Thursday, 30 July 2015
'Child Without Summer' a poem by Kelda and 'Medea' a flash story by Debs appear in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet #33, guest edited by Michael DeLuca a special edition exploring humanity's relationship to the Earth.
Is it greedy to have two pieces in the same issue? Hee hee.
Friday, 6 March 2015
Sunday, 18 January 2015
The Night Land is no longer at thenightland.co.uk. It's now at:
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Friday, 20 June 2014
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
However, this is not the end by any means!
We hope to be publishing online previously solicited work in the coming months and will be looking at new work once we have resources organised.
In the meantime, which is most exciting, major new works are close to publication, including a lavishly-illustrated novel. This has of course already been mentioned, with preliminary sketches in earlier posts. It's been a long road, and it's a great tragedy that Andy never made it to the end, but he saw it on the horizon and now it's close. There will be announcements soon.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
A lot of people are telling me what tremendous influence Andy had as an editor and advocate, which I can attest to myself. As a writer himself he showed amazing inspiration and poetry tinged with melancholy.
Most budding writers wait months or years to receive their first rejection, but Andy accepted my first story in eight hours. Of course he wanted changes - I didn't even have consistent tenses! Nonetheless, there began his literary guidance, and our friendship. I live in New Zealand, almost the antipodes of his home, but we managed to meet in person a couple of years later and hit it off immediately. Since then, we worked together developing the vision of the Night Land while he guided and refined my own skills as a writer. If I ever succeed in making a success as a writer (which is by no means guaranteed as many of the brilliantly impoverished can relate), I know who I can thank.
I am not the only one, however. Andy inspired and guided many in his own life. The fact was, he loved stories and storytellers. He was also a loving father, brother and husband... and he was my friend.
Monday, 21 April 2014
We believe we'll be able to keep the site running, though right now we can't be sure whether it will remain at its current host, or whether we'll be shifting to the Night Land mirror site.
We've been informed that Brett Davidson, who has written many fine Night Land stories, will handle Andy's literary affairs.
Rest in peace, old friend.
Sunday, 13 April 2014
To all Night Land writers and artists
If you look at http://williamhopehodgson.wordpress.com/2014/04/ you'll see Sam Gafford is still looking for fiction for issue two of SARGASSO, the journal of William Hope Hodgson studies.
Anyone who has a short Night Land related story or poem might consider sending it to Sam.
If he accepts it, you won't get paid owt in cash. But you will get the kudos of appearing in a "real serious literary journal" to put on your CV, and you will help Sam out, and you will raise your profile among a rather select and influental group of literarteurs.
And if you subsequently submit it to me I promise I will judge it exactly as if it had never been published anywere, except to add the legal bit at the end.
Saturday, 12 April 2014
Sunday, 6 April 2014
Yeah, what he said.Notes...
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
My daughters would come to the door-gates of their rooms, holding up their arms and saying daddy, and I'd pick one up and snuggle her and take her downstairs to where their grandmother had breakfast ready, then go back upstairs for the other, then grab a bacon sandwich and a mug of coffee and walk down to the train station and go to work. They waved from the windows till I was out of sight. I'd come home late and just have time to kiss them goodnight.
It was along hard day until they let me telecommute, and I suddenly had a lot of spare time.
There was a man who had a beautiful young wife.
She died, and he dreamed of meeting her again, at the end of time, when the Sun was dead.
I had always been fascinated by the book. The Final Arcology of mankind, Earth's Last Citadel, surrounded by an entire universe that had been taken over by Hell. I wanted to read more stories set in that Land, and now I had the time to do something and a little bit of spare money, I took advice. I was a subeditor for INTERZONE back then in its glory days, and I had Dave Pringle to explain the legal side of buying fiction to display online.
I set rates and contacted Ranlan.com and waited for stories to come in. Meanwhile I started the trimmings. Essays. A gallery of book covers. Then a little step up: Stephen Fabian's terrific paintings of the Watchers, illustrations for the 1973 edition of THE DREAM OF X, the abbreviated version of THE NIGHT LAND Hodgson published in the US to keep the copyright. I was careful to pay Fabian for his work, for these pictures are surely the first example of someone actually adding to the original NIGHT LAND, adding something that will always be connected to it from now on. .
Look at them. They do not so much illustrate the story as form a collateral theme.
