Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some Words about Pulp Fantasy

I don't think it's a self-important exaggeration to say that I'm one of the foremost proponents of the notion that D&D, especially OD&D, can best be understood in light of the pulp fantasy literature that inspired Gygax and Arneson. As I have delved deeper into the history (and pre-history) of the hobby, I grow ever more convinced of the truth of this notion. Indeed, I believe that, as popular tastes in fantasy have grown more distant from from the pulp conception of the genre, D&D has become a caricature, the end result being a new edition that is so divorced from its roots as to be of little interest to me.

But D&D isn't the only thing that has become a caricature. I would argue that the conception of "pulp fantasy" many hold is similarly rootless and thus of little interest to me. Chief among the caricature being foisted on pulp fantasy is the idea that the genre's protagonists weren't heroes. I think such a position is only tenable if you equate "hero" with a spotless white knight who not only knows what is right but always does it without fail. Pulp fantasy doesn't have many such characters -- though they do exist -- but the genre nevertheless doesn't lack for heroes.

Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, even Elric are all heroes. That they are often greedy, self-interested, and prone to violence doesn't disqualify them from hero status in my opinion, because, when push comes to shove, they are all, however fitfully, on the side of the angels. They all possess moral codes, lines they will not cross, even in pursuit of their sometimes prominent vices. That these characters are all flawed, inconsistent, and conflicted doesn't mean they aren't heroes; what it means is that they're human and to be human is often to stumble and fall while striving for the Good.

Somewhere between the time these characters were created and the present day, the thread of a grand conversation was lost. Somehow, instead of being seen as flawed heroes, they came to be seen instead as antiheroes. Somehow antiheroism then became elevated to a quintessential element of pulp fantasy; it is not. To see Conan primarily as a brute who indulged his every appetite with glorious abandon is to forget that we are introduced to the character as the first just king Aquilonia has seen in generations, who strives to govern this foreign land honorably despite the machinations of its nobles and the fickleness of its populace. Conan is certainly flawed and, at times, deeply antiheroic, but he remains a hero, precisely because he abides by a rough code that regularly compels him to do what is right even at great cost to himself.

What does any of this have to do with D&D? Quite simply: being a game inspired by pulp fantasy does not mean that it's a game without heroes -- just the opposite. Pulp fantasy is a genre of flawed heroes certainly, but flawed heroes do not cease to be heroes because they aren't spotless. The attraction pulp fantasy holds for me is that its protagonists seem real; I can identify with them, because, like me, they make mistakes, give in to their worst vices, and selfishly confuse what is easy with what is good. Yet, each of them proves that, when stripped to their core, they will stand up for what is right.

Every one remembers that Conan famously abhorred civilized ways, but the truth of it is that he abhorred the way men used civilization as a cloak to hide their baser natures. Conan did not revel in barbarism so much as acknowledge its basic honesty when compared to "civilized" men whose morality was little more than a veneer. To reduce Conan to Arnie's "what is good in life" quote is not only to misread Conan, but also to contribute to the caricature of pulp fantasy that has driven many people away from it. Many proponents of the genre have done it a grave disservice in their exaltation of brutality and amorality. Such things exist in pulp fantasy, to be sure, but they are not its defining characteristics nor are they things that pulp fantasy authors admired and promoted.

To cite a non-pulp fantasy example: Lancelot may be a far more interesting character than Galahad, but that doesn't mean adultery is laudable or a defining characteristic of an Arthurian hero. Lancelot's betrayal of his king and his disregard for Christian morality are not what make him admirable. To see them as such is to get it backwards and to misread one of the central themes of the Arthurian legends. In like fashion, I don't expect D&D characters to be sinless paragons, but they should still be admirable; they should still be recognizably heroes. I fail to see the point in playing an evil character in a roleplaying game and I certainly don't think RPGs ought to be seen to treat evil as laudable or even "necessary."

I could probably go on, but I'm leaving it at this. I trust my point is reasonably clear and I sincerely hope no one will get the mistaken impression that, because of my advocacy of pulp fantasy as the lens through which D&D must be understood that I support the reduction of a rather nuanced genre to a catchphrase of velvet Boris Vallejo painting. I love and respect the greats of pulp fantasy too much to do that, just as I love and respect D&D. The last thing I want is for either to be caricatured, because it doesn't take long before a caricature -- especially a lurid one -- to become the reality.

