Black and white drawings courtesy of Vincent Zahnle, copyright owner and artist.
Color illustrations by Margaret E. Galicia, copyright 2008 and 2009 by Donald Saxman
All rights reserved, and drawings may not be reproduced, re-used, copied, or republished in any medium without express written permission of the copyright owner.
If you'd like to get in touch with either of these fine artists, please contact Donald Saxman.
Special thanks to my two editors. Any errors in logic, capitalization, or continuity are my own!
Artwork is key to the Strange World series and I've included art from a variety of sources.
The following artists prepared custom art specifically for the Strange World series. I would not hesitate to recommend them for any similar project and I look forward to working with them each again.
Margaret Galicia (www.margaretgalicia.com)
Kathy Holman (www.khsculpture.com and http://www.facebook.com/pages/KHSCULPTURE/356787465505)
Allen Huang (www.cartoons.en.alibaba.com)
Joe Orsak (www.jorsak.com)
Stephanie Ann Roman (www.stephroman.com)
Donald Saxman (www.thesestrangeworlds.com)
Emily White (www.darklingtreasures.com)
A.Frost Wiedmeyer (www.frostovision.com)
The following artists provided art for other projects, including the original Superhero 2044 and the Strange World videotext game.
PUBLIC DOMAIN ART AND ROYALTY FREE ART
The following artists and publishers provided royalty free or other stock art. This includes antique art now in the public domain. Special thanks to www.rpgnow.com, a premier source of stock art for game designers.
Joe Calkins (www.cerberusart.com and www.rpgnow.com)
Dover Publications (www.doverpublications.com)
Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center, Maxwell Air Force Base
William McAusland (www.mcauslandstudios.com and www.rpgnow.com)
Jeff Preston (www.jeffpreston.net and www.rpgnow.com)
Aurthur Samule Rickwood
David Sharrock (www.artwanted.com/artist.cfm?artid=2829 and www.rpgnow.com)
These Strange Worlds began in the mid 1970s as a first generation role playing game called Superhero 2044. These were the days when Dungeons and Dragons was less than a year old, portable phones were suitcase-sized, and quantum mechanics was mired at the quark level. As a college student (trying for a double major in geology and journalism) I was a founding member of the 'conflict simulations' club.' In those politically charged times, even the name 'war game club' was forbidden by the Student Union. I was also a founding member of the college's science fiction club and was in the Society for Creative Anachronism. One wonders when I had time to study at all.
My Superhero 2044 was the first comic superhero role playing game, although far from the best. Among the playtesters were John M. Ford, who Robert Jordanwould come to call "the best writer in America -- bar none."
So initial credit goes to John (Mike), as well as Geneva Spencer (eventually Geneva Saxman and now Geneva Fry). Mike, Geneva, and I invented Captain Blackout. John Railing invented Laser Wolf, who would go through many modifications and eventually become Avestor Wulf. Paul McCall and his wife Cathy invented Pecos Cowgirl. Other playtesters included Aaron Giles, Eric Brewer, Dan Fox, Vince Zahnle, Guy McLimore, and Samanda Jeude.
Time moved on, and I parleyed my geology degree into a series of careers that included analytical chemist, technical journalist, quality assurance manager for the International Space Station, and information technology project manager. The late 1980s and early 1990s were the pre-Internet days of dial-up bulletin boards, lunch box-sized portable phones -- and Videotext.
Videotext was a low-speed, inexpensive online tool that consisted of a toaster-sized black and white screen, a fold down keyboard, and a dialup modem. It was popular in France, where it (temporarily) replaced paper telephone books. A company named U.S. Videotel spent millions of dollars and about five years trying to popularize the technology in America. They were looking for content and I became an "independent information provider." Some of the information I provided was "Strange World." Strange World was a text-only on-line game and was one of USV's most popular features for several years. The setting and many of the characters in this novel owe their origins to this Videotext game.
This version of Strange World was partially a group effort, with me creating the setting, some narrative hooks, and a few complete short stories and the players advancing an evolving series of narratives. Amazingly, USV's implementation of Videotext did not support eMail. Players would upload text files, often anonymously and I'd manually edit them and post them online. (USV and their partner, Southwest Bell genuinely seemed to think eMail would never catch on -- I couldn't make this up!) One consequence of this is that I hardly every met the players in person and did not have real names for many of them. None the less, their contribution can't be minimized.
In any case, USV eventually ceased operations and I moved in other directions (including helping design and test the life support system for the International Space Station).
In 2007, I decided to revive both Superhero 2044 and Strange World and These Strange Worlds is the result. The name was slightly modified because of a short-lived television show called Strange World.