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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 89 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: A Sorcerer novel  (Read 4498 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: July 17, 2002, 12:23:52 PM »

Hello,

I just finished reading John D. MacDonald's novel, The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything (1962). The hero inherits a gold watch from his mysterious uncle.

******
[Kirby, the protagonist, upon realizing what the watch can do] He hefted the watch in his hand. .... And he felt an overwhelming awe at all the things it represented, at all the temptations implicit in its ownership. Here was absolute power and total corruption. Here was a freedom so complete it became not freedom at all, but enthrallment to the witchery of being able to dislocate time itself. Here was invisibility, voyeurism, invincibility, wealth - in fact, all the night dreamings of adolescence, in one-hour subjective packages. Here was, in a specialized sense, immunity.

[upon being separated from the watch, and tortured] The awareness of defeat, the anticipation of defeat, was like a sickness. He had only pride to fight it. [emphasis mine] This is the time, he thought, when I must become whatever Uncle Omar thought I could become, hoped I could become - or give up completely.

[reflecting on his decision not to kill a foe, using the watch] Nothing would ever have been the same again. The watch, Bonny Lee, all would have been changed. And he would have lost one of the most precious attributes of this unique ability to make time stand still - the additive of wry mischief, of ironic joy. .... Murder would have turned the watch into a perpetual solemnity and a perpetual guilt - because, regardless of provocation, the owner of the watch was beyond the need to kill.

[from his uncle's letter to him, read near the end of the story] If you know what it will do, you can perceive the horrid burden of responsibility in having discovered the phenomenon, in having made selfish use of it, in having, I hope, partially atoned for such use ...
... it is possible I have indeed loosed a demon on the world.
But if you have it, know what it is, and understand this letter, my boy, I need not charge you with any special duties and responsibilities. What you are [emphasis mine] will determine how you use it ...

*******

Best,
Ron
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2002, 06:08:14 AM »

Despite Maurice Evans, Pam Dawber, and Robert Hays, I loved it.  It was a much better vehicle for 'the awesome responsibility of power,' than any other I have ever seen.

That leaves a question; how well does Sorcerer (and perhaps Sorcerer's Soul) handle a 'hot potato' demon?

Fang Langford
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2002, 06:25:14 AM »

Hi Fang,

Huh! I never even realized it had made it to the screen (in some fashion). I wonder if it's available in some rentable form.

Sorcerer is chock-full of this stuff, Fang, including the explicit possibility of the "hot potato" approach. Every one of the passages I quoted as a direct corollary in the rules and text of the game, either in the main book or in The Sorcerer's Soul.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2002, 06:49:56 AM »

Heh, that was a made for TV movie, so it may be hard to find on video. OTOH, you might be able to catch it on your local Saturday Afternoon Theater occasionally, I think. I saw it when it came out in 1980, so I was still pretty young. I do remember the scene at the end where the pretty villainess character (Jill Ireland maybe? I'm sure she was in it) decides to join the navy.

My father was a huge John D. MacDonald fan, and I read all the Travis McGee books off his shelf in the way back. Fun stuff.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2002, 02:17:33 PM »

Hi there,

I thought I'd use this thread to continue some Sorcerer spottings through my various book and movie encounters.

#1: The Cleanup, a novel by John Skipp and Craig Spector. Wow! Despite the glaring evidence that it was written by two co-authors who did not work very well together (you can actually see the plotlines and associated themes struggle against one another), this is hot and raw and direct material for The Sorcerer's Soul. It's one of the finest angel + hero stories I've seen.

#2: Demons, a film directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento. I just finished watching it, and I'm a little worried that the neighbors are going to send the Vice Squad to arrest me for possessing snuff porn, based on the sounds that must have come through the walls. It has one of the finest self-referential scenes in all cinema, when the audience in a theater is watching a horror movie, in which a woman is terrorized by someone slicing through cloth walls to get at her ... and then the demon itself rips through the movie screen from behind. Fantastic.

Both of these are in my possession via the tireless efforts of Sean Wipfli (unodiablo), who is truly a master of the literary and cinematic macabre.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2002, 02:28:47 PM »

I'm certain this novella must have been mentioned as inspiration for Sorcerer, but I just read Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart.

Man - I'd never read Barker before, as I assumed he was a hack for some reason. That novella not only screamed Sorcerer, but kicked the living shit out of my expectations.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2002, 02:34:04 PM »

Hi Clinton,

Yeah, the story is cited in the main Sorcerer book, in chapter one. It's one of Barker's best stories, along with very few others ... in the main, I think his work is pretty low-grade.

Anyone else see or read some good Sorcerer stuff out there?

Best,
Ron
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jburneko
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2002, 04:03:49 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Anyone else see or read some good Sorcerer stuff out there?


It's an oldie but I just have to add it to the list - Little Shop of Horrors.

Jesse
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2002, 04:04:40 PM »

I've been considering recommending Chicagoan Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die and The Blade of Tyshalle as Sorcerer material for a while.  I'm very close to worshiping at the feet of these books, especially The Blade of Tyshalle, but something holds me back.  I've got 'em in my "re-read" pile - then maybe I can decide if they're brilliant or just caught me at a time when I was really in the right mood.  And I thought you Chicago folks might already know of him . . .  

Anyway, why are they Sorcerer-realted? In BoT, our protagonist (much to his disgust) becomes the core figure of a religion/philosophy based on "What do you want and what are you willing to do to get it?"  Let's see, the general situation - a post-biodisaster Corp world with a caste system discovers an alternate dimension of gritty-fantasy, transfers Actors there and manipulates that world (and the Actors) to create story lines for the masses (direct-to-mind holobooks style) and the privledged (who enter direct mind link with the Actors and experience their adventures live while sealed in VR boxes).  A game set in this situation could have some really interesting Actor/Author/Director stuff going on . . .

Some links for more info (including spoilers, perhaps):
An interview.
BoT Review
 Another BoT review  
 Heroes Die review

The attitude in the interview in particular will, I think, really appeal to folks.  Here's a snip:

QUESTION: Your writing itself reminds me much more of Moorcock than Tolkien. At a time when the Robert Jordans and Terry Goodkinds are burning up the bestseller lists, you've chosen a different route that captures the spirit of the New Wave of sci-fi and twists it on its ear. Did you consciously set out to tell a different type of story?
ANSWER: You better believe it. My first goal was to write a fantasy novel that was NOT the umpty-seventh rehash of a Not Quite Final Battle of Good vs. Evil. Those kinds of fantasies have their place, just like junk food can have its place in a balanced diet. But just because it has its place doesn't mean it's anything but empty calories.

Dream Park/Cyberpunk/Sorcerer?  Or something.

Gordon
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2002, 04:40:59 PM »

Okay, this is what I've been reading/playing lately:

Well, there's a pair of video games that have some Sorcerer elements (I've posted about them in the Paladin forum):
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2923

You've mentioned Club Dumas earlier. Ripe for Sorcerer. (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1348&highlight=club+dumas)

I'm reading Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and it's got some Sorcerer-ish elements. Big Relationship Map, demons of the psyche with needs based on sin (pride, lust, etc). The powers they grant are insight and deceit.

The Epic of Gilgamesh struck me as an interesting inspiration for mythological roleplaying. Demons would be overt (like monsters & Gods) and subtle (like granting power for the need of pride or pain to your companions).

Ranma 1/2 comics seem to scream for Ron's mention of some kind of Sorcerer-fu he's been hinting at. The Relationship Map here just keeps growing, and the demons could be entirely non-sentient, with funny needs that boil down to "embarrass the sorcerer" or "endanger the sorcerer".
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