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About Ran

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    King o' the Board
  • Birthday 05/06/1978

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  • Blood of Dragons
    Balerion (Admin), Aidan Dayne, Rhodry Martell

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    Westeros! History (ancient and medieval), SF/F, adventure and strategy gaming, MUSHes and MUXes (but not MUDs), Linda.

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  1. As others said. Bear in mind, as well, that Watchmen came out in 1986. In 1985, President Reagan said the following about a month after his first summit with Gorbachev: Moore took Reagan publicly and privately stating stuff like this and said, "Ah-ha." Here's a later speech to the UN where Reagan came back to the point, BTW:
  2. Ran

    The Mandalorian (Spoiler Thread)

    This is wildly silly. I could as easily say I've never seen you say anything critical about Star Wars (and would likely be just as wrong). Here is Relic putting TESB as one of the films of the "Golden Age" of cinema, a list he notes is a list of films that are better than almost any new film he'd seen in the decade prior. He even notes:
  3. Ran

    The ASOIAF wiki thread

    The normal convention for such things is that when you put in a date, you are referencing the time period you're discussing. In this case, it's in reference to the date 12 years before the Doom being 114 BC.
  4. Ran

    Bookkeepers and WoIaF books

    Most general bookstores here in Sweden group SF and Fantasy together, so it's not hard to find things. And the SF specialist bookshop chain separates SF and Fantasy, and know where the book belongs (not least because we occasionally drop by the two main branches and sign a few copies when they want). Amusingly, when our Swedish publisher had the book out at a big book fair, they slotted it into the "General Interest" category for lack of any other new SF/F books in their catalog at the time. So as I recall it was beside a cookbook on one side and a nude photography art book on the other.
  5. I've often made this point to folks over the years, and it's a good reminder. You're absolutely right that while it would have changed the course of the story in some aspects, the fact is that the war would still have happened, Robb would still have been crowned and ultimately killed, and so on. Cersei was already preparing to move against Ned before Sansa said anything, the timing of it only changes the escape of Arya and Sansa. While this would have knock-on effects -- yes, Jaime would likely be executed in retribution for Ned, but in the grand scheme of things that's not that important to the War of the Five Kings, and so Rickard Karstark wouldn't have sought retribution for his sons and so on -- these seem relatively minor. The largest possible thing I could see happening in the larger political picture is if Robb used Sansa being safe as a tool to bargain with the Tyrells after Renly's death. But that would probably be fruitless, since Joffrey would be free to marry Margaery from the get-go.
  6. Ran

    The Mandalorian (Spoiler Thread)

    I didn't either, but the response to a critic saying it's kind of just okay makes it feel like some are expecting more.
  7. Ran

    The Mandalorian (Spoiler Thread)

    Van Der Werff has definitely seen Star Wars (she was the one AV Club had interview Mark Hamill almost a decade ago to discuss his career, including Star Wars), and is on the whole a pretty good and insightful critic, even if I don't agree with all of her reviews. She's definitely more readable than, say, Film Critic Hulk. I haven't seen The Mandalorian -- won't until March -- and this review doesn't dissuade me from seeing it, it just lets me know that my suspicions that this was going to be closer to a Marvel's Agents of SHIELD or Luke Cage than to a Deadwood were about right. Favreau is a nice seeming guy, done some nice things, but he is not a challenging director or someone with a strong thematic thread in any of his works, so what can you expect? He's a fan of SW and he's a solid and dependable workhorse, basically a younger, beefier Ron Howard. It's no surprise if for the most part the product will be okay rather than great. The fact that I'm most excited by seeing Werner Herzog in this says something about what really hit the mark for me. But it's just a first episode review, as well, and there's a season of episodes left, so who knows.
  8. Ran

