Anniversaries and nonexistent books

Submitted by Claudia on Mon, 26/07/2010 – 20:12 

25th July 2010

The week of problems… This week was tough for Jeff. Finn and I, we caught a bad summer flu – a really terrible one – and of course Jeff has it now. In addition, after a big thunderstorm Thursday evening our internet connection died – very terrible for Jeff because he needs it desperately for his work and to talk to the Moon Design Team. The telecom company promised to send somebody over on Monday – hopefully everything will be all right then (means also that I write this today but it will be posted when our internet is working again). Due to the flu and the curses of the bits and bytes in Jeff’s opinion there are not many new things to talk about but I think that’s not true. As an example, early this week I got a peek on the cover for the Sartar Companion book. It will of course be in the style of the Sartar book –it is a Simon Bray cover. And I already checked – this time no sword is pointing at a delicate area (for the innocent ones: in an early version of the Sartar Book the sword held by one of the guys in the front pointed directly on the priestess’ cleavage – it was by accident and we hadn’t seen it! Some fans made some a bit overenthusiastic comments about this but Jeff and Simon were thankful because they could change it before the book was sent to the printer. The Sartar Companion cover shows an adventurer group fighting trolls and trollkins. Simon is working on the right perspectives, the last bits of shadings, details on the trolls, visualisation of the use of magic and so on. However – it’s so much more difficult to make a cool colour picture than a black and white. For me it is much more difficult to find a colour fantasy art picture I like than the ones I don’t like (and which does not look too kitschy). I mean think about photos – everybody makes colour pictures as a remembrance of holidays or whatsoever. The pictures are nice but usually you really like only a few. Black and white photographs, on the other hand, are always looking somehow cool and mysterious. They have charm. It’s not totally the same with fantasy art but I’m often fascinated how much power a black and white drawing has and how often coloured pictures look ugly (especially when artists combine a lot of red, pink and blue, mixed with some yellow lightning and half naked women – but taste is different as we know). Sorry – I got carried away. As I said the cover will be in the same style like the Sartar cover and I like it. There you will find a Lhankor Mhy priest calling a spell on a trollkin, a fighter women with an axe (hmm which Gloranthan fighter women use axes…), a Yinkin worshiper fighting on a tree stomp, a lot of ugly trolls and a bunch of scared trollkins. Now something else. Today is the second wedding anniversary of Jeff and me (yes – we are still happy). Using the two years as a starting point I asked Jeff what he did two years ago in the Gloranthan context and then we let the conversation drift…

Jeff: “Two years ago I wasn’t involved in MoonDesign. I worked with Greg on the Stafford Library Books. I think we just did the Esrolia Book. And a book with some info on the Dara Happen Cities.” 

Claudia: “What pop’s into your mind on the word ‘Library’”?

Jeff: “Glorantha is a Library of non-existent books. We refer to things like the ‘Jonstown Library’ or the ‘Abiding Book’ or the ‘Eternal Book of Lhankor Mhy’ – all are texts that do not exist. Like the fictional books of Jorge Luis Borges or Umberto Eco. This is one of my favourite things about Glorantha and Call of Cthulhu. All of these are books that the fans know all about but not a page of any of them has ever been written down.”

Claudia: “Would you like to write one of these “well known” books?”

Jeff: “No, absolutely not. The power of these nonexistent books is that they are conduits for our imagination. True tabulae rasae to be filled with our imagination. Whatever I write or anybody else for that matter would be a disappointment. Imagine how lame it would be to read the ‘Necronomicon’ and not go insane!”

Claudia: “What is the most famous nonexistent book in Glorantha in your opinion?”

Jeff: “Either the ‘Abiding Book’ (the sacred grimoire of the Malkioni religion) or the ‘Jonstown Compendium’ (a collection of writings kept in the Jonstown temple of Knowledge). In my mind the ‘Jonstown Compendium’ looks like one of the big old catalogues like the ones we have seen in the Herzog Augustus Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel – a library which I strongly recommend to visit! The place is like a Lhankor Mhy temple filled with medieval and renaissance era books.” 

Claudia: “Does one of this books appear in one of your (real) next books?”

Jeff: “The ‘Jonstown Compendium’ appears in Sartar and the Sartar Companion. Plenty of non-existent books will appear in the Pavis Book. The ‘Abiding Book’ will make its first appearance in the Guide to Glorantha – although Greg and I have written loads about it in the Middle Sea Empire book.”

I promise from now on I will try to be more interested in all the important non-existent books my husband refers to but won’t write! Like last time here a new piece of cool art (black and white) which will appear in the Sartar Companion book. This time the scene is inside the Jonstown temple of knowledge (location of the Jonstown Compendium – see how we come around to where we started!). The artist is Jan Pospisil, a fantastic Czech artist doing some really cool pictures in the Sartar Companion. Jeff better have him do more art in the future books, because his stuff is great. Finally I want to thank you for all the encouraging comments on my writing from last week! Answering all of them is not possible or our one year old would be very very angry with me! However –  Jeff wrote a few answers and I promise to read all of them carefully, shake them, stir them, scramble them and use the essence as input to pester Jeff or to peak around files or whatever and write about the results.

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