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Bakker LIV - Soul Sphincter

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Man you are really hung up on the we don't like the ending cause it wasn't happy thing. I got some bad news for you about some of Stephen King's books. Or you know, all the dark fantasy of the last 20 years or so.

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37 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Man you are really hung up on the we don't like the ending cause it wasn't happy thing. I got some bad news for you about some of Stephen King's books. Or you know, all the dark fantasy of the last 20 years or so.

I'm not going to respond to him anymore, because he's either incredibly obtuse or just trolling. That last comment was amusing for how it wallowed in what he was condemning/accusing.

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43 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

I just remember the guy farts when he's stressed.

Yeah, I don't remember that book very much either, but I do recall the humor was really bad. Or at least not to my taste.

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I'm honestly a little confused on why you guys are so insistent that Callan must be arguing in bad faith.  I was disappointed in TUC like you were, but I can see how it works for someone.  Is there something specific I'm missing in Callan's argument that give's up the game or something beyond just differing tastes? 

kuenjato - On a totally different note, I'm interested in hearing more of your complaints about The Great Ordeal.  I loved that book...thought it had some of the best shit Bakker had ever done, so TUC to me was even more painful because I thought that TGO was so good.  

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I don't think he's arguing in bad faith, hell I think it's kind of the opposite. Dude practically worships Bakker as a God. Like any other religious fanatic though he's going to do some amazing mental gymnastics to avoid anything critical of his savoir.

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19 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

I don't think he's arguing in bad faith, hell I think it's kind of the opposite. Dude practically worships Bakker as a God. Like any other religious fanatic though he's going to do some amazing mental gymnastics to avoid anything critical of his savoir.

OK, that clarifies a bit.  

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11 hours ago, Triskele said:

I'm honestly a little confused on why you guys are so insistent that Callan must be arguing in bad faith.  I was disappointed in TUC like you were, but I can see how it works for someone.  Is there something specific I'm missing in Callan's argument that give's up the game or something beyond just differing tastes? 

kuenjato - On a totally different note, I'm interested in hearing more of your complaints about The Great Ordeal.  I loved that book...thought it had some of the best shit Bakker had ever done, so TUC to me was even more painful because I thought that TGO was so good.  

I actually like TGO for the most part. However, some of the issues in TUC do creep up in it. I'd have to review my copy, which is currently in storage at the moment. I will say that, having completed the third novel, I was excited for the fourth. I also see TGO as the first half of a larger novel, so it and TUC are intrinsically connected. And that was really my criticism -- if you cut the bullshit out of TUC (solid 50%) and TGO (maybe 20%) and ditched the glossary (which wasn't that great, outside maybe half a dozen entries, and could simply be substituted with online atrocity tales), you'd have a third book that would have concluded the trilogy and actually been a pretty powerful read.

Off the top of my head, the small issues with TGO:

--increasingly obvious that this wasn't edited or even much in the way of copy-edited. A lot of weird mistakes.

--Bakker has a thin line where his battles tip from comprehensible to poorly depicted. I was not impressed with Dagliash, for the most part. It sets the scene rather well but dissolves into a mush for most of the actual battle sections. I really liked the Saubron section, but the nuke seems like a huge author fail, when considered with the Dunsalt's ultimate plan.

--Ishterebinth is cool, and one of the stronger sections of the novel, but the writing gets a tad ornate in places.

--The Great Ordeal has one of the most intricate, thought-provoking sections of the entire series, where the Survivor is forced to contemplate how the Dunyain have ultimately failed. This was confusing and really exciting, as I was hoping we'd get a lot more of that (why else would I be reading Bakker? Not for the cannibal rape). Problem was, Bakker spent his load on the third book, and TUC had nothing of that intellectual intensity or challenge. 

If Bakker was really going balls out with TUC's ending -- and he might as well have, his career is basically in the toliet, as he's lamented many times -- he might was well have killed Achaiman, Esmentnet, Mimira and all others. THAT would have been ballsy. Instead, it's a cheap grimdark ending where our heroes manage to squeeze through, tune in next week! Pathetic.