32 comments:

  1. I don't think your ideas here are lost on anyone.

    But certain combinations collide to create possibilities...

    No railroading with sandbox and player-driven games.

    "Role-playing games are not books." Repeated reminders that games will not play as the books read as player choice and uncertain outcomes make it impossible.

    The "bad guy" options right there in the rulebooks alongside the "good guy" options...

    ... of course things are going to come out sideways sometimes.

    The presence of "evil" things doesn't mean people have forgotten how to be good.

    And just because a certain product presents unpleasant things in a completely neutral manner doesn't mean the intention is to make people role-play unpleasant things and it doesn't mean the idea of heroes has been forgotten.

    D&D isn't a game of organized crime because of Assassins and Thieves being presented, complete with Guilds... D&D isn't a game of spiritual warfare because there are Clerics, Monks, and Paladins... so there's no reason to believe that suddenly people are going to think it's a game of blasphemous deeds because some game presents blasphemous deeds.

    But it can be any of those things. Or it can be none of them. But I think that choice should be made at the individual table.

    That's the whole magic of role-playing games, and why things like Dragonlance pre-set quests and games with meta-plots suck. RPGs tell you, "You can do ANYTHING!" Want to be the shining white knight paladins saving the world from evil forces? You can! Want to be a rogue and a cad, having misadventures as you stay one step ahead of the populace you're robbing blind? You can! Want to be an evil and depraved slave of otherworldly forces? You can!

    I don't see that there's a problem or that anything has been forgotten because somebody's decided to focus on a traditionally ignored aspect of things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. D&D isn't a game of organized crime because of Assassins and Thieves being presented, complete with Guilds... D&D isn't a game of spiritual warfare because there are Clerics, Monks, and Paladins...

    The reason that D&D isn't any of these things natively is because there is little to no discussion of how to make it such. If a referee wishes to make the game about the vicious lives of pseudo-medieval mafiosi, with all the nastiness that implies, he has to come up with the details for himself. D&D wisely, I think, leaves many things to the individual imagination, which is in my opinion a core old school principle.

    It's no different, in my opinion, than the game's having a combat system that doesn't go into gory detail about just what being stabbed by a sword or smashed by a mace does to an opponent. If individual referees and players want to dwell on such things, they're welcome to do so in their own games, but I don't think anyone who deems such a thing to be more than a little creepy (to put it mildly) is a prude or a coward.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The best fantasy is made with anti-heroes or flawed heroes. Everyone in China Mieville's Perdido Street Station is either a criminal, a loser or both. Most of Iain M Banks's characters are pretty morally flexible. Flashman and Sharpe are dubious in very different ways, but neither of them are perfect, rounded heroes. The best Robin Hood depictions are the ones where he is most flawed. The best characters in Dragonlance are the stupidest, the evillest and the most indecisive.

    Conversely, perfect characters are generally difficult to believe in and difficult to enjoy - the only one I can think of that is immediately engaging is Ged from A Wizard of Earthsea, which is probably part of the reason that book is a classic. Most books with heroes who are just, simply heroes are not very engaging.

    I would suggest as well that most PCs, when put into a campaign world more sophisticated than mere dungeon crawling, certainly behave in morally ambiguous ways. Torture, theft, conveniently looking the other way, not happening to notice that that holy item belongs to someone good... there are many ways in which most PCs are quite flawed. I think role-playing is usually better for its pulp, noir qualities than for the heroic.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think anyone who deems such a thing to be more than a little creepy (to put it mildly) is a prude or a coward.

    Nor do I think that anyone who deems such a thing to be perfectly acceptable is morally deficient (at least not on that basis).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think role-playing is usually better for its pulp, noir qualities than for the heroic.

    When it comes to swords & sorcery gaming, I think you're correct. High fantasy, however, is certainly a viable style of play, and its focus is more upon the heroic.

