View Full Version : Sci-fi, Fantasy Books/Video Games

09-20-2011, 03:24 PM
In my novel, the MC's brother Frankie died about a year ago. This is a contemporary piece with supernatural elements of a (make believe) drug.

This is how I want to portray Frankie. He was a junkie that o.d'ed, but when he was alive, he was into the 80's and sci-fi novels and video gaming. Okay, I know a LOT about the 80's so that's covered. But I haven't really a clue about the other stuff. What sci-fi novels were "underground" popular about say 3 to 5 years back? I don't mean Star Wars and Star Trek type stuff. I mean, stuff that wasn't so blockbusterish. I googled and found Orson Scott Card and he sounds pretty cool, but I don't know yet. Also what was the biggest game system, last year...(googled that too and still not sure) was it Xbox 360? And what was a cool (sci-fi, alien ass-kickin, fantasy type) game and or games in 2011 and or 2010?

Again, I googled this and I go on these endless searches and it takes away from the writing itself, so I thought I would ask my expert friends here on the glorious AW.

If anyone could help, that would be great. Hope I am posting this in the right section.

09-20-2011, 03:56 PM
Are these games and sci-fi stuff related to why Frankie died? You might want to be careful on how you handle tying Frankie being a drug addict with him being a sci-fi/gamer addict. I know that computer games and heavy metal music have been given a bad rep because of this.

Other than that you might want to check out a store that sells computer games and ask what was popular in the time period you're requesting. They might give you several options.

09-20-2011, 04:18 PM
Yeah, good idea. Well, this character was a manic depressive, and was taking this prescribed (that got recalled and became an illegal) drug, that he got addicted too. I know from being Bipolar myself, you can become addicted to anything and everything under the sun, so I am not trying to give heavy metal, or gaming a bad wrap. Frankie was also into graphic design and created a video game that the MC knows about, but can't access in his computer just yet. I was going to have the MC crack into it eventually and find out more of why Frankie decided to do what he did. BUT when she does, she will find out, that he didn't o.d. after all, but was in fact killed. (I know it's cliche, but still)

09-20-2011, 04:31 PM
Underground cult stuff... actually from my experience a lot of those who consider themselves 'cool and edgy' were into Manga stuff - the films and comics. There are also a lot of comics that are 'non mainstream' (i.e. not put out by either DC or Marvel or one of their imprints) which were seen as 'cool' and underground. A trip to a local comic shop should give you some ideas for this.

In terms of books, its wierd but there are many sci fi and fantasy novels that have hung around for decades and are still on shelves and selling well. If your character is a hardcore sci fi nut (like my wife) then looking at the series of books entitled the SF Masterworks is worth a go. In there you have all the classics including familiar ones (2001, various Philip K Dick etc) and some very obscure ones. Many hardcore SF fans are leery of Trek and Star Wars and films like the various Phillip K Dick adaptations (and there are many - Minority Report, Bladerunner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly) citing the original texts as being better.

There is a similar series for fantasy (Fantasy Masterworks) which includes various classics like the Michael Moorcock fantasies.

These are books that are largely considered by fans to be the best sci fi and fantasy novels of all time (so far) and so anyone who calls themselves a hardcore fan will be familiar with at least some of them despite many of them being published in the 50s and 60s.

09-20-2011, 04:46 PM
Thank you SO much Areteus. I'm definitely going to have to do my homework and research better. I do like the idea of going to the game stores and the comic shops.

I'm right in the heart of developing this character and I'm starting to really enjoy it. I've always known very little of this subject, but marveled from a far. If I want to make this guy authentic, I am going to have to get more involved.

Research is always the key! The only downside of this is it slows my writing down a lot. I was thinking I could sparcely go along, research during and fill in the cracks later.

I appreciate you both coming by to help, thanks again.

09-21-2011, 05:10 AM
But research can be soooo much fun. If your character is into gaming and sci-fi, he might be interested in the Warhammer stuff. I'm not into computer games so I'm not sure if that's a computer game as well. But I know the Warhammer series is both books and a tabletop roleplaying game. The books would be in the series section of the sci-fi/fantasy book section.

One thing that some people might get a kick out of if they catch the reference is Farscape Forever! Sex, Drugs, and Killer Muppets, edited by Glenn Yeffeth. It's an anthology of essays on why Farscape became popular. (Besides the trademark Farscape snarky humor and the biting muppet, that is.) It's from the mid-2000's so you might have to special order it.

09-21-2011, 08:34 AM
Manga / Anime
One huge movement in the 80s and then underground, now mainstream again would be manga/anime: films, animated feature lengths and animated series/serials (aka, anime), and the comics (aka, manga (meaning "unusual art")). The last two would include series and serials.

Figurines or popular series would catch the hardcore fan's eye.

For long-standing serials that became popular long before hitting America and Europe, etc., would include:

Series / Serials Examples
Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball Goten, etc.
Ranma 1/2
Dr. Slump (Dr. スランプ, Dokutā Suranpu)

Standalone Examples
Akira (anime (feature-length only), film, manga)
Tetsuo, Iron-Man (very dark film)

Collection Example
Anything by Hayao Miyazaki (anime)

SF/F Books
SF might include Asimov (the magazine and his books), Ian Irvine, Peterl F. Hamilton, Stephen Lawhead, Orson Scott Card (whom you already have) and others.

Fantasy could include, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, (the late) Robert Jordan, definitely JRR Tolkien, Tom Holt, JV Jones, etc. Take a look at the selection in the shops, especially game shops.

Gaming Consoles
If you're after gaming consoles from the last year or so, or further back, try: XBox360, WII, the PS3 (Playstation 3), and the Nintendo DSi (Internet version of the Nintendo DS).

