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The Marquis de Leech

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Everything posted by The Marquis de Leech

  1. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    It'd be what we here term a Caretaker Government. Basically, signing stuff to keep the lights on, but not actually changing anything in the interim.
  2. The Marquis de Leech

    Guy Gavriel Kay

    Of all the issues I can think of with Tigana, they're not in the first twenty pages.
  3. The Marquis de Leech

    Guy Gavriel Kay

    Fionavar ain't standard Kay in terms of what came later, but it is certainly an adult work.
  4. The Marquis de Leech

    Guy Gavriel Kay

    Considering that I've read the majority of Kay's output (minus the last three novels and the poetry book), I always thought it rather odd that I had never previously found a book of his I'd enjoyed without reservations. Under Heaven is the first.
  5. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Did you re-enact Fagan v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner?
  6. The Marquis de Leech

    Guy Gavriel Kay

    I've read Lord of Emperors and Under Heaven so far this month. The prose of the latter is gorgeous, and part of me could not help but grin at certain events - which in another book would be covered in intricate detail - being treated almost as an after-thought.
  7. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Around here (and in England and Wales), you'd be guilty of manslaughter, not murder. Intent does matter. (Counter-example: is there a difference between someone who steals a loaf of bread from the shop, and someone who forgets to pay for it? Hint - there is).
  8. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Well, this is a new one. Not only getting my politics completely wrong, but somehow managing to invoke Godwin's Law too. Please see the 1948 Genocide Convention for more details on the term genocide. It's a term coined in the 1940s, precisely to cover what the Nazis were doing - and, no, disabled people or homosexuals don't count as a protected category. (You may dispute as to whether this distinction is useful, but attempted extermination of particular groups - and only those groups - is what the word means. Note that it is possible to kill ten million people without being genocidal, while possible to be genocidal without killing anyone. I'll leave the latter as an exercise for the reader).
  9. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    *Head desk*. Let's work with the (exaggerated) assumption that they're deliberately engineering 120,000 deaths. Not as a mere callous and inevitable side-effect of policy, but as the actual purpose of policy. It still wouldn't be Genocide, for the basic reason that Genocide involves the intent to destroy a particular ethnic, racial, national, or religious group - which wouldn't be case here. Genocide doe not equate to mass-murder.
  10. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    While I am hardly a Tory fanboy, there are few things more irritating than people who throw around the term Genocide willy-nilly.
  11. The Marquis de Leech

    Third Quarter 2019 Reading

    Have just finished reading the entire Platonic corpus over the last couple of months. I've produced a reading order, in case anyone else wants to try out Plato.
  12. The Marquis de Leech

    Scott Lynch's Thorn of Emberlain is Completed

    Agreed. The books are, at heart, the Locke and Jean Show. Anyone else is fair game, but those two? Killing either kills the story.
  13. The Marquis de Leech

    LOTR prequel TV series 2.0

    Following on from the old thread, there was an update on the leaked map yesterday: Middle-earth No Gondor, no Arnor, the old name for Lothlorien... this is Second Age, I think, rather than Eorl. My instinct is that they've ditched Young Aragorn, and gone for the Forging of the Rings/the War of the Elves and Sauron, following through into Numenor. Also, according to this interview, they really are getting the Tolkien Estate on board, now that Christopher's quit: Maybe, just maybe, they've bought the rights to Unfinished Tales? (Which would give them more Numenor, Celebrimbor, and Eorl?). Even if they haven't, there's enough of a sketch in the LOTR appendices to come up with something. Certainly more interesting than Young Aragorn anyway, if so.
  14. The Marquis de Leech

    comparitive advantage

    I'm a time-travelling David Ricardo.
  15. The Marquis de Leech

    Rothfuss XV: Move along, nothing to see here

    He wrote lesbian fanfic between Devi and Goldberry from The Lord of the Rings. Yes, really. To be honest, I wonder if Rothfuss might be better off trying some stand alones set in his existing world (minus Kvothe). The world is a genuinely interesting one.
  16. The Marquis de Leech

