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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:57 pm 
 

For those of you into creating the most realistic campaign, and as a gratuitous plug, one of our old gaming group just published this on Oxford University press ........


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:12 pm 
 

"He who is not strong must needs be cunning"....sounds nicer "as Gheilge"

  


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:32 am 
 

Okay, this is pretty OT, but I just had to vent about it somewhere where people might appreciate my horror.  Those of you who have ever read REH, JRRT, or Gary Gygax's novels will understand.  Check out Paizo.com's newest announcement, about two "classic" science fantasy novels to be published in August:

paizo.com wrote:Introducing Planet Stories: Classic Science Fantasy Novels

Almuric, by Robert E. Howard, is a savage planet of crumbling stone ruins and debased, near-human inhabitants. Into this world comes Esau Cairn, Earthman, swordsman, murderer. Only he can overthrow the terrible devils that enslave Almuric, but to do so he must first defeat the inner demons that forced him to abandon Earth. Filled with vile beasts and thrilling adventure in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Almuric is one of Howard's few novels, and an excellent yarn from one of America's most distinct literary voices. Robert E. Howard is most known for creating the fictional character, Conan the Cimmerian (a.k.a. Conan the Barbarian), who has been featured in comic books, short stories, novels, and feature films for over 70 years. Howard's work is often credited as the source of the sword-and-sorcery genre and influenced everyone from J.R.R. Tolkien to George R.R. Martin.

The Anubis Murders, by Gary Gygax, weaves a fantastic tale of warring wizards that spans the world from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the mist-shrouded towns of medieval England. Someone is murdering the world's most powerful sorcerers, and the trail of blood leads straight to Anubis, the solemn god known by most as the Master of Jackals. Can Magister Setne Inhetep, personal philosopher-wizard to the Pharaoh, reach the distant kingdom of Avillonia and put an end to the Anubis Murders, or will he be claimed as the latest victim? Gary Gygax co-created the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game over 30 years ago and has watched it grow to become one of the largest entertainment sources in the hobby gaming industry. Dungeons & Dragons has been played by tens of millions worldwide and the name Gygax is instantly recognizable to any fans of the game, past or present.


I'll make my rant short but bitter  :?  1) I'd be surprised if Prof. Tolkien ever heard of Robert E. Howard, let alone read him or was influenced by him.  Tolkien died in '73, before anything like the Conan game or movie might have brought it to his attention across the pond.  I doubt he was reading Weird Tales back in the '30s, which is how early it would likely have had to be to "influence" him.  I REALLY doubt he was exposed Lin Carter's Adult Fantasy series which came in the few years preceding his death.  And while I'm sure GRRM has read REH, I don't detect one iota of influence.  Please correct me if you know differently.  Don't get me wrong, I love REH's work too, but he and the good Professor don't even inhabit the same plane of existence.

Another Gary Gygax novel?  Didn't we try that already?  Again, don't get me wrong, I love the man for helping to create D&D, etc., but I've read the entire "Gord the Rogue" series, and while he might be a better novelist than R. A. Salvatore, it ain't by much.

Rant ended.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:03 am 
 

Radovarl wrote:Okay, this is pretty OT, but I just had to vent about it somewhere where people might appreciate my horror.  Those of you who have ever read REH, JRRT, or Gary Gygax's novels will understand.  Check out Paizo.com's newest announcement, about two "classic" science fantasy novels to be published in August:



I'll make my rant short but bitter  :?  1) I'd be surprised if Prof. Tolkien ever heard of Robert E. Howard, let alone read him or was influenced by him.  Tolkien died in '73, before anything like the Conan game or movie might have brought it to his attention across the pond.  I doubt he was reading Weird Tales back in the '30s, which is how early it would likely have had to be to "influence" him.  I REALLY doubt he was exposed Lin Carter's Adult Fantasy series which came in the few years preceding his death.  And while I'm sure GRRM has read REH, I don't detect one iota of influence.  Please correct me if you know differently.  Don't get me wrong, I love REH's work too, but he and the good Professor don't even inhabit the same plane of existence.

Another Gary Gygax novel?  Didn't we try that already?  Again, don't get me wrong, I love the man for helping to create D&D, etc., but I've read the entire "Gord the Rogue" series, and while he might be a better novelist than R. A. Salvatore, it ain't by much.

