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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Spark Furnace is now fired up

But just what is a Spark Furnace..?

A curious invention, whose precise origins have been lost in the mists of time, it is believed that only one of the handful of Spark Furnaces originally bequeathed to mankind remains in existence today.

Somewhat otherworldly in its design, the workings of the last remaining Spark Furnace are little understood, and its inner secrets are rumoured to be guarded by the surviving members of a long-forgotten society.

What we do know, however, is that the Spark Furnace is a truly amazing device, capable of extracting strands of psychic energy and inspiration from every dimension. In the hands of a skilled operator, it weaves together whole collections of entertainment, literature and interactive experiences into a seamless transmedia experience encompassing novels, comic books, videogames, television and movies.

Some say we have tapped into just a tiny fraction of its potential, while others fear what might happen if its harvested energy were to leak out. However all who have seen it at work agree that the huge influx of power required to keep it fuelled and smoothly running is repaid many times over by the fabulous creations which it brings forth at tantalisingly unpredictable intervals.


  1. Did you have someone look into why people cannot seem to purchase FL Book 1 not only on Barnes and Noble, but some had problems with Amazon as well?

    Oh, and the above image resembles the smoke wisp that appears on the Sci-Fi series Fringe before commercial breaks. Speaking of excellent series to support, the show is aired Thursdays (soon to be Fridays) on fox and is on the verge of cancellation. It is one of the only decent series on network television.

  2. As with everyone else posting here, I'm very excited to see the Fabled Lands books back in print, and optimistic that the fringes of the world map will finally be explored with new installments.

    Arom the Harper (a Troubadour) is already neck-deep in trouble in southern Golnir :).

    I have three sets of Books 2 to 4 (Book 1 should ship soon from Amazon – I hope!). Two sets are for friends who loved this type of book back in the day, and missed out on the Fabled Lands the first time round.

    A question I have for Dave is will there be a central repository of errata/corrections for the books now that the Spark Furnace is operating? I’ve noted the typo for the “Scou(n)ting” ability on the Character Sheet for instance. I’m sure all effort has been made to eliminate this sort of thing, but mistakes invariably crop up!

    Thanks again for bringing back this seminal game-book series, I look forward to buying multiple copies of Books 5 to 12!


  3. Mike: I've been watching Fringe, and got into it on Dave's recommendation in the first place (he compared it to UNIT-era Doctor Who, with Walter as a fascinating take on the Doctor himself). But it's probably no use recommending that Dave watch it, as he doesn't watch much TV, and has a far stricter idea about when a show has jumped the shark than do most people.

    Fringe will probably be canceled, as soon as enough people wake up to its critique of the 'War on Terror (and WikiLeaks)'. More viewers would probably make that sooner rather than later.

  4. Argh! If Fringe is cancelled I will never watch another TV show. It's the best thing ever.

  5. Okay, I've had a few hours now to recover from the news about Fringe (sob!) so I can dry my eyes and answer you, Tom. A central database of errata is a great idea and I'm going to ask the Spark Furnace guys about that. I imagine we'll be relying a lot on the folks at the FL Yahoo group for that.

    Wrt ScouNting - doh! At least I didn't actually make that mistake myself, our art designer did, but I should've spotted it before okaying the proof. Mea culpa.

    Oh, and you deserve an Uttakin court title for spreading the word with those gift sets! (Jamie, any ideas..?)

    Paul, I'm just thinking that BSG used the War on Terror as its theme too, and that limped on for four seasons (great start, soon ran out of steam). So is that Fringe's problem, or is the show just too well written and well acted for the typical TV viewer to comprehend it? O tempora!

  6. I feel that Fringe may be a bit too complicated for the average viewer, as the plot is scientifically based. "Reality Television" (yeah, right) is complete drivel and is possibly 70% of programming (more, depending on the network)......... It is beyond my comprehension as to why people enjoy that sort of program.

    I've never viewed an episode of Doctor Who or Battle Star Galactica, but Fringe contrasts to The X-Files which was based on pure mythos.

    Fringe was written for 6 seasons, and as we are on the third, there is still time for the ratings to go up. Here in the US, it will return in January, although moved to the "death night" of Fridays where shows with middling viewership are moved to. The way I see it, it resonates with viewers because of the depth of characters in both universes. Walter, being the ever quirky "madman" that he is, now owns Massive Dynamic thanks to William Bell. As for the war on terror, they did play the World Trade Center card, but I do not feel like the doomsday device that Peter is the "heart" of is contrived at all. All heroes must have something to save. Speaking of Heroes, the NBC show was never resolved. So far, nothing has come of the Heroes movie finale.

    All in all, there is still a chance that the viewership will rise. As we have brought back Fabled Lands, let us all revel in the atmosphere of Fringe's universe.

    Oh yeah, I have spotted the observer in the current episode. Are the observers spies for the Walternate? Fauxlivia has used the typewriter to contact her universe, so I haven't quite figured out how the roles fit into place yet. Is the war between the universes because Walter stole the Walternate's son? That is a ridiculous reason for someone to do such a thing.

  7. My impression is that when Walter crossed over to pick up the other Peter, he created rifts in the planar boundaries that now threaten both universes. He didn't mean to, he was just blind to the consequences. On the other hand, Walternate, typically, is willing to make a terrible personal sacrifice - using his son Peter as a bomb to destroy the other universe - because he is one who subsumes all finer emotions to the fascistic rule of logic. So not for revenge (we saw how he was struggling to save Peter when he got sick as a child, just as Walter was - they were pretty much the same person back then, for good and ill) but because he has found the simplest and most terrible of solutions. I think that our Walter, though seemingly weaker, will prove to have more depth and will find the solution that saves both universes. As long as Fox don't cancel the show!

    Btw the observers seem closer allies of Walter than Walternate - though of course, we've seen they don't all act of one mind.