Alpha Blue is a Space Station where the party never ends. The book is 111 pages (114 if you count covers and extra page). The art is what you would expect from Venger; good and on the creepy side. Some I *think* I have seen before, but I can't be sure really. But all of it really comes with a nice vibe of late 70s/early 80s sci-fi cheese. Basically if you grew up in the 70s and 80s watching any sci-fi you will recognize something here. If you are like me then something you will like. They layout is clean and easy to read. I also appreciate the color and b/w versions of the character sheet.
The book has a basic system attached to it, mostly, as the author describes to set the tone for a game. The character generation system actually would well as an additional bit of character information for your standard OSR game. There is some good material here that can be used for something like White Star or Starships & Spacemen. Print out your game's regular sheet and an Alpha Blue sheet back to back.
The rest of the book is the reall meat of the book and might not really be most people's cup of tea. Alpha Blue is a Space Brothel. The obvious nod here is to the old adult movie The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue. I will happily admit I have seen and enjoyed the movie. Actually the movie is an interesting social commentary that all the best sci-fi movies have. But that is for another discussion.
Alpha Blue, the book, is thankfully devoid of social commentary. I am not trying to say the book is nothing but sleazy encounters, but there is a lot here that can be great setting material...and some sleaze.
I think that Venger missed a good opportunity here to call the game master a "Blue Dungeon Space Master" or a BDSM. A little awkward? Yeah. No worse than Dungeon Master I guess.
I mentioned in the past that this premise reminds me of the +Shon Richards' story Pleasure Station Sigma. The comparison still holds, but there is more to Alpha Blue than just that.
Honestly there are so many hidden gems and easter eggs here that I am still finding them weeks in to reading this game. Which brings up a point.
The one thing this book lacks, and really could use, is it's own "Appendix N". A collection of late 70s early 80s B and C grade Sci-Fi movies and TV shows. Off the top of my head I saw influences of Logan's Run, Barbarella (ok 60s), Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek (TOS), Star Wars (the first trilogy only), Doctor Who (explictly mentioned), Galaxina, Cherry 2000, Westworld, Heavy Metal, Weird Science, the Buck Rodgers RV series, the Flash Gordon movie and of course, Satisfyers of Alpha Blue.
There are a lot of random tables in this book too. Personally I am not a fan of a bunch of random tables, but here it works. After all this is a space station with a lot going on. Plus it fits not only the Gonzo-Sci-Fi style VS has going here, but also the Gonzo-OSR style all his books have.
Alpha Blue is not for the easily offended. It is also not really for anyone that did not grow up in the 70s or 80s; too much of the content will be lost on anyone that hears "Starbuck" and thinks coffee or Katee Sackhoff. There is the right group out there for this book, and for that group it will be a lot of fun. Some reviews have called this an "adult" title. Maybe. Personally I would say it is R-rated at the worst. Though now I do know how much damage a jelly-double headed dildo will do if used in combat.
ETA: Just learned of the death of David Bowie. I think some stats for Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane or The Thin White Duke are in order.
The stars look very different today.