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All-new PARANOIA novels! Smart science-fiction satire based on the bestselling roleplaying game set in a darkly humorous future. For the Kindle, Nook, iPhone/iPad, and other e-readers.
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T1 Stay Alert in the Bundle of Holding

PARANOIA T1 Stay Alert by Allen Varney

PARANOIA T1 Stay Alert by Allen Varney. Cover by Jim Holloway.

The Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA novel Stay Alert by Allen Varney (designer of the 2004 Mongoose Publishing edition of PARANOIA) has been added to the Bundle of Holding, a collection of DRM-free ebook novels by leading RPG designers, sold for a price you set yourself. Modeled on the popular Humble Bundle and similar offers, the Bundle of Holding supports indie authors as well as two fine charities.

The other nine authors now in the Bundle of Holding:

  • Matt Forbeck (Brave New World): the first book in his “Shotguns and Sorcery” trilogy, Hard Times in Dragon City.
  • Jenna Katerin Moran (Nobilis, Exalted): Fable of the Swan, set in the world of her new “Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine.”
  • Chuck Wendig (Hunter: The Vigil): a nine-story collection, Irregular Creatures.
  • Stephen D. Sullivan (one of the original TSR D&D crew and co-founder of Pacesetter Ltd.): an action-filled romp called Tournament of Death.
  • Sarah Newton (Legends of Anglerre, Chronicles of Future Earth, Achtung Cthulhu): Mindjammer, a transhuman space opera based on her recent FATE rulebook of the same name.
  • Rafael Chandler (Scorn, Spite): a hard-boiled vampire sf-horror-crime novel, Hexcommunicated.
  • Mur Lafferty (the Warcraft and WoW tabletop RPGs, the Storyteller games): Playing for Keeps, a satirical superhero novel in Seventh City, where it gets hard to tell the good guys from the bad.
  • Derek Pearcy (In Nomine): a Neal Stephenson-style superhero novel, Hero Worship.
  • Aaron Rosenberg (the ENnie-winning Lure of the Lich Lord, Races of Destiny for D&D): the first book in his space opera series, Birth of the Dread Remora.

All books are DRM-free and offered in Kindle, ePub, and .PDF versions. For one price you set yourself, you get the whole collection in all formats, and you help support our charities: Reading is Fundamental and Child’s Play. You can learn more about the charities and the books at the Bundle of Holding site — but hurry. The Bundle of Holding has less than a week left to run, and then it’s gone.

PARANOIA: 2012 in review

The Computer’s loyal servants in Technical Services have discovered Communist sabotage of various timekeeping devices across Alpha Complex. Doubtless the traitors, who will doubtless soon be apprehended, intended to sow doubt in The Computer’s doubtlessly accurate chronological fidelity. Because all these devices display different degrees of error, Central Processing has ordered a complex-wide reset, requiring Year 214 to be repeated from the beginning.

After the publication of the introductory anthology A1 The Computer is Your Friend in early January, nothing of import happened with PARANOIA through most of 2012. But stay tuned, because a large project is afoot, or soon to climb to its feet. Should it happen, PARANOIA will have a strong 2013. As always, The Computer commends all loyal citizens for their cooperation.

Black Friday sale

Citizens! For the annual post-prandial consumer frenzy called “Black Friday,” The Computer’s loyal citizens in Production, Logistics, & Commissary are putting the entire Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA novel line on Amazon on sale! Through Monday, November 26, 2012 you can purchase Gareth Hanrahan’s PARANOIA S1 Reality Optional, Allen Varney’s T1 Stay Alert, and WJ MacGuffin’s Y1 Traitor Hangout for the Amazon Kindle family for just US$0.99 apiece. The introductory anthology PARANOIA A1 The Computer is Your Friend remains $0.99 as well. Go forth and show your loyalty — on a budget!

Traitor Hangout mini-review

Loyal citizen and stalwart reviewer Petri Wessman has posted a glowing mini-review of PARANOIA novel T1 Traitor Hangout. Some choice selections:

It leans more on the “zany” side than the other books, somewhat mimicking the “Zap” style of gameplay in the new PARANOIA edition. Since that style isn’t my favorite, I wasn’t really expecting much of this book, to be honest… but I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s an extremely fun book, and isn’t at all as much “Zap” as I had feared. [...]

It’s a fun and well-written situational comedy, with Clarence acting as the naive foil to all sorts of crazy stuff. Sure, people get incinerated, terminated and killed in various other ways — but it’s still a lighthearted romp.

Commendation point, Petri!

The PARANOIA Fiasco playset – “Alpha Complex”

Too-long-didn’t-read:Alpha Complex,” Dan Curtis Johnson’s authorized PARANOIA-themed playset for Fiasco, is now available as a free download from Bully Pulpit Games.

