Origin of the Calormenes

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Origin of the Calormenes

Postby Glenstorm63 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:09 pm

I know I'm new to this network, so I am just putting this out there.... I have wondered whether there has ever been a challenge set for Narnian fanfic writers to create a specific piece about the origin of the Calormenes. My head canon had been that unless otherwise specified by Lewis, all humans in the world are descended from Helen and Frank and the various wood gods and nymphs their kids had as partners. And then he seems to suggest the kingdom of Calormen was created by outlaws from Archenland. Thus, only the Pevensies and the Telmarines can be regarded as "the others". Aslan may say in PC, that there were once more gates between the worlds of which the one in the South Seas of Earth leading to Telmar was one of the last, but there is nothing specifically saying that any others ever led to the Narnian World. So with that stricture in mind, about 9 months ago, I set to work to create a one shot that I posted in both fanfiction.net and AO3. I'm not convinced I wrote a very good story, and it was all fairly brief third person narrative, so I was perfectly open to criticism, but the bile I had spat at me was quite something. "Dumb ass idea", was one patricularly choice and rapid response; nothing about whether the story had creative integrity or was interesting to read or anything. "The Calormene culture is so obviously based on Persia, Moghul India etc", was another. Fair enough. Interestingly, it was hard to tell whether I was being accused of shallow dopey racism to try to suggest a couple of 19th century London cockneys could give rise to a sophisticated and complex ancient culture or whether it was white supremacists who were bothered by my suggestions. I ended up removing the piece completely and thought a lot about the possibility of writing a series of parallel alternative Origin of the Calormenes and posting them all at once. But why do it alone when there are so many fabulous writers who might rise to the challenge. A penny for your thoughts.
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby heliopause » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:48 pm

It's getting late, so my thoughts will have to wait until tomorrow, but I couldn't wait to say how horrible!, about the bile. I've seen such before (haven't had it slung my way myself, but seen it happen to others) and it STINKS.

So, here I am back on the morrow, though getting perilously close to the day after that. To your post!

I expect there will have been pieces written about the origins of the Calormenes, just because there's been so much written, in so many places, but I can't think of one, off-hand. Where does Lewis that they began with outlaws from Archenland?
The short story you wrote - the one which attracted so much hostility - was following your head-canon, I take it, and seeing the Calormenes as descendants of Frank and Helen. For people to snipe at your head-canon is pretty shoddy - I mean, we're all free to head-canon what we like, and if people don't like it they don't have to read it. (as it happens,my head-canon does allow for the "other doors" to have been in operation - but that's neither here nor there.) Yes,it's much more satisfying to get criticism (preferably positive!) which actually engages with the story, and doesn't just rage about what wasn't being written!

Your first idea about writing a linked series of "Five [or six or ten] origins of Calormen" sounds highly possible to me. Your second idea,of putting it out as a challenge is also possible, but you'd need to have a fair chance of several different people knowing about and wanting to join in the challenge. I'm not ruling it out for myself as a future possibility, but I'm not up for it at the moment. Maybe see who else posts here?

Meanwhile, do you know about the Narnia Fic Exchange, which is happening now? Here's the link. I'm not going to be entering this year, but it can be a very stimulating exchange - and of course you could request a Calormene origin story!

and now once again it's getting late - so I'll look at Prince Caspian... tomorrow!
Last edited by heliopause on Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby adaese » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:52 pm

I don't know any particular fics on the subject, but it' seems to me perfectly reasonable to expect genetic as well as cultural diversity, given that Frank and Helen's descendants married into different species. Dryads at least are as diverse as the trees they spring from, and I expect naiads are as varied in character as still pools / roaring cataracts / marshy trickles.

As for the bilious people - argh, and euch!

And Calormene culture is *so* obviously based on Persia AND Moghul India AND Ancient Egypt AND Assyria AND China all you're really safe saying is that Lewis borrowed shamelessly from all the vaguely exotic oriental tropes available at the time of writing.
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby Glenstorm63 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:06 am

Thanks Heliopause and adaese. I have trawled through many times looking for origin of Calormenes stories but have had no luck. It's odd, because it seems like an obvious if problematic thing to write something about. Maybe others have run from the task for the same reasons.The comment about outlaws setting up Calormen is attributed directly to Lewis and published in Brian Sibley's book The Land of Narnia in a timeline. We can choose to ignore whatever we want of course, but the discipline I like to maintain wherever possible is to minimise direct contradictions of Lewis's writings and to try to find ways to reconcile his own internal inconsistencies in my own writings. In my own work about Jadis for instance I don't try to contradict Narnian's perception about Jadis creating the ice and snow, but I do think it doesn't make sense for her to perch like a vulture in Narnia when (as we find in later books) there is a wider world out there. Therefore in my head canon, she is trapped there herself, feeling peeved, otherwise she'd be living it up in Calormen... or somewhere even better... like in other worlds. She hates the snow too. See Tales of Jadis 2 The Day of Reckoning for some of my thnking.

So I would love there to be a series of quite different Origin of Calormene stories and I will attempt again to set up a profile in the site you mention Heliopause and raise the matter there. Cheerio!
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby heliopause » Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:23 am

as I said, Saturday morning, so not a proper reply, but I do urge you think about the NFE. stimulating, sometimes stressful... Of course, you could just loiter and do a Madness story. Properreply will come sooner or later!
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby Glenstorm63 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:24 am

Thanks. I just looked into the NFE. Far too restrictive on framing what I want and what I offer. Nothing seemed to please the program, it just rejected everything, red fields everywhere. Also it requires a blog or a tumblr, neither of which I have or am really interested in. Email usually does me just fine. I think I will just write my own as I think of them and post them as a collection. :-))
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby heliopause » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:08 pm

Of probably relevance to this topic:
I've only just started reading a long work called Bride of Tash -it's on ao3.
I avoided it for some time because the title seemed to me to hint at similarities to Bride of Frankenstein, and I didn't much want to see reruns of horror movie awkwardly glued onto Narnia. But it's... it doesn't seem that, whatever else it is! It's well-written and looks like it's going to cover a huge amount of ground - it begins with the young Tash, who (it turns out) comes from another world entirely, but will surely end up in Narnia-world and (quite possibly) be an origin of Calormen story. at any rate, Calormen doesn't seem to exist yet. (The story's set in the time between TMN and LWW.) The feel of the story,so far, is SF rather than magic - lots of world-building. I like both protagonists.
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Re: Origin of the Calormenes

Postby Glenstorm63 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:00 am

Thanks Heliopause, dor the reminder! Yes, I have read that, or most of it. I agree that Bride of Tash is well written. It is an interesting exploration of a woman and a socially rejected orphaned being with a big beak being transported (separately?) to somewhere in the southern part of the Narnian World, and dealing with some pretty horrible persons living in towers. Very acid sci-fi in feel. Reminded me of some stories by Andre Norton or even Phillip K. Dick from the 1960s. I can't remember what occurs in the end. Maybe I should go back to it and find out if it has one. An end I mean :? .
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