Red Sand — A Mass Effect Prequel

I’ve had my eye on this project for a while and I have to say, it’s looking more interesting as time goes by.

Students out at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona have been working on a fan film that is a prequel to the Mass Effect game series. Here’s the plot outline as found on the Red Sand Facebook page:

Serving as a prequel to the MASS EFFECT game series, “Red Sand” is set 35 years before the time of Commander Shepard and tells the story of the discovery of ancient ruins on Mars. Left behind by the mysterious alien race known as the Protheans, the ruins are a treasure trove of advanced technology and the powerful Element Zero, an energy source beyond humanity’s wildest dreams. As the Alliance research team led by Dr. Averroes (Ayman Samman) seeks to unlock the secrets of the ruins, a band of marauders living in the deserts of Mars wants the ruins for themselves. Addicted to refined Element Zero in the form of a narcotic nicknamed “Red Sand” which gives them telekinetic “biotic” powers, these desert-dwelling terrorists will stop at nothing to control the ruins and the rich vein of Element Zero at its core. Standing between them and their goal are Colonel Jon Grisson (Mark Meer), Colonel Lily Sandhurst (Amy Searcy), and a team of Alliance soldiers tasked with defending the ruins at all costs. At stake — the future of humanity’s exploration of the galaxy, and the set up for the MASS EFFECT storyline loved by millions of gamers worldwide.

All I know is that if this trailer is any indication of what the final product will be, we’re in for a real treat once it’s finished. What do you think?

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Note: The UAT Digital Video blog can be found at:

Best New Science Fiction and Fantasy Links of the Week

Happy Friday, everyone! It time to post my favorite links from this week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

  • Giveaway: Tor is giving away five copies of The Stolen Bride, an Arthurian novel by Tony Hays. Deadline is March 9, 2012.
  • Remember the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report? Okay, maybe this technology is more along the lines of CSI, but this bit of news that reminded me of that. Researchers at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) have created AR goggles that all investigators to create 3D videos of crime scenes, tag evidence and then virtually re-visit the scene. Here’s the link, complete with a one minute video.
  • Interested in the new 3D Spiderman movie? A new full-length trailer has been released for the flick starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen and Sally Field.
  • Melanie Rawn’s new fantasy, Touchstone, is coming from TOR and debuts February 28. The story focuses on Cayden Silversun, a rebel wizard who is part Elven, part Fae. You can find an excerpt here.
  • Here’s a fun site that posts an original fantasy/sci-fi short story or flash fiction story every day: Daily Science Fiction. You can get each post for no charge via the website or email. Alternately, you can get a monthly digest for Kindle for only $2.99 per issue. There’s some pretty good stuff here by world-class authors.
  • Laser tag anyone? I saw this sometime back, but this yet-to-be-introduced toy entertainment device still cracks me up. Engadget posted an article featuring Hasbro’s Nerf Lazer Tag system — for your smartphone. The plastic blasters pair with an iPhone or iPod touch and will be introduced this year.
  • Kindle Freebie: Best-selling author Mike Dellosso‘s Christian suspense/horror novel Scream is being offered free for Kindle – only until February 14, 2012. At last report, it ranked #11 on Amazon’s Free for Kindle Store. I understand you want to read this one with the lights on. The offer lasts only until February 14, 2012 and is intended to support his new book, Frantic, which was just released by Realms three days ago. You can enter Giveaways for Frantic here (deadline February 22, 2012) Also at Melinda William’s blog,, (hurry, I don’t know when the deadline is on these last two websites). Each of these sites also has a review.
  • Giveaway: Tor is giving away on Goodreads 5 copies of Glamour in Glass by best-selling author Mary Robinette Kowal. Deadline is March 9, 2012.
  • Are you Frank Peretti fan? He is giving away pre-release chapters of his new suspense novel, Illusion, which will be available March 6. It’s a unique promotion — each chapter release is governed by Like milestones on Facebook. Last I checked, 8 chapters were available. Info here.
  • What’s a Friday link mash-up without geek news? Railgun technology is getting closer to reality when the U.S. Navy awarded a defense contractor $10 million to develop part of the system that can hurl projectiles at 5,000 miles per hour. Yikes! Don’t aim that thing at me!
  • Are you a fan of the wildly successful MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic? If so, you might be interested in three games that promise to offer stiff competition this year: Guild Wars 2 by Arena Net, The Secret World by Funcom (targeted for an April release), and TERA by En Masse Entertainment (targeted for release in May). Here’s more info.
  • And here’s a fun video for those of you who are fans of Mass Effect 3. Someone has put together the entire story in the game, set to the song Still Alive from Portal. Warning: Spoilers abound. I know the song but not the Mass Effect game. The tongue-in-cheek style still made me smile.
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There were so many things to choose from this week that it was hard to pick my favorites. What about you? Are there any you’d like to mention? Just click the comment bubble at the top right of this post.