Fiasco is Jason Morningstar’s tabletop storytelling game of “Coen Brothers roleplaying.” From the Bully Pulpit Games site:

Fiasco is inspired by cinematic tales of small time capers gone disastrously wrong — by films like Blood Simple, Fargo, The Way of the Gun, Burn After Reading, and A Simple Plan. You’ll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably all go south in a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. Lives and reputations will be lost, painful wisdom will be gained, and if you are really lucky, your guy just might end up back where he started.

Fiasco is a GM-less game for 3-5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation. During a game you will engineer and play out stupid, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and lust. It’s like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it’d take to watch one.

Of course you’re thinking, “Gosh, what a perfect match for PARANOIA.” So was Dan Curtis Johnson, author of “Mister Bubbles” in the 2004 Mongoose Publishing PARANOIA rulebook and contributor to several of its supplements, with such acclaimed missions as “Stealth Train” (from the Crash Priority supplement), “The Lightbulb Mission” (Service, Service!), and above all, “Hunger” (WMD).

Dan is a fervent Fiasco fan, as shown by his memorable blog posts recounting past games, such as “Objective Zebra,” “What’s in Kaku Inlet,” and “Manna Hotel” (where Dan was joined by comics writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction as well as Wil Wheaton — yes, that Wil Wheaton). For years he’s wanted to compose a Fiasco “playset,” a collection of story elements that recasts the game in a different setting. Published playset topics range from an Antarctic base to Beverly Hills to mythic China to the Salem witch trials. In creating “Alpha Complex,” Dan drew on a wide range of published PARANOIA material, and he managed to allude to all his previous work for the game.

“Alpha Complex” is authorized by the PARANOIA owners and the RPG licensee, Mongoose Publishing. The “Alpha Complex” playset is available for free download from Bully Pulpit Games, and will eventually be posted to the official PARANOIA development blog and here on the Ultraviolet Books site. “Alpha Complex” isn’t the first playset that crosses Fiasco with another RPG — that would be “Bookhounds Fiasco” by Kenneth Hite and Will Hindmarch, a crossover with Ken’s Pelgrane Press Trail of Cthulhu supplement Bookhounds of London.

Indie Press Revolution sells Fiasco for $12 in .PDF, or in hardcopy (bundled with the .PDF) for $25. Fiasco designer Jason Morningstar and a cast of writers with poor impulse control have produced many other free Fiasco playsets.

A couple of related plugs: Jason is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for his latest RPG, Durance. And feverishly productive novelist Matt Forbeck has offered to design a new Fiasco playset as a stretch goal for his own current Kickstarter, a trilogy of convention-based murder mysteries called Dangerous Games.

Notes from the Outdoors

A couple of interesting PARANOIA-related blog posts from the last few days:

Unconscious sexism in feedback mechanics

On Gaming as Women — “a collection of thoughts on womanhood and (mostly) analog gaming” — Darla Magdalene Shockley has a short essay on unconscious sexism in RPG design, and specifically in player feedback mechanics. She uses PARANOIA‘s Perversity point system as her example, not that she accuses the game itself of sexism (whew!):

I absolutely adore PARANOIA. It is an incredible amount of fun. This is also not intended as a criticism of anyone who has GMed PARANOIA for me. There have been several, and they were all great GMs, and are amazing people. At least one even identifies fairly strongly as a feminist.

However, we are all socialized very strongly to view women in certain ways. We expect women to be responsible, do the boring administrative work, and in general shut down the fun. We emphatically do not expect women to be silly. So women are less likely to be silly, and everyone is less likely to notice when they are. The PARANOIA GM (despite being quite the stand-up guy) is less likely to notice and reward it.

Of the many comments, none (so far) specifically criticize PARANOIA. A comment from wundergeek, who has fought a long and often lonely battle against sexism in the RPG field, summarizes the consensus:

[F]eedback mechanics are something that, on their face, should benefit men and women equally. But when sexism is present at the table, even unconscious sexism, they can wind up highlighting social inequality and making women feel bad about their contributions to the game. That’s not because the mechanic is sexist. It’s a breakdown in the system caused by meta issues at the table.

Topless Robot on atypical RPG settings

On the pop-culture site Topless Robot — which, despite the name, is work-safe — James Daniels lists 6 Excellent Tabletop Role-Playing Games with Atypical RPG Settings. PARANOIA is #2, right after Deadlands. “PARANOIA is much more about fun than silly things like ‘success’ or ‘survival,’” James writes. Commendation point for your wise priorities, citizen!

Yellowpants Mandate List

Mere days after the release of the Emergency Bathroom Break Requisition form, The Computer’s loyal servants in the Central Processing Unit service group — specifically WJ MacGuffin, author of PARANOIA novel Y1 Traitor Hangout — has compiled a comprehensive Yellowpants Mandate List (.PDF link). Commendation point, WJ!

Fans of CPU efficiency auditor Clarence-Y will appreciate this comprehensive .PDF list of all Alpha Complex mandates mentioned in the “Yellowpants” stories (including both Traitor Hangout and the “Hay Fever” novelette in A1 The Computer is Your Friend). This free seven-page document also includes sidebars with a handy primer on the PARANOIA setting. Present this list to prospective citizens of Alpha Complex to guarantee proper behavior on arrival. This version 1.0 of the Yellowpants Mandate List is dated February 28, 2012; CPU workers will update the list as new Clarence-Y stories appear.

