Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Ponds of Happenstance

People often ask me where the name for my blog--The Ponds of Happenstance--comes from and why I favor the Linus character from Peanuts.

Well, that's not exactly true. They don't often ask me these things. Actually, I don't think anyone has ever asked me either question. But I'm going to explain it all anyway, just for kicks.

The Ponds of Happenstance is a reworking of a book title: The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, book two of the Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock. People who happen to follow me on Twitter may have noticed my byline there, Sailor on the Ponds of Happenstance.

The main character of this fantasy saga--Elric of Melniboné--is not exactly human. He's Melnibonéan, in fact, an ancient race slowly dying out in mankind's distant past. What is left of them live on the Isle of Melniboné. Elric is the last king of his people. But he's also--unlike others of his race--physically frail and weak, an albino by birth, though still a powerful sorcerer. He comes to wield an accursed but powerful weapon--Stormbringer--that is really an evil demon in the form of a sword.

Throughout the saga, Moorcock returns to again and again to a major theme: that of the Eternal Champion. The basic idea is that there are many universes existing simultaneously--Moorcock calls this the "Multiverse"--and in all of them there is a struggle between two diametrically opposed forces: Law and Chaos. While it would seem to be a struggle between good and evil, this is not strictly true. The role of the Eternal Champion is to maintain the Cosmic Balance, thus sometimes serving Law, sometimes serving Chaos (and the Champion is not always certain of his role).

So what does any of this have to do with me? Simple: I'm kind of an Elric-lite. Instead of seas, I sail the much less dangerous ponds. Instead of battling Fate, I need deal only with chance, with happenstance. True, I'm no albino, but like Elric, I'm tall and thin. And fairly pale-skinned, as fate--or rather, hapenstance--would have it.

I'm no king and certainly not the last in a line of kings, yet I often claim to be the Last of the Hobbesians, for what it's worth. And I really do feel like I'm on an island sometimes. For I have found very few people in my life that truly agree with me, top to bottom, on social, economic, and political issues. Frequent readers may have notices my affinity for both Marxist and anarchist scholars. Or my less-than-party-line opinions on various social issues. And while I seem to follow--economically--in lockstep with Cato/libertarian thinkers, there are major points of divergence. Thus I often seem to be--in my mind's eye--caught between two worlds, arguing for both Law and Chaos.

Why Linus? I should think it obvious: I have no sword, no Stormbringer, just a wet blanket most of the time...

Cheers, all.


  1. Well, I thought for once you'd have a completely non-political blog post, but it was for naught. Somehow you turned a wonderful discussion of the creations of Michael Moorcock political.

    And really, all this time I thought you were a hardcore conservative. I've never noticed any Marxist bent. :D

  2. Really? Ask Mac, she knows. Lisa, too. :P

  3. You probably paid them off.

  4. I got so excited remembering these old favorites that I nearly became a Sailor on the Puddle of IncontInence