Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Keeping Perspective

Hot Times in the Old Town



Speaking of forest fires:
The 1930s were the banner years for forest fires. In 1937, there was one forest fire every three minutes per the NY Times.

But in 1910, a few years after the Forest Service was formed and not on the above graph, "a devastating series of forest fires swept over Idaho, Montana, and Washington, culminating on August 20–21 in what is known as the "Big Blowup." Coming only five years after the U.S. Forest Service’s establishment, this seminal event made a deep and lasting impact on the agency. ... [T]he young agency was undermanned, underfunded, and underprepared for what was to come. ...  On August 20 hurricane-force winds swept through the region and fanned embers and low flames back to life all across the Northern Rockies. There was no stopping or containing the fire; one could only hope to avoid it. Trains raced to evacuate towns just ahead of the flames." 

Thus began the Forest Service's Smokey the Bear campaign to prevent forest fires. Unlike most federal programs, it seems to have been successful and involved among other things a program of "controlled burns" in Forest Service lands to clear out inflammable underbrush. About 30 years ago, TOF read an article about the end of the controlled burn program because it was non-environmental: Nature should be allowed to take its course, even if that meant occasional wildfires. Hey, it's Nature!

Lo and Behold! As the underbrush and deadwood once more accumulated, the number of burned acres began to increase slightly, starting roughly ten years ago. 

Flood and Mud

Fires were not the only thing going on.

ALL EASTERN AMERICA UNDER FLOOD WATERS




Terrible Duststorm Rages In West



PRESIDENT SIGNS 
APPEAL AS 
CAPITOL FLOODED.


100 CITIES AND 14 STATES AFFECTED.
NEW YORK. Thursday.
A quarter of the area of the United States was
under flood waters today. It is a disaster ranking
with the worst calamities from natural causes that
have occurred in the history of the nation. Property
damage is so great that it is almost incalculable. Loss
of life may exceed 1000 for already 160 fatalities are
known and 40 people are missing.
As Eastern American States became almost
covered with water, terrible dust-storms raged across
the central and western States, tearing the crops out
by the roots and laying waste thousands of square
miles of country. Where the dust struck snow
storms, it rained mud.
So reported the Perth (Western Australia) Daily News on Friday, March 20, 1936
An extraordinarily dramatic
touch was given to the Presi-
dent's appeal to the nation for
Red Cross fund for, even as he
signed the proclamation, thous-
ands of Works Progress Admin-
istration workers were strug-
gling desperately to erect bul-
warks against the waters of the
Potomac River which rapidly
are approaching within a few
squares of White House itself.
Just in case you've been getting a-skeered by weather coverage lately.

Hurricane Season Off to a Whimper

Fascinatingly, the weatherfolk watching the tropical Atlantic have been reduced to reporting on a "scary," nameless "disturbance" (Invest 99-L) that might grow up to be a tropical depression that could deepen into a tropical storm that might be intensify into a hurricane that could reach Cat. One. This is because there has been, contrary to theory, a decided dearth of actual hurricanes to speak of for the past 11 years; although since we started naming tropical storms it does not actually seem so when one reviews the named storms. There is now a move to name tropical depressions in order to keep the count up. For now, the headlines will have to read:
An amazing stretch of almost 11 years without a major hurricane
may or may not be coming to an end.

Hot Enough Yet?

Speaking of heat waves, in 1936 a heat wave caused 12,183 deaths in the US, the NY Times reported (July 7, 1936)
The Chicago Tribune reported a week later (July 14, 1936) that hundreds had died in Detroit from the heat wave and that Chicago itself was also baking.Meanwhile, over in Ohio, the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune in Ohio (July 25, 1936) tells us:
CROP CRISIS WORSE,
HEAT RISING TO 119°
with a sub-head that
31 CITIES ARE OVER 100°
Ach, du Lieber! TOF hears you ask, How many days went over 105°F?

Hard to say, but here is the graph of the percentage of US HCN temperature stations that hit that level sometime during the year:
So the 1930s peaked pretty dang hot compared to today's less extreme climate. Of course, Alert Reader will note that there will always be a few weather stations hitting the 105 point, roughly 15% of them.

The 1930s also featured worries about global warming

Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says 
“A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, engendering a "serious international problem," Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist, said today.

