SUPERKULTUR

Show don’t tell

mar
25

Lovecraft kan være rigtig cool. Hans beskrivelser kan være ret fabelagtige, spændende og fyldt med kosmisk gru. Og andre gange kan han ramme milevidt fra, med alt for mange kyklopiske selvopfundne ord.

Men i The Statement of Randolph Carter rammer han helt forkert. Her hverken fortæller han os hvad der foregår eller viser os det.

“God! If you could see what I am seeing!”

I could not answer. Speechless, I could only wait. Then came the frenzied tones again:

“Carter, it’s terrible—monstrous—unbelievable!”

This time my voice did not fail me, and I poured into the transmitter a flood of excited questions. Terrified, I continued to repeat, “Warren, what is it? What is it?”

Once more came the voice of my friend, still hoarse with fear, and now apparently tinged with despair:

“I can’t tell you, Carter! It’s too utterly beyond thought—I dare not tell you—no man could know it and live—Great God! I never dreamed of THIS!” Stillness again, save for my now incoherent torrent of shuddering inquiry. Then the voice of Warren in a pitch of wilder consternation:

“Carter! for the love of God, put back the slab and get out of this if you can! Quick!—leave everything else and make for the outside—it’s your only chance! Do as I say, and don’t ask me to explain!”

Og det er så det sidste man hører til stakkels Warren. Hvad sker der med ham? Ingen ved det, men hvad end det er, der myrder ham, så kan det finde ud af at bruge en telefon. Det sidste Randolh hører om sin ven, er at monstret siger at Warren er død.

Ideen med novellen er sjov, Mand går ned i en anden verden og beskriver hændelsesforløbet til sin ven over telefonen, men manglen på vished om hvad det er, som Warren finder under kirkegården er bare træls. I de andre Lovecraft “det her er så enormt at det ikke kan forklares” scener, kommer der i det mindste lidt kød på. Her er der ingenting og det gør det til en lidt forspildt chance.

Grøntsager findes ikke!

mar
05

Via Neatorama faldt jeg over denne artikel, som redegør for, hvor besværligt sprog er, og hvordan det udraderer grøntsager som das Ding an sich (ja, jeg bruger sikkert udtrykket forkert, men det er sjældent, jeg får lov at krydre med tysk, og når nu det handlede om sprog).

In a botanical sense, it’s easy: vegetables don’t exist as a discrete, coherent category. And the more you know about botany–the nuanced phylogeny that gardeners and farmers know and the centuries of research into plant evolution that botanists have learned–the more likely you’ll be a dissenter in the vegetable debate. “This is why people hate botanists,” as one disillusioned commenter wrote in a particularly heated r/Botany thread.

Det minder mig om dengang, hvor Marvel officielt klassificerede Projekt X (eller X-Men, om man vil) og alle deres medmutanter som værende ikke-menneskelige – uagtet, at deres menneskelighed jo er hele grundlaget for serien.

Hvorfor gjorde de det? spørger man sig selv. Fordi de er et sjælsløstaf skatteårsager (måske havde jeg ret i den først indledte sætning).

Edmund Cooper

mar
01

Edmund Cooper er en af de der klassiske sf-forfattere, som har listet sig ind på mine reoler med flere titler – men som jeg ærligt talt aldrig har fået læst noget af. Men forleden sprang “Jupiter Laughs” ud i den ventende hånd og meldte sig frivilligt til at ledsage mig på de daglige togture.

Det er en novellesamling 1979 – men for at være ærlig føles det nok lidt ældre. Vi drager til Mars og finder hemmeligheden om vores egen oprindelse, en professor lader sin computer arbejde med sin søn og kommer til at fortryde det og så videre – det er gerne fortalt med et glimt i øjet, men måske også nok lidt forudsigeligt og ikke synderligt komplekst.

Men det fik mig da til at google forfatteren, for hvorfor ikke fylde lidt mere på om ham, når nu der alligevel står flere af hans bøger og venter. Det er lidt af en rutsjebanetur – især gennem denne side om forfatteren.

Til at starte med slår han fast, at alle hader franskmænd (eller i al fald franske scifi-film):

According to the jacket notes in Unborn Tomorrow a French film was made of one of his short stories but in reality the film was American and called The Invisible Boy (1957 also known as S.O.S Spaceship) based on Brain Child (1956) and featured the second appearance of the character Robbie the Robot. EC was embarrassed by having his name associated with this movie, which he called “one of the worst science fiction films of all time” so he said the film was French apparently in order to conceal his association with it.

