Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Reeling And Writhing And Fainting In Coils - The Latest Fracas Over Tekumel

Phil and Ambeeen, at my 25th birthday; this is what I'd like us to remember.

It has come to my attention, this morning, that long-time Tekumel fan Mr. Alva Hardison has posted an excerpt from my recent Sunday update of May 18th regarding my interactions that I have had with the Tekumel Foundation over the past few years on my book - "To Serve The Petal Throne". While I would have preferred that Mr. Hardison had contacted me before he posted to Brett Slocum's Tekumel discussion group on Yahoo, he did not, and there has been some spirited discussion as a result. In the interests of clarity and consistency, I am repeating my post of this morning on this matter here on my own blog.


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First off, I want to make it clear that I am not connected with the Tekumel Foundation, in any way, shape, or form; my contact for my services as the Professor's archivist ended on November 15th, 2012, as I refused to renew it. My position as the Professor's archivist had become untenable, as I simply did not have the money to hand to support the Foundation's stated wishes and desires; in addition, Chairman Dr. Raymond's removing me from the archiving, restoration, and cataloging process that we had begun the year before made my participation in the Foundation's activities meaningless. What the Chairman wanted was a business manager and chief executive to run the Foundation for the Board, and I refused to go down that road - I'd already been there, some twenty years before, and I had and have no intention to ever go there again. I, my wife, and quite a few of my friends had had to put up with an immense amount of abuse from these same people over the years, and I have come to regard my offering my help and assistance to them back in 2011 as quite possibly the biggest mistake of my entire life. I am now entirely clear of them; they settled their debits to us, and we are done with them.

Secondly, in the course of my discussions with the various members of the Board of Directors of the Tekumel Foundation, regarding my book "To Serve The Petal Throne", I was given the terms I mentioned in my blog post. I felt at the time, and to this day, there is no possible way I could raise the money required under the Foundation's published and unpublished policies to pay their fees and expenses - if I may be blunt, the commercial market for Tekumel is so tiny that doing a hard copy of the book is simply not going to pay for itself, let alone meet the Foundation's need for revenue to support itself.

As I have stated before, on this and other Internet groups, I plan on simply offering the book as a free to download item - 'fan fiction', if you like. You go to the web site, you download the files, and there you are. What you do with the book after you download it is not my issue; I would like to hope that you might read it and enjoy my stories of my time adventuring in Phil's world. It will not be, under the Foundation's rules, an "Official", "Authorized", or "Authentic" work; I can't afford to pay for the Foundation's process to get that 'seal of approval'. I will not, as per the Foundation's stated publications policies on their blog, receive any "compensation" for the work; I am offering it to people as a way to share my sense of wonder and amazement at Phil's stunning creation.

Thirdly, I have no idea what terms and conditions the Foundation may or may not have set with their sub-licensees; the Foundation has the sole and exclusive license from the Barker Family Estate for the commercial exploitation of the Professor's intellectual property, and I would think that if you wanted to know what their policies might be you should ask them. All I can tell you about is what they told me, after all.

Finally, I want to make it clear that I am ***done*** with the commercial side of Tekumel; for the first time in thirty-five years, I am a free man. Phil made a point of asking for my forgiveness and absolution for his more wayward actions before he passed away, and I gave it to him freely - not because I wanted to exploit his legacy for my own gain, but because I loved him like a father. Our relationship ended on a high note, and that's the way I'd prefer to remember the most remarkable man I have ever met.

People, go forth and enjoy Tekumel - I adventure in Phil's world every second and fourth Saturday in my basement at noon, and that is what I plan on doing for a good long time. I am enjoying Tekumel for the first time in decades, and I plan on staying as far away from all this fracas for the rest of my life. Feel free to look at my blog, feel free to ask me questions, but leave me out of the fighting and feuding; I've had to deal with too much of that, over the years.

I wish all of you, and the Tekumel Foundation, all the luck and success in the world.

yours, Chirine ba Kal / Jeff Berry

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Thank you for your time and attention. I will now return to our regularly scheduled game...

