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Messages - Wilshire

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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: June 18, 2021, 03:45:26 pm »
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (21)
I'd have to say I was impressed by this one, though admittedly because it was written in '86 which makes it stand out against its peers. Bujold actually wrote and published some scifi in the 80's that wasn't strictly a futurist vision with characters built to explore the setting, though the 80's aren't quite as egregious as earlier decades... There was actual characterization, good prose, amusing dialogue.

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (22)
This one was less impressive from a prose standpoint. It was the first book published in the series (Falling Free is first chronological but was written a few years later), and imo it shows.

Overall I was mostly underwhelmed. Bujold is a good writer, and I can see why the Vorkosigan saga was popular at the time and decades later. But today I'd say it falls more toward good than great. I don't see myself reading the other 20ish books in the series - there's just better alternatives now. I got these two for free from audible so no harm done, though I am glad I didn't have to pay for them.

As I'm not sure the Heron Spear actually did anything last time, I do think its possible some kind of magic laser ballista scenario this time around with Akka pulling the trigger.
Well, there is that dream where Akka sees Anaxophus failing to "take up the Spear" and just parroting the No-God's words.  But it is totally unclear if that is a clear vision of the past, or a paranoids corruption of the true.  I guess one thing is that it leaves the Herron Spear well and open to be anything the narrative ends up wanting it to be though.
Yeah at this point in time, we know that Bakker is not entirely sure of all the exact details of TNG even as he finished TUC. This could be something he left open to decide later if he needed/wanted to use it.

Still not convinced.  I will try to put out my thoughts.  I'm erratic and in sore need of a reread.  If the Celmomian Prophesy is the basis for their "knowledge" of needing Kellhus as an insertant, they are making some intense cognitive leaps (which I guess maybe I can't be expected to understand, them being Dunyain and all).  All the prophesy says is an Anasurimbor will return at the end of the world.  I don't think there's any more to it, since we are shown the scene where Celmomas says it to Seswatha.  That's so vague, it could mean any of the many Anasurimbors running around, why decide on the most difficult to grab?

I would just like to say, yes 1000%.

So much weight is put onto the prophecy, both in the books and in discussion here/elsewhere. But the prophesy itself sucks. In all the iteration we get, it boils down to the section I bolded above. "An Anasurimbor" is the Harbinger of the end, the warning sign that the end is nigh.

If you allow for Kellhus being that Anasurimbor, which I think we aught, the prophecy is fulfilled once Kellhus shows up in the Three Seas halfway into TDTCB.

It most emphatically does not say that an Anasurimbor causes the end of the world.

Physics?  This is Eärwa!

I mean, I am thinking this lack of Chorae is going to matter, but it definitely is unclear how or why.  Especially since I am holding fast to my "Mimara answers the No-God" prediction, of course.
I agree that its more Gun than Herring. It seems a rather unnecessary red herring, and too strange a detail to just throw out there.

That said, they thought it was going to be Kellhus in there. Maybe hoping they could use some metagnosis translocation or something. Now that its Kelmomas who doesn't know any neat spells, it could be for naught and provide an avenue for defeat that wasn't available last time.

As I'm not sure the Heron Spear actually did anything last time, I do think its possible some kind of magic laser ballista scenario this time around with Akka pulling the trigger.

Literature / Re: YOU MUST TELL ME ... What else are you reading?
« on: June 10, 2021, 04:51:54 pm »
Gardens of the Moon ( Malazan )

Took me 3 years to read it, just couldn't get into it. Getting it on Audible allowed me to finish it. I'm glad I did, the second half of the book gets much better. I enjoyed it, some very cool characters, some nice twists and turns in the end that I liked.

I'm glad you liked it!

Yeah... So that's pretty much the Malazan/Erickson pattern. Every book is about 500 pages of buildup and 500 pages of crazy action. If they were normal length books closer to 200-500 pages total this wouldn't seem so strange, but since most of the books are 1000 pages it makes for a really long intro.

Also Erikson likes to introduce new characters ever few pages, and this continues throughout the series, which magnifies this effect.

Not sure I'll read the 2nd book unless someone can tell me if it takes up where the last one ends or if it's a time jump into the future and essentially a different story.

Book 2, Deadhouse Gates, could very nearly be a different series entirely. Its obviously not in the sense that Erikson is still writing it, its still within the Malazan universe, and IIRC its still on the same timeline. That said, its a whole new book. New characters, different military campaign entirely, and in fact the writing is much improved  as well. Deadhouse Gates is an incredible book.

Not that I wouldn't still read it, just too much on my reading list to commit to more at this time.

Even though I loved DG, every book is a major time commitment. Its not a series that is worth "pushing through to the end". If you dont have the time, or dont enjoy it enough to spend the time on it, there is absolutely no reason to continue. The payoff at the end of book 10 is in no way "worth it", considering you have to read nearly 10,000 pages to get there. Yes, nearly every book is great in its own right, and yes there is a lot of lore and story that you may want to see through... But at what cost? There are just way to many words to read if you aren't enjoying it.

