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Bookclub

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Comments

  • It's all terrible on some level. Because nothing is perfect.

  • I exclusively read Varney the Vampire.

  • edited 2013-03-17 22:43:24
    Has friends besides tanks now

    ^^ Imperfection isn't always terrible. You're drawing upon the ends of the spectrum.


    ^ Or you could tell me what your point is.

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    And I'll readily praise someof it, and as such, I want to see what's going on, in modern works held within the same designation



    The problem isn't in that. The problem is in... Well, the article you linked reads as some masturbatory jerk-off for older works, for one.


    But more than that, the article... No, actually, let's see. How can I explain it?


    The author talks about older works and how they are written great, and then how modern works are written badly. The thing is, older works suck as well, and modern works are written well.


    So making a whole like twenty-page article about it seems stupid at best, and... well, condescending towards everyone who reads current works at worst, to be honest.

  • But you never had any to begin with.

    Look at it another way: Older works have always sucked, we just don't realise because nobody bothered to remember them.

  • edited 2013-03-17 22:59:57
    Has friends besides tanks now

    Well, the article you linked reads as some masturbatory jerk-off for older works, for one.



    Well, jerking-off would necessarily be masturbatory, wouldn't it? :P


    To address your post more seriously, Myers did also refer favorably to modern writers like Stephen King for writing both well, and with less pretension than what is currently being held as "literary." The essay is stating that, at the end of the day, writers of all levels of pretension write stories that are essentially the same, and it laments the current priorities in technique. The good recent writers weren't addressed more fully, I think, because they're not the problem in this state of affairs. Though you're right in that they didn't (in this abridged version of the essay, at least; for all I know the full text might very well do that) refer to older "literary" crap.


    ^ That too. We've at least forgotten, for the most part, the shittier old works.

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    Well, jerking-off would necessarily be masturbatory, wouldn't it? :P



    It's still a valid sentence; 'masturbatory' is an adjective, so it denotes what type of jerk-off the author of the essay was doing.



    To address your post more seriously, Myers did also refer favorably to modern writers like Stephen King for writing both well, and with less pretension than what is currently being held as "literary."



    Well, you see, the problem is buying into anything that is held as being "literary", instead of holding works up on their own merits and praising/criticizing them for that.

  • I don't even call it violence when it's in self defence; I call it intelligence.

    The article seems fair enough to me, though in a way the author seems to fall victim to the very thing he complains about. The distinction between capital-l Literature and genre fiction is in fact the underlying problem here... but after correctly having stated so, then the author goes off to complain about modern capital-l Literature. That's a bit... contradictory.

  • edited 2013-03-18 15:24:22
    Has friends besides tanks now

    It's still a valid sentence;



    Yes, but it's redundant. The sentence would have read the same with either or.



    Well, you see, the problem is buying into anything that is held as being "literary", instead of holding works up on their own merits and praising/criticizing them for that.



    I know that, and that's also, again, what Myers is preaching for; he wants people to be allowed to draw their own conclusions on writing based on objective (or as close to objective as possible), rather than being bullied into blind praise for whatever the incestuous circle of awards' judges has deemed safe.



    The distinction between capital-l Literature and genre fiction is in fact the underlying problem here... but after correctly having stated so, then the author goes off to complain about modern capital-l Literature. That's a bit... contradictory.



    I felt more that he was complaining about that specific designation. That was his point, that that's what is being held, recently, as "literature."


    IRRELEVANT EDIT: SHIT YEAH 1000TH POST! Though unfortunately, I didn't get 999.

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    Yes, but it's redundant. The sentence would have read the same with either or.



    Incorrect; 'masturbatory' predisposes the reader to take the sentence as condescending, which 'jerk-off' alone does not do.



    I know that, and that's also, again, what Myers is preaching for; he wants people to be allowed to draw their own conclusions on writing based on objective (or as close to objective as possible), rather than being bullied into blind praise for whatever the incestuous circle of awards' judges has deemed safe.



    But he's buying into the very same thing.


    And if that's his point then, uh, he probably should have said something along the lines of "yo literary canon sucks just take books on their own merit and these books don't hold up on their own" at some point, instead of attempting to compare them to previous books.

  • Has friends besides tanks now

    Incorrect; 'masturbatory' predisposes the reader to take the sentence as condescending



    Not for me. I take it to mean "wrapped up in one's own thoughts," but that doesn't necessarily extend to ". . . as manifested by putting others down."



    But he's buying into the very same thing.



