Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Here be unicorns. И музика и филми, вдъхновени от човешките ни книги. И всичко, дето ви е на сърце, ама не може да се побере в ^такива^ тесни теми...

Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Thu Mar 24, 2022 5:09 pm

Преди около две седмици изчетох дуологията The Dragon Healer of Tone и The Dragon Savior of Tone, условно обединени под общото заглавие World of Tone. Мда, тука е имало явно желание за разписване на по-широко платно, което никога не се е осъществило.

Автор на дуологията е световнонеизвестният A. D. Adams, който, както всички wannabe аматьори смята, че слагайки първите си две имена като инциали, автоматично получава титлата autheur. :lol: Не разбирам откъде идва тоя тренд. Дори световнонеизвестният Робърт Дохърти, автор единствено на едноименната поредица "Зона 51" (моята първа книжна НФ!), е избегнал този глупав кич.

Но да говорим за самата книга. Първата. Понеже втората е... нещо като задължителна притурка, която се чете само за closure. Въх.

The Dragon Healer of Tone е нетипичен роман що се отнася до сюжета. Историята е комбинация от прословутото "the chosen one/coming of age" клише и романс. Има, както загатва заглавието, намесени и дракони. А самият романс е между човек и дракон. (Сега вече разбирате как вниманието ми бе грабнато.) Други интересни аспекти са, че действието се развива в много мъгляв, неуточнен bronze age-like сетинг, подобно на Землемориите на ле Гуин, който на моменти направо изглежда трайбалистки със своята... самобитност, а голяма част от сюжетните случки се получават почти като в приказките. (Дошла принцесата, срещнала принца, завела го в подводния си дворец, там той получил голямо пророчество... и така нататък)

Главните герои са Тера и Фиена, макар че фокусът през цялото време е върху Тера (макар и да има multiple POVs). Тера е момче, което е родено с магическата способност да лекува - нещо, което никога не е можел мъж да прави в тоя свят. Още от съвсем малък по стечение на plot device, пърдон, злощастни обстоятелства бива отвлечен от семейството си и се озовава сред обществото (условно казано) на драконите, където съдбата му на закуска се разминава когато успява да излекува малкото драконче Фиена. Събитието прави двамата неразделни и Тера заживява сред драконите, постепенно забравяйки корените си.

Оттук насетне сюжетът, до последните 30-50 страници, обръща внимание изцяло на животa на Тера и Фиена: тяхното общо израстване, развитието на техните чувства един към друг и прерастването им в пламенна интимност и разни общи приключения от ежедневието им. И така цели... 20+ години. Мда. :? Сюжетът обхваща много време. Което мисля, че е възможно само благодарение на "уникалния" стил на автора. (За това - по-долу.)

Книгата за мен беше като манна небесна. Историята е приятна, лека, топла и нежна - slice of life приключенията на Тера и Фиена ме накараха да изпитам същото удоволствие, каквото имах когато гледах Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Огромен принос за това има и факта, че с напредването на историята Тера се разкрива като все по-хуманистичен персонаж - непонасящ насилието, всеотдаен, уважащ всеки живот, миролюбив и непринудено естествен. А Фиена... тя си е квинтенсециален дракон ("специалното" ѝ е, че израства като най-големият дракон в света :D) и същевременно е също толкова чувствена и пламенна (ха!) колкото Тера. Най-готиното е как романтиката е разгърната изцяло в рамките на отношенията, а... "физикалните подробности" са намесени едва чак към края.
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Пък като Тера и Фиена се научават да си променят формите, купонът вече настава с пълна сила. И за тях, и за мен като читател. :D


А, да, Тера също така е възможно най-убедително написаният (до този момент) Marty Stu* на който съм попадал. Всичко може, всичко му се получава с тая магия (която непрекъснато расте, докато стане всемогъща във втората част) и всички ги печели за съюзници. Мисля, че тайната съставка се крие именно в човечността на образа - Тера е един базов прототип на далеч по-изградени персонажи (Данло от "Реквиема" на Зиндел, например), но дори само с тази своя детинска простота успява да печели сърца и усмивки. Помага и факта, че просто иска да си живее живота, докато бедите сами си разбиват главите у него.
(Тоест, може би втората съставка за успешното разписване на подобен образ е не да пращатe героя да мачка всичко наред, а всичко наред да се смачква у него, ако си е наумило да го зачеркне. ;) )
*(мъжкият еквалент на Mary Sue)

Изобщо, книгата ме изкефи дотоколкова, че спокойно си я пожелавам като лична житейска история в някой бъдещ живот. Една достойна ваканция за когато реша, че ми стига странстването из безкрайната спирала на Вечността. :)

