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posts by Ryo Commoner | joined 24 Jun 2005 | 8

Deleuze and Guattari? posted 11 Jul 2005, 16:07 in Author Q & ADeleuze and Guattari? by Ryo, Commoner

Hello Mr. Bakker. I'm currently wrting my Master's thesis in English literature as a comparison between your work and that of Gay Kay in terms of the Canadian Fantastic. My advisor is also a fan of yours and recommended that I take a look at Deleuze and Guattari's "A Thousand Plateaus" to enrich my reading of your books. The parallels are uncanny, as s the title, considering TTT. Is there any way you can briefly outline the extent to which their philosophies influenced your own? view post

posted 11 Jul 2005, 18:07 in Author Q & ADeleuze and Guattari? by Ryo, Commoner

Oh, it certainly helps. Thank you for getting back to me. Naturally, I see the Nietzschean influence, and Derrida / Foucault, after all, are parent figures to D and G - the latter have catapulted off the former into their space-clearing agenda. I suppose I saw Kellhus as very much the embodiment of the Deleuzian "rhizome" - the "n minus 1" figure who is less a being and more a plain upon which spontaneous oportunities constantly mainfest themselves. But I am not a die-hard postmodernist. My thesis is more concerned with conceptions of the Canadian Fantastic, which is to say, the extent to which the fantastic imagination here is predetermined by European ideals. This is what makes your work such a facinating counterpoint to that of Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry): he clearly attempts to reestablish connection with the colonizing nation, demonstrative of that that very Canadian longing for the myths of the "old country", while you seem undermine the entire idea of the nation. "The nation" seems to fit the idea, so crucial in your books, that that which comes before determines that which comes after. People do some terrible things in its name, after all. As you said, you are a skeptic (I often compare Kay's world to a Camelot, and Earwa to a Sodom and Gommorah!), but you do allow for the possibility of the "Mystery", which actually leaves a great deal of room for fanstastic possibilities rather than steadfastly determining these. I think one of the reasons I love your work so much is that very scepticism: you evacuate the definitions that Kay so faithfully constructs as "the first world", effectively giving fantasy over to the mystery, being that which comes BEFORE it is determined by the greater mythologies which so dominate this genre. Anyway, I'm going on and on. If I arranged a set of specific questions to ask you concerning your work and its philosophical underpinnings, whether on this website or in the form of an interview, would you be interested in answering them? This would be immesurably helpful to my own paper, because it would prevent me from guessing at certain things. Also, as an aspiring writer and a tremendous fan of yours, it would be a great honour. It's up to you, of course, but if you get this, perhaps you can let me know. Thanks, Ryan view post

posted 11 Jul 2005, 21:07 in Author Q & ADeleuze and Guattari? by Ryo, Commoner

Thanks! And I'm quite looking forward to TTT. One of the first questions my advisor asked when we were initially discussing this project was whether it would be a problem that was basically working with an unfinished trilogy. I'll be defending at the end of August, which means that the grand finale will unfortunately not arrive it time, but I think I've got enough from the first two. More than enough, actually. Besides, he sort of gave me a wink and assured me that the benefit of working with such new material is the promise that few people if any have tackled it yet. Most people don't even realize that there is a tradition of epic fantasy in Canada, so I feel like I'm blazing a trail through new terrain. Anyway, when I get a list of questions together, I'll post them. It'll take a good week at least, because I'm working with my secondary sources right now, and these will definately inform my questions. Thanks again for your interest - this will be exciting! Ryan view post

First volley of questions posted 18 Jul 2005, 03:07 in Author Q & AFirst volley of questions by Ryo, Commoner

