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Well, I sometimes think it's as much about selling the author as it is the series, and for anyone who has had the opportunity to spend a few hours shooting the breeze with Steve, you appreciate the man's understated charisma.

Me? I'm something of a contrarian asshole. I have a compulsive need to poke piety in the eye wherever I think I see it. Humans are hardwired to be pious--which makes me a pious piety eye poker. Not a good way to be in this day and age, commercially speaking.

This is why I hope the recognition I'm getting in various research circles could prove a boon down the road.

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1 hour ago, rsbakker said:

Humans are hardwired to be pious--which makes me a pious piety eye poker.

i suffer but one disorder. 

the ideology you wear.

it is familiar to me.

tell one who has devoured ten thousand boarders.

tell me how neohobbesian piety has come to rule the impious.

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4 hours ago, rsbakker said:

And this is a big part of why I would like to rewrite TDTCB: I love the book artistically, but it's difficulty has meant that commercially speaking, the whole series has feet of clay.

This is why I really need to get my ass into gear and write an accessible prequel, something to level the learning curve posed by TDTCB. I'm really beginning to think Uster Scraul would be the perfect vehicle for that.

Prequel sounds engaging! But as said I lent him a couple of books. He got through TDTCB - but kept insisting he wanted to really get what was going on in warrior prophet but couldn't dedicate himself enough to read it that thoroughly amongst other stuff in life. It's like he didn't want something to sneak past him and wanted to fully grasp what was going on, by my estimate. Where as I'd given up on that early in TDTCB - and presumably it's a theme of the books, where events clearly have some kind of structured origin (no 'A wizard did it' except maybe for the main whodunnit), but the origin fades out of view.

So I dunno what to make of that - he didn't give up on TDTCB, but warrior prophet expands on the information given and he seemed to choke in trying to grasp all of it (I did say to him you don't have to grasp it all - but he's in his twenties and probably hasn't given up on beating everything yet)

Maybe a prequel would engage him because it's before the (as I estimate it) overload point? I'd certainly offer to lend a copy. 

Also you're probably finding it lol to write a prequel to something called the darkness that comes before!

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3 hours ago, Rhom said:

I appreciate the level of candor and engagement in this thread.  I've received more answers in the last two days than in 50 general discussion threads worth of debate.

Along those lines, has there been any discussion of a book signing tour?  I'm sure they are a pain, but personally I have enjoyed the events at Joe Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY that I have attended.  (Even met a couple of the dezizens of Westeros.org while there.) 

A few of us on SA took a trip down to Ohio to do a meetup we called "Ishoiya" for TGO release (bakkerfans will post some pictures as soon as I get my shit together). I think Bakker tentatively agreed to "Zaudunyanicon 2017" in London, Ontario, where the Ishoiya crowd are planning to rent a hall sometime shortly after TUC release. I'll be making a more official thread on SA soon.

2 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

Any more Atrocity Tales on the way before TUC is out?    Really dug The False Sun and The Knife of Many Hands 

Search out "Evil Is A Matter of Perspective," a Grimdark Mag kickstarter which will feature a new Atrocity Tale about TGO character, Uster Scraul.

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Hi Scott.

Thanks for the books. Certainly in my top 3 fantasy series and I like how there's a lot to think about and that characters are never only good or evil. I always try and push them on friends/colleagues who want some more fantasy after Game of Thrones.

This isn't very useful feedback on the current book per se - it only came out the other day in the UK. However I'm reticent of reading until the next book has a release date. The main reason is that I probably need to do a re-read (I'm going to try out the audiobooks of 1-3 to get a different experience the second time around) and figure there's not much point if it's several years for the next one. I'm still buying the books though figuring that increases the chances for the next one coming out.

I was wondering how much you take genetics into consideration with the Dunyain, non-men and Inchoroi? You clearly keep fairly up to date in neurology and the science of consciousness. Given CRISP/Cas9 tech and the increasing examples of getting complex behaviour switches from the control of single ion channels/genes is this tech that the Dunyain have access to or is this more the domain of the inchoroi? How muxh of the Dunyain is genetics/selective breeding and how much is mental reprogramming? No worries if this is something that will be revealed.

