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stormchaser Candidate | joined 14 March 2006 | 19 posts


Spoilerful question about the trilogy's end posted 15 March 2006 in Author Q & ASpoilerful question about the trilogy's end by stormchaser, Candidate

I have just finished reading TTT, in fact I put the book down less than an hour ago as I write this. While I liked the series as a whole, I must admit to being another reader who initially had a rather negative reaction to the ending. In fact my first reaction on completing TTT was basically a loud mental "WTF???" The ending left me feeling cheated and puzzled. My admiration for what came before (if you will permit me to use a familiar phrase) led me here to this forum in search of some answers. Trust me, I read a lot of fantasy and this is not something I ever do, so it's clear the book had a very strong effect on me. Browsing this forum for the fist time has answered a few of my questions and blunted some of my criticisms, but not all.

Basically, the ending only makes sense to me if the author was planning on writing more about these events, and indeed I have just discovered that he is. But the question is, was he so planning when the ending was written? If so, it does explain a lot of the loose ends, but it seems like a poor way to end a trilogy that one has spent literally decades creating. It’s as if Tolkien had shown us the crowning of king Elessar, but not the destruction of the ring. It just doesn’t feel complete. And knowing as I now do that there may be another book in the works, I can’t help feeling like things were deliberately left out so that they could be filled in later.

So that is my question for Scott: did you write the ending as it exists with the full knowledge that you were going to return to the world of TPON in a later book? If not, I salute you for writing a marvelously incomplete semi-masterpiece (heh, can you sense my ambivalence about this?). And if so, would you agree that the ending would have been different - would have HAD to be different - if no further work on the series was being considered? view post


Spoilerful question about the trilogy's end posted 16 March 2006 in Author Q & ASpoilerful question about the trilogy's end by stormchaser, Candidate

First of all, let me say that it is absolutely mind-boggling that I can finish reading a major fantasy book, then immediately go to my computer and pose a question to the author, who is a complete stranger, and actually receive a reply within a day!! That is cool beyond words. Thank you very much for the replies, which indeed do explain everything, mostly along lines that had already occurred to me as being probable. So I guess my only real complaint now is with the publisher, who didn't make it clear that TTT was not intended to be read as the culmination of a life's work. I will surely read the rest of the books in the series.

Still, I will admit to feeling a certain perverse disappointment that PON was not intended to stand alone. The idea of a dense, intricate, highly literate fantasy, written and developed over the course of many years, that after the grand denouement still leaves huge pieces of the big picture solely to the imagination, and does so quite intentionally... Well, the concept has a certain charm, don't you think?

OK, maybe not. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> Still, for a moment there, I really thought... Never mind. Anyway, thanx again for the fast reply, it is greatly appreciated. This seems like a pretty lively online community, maybe I'll stick around for a while and check it out. view post


Why are Kellhus and Moenghus of the Few? posted 16 March 2006 in Author Q &amp; AWhy are Kellhus and Moenghus of the Few? by stormchaser, Candidate

I too wondered about the seeming coincidence that Kellhus and his father were both of the Few, and the answer I came up with was not so much that they were both Dunyain, but rather that they are both Anasurimbors. Their distant royal ancestor Celmomas II was clearly capable of prophecy, and thus was likely one of the Few. It follows that if some of the Dunyain are now capable of sorcery, then the genetic source of that ability likely lies with the Anasurimbor line. Remember that the Dunyain themselves don't even believe in the existence of sorcery, and also that the Dunyain/Anasurimbor connection came about purely by chance (or so it would appear). It seems to me that Dunyain conditioning is certainly responsible for Kelluss' uncanny ability to quickly master the Gnosis, but may actually have very little to do with his being one of the Few. view post


Why are Kellhus and Moenghus of the Few? posted 16 March 2006 in Author Q &amp; AWhy are Kellhus and Moenghus of the Few? by stormchaser, Candidate

Quote: &quot;Entropic_existence&quot;:myq2z9uc
Quote: &quot;stormchaser&quot;:myq2z9uc
I too wondered about the seeming coincidence that Kellhus and his father were both of the Few, and the answer I came up with was not so much that they were both Dunyain, but rather that they are both Anasurimbors. Their distant royal ancestor Celmomas II was clearly capable of prophecy, and thus was likely one of the Few. It follows that if some of the Dunyain are now capable of sorcery, then the genetic source of that ability likely lies with the Anasurimbor line. Remember that the Dunyain themselves don't even believe in the existence of sorcery, and also that the Dunyain/Anasurimbor connection came about purely by chance (or so it would appear). It seems to me that Dunyain conditioning is certainly responsible for Kelluss' uncanny ability to quickly master the Gnosis, but may actually have very little to do with his being one of the Few.[/quote:myq2z9uc]

