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dusted off in read-only


Concerning Chapter Quotes posted 11 Aug 2004, 09:08 by Damaen, Candidate

Scott. Mr Bakker. Fellow Canadian. SO i'm reading TWP again (reading it the first time in under 1 day helped me miss crucial plot points such as the fate of esmenet's daughter... how could i miss that? probably a 6am thing...) and its much better. But im coming to the same question i had during my far-too-many readings of TDTCB: Whats up with the quotes at the beginning of every chapter? Sometimes they kinda make sense with the chapter. Sometimes they seem like attempts to be philosophical for its own sake (which isnt an insult - they make th ebooks way better and i'd do it if i thought i could pull it off). My personal belief is that over your education youve just come to a lot of seemingly intelligent conclusions and have found a way to share them. I'm a history major at the Univ of BC, and i could probably farm as much insights from so.. many.. boreing..history lectures... Just curious if you had a plan or strategy behind these, some motive which im missing. i remember in book1 a quote from Achamians post-war history of the campaign really gave a lot away. Im far too tired to search it out, i hop eyou know what im referring to. Are you conciously putting these quotes in certain places for a reason? ".. and my soldiers, they say, make idols of their swords. But does not the sword make certain? Does not the sword make plain?..." etc etc. This is ch. 19, and easlyone of my favorites. Hope this wasnt covered elsewhere. -Damaen view post

posted 11 Aug 2004, 14:08 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I spend an inordinate amount of time crafting those bloody things! :lol: Every single one has a 'point' - sometimes narrative, sometimes thematic - but I use many of them as ciphers for the deeper, more philosophical layers of the book. Clues... view post

posted 11 Aug 2004, 17:08 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

In other words, you'd be tickled pink if some people were to ponder those quotes and write thoughts on them the same way Jordan fans write thousands of "theories" over minor plot points? ;) view post

posted 11 Aug 2004, 17:08 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Pickled tink indeed! :wink: view post

posted 11 Aug 2004, 17:08 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

That reminds me - I need to start the groundwork on that book discussion I mentioned before. I'll see if I can have something posted in a few minutes. Right now, some joker on another site posted a quote asking how anyone could ever [i:3jopvfgl]know[/i:3jopvfgl] the meaning of life. I have to respond, ya know ;) But I certainly will make that post within the hour. By the way, how do you feel about certain of those chapter quotes appearing in wotmania's OF Quotes of the Moment? Think a few dozen of them would spark interest? I've had a feel ask about Gaiman and Wolfe in particular based on them, so hopefully this can be another subtle way of promoting your work - what do you think? view post

posted 11 Aug 2004, 20:08 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Like manure, profanity is most effective when it's spread. :twisted: view post

posted 11 Aug 2004, 20:08 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

I'm SO adding that comment as well to the OF Quotes of the Moment - thanks! :twisted: view post

posted 12 Aug 2004, 02:08 by Damaen, Candidate

thanks, scott. i enjoy reading them before each chapter now. Its like a reading break. When i was reading the GRRM series i would see who the next chapter was from (character-wise) and have a literary panic attck and i just read and read and read. i almost NEEDED to know what was next and couldnt wait. Here i get to read the little quote, ponder it in my own way. Its like a game. a non-contact, slow, where-is-marcus-naslund-and-why-dont-we-get-jerseys sorta game. feel free to spend as muuuuuuch time on these as you want. unless that pushes back the release date of book 3. i'll go back to the Canucks and open my dictionary of quotations once per chapter. ;] view post

posted 12 Aug 2004, 03:08 by steve, Peralogue

yeah the chapter quotes are cool, they are very interesting. view post

posted 01 Sep 2004, 07:09 by Damaen, Candidate

Ait, that was my concern as well. I was used to GRRM and major characters getting scythed down mid-story. The knowledge of how the trilogy is ending (you can make a lot of assumptions by akka writing a book for mass consumption) was dissapointing to me. I'd actually love to hear Scott's thoughts on that. *poke* oh, and let me solve problem #3 for you: its pronnounced "Zin" (Xin in the books, isnt it? the shorthand?). Im so very clever. view post

posted 01 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:4btwom8b]Do you not think that using citations from Achamian's post-Holy War history gives too much away in general. Not that the reader is expecting the Consult to triumph, but this would seem to rule out certain possibilities, most notably, Achamian's death.[/quote:4btwom8b] I actually discussed this at some length with my original editor at Penguin. Certainly it allows one to infer that Achamian survives, which places his character out of mortal danger, but there's many characters, and we came to the conclusion that the benefits (dealing with 'information managing,' foreshadowing, concretizing the connection between the epigraphic world and story world, as well as some more arcane thematic concerns of mine regarding the 'already narrated past') were, despite being less immediate and tangible, well worth the cost. I'm not sure what you can infer beyond the fact that Achamian survives the '[i:4btwom8b]First[/i:4btwom8b] Holy War'... :wink: [quote:4btwom8b]in relation to your portrayal of women (and any controversy thereof), it seems to me that the demands of the (Kellhus-centric) plot rather the constraints of gender roles in pre-modern societies have dictated your choice of weaker, more needy female types over stronger ones. Would you say that this was the case?[/quote:4btwom8b] Not at all. I've always thought that sanitizing gender relations in ancient worlds comes very close to 'selling out.' The only real editorial pressure I received to make the book more commercially palatable was to make it more 'female friendly' - they even wanted me to change Conphas into a woman at one point! Apparently the male share of the fantasy book market is dropping quickly (because of weed and video games, I suspect). Once you decide to portray a repressive patriarchal society, then [i:4btwom8b]character[/i:4btwom8b] becomes the place to explore the inevitable distortions that result. I actually think of Esmenet as quite strong, though in a conflicted (which is to say, unsentimental) fashion. Besides, if anything, you would think that out and out strong characters would provide the better foil for Kellhus and his abilities. view post

posted 03 Sep 2004, 19:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Well I think you're both wrong, and conversely, both right! :wink: What you're doing is akin to arguing historical periodization. Arguing similarities and dissimilarities, accidental or essential, is bound to be plagued by interpretative underdetermination. It's always better I think, just to take the 'family resemblances' tack and to try to stipulate rather than to assert. There's no authority on which association-sets are canonical and which are not (as you yourself agreed in a previous discussion, I think, Aiturahim). Personally, for me the family resemblance that works the best is 'Medieval Mediterranean,' but even that could be plausibly contested. It's a mishmash. As for your original questions Aiturahim, yes, I thought about the change, but only because I try to give due consideration to all my editors' suggestions, even if I disagree with their motivations on principal, as I did in this case. The longer I thought about it, however, the worse the suggestion became. Otherwise, I'm afraid I don't share your historicist tack when it comes to questions of gender, which I'm very interested in exploring, and try to approach as self-consciously as possible. I think it follows that I'm not saying anything about women in general by having both of them fall under Kellhus's spell. In narrative terms, Kellhus simply gets what he wants, and he wanted both of them. In thematic terms, my quarry is actually contemporary society, not the 'nature of femininity.' As far as paralleling the First Crusade goes, I'm curious as to why you think this is a problem. I've had a couple of people complain to me about this, but I've been unable to make any sense of their explanations. Certainly you don't want to suggest that historical parallels, even when thematically motivated, have no place in fiction, do you? view post

posted 05 Sep 2004, 08:09 by Damaen, Candidate

what have you done to my thread! On the hand... [b:vrbrszuf]On TPON mirroring european culture/history[/b:vrbrszuf] [quote:vrbrszuf]I think some people may have their hackles up over the predicability. Also the "No clunky anthology of medieval Europe" review misleads readers. One expects something radically non-European and finds oneself in the middle of a medieval holy war against very Muslim-seeming people. I'm not saying that the TDTCB is not an original and well-written work, but I think some people may feel cheated when they read the high praise and then find themselves recognizing big chunks of the plot.[/quote:vrbrszuf] While there is nothing wrong with assimilating chunks of human/european/midieval history into fantasy. Fiction is still based on reality as we understand it, and while we can warp and add to it as much as we want in the end its just going to be an edited version of what we know. To write something wholly original you need to be either 1) popular before mass media became the norm and there were undiscovered areas of thought or 2) insane. And if the latter its just going to be unreadable, ala The House Of Leaves, which as a book makes no sense. if you know the book you'll understand - pages are blank, some have a few words, some are written in prose, as a dictionary, the word HOUSE is always blue... its just random. genious, perhaps, but insane. to try and tie this in... if Scott (i still dont like using his first name, Mr Bakker, or The Author - he sorta lives in limbo as reflected light on my screen) wants to mirror the crusades and build on that with a fantasy theme i am more than happy to pay for the trade paperbacks and tell my friends how amazing the books are. i've sold about 3 dozen at my store and i explain that its "tolkien but redable. Cultural relevance and NO POETRY." My store is filled with much less original works than this. The key here is that it has to be done WELL. i think it has been so far. Some argue here that they dislike the premise because they believe they know too much plot and that the ending can only go one way - the Holy War being successful. Fine. But thats one plot point amid SO MANY. There is enough going on here that this shouldnt be an issue. The charge of the author is to make a well thought out and well written story, which he has sofar done. Since 33% of the plot is still unreavealed its pretty ballsy to suggest that its going downhill or that you know whats going on. His job is to write a good plot and he is seemingly capable so i dont understand what all the fuss about the setting is about. your all going to feel pretty silly when you read in the conclusion how the Consult are defeated by invading flying-squirrel-like aliens bent on turning the tHree Seas into a multiplex. /rambling view post

posted 05 Sep 2004, 15:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:1jlcxfoq]Yes, rampant originality has its limits, but I think that world-building efforts are usually diminished rather than enhanced by excessive overt paralells. It seems to me that fantasy reaches its highest form when it reads like convincing history but we can't immediately pigeon-hole it. But this, admittedly, is an opinion.[/quote:1jlcxfoq] So I'm guessing you're not a fan of Guy Kay! I agree that this is an issue of taste more than anything else - and even then, I would suspect that the criteria would vary from case to case. Imagine someone dismissing McCarthy's [i:1jlcxfoq]Blood Meridian[/i:1jlcxfoq] on these grounds. To do so is to entirely miss the point, and I think a similar argument can be made for PoN. The 'too historical, therefore too predictable' criticisms I've encountered previously seem more opportunistically motivated than anything else: an excuse to show-off how much one knows, rather than say anything meaningful about the work. I would think it's obvious that I'm up to something, as opposed to being lazy or derivative or whatever. Your question, Aiturahim, is the decisive one, I think: [i:1jlcxfoq]Why[/i:1jlcxfoq] the parallel? I see, and have always seen, the parallel with the First Crusade as one of the thematic keels of the book, but I'm inclined to let others puzzle that out. There just seems something disingenuous about an author decoding too much of his own work. To answer your other question, the world started congealing several years before the story. And I agree with you as well, Damaen: though the Holy War parallels the First Crusade, there remain some significant differences - enough to render the outcome entirely undecidable. I don't think I give any guarantees - especially since the Keebler Elves have yet to show their foul hand... view post

posted 05 Sep 2004, 18:09 by idlewilder, Commoner

Perhaps there is something Platonic about the historical similarities (it's been a long time since my Philosophy 101 class, but I think what I'm recalling is the notion of Plato's Cave, and the Ideals... Anyway, I hope sharper philosophical thinkers than I will thrash this out a little)? I, for one, enjoy the story immensely, raised on the wonderful histories of Sir Steven Runciman and Jonathan Riley Smith, and I think it takes nothing away from the immeadiacy of the characters and the engaging story (besides, I don't think Godfrey de Bouillon or Bohemond d'Hautville had the likes of the Cishaurim and the Consult to deal with--- and who, exactly, is the histrical parallel of Kellhus? Peter the Hermit?!?). Besides, I think it's mostly predictable in hindsight, after the similarity is recognized (except for the Holy War being beseiged in Caraskand--- knew that one was coming--- but, again, the defeat and death of the Padirajah was unexpected). However, I get the impression the path of the Holy War is going to veer quite a bit from the historical, now that the machinations of the Consult and the presence of Moenghus loom large in TTT. Haven't said it yet, but thanks Scott, for writting exactly the book I've always wanted to read. view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 07:09 by Damaen, Candidate

You didnt ruin my thread. My thread wouldnt go past one author response... [quote:2wmmwl1u]predictability is and isn't a valid complaint. It isn't because, we know the real plot is Kellhus and the Consult, and we still don't know how that will come out. But it is, because it sucks the interest out of the Holy War. We don't fret about the integrity of the Holy War, of its being co-opted by Xerius, being defeated by Skaurus and so forth. [/quote:2wmmwl1u] Im AMAZINGLY tired after setting up my GF's new DELL, watching it crumble in a saeries of strange errors. so im going to spell out my confusion in *hopefully* readable point form as much as for my ease as everyone elses. your quote suggests two plots: 1. Kelhus and the consult, and 2. the holy war. With the "Crusade" as the background/"plot-undermining" aspect of the trilogy (where is my damn'd third book) you think that the kelhus/consult angle is the only chance we have for excitement and plot, whereas the "crusade" is going to end with the holy war marching on and mirroring its non-fantasy counterpart. But why? My concern is this: we have a canadian author, who i'd never heard of and would never have read if Penguin didnt have a decent cover artist (cdn trade paperback, not gaudy paperback in the US) from the east coast (who cancels my local tours) who is infinetly more intelligent than me (i have my major in History completed, now killing time at UBC, give me some time). all of this stacks against him on a very weak but immediate level. then BOOM. i've read the first book 4 times before the second hits the shelf. he has created a (insert cliche metaphor here... tapestry.. weaving.. maybe a recipe or a work of art) world full of fun things that are creative and exciting. He gave me a wicked Inrau battle (that hand/blood/fire thing was insane). i REFUSE to believe that you have no faith that he can build a positive third book. nothing you have said or suggested with your statements suggests you know what is going to happen. The integrity of the War [i:2wmmwl1u]is[/i:2wmmwl1u] still in question. Xerius [i:2wmmwl1u]can[/i:2wmmwl1u] still take over. Skauras [i:2wmmwl1u]can[/i:2wmmwl1u] win. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. i can spend 10 minutes and come up with viable reasons/plot to fit any circumstance, crappy tho they would be. i fail to see, based on your statements, how anything is a given at this point. [quote:2wmmwl1u]"Reality as we understand it" and "european/medieval history" are two very different things[/quote:2wmmwl1u] bzzzt. lol same thing. by 'reality' i mean the world around us. Scott can only write about the world, but he can edit and tweak it. What i meant is that, like in math, rules apply, be it physics or whatever. There is a finite number of colors to paint with, no more. The First crusade, for exacmple, was an actual event, based in reality. It is not a fabrication, events played out as recorded. [quote:2wmmwl1u]fantasy is based in "european/medieval history" _as_ "we understand it," which may or may not have much relation to "reality" depending on whose version we are reading.[/quote:2wmmwl1u] That makes sense on a browse but seriously how can youi argue that? If i was a psychopath, and lets just pretend I'm not to make me happy (dont mess with psychopaths!) i would have issues with comprehending reality. I say psychopath because i have no understanding of the subject, so if im wrong insert the term for someone with perceptual issues. So, i'm all messed up and such, and i think that goblins exist - they're everywhere - they hunt me and keep SCott's next book from print. It woul dbe hard to argue my understanding of reality is as valid as that of a sane man. Recorded history and our understanding of europe and of the crusade is in NO WAY related to your understanding of it, or of other authors. My point is somewhat vague and broad here but your declaration that indevidual perception alters reality in a meaningful way is fun to argue. (ass-covering: yes, ad populus(sp), the majority is not always right, (ahah i can sound smart! ish.) but they usually are. play the odds, damaen! if 4billion ppl say that the recorded history of the first crusade happened one way it propably did). [quote:2wmmwl1u]My dislike of historical and cultural parallels stems from the fact that they can easily becomes a world-building shorthand [/quote:2wmmwl1u] Is it wrong to use Europe? What yoru really asking him to do is to is paint a Cambells soup can or one of those ugly neon maryln monroe multi-face paintings but do it c.1500. Fiction is based in reality, albiet a warped one, twisted by the author to fit his needs. Fantasy is a dream. When you dream are you a warrior, or a thief? maybe you are playing hockey? You just edit your memories, your beliefs, your understanding of the world. what you DONT dream is that you are a single micron of silicon filiment in a processor devoid of thought, or some equally unexpressionable abstract that no one has heard of or can explain. authors build on pre-exisiting knowledge. JRRT had ogres. fine. so did beowulf. but then so did greek mythology. im going to stop now. Im not sure if that made any sense, and im not sur eif it sounds bitter because i tend to writ ethat way when i take a stand on a point.. But, i do know that i have a World Of Warcraft beta account and a level 5 Mage named Achamian. And, until Scott emails blizard and argues copyright law, im going to go hunt computer controlled critters till i pass out. <3 Scott. view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 20:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Stay away from that WoW stuff, Damaen - it'll be the death of your attention span! :wink: Again, I think you guys are locking horns on an irresolvable issue, though I think you might be overinterpreting (a bit) on your end, Damaen. I'm not sure that Aiturahim is saying that TTT has been 'spoiled' so much as he's staking out and justifying his own tastes - as well as describing some common generic liabilities. (Since I'm in fact trying to [i:13z2vtu0]embrace[/i:13z2vtu0] many of those liabilities (how else can you explore their significance?), I'm always keen to hear peoples' responses - particularly since I'm not sure I'm happy with some of my 'hugs'!) For my part, Aiturahim, I'm wondering how you would approach a book like [i:13z2vtu0]Blood Meridian[/i:13z2vtu0]. Wouldn't your tastes in this regard actually [i:13z2vtu0]interfere[/i:13z2vtu0] with your ability to appreciate what McCarthy is doing (in fact, this question is very apropriate when it comes to McCarthy, because so many find the book unreadable because of the violence (as opposed to the historical parallels, which as far as I know, have never been seriously raised as a criticism)). [quote:13z2vtu0]Also, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike TPoN.[/quote:13z2vtu0] Ayuh. This touches on something that's puzzled me over the past months: I've actually been expecting - perhaps even hoping - to receive some trenchant criticisms on the question of religion. So far nada... Only stuff that strikes me as spurious (like, 'tries too hard to be GRRM,' 'is misogynistic'), or stuff I'm more or less willing to bite the bullet on. view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 21:09 by Replay, Auditor

[quote:1mr6mr2a]Ayuh. This touches on something that's puzzled me over the past months: I've actually been expecting - perhaps even hoping - to receive some trenchant criticisms on the question of religion. So far nada... Only stuff that strikes me as spurious (like, 'tries too hard to be GRRM,' 'is misogynistic'), or stuff I'm more or less willing to bite the bullet on.[/quote:1mr6mr2a] There are problems with this though. The thing about critisms is that they are often to do with personal taste, so what is really served by giving them? Even though I think PoN is an exceptional series, there are still quite a few things about it that I am not keen on. I'll admit that at one point I did think of mentioning some of them, but then realised that the things i did not like were things that others enjoyed. So again, what point in posting them? After all, you can never please every one (and it'd be pointless to try). Another problem is that by pointing out critisms, people will read them and perhaps pay attention to what you mentioned the next time they read the book. This could in turn perhaps spoil their enjoyment a little. view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 21:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

There's certainly an important distinction between opining (where you list your likes and dislikes) and evaluating (where you analyze successes and failures), and there's plenty of things I've read that I think are works of genius, even though I don't particularly enjoy reading them. Jane Austen's works are a good example. The distinction between these two tacks can be pretty murky though. If anything, I'm amazed that as many people like the books as they do. I really saw myself writing to a very narrow set of tastes. You'd have to dig pretty hard to freak me out. Other than that, I don't think there's much reason to worry about 'ruining' it for others. Like any used good car salesman, I stand by my work! :wink: view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 22:09 by Replay, Auditor