And quite quickly we got our first story, "An Exhalation of Butterflies" by Nigel Atkinson. This was its basic idea. Every so often, as a gesture of defiance, the Redoubt turns the production of its Underground Fields over to the creation of butterflies. They're kept on ice for a few years to build up numbers and then they are all hatched and sucked up by the ventilation system of the Redoubt and ejected Out into the Night. No practical reason. Just a gigantic Fuck You to the forces in the Night and the horror and the darkness.
I thought it was brilliant. Dave took it for INTERZONE, and I put it online next month.
I tried my own hand and wrote "EATER". It was the story of a female Seer, telepathically surveying the Land, who is taken over and used to invade the Redoubt. The invasion fails and she dies burned body and soul by the Redoubt defense systems. It's a reasonably good tale, and Dave accepted it to run in INTERZONE, and Gardner Dozois gave it a tick mark in his year's best recommended. There is nothing special about it, except it was the first time in my life I had ever tried to write a piece of fiction.
The dark, looming, images of the Land had made such an impact on me. When I started to write stories set in that world, it was as if I remembered a life I had lived in that society, with its prim manners overlaying iron values and its dauntless courage. I didn't need to make anything up. I just watched it happen.
Brett Davidson sent me a story from New Zealand with a background that complemented and extended my own, and I found the person who would be my principle creative partner. For years we've batted ideas back and forth by email late at night. Other writers joined us and mostly took their lead from Brett and I. We were building a shared world but one so rich and vivid felt as if we were were discovering something that already existed. I don't think I've ever had such fun ((while vertical)) in my life.
And then I got a new submission, from John C Wright, which was quite apart from all the other Night Land tales.
I'd written a fusion of Hodgson's vision with cutting-edge science, and tried to evoke a credible Redoubt culture, a culture that might really last ten million years. Therefore my Redoubt was a society of strict moral codes, an actual functional and enforced marriage contract, strong kinship bonds, and sharply differentiated complementary behavior of men and women. ((It strikes me only now that this is mistaken by some readers for archaism. But of course it isn't. It's futurism. Or just realism. No society without these values or something like them can survive more than a couple of generations.)) And I'd written of a society rich in technical and scientific knowledge, including as unremarked givens such familiar SF tropes as nanotechnology, cyborgisation, and Artificial Intelligence. I had some fun integrating these into Hodgson's "scientific" formulation of reincarnation and psychic predation.
I had done my best to reinterpret the Night Land as science fiction, and other writers had followed me. But John's story followed his own dreams.
His character names were derived from classical Greek, not generic IndoEuropean sememes. The manners of the society were likewise closely modeled on the ancient pagans. Dozois has called this an air of distanced antiquity, and it works well, but I repeat it's distinctly different from my own, which is not antique at all. His was not a technically sophisticated society and seemed not to have a scientific attitude to the alien Land that surrounded it. It ran off rote technology and was ignorant of the workings of much of the machinery it depended on. It was doomed and dwindling and dark and candle-lit, a tumbledown place with a hint of Ghormenghast to it. (I know John will hate that comparison, and I apologize). The story was one of childhood friendship, rivalry, disaster and rescue. The writing style was, incidentally, brilliant.
I bought it and published it in our first hardcopy anthology, ENDLESS LOVE. It got into Dozois' BEST SF and several other yearly anthologies and created a minor sensation. There are still places where the first taste of Hodgson's work a casual reader will get is the translation of "Awake in the Night" in that year's Dozois, and the story is an entry drug not only for THE NIGHT LAND but for Hodgson himself and all his work. This was a story which Hodgson might have written if he had been a more gifted weaver of words. John remarked to me at one point that he was surprised at the story's popularity. I think we both understood that despite its author's talent, the real power resided in the way it had stayed faithful to Hodgson's own visions, without elaborating them too much. The whole world could now see and share Hodgson's original Night Land. They were seeing it through John's eyes, not mine, but that didn't matter to me. This was what I had set the NightLand website up for.
It's almost impossible to describe this story without employing spoilers, because there is nothing else like it to compare it to or to hint that it is like. Baldly, then: the universe is in its final contraction, falling back on itself into a massive black hole, the last of all suns. In one sliver of it, life remains: a gigantic starship, millions of years old . On board this Starship,ruling it, are the great powers and forces of the Night, who have been victorious not only in the Night Land they turned Earth into but throughout the cosmos.
