.H.

Bakker XLIX - From Bashrags to Riches (No TUC Spoilers!)

426 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

This is the perpetual thread devoted to the works of R. Scott Bakker, primarily the books in The Second Apocalypse series, the first novel is The Darkness that Comes Before, the seventh novel will be published on July 4, 2017 and is The Unholy Consult.  It is currently available for preorder.

This thread is for the series through The Great Ordeal and contains spoilers through that novel.

The series is called The Second Apocalypse and is currently comprised of two sub-series, a trilogy and a quartet. Potentially, there will be a third series, although the author has stated that the quartet completes his original vision for the story. 

The first trilogy of books is subtitled The Prince of Nothing these three books are:

  1. The Darkness that Comes Before
  2. The Warrior Prophet
  3. The Thousandfold Thought

The second quartet of books is subtitled The Aspect Emperor, these four books are:

  1. The Judging Eye
  2. The White-Luck Warrior
  3. The Great Ordeal
  4. The Unholy Consult (2017).
 

The Unholy Consult will also include an expanded Appendix/Encyclopedic Glossary. The original Glossary exists currently only at the end of the third book, The Thousandfold Thought. 

Additionally, Bakker has published three short stories, The False Sun and The Four Revelations of Cinial'jin on Bakker's Blog Three Pound Brain and The Knife of Many Hands, which is available for purchase. This thread contains spoilers for these publications. The False Sun is the most discussed work of these three shorts.

Since Bakker's writing uses layers of revelation, newcomers are strongly advised to finish the books before coming here; otherwise the spoilers will rot your soul. Eternally.

Of potential interest, Bakker did stop by the board shortly after the release of The Great Ordeal and did answer several questions.  That discussion can be found here.

Most denizens of this thread have also read Bakker's non-fantasy novels Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog, but the spoiler policy is unclear. You are advised to hide crucial plot points in those novels.

Thanks to Happy Ent for the intro to the thread.

Edited by .H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When are the ARC's gonna be up on Ebay?  Shouldn't be long now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this thread for continued discussion without TUC spoilers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Rhom said:

Is this thread for continued discussion without TUC spoilers?

As we now have a dedicated thread for TUC, probably so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lord Patrek said:

One last quote from TUC for the road here! ;)

Sold! Whats the latest news on an excerpt?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a preview of the book Evil is a Matter of Perspective here including the foreword by Bakker called On the Goodness of Evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1. We need to change the title of this thread so as to not say “Unholy Consult.” It is too easily confused with an Unholy Consult spoiler thread. Preferably, the title should say “No spoilers for UC” or something.

2. Back to the nuke.

I like the consult plan more and more. The Bashrag are confused because they are left alone. “Where are the old fathers” or something. What they don’t know is that they are a sacrifice. From the consult point of view, Kellhus will probably detect the ambush force (that actually happens), so clearly Kellhus will either massacre them all or block all exits so that the ambush force never makes it to the ground. Either way, the consult is golden, because the thousand sorcerers stay where they are. The bomb can be detonated below ground, and – bingo! – hundreds of them die in the result of the subterranean explosion.

This is a sensible plan. If it doesn’t work, not much is lost. You might as well do it. This is the best use of your one remaining nuke – a weapon that has proved quite useless against sorcerers in the millenia before anyway (probably because of wards). There is no better timing than this.

Assumptions: There is no way to take out Kellhus by nuke – that was never the plan. (There are very few ways to take out Kellhus. Death by Chorae is the best, but it’s very hard to deliver one to him that he isn’t aware of. Sorweel actually has the superweapon here.) Also, the Great Ordeal is too large to be taken out by a single nuke. (Even though it is much diminished, so detonating the nuke today, above ground to target the infantry, would be better than detonating it half a year ago.) 

Edited by Happy Ent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

The essay is a very interesting insight into Bakker's opinions. Could be a preemptive explanation of his ending. Certainly take it to be saying don't be expecting revelation on who the good guy's and bad guys are in TUC. Kelhus is clearly beyond good and evil, and the consult likely not to be 100% wrong / evil, the Ordeal leaders are merely instruments, Akka misguided obsessive, Mimara and Sorweel unclear at this point, certainly labouring under some conditioning, misapprehensions

For those hoping for a clear decisive ending the following quotes are interesting! 

