Solomon's Stone

Solomon's Stone is a fantasy novel by American writer L. Sprague de Camp. It was first published in the magazine Unknown Worlds in June 1942. It was reprinted in the Summer 1949 issue of the British edition of Unknown, and then published in book form by Avalon Books in 1957.[1]

After an unintentionally successful demon-summoning, accountant Prosper Nash finds himself on the astral plane, inhabiting the body of Jean-Prospere, Chevalier de Néche—the swashbuckling cavalier he likes to imagine himself as—and in by a New York filled with characters from similar wish-fulfillment daydreams of other mundane souls. The demon is possessing his body on a mundane plane, and he attempts to find his way back. This involves the Shamir, the Solomon's Stone of the title, and plentiful swashbuckling adventure, and a plot in which Prosper Nash's accounting abilities prove as useful as Chevalier de Néche's athletic ones.

Solomon's Stone
Solomons Stone
Dust-jacket for Solomon's Stone
AuthorL. Sprague de Camp
Cover artistRic Binkley
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreFantasy
PublisherAvalon
Publication date
1957
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pages224

Plot summary

When Montague Allen Stark, with the assistance of friends, attempts to summon a devil, he quite unexpectedly succeeds: Bechard possesses Prosper Nash's body and sends his soul to the astral plane. Nash awakes in a cavalier's body, with no memory, but with the old reflexes. This gets him shortly involved in a fight, and he meets up with Arizona Bill Averoff, who does not remember him, but is the image of his friend Bill Averoff, an avid Western reader. He also learns that the society is in the throes of a war with the Wotanists—or Voties, as they are commonly called (in the original 1940s magazine version, these characters are referred to as "Arries" or "Aryans", and appear to be the astral products of daydreaming German émigrés in the New York of the time).

Spending the night reveals his name, as he signs it from habit, and more importantly, the existence of the Shamir. After a failed attempt to steal it, a fellow cavalier drags him back a club, which contains letters that reveal more of his past to him. In particular, he knows Alicia Dido Woodson, the double of Alice Woodson, present when the demon was summoned, but tracking her down reveals that she was kidnapped.

An unremembered feud with Athos de Lilly catches up with him, and he ends up in jail, where he hears of a wizard, Merlin Apollonius Stark—the equivalent of Montague Stark—and resolves to get his assistance in obtaining the Shamir.

In court the next day, he is offered an enlistment in the army. He receives orders to carry a message but also news from a private detective named Reginald Vance Kramer (apparently the astral self of a daydreaming would-be Philo Vance) that Alicia was kidnapped by Sultan Arslan Bey. Passing off the message to Arizona Bill Averoff, he bluffs his way into the sultan's castle by posing as a representative of the city's Comptroller. He finds that the sultan is Bob Lanby, in reality a bachelor and clerk at the YMCA. When the Romans and Voties attack, he convinces the sultan to send him to convey the harem and treasure to safety.

Having gotten the girls to safety (in their opinion, not the sultan's) and taken a share of the treasure, he convinces Merlin Apollonius Stark to help him. He learns that the message was woefully misdelivered, and after an abortive anarchist uprising, New York City is in the middle of a battle in which the Voties have gained the upper hand. With help from Alicia, he does gain the Shamir, but when they are cornered by Voties, he has Alicia use it to escape to the mundane world.

Execution the next morning is stopped by an invasion of creatures dreamed up by Montague Stark. Alicia's attempt to contact him was successful.

Tukiphat, the owner of the Shamir, demands it of him, and Prosper explains the circumstances. Tukiphat summons Bechard to the astral plane, and sends Prosper back to deal with Bechard's connection there.

The Shamir, which could return him, is still on the mundane plane, but so is Alicia, and Prosper has her use it to return herself to the astral plane. He goes to visit Montague Stark, and finds him throwing away his magical books. Prosper takes them: he may never be reunited with Alicia, but he intends to try.

Setting

The setting possesses occasional "soul-less ones": people dreamed up to fill the minor roles in other people's daydreams. However, there are not enough to fill up the gaps. As a consequence:

  • A sultan with a fantasy harem of 365 women is invariably trolling for more women
  • The army is full of generals, who form the lowest ranks, and is commanded by the sole private.
  • A hotel is unable to hire any help because no one daydreams of working in a hotel.
  • The Interplanetary Patrolmen have no Interplanetary Patrol for lack of space traffic, and an attempt to build a spaceship founders on their inability to agree on who would be in charge.
  • Automatic weapons are unavailable, because they are too difficult to make by hand, and no one would build the machinery to manufacture them.

