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Melbourne Times Origins

"But long ago . . . [newspapers] were actually printed on paper, and the copies distributed and sold.  They used printing presses as heavy as a spaceship's engines.  That's why we still call ourselves the Press.  Some of the old papers on Terra, like . . . the Melbourne Times, which used to be the London Times when there was still a London, were printed that way originally."
— H. Beam Piper, Four-Day Planet


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Melbourne Times in "Challenge Classifieds"

Image - Challenge Classifieds from Challenge #56

"Challenge Classifieds" from Challenge #56
(Click on image to view full-size)

Melbourne Times, which began as a print fanzine, was first announced in Issue #56 of Challenge magazine published by Game Designers' Workshop (GDW).  Similar announcements for Melbourne Times appeared in each subsequent issue of Challenge, through the final issue (#77).  (Information about Melbourne Times also appeared in AAB Proceedings, a fanzine produced by the History of the Imperium Working Group, Issue #21, p. 14, and Issue #29, p. 6).

Five print issues of Melbourne Times were published (though no physical copies are known to survive), beginning in January 1993 with the last issue appearing in August 1994.  Most material from these original issues of Melbourne Times now appears here on the Earth Colonies Campaign website (sometimes in adapted form).

In addition to the material which appeared in Melbourne Times, other campaign information of a more abstract, detailed or specific nature was published in a series of Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL) Working Papers which were made available on a supplementary basis.  Most material from these ECDL Working Papers also appears here on the website (again, sometimes in adapted form).

An index of each issue of Melbourne Times, with links to specific entries, is presented below.

Melbourne Times #1 | Melbourne Times #2 | Melbourne Times #3 | Melbourne Times #4 | Melbourne Times #5 | Earth Colonies Development League | Random Developments



Melbourne Times #1 (January 1993)

Image - Scheherazade Wavecatcher (by Matt Matteo)

Scheherazade Wavecatcher[α]

The premier issue of Melbourne Times introduces the Earth Colonies campaign and provides an overview of the Colonies Sphere, features freelance diplomat Scheherazade Wavecatcher, provides a brief on the Dolphin sophonts, describes the world Earth and its surrounding Sirius District, and includes the recurring Melbourne Times News Service and Knowledgesource entries:

  • Introduction: Earth Colonies Campaign
  • News Service
      • hvi-Unapfi / Auriga (1909.09-A4585B) | Date: 3001-Jan-11
      • Aztlán / Procyon (0911.20-B3596B) | Date: 3001-Jan-18
      • Dedn / Europa (2934.30-D3588B) | Date: 3001-Jan-25
      • Nyanza / Nyanza (1531.12-A3598B) | Date: 3001-Jan-28
      • Nouveau Québec / Arcturus (0524.17-93588B) | Date: 3001-Feb-01
      • New Canaan / Gaea (2215.10-A3597B) | Date: 3001-Feb-11
      • Earth / Sirius (1720.19-A3697B) | Date: 3001-Feb-21
  • Personafile: Scheherezade Wavecatcher, Freelance Diplomat
  • Worldview: Earth/Sirius
  • Sophontopsis: Dolphins
  • Knowledgesource
      • CREATE
      • Gaez Gavvi Eudrael (GGE)
      • Casa Moreira
      • Lucent Templars
      • Markets War
      • Prometheus Foundation
      • Transtellar Lines
      • Universidad de Aztlán
      • Ysinal udi-Quinan
  • Overview: Colonies Sphere
  • Starfield: Sirius District
  • Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL)
  • Newsletter Survey


Melbourne Times #2 (May 1993)

Image - Commonwealth Navy Spacers (by Matt Matteo)

Commonwealth Navy Spacers in Lunar Orbit[α]

The second issue of Melbourne Times features merchant captain Adlaine Olowua, provides a brief on the Aeroi sophonts, describes the world Rajasthan and its surrounding Jagannath District, introduces the Ouroran mercantile group House Carneiro and includes the recurring Melbourne Times News Service and Knowledgesource entries:

  • Introduction: Editor's Comments
  • News Service
      • Neubayern / Pollux (1419.16-A25689) | Date: 3001-Apr-21
      • Dedn / Europa (2934.30-D3588B) | Date: 3001-Apr-24
      • New Canaan / Gaea (2215.10-A3597B) | Date: 3001-Apr-27
      • Aztlán / Procyon (0911.20-B3596B) | Date: 3001-Apr-28
      • Earth / Sirius (1720.19-A3697B) | Date: 3001-May-01
      • Nyanza / Nyanza (1531.12-A3598B) | Date: 3001-May-03
      • Amazonas / Ourora (1934.24-93598B) | Date: 3001-May-12
  • Sophontopsis: Aeroi
  • Personafile: Adlaine Olowua, Merchant Captain
  • Knowledgesource
      • Discovery Service
      • General Hulls and Drives
      • ikrahanbe
  • Worldscape: Rajasthan/Jagannath
  • Starfield: Jagannath District
  • Corpfolio: House Carneiro
  • Random Developments
  • Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL)
  • Newsletter Survey


