Why do you like this series?

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« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2013, 11:46:49 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Why isn't that on a t-shirt?

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« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2013, 11:46:54 pm »
Quote from: coobek
Quote from: bbaztek
It's a friday night and I'm posting about everyone's favorite union of genre fantasy and mature philosophical themes, with just a dash of alien dick for piquance. ... I need a life.

You're all pretty intelligent, articulate people here, so I was interested hearing in your own words why you like this series so much. Is it the characters? The plot? Bakker's prose? I bet it's a little bit of everything. There's a lot not to like about the series (why does everyone cry at the drop of a hat? Oh wait, this is Earwa) but it still manages to be fantastic anyways. This is also one of the few fantasy series with a cult following that doesn't seem to have its fair share of wackos, guys who think they really are Kellhus notwithstanding. Though that would definitely change if it ever goes mainstream, god willing. Bring on your Esmi x Aurang slash fiction, weirdos, I want Bakker to get a movie deal.

As for why I love The Second Apocalypse:

1. Akka. Who can't love this guy? I don't care if some readers think he's whiny or self-obsessed. Let's be honest here, guys. If Akka was real, he'd be reading this series. He's easily slighted, can't move on from The One That Got Away, Earwa's frat boys think he's weak, etc. He's pretty much every guy at the bottom of the high school social ladder with godlike powers. Akka has serious issues, and it is his imperfections that save him from the dreaded Mary Sue label. To see such an insecure character who in fact can keep a lid on his powers is refreshing. It takes real skill to essentially make Akira-the-sorceror and not have the series devolve into a creepy power fantasy. Kudos, Bakker.

2. The Consult. I think a series is defined by its villains, and the Consult deliver in spades. A meditation on the human condition is incomplete without its dark side, and the Inchoroi/Consult take the universal desire for gratification and control to its revolting extreme. This is real, horrific evil. The kind that raises the stakes of the story and makes you care about the characters in turn. The kind that makes you almost wince out of reflex every time Aurang or Golgotterath are mentioned. Bakker's got some issues with his therapist he needs to talk about, but first he needs to thank his dealer. He was smoking some goooood shit when he thought up skin-spies and sranc. The guy has a twisted imagination and I can't help but marvel at it.

3. Sorcery. Finally, a magic system that feels real. Wait until the whackos come out of the wood work, I'm surprised I haven't read about some guy practicing his Odaini Concussion Cant on his tree in the backyard yet. Like everything else in Bakker's world, it feels authentic, real. A magic system derived from ideal meanings and the pure force of passion. As simple as that. It's too good to improve on.

4. The names. I don't know what it is about Bakker's names, but they went from being needlessly exotic-sounding to capturing the style and flavor you would expect the names of some alternate Earth to have. The guttural language of the Inchoroi's creations, the Galeoth tongue, the lyricism of the Nonmen languages. It's incredible. Each city name is perfect: Momemn, Invishi, even Golgotterath. Bakker's got a knack for invoking everything we need to know about a place in a name.

That about does it. There's more but any more knob polishing and Bakker's gonna have to start payin me for this. What about you guys?

Very well and elegantly stated bbaztek.

The names - I caught myself repeating them in the head after reading and collapsing at 4.am to sleep. Incu-Holoinas the Ark of the sky - what a secret, what an evil. No-God. Yalgrotta the Sranchammer,Inchoroi. And songs the warsongs! It made me reflect and think but also feel .From what darkness did those feelings and attachments came from? It is as if something awaken them. This was amazing throught the whole series. Amazing. Nothing like that happend to me not even after Silmarillion, which came for me as the last Tolkien novels. Never. Did I live on Earwa before and its just played those strings. But, but how? I am rational. I am Dunyain.

The Consult, The Inchoroi, Sheonara - what an unspeakable Evil it represents. How its written, How it is revealed. This makes you like & side with the heroes which you would'nt. How high the stakes rise. I agree fully - those are THE villians of the fantasy literature. They reak of Auschwitz, of Stutthof. Only here, on my soil such an evil existed.

Kellhus - D&D IQ 25 guy. But such a person cannot be described. But RSB, RSB makes all the difference.

The cast - Akka & Esmenet & Inrau & Xinemus & Meketrig & Kellhus & Cnaiur! & Conphas! & Maithanet & Elezares & .... my god all, all - Athejari, Yalgrotta all are great.

The world - already defined by names but still so much different from other settings and races and history and sorcery made so, so TRUE.