    I really do appreciate the pulp-driven swords & sorcery emphasis that has permeated the old school movement of late, but I don't think we'd want to ignore what Tolkien and others brought to the table, either. If OD&D's openness to individual interpretation was grounded in anything, it seems to me that it is the ability to play different, equally enjoyable, and equally worthwhile styles of fantasy games.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In the case of Conan, it is worth seeing a distinction between the early and late periods of his life. By the time of Hour of the Dragon Conan is a changed man. This is perhaps most visible when he dons his old trappings as a disguise. At that point, Howard describes Conan as being tempted to forget all about his kingdom and return to his old ways. That he chooses not to suggests that he has risen above his base instincts (even if only temporarily).

    In general I agree that "the flawed hero" is more apt than "anti-hero", but as with all things the degree to which this is true fluctuates subjectively and over time. Often, the pulp hero appears to be the lesser of two evils, but this is usually because nobody can reach the standard set for "god".

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bah, stupid freudian typo... "good", not "god".

    ReplyDelete
  8. maasenstodt, I bet your favourite characters in LoTR were the flawed ones - Frodo, Sam and Faramir, not Gandalf and Aragorn. In the movie, the most engaging of the characters were undoubtedly the flawed ones (Frodo and Boromir).

    Even High Fantasy contains a lot of space for the anti-hero and the loser. I would claim Iain M. Banks sci-fi has many of the traits of high fantasy but his characters are definitely flawed.

    The anti-hero is where it's at, maaan, even in High Fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. maasenstodt, I bet your favourite characters in LoTR were the flawed ones - Frodo, Sam and Faramir, not Gandalf and Aragorn.

    In all truthfulness, if I had to name my favorite characters from LotR, I'd answer, without hesitation, Aragorn and Eowyn. And while I consider both to be heroic, I consider neither to be flawless.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it could be argued that it's something of a bildungsroman (bildungsmovie?) and the "what is good in life" quote is not meant to be emblematic of the final character. But I won't go too far in that defense.

    I think your point relates to why sometimes I can't laugh very sincerely with various jokes about gazebos, magic missiles against the darkness, or Dungeon Majesty. It's the same sort of feeling when a player tries to force an especially ridiculous or irreverent PC into the campaign, but maybe that's drifting to another topic.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nor do I think that anyone who deems such a thing to be perfectly acceptable is morally deficient (at least not on that basis).

    I presume by "such a thing" you mean descriptions of utterly depraved and evil acts? If that's your meaning, then, yes, I agree that it doesn't necessarily imply moral deficiency anymore than my enjoyment of the movie Goodfellas implies I'm in favor of theft, brutality, and murder.

    That said, I think presentation and specificity are just as important as actual content. Likewise, I think it's important to bear in mind that, just because individual standards and tolerances differ, drawing a line somewhere is inappropriate or a sign of either cowardice or thought control. My concern is that some might confuse the difficulty pulp fantasy heroes have in deciding between right and wrong to mean that there is no right and wrong. There's also the very real issue of how the hobby looks to outsiders, which I'm not simply willing to dismiss as needless paranoia.

    ReplyDelete
  12. >>There's also the very real issue of how the hobby looks to outsiders, which I'm not simply willing to dismiss as needless paranoia.

    Nah, the enemies are out there, and they're real. My use of the word "coward" has nothing to do with people setting their own limits of good taste (which is different than claiming someone else is disgusting and mentally ill, mind you), and everything to do with effectively letting outsiders determine what is done within our hobby for simple fear of their disapproval.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hm. I'm curious to learn more. This post has been one of those that sparks my interest in pre-Tolkien fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. As to what Maas said about high fantasy, and how there's a pulp "wave" going right now in the old school circles, I think it's a good point. 2e was so forcibly in favor of good-guy characters that high fantasy campaigns have become associated, I think, with meta-plots. A good-guy party that finds its own stuff to do without GM railroading is a perfectly good example of old school, free-form sandboxing as anything else.

    High fantasy is a wide, overinclusive term, unfortunately, too. It seems to be used to include medieval settings, good-aligned characters, and high-magic campaigns, not to mention the taint of "railroading" that it's been unjustly tagged with. It's hard to talk about something when the term has become so freighted in popular usage.

    Really, IIRC, all it means in a literary sense is that the characters are fighting evil instead of being relatively amoral (ok, James, "flawed heroes," not "amoral").

