|Albino Alligators||In the Gorean month of En'Kara, an exquisite sale was made at the great market city of Corcyrus - seven rare albino alligators. |
Ligurious paid the counter-earth smuggers in Double-Weight Gold Tarn Disks. En route to their new owner, the Tatrix, Sheila, the alligators broke lost and escaped into the Vosk River. The current whereabouts of the alligators – and also Ligurious – is uncertain, although they are presumed to be at liberty in the southwest of Ar.
|On the other side of the sun, law enforcement officers in Brazil continued to investigate the other side of the transaction - the disappearance of the mammals from a university zoo in the western state of Mato Grosso. Their theory – which was close to the truth - was that they may have been stolen to be sold abroad. The animals, said by officials to be worth around $10,000 (£5,070) each, have no skin pigment and their eyes are a distinctive pink. Most of albino alligators born in the wild do not survive because their skin colour makes them vulnerable to attack. |
They were last seen when they were fed on New Year's Eve, but they were missing when a zoo official went to feed them again on Wednesday morning.
Police say there was no sign of a break-in at the zoo which contains more than 800 animals spread across 11 hectares (27 acres) hectares of parkland. The alligators were said to be young with an average age of around two years, and only one albino alligator is now left at the zoo.
Police say the rarity of the alligator will make the investigation difficult as the people involved in the illegal trading of such rare species are very secretive. The apparent theft also highlights a wider problem. Animal rights activists say Brazil accounts for 10% of the world's illegal trade in animals, mainly parrots and other birds, which are often sold in Europe and the United States.
Or further afield, shall we say. In their contentions with Priest-Kings, Kurii, savage denizens of the Steel Worlds, concealed within the asteroid belt, have frequently had recourse to human allies, and subversion. In accord with such projects, Kurii have occasionally sought to place and support congenial administrations in key cities. One such city is Corcyrus. Corcyrus is ruled by a beautiful woman, the cruel, arrogant, much-hated Sheila, an agent of Kurii.
|Balrog||In 1916, combat tension combined with an over-active imagination amplified by the experience of the Battle of the Somme had traumatised Second Lieutenant John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, eleventh battalion Lancashire Fusiliers.|
"Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud, he smote the the Bridge [of Khazad-Dum] before him. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog's feet it broke. With a terrible cry, the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it feel it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled around the wizad's knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasping vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss".
|Inside a military field hospital Tolkien fought a mental battle to defeat the phantasmagoric projections of the Somme. A battle, he would both win, and lose, and win again. Like Kurt Vonnegut fifty years later, Tolkien's need for expression sought out escapist literature, and his own fight was portrayed in this animated scene from the Mines of Moria. And also later, when he finally defeated the Balrog in the well of the Abyss.|
|Nelson Mandela||“Believe”, Nelson once said to me, “you must always believe.”|
”I believe the time has come.” ~ Samson Zola.
In Laura Resnick's dystopia, years of civil war had torn apart the dream of a Rainbow nation. Samson Zola prepared to assassinate the President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Even though he loved him like a father, he saw the need to return South Africa to its people.
|Stephen R. Donaldson||In 1968, Stephen Reeder Donaldson languished in Vietnam. By inclination a conscientious objector, he had been compelled to serve in the armed forces. |
Much later, and after dropping out of his Ph.D. program and moving to New Jersey in order to write fiction, Donaldson made his publishing debut with the first "Covenant" trilogy in 1977. That enabled him to move to a healthier climate. He now lives in New Mexico.
Donaldson's two year compulsory military duty would be the deep undercurrent of his escapist fantasy writing. In “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever”, the protagonist was a leper struggled with disempowerment in a Land he did not really believe in.
| Mud?" His leper's caution quivered. "I need soap, not more dirt."|
"This is hurtloam," repeated Lena. "It is for healing." She stepped closer and thrust the mud toward him. He thought he could see tiny gleams of gold in it.
He stared at it blankly, shocked by the idea of putting mud in his cuts.