I haven't seen any questions relating to "Prince of nothing" being optioned for TV. I guess you might not be able to say much but was curious as to whether this is something you'll have an active role in or whether it's out of your hands once optioned. I guess that could help provide accessibility to your books in the sense people might stick with PoN if they knew roughly what they'd get in the long run. For what it's worth I didn't find it off-putting at all.

I think the idea of a prequel that could serve as a more accessible entry point is an interesting one though. I guess the tricky part may be coming up with a story that feels like it's essential to be read before TDTCB otherwise people may still be stubborn and go for the "original" book.

Keep up the good work and I applaud the outreach. I also get the impression it would be great to sit in on a panel where you and Peter Watts are shooting the breeze. His sci-fi feels like the perfect companion to your fantasy work and also feels worthy of a larger audience.

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As people are discussing the difficulty of TDTCB, thought I'd share my own experience. I read the blurb and was hooked at "No-God". I had no idea what that meant (yeah, that still applies) but had to read it. 

By the time Cnaiur was dangling off Kellhus's arm on the Steppe, there was no turning back. Fucking WOW. Still, I had no idea what was in store. 

I've lent the series to friends, and happily, one is now a true disciple. The other... He grew bored of Kellhus and his infallibility by TWP. Even though Kellhus gets his "comeuppance" in TWP, my friend had already had enough. I've tried to convince him to keep going, but he won't. Let's just say I won't be making him godfather to my children any time soon. 

It's a different type of series, and each book has its own feel. I just think that generally, it's not for most people. It's a tough sell, for a range of reasons.  

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First of all, you seem to have rendered Solo speechless. Second, Thanks to this forum, I have discovered your books. I was also rendered a bit speechless to realize that a writer who gets more space here that anyone besides GRRM comes from London, Ontario.  

When you were young, did stories about the Black Donnellys ever spark your interest, being a part of the local history? 

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Questions from a technical standpoint...

Do you have a daily word-count you strive for? 

Do you edit as you write, or do you complete sections/chapters before revising?

How intense is the editing? GRRM, for example, constantly re-writes his chapters as the book progresses. Rothfuss is notorious for editing his books hundreds of times. Sanderson, on the other hand, apparently makes three edits and is done. Does what we, the reader, encounter on the page have much resemblance to the first/second draft, or is it a long, arduous process to nail down the mental image to the physical template?

Has writing and/or editing become easier in the last 12 years?

Do you listen to music while you write? Do you imbibe caffeine? I know you quit smoking around the time of TJE, did that affect your writing?

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I will say for Mommen, that I did love how Kelmomas got "bamboozled" by Atjokli (spelling), and was absolutely flummoxed by The White Luck Warrior. I found his attempts to shadow him very well written.

Also seeing Thelopia more nice to see her character fleshed out, in addition to her clothing -- you had a fun call back from Serwa (I believe, one of the sisters/brothers) who recalled Thelopia's nutty styles.

Also, that Thelopia could inspire some fear when she cared (into Kel that is), and even asked the White Luck "you would test your skill against a Dunyain?" Her death was well done, I also feel.

While I didn't appreciate Mommenn as much in TGO, I will say some of my most re-read sections of The Aspect Emperor series is definitely Mommen. With Maithanet, Esmenet going to "war" with him, and Kellhus' evil little kids running amok.

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9 hours ago, rsbakker said:

Your advice is a big reason why I'm here, Mike.

Making awe work is all about context, framing, buildup, what have you. So if you think of Sorweel's journey into the underworld, the Holy Deep, it was important, I think, to draw out the pilgrimage, to heap the Weeping Mountain high above, to impart a sense of just how deep he had to go.

And of course, believability. You have to believe to get that tickle of awe.