To oppose them on the ship there are a scattering of human escapees, their bodies artificially regrown from some ancient recording, their souls compelled to one final reincarnation for unknown reasons. The oldest is a Neanderthal, or something similar. The youngest is an inhabitant of the Last Redoubt. Yet it is now so very much later than even the Last Age of the Redoubt that the entire time span from the earliest to the latest lives of these reincarnated ones is like the blink of an eye at the start of a long, dark, night.
And now what can I say? How can I possibly describe what happens next? Even if I could, I would probably have to go beyond what is allowable in a review. As I said, this story is unique. I can't describe its plot as "like" anything else. I'd have to go through it section by section, practically retell it.
Yet certain things can be said. For example, I can tell you that when these resurrectees talk to each other, their language automatically translated by some mental trick, their concepts of the universe are so diverse that only method they have to communicate with each other is to employ the metalanguage of myth. And yet this works, and Wright's genius effortlessly makes it credible to the reader that it would work. By selectively recounting the foundational myths of their diverse societies, they are able to discuss their situation, plan their actions, and the plot is rapidly and convincingly advanced.
One recalls the marvelous passage in Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out Of Time" which lists the enormous range of human societies the Great Race of Yith has plucked its time-swapped prisoners' minds from. The dialogue in this story is the sort of language those time-stolen scribes would have had to employ to talk to each other. And Wright drops a few hints that let us know that "The Shadow Out Of Time" is exactly the ur-SF story he is drawing from here. Wright excels Lovecraft - Lovecraft - by this enormous margin; he does not merely list the societies his characters have been plucked from; he gives us their dialog, word for word, and effortlessly makes it believable.
And this is only one tiny facet of a story that integrates THE NIGHT LAND with THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND and goes on to swallow the modern mythos of Lovecraft and Stapledon and most of the GraecoRoman foundational myths of Western society. And modern physics, as easy as an after-dinner mint.
Finally it comes down to this. In place of a soulless mathematical Episode of Inflation or the mindless flutings of Azathoth, Wright gives us cosmos that is founded on the pattern of eternal love between man and woman. And he does it convincingly. He does it without breaking a sweat or drawing an extra breath.
She died, and he dreamed of meeting her again, at the end of time, when the Sun was dead.
So how can I write about Eternal Love? Is love a laughable delusion, or is it the only real thing? I'm quite an old man now, suddenly and cripplingly ill, but it seems only yesterday that she was in my arms and our lips and hands were always reuniting. I understand human sociobiology, I took the red pill decades ago, without the help of the Internet. I understand what they call Game nowadays. I've read and admired its accurate application, I respect people who truly are using this to strengthen marriage, but the bloggers with their bedpost scores and their flag counts are children fighting for bottles of fizzy drink. Love is another dimension. Love is the only thing stronger than death. And I'm writing this as a man who has lost his loved one and might meet death quite soon.
I don't "believe" in love. I know.
It's odd that the one flaw in this, John's best story, is the portrayal of the Mirdath-figure, the multi-souled narrator's eternal mate. The story rings like fine bronze when the men from different aeons resurrected in the death starship speak to each other: but it klunks juat a tiny bit whenever she pops up her eager-sex-partner-and-ideal-mother head. Surely the eternal female would in most of her incarnations be an ordinary unexceptional woman only made special by love? But I'm not going to fuss about this.
There is nothing like this story, nothing like it, anywhere else. It is incomparable.
"The Cry of the Night hound" concerns a doomed attempt to domesticate these monsters, and were it not for Wright's ever-beautiful prose and his moving portrayal of his Redoubt society in (temporary) decay, it might be judged rather improbable.
"Silence of the Night" is a mad,fractured episode that must come from a time close to the Fall. I think it does not work too well, though the beautiful writing and imagery carries it through.
I don't know if Wright has written himself out, and said all he has to say about the Night Land. Maybe he has. Maybe not. (But if you have, I have a theme for you, John, that I think you'll like, that might rekindle your interest, that might produce something as good as "The Last Of All Suns". I really do. But I gave it to another writer who has first dibs on it, and he's doing nothing. If he gives it up, you'll hear from me.)
Anyhow. I messed up the marketing of "The Last Of All Suns", and the story fell into an obscurity from which I hope this new edition will rescue it. Now it's been republished by professionals, along with Wright's other three Night Land tales, I hope it sells a million copies.
