Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RIP DAT - Then blah, blah, blah, yackety smack

The other day Black Gate posted a sad bit of news; one of the greatest talents of the early days of TSR, David Trampier, had passed away. While he had fled the industry decades ago, his art remained a strong component of my mental gaming landscape. 
Have I ever said I'm not a fan of the present day state of fantasy art? Well, I'm not. DAT's work was beautiful and clean. None of the annoyingly busy art like the WOTC D&D stuff or the soulless photo-realism of book covers. 

Then there's his great, unfinished comic masterwork, Wormy. There were plenty of comics in the old Dragon Magazine, but the only one I liked was Wormy.  It's a marvelous spoof of fantasy and gaming while still being a great adventure, depicted in gorgeous, detailed panels. Try to track it down. Even without an end, you won't be disappointed. Thank you, DAT and rest in peace.

No Black Gate review today as I've got too much stuff in my real life going on that took away valuable reading, writing and editing time. For those who care, my reviewing/writing process is pretty painstaking. If you have read this site for any length of time you know I stink when it comes to editing my own work. In order to make my Black Gate posts presentable I convinced my wife (the luminous Mrs. V.) to edit them. She's brutal but the results have been very satisfying. The thing is, it takes a lot of time, so now review this week.

So next you'll have to wait till next week for my review of Darrell Schweitzer's dream saturated Echoes of the Goddess. The only other stories of his I've read are The White Isle (reviewed here last year ) and his Mythos story, "Those of the Air" in Cthulhu's Heirs.

After the psychotic landscapes and kinetic writing of Adrian Cole's Oblivion Hand last week, Schweitzer's is a very different sort of writing. While he's as untethered from the tropes of Fantasyland® as Cole is, his creations are closer to the dreamy, often nightmarish, tales of Lord Dunsany and Clark Ashton Smith. If you haven't read anything by him and those two authors appeal to you I'd say spend the three bucks and get either Echoes or The White Isle.  

I listened to a whole bunch of music this past week. For the past year or two I've been slowly ripping our CD collection to a external drive. After a hiatus of a couple of months (or six), I started up again this past weekend with soundtracks before moving on to orchestral music.

As usual I was struck by how little  I really know about orchestral music even though I grew up hearing it all the time. The only time my dad turned off the old New York Times station, WQXR, was during the short lived eighties heyday of WNCN. My knowledge is moderately broad but very shallow. I know a piece or two by a lot of composers but that's about it.

When I started listening to the stuff on my own I what caught my ears was baroque music. It still is. My dad preferred the classical composers, Haydn being his favorite. He liked Bach well enough, but couldn't understand why I would ever want to listen to his cello concertos. All I could say to him was "Whatever." 

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