Pathetic

How sad.

I am tired of the social justice leeches/progressives whatever they are who have infiltrated EVERYTHING.

For example, Starbucks: I don’t to be engaged by barristas on topical matters or be lectured on how I’m not welcome – because intolerance. If you can’t serve coffee and pastries then bugger off. Done with them.

Colleges: Educate – the word itself from the latin e ducare, meaning to bring forth – with all the microagressions, safe spaces, all so those affected are left with dogma and cant – welcome to the truly dark, dark ages.

On the topic of science fiction, let’s look at everybody’s favorite: Star Trek. I had to stop watching or caring a long time back and the reboot had no interest to me – now I know why.

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Cinder

Takwin the Anthroparian put aside the long practiced solitude and went forth from its chambers. Down the long and winding trail which burrowed deep into the calcified strata of bygone aeons, past the layers upon layers of pitted fossilized stone of it went down into the abysmal pit.

Not one step sunk into the black dust cast off from the extinguished sun which lay deep on each narrow step of the way for Takwin abhorred physical effort and descended with aetherial ease. The stagnant air stirred not a single layer of the fringed travelling garment draped from pinched shoulders. Not a sound did Takwin make save an occasional clamor from the verdigrised tintinnabulum held outstretched, so the traveler could detect any ruinous shard or meteoric obstruction which could hinder its observance of the foretold moment.

The titanic depths into which Takwin ventured sunk deep into the rusted core of the earth, league upon league the Anthroparian descended without heed of the time it took for weariness and hunger were of no necessary concern.

 

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Who Needs Continuity in Comics?

So… there’s going to be a reboot of the Fantastic Four and Johnny Storm (aka. The Human Torch) is now a black man. This is stupid.

Last I recall, at least since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby premiered the Fantastic Four way back in the early sixties, Johnny Storm has always been something of a blond surfer type. And he even has a sister, who is also blond and strikingly Caucasian.

This kind of retro bull is insulting. Let me explain.

Jon Stewart as a Green Lantern – I vastly prefer the character to Hal Jordan or any of the other. Samuel Jackson, cough cough – I mean Nick Fury, was believable in a convoluted way since that version started out in the Ultimate line and they at least attempted to explain his introduction in the regular Marvel continuity as the original Nick Fury’s love child. (And yes, you did need to be Level Ten to know that one.)

Heimdall was a head scratcher in the Thor movies initiallycritic, but Idris Elba owned the part – and the Asgardians are aliens – so letting that cosmic race become racially diverse in its depiction is fine by me.

There was even a time when Iron Man let Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes officially take over as Iron Man, because he was getting too old and he had issues with alcoholism. Which was a valid point. Marvel even acknowledged in the late 80s some of their characters were getting a bit long in the tooth for the superhero game and were willing to let new people step in. But we all saw how that went in the 90s when continuity went belly up and expired. The passing of time no longer applies at Marvel – and we won’t even touch DC.

I could accept Michael B. Jordan’s casting if he was a new member of the Fantastic Four. After all, didn’t Johnny Storm die a heroic death in the Negative Zone or something? And the Fantastic Four have had many changes in membership during their run. So…  adopted perhaps and then flown up to get a dose of cosmic rays which gives him strikingly similar powers? I could accept such a tweak because it means they at least tried, but otherwise such a flat out slap to continuity and canon is an insult.

Don’t even get me started on death. No one seems to stay dead any more except for Jean Grey – the one who has the Phoenix power and who is supposed to keep coming back…

Looking forward to Ahnold playing Luke Cage as “Power Man!”

Throws up hands and walks away from topic

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Stranger in a Strange Land

I put aside Sword and Sorcery and related fandom sometime around college. Which was way back… in the 1980s. A general sense of displeasure with the way the genre was going and moving on as an adult.

Here it is now, 2013… and I went to San Japan in San Antonio to see the current state of pop imagination. Do I feel old or what? At least there’s still Doctor Who? Who would have thought such an old clunky show would keep going and going and become cool?20130818_152650 (1)

For one thing, women were a definite minority back in those days. They  were not interested in, for the most part, in furry, jockstrapped brutes with swords. And contrary to what you saw in Peter Jackson’s film version – Arwen was barely mentioned in the Lord of the Rings. Elrond had her locked up in a tower sewing comfeys or something.20130818_103011

Now they carry the swords.

