansion is concerned.
I bought by chance the computer game "Alpha Centauri" just a day before you announced your website. I thought of the similarities even before I saw the references to the game in your site. I love the poster included with the game that shows the incredible technology tree! When I saw "controlled singularity" on it I nearly flipped but then these game designers did their research. I hope to finish my game tonight as the Peacekeepers faction. Death to the treacherous Wang and the threatening Believers! They pushed me too far to feel like keeping the peace anymore. I agree that the factions are stereotypes and the way business and religion was portrayed by their faction leaders bothered me.
I get a thrill when I visit my local comic-book store and glean through the role-playing games section. When well written and illustrated they take me on a flight of fancy and so about once a month I make a pilgrimage there to see what is new. I feel your website should be put in book form and put on the shelves there as a supplement. I just love the feel of a book in my hand. But it would need to be well illustrated too! I wish I could get for you the artist who illustrates "Rifts" because he brings those books to life. But then we already have a very talented artist in our midst who might be able to help!
It is the "in thing" now for a book series to be created based on a role-playing game and I would love to see that happen with "Big Ideas, Grand Vision." I really enjoyed the short stories you wrote and wondered if novel length writing appealed to you? Damien Broderick could also write the first novel possibly(we have so many talented people in our midst here!).
I must say that along with Natasha I was very sidetracked when I looked up Anders' site. I could not get over how large and detailed it was. I had other things to do but was drawn in! :)
On the topic of pets I have to say that cats would never wake me up in the morning. They could outsleep me everytime. I had a ferret once living with me though who the moment the sun came up would leap into my bed and furiously claw at my pillow! I would sleepily push him away but he would throw himself once again to the task! After about fifteen minutes of this I would give up and get out of bed. He would look up at me and monitor my progress as I walked around the apartment. Upon deciding I was up for good he would then go back to his bedding and go to sleep!
Anders, it is time for more serious pursuits now. It's time to get rich from your game supplement website by getting book, game, toy and movie tie-ins! Or perhaps instead start a franchise of "Anders Homebaked Transhumanist Cookies" to give Mrs. Fields a run for the money! But then what would you do with all that money? lol