January 26, 2020, 02:18:59 AM

Author Topic: R Scott Bakker  (Read 11132 times)

Offline xiagan

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Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2012, 08:05:16 AM »
The way he shows and treat women in the Darkness that comes before didn't bother me much (which doesn't mean I liked it) because it's fiction and if he feels that his plot needs a dark and archaic world then it's okay. There are books with darker worlds out there.

What does bother me is that he thinks all men in our real world are like the male characters in his book. There is a difference between the male gaze and 'rapability' (what a terrible word) he doesn't seem to be aware of.
With his intention to bring his male audience to be aware of their own dark self to he sounds more like a preacher of a fundamentalist religion than a fantasy author...
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline AnneLyle

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2012, 09:21:33 AM »
Again, not every author is going to be successful and not every time, but it worries me that authors can be stained as misogynistic for such failures.

I agree that authors shouldn't be afraid to take on difficult subjects because of the risk of failure. I'm writing about a period rife with sexism, racism and homophobia, and it's a very difficult balancing act, trying to be true to the period withouts to offending modern sensibilities. I dare say some people will jump on the least failing on my part...

I find it difficult to feel sorry for Bakker, though, because he went into this knowing full well he was courting controversy, and that's exactly what he got. I feel he should stick to supporting real-world schemes that educate young men (link given in Bakker's own post), because his fiction doesn't seem to be achieving the desired effect. He's writing in a genre read by a lot of these young males who don't have the sophistication to understand his subtle message and could easily be misled into thinking the exact opposite of what he intends.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 10:38:56 AM by AnneLyle »
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline Mazarkis

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2012, 03:32:21 PM »
I for one can't see how more portrayals of sexual violence could make male readers uncomfortable unless their sympathies and perspectives were firmly and irretrievably set with the victim of that sexual violence. Since adult men are sexually assaulted so rarely, I don't see how one can do that without a non-objectified female character or small children in the narrative.

I'm all for non-objectified female characters--and for emphasizing the damage of rape where it does appear in a narrative--but I do find it an extraordinary opinion that a male reader would be completely comfortable with rape scenes otherwise. That implies a default-rape culture, which is one of the things (from what I understand) people are angry with RSB for saying.

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-Also, a lot of people avoid calling themselves feminists because the term "feminist" has been used to summarily dismiss women's voices who would like egalitarian goals. Feminism isn't about things being at the expense of men. It's about making things better for everyone by not ignoring the other half of the human population with two X chromosomes.

Agreed.

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He's writing in a genre read by a lot of these young males who don't have the sophistication to understand his subtle message and could easily be misled into thinking the exact opposite of what he intends.

Well there is a problem there, indeed. There is always a tension between going where your instincts take you in a narrative and being conscious of the social milieu into which it will ultimately land. It's tricky.

Offline Mazarkis

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2012, 03:35:51 PM »
I'm not going to comment any longer on our various interpretations of the [apparently edited] excerpt from R Scott Bakker. I don't know why we all see something different in it, but since it is full of ellipses, I feel uncomfortable making further judgements. Also . . . never read Neuropath. :)

Offline Fellshot

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2012, 04:46:59 PM »
I for one can't see how more portrayals of sexual violence could make male readers uncomfortable unless their sympathies and perspectives were firmly and irretrievably set with the victim of that sexual violence. Since adult men are sexually assaulted so rarely, I don't see how one can do that without a non-objectified female character or small children in the narrative.

I'm all for non-objectified female characters--and for emphasizing the damage of rape where it does appear in a narrative--but I do find it an extraordinary opinion that a male reader would be completely comfortable with rape scenes otherwise. That implies a default-rape culture, which is one of the things (from what I understand) people are angry with RSB for saying.

I probably should have preceded that with because Western culture in real life defaults to blaming rape victims over the age of 10 for the act perpetrated on their person ("she shouldn't have worn that dress," "why didn't she fight back," "she shouldn't have gotten so drunk," "if it's such a bad neighborhood, then why didn't she move out" etc.), you need to have someone in a narrative (male or female) whose sympathies and concerns are clearly for the welfare of the victim and sees the victim as a person.

Since Bakker is claiming that the default for men is to rape (rather insulting) and he excludes women from parts in the narrative (also insulting), and he's focusing on the "male gaze" with all of its dehumanizing objectification (really insulting), I don't see how he's doing anything other than perpetuating the problem.

My sincere apologies, I was unclear and writing at a rather late hour. :P

As an aside, one plus of this whole mess is that I will probably go dig up my copy of "Visual Pleasure and the Narrative Cinema" by Laura Mulvey and reread it in all it's dry, dusty, frustrating glory.