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can't recall at the moment whether it was in the film or the original comic or both, but in The Rocketeer there's a point where the gangsters figure out that friggin' Nazis are behind the evil plot and they switch sides, because they may be killers and crooks but they ain't down with Nazis. Every D&D party I've ever seen has had at least one Anti-Nazi Gangster in it, but not all of them have had Rocketeers.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I actually think the problem is to do with changes in popular culture since D&D's inception: movies, especially, have tended in an ever more cheerfully amoral direction that's quite different from the horror-of-amorality fiction that was around in the 70s (of which Dirty Harry and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are probably the iconic examples). Westerns tend to be morality plays dressed up in brutal guise, in which the violence is used to incite action against a backdrop of moral certainty. They now seem quaintly outdated: current action films seem to be more about simple success for the protagonists: there's a "whatever works" attitude that is fundamentally uninterested in moral questions, and even superhero fiction, that last bastion of the morality play, has changed its message to an active questioning (or rather a smug deconstruction) of the moral certainty that used to be its bread and butter. In such an environment, I'm not sure your flawed heroes have much traction - fo them to be flawed, there has to be an implied spotless standard that they fail to achieve.

    Regarding Conan the just king, arguably, this image - the plain man who cuts through all the casuistry of the sophisticated courtiers - is the narrative on which GWB won his first term in office. Looking at the narratives of the current campaign, I think spotless knights might be in again (if only briefly).

    ReplyDelete
  17. and everything to do with effectively letting outsiders determine what is done within our hobby for simple fear of their disapproval.

    I don't think it's as simple as that, though; it'd be great if it were. The reality is, though, that the actions of a small minority of a minority within a given "community" can and often do reflect badly on the majority. Most people, in and outside the hobby, would agree that Carcosa goes too far in its descriptions, that it crosses some lines "outsiders" will see as reflective -- and negatively so -- of the wider hobby. Many gamers either don't get a thrill from tweaking the nose of Middle American sensibilities or simply don't want to have to explain for the Nth time that, no, stuff like this is far from common and in fact is generally disdained by the wider hobby.

    I fail to see anything worthy of condemnation here. Indeed, I think taking into account how one's actions reflect on the community of which one is a part is responsible and praiseworthy.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Every D&D party I've ever seen has had at least one Anti-Nazi Gangster in it, but not all of them have had Rocketeers.

    I'd agree with that. But how many parties have outright Nazis in them? And how many games allow you to play Nazis as simply one option among others?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Westerns tend to be morality plays dressed up in brutal guise, in which the violence is used to incite action against a backdrop of moral certainty. They now seem quaintly outdated: current action films seem to be more about simple success for the protagonists: there's a "whatever works" attitude that is fundamentally uninterested in moral questions, and even superhero fiction, that last bastion of the morality play, has changed its message to an active questioning (or rather a smug deconstruction) of the moral certainty that used to be its bread and butter. In such an environment, I'm not sure your flawed heroes have much traction - fo them to be flawed, there has to be an implied spotless standard that they fail to achieve.

    Very well said. I think the reference to Westerns is an apt one, as I'm convinced that the Western is the primary mode of American storytelling and, as such, one of the primary creative influences on D&D, though it's rarely outright acknowledged. A clear theme of the Western is the notion that, to defend civilization against "barbarians," one must pick up a gun and kill, but to do so is make oneself a barbarian and thus exclude oneself from the very thing you seek to defend. Once picking up a gun and killing is no longer seen as essentially barbaric, there is no longer any moral -- or dramatic -- conflict and you're left with the glorification of violence. In my opinion, D&D is at its best when it accepts, if only tacitly, the notion that, by their actions, adventurers no longer have a place in the society from which they come, even if their actions often aid and protect that society.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm convinced that the Western is the primary mode of American storytelling and, as such, one of the primary creative influences on D&D, though it's rarely outright acknowledged. A clear theme of the Western is the notion that, to defend civilization against "barbarians," one must pick up a gun and kill, but to do so is make oneself a barbarian and thus exclude oneself from the very thing you seek to defend. Once picking up a gun and killing is no longer seen as essentially barbaric, there is no longer any moral -- or dramatic -- conflict and you're left with the glorification of violence. In my opinion, D&D is at its best when it accepts, if only tacitly, the notion that, by their actions, adventurers no longer have a place in the society from which they come, even if their actions often aid and protect that society.

