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Cu'jara Cinmoi Author of Prince of Nothing | joined 26 January 2004 | 836 posts


A few questions posted 06 April 2004 in Author Q & AA few questions by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I know there was a typo in the first edition (the beginning of chapter 7)regarding the date you mention (as well as about 12 others we've found!). It should be Early Autumn 4111.

What puzzles me, though, is that they didn't correct this for the mass paperback version... I distinctly remember noting it on the proofs for the reprint.

Typos... It's like trying to strangle water. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 06 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Sorry Iceman. Normativity is a technical term - I'm probably giving native speakers headaches too! It refers to the general category of rightness and wrongness that includes both the rightness and wrongness of argument and claims as well as the rightness and wrongness of morality as well.

The reason I'm pressing you on this issue is that you seem to be staking out a roughly 'social constructivist' position, and before I can really give any arguments, I just need to know where you draw the lines. If you were a thoroughgoing social constructivist, then you would have to explain how your own arguments simply don't get swept up into the relativism you describe. If you're not, then you have explain how it is moral value can be a social construct (and therefore relative), when truth value is not.

Believe it or not, most theorists grab the first horn of the dilemma (made famous by Plato) - but then only after doing away with the 'constructivist' side of their position, and opting for what's called 'contextualism.' The idea here is that there is no 'context independent' value (be it moral or otherwise). The rightness or wrongness of acts and claims is simply a function of all the contexts, social, historical, economic, personal, evolutionary, physical, and so on, that inform it. Though I don't subscribe to it myself, in my opinion it's a far superior position to social constructivism - and what I think you're tending toward in your replies to Replay, who's trying to bedevil you (as he should) with non-social contexts!

The two MAJOR weaknesses of the position, however, have to do with accounting for the apparent objectivity of statements like those you made regarding sabre-tooth tigers, and the difficulty of making cross contextual judgements that seem otherwise obvious, like 'No matter what your point of view, the Holocaust was wrong.' It seems pretty clear that Hitler was off his rocker, no matter how many likeminded people he surrounded himself with.

That said, contextualism remains one of the more powerful positions out there.

I would never have guessed you weren't a native speaker, BTW. But then you guys have quite an education system in Norway - or so I'm told. view post


A few questions posted 07 April 2004 in Author Q & AA few questions by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

You know what, you're wrong and you're right. I have to look at things more closely, but I think there's a COLOSSAL screw-up in the time line in the transition between 4110 and 4111. There was a typo in the first version of the book, but that came later. But this. Heaven's to betsy - my first writer's nightmare...

If I was Ford I'd order a recall!

I'm not sure how it precisely happened, but I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that I wrote the thing over such a long period of time and was dealing with material from several different drafts when I cobbled together the final manuscript - that and my big fat sloppy ASS! view post


Visiting the US? posted 07 April 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationVisiting the US? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

My publicist is still busy hashing out my schedule, but the money looks tight, and I doubt I'll make it out of car striking distance of Ontario. Maybe someday, Jack, but for now I'm bound to my trusty, 14 year old VW... I will try to make it out to sign some books, though, Neil. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 07 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

A philosophy section would be a good idea - people expecting a long and fruitful discussion about TWP on this thread are in for a surprise!

Without sounding too presumptuous, let me put my teaching cap on for a moment, if only so that we can pin down our views and see where each of us stands.

The crucial difference at stake here is the question of where rightness/wrongness (normativity) comes from - a question of 'what comes before,' in fact. The big split is between those who think rightness/wrongness follows from human action and those who think rightness/wrongness precedes human action. Do we 'take' things to be right or wrong, or do we 'recognize' them as such. Both of these general positions are widely held and fiercely fought within philosophical circles.

The primary problem with the former is moral relativism: if right or wrong are simply the result of individuals or communities taking certain things 'as' right or wrong, then it becomes (seemingly) impossible to make cross individual or communal moral judgments that are anything other than expressions of bias. In fact, ALL moral judgments start seeming arbitrary and entirely unjustified - expressions of power, in effect. Morality starts looking suspiciously amoral.

Consider the Holocaust. If the most you can say is "Well, I find it repugnant NOW, but it was obviously the right thing to do when you consider the context back THEN," there's a sense in which you're not making any moral judgment at all. There's a powerful sense in which moral relativism doesn't so much explain morality as it explains it away... And how can it be otherwise, if the rightness or wrongness of genocide becomes a matter of timing? This cuts against some deep seated intuitions.

