78: Von Bek by Michael Moorcock (Tale of the Eternal Champion vol 1)

Von Bek by Michael Moorcock

Millenium edition, 1992 HB ISBN 1 85798 023 9

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Preface to this edition 02:30 // Summaries 05:17 (The Warhound and the World’s Pain, the City in the Autumn Stars, the Pleasure Gardens of Filipe Saggitarius) // Favorite bits 15:01 (Demon in the Sphere at Bakinax, The Eagle in the Sword, Antichrist Ritual, Arrival in the City // Mirenburg as Viriconium 22:24 // Von Bek in sequence 24:40

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

72: The City & The City by China Mieville

The City & The City by China Mieville

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 01:47 // Commentary 12:02 // Breach 12:26 // Politics 18:14 // Conspiricies 19:24 // Precursor Age 25:01 // Tololgangers 28:19 // Further Reading 32:50

Links

What happened at the prom by Elizabeth Lovegrove

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take off and shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “I don’t know where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 71: Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip (fantasy cities pt. 3)

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Synopsis 02:21 // Commentary 12:39 // Modelling the shadow city 13:00 // Crossing between worlds 14:55 // Mapping 22:53 // Further Reading 30:50

Links

Corpathium (lastgaspgrimoire.com)

Other fiction mentioned in the episode

Neverwhere and Sandman: World’s End by Neil Gaiman The City and The City by China Mieville Wanted by Mark Millar The Invisibles (and Marvel Boy) by Grant Morrison The films Night Watch and Day Watch

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders // “Take off and shoot a Zero” from Stunt Island // “I don’t know where I’d be without it” and “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 69: Viriconium by M. John Harrison (cities series pt 1)

Viriconium by M. John Harrison

Show Notes

Synopsis 03:47 // Act 1 (Viriconium Knights, The Pastel City, Lords of Misrule) 04:13 // Act 2 (Strange Great Sins, A Storm Of Wings, The Dancer and the Dance, The Luck in the Head, The Lamia and Lord Cromis) 09:47 // Act 3 (In Viriconium, A Young Man’s Journey To Viriconium) 19:19 // Themes 26:54 // Artists 26:55 // Symbols and foreshadowing 29:25 // Time and “mutant future” 31:48 // The City (Glory, Thief: Dark Project) 34:49 // Roleplaying 40:24 // OSR and Appendix N (Sorcerer and Sword, DCC, Plot Points podcast, etc.) 40:25 // City building tools (Corpathium, City Accelerated) 56:07

Links

Links to resources I mentioned in this episode:

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Fly inverted past a Jenny” from Stunt Island // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 68: Mythago Wood and Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock

Mythago Wood and Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock

Show Notes

Synopsis 01:10 // Mythago Wood 01:15 (plot dump 02:46) // Lavondyss 08:27 (Blavatsky 08:30) // Themes 20:07 // “British rural fantasy” 20:07 (Robin of Sherwood, Children of the Stones, Century Falls) // The “rural fantasy formula” 22:37 // Landscape 26:09 (Wizardry and Wild Romance, M John Harrison’s “great clomping foot of nerdism”) // Three perspectives on the Mythago 31:10 // RPG 33:33 (liminal fantasy, representing ) // Afterthoughts 38:32 (Pale Assassins, etc.)

Links

Quite a few references here.

For podcasts check out The Grognard Files episodes on Robin of Sherwood, part 1 and part 2, and The Good Friends of Jackson Elias on Heaven and Earth

And from this podcast, check out the episodes for Pale Fire, The Magicians, The Land of Laughs, The King in Yellow part 1 and part 2

About Michael Moorcock’s Wizardry and Wild Romance

An old blog post on Department V including M John Harrison’s Very Afraid essay and link to Warren Ellis’s blog

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

Episode 61: King in Yellow coda

This is a companion to and additional content that didn’t make into Episode 60.

The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

Show Notes

Plot and Setting 01:56 // Themes and Images 07:10 (False Documents, vectors, Tommy Westphall, Dollhouse, Snow Crash, Marvel Boy, The Invisibles, Kult, Hellraiser) // The RPG bit 19:23 (Freeform Games, Carcosan Bingo)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Cylinder One”, “Cylinder Six” and “Cylinder Eight” from Cylinders // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 57: Imajica part 2

Imajica by Clive Barker

(chapters 18-42, approx 500 of 1100 pages)

Show Notes

Synopsis 00:35 // Themes 13:25 // What is Portal Fantasy? 13:52 // The sub-genre (self-contained, relative to our world, superstructures, identity, travellers, geography) 17:25// Dopplegangers 26:00 // Games (Portal Rats, Day Trippers, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, Everway, Grand Tableau) 32:33

Links

Bibliography

Blog posts

Other Games

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Episode 56: Imajica by Clive Barker pt1

This is the first in a series of 3 episodes discussing Imajica by Clive Barker, covering chapters 1-17.

