Gasp of Many Reeds

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  1. Bakker XLVI: Make Eärwa Great Again

    Also forgot interesting note given in the GTO that the Dunyain identify the soul with a specific part of the white matter of the brain, and that this is lacking in Sranc.
  2. Bakker XLVI: Make Eärwa Great Again

    Ah yes, forgot Simas.
  3. Bakker XLVI: Make Eärwa Great Again

    One query I have regarding souls: we know they enter the World from the Outside, we know who possess them (Men, Nonmen and Inchoroi) and who do not (Sranc, Skinspies, other Consult abominations), and we know where they go when their possessors die (the Outside again, most likely damnation of one variety or another). We also know the No-God can close passage between the World and the Outside. But are we ever given any indication as to the origins of souls? Are they smaller fragments of the God (micro-Ciphrang if you will)? Or are they born anew out of the Void? Do they drift into the World as of their own accord? Or are they cast into the World by the Gods as seeds for future harvest?
  4. Fantasy maps on globes

    Not all the maps working but loving those that are. Didn't Feist do this for Midkemia years back also? Agreed Eddings' continents are too fat at the poles for globalisation. Though given the inaccuracies in the maps from the Elenium/Tamuli (political boundaries missing or moving, lakes appearing and disappearing in Zemoch), this isn't his worst mapping issue.
  5. Bakker XLV: Optimal Tip-to-Tip Damnation (no TGO Spoilers)

    Third cycle is planned - Bakker refuses to release any particular details, even the title, as says is a spoiler for the end of the second series. Thus the third series is The Series That Shall Not Be Named.
  6. In the Shadow of the Status Quo--Fantasy literature and conservativism

    I think it's the Viking/Saxon raider element of the Ironborn coming through here, there being a strong culture of semi-democracy in pre-Christian North Germany and Scandinavia, e.g. the holding of Things incorporating collective decision-making among the warrior caste.
  7. How To Read Dick (PKD, that is)

    Usual suggestions of Androids, Ubik, Three Stigmata, Scanner, etc. Underrated in my view: Time Out of Joint and Counterclock World. Quite a few fan favourites haven't read still, including Man in the High Castle, VALIS and Flow My Tears.
  8. Not really - yes, there were a number of poor Ottoman rulers who contributed to periods of decline, including a couple who were rather unconcerned about events beyond the seraglio, but the forces that actually drove the Empire's decline and fall were the external pressures exerted by the military might of a rising Russia in the north and a resurgent Austria in the west, and the economic and cultural (and military) power of industrialising western European nations such as France and Britain, combined with the internal pressures of growing ethno-religious nationalism tied to the rising of westernised intellectuals in Ottoman society. Without these external pressures and related internal pressures, it is doubtful that the decadence of individual Ottoman rulers alone could have brought down the empire (moreover, decadence should not be confused with the weakness of a ruling figurehead).
  9. A lot to be frank will depend on whether and how the energy transition from fossil fuels to nuclear and renewables takes place and what the effects of climate change are on population sustainability and movement, and what the subsequent impacts on economic and technological growth. Enough ecological disruption and globalisation could well go into reverse, with a move back towards local centres of power fighting to defend their own interests and diminishing resources. In such a situation, of course, everyone probably will be in decline and American worries about Chinese cultural hegemony will be replaced by worries about keeping those damn Shelbyvillians away from our precious unirradiated water supplies.
  10. Culture today is globalising and hybridising. With instant communication available between people from very different backgrounds on opposite sides of the world, there is a greater global sharing of information and ideas, which nation states are less and less able to control. Sure, elements of Chinese culture and ideas are finding their way westward, as is the case with India, the Arab world, etc. but the flow is very much two-way, if not multidirectional. The main difference is that western culture is no longer as dominant, there is more return flow, but this does not herald, I think, the replacement of western cultural hegemony by eastern so much as it heralds a developing cosmopolitanism in the Classical sense if the cosmopolitan as a citizen of the world. Political hegemony is connected to cultural hegemony but by a feedback loop rather than directly. I think that whether or not China, India etc rise to fully overtake America and Europe economically, the cultural changes going on in our current era are momentous enough that by the time thus happens the parameters of the political global order will have changed in ways that would be unrecognisable 50 years ago and cannot adequately be discerned in their presently nascent condition today.
  11. ASOIAF ruined other fiction books for me.

    Currently reading coincidentally. Good stuff.
  12. Bakker XLV: Optimal Tip-to-Tip Damnation (no TGO Spoilers)

    It's Amazon, so they long ago lost their souls to win the world. Their soul's agonies shall be as wine to the Ciphrang Bezos.
  13. Is David Eddings any good?

    The humour is mainly of the non-nihilistic cynicism that does appeal to younger teenagers (politics is corrupt, religion is stupid, most people are narrow-minded and self-serving), plus some cultural/ethnic essentialism played for laughs, which, again, is largely self-consciously satirical of ye olde fantasy but, particularly in the characterisation of antagonistic and/or non pseudo-European cultures, can come across as a bit dated and mildly offensive.
  14. Is David Eddings any good?

    I'd say it's self-consciously generic and cheesy (Eddings was a lit major I believe, so knew literary conventions and tropes inside out and deliberately played along with them). In its own way it was mildly subversive for the time, but it gets hoisted by its own petard quite a lot of the time. Has some good characters, e.g. Silk in the Belgariad, but if you do choose to read Eddings, its very much a case of 'read one series, you've read them all'. So either Belgariad plus maybe Mallorean, or Elenium plus maybe Tamuli (the latter two series are slightly less young adult and set in a different world but the character types, themes and writing are very much the same).
  15. ASOIAF ruined other fiction books for me.

    Upvote these selections (never read I, Claudius but have seen enough of the TV series and read enough Tacitus and Suetonius to think it might appeal to the thread-starter).