Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sentinels Collectible Card Game - Full List of Cards

Here is a complete list of the first full set of Sentinels Collectible Card Game cards.
If you spot an error or know of a card I have somehow missed, please let me know.
(And if you purchased a set and did not receive all the cards you expected, please let me know!)
I will post this to the Sentinels web site at White Rocket in the next couple of days.

More information and links to order the cards here.

Battle Cards

Alien Invasion
Cosmic Crisis
Government Conspiracy
HQ Takeover
Mutant Crisis
Robot Attack
SpaceTime Warp
Tech Nightmare
Villains in Disguise

Hero Cards

Esro Brachis
Star Knight

Villain Cards

Black Terror
Blue Skull
Centurion 1
Field Marshal

Neutral Cards

Anna Maldini
Mr. Jameson

Instant Cards

Alien Interference
Brought Before Galactic Council
Captured by Aliens
Cutting Loose
Defensive Force Field
Dimensional Transporter
Entity in the Box
Epic Save
Flying Monkey Robot
Francisco's Judgment
High Tech Blackmail
High Tech Rescue
Identity Revealed
Inspirational Mutant Heroics
Last Ditch Defense
Last Stand
Mutant Sneak Attack
Mystery Villain
No Mercy
Plea for Help
Power Boost
Space Gods Intervene
Spider Robots
Sword of Alatair
Verthrun Incursion
Verthrun Triumphant
Villainous Horde
Villains on the Run
Warlord Triumphant

Rare Cards

Black Terror Supreme
Brachis Empowered
Captain Mondrian
Centurion 2
Cosmic Power Overload
Devenn the Guardian
Pulsar Rising
Reward for Heroism
Shiva Energized
The Star Knights
Ultraa Reborn
Vanadium Unleashed
Victory Celebration
Warlord in Red
Wolf Empowered
Worldmind Sphere
Xorex Empowered

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Tentative 2016 DragonCon Schedule for Me

Tentative 2016 DragonCon Schedule for Van Allen Plexico

Below are events I am officially listed as hosting or participating in.
If you are looking for me during times not listed below, I will likely be at panels and events on the Sci Fi Literature track, American Sci Fi Classics track, and/or Military SF Media track.
Or in the Green Room. Or at Robot Battles. Or eating. Or asleep.

Does not include Comics and Popular Arts Conference programming.

ESO Network Hosts Meet and Greet
Thurs 10:00 pm Location: Hyatt Bar

History of SciFi
Fri 01:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt
Lee Martindale, Chris A Jackson, Van Allen Plexico

Babylon 5 or Deep Space 9? (I'm not listed but am on it)
Fri 2:30 pm Location: Merchandise Mart 2, Room  204-B
Jamie Poff, Robert Lehnen, JoAnne Goetz, Van Allen Plexico

Everything Old is New Again (I'm not listed but am on it)
Fri 4:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt (presumably)
Chris Jackson, Van Allen Plexico

Marvel/DC Jeopardy
Fri 7:00 pm Location: Merchandise Mart 2, Room 204-A
Van Allen Plexico

Cleopatra 2525 and Jack of All Trades: Action Hour Salute
Fri 08:30 pm Location: M103-M105 - Marriott

Bookclub-Ready Player One!
Fri 10:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt
Van Allen Plexico, Bethany Kesler, John Hudgens

Reading: Van Allen Plexico
I will do dramatic performances from my two or three latest SF books (and possibly from one of my Auburn books).
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Edgewood - Hyatt

Autograph Session: Van Allen Plexico
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: International Hall South - Marriott

SF Jeopardy
Sat 05:30 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt
Moderator / MC for panel

Auburn vs Clemson - DragonCon Watch Party
Sat 09:00 pm Location: High Velocity - Marriott

Classic Sci-Fi Roll-A-Panel: The 80s
Sun 10:00 am Location: M103-M105 - Marriott
Michael Falkner, Van Allen Plexico

Hugo and Nebula Awards Minus Fifty
We look back half a century at the works that won the Hugos and Nebula awards in 1966.
Sun 01:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
Van Allen Plexico, Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, Bill Fawcett, Wendy S Delmater

Starship Showdown
The best starships of literature face off to find out which is the best.
Sun 05:30 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico)

Highlander: There Can Be Only One 30th Anniversary
What to expect: A roomful of people singing Queen's "Princes of the Universe."
Sun 07:00 pm Location: M103-M105 - Marriott
(Tentative Panelists: Michael Falkner, Dr. Scott ViguiƩ, Van Allen Plexico)


Daredevil - The Vigilante Returns  (I'm not listed but am on it)
Mon 10:00 am Location Marriott M301-303
Eric Asher, Bethany Kesler, Gary Mitchel, Van Allen Plexico

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

White Rocket Podcast Episodes List - Updated July 2016

UPDATED JULY 12, 2016:
A chronological list of some of the more popular topics we have covered on the White Rocket Podcast so far.
All are easily available at http://whiterocket.podbean.comand and the most recent episodes are on iTunes.
My eternal thanks to all of my guests and co-hosts on these episodes.
(Co-hosts in parentheses).
The last few may not have posted yet as I am still compiling the anniversary 100th episode.