Show Notes

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)

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear // “Another Version Of You” from Thoughtless

Fictoplasm episode 52: The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Show Notes

High and low fantasy definitions 01:03 // Synopsis 02:32 // A digression 04:05 // Synopsis resumed 05:05 // Themes and roleplaying 10:43 // Pale Assassins, Hope and Nabokov 12:16

Pale Assassins blog post (April 2017, DepartmentV) The Prisoner of Zenda (Nov 2016, Fictoplasm) Pale Fire (April 2017, Fictoplasm)

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 51: fiction within fiction, part 1 (The Magicians, When the Dark is Gone)

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.

Show Notes

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
When the Dark is Gone, a game by Becky Annison, part of the Seven Wonders anthology

Synopsis 00:56 // Themes and remarks 05:38 // When the Dark is Gone with Becky Annison 14:00 // end bit 44:05

Music Credits

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.

Episode 310: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

For our second seasonal episode Ralph and Liz discuss Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising as part of the worldwide #thedarkisreading hashtag.

Show Notes

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 00:35
  • Themes 10:50
    • Comparisons with The Box Of Delights
    • Winter and isolation
    • Myth and prophecy
    • Time travel
    • Transformed landscape
  • RPG bit 22:55
    • Ralph’s idea: The Dark Is Rising meets The Hunger Games meets Power Rangers/Chronicle
    • Liz’s idea: The Dark Is Rising without the supernatural
    • Dialect
    • Alas Vegas and Yet Already
  • Last words 34:30

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 309: The Box of Delights by John Masefield

Just in time for Christmas, Ralph and Liz discuss the book and TV series of the children’s fantasy The Box of Delights by John Masefield.

Show Notes

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

Adapted for the BBC by Alan Seymour

  • Synopsis 01:05
  • Themes 10:15
    • Pagan myth vs. warring magicians
    • Sapphire and Steel vs. Dr Who
  • The RPG bit 25:05
    • Night Witches, Malandros, Tales from the Loop
    • A Taste for Murder
    • Monsterhearts
    • The Just City by Jo Walton
  • Coming soon: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 308: return to the Southern Reach

Ralph briefly returns to Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.

Show Notes

The Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance) by Jeff Vandermeer.

  • Annihilation episode recap 01:05
  • Authority 04:35
  • Acceptance 08:40
  • RPG bit (Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Dark and Lovecraftesque) 11:45

Music credits

“Cylinder Three“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 304: The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

This episode Liz, Ralph and guest Rhiannon Lassiter experience a magical awakening in Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover

Show Notes

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

Rhiannon Lassiter, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 2:55
  • Themes 6:30
  • RPG bit 22:40
    • Liz’s game 22:45
    • Rhi’s game 26:55
    • Ralph’s idea 30:57
  • Closing 42:36

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Special: Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare!

It’s one year since we released our first episode! We talk about the coming season 3, plus our son’s favourite book…

Show Notes

Liz and Ralph with some pre-Season 3 ramblings, plus Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare! by Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Season 3 ideas 02:10 // Synopsis 07:50 // Themes 09:45 // Liz’s game 14:50 // Dread 18:05 // Ralph’s game 18:55 // Before the Storm 21:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Summer Special: Beyond the Wall

In this seasonal special, Ralph interviews John Cocking and Peter Williams, authors of Beyond the Wall.

Show Notes

Ralph Lovegrove with John Cocking and Peter Williams of Flatland Games.

About Flatland Games 00:30 // Reading background 01:35 // Fantasy and D&D 04:40 // Swallows and Amazons 05:40 // Aiming for a roleplaying experience 07:05 // The lone wolf hero in fiction and RPGs 08:30 // The World of Darkness 10:45 // A shout out for Dragon Warriors 18:35 // How Beyond the Wall came to be 20:45 // What is the “D&D experience”? 24:30 // A four year-old’s perspective on system matching 25:55 // The lingua franca 29:30 // The playbooks and layers for other D&D 31:05 // BtW’s spells (and Ars Magica) 33:10 // Design — what came first? 36:25 // BtW and Appendix N 41:40 // Other fiction properties that should be RPGs 43:00 // Your favourite Eternal Champion (Ralph blathers a bit here…) 44:50 // Stormbringer RPG 48:30 // US-UK cross-cultural 49:20 // Flatland Games’ other offerings (Action Movie World, Wizard’s Museum Construction Kit) 52:20

Music credits

“Cylinder Eight“ and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 214: Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

This episode Liz, Becky and Ralph hang around long after they should have moved on, chatting about Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee.

