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Jim Cambias
I am a writer, game designer, New Orleanian, cook, parent, and cat-slapper.
Recent Activity
This Friday and Saturday I'll be a guest at Albany's long-running local science fiction and fantasy convention, Albacon 2019. On Friday I'm doing two panel discussions. At 3:00 p.m. I'm talking about worldbuilding in fiction along with a stellar panel (including Debra Doyle, Ryk Spoor, and Ian Strock). Then at... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Just The Caffeine Talking
Three-fourths of Earth's surface is covered by ocean, so it seems almost inevitable that people will someday try to live in the sea. This undersea city is funded by the inevitable eccentric billionaire, but is at least intended to become a self-sustaining, economically viable settlement. It's built in the shallow... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Just The Caffeine Talking
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My forthcoming novel The Initiate is now available for preorders from Baen Books. You can see the listing here. As you can see, there's cover art already — Sam has longer hair than I imagined him, but the lightning-dragon and the inimitable Isabella both play important roles in the story.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Just The Caffeine Talking
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This past weekend I attended (as a humble paying member) NecronomiCon 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island. If you know anything about horror fiction or games you can probably guess that NecronomiCon is a convention focused on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the father of modern horror. I had a great... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
The city stands at the junction of two great artificial canals bringing life-giving water to the dying seabeds of the Red Planet. Though ruled by an absolute monarch, the city is virtually lawless, as the tyrant cares about nothing beyond the walls of his palace and all his underlings are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
All of a sudden it's Fall. Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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It's a common misconception that the Middle Ages were a time of regression, both intellectual and artistic. Anyone who actually knows something about the Middle Ages knows that's ridiculous, but unfortunately those people are a definite minority. And one piece of evidence often used to show the cultural "backwardness" of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
The Starbase is a big space station in a distant system, serving as a command center and support base for the enterprising exploration ships of a federation of planets which are united. This is where velour-shirted or miniskirted starship crew relax before going where no man has yet gone. Aboard... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Sailing the Mediterranean in the Bronze Age was always an adventure, even if you didn't have to worry about angry gods. (And you always have to worry about angry gods.) Roll 1d20 each day when sailing, 1d10 when in port or beached. Roll twice and combine Plot-advancing encounter: Someone or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
In the late 19th Century, the industrialized world's demand for rubber shot up exponentially. Suddenly poor jungle regions had a valuable cash crop — and that quickly attracted ruthless men eager to cash in on the boom. Manaus, on the Amazon, grew from a remote outpost into one of Brazil's... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Over the past forty years of travel I've learned that one should always build in one or two unscheduled days when planning a trip. That way, if something's closed, or it's pouring rain, or someone gets a kidney stone, you have a little cushion so there's still time for all... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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Another late start on Friday the 19th — didn't leave the flat until past 11 a.m. The adventurers crossed the river again and braved the Prague light-rail transit system for the first time. Since most of our previous explorations had been within the rail-less Old Town section, we hadn't bothered.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
On Thursday morning we ventured down along the riverbank south of the Charles Bridge, admiring the gorgeous Beaux-Arts buildings. We wandered as far as Prague's newest (and, in my personal opinion, most over-rated) architectural landmark, the "Dancing Houses." If you haven't seen pictures, it's a pair of vaguely whimsical modern... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
When new, it was a glittering gem of the heavens: a rotating cylinder four kilometers across and ten kilometers long, with great mirrors to focus sunlight inside. It boasted towns, farms, schools, factories — a city in space. But time and economics haven't been kind to the colony. The resource... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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After all the activity of the first few days, we took it easy on Wednesday. Got up late and had breakfast even later, with the result that we didn't even leave the apartment until past noon. Following a suggestion from a Prague native (see below) we crossed the river to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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On Tuesday the 16th we slept until nine and breakfasted on croissants and scrambled eggs, then set out to see the sights of the Jewish Quarter. This meant much less walking, as our flat was right in the middle of that part of town. We began at the Old New... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
We woke early and set out for Prague's biggest tourist attraction: The Castle. And when I say biggest, I'm being utterly literal. Prague Castle is a third of a mile long and includes four palaces, a cathedral, a basilica, the President of the Czech Republic, an art museum, a street... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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A note to the reader: because I am too lazy to hunt around the option keys on my laptop to find the right characters, I am spelling all Czech words without accents or other diacritical marks. We flew to Prague via Philadelphia, with a five-hour wait between landing in the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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The ancient capital of Bohemia, Prague boasts one of the world's most beautiful city centers. Since the fall of Communism, millions of people from all over the world have flocked to Prague to enjoy the city's beauty and amazing historical and cultural sights. Roll 1d20 every 15 minutes of walking... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
It looks like a whimsical little cottage on the outside, but on the inside the Wizard's House is a bewildering maze of hallways, endless staircases, courtyards, and rooms of every size. The windows look out on a frightening variety of landscapes, some which cannot exist on Earth. You're not the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
I'm not actually going to this year's World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, and I only just discovered something interesting: the first WorldCon was held July 4 weekend in 1939, so this year represents the eightieth anniversary of WorldCons. Happy eightieth birthday! Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Turkey remained neutral during World War II, but Istanbul's strategic location made it a hub of espionage and intrigue. American, British, Russian, German, and Italian agents all spied on each other with varying success, and the Turkish Security Service spied on them all. Exiles and displaced persons sought refuge there,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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Waldo's momentum is 34,974 kilogram-meters per second. Now you'll never find him. Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
You've just emerged from hyperspace, or shut off the Alcubierre drive, or switched on the plasma sail to slow down from relativistic speed. You're here, in a new star system, and it's time to look around. Long-range telescopes have already showed you all the major planets, but you still have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking