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Mithfânion Didact | joined 01 February 2004 | 261 posts


Other authors you enjoy posted 11 February 2004 in Author Q & AOther authors you enjoy by Mithfânion, Didact

I've read you like Tolkien, and Martin as well, but are there are other authors, both in and outside of the genre that you're really fond off? If so, could you say why?

Alternatively, are there also authors within and outside Fantasy that you've been really disappointed with, or would you rather not go into that? view post


Other authors you enjoy posted 11 February 2004 in Author Q & AOther authors you enjoy by Mithfânion, Didact

The mention of Caitlin Sweet is interesting. From the beginning I've seen some booksites couple that book to TDTCB, and having read a synopsis and some reviews I have no idea why. A friend of mine who reads a truly astonishing amount of Fantasy books per year listed her book in his 2003 top 10, which aroused my curiosity even more. Still, there appears to be no sign yet of a UK or US release.

I think you touch on a very interesting aspect, that of certain author''s most peculiar popularity. As puzzling as their blatant success can be (Jordan and Goodkind are good examples, Eddings and Brooks are of similar stock), the interesting thing for me is to make a small attempt at understanding why this could possibly so. For instance, while both Jordan and Goodkind receive regular trashings at many internet forums and columns, both these authors are incredibly popular here in the Netherlands, and people actually think very highly of the books as well as huge sales figures (as opposed to the rest of the online community, where, despite the fact J&G's books sell equally well, there is a lot of criticism on their writing).

Personally I've read Eye of the World and it instinctively rubbed me the wrong way. Very very poor. I've not tried Goodkind, but he's always listed with Brooks and Eddings who are both authors of the sanitized and juvenile Fantasy variety. Anyway, in the end I always conclude that they most be catering to the lowest common denominator and therefore appeal to so many, whereas I simply don't go for that kind of story/level.

Wolfe, I've got The Book of New Sun on my shelf, looking forward to that one. I've read The Sunne in Splendour by Penman, which was excellent and often said to be her best work, along with her Wales trilogy.

Any thoughts on fellow Canadians Kay and Erikson? Any Sci-fi? I don't quite know why but I could see you veer off into Space opera one day. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 11 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Mithfânion, Didact

I have to complete TTT by this September 30th and I'm hellbent to do so...

Yes, let that one have first priority <!-- s:!: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" /><!-- s:!: -->

Thanks for the elucidation on Neuroscience, I find that very interesting. Funny how one can be so drawn to mythical Fantasy worlds that inspire otherness and escapism yet at the same time be so interested in the future developments of this world. Perhaps there's an obvious connection ( a desire to be anything but here? But that would be too harsh).

I see what you mean now on the issue of science unravelling character. But what did you mean earlier about atheists jumping ship if they knew how deep the rabbit-hole goes? view post


Curious if you... posted 12 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ACurious if you... by Mithfânion, Didact

Well here's a link:

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I tried to look for the Epic Fantasy thread but couldn't locate it. I see several writers post there, as Scott said. view post


What are you most looking forward to? posted 16 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWhat are you most looking forward to? by Mithfânion, Didact

I agree that possible new places are on of the most tantalizing things, but at the same time I hasten to add that I'd rather have a few exquistitely crafted and finely detailed people and places than a very large cast of characters and cultures which are only superficially touched upon. It's very important to really put a lot into such a culture, because it's one remarkable people that you will remember much sooner than a whole slew of superficial ones.

In general, things I am very interested in range from the Anasurimbor line to the Nonmen, to the Nonmen city and the magic in Earwa, to the religious forces coming to the fore as well as specific individuals which may emerge. And of course Mog-Pharau himself.

Edit:

That was one horribly structured post but I can't be bothered to re-write <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 18 February 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Mithfânion, Didact

Anasurimbor Kellhus has to rank up there in my all-time top three of favoriet characters. Whenever I think of him it's an image of some lone figure standing on a hill, cloak and hair blowing in the wind, ominous aura included. Just seems to fit <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


Men v. Nonmen posted 21 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AMen v. Nonmen by Mithfânion, Didact

I'm curious about this ancient Nonmen King, from which you take your screenname. Is he only a legend or is he still alive at the time of our story? view post


Men v. Nonmen posted 21 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AMen v. Nonmen by Mithfânion, Didact

Sounds awesome. I hope you can pull that off.

How's TTT going btw? Things going in the direction that you want? Will there be anything that will differentiate it from the previous two books in any way that one might not expect? view post


The Inchoroi and the Sranc posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AThe Inchoroi and the Sranc by Mithfânion, Didact

I saw in the appendices that the Nonmen weren't able to communicate with their enemies until the Inchoroi "birthed mouths". I find that highly intriguing.

Also interesting to note that the Nonmen in their own capital speak a different language from those in other parts of Earwa, that is unless I misunderstand the appendices at that point. Kind of reminds me of Minas Tirith, capital of Gondor, were Quenya (High Elven) was still spoken whereas it had vanished almost everywhere else, certainly among mortals.[/i] view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ADunyain by Mithfânion, Didact

But there are still some Dunyians left,right? view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ADunyain by Mithfânion, Didact

Had I mentioned yet that I want TWP NOW? <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> view post


Eating Crow posted 28 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AEating Crow by Mithfânion, Didact

Well they do say wisdom comes with time.

Just received my February Locus magazine

Ah, I see I'm not the only one who gets his Locus so late in the month that next month's edition is just a few days from coming out <!-- s:roll: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_rolleyes.gif" alt=":roll:" title="Rolling Eyes" /><!-- s:roll: --> view post


TDTCB Makes Locus's &quot;Recommended&quot; List posted 28 February 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsTDTCB Makes Locus's &quot;Recommended&quot; List by Mithfânion, Didact

And mentioned here in the 2003 recommended reading list by SFSite's William Thompson, as a book which would probably have made his list.

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Nice list btw, very extensive. view post


Thorough review of TDTCB (MAJOR SPOILERS) posted 29 February 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeThorough review of TDTCB (MAJOR SPOILERS) by Mithfânion, Didact

