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Bakker LIII - Sranc and File

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9 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Eh hasn't Bakker said this is the case like multiple times? I find it odd that the people who go to Bakker's statements constantly to defend everything else seem to willfully ignore this part.

But what if....Ben IS Glory?

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What we must figure out is if there is some kind of connection between the heart and the butt?

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18 hours ago, kuenjato said:

yet inserts a juvenile sequence with a redpill dragon just as a means of trolling certain critics; worse, it distracts and undercuts the climatic scene built up over seven books.

This is the sort of thing I've referred to - once the emotional carpet is pulled out from under it, the critique becomes distanced, meta, with no emotional commitment to the fictional situation. Care is gone, as much as the gods are gone from the setting. Without a proper meaningful ending, care/feeling can't navigate the landscape as much as the gods in the setting are blind to the landscape. So everything starts getting described in TV tropes like way, where as books that are loved get a heart felt description and avoids the distanced TV tropes like analysis. But on the other hand, the shift between these two ways of engaging with fiction - distanced analysis Vs close heartfelt care, is it really something generally recognised? Is it a trope of ourselves that culturally we recognise? Probably not - so would it be wanky for a writer to base his climax on something no one knows? Would it be wanky to base a climax on complex maths or dead languages and expect the general audience to get it? Yeah, it'd be wanky.

Anyway, a central theme is a meaningful world - you mentioned the idea of a disenchanted world ending. How would you do something with a meaningful world that doesn't simply continue the meaning by having an ending that confirms our intuitions? How would you do a disenchanted world ending that is also an emotionally satisfying ending? When really that's a complete contradiction?

In some ways I wonder if, if Earwa had blown up shortly after the no gods resurrection whether readers would be happier. Because then there wouldn't be a world to navigate without meaning - it'd be dead and gone. Resolved. With resolution being a kind of meaning, of course.

I think that once a persons heart turns away from a source of fiction, then it leaves their intellect behind to navigate the whole thing in TV trope terms. But kind of like Kelmomas having two souls that take turns in the driving seat but are unaware of each other, people generally aren't aware when their feelings turn away - they just end up thinking in TV tropes and unaware of why they got left thinking in that way. Some other posters seem perpetually stuck in tropes thought and bitterly so. Then an author has to go and write a book where to not just see it as a flop the audience has to kind of get this distinction? Nail Bakker on that, I think.

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7 hours ago, Ajûrbkli said:

Ya, Kalbear's analogy is to think of Bakkerworld as a book, but I was thinking diorama might be a better example.   The Gods see all of Creation as fixed without any Time.  They're looking down on a diorama, but a really messy 4D one to the human perspective.  At any rate, they think they see the totality of Creation, but Creation actually exists outside the diorama they see as well.  But the Gods don't understand this because the Diorama fills the entirety of their vision - they don't comprehend the 'edges' to it - if they scan their eyes all the way to the left it pops up on the right like a globe or the map on EU4.    But there are edges, and the No-God is that edge and Kelmomas is the No-God.

I really don't get the whole 'Kelmomas was always the no god' thing (unless it's a reference to determinism, then okay). I'm fine with the idea that somehow he is connected to a second 'book' that falls outside the first 'book', the first book being that which the gods think is the totality of everything. Presumably the first book is fixed and the second book is revising it in various small ways - I wonder if there are actually any discrepancies in the series, where X was the case, but then it becomes Y latter on (beyond Kelmomas simply moving around and looking at the white luck in his room like it was a monster closet. Or where Kellhus dies in the the earthquake, since that was kind of quickly changed. Though the whole broken sword that was to stab Kellhus, that definitely got changed).

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3 hours ago, Callan S. said:

 

I think that once a persons heart turns away from a source of fiction, then it leaves their intellect behind to navigate the whole thing in TV trope terms. But kind of like Kelmomas having two souls that take turns in the driving seat but are unaware of each other, people generally aren't aware when their feelings turn away - they just end up thinking in TV tropes and unaware of why they got left thinking in that way. Some other posters seem perpetually stuck in tropes thought and bitterly so. Then an author has to go and write a book where to not just see it as a flop the audience has to kind of get this distinction? Nail Bakker on that, I think.

Bakker has many, many ties advocated using genre fiction, and its tropes, to 'insert' more complicated concepts in comfortable packages, both to introduce these to readers and make them more impactful. He lambasts academia all the time for being inscrutable to the commons. He also, almost desperately, desires recognition and financial success for his labors, to the point of making ridiculous statements about its impending success multiple times across the publication of TAE.

It feels like deliberate sabotage, on his part. 