The primary problem with the latter is 'spookiness': if right or wrong are external to individuals or communities, if they are something judgments must be brought into accord with, then just where do they reside? There's many, many possible answers on this side of the question. Some say nature, others say transcendental categories, still others say consequences - and one can't forget divine revelation. After thousands of years of bickering, all philosophers have been able to do is clarify the shape of the disagreements. No one has come even close to providing a knockdown answer one way or another. It starts looking as though we're searching for something - absolute yardsticks of right and wrong - that simply doesn't exist.

Things are in quite a muddle. view post


A few questions posted 08 April 2004 in Author Q & AA few questions by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Thanks Malarion. I'll still be gnashing my teeth to nubs, though. It's like noticing your kid has six fingers the moment before sending it through the kindergarten doors. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 12 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Since we've thrown evolution into the salad, let's pursue it, since it offers some interesting analogies, I think, to what's at stake in our moral debate.

Consider 'sexual pleasure.' We engage in sexual behaviour for its own sake, because it's pleasurable. From an evolutionary perspective, however, sexual pleasure is simply SUBREPTIVE - which is just a fancy way of saying we think we do it because it's pleasurable, when in fact we do it to facilitate the reproduction of our genes.

The same, evolutionary psychologists would say, is true of love. What we call 'love' simply facilitates the long-term pair-bonding required to successfully rear human offspring to the age of reproduction. In other words, love is just a SUBREPTION, an illusion that commits us to behaviours that (in this case) are evolutionarily effective.

And the same, many would argue, goes for morality as well. Morality is simply something that generates the social cohesion necessary to produce the stable communities required to successfuly rear human offspring to reproductive age. Another subreption.

Can this be right? Smacks of nihilism to me... view post


A few questions posted 12 April 2004 in Author Q & AA few questions by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

That would be my cow. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 13 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

From an evolutionary standpoint, morality is an illusion that tricks us to behave in ways that maximize reproductive success. Save this deception, there's no point, no purpose...

The problem isn't that this 'demeans morality,' it's that it renders it MEANINGLESS.

Does your life, or any life for that matter, have any meaning?

And remember, to say something like 'It has the meaning I give it' simply begs the question, which is simply whether there's any such thing to give at all... From an evolutionary standpoint, we've simply fooled ourselves into thinking our lives have value and purpose. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 13 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'm just trying to tease out the implications of affirming an evolutionary account of morals. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 15 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I was trying to wait out Jack for a response - but no such luck! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

I think evolutionary (like social constructivist) accounts of morality simply come to nihilism in the end. And nihilism, I think, is the scourge of our day, something that's gnawing at our culture from the inside.

That said, I absolutely refuse to paper over the problem. This is one demon that must be stared in the eye. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 15 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

The evolutionary side is easy: no matter how much we 'affirm' our moral intuitions, the fact remains they're simply arbitrary, subreptive artifacts of an arbitrary evolutionary history.

The social context side is somewhat more tricky. But in the end, I would argue, it all comes down to games of power and control. Rightness and wrongness become the determination of dominant groups and their memes - nothing more.

For me, the big thing is that once you reflect on either of these approaches, it becomes unclear why morality should have any hold on you. 'That's just evolution screwing with you.' 'That's just what society says.' If statements like this are TRUE, why shouldn't we ALL say them? One could argue that you should act in this or that way to avoid incarceration or psychological dissonance, but it all comes down to self-interest - feeding the animal. Right or wrong collapse into desire (as the emotivists would say is the case).

At issue here is the question of whether self-sacrifice, like dying to save your child (or your country, faith, etc.), has any meaning. I'm not interested in knowing whether I'm acting in accordance with my evolutionary design or my social conditioning; what I want to KNOW (as opposed to merely believe) is whether this act is RIGHT. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 15 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

You bite your bullets, Jack. Hard not to respect that.

"At a basic level i think morality is not really about power or control, but more about a way of living that benifits not only yourself, but others also." This is what I was driving at with the self-sacrifice bit. But as far as non-biological evolution, I'm not sure I know what you're referring to. People often use the word 'evolution' as a synonym for 'progress' - is that what you mean? view post


Journey into the Underworld... posted 19 April 2004 in Author AnnouncementsJourney into the Underworld... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I just thought I should post a little note letting everyone know that I'm about to return to the 'underworld,' that zoned-out, monomaniacal head-place where I do the bulk of my writing. So please forgive me if I take some time responding to questions and what-not...