The secrets - aha big behind names as well so much to imagine, so much to speculate. Seswatha dreams as an example. No-God is another it captivated my interest in 1st 2 books, what a foe - WHAT DO YOU SEE?

The WAR! - great epic battles not between nations but between civilizations. Very well written. The only better or on par battle description I have found in Sapkowski's books.

The Ending of the first trilogy - after knowing what is at stake and who is Kellhus and all. Akka comes and just is on top, steals the show.

Damnation & Gods - the axis of all the evility, ppl are damned here REALLY. I mean Poland is a catholic country but if you ask if ppl believe - yes, but in Hell - no. Its a kids story. Even if they do, Mr Devil is a 1800's smart ass dress in Prussian Noble Clothes who in fairy tales always looses against village wise women (MILF :-)). If ppl would immagine what really damnation is, like what Mangaecca did to get close to damnation 'feel' (in False Sun). I mean imagine every day - how it would change your actions & perceptions of the world. My God! Its Medieval Times squared. It touches everybody in Earwa. So this is a worldbuilding part not present in other books I have read.

And from damnation  - the terror, the cruelty, the evil beyond other books. But due to damnation - fitting.

RSB - this guy, he is complete package. How? How can you write like that?

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« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:00 pm »
Quote from: Ajokli
Quote from: Wilshire
"Soft earth deeply plowed" is one of my favorite quotes.

I once described my ex like that.

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« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:05 pm »
Quote from: Meyna
It's a great plot, with great characters, as several of you have sufficiently enunciated. It's the philosophy that really reaches out to me, though. Or, rather, the aspects of humanity that the books challenge me to think about.

It is a world of such great uncertainty, much like ours. Where even the manifestation of pure evil has existential meltdowns (WHAT DO YOU SEE?). Where the wisest of the wise have indecipherable recurring nightmares featuring their mentor from thousands of years ago. A world that sees strife where there is misrepresentation of cultural difference. A world of illogic.

It speaks to us. We relate to it (soft earth deeply plowed, aside) and wish there were a way to see through the darkness. Then we are presented with the enlightened; and we cannot relate to them. It reminds me of a bit of speculation by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Quote
If you look at the closest genetic relative to human beings- the chimpanzees- we share like 98+% identical DNA, we are smarter than a chimpanzee.  Letís invent a measure of intelligence that make humans unique. Letís say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science, letís say. Letís make that as the arbitrary definition of intelligence for the moment. Chimps canít do any of that. Yet we share 98/99% identical DNA. The most brilliant chimp there ever was, maybe can do sign language. Well, our toddlers can do that. Toddlers. So, hereís what concerns me deeply. Deeply.

Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that 1% difference in DNA. It has to because thatís the difference. The Hubble telescope, the grandÖ thatís in that 1%. Maybe, everything that we are that is not the chimp is not as smart compared to the chimp as we tell ourselves it is. Maybe the difference between constructing and launching a Hubble telescope and a chimp combining two finger motions as sign language- maybe that difference is not all that great. We tell ourselves it is. Just the same way we label our books optical illusions. We tell ourselves itís a lot. Maybe itís almost nothing.

How would we decide that? Imagine another life form. Thatís 1% different from us. In the direction that we are different from the chimp. Think about that. We have 1% difference and we are building the Hubble telescope. Go another 1%. What are we to they? We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence. Thatís what we would be.

They would take Stephen Hawking and roll him in front of their primate researchers and say well this one is like the most brilliant among them ícause he can sorta do astrophysics in his head. Aw. Isnít that cute. Little Johnny can do that too. Well thatís so cute. In fact, Johnny just did thatÖ let me just get itÖ itís on the refrigerator door. Here it is. He did it in his elementary school class. Think about how smart they would be. Quantum mechanics would be intuitive to their toddlers. Whole symphonies would be written by their children. And like I said, just put up on the refrigerator door- the way our pasta collages are on our refrigerator doors.

So, the notion that weíre gonna find some intelligent life and have a conversation with it? When was the last time you stopped to have a conversation with a worm? Or a bird? Well, you might have had a conversation but I donít think you expected an answer, alright. So, we donít have conversations with any other species on earth with whom we have DNA in common. To believe that some intelligent other species is gonna be interested in us, enough to have a conversation, theyíll look at our Hubble telescope and say, ďisnít that quaintÖ look at what theyíre doing.Ē

So, I lay awake at nights wondering whether we as a species are simply too stupid to figure out the universe that weíre investigating. And maybe we need some other species 1% smarter than we are for, which string theory would be intuitive, for which all the greatest mysteries of the universeÖ from dark matter, dark energy, the origins of life, and all the frontiers of our thought would be something that they would just self intuit.