Offline Silence

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2012, 06:04:54 PM »
Having read both the post references at the start of this thread and the source later referenced further down, I don't see much of what's being laid at his door in the first actually present in what he says in the second. You could see it that way, but I think one would have to work at it. I suggest people read all the comments and responses and draw conclusions of their own.
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Offline Mazarkis

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2012, 07:01:03 PM »
Quote
I probably should have preceded that with because Western culture in real life defaults to blaming rape victims over the age of 10 for the act perpetrated on their person ("she shouldn't have worn that dress," "why didn't she fight back," "she shouldn't have gotten so drunk," "if it's such a bad neighborhood, then why didn't she move out" etc.), you need to have someone in a narrative (male or female) whose sympathies and concerns are clearly for the welfare of the victim and sees the victim as a person.

Understood, but what I would fight in the political sphere is different from what I would fight in the artistic sphere. I am uncomfortable telling other authors they need to do anything. I know what I prefer to read, but that has little to do with what needs to be written. Points are made in a variety of ways through art, and to limit someone by saying, "if you have X you must have Y" is limiting to their expression.

Whether or not an author's point was made successfully is a different and fairer conversation than the one in which we decide upon aspects of the writer's character.

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As an aside, one plus of this whole mess is that I will probably go dig up my copy of "Visual Pleasure and the Narrative Cinema" by Laura Mulvey and reread it in all it's dry, dusty, frustrating glory.
Enjoy!

Offline AnneLyle

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2012, 08:46:13 PM »
Whether or not an author's point was made successfully is a different and fairer conversation than the one in which we decide upon aspects of the writer's character.

Very true. I can understand why it's hard to separate the author from their work. Some authors are quite cerebral in their approach to fiction and like to play devil's advocate, but many others (myself included) can't help but put themselves on the page - and it's nigh impossible to distinguish the two purely from the text.

Worse still, both groups tend to assume that all writers are like them, and just can't understand the other side's reaction to their work. Which is why we need to have these conversations, regardless of the merits of the original confrontation that sparked the debate. I'm with E M Forster on this:

"How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?"

i.e. I tend to have to externalise my thoughts in order to analyse them. This is why I fill stacks of spiral-bound reporter's notebooks with my plot brainstorming...
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 08:49:21 PM by AnneLyle »
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline Mazarkis

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2012, 10:21:39 PM »
I LOVE E.M. Forster!

Interesting. I think I might be a mix of those approaches. Not sure. I need to write it down & analyse :)

Offline Madness

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2013, 08:24:50 PM »
Hi all,

Apologies for resurrecting this thread. However, I felt it best to post here rather than begin a new topic in error.

First off, having been involved in and read through a number of these types of contentions concerning Bakker, I'd like to thank ML and Mazarkis for their poignant counter-points to AnneLyle's careful considerations (oftentimes, better than those interlocutors who've been quoted in this thread themselves).

I'm doing my rounds pimping Bakker, so I apologize as well if this is considered spamming. I just thought I'd let the Bakker Fandom know of a semi-newish incarnation of The Second Apocalypse fan-forum. Since the thread mostly centers around the genders issues tact, I'll also note the Bakker, Feminism, and Slavery thread there.

Cheers.

Offline AJDalton

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Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2013, 08:06:51 PM »
R Scott Bakker divides opinion. It's very much a love/hate thing. He's well worth persevering with, however. His stories layer extremely well. The characters are well drawn, but the drawing of them is extremely drawn out... as they should be? It's this sort of philosophical conundrum that puts some readers off.

Me, I like his stuff, but would not hesitate to agree it can be hard going. I'd prefer something that was slightly too hard than slightly too easy. That's a matter of taste, of course.

Yes, there's a lot of darkness there too, but it's not gratuitous, I'd say. The treatment of women is poor, but there's a point being made at the same time. His work is extremely reflective, and highlights the poor treatment of women as much as anything else.

At the end of the day, the darkness might be too unremitting. A few more jokes might not have gone amiss, but somehow they'd have disrupted everything. They would have been facile, etc... albeit that I also enjoy a good dose of Gotrek and Felix. Long live the Black Library! Both 'high' and 'low' brow stuff influences my work... hopefully, the whole is greater than the sum of the diddly-doos, etc.
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Offline Madness

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2013, 08:24:07 PM »
Thanks for the reply, Dalton.

I wanted to add that you have sold a book by posting here :). I'm tickled intrigued by your blogs and the reviews of your books.

Sounds like you and Bakker are putting tracks towards the same station.

Offline AJDalton

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Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2013, 05:58:47 PM »
Quite right too. You clearly have good taste and discernment... altho with a handle like 'Madness'...
fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

Offline Madness

Re: R Scott Bakker
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2013, 02:28:53 PM »
To be clear, I was 'Madness' long before 300 ruined my username forevermore ;).