Well Scott's answer above sort of contradicts that. It seems like there is a genetic component that can be bred for, the same way intellect can. The Dunyain breeding programme which breeds for specific cognitive abilities also would select for the ability to work Sorcery at the same time. I have a feeling a rather large portion of the Dunyain would have the ability to learn Sorcery, if the opportunity presented itself and they were convinved that it existed and all of that.[/quote:myq2z9uc]

Maybe, and certainly Scott has the last word. It's just that so much of what we're shown of the Dunyain and their techniques involves ways of understanding and mastering the natural world exactly as it is, as opposed to sorcery which involves remaking reality in ways that completely transcend natural law. I don't see a whole lot of correspondence between the two disciplines. The idea that the Dunyain have been breeding for sorcery without even knowing it seems just a tad too pat, given the complete worldliness and absolute practicality of the Dunyain world view.

Then there is the question of the soul. The Dunyain goal is to create a truly self-willed soul, freed from the limitations of what comes before. If the use of sorcery really imperils the average sorcerer's soul, then what happens to an enlightened self-willed Dunyain Absolute Soul? Who knows, the Dunyain might reject sorcery on purely metaphysical grounds. There are some glib explanations given in TTT about the bruising of the soul or lack of it in the various kinds of sorcery, and it is said that with the coming of Kellhus sorcery need no longer automatically damn the practitioner. The thing is, I don't know if I still believe those explanations. After all, at the time I read them I was clearly under the influence of a Dunyain. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


Fan art for the PoN posted 17 March 2006 in Author Q &amp; AFan art for the PoN by stormchaser, Candidate

I'm working on a sketch of the No-God, tornadoes being my area of expertise, but I'm finding it hard to capture the aura of evil, the &quot;dread presence&quot; described in the book. Just depicting a sarcophagus in a tornado isn't enough. I'm not sure that any true pictorial representation of Mog-Pharau will be possible, but if I'm ever satisfied with my drawing I'll post the result.

Of course I love the idea of a tornadic vortex of evil. I've wondered why Scott settled on the image of a tornado (and a tornado is what the whirlwind that surrounds the No-God is, despite the fact that the word itself never appears in the book). But maybe it's not so big a mystery. One time I showed a friend some video of the May 3, '99 Moore OK tornado as it crosses the highway, and my friend actually said, &quot;It looks like some kind of demon!&quot; view post


Why are Kellhus and Moenghus of the Few? posted 18 March 2006 in Author Q &amp; AWhy are Kellhus and Moenghus of the Few? by stormchaser, Candidate

There is the possiblity that the Dunyain know extactly what they are doing, and only tell their members that there is no sorcery to keep them from becoming too powerful...


An intriguing possibility, H. I tend to doubt the Pragmas would tell falsehoods to their charges on a regular basis, but who knows? Well OK, Scott probably does, but I suspect he ain't telling.

It does bring up a rather interesting question, though. Can a Dunyain tell another Dunyain an outright lie without being detected? I don't recall this as being something directly addressed in the book. I remember that Kellhus has to go to great lengths to keep his true thoughts and intentions hidden from his father when they finally meet face to face. I suspect flat-out lying is extremely difficult, maybe even impossible between Dunyain of Kellhus and Moenghus' stature. In their case deceit is probably best accomplished through subtler means: misdirection, sins of omission, any tactic that doesn't quite rise to the level of lying but is capable of producing the same result. view post


Fan art for the PoN posted 20 March 2006 in Author Q &amp; AFan art for the PoN by stormchaser, Candidate

Wow, I commend you for your bravery! Depicting Mog-Pharau would be the last thing I would ever do. I remember trying to draw Sauron before the LoTR movies ever came out, not the easiest thing to do. But good luck none the less


Actually the choice of Mog-Pharau was easy, given the fact that: a) I'm not really good with human faces, and b) I'd already played around with sketches of tornadoes and tornadic storms.

With LoTR (the book, this was way before the movie) my first try at artwork was an attempt to draw an Ent, mainly because after reading the trilogy several times I still didn't have a clear picture in my mind of what an Ent would look like. The results weren't pretty. In the end I concluded that it's extremely difficult to draw Ents that aren't &quot;funny looking&quot; in a negative way. The movie did a better job on Treebeard and Co. than I expected.

