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PON vs MBOF vs ASOIAF posted 30 Apr 2006, 03:04 by Gregor Lux, Candidate

There are some interesting threads and discussions going on in the MBOF and ASOIAF forums regarding Scott and the PON series. It has been very interesting to follow these and read some insights as to other people's thoughts on the favourite series. There are many who can't stand the PON series. Generally Scott is getting slagged on the MBOF board because his series does not have the complexity or depth of the Malazan series and Kellhus seems to be far too powerful. Hard to believe when you think of Caladan Brood who can level and create mountain ranges with his hammer and the multitude of D&D epic level characters that are common in the Malazan universe. On the ASOIAF boards those who don't like PON are put off mainly because of Scott's portrayal of women. Others think his writing is boring and lacks any characterization. Some believe it is just philosophical drivel. Some are very harsh in their criticism. I have read all three series and have enjoyed them immensely. I sampling of my views are: I like Erikson's Malazan series because it is probably the best D&D type fantasy out there (far better than Salvatore's Dr'izz'zz'z'z''ttt' garbage), it has great battle scenes, and I love the Warrens magic system. I just wish he could finally agree on his world map - I get very confused when I see ice fields and tundra on continents that I think should be near the equator. I like Martin's ASOIAF for the characterizations, the political intrigue, the fact that any character can and will be killed, and the distinct lack of powerful magic (so far) in a very magical world. The magic surrounding the Others and Dany and the dragons works very well. I like Bakker because of the realism of Earwa and the Holy War and the thought put into creating a believable history and background for this world. I like it because Kellhus is a super-being clearly being set up for a stupendous fall (at least, that's what I think will happen in Aspect Emperor when the No-God gets a hold of him). What are others' views? It is very interesting how people can be very passionate about their favourite series and really slag those they don't like. When I read these critiques I wonder if I've read the same books they have and how we could have such opposite reactions. I guess everything is in the eye of the beholder. view post


posted 30 Apr 2006, 05:04 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

ASOIAF and PoN are among my favorite series but I tend to like Pon more because you can relate to it and its realistic. Its stupid that people dont like the way women are portrayed because thats how women were treated and in some cases still are, making the story all the more realistic, and those other reasons are also foolish because PoN is probably among the most interesting, most characterized, and pretty damn complex fantasy series ever written. Kellhus being too powerful is true but how many hundreds of other series do the same thing. And the "philosophical drivel" also makes this series stand out from other series. I can't understand why anyone cant like PoN all three series in my opinion are so different you really vant make a comparison. I like ASOIAF and PoN haven't read the Malazan series and thats probably good as well but theres nothing really bad to say about PoN. Thats my 2 cents. view post


posted 30 Apr 2006, 07:04 by Curethan, Didact

I agree with the fact that each of the series is good for a different reason. It is very pleasing that there is now so much quality and diversity in what has been in the past such a cliche ridden and uninventive genre. People who have a problem with Kellhus as a character are missing the point that he really is more of a plot mechanism than a character. As such his "power-level" is moot. Such is the subtle shading in PoN that you cannot even guess by the end of TTT whether he will be ulltimately victorious, or even if he is the head of the "good guys" (i.e. humanity) or just some prick who will eventually have to be killed by the far more sympathetic Akka of Cnaiur... Those same people probably are confused by the lack of a prophecy in the first chapter that spells everything out and the fact that nobody has a magic sword. view post


posted 30 Apr 2006, 16:04 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

Lol magic sword made me laugh. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 00:05 by Xray the Enforcer, Auditor

We seem to be in the middle of another round of "discuss PoN" at another board I frequent. As far as the "treatment of women" issue goes -- that's rather difficult to dissociate from, say, a reader's own experience. Because while it's relatively rare to come across someone who's experienced the horror of armed conflict, it's quite easy to find a person (male or female) who's the victim of sexual violence. Even if one hasn't been victimized in such a manner, it's very prevalent in almost any female reader's mind. I don't get the vehemence of some readers pro or con a certain series. All of them are worthy in their own right, even if it's not to a reader's taste. I mean, it ain't Goodkind.. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 05:05 by vercint, Peralogue

