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Topics - TheSolitaryMG

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The Unholy Consult / Influences on TSA
« on: May 07, 2018, 03:53:14 pm »
Just thinking about updating this topic.  Of course there's Tolkien.  Besides that, here's a few things that came to mind:

Dante - Bakker depicts ciphrang and Ajokli as hungers, eternally eating.  This hearkens back to the very bottom of Dante's hell where the three-headed Satan gnaws on three souls forever: Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.  The passage:

The Emperor of the kingdom dolorous
  From his mid-breast forth issued from the ice;
  And better with a giant I compare

Than do the giants with those arms of his;
  Consider now how great must be that whole,
  Which unto such a part conforms itself.

Were he as fair once, as he now is foul,
  And lifted up his brow against his Maker,
  Well may proceed from him all tribulation.

O, what a marvel it appeared to me,
  When I beheld three faces on his head!
  The one in front, and that vermilion was;

Two were the others, that were joined with this
  Above the middle part of either shoulder,
  And they were joined together at the crest;

And the right-hand one seemed 'twixt white and yellow;
  The left was such to look upon as those
  Who come from where the Nile falls valley-ward.

Underneath each came forth two mighty wings,
  Such as befitting were so great a bird;
  Sails of the sea I never saw so large.

 No feathers had they, but as of a bat
  Their fashion was; and he was waving them,
  So that three winds proceeded forth therefrom.

Thereby Cocytus wholly was congealed.
  With six eyes did he weep, and down three chins
  Trickled the tear-drops and the bloody drivel.

At every mouth he with his teeth was crunching
  A sinner, in the manner of a brake,
  So that he three of them tormented thus.

To him in front the biting was as naught
  Unto the clawing, for sometimes the spine
  Utterly stripped of all the skin remained.

"That soul up there which has the greatest pain,"
  The Master said, "is Judas Iscariot;
  With head inside, he plies his legs without.

Of the two others, who head downward are,
  The one who hangs from the black jowl is Brutus;
  See how he writhes himself, and speaks no word.

And the other, who so stalwart seems, is Cassius.
  But night is reascending, and 'tis time
  That we depart, for we have seen the whole."

Other influences - it seems that Bakker has taken the ethical views of Kant and Mill and set them up as opposite pairs, divine and damned, feminine and masculine.  Mill's utilitarianism *uses* and thus Kellhus is more damned than all others.  Kant focuses on the inviolable laws of conduct represented by Mimara.  Of course it's more complicated and messier than an on/off switch, Akka says as much referencing X, but using/not-using seem to be the polarities forming the ultimate morality of Earwa.

I want to write about mechanismism from Descartes and Hobbes' clockwork people but back to work now.

Literature / New Book by Tolkien...
« on: June 02, 2017, 04:13:15 pm »

Anyone read it?  I like the Beren and Luthien story.  Might pick this up soon

The Unholy Consult / The Unholy Consult Giveaway
« on: May 25, 2017, 06:25:33 pm »
Overlook Press will be giving away two Advanced Reader Copies of The Unholy Consult!  Make your predictions for the book!  Who will die?  How?  Who will live?  What secrets will be told?

Here’s how to enter:
- Create an account at (if you don’t already have one).
- At, scroll down to The Aspect-Emperor link and click and follow through to The Unholy Consult subforum.
- Select “The Unholy Consult Giveaway” thread.
- Post a response to the thread.  Make a prediction about what will happen in TUC!  Come back later for an “I told you so!”

- ONE entry per person.  You can post all you like but only ONE chance to win per person responding in the thread (even if you have more than one account).
- The contest is open from now until 5PM EST Thursday, June 1st.
- Winners will be contacted through a private message at and by email (if you include your email with your account).


[EDIT Madness: Made one small adjustment to your instructions.]

The Unholy Consult / Book Review: The Unholy Consult
« on: May 15, 2017, 07:42:54 pm »
The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker crashes into the inevitable contest between the Dûnyain-Prophet, Anasûrimbor Kellhus, and the vile Consult hierarchy.  This novel, the fourth and concluding volume of The Aspect-Emperor series, chronicles a convergent conflict, millennia in the making, between Men, Nonmen, and Inchoroi abomination.  Tekne and Logos will vie for the fate of the world, the fate of souls.  The Great Ordeal will traverse the unnatural wastes at the end of the world to face it…the Golden Horror.