Yes, but how can you really say whether a part is a success or a failure? For instance, i did not think your use of a zero perspective narrator to describe the battle scenes in the TWP really worked. I wouldnt have minded one page of it, but a whole chapter was far too much. Yet i've noticed that some others really liked those bits. So who's right? Like you said, its a very murky area. But as long as you are happy with what you have written, that is all that matters. view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 00:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

That's a perfect example because it shows just how opining and evaluating break down into two separate questions (there's actually more, but I think this illustrates the difference clearly): 1) What was your personal response? 2) What was the author trying to accomplish (in narrative terms, thematic terms, etc.)? Did he or she succeed? Note that with (2), what any author tries to accomplish will be relative to a certain 'ideal audience' (in this case, those who enjoy historical narratives). view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 03:09 by Damaen, Candidate

lol i overinterpreted on a previously unheard of level. it was fun. i regret nothing! its amazing the extremes you can go to when you tear someones casual rsponse apart sentence by sentence. ;] view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 03:09 by Wil, Head Moderator

A little more discussion, a little less tearing please and thank you. view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 07:09 by Damaen, Candidate

lol by 'tearing' i meant in a 'i was tired and went sentence by sentence, friendly-like' sorta way. its all good natured. view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 09:09 by Replay, Auditor

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":34857waw]That's a perfect example because it shows just how opining and evaluating break down into two separate questions (there's actually more, but I think this illustrates the difference clearly): 1) What was your personal response? 2) What was the author trying to accomplish (in narrative terms, thematic terms, etc.)? Did he or she succeed? Note that with (2), what any author tries to accomplish will be relative to a certain 'ideal audience' (in this case, those who enjoy historical narratives).[/quote:34857waw] Well that's the thing, if you are not a part of that audience, would a critism be valid? Plus we often don't know just what you were trying to accomplish with a lot of the book, and without you saying so there can really only be assumptions. That being said, if you do ask whether a specific part worked, perhaps we can give something constructive to think over. Im not saying that any old critism isn't helpful as, if you pay attention, a lot of truth can be gleemed from them. And I'm certainly not saying that is all relative - it is just that it is very a murky area and, without writing a lot and explaining your own reasons for each and every critique, anything you do say isn't all that valuable. And it is for this reason that I expect many just don't bother. view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 13:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:p5zy0eyv]Well that's the thing, if you are not a part of that audience, would a critism be valid?[/quote:p5zy0eyv] So long as you qualify, certainly. As you say, you need to present both justifications and caveats - which can be a pain in the ass. Still, it builds big strong brains... :wink: view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 13:09 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Ah, sounds like some of the critiques I heard from my professors...alas, grad school is but a fond memory now. Oh wait, there is that pesky paper I have to defe...err, write in the near future, yes? ;) view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Wil, Head Moderator

There are some who don't see it that way. Just trying to keep the board friendly for everybody. view post

posted 11 Oct 2005, 03:10 by RiderOnTheStorm, Candidate

Anyway, to get back on topic after over a year, i was glad i came across this thread due to the fact that the chapter quotes are some of my favorite parts of the books. I drew an immediate and obvious parallel to Herbert and that is a good thing. I re-read God Emperor of dune once a yera just for the quotes. Ive been mulling those things over in my brain for 20+ years now and my insight into them has changed, improved, receded, intensified, and so on each time i read them. I am finding Scotts quotes just as interesting. I have scrolled through the books just reading his quotes and then trying to tie them into the characters and story on different levels. I eagerly await all the quotes that will adorn TTT's chapters... view post

posted 18 Oct 2005, 12:10 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'm inordinately proud of all the epigraphs - and doubly so of TTT's - even though so many are far too opaque or devious to bear on the story in obvious ways. Just can't help myself! :wink: view post


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