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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by The P on January 26, 2022, 03:30:45 pm »
A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker (3)

Loved it, of course.  Parker's trilogies are very structurally different from what's typical in the genre.  Each one of these books works well on its own, while also containing an enjoyable through line to tie them all together.  Even this third one is a fully contained narrative arc; someone could pick this up as their first Parker book and have no trouble enjoying it.  That said, there is some greater enjoyment to be found in how it all ties together with the previous two.

This book goes way beyond where I expected it to go after the first two.  It's again a first person account from a character we haven't met before and quite far removed from the setting of the first books.  Parker packs it full of various themes and ideas, some notable ones being, agency, consequences intended vs. unintended, providence.  There is significant riffing on some biblical stories, notably Moses, but also some sprinkling of bits of Jesus, John (the Revelator), and maybe some apostolic bits.  All very wry, sometimes subtle, other times pointedly obvious.

As far as the greater "Parker-verse" is concerned, this book has maybe the most references to other places and events, and maybe the clearest pinning down of anything else in the broader geography and timeline.  (For those who haven't read Parker, he is not a world-builder, although he likely has things concretely pinned down in his head, any references outside of the particular narrative scope are merely easter eggs and may or may not comprise a comprehensive whole, though they seem to.)  We hear about Perimadeia (Fencer trilogy), Vesani (Folding Knife), Mezentia (Engineer trilogy), Sashan (Savages), several other minor recognizable people groups, and a distinct call out to a practice in Sharps.

I thoroughly recommend.  The Siege trilogy will be my go-to Parker recommendation if people want something longer than a novella.
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by H on January 24, 2022, 07:29:48 pm »
About chapter 15:
The tunnels under Kyudea and Ishuäl are referred to as similar in architecture, and then as Nonman work.
For Kyudea it is confirmed to be Nonman architecture. I can't remember: Do we know this to be the case for Ishuäl as well?

We don't know it for sure, but I think it is fair the read it in, since Ishuäl is an Ihrimsû name, meaning "Exalted Grotto."  Seems likely to me that the Kûniüric High Kings learned of it somehow, likely after it had ben abandoned by the Nonmen and then used it for their own purposes.  Meaning, of course, that the Thousand Thousand Halls were carved with some Nonman purpose, the Dûnyain only later found their own use for them.
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by Wilshire on January 24, 2022, 01:13:45 pm »
I enjoyed Senlin Ascends but the subsequent book wasn't enough for me to want to finish.
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by Monkhound on January 20, 2022, 07:07:43 pm »
TTT starts with full force in the quote and the Dream where Mekeritrig tortures Seswatha:
Quote from: chapter 1
"To understand the soul of a Nonman, the philosopher Gotagga had once written, one need only bare the back of an old and arrogant slave. Scars. Scars upon scars. This was what made them mad. All of them."
[...]
"I will strip you to your footings", the Nonman grated. "Though I love,  I will upend your souls foundation! I will release you from the delusions of this word 'Man', and draw forth the beat - the soulless beast! - that is the howling Truth of all things..."
First the parallel with Cnaiür's scars and madness, of course. With that, does it somewhat insinuate that killing chips away at your sanity?
Secondly the illustration that if you take away one's humanity, a human is no different from a sranc?

The first passage that Esmenet reads from the Sagas. I'm pretty sure that I remember it being sung by the Nonman on the elevator in Ishterebinth, in TGO:
Quote from: chapter 8
"Rage - Goddess! Sing of your flight,
From our fathers and our sons.
Away, Goddess! Secret your divinity!
From the conceit that makes kings of foods,
From the scrutiny that makes corpses of souls.
Sing us the end of your song. "

Conphas thinking before being brutalized by Cnaiür:
Quote from: chapter 9
"Where the Nansur wheedled and negotiated, the Scylvendi simply took - seized. It was as though they had embraced violence as a whole, while the Nansur had shattered it into a thousand pieces to set as splinters across the multiform mosaic of their society.
It made them seem... more manly."
Again, the shattering of a "one into thousand" symbolism.

Quote from: chapter 12
"Only when things were broken did their meaning become clear. "
This one struck me particularly with respect to the whole brutality that is inflicted on the Scalded in TUC.
At the same time, do I note aparallel between "meaning" and "Truth" in this? Both concepts are flung around a lot in this book. Only when a Truth or a meaning is broken, do we understand what it actually meant.