I recommend you read it only as long as you are enjoying it. If you find yourself bored, its probably time to just put it down and move on - even if that's in the middle of a book.

It took me nearly 2 years to read Malazan, since it takes so long to read each on individually, plus I read at least 1 or 2 books (by other authors) in between each book of Malazan.

Anyways, I like R and Abercrombie more, but I would still give it an A, well written and it got fun to read. I'll steal a few ideas for my D&D campaign ( loved the Jaghut Tyrant - I want to be him and using him in my campaign kinda would make me, hee hee! - not sure if I spelled the correctly as I was listening to the book ).

In case you haven't started it yet, I'd have to say I'm mildly disappointed with Abercrombie's most recent series. I had high hopes after First Law, so its a shame. Still worth a go though, probably.

Also, if you stop reading it at some point, it is worth reading through the Malazan wiki. There's a lot of good idea fodder in there, especially for the Jaghut if you liked them in GOTM.

As for your spoilers... Its mostly explained later. Either read and find out, or search for it on the wiki.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: June 08, 2021, 11:06:25 pm »
A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay (20)

Now there's a great book. GGK did something amazing with A Brightness Long Ago. The first book I read by him was Tigana, and while quite good,  it doesn't hold a candle to A Brightness Long ago. The pacing is wonderful, actions and consequences piled up without feeling rushed. The way he tells the story through a series of flashbacks and mixed POVs is crisp, unique, and refreshingly. The whole book feels like a brilliantly connected series of short stories, just long enough to make you feel something profound but not so long as to get mired in the telling. You skip lightly across the surface of the world, catching glimpses of the depths beneath.

The way the story is told, maybe even more so than the story being told, is what turns this book into something magnificent.

And who doesn't love a quote about books inside a book:
So many stories can be told, in and around and braided through the one we are being given. Don’t we all know that stories can be sparks leaping from the bonfire of an offered tale to become their own fire, if they land on the right ground, if kindling is there and a light breeze but not a hard wind?

Someone is deciding what to tell us. What to add, what not to share at all or when (and how) to reveal a thing. We know this, even as we picture in our minds another young man, a tailor’s son from Seressa, remembering a spring ride, how we used to like to sing…

We want to sink into the tale, leave our own lives behind, find lives to encounter even to enter for a time. We can resist being reminded of an artificer, the craft. We want to be immersed, lost, not remember what it is we are doing, having done to us, as we turn pages, look at a painting, hear a song, watch a dance.

Still, that is what is being done to us. It is.

Loved it.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: June 06, 2021, 07:56:22 pm »
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb (19)

A conflicted review. I like Hobb's writing a lot, generally speaking, which includes this book. But Ship of Magic seemed to have pacing issues. It just takes too long to get to the end of the book, to the point where the entire thing feels like a prequel. This is in opposition to Assassins Apprentice, where the book feels like something great in-and-of itself while still allowing for a much greater story to unfold. So that's my major complaint. Ship of Magic feels like a book filled with sidequests and finally at the end you get to where you wanted to be all along.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: May 26, 2021, 07:54:18 pm »
Binti got ALOT of attention when it came out (last year?). I'm glad to heard its good from someone here

Yes. The very deadly Consult trap that, seemingly, could have gone undetected by Kellhus and detonated wiping out the Ordeal and most importantly...Kellhus....

...thus making System Resumption an impossibility.

For a goal that relies entirely on the insertion of a living, breathing person with Anasurimbor blood, the Consult seems to play awfully fast and loose with things. Detonating an atomic bomb, using the Heron Spear’s sister spear to nearly kill Serwa, then Skuthula to nearly kill Kyutas and to actually kill Serwa. Then a skin-spy kills Kellhus. And the arrival of Kelmomus seemed wasn’t on anyone s playbook.

It bugs me. And there’s nobody that loves this story more that me, bugs me.

Those are all... very good points lol. Especially because we know the Dunyain are the Consult at this point. I think we're supposed to assume they how to get the No-God running again.

Maybe they figured if they did end up killing all of them, they could either go back and grab Theli, or maybe force one of themselves into the thing. After 2000 years, all the Dunyain are a least a little Anasurimbor.

So maybe as an excuse we can say that Kellhus alive is more of a threat than Kellhus dead.
Or, that they came to the same conclusion that Kellhus did, and figured that whoever needed to live to make it into the No-God and seal the world would eventually just make it into the golden room. Since it "already happened"...

That said, those are pretty unsatisfying excuses.

What points us to 1? We don't have a whole lot of tests for seeing if something has a soul. Doing sorcery (having a mark, being salted by a chorae) or solving a paradox. That's pretty much it.

Wracu are never described as having a mark or being salted by chorae, so we can infer that they dont do sorcery. That only leaves us with solving a paradox.

