Who actually liked TUC?

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andrew

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« on: August 20, 2017, 01:22:46 am »
I finished TUC about 10 days ago.  Still angry, revolted and amazed with myself that I slogged through so much filth just to see how it ends...only to find that absolutely nothing about the ending makes the price of admission remotely worth paying. 

I've been a fan since +- 2003/4 when I read Darkness that Comes Before and found it to be one of the best fantasy novels I'd ever read.  I loved the entire PON series, even if it was dark + brutal.  In the wait between books, I even made the egregious error of reading Bakker's pornographic/seriously sick stand-alone novel, Neuropath (featuring such witticisms as, "I only fuck the meat" ), so enamored was I of PON.

The entire Aspect Emporer series, but particularly the last two books and TUC more than any, is just revolting.  And so much of it turns out to be pointless: the last cishaurim; the entire Mimara/baby/Judging Eye storyline; the entire 'what will Sorweel chose' storyline ... wham, he's another WL Warrior last second, and oh, by the way he sucks at it and fails because of that repulsive dipshit Kelmomas; Achamian's reunion with Esmenet - a few hours of reconciliation before he is sent off to eternal torment (while she, for no reason but the arbitrariness of the demon-gods, is saved); I could go on. And along the way we have to slog through the truly demented, repulsive imagination of Scott Bakker. 

I recall on the old forum a thread where Bakker (who used to post frequently) was crowing about reading a review from someone who was so repulsed by the brutality in the PON series that she decided to burn the book, which Bakker thought was seriously funny.  7 books and +- 14 years later, I'm seriously thinking of tossing mine. No way I'll leave them around for my kids to discover, and I don't really hate anyone enough to gift them.  I gather there is speculation of a further No-God series.  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice...

Frail

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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2017, 02:23:23 am »
That was my first impression as well, I read the book too fast.

Now that its sunk into my shell of a skull I love it more than I did before TUC. Give it time young apprentice

Hand of Yawgmoth

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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2017, 03:37:30 am »
that repulsive dipshit Kelmomas;

That's kind of missing the whole point. I agree about there being a fundamental difference between Prince of Nothing and Aspect-Emperor, but it seems like a gross oversimplification to see your takeaway. Bakker put us through the most vile celebration imaginable, and the fact that it becomes tedious after a while is a statement in itself. It's pointless and glorious and transcendent.

This isn't the end of the series. I have some reservations, and I agree about some of the loose ends. If Meppa doesn't play a big part in the follow-up, then there was no point in letting him survive Esme's chorae. Akka and Mimara had better play a big role, or else their entire journey was an exercise in stringing the reader along. Etc.

I recall on the old forum a thread where Bakker (who used to post frequently) was crowing about reading a review from someone who was so repulsed by the brutality in the PON series that she decided to burn the book, which Bakker thought was seriously funny. 7 books and +- 14 years later, I'm seriously thinking of tossing mine. No way I'll leave them around for my kids to discover, and I don't really hate anyone enough to gift them. I gather there is speculation of a further No-God series. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice...

I think he really would celebrate that, and I'm not sure he's wrong.
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2017, 04:41:13 am »
the entire 'what will Sorweel chose' storyline ... wham, he's another WL Warrior last second
That's the point of being a white luck warrior. Everything you do has been pre-determined since the dawn of Creation itself... that is unless the No-God short-circuits you.

Anyway, regarding TUC, I would've liked it to be more clear. I don't mind uncertainty or things being left an aura of mystery, but sometimes the prose just became so purple it was hard to actually get what the fuck was going on. Anyway, despite this I had a legit blast while reading the book. Definitely worth the money.
The No-God series isn't just speculation, it's confirmed by Bakker himself.

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2017, 06:17:30 am »
@ andrew

I feel like the Second Apocalypse is not a work that can be described within a framework of liking. Even more, I consider that framework completely irrelevant regarding this series. I dislike violence, tragedy, and coercion. Sexual violence, I abhor with vengeance. I specifically don't read anything that might even remotely have a "bad" ending (bittersweet is okay, though). In my opinion, all those preferences have zero relevance when it comes to the Second Apocalypse. It's not genre fiction, but literary. It's about reflection, not about liking, though of course you are free to like or dislike it.

I also disagree with describing the narrative sequences you mentioned as pointless. For me, each and every one of them got a fitting ending that was completely in line with the tone and nature of the series. Nothing was conveniently explained and neatly tied off, because the whole series is about narrative inconvenience and defying expectations. Yet everything invoked thought, and, speaking for myself, I understood things I haven't before because of it. That's a shining example of what I need not being what I want.