Weaving the narrative threads of The Aspect-Emperor into a rope, The Unholy Consult hangs from the Horns of Golgotterath.  The survivors of Ishterebinth make haste to join the Great Ordeal, which in turn staggers in its last desperate trek through the Fields of Woe.  Following the destruction of the Horde at Dagliash, the false Believer-King, Nersei Proyas, struggles to steer the might of Earwa across ashen Agongorea.  Stripped to the foundation of their Meat, the Men of the Ordeal find they must overcome themselves to march upon their foe, to achieve the requisite mad ferocity to topple wicked and alien heights.  Besotted, crazed with loss and bewildered hope, the old Wizard, Achamian, and the pregnant Prophet, Mimara, draw near to gaze upon the Aspect-Emperor with the Judging Eye.  Even the eyes of the damned will stand witness to the Warrior-Prophet’s ultimate disputation of war. Gobozkoy like no other.  As the Great Ordeal unleashes its collective might on Unholy Golgotterath, Bakker rolls into one all the strategy, tactical reversal, and heartbreak of the battle sequences of his six preceding novels…and the Gods play benjuka across the very the plate of the world.

Thematically, the darkness that comes before dominates all individuals through every faction. In a contest of this magnitude, none can be sure their cause is righteous truth.  Meat and spirit, meaning and its wages compel reason run to the end of sanity—The Unholy Consult emerges as the most profuse expression of Bakker’s philosophical viewpoint on humanity’s frame and substance. Stylistically, Bakker furthers the coiled power of word and verse from The Great Ordeal: epic fantasy as adventure and elegy.  This novel is word for word, line for line, condensed, packed, loaded.  In the end, Bakker sparks a detonation proper to the termination of The Aspect-Emperor series.  A rebuke of and tribute to the Tolkinesque tradition, a rumination on holy scripture, and prophetic word, The Unholy Consult is above all a tale to grasp the heart.

Included with The Unholy Consult is an expanded encyclopedic glossary, elaborating on the glossary of The Thousandfold Thought, divulging history, secrets, lies, and promising more.  A particular highlight is a short account concerning the Aspect-Emperor, revealing insight into his peculiar magic and snatched, it would seem, while the Anasûrimbor thought no one watching. Bakker’s, previously available online Atrocity Tales, short stories set in Earwa, “The False Sun” and “The Four Revelations,” are also included as Appendices Two and Three.  “The False Sun” constitutes an episode from the formation of the Consult and their grudge with the ancient Grandmaster of the Sohonc, mighty Titirga.  “The Four Revelations” takes the reader inside the mind of a Nonman Erratic, long-lived beyond all dead glory and sanity.

Tragedy, tragedy averted, tragedy necessary and inescapable, The Unholy Consult marches toward Golgotterath, measuring its path by the suffering of its persons.  This is the seventh book in The Second Apocalypse series.  Apocalypse is revelation.  Bakker delivers humanity, character and reader alike, to the revelation of the fate of worlds.

Behold!  The Passion of the Warrior-Prophet.

General Earwa / The Unholy Consult - The Bad News and the Good
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:49:59 pm »
The bad news and the good

THE BAD NEWS - Two problems with TUC: 1) there are questions answered, 2) there are questions unanswered.  As for the first, I don’t know about you, but in the 5 years between WLW and TGO, my mind filled with 1,001 pet theories to explain the unexplainable Earwa.  Bakker is so good at creating the impression that every stone is impregnated with bundled meaning, that anything seemed possible.  When I did get the answer, I felt all the other possibilities turn to smoke.  A strange feeling.

That there are questions still unanswered, what can I say?  TUC reveals a lot, but not all.

THE GOOD NEWS - That mysteries remain means we can look forward to plenty more Earwa.  However, there are a few super duper things about TUC in particular that I want to share:

1) Bakker cares.  When I read a book, I have a feeling for what parts the author agonized over.  Some sentences like “Bob shot Dubby" are obviously low effort on the author’s part.  Word for word, sentence for sentence, Bakker lets the reader know that he has crafted this thing jot and tittle.  That means a lot to me.  More than all of the previous Earwa books, this one is exquisite in the minutiae.  AND THAT’S JUST THE MANUSCRIPT! 