Superkeer, that was pretty damn funny! <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> I'm tempted to try and Photoshop into existence that image of McEnroe with the glowing eyes and mouth... view post


just finished the thousandfold thought posted 20 March 2006 in The Thousandfold Thoughtjust finished the thousandfold thought by stormchaser, Candidate

For the record, it's easy to obtain books available only in Europe, just use Amazon.uk. After I read &quot;Gardens of the Moon&quot; for the first time and was completely blown away by it, I was absolutely astounded to discover that Erikson, an author I was unfamiliar with, had already had five complete Malazan books published in the UK - in paperback no less! I ordered them all, and I'm happy to say that every book in the Malazan series is as good or better than GoTM. Easily worth the shipping costs. I'm waiting right now for a relative to get back from England with a copy of &quot;The Bonehunters&quot; for me.

The publishing industry is totally screwed up in the USA. There are just so many really deserving books that either don't get published here at all, or are only published much later - sometimes many years later - than in the UK. view post


Drugs posted 20 March 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionDrugs by stormchaser, Candidate

Do certain drugs enhance creativity? I've done plenty in my time, and I'm still not sure of the answer. What amazes me is how so many really good artists were/are alcoholics. If I had to pick a drug that affected creativity in a negative way, it would be alcohol. And yet, so many truly amazing works of art of all kinds were done under the influence of heavy drinking. It's almost like the creative part of the mind refuses to be suppressed. A true artist WILL produce art, regardless of the drugs that get ingested. On the other hand, those without much talent are probably not going to produce masterpieces just because they do drugs. In short, I think drugs are for the most part irrelevant to the creative process. If there is a connection at all between drugs and creativity, it's just that creative people seem to be more likely to use drugs in the first place. As for why that is, I couldn't tell you.

Personally I find my desire to use drugs has dwindled as I've gotten older. The only drugs I'm still attracted to are the opiate drugs, which unfortunately are among the most physically addictive. Better not to have done anything at all. I don't recommend the use of drugs to anybody. view post


How did you get your username? posted 21 March 2006 in Off-Topic DiscussionHow did you get your username? by stormchaser, Candidate

After reading some of these replies, I kinda wish now that I had taken the time to come up with something a bit more clever. As it is, it's more or less obvious... My main hobby is chasing storms. Given that Mog-Pharau manifests as a tornado-like column of whirling wind, accompanied by dark storm clouds, well, the name Stormchaser seemed especially appropriate and I looked no further. view post


Mythago Wood (Robert Holdstock) posted 22 March 2006 in Literature DiscussionMythago Wood (Robert Holdstock) by stormchaser, Candidate

&quot;Mythago Wood&quot; is one of my very favorite fantasies, by all means read it if you haven't yet. I agree that Holdstock's other work does not rise to quite the same level, but if you like &quot;Mythago&quot; you should at least check out &quot;Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn&quot;. This book chronicles the adventures of the brother of the hero in &quot;Mythago Wood&quot;, but what's interesting is that this character was actually the villain in &quot;Mythago&quot;, whereas in &quot;Gate&quot;, which takes place before the events in &quot;Mythago&quot;, he's the hero. Holdstock has written several other books set in the same haunted locale, but the two I mention are by far the best in the series. view post


Cnaiur posted 30 March 2006 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnaiur by stormchaser, Candidate

I tend to agree with those who feel we haven't seen the last of Cnaiur, for the reasons given. IIRC, throughout the trilogy there are hints and occasional outright statements (don't ask me to find them, though) to the effect that Cnaiur is &quot;special&quot; and &quot;important&quot; and &quot;not what he seems,&quot; etc. To fall back on what has become a cliched and much maligned analogy, Cnaiur is PON's Gollum figure, and as such he has a part to play right up until the end. Yes, I can definitely see him in the role of a Consult general. I can also see him defecting back to the forces of &quot;good&quot;, such as they are. In practical terms, he's just too good a character to throw away. We'll just have to wait and see if he makes it into TAE. view post


Bad, bad book. BAAAD. posted 31 March 2006 in Off-Topic DiscussionBad, bad book. BAAAD. by stormchaser, Candidate

Hmm, recent very bad books... I'm afraid I have to go along with WoT, no question. The first 4 or 5 books were actually quite good, but after that... Disaster. As new characters were introduced, the plot slowly fractured into multiple boringly detailed plotlines, focusing on miscellaneous non-events that did absolutely nothing to advance the big picture... Eventually I just wanted to throw the damn thing across the room. The series just ground to a halt around book number, well actually I don't remember the number or even the name, but I stuck it out until the book before the new one that's available now that's apparently the one before the very last one. I think. Whatever, you couldn't pay me to read the rest. I cringe when I think of how I used to recommend this series to others. What a waste of potential talent.

