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Messages - Yora

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My first motivation to get into worldbuilding long ago was to create a world that is still in the ancient times of elven and dwarven kingdoms, and giants and dragons, when humans are simple barbarian tribes. That always seemed much more interesting than the Lord of the Rings wolds in which elves and dwarves are obsolete and giants and dragons almost extinct. First dropped the dwarves (because they are literal one-trick ponies that can only be racist alcoholic scottish-viking miners or they aren't dwarves), then the humans, and recently the dragons. And the giants.
It's also now more like central America, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia, so basically nothing of the original idea remained except a world of wild forests and mountains. And the various peoples are all to some degree adaptations of various elven archetypes. But since I dropped really any references to the Standard Fantasy Setting, I don't call them elves either.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: History in Fantasy Books
« on: May 07, 2018, 05:59:47 PM »
I think the 14th century in Northern Europe is a really fascinating time. The story of King Valdemar and Princess Margrete can easily stand up to Game of Thrones with its amazing turns.
Strange Weather! Famine! Plague! Succession wars! Really compliacted family trees because everyone is related! Ridiculously powerful merchants who own entire cities! Crusaders! Pirates! Beheadings!

Another region I would be really interested in would be the ancient Eurasian plains. All the lands of the Scythians from the Danube through Khazakhstan to the Indus.

Speaking of which, annother absolutely amazing one is the aftermath of Alexander's conquest of Persia. Greek generals becoming lords over their own states in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sadly, these two don't seem to be very much accessible to regular people and researching them would be quite a challenge. (Though I think trying to do some further research about the later might add quite nicely to what  I am currently working on.

General Discussion / Re: Pen Name
« on: May 06, 2018, 07:38:10 AM »
Kovacs would be pronounceable by native English speakers. Who knows what grunts they would make based on Kovach.

The hypothetical possibility that one day people would say my name in public was the reason I chose to use Martin Christopher instead of my full name. Not much risk of mangling there.

Remember the thing that happened in Sweden.

Any economical sytem is also a social system. And the state's involvement in shaping and supporting the social system is politics! *waves a red banner*

Capitalism can only exist in the presence of states that guarantee and protect certain rights and enforce duties. And in our world, these states also regulate taxes, subsidies, and which types of contracts are considered legally binding and are enforced by the states. There is no clear border between or economic and political system and the two are impossible to separate. States are actively involved in business and companies are actively involved in politics. If you have a problem with capitalism, you have to approach it politically. Voting with your wallet is of limited use when the state subsidized and protects monopolies.

"Everyone is equal and everything should be shared are not radically new ideas" is absolutely true, but calling things "proto-socialist" can lead to confusion.  "Everyone is equal" is more of an anarchist idea than a socialist one, especially in the context of representative democracy. Socialism is specifically about redistribution of wealth, it can be democratic or not depending on the way it's implemented. So it's less about everyone being equal than it is about everyone having access to material goods.
To me, the more important aspect was collective ownership.

Everyone is equal also applies in hardcore wild west capitalism. If you're poor and getting exploited, sucks to be you. By random chance, you could have been the one exploiting others to get rich. You totally have the right to work your way up and get rich. Good luck.  8)

In other news, I decided to remove one site from my link list. There wasn't anything objectionable written by the owner of that site, but his link section includes a whole bunch of political rant blogs that occasionally have a little piece on fantasy books. Both far left and far right, to his credit, but I really don't want to link to a fantasy site that thinks its readers would be interested in political agitation.  :P

Writers' Corner / Re: The Episodic Series Format
« on: May 02, 2018, 08:21:34 PM »
I think using Conan as my template might have been holding me back. These stories generally have all the action take place in a single location. But "go to place, do stuff, leave place" might actually be quite difficult as a structure. In particular regarding development and progress through the story. It's an artifact of the submission guidelines of a publishing modl from 80 years ago. When you go with a serial, you can do one location per chapter and string them together.
Being heavily inspired by 2 hour movies, doing a combination of the two might work: Self-contained episodes that are each structured in a serial fashion with 3 or 4 chapters. Like the format of True Detective. It's an intermediate form between the full novel and a short story collection. I think The Copper Promise reads like it was written that way.

