This is the first in a series of 3 episodes discussing Imajica by Clive Barker, covering chapters 1-17.
Synopsis 04:45 // Themes 16:39 in which I rant about 1e vs 2e Vampire the Masquerade, plus some waffle about the Urban Fantasy genre // Games Keeping Urban Fantasy “fresh” 21:15 // Department V (embarassing nostalgia; Blavatsky, Atlantean Colonies; Arktos) 31:36 // Options for interesting modern fantasy (Conspiracy X 2.0; Silent Legions; why PbtA sucks for mystery games)
WS: Your problem… is since 2016 you don’t need to be a racist or anti-semite to vote for Brexit, it’s just that every racist and anti-semite in the country did. MF: I think that’s a slur on 17.4 million people and I think you should apologise on national television. I think that’s an outrageous thing to say WS: Well, you seem to find a lot of things outrageous MF: Are you saying that 17.4 million people are racist and bigots… WS: No, that’s not what I said MF: That’s pretty close to what you said WS: It’s not remotely close to what I said. You seem to be a bit exorcised, sir MF: Well, I’m offended WS: The politics of offence, eh? What I said was that every racist and anti-semite in the country, pretty much, probably voted for Brexit. MF: How can you know that? WS: I suspect it. MF: Well, I think you should apologise. WS: To who? Racists and anti-semites?
OK, pretty funny although the best comment on the showdown was by Sara Pascoe on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order saying (IIRC) “What you’re seeing there is a clash between two different kinds of alpha male”. Everyone should wind their neck in.
But this is Fictoplasm, so there’s going to be a fiction element — and that’s this piece by Will Self in the aftermath of his face-off, where he name-checks J G Ballard:
Perhaps the pivotal years were around middle of the noughties – at any rate, that’s when I went to speak to my friend and mentor JG Ballard about what would prove to be his final novel, Kingdom Come. Jim was as bluff and strange as ever – he had the manner of the RAF pilot he might have become if he’d completed his training, combined with the thousand-yard stare at what’s immediately to hand, which is the sure sign of a surrealist. He pointed out to me the flags flying in the front gardens along Old Charlton Road, the utterly bland suburban road in Shepperton (an utterly bland Surrey dormitory town), where he’d lived for 40 extremely odd years. For him, the flying of the Cross of St George was undoubtedly minatory: it had come about through a synergy between football fandom and the rise of ethnic nationalism; these were the years of the British National Party’s ascent to the giddy heights of the 2010 general election, when their candidates won over half a million votes. Reviewing Kingdom Come in the Guardian, Phil Baker succinctly noted “Ballard’s central idea is that consumerism slides into fascism when politics simply gives the punters what they want”. Well, Jim was always prescient – this was the writer who conceived of the celebrity car crash as a catalyst of collective hysteria a quarter-century before Diana Spencer was killed in the Pont de l’Alma underpass, and who also anticipated the baleful impacts of global warming as early as the late 1950s. Jim got that English nationalism was on the rise – and that under neo-liberal conditions favouring consumption over production, it was likely to become a vector for the most troubling aspects of the famously ‘tolerant’ English psyche.
Perfidious Albion on Speed is too fussy a title to be Ballardian. In fact, Perfidious Albion is already the title of Sam Byers’ second novel, which didn’t start out as a Brexit novel but perhaps it evolved that way:
The honest truth is that it began in a much more speculative fashion. I did the bulk of the work on this book in 2015 and 2016, and while it’s true I continually adjusted for events such as Brexit, I think what really happened is that the world just caught up with me in surprising and disturbing ways, and so I accepted the idea that rather than continually reinventing things in order to be out in front of the phenomena I was depicting, I should anchor myself and play more with the ways in which the context of the book was evolving.
I recommend checking out the podcast first because Becky goes into a lot of depth regarding the pack setup, different playbooks and how the play group creates their dynamic. If that sounds like your cup of tea, think about backing the KS.
During the podcast they mention Kelly Armstrong’s Bitten (TV series and book). If you want to hear more about that, and indeed some of the early ideas Becky had for her game, you can hear her and Liz talk about the Women of the Otherworld way back in Fictoplasm episode 08.
Synopsis 01:05 // Themes 04:25 // Big Planet is Big 04:27 // Kaiju and Cthulhu 05:56 // Superstition 06:48 // Expanding consciousness 08:48 // And then there were none 10:01 // Games 10:12 // Dramasystem 11:27 // Further Afield 12:40 // Carcosa 13:54 // The Black Hack and resource dice 14:16 // BRP and Traveller 15:30 // Silent Legions 16:30 // Appendix N (or not?) 17:22
This is the first of a series looking at secondary worlds that exist as known fiction inside a primary, fictional world. In this episode Ralph tackles Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and talks to Becky Annison about her game When the Dark is Gone.
Synopsis 00:56 // Themes and remarks 05:38 // When the Dark is Gone with Becky Annison 14:00 // end bit 44:05
All of the music in this podcast was composed and performed by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive). This episode included Is That You Or Are You You? from Reappear, Cylinder Three, Cylinder Four and Cylinder Nine from Cylinders, and Another Version Of You from Thoughtless.
Real life has been interfering with my episode schedule again. New recordings will be coming out shortly, but for now here’s five podcasts I listened to in June 2018.
The Pen Addict 305
Episode 305 covers “standards”. You’d think I’d listen to more of these being the stationery obsessive, but a fifteen minute discussion on “A5-ish” paper sizing (dimensions, as opposed to applying filler or glaze) approaches even my limit. Still, it’s a nice podcast and I really enjoy their blog.
Hardcore Histories 61: Painfotainment
I heard about Dan Carlin’s Hardcore Histories while researching the solo podcast format. This episode is more than four and a half hours long, and it’s all about the spectacle of, and attitudes to, public execution From the late medieval period through early modern to the 20th and (extrapolating into) the 21st centuries. Carlin is both unflinching and sensitive with the subject matter. I thought it was brilliant but also horrible, so listener discretion is advised, obv.
Not Alone 63 and 64: The Toynbee Tiles
Not Alone is a podcast about the unexplained and supernatural. Episodes 63 and 64 discuss the Toynbee Tiles, strange linoleum tiles imprinted onto bricks with the message “Toynbee idea from movie 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter”.
There’s a bonus episode sandwiched between these two that’s also worth checking out as it lists a whole lot of other podcasts.
The Mega City Book Club podcast normally covers 2000AD titles, but here they diverge with a really great episode covering A Game Of You, the fifth Sandman book. A lot of discussion about trans identity and Wanda being the first decently rounded trans character for many readers in the early 90s, and also how impressions of Dream change with repeated readings.
Blogs on Tape 54: Dice Clocks
Blogs on Tape is a great idea — the best blog posts from the OSR curated and read aloud in a 10-20 min podcast. Episode 54 is actually one of my own blog posts, which have always been a bit stream-of-consciousness and it’s a bit strange to hear my own words read back to me with the attendant figurative ums and ahs.