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Re: The Future of Fantasy Fantasy is treated like video games by the mainstream press in that it has a massive following, (fantasy books often hit the top of the NYT or the Sunday Times best sellers list)- but because the sort of person that works for the BBC or writes for a newspaper doesn't understand them, there is next to no mainstream coverage.

Hopefully HBO spunking a small fortune on Game of Thrones will help address this. After all we've had sci fi on the telly for decades now. In fact I think it's one of the few things that Stephen Fry has said in recent times that makes sense: he said the BBC treat sci fi and fantasy as childrens programmes and that Dr Who and Merlin are good but only in the context of being for kids.

February 23, 2011, 01:48:31 PM
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Re: Are taverns overused? I think you first have to think of purpose.  Social? Motel? Drinking?  Churches/Temples could take lodgers of their same faith, and provide a social setting.  Same with Guild houses.  A low-cost hostel would make sense where there is a lot of poor travelers (I don't think peasants did a lot, but you could have migrant workers or something).  A society could have developed where people liked to have visitors in their house, and might have "room to rent" signs along the road.  Boarding houses make sense.  But for drinking, whether you call it a pub, tavern, bar, house of ill repute, or whatever, they are the same all over.
September 15, 2012, 01:43:18 AM
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Re: Are taverns overused?
I think you first have to think of purpose.  Social? Motel? Drinking?  Churches/Temples could take lodgers of their same faith, and provide a social setting.  Same with Guild houses.  A low-cost hostel would make sense where there is a lot of poor travelers (I don't think peasants did a lot, but you could have migrant workers or something).  A society could have developed where people liked to have visitors in their house, and might have "room to rent" signs along the road.  Boarding houses make sense.  But for drinking, whether you call it a pub, tavern, bar, house of ill repute, or whatever, they are the same all over.

Mediaeval monasteries certainly used to take in travellers - in fact, a lot of inns were originally monastic houses of hospitality.  For peasants, it would depend how far the journey was to the nearest market or fair.  It might well be far enough that it made more sense to stay overnight in the town than to go home in the dark.  And, of course, you can make that work however you like in your own world.

September 15, 2012, 02:57:58 PM
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Re: Things that annoy you in fantasy novels Could you imagine it?  Harry and Ron buying a pack of Bertie Bots magical condoms from George and Fred?  Every imaginable flavour!  Every imaginable size!  Every imaginable type!  Except Fred and Ron as a cruel prank sell Ron a pack that reek of onions and play Barry White loudly.
May 19, 2013, 07:42:13 PM
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Re: Things that annoy you in fantasy novels
Could you imagine it?  Harry and Ron buying a pack of Bertie Bots magical condoms from George and Fred?  Every imaginable flavour!  Every imaginable size!  Every imaginable type!  Except Fred and Ron as a cruel prank sell Ron a pack that reek of onions and play Barry White loudly.
Or maybe steam would come out with a train whistle. .... gee. The possibilities are endless.

You watch it Arry, or I will have to Citizen Mod Voice you :P

May 19, 2013, 07:52:50 PM
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Re: Romance/Relationship in Fantasy
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Is the hero really the hero if he doesn't get the girl? I think not.

What if the girl wants someone else? Sorry, that's a silly means of measuring heroic-ness without context. :P A hero can still be a hero and not get the girl. Or boy. Or whatever.

Exactly. If there's a love interest, I really don't think they (frequently 'she', because being an object to be fought over seems to be par the course for female characters here, and NATURALLY the hero of the piece is a guy) should be "got". They get together, or have a relationship, which is very different.

Back at the original question....hmm, at the moment, I'm just all for healthy, perfectly consensual relationships with no abuse or rape-y overtones. Not here for "twisted" or "dark". I also don't mind the level of romance - sometimes, I just want to read a romance. Sometimes I want to read something that has only background pairings. It just depends on the mood.

(If anyone has any recs of books that have healthy, equal relationships in them, I'd be glad to have them.)

December 18, 2013, 10:10:02 PM
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Re: Romance/Relationship in Fantasy
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Back at the original question....hmm, at the moment, I'm just all for healthy, perfectly consensual relationships with no abuse or rape-y overtones.

THIS. ALL OF IT.

So you really do want your fantasy to be fantasy and to divorce all associations with reality, huh?

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Would you care to rephrase that so I actually understand what you are saying? Because I'm reading one thing, and I'm sure you didn't mean it.

I don't think he means what I thinks he means- That it should have aspects of realism and that abandoning romantic elements is unrealistic, or that an appreciation of the genre, devoid of that element,  is just an escape from reality?

