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Bakker LIV - Soul Sphincter

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Posted (edited)

***Contains spoilers from THE UNHOLY CONSULT****

__-----_

This is the perpetual thread devoted to the works of R. Scott Bakker, primarily the books in The Second Apocalypse series, the first novel is The Darkness that Comes Before, the seventh novel was published on July 4, 2017 and is The Unholy Consult.  It is currently available for purchase.

This thread is for the series through The Unholy Consult and contains spoilers through that novel.

The series is called The Second Apocalypse and is currently comprised of two sub-series, a trilogy and a quartet. Potentially, there will be a third series, although the author has stated that the quartet completes his original vision for the story. 

The first trilogy of books is subtitled The Prince of Nothing these three books are:

  1. The Darkness that Comes Before
  2. The Warrior Prophet
  3. The Thousandfold Thought

The second quartet of books is subtitled The Aspect Emperor, these four books are:

  1. The Judging Eye
  2. The White-Luck Warrior
  3. The Great Ordeal
  4. The Unholy Consult 

There is a third set of books presumably planned subtitled The No God.

The Unholy Consult also includes an expanded Appendix/Encyclopedic Glossary. The original Glossary exists currently only at the end of the third book, The Thousandfold Thought. 

Additionally, Bakker has published three short stories, The False Sun and The Four Revelations of Cinial'jin on Bakker's Blog Three Pound Brain(and now also as appendices in The Unholy Consult) and The Knife of Many Hands, which is available for purchase. There is also another short story, The Carathayan, available for purchase in this anthology (along with a introduction by Bakker)This thread contains spoilers for these publications. The False Sun is the most discussed work of these three shorts.

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.

Of potential interest, Bakker did stop by the board shortly after the release of The Great Ordeal and did answer several questions.  That discussion can be found here.

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.

Thanks to Happy Ent for the intro to the thread.

Edited by .H.
New Thread Name.

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(Bad thread title, as always, open to better suggestions.)

Carry on.

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Posted (edited)

Soul Sphincter was supposed to be the title. Anyway, how many threads have we had since TUC? They all seem to end up the same. Sometimes I wonder if the debate is about the real world version of Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs.

Edited by Gronzag

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Darth Richard II said:

I object to the layers of revelation phrase still being included.

I propose the following change:
"Originally, Bakker's books were considered multifacited and layered -- reading them akin to slowly cutting an onion and determining the glistening layers beneath. After the conclusion to the second series, many readers find the series more like an apple -- eat to the core/conclusion, and you are left with a bitter aftertaste. Bakker has proposed it is simply the interpretation of our taste buds that the apple's core is not as tasty as the apple's meat."

Edited by kuenjato

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14 minutes ago, kuenjato said:

I propose the following change:
"Originally, Bakker's books were considered multifacited and layered -- reading them akin to slowly cutting an onion and determining the glistening layers beneath. After the conclusion to the second series, many readers find the series more like an apple -- eat to the core/conclusion, and you are left with a bitter aftertaste. Bakker has proposed it is simply the interpretation of our taste buds that the apple's core is not as tasty as the apple's meat."

I dunno.  After reading the series pretty sure we'd be getting metaphor grounded in cannibalism rather than comparative botany.

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5 hours ago, Gronzag said:

Soul Sphincter was supposed to be the title

NotSureIfSerious.jpg

If someone seconds this, I'll change it.

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1 hour ago, larrytheimp said:

This has gone on for like three threads now.  He's just not hearing it. 

I mean if the book was just the sentence "and then the no-god showed up again and everyone died" I'm convinced we'd be having the exact same coversation.

Only if it were preceded by two-hundred nearly empty pages, with the word "rape" perfectly centered in the middle of each otherwise blank page. And every time you turn a page the font gets larger and larger, until each letter fills a page. And then it abruptly stops with the words "And then the No-God showed up again and everyone died." on the final page.

I mean, give the guy a little credit...

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Beyond just online disinhibition effect, not hearing what point? You've got the impression there's more to your 'I didn't like it' than just 'I didn't like it'. Page after page of 'I didn't like it' perfectly centered in the middle, getting bigger with each page, then at the end 'And then the no god just turned up and everyone died!'. The critique mirrors its own charge. What's at the center of your critique - just an apple core? "But you don't get my point, mannnn!" - pshh, makes you sound like Bakker himself to say that.

 

 

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

Beyond just online disinhibition effect, not hearing what point? You've got the impression there's more to your 'I didn't like it' than just 'I didn't like it'. Page after page of 'I didn't like it' perfectly centered in the middle, getting bigger with each page, then at the end 'And then the no god just turned up and everyone died!'. The critique mirrors its own charge. What's at the center of your critique - just an apple core? "But you don't get my point, mannnn!" - pshh, makes you sound like Bakker himself to say that.

 

 

So you're arguing that any criticism is reduced to whether or not you liked it and nothing else matters?  Why bother discussing it at all?  Why not just give it an Amazon star rating and save yourself the trouble?

You seem to think that Kellhus dying or not succeeding is what people don't like, or the ending being an unjust world, because you keep saying it.  And multiple posters have told you that isn't the case, that those are not the things they found lacking.  I'm not sure where we go from here.

But feel free to write another 400 words on why I feel TGO and TUC are inferior to the rest of the series.  

 

Edited by larrytheimp

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6 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

So you're arguing that any criticism is reduced to whether or not you liked it and nothing else matters?  Why bother discussing it at all?

Because you guys can't seem to let it go as 'Well, you like that music but I don't'. Even if you were to say 'Well, it was a bait and switch - it seemed to be one type of music, but then it ending on another type that I don't like!' that'd be fair. But people seem to treat it as if it was wrong - not like someone liking dub step when you hate it, but the book was wrong and that can't be just let go as different tastes in music can. I mean the end of LOTRs is Frodo decides to keep the ring, but Golum tries to grab it but stumbles and falls in lava. Apart from it being a kind of success, it's not really an amazeballs ending. TUC has a similarly non amazeballs ending. Except Frodo falls in the lava.
 

