As a fan of the Warhammer 40K universe and a former Games Workshop Employee (that is 16 years in the past, so I have nothing to do with any of the weird stuff that has been happening recently) I was really excited when I heard about the „The Lord Inquisitor“ movie project.
The movie is animated, produced, cut etc. by one person (!): Erasmus Brosdau and tells the story of a Lord Inquisitor on a mission to retrieve a chaos artifact.
If you are unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40k universe, here is a very brief rundown:
The universe is set in the 40th millenium of our calendar (thus 40k) and in our galaxy. For the past 10.000 years (i.e. since the 30th millenium) the Imperium of Man under the guidance of the Emperor of Mankind, who sits on the Golden Throne has withstood being assaulted on all sides, including within, by uncountable foes.
One of the most dire threats to the Imperium is Chaos. During a civil war within the Imperium, 10.000 years ago, forces of the Imperium who had been corrupted by Chaos were almost victorious and were only beaten back after their supreme leader, Horus, was killed by the Emperor of Mankind. But the Emperor of Mankind, gravely wounded during the battle against Horus, has ever since been confined to the Golden Throne, which is amongst other things, his life-support system.
To battle Chaos, the people left in charge of the Imperium after the Emperor was interned in the Golden Throne and became basically incummunicado, formed the Inquisition, specifically, the Ordo Malleus of the Inquisition, a.k.a. The Deamon Hunters, dedicate their life to battling Chaos and its deamons. The most influential and powerful members of the Inquisition are called Lord Inquisitors.
So much for the very brief summary of what is going on in the Warhammer 40k universe is about and who and what the Lord Inquisitor in this movie is. From what is said in the trailer, he has to be a member of the Ordo Malleus.
Erasmus has this to say abou the trailer:
“This is the first trailer for my private free time animation “The Lord Inquisitor”, based on Warhammer 40.000. I have done this almost alone over the last 1.5 years of hard work and was lucky to gain a cool community who support my animation. There is a lot to tell about this project, please visit thelordinquisitor.com or Lord Inquisitor on Facebook for much much more info”
The movie is still in production, which is little wonder since it is a one-man project, and has been in production for years, but the prologue will be released on the 28th of August 2016, i.e. in five days as of the writing of this article. You can go and check it out on Erasmus‘ Youtube Channel!
This update is just a teaser to a bigger thing that is coming up. It ties in rather nicely with a point I made several blog posts ago concerning Steampunk and education.
My good friend Bonsart Bokel of Radio Retrofuture, who is providing me with a lot of input lately, has pointed my attention towards a debate that has been going on in the science/teaching world, especially in the USA for a while.
In short it is about this:
Should the focus on STEM subjects in school (i.e. Science, Technology, Enineering, Mathematics) be extended by an A for Art, thus, turning STEM into STEAM (Hurray!).
Opinions are not only devided on the matter, as is basically always the case on the ætherweb, there are some rather nasty flame wars going on.
Accusations of Patriarchical Dominace™ and Feminazi Activism™ in various stages of colourful language being flung left and right at the dark end of the conversation.
Since I am rather interested in matters of education, I decided to look into the matter and will present my findings later. As you can probably tell, I also have an opinion on the matter which is different from Bonsart’s from what I gathered but since I am still in the process of collecting material, I will not voice anything just yet.
In any case, this is a fascinating subject! Talk to you soon.
Kenny Baker, who will forever be known and remembered as the actor who brought R2-D2 to life, has passed on today aged 81, just 11 days shy of his 82nd birthday. According to various sources, he had been ill for a while already.
2016 has claimed another Great One. Rest in the Force, Sir!
A few weeks back I had the gentleman, scholar and all-around splendid chap Bonsart Bokel as a guest on my podcast and now we collaborated again. This time, I was a guest on his æthereeb show Radio Retrofuture.
We were talking Steampunk and how skepticism fits in there. The short answer is: Neatly.
For the long answer, check out the video:
Granted, this is a rather sensationalist headline and I freely admit, it has only a very remote connection to the article here, but there is a certain truth to it. I would not be surprized if a fair number of Sumerian gods originally were real people who got deified in the course of ancestor worship or because several real people got mashed into one through oral history mix-ups and other factors.
