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Which book are you reading now? Volume XI

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by NedimNapoleon, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Well, that's great that you enjoy it, but that's hardly the typical response to comparing Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf gamebooks.
     
  2. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus

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    That's not necessarily a good thing...
     
  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Hesiod- Theogonia.

    Supremely great. 5/5 :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  4. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Why not? Ideas that are 100% absent from the zeitgeist are probably always good to hear. Right now the only political forces for monogamy defend it for completely religious reasons- people aren't exactly inspired by chastity belts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  5. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    There's a difference between playing them and adapting them to prose. The one I finished in November, Caverns of the Snow Witch, is one that I started playing over 25 years ago, and never finished. But I always wanted to, especially after reading one of the Fighting Fantasy blogs where someone much more knowledgeable than I am about this series mentioned that there are actually four of them that form a loose story arc and were originally published out of order. Caverns of the Snow Witch (#9) comes before Forest of Doom (#3), and so that's how I decided to do my NaNoWriMo project (I actually played FoD through many years ago).

    The difference between playing and adapting is that when adapting to prose, some encounters and characters are necessarily somewhat altered for the sake of clarity and the flow of the story. One of the worst things you can do when adapting gaming material to prose is make it obvious where the game mechanics are happening - turn left, right, go straight ahead, gain or lose stamina points, etc. Of course you include things like the character making decisions on where to go or how they feel or what their injuries may be, but not like it's a game mechanic or list of statistics. That's basically the one fault I found with the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. In the ruins of Pax Tharkas, it's painfully obvious where the prose was adapted from the original gaming module.

    I've had to assume that my characters have a few pieces of equipment that isn't listed in the books. For example, one of the quests in Scorpion Swamp is to map the Swamp... yet the character's equipment doesn't list paper or anything to write with. So I added it in that the character stopped by the marketplace to buy some after he decided to enter the swamp. And it made sense to combine Selator's quest (to find the Antherica Berry) and Poomchukker's quest (to map the swamp for the Merchants' Guild) because he'd need a map anyway.


    I'm not saying Lone Wolf is bad to play. I'm saying it's not something I would tackle for a writing project where I'm adapting a game to prose. I'm very familiar with Fighting Fantasy, and even 30 years ago was making up backstories for my characters (naming them, giving them families, reasons why they started adventuring, and postulating family and friend relationships among the characters of different gamebooks). I later found out that official chronology-wise, my own version of events makes no sense, but I really don't care. I've invented towns and people for some of these books that were never in the originals, gave names and personalities to NPCs, and have been having fun with it.
     
  6. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    I found the American way of food, eye opening into the current system of arigculture, food chain and poverty

    Dare
    Work related stress, a silver lining is reading up on self help books
     
  7. Takhisis

    Takhisis april's fool

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    up yours!
    :shake:
     
  8. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    Verbal Judo, George Thompson. Guide to using words to deescalate conflicts, handle aggressive people, and persuade people to follow direction.
     
  9. Paul in Saudi

    Paul in Saudi Emperor

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    I just started Six Encounters with Lincoln. A marvelous and though-provoking work that points out Lincoln's many flaws.
     
  10. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Dune isn't really that great. It's alright and I guess it was probably very original in the time before Star Wars, but it completely failed to live up to my expectations of epicness. Is Messiah any better?
     
  11. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Looks like you want @Valka D'Ur to answer :D
     
  12. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Hey, does that notify the user that you're talking about them?
     
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  13. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    ^Yes. And it is really useful.
     
  14. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    And here I am!

    O-kay.... . Once upon a time when we still had vBulletin, there was a DuneFanatics social group people asked me to start. It got zapped with all the other social groups when XenForo was inflicted on us. Dune discussions are spread out elsewhere, of course, in OT and A&E. I've been thinking of starting a dedicated Dune thread in A&E, since I know there are fans here.

    But to address Mouthwash's post:

    Them's Fedaykin fightin' words! :trouble:

    You know why there are some of those elements of "epicness" in Star Wars? That's because George Lucas "borrowed" them from Frank Herbert, including that giant monster in the third movie... you know, the one Jabba was going to feed our intrepid heroes to, for a mid-morning snack? Granted, it's not exactly a giant sandworm, but the principle is the same. And feeding prisoners to the worms is an execution method used in Dune (it's how the Harkonnens dealt with the Imperial Ecologist, Liet-Kynes).

    There's an article somewhere online that lists the elements of Star Wars that were lifted from Dune. I'll see if I can find it. Star Wars really isn't that original in any way other than the way it was filmed and how the special effects were done. Most of the story elements were lifted from other authors' works, Saturday-morning adventure serials, and mythology (Joseph Campbell addresses the latter in Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth).

    I'm not saying Star Wars didn't completely blow my 14-year-old self away when I first saw it in the theatre in 1977. What I am saying is that many years later I learned that George Lucas was taking an awful lot of credit for original ideas that he really didn't have. Even his novelization of the movie was really done by science fiction author Alan Dean Foster (who improved the story greatly).

    Dune Messiah is a bit controversial among Dune fans. Some enjoy it, and others consider it boring because it takes up 12 years later after the Atreides-Fremen jihad that has cemented Atreides control over the Imperium. Most of the action takes place in Arrakeen, with a side trip or two to Seitch Tabr, and there's a lot of political and domestic things going on. Of course there is a plot against Paul's life, and Paul and Chani are trying for an heir (their first son was killed by the Harkonnens in Dune). By this point I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that Duncan Idaho (killed in Dune) returns; in fact, he is the only character to be present in all six Original Dune novels.