New York Times, May 30, 1937

A ship was reported to have made the Northwest Passage across open waters, but TOF has not located the report.

So, the world rallied and did nothing and before you could say Jack Robinson, the Times was reporting:

“After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder.
New York Times, Jan. 30, 1961

 And just to emphasize the everything old is new again theme, 1938 was also the year Hilaire Belloc wrote his warming that Islam, though then quiescent could easily revive and threaten once more the cities of the West

The common root to all this is short term memory.
"[M]en are always powerfully affected by the immediate past:
one might say that they are blinded by it." -- Hilaire Belloc

Monday, August 15, 2016

TOF and the Fibers

Today when visited by a technician seeking the cause of the snap-crackle-pop on the house phones, TOF learned why there is no FiOS service in town. Unlike NJ, where if a provider wants to change from cable to fiber they simply do it, the Commonwealth in its wisdom requires that the provider get permission from the municipality before acting.

The municipalities know an opportunity when they see it and the City of Easton made it a requirement for installing fiber that the provider fund a new wing for the high school. Pay to play, indeed. Unfortunately, the value of the market being served is less than the cost of funding a wing for the high school and so the provider declined.There will be no FiOS locally until the extortion regulation is dropped. Thus, proving you don't have to be a Federal government to get in people's way.

You can see where the city is coming from. They want to point to the goodies they provided without the ugly necessity of taxing voters to pay for them.That would run the risk of the voters saying No in order to complain a few years later about crowding in the high school. (Sure, governments are stoopid; but so are voters.)

TOF recollects another example a few years ago in which a municipality demanded a bike path as the price for allowing a building expansion. And folks wonder why recoveries are sluggish. 

And just to complete the circle, when the technician called into the office to activate the fix he had already set up, the office had no record of the work order. So he had to unplug it and set up another appointment for a time when we won't be in the house.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Sobering Look


Records
"The boys don’t just have better records, the women’s records wouldn’t likely qualify for the boys state championships." -- Joseph Moore

Why does this matter? Sports discriminates: women only compete against other women.

But US law now says that if someone "believes" he is a really-truly woman on the inside, he is entitled to enter women's locker rooms, rest rooms,... and engage in women's sports. How long before some young men catch on to this easy way to achieve Olympic greatness?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Deus vult! Part III: I have come in order to die

Back in March and April, TOF began a series on the Crusades, but shortly after a wasp broke his humerus. This has distracted him since from any but trifles. It is now time to resume the narrative.

Hmm. His list of pending blog posts includes also America's Next Top Model and In Psearch of Psyche, both of which have fallen into a black hole. In fact, there may be other series of which I have entirely forgotten. Time to shrug into motion, sez I.

In Deus Vult! Part I, we reviewed in the form of a chronology four hundred years of muslim aggression against Christendom, a region known to the muslims by the subtly suggestive name "House of War." Technically, India, China, and sub-Saharan Africa also live in this house, but at this point in history, most of the action is in the West. India is pending on their to-do list, and China has been kicked out of Afghanistan.¹ Africa will have to wait because there is nothing there that the muslims want, except slaves.

In Deus Vult! Part II, we encountered the Standard Model of the Crusades as an unprovoked  incursion by boorish oafs (as well as oafish boors) into the suave and sophisticated House of Submission. This model was constructed by Marxist historians and their camp followers, who were writing in the twilight of the Age of Imperialism, and consequently, in that marvelous way we have of seeing ourselves wherever we look, saw the Crusades as an earlier version of the Age of Imperialism. No one thought to ask how all those muslims got all over everywhere in the first place.² Could be the Crusades were an anti-imperialist movement! What is the statute of limitations on conquest?
Notes:
1. Afghanistan. One of the reasons the Islamists keep blowing up antiquities from Buddha statues to Palmyra to Cyrene is that they don't like reminders that Others had been there before them and built great works. The Wahhabis have scoured the Peninsula of any trace of the Turkish occupation, or indeed of early Islam itself.    
2. in the first place. For example, TOF recently watched a series on the Old West that involved in part the obnoxious taking by the whites of the Black Hills from the Lakota. Was there any mention that the Lakota had previously taken them from the Cheyenne? Or the Cheyenne from the Arapaho? Even to ask the question is to answer it.