"What it means is that there will be no decisive way to settle the issue one way or another. Precisely because the issue is moral, perspectival, we lack the objectivity required to reach any decisive settlement one way or another"

 

"The chances of rationally debating and settling the matter are zero."

Even Zero has become a loaded term with Bakker 

Edited by Valandil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also liked the stuff on Tolkien. "morally fantastic". Great stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Happy Ent said:

1. We need to change the title of this thread so as to not say “Unholy Consult.” It is too easily confused with an Unholy Consult spoiler thread. Preferably, the title should say “No spoilers for UC” or something.

OK, fair enough, I will change it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, WalterX said:

When are the ARC's gonna be up on Ebay?  Shouldn't be long now...

They need to enter the atmosphere, fire their inertial inversion ray then crash into the surface first. Ebayshrags to riches!

Ok, that was labored, but I had fun...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kalbear and @Happy Ent re: nuke. Just responding to one point in the old thread. There is a tremendous difference in how the kinetic energy of a nuke does damage between exploding above ground and below ground. Compression and channeling the energy matters. 

Analogy: imagine a firecracker going off in you open palm. It will burn you and it will hurt. Now imagine that same firecracker going off in your closed fist. You might lose some fingers or your hand completely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, I am not invested in the question of how much damage the subterreanean nuke does. To me, it sounds like a lot. If Kalbear knows more and disagrees, then I concede the point. 

Because for our purposes of textual exegesis, the real-life structural damage caused by such an explosion is not interesting. What we’d need to understand is how much damage is caused (i) in the folk physics of Bakker’s brain or (ii) in the folk physics of an average reader.

We’re doing fictional structural engineering here. Our point is to figure out what the in-universe characters were thinking. It is not to figure out how bombs work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the bad guys guessed Kellhus's plan (with the sorcerer's going up on the mountain, while he himself used the Raft to take Dagliash and do a hammer/anvil with the soldiers on the Sranc south of the mountain.

Rather, it feels like they just put the nuke under Dagliash and waited.  The plan was that the Ordeal would just kind of advance on foot, cross the river and take the castle at some point.  Then they'd be fighting the secret Bashrag army when the bomb went off, killing everyone.

When Aurang saw the Raft/Swayali/Kellhus on its way he just started the bomb and rabbitted (briefly intercepted by the Mandate Grandmaster).  This was obviously suboptimal, as the bomb was now going to kill mostly Sranc and Bashrag, but if it got the Swayali and Kellhus it would still be fine.

Unluckily for him, Kellhus decided to excavate the area, which revealed the bomb.  Then he just teleported away.  Not quite on the level of Saubon suddenly showing up and killing Conphas, thereby taking control of the Imperial Saik and turning the tide of battle at Shimeh, but still another case of Kellhus's White Luck winning the day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, WalterX said:

I don't think the bad guys guessed Kellhus's plan (with the sorcerer's going up on the mountain, while he himself used the Raft to take Dagliash and do a hammer/anvil with the soldiers on the Sranc south of the mountain.

Rather, it feels like they just put the nuke under Dagliash and waited.  The plan was that the Ordeal would just kind of advance on foot, cross the river and take the castle at some point.  Then they'd be fighting the secret Bashrag army when the bomb went off, killing everyone.

When Aurang saw the Raft/Swayali/Kellhus on its way he just started the bomb and rabbitted (briefly intercepted by the Mandate Grandmaster).  This was obviously suboptimal, as the bomb was now going to kill mostly Sranc and Bashrag, but if it got the Swayali and Kellhus it would still be fine.

Unluckily for him, Kellhus decided to excavate the area, which revealed the bomb.  Then he just teleported away.  Not quite on the level of Saubon suddenly showing up and killing Conphas, thereby taking control of the Imperial Saik and turning the tide of battle at Shimeh, but still another case of Kellhus's White Luck winning the day.

This sounds pretty reasonable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, the real problem is that the viritic well and the mansion had already collapsed 3000 years ago. Expecting another mountain of collapse seems unreasonable, especially since aurang was one of the ones that actually saw it collapse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is easy to see the Inchoroi as whole incompetent, because, they have at times certainly been.  Aurang even laments how if Sil hadn't been such a hot-shot, they'd never have suffered the initial defeats they did.  They had no precedence for sorcery, so they never imagined anything could realistically stop them, even with a failing arsenal.

