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Poll: In general, would we all prefer to be a) slain by a little-known South American poison that is instantly fatal and defies detection or b) transfixed by a dagger of oriental design?
Got Gulliver of Mars by Edwin L. Arnold off Project Gutenberg, myself. Looking forward to it!
If I want breakfast, I strip naked, break the ice on a lake and then wrestle an Arctic Plesiosaur into submission. Or I may stun a polar bear with one punch and then use it as a furry greatclub in order to kill several other polar bears and then consume their reeking carcases raw, even the livers. In the unlikely event that I eat, wear or use anything that I haven't slain myself in unarmed combat, I will gnaw it out of solid granite. At night, I stand proudly beneath the great, yellow moon, bellowing "I live! I LIVE! I LIIIIIVE!!!", basking in the awe-inspiring immensity of Savage Nature.
Does that count?
Chert the Barbarian and his roguish friend sat across the table from Mordenkainen in the Bella Furyondy restaurant in Greyhawk City.
"I hope you enjoyed your garlic bread", said the archmage. "Now I have something even better for you!"
He gestured to a waiter, who bought over a flat box, opening it to release a delicious odour and reveal a flat disc of dough, covered with tomato sauce and melted cheese. Then, suddenly, it began to speak!
"HORNED SARDINE BARKS DILIGENTLY!"
The jaws of Chert and his companion dropped. "Wha-huh?!"
"PLACARD BABY'S MARBLE APPLE MELTS HAPPINESS STRING YODELS!!"
Chert raised his mighty axe above the dish, shouting "FOUL WITCHERY!", but Mordenkainen simply raised an admonitory eyebrow and shook his head. The small, dark man sitting by the barbarian put a calming hand on his comrade's brawny arm and eased him back onto his seat.
"Mordenkainen, what was that?!", he asked, and the wizard replied:
"That is the pizza, Gord, that passeth all understanding"
Those Ranger levels were worthwhile after all - thanks to taking Favoured Enemy (low grade 70s fantasy paperbacks) I was able to track down and subdue the following today:
Wizard of Lemuria - Lin Carter.
I also got hold of an old D20 sourcebook called Arrows of Indra, setting out rules for running a 3.5e campaign in ancient India. Pretty cool, but loses points for describing tulwars as two-handed weapons. Tsk tsk. And I read 'Jirel of Joiry' on the train there and back, which was first-class.
Shuttling between two IT support companies all morning, each of whom insisted that whatever was going wrong was the other's problem, only to get it sorted out in around fifteen bleeding minutes once I'd got hold of someone who knew what's what? This is the sort of thing Cosmo brings about with a contemptuous flick of his elegantly manicured (?) fingers (?) - kindergarten stuff. However, what one of them decided I needed to keep me company while waiting for some yawking putz to come on the line and tell me it's got nothing to do with him and what the hell is this server thing you keep talking about anyway was a looped version of 'Another Day in Paradise' by Phil Collins, played on the electronic panpipes, and it's those little details that are the hallmark of a true professional.
OK. A certain amount of priming with Russian Imperial (spit) Stout was required, but here goes:
Cards on the table time - I like dirty books and I like Sword and Planet, so when I saw that there was a 20+ novel series that combined the two, I nearly had an embarrassing and messy accident. Silly me. The first in the cycle, Tarnsman of Gor, was reasonable; I always thought 'Tarn' referred to a small body of water. Maybe 'Pond Straddlers' or 'Drippy Waddlers of Gor' didn't quite create the atmosphere of exotic, savage adventure the publisher was after, and anyway, a Tarn is apparently a vicious flightless bird which only a true granite-jawed hero can bend to his will. Various things happen in the mean time, mainly involving incredible fights against impossible odds and gorgeous young ladies who only require being crushed in the sweat-glazed embrace of a rhythmically farting gurgler dressed up as a hoplite to discover true womanly happiness, which (of course) involves gleefully submitting to their every wish without ever complaining, getting headaches, getting pregnant, getting old, having a will of their own, etc. Most of this is implied in many other S&P/S&S novels; however, Le Maitre Norman decides that what he's doing is not merely immature male wish-fulfilment (which does not bother me in the slightest) but a grand fillustuflickal crusade to slay radical feminism once and for all and re-establish gender relations on a Truly Natural Basis. The websites set up by his disciples prove that some people take this very seriously indeed, although the gay ones seem to solely involve men with no hair in night combat gear punching each other. I dunno. There was a group in Doncaster (a grotty post-industrial town in South Yorkshire, UK) who got in trouble when one member decided to take his girlfriend around the shops on a dog leash, incidentally, but other than that, they keep out of the public eye, being properly ashamed of themselves. You might say that if they were spouting Marxist dogma along with the sword fights and bottoms I wouldn't mind at all, and all I can say to that is YES YES ***K ME YES LEAD ME TO IT. I have just given myself a job, so watch out, you objects.
Following up on this, I'm afraid we're too late, as this leaked excerpt from the screenplay of the upcoming super-collosso blockbuster, 50 Slaad of Gary, Indiana proves:
Pamela, supine and immobilised, moaned softly. Owing to budgetary constraints, Mr Gurgle had been unable to truss her to a four-poster bed with silken ties and had instead blu-taked her to an ironing board, but the effect was just the same. His glacial blue eyes bored her Editor: Bored into her, you moron! FS: Oh., and a cruel smile animated his rugged, masculine features as he gazed hungrily at her, the clinging PVC Thomas the Tank Engine onesie he wore outlining every contour of his superb body.