Did the stuff about my wife with which I stared this review strikes you as forced, unreal? Probably. But it was in fact the simple literal truth. I really did experience that, many times, though I have no doubt it was merely a dream.
Perhaps I could have made this review more plausible by leaving it out, even though it was the truth? Indeed I could have. And perhaps in the same way I could have made this review more effective, more believable, by being less effusive, by toning down my praise a bit. Perhaps I could have. But I'm not going to do that. If you doubt my word, doubt away. But truth is truth, and I don't see why I should dodge it just to convince you. Buy this book, read the stories, read especially "the Last of all Suns", and whatever you think about me after reading this review, when you have read the book you will know that every word of praise I give it here is the truth.
- Andy Robertson
AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND
A collection of four stories set in William Hope Hodgson's Night Land
by John C Wright
Castilla house 2014
ISBN XXXXXXXXXX (to be announced)
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
To: Andy Robertson; Brett Davidson
Bearing in mind the comments, I thought I'd send you a couple of more recent sketches.
Much the same design, but slightly more 'Baroque'.
I think I'm getting the hang of it...
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
To: Andy Robertson; Brett Davidson
The first pic I've been messing about with layouts for is the 'Outside on the land, Meyr ravished by Eater whilst the others weild Diskos'.
Thus, befgore I decide exactly whom goes where, I've been doodling a lot of 'Space Armour' in an attempt to get something different from the Usual Look and to discover how these chaps occupy space.
These are the present 'Shape' I'm playing with.
I'm assuming we have 'Stuff' to disperse/repulse in the Night land which gives me an excuse for Valvepunk-looking metallic nozzles. The helmet arrangement has a 'crest' but it's horizontal rather than the standard vertical. This is actually an armoured array for a bank of lights that sit either side of the head (Headlights, if you will).
The 'Helm' consists of the goggles (Themselves, fitted with lots of lenses and do-hickeys) and 'Empty scream'-shaped mouthpiece under a small peak, all iof which swing back onto the helmet itself, to expose the face behind the 'cheekguards'.
The shoulders are, you'll note, topped with a ruddy great 'Plasma dispersal' (Whatever) array' which slightly echo an Elizabethan ruff, slightly echo some gothic yoke and generally look 'spikey'. This is attatched to a similarly 'spikey' backpack, giving it a Gothick sort'v look.
The chest is very prominent, akin to the Conquistadors, but this time we have the excuse of it being filled, not with rags but with 'Life Support Tek'
The boots were either going to be small and dainty or big and clompy. With all that weight on the upper torso, I've opted for the great clumpy boots and legs.
Kurosowa-style 'banners' complete the 'look'. Probably something more baroqe than the ones shown. It also occurs to me that there's absolutely no reason we can't have fabric streamers to this outfit if needed.
The whole thing should, finally, have a slightly 'Insectile' texture in the plateletts, decorated with scrollwork. I suspect Andy will interpolate the word ;'Fractal' here.
I've been presuming the 'Quints' have different armour, but now I find myself thinking 'Why?'.
What's the verdict here?
Their nightsuits are not the heavy amplified coverings used by the Watchmen for patrols or close exploration work. They are as thin as cloth and as light as paper, unamplified and uninstrumented. Their only augmentation is in the complex filters in the Helms, which make up thirty percent of the suits' weight and consume all their power. Long ago, men could survive in the Land by relying only on their own senses. Now they must wear the Helms, which mount shields and sensory enhancements on a pattern two million years old. The Helms capture and amplify sound, and scavenge what little light there is in the Night Land. They map the paths through the dark, and they pass messages to other men in ways that hopefully are not obvious to the entities of the Land, where even telepathy is too risky to be used. They enhance and they communicate and they also protect, for they shield the eyes as well as the Soul from that which can destroy merely by being sensed.
P's 222 - 223:
Inside the tunnels, Mira removes her helm and some plates of armour (I wonder if we;'d be surprised it it was a breastplate?) in true 'Maryr' fashion in front of Maansonyagger with the 'Butterfly' flayed body hanging in the background.
As Andy says, it's background scenery.
I don't want to spoil the broth with more variations and details, but I am intrigued by the implications of the Manshonyagger's self-repair systems. The analogy with a tree is very.... hmm, what's the word? Provocative? Fascinating? They would have a gnarled, twisted appearance, the friction of the ages would have smoothed their rough planes. In addition to simple self-design and self-modification, they would have practiced a form of self-topiary...