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...And on that note, Bakker talked a big game about how TUC was going to reveal so much -- the grotesque metaphor of the g-string being stripped away -- but in the end, most of the revelations came in TGO, and they weren't really all that amazing. Recall how we would need to wait until the end to judge the issue of representation? Nothing on that front. There are many similar examples I could rehash, but won't bother at this point. Bakker wrote a lot of checks that, ultimately, TUC didn't cash. The whole of TAE hinged on an amazing climax/conclusion, something that would make us re-evaluate the series as a whole, like PoN. This is a major problem with this type of series (Rothfuss has a similar issue)--holding the cards so tight to the chest and waxing long about how stunning said cards will be, but then, upon exposure, the hand doesn't make the 600k+ words leading up to it really worth it.

It's unfortunate, as I was a big fan of the series from when I picked it up on the recommendations of this forum back in 2006.  I've re-read the first five multiple times. But at this point I'm content to be satisfied only with the first trilogy, and while I'll read whatever comes next, it won't be with much in the way of anticipation.

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

What we must figure out is if there is some kind of connection between the heart and the butt?

Could it be that in Earwa, the anus is the seat of the soul?

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11 hours ago, kuenjato said:

.It's unfortunate, as I was a big fan of the series from when I picked it up on the recommendations of this forum back in 2006.  I've re-read the first five multiple times. But at this point I'm content to be satisfied only with the first trilogy, and while I'll read whatever comes next, it won't be with much in the way of anticipation.

This is where I'm at too.  Assuming we get any more Second Apocalypse books, I'll still be curious enough to check them out, but I won't have the same glutenous anticipation.  

But in a weird way maybe it's a nice chance for a reset of sorts.  We've heard that Bakker didn't really have much planned beyond this point in the series, but also, for all the talk about what to trust about the text versus authorial commentary outside the text, it doesn't seem like there's any reason to doubt that this was that envisioned ending going all the way back to Bakker's 17 year old vision as you said.  So maybe now he can ponder what a post-Apocalypse story can be.

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Wait the gods weren't blind to Nau Cayuti too, were they?  I thought it was just Kelmomas - it's him being the end times that makes them blind, they can't see their own end.  

So they wouldn't have been blind to Nau-Cayuti, because the Heron spear has always come in and saved the day.  

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22 hours ago, Rhom said:

Could it be that in Earwa, the anus is the seat of the soul?

Open your heart, let Kellhus in...

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23 hours ago, kuenjato said:

Bakker has many, many ties advocated using genre fiction, and its tropes, to 'insert' more complicated concepts in comfortable packages, both to introduce these to readers and make them more impactful. He lambasts academia all the time for being inscrutable to the commons. He also, almost desperately, desires recognition and financial success for his labors, to the point of making ridiculous statements about its impending success multiple times across the publication of TAE.

It feels like deliberate sabotage, on his part. 

I'd just say over extension. And I'd say he's been more institutionalised than desiring recognition - he perhaps ended up writing more for the institutions than for the general audience.

I'm thinking of a couple of Michael Caine movies where he just gets killed at the end almost arbitrarily. One was [spoilers] Get Carter, the other I can't remember the name of but it was set in Africa during a war I think. He just rounds a corner with his friend and is killed by accidental friendly fire as they were miss identified as an enemy. Just fucked up endings. But while that's not got commercial acclaim, there is a point to endings like that which shirk narrative and instead crash. Martin seems to be engaging in it somewhat with GOT. Instead of people following a nice narrative curve, suddenly they are dead. Kellhus can be dead - doesn't mean the clues we've got into the world, with Kelmomas's weird interactions with the gods, are somehow moot.

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12 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

Wait the gods weren't blind to Nau Cayuti too, were they?  I thought it was just Kelmomas - it's him being the end times that makes them blind, they can't see their own end.  

So they wouldn't have been blind to Nau-Cayuti, because the Heron spear has always come in and saved the day.  

No, they were completely blind to the No-God in the First Apocalypse and thought that humanity had gone insane and started slaughtering themselves, so they would have been blind to Nau-Cayuti as well. Otherwise they would have been able to perceive the No-God as well (it's a binary circuit, it's either on or off for the whole circuit).

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Callan S. said:

I'd just say over extension. And I'd say he's been more institutionalised than desiring recognition - he perhaps ended up writing more for the institutions than for the general audience.

I'm thinking of a couple of Michael Caine movies where he just gets killed at the end almost arbitrarily. One was [spoilers] Get Carter, the other I can't remember the name of but it was set in Africa during a war I think. He just rounds a corner with his friend and is killed by accidental friendly fire as they were miss identified as an enemy. Just fucked up endings. But while that's not got commercial acclaim, there is a point to endings like that which shirk narrative and instead crash. Martin seems to be engaging in it somewhat with GOT. Instead of people following a nice narrative curve, suddenly they are dead. Kellhus can be dead - doesn't mean the clues we've got into the world, with Kelmomas's weird interactions with the gods, are somehow moot.

