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Everything posted by kuenjato

  1. kuenjato

    Top 10

    Where's Light, Truth, and Gravity???????????????
  2. kuenjato

    Top 10

    Pretty spot on, we should put that in the Goodreads quote section
  3. kuenjato

    Top 10

    I prefer Mao II to any of those, particularly Underworld, which I found pretty dull outside the opening.
  4. kuenjato

    Top 10

    The discussion on Bakker had its golden years from 2006 to maybe 2014? This includes the notorious Bakker and Women threads, where Bakker assumed a sock puppet to defend his work. The actual theory discussion involving material from TJE and then WLW reached pretty epic proportions by some serious deep thinkers 'round these parts, a period of contemplation and invention augmented by the lengthy delay. But by the time the last two books came out, the weird drama had been partially revealed and the response was positive to lukewarm on TGO. The release of the last book generated a fairly negative impression among most the long-time readers in here, and became an amusing if frustrating exercise in dealing with obtuse 'defenses' of the series. Most discussion petered out after that, in part by Bakker's own silence on his blog and elsewhere. I can remember a time when there were three Bakker threads on the front page of Literature. And that was really the biggest issue with The Unholy Consult -- the various theories articulated here, from the philosophical to the potential resolve of the gender issues in the series, were far better than the book we got.
  5. kuenjato

    Top 10

    I'm not aware of the full extent of it, just what went on around here -- in particular, someone claiming to have read the whole book, and giving raves across the board, when in reality he'd only seen TGO. That, and the bullshit campaign to email Bakker's publisher demanding the release of the last book(s), and how that campaign was conducted here.
  6. kuenjato

    Top 10

    Bakker wanted to include his glossary in the final volume, which would have pushed it to GRRM-esque doorstopper size. His publisher didn't pay much attention to him. Bakker entered re-negotiations to make TAE a four-parter and conspired with someone who sometimes posted here to raise a ruckus about how Bakker was being mistreated (and RSB fabricated a shucks-poor-lil-me persona on his blog), how the books weren't being given attention or any editorial oversight, etc. A minor ruckus was raised, enough to (we assume) split the last book into two. If this weird drama wasn't enough, the third book was actually pretty good but the last book shifted from grimdark to edgelord in several places and appeared to have little editorial oversight in the prose. Worse, all the revelation stuff was mostly bunk, with the actual reveal/final "twist" being cool on the surface but empty in reflection. After all Bakker's hyperbole about how he was reinventing the wheel across nearly a decade, the paucity of the end result, along with the publication drama, along with some, ahem, choice quotes from Bakker on an ill-advised As Me Anything--it did not go over well with his small but relatively rabid fanbase.
  7. kuenjato

