Post by bigjackbrass on Jan 16, 2009 6:29:33 GMT -6
Issue 71 of Space Gamer (well worth tracking down through eBay or Noble Knight) was a Tékumel special issue and featured an interview with Professor Barker in which he was asked about this.
Aside from his general interest in Egyptian and Mayan culture he mentions "...other budding writers (Lin Carter was one of my best and strongest critics)..." and the "pulp" magazines of the time.
"I read copiously, as I said. I was thus influenced by almost any and every writer you can name: Howard, Merritt, E.R. Eddison, Clark Ashton Smith, Lovecraft, etc. Vance's Dying Earth came along, I think, only in 1951, and I loved it. Thereafter, Tékumel veered a little towards Vance's type of universe... Tékumel probably also gained some visual color from the movies: Thief of Baghdad, Sign of the Cross and many others. I loved the old Jon Hall/Maria Montez/Sabu/Turhan Bey potboilers."
All in all, I think that the professor created his world the way most of us do, drawing upon those histories and fictions that fascinate us and adding in (often without deliberate effort) elements from the world and popular entertainments around us. He's just particularly good at it
Good reply and quote, thanks. Don't think I have that issue of TSG (yet).
Yep; definitely Lin Carter and bouncing ideas to-and-fro - Barker's script and language are more elegant *g* - and pretty well established by 1950 (Dying Earth). That "veering" isn't overly noticeable on a lower level since the day-to-day setting and manner of presentation was largely in place by then, albeit with no sign of the pocket universe backstory. (One of those questions on my long "to ask" list, alas).
Last Edit: Jan 16, 2009 7:40:42 GMT -6 by harami2000
Thanks for the answers! Perhaps I'll try to find that issue of the Space Gamer.
Heh... that is definitely sounding like the best option: the early SR/Dragon articles are more world development than background inspiration, IIRC. I had a quick trawl through earlier sources for specific references and nothing jumped off the page explicitly. Designing one's own world is possible, of course (Barker had a particular way of phrasing that!), even if a degree of "inspiration" from background is inevitable. The other in-world "sources" are somewhat esoteric, unfortunately. *jk* (*checks a badger for any ideas*
<edit>:replace broken img link
Last Edit: Oct 12, 2009 13:33:58 GMT -6 by harami2000
Post by bigjackbrass on Jan 19, 2009 4:59:19 GMT -6
A wonderful list, there!
Space Gamer #71 is the main reason I found Tékumel in the first place, so I have a great fondness for it (and Space Gamer remains my favourite gaming magazine, even a couple of decades after its effective demise). You can see details of the cover and contents for that issue on this Acaeum page and it looks as though Noble Knight have one copy in stock.
Post by thetekumelproject on Dec 3, 2009 19:16:50 GMT -6
I think Professor Barker must have been partially inspired by his time in India (and region) - I can't recall exactly he studied. It seems to me that the East Indian influences are stronger than the Central American ones most people pick up on.
I was channel surfing on the Sunday and Vision TV was broadcasting some sort of Hindu (I believe) religious show. It featured to men in armour who seemed to be reciting passages or verse. What struck me was with the skin colour and black hair, combined with the exotic Hindu armour, they could easily have been warrior priests of Karakan!
I know that the armour is very ornate much like Muslim and Hindu armour was. You can see examples in some Tekumel art, and the Professor has told me the armour should be decorated on at least two occasions.
One of the Seal of the Imperium magazines drew attention to the similarity between Indian Religious carts and the Chlen carts. Did one inspire the other?
I posted in the blueroom at one point asking about whether some of the various sacrificial knives were based on Tibetan Phurbas and the like. He seemed to indicate that it was a subconscious influence possibly. Ancient cities like Tikal, the architecture of India, and China certainly are the basis for many of his own drawings of buildings. For some reason one of those temples at Chitzen Itza just looks like a Sarku temple.....
You may additionally want to read the article titled TSOLYANI NAMES WITHOUT TEARS by M. A. R. Barker in the magazine Strategic Review, Volume 1, Issue 4. You can view a pdf version in the files/Tekumel Articles/ section of the following yahoo group -