On Your Mark

IN THE STANDARD MODEL, the crusaders were imagined as second sons with no inheritance, as robber barons, as highwaymen, or as others with nothing to lose out to get rich on the fabled wealth of the Orient. More recently, historians have started to look at the surviving data (such a marvelous thought!) and have found that this was not the case.

The pilgrimage to the East was self-funded, for one thing. No one was paying the knight's plane tickets. In fact, there were no planes!³ So everyone had to get there on his or her⁴ own.
Notes
3. no planes. On a positive note, this meant no one could hijack them or fly them into the Hagia Sophia. Well, not until 1204, anyway.  
4. her. You heard me. Of the 150,000 people who took the pledge, the majority were women, the poor, and the elderly. These were asked to stay at home and pray for success. They would get in the way of the more muscular pilgrims. Spaniards were also asked to stay home. They had their own crusade to attend to. But by the somewhat libertarian nature of medieval society, no one other than a sworn lord could outright forbid anyone from engaging in pilgrimage and many went anyhow. Some of the lords brought their wives and families.
Whoa! Out of my way, pilgrim!
Crusading was expensive, up to five times one's annual incomes. (Louis IX’s Seventh Crusade⁵ in the mid-thirteenth century will cost more than six times the annual revenue of the Crown.) To cover the nut, knights and lords sold freeholds, settled property disputes at a disadvantage, liquidated estates, borrowed from relatives, submitted grant proposals, and maxed out their credit cards. This was so extensive that preparations for the First Crusade introduced considerable inflation into Western Europe⁶ and instigated a net flow of wealth from West to East. (So much for getting rich on the wealth of the East.) One of the reasons why the Fourth Crusade will get hijacked to Constantinople was that it will run out of money before it even gets rolling.

They sold off their wealth with no expectation of an ROI. (In fact, except for maybe a few stray Lombards, they may not have known what an ROI was! There was not a single MBA in all Europe. Which may explain their prosperity.)

Yes, prosperity. They had to raise that money from somewhere. Global warming was in full swing, lengthening the growing season, expanding the arable land, increasing the harvests. Had Europe been poor, she could not have afforded these expeditions. 

Only about 40,000 of this total actually marched east. They did not all go together, and many did not complete the journey but turned back when their funding dried up. It was not an organized expeditionary force. It was 40,000 knightly or lordly dudes and their dependents all going in the same general direction for more or less the same purpose at approximately the same time.

That purpose was to make pilgrimage to the Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and the time was 15 Aug 1096. That's right, sports fans! This is the 920th anniversary of the kick-off to the First Crusade. Woo-hoo!
Notes
5.
Louis IX’s Seventh Crusade. I wish we could have had Louis VII's Ninth Crusade, too, but the math doesn't work out.
6. considerable inflation. Later crusaders will take this into account and begin saving up for the journey years ahead of time, a sort of medieval layaway plan.
Don't call me Shirley!
PILGRIMAGE? The Marxist historians of yore could not credit such a thing. Since neither they themselves nor their camp followers believed in religion, they could not believe that others actually did. It must be social cover, it must be hypocrisy. Surely, they could not have been serious! Perhaps they did not believe that rough and tumble warriors could also be pilgrims.⁷

But they were. That the expedition was a cynical exercise in Realpolitik is a Modern illusion suffered by those who see their own beliefs fortuitously reflected in the past. Oh, surely among 40,000 warriors and their dependents there were some cynics and hypocrites, there were some looking to get rich, just as there are in today's NGOs. But remember, no one ordered them to go, they were not sent, they did not belong to an army. They each took a pledge individually to make the journey. The pledge was to God, not a king or baron. They were not even volunteers in the sense of the "All-Volunteer Force," because they were not joining an organization. They were all free agents, not team players.

