As one old enough to have read a great deal of fantasy in the 1970s I was tempted to name this image of an old ivied tree trunk out my back window ‘Red ruin in the mysts of Gondaluria’ and concoct a tale about the magician Atralan needing to find this old tree as a landmark in his quest to steal the Jewel of Old Cartasia ™. If you read that stuff you’ll actually know the rest of the story: the buxom but treacherous wench with her eye on the jewel, the wraith who lives in the tree trunk but which has a secret weakness the hero can exploit, the fallen warrior too fond of his drink. Such, such were the joys of growing up then.

Figure 1. Red ruin in the mists. Photo: author.

Or was it crossover fantasy-sf of the 1940s or 50s? Is this (figure 2) the last of the once magnificent well tended trees still barely standing outside the ruins of a palace on the planet we crashed on? Nature is reclaiming the once impressive works of the now long-fallen Empire of the Stars ™. But might some unsavory revenant beings be found still living among the ruins? Watch out for 6-legged giant ocelots with tendrils for whiskers!

Figure 2. Red ruin biding its time in the mist. Photo: author.

Until the day break and the shadows flee away . . . (figure 3) . . . revealing that we are still home in merrie old Scranton and the only people about are wholesome young persons heading to early class at Marywood.

Figure 3. Until the day break and the shadows flee away. Photo: author.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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