Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Inspiration from Strange Places

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I got this in a spam the other day:

“He soon came to a stop, however, and saw that another of the monsters had
come upon him from the rear and was now, with its mate, circling closely
around him, while both uttered continuously their hoarse, savage cries. Rob
wondered why the Garment of Repulsion had not protected him from the blow of
the bird’s wing; but, as a matter of fact, it had protected him
For it was not the wing itself but the force of the eddying currents of air
that had sent him whirling away from the monster”

Now, golly, what an interesting thing to have in spam to make it seem like a real message. I almost feel like I should work it up into an actual story. Oh, I’d have to edit it some, but it’s not a bad start.



Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

How does a fantasy culture view gambling?

That’s an interesting question…. Our own world has many different views. Some cultures see it as a very normal thing to do. Many Asian cultures, for instance, see gambling and luck as integral to society. The island of Macau is practically a giant casino. Other cultures, including segments of the United States, see gambling as a vice that ranks right up there with smoking and drinking and fornication. In other words, some folks see it as a sin.
But, what about a fantasy world? Would a non-Judeo-Christian culture see gambling as bad? Obviously, some don’t. There might even be a “god” or “saint” dedicated to gambling. One fantasy series, Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen, has temples devoted to gambling and at least one story starts with a daring raid on the hidden treasure trove of one of those temples. Considering how well most state lotteries seem to do, this seems a fairly reasonable thing to see in a fantasy setting. Gambling has been around since recorded history. Or, at the very least, since the Roman Empire. The Bible tells us that the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus “threw dice” for his possessions. And, there are other historical examples.
So, what are the social and economic ramifications of gambling in a fictional culture? Would it be permitted? I think most societies would have some kind of private gambling, if not institutionalized gambling like a state lottery. Games of chance have been with us for thousands of years, and seem like something that mankind cannot escape. So, too, have the people who have warned us against the evils of gambling. It could add some color to have a character who gambles and has to deal with a parental, or religious, figure who disapproves of their gambling. Or, a character with a compulsive gambling habit may, in fact, drive the plot.
In short, I think gambling is fairly ubiquitous and controversial enough to give an author some new ways to expand a story or novel, either as a plot device, or a sub-plot. Something to think about anyway.

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Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Which way do rivers flow?

It seems like such a simple question, doesn’t it? But, it’s not quite as easy as one might suppose. For instance, I’ve been told numerous times that rivers generally flow North to South. But, this FAQ on that’s just a misconception. (Here’s another link that also dispels some river misconceptions.) Really, what matters is elevation, the degree of change in elevation, and the material over which the water travels. The flatter the land, the more the river will wander or meander, and the slower the speed of the water flow. The reverse is true as well, the steeper the elevation change, the faster and straighter the river will run. (For more details, see this article on
So, essentially, rivers tend to flow “down” in the sense of the lowest elevation. That might be toward the coast and ocean, or toward a lake, or even toward an underground cave complex. The important thing to remember is that water in general, and rivers, flows toward the lowest point of gravity on the landscape, where ever that might be.

Well, you maybe asking yourself, that’s great but who cares? Anyone making a created world, country or culture. Rivers are a great way for people to move resources quickly and efficiently. They also tend to be sources of useful animals and plants. Water, after all, is one of the most important ingredients for life, so water attracts life. Rivers teem with life, both on their banks and in the river itself. Any place that attracts life in great quantities also attracts civilization as well. That, in turn, brings interesting things to write about. And, that, after all, is what I’m after!

So, let the water flow and the creative fiction ideas flow with it!

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Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, here’s a new angle…

Here’s a news story from Yahoo about a guy who claims to be a time traveller who “knows” what the market is going to do. He started with an $800 portfolio and in two weeks made over $350 million! What’s interesting is that no one can seem to find any record of the name this guy is using prior to December of 2002. He’s apparently claimed that he’ll tell us where Osama Bin Laden is and how to cure AIDS as proof that he comes from the future. Well, I’m game!

This does point out, though, why that old sci-fi favorite of travelling back in time to buy the right stocks on the stock market wouldn’t work. You’d have to be pretty darn careful or someone, somewhere would notice. On the other hand, it could just be an interesting plot twist. Of course, there’s still the old lottery gambit. You know, going back and getting a ticket with the winning numbers on it. Hmm… That one has some possibilities. Oh, and combine the two and you’d have an interesting tale of greed! Of course, time-travel is really more the realm of fantasy than science-fiction. Asimov came up with some rules about time travel that seem pretty solid to me. He was, after all, an actual scientist and a genius to boot. Also, he’s still one of the most prolific writers of our time. Still, those time travel stories have always piqued my curiosity….

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Automated Bloggin!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime.
The moon is a Full Moon

This is a test of the auto-poster! It’s not real fancy, but it works. And, it let me play with PERL some more. See, I use a PERL script to redirect incoming e-mail to the blog and to send the e-mail. I have to do some goofy things to send the e-mail or it will pick up MIME headers which look all wonky in the blog. But, as I mentioned, this works. Cool.

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