About chapter 15:
The tunnels under Kyudea and Ishuäl are referred to as similar in architecture, and then as Nonman work.
For Kyudea it is confirmed to be Nonman architecture. I can't remember: Do we know this to be the case for Ishuäl as well?
Is the whole Sorweel in the Ishterebinth underground meant to help understand the whole Dunyain journey here, with both Kellhus and the Siqu looking for their father?
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by The P on January 20, 2022, 02:37:38 pm »
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft (2)

I really liked this one.  Well done characters, unique setting.  The story is basically this guy trying to find his lost wife in this massive (too big to ever realistically exist) tower.  I was worried it would be a McGuffin story where the missing wife is just there to move the plot, but there is sufficient work done in establishing her character and relationship to the titular Senlin.  A lot is packed into the 300 or so pages, Bancroft doesn't waste time giving wholistic descriptions of what is going on in the tower and how things work.  This is helped by our perspective being tied to the naive and out of his depth main character.  It's hard to believe some of the tower manages to sustain itself by what we see, but there's at least an idea of much more being out there that Senlin just doesn't get to.
I'm excited to read the rest of these, and probably will in short order.  But first a new KJ Parker.
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by The P on January 11, 2022, 06:00:22 pm »
Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey (1)

Hmm...  I was surprised to find myself not excited to read this conclusion to the series.  I liked the previous books pretty well, but maybe it had been too long before this one came out.  It could also be the time jump that occurred at book...7?  The plots and characters got spread out and disparate, and thus less compelling I think.

My biggest problem with this book was its pacing.  The beginning is kind of slow and aimless, then suddenly out of nowhere we are fighting for the very existence of humanity, which I knew was coming.  There is a very clear existential threat that has to be dealt with going into the book, but I just didn't like how the authors got around to dealing with it.  Some story elements got far out there, psychedelic, brief interludes of stream of consciousness kind of, I did not like it.  The Expanse is at its best when it deals with conflict between people, whether on a personal or planetary scale.  Going so far into the trippy mind alien realm just didn't work, it was better in previous books when it was just briefly touched on or alluded to. 

Overall, this is a fine conclusion to an otherwise great modern space epic.  The denouement was probably my favorite part.  I will say, throughout the whole series it is very clear this was lifted from/heavily-inspired by some sci-fi rpg session someone ran, not unlike Dragonlance is for D&D.  Characters have their clear class, traits, and alignments, and I found myself frequently thinking how a gamed session morphed itself into various scenes in the series.  It's still good, worth reading if you want a big sci-fi epic.

MSJ, both those series are on my list for the year.  Just started Senlin Ascends.
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by MSJ on January 09, 2022, 12:52:28 am »
Hey fellow sloggers! So, started off the year with The Wisdom of Crowds, by Joe Abercrombie (1). As always, I really enjoy his books and was a page turner. Highly recommended.

On to, The Hod King, by Josiah Bancroft. Love this series, and have already started on it.

I have so many books to read, and im gonna try and knock a bunch out this year. Miss you guys and hope to stop around a little more often. Cheers!
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by The P on January 06, 2022, 05:26:45 pm »
I did not read as much as I wanted last year.  Only 21 books, and I didn't hit much of what I expected to read either.  So this year, who knows?
The only sure thing is reading new KJ Parker, certainly a novella or two and a novel.  Aside from that, probably Abercrombie's latter trilogy, Babel books, Tad Williams's new Osten Ard, finishing Ruocchio's series.  All subject to change and be bumped at a whim.  Maybe this time next year I'll be reflecting on my deep dive into Amish romance novels; time will tell, all is in flux.
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General Earwa / Re: On the Nature of the No-God
« Last post by H on January 05, 2022, 02:30:49 pm »
I realize that I tend to drop what are essentially non-sequiturs here, but as a disorganized mind as mine is, that is the best I can do at the moment.  I came across this though:

Quote
But in the second place, “the concept does not only have being within itself implicitly – it is not merely that we have this insight but that the concept is also being explicitly. It sublates its subjectivity itself and objectifies itself. Human beings realize their purposes, i.e., what was at first only ideal is stripped of its one-sidedness and thereby made into a subsisting being. … When we look closely at the nature of the concept, we see that its identity with being is no longer a presupposition but a result. What happens is that the concept objectifies itself, makes itself reality and thus becomes the truth, the unity of subject and object” (LPR 3:356). The concept, like the human “I,” is alive and active; its activity can be called a drive, and every satisfaction of a drive is a sublation of the subjective and a positing of the objective (LPR 1:438–439)

LPR refers to Hegels Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion.  Of course, I am linking this, in my mind, to what the Dunsult tell us about how the No-God is, to them, the Absolute, a unity of Subject and Object.  In Hegel's terms, this seems to mean it would be Pure Being, which might be a hint as to why it invalidates the Outside and so sin.  That is, in Pure, Immediate Being, meaning is also Immediate.  There is no mediating term of an Eternal perspective.  Everything simply is what it is, there is never any true Becoming, it is all just Material doing whatever it is that Material does.
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Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by Wilshire 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 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.

TBR:
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert

January (0)
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