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-   -   Traveller influence on other SF (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=31124)

SpaceBadger September 23rd, 2013 02:22 PM

Traveller influence on other SF
 
Aside from fiction that acknowledges being Traveller influenced, I wonder how much other current SF - written or movies/TV - is influenced by Traveller? Does anyone know of writers not writing in an ATU, but nonetheless acknowledging influences from the game?

I have heard speculation about Firefly/Serenity being influenced by either Joss Whedon or some of his writers playing Traveller - anybody know of confirmation of that?

I'm currently reading Melissa Scott's "Mighty Good Road" (only 1/3 into it, so no spoilers please!) and at many points it just sounds like a Traveller adventure - freelance "salvage" troubleshooters retained by a megacorp to go find out what happened to one of their operations on a backwater planet after the original investigation failed - and I keep running into terms and phrases that I think of as Traveller-ish: steward, J-o-T, a few others I don't recall. I know these are also standard English words and phrases, but in the context they just set off my "Traveller radar".

Spinward Scout September 23rd, 2013 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpaceBadger (Post 454197)
I have heard speculation about Firefly/Serenity being influenced by either Joss Whedon or some of his writers playing Traveller - anybody know of confirmation of that?

Joss Whedon said that Firefly was based on a sci-fi role-playing game he played in college and Civil War book he read. It's similar enough that I've suspected him of owning both The Traveller Book and The Traveller Adventure. The NPC/Casual Encounter 'Shawna' in The Traveller Book is very close to the character 'Saffron' and I believe that NPC/Casual Encounter only shows up in The Traveller Book.

Joss Whedon was born in '64 (according to IMDB) and probably graduated High School in '82. The only Sci-Fi rpgs that I know of that were out then were Traveller, Star Frontiers, and FASA Star Trek. WEGs Star Wars came out in '86 or '87.

But no, there's no confirmation it was Traveller.

aramis September 23rd, 2013 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spinward Scout (Post 454202)
Joss Whedon said that Firefly was based on a sci-fi role-playing game he played in college and Civil War book he read. It's similar enough that I've suspected him of owning both The Traveller Book and The Traveller Adventure. The NPC/Casual Encounter 'Shawna' in The Traveller Book is very close to the character 'Saffron' and I believe that NPC/Casual Encounter only shows up in The Traveller Book.

Joss Whedon was born in '64 (according to IMDB) and probably graduated High School in '82. The only Sci-Fi rpgs that I know of that were out then were Traveller, Star Frontiers, and FASA Star Trek. WEGs Star Wars came out in '86 or '87.

But no, there's no confirmation it was Traveller.

He was in college in the UK in 1984-1986. WEG didn't release SW d6 until EARLY 1987. (Spring, my senior year of HS.)

This means that there are several: Space Opera, Starships & Spacemen, Traveller:2300, SPI's Universe, FASA Trek, Traveller, Star Frontiers, Met. Alpha, Gamma World, Spacemaster. Of these, only one has the Six-Guns and Starships mode: Traveller. The then current edition of Spacemaster had a blaster-heavy mode, but could be it. 2300 was out just as he graduated, and can be safely ignored. Universe was almost unknown. FASA Trek, Star Frontiers, S&S are all zapguns for personal weapons settings. Space Opera is sapguns for ships, and emphasizes ultratech personal weapons, so it's unlikely.

Traveller is the best fit for the time and place. And as you mention, yeah, Shawna really does look like Saffron's writeup, to a large degree. Visually, no, not at all.

aramis September 23rd, 2013 03:28 PM

Red Rahm admitted to Traveller being an influence on Better Born (an RPG by Red Rahm and Conrad Hillmer). Red is now writing stories in that setting.

Bill Kieth wrote for Traveller, and writes SF professionally now.

Nyrath is Winchell Chung, who is an illustrator and futurist. And a member here.

One of the guys who wrote short stories for SJG's Audoduel Quarterly, John M. Ford, has a couple credits in Traveller products as a playtester, and released a couple of pretty travelleresque Star Trek novels. (Including "How much for just the planet?")

Of course, we must mention Chuck Ganon, who openly admits to traveller inspirations.

While there's no evidence of Traveller itself, Bujold's Vorkosiverse has many similar tropes. Lots of habitable worlds, multiple jumps to get places, automation can't replace people, and the general tech level are all close matches.

HG_B September 23rd, 2013 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spinward Scout (Post 454202)
Joss Whedon was born in '64 (according to IMDB) and probably graduated High School in '82. The only Sci-Fi rpgs that I know of that were out then were Traveller, Star Frontiers, and FASA Star Trek. WEGs Star Wars came out in '86 or '87.

But no, there's no confirmation it was Traveller.

Gamma World, Morrow Project, and another I can't remember were all out and being played at that time also.

Spinward Scout September 23rd, 2013 08:33 PM

I always thought Gamma World was part of Star Frontiers, or did it all get piled under D20 Future?

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 454204)
This means that there are several: Space Opera, Starships & Spacemen, Traveller:2300, SPI's Universe, FASA Trek, Traveller, Star Frontiers, Met. Alpha, Gamma World, Spacemaster.

I had completely forgotten about many of those.

aramis September 23rd, 2013 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spinward Scout (Post 454222)
I always thought Gamma World was part of Star Frontiers, or did it all get piled under D20 Future?

Nope. Metamorphosis Alpha was Gamma World Edition 0; Gamma World is the follow on from Metamorphosis Alpha. Gamma World got rolled into Alternity, as a setting book, in the late 90's.

JFGarber September 26th, 2013 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpaceBadger (Post 454197)
I have heard speculation about Firefly/Serenity being influenced by either Joss Whedon or some of his writers playing Traveller - anybody know of confirmation of that?

Confirmation? No. But in the opening episode, when all the characters are gathered around the galley in a "get to know you" session, Shepherd Book addresses all seated as "Travelers" (capitalization mine). Coincidence? I think not. ;)

aramis September 26th, 2013 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JFGarber (Post 454458)
Confirmation? No. But in the opening episode, when all the characters are gathered around the galley in a "get to know you" session, Shepherd Book addresses all seated as "Travelers" (capitalization mine). Coincidence? I think not. ;)

Wash also uses the line "Hang on Travellers!"

rancke September 26th, 2013 01:55 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Originally Posted by JFGarber (Post 454458)
Confirmation? No. But in the opening episode, when all the characters are gathered around the galley in a "get to know you" session, Shepherd Book addresses all seated as "Travelers" (capitalization mine). Coincidence? I think not. ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 454485)
Wash also uses the line "Hang on Travellers!"


Given Whedon's statement about a roleplaying game remembered from his college days, it's quite possible, even likely, that Traveller was that RPG. But if he's telling the truth about not remembering the name of the game, he'd hardly be able to include shout-outs in the manuscripts. And really, there's nothing unlikely about someone independently coming up with the term 'traveler' for the peripathetic characters assembled on the Firefly.


Hans


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