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


Your education posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q & AYour education by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'm still in my thirties! Please, call me Scott. I was always one of those punks whom highschool teachers refer to as 'bright underachievers.' Lots of dreams, and not a lick of self-discipline. I actually quit highschool twice, and I somehow managed to transform the first few years of university into an extension of highschool.

Then I met Sharron and everything changed. Suddenly I started pursuing rather than talking about my passions: philosophy and fiction. Believe it or not, I actually pursued the first because I thought it was more practical! <!-- s:shock: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt=":shock:" title="Shocked" /><!-- s:shock: -->

And Larry - you even got the order right! view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

The unreliable narrator enjoys a much longer history than post-modernism, but what makes Wolfe's manner of handling it post-modern is, on the one hand, the fact that Severian is also Chatelaine (I hope I'm getting her name right), and second, the lack of any clear rationale for so many of the things Severian narrates. Mysterious things are done for mysterious reasons, but no overarching rationale is ever provided. As a result you get all these episodic pieces that seem to fit together, but don't. This is a hallmark of po-mo, something I call 'cognitive baiting': the narrative is never 'clinched,' which is to say, it falls somewhere between a traditional story (where most things happen for identifiable reasons) and a travelogue (where things simply happen and are described). The reader continuously tries to cognize Severian's narration as a traditional story (because the markers are there), but is continually flummoxed. This leads to what I call the 'Minister's Black Veil' effect: a formally generated sense of mysterious profundity.

Like I said in the interview, I had a hard time reading this as more than an 'effect' in The Book of the New Sun. I thought it worked much better in The Soldier of the Mist. As for why Wolfe adopted this strategy, it seemed to me he was simply warming the old po-mo saws of decentred selves and originary repetitions.

All this is bound to sound far more critical than it's actually meant. Reading The Book of the New Sun remains one of the top reading experiences of my life. Just the fact that it engaged me at this level says a lot, I think.... view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWomen In the Three Seas by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

OK, lemme try to catch this bloody bee you've put in my bonnet, Tattooed Hand!

First, just so I know I'm getting your concerns right: You worry that in writing a 'hard fantasy,' which is to say, a fantasy that attempts to 'get the history right' (as opposed to 'getting the science right' in hard SF), I may have in fact got the wrong history - namely, a patriarchal history that improperly paints women as victims.

I think I need to be convinced of this victimized by victimization thing... I like to think that the nexus of problems I'm posing with Esmenet and Serwe is pretty subtle (for instance, what does it mean that it's Kellhus who gives the 'language of the conquerors' speech? Or that it's Serwe's innocence that leads to her fantasy world?), but subtlety is no guarantee against incipient misogyny.

So tell me more. <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Thanks for the name! The Knight stareths at me even as I write, but from the bottom of a very big pile...

What did you make of Severian's characterization, Larry? view post


Language posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; ALanguage by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

'Quya'? Goddamn, I hate it when I encounter my favourite names elsewhere! <!-- s:twisted: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_twisted.gif" alt=":twisted:" title="Twisted Evil" /><!-- s:twisted: --> view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 19 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

'Statistical spirituality' - there's no way I'm letting you get away without explaining that, Jack! view post


Ayn Rand posted 19 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

As long as you live your life so that everytime you look in the mirror you can be happy with what you see then your doing it right


But why is that, drosdelnoch? More than a few Nazi's slept like babies, don't you think? The yardstick can't be one's own conscience - especially once you realize how inclined we humans are to dupe ourselves.

But then I suspect that's the whole point of what we call 'individualism.' view post


Language posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; ALanguage by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Well I hope he does! I could use the PR... <!-- s:roll: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_rolleyes.gif" alt=":roll:" title="Rolling Eyes" /><!-- s:roll: --> view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

And that feeling is part of the story. Wolfe just purposely wants us to consider our role in the story, our beliefs in ourselves as textual detectives, just to illustrate how incomplete and misleading we can be toward ourselves.


I've become very suspicious of this (which is the classic metafictional rationale), which is why I read it as cognitive baiting, a formal shortcut to generating the 'buzz' of profundity (the sense of something ineluctable hovering just beyond the fingertips of comprehension). A mechanical device employed for a conventional effect - part of which, you might argue, is giving grad students something to write about! Promiscuous signifiers are good for that...

I'd go with Humbert Humbert any day.