Rant ended.


Tolkien actually was quite aware of Howard and his ilk, but as for influence, well, it's pretty much been established JRR had an entire other field of writers influencing him, from William Morris to George MacDonald, and if anythng was far more influenced by ancient mythologies than even those two. "REH" at this point in our culture has become somewhat of a buzzword, much liike when I worked in a music store during the late 80s/early 90s  "The Replacements" would be invoked whenever a record rep had a new band to push, thus "This band really smokes and reminds me a lot of the Replacements".  Which would mean they were "supposedly" raw, powerful and reckless in their playing.  However, in most cases (as with the REH reference), it just meant the rep was trying to push another crappy, no talent band of the week on us.

As for the Anubis Murders, I believe this was first released in the late 80s, and this is just a re-release because the book has been out of print for so long.  I believe it supported the Dangerous Journeys game he created, specifically the world of Aegypt.  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:06 am 
 

Radovarl wrote:Another Gary Gygax novel?  Didn't we try that already?  Again, don't get me wrong, I love the man for helping to create D&D, etc., but I've read the entire "Gord the Rogue" series, and while he might be a better novelist than R. A. Salvatore, it ain't by much.


Radovarl, just a FYI: this book originally came out in 1992! The Paizo version is a reprint. It was part of a series of three books: Anubis Murders, Samarkand Solution and Death in Delhi. These tied into the Dangerous Journeys game system & were murder-mysteries set in a fantasy world.
I completely missed them when they came out and only heard about them in the past few years. I haven't read them so I have no comment on the quality.

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:16 am 
 

Badmike wrote:
Tolkien actually was quite aware of Howard and his ilk, but as for influence, well, it's pretty much been established JRR had an entire other field of writers influencing him, from William Morris to George MacDonald, and if anythng was far more influenced by ancient mythologies than even those two.


I didn't know that, thanks.  What's your source for that info (Tolkien's awareness of REH, not the Morris/MacDonald influence), if you don't mind me asking?  Not that I doubt you, I just want to read whatever it is.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:18 am 
 

zhowar wrote:
Radovarl, just a FYI: this book originally came out in 1992! The Paizo version is a reprint. It was part of a series of three books: Anubis Murders, Samarkand Solution and Death in Delhi. These tied into the Dangerous Journeys game system & were murder-mysteries set in a fantasy world.
I completely missed them when they came out and only heard about them in the past few years. I haven't read them so I have no comment on the quality.


I thought the title sounded somewhat familiar.  I guess I should give the book a chance.  I enjoyed the Gord books when I read them, despite the persistent auditory hallucinations I experienced of dice rolling as I read, so might be worth a look.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:06 pm 
 

Radovarl wrote:
I didn't know that, thanks.  What's your source for that info (Tolkien's awareness of REH, not the Morris/MacDonald influence), if you don't mind me asking?  Not that I doubt you, I just want to read whatever it is.


Rad;

I don't remember the exact source, it was a book about the "Inklings", the group that included CS Lewis and other notables from Oxford college back in the day.  I'm going by my very poor memory, but from what I remember some members had read the odd few Weird Tales magazines that had found their way across the ocean, and commented on both Howard and Lovecraft.  I don't think the comments were very deep or informative but they do indicate the British fantasy writers did realize there was an American sword and sorcery market going on.  I just googled a bit and couldn't come up with a solid reference; it may have even been a book of letters exchanged between some Inklings members. in any case, REH was definitely not an influence on Tolkien, they approached their subjects through far different literary windows. (Tolkien with his love for ancient mythology and languages, Howard through his reading of histories).  It would have been funny in the early 1930s to sit both of them in a bar together and order them a few drinks.  I bet REH would have at first been greatly fascinated by the fact Tolkien fought in WWI, and both his vast literary background and his personal history, but I have a feeling REH's roughness and bombastic assertions would have put off the good professor. Still, if I had the power to suddenly transport REH, CAS and Lovecraft to an Inklings meeting; or Tolkien, CS Lewis and Charles Williams to a dusty bar in Texas to meet with the aforementioned trio...well, who wouldn't pay a fortune for those transcripts?  :wink:

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:22 pm 
 

rec.arts.books.tolkien is a good place to look for information like this. You can search it through Google Groups. I just found this thread:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts ... 991069edad

Apparently L. Sprague de Camp stated in a book that Tolkien enjoyed Conan stories, but there's no published verification of this (nothing in Letters).