Regrding stakes, I think one field with a lot of potential would be relationships with secondary caracters. Having a well established cast of secondary characters makes everything much more meaningful for the protagonist. Even when you know that the protagonist can not die, how the relationships with the secondary characters will look like at the end of the story is completely open. Friends can become enemies and enemies friends, and all of them can die or suffer other terrible permanent fates. If the readers already know characters from previous stories and they have been entertaining to read, their investment becomes even higher. You can only make a story about reconciliation with a relative and former lovers so many times, but you can have an unlimited amount of well developed secondary characters with lots of different types of relationships to the protagonist.
Tome some degree, you can also threaten the protagonist's most prized possessions, like magic items or a ship. Losing that resource will affect future stories without really changing the character. But readers would know that this particular resource will no longer be of help in the future once it's gone.

Why don’t you read Thrawn by Timothy Zahn I know you read the old trilogy heir to the empire but have you read the new books by the same author?
Because I am still in denial. Star Wars has been discontinued in 1998.  :D

Also, it apparently does not deal with the Jedi, Sith, or the Force.

Sci-Fi, Horror, YA & Urban Fantasy Books / Supernatural Space Opera
« on: May 01, 2018, 09:15:31 PM »
Has there been anything good in recent years? I am thinking of stuff that is basically epic fantasy set in space, like Dune or Star Wars. Something older that isn't that well known would also be appreciated.

Fantasy Resources / Re: Writing resource.
« on: May 01, 2018, 05:33:30 PM »
Akira Kurosawa on script writing. (which applies to all story writing)

General Discussion / Re: Friday Night Music Thread
« on: May 01, 2018, 04:17:38 PM »
I've been loooking into the wider field of Synthwave beyond Pertubator and the appafrently common gateway drugs Hotline Miami and Drive. Particularly like Trevor Something Does Not Exist. I think I might be just the right age for this.  8)

You do have some proto-socialist ideas in various ancient religious movements. Everyone is equal and everything should be shared are not radically new ideas. The principles can be applied to agrarian societies as well.

I think the difference that came with the industrial revolution was not the methods of production, but rather the development of social mobility. To be an industrialist you didn't have to be born a noble. With the hard borders between upper and lower class removed and the prospect to rise in status becoming more realistic, it would become much easier for people to question the established status quo. It's no loner a fact of life that peasants are poor and nobles are rich, but the division of upper and lower class is clearly a mam made construct that can be remade into something else.

Writers' Corner / The Episodic Series Format
« on: April 30, 2018, 08:56:36 PM »
The format of an episodic series has a great appeal for me, primarily because of practical considerations than narrative ones. It allows the author to add new episodes at whatever pace, lets you get from planning to release fairy quickly, and does not tie you into obligations to give a answers to questions left open in the previous episodes. Planning a series of three, five, or ten books is a commitment I am not able to take. I'd most probably end up never releasing a single chapter.
Being able to write one story at a time, and if I feel like it, write another one whenever I want, seems to me like the only realistic way to get my big vision on the page.

But I am also very much struggling with this format as my concept becomes more concrete.Making the stories not build on each other makes it very difficult to have the events having a meaningful impact on the character.There are three works that are using this format that made me become interested in. The Conan and Kane stories and the Indian Jones movies. I think Conan and Kane are both characters who don't really learn anything or grow in meaningful ways. Conan has a slightly different temperament in his youth than in his age, but that's about it.
He doesn't really want anything but to show of his prowress. Once he impressed or intimidated people in one place, he goes in search of adventure somewhere else where he can show off. And Kane is an unrepentant evil immortal who has been at the same game of refusing to escape his eternal torture in death for houndreds or even thousands of years. Refusing to change is the essence of his character. I enjoy reading both character's stories a lot, but when you try to define them they are really shallow and I always have a hard time to figure out the real stakes.
Indiana Jone is different. The movies don't much build on each other and the character doesn't show any sign of change, but the two movies that are universally regarded as the best by far are really carried by their subplots of Indy trying to salvage his broken relationships with Marion and his father. The main plots about snatching a magic artifact before the Nazis do neer have any real stakes that would be interesting. But how often can you pull that off? The movies did it twice but then the formula is worn out.

In a strictly eoisodic series, how can you integrate peronal stakes and make events impactful to the protagonist?

