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White-Luck Warrior X: X Marks the Slog

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It's just the US publisher that has been troubling.

I believe there have been troubles with the US sales of Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog (Tor/Forge), but not with the Second Apocalypse series (Overlook Press). Overlook wrote in the Winter 2011 catalog:

R. Scott Bakker's previous books with Overlook have sold over 125,000 copies

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That's good news, although it only averages out to 25,000 copies/book. Don't tie-in novels for genres like Warhammer have print runs like that for their paperbacks?

I'm not surprised about Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog. It took forever for the former to find a US publisher, and the latter bombed. As I've said before, I think Bakker should really stop trying to write thrillers, and should try his hand at writing a horror novel. He's got a gift for creating vividly horrifying imagery in his books, and he could probably do the creepy sexualization in many horror stories with gusto.

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I took Neuropath to be a horror novel rather than a thriller. A Stephen Kingish thriller.

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I took Neuropath to be a horror novel rather than a thriller. A Stephen Kingish thriller.

I think Bakker should read Kiernan's latest shorts collection. That's the style he should be aiming for, where the horror is [not] weighed down by lecturing.

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Bakker could easily do horror, based on some of the scenes in his 2nd apocalypse books.

I think a lot of authors would be happy to have warhammer 40K fiction sales. In the UK it is very healthy and rock solid in terms of sales according to one of their editors. I think they said they were selling at Abercrombie levels (although this was back when his third book had just come out but he was still the hottest thing on the block in terms of UK sales back then).

I'm not well versed in 40K but Bakker could probably fit quite well into that dystopian future and pseudo religion!

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I'm not well versed in 40K but Bakker could probably fit quite well into that dystopian future and pseudo religion!

I'm sure he could, but I very much doubt he would want to. Not enough intellectual/philosophical challenge. And there's hardly any sexuality (in the WH I've read anyway), so another theme he can't subvert. ;)

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Boy, this series has been a rollercoaster. From the dark days of TWP where I hated the books so much that I spoiled them for myself so I wouldn't have to worry about reading them to the awesomeness of TJE and now WLW where I could actually stand the characters.

I know that all topics for discussion have been exhausted for a while but I've just finished this book and I have a question that has been bugging me and I didn't see in the previous threads: What the fuck was Achaiman's plan?

Now, I get that Achaiman may not know that every Dunyain is like Kellhus, he may assume that it's something specific to Anasurimbors. But seriously, what the fuck was he going to do? Walk into the birthplace of Kellhus, potentially filled with other versions of him and just ask? Does he think that knowing is a defence? Cnaiur knew. Esmenet knew. Achaiman himself is only protected by the fact that he's a deranged, revenge-driven maniac but if he looked at things he might end up in the same predicament as Sorweel and Esmenet. How exactly does he expect to deal with Dunyain?

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Now, I get that Achaiman may not know that every Dunyain is like Kellhus, he may assume that it's something specific to Anasurimbors. But seriously, what the fuck was he going to do? Walk into the birthplace of Kellhus, potentially filled with other versions of him and just ask? Does he think that knowing is a defence? Cnaiur knew. Esmenet knew. Achaiman himself is only protected by the fact that he's a deranged, revenge-driven maniac but if he looked at things he might end up in the same predicament as Sorweel and Esmenet. How exactly does he expect to deal with Dunyain?

I assume he wants to bring proof to the Three Seas that Kellhus is a liar and a fraud. He's got the gnosis, the Dûnyain do not, so he's definitely not powerless. He's also not quite right in the head, as he willingly sacrifices the Skin Eaters for his dreams of revenge. Not that the Skin Eaters are particularly deserving of life, to be sure.

Which reminds me, does he want Esmi back, or does he only want to hurt Kellhus? I loved that part at the end of TTT when he stares down and renounces Kellhus, and how "nothing passed between them", because Kellhus is devoid of emotion, and Akka is as stone towards him.

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I assume he wants to bring proof to the Three Seas that Kellhus is a liar and a fraud. He's got the gnosis, the Dûnyain do not, so he's definitely not powerless. He's also not quite right in the head, as he willingly sacrifices the Skin Eaters for his dreams of revenge. Not that the Skin Eaters are particularly deserving of life, to be sure.

Which reminds me, does he want Esmi back, or does he only want to hurt Kellhus? I loved that part at the end of TTT when he stares down and renounces Kellhus, and how "nothing passed between them", because Kellhus is devoid of emotion, and Akka is as stone towards him.

