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Madness

Bakker XXXV: Tyrant of Rat Nation, Worshipped as Rat of Rats

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This is the perpetual thread devoted to the works of R. Scott Bakker, primarily the books in The Second Apocalypse series, the first of which is The Darkness that Comes Before.

The current publication status is 5 volumes of novels, including the latest, The White-Luck Warrior, as well as 3 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.

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.

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.

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In point of fact, Kellhus has no free will whatsoever, not merely because all his actions are merely the consequence of prior events, but because he is a fictional character.


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In point of fact, Kellhus has no free will whatsoever, not merely because all his actions are merely the consequence of prior events, but because he is a fictional character.

OK, OK, no free will. I agree, Bakkeranity is hard to overcome.

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It's not necessary that Kellhus meant that he had free will in that sense. Kellhus is constantly making 'decisions' throughout the series, it might be that all his actions were determined by what comes before, but that doesn't mean that another person determines and controls all his actions.

It's the difference between Achamian going to the north 'of his own will' and of him being conditioned into going to the north by Kellhus. In both cases, his actions were determined by what comes before, but in the first case we can loosely say that it was his own decision (as opposed to someone else's), in the latter his decision was made by Kellhus.

This is what I was trying to get across, thank you Hello World!

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In point of fact, Kellhus has no free will whatsoever, not merely because all his actions are merely the consequence of prior events, but because he is a fictional character.

How could he not have free will if he is a fictional character? How can a fictional character NOT have something?

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How could he not have free will if he is a fictional character? How can a fictional character NOT have something?

My point exactly. Though I feel that it's not worth the argument. I think my example of Akka demonstrates that free will exist in the setting of the story much better.

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How could he not have free will if he is a fictional character? How can a fictional character NOT have something?

He could have a fictional free will as long as we suspend disbelief and forget that everything the character thinks, feels, says or does is authored. We hypothetically treat them as "selves" but aren't, so, if we were to live in say an expanded Bakkerverse even Kellhus would be little better than a sranc or skin-spy.

I mean, if a creator God made us, could he "give" us free will, yet also author all our choices and actions and what happens to us and everything else? Similarly, can Bakker (or any author) "give" free will to a character? It's not quite as clear-cut as giving brown hair. Even fictional brown hair is just a descriptor; just reference the hair color with that character if it ever comes up, that's it you're done. But if in the Bakkerverse none of the characters had free will, how would that look different from if they all did? Wouldn't it in fact be exactly the same?

And isn't it so with us in our own universe? Are there experiments? "Comprehending a paradox?" dialogue, or Voight-Kampff tests? I really think I could have gotten the chicken sandwich tonight, but I went with the burger. I like to imagine I had the burger, but I suspect the burger had me.

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Anyone think this is possibly slated for a 2015 release?

Very unlikely at this point.

Bakker's latest comments on his blog indicate that he has actually handed in his final manuscript in January, and at this point has not heard anything about publication. We also know that the book is not scheduled on amazon.com, and that Overlook released it's Fall schedule up until December and the book is not on it.

As hopeless a message as it is, it seems this will be another year without TUC. It'll be 5 years since WLW was published when this comes out. If that.

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I'm surprised at that. I know the US sales aren't great, but I remember Wert saying the British sales were solid enough that his publishers over there were pleased. I'd be willing to pay for an imported print copy if it came out sooner.


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I'm surprised at that. I know the US sales aren't great, but I remember Wert saying the British sales were solid enough that his publishers over there were pleased. I'd be willing to pay for an imported print copy if it came out sooner.

Yeah I'll probably import it this time around. Last time when wlw came out I was saving for a ring and opted not to. Or maybe I'll buy / import the physical book and then figure out if there's some way to also buy the British ebook and read it on my American Kindle so I don't have to wait for shipping and customs. I wonder if amazon UK also has a cloud reader in their website? That could work in a pinch...

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He could have a fictional free will as long as we suspend disbelief and forget that everything the character thinks, feels, says or does is authored. We hypothetically treat them as "selves" but aren't, so, if we were to live in say an expanded Bakkerverse even Kellhus would be little better than a sranc or skin-spy.

I mean, if a creator God made us, could he "give" us free will, yet also author all our choices and actions and what happens to us and everything else? Similarly, can Bakker (or any author) "give" free will to a character? It's not quite as clear-cut as giving brown hair. Even fictional brown hair is just a descriptor; just reference the hair color with that character if it ever comes up, that's it you're done. But if in the Bakkerverse none of the characters had free will, how would that look different from if they all did? Wouldn't it in fact be exactly the same?

And isn't it so with us in our own universe? Are there experiments? "Comprehending a paradox?" dialogue, or Voight-Kampff tests? I really think I could have gotten the chicken sandwich tonight, but I went with the burger. I like to imagine I had the burger, but I suspect the burger had me.

But if it had simply been a question of whether the character had, say, a photographic memory, would you have raised the issue that the character can't have a photographic memory for being fictional?

What's the difference with free will?

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Back to Knife of Many Hands, I wonder if Bakker aims to write more stories about this character. There’s a small arc devoted to vengeance and biding your time (young Eryelk confronts Sitti about this. The second time is when he catches the slaver ending some blood feud.) So Conan/Eryelk must return in a later story to confront the evil sorcerer.



In particular, because Eryelk has only been wielded once, right? (Before my re-read, I though that maybe Sitti had used Eryelk for his own revenge schemes earlier already, but clearly that is not supported by the text.) Unless you count him being wielded by the mob. Maybe that’s all there is to it.


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Does anyone who knows more about the publication process than me know what a typical timeline is for manuscript handed in - > book published?



I'm quite pessimistic because it's already been so long, but mid-to-late 2016 seems horribly long for something handed in January 2015.


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rsbakker publication comment in response to bakkerfans (mrganondorf):

When it comes to the books, it’s just not cricket for an author to divulge on issues that bear on outstanding contracts–that’s the only reason I’m being cagey. Penguin has elected to distribute the Overlook edition, which sucks, but hey. Neither Overlook nor Orbit has made any troubling noises of any kind, despite being well within their rights to do so. The big issue is editorial turn over: my new editors need to do a helluva lot of reading to properly place TUC. Apparently asses have large emissions as well!

My bold. I assume this crux will lengthen the process by quite a bit.

EDIT:

Back to Knife of Many Hands, I wonder if Bakker aims to write more stories about this character. There’s a small arc devoted to vengeance and biding your time (young Eryelk confronts Sitti about this. The second time is when he catches the slaver ending some blood feud.) So Conan/Eryelk must return in a later story to confront the evil sorcerer.

In particular, because Eryelk has only been wielded once, right? (Before my re-read, I though that maybe Sitti had used Eryelk for his own revenge schemes earlier already, but clearly that is not supported by the text.) Unless you count him being wielded by the mob. Maybe that’s all there is to it.

rsbakker comment on Four Revelations:

I actually have around 20G’s written on something set during the Scholastic Wars: the tale of a Holca champion of the Sranc Pits.

The Knife of Many Hands clocks in at around 9000+. Even without the above comment, it seems that Ratakila could be a character vehicle for a number of Atrocity Tales (both following the events of TKOMH, which seems to kickoff the Spires' attempt at a coup in Ainon, or in Ratakila's adventures after Stitti's death with the Momas Gale).

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I'm quite pessimistic because it's already been so long, but mid-to-late 2016 seems horribly long for something handed in January 2015.

Same here. I felt certain that the book would be published in the first half of this year. Even did a reread of the series in anticipation. Hopefully we get some confirmation of a publication date sooner rather that later.

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