If Callan was just like, "Hey, I like where Bakker went with it, and here's why," I could dig that. Which is why I asked him for his opinion in the previous thread, and he did kind of go there--kind of, because most of his "like" was that it supposedly upended narrative conventions, which is supposedly a rare feat in this day and age (!). However, he seems to have this desire to make it a personal defect of the critical readers as to why we didn't care for it, which is beyond stupid. Very, very few serials maintain quality across their length. This is almost a given. Worse, his criticisms have almost devolved to the point of intentional satire -- "consistency is a trope." Seriously? Even in an objective, page by page analysis, it's easy to determine how TUC was inferior to the previous novels in terms of prose alone ... and while there is good prose in TUC -- there's also Tons of Turgid turds and some really strange choices. The need via rampant italics to emphasize all sorts of stuff that doesn't need emphasizing displays how insecure Bakker is in his writing and storytelling at this point. Sad!

Edited by kuenjato

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On 4/30/2018 at 10:12 AM, .H. said:

NotSureIfSerious.jpg

If someone seconds this, I'll change it.

I was serious, Seconded.

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15 hours ago, Triskele said:

I'm honestly a little confused on why you guys are so insistent that Callan must be arguing in bad faith.  I was disappointed in TUC like you were, but I can see how it works for someone.  Is there something specific I'm missing in Callan's argument that give's up the game or something beyond just differing tastes? 

kuenjato - On a totally different note, I'm interested in hearing more of your complaints about The Great Ordeal.  I loved that book...thought it had some of the best shit Bakker had ever done, so TUC to me was even more painful because I thought that TGO was so good.  

Yeah, I don't think he's arguing in bad faith, it's just frustrating to spend eight months describing what i didn't like about a book and then have someone keep telling me "that's not why you didn't like it, you didn't like it because it didn't have a happy ending.".  

I mean, why not just say that good writing is a trope, so Bakkers being transgressive by having a shittier last couple installments.  

Also, as I've noted previously, this is one of my favorite series and I think it's some of the best stuff out there.  But that doesn't mean I don't have criticism, particularly when the first 5 books and parts of the final two were so promising.  

EAMD.  

 

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38 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Also, as I've noted previously, this is one of my favorite series and I think it's some of the best stuff out there.  But that doesn't mean I don't have criticism, particularly when the first 5 books and parts of the final two were so promising. 

I have been less high on the series than a lot of people in these threads.  I thought PON was excellent, but really every volume since then was worse than the one before.  Things like sloppy editing, poor characterization, inexplicable pacing, etc have been getting worse since TJE.  And to have TUC tie things together in such a half-assed fashion was really disappointing. 

Looking back, huge swaths of the 4 book series were almost irrelevant.  We followed Achamian and Mimara for four books, through Cil-Aujas to Ishual, and they finally rejoin with the great ordeal and do...nothing much?  We have interminable chapters about the gradual collapse of the Empire without Kellhus in TJE, WLW and TGO, but in the end did it make any difference?  Did Esmenet make even one important decision or action in the entire quadrilogy? 

You're welcome to say that "it's about the journey, not the destination", and that's fine to some extent.  I certainly enjoyed pieces of the storyline in both Momemn and on Achamian/Mimara's journey.  But subdividing a fantasy series into three/four parts and then having two of those parts be only tangentially important is just ridiculous.  I'm sorry, but that's bad planning, bad writing and bad editing. 

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3 hours ago, Maithanet said:

I have been less high on the series than a lot of people in these threads.  I thought PON was excellent, but really every volume since then was worse than the one before.  Things like sloppy editing, poor characterization, inexplicable pacing, etc have been getting worse since TJE.  And to have TUC tie things together in such a half-assed fashion was really disappointing. 

Looking back, huge swaths of the 4 book series were almost irrelevant.  We followed Achamian and Mimara for four books, through Cil-Aujas to Ishual, and they finally rejoin with the great ordeal and do...nothing much?  We have interminable chapters about the gradual collapse of the Empire without Kellhus in TJE, WLW and TGO, but in the end did it make any difference?  Did Esmenet make even one important decision or action in the entire quadrilogy? 

You're welcome to say that "it's about the journey, not the destination", and that's fine to some extent.  I certainly enjoyed pieces of the storyline in both Momemn and on Achamian/Mimara's journey.  But subdividing a fantasy series into three/four parts and then having two of those parts be only tangentially important is just ridiculous.  I'm sorry, but that's bad planning, bad writing and bad editing. 