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:06 pm 
 

zhowar wrote:rec.arts.books.tolkien is a good place to look for information like this. You can search it through Google Groups. I just found this thread:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts ... 991069edad

Apparently L. Sprague de Camp stated in a book that Tolkien enjoyed Conan stories, but there's no published verification of this (nothing in Letters).


Wow, thanks Zho. That's probably where I read it then, in a De Camp collection or biography of Howard.

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:16 pm 
 

Yeah, it's not the Inklings (or at least not the book by that title); just re-read that a couple months ago, and I'm certain there was no Weird Tales reference.  I bet it is the Lovecraft biography by L. Sprague deCamp where you saw it.  I've been meaning to pick that up, now I'll definitely do so.  However, other Lovecraft "scholars" have pointed out that deCamp's biography (as opposed to the more definitive work by S. T. Joshi) is rife with inaccuracies and personal bias, so maybe the Tolkien thing was apocryphal.  Who knows, but interesting to speculate nonetheless.

Yeah, I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at a hypothetical Inklings/Lovecraft Circle meeting.  There are definitely some similarities between the two groups, and even between specific members, but also some huge divergences.  None of the Americans had finished high school except Howard, and he only barely, while the core Inkling trio all had the equivalent of Master's degrees and were Profs except Williams.  The Americans were atheists, except possibly Howard for whom as far as I know there is no specific statement, while the Inklings were all devout Christians (Lewis converted atheist, Williams mystico-whacko-occult Christian, Tolkien devout Catholic).  Inklings were heavy drinkers, while the Americans were teetotalers except maybe CAS.

I don't think they would have gotten along well, at all.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:35 pm 
 

 None of the Americans had finished high school except Howard, and he only barely, while the core Inkling trio all had the equivalent of Master's degrees and were Profs except Williams.  The Americans were atheists, except possibly Howard for whom as far as I know there is no specific statement, while the Inklings were all devout Christians (Lewis converted atheist, Williams mystico-whacko-occult Christian, Tolkien devout Catholic).  Inklings were heavy drinkers, while the Americans were teetotalers except maybe CAS.

I don't think they would have gotten along well, at all


Hmmmm  . . .  one would've thought the opposite--the atheists would be the drinkers while the Christians wou've been teetotallers (or rarely drank at all).   Interesting information!

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:39 pm 
 

Tolkien on Howard:

DeCamp quotes Tolkien on page 286 of his REH biography, Dark Valley Destiny:

But in 1967, J.R.R. Tolkien, though inclined to be sharply critical of most other fantasists, admitted to the senior author of this book that he "rather liked" the Conan stories.

DeCamp is apparently quoting from a private conversation with Tolkien.  He does not cite any source for the quote.

(I also marvel at the word "fantasists."  It takes balls to coin a dopey word like that.)

I can find no reference to REH in Humphrey Carpenter's book, The Inklings.  Although Carpenter was Tolkien's first biographer and the editor of his collected letters, Tolkien is a fairly minor character in The Inklings, which is primarily about C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams.

It seems to me that Howard would have benefitted from an evening or two with the Inklings.  His intelligence and sensitivity might have come out, while his moody, biting, selfish pretense might have been tempered by contacts with equal...and more highly trained...minds.  (It is easy to see why life in Cross Plains was hard for a man of REH's intellect.)

REH was full of intellectual bluster that could have used refinement.  It is understandable considering that he met very few minds that were equal to his own in the limited intellectual atmosphere of Cross Plains.

Robert Bloch once speculated in print about the kind of masterful writing REH would have done had he not killed himself...

My own speculation would be what kind of writing REH might have done had he met Tolkien and Lewis and become a Christian through their influence...and what influence would Howard have subsequently had on the Inklings?

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:44 pm 
 

Random fact - C.S. Lewis died on the same day Aldous Huxley - 22nd Nov. 1963.


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:53 pm 
 

sleepyCO wrote:
Hmmmm  . . .  one would've thought the opposite--the atheists would be the drinkers while the Christians wou've been teetotallers (or rarely drank at all).   Interesting information!


