(? - ) US game designer and author who began to publish work of genre interest with "A Diagram of Rapture" in F&SF for April 2000, having already begun to work on projects like the GURPS Role Playing Game system; he has continued to work as a games designer. His first sf novel is the complex A Darkling Sea (2014), parts of the tale being based on an earlier story, The Ocean of the Blind (April 2004 F&SF; 2006 ebook). It shows in its worldbuilding – and in the intricately depicted lifelikeness of the two Alien races involved with humans on a planet under dispute – the beneficial influence of authors like Vernor Vinge. Of the two alien races, the blind cold-adapted Ilmatarans, whose appearance is crustacean, are the more interesting, and their movement towards awareness of other species and of a huger universe they could not have easily imagined, conveys a strong Sense of Wonder. Less engaging perhaps are the aspirational humans and the minatory high-Technology Sholen, who are determined that the Ilmatarans not be communicated with directly (see Prime Directive). The novel itself is ambitious, in some contrast to Cambias's second tale, Cambias (2015), a Hard SF romp in a Near Future world some of whose material needs are supplied from space, with Computer-controlled shipments dropping down the gravity well to Earth. But piracy is rife. [JC]
see also: Castle Falkenstein.
James L Cambias
born New Orleans, Louisiana.
collections and stories
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