Senere viser han sig at være meget gammeldags – men måske også kedeligt moderne på sådan en “de dybeste afgrunde af internettet”-måde:

On Cooper and Women: He said that the central characters in Transit, All Fools Day and The Uncertain Midnight were all “pseudonyms” for himself and that this was why American reviewers (“because there are so many women reviewers”) called him a male chauvinist pig. He also said that he was not against the emancipation of women but that the average woman had a cranial capacity 125cc less than that of a man; “let them have totally equal competition…they’ll see that they can’t make it…I just don’t think they can compete on the same terms” As evidence he cited the lack of “good” female mathematicians, scientists and composers; “They’ve gone back home to wash the dishes and produce children.” However, EC did then go on to say that this was a “very simplified” version of what he felt – that he loved women, did not want to subjugate them and that “I’d lay every attractive woman in the world if I could.”

Der henvises, tror jeg, til dette interview:

Jim: As individuals, the characters in many of your books lack the identity of singular people, and seem to be morerepresentative of mankind in general Why is this?

Edmund: Well, it’s legitimate of you to say that they lack, as it were, a great deal of variety; most of them are similartypes, though there are one or two who do have this variety.Richard Avery in Transit; Matthew Greville in All Fools’ Day; John Markham in The Uncertain Midnight – are all,basically, the same kind of character, the same kind of matrix. It’s got to be perfectly obvious to anyone that the personhe knows best is himself. I know myself best, so I’m afraid that these are all pseudonyms for myself. They’re how Ithink I might react given the dreadful, intriguing, funny, banal, or bizarre situations these characters find themselves in.It’s easier to put my reactions down, than invent a character and put his reactions down. There are a lot of masqueradingEdmund Coopers in my novels, which is why, frequently, American reviewers call me a male chauvinist pig.

Coopers brug af sig selv i fiktion fører så i en cirkel tilbage til første kilde og denne bid:

On Cooper’s Interests: EC described his interests in 1971 as “chess, philosophy and wine.”1 Obviously, EC drank excessively and many of his characters share this trait. Perhaps the greatest drinkers in his books were those in Five to Twelve (1968), Kronk (1970) and the character Commander James Conrad from the Expendables series (1975-76).

Edmund Cooper døde af alkoholisme i 1982.

Stephen Hawkings tidsrejsefest

dec
04

Det er svært at bevise, at noget IKKE eksisterer. Men det betyder jo blot, at man må tage alternative metoder i brug – i Stephen Hawkings’ tilfælde var det f.eks. den videnskabelige anvendelse af passiv-aggressivitet.

Den 28. juni 2009 afholdt den kørestolsbundne (og nu afdøde) fysiker en fest – der var balloner, der var champagne, og der var et velkomstskilt. VELKOMMEN TIDSREJSENDE, stod der på det. Desværre var det også en lidt trist fest, for ingen gæster mødte op, om de så var tidsrejsende eller ej.

Forklaringen, ifølge den forsmåede vært, var naturligvis, at invitationerne til festen først blev sendt ud dagen efter selve festen. Og at tidsrejser derfor skulle være modbevist. Indrømmet, det var måske ikke et endegyldigt bevis, indrømmede Hawking – gæsterne kan/kunne/vil kunne stadig møde op, hvis blot de er med på at destruere rumtiden.

Like any reasonable scientist, Hawking didn’t contend that his experiment constituted incontrovertible proof that time travel can’t one day be possible. At the festival in Seattle, Hawking noted that fellow theorist Albert Einstein “seems to offer the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that we could travel back in time.”

But Hawking cited one of his many disagreements with this idea.

“However, it is likely that warping would trigger a bolt of radiation that would destroy the spaceship and maybe the space-time itself,” he said.

Jeg legede lidt med alternative forklaringer på, hvorfor Hawkings eksperiment fejlede, for noget tid siden, men da han jo desværre rullede hen og døde, ventede jeg lidt med dem. Nu tænker jeg, at jeg vil smide dem op her som småhistorier det næste stykke tid – og invitere andre til at være med på det dybt videnskabelige undersøgelse af tidsrejsens mulige bekomst.

