The Calpa & Notes Pertaining to a Panel in Salon D
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by John Norman
Description: Available for the first time as an ebook pairing, these two short stories by John Norman show off the verbal flair and philosophical complexity that go into the author's famous Gor Saga. THE CALPA attempts to describe the indescribable and paints an image of a thing unseen and ancient along the beach of a tiny village. NOTES PERTAINING TO A PANEL IN SALON D presents a lively SF convention panel exploring what life would be like if prehistory and evolution had skipped a beat.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads/E-Reads,
eBookwise Release Date: July 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [90 KB]
Reading time: 56-78 min.
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I am spelling this the way it sounds, though I suppose, too, it might, in English, be spelled with a 'K'. The particular expression, above, which I have chosen to refer to the phenomenon, antedates English, at least as we know it. It derives from some other language, I think a very old language, perhaps from some predecessor of Danish, or from Jutish, or Saxon, or, perhaps more likely, from one of the older Celtic tongues. It seems clear that its original language is no longer spoken, but the word has lingered, or survived, threading its way toward us through various languages, most recently a Scottish Gaelic, until it nestles now in English, at least locally, almost as though hiding, a word never forgotten, occasionally recalled, and appearing now and again, though commonly only in whispers, as among my current neighbors, who are simple, ignorant, sea-faring village folk. So, you see, we do not know where the word came from, that is, in the beginning. It may have been coined hundreds of years ago, perhaps thousands of years ago, perhaps from a time when Stonehenge lay in the distant future, by shell peoples, or by the paddlers of round, leather boats, the latter gathering and fishing near the shores of what we now think of as the western North Atlantic, but it is heard, too, interestingly, but as one would suppose from linguistic affinities, in this case old Gaelic, to the west, at the edges of the Irish Sea, again, of course, among sea-faring village folk. It seems to be known in various places elsewhere in northern Europe, in the Wirral in Wales, for example, and perhaps anywhere here in the north, anywhere where there are simple folk, ignorance, superstition, and dark caves, washed by tidal floods, narrow waterways, cold waters, unseen, treacherous currents, lonely pebbled beaches, extended rocky shores, cruel, shadowed inlets. So it is an old word and seems to have been used, and is occasionally still used, though seldom before outsiders, to refer to the phenomenon. There are some more modern equivalents, too, but it seems to me more appropriate to use the older word, as do the villagers. The older word is more darkly reverent, I think; it is perhaps thus closer to the phenomenon.
So that is the word we will use. Calpa.
In English I do not think we have another word as well suited to the phenomenon. So we shall use it.
Too, I think it may prefer that word.
I find that I prefer it.