I do think you do Awe extremely well, BTW. I'd love a prequel after TUC to try and get some of my friends into TDTCB. 

Also, as feedback, some of my favorite moments in TDTCB were when Kellhus was wrong, and how some characters could pick up on it (even if they psyched themselves out of not believing it, like Cnauir). Hoping for TUC to see more of Kellhus, of course, as we finally got just a sliver of his own perspective again.

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Question, you described the head on a pole related to the Outside. Yet, Kellhus mentions it out of of context of the Outside. Saying that there has always been a head on a pole behind you.

Your revelation that the God shattered itself, contradictory to other info we get, example the boatmans song. I just hope that TUC will make all of this clear and tie it together in a satisfactory way.

Also, is the Zero God and Absolute one and the same.

Also, from Kelhus's dreams of the Monk under the tree. We've noticed that certain aspects has changed. So, as the Gods can see all of time, that doesn't mean that things can not change, correct? Like H has theorized, Kellhus is indeed directing Kellhus through these visions. Hence, in the first dream the Monk has the legs of a beast, in TGO this is not the case.

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The Great Ordeal was my first Second Apocalypse pre-order, and it was worth stalking Amazon drivers to see if my New Testament arrived.

Kelmomas observing the Narindar was the funnest part so far from his escapades. Ishual defending itself against The Consult left a great impression on me, "We fought them for years." At first blush Sorwheel annoyed me, but the way you ground your characters despite the supernatural weights on them is one of my favorite things about this entire series.

I only have a few problems with the book. I think Esmi's entourage of royalty and appointed officers is too interchangeable, and they are replaced or get killed too often. It would have been nice for her to have a lover or a close friend she could fall back on. While the cursed ruins some of the men of the Ordeal go to was a great payoff and a very fucking cool lore moment, I think pride shouldn't have been the drive, because at this point we have seen the Ordeal lose three battles - or lose costly numbers due to men trying to outdo their peers. I didn't have a problem with the whale mothers part for being appalling, but I did think it was a little too convenient a scene and I wish Mimara had time to reflect on it more.

I do not know how you are able to keep a candle's flame burning in my soul with your writing, but you do, and it lights my way.

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@rsbakker The map appears to have multiple impact points in far flung areas of the map.  Was there more than one Ark that hit Earwa?

Also, around these parts we have always referred to your proposed follow up sequence as The Series That Shall Not Be Named based on your prior assertion that even naming it would be major spoilers for TAE series.  So upon the release of TUC, will you then be free to tell us what you would intend to call it?

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20 hours ago, rsbakker said:

except the Morlocks, in which case, EAMD.

Hmm... because we confuse what comes after with what comes before?

So, unlike Morlocks, Men came from Nonmen?

Yet, the Ihrimsu lines that Akka translates in TJE from Cleric to the statue of Cujara Cinmoi hardly look non-human, in fact, they look like they're derived from an Indo-European language.

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Two more thing.

(I realise that this thread is not for asking question of RSB, but for giving him feed-back.)

1. Sorweel really, really worked. Most readers seem to have been somewhat annoyed by him in the beginning – yet another self-obsessed, fretting character! Always “between dogs.” But his chapters in WLW were very exciting, and we’ve heaped enough praise on the Ishterebinth sections here. The Amiolas really shows him what “two souls” mean! And now he’s real, even to Serwa.

2. I’ve obsessed about the role of tree branches in the books from the beginning, since Kellhus’ journey from Ishual, and the tree in the background of Mekki in his first Nonman encounter. (And the twig in the sandal!) This has been a very good theme/symbol/analogy/whatever. Probability trance, choice, yadda-yadda. Well done.

And with TGO the trees are now inverted and juxtaposed with tunneling. And the branch role of height, grasping, reaching, and possibilities has been extended and inverted with depth, plumbing and filtering. (Filtering of the Dûnyain, I think – it says that somewhere about the thousand thousand halls.) And also with shielding, hiding, protecting. 

I find level of thematic ambition and discipline endlessly satisfying.

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