(og i forlængelse deraf har jeg oprettet en ny kategori, kaldet Fiktion, hvortil jeg har flyttet slige tekster overi – denne afart får sit eget tag).

NØRDERI I 2.

nov
21

For tiden genlæser jeg – for pokker må vide hvilken gang – Arthur C. Clarkes “Against the fall of night”. Når jeg siger “for tiden”, så er det ikke fordi romanen er særlig lang, og derfor ville tage lang tid at komme igennem, men fordi den er udnævnt til “go’nat-læsning”. Man kan så at sige, sige, at jeg falder i søvn til den. Ikke fordi den – så at sige(!) – er kedelig, men fordi jeg kender den; genkendelsens beroligende effekt. Eller: – det troede jeg ihvertfald.

Billedresultat for against the fall of night

Så sker der det, at Jakob smækker den her MOC-dokumentar på bordet, som aktiverer et associations-gen, der sender mig tilbage i tiden.

På hedengangne ESSEF skrev jeg et indlæg om Clarke, navnlig med hensyntagen til fire historier/noveller/romaner, der synes at have et fælles tema. Og her taler vi om “Against the fall of night” (sikkert også om den omskrevne udgave: “The city and the stars”, som jeg faktisk ikke har læst, beklager), “The lion of Comarre”, “The road to the sea” og “The wall of darkness”.

Billedresultat for the lion of comarre

Relateret billede

Relateret billede

(det er altså The Road To The Sea, selvom der står noget andet)

Billedresultat for the wall in darkness arthur c clarke

 

Alle fire historier handler om utilpassede unge mænd, der føler at verden omkring dem er for trang, samt at der ligger hemmeligheder til grund for den idyl, der tilsyneladende omgiver dem. Drengene hedder henholdsvis Alvin of Loronei, Brant, Shervane og Richard Peyton III.

I mit essay/indlæg på ESSEF gjorde jeg gældende, at de sådan set var i familie med hinanden, om ikke ligefrem avatarer af den evige ungdomsoprører (hvorfor må jeg ikk’ få beatleshår? Hvorfor skal jeg altid klippes, mo’r?)

Og det skal jo nok være rigtigt, når jeg nu selv har skrevet det 🙂

Sideordnet er det faktisk lidt sjovt (associationer, igen), at der optræder figurer af sfinxer i både “The road to the sea” og i H.G. Wells’ “The time machine”:

Billedresultat for Virgil Finlay time machine

(Virgil Finlay)

For ligeledes er vejen fra Diaspar til Lys (Against the fall of night) gemt “under” en statue; og ligeledes er Shastar (The road to the sea) en større udbredelse under jorden end over. Og det hele summerer sig måske op til noget med “laaaaaaaaaaaaang tid”, som er gået, før de unge mænd griber til fadet.

(vi er kommet lidt langt ud, ikk’? Skal vi komme tilbage?) Herfra “spoilers”:

“Many and strange are the universes, that drift like foam and bubbles upon the river of time”. Dette er indledningen til “The Wall in Darkness”, som handler om gutten Shervane, der finder ud af hvor lille et kosmos, han bebor, og hvor mærkeligt det er. Muren i mørket er grænsen for dette univers, idet det, som en möbius-strimmel, folder sig tilbage i sig selv. En anden slags fortælling, ad samme spor, kan findes i David I. Massons “Traveller’s Rest” eller Christopher Priests “Inverted World”.

I Jakobs MOC ser man en hest, der er på vej over en bro. Det er godt nok. Men hvad med skiltet? Se lige på skiltet! Javist er det en rundkørsel, men da dette foregår i Shervanes univers, og længe efter hans død, så er Maia og hendes hest på vej ind i möbius-terræn. Og det er derfor hesten tøver.

Men så sker der det … – så sker der det: Igår aftes opdagede jeg, at der på side 156 i

Billedresultat for the lion of comarre

nævnes at: ” … the loveliness which such artist as Shervane and Perildor had created for men’s eternal admiration.”

Så hvis Shervane, der lever i absolut lukket univers, også optræder i Alvins fortid …. – men den skal jeg nok bare lad stå, og lade andre om at udlede. God fornøjelse, og pas nu på jer selv derude 🙂

Mødet er hævet. Tak for god ro og orden.

At bruge Dashiell Hammetts penge

sep
27

Lars Ahn har en ny roman på vej – en gotisk krimi ved navn Rød høst. Og hvis man er Dashiell Hammett-fan, vil man genkende den danske oversættelse af hans Red Harvest. Hvorfor den hedder det, fortæller Ahn lidt om her. Og apropos titler var hans forrige bog en novellesamling med en smuk en af slagsen: “Den nat, vi skulle have set Vampyros Lesbos” – og hvis niveauet holder, er Rød høst værd at se frem til.

Men det var egentlig ikke reklame for reklamens skyld, der var pointen, snarere at det mindede mig om Emily Schultz, der brugte Stephen Kings penge. På grund af en titel.

I 2006 udgav hun romanen Joyland. Det er historien om teenageren Chris Lane, der i 1984 må se sin hjembys eneste spillehal (titlens Joyland) lukke – og hvad derefter følger. “Schultz bring the Cold War home in a novel set to the digital pulse of video games and the echoes of hair metal.” Hvilket for så vidt lyder ret fedt, men det er ikke det, der er interessant her. Det er det derimod, at Stephen King i 2014 udgav en roman med titlen… ja, Joyland.

Her dækker titlen over en forlystelsespark og året 1973. Og til at starte med var det en bog, som kun blev udgivet i papirform. Under stor fanfare, naturligvis, da King er en populær herre. Og uden tvivl en, der kan få oneclick-shopping-fingrene til at sidde løse på læserne. Så pludselig oplevede Emily Schultz en voldsomt stigning i salget af ebogsudgaven af hendes roman. Og dertil en lang række etstjernede anmeldelser, der gerne kredsede om, at der ikke var meget Stephen King i Stephen Kings seneste roman.

Men i det mindste var der pengene.

Og det blev til bloggen Spending the Stephen King Money, hvor hun listede alt det, hun købte for de digitale penge. Og forsøgte at gætte, om hendes forfatterkollega ville sætte pris på købet.

PURCHASE: Four extra (half) days of daycare.

COST: $180.00

NOTE: Novels and children need the same thing from you—time.

WOULD STEPHEN KING LIKE IT: Nothing is more terrifying than parenthood, and he’s visited that in a few books so, yes, he would like this!

 

 

En af de bedre spiloplevelser

apr
24

Som modvægt til Simons indlæg vil jeg lige dele denne, som jeg morede mig meget over:

Værste spilleoplevelse nogensinde…

apr
24

Helvedet er de andre. Jeg tror ikke Sartre var den festligste fætter nogensinde, men når jeg læser Milky Waiters historie, så er jeg på nippet til at give ham ret.

Den her fantastiske historie er fundet på det amerikanske website rpg.net, som nok er verdens største rollespils forum. På et tidspunkt snakkede folk om deres værste spiloplevelser nogensinde, og flere folk havde vilde og skøre oplevelser… men den her slår alligevel de fleste.

This is a bit long but…

I guess I will just have to mention my brief GMing to the brazilian police death squad.

Everything begun at my local gameclub (by local I mean the only one in a 4,000,000 people city) some five years ago. This club was run by a fellow hobbyist on weekends, was located at a big avenue and had a large ‘Camelot’ plaque hanging over the door with the picture of a knight. Needlessly to say it attracted a lot of curious people. Well, at the end of a Saturday afternoon of particularly intense WEG Star Wars playing I was approached by this timid skinny guy in his late twenties. He had been watching the entire session and was almost apologetic about coming forward to talk to me. Anyway he lived just 3 blocks away and he loved “games”, so he wanted someone to GM a game for him and his “work colleagues”. They had never roleplayed before. He seemed a nice, clean, eager-to-play guy, so I invited him and his buddies for a AD&D game in the club, the following night.

Nothing would have prepared me and the other player (the club owner) for the cast of foul characters arriving at the club the next night. Just to contextualize the many non-brazilian readers in this thread, there are two kinds of police in Brazil: the semi-illiterate oppressive superviolent military police, and the corrupt immoral wiseguy detective/mobster types from the civilian police. These guys were the second type.

These four men (the skinny guy only showed up later) were villain prototypes and had intimidation skill points worth entire 20th level characters. Even when they nicely said hello they had menace written all over their foreheads. It was night, but they were dressed like beach tourists, wearing soccer team t-shirts and sandals. There were so much male jewelry as to make Mr. T look like a girl playing child´s bijouterie. All of them had pistols attached at strategic holsters in their bodies, at least one of them had knives, and all of them were anxious to play the nice “game of dice”.

I should see the size of the problem when a huge black man put two bottles of smuggled whisky on top of the table we would play. He seriously asked me if that was booze enough for all of us (two bottles for 7 people). I replied I didn´t drink. He said he would freeze the liquid for me to eat it and his mouth opened in a big smile filled with golden teeth.

Anyway the quarreling began when I showed them the pre-gen characters. All of them “wanted to be the master”. There were also quarreling about who would get which character (they were choosing by the pictures). But that was mild quarreling and they calmed down as their heavy drinking and joint smoking ensued. Oh, and they also loved the dice.

The game finally began at the tavern where I had planned the characters to meet and the players to familiarize themselves with the blessed and (to them) newly-perceived freedom a player has in a RPG. They caught on fast enough with IC dialogue, and besides the incessant joint passing and abusive drinking the players were concentrated, with cellphones turned off and all.

That´s when the prostitutes arrived.

Unknowingly to me and the club owner, skinny guy had arranged for two prostitutes, old acquaintances of these guys, to meet at my friend´s gaming club. Things went downhill from there, with the women disrupting the game and the telling of IC mixed with OOC murder stories. By this point my friend made the second mistake of the evening, trying to stop the game by telling me he was late and had to close the club and stuff. The murderous cops didn´t take his intentions well, and started to get all serious and quiet, trying to intimidate my friend. After all, he wasn´t being a nice host, since they had brought the booze, the girls, the drugs and the guns, and they were not going to leave before knowing “who won” anyway, since everyone of them had (of course) bet 50 bucks his character would “win”.

So I wrapped things up by having an all-out combat between the characters, while a detective banged one of the girls against a wall 4 feet away. The winner got 200 bucks and a knuckle-duster, they all had a blast and left me and my shaking buddy glad we were left alive . We never saw any of them again, not even skinny guy.

Maybe not too creepy, but then again my experience is limited.

https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?369229-Necro-Creepiest-Person-You-ve-Ever-Gamed-With-Part-Deux/page9

 

Læs Harlan. Læg dig ikke ud med ham.

apr
23

“I’m tellin’ ya, man. Don’t fuck with no science fiction writers!”

Jeg kan godt lide Harlan Ellison. Eller: jeg tør i al fald ikke sige højt, at jeg ikke kan. For man skal ikke lægge sig ud med Harlan. Den 83-årige forfatter er kendt for at skrive eminente noveller og essays – og for sin vreeeeeede, der har dannet grobund for en god del sagsanlæg og en endnu større del underholdende anekdoter.

Du – ja, du der – bør læse f.eks. Paingod and Other Delusions eller Ellison Wonderland eller Deathbird Stories eller eller eller… For at få en smag af hans ikke-fiktive skriverier kan du lige læse The 3 Most Important Things in Life, som bl.a. fortæller historien om Harlans meget korte karriere hos Disney. Du vil takke mig senere. Om ikke andet, så for hønsekødssuppen.

Læs alle de ting, men læg dig ikke ud med Harlan. For manden kan forvandle selv postvæsenet til et dødbringende våben. Nåja, postvæsenet og en taskerotte. Forestil dig, hvad manden kan gøre med Postnord.

Fra FAQ’en på harlanellison.com

DID HARLAN REALLY MAIL A DEAD GOPHER TO AN EDITOR?

Nope. It was the comptroller of a certain publishing house that bound a cigarette ad into one of Harlan’s paperbacks, breaking a stipulation in Harlan’s contract. Although better related in Harlan’s essay “Driving in the Spikes”, suffice to say that after trying nicely to get the book rights reverted back to him, as per his contract, and getting blown off, Harlan mailed 213 bricks postage due to the man (this was back when the US Postal Service would mail anything postage-free, making the recipient pay up), had a Luthuanian hit man friend of his have a talk with him, and then mailed the dead gopher, along with Ted Cogswell’s recipe for braised gopher stew, fourth class mail, where it stank up the mailing room for quite a while.