Let's see, what else... Although not on the awful level of WoT, I was very disappointed in Glen Cook's latest book &quot;The Tyranny of Night&quot;. I'm a longtime Cook fan, I especially like the Black Company books, and I've always considered the Dread Empire series a real guilty pleasure, but this new one, the first in a new series, just didn't do it for me. A definite letdown in all respects.

I can't really think of any others... For the most part I'm pretty careful to only read books that I know I'll probably like, either cause they're by favorite authors or because they're recommended highly by a reviewer I trust. Which is why the Cook was such a disappointment - there's nothing worse than a favorite author letting you down.

Oh yeah, there was one more truly bad recent read: C.S. Lewis' &quot;That Hideous Strength.&quot; I'd read &quot;Perelandra&quot; and &quot;Out of the Silent Planet&quot; when I was young, and I liked them both, so when I recently saw the final book in the trilogy at a used bookstore, I snagged it. Bad move, as it turns out. This is a truly awful book, almost painful to read. It's plodding and moralistic and pseudo-religious, and there's absolutely nothing likable in it at all, not any of the main characters and certainly not the plot. The playful inventiveness I remember from my youth is totally absent. Yes, this one is almost as bad as Jordan at his worst. Avoid it at all costs. view post


Sex posted 01 April 2006 in Off-Topic DiscussionSex by stormchaser, Candidate

Sounds like a bad daytime TV talk show episode: women who really like to read about violence, and the male authors who pander to their twisted desires... <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

But hey, if violence is what does it for ya, more power to ya!

I'm male, btw. view post


Any Wolfe fans? posted 01 April 2006 in Literature DiscussionAny Wolfe fans? by stormchaser, Candidate

Oh yeah, Wolfe's New Sun books are practically the standard by which I measure all other new fantasy and SF. I love that kind of richly detailed strangeness, brimming with bizarre wonders... I don't know about difficult, but yeah, I suppose it's not to everyone's taste. It's definitely a style of writing that's hard to pull off successfully. Jack Vance is about the only other author I can think of who can do it as effortlessly as Wolfe. view post


The No-God posted 04 April 2006 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe No-God by stormchaser, Candidate

I'm not sure if the Consult would be too concerned with no new humans being born anyway, they've probably made themselves pretty much immortal anyway, and as long as they ciorcumvent damnation they are fine.


And yet, at one point doesn't the Synthese Old Name say to a skin spy, with obvious yearning that is almost sexual in intensity: &quot;Imagine a world where no womb quickens&quot;, or something very like that (I'm quoting from memory). This would seem to imply that the Consult does indeed care about humans being born - or not, as the case may be. The idea that human births might come to an end seems to positively excite them. I'd say they care.

As for damnation, exactly what does that mean in this context? To my knowledge there isn't much discussion of the afterlife at all in the book, and I don't recall a mention of any specific Hell that the damned must go to. In the absence of Hell, why is damnation such a big deal, especially if you're immortal anyway and may never face it? Does it seem reasonable to you that the issue of potential damnation alone has provided the motivation for all the evil of the Consult, up to and including the summoning/creation of the No-God? I think the damnation thing may only be an excuse - in reality these are people who have been thoroughly corrupted over the years by the Inchoroi and their works, so that by the time of the book at the dawn of the Second Apocalypse they probably just plain enjoy evil for evil's sake. If they can avoid damnation, all well and good, but I suspect they might act as they do even without that possibility, view post


The No-God posted 15 April 2006 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe No-God by stormchaser, Candidate

OK, here's an idea about the No-God for you, and a subconscious one at that. I have mentioned elsewhere how I am working on a drawing of the No-God. Well, I have done several preliminary sketches and studies, and today I was looking at them and I noticed for the first time that in all of them I had rendered the NG's carapace (i.e. his outward form) as looking very much like an insect pupae. I did this quite unconsciously, but might not my subconscious be on to something? Could the entity we know as the No-God actually be some kind of larva, patiently gestating all this time inside his carapace to eventually emerge as... What, exactly? Who knows! But following this line of thought, might not the chorae embedded in the NG's carapace be there precisely to prevent the emergence of the imago? Maybe the Inchoroi purposely trapped the pupating no-deity in larval form - certainly those chorae are there for a reason.

