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Out of the Blue

There are a lot of significant dates and holidays that I will fail to remember, but today's is not one of them, as June 6th being the anniversary of D-Day is burned into my mind pretty permanently. Even more than Memorial Day or Veteran's Day, the knowledge of what unfolded on this date in 1944 really brings to mind the incredible sacrifices of soldiers, and serves as a stark reminder of how the horrors of war should be avoided. Here's a sincere salute to the greatest generation.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Papa Louie 2: When Burgers Attack.
Ninja Miner.
Links: New From Nine Inch Nails- ‘Came Back Haunted’. Thanks nin.
31 crazy fast foods you can only get in Japan.
Stories: D-Day anniversary commemorations begin in France.
It’s in a book: Reading Rainbow turns 30 today.
Media: The World's Most Contagious Prank. Yawn.
Drawing Nintendo Characters with Tetris Blocks.
Tiger falls asleep on car roof. Hobbes.
Facebook: The Musical.

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37 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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37. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 15:20 Scottish Martial Arts
 
InBlack wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:57:
Verno wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:50:
Err he's got a few good points though, particularly about authors needing 5000 pages to tell a story and stories without much meaning.

There is plenty of single volume fantasy and SF out there, he should stick with that then. As for the story not having any meaning, thats a matter of opinion. One that cant be even remotely (even subjectively) made without having read a single line of the prose in question.

Well then what themes does Martin explore? How has Game of Thrones changed how you see your world and the people in it?

Look I'm entirely prepared to believe that the books are better than the series, but my, admittedly very limited, exposure to the series did little to persuade me that Game of Thrones is about anything more than a group of nobles scheming and fighting for power. That can make for great entertainment to be sure, and what I saw of GoT generally was that, but I did abandon the series when I began looking into how many volumes Martin had written, and how the pace both of the story itself and his actual writing production is slowing to a crawl, figuring that this would just end up as Wheel of Time low-magic Machiavelli edition. Nevertheless, all the hype about how "literary" GoT supposedly is, left me sorely wanting. Now granted, perhaps I should read the novels themselves before making a final judgement, but everything about the series suggested that this was typical, world-building focused modern fantasy, as opposed to theme-driven literary fiction.

Consider that the first work of the Western literary canon, Homer's Iliad, is essentially fantasy, and yet the plot is fairly simple (Achilles is dishonored and refuses to fight; the Greeks start losing; Achilles's best friend convinces Achilles to let him rescue the Greeks; Achilles's best friend is killed by the Trojan hero Hector; Achilles goes into a rage, slay's Hector, and desecrates his body; Priam, King of Troy and Hector's father, with the gods' aid, goes to Achilles tent in the middle of night and begs for his sons body; Achilles, after a brief moment of moral clarity about the nature of the universe and human life, agrees to give the body back) and the story is over at the end of the poem. Some might argue that The Odyssey is a sequel of sorts, but that is really a separate and self-contained story, much like if David McCullough, author of 1776, wrote a biography of Alexander Hamilton -- Hamilton appears a couple times in 1776, but that doesn't mean the hypothetical Hamilton biography is a sequel. That aside, even though the Iliad is a long poem, by modern fantasy standards it's rather slim at a mere ~400 pages in modern printings. Yet despite that simple plotting and clear end to the story, the Iliad has many profound, and arguably even sublime things to say about the nature of gods and men, friendship, revenge, empathy, the difficulty of happiness, true nobility, the complicated nature of war, and the nature of human life in general. While I don't expect your average fantasy writer to measure up to Homer -- it is no knock against a writer to say that Homer was better at his craft -- I do kind of expect an author who has pretensions of being "literary" to have an idea he or she wants to explore through a story. Maybe I just need to read the books, but I have been reluctant to do so since the series left a bad taste in my mouth.

 
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36. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 09:50 Necrophob
 
Sepharo wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 21:44:
Speaking of long series that may or may not have lost their way...

I finally finished up Stephen King's Dark Tower (including the new one which happened to coincidentally line up chronologically for me). I wasn't as disappointed with the ending as the internet seems to think I should be. But maybe that's because I had heard ahead of time and so I was prepped for something more terrible than it was.

