Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 13:45 on 19-07-2011, Wardog
Hmmm, I responded without proper investigation. Bad Kyra! I think we're talking slightly at cross purposes. I am down on authors responding to reviews, but I don't think Bakker is remotely out of line here? I mean, it's just one dude on the Internet responding to something another dude on the Internet has said. Yes, he's responding to only one of sentence of your post (specifically that's the sentence that directly addresses him) but he's also writing a blog post, and that's kind of the prerogative of a blogger, taking inspiration from things other people have written, and running off into your own ideas. And, on a wider scale, I kind of agree with him here. I had a minor fracas with SS a few days ago over Beowulf on a very similar subject.
at 10:58 on 19-07-2011, Dan H
Again, to be fair to Bakker, readers write for readers but he was, arguably, responding as a reader as well. If I hadn't been told that the blog post in question was from R Scott Bakker I wouldn't have known it was by a published author at all. He didn't do any of the things that authors normally do - he didn't try to assert some kind of authority over the subject because he has Had Books Published when other people haven't, he just identified something that annoyed him (he wasn't even responding to a review of one of his books, just to a general statement about the nature of Fantasy which reminded him of a common understanding of the nature of Fantasy which he found annoying).
at 10:54 on 19-07-2011, Wardog
In honesty, though, it's nice to that ripping one sentence out of an entire piece and writing mini-essays full of philosophical jargon in response is still an acceptable practice for authors these days

I think most reasonable authors stay the fuck away from this kind of thing, and it's a bad sign if they don't. It's not only a question of good manners, it's a question of audience. Readers write for other readers, not writers. I cross paths with writers only very rarely but then I also keep quite distance from the Massive All In Cock Fight that seems to mainstream sf.
at 10:01 on 19-07-2011, Dan H
To be fair to Bakker, I don't actually think he's that wide of the mark here, although he expresses himself portentously. At the risk of being unsupportive to a community member, I think it's kind of important to recognise that not all situations in which an established author disagrees with a relatively nameless blogger are cases of the big guy throwing his weight around.

In this case, I think it's unfortunate that Bakker quotes your post, since he's clearly actually riffing on a broader topic and was merely inspired by your opening paragraph (this is, unfortunately, the way the blogsphere works - somebody writes a post about knitting that happens to open with the line "back in the days when I was a warcraft addict" and somebody uses that as a springboard to write about the use of addiction rhetoric in the gaming blogsphere).

Ironically, I'd suggest that the point Bakker is making is broadly the same as the point I was making to Steve Stirling on my /Wise Man's Fear/ article last week - it isn't actually helpful to view historical texts as being equivalent to modern texts no matter how many superficial similarities they may have.

Modern fantasy uses the trappings of mythology, that does not mean that mythology is the Fantasy of the past or that Fantasy is the mythology of the present. I'm not actually saying you were arguing either of those things in that paragraph but I understand why Bakker felt the need to rebut the implication regardless.

at 06:12 on 19-07-2011, Michal
Also, someone's been playing Zizuku.
at 02:30 on 19-07-2011, Michal
Aye, I'm starting to think my plans to fish for ill-considered comments from Jeff VanderMeer on the subject of steampunk might actually succeed if I keep this up.

In honesty, though, it's nice to that ripping one sentence out of an entire piece and writing mini-essays full of philosophical jargon in response is still an acceptable practice for authors these days. That means I get to do the exact same thing if I make it big.
at 01:25 on 19-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
D'aww, you're coming up in the world, Michal!

Why, I bet that by this time next month, the great Harlan Ellison will telling you to go fuck yourself in your very own comments section!

(Crude, vicious, and childish? Yes. But that's Harlan for you.)
at 20:55 on 18-07-2011, Michal
And this time, I managed to annoy R. Scott Bakker.

