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March 29th, 2006

Happy Birthday, mooivos!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

orphanotrophy
A hospital for orphans.
--Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828


Death of Capt. Thomas Coram (c. 1668-1751),
English philanthropist, whose habitual good deeds, such as the establishment in 1741 of London's Foundling Hospital -- or Foundling Asylum, as he called it -- left him penniless. In 1745 the artist William Hogarth and other friends raised enough money to provide Coram -- who had once been shipwrecked -- with a modest £161 annuity, which paid the captain's basic expenses during the last six years of his life. William Walsh's Handy-Book of Curious Information (1913) reported on an unusual problem that cropped up at the orphanage long before the advent of DNA testing: "One of the minor difficulties, which still persists, though in minimized form, is that of naming the foundlings. In former times, persons of quality and distinction used occasionally to act as sponsors, and honored the children with their names. The practice has been abandoned because the children, when they grew up, used to claim relationship on the strength of it."

-The Gneech

Hmm... [writing, gaming, fantasy]

I had a little spark of inspiration today for a fantasy setting that struck me as interesting. It's not a new idea by itself, but it's a new application of an existing idea, if you see what I mean. I'm being vague here because I'm not sure if the premise has been done before on the particular scale I have in mind.

To give a vague parallel here, there have been plenty of fantasy worlds that had deserts in them, but it wasn't until Dune came along that somebody explored the idea of an entire world that was a desert and the ramifications thereof. That's the kind of idea I'm thinking of, a particular setting built around a specific environment, and I can't think of any examples in the fantasy fiction I've read or gaming materials I've seen. I've seen one computer game that had a similar premise ... a long time ago. And that's all I can think of.

Problem is, for all my saturation in fantasy gaming, I haven't actually read much fantasy fiction that was written after 1955 or so ... so this could be a complete cliché and I could easily have not heard about it. The fantasy that interests me the most to read is classic pulp sword-and-sorcery, whereas this idea I've got is probably more suited to the contemporary epic.

I'll have to do some research and maybe make some discreet inquiries among my more contemporary-fantasy-minded friends. It could be that this is just the angle I need to really launch a good novel series.

-The Gneech

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