Melbourne Times #3 (November 1993)

Image - Aztlan Crown Princess Sola and her Consort Don Arturo (by Matt Matteo)

Crown Princess Sola and her Consort descend from the Turquoise Sanctuary[α]

The third issue of Melbourne Times features Abrahamite hajji Benazir Chatterji, provides a brief on the Meren sophonts, describes the world Tabora and its surrounding Fomalhaut District, introduces the independent Prometheus Foundation, begins the adventures of Ally Wang and Aitchsee Sandsifter and includes the recurring Melbourne Times News Service and Knowledgesource entries:

  • Introduction: Editor's Comments
  • News Service
      • Nouveau Québec / Arcturus (0524.17-93588B) | Date: 3001-Oct-17
      • Nyanza / Nyanza (1531.12-A3598B) | Date: 3001-Oct-22
      • Sparta / Lorelei (2710.16-50068A) | Date: 3001-Oct-23
      • Therid / Theridia (2813.25-83567B) | Date: 3001-Oct-28
      • Dedn / Europa (2934.30-D3588B) | Date: 3001-Oct-29
      • New Canaan / Gaea (2215.10-A3597B) | Date: 3001-Nov-01
      • Ehime / Shinnihon (1509.09-E4585B) | Date: 3001-Nov-01
      • hvi-Unapfi / Auriga (1909.09-A4585B) | Date: 3001-Nov-03
      • Earth / Sirius (1720.19-A3697B) | Date: 3001-Nov-03
      • Aztlán / Procyon (0911.20-B3596B) | Date: 3001-Nov-06
      • Amazonas / Ourora (1934.24-93598B) | Date: 3001-Nov-06
      • Hejaz / Hejaz (2924.14-83586B) | Date: 3001-Nov-08
      • Rajasthan / Jagannath (1126.10-D4588B) | Date: 3001-Nov-09
      • Kiangsi / Kiangsi (0723.27-D3588B) | Date: 3001-Nov-12
  • Sophontopsis: Meren
  • Knowledgesource
      • Guardian Service
      • hajji
      • House Barcellos
      • KRW Industries
      • Operators Guild
      • TaSK module
  • Personafile: Benazir Chatterji, Abrahamite Pilgrim
  • Worldscape: Tabora/Fomalhaut
  • Starfield: Fomalhaut District
  • Corpfolio: Prometheus Foundation
  • Talespin: Three Misadventurers
  • Random Developments
  • Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL)
  • Newsletter Survey


Melbourne Times #4 (May 1994)

Image - Ptolemy Rainshower (by Duncan Long)

Ptolemy Rainshower[β]

The fourth issue of Melbourne Times features emancipated robot Ptolemy Rainshower, describes the world Armaera and its surrounding Sarasvati District and includes the recurring Melbourne Times News Service and Knowledgesource entries:

  • Introduction: Editor's Comments
  • News Service
      • Livingstone / Nyanza (1136.17-B34485) | Date: 3002-Apr-17
      • Ehime / Ehime (1509.09-E4585B) | Date: 3002-Apr-30
      • New Canaan / Gaea (2215.10-A3597B) | Date: 3002-Apr-30
      • hvi-Unapfi / Auriga (1909.09-A4585B) | Date: 3002-May-03
      • Aztlán / Procyon (0911.20-B3596B) | Date: 3002-May-07
      • Therid / Theridia (2813.25-83567B) | Date: 3002-May-07
      • Amazonas / Ourora (1934.24-93598B) | Date: 3002-May-08
      • Donegal / Europa (2632.29-A23689) | Date: 3002-May-10
      • Sparta / Lorelei (2710.16-50068A) | Date: 3002-May-12
      • Ulan-Ude / Sirius (1820.25-635678) | Date: 3002-May-12
      • Hejaz / Hejaz (2924.14-83586B) | Date: 3002-May-14
  • Knowledgesource
      • Ensanche Archaeological Institute (EAI)
      • Gaianism
      • Monosentients
  • Personafile: Ptolemy Rainshower, Emancipated Robot
  • Worldscape: Armaera/Sarasvati
  • Starfield: Sarasvati District
  • Talespin: Out of the Frying Pan
  • Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL)
  • Newsletter Survey