    This is so well-said I have nothing to add except to quote it for emphasis. The Searchers and Seven Samurai (which is a Western in samurai drag just as D&D is a Western in medieval fantasy drag) are probably the two biggest touchstones here.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Whilst I think there is some merit in presenting the western as an exemplum of this sort of storytelling, I think we should be wary of boxing ourselves in. The idea of "fighting men" being outside of and feared by the society that they often protect or which necessitates their existence is far, far, older than the western.

    Indeed, the western could be described as medieval feudal frontier life in post colonial early modern drag.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Indeed, the western could be described as medieval feudal frontier life in post colonial early modern drag.

    There's obviously a shared heritage there and it'd be foolish to avoid taking advantage of it when possible. That said, I think the Western provides some distinctive elements, both dramatically and morally, that you don't find much in properly medieval tales of this general ilk. In particular, Westerns typically portray legitimate governmental authority as, at best, ineffectual and, at worst, uncaring about the trials and tribulations of those who live on the frontier. I see your typical D&D adventurer as far more like a gunslinger than a knight errant, both in his behavior and (more importantly) his relationship to the society he defends.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I really do appreciate the pulp-driven swords & sorcery emphasis that has permeated the old school movement of late, but I don't think we'd want to ignore what Tolkien and others brought to the table, either. If OD&D's openness to individual interpretation was grounded in anything, it seems to me that it is the ability to play different, equally enjoyable, and equally worthwhile styles of fantasy games.

    Though an unwavering fan of Howard, Leiber and Vance; an avid reader of this blog; and a firm believer that D&D's roots lie solidly in pulp fantasy, I heartily agree with masenstodt's view.

    I, too, abhor the Dragonlance generation of "high fantasy" literature - in fact, I'm extremely wary of anything billing itself as such - and the railroady style of gameplay they are associated with. As someone who was introduced to gaming in the age of AD&D2e, I never quite understood the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms NPC-worship to which some of my fellow players seemed to adhere.

    And quite frankly, I think Middle-Earth makes a crappy setting for a game, as any PC is doomed to be overshadowed by the long lineages of epic characters, from Fëanor to Aragorn to everyone in between. But Tolkien's powerful imagery - rangers, elves, dwarves, orcs, balrogs and so forth - lends D&D so much of its identity.

    Besides, Tolkien's heroes have flaws of their own. Aragorn's reluctance and denial, Boromir's short-sightedness and propensity to wrath, and even Gandalf, angel or not, is a manipulative curmudgeon.

    And the underlying theme of Cosmic Good versus Cosmic Evil - perhaps the most distinctive hallmark of the sub-genre - despite Tolkien's ham-handed Manicheanism, remains perfectly compatible with a basis in pulp fantasy. Look no further than Howard's Solomon Kane for a fine example of "Good vs. Evil" in a pulp fantasy milieu.

    ReplyDelete
  24. what is High Fantasy? I've always thought it was any world very clearly and importantly different from our own, typically a place with cheap/common magic and lots of supernatural monsters - that is, an environment with weak ecological rules suited to telling tall and simple tales. But then I see all kinds of stuff, like Middle Earth, being called High Fantasy and I get all confused.
    Perhaps my question should be: what isn't High Fantasy?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Perhaps very significantly, to me a western means "For a Fistful of Dollars" or "Once Upon a Time in the West", "western music" is the electric guitar tunes or modulated coyote howls of Ennio Morricone, and the "western landscape" is the wasteland areas of Spain. And of the protagonists -- Tuco, That Guy Played by Squinty Clint and of course Angel Eyes would feel right at home in my games, while a cowboy from America's more black-and-white morality play westerns would be out of place.

    As for the originals that inspired Leone, I tend to find them boring and simplistic.

    ReplyDelete
  26. what is High Fantasy?

    It's a very nebulous term, but, in my opinion, "high fantasy" refers primarily to fantasy series (they're rarely single books) that take place in settings where the clash between "cosmic" forces forms the main thrust of the plot. Most often, high fantasy stories ape Tolkien/RPG conventions and have lots of sentient races.