Since one of the problem groups are Christian extremists, it had me look up and read the Sermon on the Mountain in Matthew. Maybe you could formulate an argument in their own language they would be more receptive to. It's a perfect match. It condems exactly this behavior and is one of the core texts of Christianity. Feels like every second line is a figure of speech that you can still run into every other day. And to the end you get this:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Apparently the church was plagued by this problem already by the second generation.

I also noticed that in the last German elections in the late 20s and early 30s, the Social Democrats (Labour) were losing votes every time, while the Communists were gaining votes. Even if the left had ended up winning over the right, the outlook would have been almost just as bleak. When you let others sacrifice your values for your shared cause, you can only lose.

What a fount of inspiration. So much potential for stories that I've never seen being told in fantasy yet.  :D The enemies who have been tricked to do evil by a genuinely evil third party villain is such a lame cliche. The opponent who becomes an ally against a greater problem without abondining his cause and ideal seems really fresh in comparison.

Always knew this would come in handy!

I chuckled again when I saw this. This really was a very funny moment in the movie. But shortly after it had send me into a bit of a crisis of faith.  ??? It's a funny joke, but the fact that it is a joke that work actually deeply disturbs me.

Except for the "hail satan", nothing in this joke is what I could in any way see as "unchristian". How is the human brain able to confess undying devotion to the principles of "love your enemy" and "turn the other cheek", to acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness, and at the same time being the most hateful and intollerant a person can be? I'm not at all into the Christian mythology but deeply commited to the Christian moral philosophy. And there are people who believe that not following those rules will eternally damn them to hell, yet they do exactly those things their own sacred scripture condemns as evil. And they do the evil in the name of those teachings and regard their actions as furthering those teachings.
Then what is the point of argument and discourse?!  This makes the entire appeal to reason meaningless. Why even try to talk to people with bad believes? You can't convince them with arguments. The brain will simply make all words and reason twist in the most ridiculous ways to make reality fit your established preconceptions.

This had me take a look at some of the more dubious looking links on a fantasy site that I usually like reading for good content (turns out he also has links to far left commenters in the same lists), which led me to the dark and insane world of people who are having serious problems with diversity. Not that they ever say they are against women or non-whites, but they complain about them being forced into all fantasy these days by the "far left establishment" that tries to whipe out their values of heroism and the very concept of masculinity.

One explanation for those people's believes is to say that they are sexist racists, and that would explain it all and end the discussion. But "they are simply evil and that's why we have to crush them by force" is exactly the kind of thinking that makes them terrible people. And there is no denying. There are plenty of people fighting for more tolerance and equality that display exactly this kind of behavior. And I have been worrying about this since the G8 summit in 2007 that took place not too far from where I live and gathered a huge crowd of protesters. Many having genuine grievances, but there was a overwhelming inclusion of absolutely every protest groups, many of which I would consider to be semi-terrorists. (Regular riotings with lots of property damage and inured police counts as "forcing political demands through violence" to me.) And of course it was the violent nutters who got all the public attention, while the moderate groups made no efforts to renounce them to maintain the appearance of a large coherent movement. And there certainly are lots of people like that among activists for a just cause today as well.

They often say that to write about monsters and horror, you have to find out what you fear yourself, and what the contemporary fears of society are. And I was thinking on how this could flow into my own writing. Which had me thinking of a 36 year old quote from Master Yoda:
"But beware of the Dark Side. Anger, Fear, Agression. The Dark Side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will."
That's exactly what's happening.

Good thing about all of this, my puddle of inspiration has turned into an ocean. I've gazed into the abyss, and the abyss is gazing back at me. My cause is just, but my side is full of corruption. The same issue that plagues the opposing side, and which is the whole reason I have a problem with them. Conservative christians are no threat to us. Is the hateful nutters among them. Who are getting all the attention and who have taken over as the voice for decent people. The same could happen to us. Has it already happened to us?
That's already material for at least five books.  8)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: That slightly annoying thing
« on: April 28, 2018, 02:55:19 PM »
Another thing that always annoys me is when sci-fi writers use numbers. They always have several zeroes too many or too few. You'd think they research these things when they apply measurements to their fiction, but it almost always comes across as if they are just making up fantasy in space as they go.

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