Furthermore, right now I have compelling answers (sometimes more than one) for every question in the series that mattered to me.

That being said, I'm very sorry you're so disappointed. Maybe reading what others saw in the series would help you find new and satisfying aspects of it?
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 08:51:44 am by SmilerLoki »

Cynical Cat

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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2017, 06:53:15 am »
I unreservedly love the books.  War is not antiseptic and clean with the victory of the righteous preordained.  It is, almost always, suffering and horror with the iron gears of circumstances chewing up men and nations.  That Bakker can incorporate these terrible and frequently brushed over truths into his works while also including gripping action, awesome sorcery, and profound courage is one of his great strengths as a writer. 

Victory was never assured.  Ninety-five percent of fiction tells us that, but we all know that there is a finger on the scale.  No noble sacrifice will be futile, no courageous deed will be easily undone, evil will not triumph over good, Sauron is always defeated, and fallen heroes always end up in the undying lands.  Free will matters, the main characters are heroes, not pawns.  That is the expectation.  Normal, easy, safe.  The lie that we want to be told.

Bakker dares to betray Proyas and show us that in the heart of the man who will save us from genocide there is room for only one other person.  He dares to actually unleash the Second Apocalypse that is foretold.  The savior is not merely hollow, he is a lie.  Tremendous sacrifice results in heartbreaking failure and the unleashing of the very evil it sought to forestall.  How often does fiction dare to walk that road?  Forget all of Bakker's skills as a writer and world builder, how can you not admire the courage?

As for the Second Apocalypse, it should be heartbreaking.  The tale of how it came to pass should be tragic and powerful.  It would be obscene if it wasn't.  But it isn't over.  The First Apocalypse was over come.  The success of the second is not assured.  Drusas Achaiman walks in Seswatha's footsteps and with him is the Holy Empress and the true prophet.  The Black Gate has opened and the army of Mordor has poured forth, but the White City has yet to fall.

Hogman

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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2017, 08:50:03 am »
Still angry, revolted and amazed with myself that I slogged through so much filth just to see how it ends...only to find that absolutely nothing about the ending makes the price of admission remotely worth paying. 

The fact that you wanted to find out what happened speaks for itself.

...the entire 'what will Sorweel chose' storyline ... wham, he's another WL Warrior last second

It isn't "last second". It's been building ever since Yatwer hid his face.

And along the way we have to slog through the truly demented, repulsive imagination of Scott Bakker.

You didn't have to - you wanted to.

Woden

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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2017, 10:49:44 am »
That was my first impression as well, I read the book too fast.

Now that its sunk into my shell of a skull I love it more than I did before TUC. Give it time young apprentice

I read it too fast too, but now that I'm rereading it more slowly all the stuff of the meat and violence of the Ordeal is sickening me far more. I want to skip the chapters of the Great Ordeal just for that. I would prefer less pages of cannibalism and depravation and a more clear and less abrupt ending.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 10:55:20 am by Woden »
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2017, 11:18:14 am »
It seems quite a lot of you actually found the violence disturbing but personally it didn't phase me at all. Maybe I'm too far gone into the Semantic Apocalypse...

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 11:21:33 am »
It seems quite a lot of you actually found the violence disturbing but personally it didn't phase me at all. Maybe I'm too far gone into the Semantic Apocalypse...
You're not alone. I read them with structural appreciation. "Well thought out pointed obscenities here".

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2017, 11:22:53 am »
It seems quite a lot of you actually found the violence disturbing but personally it didn't phase me at all. Maybe I'm too far gone into the Semantic Apocalypse...
You're not alone. I read them with structural appreciation. "Well thought out pointed obscenities here".
Does this structural appreciation include... pleasure  8)?

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2017, 11:27:13 am »
Does this structural appreciation include... pleasure  8)?
Don't I wish! Just a sense of understanding the narrative purpose of events and the overarching structure of the book and the series. It's all very educational, actually, since the Second Apocalypse is so contradictory to many narrative conventions.

themerchant

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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2017, 11:40:15 am »
It's my favourite book in the series.


themerchant

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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2017, 11:43:59 am »
That Chorae that got Kellhus seems to have turned more than Kellhus into pure salt though. It flew right off the page and got many a reader as well. I'd be unhappy as well if i didn't like the books as much as others have. I did get a bit worried with the end of TGO.

Madness

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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2017, 01:03:26 pm »
I love TUC, think that it provides narrative closure - if first you accept the arcs Bakker planned for TAE, and am not disturbed by the explicit violence therein.
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