I like all three series a lot... sure, they're different, but if they were all the same that'd be rather boring. I can understand the criticism of Kellhus being invincible; there seems no way he could possible die because that'd ruin the series. Also, he is just too intelligent for anyone, even his most powerful enemies, to outwit, so the only way he could die would be by his own miscalculation. On the other hand, Kellhus is what makes the series unique, without him it would simply be another Tolkein derivative. Also, he isn't the hero of the series Achamian is, his invincibility is less of a problem.... than, say, Rand in WoT. Eriksons characters are also insanely powerful, but it works out because there are so many of them that no one has enough relative power to dominate others the way Kellhus does. As for amazing intelligence, I'm pretty sure Tehol Beddict could outwit Kellhus. In any case he's a great deal funnier. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 13:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

Like most, I enjoy all three series for different reasons. If I was to order them I would have a tough time deciding between MBOTF and PoN as to which I liked more, and the ASOIAF would come in third. Martin tells a damn good story and the intrigue is awesome. His only major flaw is he can't write a battle worth crap :) Scott and Erickson on the other hand... they do it brilliantly. MBOTF took the sort of D&D based end of the genre and turned it on its head. Yea the setting started out as a campaign using that system, and then GURPS, but it is almost unrecognizable from everything else in that part of the genre now. He used his trainining in archeology to build a real world with real history... alot of history 300,000+ years worth. One of the thematic elements that constantly runs through it is layering, everything exists in layers built one over the other with whomever is the top layer tending to think they did it first :) As for the insanely powerful characters I like how he did it with the notion that power draws power. Being powerful isn't always advantageous, and is frequently more likely to get you killed then being a normal guy. After all if you are big and bad, someong bigger and badder is going to want to come along and stomp you :) PoN I love for the gritty realism, the philsophical underpinnings, and the sheer dark brutality found in it. It really stands out among other fantasy series. I've always hated the tendency of some to label something as being mysoginst for simply being realistic. Scott doesn't advocate the treatment of women seen in his books it's just there because the real world was, and is, alot like that. But then again some people really do have a problem stepping outside of their own little picture of the world full of snuggly pink bunnies to look at things from a different angle :) view post


posted 02 May 2006, 06:05 by Curethan, Didact

Gah! Snuggly pink bunnies! Hand me my +4 chainsword of antipathy. view post


posted 03 May 2006, 01:05 by Xray the Enforcer, Auditor

[quote="Entropic_existence":2rzqy9wp]But then again some people really do have a problem stepping outside of their own little picture of the world full of snuggly pink bunnies to look at things from a different angle :)[/quote:2rzqy9wp] Well, some do. But the readers who object to the portrayal of female characters in PoN in the places I frequent...I know for a fact that some of them are not coming from the fluffy bunny standpoint at all. They're men and women who have been raped or the victims of sexual violence and have some problem dissociating their experience from what they see on the page. I happen to love PoN, but I can understand their reservations about the brutality. It hits a bit too close to home. As for the pollyannas...not so much sympathy. Earwa is a miserable place. view post


posted 03 May 2006, 07:05 by Curethan, Didact

I have an aversion to my local newspaper for the gratuitous way in which assaults and attrocities are reported, describing heinous events in unnecasary detail, and returning to dwell on such incidents on slow news days and Sunday editions. In the context that Steve is writing his fiction, such happenings serve a purpose in exploring the philosophical and psychological themes that his story encompasses. The sympthetic exploration of a character such as Cnaiur would be repulsively difficult for someone who had suffered at the hands of such a character. Returning to the newspaper analogy, PoN contains less graphic accounts of assault and violence (for the most part) but because the reader is often asked to empathise with either the victim or the perpatrator it is more affecting. The ambitiously and perceptively rendered characters in PoN can only exist in a world that reflects our own as closely as Earwa and it is this level of "realistic fantasy" that sets it apart from 99% of other fantasy titles - possibly closer to speculative fiction or contempory lit. Couple others I can think of are Jeff Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen and Steph Swainston's "the Year of our War". Parts of the latter were hard for me to read. PoN is the kind of book that will split people's opinions as to whether you like it or loathe it, but I don't find it offensive - mildly galling and depressingly realistic at times, but not offensive. I can appreciate people disliking the mysoginistic and barbarous behaviour in PoN, but I do not feel that the story neither encourages nor attempts to justify it, quite the opposite. view post


