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Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2024
« on: January 11, 2024, 08:00:43 pm »
Another year. Since this is the place i most consistently write down my book notes I will keep the annual post going.

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2023
« on: January 02, 2023, 01:32:23 am »
2023... Go read a book or something.  ;)

16 last year, seems low and I'm not really sure what to do about it. Motivation to read has not been high but hopefully I'll find something that catches my eye.

Holdouts from last year:
Startide Rising by David Brin
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert

Someone mentioned  Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover (1)
Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover (2)
Caine Black Knife by Matthew Stover (3)
Caine's Law by Matthew Stover (4)
Sleight of Shadows by Kat Howard (5)
Bloodline by Will Wight (6)
Reaper by Will Wight (7)
Dreadgod by Will Wight ( 8 )
Waybound by Will Wight (9)
Eragon (10)
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by V. S. Villoso (11)

News/Announcements / Blog Post from Bryan Bakker (03 June 2022)
« on: June 24, 2022, 01:53:28 pm »
See link:

What's Going On With Scott Now?

For those interested in the now, some have commented on the fact that Scott has been quiet online in recent years. Suffice it to say he has gone through a lot. His singular focus right now is raising his daughter and building his family's future.

As for the future of the series, I've heard him say two things, over the years, about how the Second Apocalypse should end:

    One was that there would be a third trilogy outlining the blow by blow of 'you know who's' rise. I know outlines exist for such a story, but just outlines.

    The other is that the story is finished. That 'The Unholy Consult', is a fitting way to end a sprawling epic about the death of meaning.

For my part, I can't help but to think that this massive story was where Scott's creative life began and, it would not surprise me if, after his real life trials are complete, he doesn't return to it, before the end.

Like a favourite old coat - warm and comfortable - and smelling of sulfur (:

Sometimes, life does come full circle.

Thanks for reading.

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: January 04, 2022, 07:01:07 pm »
New year, new books! Or trying to finish old ones. Or rereads. Or...

This year I'm going to try to read more consistently. Despite reading 27 books, I didn't complete any books after August last year, which feels bad. Plenty of things I still want to read.

Startide Rising by David Brin
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert
Among Others by Jo Walton
The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie
The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

January (1)
1) Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker

February (2)
1) The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron

March (3)
1) The Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron

April (6)
1) The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron
2) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
3) Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

May (7)
1) The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

June (10)
1) The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
2) The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
3) The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

Sep (12)
1) Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
2) Among Others by Jo Walton
x) Malice by John Gwynne DNF

Oct (15)
1) The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
2) Against All Gods by Miles Cameron
3) The Goblin Emperor

Nov (16)
1) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2020
« on: January 02, 2020, 02:03:26 pm »
Another year, another book topic.

I think I'm going to try and finish the series I didn't get to last year, and sprinkle in some new stuff. Maybe even a reread or two if there's time. 30 was pretty easy last year, and since the outlook for this year seems similar, I'll try for 40 to make it a bit of a stretch.

Happy reading.

Some books I'd like to get to this year:

Sabriel by Garth Nix (maybe)
Labyrinth of Flames by Courtney Schaffer
Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James
Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson
Beyond Redemption by Michael R Fletcher (read Smoke and Stone instead)
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie
Acts of Cain by Matthew Stover
Powder Mage by Brian McClellan
Enchantment of Ravens (christmas)
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
To Be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar
An Unkindness of Magicians (been sitting on my shelf for ages)
The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A Wolf (christmas)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (christmas gift, thus required reading)

January (4)
1) Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
2) The Gap into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge by Stephen Donaldson
3) Six Sacred Swords by Andrew Rowe
4) The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

February (6)
1) The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A Wolf
2) Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

March (8 )
1) The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
2) The Lathe of Heave by Ursula K Le Guin

April (9)
1) A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

May (11)
1) Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
2) Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover

June (16)
1) Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike
2) The Raven's Tower by Ann Leckie
3) This is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (blue/red respectively)
4) An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
5) To be taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

July (24)
1) Minimum Wage Magic Rachael Aaron
2) Off to Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer
3) The Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith
4) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
5) The Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan
6) Uprooted by Naomi Novik
7) Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
8 ) The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

August (26)
1) The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
2) Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive by Peter M. Vishton

September (29)
1) Caine Black Knife by Matthew Stover
2) Caine's Law by Matthew Stover
3) Dragon's Flight (Pern 1) By Anne McCaffery

October (33)
1) 1984 by George Orwell
2) Crib Sheets by Emily Oster
3) Smoke and Stone by Michael R Fletcher
4) A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

November (35)
1) Hyperion by Dan Simmons
2) The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

December (36)
1) Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson

Also, a running list of the books I've read in the last few years, organized generally by how much I liked them in relation to all the others on the list:
(click to show/hide)

General Misc. / Malleus Maleficarum - Hammer of Witches,
« on: June 12, 2019, 07:47:23 pm »

Didn't know what to do with this, but found it interesting. Maybe FB or others would care to know the title.

