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Hidden Gems…the best stuff of the rest of the stuff

Nerds like stuff. That’s one of the coolest part of being a nerd; all the STUFF! But sometimes we get hung up on the stuff that everyone else is getting hung up on. That’s how stuff gets popular. That’s just the way things are, but there’s so much stuff that some truly great stuff gets pushed to the wayside. Let’s talk about some of that stuff. Just because stuff isn’t the most popular stuff, doesn’t mean that it’s not great stuff, maybe even better stuff than the stuff everyone else is stuffing themselves with. Here’s some stuff you maybe missed. Stuff.

GAUDEAMUS

Hard to pronounce, hard to put down.

Hard to pronounce, hard to put down.

Gaudeamus was a sci-fi novel from acclaimed novelist John Barnes. It’s also a damn hard word to spell, and no picnic to try to pronounce. It launched in 2004 to little fanfare, and that’s a shame, because it’s a really fun read. Barnes tells the story from the first person, using himself as a main character, listening to the story told to him by an old college friend. Got all that? It’s a tricky little literary device, but one used to great effect here, as it makes you wonder how many of the people in this story actually exist, and which ones are pure fiction. It makes me wonder that too, we have so much in common. If there’s actually a Travis Bismarck out there, I’d like to have a beer with him and hear about his adventures. And if there’s not, just read this book, maybe while drinking beer. Beer is nice.

UFO’s, telepathy-inducing sex drugs, and punk rock bands disguised as clowns, there’s a lot going on here. So much, in fact, that it’ll have you saying “what’s going on here?” up until the very end. Go read it, it’s a neat little ride.

NEXTWAVE

This pretty much sums it up, yeah.

This pretty much sums it up, yeah.

Marvel comics are pretty hot these days, and every title gets the scrutiny of whether it’ll end up as a huge blockbuster movie. Here’s one that almost assuredly will not. And that’s a bad thing. A not-so-super team comprised of D-list Marvel heroes Boom-Boom, Photon, Machine Man, and Elsa Bloodstone, with Newcomer “The Captain”, whose powers include “generic superhero shit”, Nextwave had a twelve-issue run and became insanely popular with people who read it, and no one else, really. It’s a damn shame. It’s sarcastic humor and open mocking of itself are extremely endearing. I’ve never met anyone who read this and didn’t love it. Go read this too.

THE SPOILS

Annnnnnnd...dick joke!

Annnnnnnd…dick joke!

Do you play Magic:The Gathering? Well stop it! The Spoils is yet another CCG that made it’s debut in 2007 to a huge splash (maybe too big) as an alternative to Magic. If you’ve ever played Magic, you can learn The Spoils in about five minutes, and do well at it. Building off of the basic rules structure that MTG introduced, and improves on it in some key ways, namely resource management. The real kicker here, though, is the game’s style. The Spoils is not afraid to make all kinds of off-color, though not truly obscene jokes on it’s cards. Where Magic takes itself super-serious, The Spoils hands out dick jokes like Halloween candy, while not letting the humor take a backseat to solid mechanics and fun gameplay. Unlike most things on this list, this is still going, and definitely deserves your support.

Boob jokes too? There's something for everyone!

Boob jokes too? There’s something for everyone!

There’s some of the stuff that you may have missed on your quest for neat stuff. Go check some of this stuff out, it’s pretty great stuff. What obscure stuff are you into? Sound off in the comments! Also, check out the movie The Stuff. It’s a movie…about Stuff.

thestuff

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Cool Stuff We Never Got

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d bring the mood down a bit by discussing some stuff we don’t get to be thankful for. This stuff was all announced, got people moist, and then never materialized. Enjoy…not getting to enjoy.

The Return of Ziggy Stardust

Bask in what could have been!

Bask in what could have been!

Music is a subjective thing. We all have our own tastes in music, and that’s fine. That being said, David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is one of the best albums ever recorded. Period. If your particular tastes don’t align with this, then you’re wrong, and I don’t consider you a person. Blech to you. Gross. Anyway, around the turn of the millennium, Bowie stated that Ziggy would be making his triumphant return in 2002 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the album. This would have included unreleased footage, a stage show, and even a movie, as well of unspecified internet content.

This never happened and we should be sad forever.

On a related Bowie note, I’m still bummed that we never got the followups to 1. Outside, Bowie’s underrated industrial album, with announced sequel album 2. Contamination never arriving.

Holywood-The Novel

I can't think of anything funny to say about this...it's a book.

I can’t think of anything funny to say about this…it’s a book.

In 2000, Marilyn Manson released the third part of his three-part concept album series, Holywood: In the Shadow of the Valley of Death. Say what you want about Manson, but Holywood is my favorite of his catalog. I’m a sucker for a good concept album, but Manson went way down the rabbit hole with this one, even going so far as to pen a novel based on the album. One chapter of the book was even released, and it was something that I would have learned to read in order to enjoy. Sadly, years came and went, other albums came and went, including two back to back breakup albums, and the book never released. Manson still claims that he’d like to released it in some form, possibly as a graphic novel, but at this point I feel it’s time to move on with my life.

The Rifts Movie

Holy crap, where's my Ritalin?!?

Holy crap, where’s my Ritalin?!?

Rifts has always held some notoriety in the RPG community. It looks like it was designed by 14-year olds for other 14-year olds. Spaceships, wizards, robots with skulls all over them, lasers, dogfaced men, and that’s just the table of contents. Rifts has a pretty big following, Disney optioned Rifts for  a movie to be developed by Jerry Bruckheimer in 2004. There was a press release about it, and transcripts of it were passed out at Gencon that year. This could have been a pretty cool thing to see., and could have bought roleplaying games a bit more legitimacy in mainstream media after the dumpster fire that was the D&D movie.

BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.

World of Darkness…assorted

Can't...quite...reach...

Can’t…quite…reach…

White Wolf’s World of Darkness RPG line has a rabid fan following, but not a stellar track record when it comes to crossing over from the tabletop. They had a couple of pretty good Vampire: The Masquerade PC games, and a couple of batshit crazy Hunter: The Reckoning console game, and a piss poor TV series called Kindred: The Embraced that I desperately wanted to like, didn’t, and still bought on DVD because I don’t learn lessons.

Despite all of this, the rebooted World of Darkness was announced for a couple of media projects that never occurred. in 2004, Vampire: The Requiem, which was a different take on Masquerade, was optioned for a movie by New Line Cinema. Come to think of it, 2004 was a real cocktease for gamers, wasn’t it? There was also a WoD MMO in development for years. The game was recently shitcanned, and several developers lost their jobs.

Star Wars Live Action TV Series

Good enough

Good enough

Several years ago, it was announced that Lucasfilm’s five-year plan for Star Wars was that the Clone Wars series would run for a while, and would generate capitol for a live action Star Wars TV series set between episodes III and IV. Neat idea. Never fucking happened. Now I won’t bitch too much about this one, because in the end Disney bought Lucasfilm, Rebels filled the gap the live action series left and we’re getting actual sequels, the trailer for which dropped today, and I won’t talk about in length because everyone in the world is discussing it right now, so why listen to me? But in all, maybe this one is for the best.

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