    Rugby: Building up to Japan

    Ugh. Luckily, the rematch is at Eden Park.
  17. (Originally a blog post I thought I'd share) I think everyone has these thoughts occasionally. You know, pondering what the world will be like long after you’re gone. Matters of great importance, or even the entire human race, reduced to eventual insignificance by the tyranny of chronology… it’s an underlying staple of a certain pessimistic branch of science-fiction. H.P. Lovecraft had something to say about this, but he was not the first, not by a long chalk. Olaf Stapledon engages with the idea even more directly, first through exploring the next few billion years of human evolution (The Last and First Men), and then having a work on such a scale, that he resorts to characterising sentient stars (Star Maker). There is, I think, a certain awe-inspiring terror to truly Deep Time… but as Lovecraft implies, the human mind cannot properly comprehend it. We are, after all, creatures for whom a mere hundred years is a long time, never mind a thousand, or ten thousand – and that is not inherently a bad thing. It is simply who we are. And once we can shrink things down to historical time scales, we can start engaging with ideas properly. More specifically, that strange little grab for immortality known as writing. Human beings have been expressing ideas for much, much longer than writing has been around. Oral traditions are powerful things. But such is the nature of writing that it enables us to access minds long dead, often in a manner far more direct and unmediated than “mere” word of mouth. Yes, we’ve got the oral stuff that was written down, preserved for the ages. We’ve got the fragments of Gilgamesh. We’ve got the Illiad, and Beowulf, and the Icelandic Sagas, and we sorely need to thank Snorri Sturluson. But we’ve also got stuff that wasn’t oral tradition in the proper sense (even if the works were compiled posthumously). We can access the thoughts of Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle, further removed in chronology from, say, the medieval era than the medieval era is from our own time. These intellectual bedrock figures continue to have such importance, precisely because their work is preserved via the medium of writing. And, more to the point, these ancient written works will continue to be read long after you and I, dear reader, are forgotten. I think every writer secretly dreams that some aspect of our work will live on after we die. That the work we’ve bequeathed to the world will still entertain and engage future generations – hell, we’ve certainly got a better shot at cultural immortality than those who don’t write, right? Well, yes. And so long as some copy of your work still sits, gathering dust, in a library basement or on the uppermost shelf of a second-hand bookshop, the ghost of a writer’s ideas will never quite vanish from this earth. But… and here is the sobering reality… will anyone actually read us in the years to come? For every giant of the literary canon, there are many tens of thousands whose work will not be remembered. Or, even if they are remembered, are never actually read – poor Bulwer-Lytton, a figure our great-great-grandparents might have read unironically, is now only associated with the “worst opening line in English literature” (it isn’t, but I digress). To take the fantasy genre, a century ago – and a century is not actually a long time, when one really thinks about it – we had the likes of William Morris, Lord Dunsany, Abraham Merritt, William Hope Hodgson, and E.R. Eddison. Obscure figures now, but at least remembered by fantasy buffs, and still accessible if you do a bit of library hunting, or muck around with Project Gutenberg. These, dear reader, were the lucky ones. If, in a hundred years, any writer producing stuff today still has people picking up their work, they’ve made it, at least for now. A hundred years ain’t a long time, after all – give it another three hundred, and then check back on progress. And what of the leading genre figures today? Never mind a century – let’s settle for the much more manageable figure of fifty years hence. What will people be reading then? I’d suggest Tolkien – he’s been dead for nearly half a century already, and he’s still a perennial read (though even here fashions change. Walter Scott used to be a Big Name in literature, before dropping off the radar a bit). J.K. Rowling might survive too, perhaps because the tradition of bedtime reading helps the longevity of children’s works – parents remember what was read to them as a child, and so on. But after that? Who knows? It’s entirely possible that fifty years from now, George R.R. Martin is better remembered for producing one of the finest vampire novels of the twentieth century than for A Song of Ice and Fire – and, before you scoff, I’d point out that Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells did not exactly go to plan in the magnum opus department either. History has a very strange sense of humour sometimes. All this is very deflating to us writers, of course. But what of readers? Are there any lessons to be taken from the transience of human existence? In one sense, no. To be honest, I think there is still a perfectly valid case for just reading what you like, without regard to what survives long term. So what if Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey disappears down the memory plughole in the years to come? If you enjoy those books, go ahead and read them, and if you don’t, don’t judge others for reading them. Different tastes, and all that, and who knows what will end up having the last laugh anyway. The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Goethe, was arguably the eighteenth century Twilight (its reception even anticipated the eccentricities of modern fandom), and it still gets made required reading in some places. On the other hand – and I have pondered this during my recent binge on the classics – if you extend the time-frame out from fifty years hence to five hundred, what will people be reading then? Who knows… but if I was a betting man, I’d place money on dear old Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle, even above Shakespeare, Dante, and Chaucer. What’s another five centuries when you have already lasted two and a half millennia? Maybe in order to truly engage with the far-future – to anticipate what they will be reading, and thinking about – you have to, at least on some level, engage with the distant past. Just a thought anyway.
  18. The Marquis de Leech

    Look On My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: the Literary Future

    Rider Haggard does, however, have that bit in King Solomon's Mines, where Quartermain notes that he doesn't like a certain racist word. KSM actually holds up pretty well today (apart from the elephant hunting).
  19. The Marquis de Leech

    Look On My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: the Literary Future

    I'd never heard of him either. Can you post a link of the list? (I do wonder if Henty's following among the modern American Right has boosted his traffic, causing his books to show up more often...).
  20. The Marquis de Leech

    Look On My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: the Literary Future

    I checked Wikipedia, and apparently Henty was a writer of nineteenth century adventure novels... that were disturbingly racist and imperialist by nineteenth century standards. Which is some achievement. And he's been resurrected by US conservatives for homeschooling their children. Generally speaking, Project Gutenberg is supremely awesome though.
  21. The Marquis de Leech

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Well, yes. It was standard for the British Left up until the late 1980s. (In Corbyn's mind, I think it's less about playing the blame game, and more about what sort of policies he could pursue without Brussels.)
  22. The Marquis de Leech

    Tolkien 3.0

    A shame that letter isn't published in the main collection, because I wasn't aware of it. His support for Irish Home Rule doesn't surprise me though, and not just because of his distaste for colonialism and Empire (there's the obvious religious point...).
  23. The Marquis de Leech

    Tolkien 3.0

    I think Tolkien found the idea as fascinating as it was repellent. He actually addresses it in his non-fiction too (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Ofermod) The borderline between such courage (Theoden) and outright despair (Denethor) also gets considered via Eowyn.
  24. The Marquis de Leech

    Tolkien 3.0

    Feanor had something to say about that: Yes, the Noldor were going to lose. But, as per the Northern Theory of Courage, why the hell should that matter?
  25. The Marquis de Leech

    Tolkien 3.0

    Honorius gets a bad rap. Some people just like chickens, and hate trousers.
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