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bovine_buddha Commoner | joined 20 May 2005 | 8 posts


Some issues about chronology... posted 20 May 2005 in Author Q & ASome issues about chronology... by bovine_buddha, Commoner

Hi Scott!

I was rereading The Darkness That Comes Before the other day when I stumbled on an irritating detail regarding the timespan. So, I figured, having visited this excellent forum and recently read the post by Haplo commending you for time spent on your avid fans, thought I might as well give it a go and ask the mastermind himself. So...

The detail that struck me was that When Cnaiür returns to his Utemot encampment in Chapter 8, according to the novel, one whole year has passes since the battle at Kiyuth. Okay, small deal, simple enough, a small typo, it was supposed to be in 4410 not in 4411 as it said. However... This is where the strange businiess starts... So take a deep breath <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> After that brief interlude, the novel goes on talking about the Vulgar Holy War, and its failure, dated late autumn 4411 which according to the novel take place 1.5 years after the Holy War was proclaimed... which means that it is in fact in 4411 this takes place, since it was proclaimed in the spring of 4110.

Which brings us to the paradox: Late Autumn 4411 is the time for the Third March in The Warrior Prophet. This ultimately makes the date for the Vulgar Holy War late Autumn 4110, thus a typo in the chapter. However, Chapter 8 claims a time period of 1.5 years between proclamation and the Vulgar Holy War, so the Holy War must have been proclaimed on 4109 according to Chapter 8! Which means that the either dates in the beginning of the novel where Achamian visits Sumna are in fact supposed to be in 1409, whereupon he spends one year there until he travels to Momemn, or otherwise the one and a half years are supposed to be only half a year.

Wow... If it is unclear (it seems to me <!-- s:oops: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_redface.gif" alt=":oops:" title="Embarassed" /><!-- s:oops: -->), I have attached a word document i wrote when trying to establish these things for myself. Might be simpler to check, better overview.

Well then, while we're at it, can you embroider some more upon the time in the novels? How long is a year for example? Maybe this is mentioned somewhere but... Don't know where! <!-- s:P --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- s:P --> My hunch would be about the same as ours, since Conphas was fielded for 200 days according to Istriya in his Scylvendi campaign, which must have started sometime in Spring (Holy War) and ended as we know in Early Autumn, roughly half a year.

Well well, hope this finds you in good health <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> view post


Some issues about chronology... posted 22 May 2005 in Author Q &amp; ASome issues about chronology... by bovine_buddha, Commoner

Well, I didn't notice it the first time through so.... For now I can just accept that Achamian in his lustful coupling with Esmenet spontaneously discovered the lost art of Aporos and created a time-nullyfing stasis-field around them for a year <!-- s:P --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- s:P --> . I understand what you're trying to say at least (I hope <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->). I guess it's one of those things that always crop up. Such small inconsistensies (okay, a year is a long time, but not when read in a couple of hours) don't ruin the overall plot in any way, so according to me it's entirely forgivable.

Still, are you planning on doing a Revised Edition howver, in the (near) future? I think it's one of those things most authors tend to neglect <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->.

While we're on the topic, how many people have actually proofread your books before release? Apart from your friends and family (which are important as well), how many people "in the business" have actually read it? And, more importantly, how have you responded to their views and criticisms? In a project as large as writing a novel, which to me seems as a huge undertaking, I guess its good to have some objective viewpoints pointing out your glaring oversights (If you had any <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->) Still, have there been any "There's too much explicit violence/sex in this chapter"-opinions? I guess it's a balance between accomodating the know-hows and maintaining your own vision.

About the name, thanks! I like it quite a lot <!-- s:P --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- s:P -->. Thanks for your time! view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 23 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by bovine_buddha, Commoner

About the question whether sorcery is natural or supernatural, where most Fantasy books tend to use the latter, I think it it most important to have in mind the opening quote from PoN Chapter 3:

"If the world is a game whose rules are written by God, and sorcerers are those who cheat and cheat, then who has written the rules of sorcery?"