Well, there they are: the Dunyain. As one of those blathering idiots, I want to have a conversation with them. And so I keep reading in the hopes that I'll learn how.

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« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:11 pm »
Quote from: Wilshire
Quote from: Ajokli
Quote from: Wilshire
"Soft earth deeply plowed" is one of my favorite quotes.

I once described my ex like that.

lmao, pre or post X status? hope it got back to her :P

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« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:15 pm »
Quote from: Ajokli
Quote from: Wilshire
Quote from: Ajokli
Quote from: Wilshire
"Soft earth deeply plowed" is one of my favorite quotes.

I once described my ex like that.

lmao, pre or post X status? hope it got back to her

Pre and post.  Oh, I'm sure it did.

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« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:21 pm »
Quote from: coobek
Quote
Well, there they are: the Dunyain. As one of those blathering idiots, I want to have a conversation with them. And so I keep reading in the hopes that I'll learn how.

Splendid example. +1 Meyna.

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« Reply #52 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:26 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
I enjoy Bakker's prose. In a word: exciting. I don't feel such things anymore, but in the first couple of years of Bakker I would get a continuous buzz in the center of my head that felt exactly like a pre-orgasmic muscular contraction. His battle scenes have been superlative. I must love him merely for his descriptions, and one description above all - I'm sure everyone can recall, "ink of armpits" and "honey of unwashed anuses". For the latter alone, I forewent showering for a day, just so I could reach down there and... That's powerful (double entendre). Certainly, realistic. I can still picture the filthy horde. I can taste it. (Though don't get me wrong here, I didn't... I washed my hands.)

The characters: PoN for me has slightly subverted Bakker's notion of a "Subjunctive Self" while reading. As I am now, I certainly can not "relate" to any characters in any book I have read or can recall reading. In fact, I don't think I experienced this even pre-Bakker. Mostly, I would participate as a Gary-Stu type who would bend the circumstances and sarcastically advise the protagonists. It's probably a more narcissistic conceit. Post-Bakker, I feel simply as a detached spectator - I merely watch events unfold, and either they're interesting to me or not. In that way, I think Character becomes subsumed into Plot itself. Or something like that, maybe.

To elaborate: it's like I'm watching a movie instead of reading a book. I'm reading the book as a movie. Now, I don't much like movies any longer for the same reason that so much literature now seems dull post-Bakker. When I do watch a movie, though, what I mostly do is analyze the actors' faces and voices, and to an extent their words. I don't really care too much about their personalities or their hopes, their dreams, their troubles, their circumstances, their "flaws"... perhaps reading characters has become something akin to this.

Bottom line: I feel not one way or the other emotionally, with respect to Bakker's characters. Nothing they do "upsets" or "alienates" me or whatever. They are however, unlike most others to me now, interesting to hear about and observe. There's probably more that I could say about it, but I'm not competent to articulate these things.

...

They have the richest intonations and most expressive faces?

They sing with the God's voice!

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« Reply #53 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:34 pm »
Quote from: bbaztek
Whoaa time out did you really not clean your cornhole so you could sniff it dude

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« Reply #54 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:39 pm »
Quote from: Meyna
Standard "method reading" practices.

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« Reply #55 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:44 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
I liek Bakker becus of the raep, teh black sperm, teh big alien dicks n kool stuff

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« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:48 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote from: bbaztek
Whoaa time out did you really not clean your cornhole so you could sniff it dude

I wonder how Bakker came up with that.

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« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:53 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote from: bbaztek
Whoaa time out did you really not clean your cornhole so you could sniff it dude

I wonder how Bakker came up with that.

It's just science bbaztek.

More to the point, did it smell like honey?
Perhaps you could try alternate diets.  :twisted:

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« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:59 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Curethan
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote from: bbaztek
Whoaa time out did you really not clean your cornhole so you could sniff it dude

I wonder how Bakker came up with that.

It's just science bbaztek.

More to the point, did it smell like honey?
Perhaps you could try alternate diets.  :twisted:
Generally one eats with ones mouth.

The others laughed. Only Soma was unimpressed.

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« Reply #59 on: May 14, 2013, 11:48:04 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Wow. +1 for Laughs.

Meyna... I want to make a joke so bad but anything I think of is either wildly inappropriate (read trades humour) or lacks wit. +1 Method Reading. Just died.