Temperance and teatotallers is a phenomenon of the American Christian culture.

Temperance became a cause during America's antebellum (1815-1860) years when religious reformers of all types pursued every sort of improvement to human development, including Graham crackers, spiritualism, phrenology and the huge number of Protestant denominations that sprang up to reform Christianity.  The anit-slavery movement was another example of an antebellum reform movement.

English Christians never really caught the reforming zeal that swept America.  Alcohol and tobacco are a regular part of social gatherings among Christians in Europe...as they are among certain American denominations.

When C.S. Lewis began to become famous as a Christian writer, his American publishers would sometimes ask him to tone down his referrences to alcohol and tobacco.  This was confusing to American readers, who equated temperance with virtue.

Even today, it is difficult to talk about C.S. Lewis with American fans because they generally assume that a great Christian should not have any great faults.  On the contrary, I find Lewis' "faults" charming.

The Inklings were not really heavy drinkers in the sense that they got drunk all the time.  Alcohol was a part of their social scene and Lewis in particular enjoyed a night at the pub...frequently with his students.

Sorry for the long OT post.  Probably more info than you wanted...

Mark   8)


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Last edited by FormCritic on Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:55 pm 
 

Winterwords wrote:Random fact - C.S. Lewis died on the same day Aldous Huxley - 22nd Nov. 1963.


I believe that it was also the same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Yes...I am correct...at least according to page 251 of The Inklings.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:10 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:
The Inklings were not really heavy drinkers in the sense that they got drunk all the time.  Alcohol was a part of their social scene and Lewis in particular enjoyed a night at the pub...frequently with his students.

Mark   8)


Waaay, back in 1988/89, I spent a year at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, as an exchange student.  I recall being quite suprised to discover that it was a 'dry' campus - in that alcohol was not served or sold at all.  While there were plenty of (great) bars nearby, there were also plenty of people there who were suspicious if you drank at all.  8O In the part of Northern Ireland where I grew up - there is a strong no-drinking culture amongst some of the more Calvinist protestant churches.  But that too is (thankfully) a minority position  :wink:


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:14 pm 
 

red_bus wrote:
Waaay, back in 1988/89, I spent a year at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, as an exchange student.  I recall being quite suprised to discover that it was a 'dry' campus - in that alcohol was not served or sold at all.  While there were plenty of (great) bars nearby, there were also plenty of people there who were suspicious if you drank at all.  8O In the part of Northern Ireland where I grew up - there is a strong no-drinking culture amongst some of the more Calvinist protestant churches.  But that too is (thankfully) a minority position  :wink:


Yes, there are still "dry" counties in the US.  My own college banned alcohol and tobacco.

I never wanted to smoke a pipe until it was forbidden.  Tried it......found out that it was like sucking a campfire into my mouth.  Images of Gandalf ruined forever.  :x

The ban on alcohol remains in effect to this day.  Probably better for college students anyway :? .  The ban did not result in temperance among those inclined to drink.  Rather, it resulted in widespread institutional hypocrisy.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:23 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:
I never wanted to smoke a pipe until it was forbidden.  Tried it......found out that it was like sucking a campfire into my mouth.  Images of Gandalf ruined forever.  :x

Mark   8)


Don't be so hard on yourself, he was an immortal Maia.  Probably took years of practice.  Besides, what else is there to do in Valinor  :D


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:03 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Yes, there are still "dry" counties in the US.  My own college banned alcohol and tobacco.


To piggy-back off Mark's comments wrt alcohol, you can see the demographics of wet/dry counties here in Alabama, which is fairly indicative of the American South in general, at this link:

http://www.abcboard.state.al.us/wetdry.asp

The blue counties allow alcohol sales.  The tan-colored counties are dry.

Some cities are wet, while the surrounding county is dry.

Another oddity of this is alcohol sales on Sunday.  It's illegal to sell alcohol on Sunday in most counties and smaller towns around the state.  Only the larger towns allow Sunday alcohol sales.

In fact, where I live (Huntsville), which is a remarkably progressive metro area, only began allowing Sunday alcohol sales in the last 3-4 years.

The public universites are also (technically) dry, although you'd never know it visiting one. :D

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