Books in Canada


"R.Scott Bakker’s The Darkness that Comes Before: Book One of The Prince of Nothing is a deep meditation on philosophy, religion and the state of our world. At the same time it is a top notch exemplar of the fantasy romance sub-genre.
Bakker’s interest in philosophy becomes apparent from the start. He opens with an epigraph from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and the first character we meet, Anasûrimbor Kellhus, is an embodiment of Nietsche’s ideals. Nietzsche argued, among other things, that independence is for the strong, that “There are heights of the soul seen from which even tragedy ceases to be tragic,” and that the search for truth cannot be done humanely. Bakker’s Kellhus not only shares these views, they are the essential stuff of his character. That such Nietzschean attitudes exert a certain irresistible pull is undeniable, and this accounts for the exquisite darkness Bakker weaves through his story. As Kellhus, raised by the ascetic survivors of the First Apocalypse, the Dûnyain, begins his impossible quest, he proves himself a superman of Nietzschean dimensions, with a steely conscience and a heart made of brass. What, Bakker seems to be asking, would happen to a man who is physically and mentally superior when he, as Nietzsche puts it, assumes the displeasure of trafficking with ordinary men?
Yet Kellhus soon finds himself faced with another claimant to the mantle of the superman, the Scylvendi barbarian Cnaiür urs Skiötha. He, more than Kellhus, represents the Dionysian aspect of the superman Nietzsche dreamed of with great relish-a man for whom all is permitted, as all is permitted in nature. Kellhus gains his superhuman abilities from Dûnyain philosophy that attempts to master the deterministic principle of the ‘Logos’ and strives for a Schopenhauerian denial of desire that Nietzsche would have frowned upon even as he’d be marvelling at the supermen the Dûnyain had become. Cnaiür, on the other hand-as his “prize”, the concubine Serwë comes to realize-looks “down on all outlanders as though from the summit of some godless mountain.” Like Kellhus, he is beyond morality, but unlike Kellhus he indulges his “bestial appetites.” Bakker paints a picture of two supermen with divergent philosophical perspectives, and the reader is left to wonder which of these is the more monstrous-the one who is brutal in his appetites, a Dionysian beyond good and evil like a force of nature--or the one who manipulates those around him as if they were chess pieces while single-mindedly pursuing his own goal, committing and permitting acts of cruelty, heartlessly capitalizing on the hopes and fears of the “herd” around him?
While some might wonder what would motivate Bakker to revisit a philosophy of morality which seems to have been thoroughly discredited in the hands of the Nazis, the fact remains that the debate-between those inclined to see a certain rightness in a Nietzschean outlook, in accordance with which the “superior” individual or group of individuals is permitted, nay obligated, to arrogate superior rights to himself or themselves, and those who see morality as derived from maxims such as those set out by Kant (whom Nietzsche vilified), who argued that wishing others well was a human duty whether or not one liked the others-has not been wholly put to rest, particularly in the arena of international politics, the realpolitik.
Bakker, while pondering these Nietzschean supermen, also constructs a fascinating civilization from which such individuals emerge: His sub-created world of Eärwa lurches into Holy War. Maithanet, the Shriah of the Thousand Temples (the linguistic markers of whose name and title suggest Islam), declares what is essentially a Crusade to regain the lost holy city where the Latter Prophet, Inri Sejenus (whose name suggests the crucified Christ), taught. While the Thousand Temples is an attempt to reconcile all religions by declaring all deities ‘aspects of the God’, it is the Kianene, whose culture is modelled on that of the pantheistic Hindus, who are the strict monotheists of Eärwa and who reject the teaching of the Latter Prophet (and who also happen to possess the holy city where he taught, Shimeh). Bakker strengthens the identification between the Thousand Temples and the Abrahamic religions with his interchangeable use of the terms “holy war” and “jihad” and by describing the capital of the Thousand Temples in a fashion that evokes Jerusalem. By incorporating Goddess worship and a Germanic tree-worshipping element, Bakker also makes clear that the object of his meditation is not any specific religion, but the religious impulse itself.
Bakker has at least one glove off when he offers an epigraph from Ajencis, an ancient Eärwan philosopher, at the start of Chapter Fifteen: “Faith is the truth of passion. Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.” In that chapter the sorcerer-spy from the ridiculed Mandate school of sorcery, Drusas Achamian lectures the pious crusader Proyas on the nature of faith: “There’s faith that knows itself as faith, Proyas, and there’s faith that confuses itself for knowledge. The first embraces uncertainty, acknowledges the mysteriousness of the God. It begets compassion and tolerance. Who can entirely condemn when they’re not entirely certain they’re in the right? But the second, Proyas, the second embraces certainty and only pays lip service to the God’s mystery. It begets intolerance, hatred, violence….”
In such moments particularly, but throughout the work generally, Bakker demonstrates a fine control over the literary conventions of romance and fantasy. He knows that the romance hero is to be the carrier of the values of the reader, and he plays with the time-honoured rule of creating a hero who is unrecognized nobility, the heir to a lost throne, and, of course, young and handsome. His shifting of the action from Kellhus to the low-born, portly and middle-aged Drusas Achaiman defies conventions associated with romance heroes from Sir Gawain to Luke Skywalker. And, in Cnaiür’s unapologetic carnality (and that of other characters, notably Esmenet and Serwë), Bakker’s fantasy further shows its contemporariness. Yet, despite these aspects to his work, he may yet be out of step with current fantasy audiences.
Guy Haley makes the matter-of-fact assertion in the pages of SFX Magazine that fantasy is more and more becoming female-audience-driven and this accounts for the soap-opera flavour of successes in the genre since the 80s. Bakker does achieve the soap opera effect in giving us characters we want to follow, but he undermines his own effort to reach out to a female audience by making his only three female characters all appear whorish. That there is some element of truth in the depictions of Esmenet, Serwë, and Istriya, grand dam of House Ikurei of the Nansur Empire, that women will be able to connect with is something that Bakker is gambling on.
There is another potential problem with the book: there’s no conclusion. Bakker leaves us hanging in the midst of an action scene and offers an unsatisfying epilogue populated entirely by characters who have never appeared before and who ponder the significance of the book’s final, unfinished events. In this way, Bakker fails to demonstrate the whole of the storyteller’s craft-i.e. the ability to bring a story to a resounding, exhilarating and real conclusion. He makes things even harder on himself because, by buying into the multi-volume format, he places himself at the mercy of editors who will push him relentlessly to produce the next book. If, like Sean Russell in his Swans’ War cycle, Bakker does not significantly shape Book Two, he risks everything. Let’s hope he doesn’t succumb to the pressure and release something beneath both the promise and execution of this excellently written work.
But all this forecasting and foreboding cannot take away from the achievements of this book. Throughout, Bakker not only reveals that he is an expert storyteller, but he touches on deep philosophic issues in such a way that any reader will grasp the fundamental principles being tested against each other. He offers us a dark mirror for our strife-torn world, a mirror in which we think we see God when all the while we are only seeing ourselves. "


