Linkfest 2021-07-09: When Orcs Were Real

Larry Elmore – Resting Orc

Larry Elmore – Resting Orc

Tree of Woe: When Orcs were Real

A contrarian view of the interaction between humans and Neanderthals. Danny Vendramini in his book Them and Us: How Neanderthal Predation Created Modern Humans makes some extremely speculative claims that Neanderthals were monsters of myth and legend. As the comments make clear, this is not the current consensus view, but it is at least plausible.

West Hunter: Legends

Which reminds me of this Greg Cochran post asking what is the oldest myth or legend that preserves true events?

Chesterton Australia: Science Fiction – The Chesterton Factor

Aaron Irber pointed me to this really good article on Catholic fiction authors like Gene Wolfe and Tim Powers, and their debt to G. K. Chesterton.

Dweller of the Forbidden City: Genre Emulation and Lethality - AD&D as a “Combat Game”

A corrective to the idea that since D&D has rules for combat, but not for social interaction, that it is game that focuses on combat.

D&D is meant to emulate these stories [Appendix N], and I find that if you run the game close to RAW you get exactly this sort of non-combat focused game where exploration, resource management and planning, as well as experience of the fantastic, tends to be the majority of play, punctuated by periodic combat that is fast and deadly.

BBC: The legendary fabric that no one knows how to make

As with most stories of this type, it is usually more often a matter of time, interest, and money preventing anyone from making Dhaka muslin than truly lost technology. In the modal story of this type, lost technology means there isn’t an active manufacturing line or catalog number you can order, rather than what happened during the Dark Ages in Western Europe or the Greek Dark Ages starting in roughly 1100 B.C., when not only was technology completely lost, people couldn’t imagine how it possibly could have been done and thus regarded ruins of the previous civilization as evidence that gods had tread the Earth.


Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts by Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett’s world weary detective Erik Rugar could be any hardboiled detective, except that his problems are illicit thaumaturgical substances and unregistered wizards. Misha switched publishers to Cisrova, so here is a new Amazon link to the book I reviewed in February of this year.

The Chemical Engineer: Piper Alpha Disaster in Detail

The anniversary of this disaster on a North Sea oil rig was this week. This retrospective has some great risk analysis and management built into it.


The Long View: Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults and Millennial Beliefs through the Ages

Ignore doomsday at your peril.