My favorite part of the series was Lud. I could read a whole series just taking place in Lud I think.

Reading A Canticle for Leibowitz now.

The Dark Tower series lost its way when King got hit by that van. Fearing his own mortality, and the possibility that his greatest work would never be completed, he rush jobbed it and called it a day. I don't mind how it ended, but I was seriously unimpressed with how he handled the confrontation with the Crimson King. After all that build up, it was just silly.
 
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35. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 09:37 Verno
 
InBlack wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:57:
Verno wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:50:
Err he's got a few good points though, particularly about authors needing 5000 pages to tell a story and stories without much meaning.

There is plenty of single volume fantasy and SF out there, he should stick with that then.

No actually there is a dearth of single volume fantasy and SF these days, publishers only want multi-book franchises because of their easy marketability and sales potential, it's one of the most common complaints from authors.

For someone who hasn't read the books, his comments are remarkably spot on BTW, probably because the show is fairly faithful to the tone and spirit of the books.
 
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Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Destiny, Fire Emblem
Watching: Continuum, Star Trek TNG, Haunt
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34. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 08:57 InBlack
 
Verno wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:50:
Err he's got a few good points though, particularly about authors needing 5000 pages to tell a story and stories without much meaning.

There is plenty of single volume fantasy and SF out there, he should stick with that then. As for the story not having any meaning, thats a matter of opinion. One that cant be even remotely (even subjectively) made without having read a single line of the prose in question.
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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33. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 08:50 Verno
 
Err he's got a few good points though, particularly about authors needing 5000 pages to tell a story and stories without much meaning.  
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Destiny, Fire Emblem
Watching: Continuum, Star Trek TNG, Haunt
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32. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 05:45 InBlack
 
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 02:06:
I've been ignoring Game of Thrones for exactly that reason: shit's never going to get finished.

I haven't read the books, but seeing roughly half of the first season was enough to convince me that GoT was standard modern epic fantasy retardation, given a veneer of "seriousness" by being low-magic and full of Machiavellian politics. Modern fantasy writers are so focused on world building and overly complicated plotting, that they forget to include any meaning. I mean what is Game of Thrones about? That people like power and will scheme for it? Again, I haven't read the books or watched the whole series, but my brief exposure to the series suggested that there was very little in the way of meaningful thematic exploration.

But who cares right? Everyone knows that aside from Tolkien, modern fantasy fiction is pretty sub-literate: no one is reading this shit because they want to see the world or an idea with new perspective; they're reading it because they want some fun entertainment. But that leads to my second gripe: Martin, like all modern fantasy writers, can't just tell a good tale in a single volume. It has to be a series with multimedia franchise potential -- which is what he has achieved. That means the story can't ever end; he needs to keep cranking out more volumes, with more characters, with more subplots, until eventually the whole ungainly mess spins beyond his control and is unfinishable. A quick glance at the imdb credits pages suggests that in the two seasons I passed on, the character count was increased roughly by a factor of five, which is right on track for an unmanageable fantasy mess that is driven by pagecount, and now episode count, rather than telling a meaningful, engaging story well.

Read the books, or at least read one before spewing that shit.
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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31. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 05:38 InBlack
 
Prez wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 20:06:
Coupled with his age, and odds are good it's going to be Robert Fucking Jordan all over again.

After Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" disaster I vowed I would NEVER start reading a fantasy series until the damn thing was completed. I zipped through books 1 through 6 of the Wheel of Time, but after that it just got ridiculous. Even during the sixth book, with so many utterly meaningless plot points explored for dozens upon dozens of pages, I started to sense that he had lost all perspective and instead decided to just keep filling up the story with more characters, more villains, more enemies, and more ridiculous and meaningless back-and-forth between increasingly ridculous and meaningless characters. Every single woman in the world ends up being a rude, illogical, self-centered, cast iron BITCH (did this guy have latent mommy issues or something?) and are so unlikeable you end up praying to the Creator that the Dark One would just break free from his fucking prison and establish some semblance of order and maybe give the men of the world some respite from cunts like Nynaeve and Elayne.