Gilgamesh, the main character of the Epic of Gilgamesh, is now no longer regarded as a mythological figure, instead, enough actual historical records have been found, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was a real king.
Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia (the article is well sourced, so you can do your own reasearch from there):
Gilgamesh is generally seen by scholars as an historical figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the existence of other figures associated with him in the epic. If Gilgamesh existed, he probably was a king who reigned sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC.
Before I continue, here is the epic of Gilgamesh, the first recorded poem (that we are aware of) in the history of our species as a audiobook:
Now, if you listen to the audiobook and/or read the Epic yourself, you will surely note one thing: The Sumerian gods appear rather human and are not at all omnipotent, they are for lack of a better term very human gods. They are even less powerful and also less capricous than the Olympian or Asgardian gods.
One of the reasons for that is that they are basically first tier gods, very early in the development of codified religion in human culture. They come from a time when human cultures were still very separated and religions were not yet in much competition with one another and there was no need for active proselytization because gods of different cultures and/or ethicities were not in competion, yet.
But I digress.
While listening to the audiobook I recognized some striking similarities and highly interesting differences in context, between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the first few chapters in Genesis:
Here for example the creation and civilization of Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s best friend:
Enkidu was made from clay (just like Adam) and saliva by Aruru, the goddess of creation (Adam got the breath of life from YHW), to rid Gilgamesh of his arrogance. In the story he is a wild man, raised by animals and ignorant of human society (Adam and Eve were pure before the fall) until he is bedded by Shamhat. Samhat was a sacred prostitute and the act of deliberate, sacred intercourse turned the wild man into a civilized man.
Shamhat then becomes Enkidu’s urbane „mother“, teaching him the basics of civilized life, eating, drinking wine, and dressing himself.
In the Bible, the act of eating the forbidden fruit (Eve tempting Adam afer being tempted by the serpent) gives them understanding, of a certain sort which YHW actually does not want, and YHW clearly is not omniscient yet in the early parts of Genesis, because Adam is able to hide from YHW because he is ashamed that he is naked (i.e. He rather wants to be clothed, because being naked is not civilized).
Genesis 3:9 – 3:11:
Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, „Where are you?“ He said, „I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.“1And He said, „Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?“
Lord God has to call out for man because he does not know where Adam and Eve are and he does not know who tempted them both. This version of YHW is very clearly not yet the all-powerful deity of the new testament and shows the same human traits and weaknesses as the gods of Ancient Sumeria.
So, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, coming from the wilderness and having no understanding is the less desirable state and the tempting woman, the sacred prostitute, is a positive figure, while in the Bible, the tempting woman is the evildoer and his creation having understanding is actually somthing the god in question does not want.
Before I continue, here is some background on Ancient Sumeria, the place were Gilgamesh was king of the city uf Uruk. Sumeria was less of a kingdom as we see it today and more of a collection of city-states, linked by trade and a common culture. The area of Sumer was comparatively densely populated for the Bronze Age with important city-states being the aforementioned Uruk, Eridu, Uruk, Larsa, Isin, Adab, Kullah, Lagash, Nippur, Kish and Ur. Ur becomes really important for the rest of the argument.
Ur and Eridu are the two souternmost cities and Uruk is north-northwest of Eridu.
Now, if you know your Bible (and I guess it is also mentioned in the Q’ran) the first Patriarch, Abraham, was born in Ur, at a time when Ur was still Sumeria. We can savely assume if Abraham was a historical figure (which is actually doubtful), he was aware of the Epic of Gilgamesh and/or originally a follower of the religion of the area (i.e Enqui, Marduk, Inanna were the gods he grew up with). If Abraham is an amalgamation of several people of the area, they lived with those gods in their culture, the point remains the same.
The founder of the Abrahamic religions, starting with Judaism, had the cultural background of Sumer, yet, the mythos of this culture, sexuality being an integral and positive part of civilization, understanding and becoming civilized being a positive thing, was radically turned on its head with the woman becoming the temptress, women being worth less than men according to the Bible, and civilization and having understanding being portrayed as being the result of being tempted to eat from the forbidden fruit.
Why would a clearly life-embracing, life-celebrating and pro-sex culture and civilization then provide the basis of a very repressive family of religions?
