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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
I think this is a very interesting option to consider in geo-political worldbuilding. A "villainous" country is mostly a country that does bad things to you. If they help you against the people who are doing bad things to you, it usually doesn't matter much what they are doing to their enemies. Especially in a fantasy setting, where people get few first-hand accounts of things that happen in other parts of the world.
I think Germany is a very interesting nation to look at from this kind of perspective. To some people (thankfully a diminishing number of people), Germany is still closely linked with Nazism and still has all the baggage that comes with that particular era - even though pretty much every single country has committed atrocities in the past. The results of colonialism and the slave trade are perfect examples of that, but are often glossed over by people in the west.

It's startling to see prejudices like that last so long, and that people are so unable to see past the problems of the past and realise that the people alive right now didn't even commit them. Slavery is a good example of that - I've had a number of people rant at me on separate occasions, telling me that I'm racist because I'm white, and therefore my ancestors owned slaves.

Firstly: it's racist to assume something about someone purely based on their race - even if that person is white (something that a lot of people clearly don't understand). Secondly: it's unfair to damn people due to any crimes their ancestors committed. Thirdly: even if you ignore those two points, my ancestors in particularly actually did not own slaves - they were relatively poor farmers - so you're associating me with the taint caused by... my ancestors neighbours.

I see the Germany/Nazism association as basically the same thing as that, and both are stupidly widespread. It'd be interesting to see something like that explored in fantasy novels.



Edit to add: just read an article from 2004 in a major English newspaper, which I will not dignify by posting here, titled "Sorry, but the Germans must never be allowed to forget their evil past". Just... wow. Apparently Germans are evil, and English people are saintly. No mention whatsoever of anything that England has been reponsible for in the past. This kind of thing is exactly why I despise nationalism and patriotism.

March 18, 2015, 03:00:40 PM
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Re: Scene & Chapter Length Thanks guys, that helps us feel a little more confident that we probably won't be massively overshooting our goals. A first draft at 120-130k sounds pretty good, cutting the usual 10% of that would mean we'd end up exactly where we want to be :)
March 18, 2015, 04:10:11 PM
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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
I think Germany is a very interesting nation to look at from this kind of perspective. To some people (thankfully a diminishing number of people), Germany is still closely linked with Nazism and still has all the baggage that comes with that particular era.
It's mostly England.  ;)

Well, actually, it's only England. The one country that got the least affected by German war crimes and never got invaded or occupied  ::)
I agree that England is traditionally the most vocal about it, but it's still there in other countries to some extent. Just look at the crazy demands Greece are making at the moment - they clearly still resent Germany because of the invasion, though admittedly in their case it's made worse by their perception of more recent history.  :-\

I am always very amazed how quickly Germany was able to make peace with all the other neighboring countries in Europe, especially France and Poland. France and Germany had been fierce enemies for over a thousand years, and then all of a sudden they became best friends in a matter of two or three decades. And even in Poland, the country that probably suffered the most from centuries of German military agression, people seem to have made peace with the current population of Germany. Even while some of the occupaying soldiers are still alive. I can only remember one single case of anti-German polemic in Poland in the past 20 years, and that was a mud slinging contest between a German and a Polish tabloid paper, which I believe actually have the same owner.
Yeah it's great how quickly everyone moved on from it and started anew.

Quote
Edit to add: just read an article from 2004 in a major English newspaper, which I will not dignify by posting here, titled "Sorry, but the Germans must never be allowed to forget their evil past". Just... wow. Apparently Germans are evil, and English people are saintly. No mention whatsoever of anything that England has been reponsible for in the past. This kind of thing is exactly why I despise nationalism and patriotism.
Yeah, England is really the only place in the world I am aware of where Nazi polemics are still en vogue. And even that is changing. I think during the football world cup five years ago (which was in Germany) I've read a couple of articles on English news sites where lots of interviewed people from England were saying that it's really quite embarassing when people still do that and that it makes England look terrible. So I am not really that concerned about it.
They're only really in vogue in certain circles though, the problem is that they're quite vocal. Like you say, the majority of people find those idiots an utter embarrassment, and wish they'd shut the hell up :D

Which again, can be an interesting element of worldbuilding. A recent example I've come across is in the Mass Effect games, where the humans and the Turians had a really violent and costly war 30 years ago before the allies of the Turians negotiated a peace, and now the humans are even joining that alliance. Many older soldiers still have reservations about the other species, but mostly the two groups are now their closest allies with which they actually have the most in common. (Though of course, neither side did invade the enemy homeworlds and occupied them or engaged in any genocidal activities.)
Yeah I think I remember you mentioning it somewhere else, it's a really interesting detail that makes it sound like the relationship they've thought up is pretty nuanced and realistic.