General Misc. / Bakker's Ebay account
« on: April 15, 2019, 03:32:11 pm »
Bakker the Younger (R Scott Bakker's younger brother, Bryan) has an ebay account, Bakker3747.

As of this posting, the blurb says:
I plan to sell a variety of original items here over the coming years. Some on behalf of my brother and others for my own business. Thanks for taking the time to get to know me!

The account was opened in 2006 but had not ever listed anything for sale until today, May 15th, 2019.

Canvas Print of "Battle of Shimeh". 16''x36''
Description (from ebay):
Based on the landmark series of dark fantasy books by author R. Scott Bakker entitled, The Second Apocalypse (, this 'one in five' series is an absolute must for fans of the books and dark fantasy lovers alike. Dreamt into reality by Jason Deem, official artist for the series, each high quality canvas print (poly-cotton blend matte canvas, long-lasting epson archival inks, hand-stretched wrap over 1½” deep wood stretcher bars) depicts the "Battle of Shimeh" - the climatic final battle in book three of the opening trilogy. There will only ever be five of these prints in existence - one of them could be yours.

Opening bid is ~$1000 USD + $225 shipping.

FWIW, poly-cotten blend matte canvas is probably really nice from what I know of printing and paper. 1.5'' stretcher bars are typical.

Literature / Writing Prompt: The Overweight Elf
« on: March 27, 2019, 11:39:55 am »
Going to do some D&D, made an overweight elf named Crouton. Was wondering if anyone wanted to write a backstory. If it helps, he's a Battlemind, which I think is something of a melee class with magic to augment abilities. I dunno, pretty much rolled it all randomly (except the weight and the name, thought it'd be funny.)

If you want to write a backstory, please do :P .

Literature / Books for Sale
« on: March 18, 2019, 11:23:42 pm »
Books for Sale. Let me know if any of you fine folks are interested.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik Grimoak, matched, Numbered
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik Grimoak, matched, Numbered

The Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft, Hardcover, First/First UK Orbit

Rejoice A Knife To The Heart by Steven Erikson, Gollancz (Signed)

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, Subterranean Press, Numbered (Slipcase)

Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers, Subterranean Press, Numbered

Ilium by Dan Simmons, Subterranean Press, Numbered (Simmons books are not matched)
Olympus by Dan Simmons, Subterranean Press, Numbered (Simmons books are not matched)
Summer of Night by Dan Simmons, Subterranean Press, Numbered (Simmons books are not matched)

All Clear by Connie Willis, Subterranean Press, Numbered

Philosophy & Science / Genetic Engineering the future
« on: August 07, 2018, 04:30:47 pm »

First couple paragraphs:
Long-term spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit and the Van Allen belts exceeds NASA’s current bounds of “acceptable risk.” Barring an unlikely series of technological tricks—including an expedited route, radiation shielding inside the spacecraft, subsurface quarters on the planet, and a hurried return—our biology is incompatible with a Mars mission. Permanent colonies there or farther out are unthinkable.

But serious biologists, including some who work with NASA, have begun to ask whether humans could be genetically altered for space travel. Their queries prompt more profound questions about our responsibilities and duties in the next phase of human evolution.

Their proposals are also richly ironic. A defining characteristic of our species is our mania for expansion. Other homins didn’t share it, so far as we know; our Neanderthal cousins, with whom we lived for 5,000 years, never left Eurasia. With us, exploration is a mad compulsion. Think of how many frail corracles and canoes set out with only the hope of land to populate all the islands of the seas!

Mars is next. But we may have to employ all our technology to create an inheritor species to satisfy our longings.

Interesting article. And I agree with the proposition that genetic engineering the the path we'll take to the future, out of both want and necessity. The proposition to do it for the good of humanity for astronaut-pioneers is as good a starting point as any.

Probably my favorite line, in response to the question " would it be ethical to call into existence a new people who had no say in their own design?"
none of us chooses our inheritance; we are all the products of our parents.

Literature / Book Recommendation compendium
« on: January 31, 2018, 04:54:00 pm »
A collections of a variety of threads regarding book recommendations of all kinds from members here on the forum or pointing to lists elsewhere.

Science fiction recommendations
SFF Rec by Academic Philosophers
Rec Thread
Sci Fi series as good as The Second Apocalypse?
Science Fiction - I need some recs
"To Read" - forum suggestions (and others)
New Titles?

Literature / Jay Kristoff Nevernight
« on: January 15, 2018, 02:49:02 pm »
Jay Kristoff's Nevernight (book 1) & Godsgrave (book 2)

Anyone read? I've seen it show up a couple of times recently and Goldsboro is having a sale for a matching numbered set of the first two, which brought it up again. I think I've heard good things about it generally, but not specifically by anyone whose opinion I weigh heavily in terms of reading choices. So I ask the good people here. Likey, no-likey, and why?

