Larry Niven: The Barsoom Project

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Larry Niven The Barsoom Project
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Larry Niven

The Barsoom Project

Cast of characters and glossary

Falling Angel

RICHARD ARBENZ: Ambassador from Falling Angel; Charlene Dula’s maternal uncle.

Dream Park

MARTY BOBBICK: Griffin’s assistant. Plays as Hippogryph.

ARTHUR COWLES: Founder of Dream Park.

ALEX GRIFFIN: Security Chief of Dream Park.

THADEUS HARMONY: Dream Park Director of Operations.

MITCH HASAGAWA: Dream Park Security.

TOMISUBURO IZUML Dream Park R and D tech.

CALVIN IZUMI: Brother of Tom, deceased.

SANDY KHRESLA: Head of Dream Park Maintenance Division.

CARY McGIWON: Alex Griffin’s new assistant.

MILLICENT SUMMERS: Formerly Griffin’s secretary. Now an executive in the Department of Financial Affairs.

DOCTOR VAIL: Dream Park psychologist.

DWIGHT WELLES: Senior computer tech for Dream Park; Game Master for the altered Fimbulwinter Game.


ROBIN BOWLES: Professional actor. Actor in the Fimbulwinter Game. Talisman: caribou’s ear, for hearing.

CHARLENE DULA: Gamer from the zero-grav habitat Falling Angel, and friend to Michelle Sturgeon. Talisman: a swatch of white fur, arctic seal, for invisibility.

EVIANE alias MICHELLE RIVERS alias MICHELLE STURGEON: Veteran of the first Fimbulwinter Game. Plays most of the game as a tornrait. Talisman: semi-automatic rifle.

FRANCIS HEBERT: Marine, Major in the reserves. AVRAM HENDERSON: Gamer


OLLIE NORLISS alias FRANKISH OLIVER: Professional Gamer and MD.

MARTIN QATERLIARAQ alias MARTIN THE ARCTIC FOX: Sorcerer or angakok among the Inuit. Actor in the Fimbulwinter Game.

GWEN RYDER alias CANDICE alias KANGUQ alias SNOW GOOSE: Professional actress. Married to Ollie Norliss.

MAX SANDS: Gamer Professional wrestler under the name Mr. Mountain. Talisman: owl claw, for strength.

ORSON SANDS: Max Sands’s brother Gamer.

TRIANNA STITH-WOOD: Professional chef.

KEVIN TITUS: Computer programmer and computer gamer Talisman: a crumpled skin crusted with black soot, for strength. “Soot is stronger than fire.

JOHNNY WELSH: Gamer; professional comedian.



ANDREW CHALA: Pan-African ambassador.

KAREEM FEKESH: Industrialist, suspected supporter of UMAF

ROBERT J. FLAHERTY: Producer of Nanook of the North, 1922.

TOBY LEE HARLOW JUNIOR: Alias of the person who disrupted the first Fimbulwinter Game.

LOPEZES: Legendary Game Masters, now semiretired.

TONY McWHIRTER: Computer whiz, incarcerated for industrial espionage against Cowles Industries.

MADELEINE: Mystery woman; a possible link to Kareem Fekesh.

RAZUL: Libyan ambassador


AHK-LUT: Leader of the Cabal; son of Martin Qaterliaraq, brother of Snow Goose.

AMARTOQ: A headless troll.

ANANSI: A space shuttle, the object of a terrorist attack some years earlier

ANGAKOK: Sorcerer

BRANTA CANADENSIS alias Tuutangayak alias Canadian Snow Goose.

THE CABAL: The clique of evil sorcerers.

COWLES INDUSTRIES: The parent company of Dream Park

COWLES MODULAR COMMUNITY: Living quarters for Dream Park employees.

FALLING ANGEL ENTERPRISES: Industrial nation-state, off-Earth.

FAT RIPPER SPECIALS: Games modified for the reeducation of substance abusers.

HOLY FIRE: Terrorist organization, precursor to the UMAF

INTELCORP: The company formed by the partnership of General Electric and Falling Angel Enterprises.

INTERNATIONAL FANTASY GAMING SOCIETY: The governing body supervising the world of Adventure Gaming.

KOGUKHPUK: The Burrowing Mammoth.

LEVIATHAN IV: Mining rig proposed for use in terra-forming Mars.

MARK CARD: A widely accepted inter-Union credit card.

OFFICIAL IFGS KAMA SUTRA: A myth, a mere rumor. It doesn’t exist. Forget it. Trust us.

PAIJA: Giant female demon.

PEWITU: Taboos.

PHANTOM FEAST: A Dream Park diet restaurant.

RAVEN: Progenerative force in Inuit mythology.

SEDNA: Goddess of the sea and of the sea’s life.

SEELUMKADCHLUK: Where the sky meets the sea; the barrier between reality and the Inuit spiritual world.

TERICHIK: A gigantic caterpillar-like monster; the spirit form of Ahk-lut.

TIN-MI-UK-PUKS, or THUNDERBIRDS: Fabulous Roc-like creatures.

TORNGARSOAK: Sedna’s lover, Lord of the Hunt.

TORNRAIT: Ghost who serves an angakok, usually as a source of information.

UNITED MOSLEM ACTIVIST FRONT or UMAF: A radical mideastem terrorist organization.

USIK: A weapon crafted from the pubic bone of a walrus.

WINIGO: Inuit Yeti.

WOLFALCONS: Hybrid creatures, half wolf, half giant bird of prey.


Like a raging mountain, the Terichik rose screaming from a frozen, nightdark sea. Its many-sectioned, grotesquely wormlike body reared up; tons of water and ice thundered into the ocean with a howl like the death of worlds. The black night swirled wind-whipped snow through mist that tasted of salt. The Terichik’s mouth gaped cavernously. Endless rows of serrated teeth gleamed as it shrieked its mindless wrath. Its breath was a cold and fetid wind.

The humans beneath it were warrior and wizard, princess and commoner. They were frail meat in the Terichik’s path, brittle fleshly twigs tumbled in an angry storm. They scrambled for safety, ran back onto land, away from the sea. They fled past the wreckage of the shattered Inuit village: rows of crushed houses, a great stone lodge with its roof stove in, boat hulls splintered and scattered like insect husks.

Bulwar was the first Adventurer to die, and he died well. He was the greatest warrior among them, but foolish to think that his enchanted usik, the pubic bone of the sacred walrus, could stand against the Terichik. Even faced by a beast to dwarf ten killer whales, Bulwar roared defiance and sprang forward. His ice-caked black beard flagged in the frigid air. His mightily thewed arms coiled beneath the bear furs that lent him strength and courage. Bulwar had once been an ordinary man, a “systems analyst” in the white man’s world. Here where the heavens met the earth, he was a great warrior, a great force for good.

His magic, his courage, his strength were not enough. The Terichik crushed him, savaged his body with fanged cilia. His screams echoed in their heads long after his body had vanished into its gaping maw.

The humans retreated. There were twelve now, people of the tundras and the people from the white world beyond.

They ran until the sound of rifle shots split their screams. Two more of their number fell, trapped in a withering crossfire.

Agile and lithe, beautiful Eviane rolled to safety behind an abandoned boathouse. Even as she hit the ground, she unslung the automatic rifle from her back and braced the butt against her shoulder.

She was a woman of flaming red hair and sparkling green eyes. Her mouth was generously wide, quick to laughter or rage. Now it was flattened into a fighting grimace cold enough to freeze the stars in the sky.

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