I actually tried going back and reading the books again not too long ago and just threw my hands up and quit in frustration at how badly Jordan fucked up what was once an engaging story by utterly refusing to ever finish any plot points while introducing more and more. And more. And more. And...

Jordan has nothing on GRRM. Nothing. Seriously, comparing those two is like comparing R.A. Salvatore with JRR Tolkien. Jordan wrote repettitive dreck with bland and uninteresting characters. His fail endings from book III onwards were teen fiction material. Sure GRRM meanders a bit, but his last book was a great return to form (IMO) and with Martin he lets his characters live and breathe (and make mistakes) in the world and doesnt let them get chained to some sort of hollywood script thats in his head. Obviously the story is going somewhere but I think that its mostly linked to the Others and the mysterious forces of Nature and Magic in his world and not really to the central characters who simply inhabit it. There is no chosen one, and thats fucking great. Most people who have expectations of his characters will be dissapointed, just sit back and enjoy the ride I say. Because it really is THAT good.

This comment was edited on Jun 7, 2013, 08:19.
 
Avatar 46994
 
I have a nifty blue line!
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30. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 02:06 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I've been ignoring Game of Thrones for exactly that reason: shit's never going to get finished.

I haven't read the books, but seeing roughly half of the first season was enough to convince me that GoT was standard modern epic fantasy retardation, given a veneer of "seriousness" by being low-magic and full of Machiavellian politics. Modern fantasy writers are so focused on world building and overly complicated plotting, that they forget to include any meaning. I mean what is Game of Thrones about? That people like power and will scheme for it? Again, I haven't read the books or watched the whole series, but my brief exposure to the series suggested that there was very little in the way of meaningful thematic exploration.

But who cares right? Everyone knows that aside from Tolkien, modern fantasy fiction is pretty sub-literate: no one is reading this shit because they want to see the world or an idea with new perspective; they're reading it because they want some fun entertainment. But that leads to my second gripe: Martin, like all modern fantasy writers, can't just tell a good tale in a single volume. It has to be a series with multimedia franchise potential -- which is what he has achieved. That means the story can't ever end; he needs to keep cranking out more volumes, with more characters, with more subplots, until eventually the whole ungainly mess spins beyond his control and is unfinishable. A quick glance at the imdb credits pages suggests that in the two seasons I passed on, the character count was increased roughly by a factor of five, which is right on track for an unmanageable fantasy mess that is driven by pagecount, and now episode count, rather than telling a meaningful, engaging story well.
 
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29. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 00:52 dj LiTh
 
Regarding WW2 i recommend the docu: the fog of war /w robert mcnamara. Amazing how concice and lucid he is at his age recounting everything.

As for GoT, i've also heard that the producers have been briefed for the rough outline of the entire story in the event of GRRM's untimely death, for whatever thats worth.
 
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28. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 22:56 Creston
 
nin wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 20:12:
Coupled with his age, and odds are good it's going to be Robert Fucking Jordan all over again.

He claims he has a sort of bible written out (detailing the end), in the event of his death. How true that is is anyone's guess...


Yeah, I seriously doubt it.

And Prez, my biggest issue with RJ came when he started to bring dead characters back to life, and when the Aes Sedai took three books just to march back to their fucking tower (and then STILL hadn't gotten there.)

His editor should've said "Robert, fuck this bullshit. Let's make something happen here!" but apparently editors nowadays are nothing more than glorified spell-checkers.

Creston
 
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27. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 22:54 nin
 
Just to follow up, Band of Brothers is under $33 dollars right now.

For 10 hours, that's a hell of a deal.

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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26. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 21:44 Sepharo
 
Speaking of long series that may or may not have lost their way...

I finally finished up Stephen King's Dark Tower (including the new one which happened to coincidentally line up chronologically for me). I wasn't as disappointed with the ending as the internet seems to think I should be. But maybe that's because I had heard ahead of time and so I was prepped for something more terrible than it was.

My favorite part of the series was Lud. I could read a whole series just taking place in Lud I think.

Reading A Canticle for Leibowitz now.
 
Avatar 17249
 
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25. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 20:12 nin
 
Coupled with his age, and odds are good it's going to be Robert Fucking Jordan all over again.