Not sure if any of this really makes sense, but thought I'd throw the idea out there. Something must have made me draw the NG in this way, although, to be sure, the origin of most art is shrouded in mystery. view post


The Bonehunters and Steven Erikson posted 21 May 2006 in Literature DiscussionThe Bonehunters and Steven Erikson by stormchaser, Candidate

FWIW, here's a review I wrote of The Bonehunters, written before I read any of the posts in this thread, or in the MBOF comparison thread:


Book Review: The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson

Recapping the plot of the Malazan series so far would be pointless, as we are now at the sixth book and Erikson’s canvas has grown so broad, the cast of characters so large and diverse, the intricacies of the subplots so tangled up and incestuously mis-iterated, that any attempts at condensation must simply fail under their own weight. If you are buying this book, then presumably you’ve read at least one of the others and so you more or less know what you’re in for. For newcomers, I would definitely not recommend Bonehunters as a starting point to The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Clearly, Gardens of the Moon is the proper place to enter this fantastic maze.

The Malazan Books have been justly hailed as a fantasy classic in the making. So how does this new one stand up in comparison to the previous books? Fairly well, I think, although the book takes a while to get going. The main problem is the sheer multiplicity of plots and characters. So much is going on, a good part of it seemingly unrelated to anything else, that one initially begins to worry that Erikson might have fallen prey to a touch of the dread “Jordan’s Syndrome” (AKA WasteOfTime disease). Not to worry! Things settle down eventually, and the pacing is always swift. About a third of the way in there’s a typical big Erikson set-piece battle, complete with special effects, and at some unspecified point after that, the narrative just... coalesces. Everything starts to gel, and before you know it the book has suddenly become unputdownable, and indeed the last part kept me up literally all night until I finished it. It’s kinda like one of those trick pictures, the ones you stare at and stare at before suddenly, presto, everything comes into focus. Once you achieve that moment of gestalt in Bonehunters, the huge number of characters and subplots ceases to be a liability and instead becomes something of a virtue. You care about them all, and you can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Quite a bit does happen. High points include the aforementioned battle, which has some rather interesting unforeseen consequences. When it becomes apparent just who and what the Bonehunters of the title really are, you just want to jump up and shout: “Yes, of course! Yee-haw!” Few authors ever manage to provide such moments, yet Erikson seems to be able to do it routinely. While the previous book Midnight Tides seemed relatively unrelated to the rest of the series, it is here shown to be absolutely essential, as we stumble upon the Tiste Edur/Lether imperial army attacking a remote part of the Seven Cities subcontinent - and that’s not the only far-flung place they’re attacking. Eventually the main action shifts to Malaz City, as Adjunct Tavore and the Fourteenth are recalled home, only to find that rot has set in at the very heart of the Malazan empire. I won’t reveal the ending, but as usual there are unforeseen plot twists and casual revelations of great import. Old friends die, new friends are introduced, and in this book you will finally hear Fiddler actually pick up his instrument and play! Plenty of goodies for longtime fans of the series.

At first glance Erikson would seem to be juggling way too many hot irons in the fire, to mix a couple of appropriate metaphors - but it’s very hard not to be impressed with the results. Here there be dragons, gods, elder gods, ascendants, mortals and immortals both human and inhuman... Action across several continents and various realms, sub-realms, warrens, and elder holds... Magic wielded by a stunningly varied assortment of sorcerers, shamans, priests, high mages, wax-witches and shape-shifters... Across a landscape filled with pocket wars, holy cities, strange cults, savage tribes, and mysterious ruins of vanished elder races, always ruins, everywhere you turn... Inevitably inhabited by demons, monsters, and ghosts of every sort... Kept at bay by more kinds of magic than you can shake a stick at... And all of this is kept grounded by a focus on the ordinary grunts, fighting the good fight and grumbling about their officers. What’s not to like? The way Erikson keeps it all in motion is nothing short of masterful.

Taken as a whole, The Malazan Book of the Fallen is just breathtaking. This is easily the most interesting - and in my mind the very best - ongoing series in fantasy today, and yes I am including Martin’s ASOIAF and Bakker’s PON. The level of innovation in Erikson’s saga is just astounding (any debt to Glen Cook’s Black Company books has long since been repaid, with interest). After six books the series still feels fresh, and the writing remains of the very highest order. Erikson never lets you down. If literature were heroin, then this is the pure shit. Raw, uncut, and highly addicting... I could read this stuff forever.
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PON vs MBOF vs ASOIAF posted 21 May 2006 in Literature DiscussionPON vs MBOF vs ASOIAF 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


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