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Re: A thousand years here, a thousand years there
One thing to keep in mind about historical memory. Pre-literate peoples had way better memories than we do. There are methods for remembering things, methods that we have largely ... well ... forgotten.

Historians are constantly trying to find ways to verify ancient facts. What might surprise you is how often we have found that Herodotus or Arrian or Polybius or You-Name-Him gave an account that can in fact be independently confirmed.

I'm not saying that their memories were perfect, but I am saying that we should not take our own very poor memories as the model. Tribes could and did pass down accurate genealogies that stretched seven and even ten generations. Rather famously, the accounts of Troy recorded by Homer were considered entirely fictional, until Schliemann dug up Troy. And so on.

In story-telling terms, this means the author can assert his characters have some tradition of the Long Ago that is more or less accurate. It also means the author can pick just exactly the inaccuracy the story needs.


-= Skip =-
Another example is the insane level of detail that the more "primitive" people have about their environment and surroundings. I think it's mentioned in Jared Diamond's Collapse, where he talks about the highlanders in New Guinea. They had encyclopaedic knowledge about thousands upon thousands of different species of plants, how they best grow, how to tend them, what farming techniques work best in different situations, and so on.

February 11, 2015, 07:58:15 AM
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Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Submission Thread Sorry, Kid. (538 words)

Spoiler for Sorry, Kid.:
“Sorry, kid. I don’t do charity.”

The kid sighed and stared at the floor, a forlorn look on his face.

“Come on, don’t look like that. This life… it’s not one big adventure. It’s not what you’d think. I’m always on the run. Can’t stay in one place too long—it gets messy real fast. No friends, no connections, nothing really. It’s not for everyone.”

The kid scratched at the floor, refusing to meet the man’s eyes.

“Sure, if you can bear the downsides it’s a good life. The thrill of the con. The rush you get when the law is chasing you down. The satisfaction when it all goes to plan.” The man shook his head. “But it’s not something you should wish for. You’re young, free, you can go ahead and take whatever path you want. I’m telling you, kid, you shouldn’t come with me. You shouldn’t choose the life of the outlaw. Not if you can help it.”

The kid glanced up at the man through his eyelashes.

“You should stay here. Live the life of luxury. Sure, it’ll probably kill you some day, but why not enjoy it while it lasts?” The man leaned on the wall and looked around, taking in the scenery.

A vast mountain range rose on the horizon, its majesty half-hidden in the haze of distance. The farmhouse stood on a small hill, a high point near the edge of a plateau. The plain spread out before them, reaching almost as far as the eye could see—a patchwork of farms, forests, and grasslands, punctuated here and there by lakes and the occasional river. The summer breeze made the forests shiver as deer weaved in and out of the tree line. Goats and sheep flocked in the fields, and birds wheeled high above.

“You won’t find another place like this if you walk for a hundred years.” The man sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “I’m almost tempted to settle down here myself. It’s one hell of a view.”

The kid sat down and sighed again.

“I still have to go. It’s not the place for me.” He hesitated. “Don’t feel bad about it, okay kid? It’s not that I don’t like you. I just… can’t take hangers-on. It’s for the best. You’d tire of the road, always being on your guard, never knowing where your next meal would come from. Wondering when you’re gonna slip up and get caught.”

The kid looked up at him, eyes reproachful.

“You’re just not gonna give up, are you?” A wry smile passed across the man’s face. “Look, the biggest problem is that you’d just get in the way. You can’t help. I’d have to train you. And that’d take months. It’d take time, which is a luxury I don’t have enough of as it is.”

The kid moved forwards and took hold of the man’s sleeve.

The man glared and tugged his arm away from the kid. “Fine. I won’t stop you. But don’t go around telling anyone that I’m your pal, or we’re gonna have some problems. Got it?”

He stalked off, shaking his head in disbelief. The goat watched him leave, scratched an itch, and sauntered towards the open gate.

March 05, 2015, 08:24:37 PM
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Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread Just to clarify, @Jmacyk meant that I'm the worst at being unfriendly
March 10, 2015, 01:56:25 PM
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Re: RIP Terry Pratchett Sad to see such a well-regarded author die at such a young age.

Totally with you on that @Gariath, though Pratchett's death is another which has little resonance with me as I've never read anything by him.

March 12, 2015, 07:54:48 PM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings
Oh right - I loved Helsinki when I visited, about 8 years ago. Lovely feel of small city, even though it's a capital.
 :)
Yeah it's great, the center is nice but the area we live in is even nicer. You can actually see our building on this:

Spoiler for Hiden:

March 15, 2015, 04:30:15 PM
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Re: Bridgeburner at 500... sign of OCD?
500 posts already? They grow up so fast.

And yet I don't see my name on there anywhere.

Nah, this is an amazing feat J-mack. (Obviously your rapper name, dawg.) You've been a great joy in this community as of late, and I completely understand the addiction that "unread threads" button is. All you have to do is keep on posting for us too lazy to follow through on our ideas.

Just think, when you get to my point, half of your posts won't be gibberish like mine! Keep up the good work Bridgeburner. Hope to see you around and stay a regular.
I might start my own thread so people can post in it and say nice things about me.

I shall call it "The Raptori Appreciation Thread".  8)

March 16, 2015, 05:05:19 PM
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Re: [MAY 2015] - Terry Pratchett Memorial Read - Nominations are open Would it matter much that I've never read any of his books? I take it they're not a continuous series, but are there any problems with just starting with one chosen at random?
March 16, 2015, 08:52:18 PM
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Re: [MAY 2015] - Terry Pratchett Memorial Read - Nominations are open
Would it matter much that I've never read any of his books? I take it they're not a continuous series, but are there any problems with just starting with one chosen at random?

No it doesn't matter. The veteren Discworlders are carefully trying to pick only good entry level Pratchetts.
Cool, I thought as much. Will probably take part in that case ;)

March 16, 2015, 08:55:06 PM
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Re: What are you currently reading? Just finished Promise of Blood. Really liked the gunpowder fantasy setting and magic. The writing was excellent, and though it took a while to care about the characters the pace was really fast so it held my interest all the way through. I think the only disappointment I felt was that it ended up with gods and shit like that being important - I think the first half of the book where it looked like it'd avoid that kind of stuff was much stronger than the second half.

Can't wait to start the second book :)

March 17, 2015, 09:50:42 AM
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Re: Song of the Sea Managed to get a copy, just watched it  ;D

Absolutely wonderful film. By a mile the most beautiful animation I've ever seen, it's like watching a moving painting, and the sound effects were noticeably gorgeous too. The story was perfect as well, a huge improvement on the Secret of Kells imo. All the characters were rounded and believable, and the story was wistful and magical. Definitely something everyone who enjoys anime and/or fantasy should watch.

March 17, 2015, 03:12:33 PM
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