I've got to stop doing this.
at 11:41 on 18-07-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
It's always a good idea to be careful with used erotica. On Martin, it might be that I remember wrong, but didn't the rape thing gradually get worse? Not that he started with a clean slate...
at 06:31 on 18-07-2011, Michal
You'd best stay away from Gor, then. We actually know John Norman was continually wanking as he wrote them. Actually, no, you should definitely stay away from Gor, since the used copies (which is about the only way to obtain them) almost invariably come with questionable stains.
at 06:19 on 18-07-2011, Vermisvere
Also: there really is a LOT of rape.

With A Song of Ice and Fire series, that's pretty much a must-have for every novel from what I heard.

I am seriously creeped out by Martin's obsession with rape. I've only read A Game of Thrones and a bit of A Clash of Kings, but every time I read the rape scenes, I seriously couldn't get the image of Martin ejaculating in his pants as he wrote them out of my head. They are written like a serial rapist's wet dream.
at 20:45 on 17-07-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Haven't gotten the book yet, but at this point I'm basically just going to wait it out with The Song of Ice and Fire, since I've waited for such a long time. Throwing good money after the bad, I know, but thank god The Wheel of Time will be ending this year and when Martin hopefully coughs up the rest of the books, I'm finally free of the last nails of duty my teenage self inflicted on me by starting to read these series.
at 19:03 on 17-07-2011, Michal
I put "something happens" fairly high up on the list of "why I should read A Dance with Dragons". After so much happening, I was severely disappointed by the "nothing actually happens" aspect of A Feast for Crows.

I'm pining for the days when high fantasy didn't have a minimum entry requirement of 900 pages. That's an awful lot of time to waste hoping something happens. At least, with a 250-page novel, if nothing happens, you haven't invested quite so much time in hoping something does.
at 17:40 on 17-07-2011, Andy G
I was aware of the danger posed by the sheer weight of A Dance with Dragons, but this distracted me from the fact that it also has extremely sharp corners. Ouch!

It is engagingly written, though it's true that not much has happened.

Also: there really is a LOT of rape.
at 00:31 on 16-07-2011, Arthur B
Shut Up, Jam! I know you're a beautifully surreal and disturbing sketch show written by Chris Morris, but your material really was better when it was performed on Radio 1 late at night with the latest in ambient/electronic music padding it out and the show was called Blue Jam!
at 11:38 on 15-07-2011, Claire E Fitzgerald
Shut Up Jam - that's *enough* New Wave/Mod Revival post-punk from you lot!
at 10:18 on 15-07-2011, Shim
The Cthulhu game looks fun, yes. Also want.

Shut Up Jam sounds like some kind of fantasy game (or possibly a Fighting Fantasy title). "The dread Preserve Lord has risen again from its millenia-long slumber! Its fructose-blighted minions roam the land, bringing chaos and tooth decay! Only YOU can overcome the terrible secrets of the Kitchen and unravel the ancient riddles to bind the sinister glass-armoured monster within the cupboad for another thousand years!"
at 10:00 on 15-07-2011, Wardog

Shut up Jam!

Be silent, condiment!
at 03:36 on 15-07-2011, Guy
*Shut up and Jam
at 03:35 on 15-07-2011, Guy

Kyra, have you played Barkley, Shut up Jam: Gaiden? I find it hard to imagine any parody old-school RPG bettering it, but you never know, Cthulhu might do it...
at 22:50 on 14-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I think we can safely assume one thing: it will be better than Duke Nukem Forever.
at 22:30 on 14-07-2011, Robinson L
I'll probably get it on audio from the library and listen to it whenever I can be bothered, since it isn't costing me anything and I can always do with new stuff to listen to.

Anybody care to open a pool concerning whether it'll be exceptionally well-written?
at 21:58 on 14-07-2011, Arthur B
I wasn't sure whether I could be bothered or not, so I decided to look up spoilers on the basis that either they'd excite me enough that I'd want to read how they happen or irritate me enough to make me decide not to go for it.

Neither happened. A lot of names appeared but I only remembered a fraction of them. Those spoilers I did understand, I was completely apathetic about. So I guess I'll be leaving out Dance with Dragons unless people report that it's exceptionally well-written.