The Centre Cannot Hold goes meta!

First of all, my apologies for going so long with no new content being posted, and no way for you to leave comments. It turned out there was an obscure error in the installation of PHP on the server that took just forever to find. (Oddly enough, once found, it was surprisingly easy to fix – just needed to update the version of PHP.) So things should now be returning to normal.

Except that in some ways, they won’t, as this centre will indeed not entirely hold.

While this site was inaccessible, I started a new site, and have been quietly migrating some of the content from this site to it. You can find the new site at http://www.readingorders.net. All of the timelines from this site will be moving to there, bit by bit, over the next month or two, as will the crossover reading orders. The idea is to centralise all of those features in a single location and make them easier to find and search. (And while I’m at it, I’ll be updating anything that needs updating, too, as well as adding some all new content, the first piece of which is already up.)

So as each thing moves across from the old site to the new, I’ll be removing it from here and replacing the relevant pages with pointers to the new site. Nothing is going to be lost in the transition, and so long as you don’t mind one extra click, you won’t even need to update your bookmarks.

Other big news coming soon (fingers crossed).

Tricillin PDF

Tricillin PDF is broad-spectrum abti-viral that is effective against a great number of illnesses that afflict the assorted humanoid species of the Star Trek Universe. While little has been revealed about it, it seems to be a commonly-used drug across the Federation, and its name implies that it may be an antibiotic.

The most prominent use of Tricillin PDF was during the so-called ‘Double Helix’ incidents, where the drug proved effective at slowing the effects of some strains of the ‘Double Helix”, a series of weaponized viruses. For one particular strain, it halted the progress of the disease entirely, but it was not a cure. Extensive use of Tricillin PDF was successful is prolonging the lives of many of the infected until cures could be found, however.

1943 — Sergei Rachmaninoff dies

Born in 1873, Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the greatest Russian composers of the Twentieth Century, and one of the last Russians to compose in the Romantic style. In addition, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists in history. Ironically, his greatest fame came after he moved to the West in the wake of the 1917 Russian revolution. His works – which include four concertos, three symphonies and 24 preludes – tended to emphasize the piano, the instrument he knew and loved best. As a writer for piano, he explored a wider range of its capabilities than almost any other composer.

Rachmaninoff was diagnosed with melanoma in late 1942, although only his family was told of the diagnosis – he himself was not. He died a few months later, only four days short of his seventieth birthday, and was buried in a cemetery in New York. His will had called for him to be buried on his property in Switzerland, the Villa Senar, but World War Two made that impossible.

Referenced in:

Decomposing Composers — Monty Python

Compound V

A drug that grants superpowers, Compound V was first developed by Dr Hans Vogelbaum in the thirties in Nazi Germany. He fled to America where he continued his research, attracting the corporate sponsorship of Vought-American, who used it to create the first actual superteam in the later days of World War Two. Over the years, many variants of Compound V have been created by Vogelbaum or others following on from him (including one version created by the Nazis working from the fragmented notes he left behind).

Compound V gives each person who takes it different powers, although the CIA team known as the Boys use a highly stable variant with predictable powers (strength, toughness, healing and delayed aging). The only real pattern observable is that the earlier in life the dose is taken, the stronger the powers tend to be – and since Compound V is mutagenic at a genetic level, its effects are also inheritable.

Unfortunately for almost everyone involved, Compound V was created in a world where power, almost without exception, corrupts – and super-power even moreso.

March 14, 1974 — Russell Hoban begins writing “Riddley Walker”

Russell Hoban was always somewhat peripatetic in his writing interests. While he tended to return to the same themes, he was far less loyal to genres. “Riddley Walker” is one of his best known novels, and as the only major work of science fiction he wrote, is representatively unrepresentative of his oeuvre.

It concern a young man in a world (ours, about two millennia after a nuclear war) who stumbles on a plan to build a super-weapon. The novel took Hoban more than five and half years to write, and won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel in 1982, as well as an Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award in 1983. (It was also nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1982, but lost to Gene Wolfe’s “The Claw of the Conciliator”.)

1822 — Harriet Tubman born

Born a slave – although the year of her birth is uncertain, and may be as early as 1820 – Harriet Tubman would become one of the foremost activists against slavery. From her birthplace in Maryland, she escaped from her owners in 1849 while in Philadelphia, and immediately became active in the Underground Railroad, helping other slaves to escape as she had. Believing her mission to be divinely inspired, she was nicknamed ‘Moses’, since like she led escaped slaves to a promised land.

In 1858, she assisted John Brown in his infamous raid on Harper’s Ferry – Brown found her so invaluable, he nicknamed her ‘General Tubman’. In her later years, Tubman was also a prominent Suffragette in her later years, and assisted the Union Army as a scout during the American Civil War. She died in 1913, in her nineties.

Referenced in:

Ah Yeah — Krs-One

Looking for Players

This is Loki.God of Stories

Loki is the Deity of Stories. (And Gender Fluidity, but that’s not as important to our story. I might tell you about that later if it’s relevant.)

Loki has, historically, been one of the greatest villains of the Marvel Universe. They’ve fought Thor, teamed up with Doctor Doom, kidnapped Jane Foster and betrayed, well, anyone who trusted them. But lately, they’ve reformed. Sort of. Maybe. Somewhat.

Anyway, now that all of that Secret Warring is over, and things have more or less returned to normal in the Marvel Universe (insofar as the phrase “normal in the Marvel Universe” has any meaning), Loki has a problem. Loki’s favourite brother, the Odinson formerly known as Thor, is missing in action. No one has seen the former thunderer in months. Or they have, but something something timeline rewriting something something. Anyway, the big guy is missing, and Loki’s looking for a few good Avengers to help find him.

Trust them (?)

Loki the Trustworthy

We’ll be playing in Kingsbury – the frequency of sessions, the night of the week and the system are yet to be determined. I’m open to suggestions. Also, you can play an existing Marvel character (with some restrictions – no one gets to be Galactus) or a new one of your own creation.