Robert sez, "Dungeons & Dragons, now celebrating its 40th anniversary, is about to release its new Monster Manual -- the original Monster Manual was a watershed moment in human history, part of a history that includes a 16th century bestiary, the Augsburg Book of Miracles; bestiaries reveal our profoundly human desire for an enchanted, magical world."
A bestiary can both catalogue the threat of our demise and foretell the joy of a new world; it is a story of grotesque threats and glorious salvation. Indeed—as cartographers knew long before recent conspiracy theorists saw the Loch Ness Monster in Apple Maps—at the limits of our knowledge, at the frontiers of our imagination, here be dragons!
For many, The Monster Manual was a monster itself; it provoked fear among Christian conservatives and provided a locus for the kind of moral panic and public rhetoric that Dr. Leslie Smith has recently labeled “chaos rhetoric.” And perhaps those fears were, in some sense, well-founded; for like The Book of Miracles, The Monster Manual foretold a new world, not just a world of the imagination.
For the past decade or so, it has been obvious that D&D was not simply the idle play of disaffected teen boys; it was the game that launched a thousand careers—and ten times a thousand new worlds. Once ridiculed as the escape of disaffected teenagers, D&D is now revered for its influence on authors, technical innovators, and even humble academics. The Monster Manual was, for so many, not just the escape from mundane reality, but a dive into progressive dreams about what the world ought to be.
Monstrous Futures: Dungeons & Dragons, Harbinger of the “None” Generation, Turns 40 [Robert M. Geraci/Religion Dispatches]
Mitch Wagner writes, "Talented and prolific science fiction writer and editor Mike Resnick, who has written extensively over the course of a long career about colonialism and its legacies, with a particular focus and love for Africa, has had a near-death experience and started a GoFundMe to pay off his medical expenses. I'm a huge […]
John M Ford -- AKA Mike Ford -- (previously) was a spectacular and varied science fiction writer who performed brilliantly across a wide range of genres and formats, from RPGs (GURPS, Paranoia) to licensed Star Trek fiction (his "How Much for Just the Planet" effectively created Klingon fandom) to fantasy novels like The Dragon Waiting, […]
Robert Skidelsky is an eccentric British economist: trained at Oxford, author of a definitive three-volume biography of Keynes, a Lord who sat with the Tories as their economics critic during the Blair regime, who now sits as an independent who is aligned with Labour's left wing. Back in September, Yale University Press published Skidelsky's latest […]
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WordPress is a fantastic tool for building web pages – if you know how to use it. Even with all the accessibility, a lot of the deeper features of WordPress are lost in translation to the average user. Enter WP Page Builder, a tool that not only makes WordPress site design easy but also more […]
In this age of ever-shrinking gadgets, it bears reminding that sometimes bigger is actually better. And if you care about audio quality, we can’t think of a better example of this principle than these TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones. We know tiny Bluetooth earbuds are all the rage right now. But their battery life […]