Ten years ago Gary Gygax, the man who turned role-playing games into a tangible reality, passed away. Mr Gygax charted a significant part of my course through life. I first encountered his game Dungeons & Dragons in May 1977, when I was 18 years old. I became an enthusiast (en eldsjäl) at once and I still remain one 41 years later. The hobby has brought me so much joy, so many fulfilled dreams, so many new friends.
The first time you enter Tolkien’s Middle-earth by accompanying Frodo and his friends on their hazardous journeys, you are as unfamiliar with the lands of Middle-earth as they are and, hopefully, you get equally astonished. When JRR Tolkien in the 1930s set out as that world’s first intrepid explorer, he too made amazing discoveries all the time, as he explained in a letter twenty years afterwards.
Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky.
Renowned science fiction author Ursula LeGuin has passed away after a long and creative life. I initially encountered her stories via the Swedish translations of the Earthsea books four decades ago. The brilliance of her tales made me read and reread them in English as an adult. There I encountered ideas that touched my heart and that have stayed with me ever since. Three passages have been particularly influential:
1. Arha’s inner liberation from her foul chthonic masters at the end of The Tombs of Atuan;
2. Sparrowhawk’s profound reflection on life, mortality and the ocean’s ever-moving waves in The Farthest Shore;
3. The people that decide that they must walk away from Omelas lest they lose their humanity. There I go, too.
I met Ursula LeGuin once around 1990, when she visited her Swedish publisher. I got an invitation for a small fan-gathering, where she patiently answered questions about her stories and explained many how’s and why’s. A pleasant event whose memory I still cherish.
Ron Cobb created this “insectoid” ornithopter for an early attempt to make a Dune movie. That film did not materialize, however; instead we got very different and quite jumbled movie some years later.
Anyhow, this is a beautiful flyer that I’d love to see in some other setting. It would for example fit nicely in my baroque-futuristic Wolframfästet (The Tungsten Citadel) RPG milieu, in which the Earth is a worn-down desolation.
Tove Gillbring, a living legend in the Swedish gaming hobby, is ill with terminal cancer. Her husband Anders Gillbring, an equally esteemed enthusiast, has organised a GoFundMe fundraiser called Love Tove for her benefit. Let’s help this Dynamic Duo fulfil their dreams while they can. After all, they have contributed generously to our hobby for more than twenty years.
Love Tove — GoFundMe link >>>