In fact, they saw themselves as bound on an errand of mercy. The crusade was to be an exercise in charity (Riley-Smith, 1980). The muslims had taken the lands of Christ: his birthplace, his tomb, Antioch (where his followers were first called Christians), the homeland of the Cappadocian fathers, the patriarchate of Alexandria (second only to Rome in honor), the sites of three of the first four Councils. And it was the duty of every sworn vassal to recover the lands of his lord from the enemy. In this case, they had sworn fealty to Jesus. The lord was the Lord, and they were off to reclaim His lands.
Notes
7. warriors/pilgrims. When this was bruited recently in a comm box elsewhere, a correspondent took umbrage and claimed that calling them pilgrims made them seem harmless. Another example of modern picture-book understanding replacing actual historical context. Presumably, she was envisioning the Wife of Bath and others wending their jolly way to Canterbury in a well-groomed England rather than in a war-torn and chaotic Middle East.
IF PARTICIPATION WAS VOLUNTARY, knights had to be persuaded to go. This was done mainly through the crusade sermon, so we might expect these sermons to be full of enticing promises, rose-colored visions, and all the rest of the Late Modern panoply of PR and advertising.

They were not.

For the most part, crusade sermons were full of warnings that crusading brought deprivation, suffering, and often death. Many, if not most crusaders left expecting not to return.⁸ The casualty rate for the First Crusade has been estimated at 75%. This reality was well known anyway, and the potential recruiting pool would not have believed a more rosy picture. Jonathan Riley-Smith noted that crusade preachers “had to persuade their listeners to commit themselves to enterprises that would disrupt their lives, possibly impoverish and even kill or maim them, and inconvenience their families, the support of which they would . . . need if they were to fulfill their promises.”
When the grandfather of TOF was in the cadet corps at Catholic University in 1918, he was discouraged from majoring in philosophy and letters, which he desired above all else, and talked into enrolling in mechanical engineering. The enticement was "you'll get to see action sooner!" That action was the meatgrinder of the trenches of the Western Front. For that matter, there was the French Foreign Legion: "You are in the Legion to die and we will send you where you can die."
This enticing appeal -- You will probably die! -- worked precisely because the crusade was seen as a penitential act.  Undertaking known and significant hardships with the right motives was understood as an acceptable penance for sin. "Far from being a materialistic enterprise, crusading was impractical in worldly terms, but valuable for one’s soul. There is no space here to explore the doctrine of penance as it developed in the late antique and medieval worlds, but suffice it to say that the willing acceptance of difficulty and suffering was viewed as a useful way to purify one’s soul (and still is, in Catholic doctrine today). Crusading was the near-supreme example of such difficult suffering, and so was an ideal and very thorough-going penance." (Crawford, 2011)
For Christians . . . sacred violence, cannot be proposed on any grounds save that of love, ... [and] in an age dominated by the theology of merit this explains why participation in crusades was believed to be meritorious, why the expeditions were seen as penitential acts that could gain indulgences, and why death in battle was regarded as martyrdom. ...  As manifestations of Christian love, the crusades were as much the products of the renewed spirituality of the central Middle Ages, with its concern for living the vita apostolica and expressing Christian ideals in active works of charity, as were the new hospitals, the pastoral work of the Augustinians and Premonstratensians and the service of the friars. The charity of St. Francis may now appeal to us more than that of the crusaders, but both sprang from the same roots.
"Crusading as an Act of Love," Jonathan Riley-Smith,   History 65  (1980):177–92
Notes:
8. expecting not to return. Robert of Crésèques, a 13th-century crusader announced that he had “come from across the sea in order to die for God in the Holy Land” -- and promptly did so, in battle against overwhelming odds

Get Set


Around AD 968, the Byzantine Empire went over on the offensive, recovered Crete (961) and Cyprus (965), and advancing into northern Syria recovered Antioch (969) and the nearer parts of Armenia from the Caliphate.

In that same year, the Shi'ite Fatimids had moved from their original base in the Maghreb and seized control of Egypt,⁹ building Cairo to celebrate and by the way sucking all the oxygen out of the room for Alexandria, whose long era of prosperity now drew to a close. The Fatimids declared themselves Caliphs as the Sunni Umayyads in Spain had already done.

Just in time, too. It was a buyers market in caliphs. The Buyid princes from northwest Iran had been gradually making themselves masters of the plateau and had extended their control into 'Iraq, where they stripped the 'Abbasid caliph of his temporal authority. They still recognized his spiritual authority. Beyond Buyid reach, the western parts of the old Caliphate either fell into Fatimid hands or become independent Arab or Kurdish emirates.

As a result, the Holy Land fell into chaos with three-way fighting between Egypt, Mosul, and Aleppo as well as the occasional Bedouin raiders from the desert. Pilgrims found themselves molested as they had not been by the 'Abbasid caliphs.

