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Messages - Mazarkis

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I think Unsung is onto something, but not exactly that fantasy is analagous to contemporary thought but rather, in my mind, analogous to real-world mythology and/or human struggle. People read fantasy for the heroic element, the quest element, or the struggle-against-adversity element, which might lead to commentary on society just as in science fiction. But unlike sci fi, it is not about a new world. It is about humans and how we deal with the world we live in.

All in my own opinion, of course.

[JUL 2012] The Book of the New Sun / Re: Who is Reading Along? :)
« on: June 27, 2012, 05:27:17 PM »
Me me me

Right--I'm just interested in what creates those expectations.

Just want to emphasize that I'm not some grumpy author sitting in front of my computer, whining because nobody wants to pay a lot of money for my book :) It's just a thing that interests me.

But Anne, WHY do movies cost so much to make? In part, it's because the people who do the CGI and the acting and so on are valued (in fact, the least valued person in the equation, from what I understand, is the writer). It all goes back to what people are willing to pay for certain types of work.

Interesting topic. I have long been flummoxed by the willingness of people to spend $14 at the cinema while objecting to book prices. Movies are typically 90-100 minutes long while books provide hours of entertainment. I have come to the conclusion that the "price by hour" idea you present means little in the scheme of things.

I don't know what books are worth--some would argue they are worth only what somebody would pay for them. And the expectation of cheap books has never been greater.

As my sister is a journalist I think often about the devaluation of writing.

I can't wait to read your review. I, too, have read it (my review is up on Goodreads), but I don't know anybody else who has.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Gene Wolfe
« on: May 15, 2012, 06:20:07 PM »
There is a lot about identity, and how you are made--or not--of what others see (I thought the woman fixed up to be beautiful was an interesting touch, for example). Severian lies in order to make you see him as a hero, but he is inconsistent, and between the cracks you glimpse someone else.

There's a lot of religious symbolism as well.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« 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 :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« on: April 28, 2012, 07:01:03 PM »
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.

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.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« 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. :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« 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.

-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.


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.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« on: April 28, 2012, 02:49:44 AM »
I agree that if a writer fails in his/her attempt to address a serious issue, then it is a lesson learned; and if as you say many readers are missing the intent and seeing only offense, then it could perhaps be a failure indeed.* However, I don't feel that fear of failure should prevent an author from exploring issues.

You write, Funky Scarecrow, that "no matter how much we may try, we can never truly understand what it means to be a woman and live an entire life under the weight of cultural oppression that women do," and that may be true, but part of being a writer is attempting to have that empathy and attempting to put one's self in that role, exploring the implications and feeling the effects. 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.

(Also--a man cannot be a woman, but that does not mean he cannot subscribe to feminist ideals.)

*Again--have not read it, so I cannot comment on RSB in particular.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« on: April 27, 2012, 10:39:41 PM »
It's interesting he considered his audience at all--I mostly write for myself :) But if he says he is targeting men in order to get them thinking (whether or not he is successful), I see no reason to think him insincere in the attempt. He wrote, "I always assume this reader is male . . ." He is referring to a specific reader for a specific point or issue? Not all readers? The ellipses show us there is stuff missing from the excerpt.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: R Scott Bakker
« on: April 27, 2012, 08:24:50 PM »
From the passage quoted in the article  you linked, it seems RSB is attempting to critique male sexuality more than feminism. Whether or not he does that successfully in Neuropath, I don't know, because I have not read it. I recently made a blog post about attacking difficult subjects (rape and misogyny would certainly fall into that category), and my position is that there is no reason an author should hold back from making such attempts. If they are unsuccessful, then lesson learned; but when successful it serves to elevate the genre.

I don't see why a man cannot claim to be a feminist. Men have every reason to want equality for a wife, sister(s), daughter(s), etc. But men come at it from a different direction, not being women.

At these times, in the United States at least, there are much worse things happening to the causes of women than a book someone might find objectionable.

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