Sunday, April 5, 2020

#StayAtHome: Starting "Electric Bastionland"

Art by Alec Sorensen

I'm not sure that's a Dachshund being walked on a leash near the upper right corner. It may have too many legs, and appears to have neck frills. But you should expect the unexpected in Chris McDowall's  Electric Bastionland.

That creature may not even be from Earth.

Bastion is the only important city left on Earth: a New Crobuzon; a Nexus: the Infinite City; an Everway all piled up with junk deposited by the winds that buffet the Angel of History.

Humanity had long gone to the stars, and it has been a long, long time since we have fallen back to Earth.

It's entirely possible that the being on the other end of the leash isn't from Earth either.

Now that I have a PDF of the successor RPG to Into the Odd, I'm really pumped to have an opportunity to sit down and read it: as a prelude to running it. So I have put down Numenera for a little while again.

I had to work on a grant proposal all weekend, so I didn't get any reading done, but this will be one of my #StayAtHome reads in April!

Friday, April 3, 2020

#StayAtHome: Auschwitz Report

The Auschwitz Report is a brief report prepared at the request of Soviet authorities after the liberation of the concentration camps that made up the Auschwitz complex. The authors are two Jewish concentration camp survivors, the young chemist and former anti-fascist partisan, Primo Levi, and a doctor, Leonardo De Benedetti. The original title of the report was "Report On The Sanitary and Medical Organization Of The Monowitz Concentration Camp For Jews (Auschwitz - Upper Silesia)".

Monowitz was a labor camp, not an extermination camp like Auschwitz proper, but conditions were nevertheless as brutal as you might expect. The tone of the report is clinical, as one might expect of a chemist and a doctor, but does a good job in its details of showing how cruel, hypocritical, and murderous the Nazi regime really was.

This was the first book in Primo Levi's literary career, and fragments of this text can be found within Levi's other texts on the Holocaust and the resistance to the Nazis.

A friend asked me if this wasn't the wrong thing to read right now. I disagree. As miserable as things are right now, they have frequently been worse for people. The Auschwitz Report is also a potent reminder of the need to act against evil in all its forms.