Previously Unknown M.A.R. Barker Drawing Found

My powers of clairvoyance detect that some Tékumel fans are bored by detailed catalogues of old miniatures, so let’s take a break from that for a moment.  Let’s discuss instead an exciting new find I made several days ago.

You will find in various places references to Barker’s pre-Tekumel writing in sci-fi fanzines.  While Barker’s correspondence apparently contains a large corpus of creative writing (e.g. “The Petal Throne,” which was contained in a letter to Lin Carter), I have so far identified just five articles (not all stories) by the young Phil Barker that were published in fanzines.  Three of these articles appeared in the Portland, Oregon fanzine “Fanscient” published by Donald Day:

No. 9 Fall 1949: “Egyptian Mythology in Fantastic Literature”

Fanscient9CoveraFanscient9Pg40-41a

No. 11 Spring 1950: “The Language Problem”

Fanscient11CoveraFanscient11Pg28-29a

No. 12, Summer 1950: “And the Strong Shall Inherit”

Fanscient12CoveraFanscient12Pg28-29a

Barker actually only partly wrote “And the Strong Shall Inherit.”  The Editor states in the foreword to the issue that he tossed out Barker’s original ending and wrote a new one.  Nonetheless, it is this article that is the most interesting because it includes an illustration by Barker that has not, to my knowledge, been previously reproduced.

Fanscient12Pg28-29a

The story is not set in the world of Tékumel, but I think we can see some of Tékumel in the drawing.  In fact, I think I can see a resemblance to Yilrana:

GameScience Version

I’ll return to these pre-Tekumel writings in the future, but in the next post we will return to miniatures!

6 thoughts on “Previously Unknown M.A.R. Barker Drawing Found

  1. At the time that he wrote these, Phil would have been about 20 years old, and a student in Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

  2. @George Hammond — Thanks. Yes, Barker was born in 1929. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that he already had much of the world of Tékumel in his head by age 21. However, there is little evidence of preoccupation with Tékumel between the time Barker left Berkeley and when he arrived in Minneapolis in 1972. I find it a little hard to believe that Barker simply forgot his obsession for 14 years. It’d be interesting to research a little more thoroughly the Montreal years.

  3. Are we sure that “And the Strong Shall Inherit” was not intended to be set on Tekumel? The page you reproduce sets it in Malchairan, which IIRC was north of Tsolyanu, and reputed to be an earlier residence for the Petal Throne (artifact) itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.