He claims he has a sort of bible written out (detailing the end), in the event of his death. How true that is is anyone's guess...

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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24. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 20:06 Prez
 
Coupled with his age, and odds are good it's going to be Robert Fucking Jordan all over again.

After Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" disaster I vowed I would NEVER start reading a fantasy series until the damn thing was completed. I zipped through books 1 through 6 of the Wheel of Time, but after that it just got ridiculous. Even during the sixth book, with so many utterly meaningless plot points explored for dozens upon dozens of pages, I started to sense that he had lost all perspective and instead decided to just keep filling up the story with more characters, more villains, more enemies, and more ridiculous and meaningless back-and-forth between increasingly ridculous and meaningless characters. Every single woman in the world ends up being a rude, illogical, self-centered, cast iron BITCH (did this guy have latent mommy issues or something?) and are so unlikeable you end up praying to the Creator that the Dark One would just break free from his fucking prison and establish some semblance of order and maybe give the men of the world some respite from cunts like Nynaeve and Elayne.

I actually tried going back and reading the books again not too long ago and just threw my hands up and quit in frustration at how badly Jordan fucked up what was once an engaging story by utterly refusing to ever finish any plot points while introducing more and more. And more. And more. And...

This comment was edited on Jun 6, 2013, 20:13.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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23. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 18:08 1badmf
 
surprised no one's mentioned it, but Band of Brothers was a fantastic homage to the european campaign; even better than Private Ryan if you ask me.

if you're interested in the Civil War, watch Ken Burns' documentary of the same name. very moving stuff. i don't think it's been neglected, with memorials everywhere, the docu, films still being made about it (Glory being best), reinactments going on yearly. hell lots of southerners are still pissed about the 'war of northern aggression'.
 
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22. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 17:29 Cutter
 
Martin has been doing this a long time too. It's really bad timing that he started GoT so late in his career when yeah, all he really wants to do is edit, maybe some short stories, game and watch football. It's definitely a chore at his age.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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21. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 17:26 Hoop
 
nin wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 16:40:
The World At War is a fascinating (though sometimes horrific) doc, that's highly recommended, if you've not seen it. It's something like 25 hours long, with each hour episode covering a certain topic. Has a ton of footage, and since it was originally done in the 70s (I believe) lots of interviews with people that were there.

Yeah seen pretty much every decent thing made.
World @ War was narrated by Laurence Olivier if I remember rightly.
 
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Um .. Behind you...
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20. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 16:45 Creston
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 15:15:
Since we've been talking about Game of Thrones lately, I thought I'd post this quote from GRRM about writing the last two books in the series: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring:

“So I need to write faster. The last two books took a really long time, so I’m hoping this one [the Winds of Winter] will go a little faster. But I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

EDIT: Full story here.

This kind of attitude from a professional writer, with millions of fans, is disgusting. Especially since HE started padding shit out to sell more books, when he could have wrapped everything up in 3-4 books max.

Coupled with his age, and odds are good it's going to be Robert Fucking Jordan all over again.

(As you can tell, despite a great story, I'm not a big fan of GRRM.)

Creston
 
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19. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 16:43 Creston
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 12:12:
The US Civil War is overlooked by an even greater degree. It is still the war that killed the most US citizens. Not to mention the social and political changes that are still effecting the country to this day.

My dad was alive during D-Day. Nobody alive was there during the civil war. This tends to impact viewpoints.

Creston
 
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18. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 6, 2013, 16:40 nin
 
Hoop wrote on Jun 6, 2013, 16:04:
Watched a very good doco with inteviews from vets of Omaha & Utah beaches, they are still very pissed with the other forces of the day. It's weird but you heard little anger at the axis forces slaughtering them on the beaches, but man they gave it to their own navy & air force.
Promised plenty of support & bomb craters on the beaches to bug down & get cover from. The Air force was late for a last bombing run as the landing craft had left so dropped them 3 miles inland.


The World At War is a fascinating (though sometimes horrific) doc, that's highly recommended, if you've not seen it. It's something like 25 hours long, with each hour episode covering a certain topic. Has a ton of footage, and since it was originally done in the 70s (I believe) lots of interviews with people that were there.

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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