The gnosis matters in a fight. But Achaiman of all people should be worried. He knows how Kellhus turned his hate around without ever fighting him. He also knows of their intellect and he does he even know that they don't know about magic? Either way unless he kills them all immediately I don't see him getting out of this okay. He's seen Kellhus twist people's passions against them and he hasn't really changed much.

The more I think about the more fortuitous the ending of the book was. Achaiman would have been turned inside out in minutes.

As for Esmi, I think he knows that he could never truly get her back. She made her choice and that would always hang between them. I think he just wants to figure out Kellhus.

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The gnosis matters in a fight. But Achaiman of all people should be worried. He knows how Kellhus turned his hate around without ever fighting him. He also knows of their intellect and he does he even know that they don't know about magic? Either way unless he kills them all immediately I don't see him getting out of this okay. He's seen Kellhus twist people's passions against them and he hasn't really changed much.

The more I think about the more fortuitous the ending of the book was. Achaiman would have been turned inside out in minutes.

If he's going over there to reason, sure. Then again, now he knows what the Dûnyain are like. He might think he won't fall for that twice. Or he's driven by desperation, seeing exposing the Dûnyain as the only way to get back to Kellhus.

He knows Kellhus hadn't been taught sorcery, and knew next to nothing about it, except that it exists. Worth an extrapolation ;)

As for Esmi, I think he knows that he could never truly get her back. She made her choice and that would always hang between them. I think he just wants to figure out Kellhus.

Yeah, I think you're right. It's revenge he's after. Not another chance.

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I'm sure he could, but I very much doubt he would want to. Not enough intellectual/philosophical challenge. And there's hardly any sexuality (in the WH I've read anyway), so another theme he can't subvert. ;)

That's a shame I dread to think what he could have those space orcs etc doing to those supermarines.

As for Castel's comments: I thought a lot of what was driving Achamian were his dreams of the guy who gave them the gnosis? So he's driven as much by that curiosity as he is by revenge.

I still prescribe strongly to the possibility that Achamian is doing exactly what Kellhus wants. Even if Kellhus isn't controlling him through "love" Akka's hate is just as easy a tool as Kellhus's usual manipulating MO. Plus the second trilogy is a clear homage to LOTR and surely the Ordeal is Bakker's equivalent of distracting Sauron from the ring bearers or in this case Akka and the judging eye?

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That's a shame I dread to think what he could have those space orcs etc doing to those supermarines.

If only...

As for Castel's comments: I thought a lot of what was driving Achamian were his dreams of the guy who gave them the gnosis? So he's driven as much by that curiosity as he is by revenge.

That's Seswtha, but IIRC, the changing dreams have only given Akka a glimpse into something he doesn't really understand yet (or doesn't think about in his pov), aside from the location of Ishual. He's desperate that it might prove worthwile; he doesn't know. The fact that Celmomas gave the secret of Ishual away to Seswatha is what gives him this hope.

I still prescribe strongly to the possibility that Achamian is doing exactly what Kellhus wants. Even if Kellhus isn't controlling him through "love" Akka's hate is just as easy a tool as Kellhus's usual manipulating MO. Plus the second trilogy is a clear homage to LOTR and surely the Ordeal is Bakker's equivalent of distracting Sauron from the ring bearers or in this case Akka and the judging eye?

I'm afraid Akka is indeed Kellhus' tool. I don't have a clear idea how exactly, but it seems to me that Kellhus is still directing events. I don't suppose he's behind Akka's dreams, because that would be too much, but destroying Ishual seems like what Kellhus would do. We know the Consult isn't behind Akka's mission, because they didn't even know about it until WLW.

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As for Castel's comments: I thought a lot of what was driving Achamian were his dreams of the guy who gave them the gnosis? So he's driven as much by that curiosity as he is by revenge.

Indeed. My point is that he doesn't seem to have a plan at all for when he gets to Ishual. He just runs ahead never wondering what he'll do when he gets to Dunyain Central. My one hope is that those dreams help Achamian be unpredictable enough to surprise Kellhus. But then again, Kellhus did talk to Seswatha so we have no idea if he has these dreams either.

But either way he knows that Ishual is the home of a bunch of superhumans that breed and isolate themselves and he never comes up with a plan of attack

I'm afraid Akka is indeed Kellhus' tool. I don't have a clear idea how exactly, but it seems to me that Kellhus is still directing events. I don't suppose he's behind Akka's dreams, because that would be too much, but destroying Ishual seems like what Kellhus would do. We know the Consult isn't behind Akka's mission, because they didn't even know about it until WLW.

