Monday 1 July 2024

The Sunday Seven: 30th June 2024

Each Sunday (hiatuses notwithstanding) I share seven links to items of interest that have crossed my eye across the preceding week. Here are this week's:

  • Roger G-S posted a useful response to a recent post of mine, providing his own method for generating evocative wilderness travel descriptions.
  • Somebody good at maths did some maths to systematise success rates for repeated rolls - he mathed the maths, and it is useful.
  • The same person also did a nice, useful little precis on the properties of randomisers.
  • Jimmy Chamberlin is one of my favourite musicians of all time and was recently given an extended interview by Rick Beato. The whole thing is worth listening to, but in particular he had some interesting sceptical comments to make about AI and music that may be relevant to your interests (starting here).
  • And here is a lengthy interview with none other than Jack Vance, from 1976. Early on, he says something about his philosophy that I found interesting, and strongly counter-cultural - his mission as an author, he says, is to try to avoid inserting himself between the reader and the imaginative world being created, and this is one of the reasons why he was keen for people to know as little as possible about his personal life and opinions. What I think is interesting about this is that despite this avowed intention, it is often quite difficult to avoid Vance in his fiction - his personality comes across so forcefully. This goes to prove a point of some kind that is perhaps worth expanding on in a full blog post. 
  • The Lebombo Mountains, in the far south of Mozambique, are thought to be a chunk of what is now Antarctica, left behind in the break up of the super-continent Gondwana millions of years ago. If you can't use that in a game, there is something wrong with you!
  • I really got a lot out of this discussion of 'The Medieval Cosmos as Permanent Apocalypse' - you might, too. 


  1. Thanks David!

    On Vance, I can't escape thinking that so many of the characteristic elements of both his fantasy and SF likely derive from his experiences mid-century as a US merchant seaman. To use the Robin Laws taxonomy, ports of call offer many an opportunity to witness odd customs, crafty swindles, heated protests and presumptuous claims, casual cruelty, strange vistas, ruined wonders, exotic food, and foppish apparel - the weird magic is the only whole-cloth element.

    1. No doubt. I also believe that having been born into a relatively prosperous background he experienced a sudden decline in living standards as a youth and you can see that in his fiction a lot too - the emphasis on getting money and also on revenging oneself on an unfair world.