001 Prometheus (movie review) (Mark Bousquet)
002 Stephen King's The Dark Tower (David Wright)
003 Bobby Politte on Superhero Novels
004 James Bond in all media (David Medinnus)
005 Jeff Deischer on Superhero Novels
006 Marvel Cinematic Universe (Jim Yelton)
007 Marvel Cinematic Universe (Jim Yelton)
008 Richard Stark's Parker novels & films (Mark Finn)
009 Movies of 2012 (Bobby Politte)
010 Movies of 2012 (Bobby Politte)
011 A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones (John Ringer)
012 Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander novels & film (Bryan Crowson)
013 10 Favorite Movies Countdown (John Ringer)
014 James Clavell's Asian Saga (Shogun, etc) novels & films (Rick Lai)
015 Steig Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novels & films (James Hickson)
016 Legion I: Lords of Fire (audiobook sample)
017 Awards Season (Bobby Politte)
018 Babylon 5: 20th Anniversary (Bobby Politte)
019 War/Action Films of Alistair MacLean (Navarone/Ice Station Zebra etc) (Mark Bousquet)
020 Ian Healy Interview on Superhero Novels
021 Justified (tv series) (Bobby Nash)
022 The Book Cave team interviews Van
023 DragonCon Memories with Keith RA DeCandido
024 Lucian: Dark God's Homecoming (audiobook sample)
025 Alabama Phoenix Festival
026 Star Trek & Star Trek Into Darkness (Jim Yelton)
027 Warhammer 40,000 & Horus Heresy (Josh Reynolds) 
028 Warhammer 40,000 & Horus Heresy (Josh Reynolds)
029 Creating Audiobooks (Chris Barnes)
030 Jack "King" Kirby (John Quiring)
031 Jim Beard interview
032 Space: 1999 (Anthony Taylor)
033 Barry Reese interview
034 Hawk: Hand of the Machine (audiobook sample)
035 Larry Niven interview
036 Movies of 2013 review (Bobby Politte)
037 Star Trek Original Movies (Jim Yelton)
038 Star Trek Original Movies (Jim Yelton)
039 Ready Player One (John Ringer)
040 Downton Abbey (Mike Gordon)
041 Windy City Pulp Con Interviews
042 Novel Writing
043 Novel Writing
044 The Cosmic Marvel Universe (Jim Yelton)
045 Animated Superhero Shows (Ethan Ringer)
046 Guardians of the Galaxy movie review (Ralph Angelo and James Hickson)
047 Battlestar Galactica (original series) (Jim Yelton)
048 Andrew Gaska interview (Space: 1999 graphic novels)
049 The X-Men Movies (Percival Constantine)
050 Anniversary Show
051 Marvel Cinematic Universe  - Phase 3 (Jim Yelton)
052 David Wright interview
053 Frank Herbert's Dune novels & films  (John Ringer)
054 Avengers Assemble! (David Wright and Kell Carpenter)
055 Sean Connery & George Lazenby Bond Films  (John Ringer)
056 Sean Connery & George Lazenby Bond Films  (John Ringer)
057 Legion II: Sons of Terra (audiobook sample)
058 Roger Moore & Timothy Dalton Bond Films  (John Ringer)
059 Roger Moore & Timothy Dalton Bond Films  (John Ringer)
060 Graham McNeill interview
061 Conan the Barbarian films (Jim Yelton)
062 Krull & The 13th Warrior (Jim Yelton)
063 Pierce Brosnan Bond Films (John Ringer)
064 Daniel Craig Bond Films  (John Ringer)
065 Hugo Awards Controversy (James Palmer)
066 Bond Villains  (John Ringer)
067 Avengers: Age of Ultron (movie review)
068 Roger Zelazny's Amber Novels, pt 1 (Shawn Michael Vogt)
069 Bruce Boxleitner & Mira Furlan interview at DragonCon
070 Superhero Smackdown
071 Parsec Awards Submission Show
072 Sci Fi Literature Jeopardy
073 Game of Thrones Season 5 review  (John Ringer)
074 Legion III: Kings of Oblivion (audiobook sample)
075 DragonCon Classic SF Track (Gary Mitchel)
076 Roger Zelazny's Amber Novels, pt 2 (Shawn Michael Vogt)
077 Roger Zelazny's Amber Novels, pt 3 (Shawn Michael Vogt)
078 Peter F Hamilton interview at DragonCon 2015
079 Conventions
080 Thundarr the Barbarian Panel at DragonCon 2015
081 Roger Zelazny Memorial Panel
082 Harlan Ellison at Archon 2015
083 SPECTRE (movie review)
084 The Star Wars Phenomenon (John Ringer)
085 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (movie review)  (John Ringer)
086 Daredevil (DragonCon panel)
087 & 088 Questions for Van About Everything
089 What are we Reading (John Ringer)
090 James Bond Opening Action Sequences Ranked, Part 1 (John Ringer)
091 James Bond Opening Action Sequences Ranked, Part 2 (John Ringer)
092 Where Do We Get Our Inspirations and Ideas? (Windy City Con)
093 Captain America: Civil War Instant Reaction
094 Captain America: Civil War Full Discussion (David Wright)
095 Civil War and Beyond (Bobby Politte)
096 Game of Thrones Season 6 So Far (John Ringer)
097 Game of Thrones Season 6 Part 2 (John Ringer)
098 Bond, Batman, Superman and More with Bruce Scivally
099 Game of Thrones Season 6 Final Discussion (John Ringer)
100 Anniversary Show
101 Amber Coming to TV? Special Episode
102 Ranking the James Bond Theme Songs, Part 1 (John Ringer)
103 Ranking the James Bond Theme Songs, Part 2 (John Ringer)
104 Led Zeppelin, Part 1