If you go back through computer gaming, you'll hit the PS2, PS1, the first XBox and eventually get to PSP (Portable Playstation), Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite. Beyond that, it'll be the N64 (Nintendo 3D gaming console), SNES (Super Nintendo) aka Super Famicom, NES (Nintendo) aka Famicom, Atari ST, and then way back, you'd be on computers like the Spectrum, Amiga 500 / 700, Commodore 64, etc.

As far as actual SF/F games of this year and last go, try: Warhammer (board and MMO (massive multiplayer online)), World of Warcraft (WOW), Starcraft II, League of Legends, ADND (Advanced Dungeon and Dragons; board and MMO), Champions Online, Aion, EQ2 (Ever Quest 2), LEGO Universe, FFXIV (Final Fantasy XIV), EVE Online, Mass Effect 2, etc.

One that may be overlooked is "Magic: the Gathering". Fantasy game, card-based, but does have a digital version. And many expansions.

Other games that may not be too appealing to the casual crowd of the mainstream market could include, "Terra", "Rift", "Street Fighter IV" (originally an arcade / console game; still is, but can be played on the PC, if I remember right; it's also a tournament game), "A Game of Thrones", "Team Fortress 2", "Fallout", "Deus Ex", "Hard Reset", etc.

Right now, "Minecraft" is still gaining popularity; and "Terraria" has its huge audience.

Again, wander into a computer games shop and take a look at the titles. A lot of them are from the last few years.

Useful search strings would be, "2010 MMO" or "2011 MMO", "2010 top games" or "2011 top games", etc.

You can find a top 10 of 2010 here: http://gamedrone.net/2010/06/30/top-10-most-successful-mmogs-of-2010/ Obviously, there are plenty more games.


This link, if you want to know a bit more about the gaming world, or want to see what goes on: http://games.ign.com/articles/109/1094418p1.html

Take a close look at the navigation menu at the top: it'll tell you the popular consoles as of right now. (But these consoles have been out a year or more.)

Again, take a browse through computer gaming shops and ask the owners / managers what sold most.

And if you don't get all the information from gaming shops, try this link: http://store.steampowered.com/

Hope this post gives you a starting point.

Good luck. SF/F, gaming and manga/anime are huge areas to research.

P.S., None of my lists is close to exhaustive, and I stopped hardcore gaming a while back.

10-11-2011, 08:23 AM
Also what was the biggest game system, last year...(googled that too and still not sure) was it Xbox 360?

In home consoles, it was a tie between the 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, any of them will do. A very hardcore gamer would use a PC, though.

The most popular handheld platform was the Nintendo DS.

And what was a cool (sci-fi, alien ass-kickin, fantasy type) game and or games in 2011 and or 2010?

Mass Effect or Assassin's Creed.

10-11-2011, 03:15 PM
If you want him to be into non-mainstream cult games, in fantasy, I would suggest the Suikoden series.

And his favorite should be Suikoden II(pretty much the consensus best).

10-11-2011, 03:37 PM
In home consoles, it was a tie between the 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, any of them will do.
The Wii lived up to its name and pissed all over the competition:

Worldwide sales figures

Wii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wii) 87.57 million as of 30 June 2011 (2011 -06-30)[update] (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Console_wars&action=edit)[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Console_wars#cite_note-nintendosales-8)
Xbox 360 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360) 55 million as of 4 June 2011 (2011 -06-04)[update] (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Console_wars&action=edit)[36] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Console_wars#cite_note-35)
PlayStation 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3) 50 million as of 31 March 2011 (2011 -03-31)[update] (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Console_wars&action=edit)[37] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Console_wars#cite_note-36)

However, anyone calling themselves a gamer would probably not own a Wii - certainly not as their primary gaming system.
The XBox 360 and PS3 were a lot closer in terms of sales, although the PS3 never really recovered from its initial high price tag (which never bothered me, it's much better technology, imho). These days, the difference is either which exclusive games you want to play (I bought a PS3 in part for GT5, for example), or whether you are an anti-Sony snob, or an anti-Microsoft snob. ;)

Oh yeah, and everyone knows the best gaming is done on PCs. ;)

10-11-2011, 07:19 PM
If he's a hardcore gamer and into the 80s, I'd have him running a couple of old computers for the express purpose of playing old-school games. Apple II running Bard's Tale, Win95 system for most of Sierra Online's 1990s collection (King's Quest, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight series).

And the big story in adventure/fantasy in 2010 was Jane Jensen's Gray Matter. She created the Gabriel Knight series, and there was meant to be a fourth game. But Sierra went belly-up before the game was made, and they owned the rights to Gabriel Knight. So Jane Jensen turned to this new project, Gray Matter. It went into development in the late 90s and hit delay after delay. It finally dropped in November 2010, in Germany--so fans scrambled for international shipping. Gray Matter was ported to XBox 360, but I agree with the others--true hardcore gaming is PC-only.

10-12-2011, 12:55 AM
The Wii lived up to its name and pissed all over the competition:

That's kind of misleading though, it may have sold more, but polls generally show that the people who bought it got bored of it pretty fast(something like 2/3 stopped playing it after a month). It's got a flashy gimmick but it's a piece of crap compared to the others.

10-12-2011, 03:45 AM
I googled and found Orson Scott Card and he sounds pretty cool, but I don't know yet.

Everyone else has pretty much everything covered (though I'd throw Neon Genesis Evangelion into the 80s/90s anime list of buzzwords)... so I just wanted to say... if you haven't read Orson Scott Card... do it. :)