posted 03 May 2006, 17:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

[quote="Xray the Enforcer":1u9rcnb9][quote="Entropic_existence":1u9rcnb9]But then again some people really do have a problem stepping outside of their own little picture of the world full of snuggly pink bunnies to look at things from a different angle :)[/quote:1u9rcnb9] Well, some do. But the readers who object to the portrayal of female characters in PoN in the places I frequent...I know for a fact that some of them are not coming from the fluffy bunny standpoint at all. They're men and women who have been raped or the victims of sexual violence and have some problem dissociating their experience from what they see on the page. I happen to love PoN, but I can understand their reservations about the brutality. It hits a bit too close to home. As for the pollyannas...not so much sympathy. Earwa is a miserable place.[/quote:1u9rcnb9] That's true, and I can understand an aversion because it does hit too close to home. I was speaking more to the people who aren't merely saying "it makes me uncomfortable" or "I don't like it" as opposed to the people who label it as being mysogenistic as if it promotes violence towards women, which no matter your personal experience isn't true and not something people should just casually sling around. view post


posted 04 May 2006, 14:05 by Xray the Enforcer, Auditor

Thanks for the clarification, EE. view post


posted 09 May 2006, 13:05 by Zadok, Candidate

After the mildly disappointing Feast for Crows I would say the PoN series has surpassed ASoIaF, at least for the time being. I too was suprised with the vitrol that some over at the Malazan forum attacked the books. It was like we had read 2 different series. Although the fact that many of them had not read TTT yet probably had something to do with this. Reading the Malazan books has been a weird experience for me, I'm not sure exactly what it is, it may be the fact that each book is more like a self contained novel more then a part of a series, or if Erikson's writing is just unever, but with each of the 4 books I've read so far the result has been the same. I'll slog through the first half of the book, forcing myself to continue, and finally get absolutely hooked as the climax approaches, devouring the last half very quickly. Then I start on the next book and end up putting it down for something else until I have the desire to give it another shot. Even realizing this I still find it tough to get into each novel, even as I find myself in awe of the ending every time. view post


posted 09 May 2006, 16:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

[quote="Zadok":2x8whaod]After the mildly disappointing Feast for Crows I would say the PoN series has surpassed ASoIaF, at least for the time being. I too was suprised with the vitrol that some over at the Malazan forum attacked the books. It was like we had read 2 different series. Although the fact that many of them had not read TTT yet probably had something to do with this. Reading the Malazan books has been a weird experience for me, I'm not sure exactly what it is, it may be the fact that each book is more like a self contained novel more then a part of a series, or if Erikson's writing is just unever, but with each of the 4 books I've read so far the result has been the same. I'll slog through the first half of the book, forcing myself to continue, and finally get absolutely hooked as the climax approaches, devouring the last half very quickly. Then I start on the next book and end up putting it down for something else until I have the desire to give it another shot. Even realizing this I still find it tough to get into each novel, even as I find myself in awe of the ending every time.[/quote:2x8whaod] Ericksons intention was to write each book as a self-contained novel that neverhteless can't truly be read and enjoyed fully outside of the context of the series. Other than Gardens I haven't had that feeling of having to slog through the first half, although the pacing for those always is much much slower. But you're right, boy does it turn around as it builds to the climax. I usually actually get adrenaline rushes reading some of the action-packed scenes near the end. Especially when Kalam goes on a spree somewhere :) I enjoyed Feast for Crows, but I was glad I knew before hand it was in reality only half the story, with Dance for Dragons telling the stories of the other characters. I would have been dissapointed otherwise I think. Martin tells a good story but there always seems to be that little something missing and I think it is the lack of real battles. He knows he can't write them well, so seems to either ignore them or just gloss over them and give the results of what happened through other means. But at least he knows his limitations. If he attempted to write them it would throw off the quality of the overall book too much I think. view post


