We Are Proyas

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TaoHorror

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« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2017, 01:06:25 am »
I'm with Duskweaver on this one - let the show never end. I loved this story and don't get the sense he screwed us all over for pleasure - just too much minutia and delicious detail for something as base as that to be his ultimate aim. Bakker knows he'll have critics ( The Sound and the Fury had literary critics at the time of release, now widely considered about the greatest American novel ever written ). I agree, this is literature, not "just" fantasy/sci-fi.

The ending was abrupt, but timely in my opinion - I was emotionally exhausted reading this stuff, but loved it as an athlete loves exertion taxing our limits - it's not the triumph, but the struggle. The ending so extremely clever - it was a surprise, yet it was prophesy as well. And Akka has to feel the ultimate dupe he 1/2 unwittingly enabled the 2nd Apocalypse ( can't escape all the blame on he didn't know, much of the PON dealt with his reservations and yet he still taught Kellhus the Gnosis ); one could argue he brought about it as much as Kellhus ( he just HAD to drag along that son of his! ). If the argument is Bakker fucked us over by salting the hero, well we still have Mimara and Akka ( well, maybe, not sure how I see anybody escaping alive ). I'm figuring Kellhus's grandson may play prominently in the resolution of this story ... that, or we get to see what life is like on Earwa with less than 144k people and if that does indeed stave off damnation for the remaining Consult.
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solipsisticurge

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« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2017, 06:22:14 am »
To me, there is no real distinction between genre fiction and literary fiction. Any novel, in any setting or style, can attempt to use artistry to explore and convey complex themes, just as any novel with or without genre identification can utterly fail to do so, or not try at all. Mediocre and shitty authors abound, regardless of genre or lack thereof (though perhaps I'm being pretentious associating a lack of literary elements in a book written for escapist enjoyment with mediocrity ad hoc).

I think this is half of Bakker's point, really.


Part of me would quite like it if Bakker just kept on writing new instalments and never actually concluded the storyline at all. The journey is so fascinating and thought-provoking that I don't ultimately care where we end up. I guess it also fits in with my real-world philosophical/religious inclinations, in that I'm what I call an Inverse Buddhist: I believe the Buddha was mostly right, except that I don't see escaping the endless cycle of existence as a worthy goal. I'm quite content to go round and round the cycle forever. Existence is, for want of a better term, a hell of a lot of fun.

1. I'm halfway with you, to a point, on the series, though I do desire some narrative closure and explanation of the setting, to a degree which I know will find me disappointed once the series is properly concluded. But TSA on perpetual annual release? Count me in.

2. I think I'm the exact opposite of your "inverse Buddhist" thinking. Existence is a relentless series of menial tasks whose only long-term purpose is to perpetuate said existence, peppered with rare moments of bliss through distraction. Oh, woe unto thee whose eyes must ponder mine angst.

Straying into Dunning-Kruger effect?

I'm very glad this has a name which I can add to my repertoire of specific nomenclature I possess a marginal comprehension of.
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generalguy

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« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2017, 02:56:43 pm »
I've wondered recently that Bakker's work might serve as a litmus test for needing cognitive closure.
I think this is something well-worth investigating. I certainly seem to fit your hypothesis. I have a ludicrously low NCS, and so far all the ambiguities people have held up as examples of Bakker being terrible are the things I enjoyed most about TSA. Part of me would quite like it if Bakker just kept on writing new instalments and never actually concluded the storyline at all. The journey is so fascinating and thought-provoking that I don't ultimately care where we end up. I guess it also fits in with my real-world philosophical/religious inclinations, in that I'm what I call an Inverse Buddhist: I believe the Buddha was mostly right, except that I don't see escaping the endless cycle of existence as a worthy goal. I'm quite content to go round and round the cycle forever. Existence is, for want of a better term, a hell of a lot of fun.


Imo I think bakkers short stories and world building are better than his long narratives and a collection of vignettes of earwa would be a good way to approach Kindle singles or something. I certainly would like read stories set in same world

But I think if you start an epic fantasy tale, give no indications that you are subverting the form, then pull out a Psyche!!!! Gotcha at the end that's uncool. You gotta own up to your written actions




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Sausuna

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« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2017, 03:07:27 pm »
I've wondered recently that Bakker's work might serve as a litmus test for needing cognitive closure.
I think this is something well-worth investigating. I certainly seem to fit your hypothesis. I have a ludicrously low NCS, and so far all the ambiguities people have held up as examples of Bakker being terrible are the things I enjoyed most about TSA. Part of me would quite like it if Bakker just kept on writing new instalments and never actually concluded the storyline at all. The journey is so fascinating and thought-provoking that I don't ultimately care where we end up. I guess it also fits in with my real-world philosophical/religious inclinations, in that I'm what I call an Inverse Buddhist: I believe the Buddha was mostly right, except that I don't see escaping the endless cycle of existence as a worthy goal. I'm quite content to go round and round the cycle forever. Existence is, for want of a better term, a hell of a lot of fun.