16 comments:

  1. It sucks that you even need to post something like this.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I think it sucks too, which is why I am 'opting out' of the whole 'commercial exploitation' thing. I'll finish the projects, put them up on the website my wonderful son-in-law in Zurich has created for me, and that will be that.

      I cannot tell you just how happy I am out from under, as it were.

      - chirine

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  2. I hate to be an echo, but it blows that you're even having to address this.

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    1. Thank you; you are very kind! Walking away from all of this mess will allow me to get on with what I really enjoy doing - telling stories, running games, and answering the questions of people like you. This mess has been a huge drain on my time and energy for quite some time, and I am overjoyed to be finally done with it.

      - chirine

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  3. My, what a twisted skein... I am glad that you have dusted yourself off and are moving forward from this.

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    1. Yep; it's been a horrible mess, and I am delighted to be able to walk away from it at last. Now, maybe, I can get some figures painted!!!

      - chirine

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  4. Hi Chirine, I looked over your post on the 18th, and I'm a little confused about one thing. Did you make separate proposals to the Foundation for "To Serve..." and for the Qadardalikoi revision? or did you combine them into one proposal? Thanks!

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    1. I'm sorry about the confusion; I was trying to write a sort of simple digest that summarized the horrible confusion and mess that I have been living through over the past three years. The mess nearly killed me; the stress of dealing with the multiple individual and mutually exclusive goal that each had caused my brain bleed, the doctors tell me, and cutting out that stress has literally saved my life.

      My two proposals, one for each project, were originally floated with the Foundation in the summer of 2012. I was told by the Foundation that each project would require a separate license from them in order to be accepted by them as an 'authentic', 'approved', and 'acceptable work "suitable for use with Tekumel (TM)".

      I was, at the August 8th, 2012, board meeting (at which I was present in my then-capacity of the Professor's archivist), informed by the Board that the Board expected to get an annual license fee of $5,000 for each project, and in subsequent conversations on the subject I was informed that the Foundation would not grant licenses that lasted longer then one year / twelve months; the license fee had to be renewed annually.

      Likewise, in this and other conversations with the Board members, both informally and in formal meetings, I was informed that the Foundation reserves to itself all rights of editing and use of any submission they receive, and that they have the right to use any submission in any way they want. Further, the person submitting the proposed work will be billed by the Foundation for any work done by the Foundation for any research, editing, proof-reading, or legal work at the rate that the Foundation pays their lawyer - $200 an hour, I was told - and that the Foundation will be the ones to determine how much of this work may be needed; the author / submitter has no control over the costs or the time that the process might take.

      (I should note that there is a link to the Foundation's own blog / website in the left-hand column; I provide that as a service to Tekumel fans, and I would strongly encourage you to go there and have a look at their published polices for yourself.)

      The bottom line is that I simply can't afford their rates. It's simply much, much cheaper for me to put the works up on a web site and give them away.

      Again, I'm sorry about the confusion; I was trying to keep things simple, and the whole thing is just too complex for that.

      - chirine

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    2. Thanks for the clarification.

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  6. It is unfortunate that one time friends have gone astray, and the fun been sucked out of your beloved pastime of such find memories. Thank you for sharing the very authentic Tekumel we played when Christina and I were there.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words, and I am glad you got to see 'old Tekumel' before we had to call in the lawyers. I am trying to put the lost years of working for the Foundation behind me, and move on - back to what we had...

      yours, chirine

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  7. Sorry to ask an off topic question, but do you know where I might be able to see some of the Professor's maps? I've been trying to find some online but I haven't had any luck and I'd love to see how he designed them.

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    1. Please don't apologize; I'd rather be talking about Tekumel then about this mess.

      Quite a few of Phil's maps are on-line; you can do google searches for them. www.Tekumel.com may still have some up on that site; I know they did a huge re-vamp of the site when it was transferred and went down for a while.

      - chirine

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  8. I certainly don't blame you for taking the stance you did. I agree whole heartedly that the amount of money they were talking about is absurd. I for one am looking forward to both of your publications when they are ready.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. They baffle me as well, which is why I declined to renew my contract.

      I will keep you posted on my progress, of course.

      - chirine

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