Hello again, Scott. I've been hard at it for the past week, and I think I've got a few pertinent questions to fire off, the first of which, of course, is whether I have your permission to use your answers in my actual paper. Naturally, a few well-placed quotations from the author himself that I attained through direct correspondence would make the presentation infinitely more glitzy (!), but I'll understand if you'd rather I not use them. Anyway, here goes: 1. Being that I am working with The Prince of Nothing in the context of Canadian epic-fantasy, my thesis largely concerns the extent to which our fantasists promote or undermine the notion of a national "mythos". What role does the nation play in your work, and if the answer is none, why? 2. I tend to regard TPON in opposition to Kay's Fionavar Tapestry, largely because Fionavar serves the older colonial idea that for Canadian writers to produce the "fantastic" they must reinvoke Celtic Britain in some way. Earwa, however, is a clear departure from this. To what extent is it an assemblage of world mythologies / histories, and to what extent is it your creation? To what extent is fantasy (your own included), then, determined by what comes before the author who writes it. 3. Religious, linguistic, racial, and philosophical differences create troubling sense of fragmentation and otherness in Earwa. This is in stark contrast to the unity and synergy of Fionavar. Why did you create the world to be as disparate as it is? Also, being that the people of the Three Seas descended from the Ancient North, which was something of a militarily dominant hegemony, Earwa really doens't have a "golden age" to look back to. Was this intentional? 4. The abscence of gods is striking in these books, considering their subject of holy war. This, in combination with the textual captions which begin and set the tone for each chapter, establish Earwa as a man-made, man-written (Ajencis, Sejenus, Seswatha) man-driven world that is devolving terribly - gloriously existential. In Kay, the characters not only meet but often copulate with gods! The suggestions that come to my mind that there are any governing metaphysics in Earwa are when the plains of Mengedda "vomit up" the dead (which stumps Kellhus a little at first, being the ultimate atheist) and when Mog-Pharau's servant appears at the end. Are there gods in this story? If so, why are they abscent? Alright. That's all I have for now. I'm sure as soon as I send this off another dozen questions, all better than these, will come to me. If it's alright, I might pop a few more your way as I proceed. Thanks SO much again for helping me. Let's keep in touch (I'll even send you a copy of this thing when I'm finished it!) Ryan view post

posted 18 Jul 2005, 19:07 in Author Q & AFirst volley of questions by Ryo, Commoner

I will! And thank you for the detailed responses. This stuff is gold! Your claim that consumption defines collective existence (modernity) fits beautifully, because many of the secondary sources I'm applying to your work - scholars who rightly or wrongly can be called "post-national" theorists - say similar things. That is sort of the structure of my paper: Kay as ultra-national (which in a Canadian context can mean obsequiously anglophilic), and your work as post-national, meaning you've written away from the nation by voiding your colonial context, and you've refused to deliniate a cultural standpoint. In effect, I argue that your work frees Canadian fantasy from Canada. Anyway, when I digest what you've given me and come up with some more questions I'll send them off. Thanks again, so much! p.s. Is Neuropath a philosophy book you're working on, or fiction? This is the first I've heard of it. view post

the frist draft is away posted 11 Aug 2005, 23:08 in Author Q & Athe frist draft is away by Ryo, Commoner

Hey there Scott. Just wanted to let you know that I handed in my first draft today, and I made ample use of our correspondence. I still used D and G in explicating Kellhus, though I know you claim they had so significant role in your work. fit so perfectly. Anyway, please let me say thanks again for your help. I've never really communicated with an author I was working on in the past, so this was a real treat. And I'm bloody-well looking forward to TTT. Not to mention this Neuropath, which sounds interesting. When it's all polished and perfected, would you like a copy? It's about 40 pages long - a half thesis really. At Carleton U. where I'm studying they arrange it so that you can do a Master's in 12 months if you take this research paper option after two full semesters of course work. Anyway, let me know if you want a copy and I'll send you one. I don't think it will be too big a's just text. Thanks again! Ryan view post

Technical trouble posted 16 Nov 2005, 16:11 in Author Q & ATechnical trouble by Ryo, Commoner

Hey Scott. Good to hear from you. I defended the thesis on September 1st, so I'm all graduated. I'm happy to send you a copy (and so you know, the three profs who present at the defence all reccommended that I use the paper as an entrance point into PhD work!!), but it seems I can't attatch anything onto these postings anymore. Am I a total dumb-ass and am just missing it, or what? How would you reccommend I send it? If anyone can help I'm all ears (I'm not the most computer-savvy chap in the world) Ryo view post

An alternative plan posted 19 Nov 2005, 23:11 in Author Q & AAn alternative plan by Ryo, Commoner

Ah yes...the techie whose gaze has shifted from computer programs to the dark and mysterious world of women, eh? There is no returning from that path... Anyway, I'd love it if you had a copy, so what I'll do is I'll leave my email address ( , and if you're interested, please feel free to reply, and I'll simply send the paper in an attatchment. I tried to cut and paste it onto this website, but the formatting got all fucked up. Besides, there's no copywright of any kind just yet (yikes!). No obligation at all, Scott, but I'm happy to pop you an attatchment should you choose to reach me at that address. Cheers!, Ryo view post


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