May 25, 2020, 10:11:26 PM

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Re: Books not to read or at least not to buy!! His Dark Materials.  I know most people adore them, but I absolutely hated it.  Well.  The first one was OK, the second one was OK but had a pathetic, stupid ending which ruined everything.  The third one I gave up screaming in frustration half-way through.  Seriously, it's like he actually has a fantasy/epic checklist.  You can almost see each one being ticked off.  And the anti-religion arguments made no sense.

February 08, 2011, 07:42:55 AM
Re: Building a major city Factories might be on the rivers or estuaries (falling water and tidal water for driving the paddles for power).
Warehouses at the docks, though ones related to food or other inland resources near river mouth at harbour for barges.
Workers and shops between the factories annd warehouses.
Better off people with town houses on outskirts, well away from factories. Also likely to have country Estates that control the farms.

Based on my studies of 18th C UK and Ireland.

Industrialisation is from the 18th C. Some places outside cities not much changes from 1750s to 1920s
Many aspects of cities & ports don't change much from 1780s to 1860s
The Electrical Age starts 1800. Late Victorian era sees telephones, radio (telegraph, not voice), Electric street lights, typewriters, data sorting using punched cards invented to program looms in 18th C. Electric Telegraph 1830s, but continent wide optical telegraph (Clacks/Semaphore) in 18th C. Primitive fax from 1851. Mid 18th C. sees electric motors, lead acid batteries, submarines, torpedoes.
Steam engines from 17th C (pumps). Only used inshore and lakes on boats in early 19th C. Later 19th the efficiency is high enough to carry coal for ocean crossings.
Very rapid advances in machine tools etc in late 18th C.
Late 19th C saw Electric, Steam, diesel and petrol cars at the same time.

November 24, 2017, 08:04:00 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world Ok I really planned to keep my mouth shut on all this religion crap, but I just can't anymore.  So here comes a 20 page essay no one asked for and probably no one is going to read but whatever.

Anarchism probably isn't what you think it is.

The way most people think about human nature today is influenced by Freud, Malthus and Hobbes: People are violent animals at the core (the id), and social control from government and religion and whatnot (the superego) is what keeps us from tearing eachother apart.  Freud psychologized it, Malthus biologized it, but this statist bullshit has been spouted since Hobbes in his "man against man" to rationalize the monopoly of violence held by the state.

Real biologists have found extensive evidence for the value of mutualism and cooperation (ideas pioneered over a century ago by the anarchist Kropotkin but independently arrived at by modern biologists like Frans de Waal) and Freud's statism was largely reversed by Marcuse, but these severely dysfunctional Freudian ideas have political agency and keep everyone acting like Sheeple so they are here to stay.

Anyway, anarchists have a lot of opinions about human nature (some think it's good, some think it's neutral), but they think evil actually comes from the state.  It's states that drive war, facilitate gross inequality (via the monarchy, it's invention the corporation, and of course colonialism and imperialism).  Anarchists are different from libertarians because they are critical of both the state and capitalism. In fact they see the two as being inseparable and call it state-capitalism.  They usually support alternative social organizations (indigenous self-governments, cooperatives, syndicalism, you name it). Some of them even like the church. Some of them have run for political office. (as did Proudhon, the first Anarchist). It's about fighting *hierarchy* and *inequality*, usually with consensus-based (as opposed to representative) democracy. The circle-A is actually an A within an O and the O stands for Order. In the late 1800s and early 1900s most social movements were anarchistic.  People saw the state AND capitalist exploitation as neo-colonial forces to fend off.  The reason you have a 40 hour work week today is because ANARCHISTS died to bring it to you.  Look up the Haymarket Affair. Go. Right now.  Google it.  And come back and publicly thank anarchists that you're not working 20 hour shift in a factory since the age of 7. (Some hack historians will tell you it was b/c businesses "found people worked more effectively" when they weren't deprived of sleep and starving but that's a load of shit. It was anarchists, and if you don't believe me sod off.)

(FYI I emailed FF about writing a post about anarchism in fantasy but, as with all my emails they never replied.)

Okay so that's settled.  What about religion? What Rostum was saying was that all institutions are inherently political and therefore corrupt. But unlike the state, which owes it's existence to authoritarianism, violence and capitalist exploitation, religion has the flexibility to be many different things. Religion is just a form of "social thickness"-- a way that people relate to form independent networks with their own sorts of norms. You've got Quakers and Unitarians (I'm sorry you sour atheists, but there is nothing bad you can say about Quakers) on one hand, then you've got Evangelicals on the other (I seriously can't think of anything good about Evangelicals no matter how hard I try).

In my opinion. Religion, when it's good, is anarchistic. It is a control on the inevitable repressive trajectory of the state.

For all its corruption, and priests banging nuns and kids and murdering people and who knows what else over the centuries.... the catholic church was the ONLY effective control on the monarchy which would have driven serfs to even more unsavory levels of exploitation. Alms for the poor isn't a solution, but without them we might not have the space for social movements today. Philanthropy might not even be valued.

In the colonial period, it was largely Jesuit priests that organized indigenous resistance to colonial powers and slave traders.

Today, the catholic church is the largest social service agency in Latin America. Liberation theology is responsible for anti-poverty and indigenous rights movements across the continent. It is the most effective way for people to organize en masse.  In El Salvador, priests and nuns died defending people from a violent, repressive state owned by a few families.