General Earwa / Newborn babies and mothers in TSA
« on: December 28, 2017, 03:19:06 pm »
100% of mothers and babies are holy.

100% of mothers that Mimara sees via TJE are holy, despite living egregiously 'sinful'  lives.
100% of babies, unborn/alive at least, that were seen via TJE were holy. Arguably, the most holy thing she ever saw was her child in the womb.

Further discussion:
Its long been speculated that Serwe the Innocent was holy. Guess what, she died a recent mother. Something about her angelic-ness and cruel death, coupled with her love for Kellhus, turned him into a real prophet.
Innocence has been discussed for a long time as the reason for holiness. The baby that TJE sees is born without sin, ie with a light so pure it nearly blinded Mimara.
So, I'll take bakker's "shocked" reaction at the baby-jesus-kellhus-reincarnation-'theory' (to him ridiculously and completely false) and the "obvious" thing he claims we missed as confirmation of this. Probably, imo, the reason for this reaction is that the baby itself isn't necerrily unique and special, but fits a rule. The rule being innocence is holy, and the newborn child has yet had a chance to damn itself, which is why it shone so bright under TJE's scrutiny.

Would also like to add that there is a dichotomy, that Esmi herself points out directly to us, regarding sorcery and childbirth. She specifically says that childbirth is like a Cant, except it creates rather than destroys. Not much of a leap to say that Sorcery itself is damnable because of how it destroys, and the inverse is that is creating life makes the caster holy.

Since using sorcery appears to leave an indelible mark, maybe childbirth leaves one similarly, but inversely, marked. Could be its a special mark for Yatwer and she has a nice slice of heaven for all those women to made life.

General Earwa / Narrative shifts in perspective
« on: October 27, 2017, 02:08:22 pm »
Nearly the entire novel is told in third person, but there are a small number of standouts that go against this for some unknown reason.

Present Tense
Mimara: Present tense - From her very first POV and throughout, she is notably the only major POV we get that is written like this.

Yatwer - She appears, very briefly, as an avatar in WLW, and she few lines are written the same way as Mimara.

Second Person
Moenghus The Younger: Second person present tense - His last scene in TUC is written in this bizarre style. "You see him walk down the mountain", etc. My own distaste aside, this is one of only two places this happens.

Koringhus: Same as above - I belive when he submits to Mimara he goes into this narrative style as well. Very strange.

Kellhus - same as above - when he's in the outside

We've been over it before elsewhere, but the conclusion then was that the WLW sections are written in third person past tense, not first person.

Has anyone else noticed this happening to other characters?
The real question though, is what does it mean.

General Earwa / Eschaton – The Beginning, Middle, and End of Time
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:21:10 pm »
I'm going to attempt to explain why the gods think they can see all of time, but are in fact just as deluded as everything else.

Think of eternity.
Imagine that you could represent all of time as the surface of a sphere of infinite size. The eternity-sphere.
Now, imagine the gods have a time-sphere of a certain size. They can hold that sphere in their hand, spin it around, and every point on that surface is a point in time. To them, all of time is the surface of this sphere, and its a static thing, meaning that it isn't growing in their hand. Since the sphere they see isn't growing, they assume they can see all of time - eternity - all at once.
The trouble is, in reality, the real 'real-time sphere' is an expanding thing, and the gods don't see it. So at Eschaton (or whatever time they can see up too), the surface of the real-time sphere, and the surface of the gods time-sphere are the same size. After that, the real-time sphere actually becomes larger - and continues to get larger - than the one that the gods are looking at. At that point, reality, real-time, exists outside of what the gods can see. What they see is really just a static snapshot of time.

It may be helpful, now, to instead think of the gods perception as a sphere that is juuuust slightly larger than the time sphere they are looking at - but they can only see what inside. (Like if you covered a ball in paint, they would be the paint on the surface. Slightly large in surface area, but not much).
Humans, temporal beings that exist only in the present, can only see the the exact time coordinate that they are on. Coordinate x,y,z is the present, and we can't see beyond that. The gods however can see every x,y,z coordinate inside their sphere, and they assume that this is 'all of time'.
But in reality, the real-time sphere that encompasses all of real-time is a growing thing. It expands forever and becomes this eternity-sphere of infinite size. Nothing is outside of it. Once the world shuts - once the real-time sphere becomes larger than the gods - they will no longer be outside of time, but just another mote within the ever expanding timeline of infinity.

Interesting thought - the gods might not notice that reality continues on after them. Before Eschaton, they exist outside real-time, and can see everything that ever happens within. But, since they can only see inside, once real-time encompasses them, they won't be able to tell. I see a couple options here.
They will continue to exist inside the expanding bubble of time, forever thinking themselves masters of reality.
They cease to exist all together
They get stuck on the surface of real-time with the rest of us, existing as we do as temporal being (maybe with a memory that's slightly better than us, but no longer able to see the future as we do).

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