Potty History - islands in the stream of time...

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John McKenna
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Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Potty History - islands in the stream of time...

Post by John McKenna » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:55 am

From the thread - The growth of other strategy games by Alex Holowczak

Mick Norris>Let's play Twister, let's play Risk (played by muppets with dice according to one source)


"Man On The Moon"<

There follows an extract from The First Men in the Moon by HG Wells, 1901 -

That humming ceased.
For the first and last time in my experience the moon was silent.
I became aware of a faint wheezy noise. The Grand Lunar was addressing me. It was like the rubbing of a finger upon a pane of glass...

(A "translation" follows -)

"M'm - the Grand Lunar - wishes to say - wishes to say - he gathers you are - m'm - men - that you are a man from the planet Earth. He wishes to say that he welcomes you - welcomes you - and wishes to learn - learn, if I may use the word - the state of your world, and the reason why you came..."

The iris was quite a new organ to the Grand Lunar. For a time he amused himself by flashing his rays into my face and watching my pupils contract. As a consequence, I was dazzled and blinded for some little time...

But in spite of that discomfort I found something reassuring by insensible degrees in the rationality of this business of question and answer. I could shut my eyes, think of my answer, and almost forget that the the Grand Lunar has no face...

He talked with his attendants, as I suppose, upon the strange superficiality and unreasonableness of (man)... a creature of waves and winds, and all the chances of space, who... dares to invade another planet. During this aside I sat thinking, and then at his desire I told him of the different sorts of men. He searched me with questions. "And for all sorts of work you have the same sort of men. But who thinks? Who governs?"

I gave him an outline of the democratic method...

Some, I admitted, were thinkers and some officials; some hunted, some were mechanics, some artists, some toilers. 'But all rule,' I said.

'And have they not different shapes to fit them to their different duties?'

'None that you can see,' I said, 'except perhaps, for clothes. Their minds perhaps differ a little,' I reflected.

'Their minds must differ a great deal,' said the Grand Lunar, 'or they would all want to do the same things.'

He interrupted me to recall me to my previous statements. 'But you said all men rule?' he pressed.
'To a certain extent,' I said, and made, I fear, a denser fog with my explanation.'He reached out to a salient fact. 'Do you mean,' he asked, 'that there is no Grand Earthly?'

I thought of several people, but assured him finally there was none. I explained that such autocrats and emperors as we had tried upon earth had usually ended in drink, or vice, or violence, and that the large and influential section of the people of the earth to which I belonged, the Anglo-Saxons, did not mean to try that sort of thing again. At which the Grand Lunar was even more amazed...

"Our States and Empires are still the rawest sketches of what order will some day be," I said...

The Grand Lunar was greatly impressed by the folly of men in clinging to the inconvenience of diverse tongues. 'They want to communicate, and yet not to communicate,' he said, and then for a long time he questioned me closely concerning war.

He was at first perplexed and incredulous. 'You mean to say,' he asked, seeking confirmation, 'that you run about over the surface of your world... killing one another... ?'

I told him that was perfectly correct.

He asked for particulars to assist his imagination.

'But do not ships and your poor little cities get injured? ' he asked... 'Tell me more,' said the Grand Lunar; 'make me see pictures. I cannot conceive these things.'

And so, for a space, though something loath, I told him the story of earthly War.

I told him of the first orders and ceremonies of war, of warnings and ultimatums, and the marshalling and marching of troops. I gave him an idea of manoeuvres and positions and battle joined. I told him of sieges and assaults, of starvation and hardship in trenches, and of sentinels freezing in the snow. I told him of routs and surprises, and desperate last stands and faint hopes, and the pitiless pursuit of fugitives and the dead upon the field. I told, too, of the past, of invasions and massacres, of the Huns and Tartars, and the wars of Mahomet and the Caliphs, and of the Crusades.

And as I went on, and Phi-oo translated, and the Selenites cooed and murmured in a steadily intensified emotion.

I told them an ironclad could fire a shot of a ton twelve miles, and go through 20 ft. of iron - and how we could steer torpedoes under water. I went on to describe a Maxim gun in action, and what I could imagine of the Battle of Colenso. The Grand Lunar was so incredulous that he interrupted the translation of what I had said in order to have my verification of my account. They particularly doubted my description of the men cheering and rejoicing as they went into (? battle).

'But surely they do not like it!' translated Phi-oo.

I assured them men of my race considered battle the most glorious experience of life, at which the whole assembly was stricken with amazement.

'But what good is this war?' asked the Grand Lunar, sticking to his theme...


"War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'!"

Perhaps a more pertinent question - war, WHO is it good for?
With an answer something like - only the politico-military-industrial complex and soldiers of fortune.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

John McKenna
Posts: 3954
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Potty History - islands in the stream of time...

Post by John McKenna » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:42 pm

At the risk of starting another War of the Words I think it only fair to add the following -

Soon after the publication of The First Men in the Moon, Wells was accused by the Irish writer Robert Cromie to have stolen from his novel A Plunge into Space (1890), which used an antigravity device similar to that in Chrysostom Trueman's The History of a Voyage to the Moon (1864). Both novels had certain elements in common, like a globular spaceship built in secret after inventing a way to overcome Earth's gravity. Wells simply replied: "I have never heard of Mr Cromie nor of the book he attempts to advertise by insinuations of plagiarism on my part." (Wikipedia)
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

John McKenna
Posts: 3954
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Potty History - islands in the stream of time...

Post by John McKenna » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:03 pm

To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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