In Spain, interestingly, things played out differently. During Franco's rule, the Catholic church sided with the state, supporting fascism and essentially attempting to re-establish the monarchy.  Anarchist were Franco's biggest thorn, suicide bombers and armed resistance keeping him at bay in southern Spain.  Any way long story short, Spain is now incredibly atheist, b/c Franco lost and they never recovered.

As a dominant ideology, religion plays a much more unleasant role in the US. Religious leaders are responsible for the xenophobia, racism and fervent mobilization of much of the Republican base.  But you still have those crazy catholic nun activists that tried the shut down the School of Americas (a center training torturers in Latin America) in protests year after year, and all kinds of anti-nuke protests.  You also have the Baptist church in the African American community, both politically mobilizing people for the democrats and providing an anti-gang influence.

So which of these is doing "what it actually teaches"? Most of the bible is poorly translated, third hand accounts, invented in a congress of elites. If God is real, he didn't say any of those words and he's probably royally pissed that people would dare to pretend to speak for him for their own personal gain. So by that logic, joining a church is probably the fastest way to go downstairs.

If God isn't real, or if he's just really chill and forgiving about that whole hubris thing, then maybe "what it teaches" doesn't really matter and religion is just a social technology: the compassion or lack thereof in the hearts of those that use that social technology is that makes it good or evil.

Religious people who believe without thinking do so at the peril of their very souls, and atheists who dismiss it sourly are equally lost. In my opinion.  Obviously this is all just my most very humble opinion. Except the anarchism stuff. That's fact.

February 21, 2019, 02:37:10 PM
Re: What do you think about this plot device? I've never heard of it before so can't really comment that much but...

I'm actually planning on doing this is one of my own books, and I'm not sure how to go about hinting at it.

The story is set in a world that's still pretty much in the seventeenth century, but it's a part of a multiverse and when one character goes into another world he runs into people with helicopters and machine guns.

I'm not sure how to make it seem like a natural and logical part of the story and world, rather than something completely ridiculous that just comes out of nowhere.

Foreshadowing is your friend. If you make it clear the multiverse exists early, the reader is more likely to accept this stuff. If you want to be more specific, maybe have some prophecies that could be interpreted that way, or some ancient broken artifacts that could be future tech from across the multiverse and so on.

April 24, 2019, 12:29:47 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world

Nothing sticks to Boris.

Except maybe a zipline  8)

June 01, 2019, 03:40:37 PM
Re: Dogs and Cats Cats can be cute cuddly and evil at the same time, that is awesome. Dogs are friendly and lovable and boisterous and that is fantastic.

September 08, 2019, 04:21:49 PM
Re: What is the fascination of mines in fantasy?
Thank you for reminding me. I had my own personal assassin crisis a few years back, where I was desperately looking for contemporary fantasy books that don't have teenage assassin protagonists.

80s and early 90s fantasy really is where the good stuff is. Yes, a lot, and perhaps most of it was cheesy or even campy. But one think that camp has is earnest enthusiasm that makes the whole work more than the sum of its silly parts. In my heavily distorted perception of someone who doesn't really need it, contemporary fantasy always looks stiff and trying to be grounded and down to earth.
I am always looking for magical adventures, but I just can't find any.
When I want reality I just read a history book.

"When I want reality I just read a history book." I'm definitely keeping this quote for further usage, hahah.  :D

September 15, 2019, 09:39:23 AM
Re: What are you currently playing? Yeah, he is tough. Hits hard, hits fast, and doesn't give you much openings. I think I played through the game four or five times now, but when I wanted to farm sunlight medals through co-op support, he was usually the boss where you got summoned the quickest, so I probably have fought him 20 or 30 times now. And a shield is just amazing.  ;D

The one boss that I never defeated by myself is the one in the big hidden area. Even with 3 player co-op that one took me a lot of tries. I have no idea how people beat him alone.

The Princes were also really tough when I first encountered them, but once you have them figured out you actually can very well dance around them. This really is one of the things that make all the games so utterly fascinating. You can work your ass for hours and dozens of tries the first time you play the game.
Iudex Gundyr was really tough the first time. Now I start a new game and easily kill him before he can even transform into his second phase.

There is always a temptation to think "the thing I just did avoided getting hit and dealt a bit of damage to the boss. If I can repeat this perfectly for 5 minutes without break, I can beat him." And then you try and try and try until you nail it. But then later you see videos of someone using fire or lightning damage instead and killing the boss with four hits in under 10 seconds. But it just never occured to you that you might be using a really weak attack form.

October 24, 2019, 08:27:32 PM
Re: What are you currently watching?
A saw that BBC adaptation of 'War of the Worlds'. If you like watching Eleanor Tomlinson stare into space and cry for three hours, I would recommend it. Otherwise, maybe give it a miss. The Tom Cruise movie is closer to the book, and that movie is set in 2000's America. Not that diverting from the source material has to be a bad thing, I just don't think they pulled it off here.
Did you read the review on the main site? He pinpointed quite well my problem with that series...

I did. I agree with most of it, even if my final verdict is a fair bit harsher than Toby's.

Part 1 was promising.
Part 2 cut out my favourite parts of the novel.
Part 3 was an absolute drag that went nowhere.

Considering how long I'd been looking forward to seeing this, disappointed doesn't cover it.

December 20, 2019, 03:44:33 PM