Strangely enough, the Americans are sometimes really good at that. Germany and Japan both became very important allies very quickly after having been bombed to rubble by the American forces. (The fact that Germany and Japan both started the fighting and were clearly to blame for it probably was an important factor, though.)

Dealing with a terrible past and post-war national identity in Germany is a pretty unique case, as far as I can tell. We don't need English newspapers to tell us that not to sweep it under the rug and forgett about it. It's a huge part of modern german identity which actually borders on self-flagellation. There is a certain sense of superiority coming from the fact that we are pretty much the only nation in world history that does not in any way attempt to downplay crimes in the past (which of course pretty much none of the currently living people had any part in). We can point at the Japanese, Americans, and Russians and berate them about admiting their past, as we now have the moral high ground, having done even worse things and fully admiting to them.
I was reading a blog post written by someone who travels for a living, staying in places for three months to a year and immersing himself in their culture - he mentioned that one of the cultural quirks of Germany is that everyone is very honest to each other, which could be a part of why as a country you've faced up to the past while others like to pretend it didn't happen. It's one of the things that makes Germany appeal to us should we ever want to move country again (which is quite likely) :P

But at the same time, there is also the widespread view that Germans have a certain responsibility: The German people made a terrible mistake and after decades of debating and reconsidering, we now have an understanding what happened and why and that it could happen to anyone at any time, with which comes a duty to speak up any time someone else might start to go down that same terrible road. Which of course can come off as quite obnoxious, especially to people in other countries who don't actually know how much time German society still spends on educating following generations and trying to repair some of the damage.
Of course, Germans are now extremely anti-patriotic. Anything that has even a hint of patriotism is automatically suspicious. Black-Red-Gold flags during football tournaments don't count. Black-Red-Gold are out team colors, they do not represent and identification with the state.  :D
However, this topic is so incredibly complex that I don't recommend to anyone to try to go there with fictional nations.  ;)
Yeah, but the key is that the potential for that kind of mistake is not unique to German culture, and could happen elsewhere  (and has). In fact, due to the cultural norm of honesty and frankness I wouldn't be surprised if it's far less likely to happen again in Germany than somewhere else.


This kinda reminds me of A Canticle For Leibowitz, such a brilliant story. I won't say why though, since it'd spoil it for people.  ;)

March 18, 2015, 05:59:32 PM
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Re: What are you currently reading? Finished The Crimson Campaign, now something like 15% into The Autumn Republic. Really enjoying these books, very much in the vein of the best of Sanderson's books with fast pace, easy to read prose, and a vivid setting. :)
March 19, 2015, 12:16:31 AM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings I don't think Americans should be trusted with the responsibility for naming... anything. I mean come on, who would call a game where you hold an egg-shaped object in your hands and run with it "football", when the rest of the population of the world already play an older and far more popular game with the same name...  :o
March 19, 2015, 08:20:05 AM
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Re: Delayed Reading: joys and disappointments I have one memorable one that is pretty embarrasing really.

I was always given loads of books by my family for birthdays and christmas, because I was always reading. There's one particular book, given a book on my birthday by an aunt when I was 9 or 10, which I took one look at and dismissed as crap because the cover was so horrendous. I distinctly remember thinking my aunt was clearly an idiot for thinking I'd be interested in reading it, because I disliked the cover that much. It then sat on my shelf for a long time - at the very least half a year, but I'm pretty sure it was a couple of years. I usually read any new book I was given within a couple of weeks, this was literally the only book I had never bothered to open.

