[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

(TFT) On Thud And Blunder


I had to refer to this elsewhere. Not sure if I've pointed you TFT guys to it or not. It's Poul Anderson, the author, writing about bad fantasy. It was written quite a while ago, and still is mostly true. 

Still, there's a few areas where his writing has been superceded:

The straight-down chop is a staple of most of the historic manuals. Fiore's fendente, and the men cut of kendo are all of this type. But those are not done out of the blue, they're set up. 

These days, the pork roast experiment is regularly done, and the roast is cut all to hell. 

European swords aren't crude at all. There's as many hundreds of years behind their development as there was in Japan (actually more, as the classic Japanese sword didn't come about until 800 or so). As Peter Johnsson says," By 1500, there was a thousand years of continuous development. There's nothing in this sword that's accidental."

The hundred-pound bows did exist, and were used. The Mary Rose finds, for example, contained hundreds of bowstaves. I suspect that at the time, he hadn't worked out that one does not draw such a bow with the arms. 

As for single-blow kills, he's right, they're uncommon. As for the rest, he's off a bit. I've attended a class by a trauma surgeon (and fencer), who showed in great anatomical detail that there's just no good place to run someone through (as in, no good for them). Hit an unarmoured foe nearly anywhere with force, and he's out of the fight. Not dead, but out. 

Bascially, while the last 20 years of serious study of weapons, armour, and technique by the various WMA groups, swordsmiths, and reenactors has pushed the edges of knowledge back quite a bit, what he writes still makes sense. 

It's fantasy, but has to be grounded in reality. If you make the world act like the real world, then we can suspend disbelief for things like magic. 

Neil Gilmore
Post to the entire list by writing to tft@brainiac.com.
Unsubscribe by mailing to majordomo@brainiac.com with the message body
"unsubscribe tft"