    I agree, though, that The Lord of the Rings can't really be called "high fantasy" except in an analogical sense. It's not even really "fantasy" except by similar analogy. However, the popularity of the LotR books is what birthed high fantasy as a sub-genre, so it tends to get lumped in with its imitators, even though I think that's very unfair.

    ReplyDelete
  27. As for the originals that inspired Leone, I tend to find them boring and simplistic.

    I'm curious to hear what films you saw, because, whenever someone claims that American Westerns are "boring and simplistic" compared to Leone, I wonder whether they've ever watched The Searchers, for example.

    ReplyDelete
  28. That said, I think the Western provides some distinctive elements, both dramatically and morally, that you don't find much in properly medieval tales of this general ilk. In particular, Westerns typically portray legitimate governmental authority as, at best, ineffectual and, at worst, uncaring about the trials and tribulations of those who live on the frontier. I see your typical D&D adventurer as far more like a gunslinger than a knight errant, both in his behavior and (more importantly) his relationship to the society he defends.

    I think you may need to get more familiar with medieval storytelling and history. ;)

    Indeed the various French chansons have often been described as "westerns" or "cowboys and indians". To me, the western looks suspiciously like medieval feudal society with guns. The reverse is obviously also true, but the items you are particularly highlighting (distant or uncaring government, outsider relationship of protagonist to society on account of violence, apparent amorality and otherwise flawed heroes) are all important themes in medieval stories (not all of them, obviously).

    ReplyDelete
  29. To me, the western looks suspiciously like medieval feudal society with guns. The reverse is obviously also true, but the items you are particularly highlighting (distant or uncaring government, outsider relationship of protagonist to society on account of violence, apparent amorality and otherwise flawed heroes) are all important themes in medieval stories (not all of them, obviously).

    I'd agree that there are medieval tales where "Western" elements can be found, but I still would argue that such tales are unusual.

    That aside, I think it highly unlikely that Gygax and Arneson were picking up these themes from medieval French chansons or Spanish epopeyas. They grew up watching and reading Westerns and it's through that medium that it entered D&D.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'd agree that there are medieval tales where "Western" elements can be found, but I still would argue that such tales are unusual.

    Not as unusual as you might think! This will make for an interesting essay, but I think it will have to wait for another time and forum; another thing to add to my "to do" list.

    That aside, I think it highly unlikely that Gygax and Arneson were picking up these themes from medieval French chansons or Spanish epopeyas. They grew up watching and reading Westerns and it's through that medium that it entered D&D.

    It certainly must have been a contributing factor, but I would argue it is just one thread amongst many. Indeed, Beyond the Black River is perhaps the most obviously "western" influenced REH Conan tale, but it I think it could have been told much as it is without the advent of the western.

    Pure speculation, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Not as unusual as you might think! This will make for an interesting essay, but I think it will have to wait for another time and forum; another thing to add to my "to do" list.

    Please let us know when you write it, as I'd love to be proven wrong :)

    Indeed, Beyond the Black River is perhaps the most obviously "western" influenced REH Conan tale, but it I think it could have been told much as it is without the advent of the western.

    As I recall, the story owes its origin one or more stories of actual events REH heard or read about as a young man. He was very interested in the settling of Texas and other regions of the western US and that interest sparked the creation of the story. So, while it is often said to be influenced by Westerns, I think it's truer to say that it was influenced by the same history that inspired Westerns as well.

    Unless I am completely misremembering the details of its origins, in which case ignore me :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Please let us know when you write it, as I'd love to be proven wrong :)

    Will do.

    As I recall, the story owes its origin one or more stories of actual events REH heard or read about as a young man. He was very interested in the settling of Texas and other regions of the western US and that interest sparked the creation of the story. So, while it is often said to be influenced by Westerns, I think it's truer to say that it was influenced by the same history that inspired Westerns as well.

    Unless I am completely misremembering the details of its origins, in which case ignore me :)


    Yeah, getting ahead of myself there. What I meant to say was though that tale reads like it was informed by the "western", it actually more likely draws on the same (varied) source material.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.