One holiday I was bored as hell. I tried re-reading some of my books but couldn't get interested, and couldn't really be bothered doing anything more active than reading. I sighed and picked up the book I had pointedly ignored for all that time, and started reading.

This was the cover:
Spoiler for Hiden:

Naturally, I was then really pissed off with myself for a long time for judging the book by its cover...  :-[

March 19, 2015, 07:27:26 PM
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Re: What are you currently reading? Finished The Autumn Republic. Loved it. High quality throughout the series, just excellent all round. Definitely one for people who like Sanderson. On to the short stories/novellas!  :D
March 20, 2015, 03:38:34 AM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings
I'm often reminded of a website called Satire Wire which used to publish faux news articles (similar to The Onion) and in one update they ran an 'advertisement' for an internet filter that removed any content that wasn't USA centric. The next update they had to explain that it wasn't real, and they were a satirical website, because they'd had so many requests for it. They seemed to find that sad, rather than amusing. The ruby supporters here like to make fun of our game by calling it Aerial Ping Pong.
Haha I'm not surprised - I wouldn't mind the reverse!  :P

Lol that's a bit of an odd one. We call American football "hand-and-occasionally-foot-egg" to piss off our American friends though, so I guess I can't talk...  :D


Yeah, they are very rare compared to English (or to many other languages) and usually not that noticeable. But, some of them might confuse non-natives, I think.
Yeah, definitely. Some bits and pieces of Finnish are truly awesome.

"Juoksentelisinkohan" = "I wonder if I should run around aimlessly?"

"Aamupalaverihuone" = either "Morning meeting room" or "Breakfast blood room" (depending on where the sub-word splits are)

"Vihdoin vihdoin vihdoin" = "I finally whipped myself with a birch branch"

"Kuusi palaa" = "The spruce is on fire", "The spruce is returning", "The number six is on fire", "The number six is returning", "Six of them are on fire", "Six of them are returning", "Your moon is on fire", "Your moon is returning", or "Six pieces"

Finnish sayings are crazy too. My favourite being "Fits like a fist in the eye".

 ;D

March 20, 2015, 07:42:54 AM
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Re: What are you currently reading? Read the first two Powder Mage short stories/novellas, Forsworn and Servant of the Crown. Both pretty good, same high standard in general as the novels, but only four stars for each because they're just too damn short for me  :-\
March 20, 2015, 08:13:58 PM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings
Lol that's a bit of an odd one. We call American football "hand-and-occasionally-foot-egg" to piss off our American friends though, so I guess I can't talk...  :D
Aussie Rules has gained a foothold elsewhere. They seem to like it in Japan oddly enough, and New Zealand of course, although they still love their rugby (union then league in that order), there's a league made up of expats in the US, and one in the UK. I have a cousin who played a few seasons of AFL and played in England for a while when he was over there working and studying.
I'm not surprised, people like to do crazy things  :P

Actually I remember being surprised when one of my friends at school joined an American football team that played in a local league... had no idea that it was even close to being popular enough for leagues to form. The number of people in the world is insane, so it shouldn't be a surprise when there are a load of people with the same (relatively) niche interests all over the place.
Oh there's a World NFL league. It's fairly big, too. It's how a few players who eventually transition into the NFL in the States start their careers. I think the aforementioned Darren Bennet may have played for one of the teams in the World League prior to taking over kicking duties for San Diego. They quite often get world class sprinters to play for NFL teams. Carl Lewis was offered a spot and declined on the grounds that he made more money out of athletics, and I believe a gold medallist for one of the US Olympic teams already had an NFL contract when he won the medal, so that was really just gravy for him. NZ rugby legend Jonah Lomu was also seriously looked at by the NFL and two other Aussie Rules players Ben Graham (Geelong) and Saverio Rocca (Collingwood and North Melbourne) had decent careers as kickers in the NFL after they finished their AFL careers. That's one thing I find lacking in fantasy at times, mention of sport. It may be why I swim against the stream in really liking the Quidditch sequences in Harry Potter.
Interesting, I've never even heard of it! :D

And yeah, I always liked the Quidditch scenes, didn't even realise that people generally did not... they were a bit crap in the films, but then again so was everything else!

March 21, 2015, 03:49:50 AM
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