Meanwhile, the Buyids began glancing nervously over their shoulders as the Turks, scandalized by Shi'ite control over Sunni populations, moved west. For uncounted centuries, they had been herders of cattle. Now they would become herders of men. 
Note:
9. Moved from their original base. Outside of Europe there were no nation states. Egypt had a certain self-consciousness and so did Persia, but for the most part, ruling dynasties could move around and establish themselves elsewhere. Imagine if the Windsors of England could pull up stakes and make themselves kings and queens of Poland. Instead of talking of the Kingdom of England, we'd talked about the Windsor Kingdom.
The middle of the 11th century was one of upheaval in the Middle East. The Nine Tribes of Turkestan (the Toghuz Oghuz, or "Ghuzz") poured west. One stream, the Cumans, flowed north of the Caspian into the Ukraine, where they drove the earlier Patzinaks into Romania. But the southern stream, who became the Saljūq Turks took control of Khorasan (1037) and smashed their former employers the Ghaznavids (1040). This attracted other Ghuzzers to their banner and they conquered the Buyids bit by bit until they took Baghdad (1055), after which they picked up Mosul, Aleppo, the Kurds, and the Caucasus. Their plan at this point was to advance against the heretics ruling Egypt -- the irony is that the people of Egypt were still largely Christian, at least 50% by some estimates -- but their Sultan, Alp Arslan started to tidy up his borders first. By the late 1050s, the Turks were raiding deep into Armenia, by 1060 into Cilicia.
Side note: Population pressure had squeezed two tribes out of Arabia: the Beni Hilal and the Beni Sulaym. The Fatimids had convinced them to abide in Upper Egypt and then, when their Zirid governors back in North Africa rejected the Shi'a, sent them into Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, where they kicked Zirid butt and converted the two regions -- now called "Libya" -- from Berber to Arab. However, whenever Libya is stressed, it tends to fracture into these two parts: Hilal in the west and Sulaym in the east.
The other big move was by the Sanhaja Berbers, ancestors of the Tuaregs, who came out of the desert, conquered Morocco (to which they gave its name) and began to intervene in the Spanish cockpit.

Alp Arslan humiliating the
Byzantine emperor
Romanus IV Diogenes could let the Normans have Sicily, but Armenia was the key to Anatolia and had to be defended. He gathered the main Byzantine army and began pushing east into Armenia. Alp Arslan, who had already turned toward Egypt, became alarmed about his lines of communication and did a 180. The two armies met at Manzikert on the shores of Lake Van, where Turkish horse-bow tactics ran the Byzantines ragged until the army disintegrated and the emperor was captured.

Short-sighted Greek generals competing for power hire Turkish mercenaries -- who turn on them and open the frontier for Turkoman herders to drive their flocks and herds into Anatolia.A palace coup overthrows Romanus and installs the Doukas family, who make a mess of things. Finally, Alexios I Komnenos takes control and steadies things up. He sends out peasant armies who take control of the coastlands of Anatolia


1095. Emperor Alexios I Komnenos writes to the pope for help.
 
The Arabs (wide cross-hatches) are out of the picture, although Second Wave Arabs have colonized Libya and interior Algeria flipping it from Berber to Arsb. The Berbers (tight mesh) rule in Spain and Morocco, the Algerian-Tunisian coast, and have set up a rival Caliph in Egypt. The Turks (border of open circles) have taken over Persia, Anatolia and are trading Syria/Palestine back and forth with the Fatimids.

Go!

When  already  that  time  drew  nigh,  to  which  the  Lord  Jesus  draws  the  attention  of  his  people  every  day,  especially  in  the  Gospel  in  which  he  says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and   follow me”,   there   was   a   great   stirring   throughout the whole region of Gaul, so that if anyone, with a pure heart and  mind,  seriously  wanted  to  follow  God and  faithfully  wished  to  bear  the cross after him, he could make no delay in speedily taking the road to the Holy Sepulchre.
-- Gesta Francorum

Coming Soon: Power to the People!