    Top 10

    For me, it's the use of language--harsh, otherwordly, surreal in its use of grammar and vocabulary-- coupled with the harsh deconstruction of the Wild West mythos that cements it in my personal pantheon of favorites. But as said elsewhere, if you're not digging the first third, it isn't going to shift gears later on. Blood Meridian is the only of his novels I'd re-read, though, except maybe Outer Dark. Most are slogs, and his later books (The Road, Old Country) are IMO pale shadows of his peak (Child of God through Blood Meridian).
  8. Good review, Pat. And Lord Varys made some great points as to the book's multifold issues. I hated how the Unver as Shan thread played out. He walks into a trap just 'cause, it what might have been an interesting examination of Thrithings culture and leadership dynamics a la the Aiel in The Shadow Rising, or perhaps a psychological exploration of character under duress as in Kellhus in The Warrior Prophet. Instead, it plays out perfunctory, a paint-by-numbers... disappointing, considering his 'transformation' with the wolves, ravens etc. had been done quite effectively. Then we get some soap opera "OMG who stabbed who?" with Vorzheva in order to alienate the Thrithings and set up an invasion for the third book (which will be rerouted in some convenient fashion to fight the Norns, of course). I was almost about done with the book after that scene.
  9. With all this discussion about sales, I'm wondering what the sales are for The Last King of Osten Ard, and what the expectations were (hence the disappointment Pat mentioned in an earlier post). There is such a huge glut of novels being released every year, even every month, I suppose even big names can get overwhelmed. Or it might be that TW has been dropping off, I mean, did you see the cover 'art' for his last Bobby Dollar novel? It felt like DAW gave an intern a photoshop project -- it seriously looked like a self-published book.
  10. Those stats really mean nothing in terms of sales, though, just internet enthusiasm. Lynch used to post around here before he sold the series, so there's always been favorable bias and occluded perception as to his series at westeros. I'm sure it's changed, but Wert used to pull up the fact that most consumers (like, more than 90%) of fantasy books did not get their info/decision making from the net. Hence Goodkind maintaining bestseller status for many years despite being a laughingstock across many of the common arenas for fantasy discussion.
  11. This hits on another aspect that I found dissatisfying, in that Osten Ard comes off nowadays as cookie-cutter Europe template. This wasn't unusual in 1988, where you had huge-but-shallow stereotype worlds (Eddings), nonsensical worlds (Dragonlance, Shannara), etc. as the general norm. The historical veneer Williams ladled across in doses large and small -- ultimately imparting a more 'tactile' fantasy, in terms of religion, geography, etc -- made MS&T's text really shine, in comparison. But now, compared to what's come out since, Tad's world feels frankly simplistic, with the cultures poorly integrated and the underlying relationships rather vague. It would have been nice to have fleshed out what's to the south, or the huge blankness that looms in the east. Some effort was made, I'll grant you, with the occasional reference-drop of taxation, infrastructure spending, and so forth, but all in all Osten Ard, for me, no longer feels real. It's limitations seem too obvious.
  12. I'm interested just enough about the Norns to read the third book. I really don't care much for any of the main characters, though. I can't even remember what Binibik did for the entire novel, other than chase Morgan through the forest. Unver is just a poor man's Kellhus (complete with no POV) and the whole Thrithings subplot felt weak and contrived. I did like Miri in this book. She's probably the only one of the central cast I'm invested in.
  13. After more than 20 years of this board, we're still seeing this sort of bullshit response? You liked the dumpster fire that was Wise Man's Fear and the insanely insecure cry-for-help that was Slow Regard, so I guess I should question your taste on whether the quality of a piece of fiction? I may seem harsh, but this sort of commentary induces as vacuum in discussion; it is empty, ridiculous, vapid. It would have been flayed in the old days of the board, when there was substantial activity. Back on topic: Pat, what parts of the novel did work for you? Did you scan the critiques I posted earlier? What was the worst of the slog for you?
  14. Sure... I've only read the reviews on Goodreads, and those are mostly gushing. Only a handful seem to feel the same way that Pat and I do. Again, I thought the book was OK... but my overall opinion, walking away, was that there was so much more that could have been done with this world/characters/conflict. Part of this is because a whole new generation of epic-fantasy authors have taken the template in the last couple decades and really pushed the bar up and sideways and twisted it all around. Most of this is just... safe. Boring. Predictable. And so, so overwritten.
  15. We're also not explicitily claiming it's vastly unpopular with the mass majority of readers or that our opinions represent the mass majority of readers,* simply outlining, in clear and concise critiques, why the book is not working for us. It's OK to like the book, it's also OK to see it as a symptom of authorial indulgence festering some quarter-decade unchecked, to the eventual, perhaps inevitable result -- predictable, bloated, and ultimately an unworthy follow up to one of the most influential and acclaimed fantasy serials of the pre-GRRM/Grimdark era. *Actually, Pat alluded to how these books are not selling per expectations, and thus the critiques submitted are actually valuable as potential reasons why The Last King isn't generating hype / best seller status.
  16. Anecdotal evidence FTW. I don't think it's as bad as Pat, but it's completely unexceptional for the most part, and the seams really stand out in several sections as Tad railroads the narrative toward his predetermined outcome -- resulting in the same facile techniques and overall artificiality that's plagued his work from the Otherland days. The only improvement on the original series is that the action is more frequent and generally better written. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much reason for this story to exist.
  17. kuenjato

    Top 10

    no particular order.. Blood Meridian - McCarthy Storm of Swords - GRRM Prince of Nothing - Bakker Collected Short Fiction 1-4 (penguin) - Somerset Maugham Shogun - Clavell Lost Illusions - Balzac Foucault's Pendulum / Name of the Rose - Eco From Hell - Alan Moore V / Gravity's Rainbow - Pynchon Carl Barks Library
  18. It doesn't significantly improve. It stays about the same all the way through. I feel the last third of TWC and the whole of EoG form this long, steady sense of consistency. If you're not digging it at this point, you might as well skim the rest. Scott is right, Morgan's POV does eventually improve, but really only because he's hanging with a Sithi and learning more about the underlying conflict of the series.
  19. That's a good catch, I didn't associate the two but it wouldn't surprise me if that becomes the case, tragic as it is.
  20. There were some descriptions in either TWC or EoG (they kind of blend together for me at this point) that heavily indicate the Sithi/Norns came from another planet.
  21. kuenjato

    Why are big name actors doing TV?

