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Messages - JMack

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Writers' Corner / Re: "Special Effects"
« on: January 30, 2015, 10:23:14 PM »
I've mentioned the Eli Monpress books by Rachel Aaron in the context of the demon discussion.
But there's some pretty serious whiz bang magical and non-magical fight scenes; and especially as the books go, they have some pretty cool over-the-top settings.

Ready Player One is really cool. They've been talking about a movie version of it almost since it first came out, but it never seems to progress much past talk. It would make a good film, though.

But they would really need Rush to play themselves.   :D

I can't resist.
Here is a favorite line from one my favorite movies, "As Good as It Gets".
It's funny because it's awful, and we know it's awful:

A receptionist at a publishing company asks Melvin Udall,a famous author of women's romances:

Receptionist: "How do you write women so well?"
Melvin Udall: "I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."

Not politically correct, I know, but Melvin is a jerk beyond all jerks at this point in the film, thereby invalidating every wonderfully awful thing he says.

Introductions / Re: Good Evening!(/morning/day/night)
« on: January 30, 2015, 06:44:19 PM »
At age 53, I find them almost impossible.  At 63, I will be unable to use the internet.   :'(

Introductions / Re: Good Evening!(/morning/day/night)
« on: January 30, 2015, 06:10:58 PM »

On each post you'll see an icon for "Agreed" and one for "Hmm... not sure".
Clicking on "Agreed" increases the karma of that poster; clicking on "Not sure" decreases the Karma.
Someone can go negative on karma - not the best mark of playing well with others?

Really, karma serves no great purpose except to prompt discussions about Smiting the Smiters or some such.  :)

That said, I do enjoy seeing mine is at least positive!

Introductions / Re: Good Evening!(/morning/day/night)
« on: January 30, 2015, 06:07:06 PM »
Welcome Chreus!  I'm in the same position (no one to talk to much about all this) though with a better library  8)

My first fantasy novels were the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (young adult).  My oldest brother read the first book (The Book of Three) aloud to the middle brother and me.  (Though if you count the Oz books, it started back even further.)  Then it was Narnia, then LOTR.  In the early '70s the big expansions of the genre beyond the Inklings were the Thomas Covenant books and Sword of Shannara.  (And someone will correct me with some other version of the facts, I'm sure.)

It's really the books written since the '80s that haven't been much a part of my reading.  (Kids will do that.  "What, it's ten years later?  How did that happen?")  So every time I chat with anyone on F-F, it just makes my To-Be-Read pile that much larger.

Anyway, have at it here!  And check out the monthly book club and the monthly writing contest.

[DEC 2014] Religion / Re: [Dec 2014] - Religion - Voting Thread
« on: January 30, 2015, 11:37:11 AM »
Big reminder to vote for December's stories.  Xiamen is very polite.  I'm not  >:(. VOTE  ;)

Anyone can vote, yes?  Not just people who submit a story.
How many people do we usually get voting?
Can we set a record this month?   ;D

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Assassins! Assassins everywhere!
« on: January 30, 2015, 02:35:18 AM »
My cover art from a 1975 high school SFF fanzine.  I was ahead of my time on this whole hooded man thing.   8)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: January 30, 2015, 02:01:48 AM »
In terms of fantasy Abercrombie's books are generally what is referred to as 'low magic'. There's probably more in The Blade Itself (first book of The First Law) than any of his others.
Low magic?  Pray tell.

I'm not sure it was intended, but there was a bit of something in this story that I sometimes think is a valid concept for any story: we never do understand everything.  Isn't that the way things are in "real life"?  Of course, we read this genre because we're not exactly satisfied with the messiness of real life, I think.  But still, if we are confident that the author knows what's going on, can we be satisfied with some mess, mystery and loose threads?

Writers' Corner / Re: Demons - They come from hell
« on: January 29, 2015, 02:34:44 PM »
Ok, I can accept a working definition that distinguishes between evil monsters and spirits vs. spirits from hell itself. Again, I think some of this is almost a matter of translation.  A Japanese "demon" is a demon because someone chose to translate whatever Japanese words are being used as "demon".

But take Conan: If I remember correctly, the demons faced in the first two stores are specifically described as coming from hell or the pits or whatever.  There are clear echoes of Lovecraft.  But I doubt Howard would have seen this as part of Christian cosmology.

To your original point: evil, magical monsters? Kill em with a sword all day.  Fiends from hell?  Something more than brute strength or a simple magical sword should be required.

Which is exactly what we get in the Eli Monpress books.   You want great battles with demons from the nether planes?  That series has got it, though you have to go through the whole five book cycle to get the full impact.

Writers' Corner / Re: Demons - They come from hell
« on: January 28, 2015, 09:46:11 PM »
I believe in practice the term demon was slapped on pretty much all non-Christian spirits. Convincing people that their gods are deceiving demons seems to have been more effective than trying to deny they exist in the first place.
Best case cenario, they are revealed to be actually saints who have been serving god all along.
Angels are native to Judaism and its offshots, demons are everything outside of it. (Though I believe Islam has jinn as a kind of non-evil spirits, who can find the right way just like humans do.)
While I agree that part of the cultural dominance process of the spread of Christianity was to subsume pagan beliefs, gods and celebrations - and either "demonize" them  ;) or co-opt them, I don;t agree that Judaism doesn't have demons, or that demons are only established in the way you describe.  An earlier poster in this thread mentioned Chinese demons.  There are Japanese demons.  There are Jewish demons and dybbuks, which Wikipedia (that source of all truth) says may have been borrowed from Zoroastrianism.

I also have to say that I think K.S. Crooks earlier may not have it completely right - I think there are plenty of demons in legend, folklore, etc. that aren't the opposite of angels or tied to the Christian cosmology.  Some of this is really just a question of language: what English groups together under one category.

Back to your OP, though, the question is whether they are being handled in interesting ways in Fantasy.  (Do I recall that in the Conan stories the approach you complain of is actually pretty standard, though maybe assisted by a magicked sword from time to time?  First and second published stories, when Conan is king of Aquilonia, for example.  But I digress.)

I think a really interesting and fun treatment of demons is in Rachel Aaron's Eli Monpress books.  The sense of the demon invading and possessing is very strong, but there is also great fun in trying to fight the thing with sword and strength - and not entirely succeeding at all.

I've been playing with a short story concept in which a monk summons a demon to serve him with predictably disastrous results.  One day, I may be able to post the thing on F-F (if I can only finish it  :D)

Really interesting take on things, Victoria.  I agree about the competition to the heir.  It's set up as important and ten becomes irrelevant, at least I'm therms of Yeine winning.  Let's say we keep that plot, there should have been a clearer decision point on Yeine's part: I will abandon this approach because...

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Something with barbarians
« on: January 28, 2015, 12:58:32 PM »
I always get Katherine Kurtz (Deryni series) mixed up with Katherine Kerr (Deverry series).  :-[
I read Kurtz back in the day and she was a favorite.  Guess I'll have to add Jerr to the TBR

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Assassins! Assassins everywhere!
« on: January 28, 2015, 11:09:21 AM »
I've noticed it too.  When you think about the huge number of Hollywood movie assassins its not much of a surprise. 

Is the equivalent of the Conan-style northern barbarian?  Yes and no.  In the sense everyone is doing it, sure.  In the sense that death and mayhem surround them, sure.  But Conan and his ilk strike me as a sort of film noir and existential thing.  Not sure if that's what the hero assassin is all about.  I do know that I'm uncomfortable with what I see as a first person shooter approach to death in the movies, and I equate assassin heroes with this mindset, rightly or wrongly.

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