posted 09 May 2006, 17:05 by Zadok, Candidate

[quote="Entropic_existence":26yqbfis] Ericksons intention was to write each book as a self-contained novel that neverhteless can't truly be read and enjoyed fully outside of the context of the series. Other than Gardens I haven't had that feeling of having to slog through the first half, although the pacing for those always is much much slower. But you're right, boy does it turn around as it builds to the climax. I usually actually get adrenaline rushes reading some of the action-packed scenes near the end. Especially when Kalam goes on a spree somewhere :) I enjoyed Feast for Crows, but I was glad I knew before hand it was in reality only half the story, with Dance for Dragons telling the stories of the other characters. I would have been dissapointed otherwise I think. Martin tells a good story but there always seems to be that little something missing and I think it is the lack of real battles. He knows he can't write them well, so seems to either ignore them or just gloss over them and give the results of what happened through other means. But at least he knows his limitations. If he attempted to write them it would throw off the quality of the overall book too much I think.[/quote:26yqbfis] Slog was probably the wrong word. I think Erikson takes a little longer in developing and fleshing out his characters then I'm used to(not to mention having a huge cast), and that is probably a factor in the slow starts as well. Also, I tend to find myself wondering just what the hell is going on at the start of each book, and once the picture starts to become clear my enjoyment ramps up. It really is an unconventional series in this sense, I hear the D&D criticism alot from people that couldn't make it through GotM, but when you have moments like the Chain of Dogs, and the seige of Capustan and the whole Iktovian arc I don't think it really holds water :D I think the delay between books is starting to take it's toll on both the story and the fans of Martin. I started reading the series about the time SoS came out, and the wait for aFFC was almost unbearable, I can only imagine how the people that got into aGoT when it was first released are feeling. view post


posted 09 May 2006, 20:05 by Brahm_K, Candidate

I love all three series. Erikson is probably my least favourite of the three; two many completely unrealistic uberpowerful characters (the climax in the Bonehunters is a good example of just way too much) and non-deaths for Malazan Book of the Fallen to be my favourite. Bakker is second, and GRRM pulls it away for being my favourite author and writing my favourite book series of all time. view post


posted 09 May 2006, 23:05 by FanManSC, Candidate

I enjoyed ASoIaF at first, and then as the books progressed, every character that you could care about, good or bad, was killed or maimed. In the middle of the third book (I can't remember the name at the moment), I just gave it up. FanManSC view post


posted 10 May 2006, 22:05 by Randal, Auditor

People say that about ASOIAF, but if you stop and count the casualties you'll find that only 3 PoV characters are lost, and one of those is still alive, and another of those is... not quite dead. Quite a few supporting characters die, but most of those aren't very important. Maimings tend to be relatively frequent... but that doesn't result in the removal of the character. On the contrary, it can make them all the more interesting as they struggle to deal with disabilities. If I were to complain about Martin's attitude towards the characters it would be that he doesn't kill them [i:24cha3oh]enough[/i:24cha3oh]. That is to say, all too often the characters appear to be in grave danger or even dead, only for them to turn up alive and well in their next PoV chapter. [quote:24cha3oh]there always seems to be that little something missing and I think it is the lack of real battles. He knows he can't write them well, so seems to either ignore them or just gloss over them and give the results of what happened through other means. But at least he knows his limitations. If he attempted to write them it would throw off the quality of the overall book too much I think.[/quote:24cha3oh] I would disagree with this too. The battle of the Blackwater for me is one of the greatest battlescenes in any fantasy I can name. It certainly moved me more than anything Erikson ever attempted. Nor is it glossed over, being described from three different points of view in a half dozen chapters. But it is true that Martin doesn't focus on battles a great deal, and that Feast lacked them altogether. I would call that immaterial, though. A fantasy book doesn't need battles to be good. Some of my favourite fantasy novels have no battles at all, or gloss them over. (Guy Gavriel Kay, Robin Hobb, to name a few.) I rather think the problem of Feast was lack of plot progression. Sure, tons of stuff happened, but most of it was newly added plotlines. The Faith, Dorne, the Iron Islands, Cercei's prophecy. On a grander schale, the situation at the end of book 4 is more or less the same as at the end of book 3, except in the Iron Islands. Cercei's plot was kinda big too, but it wasn't even resolved in this book. Same for Brienne. ps. I don't visit the Malazan forums, so I don't know what the opinion on Prince of Nothing is there. But on the ASoIaF boards I've seen it done the other way around, with Erikson being denounced as a pre-school writer incapable of forming a coherent sentence, let alone a plot, and Bakker being hailed as the greatest event in fantasy since greek mythology. There are quite a few Erikson fans as well, but on the whole they're outnumbered by people who prefer Bakker. (most of whom, including myself, have a considerably more moderate opinion on Erikson, I hasten to add) view post