Reception

Critically, the novel has been rated as rather minor de Camp. Anthony Boucher called it "[s]lighter and sketchier than de Camp's LEST DARKNESS FALL or THE WHEELS OF IF, [but] still a lively and entertaining adventure-cum-satire."[2] P. Schuyler Miller concurred, assessing it as "slight, but fun," not quite in the same league as the fantasies the author had written in collaboration; "I wish I knew what Fletcher Pratt brought to the incomparable Harold Shea 'Incomplete Enchanter' yarns, because this isn't quite the same."[3] Frederik Pohl called the book "[f]ast, entertaining, rather slight."[4]

Galaxy reviewer Floyd C. Gale panned the novel; describing himself as a de Camp follower, he noted that the book, "[w]hile not quite making me an official deserter from his ranks, [did] succeed in removing some of the gilt from an idol." He felt that "de Camp has done better in the past with less."[5]

More recently, Brian M. Stableford called it "perhaps the best" of the solo fantasies de Camp wrote during the period of his collaboration with Pratt.[6] Don D'Ammassa, however, dismissed these as "comparatively minor," and called Solomon's Stone "barely readable."[7]

References

  1. ^ Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 91.
  2. ^ Boucher, Anthony. "Recommended Reading," in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, v. 14, no. 1, January 1958, page 33.
  3. ^ Miller, P. Schuyler. "The Reference Library," in Astounding Science-Fiction, v. LXI, no. 3, May 1958, page 147.
  4. ^ Pohl, Frederik. "Worlds of if," in If, v. 10 no. 6, January 1961, pages 88-89.
  5. ^ Gale, Floyd C. (July 1958). "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf". Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 108–109.
  6. ^ Stableford, Brian M. "L. Sprague de Camp 1907- / Fletcher Pratt 1897-1956," in Bleiler, Everett F., ed., Supernatural Fiction Writers, 1985, v. 2, page 927.
  7. ^ D'Ammassa, Don. "De Camp, L. Sprague (1907-2000)," in D.Ammassa, Don. Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction, New York: Facts on File, c2006, page 81.
1957 in literature

This article presents lists of literary events and publications in 1957.

Avalon Books

Avalon Books was a small New York-based book publishing imprint active from 1950 through 2012, established by Thomas Bouregy. Avalon was an important science fiction imprint in the 1950s and 60s; later its specialty was mystery and romance books. The imprint was owned by Thomas Bouregy & Co., Inc.. It remained a family firm, with Thomas's daughter Ellen Bouregy Mickelsen taking over as publisher in 1995.On June 4, 2012 it was announced that Amazon.com had purchased the imprint and its back-list of about 3,000 titles. Amazon said it would publish the books through the various imprints of Amazon Publishing.

Cinema of Palestine

Cinema of Palestine is relatively young in comparison to Arab cinema as a whole; many Palestinian films are made with funding and support from Europe and Israel. Palestinian films are not exclusively produced in Arabic and some are even produced in English, French and Hebrew.

Fantasy world

A fantasy world is an author-conceived world created in fictional media, such as literature, film or games. Typical fantasy worlds involve magic or magical abilities, nonexistent technology and sometimes, either a historical or futuristic theme. Some worlds may be a parallel world connected to Earth via magical portals or items (like Narnia); a fictional Earth set in the remote past or future (like Middle-earth); or an entirely independent world set in another part of the universe (like the Star Wars Galaxy).Many fantasy worlds draw heavily on real world history, geography, sociology, mythology, and folklore.

Kamel El Basha

Kamel El Basha or Kamel el-Bacha (in Arabic كامل الباشا) (born in Jerusalem on 14 March 1962) is a Palestinian theatre actor and director and film actor who won the 2017 Volpi Cup for Best Actor (masculine) during the 74th Venice International Film Festival for his role as Yasser Abdallah Salameh in The Insult (also known in Arabic: قضية رقم ٢٣‎, translit. Qadiyya raqm 23, lit. 'Case No. 23') by the Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri. It was El Basha's first major role on screen, although he had appeared in a number of theatrical productions, actually also directing some of them, in addition to a handful of films in small roles.

He was born in al-Maliha (presently Malha), southeast of Jerusalem. He studied theatre in Baghdad, Iraq from 1979 to 1983. As a young Palestinian activist, El Basha was arrested by the Israeli authorities spending two years in prison. After his release, he acted in a great number of theatrical pieces, also writing some of them and directing almost 30 works on stage. His beginnings was with a hakawati theatrical group in his notable debut was in an Arabic version of Brecht's The Exception and the Rule. He was a writer and a translator of a number of theatrical works and appeared in a limited number of Palestinian dramas on television and on film. He is also a professor in Palestinian universities in the areas of the Palestinian National Authority. El Basha ran a number of workshops and seminars for young actors.

El Basha is married to the Palestinian actress and singer Reem Talhami. She has co-acted with her husband in a number of works like Ness Kiis Rasas (نص كيس رصاص), Al Arees (العريس) and Sahra Maqdisiyyah (سهرة مقدسية).

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A parallel universe, also known as an alternate universe or alternate reality, is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes are called a "multiverse", although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality. While the three terms are generally synonymous and can be used interchangeably in most cases, there is sometimes an additional connotation implied with the term "alternate universe/reality" that implies that the reality is a variant of our own, with some overlap with the similarly-named Alternate history. The term "parallel universe" is more general, without implying a relationship, or lack of relationship, with our own universe. A universe where the very laws of nature are different – for example, one in which there are no Laws of Motion – would in general count as a parallel universe but not an alternative reality and a concept between both fantasy world and earth.

The actual quantum-mechanical hypothesis of parallel universes is "universes that are separated from each other by a single quantum event."

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