Imo I think bakkers short stories and world building are better than his long narratives and a collection of vignettes of earwa would be a good way to approach Kindle singles or something. I certainly would like read stories set in same world

But I think if you start an epic fantasy tale, give no indications that you are subverting the form, then pull out a Psyche!!!! Gotcha at the end that's uncool. You gotta own up to your written actions




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I don't know, I'm not sure it is fair to claim that Bakker wasn't clearly subverting form, both with character archetypes and layout. Wasn't this something he address previously?

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« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2017, 05:14:58 pm »
I'm very glad this has a name which I can add to my repertoire of specific nomenclature I possess a marginal comprehension of.

I got a bunch for you, fam 8).

Imo I think bakkers short stories and world building are better than his long narratives and a collection of vignettes of earwa would be a good way to approach Kindle singles or something. I certainly would like read stories set in same world

I don't disagree with you, though, - unlike Road Brothers or Sharp Ends - I think Bakker's Atrocity Tales haven't been great stand-alones, even for world junkies.

Whole separate topic, methinks.

But I think if you start an epic fantasy tale, give no indications that you are subverting the form, then pull out a Psyche!!!! Gotcha at the end that's uncool. You gotta own up to your written actions

I don't know, I'm not sure it is fair to claim that Bakker wasn't clearly subverting form, both with character archetypes and layout. Wasn't this something he address previously?

He's definitely been saying it for years and years in a variety of different ways. The fact that he doesn't put a damned foreword in the text as such is almost criminal, as generalguy is noting ;).

I'm still waiting for the reactions of my three high-school friends regarding TUC. It'll be interesting as they pay no attention whatsoever to what happens online.
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generalguy

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« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2017, 05:29:40 pm »


He's definitely been saying it for years and years in a variety of different ways. The fact that he doesn't put a damned foreword in the text as such is almost criminal, as generalguy is noting ;).

I'm still waiting for the reactions of my three high-school friends regarding TUC. It'll be interesting as they pay no attention whatsoever to what happens online.

Ehh if he's saying it and it's not in the text its secondary at best. Sure there are subversions of some basic tropes but the core story is pretty standard fantasy epic. That's what I mean by the gotcha--if he's gonna claim that the work is intended to be a deconstruction or subversion of the standard fantasy arc then imo it doesn't do it that well, just that the ending is a downer rather than a LOTR victory isn't enough. Entire plot threads are irrelevant or unresolved and some critical metaphysical mechanics are just completely unexplained and you just gotta roll with it. This is what I mean by he needed an editor: you need someone informed but able to think like a reader who certainly doesn't haven't authorial level context so that they can poke the author into explaining what is going on.



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Madness

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« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2017, 05:42:44 pm »
He's definitely been saying it for years and years in a variety of different ways. The fact that he doesn't put a damned foreword in the text as such is almost criminal, as generalguy is noting ;).

I'm still waiting for the reactions of my three high-school friends regarding TUC. It'll be interesting as they pay no attention whatsoever to what happens online.

Ehh if he's saying it and it's not in the text its secondary at best. Sure there are subversions of some basic tropes but the core story is pretty standard fantasy epic. That's what I mean by the gotcha--if he's gonna claim that the work is intended to be a deconstruction or subversion of the standard fantasy arc then imo it doesn't do it that well, just that the ending is a downer rather than a LOTR victory isn't enough. Entire plot threads are irrelevant or unresolved and some critical metaphysical mechanics are just completely unexplained and you just gotta roll with it. This is what I mean by he needed an editor: you need someone informed but able to think like a reader who certainly doesn't haven't authorial level context so that they can poke the author into explaining what is going on.

It's an interesting crux, that's for sure.

- He's had an online contemporary fandom since at least TWP's release on Zombie Three Seas - "claiming things" was quite public for a long time (though I agree with you, something like a foreward like WHCB in the books would have clearly done him a world of good).
- He does have people who sub-in for the ignorant reader - his agent, the person Overlook hires to outsource his editing, a number of draft readers who are readers, not fans (whether Overlook in particular handles this badly is up to debate).
- I haven't really seen anyone take the time to break down the narrative arcs in TAE or its constituent books (aside maybe Hiro, pail, and I privately). Achamian, Mimara, Esmenet, Sorweel, whomever, have narrative arcs, they just clearly aren't the ones that a large subset of readers wanted. That doesn't mean they don't have arcs.
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Sausuna

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« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2017, 05:56:44 pm »


He's definitely been saying it for years and years in a variety of different ways. The fact that he doesn't put a damned foreword in the text as such is almost criminal, as generalguy is noting ;).

I'm still waiting for the reactions of my three high-school friends regarding TUC. It'll be interesting as they pay no attention whatsoever to what happens online.