Do you think I'm being too harsh? Wolfe scares me otherwise...

scott/ view post


Language posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; ALanguage by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

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Language posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; ALanguage by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Give it time. Give it time.

PoN is something of a Trojan Horse, I think, bound to be read by people who have little or no patience for what I'm trying to do. As much as the sexuality worries me, the religious stuff worries me more. view post


Language posted 19 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; ALanguage by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Well, I think there's a couple of places where I let the temptation to preach get the better of me in TWP... And there's the actual biblical passages I work into the text here and there. And then there's the reworking of the Sermon on the Mount (or part of it, anyway).

The thing is I really have no problem with religion itself. I think certainty is the disease, and that most religion, like nationalism and dogmatism of almost every stripe, is simply a symptom. view post


Language posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; ALanguage by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Mongolian was totally my inspiration in laying out the original script - for longer than I can remember. David used 12th Century illuminated Persian manuscripts as his decorative model, and he does decorative Celtic manuscripts for a living.

You hunches are pretty much all on the money, Azimuth! view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWomen In the Three Seas by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I think I understand your worry, now: though you have to admit, no matter how nuanced I make the portrait, the fact of the matter will always be more complicated. And also, I'm constrained by my original narrative (which I drafted long before I had the conceptual tools I needed to tackle these themes), which in large measure determines what will be shown. Either way, though, I share your concern.

But I also have a couple of concerns of my own! For instance, you eschew relativism, then go on to describe what's essentially a historicist position - which is to say, you embrace relativism! I'm guessing this inconsistency dissappears on a more full-blooded account of your position... So I guess my question would be (and this, I imagine, would be among the BIG questions in feminist historiography), what prevents your historicism from collapsing into relativism?

Also, I would be very interested to hear your take on the 'warrior princess' archetype in fantasy.

You have a kickass thesis project by the way! I personally see fantasy as part of the same long historical process that led to the parsing of history from myth. view post


How were you introduced to fantasy? posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AHow were you introduced to fantasy? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

After TDTCB, I took some time out to write a little near future psychothriller entitled Neuropath (which I have high hopes for), thinking that I was burned out on fantasy. It was only when I returned to TWP that I realized just how much I love writing fantasy. My guess is that I'll be writing it for the rest of my life, taking time out here and there for side-projects.

I'm a bonified crackpot: at any given time, I have about a dozen pots on my four burner stove. <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> view post


Fight! Fight! Fight! posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AFight! Fight! Fight! by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

If you ever get a chance to find it and read it, you'll see instantly, I think, how much it inspired the particular brand of 'historical narrative' I use in the books. For whatever reason, Lamb stamped my imagination, to the point where he's become the yardstick I use to judge other writer's battle scenes. There's more than a few people who seem to have difficulty with it though.

Other than that, the most important book, hands down, would be a little gem called Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army by Donald Engels.

Grognard. Definitely grognard. view post


Fight! Fight! Fight! posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AFight! Fight! Fight! by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

And that's the thing that struck me - that mere belief could be capable of generating such extremes, not only of cruelty and self-sacrifice, but of endurance as well. This is why I chose the First Crusade as my model: the Holy War's story would be scarce believeable otherwise! view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 21 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWomen In the Three Seas by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Am I pulling this out of thin air?


The air is always hot and sultry in the Three Seas - never thin. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

Moral relativism, as I take it, is the thesis that the validity of moral determinations is always relative to the norms and practices of a certain group at a certain time. With something like feminist historigraphy, where you would expect a strong evaluative component - where the past is judged - the question would be one of what warrants those feminist evaluations over the evaluations of those judged. The historicist position you take seems to suggest that nothing warrants those evaluations, since they're just the contingent product of another contingent historical position.

Doesn't your position need to be 'better' somehow, for your claims that others had it 'worse' to be anything more than chauvinism? And if your position is 'better,' doesn't that imply some notion of progress (with or without a telos)? view post


Fight! Fight! Fight! posted 21 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AFight! Fight! Fight! by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

No, though it sounds interesting. Is it on the web anywhere? view post


STRANGE DAYS posted 21 July 2004 in Author AnnouncementsSTRANGE DAYS by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I was just asked to be the Canadian Guest of Honour at something called Con-version 2006 in Calgary. <!-- s:shock: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt=":shock:" title="Shocked" /><!-- s:shock: -->

Holy moly. view post


Ayn Rand posted 22 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I dont agree with the way in which it was done just pointing out that the people were cleverly manipulated into following an ideology.


