Influences on TSA

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TheSolitaryMG

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« 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."

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1001/1001-h/1001-h.htm

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.

Old Gnostic Fool

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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 11:57:34 pm »
The most obvious one is Tolkien's of course in the way the world is styled, but I do believe that there's a Malazan and ASOIAF influence in there as well. Now I know that Bakker started conceiving his world some 15 years before the debut novel hit shelves, so I don't think it's extensive in any way.

If I'm not mistaken, Dune was mentioned as one of his biggest inspirations. I've not read it, so I don't know much about it.


MSJ

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 04:35:29 pm »
I get the Dune and LotR analogies....not the ASOIAF though. Really in fantasy, you can find similarities if you want to. I enjoyed seeing another author use Kellhus as a minor, minor character. I felt that was a homage to TSA....but was it? Ive no idea.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

TaoHorror

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 05:55:29 pm »
If I'm not mistaken, Dune was mentioned as one of his biggest inspirations. I've not read it, so I don't know much about it.

Well, one obvious thing he "took" from Dune are the quotes/philosophy beginning each chapter.
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ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 06:30:28 pm »
I get the Dune and LotR analogies....not the ASOIAF though. Really in fantasy, you can find similarities if you want to. I enjoyed seeing another author use Kellhus as a minor, minor character. I felt that was a homage to TSA....but was it? Ive no idea.

Sorry for popping into this thread without contributing anything, but when and in which series did this happen, MSJ? I can't remember seeing this mentioned anywhere else before, so I'm kind of curious...
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Anasűrimbor Kayűtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

TaoHorror

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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 01:18:47 pm »
I get the Dune and LotR analogies....not the ASOIAF though. Really in fantasy, you can find similarities if you want to. I enjoyed seeing another author use Kellhus as a minor, minor character. I felt that was a homage to TSA....but was it? Ive no idea.

Sorry for popping into this thread without contributing anything, but when and in which series did this happen, MSJ? I can't remember seeing this mentioned anywhere else before, so I'm kind of curious...

I don't know if Anna Smith Spark is whom he's referring to, but she has confessed "using" slog in one of her books, she's posted on the TSA FB page a few times and is a big fan of Bakker. If this is who MSJ is referring to, it would be her Empires of Dust series.
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MSJ

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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 01:53:31 pm »
ToT, it was in The Traitor Son Cycle, by Miles Cameron. In the 3rd or 4th book, after a battle The Red Knight speaks with his commanders and one is named Kellhus. I liked to think it was a TSA homage. Who knows, though?
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 04:40:04 pm »
I don't know if Anna Smith Spark is whom he's referring to, but she has confessed "using" slog in one of her books, she's posted on the TSA FB page a few times and is a big fan of Bakker. If this is who MSJ is referring to, it would be her Empires of Dust series.

I see, I haven't read any of her work so I wouldn't know. "Slog" is not that uncommon a term, but since she is a TSA fan it could very well be a reference.


ToT, it was in The Traitor Son Cycle, by Miles Cameron. In the 3rd or 4th book, after a battle The Red Knight speaks with his commanders and one is named Kellhus. I liked to think it was a TSA homage. Who knows, though?

Thank you for the information, as it turns out I haven't read that series either. (I know, I know, I do need to read more books, I have a real-life reputation as a bookworm to maintain. :P)
It doesn't seem like Kellhus would be a common name to pop up in a fictional setting (fantasy or not), so it sounds like it could indeed be a homage. Though...different authors can come up with similar or identical names independently of each other, so it's not impossible it would be a coincidence either. Is the name Kellhus a reference to/inspired by any real life name or just made up by Bakker? If it's the former, it would be more likely to be a coincidence.
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Anasűrimbor Kayűtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

Francis Buck

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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 05:44:46 pm »
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.

I'd love to read more about this MG if you have any good links, especially the masculine/feminine elements you mention.

