= Far Wars =
A Science Fiction Novel by John Argo (John T. Cullen)
Empire of Time (SF Series by John Argo)
Far Future SF Novel by John Argo (John T. Cullen) Clocktower Books.
From A Turkish Folksong and More. I've had the Empire of Time series in my soul since I was a teenager, even before at age 19 (sophomore Liberal Arts major, University of Connecticut) I completed my first full novel. Title then was City of the Universe (Cosmopolis) and now available in a 2020ish edition as Summer Planets. My teenage novel was the cornerstone of the Empire of Time series, describing the fall of a great human galactic civilization in 5000 CE our time (Old Calendar or O.C.) Far Wars, written in my late 60s, half a century later, taps into that history from a vantage point around 8000 O.C. As always, history on the grand scale is an intoxicating swirl of grandeur, tragedy, hope, loss, and rebirth calibrated upon our minute, critical personal journeys of birth, love, age, and departure if you will. For me, Far Wars captures the grand sweep of it all. And I have the music to prove it
inspired by a Turkish/Anatolian folk song as I'll explain here. Start by clicking these links and then we'll talk some more.
Tears in my Eyes. With the following versions playing in my memory, I had tears in my eyes on a number of occasions as I wrote the short novel Far Wars that has to be one of my best efforts at heroic, panoramic science fiction. If it ever becomes a movie, I know there is plenty of texture and atmosphere, not to mention action and romance in this story; and this Turkish song might well be my version of the sweeping, grand introduction to something on the scale of Star Wars.
Emo & Music. The arts are, for any artist, a wrap-around of many influences and beauties. I mean everything from Erik Satie's Gymnopaedies to Claude Debussy's *Clair de lune* (probably driven by the Paul Verlaine poem
all of which is to say: we live on a planet wrapped in music. It comes at us from all sides. For this novel, the major push literally came from a Turkish folk song, Telgrafin Tellerine. That means, literally, *the birds on the telegraph wires* and refers to a story probably dating to the late 19th Century. A young man from the mountains of Anatolia comes down to the big city (Istanbul) and loses himself in adventures. Not least among those is a love affair with a courtesan (more likely a prostitute) who fleeces him for his money but more devastatingly steals his heart, his love, his soul, his youth, his innocence. Finally, having lost everything, he leaves the city forever to return to his mountain home. As he walks away on the country road, he hears the birds twittering energetically on the telegraph wires above his head. Their language is as mystifying as the experiences he has just undergone, and he wonders what wisdom they may be speaking
if only he could understand their language! This song has been put to music many times in Turkish and wider cultures, including the Kurdish people. It's even been done as a military (mehter) marching piece. The song is often done too fast and hard for a soulful melody in my humble opinion, and even Zara has done it in a fast, light, happy mode. But it's really a melancholy tune. Two who have done it best, to my knowledge, both Kurdish-Turkish, are the star Zara and the late, tragic singer Ahmet Kaya. Here are their versions, linked to YouTube.
Translation(s). Interested readers can search online for "Telgrafin Tellerine lyrics" or the like. You'll find a variety of results, some of which seem more poetic than others. My advice is to avoid any automatic or robotic (A.I.) translations given the state of the art today. Capturing the real sense in translation still requires a sensitive, tuned-in, poetic human touch. In the end, my writing of Far Wars was driven by my affection for the slower, more soulful (mournful in Ahmet's case) versions of Zara and Ahmet Kaya. That's not about right versus wrong, as if it were some sectarian divide.
Try this for one: Lyrics for Telgrafin Tellerine. I don't speak or read Turkish, so I have to rely on the tonality of the music and the general sense of the translations. Having translated among various other languages in the past, including English, German, Luxemburgish, French, Latin, and smatterings of more, I know fully what Ezra Pound meant when he famously said: Transitore, traduttore, Italian for 'the translator is always a betrayer.' It is generally impossible to find a literal, exact translation between any two languages or even dialects at times (which coincidentally makes certain religious tyrannies preposterous). Something terrible happened in the Galata district in the port area of Istanbul that made the youth flee
was it a love-related murder? We'll never know, and it doesn't matter. Life and death play an overwhelming power on the planet Tellerine in my SF system Corduwaine. So subtle, those references in my story
please read and enjoy!
Deeper Background. Coming soon
in a lifetime of avid SF reading (not so much Fantasy nor Horror) I certainly sailed past all the planets and cities presented by the best authors. My favorites in SF are too many to name, but have included Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury; above all, I revere the small but poetic oeuvre of Cordwainer Smith. My short novel *Far Wars* has traces of Asimov's *Foundation* and Frank Herbert's *Dune* but the most powerful precipitant that launched it into my *Empire of Time* series are the powerful, moving renditions of the Turkish folk song *Telgrafin Tellerine* by, separately, Zara and by the late Ahmet Kaya. Beyond all that, yes there will be touches of Star Wars in a grand, sweeping (little) epic like this. And I plan to continue the saga of the military priestesses, whose origins are divers but certainly include the ancient Roman Vestal priestesses plus the Amazon female warriors of Homer's Iliad and Vergil's Aeneid. More info soon.
Wider Background. I've been an avid speculative fiction (SF) reader and writer all my life above and beyond having a B.A. in English with relateds in History, Languages, Comparative Lit, and Classics (University of Connecticut). My other ('practical') Bach is a BBA in Computer Information Systems/Accounting. My M.S. in Business Administration (Boston University, Overseas/Heidelberg while serving with U.S. Army in Europe during the Cold War) speaks for itself.