2) Bakker has done some super subtle foreshadowing going all the way back to the PON books.  I would like to hint about that, but it’s just too wonderful.  Once you finish TUC, you’ll def want to start the whole journey over.  I know that you know Bakker did this, but the way he did it was surprising and unlooked for.  There are parts of the previous 6 books that foreshadow events in TUC that do not seem to be foreshadowing moments or seem to foreshadow something else entirely.

3) IMO, Bakker hits the perfect balance of narrative and philosophy—better than the other books.

4) Action!  This thing is tense through and through and ends with rush upon rush of page-turning action. 

I really enjoyed TUC!  I think you will too!  I’ll be putting some of this stuff in the forthcoming book review. :)

Lastly, if you can only squeeze one reread in before now and July, reread TTT :)

Writing / Humor Stories
« on: March 10, 2017, 04:18:18 pm »

The Great Ordeal / [TGO SPOILERS] The Amiolas
« on: August 07, 2016, 05:41:22 am »
Well, this was a goddamn cool part of the book. 

That nonman had to be pretty fucked up to get a death sentence from Cujara, but then he must have done something pretty awesome to get it amended by Nil-Giccas.  It's going to be fun to see what kind of warlord Sorweel has turned into.  Being uber-ruthless is going to play well with Kellhus.  "Sure you can date my daughter now that your soul is half-ghoul, that would be swell!"

Wonder if Akka is getting someone else's soul through that shirt?  Oinaral's comment about how the takeover happens faster if the wearer is ignorant made me wonder if someone is going to unknowingly get something like an Amiolas.  I wonder if Moenghus will get another Amiolas to make some sense of his brutalized person.

Maybe Sorweel gets a little bit of other people who have worn the Amiolas too?  Could have been some Anasurimbors back there.

The part about Serwa thinking Sorweel is real makes me think that Sorweel got more of the Amiolas soul than previous wearers did and/or the human/nonman combination might be a sum greater than it's parts--she doesn't seem to think that Harapior or the other nonmen have especially neat souls (she doesn't say that she, Inrilatas, Kellhus and all nonmen are real)

The Great Ordeal / [TGO SPOILERS] What's Missing from TGO
« on: August 07, 2016, 04:53:09 am »
I was wondering about all the stuff Bakker deliberately left out of TGO and what it might mean.  Of course Golgotterath isn't in TGO, but some of the interesting missing bits:

- Atrithau
- Chorae (wherever the mother load is)
- Sarl
- Skin-spies (except for right at the end)
- Wutteat
- The nonman from the embassy in WLW
- Iyokus
- Ships

I gotta think that last bit is because they are going to be showing up like the Black Fleet in TUC.

Skin-spies will have to be an important part of TUC since Bakker foreshadowed that Kelmomas wants to see one without revealing it, he's the last potential face reader left for Esmi to use whenever Kellhus takes off again.  Though I have to wonder if Kellhus has endeavored to train world-born people, like Esmi's spy-master, to ID skin-spies.

The Great Ordeal / [TGO SPOILERS] Music for TGO
« on: August 06, 2016, 09:43:11 pm »
I know we have other music threads, but it might be fun for a TGO-exclusive one.

Zero-God? How about Zero by Smashing Pumpkins (includes "God is empty"):

It's also got that dark and desperate edge you might feel in the wasted north.

Kind of weird video, but definitely an Inchoroi/Arkfall vibe: Space Lord by Monster Magnet:

This vid has a boring beginning but switches to ridiculous/amusing at about 1:25

Overlook Press is giving away two Advanced Reader Copies of The Great Ordeal!!!

After you have registered an account, this is how to enter the giveaway: Post a response to this thread with a question you hope is answered in TGO, and/or a prediction about what TGO will include!  WHO WILL SPEAK IN ALL CAPS???

Each post counts as one entry!  Up to 10 entries per person!   Contest ends at Noon EST June 13th!  I like exclamation points much more than periods!