- Zarathinius, A Defense of the Arcane Arts

As Zarathinius obviously thinks and states (and maybe Bakker), sorcery is not what God used to create the world and is thus not divine, since he believes God also wrote the rules of sorcery (or so I interpret the quote). So while sorcery is certainly not something everyone is capable of, the issue of whether it is natural or supernatural will probably never be fully revealed, since a solution to the question posed in the quote would be philosophical in nature, and thus subjective and highly normative.

Furthermore, Bakker himself has stated that sorcery is hereditary, connected with our genes, which gives further inclination of it being more "natural" than "supernatural". view post


The agenda of the skin spies and the Consult posted 23 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe agenda of the skin spies and the Consult by bovine_buddha, Commoner

I was rereading the Prince of Nothing when some details struck me as quite odd.

First, assume that the Holy War is somehow controlled or influenced by the Consult, since we know they want to remove the Cishaurim from the facé of Ëarwa from The Warrior Prince, or so I remember. The novels are quite unclear on the issue whether it was the Cishaurim or the Consult which assassinated Sasheoka, the former leader of the Scarlet Spires. Some theories pose that Mallahaet/Möeghus orchestrated that event to gather Ëarwa's people in front of Shimeh for some as of yet unknown purpose, also secretly commaning Maithanet to do his bidding, while another likely scenario is that the Consult did the act in order to secure their future help, with Maithanet as their pawn. No matter, this information is obviously overheard by the skin spy following Achamian around in the beginning of Prince of Nothing, later killing Geshrunni. So in an way, the Consult knows of the war between the Scarlet Spires and the Cishaurim. Thus, the question about how Maithianet knows about it can be solved by either theory.

We know that the Consult are aware of these events, and maybe party to them as well. How come then Skeaös reaction when Skauras reveals that the Scarlet Spires have joined the Holy War? This is clearly a moment of genuine surprise on his part, speaking out of terms in front of his Emperor. Since we know Skeaös is a skin spy of the Consult, shouldn't he already know about it? Or at least suspect they had allied, since he knows about the secret war.

There are three solutions which might solve this paradox. 1: Skauras has not yet been replaced by a skin spy. 2: The Consult keeps its skin spies in the dark, on a need-to-know basis (kind of weird) or 3: The allegiance was in fact not arranged by the Consult, which would remove Maithanet's ties to the Consult. Thus Skeaös was only surprised by of the depth of Eleäzaras hatred, commiting their School to a Holy War.

Since the first two reasons seem quite strange, the third one might be possible, setting the Cishaurim as the masterminds behind the whole conflict... Thus making the Consult their unwitting servants, since they avidly try to make the Holy War succesful (Skeaös tryinh to dissuade Xerius's Indenture and so forth).

I don't have details from the Warrior Prince fresh in mind, so maybe I'm overlooking something. But still, any thoughts?

EDIT: Maybe this should have been in The Warrior Prince forum or even the Prince of Nothing forum, but they're not as active... So I posted it here instead. Sue me <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


Some issues about chronology... posted 23 May 2005 in Author Q &amp; ASome issues about chronology... by bovine_buddha, Commoner

Awwww... But I like those disgusting and deranged parts! Makes me feel sick and like retchi.....

On second thought maybe they were best left behind <!-- s:P --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- s:P -->

Jokes aside, I think you're definitely not over the top compared to other authors on that point. Personally, I can't stand how GRRM always refers to the male genitals using the extremely ugly word "cock". I mean, how many people acually think of it like that when taking a piss? Makes me wonder about his sanity <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->

Oopss.. treading strange ground here. Just ignore what I said, and be a happier man for it <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


Some issues about chronology... posted 24 May 2005 in Author Q &amp; ASome issues about chronology... by bovine_buddha, Commoner

Hey, I'm not saying it's anything wrong with it! <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> I actually think this is one of the factors separating more realistic fantasy from the up-in-the-clouds fantasy, though of course not the only one. Graphic sex/violence is certainly not a requirement for good writing! But in Bakker's novel for example it helps a lot when analysing the characters. Its total absence in some books, both in description and the fact that its never mentioned detracts from their credulity. For depicting the psychologically realistic character Achamian one couldn't skip this detail, since it ties into his whole world-view and his obsessions.