    His Dark Materials Series

    @Martini Sigil Second season is already approved and in the process of filming or has even completed filming. They wanted to make sure Dafne Keen didn't age too much, so they were already rolling cameras even before the premiere.
  9. See here for background and some light review commentary. What I will say is that it definitely feels like a first novel, that my reference to issues with his being a visual artist first relates to the fact that I think his writing is overly verbose and descriptive (and this doesn't seem to have changed substantially, reading the two prologue chapters unlocked on the Patreon) and not particularly beautiful so as to make it a pleasure to dig through to get to the meat of the story. But it's a very deeply built setting, one that he has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about, and he's able to set up some remarkable and memorable set pieces while also having no problem creating characters who are off-putting-but-interesting. The Barrow itself is a sort of sword-and-sorcery quest against the epic backdrop of the setting. As to characters, the main one is Stjepan Black-Heart, who is the younger brother of Artesia, the titular character from the (stalled) comic book series that first introduced readers to the setting. She doesn't feature in the first novel at all, as it takes place prior to the events of the graphic novels and Stjepan and she haven't seen one another in a good while. Stjepan is... interesting, an educated man in a rather barbaric world, caught up in things bigger than himself. He's also bisexual, and in general sex is rather very present in the book; it's a very sexually free setting (as anyone who's read the Artesia comics would know), and the Goddess of Perversion has a role in things (through her worshippers) so lets just say there's some pretty deviant stuff going on, and Smylie does not shy away from explicit description. The other notable character is Erim, a warrior woman disguised as a young man, who has her own issues in relation to her sexuality and her place in the world. There's a excerpt from the start of the novel that kind of features a lot of what I say above. If the actual setting intrigues you, Smylie has two sourcebooks available for free here which provides some of the essays and other information he provided in the annuals and elsewhere, with a smattering of his artwork.
  10. I have long wondered at the state of things. I'm sad to see that there's no Patreon tier level for getting the next issue of Artesia Besieged, though. I could consider $20 a month for a page a week, or even every two weeks... I see he explained the situation with this novel and his previous publisher in the Patreon introduction. ETA: I see Smylie has been active the last few months at the ArtesiaRPG subreddit, with lots of bits of world-building trivia revealed for those who enjoyed his Known World, as I have done.
  11. Ran

    Board Issues 4

    That has to be some kind of cache issue with your mobile phone browser. Try and clear it, or alternatively manually type in asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php and see if that fixes it.
  12. Ran

    Star Wars: The Circle is Almost Complete

    Don't forget Dejarik!
  13. Ran

    Star Wars: The Circle is Almost Complete

    I really don't see the issue with this at all. Tatooine is a backwater and Luke appears to essentially be home schooled, why would he recognize a lightsaber? No one uses them on Tatooine, and there's plenty of reason why Owen and Beru would try to avoid talking about the Jedi or their equipment, nor is there much reason for Jedi to be topics of conversation with any regularity. I honestly think the world building on these aspects are fine if one accepts the conceit that there's no galactic news/entertainment network.
  14. Ran

    U.S. Politics: Attaquer son cul orange!

    Yes, stock buybacks are a major issue related to this. I know Warren has targeted them as something to regulate. The regulatory climate in the U.S. have created ugly distortions in the market. Corporatiote boards are given incentives to boost shareholder returns to the point of mania. A lot of it comes down to a rule change at the SEC in the Reagan years that really needs to be rolled back. Buybacs are just a cynical way of manipulating the stock price.
  15. Ran

    U.S. Politics: Attaquer son cul orange!

    Well, yes, it's economics. But this is why Saez and Zucman (and Pikett) trying to completely flip economics on its head with their high wealth tax proposals gets me, since they, too, are playing with excessively limited data in which they make a number of controversial (among economists) decisions to get to their conclusions. This 6% figure from Warren is purely driven by the political need to find funding for M4A that doesn't touch the middle class. It's not based on what's actually the best economic practice, which is something that is being and will continue to be debated. 3%, I wouldn't have been so concerned about as it gives a sufficiently long enough time frame to decide whether it's really working as expected or not, but 6% without exception, especially when coupled with the rest of the proposals -- which, in isolation, all make sense individually but all together may be wildly high (for example, capital gains tax is proposed to be aligned with income tax, which is fine... but that means a 37% rate, not a 20% rate. To pay a $6 billion wealth tax, you'll have to sell $9.5 billion in assets, exacerbating the unsustainability of this. In two years, 20% of that fortune is gone, and the revenue you are expecting to pay for M4A is down as well and you can only hope you're right that M4A will increase the tax base elsewhere). I'm just disappointed by Warren on this. The numbers in her proposal are largely pie in the sky, making a bunch of optimistic assumptions. Saez and Zucman assumed a 15% tax avoidance rate at 2%... and then a 15% avoidance rate as 6% as well? Really? She's still my favored candidate, but I don't think this is going to go anywhere because of how unrealistic it is.