Monday, 21 August 2017

You Are the Modern Inklings

I have been quite down about the internet lately. So much sound and fury signifying nothing. But seeing all the G+ posts from people at Gen Con got me thinking about how many great, like-minded people there are out there in the world who I would know nothing of if it weren't for social media, and by extension I started thinking about the commenters on this blog over the years and, what can I say? I got all mushy inside, all bleary-eyed and sentimental, considering all of the value which you collectively have added to my life - in reading all of this nonsense and being such a good sounding board for my weird ideas.

I love you guys.

What I think blogging has allowed me to do is, in essence, find my own version of The Inklings, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis's group of friends who would meet twice a week at an Oxford pub (beer on Tuesday morning, conversation on Thursday evening) to talk about the things they were collectively interested in. Blogging is less fun in that it doesn't involve turning up to work half-cut every Tuesday - what could be more redolent of a long-lost era than a bunch of Oxford dons meeting up each Tuesday morning to go on the piss? - but there is something fundamentally similar about it, for me: an opportunity to share my ideas and creative impulses with my sympaticos, my tribe, my CS Lewises. (Not that I claim to be any sort of Tolkien.) And that should never be underestimated.

There's no substitute for real conversation and real, regular meetings with good friends. But at the same time, nor is there a substitute for being able to write blog posts about slug-men and have them find a worldwide audience. So, thanks, internet. You are a tool for evil and will bring about the ultimate decline and fall of Western civilization - of that I have no doubt. But you're not all bad.


  1. Once holovideo technology is actualized, we will all have vr access to the same composite living room, milling around with dice in our hands, reading aloud from our latest manuscripts.

  2. Ha!

    "It is the weapon of the Enemy!"

    "Yeah, but ... it's a ring of invisibility!!"

    Whatever else it is, the internet is a superb sorting mechanism. ("Mythago Wood + Xi You Ji + Viriconium ....")

  3. I had a very similar turn of thought recently after doing some reading on Clark Ashton Smith, comparing in my mind the long distance email correspondence I've had thru the years with like minded friends to the "Lovecraft Circle" of such "Weird Tales" luminaries as Smith, Lovecraft, Howard, and others.

    (I also felt a strong feeling of identification with Smith when I read about the period of his life when he was caring for his aging parents, which strongly parallels my experience in recent years, but that is a digression.)

    Here's to scholarly fraternization with dear friends cut of similar jib, be it over the internet ether or the mail, or gathering in pubs for a libation or around a kitchen table to bounce funny dice and spin new worlds. It is one of the sacred joys that truly makes life worth living.

  4. "He had the face of a monkey, but he also had an hypnotic power over the chicks" (slight paraphrase of remarks by Lewis and others).

    If I get to choose, I'd like to be Charles Williams, please.

  5. By happy coincidence, I have been re-reading The Cosmic Trilogy recently. Time to stat up a Hrossa class?