Saturday, May 27, 2017

Adapting C.L. Moore's North West Smith Novels & C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner Last Citadel To The 'Old Solar System' Campaign Setting

So last night I took a look at C.L.Moore's North West Smith novellas &  how they relates to my 'Old Solar' system setting. North West Smith is at his heart & soul a rocket jockey whose adventures come from side ventures. So there's a ton of elements that have much in common with pulp Westerns, but when it comes to the planets of the 'Old Solar System' then the role of adventurers comes very clear. These rocket jockeys are the life blood of the 'Old Solar' system ferreting cargoes across the worlds & bringing supplies where & where they're needed. Yet in almost every story & novella Northwest Smith & company seem to down on their luck. The fact is that rocket jockeys are being constantly  squeezed by outfits like Leigh Brackett's Terran Exploitations Company. Mars & the rest of the solar system is an incredibly rich mineral & natural resource playground, these corporations know the 'real history' of the solar system & are taking full advantage of it. Northwest Smith is one rat whose able to move through the walls of the politics, situations & more that have arisen around these events. There have been several mass extinction events that took out the Hyperborean presence in out in the 'Old Solar System'.
Moore's friends Edmond Hamilton & Leigh Brackett used the Lovecraftian history of  these events within their own stories but that's another blog entry entirely.

Northwest Smith's novellas & stories indicate a very different solar system to our own.One where the loss of 'Old Earth' edges toward the fact that the Hyperboreans dealt with a incredible event on a solar system scale event  as best they could. Coping through  planetary terraforming, large scale inter-dimensional planar engineering, & mass population migration into the past as well as the future. There are a number of alternative worlds where the Hypeboreans also set up shop.
  A number of Lovecraftian alien god survivors pop up throughout the Northwest Smith stories. But these are lower tier alien god things that have carved out niches in the histories of the younger races of Martians, Venusians, etc. These god things are those that survived as the younger races have migrated out into the solar system have done so with cults. The younger races have now become the dominant species throughout the system. The old cults carry on as best they can with traces of Hyperborean religious zealots surviving as fringe cults on the edges of the solar system. There are rumors of these in the asteroid belts, colonies on Mars, Venus, etc. Religious cults in some inter colony areas are possibly simply a part of life.

The Terran Exploitations Company from Leigh Brackett's stories & novellas is perfectly aware of the Lovecrafian history of the solar system. They allow many of these fringe elements to go on for the simple fact of exploiting the technologies & situations. As a sprawling corporation with mining interests they know about the exo planetary fossil record. As a faction in a retroclone system they're perfectly aware of the dangers of dimensional travel & time travel as well as how they relate to FTL in the 'old solar system' setting. A good example of the types of weirdness that we see are the Hyperboreans in C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner Last Citadel.

"Earth's Last Citadel is a science fiction novel written by the American husband and wife team of C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner. It was first published in 1943 in the magazine Argosy[1] and in book form it was published first in 1964"
The accounts of the survivors of the "Earth's Last Citadel" novella are going to have be circulated through the halls of power on Earth for centuries. Its going to point out the dangers of planar & dimensional travel.
"During World War II, four people (two belonging to the Allies, two to the Axis) find a strange vehicle in the Tunisian desert. It whisks them to the far future where the Earth has been conquered and mankind is nearly extinct."
This far future is very much in the style of William Hope Hodgeson's Nightland 
full of all of the usual Dying Earth & Lovecraftian setting motifs that we've come to expect in pulp lost world adventures. This novella is a perfect adventure location for dungeon or ruin exploitation by adventurers. This makes it a perfect location for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

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