Sensor Sweep: Pre-Tolkien Challenge, Pathfinder, A. Merritt,

Monday , 27, August 2018 3 Comments

Fiction (Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog): Tolkien was ahead of his time. And that’s precisely what I object to about him. And you know it’s real. People experience a culture shock when they go look up his forgotten contemporaries that they don’t with his work.

You can see it, too, in where people struggle with him. I tend to like the parts that people complain about the most. And detest things that blow past other people.

Aragorn patrolling dangerous countryside with a broken sword for one thing. How utterly, embarrassingly

Gaming (The Mixed DGM): I got into actual tabletop roleplaying with 3.5 edition D&D. Before then, I played the Infinity Engine games on my computer, but never actually sat at a table and played until 3.5. When 4E came out and I played a game of of it, I fled back to 3.5. Then, I discovered Pathfinder.

I thought that this was it: the holy grail of gaming. The perfect tabletop system. It is painful to write these words and I know many will think less of me. I cannot change the past and accept whatever judgment those wise and enlightened fellows who play OSR games and pre-2nd edition AD&D players oass upon me. I have repented and know that I will stand before God with a clean conscience, but I will accept any earthly punishments or penance for this sin.

Writing (Erindor Press): Have you ever reached a point where the thought of opening Scrivener (or your document editor of choice) filled you with not only dread, but disgust? Have you ever stared at your laptop and silently uttered the words, “I just can’t even…”? It may not have had anything to do with lack of inspiration! It’s just that you couldn’t bring yourself to take another slog through your work-in-progress. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, I’m going to show you how to beat writer’s block in 30 minutes.

Fiction (Jon Mollison): Where Tolkien Lord of the Rings presents fantasy worlds with an earnest and professorial tone that adds to that epic’s verisimilitude, Dunsany’s voice rings with the leaning-in pleasure in the fantastic of your grandfather seated before a fire.  With something of a wink and a nod in the telling, one never knows whether Dunsany is relating a tale handed down for generations or right off the cuff, and that lends an air of pleasurable suspense that tops Tolkien in my book.

Fiction (Barbarian Book Club): One of the often repeated refrains from the vile Cult of Resentment is that so much Fantasy is just rehashed, Tolkien fanfiction. Unfortunately, there is some truth in this, a lot of modern multi-volume fantasy is quite derivative of Middle Earth. Pale imitators lacking the poetic and moral compass of JRRT. Due to the popularity of the imitators, and the almost systematic erasure of most pre-Tolkien fantasy from the public sphere, a new reader often thinks of Middle Earth as ground zero for fantasy, myself included.

Gaming (Table Top Gaming News): I started my weekend off with some D&D, and that’s actually what I’m doing again now (through the miracle of future-scheduling posts). But no matter what you’re doing, I know you’re here to check out some reviews. So, while my Bard is hopefully not getting stabbed to death, let’s see what we’ve got this week.

We have: Starship Samurai, Tofu Kingdom, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, My First Stone Age, Fae, Duhr: The Lesser Houses, HOPE, Dwarves with Swords, and Hero Master.

Fiction (Swordssorcery Blogspot): Thanks to the always in-the-know Keith West of Adventure Fantastic, I was hipped to The Barbarian Book Club’s Pre-Tolkien Fantasy Challenge. Always on the lookout for something to write about here (plus I think it’s a great idea for folks to read pre-Tolkien fantasy), I’m all in. Here’s the challenge:

  • Identify 3 Fantasy stories written before Lord of the Rings was published.
  • Review all three on your blog, focusing on pre-Tolkien differences of similarities, and making sure you let us know where we can find them for ourselves.
  • Share the challenge.

Pre-Tolkien Short Story Challenge 

Military History (Osprey Publishing): Roman Heavy Cavalry (1)

CATAPHRACTARII & CLIBANARII, 1ST CENTURY BC–5TH CENTURY AD

ELITE 225

Author: Raffaele D’Amato, Andrey Evgenevich Negin

Illustrator: Andrey Evgenevich Negin

Publication Date: 29 Nov 2018

Fiction (DMR Books): A. Merritt passed on seventy-five years ago today. He died a very successful man–albeit, overworked and highly stressed–being at the top of his game in the fields of weekly periodical publishing and in the realm of popular literature. He had also left an indelible mark on the formation of the newborn sword and sorcery genre. His influence continues right up to the Current Year.

While, in my opinion, most of Merritt’s work has had some influence on the S&S genre, there are two novels that stand out. One is The Ship of IshtarClark Ashton Smith loved that book. I have strong reasons to believe that Robert E. Howard read it at some point before he wrote “The Shadow Kingdom” and he most definitely read it by the time he wrote “Queen of the Black Coast.” I would also speculate that there is a bit of Merritt’s Sharane in Moore’s Jirel

3 Comments
  • A. Nonymous says:

    Jeffro got spammed pretty thoroughly in the comments on his Tolkien hit-piece.

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