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kuenjato

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About kuenjato

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  1. kuenjato

    Malazan: High House Shadow edition

    Just read that. LOL. Karsa might not show up in the first two books. After Steve had his last introspective trilogy truncated to a duology, he goes and tries the commercial thang and just. can't. do. it. I don't like Erikson's writing all that much, but I do admire his balls.
  2. kuenjato

    YA Twitter Tribunals

    I think in theory, the safeguarding is legit -- they are targeting marginalized communities in the LGBQT and (insert)-American vein, who are probably exposed to stereotypes and nasty commentary on a regular basis. I hosted a LGBQT club in a school district that was both affluent and highly intellectual, with zero-tolerance for bullying etc., and even then the students of this orientation were often blanketed with reproach for their lifestyles and orientation. On the other hand, through teaching public school (particularly high school), I've been repeatedly exposed to what teenagers are consuming / exposed to on a daily basis. Some of it is, uh, rather gnarly, and with trap/hip-hop pretty much the norm when in comes to popular music, that language and themes becomes a sort of common discourse. The YA Tribunals sheltering-code comes off as coddling, to some extent. And, in regards to the hyperbole extended to these books (RACIST! INSENSITIVE! WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!), it often comes off like disingenious moral policing, a convenient way to put a stake into something. I'd be curious how ASOIAF or Prince of Nothing would be regarded, if introduced in 2019 rather than 15 or more than 20 years ago.
  3. kuenjato

    YA Twitter Tribunals

    One of the articles above gives evidence that a substantial amount of support for these regressive trends are coming from the agents and/or publishing personal, with murmurs of "blacklists," and books rejected simply because a writer is writing from a gender or racial background different from their own, etc. Some demographics, I'm not sure how accurate, point to this being a trend primarily among white, women agents. This is not entirely surprising: #MeToo and the overwhelming gamut of toxic overspill from the past couple years has probably engineered a massive movement towards 'sensitivity checklists,' and careful behavior to mitigate against potential offensive conduct/speech. But the result has created this increadably censorous environment, easy to exploit and abuse and to spin into an ever-escalating whirlwind of accusation and blanket condemnation, often based on the flimsiest evidence or data (see the Kosovo stuff). I can't imagine publishers are happy to cancel books and eat the developmental costs on a monthly basis -- it seems that the thrill of performative outrage is now generating almost constant tagging on upcoming releases -- and it may get to the point that twitter mobs are ignored or reduced in consideration. There's a lot of talk about how these communities serve as the lifeblood for self-promotion for upcoming artists, but I have a feeling it is similar to the extreme right on the internet: loud and prolific but ultimately only influencing a small, specific audience, with the bulk of the audience either unaware or only exposed to echoes of the clamor. I wonder what it's like in the current "adult" sci-fi / fantasy setting? After the "Sad Puppies" fiasco, and awards trending towards diverse writers, are internal guidelines about content circulating around, or is it still a free-for-all?
  4. kuenjato

    Make Mine Captain Marvel! (SPOILERS)

    Yeah, it's this. I'm not hung up on what her body type is, it was just distracting to see someone run knock-kneed (as it is out of the ordinary and thus noticable), but I put a lot of it to the pretty much objective fact that these directors were not particularly good in framing action. Usually it's body-doubles doing the running/jumping in any case, unless we're talking about Tom Cruise.
  5. kuenjato

    YA Twitter Tribunals

    Wait 'till you read the Zhao stuff. Author writes about slavery in a fantasy book setting and doesn't contextualize it in a purely 18th-century American-centric POV about race -- the knives come out, and come out sharp. Given that Zhao had a 500k contract and the way the headliner YA authors approached their line of attack, it comes off as 'competitive outrage' -- YA is glutted and there's only so many Big Names to draw the audience in. Part of the problem with these trends is consumer backlash and how actual good progressive ideas are lumped together with extremist performative outrage. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the mob mentality is actually being conducted by professional trolls, to further discredit the 'left' in the eyes of the politically obtuse.
  6. kuenjato