If that's the case. I disagree. Romance is that extra ingredient, that is not loved by everyone, but loved my most people. You may even love it, but just need to take a break from it for a while(Like the extra cheese on the whopper =3), because of the effects it has on the plot and characterization of a novel.

'Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.'

Figured I would jump on the bandwagon and share what I think Dan D Jones meant.

I thought is was a joke ... that the statement

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healthy, perfectly consensual relationships

is a fantasy aspiration in the real world. I don't think he meant it literally as in they are not possible (obviously they are), but more that bad and unhealthy relationships absolutely exist in real life and to create a world without that would take the makings of a fantasy world. I think it was just a joke that to expect all relationships to meet some ideal escapes from the realm of realism.

But ..... I don't know for sure. Dan will have to speak for himself.

The way I have read this conversation, Fellshot wants more healthy examples of relationships within novels to provide positive examples, and Dan made a joke that that only exists in a fantasy world.

Don't take my opinion as anything more than my interpretation. They will both have to clarify and speak for themselves. :)

December 19, 2013, 09:04:29 PM
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Re: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
December 02, 2014, 09:58:30 PM
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Re: Curing Impotence Oh Conan. How the mighty have fallen.
March 08, 2015, 10:15:30 PM
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Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding Hello all!

I'm starting this thread hoping it could evolve in a sort of experience and source sharing. I hope this isn't a thing already...

My idea here is that Fantasy, and fiction in most its genres, is a type of story that strongly benefits from solid and realistic world building (as we all know and thrive to achieve) and the best example for us all is our real world.
While we all benefit from reading other fantasy writers and see how they managed to hook us with their worlds or with the underlying themes they chose, I personally think that my own world and ideas benefit from a lot of my non-fiction reading.
After all, good sourcing and research is how we avoid cliche and weak themes. But maybe by sharing more personal discoveries we could help each other out?
After all some of the greatest stories and movies out there were picked out of philosophy problems for example.

Well, i guess I'll make more sense if I just give my own examples. Worse come to worse it'll just be me throwing out a bunch of links and yaking my face off! :D

I apologize for the length of this post, but believe passion about reading or writing ought to be taken seriously and I shall fart in your general direction.

In the personal experience area :

Spoiler for Hiden:
I'm too lazy to make any researches concerning english speaking countries laws, but let me share mine.
In France, for centuries every citizen has benefited from a right, which is called "Glanage". It is still valid today, and allows anyone to walk on a farmer's land after the harvest and pick up whatever was left behind. It is also legal in orchads, where you can pick up fruits off the ground.
A famous painting is dedicated solely to that concept, called "Les glaneuses", by Jean Francois Millet :


Contrarily to what first comes to mind these women are not harvesting, this is probably not their field, and it won't go to the farmer. They are picking left over for themselves.
If you search around you'll find more paintings showing how popular a thing that was :


The laws surrounding the propriety of goods is a very useful knowledge. We have two types of "goods without owners". All "immobile" goods (buildings) without owners pertain to the state (which would lead to fascinating discussions about squats), so only "mobile" goods are detailed:

> Res Derelictae : objects voluntarily abandoned by former proprietors, the first person to put their hands on it becomes the new owner. This applies from objects left on the street to the content of bins (and is why I've got such a hard time with aussie and nz laws regarding bags left at charity's doorsteps. To me those are anyone's stuff until the shop takes them in).
The only nuance is that it does not include lost objects. So you're not technically the legal owner of a watch you found on the street!

> Res Nullius : Fish, game, and wild animals.

In France a "glaneuse" is what I called myself, while you would call me a dumpster diver or a freegan.
I was forced to learn more about the law, as you can be yelled at by people thinking themselves righteous in annoying you (this can apply to policemen who can be fairly pushy until you show that you explicitly know your rights).

I think anyone wishing to write about medieval times, or characters evolving in rural areas should know about this. More modern settings are worse. While older times had very organized recycling systems where little was wasted, we've got the stark opposite nowadays.

Take my word as a real-life bum for it : you need to try REALLY hard to go hungry in a city.
I'm attaching here a handful of pictures I've taken while dumpster-diving in Australia or France:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rj7qaq9107f8pwn/AAACcm9fFlDN26SY4zZ6GECha?dl=0

(note the mental haul in the last picture? It's one trip, all I could carry by myself in a cardboard, off a Melbourne's Coles back alley)
I've spent months of my life buying no food but the rare essential I would miss.
I've also never, ever been sick due to eating food taken off the bins. Bakeries dump fresh food every night. Markets are insane, with the smallest defect on a produce leading to it been binned.
The gold mines are in large supermarket bins.
A can with a scratched paper? Bin. Boxes of goon cracked open but perfectly fine inner bag? Bin. 12 pack of glass bottled beer, one broken? 11 in the bin. Products didn't sell on the last discount but is still perfectly fine? Bin. This includes new clothing, candles, beach chairs, but also consoles, watches, shoes, good bike parts and house keeping products.
In Adelaide I lived several weeks with only 20$ in my pocket.