Worse, TAE is specifically designed so that the 'journey' will have pay-off with the final book -- it's one long narrative split up into four volumes. The destination, in this case, is key to the entire enterprise, and deliberately structured and written to that effect. Contrast that with PoN, where each book, while cohesively related, are all designed with a beginning, middle, and end. The success or failure of TAE was based on the revelations that would occur in TUC; thus the slow dribbles of important information, the lack of Kellhus POV until TGO (and then only sparsely integrated, to maintain the mystery), etc. Curiosity as to how Kellhus, as genius and prophet, would address the knowledge learned at the end of the previous trilogy was the underlying tension that flowed through the entire series. And that tension is deflated when the revelations prove less than satisfactory, or actively work against some of the big moments in previous volumes. (ex: the nuke at Dagliash, which is spectacular in itself but is contrary to the Dunsalt's plan, and so appears head-scratchingly stupid in retrospect). 

This is an issue with several authors, who hinge their series on core secrets. Rothfuss is an example, which may explain the lengthy delay on a supposedly completed novel. If you're going to go that route, it's important to make sure that consistency remains strong throughout--otherwise, the weakness of the latter books mars the entire serial.

Edited by kuenjato

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4 hours ago, Maithanet said:

Looking back, huge swaths of the 4 book series were almost irrelevant.  We followed Achamian and Mimara for four books, through Cil-Aujas to Ishual, and they finally rejoin with the great ordeal and do...nothing much?  We have interminable chapters about the gradual collapse of the Empire without Kellhus in TJE, WLW and TGO, but in the end did it make any difference?  Did Esmenet make even one important decision or action in the entire quadrilogy? 

Well, apparently that was a feature not a bug. It's not Bakker's fault that you expected all those things to have payoff. Make your own meaning instead of blaming the author. :dunno:

Quote

You're welcome to say that "it's about the journey, not the destination"

Actually, it wasn't about the journey, it was about the destination, or the fact that there was no destination. That's the point that Bakker is making. He's teaching us a lesson here. Don't ask me what the lesson is because I'm the first to admit that I'm not smart enough to get it.

Here are some comments by Bakker in response to various questions that address this, (this is from the TSA thread, I couldn't find his AMA with a quick search)

Interpretative indeterminacy, or what I call 'Crash Space' in my philosophical work, is what this series is ALL about, so if you were expecting a traditional discharging of narrative mysteries, you were bound to be disappointed: the idea is to cue our meaning-making instincts in the absence of any definitive interpretation. Right. Wrong. Hero. Villain. Hope. Fear. Love. Hate. Life. Afterlife. Heaven. Hell. Violence. Healing. Golgotterath is the point where all these things collapse into uncertainty.

So for me, there were only a handful of basic things I had hoped would be clear enough to frame the intelligibility of what comes after. Frustration on the part of a good number of readers--we all have varying tolerances for uncertainty--is something I take as a sign of achieving my narrative and thematic goals. I would have been bummed if some hadn't reacted negatively. Blame the books, or (as seems to be the dominant reflex) blame me, the fact remains you have just had an up close and personal experience with your own tolerances. You have felt Golgotterath more viscerally than most!

I'm not sure I get the question, even if it were the case that the battle lacked downstream consequences. To the extent that war is generally pointless, all war stories are mountains of futility with peaks of 'closure' here and there. I can't tell a realistic story without including dead ends. 

I'm sure those on the short end, dismayed by the indeterminacy, would be inclined to smell a postmodern rat, a way for an author to immunize him or herself from making any sort of 'errors.' But what can I do aside from shrug, reaffirm that I did work tremendously hard on this final book, and reassert that frustrating our meaning-making reflexes was paramount among my goals? Those things I am asked that belong to the signal I hoped would transmit will get a direct answer, as in the case of the hologram for instance. If that minimal signal doesn't come through for certain readers, then I failed those readers. But I thought, and still think, the exercise was well-worth risking such failures. If it proves that these individual failures aggregate into the commercial failure of the series of the whole, then so much the worse for me. But I will still insist that those who do feel betrayed by the ending actually 'get' the book in a way more profound than they know. 

Edited by Hello World

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21 minutes ago, Hello World said:

I'm sure those on the short end, dismayed by the indeterminacy, would be inclined to smell a postmodern rat, a way for an author to immunize him or herself from making any sort of 'errors.' But what can I do aside from shrug, reaffirm that I did work tremendously hard on this final book, and reassert that frustrating our meaning-making reflexes was paramount among my goals? Those things I am asked that belong to the signal I hoped would transmit will get a direct answer, as in the case of the hologram for instance. If that minimal signal doesn't come through for certain readers, then I failed those readers. But I thought, and still think, the exercise was well-worth risking such failures. If it proves that these individual failures aggregate into the commercial failure of the series of the whole, then so much the worse for me. But I will still insist that those who do feel betrayed by the ending actually 'get' the book in a way more profound than they know. 

Oh my fucking god, I laughed so hard. Wooooo... !

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25 minutes ago, JEORDHl said:

Oh my fucking god, I laughed so hard. Wooooo... !

 

51 minutes ago, Hello World said:

Well, apparently that was a feature not a bug. It's not Bakker's fault that you expected all those things to have payoff. Make your own meaning instead of blaming the author. :dunno:

Actually, it wasn't about the journey, it was about the destination, or the fact that there was no destination. That's the point that Bakker is making. He's teaching us a lesson here. Don't ask me what the lesson is because I'm the first to admit that I'm not smart enough to get it.

Here are some comments by Bakker in response to various questions that address this, (this is from the TSA thread, I couldn't find his AMA with a quick search)

Interpretative indeterminacy, or what I call 'Crash Space' in my philosophical work, is what this series is ALL about, so if you were expecting a traditional discharging of narrative mysteries, you were bound to be disappointed: the idea is to cue our meaning-making instincts in the absence of any definitive interpretation. Right. Wrong. Hero. Villain. Hope. Fear. Love. Hate. Life. Afterlife. Heaven. Hell. Violence. Healing. Golgotterath is the point where all these things collapse into uncertainty.

So for me, there were only a handful of basic things I had hoped would be clear enough to frame the intelligibility of what comes after. Frustration on the part of a good number of readers--we all have varying tolerances for uncertainty--is something I take as a sign of achieving my narrative and thematic goals. I would have been bummed if some hadn't reacted negatively. Blame the books, or (as seems to be the dominant reflex) blame me, the fact remains you have just had an up close and personal experience with your own tolerances. You have felt Golgotterath more viscerally than most!

I'm not sure I get the question, even if it were the case that the battle lacked downstream consequences. To the extent that war is generally pointless, all war stories are mountains of futility with peaks of 'closure' here and there. I can't tell a realistic story without including dead ends. 

I'm sure those on the short end, dismayed by the indeterminacy, would be inclined to smell a postmodern rat, a way for an author to immunize him or herself from making any sort of 'errors.' But what can I do aside from shrug, reaffirm that I did work tremendously hard on this final book, and reassert that frustrating our meaning-making reflexes was paramount among my goals? Those things I am asked that belong to the signal I hoped would transmit will get a direct answer, as in the case of the hologram for instance. If that minimal signal doesn't come through for certain readers, then I failed those readers. But I thought, and still think, the exercise was well-worth risking such failures. If it proves that these individual failures aggregate into the commercial failure of the series of the whole, then so much the worse for me. But I will still insist that those who do feel betrayed by the ending actually 'get' the book in a way more profound than they know. 

LOL Bakker you troll. And LOL at Callan regurgitating this bullshit.

"I worked really hard to produce a disappointment, and I know it sucks because I couldn't pull myself away from my stoner revision of Tolkien conceived circa 17, but I'll just place it on reader expectations because it makes my Mordor seem philosophically edgy. iNvErSe, bitch."

Edited by kuenjato

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3 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah the troll theory is looking more and more likely.

Surprised he didn't have the word 'sheeple' in there.  It sounded like it was on the tip of his tongue

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"I'm a take a dump on stage and if you don't think it's art yer dumb, ya dummy" is how I read that.

Edited by larrytheimp
Bakker's HBO Special: How to Polish a Turd, or The Great Ordeal

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29 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Surprised he didn't have the word 'sheeple' in there.  It sounded like it was on the tip of his tongue

Or Lemmings...

 

Seriously everytime I start to think "Hey maybe we're too harsh" Bakker opens his mouth and words come out.

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