105 Led Zeppelin, Part 2

All are easily available at http://whiterocket.podbean.comand and the most recent episodes are on iTunes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What will become of the Republican Party?

I'm curious to see what becomes of the Republican Party after this election season.

All this talk of the party being "destroyed" is hyperbole and nonsense. It will change, but I'm not sure how or how much. (I suspect very little and mainly in terms of primaries/caucus rules. In other words, the bare minimum. I mean, how much did they change after Romney lost in 2012, even after the party leaders all loudly and boldly proclaimed that they HAD to change to compete in today's America? Almost not at all.

So what does history tell us about it?

The Democratic Party split during and after the Civil Rights Movement era, with many of its longtime supporters becoming Republicans because that party was willing to accept and even endorse their extreme views (the "Southern Strategy" of Nixon realized in full during Reagan years). So those people had a place to go when the Democratic Party no longer suited them.

But who will leave the GOP if it splits this fall--the Trump crowd or the Establishment crowd-- and where will they go?

The GOP was ideally situated to take in all those disaffected conservative former Dems in the 1960s-80s. But there's no obvious destination like that available for either half of the current GOP. Will one side or the other form a third party? Or will they both keep trying to control the party and put it into perpetual civil war, like the northern vs southern Dems prior to the actual Civil War?

I'm betting on the latter, because (as these endorsements of Trump and Cruz by Establishment Republicans is showing us) the alternative is to willingly forfeit power to the other party, and that is the one thing they will never ever do. Even at the cost of their own integrity.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Space: 1999 How the First Season Could've Been Epic

One of the frustrating things about watching TV series that aired before, say, 1990 is that there was rarely much effort made by the show runners (or whatever they were called back then) or the writers to create much of a narrative thread that could link the episodes.

Sometimes there was a thematic linkage, such as the whole "fleeing the Cylon tyranny/searching for Earth" thread that ran through Battlestar Galactica (1978-79) or the "strange cosmic British beings are lording it over us but we're protected by the Mysterious Unknown Force" thread of the first season of Space: 1999.

But upon rewatching the first season of Space: 1999 in broadcast order (and I'm currently seven episodes in), the frustration is even greater, because the possibilities of what they could have done with the show are so obvious. It's a wonderful show (in the first season) but they could have made it so much better...but they largely ignored every opportunity and instead made each episode a stand-alone story that mostly ignored everything that had come before. Lessons learned in one episode are entirely forgotten a couple of episodes later, and threads that could have been picked up on and woven into more complex patterns are dropped entirely.

Case in point: Three episodes that together could have formed a truly fascinating storyline if they'd 1) been aired in the proper order, story development-wise, and 2) been slightly re-written to reflect lessons learned and opportunities presented in previous episodes.