The Epic of Gilgamesh was originally composed during the hight of the Bronze Age, its Golden Age, if you will. The foundation of Judaism, whicjh is also the basis of Christianity and Islam, came later, after the Bronze Age Collapse.
The city-states of the Ancient Near east collapsed, some of the cities were abanonned, populations declined, knowledge was lost, the collapse led to a transition period which was a comperative dark age. Since agricultural techniques were lost, the ability to sustain large populations was lost as well, a method to controle population growth had to be implemented. A very effective way to do this is to declare sexuality as sinful, make being naked sinful and, since it was most likely men who came up with that, blame it on the women. Also, since the city-states collapsed, blame civilization and idealize the uncivilized population in their „natural“ state and here it is, the foundation of the first Abrahamic religion. Rooted in a Bronze Age civilization, but all that was positive about that civilization portrayed as negative and sinful, due to the aftershocks of the Bronze Age collapse.
I think we should go back to the life-embracing roots of Ancient Sumeria, regard civilization as something good and stop feeling ashamed for being ourselves. It is great to have understanding, it is great to be human, this is what is at the core of the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is also at the heart of many pagan and neo-pagan religions.
In Asatru for example (i.e. neo-Viking religion, so to speak and an official religion in Iceland), we are literal descendants of the Gods, Heimdalr in the form of Rig, is the father of all humanity.
We are not sinful, we are great! We can do great things, the old gods are with us, lets get to work!
I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the antarctic—with its vast fossil-hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice-cap—and I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain. Doubt of the real facts, as I must reveal them, is inevitable; yet if I suppressed what will seem extravagant and incredible there would be nothing left.
Delightful news for all the cultist gamers out there, if you have not heard about it before! The indy horror game At the Mountains of Madness is now available on Steam! This is the early-access version, so you also get the chance to participate in the final steps of the game’s development. Come on cultists, get involved in this game world and for a very moderate price in deed.
This is the game trailer:
And this is a gameplay video:
To sum up: An awesome looking indy horror game, based on the longest, and one of the most popular, story written by H.P. Lovecraft and the chance to contribute to this game as well. What a package of non-euclidean proportions (does that actually work, this adjective in this sentence, I hereby declare it does, so there!).
Check it out, I know I will.
Some time back I had the pleasure of interviewing Stef Conner regarding her work on reconstructing Sumerian and Babylonian music. Now, she has taken on another project, more modern, so to speak.
The projects concerns the Immortal Bard, William Shakespeare himself, and Stef is taking him into the 21st century. This is what the project is about in detail:
So, what we have here are several ridiculously talented people, pooling their skills to produce music that is classic and contemporary and brand new at the same time. What is not to like here?
But, as Stef has mentioned, this project needs our help, so please sidle over to IndiGoGo and support, every little helps.
You can also find out more about the parties involved here:
It happens rarely I simply post a press-release, but here I happily make an exception, because the whole topic is so awesome and also neccessary:
In Korea, orphan Rayven Choi has had 20 years to feel bitter about the hitman who brutally murdered her parents in cold blood. Now it is time for the thinking to stop and for action to take over. She is back in America, and she is on a mission. She is a bounty hunter with a score to settle…
Los Angeles, CA, July 25, 2016 – Right on the heels of this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con International, award-winning writer and director Shequeta L. Smith has launched the first book in a her six-part graphic novel series, Rayven Choi, complete with a 14-minute companion film. The book will be available in both English and Korean.
The multimedia series turns the comic book boys‘ club on its head with a strong African-American heroine leading the action-packed story of vengeance and female empowerment, written and directed by a woman.
Putting a powerful African-American protagonist at the heart of the adventure was important for Smith, knowing that positive female characters are in short supply in the comic book world. And recognizing female creators are even rarer in the comic book and film sectors, Smith aims to shine a light on the untapped talent of women in both industries.
Smith is a seasoned filmmaker who beat more than 5,000 entrants to become the only individual female director to reach the Top 20 in HBO’s Project Greenlight. After that, she turned her focus to adapting her award-winning screenplay, Rayven Choi, into a graphic novel.
“The female voice has been difficult to find in both the comic book and film worlds,“ she says. „I created Rayven Choi to help fill this void and to showcase the superhuman inner strength that all resilient women seem to possess.“