Sunday, 16 March 2014
Castalia had already announced that we would be publishing John C. Wright's collection of essays, TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, which will be published in April. Today we are absolutely delighted to be able to say that we will also be publishing AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND, a collection of four novellas set in the Night Land of William Hope Hodgson.
AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND is the first of five novels and novellas written by Mr. Wright to be published by Castalia House. It clocks in at 116,500 words and will be priced at $4.99. We will release the English ebook later this month; the German translation is already underway with an anticipated July release. We also expect to publish a hardcover version this summer.
Apologies to those waiting for THE ALTAR OF HATE, but we are delaying it until April in favor of Mr. Wright's book. It will be sent to the pre-release reviewers in a few weeks.
Speaking as a reader and as a fan, I can say that the Night Land novellas are spectacular. They combine the intelligence and gigantic scale of Iain M. Banks with the eldritch forboding of H.P. Lovecraft, but with a humane soul that is alien to either of the two late authors
Congratulations to John on this resale, which wlll give his stories a far greater eposure than our obscure website has been able to.Receiving a preprint copy, I am moved to see that he has dedicated the book to me. Certainly there are few things I am prouder of than having enabled, in a small way, the production of these magnificent stories.Unfortunately this means the copies of these stories on the Night Land site will be removed: our contract only purchases the right to keep story online for five years, and they have all remained online here for far longer than that. But don't despair: the whole set will be available from Castilia House cheaply, and if you won't spend $5 for this ebook, you are a hopeless case.And John may be able to get something else for his kitchen at last . .
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
The sky itself was dying. There was one less star to be counted, and thus the call came to strive ever harder against our opponents. Our legion, Abiding, ranked facing the eternal wind and before the unmoving Sun. We cast our shadows before like spears.
And before us, the end of the latest tide of organised opposition to our dominion. The enemy called themselves “the people”, or at least that is what the word they used for themselves meant to them. To us, it was as it always was: outsider, threat, enemy, not-yet-vanquished.
They had established a peculiar symbiosis with their chattel animals, I had heard, and now I saw them mounted on these beasts first hand for the last time. They were odd creatures, strangely distorted and yet also strangely elegant variations of the human prototype. Like true people, they had four limbs arranged in pairs at either ends of compact torsos, heads bearing ears and eyes of intelligent intensity atop streaming-maned necks. Strangely, they ran not on feet, but four sturdy-nailed fingers. The name they gave them, I believe, was “horse.”
I must admit that individually, a horse was a beautiful thing, and with a rider upon its back, the pairing was in no way grotesque. It was, indeed, bold, and in action their synthesis was both powerful and elegant.
Militarily, however, they could be no match to our own powered frames that had no mediating intelligence to guess and mistake our intentions. I raised my arm in a preparatory signal, and reading directly the impulses of my nerves, my frame amplified the gesture as naturally as my own flesh.
In instants such as this, the greater the tension, the longer time is attenuated, but it ended and we charged and they charged and we came to the clash. There was no time for contemplation, but now, after, I have time and so I do insert a moment that traverses many years.
You do not know my name; one way or the other it has been erased – by time or more deliberate censorship. Allow me then to introduce myself: as you see, in that artificially stalled moment with my arm raised, I am at the head of a great legion; my rank is Agetor; my clan, Indikos; my city is no city but the one Great House of the Twilit Land – and my name, that is Chryseo Drakonhaema Phylindikos.
Perhaps you have heard of me; as recollections of the aged under the Lights, in curses or whispers in the halls of the Great House. Perhaps there has been another Adjustment in that place and I am rehabilitated, my deeper loyalty seen for what it is or was.
Returning to the field under the halted Sun, we are outside that moment of anticipation and well into the act. The nails of the horses pound the earth as if it were a drum and raise a cloud of dust that rises above the army like an array of banners. We hear the riders howl.
We ourselves are silent, disciplined, sharpened and buffered by synthetic hormones and enzymes in our blood. My earpieces relay a theme designed to manage my heartbeat at the optimal tempo and a melody to keep my moves in step with the order of our tactics. Every step is efficient and accurate and I feel something akin to rapture as I perform my bloody dance. Looking from above, as indeed our recording instruments do, you might see something like a reaction between two volatile fluids. Theirs is effervescent, unstable, surging like a wave, thick foam of anger breaking at its lead. Now look at us: something like oil in our smooth density, something like smoke the way we coil and eddy. A red mist rises from the reaction.