    Could you explain this a bit more for me?



    And if that's his point then, uh, he probably should have said something along the lines of "yo literary canon sucks just take books on their own merit and these books don't hold up on their own" at some point, instead of attempting to compare them to previous books.



    But isn't comparison a valid basis for criticism? (Also, I'm not inclined to discount the literary canon as a concept, honestly. I just wish it would be more honest about the divide between the works that are great in most/all aspects and those that merely paved the way for some literary or societal change, like Uncle Tom's Cabin)

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    Not for me. I take it to mean "wrapped up in one's own thoughts," but that doesn't necessarily extend to ". . . as manifested by putting others down."



    Language is tricky like that.



    Could you explain this a bit more for me?



    In explaining how the current iteration of literary canon sucks, he is buying into the same thing- both by acknowledging it as valid, which is necessary if one wants to discuss it in anything except its invalidity (which this article wishes to do, but cannot because it does not speak of it as invalid), and by comparing them to older works, he is creating a comparison between those works and the current literary canon he is talking about.


    In itself, the comparison is not bad, but it also creates the notion in the reader that these books are inherently better- or, he's creating the same concept with regards to the books he compares.


    In itself, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but...


    I'm having a hard time articulating what I'm trying to say. Basically, the article is apparently trying to make a point, but that's not what the article led me to think when I read it through. Instead, it read as "Haha these things all suck these old things are so much better."


    Bleh, I'm going to leave, I'm getting more irritated with the article the more I talk about it.

  • edited 2013-03-17 23:50:12
    Has friends besides tanks now

    Language is tricky like that.



    ?



    Basically, the article is apparently trying to make a point, but that's not what the article led me to think when I read it through. Instead, it read as "Haha these things all suck these old things are so much better."



    I dunno, I didn't have a hard time catching the article's point. I agree that it's sometimes clumsy, but I don't think that that invalidates the points put across by the article, given what those points are.



    Bleh, I'm going to leave, I'm getting more irritated with the article the more I talk about it.



    Okay.

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    I think a fair few people here missed the point of the article. It was ultimately about the commonality of indirect prose in highly-regarded modern literature -- it was specifically arguing against the shallow trappings of faux-intellectualism, and indirectly praising modern genre fiction for its clarity. 

  • edited 2013-03-18 08:21:38
    Has friends besides tanks now

    Exactly. Though if I've muddied up my own point over the course of the discussion, I didn't intend to do that, and I offer this defense because when you use designations like "a fair few people," rather than just calling out the people who you believe have missed the point, I tend to assume you meant everyone until stated otherwise, even if you give a concrete example that I could then match up with others' arguments (and I feel like my defenses have been consistent with your correct interpretation of the article, if less able to dwell specifically on the author's wish that critics would judge works by prose like they used to).

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    I mean to say that I think you're on the money, and that the others in this part of the discussion have misinterpreted the article. 

  • Has friends besides tanks now

    Coo'.

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    I think a fair few people here missed the point of the article. It was ultimately about the commonality of indirect prose in highly-regarded modern literature -- it was specifically arguing against the shallow trappings of faux-intellectualism, and indirectly praising modern genre fiction for its clarity. 



    I thought that at first, but the article soon lost sight of that.


    When I skip... everything but the opening and conclusion of the article, I can see that that is the point trying to be made. When I read the entire middle section, though, it loses its own way, and only regathers itself at several points.


    But, you know what, never mind. Just chalk it up to my own idiocy, again, whatever.

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    The article spends most of its bulk making examples of modern literature's purple prose. Most of the elaboration on the argument itself is towards the beginning and summarised at the end, with the middle sections used as a body of evidence. The worst I could say of it is that the structure is boilerplate for an essay, but we should all be familiar with that. 

  • edited 2013-03-18 18:32:08
    Has friends besides tanks now

    Yeah, I know Nova probably isn't going to read this if she's done with the argument, but I'm not seeing how he didn't work (and work extensively) to support his assertions with the body of the essay. It's pretty basic essay structure, really, and I'm both not in need of continual references to a pretty easy premise, and satisfied in the way that he would refer back to his premise as necessary, or remind the reader of his feelings on tangential subjects.


    I also realize now that I'm not seeing how the "buying into it" argument is playing out either, considering that the point of the essay is to criticize the notion that bad writing is actually "literature," whatever that means.