End of the line, any type of character struggling through a city to find food will earn my immediate disbelief. A great depiction of the "underworld" of a large city would also widely benefit from research on that. Most people who shop for their food every day don't really realize how wasteful most systems are.
Every french speaker will have a funny time reading "Le guide du zonard" on the internet, where people filled a wiki with tips on "traveling by train for free", "fixing the soles of your shoes", "getting the coins out of a parking machine", "get free toilet paper off Mac Donalds", "having 87 postal addresses", "screwing a punk chick without getting a hepatitis" or "Still passing for an artist".
I wish there was an english equivalent!
Check out trash wiki for a peak in the freeman life. Some places have google maps with bins located and notes about staff attitude and common hauls.


Non-fiction reading I found very helpful and why :

Spoiler for Hiden:
For people who want to write extensively about war and its consequences, even if the subject is very often mentioned in fantasy and sci-fi, I owe a lot to these :

Guns, germs, and steel : the fates of human societies by Jared M. Diamond
This is proper history focused on war, epic read. Quite the thick book but worth the effort. His style is very easy to follow.

In philosophy, the following texts are short essays you'll find online (your philosophy Ethic classes could have asked you to find and read them) :

Cecile Fabre, Guns, food and liability to attack in war.
Jeff MacMahan, Ethics of Killing in War - where the author works his way toward the concept of "Just war" and "Just war" being the only time where a soldier ought to participate. Such concept is still open to debate, like everything else in philosophy.
But also Torture in Principle and in Practice
Samuel Scheffler, Is Terrorism Morally Distinctive -
Coady, terrorism, Morality, and Supreme Emergency
(a lot are public publications and if you struggle finding them you can PM me, I'll send them to you)

All those are short essays, and though the style is more dense because it's directed at people who enjoy a good mindf***, there is a lot of benefits you can take out of listening to these people.
For one, characters who questions themselves or the general situation in their story in terms other than "good and evil and where do I stand in this" are too rare to my taste.
Reading MacMahan could flesh out dialogs between warriors, reading Coady could add dimension to hostage situations or dialogs in terrorist attacks, whatever the side of the acts your POV follows.


Personally I find my work extremely influenced by a french historian called Philippe Aries who wrote mainly on "daily life" through history, and the evolution of behaviors in societies.

People who want to write about feudal systems, or other historical settings would benefit from reading him.
I found his writings fascinating. The bold is deserved. As you go through his books you realize how incredibly deformed our vision of history is.
While we all go and learn about facts and dates and events, classes never really paint the way life was back then. How ALIEN it could be to us.
Did you know for example that in christian medieval France, when all the family slept in one big bed, it was a rather banal practice to smother an infant to death, because you couldn't well afford this new mouth? Or that romans barely had a concept of "private life" and the entire depended fully on slavery, and how complex it was?
My favorite work of his remains the one he did on the change of attitude of the western world towards death. It's so well written and a topic that is still so strong for us all and since the dawn of times!

The hour of our death or Western attitudes towards death: from the middle ages to the present depending on edition.
Centuries of childhood: a social history of family life
A history of private life - covers in 5 books from the roman times to the modern times. Pick the time you're setting in and read the associated book. Well worth the time, fascinating discoveries.

He wrote more on the history of sexuality in occident and the history of french populations but not sure those got translated.
His works on death I use fully in my own works, as I have a futuristic setting but the mentalities towards death made a big leap backward.

Special mention for people who'd be interested in survival/makeshift medicine. There are two books fully free online you can read called

Where there is no doctor and Where there is no dentist

Besides personal benefits, I learnt some very vivid tricks in there that go beyond the tooth pulled with pliers and the gangrene limb sawed off and cauterized in fire! :D


Alright, I hope I got some of you interested in some stuff… Was well worth trying anyway.
If that makes your bells ring and you do have sources or ideas to share, because you've got a solution for things you find often wanting in fantasy, or just a specific quirky story that could benefit us…
Or just questions and topics you'd like to dig and would like to know if anyone can recommend you anything!

Cheers!

March 18, 2015, 04:05:33 AM
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