The Thousandfold Thought awaits. <!-- s:twisted: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_twisted.gif" alt=":twisted:" title="Twisted Evil" /><!-- s:twisted: --> view post


Pronunciation? posted 27 April 2004 in Author Q &amp; APronunciation? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Welcome to the board Atanvarno! Actually, pronunciation questions are the one's I get asked the most, and people are always surprised when I tell them there is no canonical pronunciation as far as I'm concerned (as is the case with most dead languages). I use diacritics to break up some dipthongs and to mark most long u's, but not much otherwise. Hopefully, I'll have the time to go through my notes and outline the phonetics of some of the major language groups. But then I've been saying that for several years now... view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 18 May 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I think how people find their way to fantasy is largely coincidental. I had a grade five teacher who read the Hobbit cover to cover to my class. So the question, I guess, would be one of why fantasy resonates with certain people. I have an article on sffworld.com which I think captures part of the reason: fantasy offers people meaningful worlds. One of the few things that burns my butt is the assumption that fantasy reading is simply a form of juvenile wish-fulfillment - anxious, hairy-palmed geeks living out revenge fantasies in print - a refuge for the weak from a world that rewards the strong. Or as you say, Jack, an affliction. That was certainly how it was perceived back when I was a hairy-palmed geek (as opposed to the sleek, well-groomed technocrat I've become)... And I seem to encounter more refined versions of this view whenever I read literary criticism that attempts to define the relation between SF (which is the forward-looking, society-transforming, 'literature of ideas') and F (which is presumed infantile and backward-looking).

The thing to remember is that superficially this assumption makes a helluva lot of sense, and given our all too human predisposition to flatter ourselves, it's threatening claims like this that we geeks need to consider the most judiciously: Why do we run to alternate worlds unless we can't hack the REAL world?

So if you don't mind, Jack, I'd like to narrow your question,somewhat... I'm very interested to hear what people have to say. Is fantasy a refuge for the weak? view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 19 May 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Sounds like something a bunch of hairy-palmed geeks would say... <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

I've been toying with the idea of putting the following epigraph from Adorno's Minima Moralia in TTT:

"In order not to lose touch with the everyday dreariness in which, as irremediable realists, they are at home, they adapt the meaning they revel in to the meaninglessness they flee. The worthless magic is nothing other than the worthless existence it lights up."

Here, he's speaking of occultism as an aberrant expression of the nihilism internal to our scientific and capitalist society. Occultism becomes a kind of neurotic coping mechanism, something like whistling in the dark...

Could fantasy be the same? This possibility really struck me after I realized how many parallels one finds between epic fantasies like LoTR and the Bible. Before the scientific worldview rendered worlds structured by magic, divinity, and apocalyptic purpose 'fantastic,' we all lived in worlds LIKE Middle-earth or Earwa or Biblical Israel. These were the kind of worlds we humans seemed driven to create - MEANINGFUL worlds.

It's almost as though we have some kind of 'meaning instinct.' The same way we instinctively anthropomorphize or attribute human qualities to our pets, we seem to instinctively anthropomorphize the world: we project things belonging to humans - purposes, morals, emotions - to the world. EVERY traditional worldview prior to the institutional dominance of science is characterized by these projections of the human self onto the worldly other.

Could epic fantasy simply be an expression of this apparently instinctive need to remake things in our own image? If this is the case, then the 'weak route' would be to give in to this instinct altogether, and to assert the out and out truth of some traditionally sanctioned 'fantastic world,' be it Hindu, Taoist, Muslim, or Christian. The 'strong route' would be to deny the instinct altogether, and to embrace the scientific worldview no matter how alienating (and it's VERY alienating). The middle route would be to periodically indulge the instinct, turn it into a pasttime...

Become a fantasy reader? view post


The Big Guns posted 23 May 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsThe Big Guns by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Capsule reviews from the big guns keep trickling in, including some very nice ones from The Guardian and Publishers Weekly. Highlights can be viewed by clicking 'Reviews' at [url:frpq8lv8]http&#58;//www&#46;princeofnothing&#46;com/Frame&#46;htm[/url:frpq8lv8]... view post


More shameless self-promotion... posted 24 May 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsMore shameless self-promotion... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I just found an interview with some joker named Ray Scott Bakker at [url:8wtk7b17]http&#58;//members&#46;lycos&#46;co&#46;uk/falcatatimes/siteindex&#46;html[/url:8wtk7b17]...

Just for the record, the 'R' stands for 'Richard' - or as my fiancee likes to remind me from time to time, 'Dick.' view post


More shameless self-promotion... posted 31 May 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsMore shameless self-promotion... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I wouldn't touch Dune either, Replay! It's the sequels I mentioned.

The workshop I referred to is [url:mdxdgzum]http&#58;//sff&#46;onlinewritingworkshop&#46;com/[/url:mdxdgzum]... view post


Other authors you enjoy posted 05 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; AOther authors you enjoy by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

After finishing PSS, I finally understand what all the hullabaloo about Mieville is... It really is an extraordinary book, though I think it shares many of the same weaknesses as TDTCB.