As the episodes aired originally, we had 102: Force of Life, in which one of the Alpha techs, Anton Zoref, is possessed by a being of light and compelled to try to break into the main reactor to siphon its energy. He has a loving girlfriend who tries to save him but fails. Then there was 104: War Games, in which aliens play out a dream in Commander Koenig's mind of the utter destruction that would result if the Alphans blindly attacked ships approaching the base, falling prey to their own baser instincts. And then came 107: Alpha Child, in which an Alphan woman gives birth to the first child born on the Moon, after the father (not Zoref) has died, and Koenig recklessly orders Alan Carter and his Eagle squadron to open fire on ships that have taken no directly hostile actions. The child ages extremely rapidly.

Now just rearrange those three episodes and slightly change the stories and you have something terrific: a "You Alphans need to grow up" story trilogy.

First, we would do the 102: Force of Life story. It goes pretty much as it aired--but in the final scene, we show Zoref's girlfriend discovering she is pregnant.  Next, several episodes later, we do the "Alpha Child" story, and the reason the child grows up so quickly ties into the energy being that possessed his late father, Anton Zoref. (The aliens who come to get him are connected to this story as well; I won't develop it further here, but I think the possibilities are obvious.)  And finally we'd have the "War Games" story, where those aliens have seen what happened with the previous story (reckless Koenig ordering futile military actions) and as a direct result of that, they do the "War Games" shtick that we saw in the original episode--and Koenig learns the lesson.

I'm sure there are more story points from season 1 that could also be drawn together, resulting in a truly epic first season of Space: 1999. But that's enough for now.

Leave your own thoughts about this in the comments, and be sure to check out my own stories below.


Van Allen Plexico is an award-winning SF/adventure novelist and non-fiction writer and podcaster, as well as an associate professor of Political Science and History.

You can read Van's own interstellar saga of politics, religion and cosmic warfare in "The Shattering" from White Rocket Books, available here. The third volume of the Legion trilogy recently won Novel of the Yearin the 2015 Pulp Factory Awards.He's on Facebook as Van Allen Plexico
Follow him on Twitter:  @vanallenplexico
The White Rocket Podcast and White Rocket TV can be accessed at

Saturday, March 12, 2016

How Star Trek Might Have Ripped Off Space: 1999...?

Much was made, back in the day, of how the 1979 film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, had borrowed heavily from original Trek episodes.  "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Changeling" were usually the ones specifically referenced, along with a few others.

But it occurs to me now that ST:TMP has  a whole lot in common with a first-season Space: 1999 episode: "Ring Around the Moon."

Here is a summary that covers both stories pretty evenly:

A giant computer brain travels across the universe, seeking knowledge, on a mission that is no longer relevant.

It attacks human ships and destroys them.

It teleports a key female crew member away and returns her as an automaton in order to gather more information from the humans' computer, potentially at the cost of her human life.

It uses force field projections/tractor beams to push away and pull in a human ship.

It is finally defeated by revealing to it the truth of its mission, even though it doesn't want to believe the truth and tries at first to resist receiving that knowledge.

As an addendum, I'd point out another episode in that first season of 1999 dealt with the massive danger when a Voyager spacecraft from Earth returns, thinking it is doing good but actually causing great destruction. Sounds familiar, eh?

A direct ripoff? Probably not. But a strong argument can be made that the '79 Trek film borrowed at least as much, by accident if not on purpose, from good old Commander Koenig and Space: 1999.


Van Allen Plexico is an award-winning SF/adventure novelist and non-fiction writer and podcaster, as well as an associate professor of Political Science and History.

You can read Van's own interstellar saga of politics, religion and cosmic warfare in "The Shattering" from White Rocket Books, available here. The third volume of the Legion trilogy recently won Novel of the Yearin the 2015 Pulp Factory Awards.

He's on Facebook as Van Allen Plexico
Follow him on Twitter:  @vanallenplexico
The White Rocket Podcast and White Rocket TV can be accessed at

Friday, March 04, 2016

Link to the Pulp Factory Awards Ballot

Voting for the 2016 Pulp Factory Awards (for material published in 2015) is now underway through March 15. Awards will be given out in Chicago at the Windy City Pulp Con on April 22.
To vote for this year's winners, click on this link:

The categories are:






After March 15th, the committee will tally all of the electronic votes and the winners will be announced at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention from April 22 – April 24th, 2016.
Questions and concerns should be directed to This will insure a more prompt response than reaching out to individual committee members.

Thank you for your interest, and looking forward to your votes!