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Old October 10th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Default Ice station

I've been tearing through some very good books lately (which is a whole lot better than trudging through very bad books). I've read some good Conan. Then I read the superb Aliens book, Earth Hive, that I mentioned in another thread. And now, I just started Ice Station, by Matt Reilly.

It may be a bit premature to be singing its praises, as I've just started the thing. But, I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

It's not LITERATURE by any means. Instead, it reads like a good action movie. The writing is fast paced and enjoyable. Lots of twists and turns and action, so far.

The premise: The Wilkes Ice Station, situated on the tip of Antarctica, sent two divers down in a diving bell to explore a cavern beneath the surface of the ocean. They found, buried in the ice...what looks like a space ship.

A distress call from Wilkes Station was sent out. Now, there's no communication with the installation.

In the Port of Sydney, attached to the Pearl Harbor Fleet, is the USS Shreveport, a rapid deployment vessel used to transport Marine Force Reconnaissance Units. Three days after the distress call, the Marines are sent to Antarctica to investigate...

Yeah, yeah. I know, we've seen this type of plot before. Yes, it reminds me of John Carpenter's remake of The Thing in the 1980's. But, so far, Reilly is doing a superb job of taking this tired old plot and making it "fun".

I'm not finished with the book yet, and maybe I'll change my tune. But, right now, it's a real good read. It feels like a little Michael Crichton with a little Clive Cussler and Alistair MacLean thrown in (Anybody not love MacLean's Ice Station Zebra?).

The reviews on Amazon for Reilly's Ice Station are pretty good, and it seems, this book spawns the first of a series...

Check it out if it sounds like something that would interest you.

Oh, and you GMs out there looking for ideas--this book is a blue print for a nifty campaign. The scenes in the book are perfect set-ups for encounters. A GM could easily take the book, as-is, and do a modern campaign, watching the players play Marines going in to check out the Ice Station.

Or, the plot can be easily transferred to Traveller. A planet. A base with no communication. Marines go in. Alien spaceship found. Maybe it's an Ancient spacecraft. Maybe it's something else.

It'd make for an excellent Traveller scenario. Change things around, keep the things you like, make the entire planet a cold ball of ice, if you want to (isolation--the key to these types of adventures).

Or...take a different tack. Have the players play college kids at the research base. Master's graduates and new PhD's. Nobody trained with weapons. Crap starts going wrong.

Or...even take that last idea and Traveller-ize it. Scientist and Bureaucracy characters from Supplement 4, on an alien ice ball world...when an Ancient artifact is found.

Lots of permutations and opportunities here.

Last edited by Supplement Four; October 10th, 2008 at 01:52 PM..
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