Inspirations and Visuals

Use this thread to contribute interesting visuals and other inspirations.

We did a lot of this work during Scum & Villainy, so feel free to borrow from that!

It’s a bit tangential, and not anything like what I’d propose as to how the setting works, but “Oh, hey, the interstellar travel network is collapsing” is the core story in John Scalzi’s most recent trilogy of books, The Interdependency.


As part of the premise, there are nearly no human-habitable planets, meaning most of the human settlement of the galaxy is in artificial habitats, none of which are likely to survive if all interstellar trade collapses. Only a few of the implications might be applicable, but, regardless, it’s a very enjoyable series. Recommended.

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Sea Space Shanties!

(Most of these are actually ballads, not true shanties, but still.)

The Senate - Space Shanty

Kristoph Klover - Fire in the Sky

Duane Elms - Dawson’s Christian

Catherine Faber - Providence Skies

Julia Ecklar - Ballad of a Spaceman

Leslie Fish & Ann Prather - Hanrahan’s Bar

Julia Ecklar & Ann Prather - Pushin’ the Speed of Light

Leslie Fish - Ship of Stone

Leslie Fish - Guardians

Leslie Fish - Sam Jones

Vic Tyler - Space Hero

Vic Tyler & Duane Elms - Spacer’s Home

You can probably just google “sci-fi filk” and get a zillion more. It’s a surprisingly rich genre for one so unknown to most people.

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“2010” wasn’t the cinematic masterpiece “2001” was, but it included some very practical space scenes.

“Moon” was carried by Sam Rockwell, with a sympathetic AI:

“PlanetES” is basically janitors in space, but illustrates why it matters

Our tech may get better, but our humanity and culture will be stubbornly persistent

One of the most dangerous parts of the mission will be the galaxy itself

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Buck Rogers stargate entry

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was crap SF, and so very much of its era, and, God help me, I watched way too much of it because it was “Christians in Rome” time for SF fans and TV.

The one thing I always liked about the show (really, the one thing) were the stargates. And, as God is my witness, there are no good videos of the effect. Only one episode is even partially repped in online video, and even there I can only find a partial rendition of the BRit25C stargate effect … which was this:

(The one above I made myself.)

The original sequence, as I recall, starts with blackness, and then four points that spin-starburst into light, then the GIF, then spin-starburst to darkness.

And that’s what I always think of as a stargate, even though that is not what I think of in the context of our campaign.

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Visions of stargates …

So here’s a pretty concrete stargate. This is close to my own visualization, complete with bits of technocruft hanging off it.

Here’s kind of a pessimistic stargate, activated and immediately use by someone waiting on the other side.

Stargates usually seem to be ringed with archaic writing / runes / hieroglyphics / decor.

And, of course, it doesn’t have to actually be a ring. Anything that brackets the portal, like a doorway, can work.

Or even less.

b5 jump gate

Or more …

Or still other configurations …



And while we’re accustomed to such things being a single ring, there’s no reason why it can’t go all Time Tunnel on us … perhaps less of a gateway than a hyperlinear accelerator

Not an opening, as such, but something that sends you wicked-transluminal for a calibrated distance. Calibrated … if you’re lucky …

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This guy’s playing on a whole new level

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(Reading how tidal-locked worlds are something really cool that is inspiring fresh science fiction about this strange new concept. Glancing up at shelves of Golden/Silver Age SF stories set on Mercury back when we thought it was tidal-locked …)

( (Okay, to be fair, most of the new SF is about Earth-ish planets, not Mercury hell-holes.) )

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This in this week’s Starforged session…


As long as it doesn’t have to do with this jellyfish …

“They say that jellyfish helps the memory. Maybe yes. Maybe no. But none of us ever imagined the Great Plasma Jellyfish would itself hold the memories of the Forerunners, and how to restart the Gates they left for us …”