"You've been a very naughty girl, haven't you, Pamela?", he purred. "And do you know what happens to naughty girls?"
Pammy felt an ecstatic terror arise within her, thrilling her every nerve, writhing and twisting and filling her like a noodle made of honeyed fire, up, down, forwards, backwards, port, starboard. She ran a pink tongue along her moist, full, tempting, lips, hardly daring to speak.
"Are... Are you going to starch my moo, Master?"
"Ha ha! No! Only good girls get their moos starched. No indeed - you're going to lie there, and we're both going to play F.A.T.A.L"
Male Elf Rogue (pirate) 6/ Gunslinger 3
AC 20,T 17, FF 16; HP 53/53; Fort +6, Ref +14, Will +4
Sekathral eyes the bear's pelt, of a shade part-way between light tan and a deep yellow, and wonders whether it's a ginger bear or a wheat bear. He looks on in surprise and alarm as it eats a cake of soap and its master just sits there, watching the bubbles in his bear. His eyes widen as he notices that the beast has three upper limbs, then remembers Farshorian's inalienable right two bear arms and relaxes.
"They were just scrote-hairs, if you ask me. They ain't part of anything bigger"
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
Mmmm, Gregor Samsa porn.
"You've got a hard shell, but your belly is softI'm trying to figure out how to get you off"
Please yourselves, though - it's no skin off my nose, as the baby boy said to the Moyl.
Since it's been warm, I've been out in the garden reading Thongor - Thongor of Lemuria and Thongor in the City of the Magicians, though I'm only halfway through the second.
I'm so, so glad that the [redacted] spangled [redacted] of PiPu still waves o'er this thread.
It's slave girls with fat ankles o'clock in Nomads of Gor. Also reading The Greatest Traitor - the life of Roger Mortimer, who fell in love with Queen Isabella (she wuvved him back, too), deposed and imprisoned (and probably murdered, although no-one can prove it was via red hot poker, as legend has it) Edward II, and generally had a right old time of it in 13th century England. Fewer 'sexual outsiders' than John Irving, but more public disembowelments/on-battlefield castrations, or so I should imagine.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Good news! And it gives me an idea for a story about a vendor of exotic diseases in Nadsokor. Now all I have to do is get off my luxuriantly pelted behind and write it...
Just finished A Book of Voyages, edited by Patrick O'Brian - a compilation of traveller's/sailor's accounts from the 16th-18th centuries, including some pretty grim accounts of starvation/cannibalism/shipwreck, and so on. Fascinating.
Tammuz: "Hey, what do you call a dead body dressed in tweed plus-fours, a Pringle sweater, a Tam O'Shanter and brogues with little spikes on the sole?"
Tiamat: "A golf corpse!"
Ishtar: "Watch out for the nineteenth hole!"
Tiamat: "Why did the cremated Yale student have to leave Skull and Bones?"
Ishtar: "His membership had ex-pyred! I've got one - what do you call a dramatic production about the Black Death featuring plenty of cleavage?"
Tammuz: "A boob-onic play!"
Marduk: "What are you idiots all doing?"
Had a sh*t week, so decided to read Tarnsman of Gor this evening, on the same principle that punching yourself in the face will temporarily distract you from the pain of, say, a sore throat. Actually, (shamefaced whisper), I quite enjoyed it, thereby proving that I am a gruesome little perv with no critical faculties.
Our local ice cream van plays the theme from 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' to announce its presence. It's not that bad a neighbourhood...
Cybotron, right now. If you wanted to sum up prog in one image, you could do worse than a bearded, bespectacled man in a cape standing in front of a battery of monophonic synths. JEALOUS.
I blame Cosmo firstly for my overfilling my cup of tea, leading to potential spillage on precious computer. I then blame him for thinking that the obvious way around this problem would be to get down on all fours and slurp the excess out of the top of the cup like some sort of beast.
My thin veneer of civilisation stayed intact, you'll be glad to hear, and I didn't, but it was a damn' close thing.
Had a rest from Orlando Furioso, picking up a short account of the siege of Bradford (or sieges) during the English Civil War instead. The right side won eventually, even if the Royalists did manage to blow up Kirkgate.
Tomorrow, if the weather's decent, I'm going to sit out in the garden, drink beer and read Alan Burt Akers
Celeste Principe di un Giorno, which is quite chilled out and has lots of nice mellotron on.
After 8 hours straight going through comments about urinary tract infections, I need it - I also a) feel like the back end of an incontinent (or incompetent) otyugh and b) keep singing "Thrush, thrush, I thought I heard her calling my name now" to myself.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
And if you can keep track of what side Barbozo, Randipanti and Supermarte are on, who's a girl, who's not, who's got the magic sword, who's got the magic donkey (etc), you're a better man than I am, gobbo din.
Not too bad - I've been reading it in spurts for 3-4 days solid and not got bored of it yet, but it's not going into my top 10 straight away. Poor chap seems to have spent most of his time in jail (and got mildew at one point, he was in there so long).
Am also having a go at the second volume of Orlando Furioso, as a sort of aperitif for playing around with polearms tomorrow.
Anyone who objects to the contents, or worse, has never even heard of, such instructive works of mine as Les Pants de Malodor,The 120 Days of Noddy, Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Grade 5 Tuba Instruction Manual and How to Find a Disease-Ridden French Aristocratic Pervert- And Make Him Keep YOU!. For La Comtesse de Malodor, it's disease-ridden French aristocratic perverts. For my freedom-hating Elven oaf of a steward, it's women with insufficiently overdeveloped behinds who won't go to bed with him, the sexist Silvanesti pig.