posted 11 May 2006, 02:05 by Zadok, Candidate

The most common complaint over at malazan seems to revolve around Kellhus and his power level compared to the rest of the world. I guess specifically that Kellhus wasn't actively battling the Consult for most of the series. I found Malazan fans complaining about a characters power level a little bit ironic but to each his own. The one criticism I heard from a few people that really boggled my mind was that the characters were poorly developed. One guy even made a comment that made me laugh, about how the women were so weak in PoN, and how some of the females in Malazan could "take" the men in PoN :roll: view post


posted 11 May 2006, 05:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

Personally I don't ge tthe power level gripe leveled at Malazan or at PoN, both make sense in the context of the world, the story, and the feeling. To each their own I guess. view post


posted 11 May 2006, 13:05 by Inkdaub, Candidate

Ice and Fire is my favorite fantasy work possibly of all time. Only Tolkien stands above but he stands above them all so I don't really count LotR anymore. The character of Jaime Lannister is one of the best characters with the best character arc I have ever read...he goes from evil incarnate to someone I actually find myself liking. The Imp is also an incredible character. A great work over all. I have only begun reading Prince of Nothing so who can say where it'll be when I am finished. I can say it is one of the best I have ever read so far and I don't see why it wouldn't remain so. The other one you guys are talking about I haven't read and have no opinion of. view post


posted 11 May 2006, 14:05 by Xray the Enforcer, Auditor

[quote="Randal":383zfbxz] I rather think the problem of Feast was lack of plot progression. But on the ASoIaF boards I've seen it done the other way around, with Erikson being denounced as a pre-school writer incapable of forming a coherent sentence, let alone a plot, and Bakker being hailed as the greatest event in fantasy since greek mythology.[/quote:383zfbxz] True, and very true. :D AFFC was by far my least favorite of the ASOIAF series, although in context I found it to be a worthy and enjoyable "end of slaughter" book. Some readers don't want to read about that shit (the picking up the pieces) and would rather fast forward to the vengeance bits. I haven't read Erikson, although I plan to. In any case, the hyperbole on both sides can be amusing. I may have to stop lampooning Goodkind fans and move to more fertile ground... :wink: view post


posted 21 May 2006, 04:05 by stormchaser, Candidate

Interesting discussion. I have just posted a review I wrote of The Bonehunters in the other thread. In it I briefly touch on some of the stuff that's been said over here, but of course I'm much too lazy to restate it all in this thread. Read the review if you want, suffice to say here that I'm a longtime Erickson fan. But one burning question did occur to me, and that is: In a fair fight between Cnaiur and Karsa Orlong, who would win? Whaddaya think? view post


posted 21 May 2006, 05:05 by Curethan, Didact

I think they'd fall in love... view post


posted 21 May 2006, 19:05 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

[quote="Curethan":2qp1uf13]I think they'd fall in love...[/quote:2qp1uf13] My thoughts exactly. view post


posted 22 May 2006, 00:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

I vote for Karsa myself, he seems to have virtually all of Cnaiur's strengths and then some. :) Of course Cnaiur is also certifiably mad which could be an advantage I suppose :) view post


posted 20 Jun 2006, 17:06 by Brys, Candidate

I love all three series, it's very hard to choose - I still lean slightly towards Erikson, but IMO they're all as good as each other. Bakker I feel is the most competent writer and he shows the potential to go on and write many more excellent fantasy novels, while I think Martin is at the peak of his writing career and Erikson is levelling off. Erikson has a world of huge scale and depth and its a massively complex plot, while is often very emotional and his endings are nearly perfect, but due to its scale, the characterisation suffers a little, but of the three, I think he's easily the best at the comedy elements. Martin has brilliant character driven plots, but most of the world is frankly uninteresting and not hugely original and A Feast for Crows was a step down from the amazing A Storm of Swords. Bakker has a completed trilogy though and I think he manages to achieve excellence in all of these areas, but is just shy of brilliance in any of them - but his I would argue is also the most intelligent fantasy. view post


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