The fascination with Japanese pop culture has made a seismic shift in fantasy. Cosplay has been and is huge (I’m not that out of it, I know what my children like) but still – to actually see the amazing effort put into these creations…20130818_153833

Note: There is no truth to the rumors I attended a Little Pony panel. And I am not as old as these guys who still think it’s all about Frazetta paintings… 20130818_145600

 

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Another Memorium: Jack Vance

jack-vance_9219“Notice this rent in my garment; I am at a loss to explain its presence! I am even more puzzled by the existence of the universe.” — Lodermulch, in The Eyes of the Overworld

Jack Vance, who passed away on May 26th 2013, was one of the Grand Masters of the genre. He won the Hugo, Nebula, Jupiter and the World Fantasy awards for his varied works (which also included some science fiction.) And lest anyone feared he was sitting on his laurels – he also managed an Edgar Award for a mystery novel.

But I loved him for his fantasy works – which by the way did not run into the thousand of pages and multi-epic volumes with no ending in sight.

Among my battered and yellowed collection of sword and sorcery/fantasy books are an extremely old copy of The Dying Earth (which if I dare to read one more time will disintegrate into fragments) and The Eyes of the Overworld.

220px-Dying_earth“Since like subsumes like, the variates and intercongeles create a superpullulation of all areas, qualities and intervals into a chrystorrhoid whorl, eventually exciting the ponentiation of a pro-ubietal chute; the ‘creature,’ as you called it, pervolved upon itself; in your idiotic malice, you devoured it.” — the sorcerer Pharesm, in The Eyes of the Overworld

If the true protagonist of fantasy is the actual sub-creation of another reality – as posited by Tolkien and Lewis – and if the sub creation must be dependent on the language that defines it, then Vance stands as their co-equal. With maybe a distracted nod to Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique cycle and a languid wave at  Mervyn Pike’s Gormenghast, Vance went one step further: To a somewhat foetid, picaresque world on it’s last gasp with the sun ready to gutter out.

Unlike Ashton’s lapidary detachment toward the terminal moment of our world, the remnants of humanity in Vance’s work are still going about their daily life as best they can.  Living, loving, backstabbing – and dying with great gusto and pithy comments at the ready.

CugelCugel the Clever, became by default the point of view character in The Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel the Clever. He also managed the interesting feat of being published in what can only be considered pre-internet fanfiction in Michael Shea’s A Quest for Simbilis.

No Conan in any way imaginable, Cugel the Clever left no kingdoms or legends in his wake – mostly it was disaster and jilted women. And the ending of The Eyes of the Overworld is one of great epic fails of all times, a quite subversive turn on the whole revenge genre.

Godspeed, Mr. Vance.

“Cease the bickering! I am indulging the exotic whims of a beautiful princess and must not be distracted!” – Cugel the Clever.

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In Memorium, Andrew J. Offutt

homepageSince I moved to Texas, my collection of old paperbacks has come forth from the cardboard boxes they were stored in for too long and occupy their rightful place on my shelves.

One name shows up on each shelf. To the left of me is the Sign of the Moonbow. Up center at the far right are Swords Against Darkness III and IV. And behind me on the big bookcase are the Demon in the Mirror and The Eyes of Sarsis. What these books share in common is the name of Andrew J. Offut.

There are periods to genres, and fantasy/sword and sorcery is no exception: There was the trio of Lovecraft, Smith and Howard in the 30s. Then the British invasion of Tolkien, C.S Lewis and Moorcock, held back by the unfairly maligned de Camp and Carter in the USA.

The late 70s/ early 80s resurgence in Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery was led by Karl Edward Wagner, Stephen Donaldson and Andrew J. Offutt – and others. (I’m generalizing here, please.) In that brief period before being swamped and overrun by the multivolume fillers of Robert Jordan – (again, a notable writer – but that series needs to end…) and others who. can’t. seem. to. find. an. editor. – there was a time when Andrew J. Offutt was as reliable a storyteller as anyone.

Thanks for the stories.

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Chapter Three of The Blood Lands is online

Chapter Three is online.

Do remember this is a rough draft.

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