Patrick R. Burger (Books in Canada) view post


TDTCB makes SFsite's yearly top 3 posted 02 March 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsTDTCB makes SFsite's yearly top 3 by Mithfânion, Didact

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I have to say this is quite an achievement, and quite a surprise as well, because I wasn't aware so many people had read the book already. The SFsite poll is the biggest SF/Fantasy poll held on the web that I'm aware of, for years has done a pretty fine job of listing the best new books of that particular year (on the bottom of the page you'll find past results, like for instance Erikson's House of Chains that finished first last year). view post


TDTCD third on SFsite's year's best list! posted 06 March 2004 in Author Q &amp; ATDTCD third on SFsite's year's best list! by Mithfânion, Didact

This is some pretty high praise. SFsite's yearly poll is the biggest Fantasy/Sci fi poll that I'm aware of, and for years has been listing the year's best books (as you will see below). Darkness didn't even appear on the editor's list but the readers voted it third, which surprised me because I didn't know so many people had read the book already. Check out past year's winners to get some reference (Erikson won in 2002 with House of Chains)

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The Series That Comes After? posted 20 March 2004 in Author Q &amp; AThe Series That Comes After? by Mithfânion, Didact



Assasin's Apprentice, as others have stated. It's the first one and also one of the best things she's ever written, either as Hobb or as Lindholm.

The Farseer/Tawny Man trilogies are nothing short of brilliant. Wonderful character studies above all, the plot tends to be a bit thin (for epic Fantasy), but she creates a great atmosphere and her magic is diferent and interesting both.

I thought the Liveship books displayed a distinct drop in quality though. While you may at least want to give them a try before moving on to Tawny Man, they are not necessary. Some stuff from Liveship does spill in to Tawny Man, but you can definitly read Tawny Man without any problems if you've only read Farseer.

Anyway, interesting news about the other series, thought that is still a long way off.

view post


Alienonline reviews TDTCB posted 20 May 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeAlienonline reviews TDTCB by Mithfânion, Didact

And it's a major thumbs up.

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Addendum to the wotmania Interview: Re: Monkeys posted 11 July 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsAddendum to the wotmania Interview: Re: Monkeys by Mithfânion, Didact

I thought the first three monkeys were funny, and I actually didn't grasp any of the ones that followed. <!-- s:evil: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_evil.gif" alt=":evil:" title="Evil or Very Mad" /><!-- s:evil: --> view post


London Free Press Article posted 11 July 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsLondon Free Press Article by Mithfânion, Didact

And, how did it go? Was there a stripper? <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> view post


Anyone read American Gods, by Neil Gaiman? posted 25 July 2004 in Literature DiscussionAnyone read American Gods, by Neil Gaiman? by Mithfânion, Didact

Read it as well, rate it 8 stars out of 10, something which not many books make. Good characterization, even better concept, flair for storytelling, emotionally engaging, yes, this was a fine effort.

And to think that after my first try I only reached page 150 and put it down with the idea never to be picked up again, since I thought it was nothing else than a travellogue in the beginning. view post


Babylon 5 posted 25 July 2004 in Literature DiscussionBabylon 5 by Mithfânion, Didact

I've seen this show a few times but they stopped airing it here failry quickly. I liked it a lot and considered buying the DVD sets but they are wickedly expsinve.

Would someone be willing to give me a basic outline of what it was the space station was fighting and defensing itself from?

I recall a group of aliens called MInbari with whom they had an allaince after many years of war. Centauri were also allies I believe, the silly-looking aliens.

I recall some eerie telepath, reminded me of the Bene Gesserit, though the character was male.