The Yellowpants Mandate List, the Bathroom Break form, and preview samples of all our novels are available on our free Ultraviolet Books downloads page.

Emergency Bathroom Break Requisition

Emergency Bathroom Break Requisition formFor all your unscheduled urgent on-the-job sanitary needs, The Computer’s loyal servants in Technical Services have made available this free Emergency Bathroom Break Requisition Form TS-2952-445, as seen in the Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA novel T1 Stay Alert, the short story “Rule Zero” (in the promotional anthology A1 The Computer is Your Friend), and doubtless many immortal works still ahead. Download this free form, distribute it to all your workers of YELLOW Clearance and below, and start enforcing mandatory hygienic responsibility!

Thanks to loyal citizen WJ MacGuffin, author of PARANOIA novel Y1 Traitor Hangout, for his fine formification.

PARANOIA novels on sale at Barnesandnoble.com!

Mere moments after news arrived that official PARANOIA novels from Ultraviolet Books are now on sale at DriveThruFiction.com, The Computer’s loyal servants in Central Processing notified us that all three PARANOIA novels are also on sale now at Barnesandnoble.com!

We don’t have a single storefront at Barnesandnoble.com to match our ever-growing UV Books Amazon store, so here are links to each of the three PARANOIA novels:

These are the new ePub versions of our novels, suitable for the Nook family of ereaders — or, if you prefer, the free Nook ereader apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, and Mac at Barnesandnoble.com.

PARANOIA novels now on DriveThruFiction

New merchant alert! New format alert! All three of the Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA novels – Reality Optional, Traitor Hangout, and Stay Alert – are now available on DriveThruFiction. DriveThru started as one of the first online stores for roleplaying games, and now, as part of the OneBookShelf empire, it has spread into comics, wargames, and (commendation point!) fiction.

The UV Books novels are sold on DriveThruFiction as .ZIP archives. Each archive contains three versions of the novel formatted for Kindle (.mobi), ePub, and .PDF. All versions have identical text, which perhaps isn’t PARANOIA-like but we’re okay with that. This is our debut in ePub format! (If you notice formatting problems, please let us know.)

Because the DriveThru versions of our novels are in archived format, you can’t preview them on the DriveThruFiction site itself. We point inquisitive citizens to our free downloads page, where you can download free previews of all our novels in all three formats.

We plan to expand the nascent UV Books empire to other major ebook sales sites. Stay tuned. [UPDATE, two hours later: Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA novels are now on sale in ePub format at Barnesandnoble.com!]

ePub test subjects wanted

ePub-enabled citizens! Ultraviolet Books asks a favor. We have spent the week wrestling with the ePub format, and now we’re prepared to declare conditional round-one victory. Please download this free ePub preview of Chapters 1-4 from Gareth Hanrahan’s Reality Optional (1.7MB). Examine the preview in the ePub-compatible ebook reader of your choice, such as the Barnes & Noble Nook or one of the free Nook reader apps, an iPhone/iPad, or any Kobo reader. Do you notice anything strange in the file’s formatting? (Note: The correct answer is “no.”) If so, please let us know by email (ultravioletbooks (at) Gmail) or use our contact form.

For the record, Kindle users can download the free Kindle preview of Chapters 1-4 from Gareth Hanrahan’s Reality Optional (2MB) on our free downloads page. There, at least, we’re a bit more confident about the formatting.

Reality Optional – the reviewers cheer

Reality Optional by Gareth Hanrahan

PARANOIA S1 "Reality Optional" by Gareth Hanrahan

Gareth Hanrahan’s PARANOIA novel Reality Optional has so far earned the best reviews on Amazon of all the Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA releases. On Amazon’s US site, Reality Optional now has 12 reviews; six are 5-star, five are 4-star, and one is 3-star. On the Amazon UK site, the book has three additional reviews; two are 5-star and one is 4-star. Commendation point, Gareth!

The latest review, from the enigmatically named “me,” is quite fine:

A well-paced page-turner, if that’s something people say about e-books… I’ve been a fan of the game for ages but have rarely had the opportunity to play, and this book pulls off both what I hoped what the game would be — a fast-paced adventure with mind-bending challenges and eventual brilliant success — and what playing with a good group turned out to be — a backstabbing, conniving inter- and intra-group betrayal-fest with no hope of success or indeed of anything ever really changing. (And no, neither of those spoils the ending. Or if they do, I trust you will make me pay dearly.)

If William Gibson had had an accident destroying half of his brain after he wrote Neuromancer, received a transplant of Terry Pratchett’s extra lobe, then collaborated with Neil Gaiman, this book could have been the result.

Another commendation point for, uh, “me.” In fact, commendation points for all the reviewers of the Ultraviolet Books PARANOIA novels! The Computer is in a generous mood.

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