As we know straight from the author's mouth, the "pillars" of TSA influences are Tolkien's Middle-Earth, the Conan stories by Robert Jordan, and of course Dune by Frank Herbert. I actually have a slew of "things I think might have influenced RSB" in a bookmarked folder somewhere...I will drop some of the better (I.E. least absurd) possibilities whence I find it.

Nonetheless, I think it's fair to say that the Judeo-Christian faiths are a major influence, and there are strong undercurrents of Gnostic and Hindu Vedic myth (I can't recall RSB ever outright stating Gnosticism as an influence but it seems fairly certain to have played SOME role -- Gnostic stuff is a rabbit hole in-and-of-itself however so trying to make direct connections is both easy and tenuous).
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 06:41:54 pm by Francis Buck »

MSJ

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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 05:57:56 pm »
Quote from:  ToT
Is the name Kellhus a reference to/inspired by any real life name or just made up by Bakker? If it's the former, it would be more likely to be a coincidence.

This I really have no clue about. Probably an internet search could easily tell us. Though, ive never heard of Kellhus before TSA.....for what thats worth.

ETA: googled "Kellhus" and first two pages at least(didn't go any farther), are all TSA links...
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 06:23:31 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

MSJ

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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 06:04:48 pm »
This was brought up on the Facebook page, one member pointed to The Children of Hurin as possible influence. Which is part of Tolkien and he said had the same tone as TSA. Ive never read it, but wanted to toss that out there.

Ive never came across anything close to TSA, imo. Others dont get all the hub bub we give TSA, I just dont understand how you can't enjoy this series.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

MSJ

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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 06:34:57 pm »
Quote from:  ThoughtsofThelli
I see, I haven't read any of her work so I wouldn't know. "Slog" is not that uncommon a term, but since she is a TSA fan it could very well be a reference.

Oh a definite reference, as she asked on rhe Facebook page how we as fans would feel about her using it. All liked the idea. I believe there is a "Slog" in Blood Meridian, though I can't confirm since I haven't read it.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

Francis Buck

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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 06:47:40 pm »
Quote from:  ToT
Is the name Kellhus a reference to/inspired by any real life name or just made up by Bakker? If it's the former, it would be more likely to be a coincidence.

This I really have no clue about. Probably an internet search could easily tell us. Though, ive never heard of Kellhus before TSA.....for what thats worth.

ETA: googled "Kellhus" and first two pages at least(didn't go any farther), are all TSA links...

When I was going on a "TSA etymology" frenzy I tried to find some kind of source for Kellhus but never got anything that wasn't highly tenuous. There are countless possibilities (I've considered Celsus the philosopher and infamous opponent of Christianity for example) but there's so little to go on and the name "Kellhus" itself is pretty simple. I tend to think it is just made up, and possibly came after the name "Kelmomas" was figured out, which if I had to bet money (I wouldn't) is a twist on Cernunnos, the IRL Horned God.
Quote
"Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the "horned god" of Celtic polytheism. Cernunnos was a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld."

"Cernunnos is depicted with the antlers of a stag, sometimes carries a purse filled with coin, often seated cross-legged and often associated with animals and holding or wearing torcs, are known from over 50 examples in the Gallo-Roman period, mostly in north-eastern Gaul.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 06:55:59 pm by Francis Buck »

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 06:49:14 pm »
Quote from:  ThoughtsofThelli
I see, I haven't read any of her work so I wouldn't know. "Slog" is not that uncommon a term, but since she is a TSA fan it could very well be a reference.

Oh a definite reference, as she asked on rhe Facebook page how we as fans would feel about her using it. All liked the idea. I believe there is a "Slog" in Blood Meridian, though I can't confirm since I haven't read it.

I just finished reading The Court of Broken Knives https://www.amazon.co.uk/Court-Broken-Knives-Empires-Dust/dp/0008204063.  Nothing jumped out at me as being specifically TSA inspired.
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2018, 06:51:13 pm »
In some of his early interviews, Bakker used to talk a lot about being inspired by writer called Harold Lamb https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Lamb, and in particular one of his books called Iron Men and Saints.
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