[EDIT Madness]: Winners will be contacted via PM system and e-mail attached to their profile.
[EDIT Madness]: For title.
[EDIT Madness]: Don't worry about posting doubles of anyone else's predictions/questions, it won't disqualify you.

[EDIT Wilshire]: You might also try your luck with Grimdark Magazine, who is also giving out a copy.

General Misc. / Interesting Videos
« on: May 26, 2016, 02:39:56 pm »
So these videos aren't funny but are worth sharing...

Legal language descends into chaos...

Voice Over - just a cool, fantastical, video from France.  Keep watching, the twists keep coming

Anybody like AMVs?  This one is fucked up.  I've never seen this show, but I want to now

The Great Ordeal / MG Reviews TGO
« on: May 24, 2016, 08:33:36 pm »
Fans of R. Scott Bakker’s The Second Apocalypse series slog on, book after book, chapter after chapter, one page to the next, seeking revelation.  In Earwa, Bakker has crafted a world so dense and possessed with epochal mystery that readers find themselves consuming every morsel only to be twice as hungry for more Meat.  Through his five Earwan novels thus far, Bakker has conceived and kindled the reader’s lust, patiently starving us on our journey, hoarding his greatest secrets.  With The Great Ordeal, the penultimate book in The Aspect-Emperor series, Bakker begins to betray the final mysteries of his cosmos, feeding and goading readers more than in any of the preceding novels.

The Great Ordeal follows the four story arcs continuing from the end of The White-Luck Warrior: Sorweel, Serwa, and Moenghus arrive at Ishterebinth, Achamian and Mimara wander the ruins of Ishual (and beyond), Esmenet strains to hold the fragments of family and empire together (Kelmomas plays in the dark), while Kellhus leads his Exalt-Generals, Proyas and Saubon, and his Great Ordeal onward to the ancient fortress of Dagliash.  The novel reels from revelations about the Dunyain and Nonmen to the bloodletting in Momemn and the northern wastes.  At the end of The Great Ordeal, all four arcs deliver the world to a state of havoc, savagery, and disaster, and the reader is left hanging on a precipice unlike any other in Bakker’s series.

The Great Ordeal marches not only further but also delves deeper into Earwa’s story.  Unlike Tolkien, Bakker does not give us an epic with a Silmarillion to be published later.  The Second Apocalypse, and The Great Ordeal in particular, unfold the current drama and the ancient mysteries as one.  The darkness that comes before characters, factions, and whole civilizations begins to take shape and loom into sight.

A distinct and surprising delight of The Great Ordeal is Bakker’s use of specific, rhythmic, and lyrical stylings adapted for individual character POV.  I had not expected Bakker’s writing style to change in any new significant ways in the interim between 2011’s The White-Luck Warrior and The Great Ordeal, but I found myself rereading sections just to form the words in my mouth.

New characters, new magic, new places, new heartbreak.  Thaumazein, wonder, awe.  For Plato it was the origin of all philosophy.  For Shakespeare it was the spark of all human character.  For Bakker it is the gasp of realization that the mind’s ignorance knows no bounds.  We are doomed to stumble in the dark.  “Could tragedy be a passion?”  Yes.  Scott Bakker proves it—with a fury. 

I recommend this book by Bakker with more fervor than any other in the series.  Page for page, this volume was a most haunting pleasure to read.  Revelation and unforeseen revelation infect the reader and the characters both in substantial measure.  Just as Bakker has hoarded his secrets over many books, The Great Ordeal itself seizes and then accelerates, disgorging dreadful truths by the end.  My advice: put the book down after you finish chapter 11, call in sick before you start chapter 12, read straight through to the end.

10/10 – This story is exactly what I want from the last-but-one book of an epic sequence.

Finally, The Great Ordeal retells the age-old story of fateful human frailty.  An inquiry for the reader and an inquisition for the characters. 

Do not wait.  Get this book. 
This is what you have been waiting for.

- Andy T a.k.a. Bakkerfans from Twitter and Facebook a.k.a. mrganondorf from

P.S.  It is now evident to me that R. Scott Bakker is a liar.  He pretends to shake out crumbs in an occasional interview or blog post, but reader be warned: his answers hide more than reveal.  An unreliable author of unreliable characters—he’s been manipulating us all along, holding back the flood that drowns: The Unholy Consult.

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