However, I maintain my view that GRRM is singular in his obsession over words. Sure, if he's writing about rape, then "cock" might be an adequate word. But when one of the good guys goes to take a piss, using such a word just makes me laugh... Hail Bakker and his varying vocabulary!

BTW, Clive Barker's use of "prick" annoyed me to no end. Not in GRRM's way, but the word itself sounds so... I don't know. Not very beautiful anyway. But that's my personal opinion!

Now, a follow-up question for Scott! You said that tDtCB was scrutinized, what about tWP then? Had you garnered more trust from your publisher about your judgement or was it simply due to lack of time? view post


The agenda of the skin spies and the Consult posted 26 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe agenda of the skin spies and the Consult by bovine_buddha, Commoner

As of now, having just reread Elezeäras account of his mentor's assassination I have decided that the Cishaurim was in fact responsible, and thus Moënghus since he's probably been in Mallahet's guise for a loooong time. Which imples that Moëngus is in fact the mastermind behind everything from Holy War to strange alliances, and the Consult are merely hitching a ride, trying to annihilate the Cishaurim or possess their Psûkhe (though I guess Scott has a lot of aces up his sleeve to surprise us countless times in TTT).

However, regarding sorcerous skin-spies... I agree with everything you say, White Lord, and have been on that track too, but as others have stated, this makes all variables very unstable... And predictions hard to make since... We do know (suspect) however that a Mandate has turned traitor, or the school has been infiltrated, which would be much more simpler if sorcerous skin-spies could in fact be produced.

On to my scepticism however. As Bakker has stated, the ability to do sorcery stems from the body, being one of the few, coupled with an intelligence to unlock it. These genes are sometimes found in humans. What is incertain however is if these genes could be copied by the Tekne. We do not know if skin-spies in fact HAVE genes in the first place. They do not have faces, but some form of mutable and permeable octopus instead. Maybe they are not a variety of humans, and maybe not even based on humans, but simply constructed to look/feel/smell/whatever like one of them. Their closest relative on account of their bodies might be pigs (or dogs, with reference to Sarcellus 'smellings')! And since we further don't know (at least I don't) if Bakker envisions his world built on the same principles as ours, with genes, DNA and so forth, we do not know if it would be possible to transplant genes in the same way as it is (mostly theoretically) possible in our world, since this is Fantasy after all.

Furthermore, the ability to do sorcery also stems from the intelligence/artistry/wisdom of the wielder. What is to say that the intellect of a human is in any way remotely like that of a skin spy? As they have been portrayed, they resemble humans in their ability to think and speak and so forth (see Skaeös philosophical musing when he speaks to Conphas in tDtCB). Yet we cannot know that their souls have the potential to breach the area between the world and the Outside/if they have any affinity with the onta or however you want to put it. Maybe they are actually not able to think in ways to make Ajencis proud. Perhaps they lack intuition, and can like automatons only do what has been hardwired into them, improvisation being something beyond them, and perhaps likewise for sorcery.

So as a final note, even if everything White Lord has said is true, and while I also believe that the Consult could perhaps create skin spies with sorcerous powers, I am not sure it is possible. Our information from Bakker is not enough to put a final verdict here IMHO. And, I believe it would be simpler to seduce a Mandate schoolman than try to kill him (=hard) and then replace him (probably everyone would see the difference in the characters manners anyway, schoolmen being so aloof/strange/tormented/weird). view post


The agenda of the skin spies and the Consult posted 30 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe agenda of the skin spies and the Consult by bovine_buddha, Commoner

Once again I agree with your opinions, White Lord, and your reasoning, but I don't think them absolute <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> I think the best we can do in this case is some kind of guesstimation. However, logically...

The question to be posed is: why are there no schoolmen skin-spies? Obviously, if there had been any Scarlet-Spires-skin-spies, Kellhus would have recognised them (I think he gets a look at some of them throughout the Warrior Prophet if I'm not mistaken), and would have commented on it, since such a revelation would have greatly altered his plans. So at least in the Scarlet Spires there are likely no skin-spies, or otherwise they all pretended to be sick when they departed for the Holy War, which would be strange considering the Consult's involvement and interest with it. So there has to be a reason the Consult hasn't infiltrated this school, of which several come to mind.

