East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

And should the Winter never come? What then, uh?


I am not a fan of Game of Thrones, and I did not like the books by Martin when I read them. So sue me.
I still appreciate Martin as a writer (mostly because of Fevre Dream) and I like what he’s trying to do with his books, even if I don’t care for the way he’s doing it. The Wars of the Roses? Really?

But I have watched with mixed emotions the evolution of the Game of Thrones fandom, their reactions at the way the show and the story were developed and all that. Always good watching how a pro does his thing, and how the punters react.

Yesterday I read somewhere that George R.R. Martin explicitly said that the whole “winter is coming” thing in his books was intended a metaphor of climate change. Now … yeah, I know, I told you already, I am an environmental scientist… this sort of intrigued me.

As an environmental scientist I am fascinated (and worried, but let’s stick to fascination for the time being) by the debate about the whole climate thing. I am fascinated by the way in which a rather straightforward situation – complex, strange, poorly understood, but straightforward – normally gets hijacked in five thousand different ways by spurious argument.

And this, through rather circuitous ways, led me to thinking about the late lamented Hugh Cook and his Chronicles of an Age of Darkness – that does feature politicians and wizards bickering endlessly on the finer points of their situation… the situation being there is a horde of sanity-shattering monsters rampaging through the land and bringing civilization to an untinely but probably deserved end.
And so it might be, but whose responsibility it is?
And can we really do something about it?
And these heroes that supposedly might go and fight the monsters, are not they doing it out of personal gain and hunger for fame?
Now, Hugh Cook started his Chronicles back in 1986, which is further proof – in case it was needed – of how bright and far-seeing he was as an author.

I also started thinking about Atlantis, as one does – in part because the Atlantis myth is a strong metaphor for climate change and the hubris of a civilization that thinks it is in control, in part because I’ve been re-.reading Lyon Spraguie de Camp’s Lost Continents.

And I started thinking that a story or three, set in a sinking-denying Atlantean civilization, complete with brawny barbarians that come adventuring as a consequence of climate change (“No more frost giants in our mountains!”) and the whole carnival of nationalist politicians seeking to blame the change in sea level to the increase in foreign slaves and what else… well, might be fun to write.
Comedy, you know, of the sort Sprague de Camp or Chris Stasheff used to write.

I’ll have to check John Jakes’ Mention my name in Atlantis, being, at last, the true account of the calamitous destruction of the great island kingdom together with a narrative of its wondrous intercourses with a superior race of other-worldlings, as transcribed from the manuscript of a survivor, Hoptor the Vintner, for the enlightenment of a dubious posterity (not bad, as titles go) to get re-acquainted with a Plato-inspired farce. Recalling the harsh opinion of Lester del Rey, who thought “the idea of writing a humorous sword-and-sorcery novel was misconceived.”
Well, Lester, what about a few shorts?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “And should the Winter never come? What then, uh?

  1. My first major multi-author project was a collection of stories in which the world is predicted to end and then doesn’t, and how people react to it. I intended the project as a kind of commentary on the constant End Of The World propaganda that I’ve lived with since the 1960s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quite interesting.
      There is one question I asked a few minutes ago to a reader of my Italian blog that mentioned the “Cry wolf” predictions of doom that have been a regular fixture of the last decade… what would have happened had not those prophecies of doom been made?
      And of course we’ll never know.
      But I sometimes think the prophecies prevented themselves. I know it worked in the ’80s, when nuclear annihilation was a constant thought haunting us here in Europe (and I guess in the western world).


  2. I think I’m the only person in my entire circle of friends and acquaintances who didn’t watch GOT. We watch too much TV anyway, so I don’t need another show to watch, and I don’t have HBO. I sometimes wonder if I did or did not miss something spectacular.


    • I did not watch it either. The books had left me cold, and after checking out a couple of episodes, I decided it was not the thing for me.
      I do not think I missed out.


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