The Constellation Games Semi-Official Home Page

A production of The Great Hall Of The People And Also Science

“[O]ne of the smartest, most passionate, most principled science fiction novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading.” — Cory Doctorow

“A very funny book, with an effective sweep into pathos that delivers a powerful message.” — Strange Horizons

“A really, really good book.” — Bookslut

“Richardson’s keen observations of human behavior combined with his sharp sense of humor make Constellation Games a terrific read.” —Wired Geekdad (full review)

“If Douglas Coupland wrote sci-fi this is the sort of novel he would produce... it is now quite hard to imagine first contact going any other way... a simply impressive first novel.” —Starburst Magazine

“The book redefines the genre in an age in which everyday life is almost indistinguishable from science fiction[.]” —San Diego City Beat

“If you share my intuition that videogames are the most significant invention in history, read Constellation Games.” —Bennett Foddy, author of QWOP.

“This book is amazing - sci-fi where the mainline ‘sci’ is game design.” — Rob Dubbin, writer for The Colbert Report

“A deftly comic very fresh SF novel of the everyday.” — Benjamin Rosenbaum, author of The Ant King and Other Stories


Constellation Games is a novel about space aliens and video games and love and computer programming. Read the first two chapters for free (HTML version), then make the decision to buy!


Episode Guide

These chapter summaries contain minor spoilers so you can find the chapter you're looking for. Chapters with sex scenes are clearly marked, as a free service to you, the reader.

Part One: Hardware
Part Two: Software
Part Three: Artwork
Bonus stories and extras

Part One: Hardware

Chapter 1: Terrain Deformation

Space aliens dig up the fucking moon and build a space station out of the rocks. Ariel reviews Caveman Chaos. The Constellation figures out how to use the Internet.

Read this chapter for free as PDF or HTML.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 2: Corner Pieces

Ariel's date goes poorly. A hippie prophecies doom. Ariel tries to convince a superhuman AI that he's worth assigning an anthropologist to. At the AI's request, Ariel reviews Quexx.

Read this chapter for free as PDF or HTML.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 3: Rare Drop

Ariel flies to Brazil on business and is tempted to stay. He chats online with Curic, a Constellation anthropologist, who drop-ships him a USB key containing the Constellation Database of Electronic Games of a Certain Complexity.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 4: Too Much Information

Ariel, Jenny, and Bai wear each others' clothes. Curic drop-ships Ariel an antique Farang computer called the Brain Embryo.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 5: Let's Play

Ariel pitches a business idea to Reflex Games, and a slightly different idea to Jenny. He reviews Gatekeeper and the Brain Embryo computer.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 6: The Stars My Screensaver

The Bureau of Extraterrestrial Affairs has some questions for Ariel, and agents Krakowski and Fowler are on the case. Ariel reviews Handle the Real Style. Jenny wonders what's the deal with Papua New Guinea.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 7: Party Creation

Ariel hosts a cookout. Jenny disapproves of Bai's girlfriend Dana. Despite Ariel's best efforts, Bizarro Kate sets up the Xbox.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 8: They Came For Our Twinkies

Curic does her part to Keep Austin Weird.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 9: Import System

Ariel can't get an English translation of Sayable Spice because Curic lays a guilt-trip on him. But he is able to play a remake made 75 million years later, Recapture That Remarkable Taste.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 10: K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

At Bai's request, Ariel jailbreaks Dana Light.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 11: Launch Title

Ariel takes a shuttle to Ring City. Tetsuo Milk and Ashley Somn meet him in the docking bay, and take him on a tour of Luna. That's "the moon", in case you don't speak Latin.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 12: Monsters From Space

Tetsuo Milk shows Ariel his historical recreations of Ip Shkoy society. Ariel reviews Ev luie Aka's Ultimate DIY Lift-Off. Tetsuo and Ashley can't keep their hands off each other.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 13: Your Day Job

Ariel is disappointed by the accommodations in Human Ring. But he hangs out with an astronaut, and that seems to go okay.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 14: The Wave Function of the Universe

Ariel's mother and Jenny both have their suspicions of Dr. Tammy Miram. A complex weightless maneuver [sex] is attempted. Ariel reviews A Tower of Sand.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 15: 777

Tammy left something at home. Curic gives Ariel a gift he can't accept. Back on Earth, Ariel's debriefing is interrupted. PLUS: more sex!

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 16: False Daylight

Everything goes to shit. Ariel eats a really lousy burrito, and drinks a lot of wine, and reviews *.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Part Two: Software

Chapter 17: Their First Contact Was Better

Ariel gets a phone call from Tammy that cheers him up. In a high-stakes brunch, he convinces Jenny not to abandon Crispy Duck Games.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 18: The Amazing Colossal Man-In-The-Middle

Ariel tries to convince Curic to upgrade Dana's AI. It's a bit difficult because he can only communicate with her through the BEA. Tetsuo reviews PĂ´neis Brilhantes 5.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 19: Implementation Details

Ariel and Bai pick up Dana at the spaceport. Ariel and Bai and Svetlana Sveta pick up some translation software at the spaceport. Ariel risks tentacle rape and doesn't even get a game review out of it.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 20: Feature Creep

Svetlana Sveta begins work at Crispy Duck Games. Ariel and Jenny play Tactical Nuclear Exchange. Ariel gets kind of obsessed with an Internet video.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 21: Her

Ariel has a really weird night. The Her superorganism makes a decision. Contains sexual pair bonding!