There is of course something artificial about this battle. We have at our disposal flying machines of many kinds, a mere few of which could butcher our opponents safely from heights they could never reach. Likewise one Kastchei-class manshonyagger could wade through them and quickly dispatch the lot with dispassionate precision. That though would not serve our longer purpose; if we stood too far above them, then they could convince themselves that they fought demons and that rightly then they should continue as the struggles against demons is proper to being-in-action. That could not be permitted. They had to see our faces and know that they were defeated by true men and thus we showed our faces and our hands to them, even enframed in metal.
And of course we saw their faces and refused to notice that we could not see any difference from ourselves in them.
The horses, though… They were different, and aroused in me peculiar emotions. Their long, bony and soft-lipped faces could not be read as naturally as a person’s, but I saw in their wide eyes, in the specks of foam flying from the bits of their bridles real rage and real terror. The reactions of lesser beasts and mechanical devices are only reactions, no more, but an intelligent creature could and must have such emotions, for they are engendered by knowledge of pain and mortality and love and loyalty.
It was not right to erase from this already famished world such beauty, but sentiment was cast as a weakness in the Great House and there could therefore be no riders, no horses ever again. If we admired them, then it was because they were powerful, and if they were powerful they were a threat. I knew a little of their diet and requirements; they were creatures of open plains and the Great House could not contain them. They could only remain outside and that was intolerable to our masters. I think perhaps that jealousy was hidden in their motives.
And as for myself, perhaps I could not bear to see such a thing corrupted either by enslavement by the abhumans I knew would master the Valley in the end and neither could I bear to see them constrained in the black metal halls of the House.
I did not think too long on that last point. Sentiment, I said, is a weakness, and worse than that, it is hypocrisy. I would not permit myself to weep as they died, as I killed them.
Continue at THE NIGHT LAND
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Despite its name, the stories must first appear in 2014
Prime Books to Publish YEAR’S BEST SF&F NOVELLA Series
Monday, 3 March 2014
@copy; hal hefner
click for fullsize
What is interesting is that there's nothing like this in the original book by Hodgson: but it could very well illustrate a story from the Darkening. If this is intentional, it shows rather more attention to the source materiel than is usual in such things. If mere neglect, it is sadly typical.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
The Maid Of Olden days
|Two pages meant to look as if from an illustrated "Night Land" (Which does not exist beyond these samples and a few more sample pages, alas)|
© Maureen Shocky
view more pages . . .
Monday, 24 February 2014
by tais teng
I saw a white star all ablaze
and gladly would have lingered
but I have promises to keep
and light-years to go
before I sleep.
:attributed to Great-Captain Frost, discoverer of Starholm
20,693 AFR (After the Foundation of the Redoubt)
Gossil, age 9"Name the six worlds of Starholm," the teacher said and Gossil was the first to raise his hand.
"There is Yal-bin-Armanth, ser. Out among the comets. Its is all oceans and icebergs. The people live on rafts of seaweed and ride improved sharks. Next to the sun lies Ferno, with lakes of lead and sulfur. The cities are underground and the Fernos look ever so pale and white, like mushrooms. The..."
"I see you did your homework. Good." The teacher pointed. "Now Yaleena will tell us about their capital world."
Yaleena sat bold upright. 'Sorry, ser. My aunt had a baby. I had to help my mother with the birth-muffins." She smiled. "It was human, ser! Its DNA came up as green as grass!"
"Congratulations. Yes, a new baby is more important. Starholm will still be there tomorrow. Gunnar? The capital world?"
"Nue Fusang has a thousand islands and..."
Gossil sat fuming. "I see you did your homework." I could name all Starholm worlds before I was five. He balled his fists. When the Ship launches I will be standing at the helm. Great-Captain Gossil. I'll see the Perfect Worlds with my own eyes.
"Great-Captain Frost said in the poem: And gladly would have lingered. Now, why didn't he?"
"I know that, ser!" Yaleena cried. "There was that other scout-ship, with his wife. It was falling in the black hole that Starholm orbits."
"He didn't save her, but he tried. The black hole took them both. They are still falling because time stops at the edge. They will be falling forever."