    I found Dune Messiah not that great the first time I read it. At that time (1984) the intricacies and palace intrigue didn't really appeal, and holy crap, Princess Irulan is one unlikable character in that novel. But many years later, especially after watching the TV miniseries that incorporated Dune Messiah and Children of Dune (as well as the first book, of course; the miniseries is in two two-part movies), I think the book was easier to follow and I had a greater appreciation for the intrigue and intricacies. And Irulan is a more sympathetic character in the miniseries - still not a saint, but nowhere near the villain she was originally presented as.

    I check my Alerts messages regularly, and this is one that was included:

    Since this basically functions as a "Summon Valka" spell (since I'm always curious about why someone would mention me in a post ;)), here I am.
     
  15. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    I don't think it matters which 'elements' of Star Wars weren't original. Lucas was able to synthesize and use them in a completely original way. That's what storytelling boils down to, really.

    It took *less than a year* to conquer the galaxy? From his visions I assumed it would take decades or centuries. That's just completely immersion-breaking.

    My great disappointment with Dune was that the first half of the book promised far more than it delivered. I thought that the news of Paul's son being killed and his sister taken would be the turning point; the moment where his perfect messianic story comes crashing down and he would decide that, yes, he would like to conquer the universe after all. How cool would it be if the reason that he couldn't see a way to stop the jihad was because he would snap and become the villain who leads it? But no, here's some plot-convenience for ya: the Baron dies like a *****, Alia escapes, Fremen win the day, and some vague handwaving about humanity going stale to justify the conquest.
    :vomit:
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  16. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    The thing is, some elements are more exact than a "dethroned prince struggles against massive odds to conquer his enemies and reclaim his throne" story - which is a large part of what Dune is, at least the basic story.

    Where do you get the "less than a year" from? :confused: There are TWELVE years between the two novels. The conquest is still ongoing at the start of Dune Messiah, although by that time it's just mopping up straggler-worlds and pockets of rebellion. Of course rebellions are ongoing anyway; that's how it is in most empires.

    The Imperium is not the entire galaxy. That said, I myself raised these doubts on a couple of Dune forums that it seemed impossible to conquer the Imperium and remake Arrakeen in just a dozen years. But considering that they had foldspace technology (FTL, for all practical purposes), a vast number of Fremen soldiers, the threat of atomics (the Atreides were willing to defy the Great Convention if it meant getting what they wanted), and a prescient leader who could see the future... not to mention the new religion being developed and disseminated by Alia and the Qizarate (a new class of Fremen priests) into an Imperium that had gone stale and jaded and corrupt, and that was all it took to kick this into high gear. Consider the vast undertaking of building the Pyramids, and that was with without modern tools and techniques. Add in tools and techniques more advanced than we have now (albeit non-computerized; remember that there are no computers or AI anywhere in the Imperium at this time, since they were considered anathema), with a fantastically dedicated group of people doing these projects, and it could happen.

    Oh, and there was that little matter of "he who controls the spice controls the universe" and "he who can destroy a thing controls that thing". The planetary rulers were dependent on spice, the Bene Gesserit were dependent on spice, without spice the Guild wouldn't be able to function and each planet would have been isolated, and many wealthy people were taking the spice to prolong their lives (as well as using it as currency). So Paul pretty much had everyone at his mercy at that point. The various planets and major Schools could either submit or be destroyed.

    The things you're mentioning here are addressed in Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. The truth is that Paul realized that things had gotten to the point where even if he were killed or stepped down voluntarily, the Fremen would continue the jihad in his name. They had been put down and abused for thousands of years by various Imperial rulers (when they were known as the Zensunni Wanderers), and the last few decades on Arrakis under the Harkonnens had been particularly brutal. The Fremen had their freedom, a new leader with unimaginable powers of mind and body, thanks to his prescience and Bene Gesserit training, and the means to impose their will on the people they saw as their enemies.

    One of the lessons stressed throughout the Original Dune series is "beware the charismatic leader" - because even with the best of intentions, power corrupts. We see this in our world around us now.


    BTW, there are two other books I'd recommend that were not written by Frank Herbert. The Dune Encyclopedia, by Dr. Willis McNelly, was sanctioned and approved by Frank Herbert (although Herbert reserved the right to contradict anything in it in future novels). The Encyclopedia covers the first four novels, up to the end of God Emperor of Dune. I can't imagine what McNelly would have made of the last two novels; there are some elements there that rival Heinlein for things we consider immoral in the real-world 21st century.

    The other book I recommend is National Lampoon's DOON. It's a parody of Dune, written in Frank Herbert's style, and it's hilarious.
     
  17. Pokurcz

    Pokurcz Emperor

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    I read Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie, recently, and boy oh boy was it good. Its definitely the best space opera ever and top five SF bok I've ever read, its won The Hugo the Nebula the Arthur C. Clark, Bafta and Locus awards. Its about a totalitarian interstellar empire, bodysnatching and AI.

    Its not often that you read a Sci-Fi book that reads like high quality literature, usually it is just about the Ideas.

    An other one that I loved was Embassy Town by China Mieville, also very very good, the guy invents this completely new kind of cognition and perception of reality that the aliens in the book have and that the human embassy has to navigate. Thrilling stuf and interesting linguistics.
     
  18. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald 老仁森林

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    has anyone read "the third policeman"?
    is it good?
    it sounds kinda amazing lol
     
  19. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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  20. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    Dig that cover ^
     
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