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 22: Nerfed

Fowler and Krakowski ruin Ariel's life. But not before he and Svetlana have a chance to review Legend of the Bystander.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 23: Trust Us, We're Expert Systems

Ariel yells at Krakowski. Ariel and Dana yell at each other. Ariel and Jenny yell at each other. Lotta hostility in this one.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 24: Homebrew

Bai and Tetsuo throw a party, with door prizes. Curic restores some things from backup. Ariel and Tetsuo troll Krakowski.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 25: The Infiltration Path

Ariel is worried about Curic, much to Tetsuo's chagrin. Ariel and Tetsuo review Temple Sphere. Tetsuo sweet-talks Ariel's mother.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 26: Everyone With Cartoon Violence

Ariel introduces Tetsuo to his parents. Curic thanks Ariel for all his help. Ariel reviews Your Quiescent Achievement.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 27: Friend Codes

Ariel confesses to his mother. Krakowski is not impressed by Ariel's intelligence-gathering skills. Tetsuo gives his first lecture.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 28: Someone Is Wrong On The Outernet

Ashley says a very bad word. Ariel moves out of Jenny's apartment, and reviews What-The-Fuck Creek. (There's that word again.) Bai takes Ariel and Tetsuo shopping.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 29: He Sees The Map And He Throws The Dart

Tammy makes history. Bai visits the Constellation Library. Ariel and Dana have creative differences. Ariel reviews Slow People, and moves again.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Part Three: Artwork

Chapter 30: Constellation 'Shipping

Ariel and Jenny totally make out. Ariel tries to impress Tammy by showing up at her work.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 31: The Peaks of Eternal Light

Ariel spends some time on the moon and learns how to use a matter shifter. Tetsuo passes along a message from Krakowski. Somn goes to Mars.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 32: The Evidence of Absence

Dana and Ariel have weird virtual sex. Ariel reviews The Amulet of Manufactured Memory, and learns archaeological restoration techniques.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 33: Infinite Lives

Ariel reaches an understanding with Curic. Reflex Games takes an interest in him. Turns out Tetsuo has been doing some work on the side. Ariel reviews a few Ip Shkoy games about asteroids.

[Author commentary | Twitter archive]

Chapter 34: The Unilateral Extradition Expedition

Krakowski makes an offer. Ariel is unmoved. Curic puts up a counterproposal.

[Author commentary]

Chapter 35: The Unilateral Extradition Expedition Solution

Complications arise. Ariel builds a framing device.

[Author commentary]

Chapter 36: Protector of Earth.

Ariel gives Somn a tour of Human Ring. Jenny decrypts an old email.

[Author commentary]


Bonus Stories and Extras

I originally wrote the four bonus stories as rewards for subscribers to the Constellation Games serial. They're now available for free online, under a CC-BY-SA license.

Since these stories contain big spoilers for Constellation Games, I recommend you read them after finishing the novel. (Except for "Pey Shkoy Benefits Humans"; that one's fine to read anytime.)

The bonus stories feature artwork and other contributions from Brendan Adkins, Beth Lerman, and Adam Parrish.

You can get a collection of all four bonus stories in EPUB or MOBI format.

Bonus Story #1: "The Time Somn Died"

How Ashley Somn decided to make the biggest mistake of her life.

Read it free online. [Author commentary]

Bonus Story #2: "Found Objects"

Jenny Gallegos sells out for the sake of art.

Read it free online. [Author commentary]

Bonus Story #3: "Dana no Chousen"

Famed bounty hunter Dana Light must conquer her toughest opponent yet: her own insatiable bloodlust.

Read it free online. [Author commentary]

Bonus Story #4: "Pey Shkoy Benefits Humans"

Dr. Tetsuo Milk's popular introduction to the language and culture of the Ip Shkoy.

Read it free online. [Author commentary]

Miscellany

Ariel Blum and Tetsuo Milk had Twitter feeds that updated in time with the serialization. The entire feed is archived here.

The Twitter account @pony_strategies is a spambot from the Constellation Games universe.

If you have questions or find typos, let me know on Twitter or send me email, and I'll add it to the errata.


Credits

Most of this stuff is by me, Leonard Richardson. Constellation Games is published by Candlemark & Gleam.

Ariel's Twitter profile image created using Pony Creator.

Jenny's Twitter profile image drawn by Beth Lerman.

Crispy Duck Games logo drawn by Brandon Eck.

Bai's Twitter profile image taken from Flickr user jcwade.