Wednesday, October 7, 2009

German Article on M.A.R. Barker

Over at Dragonsfoot, member Galadrin has translated the text of an article about M.A.R. Barker and Tékumel from the online edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel. The article provides little new information for long-time Tékumel aficionados, but it's still terrific to see an article about the Professor and his creation in a mainstream news magazine. Of far more interest to me was the gallery of accompanying images, which includes several of Barker himself (I've only rare seen photographs of him) at various conventions and with other figures of note to the old school community (such as Dave Arneson).

Check it out.

11 comments:

  1. Roleplaying is really taken off in Europe in the last few years. If you look where the main publishing empires and innovation has been happening it is in Germany - so it is not surprising that Spiegel would devote a major section to this cultural phenomena.

    Also, Europeans had already seen what a fundamentalist backlash could do to a hobby in its infancy and given that this is an industry that Europeans want to grow and dominate.

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  2. Now that's good stuff. Whether you get Tekumel or not, it's a real triumph of the imagination. Barker did a tremendous job of deaming a new world and fearlessly breathing full life into it.

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  3. Great article. It's really neat too that we finally have some decent pictures of the man himself. Does anyone know if he's still GM'ing and running his Thursday night games?

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  4. As far as I am aware, Professor Barker is still running his Thursday night games as usual. His health isn't what it once was (whose is?), but he's still gaming with his group even at his advanced age -- an inspiration to us all.

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  5. Thanks for posting link to the photographs, James. I hadn't seen those.

    In my estimation, M. A. R. Barker and J. R. R. Tolkien (with Barker the greater of the two) tower above all other fantasists. I think that, centuries from now, scholars and students will be studying Barker's Tekumel and Tolkien's Middle-earth. All the other fantasy writers who seem so important to us now will be either utterly forgotten, or reduced to a mention in a footnote.

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  6. Re the photos from the mid-1980s of Prof. Barker, we're trying to get the entire collection up on a 'virtual museum' of our group's collection of Tekumel documents, photos, miniatures, and costumes. It'll take time, but there's lots (and lots, and lots!) more like this in the Aethervox collection.

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  7. All this reminds me: James, you should do a review of the Professors' Book of Ebon Bindings. Which by far, I believe is the darkest, twisted, most brilliant RPG supplement ever written. It even had not less then a printed warning in the front that the material isn't suitable for children( a first in the RPG Industry I believe).

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  8. I would have written:

    "of far more concern to me is the accompanying gallery of bizarre images..."

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  9. As a "one day I'm gonna run a game" type of Petal Throne fan, I got a kick out of some of those pics. Most especially the dot matrix printed calendar with notes scribbled all about.

    Perhaps some day I'll be able to do justice to the setting.

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  10. Very cool! Thanks for this. Was interesting to see the photos of Phil. I don't think I'd ever seen photos before.

    I too am a "one day I'm gonna run a game" type of Petal Throne fan.

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