I guess I'm not sure how your response would differ from the response of a Nazi at the time. Isn't it always the other guy who's manipulated? And if that's the case, doesn't that mean we should be 'skeptical of ourselves' rather than 'true'?

Our 'common sense,' after all, is the product of how we were socialized, so if this process of socialization is, as I'm suggesting, problematic in the extreme, then our 'gut instincts' simply can't be trusted.

Let me put it to you another way: If every society in history has developed a belief system that reinforces and rationalizes the hierarchies within it, why should we think our society is the lone exception?

Tell me if you agree with the following:

Our society is the systematic sum of our collective actions. As a system, it requires the continued repetition of those actions. (This is what a job is: a place where you continuously repeat actions that facilitate the systematic whole.) Since desire and belief are the bases of all our actions, our society requires a specific belief and desire set from it's members in order to persist in its present form (recall Bush telling Americans to shop after 9/11).

Individualism, with all its talk about being true to oneself, is a major component of that desire and belief set. view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 22 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Has anyone read this interview with Gene Wolfe yet?

[url:18mmzy3o]http&#58;//mysite&#46;verizon&#46;net/~vze2tmhh/gwjbj3&#46;html[/url:18mmzy3o]

It certainly has me scratching my head... view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 23 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Yeah, that's where I found it.

Ah, the good old ad hominem attack.

If life is about making the right decisions, and school is supposed to prepare you for life, then why o' why is no one taught anything about the rules of reasoning in school?

Afterall, it's only the art of sound decision-making (!!).

Makes you think, doesn't it? view post


Your thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun posted 23 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AYour thoughts on Postmodernism in The Book of the New Sun by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

You task me, Replay! You task me! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> view post


Things I will not accept in an argument posted 24 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThings I will not accept in an argument by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I could go on and on, but here's my biggies.

Lack of charity: people who respond to caricatures of your argument, rather than your argument. The good old strawman fallacy.

Self-congratulation: people who mistake agreement for intelligence. Since everyone tends to agree with themselves, it automatically makes them the most intelligent person in the room.

Dogmatism: free and open debate is impossible unless both parties acknowledge they could be the one in the wrong. Anyone who makes their conclusions the immovable point of their arguments has ceased to reason and has started to rationalize. More importantly, they've closed down all hope of learning or expanding their views. view post


What do you listen to? posted 26 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWhat do you listen to? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'll listen to pretty much anything, so long as it has some kind of spark, but my tastes run to the heavier end of the spectrum. My fav band of all time is Sabbath. The Melvins come in a close second (at the moment). Some of my other favs include CoC, Monster Magnet, and Tool - which I listen to obsessively whenever I write philosophy.

BTW, 'Orion' has gotta be one of my top ten instrumental favs. MoP rules! view post


Well Scott, you wanted some discussion of your Interviews ;) posted 26 July 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsWell Scott, you wanted some discussion of your Interviews ;) by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Should be interesting! view post


What do you listen to? posted 26 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWhat do you listen to? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I don't just listen... <!-- s:shock: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt=":shock:" title="Shocked" /><!-- s:shock: --> view post


Statistical Sprirtuality posted 27 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionStatistical Sprirtuality by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Very interesting, Jack!

If I understand you right, what you're suggesting is an alternative understanding of the 'miraculous.' Everything that happens is miraculous in the 'what are the chances' sense. Heavy stuff!

But you seem to imply there's some kind of consolation to be had in this. What might that be specifically? view post


Karma? posted 27 July 2004 in Author Q &amp; AKarma? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

You assume too much, Replay! <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

No, there was no intentional parallel to Buddhism and the Dunyain, though I think I can see how you might suspect one, Furax: both are concerned with the 'appetitive soul.' But where Buddhism (as I understand it) seeks to master or extinguish the appetitive soul to end suffering, the Dunyain seek to master or extinguish the appetitive soul to better master the origins of their thought - to become a 'self-moving soul,' one free of the myriad darknesses that come before. The Logos, or Reason, is their principle instrument. Unlike the Buddhists, the Dunyain draw no line between what must be mastered and what must be accepted. For the Dunyain, anything that impacts the origins of our thoughts, be it animal lust, historical caprice, or the words of another, must be mastered.

This actually makes the Dunyain the antithesis of creeds such as Buddhism or Stoicism, I think. view post


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