Show Notes

Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Becky Annison with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:30 // Comments 02:15 // Sabriel 19:15 // RPG bit starts 21:10 // Liz’s game 21:20 // (Ralph’s superhero WaRP) 23:00 // (Lights, Camera, Action!) 28:10 // Becky’s Game 34:40 // Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne 35:15 // The Mountain Witch 38:10 // Ralph’s Game 40:10 // Wraith 43:20 // (it takes two, baby) 46:35 // Did we like it? (plus other works: Elephantasm, Night’s Master, Don’t Bite The Sun) 47:50 // The Blake’s 7 connection 51:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 211: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Special guest Tom McGrenery joins Mo and Ralph to discuss Ruritanian Romance, fictional places and the fine art of bullshitting in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

Show Notes

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Mo Holkar and special guest Tom McGrenery, with Ralph Lovegrove

The Ruritanian Romance 01:00 // Synopsis 02:10 // Linear vs Nonsequential reading, and other comments 08:10 // The RPG Bit — Mo 12:20 // Microscope, Kaliedoscope, Endoscope 13:00 // Tom’s Bit 18:15 // Historical RPGs (and the fear of getting them wrong) 19:30 // Ruritania in Delta Green 19:45 // Imaginary Places 20:30 // The Shab Al-Hiri Roach 23:40 // Ralph’s Bit 24:55 // When the Dark is Gone (trauma from imaginary places) 25:35 // Planetary 9: Planet Fiction 26:15 // It Follows 27:05 // Ralph’s spy game (Pale Assassins) 28:35 // Last words 31:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 209: Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Josh, Ralph and special guest Paul Mitchener voyage across Usula Le Guin’s classic fantasy Earthsea.

Show Notes

A Wizard Of Earthsea // The Tombs of Atuan // The Farthest Shore // Tehanu // plus other short fiction set in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea

Josh Fox, Ralph Lovegrove, Paul Mitchener

Synopsis (the original trilogy) 00:40 // Tehanu 05:45 // Themes 09:25 // The RPG Bit — Josh’s Game 26:00 // Paul’s Game (Everway) 27:25 // Ralph’s Game (Beyond the Wall by Flatland Games) 30:05 // Archipelago 34:30 // Last Words 36:55

Shameless Plug

Ralph’s Beyond the Waves idea for Beyond the Wall (halfway between Earthsea and Zelda: The Windwaker)

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode A.1: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

In this very special episode we decided the best way to treat Herman Melville’s classic was to go back to our analogue roots. We discuss open seas, confined spaces, love among the sailors, Ahab the Eternal Champion, and more.

To get your copy please send a stamped self-addressed envelope together with a 50p cheque or postal order to the address given at the end of the podcast.

Episode 203: The Infernal Desire Machines Of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter

Ralph and special guest Mathew Downward discuss consensus reality in Angela Carter’s The Inferal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman.

Show Notes

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter.

Synopsis 01:05 // Comments begin 13:05 // Mage: The Ascension 18:30 // Psychosis RPG 26:35 // Social Contracts 29:55 // Everway 30:50 // RuneQuest III 39:05 // Crypts and Things 40:00 // Black Dog Derive (for the Stalker RPG) 43:25 // PbtA moaning 48:10 // What we like about OSR (Sine Nomine, LotFP) 50:20

Extra!

We recorded the podcast last year but it so happens that just yesterday, the 25th anniversary of Carter’s death, Mathew released Infernal Desire Machines, the hack of the Psychosis RPG mentioned around halfway into the episode. Read it, absorb it, play!

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 13pt2: The Prisoner of Zenda

The second part of our season finale looks at the fictional Ruritania of Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda, the Ruritanian Romance, and fictional or liminal countries such as Interzone and Annexia in Cronenburg’s The Naked Lunch and the Upside Down of Stranger Things.

(this recording was recorded in three bits which is why the later section sounds a bit different. That tinkling noise you can hear towards the end is the sound of gin being sipped over ice)

Show Notes

The Prizoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Elizabeth and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:22 // Gender Swapped Prisoner of Zenda 03:27 // The Evidence for Ruritania 04:10 // Ruritanian Romance 04:42 // Naked Lunch 05:52 // RPG Bit starts: uncertain customs 08:47 // Lace and Steel 13:37 // Stranger Things 15:27 // Course of the Heart 18:02 // Mage the Ascension 18:27 // Inferno 24:37

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 13pt1: The Course of the Heart by M. John Harrison

We’ve split our “season finale” into two separate episodes, the first of which is a bit of an experiment — it’s quite short and a solo recording which I did a while ago. But, it’s thematically linked to the next episode, which will follow shortly.

Ralph muses over the liminal fantasy genre and M. John Harrison’s The Course Of The Heart.

“Liminal Fantasy” 00:35 // Synopsis 00:45 // RPG bit 04:05 // Changelings 04:50 // Tarot Tales and The Horse Of Iron 07:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive