ecosophia: Weird of Hali: Innsmouth (Hali)
[personal profile] ecosophia
Me chatting about my fiction with host "Sully" Sullivan of The Podcaste, a DC-area podcast -- a pleasant conversation with someone who's as much of a fraternal order geek as I am (we met at a Masonic meeting, if that tells you anything). Check it out:

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-23 03:37 am (UTC)
jjensenii: South Park avatar (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjensenii
Always a pleasure to hear you on a podcast, and doubly so to hear you talk about Lovecraft!

My own introduction to Lovecraft's work was through the video game Eternal Darkness. While it's a fairly poor imitation of the Mythos rather than a contribution to it, and seems to be more inspired by Derleth than Lovecraft, it certainly made me want more.

For me, the idea of indifferentism was initially quite startling, but it was part of what made Lovecraftian horror so morbidly fascinating. These days, I'm inclined to think in terms of something C.S. Lewis mentioned as one of his reservations about Christianity: that if the world is made for us, then nothing is truly wild. Indifferentism allows the world to be itself, and I think that's actually a more beautiful and more spiritually-fulfilling idea.

(Lewis gave a defense of Christianity against this, but I got the impression that even he wasn't really satisfied with the argument.)

These days I think my appreciation of Lovecraftian horror comes more from the thrill of being confronted with something human reason can't master. (And if that something is trying to eat us, all the more thrilling!) Contemporary fantasy fiction and fantasy RPGs have gone so far in the direction of turning magic into another superscience (case in point: Eberron's magic-powered trains—ugh) that it just can't provide the same fascination.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-23 07:36 pm (UTC)
jjensenii: South Park avatar (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjensenii
I feel the same about Lewis. An atheist friend once said he wanted to read Lewis and see what the fuss was about, and I advised that he look on him as a convinced Neoplatonist philosopher who was a Christian simply because that seemed to him to be the only game in town.

He does seem to have had some inkling that other alternatives were out there, but he dismissed them with possibly the worst argument he ever made about anything.

I've sometimes wondered what Lewis' work would have looked like if he'd discovered Hermeticism before returning to Christianity. If nothing else, The Chronicles of Narnia would have been quite a different series!

Also, magic-fueled trains go back to at least the mid-90's to the video game Final Fantasy VII, where industrial society runs on magical "mako" energy. But in that case mako is such a transparent stand-in for oil (you start the game as eco-terrorists trying to stop its extraction before the planet dies) that it's practically the video game version of The Magic Goes Away. You're not supposed to think it's nifty.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-25 07:37 pm (UTC)
jjensenii: South Park avatar (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjensenii
I had a thought earlier this morning, and I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before: Are there any examples of deindustrial weird fiction, either recently or in the archives of 20th century SF/F?

Considering that weird fiction is often about confronting the limits of human reason and sanity, and deindustrial fiction is about confronting the limits of human ingenuity and complexity, it seems like it would be a nice fit.

I'm afraid I haven't yet gotten around to reading The Weird of Hali--partly that's because I want to brush up on my Lovecraft/Howard/Smith so that I get more of the references--so I don't know if that counts.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-26 05:45 am (UTC)
jjensenii: South Park avatar (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjensenii
Hmm, I've actually read both of those works, but I never thought of "The Dark Age" as a weird tale, nor of "Nyarlathotep" as deindustrial. I'll have to give both another read.

As for writing a deindustrial weird tale, I'd love to, but the inspiration for one hasn't hit me yet. I just finished writing an 8000+ word weird tale set in the present day, dealing with themes of memory and time. Once I pass that around my circle of unpaid editors friends, we'll see what happens next. (Although I already have another story trying to get off the ground in my head, and to my chagrin it centers around a white nationalist and plays with the themes of Lovecraftian racism and xenophobia. I can't imagine any publisher these days accepting it, nor am I sure I'll want my name associated with it, but one of the characters from the story I just finished will be in it, and he's being pretty insistent on getting another story.)

I must say, it's really strange seeing myself write that last paragraph. I'd always intended to enter one of your Space Bats contests, but never got anything together in time. (I came close for the third contest, but the story was frankly high-brow trash verging on warhol thanks to how naive my idea of an ecotechnic society was.) Now I just wrote 8000 words, longer than any work of fiction I'd written before, and all but about 400 of those words were written over the course of the last 48 hours. For some reason, the story just started pouring itself out yesterday afternoon.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-27 04:03 am (UTC)
jjensenii: South Park avatar (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjensenii
Just to follow up, inspiration for a deindustrial weird tale finally did strike. This is what came of it:

If you ever do a deindustrial weird tale contest, and are willing to accept something so short, consider this my submission. ;-)

I'm going to be submitting the longer story I told you about to a magazine; I'm currently looking at Stranger Horizons, since they're one of the few zines I've found that aren't closed for submissions with no indication of when they'll reopen (Lovecraftzine has been closed for submissions since January) and who will also consider a story so long. Do you have any other suggestions?

Cthonic Pacts

Date: 2017-05-28 12:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Howdy JMG ,
Love your new digs . Am reading Erik Davies excellent " TechGnosis" at the moment and he had this little gem to say

"Plant's exuberant vision can be seen as a futuristic retort to eco- feminists, who often embrace nonhierarchical systems thinking in the name of Romantic images of women, nature, and the Goddess. Plant too is a kind of pagan, but a technological pagan who recognizes that we cannot know what alliances the earth's chthonic energies and alien intelligences may have already made with machines. Alchemy begins as a métallurgie art, after all, its later dreams of mystic redemption and transuranium elements forming atop an archaic engagement with animist matter. We still divide ancient times into ages of copper, bronze, and iron, as if human history itself was a froth given off by the intelligent evolution of metals, a process that today transcends metallic elements, as we pass into an age defined by sihcon, bio-chips, crystalline lattices, and the bizarre substances leaking out of materials science. "


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