1. My already proposed theory. Somehow, the skin-spies are like humans in skin only, and not in their make-up. Perhaps the differences makes it impossible to transplant genes or whatever from humans to skin-spies (Kellhus notes that their physiology is more like that of a shark, lacking bones but possessing cartilage instead). Or perhaps, the Consult has trouble detecting the relevant genes (which would be quite strange considering everything else they have done). In any way, there is some technological obstacle preventing this from happening.

2. The Consult actually fear giving to much power unto their servants. Perhaps granting them sorcery would allow them to rise against their former masters and grasp the power of the Tekne from their Inchoroi masters. I don't fully agree with your reasoning that skin-spies are programmed to blindly follow Consult-orders (I think that the second Sarcellus intent of murdering Kellhus was in fact to cover up his predecessors supposed betrayal, protecting his own hide, though that is just my interpretation)

3. As Bakker himself has noted, TTT will contain more information about the Mark. Perhaps it is that every sorceror possesses an unique mark that is not reproducible. In this way it would be impossible to replace a sorceror since all his peers would immediately see him as a fraud, entirely blowing the Consult's cover. I just though about this theory, and find it quite likely. Gotta go scan the books to find some info about the Mark. <!-- s:P --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- s:P -->

As it stands, we know almost for certain that a person can be replaced immediately by a skin-spy (since Geshrunni was supposed to be replaced instantly after stealing his face for example, and the fact that the man shadowing Achamian changed his face instantly). So once a face is acquired, a skin-spy can change his appearance at least on the spot (further evinced by Sarcellus's replacement skin-spy). Furthermore, the speed with which Sarcellus was replaced shows that the Consult has spare skin-spies lying around (or occupying less important positions). If it would be possible to create sorcery-capable skin-spies, the Consult could just have a bunch of them ready to replace sorcerors unfortunate enough to die a faceless death. And Zap!, the Consult secretly controls the schools of the South. Obviously something prevents them from doing this brilliant move, Which of the one above, or if there is another reason, or if Bakker simply didn't think of this possibility, is unknown to me, so it's everyone's guess for now.

On the power of the Tekne, I think one shouldn't overestimate the Inchoroi. If Bakker's world is similar to our own with magic thrown in, then a starfaring race would obviously be extremely superior to our civilization. If they can genetically create new species, then their power surpasses everything we humans could ever dream about with today's technology. Which of course, the Inchoroi can, rendering this whole reasoning moot. But seriously, I think there are some limits to what the Tekne can in fact do in Bakker's world, as there are limits to what our technology can do in our world. And we don't know the Inchoroi came from the stars, or in which way, or in fact not much at all, or how their "technology" works. So much about the Tekne is pure speculation. Sure, we know they can genetically alter and produce things, but there have to be limits. Bleh. Now I'm just rambling. I think there was supposed to be a point in there somewhere... By the by, sure, the Inchoroi created the No-God using the Tekne, scary creation and all, but in the description of the No-God his Carapace is a nimil Sarcophagus (who is buried within I wonder?) with choric (chorae, Aporos-connected?) inscription, which implies that the renegade Non-Men probably had something to do with that concoction as well.

About Seswatha's Heart, is it ever explained what it really is? Is it his literal heart buried somewhere, or the source of his power conserved by some strange ritual? I remember Seswatha's crucifixion at the hands of Merekeretrig (Cunoroi perhaps?) was briefly described in PoN. I have no idea if this was part of his intonement ceremony or any such or if he was just caught and killed by the enemy, the latter which would have a hard time to explain how the his "Heart" was preserved and the Mandate was formed.

Well, anyway, now I'm off to Spain for a week, so I won't be seeing any reply for a while... But keep em coming!

Vamos ala Playa! (And no, I don't know Spanish so don't complain about my spelling/grammar <!-- s:roll: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_rolleyes.gif" alt=":roll:" title="Rolling Eyes" /><!-- s:roll: --> ) view post


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