References

  1. Crawford, Paul F. "Four Myths About the Crusades," Intercollegiate Review (Spring, 2011)
  2. Madden, Thomas F. The New Concise History of the Crusades (Rowman-Littlefield, 2006)
  3. McEvedy, Colin. The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History (Penguin, 1992)
  4. Riley-Smith, Jonathon. The Crusades: A History, 2nd ed. (Yale University Press, 2005)
  5. Riley-Smith, Jonathon. "Crusading as an Act of Love," History 65 (1980): 177-92.
  6. Warren, David. "Of bombs and bulldozers," Essays in Idleness (3 Aug 2016)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Special Offer: Save 25%

TOF is excited. The collection Medieval Science Fiction, which contains TOF's essay "Discovering Eifelheim," is coming out at last! It's a hefty tome. Both the book and its price are measured in pounds! But you can get it for 25% off if you act now. 

There is also an essay by Vatican Astronomer Guy Consolmagno on medieval world-building and cosmology; essays on courtly love in Edgar Rice Burroughs; a study of Connie Willis' Doomsday Book; the medieval Dying Earth; and more. A TOC appears below.

The publisher's flier:

MEDIEVAL SCIENCE FICTION
Edited by CARL KEARS & JAMES PAZ

This volume brings two areas of study that have traditionally been kept apart into explosive contact. For the first time, it draws the historical literatures and cultures of the Middle Ages into the orbit of modern science fiction, aligning the cosmologies, technologies and wonders of the past with visions of the future. The essays it contains consider where, how and why “science” and “fiction” interact in medieval literature; they explore the ways in which works of modern science fiction illuminate medieval counterparts; and they also identify the presence and absence of the medieval past in science-fiction history and criticism. From the science and fictions of Beowulf to the medieval and post-medieval appearances of the Green Children of Woolpit; from time travel in the legend of the Seven Sleepers to the medievalism of Star Trek; from manmade marvels in medieval manuscripts to the blurring of medieval magic and futuristic technology in tales of the dying earth, the chapters repeatedly rethink the simplistic divides that have been set up between modern and pre-modern texts. They uncover striking resonances across time and space while also revealing how arguably the two most popular genres of today, science fiction and fantasy, have been constructed around conceptions, and misconceptions, of the Middle Ages.

CARL KEARS is currently based at King’s College London, where he teaches Old and Middle English Literature; 
JAMES PAZ is Lecturer in Early Medieval English Literature at the University of Manchester.

A Special Offer: Save 25%
£60.00/$99.00, June 2016
978 0 95398 388 9
9 colour illus.; 328pp,
23.4 x 15.6cm, HB
Kings College London Medieval Studies
King’s College London CLAMS
Offer Price
£45.00/$74.25

ORDER FORM Order online at www.boydellandbrewer.com – just enter offer code BB125 at the checkout

Table of Contents
Foreword by James Hannam
Introduction
1. Medieval Science Fiction: An Impossible Fantasy?
Carl Kears & James Paz
Science and Fiction in the ‘Dark Ages’
 2. Is Beowulf  Science Fiction?
 Daniel Anlezark
Time and Space Travel
3. The Future is a Foreign Country: The Legend of the Seven Sleepers and the Anglo-Saxon Sense of Past
 R.M. Liuzza
4. Untimely Travel: Living and Dying in Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book
Patricia Clare Ingham
5. ‘On Second Thought, Let’s Not Go To Camelot…‘Tis a Silly Space’: Star Trek and the Inconsequence of SF Medievalism
 Jeff Massey
The Alien
6. ‘Those two green children which Nubrigensis speaks of in his time, that fell from heaven’, or the Origins of Science Fiction
 Mary Baine Campbell
7. Edwin Morgan’s Aliens and Anglo-Saxons
 Denis Ferhatović
Technologies and Manmade Marvels
8. The Riddle of Medieval Technology
 Andy Sawyer
9. Dreams of War, Dreams of Dragons’ Fire: Conrad Kyeser’s Bellifortis
 Alison Harthill
Distant Planets, Distant Futures
10. Courtly Love on Mars: E.R. Burroughs and the Medieval Lineage of Planetary Romance
 Andrew Scheil
11. The Medieval Dying Earth
 James Paz
Making Medieval Science Fiction
12. Catapunk: Toward a Medieval Aesthetic of Science Fiction
 Minsoo Kang
13. Medieval Cosmology and World Building
Guy Consolmagno
14. Discovering Eifelheim
 Michael Flynn

Taxonomy

From the Classic Wizard of Id strips: