Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Lacuna: Winners Advance to Thought Eater Round Three

The winners of the second round of the Thought Eater DIY RPG Essay Contest are in...

Melville, Freud, Lovecraft beat the average

If any of the authors (winner or loser) would like to out themselves in the comments, feel free to do so now.

Ok, rules for the third round:

-This round is inspired by a line at the beginning of Houllebecq's essay on Lovecraft:

"If one defines a writer not by reference to the themes that they treat, but by reference to those
they repudiate, then one agrees that Lovecraft occupies a place totally apart."

...this is the essay where Houllebecq goes on to point out that Lovecraft studiously avoids sex and money in his fiction.

The crucial point here is: this is a lacuna that Houllebecq had to discover, it was not explicitly on top. Lovecraft's stories are not advertised as "Tales of cosmic horror that don't have typical human relationships or class in them".

So for this round I'd like the winners to take some subject and tell us what is avoided in it--and what this tells us and why it's interesting. It should preferably be something the authors may not even have been conscious of avoiding, and should definitely be something the rest of us are not yet conscious that they avoid.

So, for example, writing about how some iteration of D&D lacks noncombat task resolution is immediately out. Whereas if you discover that nobody laughs during the entire Morte D'Arthur or that no-one ever ever eats in a Clark Ashton Smith story or that agriculture never appears in any RIFTS module or that nothing from Green Ronin publishing ever has the word "pig" in it, that's fair.

As this is a fairly difficult and demanding remit probably requiring a little research, the range of topics is relatively unrestricted other than "it should be an RPG or obviously RPG-adjacent" and that it can't be Lovecraft or Tolkien as we've beat those two to death recently. I would definitely be interested in thoughts on RPGs outside the OSR usual.

-This is different than the previous rounds because I will exercise a veto/editorial power over these. If I get one that has a lazy line like "I don't know why this is, but I think it it's true, or at least interesting" about its central premise, I will be like "This needs to be better, try harder, rewrite". 

-If you are one of the winners named above, then email me your new essay by July 1st--zakzsmith AT hawtmayle with the all-caps subject THOUGHT EATER 3.


Herr Zinnling said...

I wrote the essay about Emulation in the first round and the essay about the German Illustrator in the second round. Regards, Karl

Steve Johnson said...

I wrote "Tolkien Was a Bad GM." If you liked it, you can find more at www.deathcookie.com.

Casmarius said...

yikes, I didn't realize that fully half the entries involved Tolkien or Lovecraft.

I wish Jules Verne and Rudyard Kipling got that kind of reverence in the gaming thinkspace.

piles said...

"Annotated Tomb of Horrors beats Revelation in Lovecraft"

links to the wrong page

Mradon Kalash said...

Herr Zinnling, as a German I loved your essay "the German illustrator". Every sentence I was thinking: " I have never met this person, but I absolutely could imagine him existing."

Herr Zinnling said...

Thanks a lot!

Ranthan said...

It's interesting how those two are D&D Parlance.

Ranthan said...

Hi, I'm Ranthan. Casablanca Orphan is mine. I... Am paralyzed at this new round.

If anyone wants to talk about games or, "Life 'n shit", I'm at your service.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zak,
could you please add me to your RPG-circles?

Zak Sabbath said...

Send me a message containing a link to your g+ page

Casmarius said...

I'm the author of the RIFTS Psionics as Ur-Magic, and I feel ya'.

It's much harder to write about what something lacks than what it has.