She smiled like it was something beautiful, Gossil saw. Stupid girl. Real heroes don't fail. When Frost went down, he sent that poem, not the coordinates of Starholm. It took another five thousand years to find Starholm again, and all because of a woman.
I will do what is right, he decided. I won't get all squishy when a girl hands me a fruit of the darling-vine or puts a flower in her hair. He glanced at Yaleena. Her curls were a glowing verdigris, with the red yellow of copper at the roots. She was of pilot stock: made to live in space. The moment she became weightless her hair would knit itself in a space-helmet, shielding her brain from radiation. She would be the perfect wife for a star-ship captain, but not if she kept cooing about babies.
He must have spieked too loud because he suddenly heard Yaleena night-whispering in his brain.
"You are so stupid! I'd rather kiss a plow-ape or give my fruit to a..." Her thought sputtered out: she was clearly unable to think of something worse than Gossil.
When Gossil came home his aunt Fayima was sitting under the hearth-lamp with his mother, nipping a pale green liquor. Gossil had tasted it himself once in the kitchen: Asperol was horrible, bitter and sour at the same time.
Now aunt Fayima was all a woman should be: as Niketria she commanded a hundred companies and even those brand-new Censors deferred to her. As the old saying goes: it takes a man to fight a battle, but a woman to win a war.
"Hai, Gossil. How is life?" She turned back to his mother without waiting for an answer . .., .
CONTINUE READING AT WWW.THENIGHTLAND.CO.UK
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Chomsky theorized that real languages have a meta-grammer that can be detected.
languages are formed by the application of meta-rules that are genetically programed in.
meta-rules = rules about rules. The rules that make up a language's grammar are not genetically programmed into us. But the meta-rules, the rules abut the rules ,are. The goto book is Pinker THE LANGUAGE INSTINCT
A Pidgin is a trade language that is used when two very disparate language groups meet. It is a patchwork that does not follow the human meta-grammar and therefore is a crippled code with limited ability to describe the real world.
But if children are born whose parents speak pidgin to each other, the children create a Creole to communicate with each other in.
A Creole is a language that follows the human grammar meta-rules but but whose vocabulary is drawn from its two parent languages. IT IS A FULLY EXPRESSIVE, FLEXIBLE, HUMAN LANGUAGE.
NOTE: THE CREOLE IS NOT INVENTED BY THE PARENTS AND TAUGHT TO THE CHILDREN: IT IS CREATED BY THE CHILDREN, SPECIFICALLY BY CHILDREN BELOW ABOUT 7, WHICH IS THE AGE AT A WHICH THE ABILITY TO LEARN A LANGUAGE AND SPEAK IT AS A NATIVE (WITHOUT ACCENT) CUTS OUT.
THE CHIDREN CREATE THE LANGUAGE AND SPEAK IT TO THEIR CHILDREN.
THIS IS A REAL-WORLD PHENOMENON.
Does ANYONE KNOW A CHOMSKYAN LINGUIST WHO CAN DO AN ANALYSIS OF THE LANGUAGE OF "THE NIGHT LAND" AND TELL US IF IT FOLLOWS THE META-RULES OF A TRUE LANGUAGE??
How might this have come about?
Well, we know that TNL started as a story told to a child. In THE WANDERING SOUL, Jane Frank quotes this dedication
The following passage was inscribed by hand on the endpaper of a copy of THE NIGHT LAND which Hodgson gave to a girl he called "Scraps" in 1912."Scraps" was one Wilhelmina Bird, the very young daughter of a friend.
That impudent maiden to whom
I first told the ever shaping tale
of The Night Land
Do you 'member how you used
to shiver when the Night Hounds
bayed; and how quietly it was
needful to go past the House of Silence - eh?
Hodgson apparently struck up a friendship with the Bird family some time before 1905, one close enough for him to stay with them for a month at the start of that year.
He sent their young daughter several first editions of his works between 1907 and 1916.
She was eighteen years his junior and to what degree she was an inspiration for Naani must remain conjecture.
So she was about ten when he first started to tell her stories about TNL
Early enough for her childish lisping to have injected just enough real grammar into the deliberately alien future-language Hodgson used??
Sounds dumb,funny. But If anyone knows a Chomskyan linguist, we could find out.
Think what a coup it could be!!!
Just the thing for SARGASSO
SO LET THE CRY GO OUT FAR AND WIDE
IS THERE A CHOMSKYAN LINGUIST IN THE HOUSE???