They have also had some pretty successful moves too.  They managed manipulate the Five Tribes quite well.  They managed to craft some pretty effective, if not crude, weapons in Sranc and Bashrags, plus fashion skin-spies (but that was probably post-Consult, so perhaps Shae's idea) that were pretty damn effective.  They even managed to con their way into Nonman society to poison them, even if it would have been smarter to just kill them all.  They even managed to Graft themselves to see the Onta, which was no small feat, all while understanding little of the Bios.

My point being that they weren't exactly the greatest strategists, but they did manage to do some reasonably smart things from time to time.

6 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Again, the real problem is that the viritic well and the mansion had already collapsed 3000 years ago. Expecting another mountain of collapse seems unreasonable, especially since aurang was one of the ones that actually saw it collapse.

Maybe it was Aurax's idea? #BlameAurax

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, .H. said:

#BlameAurax

#NotAllInchoroi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, .H. said:

They have also had some pretty successful moves too.  They managed manipulate the Five Tribes quite well.  They managed to craft some pretty effective, if not crude, weapons in Sranc and Bashrags, plus fashion skin-spies (but that was probably post-Consult, so perhaps Shae's idea) that were pretty damn effective.  They even managed to con their way into Nonman society to poison them, even if it would have been smarter to just kill them all.  They even managed to Graft themselves to see the Onta, which was no small feat, all while understanding little of the Bios.

My point being that they weren't exactly the greatest strategists, but they did manage to do some reasonably smart things from time to time.

As I pointed out in the other thread, I think most of their successes have to do with technology - either accidental or deliberate. They don't have a lot of particularly clever ideas, nor do they have a lot of resources - but they're fairly resourceful with jerry-rigging things that don't quite work but at least do something. If MacGyver was a rape demon who could only create sex dolls, this is what they'd be. 

And a lot of the things that were successful were arguably because of others, even with the tech. The sranc were derived not from them, but from nonmen. The Wracu were pre-existing. The womb-plague was an accident, and it was done because they were experimenting on Nin'jan'jin and forgot that half the species was female (which, to be fair, most lawmakers and engineers do in our world). 

The 5 tribes was also, IIRC, a post-Shae move, so I don't think you can count that on the Inchoroi either. 

Dagliash, honestly, was like their first truly strategic move that we've actually witnessed in a while, though again - probably more to do with Shae than with the Inchies. While the laying of the trap wasn't particularly clever, it forced Kellhus to go to Dagliash regardless - and it was at least worth something of a shot. Dagliash feels like the sort of thing that even if it fails, it will fail with good results, and at not a huge cost to the Consult overall.

That assumes that there are more sranc. If the Horde is basically obliterated that's kind of a big deal. 

Quote

Maybe it was Aurax's idea? #BlameAurax

"Sin-Pharion, Killer-Of-Hells, Most-Hentai of Swarm, Fuckchanter-of-highest-rank...Aurang...surveyed the immense stench of the honeyed anuses that were the Great Ordeal. He did not see so much as smell their vitality, their life, and for a moment it threatened to double him over in sickness. 

How he hated this job.

He had argued for almost two hours on the Ark intertubes that he had been there. He had seen with his own eyes the collapse of the Viritic Well, the obliteration of Nogaral. He was the slayer of Titirga, one who sees furthest!

Their response: "Pics or GTFO". 

Aurang, one day, would burn this whole place down. In the meantime, he was going to drop that stupid engineering charge in the stupid hole and watch stupidly as it didn't work, just to show them all. For Aurang, master-of-Tekne, raper of thousands, stealer-of-lunch-moneys, knew best of all the most powerful incantation he could possibly make when he returned to Ark.

I

TOLD

YOU

SO

FUCKERS

 

Also:

3 hours ago, unJon said:

Analogy: imagine a firecracker going off in you open palm. It will burn you and it will hurt. Now imagine that same firecracker going off in your closed fist. You might lose some fingers or your hand completely. 

That's fair, though it's apparently not that material, as simply Titirga's fall and subsequent blowing shit up followed by Aurang and Shae blowing things up was enough to collapse the entire mountain, so it's pretty clear that a nuke above ground or below ground would have caused it to collapse....if it hadn't collapsed 3000 years ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.