I started Cryptonomicon some time ago, but somehow it slipped through the cracks of my hectic schedule. I seem to remember thinking it was pretty much mainstream - I'm trying to concentrate on catching up on the 'genre greats' - university put me about a decade behind.

I have Snow Crash on the MUST READ shelf, but I'm trying to catch up on my Erikson (DG was my last). I started MOI, then decided to go back to GOTM. Damn, that man knows his yarn! view post


THE WARRIOR-PROPHET posted 08 June 2004 in Author AnnouncementsTHE WARRIOR-PROPHET by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Just found out that TWP will be shipping to bookstores next week! I do apologize for the delays... view post


Bakka-Phoenix this June 12th posted 08 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationBakka-Phoenix this June 12th by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Just a reminder for those in the Toronto area. I'll be signing books at Bakka-Phoenix (598 Yonge St.) between 3 to 5PM. I'm told they're receiving a special order of TWP from the printer, so you'll be seeing the monster for the first time with me! view post


Bakka-Phoenix this June 12th posted 09 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationBakka-Phoenix this June 12th by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Sorry, Fatherofthree. Penguin dropped their shorts for that first tour, and short of making the GaM bestseller list, I can't see them doing the same anytime soon.

Besides, if I went to Calgary I'd have to find Clark heckle him, then likely get my lights punched out. There's only ONE rule with Tampa Bay - NO PENALITIES! view post


Bakka-Phoenix this June 12th posted 09 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationBakka-Phoenix this June 12th by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Maybe not so bad. When I discussed the possibility with my UK editor at S&amp;S, he gave me a cryptic 'We'll see...' view post


Is the No-God a Nonman? posted 14 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; AIs the No-God a Nonman? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Welcome to the board, Scytale! Regarding the appendices, S&amp;S was afraid the 'Languages of Earwa' appendix might scare away browsers, so unfortunately it didn't make it into the UK version of TDTCB. It will, however, appear in the appendices to TTT.

Regarding the No-God, I think I should let the story fill in that particular piece of information, as the Consult comes to loom large in the books to follow. I've been working on the world for almost twenty years, and I'm afraid its made me as coy as a mormon stripper when it comes to revealing things. view post


THE WARRIOR-PROPHET posted 14 June 2004 in Author AnnouncementsTHE WARRIOR-PROPHET by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

So I just got back from the book launch in Toronto at Bakka Books - thanks to everyone who was able to make it! The place seemed hopping, and my writing hand was cramped into a claw from signing - both good signs. It was actually my first chance to see the book (they had to rush order it from the printers due to (more) delays), and I am smitten. I set it upright on the table in my hotel room and just stared at it - for longer than I care to admit. I've never worked so hard on anything in my entire life.

Those people at Penguin Canada really know how to cook! view post


Radio Sarnia posted 14 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationRadio Sarnia by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

For those who are interested and in the Sarnia Ontario/Port Huron Michigan area, I'm being interviewed live (for a full half hour) on 1070 CHOK by Sue Storr shortly after 11AM, this Wednesday, June 16th.

I'm also doing an interview for the Space Channel this week, but I'm not sure when it'll be aired. view post


Forthcoming publications in translation... posted 14 June 2004 in Author AnnouncementsForthcoming publications in translation... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I thought I'd include this for those curious about translations. I hope to update this list as more of the world falls under Kellhus's thrall. I have no firm dates yet, so the best I can offer is guestimates.

I have either signed or my agent is negotiating deals for

Russia: TDTCB, 2005
Poland: TDTCB, 2005
Germany: TDTCB, TWP, TTT, starting 2005
France: TDTCB, 2005
Spain &amp; Latin America, TDTCB, 2005 view post


Is the No-God a Nonman? posted 14 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; AIs the No-God a Nonman? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Jack: I sketch progressively more and more detail regarding the Consult through both TWP and TTT, particularly through Achamian's Dreams.

Scytale: the 'Languages' appendix is about five or six pages long... Given what I've been told about the shipping rates, I'm not sure it warrants it.

With a couple of exceptions, all of the books will take place within Earwa, though pretty much every damn corner comes into play at some point. It took me over half my life to just do the subcontinent - at that rate we'd all either be dead or retired by time I finished the setting for another part of the planet!

I've stopped working on TTT because of all this PR stuff I've been doing, but things were clipping along at a breakneck pace up to last week. If all goes well, I should have the final draft finished in plenty of time for its scheduled April 2005 release - which is, incidentally, the same time that S&amp;S plans on releasing it in the UK.

Which means I'll have TWO editors breathing down my neck... view post


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