OTOH, The No-God controls them so they are similar to all the other weapon races. IIRC that control is because said races don't have souls.

Sranc have language and culture, its mentioned a few times throughout the series but is then dismissed as heresay. I think its pretty safe to assume cultural bias, first by Nonmen and then by Humans, make it a safe bet that Sranc actually do have these things. And they don't have souls.

Skin-spies are complex enough to pass as humans under the closest scrutiny, except by Dunyain and by the halfsies that are trained to see them. They don't have souls.

Wracu don't even have a culture - too few. They speak, but their thoughts run in pretty close circles. Their base obsessions seem similar to the vocalizations you'd get from a calm sranc (if we could understand them).

So to me there's no evidence that even suggests they have souls (with the exception of one cagey response from Bakker shrouded in hypotheticals). On the contrary, everything in the books says that they don't.

Which is why I struggle to see the contrary argument.

What the progenators can do, and what the inchoroi can do are very different. The Inhcoroi at the height of their power on Earwa made Sranc and Wracu. Specifically Wracu to fight the Quya. If they could make ensouled beings that could compete directly with the Gnosic Quya - they would have. They didn't, because they couldn't.

That its possible, ie the one-off skinspy, is not really in question.

That said, I'll much more readily accept any in-universe text/explanation that leads to the exact same conclusion as what Bakker implies. I just don't think Bakker's quotes online are particularly viable.

Its hard to square much of what Bakker says out of text vs. what's actually in the books. I'm of the opinion that Q/A answers that contradict the text like this are purposefully misleading, therefore don't mean what they appear to mean. I also often feel like the world that Bakker created isn't what he intended to create - and doesn't work the way he expects (as he spent too much time/energy trying to keep things obfuscated and created something else entirely).

If not, then the metaphysics and mystery within Earwa cannot be unwound or derived from the text we have about Earwa.

Look at Bakker's quote again with new bold text:
Another interpretation turns on the way morality is intrinsic to the ontology of the World. If you look at Chorae as 'logic bombs' designed to obliterate violations of code, then you can chart antipathies to Chorae according to different kinds of violations. Thus the difference between Schoolmen and Cishaurim. Wracu are not simply Inchoroi abominations, they are Inchoroi abominations possessing souls. Like the Cishaurim, they do not so much violate the 'letter' as the 'spirit' of natural law. Chorae are 'ontological stressors' in the latter instance. 
In summary: Another interpretation... If... Then... Thus...

He doesn't say that what follows after the bold is actually true, nor that it is his interpretation or whether or not he agrees with it. He is simply saying that some people might interpret the text in this way - without confirming at all that this is how it actually work. Therefore there is no new information in his response, just a simple slight of hand. He only tells us that some people speculate this way, not that this is correct.

So to me Bakker either doesn't know (worldbuilding bottom), or refuses to say for reasons that are his own (RAFO, etc.), but since he has an audience here he does a little cantrip as much for his own enjoyment as for those watching.

The Inchoroi being able to create beings with souls really breaks the majority of the worldbuilding that we have. If they could do that, then they'd have legions of sranc sorcerers, skin-spy schoolman armies, and Wracu that spit wards and powerful Gnostic warcants. There'd be no Second Apocalypse since the first time around they would have been successful.

I think probably "portion of god" and/or Third Sight seems something closer to Intellect than Soul. Why else would Moenghus shine so brightly. Also, this explains why Skin Spies wouldn't necessarily jump out in the Third Sight.

The Cish don't see souls, but something else entirely.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: May 12, 2021, 02:38:13 am »
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (18)

I struggle to explain why I like this book so much. The dialogue is quirky at best, but is satisfying despite itself. The setting/worldbuilding is honestly a pretty confused mess with a bit of scifi, fantasy, detective/noir/whodunit, horror, yet it somehow manages to mesh together in a way that makes me want more. The plot of Gideon itself is mostly straightforward, but the opening kind of places you somewhere strange and the ending transports you away from the story entire into something new - yet it manages to feel cohesive.

Its weird, but its great, and I had great fun reading it a second time. Muir achieves something fantastic in her first published book, which in itself is impressive, yet her 2nd book manages to outclass and raise up this first one.

... Great things. I expect great things from Tamsyn Muir, and will await her future novels with no small amount of anticipation.

The Inchoroi only had 1 dragon - Wutteat The Destroyer of Worlds. They found him in space somewhere, probably Cybertron or whatever.

Jokes aside, 1 dragon as template to create the Wracu. The Wracu are to Wutteat as Sranc are to Nonmen, as Skin Spies are to Humans.

They are just another weapon. We know the Inchoroi can't make souls on purpose, so I think its safe to assume that the Wracu do not have souls.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: May 05, 2021, 02:40:58 pm »
Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip (17)

Finally, a good book. McKillip is a masterful writer. Her prose is whimsical and beautiful, full of magic. Its a simple story, but told beautifully. Highly recommended if you just want some magical magic.

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