Ehh if he's saying it and it's not in the text its secondary at best. Sure there are subversions of some basic tropes but the core story is pretty standard fantasy epic. That's what I mean by the gotcha--if he's gonna claim that the work is intended to be a deconstruction or subversion of the standard fantasy arc then imo it doesn't do it that well, just that the ending is a downer rather than a LOTR victory isn't enough. Entire plot threads are irrelevant or unresolved and some critical metaphysical mechanics are just completely unexplained and you just gotta roll with it. This is what I mean by he needed an editor: you need someone informed but able to think like a reader who certainly doesn't haven't authorial level context so that they can poke the author into explaining what is going on.



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In what way would you define it as 'pretty standard epic fantasy'? Not to be overly pedantic, but I think the variance in characters is more than enough to set it apart. None of the characters are really 'good' in any traditional sense. You have a ragged old wizard dragging his love's daughter that he impregnated across an entire continent with a bunch of psychopaths to discover the secret of the god-emperors Mentat whale-mother origins. You've got a twin-souled murder child plotting out the subtle assassination of all his siblings to secure his mother's love. You've got said super emperor leading nations to defeat alien cenobites, and damning them all along the way by eating bio-engineered murder beast meat (with countless illusions to cannibalism) that makes them into images of aforementioned murder beasts. 

You also have Esmenet, but I honestly didn't care for her story. I honestly kept expecting a twist. Though, I mentioned elsewhere, I kept expecting Kellhus to have joined the Consult. All this said, it isn't the end of the series. I think the shock comes more that we (or at least I) wanted to believe the depraved Consult could be beaten. I'd say it is human nature to want 'the good guys' to win.


I will agree with Madness, I think a forward would be nice. I didn't care for the ending until I read Bakker's comments on it. Came to appreciate it a little more.

SuJuroit

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« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2017, 06:14:25 pm »
Yeah, in many ways I see TSA as the polar opposite of "standard fantasy epic".  Your generic standard fantasy epic typically involves a heroic character who rises from humble origins to discover he has a great destiny.  He meets true companions, finds a wise mentor, and "levels up".  He suffers losses and setbacks, but ultimately overcomes them and defeats the Big Bad.

In TSA we have a sociopath who descends from exalted origins (we're constantly told how superior the Dunyain consider themselves to the Worldborn) and his original purpose was to kill his father.  He uses and manipulates everybody he meets, making the world and everyone in it his tool.  He betrays his "mentor" and takes from him everything of value.  He does gain the power of the Gnosis, but his kung fu and manipulation skills were maxxed out when he left Ishual.  He conquers the known world with little difficulty.  And when he finally has his showdown with the Big Bad (who may not actually be worse than he is), he loses and dies. 

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« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2017, 06:40:09 pm »
Quote from: Bakker, 2005

That was where the original idea for the ‘Kellhus meme’ came from – I think. The next step in his evolution came with my readings of Theodor Adorno. The dominant tradition in mainstream literature is to depict protagonists stranded in a potentially meaningless world trying to find some kind of compensatory meaning – usually through some conception of ‘love.’ You’ve literally seen this pattern countless times. Kellhus offered me an opportunity to turn this model on its head. What makes fantasy distinct is that the worlds depicted tend to be indisputably meaningful – in a sense that’s what makes them fantastic! I thought to myself, what would a story of a protagonist stranded in a meaningful world struggling to hold onto meaninglessness look like?
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #40 on: August 30, 2017, 06:44:48 pm »
And the meaninglessness succeeds! Such a thing is almost anathema to human thought, since we are the ones prescribing meaning to what is essentially just machinery upon machinery.

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« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2017, 08:13:19 pm »
And the meaninglessness succeeds! Such a thing is almost anathema to human thought, since we are the ones prescribing meaning to what is essentially just machinery upon machinery.

One vehicle for meaninglessness succeeds.  As the RSB himself says, Khellus is another vehicle for meaninglessness in a meaningful world.  So I don't think it was unreasonable for someone to consider Khellus victorious another avenue for meaninglessness to be victorious.  Or to think that Khellus succeeding is still not an inversion of trope. 

I am definitely a fantasy genre reader, and I am someone who needs closure (the Marvel movie universe drives me nuts because I want something to END, not continue forever).  So while I have had those two things working "against" me with this series, it has been a series I have absolutely loved and recommended to dozens of friends and family.  It is difficult to determine what parts of my disappointment are based in Khellus being killed, since I have been obsessed with his character since TDTCB, and what parts are due to the lack of closure of certain narrative threads.  But in the end, I am currently not only hesitant to suggest these books now, but part of me wants to warn the friends who are reading it from the beginning.  PON was amazing and may be my go to in the long run, but TUC was an exercise in frustration and disappointment for me.  There have been many comparisons between TTT and TUC across several threads, but to me, they serve as antithesis to each other from a catharsis perspective.  TTT satisfyingly concluded that series, where TUC does not.