    I also want to throw it out there that I bought the full text online and await its delivery. It was actually cheaper on the publisher's site, for a new copy, than on Amazon, where for some reason it costs $33.15 plus shipping for a new copy (though only $2 for a used one, riddle me that).

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    I know I've pimped out The Red Knight before, but this excerpt from an interview with Miles Cameron (the author) is just too perfect:



    Nick Sharps: Sell me The Red Knight in as few words as possible.


    Miles Cameron: Excalibur vs. Alien. 



    That is exactly what The Red Knight is like. 

  • After browsing the local bookstore, I'm getting the urge to read W40K novels again.

    Someone help. 

  • I'm a damn twisted person
    Blah blah blah WH40K is fasho.
  • I don't even call it violence when it's in self defence; I call it intelligence.

    That's the problem with the franchise taking itself ever more serious. The line between "hilariously over the top" and "apologia for fascism" is a very small one indeed.

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    Just read the stuff about the cowardly commissar and be done with it. 


    Because honestly, fascism apologia or not, most Black Library stuff is just not fun to read at all. GW employ some true hacks who appear, unsurprisingly, to have been thrown forward in time from the 70s and 80s heydays of pulp high fantasy. 

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    I like WH40k as a setting and all, but gosh-darn do the Black Library writers fail to pick up on its potential. It's a shame, since the setting is a melting pot of a bunch of other sci-fi franchises and a lot of self-awareness evidently went into creating the setting. The setting is essentially a neo-fascist, high-tech Renaissance, which provides an excuse to slam Shakespeare, Orwell and Asimov together. Perhaps with some George Carlin thrown in for good measure. 


    If it's not going to be funny or it's not going to be introspective, I don't really get the point. Action sequences don't typically come out fantastically on the page, so books rely on emotions and ideas to convey tension. If I really want to witness a Space Marine tearing a Traitor Legion heretic to shreds, I'll go play Dawn of War or slap the Space Marine game into my PS3. 

  • I don't even call it violence when it's in self defence; I call it intelligence.

    Because honestly, fascism apologia or not, most Black Library stuff is just not fun to read at all. GW employ some true hacks who appear, unsurprisingly, to have been thrown forward in time from the 70s and 80s heydays of pulp high fantasy.


    WH40k IS pulp in its purest form. And the Eisenhorn novels are okay. Ciaphas Cain suffers from the problem that it's more a parody of Wh40k then truly Wh40k. That's not quite what I meant with "not taking itself too serious".


    I guess I mostly meant (some of) the fans, though some of the material doesn't help. Especially the Horus Heresy novels... I mean if people already don't get that the Imperium in 40k is a North Korea in space with nothing to justify it, wholly evil, then they surely will understand it even less in the 30k setting.

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    It's not particularly well-known, I guess, but WH40k started out heavily tongue-in-cheek. Ciaphas Cain is quite the parody, true, but it's really accurate in tone and content to the earlier days of 40k when there was a lot more humour and self-awareness. 3rd Edition 40k, released around the year 2000, was a kind of "gritty reboot" that took the content of previous editions and decided to take it more seriously. You can even see the difference in the ways models were built and created before 3rd Edition; brighter colours, more ostentatious poses and generally with an emphasis on "fun" models over "cool" ones, I guess. 


    3rd Edition was a huge marketing change in general, because along with the tonal shift, there was a great simplification of the rules that removed a great deal of strategic and tactical consideration in the game itself. Thankfully, Warhammer Fantasy avoided the same mechanical fate by not being so popular, being geared towards established players rather than newcomers. This also marks the time when Games Workshop begins to wind down on the specialist games and complete board game sets, such as Mordheim and Space Hulk (respectively). Likewise, the LotR tie-in tabletop game was released at about the same time, which introduced a lot of new people to the games of Games Workshop and put them a bit closer to the public eye. 


    In short, Games Workshop as a company and as a set of creative minds shifted drastically at the turn of the millennium. The only thing that's really improved in that time is the quality of the models, because since then, there's been more of an emphasis on lesser mechanical consideration, less interesting lore and ripping off the customer as much as possible. While prices are bound to shift with time, Games Workshop have gone to making a complete set of high-quality products to making high-quality models and charging exorbitantly for them, while reducing the quality of their book bindings, reducing the quantity of paint your money buys you and stupidly overpriced tools for constructing your models. Since they have an effective monopoly on the tabletop fantasy/sci-fi wargames market, though, they can do as they please. Their closest competitor would be Wizards, but they create rulesets and figurines for a completely different mechanical context, so even they barely count. 

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