    Television is a more respected medium these days, with prestige dramas serving as a way to keep your name in the conversation. Hollywood is extremely fickle and it only takes a bomb or three to land you in actor/director hell. I knew a guy who created/managed a nightly NBC drama for four seasons; it was cancelled three years ago and he hasn't done anything since. As Chris Rock once said, "you're here today, you're gone today." Shifting to television is no longer a black mark, but merely a way of tacking on one's talent/prestige to a presumably larger roster of talent/prestige.
  22. I posted my impressions in the other thread (which makes me wonder why the link is in this, soon to be terminated thread, but whatever) on TWC/EoG, which I'm mixed overall on (avoiding spoilers). As for his other works, MS&T was hugely influential in my early-mid teens as a more sophisticated take on epic fantasy (late 80's - early 90's), and though I can recognize the pacing issues in the 2nd and 3rd volumes, I feel overall it is a classic of the genre. I burned out on Otherland about midway through the 3rd volume when I came to recognize how artificial some of the storytelling techniques he was using -- to the point that the serial almost felt like unintentional parody concerning the employment of cliffhangers; unintentional, as it was milked to excess in the final volume without much in the way of commentary. Worse, by extending that series to four volumes, mostly so that Tad could play around in certain sandboxes (he himself admitted it it was a kitchen-sink project), the promise of the overall story was stretched too thin. I recall the beginning of Shadowmarch as a free serial on his webpage, but had lost interest in epic fantasy by the time the books came out and/or was more interested in more challenging books when reading genre. Some of my impressions might be age. I'm a lot more sensitive now when it feels like an author is meandering along and/or indulging in their pet proclivities to the detriment of the book, than I was as a teenager. It's one of several reasons why I could never read all of the Wheel of Time again. Tad's nowhere near Jordan was in his late period, but both TWC and EoG are fitting too little story into too many pages, IMO. I also wasn't impressed with some of the decisions made in revisiting Osten Ard: how certain characters were introduced, had developed, and so forth. To balance that out, there are other threads which were enjoyable / impressive to read - the Norns, some of the Nabban and Thrithings stuff. Unfortunately, woven into these well-planned and executed sections are several threads & characters that feel recycled and/or are a real slog.
  23. I didn't hate it or really dislike it, I just thought the writing was weaker than the original trilogy. In the last thread, someone asked to compare this series to MS&T. The biggest contrast I can give is that, in the late 80's, reading The Dragonbone Chair imparted a sense of mystery and depth, probably much more depth than the text itself contained. With The Witchwood Crown, we already know these characters and this land and there's not a whole lot which is new, outside the Norn mountain-city. The obvious retreading of old ground (Urmshiem, Naglimund, Hjelden's tower, etc. etc) really contribute to this uneasy feeling that, while there is a story here that could be told and told really well (the Sithi/Norn & Unbeing backstory), a lot of this feels middling or unnecessary. And though there was very little action in The Dragonbone Chair, that novel contains an impressive atmosphere of discovery and gradual revelation, allowing the descriptions and overall prose to come across as necessary in constructing the novel's themes and development, rather than--in TWC and EoG--feeling like constant bloated diversions perpetually staving us off to the next artificial climax or authorial indulgence (lost in the woods again, hey ho!).
  24. kuenjato

    Video Games: Keanu Re3ves Is Breathtaking

    The Frozen Wilds has around 10-20 hours of new content, including a significant quest that ties into the main game and a number of side quests that are generally superior to the side quests of the main game. There are some graphical enhancements (snow, mostly) and three new, quite challenging machines. The best gear in terms of armor and weapons can also be found in DLC, though acquiring the adept versions will require a New Game +, which it sounds you have. It is 100% consistent to the quality of the main game, with a few improvements -- the animation of Aloy and NPC's in conversation, for example, is much more dynamic than the way they were presented in the original game. If you loved Horizon, the DLC is another generous helping to tide us over. As for the 2nd playthrough... I loved just wandering around, the HUD completely turned off, engaging in fights with the various robots and trying to figure out new ways to use the environment to set traps, engage in ambushes, etc. The story also had more impact in certain places, because I knew the underlying secrets. TBH, Horizon sort of ruined a lot of other games for me. I played it first when I bought my PS4, and the three games I played after - Nier, God of War, and Witcher 3 -- all failed in comparison, at least in terms of gameplay. Nier was probably the closest, while God of War felt like a PS2 corridor slasher with incredible graphics and the Witcher, while having superior writing and superior side-quests, was clunky and a bit boring on the combat end, compared to those other three. The pacing also suffered in certain places (Novigrad in particular), though I don't regret the 80 hours I put into it.