Melbourne Times #5 (August 1994)

Image - The Endeavor, by Matt Matteo

Commonwealth corvette Endeavor[γ]

The fifth issue of Melbourne Times features Aztlán military leader Don Ignacio Rueda, provides a brief on high-order Robots, describes the world Prometheus and its surrounding Pollux District, details the military situation on Pollux District, explains the Earth Colonies campaign World Data Codes (WDC) and includes the recurring Melbourne Times News Service and Knowledgesource entries:

  • News Service
      • Amazonas / Ourora (1934.24-93598B) | Date: 3002-Jul-17
      • Aztlán / Procyon (0911.20-B3596B) | Date: 3002-Jul-19
      • Earth / Sirius (1720.19-A3697B) | Date: 3002-Jul-19
      • Amazonas / Ourora (1934.24-93598B) | Date: 3002-Jul-19
      • Therid / Theridia (2813.25-83567B) | Date: 3002-Jul-19
      • Kiangsi / Kiangsi (0723.27-D3588B) | Date: 3002-Jul-23
      • New Canaan / Gaea (2215.10-A3597B) | Date: Date: 3002-Jul-28
      • Hejaz / Hejaz (2924.14-83586B) | Date: Date: 3002-Jul-28
      • Dedn / Europa (2934.30-D3588B) | Date: Date: 3002-Jul-31
  • Introduction: Editor's Comments
  • Sophontopsis: Robots
  • Melbourne Times Knowledgesource
  • Personafile: Don Ignacio Rueda, Aztlán Admiral
  • Worldscape: Prometheus/Pollux
  • Starfield: Pollux District
  • Strategisphere: Pollux
  • Earth Colonies World Data Codes (WDC)
  • Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL)
  • Newsletter Survey


Earth Colonies Development League

The Earth Colonies Development League (ECDL) produced several Working Papers, many of which were subsequently incorporated into articles which appeared in Melbourne Times.  The following ECDL Working Papers remained as stand alone works:

  • ECDL-001 Colonies Sphere Systems Data
  • ECDL-003 Earth Colonies Campaign Chronology
  • ECDL-007 Earth Colonies Corporation Generation
  • ECDL-013 Human Ethnic Names (Obsolete, given available random name generation tools)
  • ECDL-014 Military Forces Determination


Melbourne Times Random Developments

Image - The Great Race, by Matt Matteo

The Great Race[γ]

Random Developments featured various ideas suggested for further development.  These were ideas provided by ECDL developers who, for whatever reason, hadn't found the time to devote to them.  If you're interested in developing one of these ideas please drop us a note here at Melbourne Times and we will remove the idea while you work on it.  You're welcome to send your work in directly but you then risk someone else developing it as well.  In such cases, the co-developers will be encouraged to collaborate.

RD2-1 (from Melbourne Times #2): A world that has been settled by Terrans (in a sub-light ship) as well as the survivors of an early Meren starship that mis-jumped a couple of centuries ago.  The three races (Dolphin, Human and Meren) have developed a fully-integrated society.  Or, as an option, are engaged in constant warfare.  This world would have to be on the fringes of the Colonies Sphere.  [See Trêsmares.]

RD3-1 (from Melbourne Times #3): An alien sophont race.  The Aeroi and Meren interact with Dolphins and Humans because each of these races has evolved in similar biospheres.  A planet like Earth (or hvi-Unapfi or Dedn) can support each of these species without any artificial environmental equipment.  This common biosphere origin is bound to create certain psychological similarities that also support interaction.  What would an encounter be like with a technologically-sophisticated sophont species that has evolved in a completely alien environment, say a gas giant?  These aliens could be completely astrographically intermingled with the races of the Colonies Sphere and yet have little, if any, interaction with them — like the Ymirites.  (Space is a big place.  Of course, if this was a gas giant species, starship fuel skimming might catch their interest!)  Maybe this race is mostly ignored except for the occasional detection of their jump drive emanations.  Possibly, a distress call may be responded to or initiated by these beings at some point, yet how would such a distress call even be recognized by the other race?


Image credits:
[α] Commissioned illustration for Melbourne Times by Matt Matteo.
[β] Commissioned illustration for Melbourne Times by Duncan Long.
[γ] Original illustration by Matt Matteo.  No endorsement of the Earth Colonies Campaign has been made or is implied.




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