And there were these big creatures called Vorlons, who seemed to be evil, but I'm not sure if they really were. I think they were somehoow tieds to the Shadows. Any thoughts? What are the Technomages and what can they do? Same question applies to Vorlons and Shadows, what were their abilities? view post


Ilium posted 25 July 2004 in Literature DiscussionIlium by Mithfânion, Didact

I'm excited about it, but I'm waiting till Olympos is released next January to read it. view post


Reveiw of The Last Kingdom - Bernard Cornwell posted 12 August 2004 in ReviewsReveiw of The Last Kingdom - Bernard Cornwell by Mithfânion, Didact

Dros

The Last Kingdom is the first book of a trilogy. I'm really looking forward to this book, one of 2004's most highly anticipated releases, and you're to be envied for having an ARC <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


Like father like son? posted 23 August 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtLike father like son? by Mithfânion, Didact

I end with a question: has there in fact been evidence to suggest that Book Three is to be the last book?

Yes, Scott has said so.

More series dealing with the Second Apocalypse will follow though, possibly two duologies. view post


Last Guardian of Everness posted 26 August 2004 in Literature DiscussionLast Guardian of Everness by Mithfânion, Didact

Has anyone picked it up yet? It's the Fantasy book by John C. Wright, author of the recent and highly acclaimed Sci-fi trilogy " The Golden Age". This book is the first of two parts, the second of which will be released in March. I've been looking forward to this book enormously and it's been delivered at my doorstep at last.

A synopsis for those who've not heard of the book yet:

Young Galen Waylock is the last watchman of the dream-gate beyond which ancient evils wait, hungry for the human world. For a thousand years, Galen's family stood guard, scorned by a world which dismissed the danger as myth. Now, the minions of Darkness stir in the deep, and the long, long watch is over. Galen's patient loyalty seems vindicated.

That loyalty is misplaced. The so-called Power of Light is hostile to modern ideas of human dignity and liberty. No matter who wins the final war between darkness and light, mankind is doomed either to a benevolent dictatorship or a malevolent one. And so Galen makes a third choice: the sleeping Champions of Light are left to sleep. Galen and his companions take the forbidden fairy-weapons themselves. Treason, murder, and disaster follow. The mortals must face the rising Darkness alone.


Or, as the author puts it:

" Everyone from the Archangel Uriel to the Faerie-Queen Titania to Merlin the Magician shows up in this wild epic, with guest appearances by various titans, lunar monsters, unicorns, and demigods, selkie, frost-giants, a pulp-magazine super-hero, not to mention the Most Holy Grail. "


link

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First Word that Comes to Mind posted 01 September 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Mithfânion, Didact

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Who is the artist on the edition without faces on the covers posted 03 September 2004 in Author Q &amp; AWho is the artist on the edition without faces on the covers by Mithfânion, Didact

David Rankine is the man who did the phenomenal cover art. view post


Time for that very annoying question that many of us have posted 11 September 2004 in Author Q &amp; ATime for that very annoying question that many of us have by Mithfânion, Didact

It might be sensible for the publisher to send some ARC's to some of the major SF sites on the net that do many book reviews, often on a monthly basis. I haven't seen too much of that yet, which is either because these major sites haven't been getting an ARC or because they didn't botther to mention their review (which, let's face it, is highly unlikely).

sites like sfsite.com, alienonline.net, emcit.com, sfrevu.com, computerscrowsnest.co.uk, locus magazine, infinityplus.co.uk,greenmanreview.com,scifi.com.

These sites are read by a lot of genre fans and positive reviews from these sites would garner some major promotion.

If the book is going to be released in Fall anyway than that extra time might as well be used as efficiently as possible. After all, if you're going to be writing such awesome stuff anyway then why not make as money off it as you can <!-- s8) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cool.gif" alt="8)" title="Cool" /><!-- s8) --> view post


Time for that very annoying question that many of us have posted 11 September 2004 in Author Q &amp; ATime for that very annoying question that many of us have by Mithfânion, Didact

Those sites already do receive ARCs, as do others like Cheryl Morgan's Emerald City (which just won a Hugo for Best Fanzine) and a few others of a blog/review nature

If that is true than it is very strange that many of them haven't even deigned to post a review. Often/Usually when they get one they do at least that, even if they dislike it. I trust you're absolutely sure they've all received one?

It's just surprising that more of the major SFF sites that revolve around messageboards don't receive more ARCs

What sites are you thinking of then?

As for the delay; as a fan I am of course hoping it will be released as originally planned but if that April date should prove to be impossible then a few more months would hardly be disastrous. view post


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