6 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

And multiple posters have told you that isn't the case, that those are not the this is things they found lacking.

The last examination came down to a claim of inconsistency. I was holding off simply saying I can't see the difference between that and expectations of tropes being met. Consistency is just a trope. If it sucks to hear that, okay, but if it is the fact of the matter then live with the suck.

It felt wrong to folk, then some reference to a technical reason is made up why it's not just feeling wrong but IS wrong. Just as much as depicting rape in a story is not technically wrong to do when taken from a broader perspective, there was nothing wrong about that ending in technical terms as much as there was nothing wrong with the ending of LOTR in technical terms. You're not being sure where to go from here isn't a quality of me, it's a quality of yourself - you're running out of technical complaints to make (up).

The thing is I have no issue with someone being emotionally upset about the books. Hell, I have been and still are (and that, to a certain extent, I think, is the mark of actual literature as opposed to popcorn). But this whole urge to find a technical explanation, like it didn't do this or that thing that's oh so higher than tropes, it's just a lot of bullshit to hear. A lot of bullshit! Particularly by those who treat those who listen as showing some kind of weakness. It just seems a lot of mansplaining, avoiding emotional talk like I wouldn't want to say I was really sad watching the English patient. Oh, she died in a cave alone - this, uh, yes, it's technical faults in the movie, sure sure! Or how I picked at Coco after the movie, how photos didn't always exist rather than actually express my sadness from some of its elements. I know how to bullshit so I recognize it when I see it.

Or whatever, let's all fortify ourselves from emotion and build little walls of technical complaints that really just dismantle down to the basic fact it was upsetting. We're all hip and cool and aloof and disaffectedly cool and other fantasies we drape about ourselves in forum or in real life. That or we're animals and our intellects are 95% subservient to our animal emotions - if we hate something, no matter how irrational the hate, intellect tries to make up something to sling at the the hated thing. It doesn't matter if it's a music you don't like but someone else does, hate is hate. And sure, hate, but spend the 5% you have free from that on something else because it's just boring otherwise. Just flowcharts.

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That reddit AMA really did screw up our discussions. It all feels like we're crossing the same paths on the wide and infinite Steppe of Bakker Debate.  

20 hours ago, .H. said:

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.

Was Disciple of the Dog any good? I was engrossed in Neuropath, but I wouldn't say it was good as a novel per se. Rather, it convinced me of a point I've made several times, that Bakker really needs to write a goddamn horror novel already (he's good at writing horrifying descriptions and scenes). 

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4 minutes ago, Fall Bass said:

That reddit AMA really did screw up our discussions. It all feels like we're crossing the same paths on the wide and infinite Steppe of Bakker Debate.  

Was Disciple of the Dog any good? I was engrossed in Neuropath, but I wouldn't say it was good as a novel per se. Rather, it convinced me of a point I've made several times, that Bakker really needs to write a goddamn horror novel already (he's good at writing horrifying descriptions and scenes). 

It had its moments but kinda sucked.  So I guess that means I secretly loved it and any criticism I have is a bullshit after the fact rationalization. 

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So many books, TV shows and movies will just play on the idea the main character is under threat and play on it and play on it over and over and...it's just one continual fucking bluff. It was nice, just nice just for once, for it to not be a fucking bluff and he died. To not play into the hands of manipulator authors bullshitting me that the main character can die when he wont because they have a mortgage to pay. And I know how many readers actually want authors to do that manipulation, because it creates a just world. But I don't and it was nice to actually have a book for me - but it's not just me.

Are there any readers who thought Kellhus winning or surviving would make Earwa a "just world"? You keep ignoring the reasons people mention as to why they didn't like the book and saying "no, it's because you wanted a happy ending" and then you bring up points as to why that isn't good. You're arguing with yourself at this point.

7 hours ago, Callan S. said:

I mean the end of LOTRs is Frodo decides to keep the ring, but Golum tries to grab it but stumbles and falls in lava. Apart from it being a kind of success, it's not really an amazeballs ending. TUC has a similarly non amazeballs ending. Except Frodo falls in the lava.

I guess you have a hard time accepting that a lot of readers found this idea silly. I mean, maybe thirty years ago writing a fantasy with an inverted LotR ending would have been an amazing and mind blowing idea but today it certainly isn't.

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3 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

Was Disciple of the Dog any good? I was engrossed in Neuropath, but I wouldn't say it was good as a novel per se. Rather, it convinced me of a point I've made several times, that Bakker really needs to write a goddamn horror novel already (he's good at writing horrifying descriptions and scenes). 

As long as he doesn't use it as a vehicle to info dump his philosophy like he did in Neuropath it might work.

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3 hours ago, Hello World said:

As long as he doesn't use it as a vehicle to info dump his philosophy like he did in Neuropath it might work.

Unfortunately, he did. Disciple is actually kinda worse in that way, as Neuropath at least attempted to integrate the philosophy into the story, whereas Disciple is mostly the lead character ranting about it directly to the reader in first person. 

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7 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

Was Disciple of the Dog any good? I was engrossed in Neuropath, but I wouldn't say it was good as a novel per se. Rather, it convinced me of a point I've made several times, that Bakker really needs to write a goddamn horror novel already (he's good at writing horrifying descriptions and scenes).

I'm old and don't remember all that well, but it didn't seem better or much worse than Neuropath, but considering that I barely recall most of it, I'd guess it was actually a little worse.  Depending on what you are after, it might be worth reading, but I don't think it should be a priority or anything...

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