Kellhus sent The Captain and his Skin-eaters to hang around the area where Akka was living so that he'd pick them when he was ready to leave. Everything was planned by him. And now he's priming Proyas to disregard Akka's accusations if he should ever return by owning up to them yet pointing out that that doesn't affect his power or goals. The only possible wild card is Mimara, because she claims that Kelmomas is the reason she ran away. It's quite possible that Kellhus sent her but if it is indeed Kelmomas then there's a huge variable that he didn't predict or can't control, so things might get away from him.

On another note: Am I the only one that's sad that Kellhus can read Nonmen? Maybe I'm used to more traditional SFF where age makes a creature stronger but here everyone is a slave to the Dunyain, regardless of their age, race or creed. Younger is somehow much deadlier. I'd have liked for there to be at least one resistant faction.

Plus the second trilogy is a clear homage to LOTR and surely the Ordeal is Bakker's equivalent of distracting Sauron from the ring bearers or in this case Akka and the judging eye?

I don't know where I read this but I thought that the Ordeal was just a way to get all the sorcerers to Inchieland while keeping the Sranc off their back.That's assuming that Kellhus is being sincere here. Some of the recent catastrophes fit too well if Moenghus's plan (unite the kingdoms, lead them in the Ordeal and arrange a string of failures to destroy them while the empire collapses)

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Good points, Castel. I had forgotten about Kellhus talking to Seswatha. It's in TTT, when Kellhus lulls Akka in trance, right? That opens up the entire scenario where Kellhus is the one manipulating Akka's dreams.

Akka is convinced Kellhus sent Mimara, though she believes it was Kelmomas. Hard to be sure, with the information we have.

(All this makes me even more anxious to get my hands on TUC :( )

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I really hope it's Kelmomas. Something good has to come from that little shit. He killed Maithanet (who somehow became sympathetic between PoN and WLW) took away whatever hope I had in Esmenet, and got Inrilatas, who was at least interesting killed.

But yeah, Bakker seems to drip-feed you shit and keep you on the hook (we still have no idea how Mimara did what she did). Unless you have the next installment finished that should be criminal :(

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He knows Kellhus hadn't been taught sorcery, and knew next to nothing about it, except that it exists.
No - he knows that's what Kellhus told him. Now, we know that that happens to be true (and completely stupid), but Akka has no reason to believe that it's a lie or the truth, and really should be suspicious of anything Kellhus ever told him.

And yeah, he has no real plan. Get to Ishual through hundreds of miles of wilderness from a map that may not exist. in order to...what? It's a quest with rationalizations as the reasons for doing it. He walks on conditioned ground, and his hatred for Kellhus blinds him to seeing how obviously stupid his quest is.

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Come to think of it, I think Kellhus told his generals the ultimate point is to get the Schools to Golgotterath. This was better than saying, "I've been experimenting with Sranc consumption in human test subjects, and the results will give me supers soldiers."

However, I do believe that magic+mathematics is the determining factor, and why Kellhus likely needs the Nonmen. This is shown to us via Shae's mathematical brilliance. Kellhus doesn't have time to bring the rest of the Three Seas mages to that level of thinking, he needs some Intact that are capable of understanding the mathematics that formed the force-shield around the Ark.

eta:

On another note: Am I the only one that's sad that Kellhus can read Nonmen?

I think the point of the Nonmen was always in their almost humanity. Their psychology is in the "uncanny valley" of consciousness that is seemingly human but vastly "deformed".

Also, since just about everything in Earwa (and presumably the worlds beyond) hinges on WCBDWCA, it isn't surprising that the Dunyain can read and manipulate everyone.

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Another question: Were Serwa and Moenghus...ahem,involved before they had to go to stay with the Nonmen or did they do it to estrange Sorweel and keep him an enemy?

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However, I do believe that magic+mathematics is the determining factor, and why Kellhus likely needs the Nonmen. This is shown to us via Shae's mathematical brilliance. Kellhus doesn't have time to bring the rest of the Three Seas mages to that level of thinking, he needs some Intact that are capable of understanding the mathematics that formed the force-shield around the Ark.

I think that a lot of people have been pining to learn more of The Consult from very early on in the series and thought they'd see more of them in WLW than we did. I certainly feel that way, but I'm also really interested in seeing what's left of Nonman culture which we've only had glimpses of thus far. Hopefully we'll be getting in from the Serwa/Moe/Sorweel to Ishterebinth side and also whatever dealings Kellhus has w/ them once he presumably takes Dagliash.

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