I don't think you understand my critique.

I don't care that Kellhus died out of arrogance and/or blindness. I don't care if the No-God rose. I care that 1) Bakker did it in a way that was not particularly interesting, 2) he did it in a way that made the previous three books feel bloated and overdone, for the simplistic conclusion eventually offered, 3) the writing degraded across the course of the series, 4) philosophical & intellectual thematic potential milked across the first six books was ignored or sidelined for stupid shit, 5) Bakker went from grimdark to edgelord with the Ordeal, without much in the way of purpose -- if Kelly had been conditioning the bulk of TGO's souls in order to claim them & gain power in Hell, or use them to penetrate the tapeworm and reach the God of gods, that would have been something. Instead, he detailed rape/cannibalism of radioactive lepers, complete with licking the puss from the wounds--so dark! So edgy! Just like that one dude everyone avoided in high school, who dressed in black metal t-shirts and scribbled pentagrams on his spiral notebooks and thought blasting music @11 from his headphones made him seem proper badass.* 

To say nothing of the constant ellipsis or use of italics to do.... not sure? Maybe that was Bakker's intent, to write a preposterously overdone finale, harkening to the pulp roots of the genre. Italicizing six words a page to make sure the reader knows this is epic is a good way to secretly code this is all a lark.

 

(* is this a young RSB I describe? I wouldn't be surprised).

Edited by kuenjato

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On 4/21/2018 at 1:34 AM, Rhom said:

Could it be that in Earwa, the anus is the seat of the soul?

Well, some people certainly seem to have their heads in there.

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I don't have kindle editions of all the books so someone else will have to check real quick to see whether 'honey' occurs alongside souls anywhere in the books.  If it does, there might be a hint, what with the 'honey of unwashed anuses'

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6 hours ago, kuenjato said:

I don't think you understand my critique.

I don't care that Kellhus died out of arrogance and/or blindness. I don't care if the No-God rose. I care that 1) Bakker did it in a way that was not particularly interesting,

That's not a critique though, it's just saying you don't like it.

What I'm doing is, while yes, I should validate and accept that you don't like it, I think sometimes further details can change how someone feels. So yeah, I'm cheekily not completely validating or completely accepting! It actually reminds me of a David Mitchell soap box where what comes after affects how one felt before. It was excruciating for him during the sports match, but then when his side won that retrospectively became a great match. Conversely though I grant you could take what he says about his responce to Mulholland drive and say that applies to the PON series ending.

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On 4/21/2018 at 7:46 PM, Triskele said:

But in a weird way maybe it's a nice chance for a reset of sorts.  We've heard that Bakker didn't really have much planned beyond this point in the series, but also, for all the talk about what to trust about the text versus authorial commentary outside the text, it doesn't seem like there's any reason to doubt that this was that envisioned ending going all the way back to Bakker's 17 year old vision as you said.  So maybe now he can ponder what a post-Apocalypse story can be.

I've heard that Bakker was thinking about writing a First Apocalypse or Cuno-Inchoroi Wars standalone at some point. I think something more contained like that would be better than what I think he's planning for the next series (long form Atrocity Tales).

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Callan S. said:

That's not a critique though, it's just saying you don't like it.

What I'm doing is, while yes, I should validate and accept that you don't like it, I think sometimes further details can change how someone feels. So yeah, I'm cheekily not completely validating or completely accepting! It actually reminds me of a David Mitchell soap box where what comes after affects how one felt before. It was excruciating for him during the sports match, but then when his side won that retrospectively became a great match. Conversely though I grant you could take what he says about his responce to Mulholland drive and say that applies to the PON series ending.

Naw, because Mulholland Drive is brilliant throughout and explicitly inspires the discerning consumer to rewatch and analyze the film for previous hints as to the resolution. David Mitchell is completely wrong about that.

PoN's ending made me want to re-read the series over again.

TAE's ending made me not really curious about Earwa anymore.

Again, a lot of this is predicated on: 1) Bakker is a smart guy, and 2) I wanted that smartness to hit us with a real mindfucker, which he stated multiple times was in the works (the controversial "hype" of the reader who claimed to have read all of it 2 years before publication, whilst really reading half the book-- and proclaimed that it gave massive revelations ... that didn't help.)

So some of it is me, and expectations. Which were engorged by Bakker's own statements. Perhaps I would have liked the series much more if I started reading it, say, last year and read all the way through without any of the drama or theorizing from this message board. But even then, the writing is still worse than when he had an editor, and the weird structural problems would have remained.

Edit: I suppose I wanted TUC to be somewhat akin to the last 20 minutes of Mulholland Drive. Whereas TUC ended up being the most obvious ending to a typical grimdark fantasy serial.

Edited by kuenjato

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