    YA Twitter Tribunals

    A few years back, Requires Hate/Winterfox was exposed in Laura Mixon's Hugo-winning post as a serial sociopath bully who used a woke facade to justify her targeting other PoC, presumably because they were competition. While the dust settled on that, the same trend seems to have infected YA twitter to the point that sizable book contracts are being canceled on a monthly basis because of bad-faith dogpiling on upcoming novels that are viewed, however vaguely or laughably, as "problematic." Like writing outside of one's wheelhouse, or subscribing to a certain interpretation of history to the denial of any other viewpoint, or flat-out gaslighting/concern trolling. It's pretty disturbing, and distressing to see all the cliches right-whingers spit out metastasize in forums supposedly about fostering supportive relationships & promoting progressive ideals. Whatever your feelings on Jesse Singal, he has a pretty good detailing of the current situation, which apparently is seeping into children's literature as well. part 1: https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/ya-twitters-victims-and-critics-speak?utm_source=substack&utm_content=topposts part 2: https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/ya-twitters-victims-and-critics-speak-855?utm_source=substack&utm_content=topposts part 3: https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/ya-twitters-victims-and-critics-speak-4b5?utm_source=substack&utm_content=topposts pat 4: https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/ya-twitters-victims-and-critics-speak-c56?utm_source=substack&utm_content=topposts "It almost seems like there's a cycle of revenge, a tapestry of grudges and distrust. Sometimes I wonder if that's really true, or if I'm being a conspiracy theorist... or maybe I'm just going crazy. Too much time in YA Twitter land makes me feel like I'm losing my sense of reality. --- The rest, of course, is history. The Black Witch, The Continent, Carve the Mark, Blood Heir... I won't recount the obvious ways this culture has spiraled out of control into toxic, irrational, tribal, mob-like chaos. What makes it so difficult is that it all starts with good intentions. The goal of promoting diversity and positive representation in fiction is a noble one. I believe its proponents—of which I am one—are right to defend such an objective. But the ends do not justify the means. Rather than fostering an open, welcoming environment for diversity to flourish, this Internet subculture has birthed an environment of fear, hostility, and creative suppression." ----- "I used to love the children's literature industry because it was so supportive and nurturing. We authors were like one big family. Now it's about cutting authors down, bullying, and ruining careers. It's fun to be the bully. It gives one power. BUT we should not allow the minority to dictate what the majority can and can't do. Why are we giving any of these bullies an ounce of power? Now publishing companies are inserting clauses into their contracts that dictate an author's behavior. [yup] If an author says something that doesn't fit with the author's public persona then their book can be cancelled and they must pay back their advance." ---What do y'all think? It feels like we are seeing overcorrections in reaction to the MAGA sewage dominating the political sphere, and it feels much like the Requires Hate scenerio: sociopaths hijacking the woke/social justice language as opportunity to bully and self-aggrandize.
  7. kuenjato

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    One of my favorite reviews of this series calls Rothfuss a "carny". He really is a big contradiction, full of hot air one moment and almost in tears the next. Oh, yeah, that's right, he's borderline bi-polar, right? (I forget the actual diagnosis, it's a mild form of bi-polar). His antics sort of make sense, in that light.
  8. kuenjato

    Make Mine Captain Marvel! (SPOILERS)

    eh, she was OK. The big problem was the script and the director / editor's choices in presenting her. Some scenes she comes off as fantastic, particularly some of the emoting scenes and her back and forth with Fury, while other times it was just flat face / dead eyes. She also runs really weird -- it threw me out of the movie in the first quarter, when she's required to run a lot. In one of the first scenes she's running like she's knock-kneed (maybe she is?) and it threw me out every time after.
  9. kuenjato

    Make Mine Captain Marvel! (SPOILERS)

    This was fun and forgettable. Bottom tier MCU for me, above Thor 2 and Hulk and maybe about the same level as Ant-Man. There are some great moments -- the girl empowerment theme is fantastically realized at the climax, Jackson is Jackson, the Goose reveal, the weird but well done memory sequence -- but overall it felt rather mediocre in construction for a good deal of its run time and somewhat fumbling at the script level. A person at another forum I frequent wondered what this film would have been like with Kathryn Bigelow helming this, channeling Point Break and Zero Dark Thirty, and boy I wish Marvel would have gone bigger with this. It doesn't help that this is following Marvel's peak run of Infinity War, Black Panther, Thor Ragnarok, Civil War, etc. But most importantly, my 9-year old daughter really, really liked it, and that was who the film was really made for. I'm glad it's doing well at the box office, if nothing else than to infuriate the MRA dickheads.
  10. kuenjato

    Star Wars Thread: I KNOW WHAT THAT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It's not "mostly" ideological, it's just that the ideology is badly shoehorned into an established saga, and the content probably most worthy of exploring (like arms sales in a never-ending galactic conflict) are given short-shift to crap like Holdo vs. Poe, the entirety of which invalidates the bolded statement above. Speaking of which, the bolded is one of the stupidest statements you've ever written on this site, and I've read a lot of what you've written, be it insightful, challenging, or ideologically-blinkered. One doesn't have to "buy in" to the MRA crowd to view this as a sloppy, shoddy entry to a long-running serial, chock full of prequel-era terrible writing and shoestring plotting and tone-inappropriate humor, coupled with really crude, blunt ideological intentions towards addressing some of the underlying conflicts of our modern period. If Johnson and Disney were going to go this route, it could have become a masterpiece, with careful writing, plotting, and thematic development. Instead it's a confused mess, one which devalues one of the central characters & themes of the entire series and doesn't even do a good job of portraying Luke as a bitter old defeatist, rendering him instead a cheap representation of Boomers in the Vapor Age. After writing my screed yesterday, I reflected on its harshness in tone, then realized I dislike TLJ for the same reason I dislike Goodkind. I teach a course on propaganda, and find some of it stunningly beautiful, even while portraying a harmful message; other pieces are just hollow cartoons ejected from mediocre minds, a la Sword of Truth. Though of completely different perspective, TLJ is the Terry Goodkind of Star Wars, and it irritates to see Luke & the possibility of these new characters diminished or destroyed in such an uncouth manner. EDIT: I'm going to keep the pejorative "stupidest" above, because the other word that comes to mind is "dishonest." Every single media critic of a certain ideological bent across multiple websites love this film, and though they won't admit it -- simply resorting to "it's challenging! subversive! fanboys can't handle it!" -- the truth is, a film this big inserting these themes into the masses is a good thing, regardless of it's quality or lack thereof. It's created this weird cagey wink-wink, nudge-nudge shuffle-dance among identitarians in regards to the very fucking obvious things Johnson put in this film, and unfortunately, put them in very baldly and very badly.
  11. kuenjato

    Star Wars Thread: I KNOW WHAT THAT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The problem with TLJ is that it's so incredibly clumsy in its execution of its ideology, to say nothing of the nuts and bolts of space opera storytelling. I hate this film, and I hate it as a Star Wars fan from the OT theater days and as a social and economic liberal with considerable distaste toward the concept of championing shitty art and/or shitty people simply because it/they are ideologically correct -- the "requires hate" fallacy. TLJ not only needlessly and incompetently mars the general Star Wars tone developed across decades to score cheap virtue-signaling likes, it does it so, so poorly. To offer a contrast, think of a recent franchise film that did basically the same thing, and generated a small fervor among MRA assholes, but not-really-much and easily-drowned-out because it was an awesome fucking film? Mad Max: Fury Road. And that film is much more explicit in assigning blame for its conflict. There are plenty of other examples of the sci-fi/fantasy medium addressing these issues with nuance and intelligence; I recently completed Horizon Zero Dawn, which delved into male toxicity but also offered perspective and variations of the characters presented, rather than stereotypical identitarian models. TLJ, on the other hand, is the product of a crude, unsophisticated approach to storytelling and thematic development; it is not so much art as it is propaganda--a crap example that should be scorned for its caricatures and general shallowness of what it is trying to represent. A dozen stern editorial passes and perhaps some collaboration, and this might have been a masterpiece. But why expect that from a studio that develops a multimillion-dollar trilogy without even a base structure?
  12. Highly recommended, but please keep in mind that I just started playing video games after a 12 year hiatus, so that probably colors my opinion a great deal. I picked up a PS4 and several games during Black Friday (200 system and 15-20 dollar games), and decided to play HZD first just because I liked the way it looks. I've clocked in around 66 hours to complete the main storyline & the main quest for the DLC, and am only about 50% done with each. The game combined a lot of elements that I enjoyed a long time ago (rpg, adventure, stealth, strategy) and I felt the story was a nice take on the post-apocalyptic genre, with some careful detail woven in for the various cultures and underlying conflict & antagonist. It helps that the game is stunningly beautiful... I spent a lot of time just hunting machines and animals and enjoying the scenery. A good portion of it takes place in my native state / region, so that was a major factor in how involving it was. I'd recommend mostly tackling the main quest for your playthrough, as the side quests vary from good to just ok, and I think the story has more impact if you follow it directly through and do the side stuff later. Lately I've been playing Nier Automata, and I can kind of understand the criticisms Zelda fans had of HZD, as Nier is quite restrictive in where you can go, what you can climb, etc. The combat is tons of fun and the story is intriguing so far. After it, I'll probably play God of War and then GTA V or Spiderman. I have Witcher 3, but as I've heard it's a major time-sink (100 to 200 hours, easily), I'm going to wait on that one until this fall.
  13. Let them purge their party. Perhaps it will lead to a dissolution of the two-party stranglehold. If nothing else, isolate the broke-brain boomers and their xenophobic harkening to a neverland nationalism, so that they will fester again at the margins, like they did for decades prior to broadcasting deregulation.
  14. kuenjato

    Assassin's Apprentice Opinions?

    I may be misremembering, as I read the trilogy in 1999. So the lingering fumes of impressions were a) not much assassinating going on (or, at least, Fitz never "grows into the role"), b) rather shallow worldbuilding as a whole--politically and geographically--though decent in the micro setting, and c) a glutton's feast of emotional manipulation on the part of the author to milk drama and inspire sniffles from those that like to cry at the end of books (as I see frequently in topics like these), but the emotional manipulation was so boldface bald on the author's part that, by the third book, the trick had worn to the nub and simply left me cold. These are dimestore romance novels with some fantasy trappings slathered on. I'd still recommend them over 80% of the fantasy market, though.
  15. kuenjato

    Assassin's Apprentice Opinions?

    First two books are pretty good, though the title of the series is rather misleading, as there is very little "assassinating" going on. Lots of emotional porn, if that's your thing. The third book cranks this to 11 and is a major travelquest/woe-is-me slog, to the point that I checked out on reading future books. It has massive appeal to a select audience, which isn't me. Fairly well written for the genre.
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