Недостатъци:
- Само един, ама за сметка на това какъв. И това е авторовият стил. Вместо да пиша стена от текст, ще дам директно една глава за пример (те като цяло са къси). Невизуално ориентираните читатели, дръжте се:

Chapter 26 - Exploring the World
(To the Young the World is always interesting and new.)
346 set of seasons since the coming of the Averons

Fienna wanted to explore. She was now stronger than ever, and the world seemed so big and mysterious. Every sun-rising Terra and Fienna would find new things. This sun-rising was no exception. They were flying along the coast and decided to stop on the beach to sun themselves. After a while, they noticed spouts of water far off shore.

This was new, and they decided to go look, so Terra mounted Fienna, and they took off. When they got to the spot in the ocean, they could see large forms below the waves. Every few moments one would come to the surface and blow water out of a small hole in the top of its head.

They looked liked swimmers but were larger than Fienna or her mother. There seemed to be fifteen or so of them from small to very large. Fienna and Terra decided to go to their cove and talk to Setilan their sea nymph friend. They landed and waited. Within a short time, a small head popped out of the water, and then the figure waved to them.

Setilan always liked it when her friends Fienna and Terra were on the beach. She had a chance to play with others not of her kind. It was boring to always be hunting for food and learning the ways and history of her people. She was expected to be a great queen and had many things to learn. She wasn’t sure how, but she always seemed to know when Terra and Fienna were in the cove. She would usually be able to get away from her lessons and join them. This sun-rising she was learning the history of the great sea wars. It was a time when the sea nymphs were divided. Two kings fought a great war, and one finally destroyed the other. The victor took control of all the sea nymphs and became their king. He was Sectic, her great, great-grandfather. Setilan much preferred to play with her two new friends than learn this boring history. This sun-rising she swam toward them in expectation of a full sun-rising of play. As she approached the shore, she had to change her fins into legs. She knew this was the one bit of magic that all sea nymphs could perform, but she disliked it. It wasn’t really painful just not very pleasant. As she concentrated, a greenish glow formed around her rear fins, and they slowly transformed into legs and webbed feet.

After the change was completed, she stood up and walked out of the water.

“Setilan, we’re glad you could come. We have a question?” Terra said.
“I’ll try to answer if I can.”
“Well, we saw these huge swimmers blowing water from their heads far off shore. Do you know what they are?”
“Oh, you must mean the Musicas. They’re the biggest things in the sea. They’re harmless; they eat small plants that float in the water. They play off the shore this time of the year. I often ride them. They tell me of the far distance places they go to every year. This one place is mostly frozen water and very cold. They say the world is beautiful, and all should be happy to be alive. They will be here for another moon rising.
They are a little sad this time. One of the small ones, just born last year was hurt on their way here. He is dying. They have no way to help him.”
“If they can get him close to shore, I’ll try to heal him.”
“Give me a little while, and I’ll see.”
With that Setilan ran back into the sea to search for the Musicas.
Fienna was frowning at Terra.
“You shouldn’t always try to help everything that is hurt. You don’t know if you can heal that thing.”
“I know, but I like to heal things; it seems to be part of me. I was once stopped from doing it, and I didn’t like it.”
“Who stopped you from healing? I don’t remember ever actually stopping you.”
“It wasn’t you; it was my mother I think. I, I can’t quite remember.”
“Well, just be little less giving in the future. I worry about you. I don’t want anything to ever happen to you. I don’t think I could stand that.”

Terra walked over to Fienna and hugged her leg. They both felt an odd feeling swirl through their bodies. It couldn’t be put into words.

No, no words could describe what they felt.

Soon Setilan returned riding on a very large Musica followed by at least one hundred more with their blowing spouts of water. Setilan jumped off and swam to shore. She said the hurt one was by a large female, just behind the one she had been riding on. Fienna waded into the water with Terra on her back. She followed Setilan to the spot were the small one was swimming slowly and with obvious difficulty. Terra could see a large gash on its side. It was not healing, and this creature would soon be gone without help. Terra let go of Fienna and swam to the little Musica. The mother eyed him with suspicion but what other choice did she have. Terra touched the little creature and was immediately hit with a wave of great pain. His hands started to glow orange, which slowly spread over the creature’s body. As they all watched in amazement, the gash started to close, the bones came back into position, the muscles came together, and finally the skin closed over the great wound. He was healed. Just as before. The Musicas were beyond joy. They began to make a sound that was very beautiful. It passed from one Musica to the next until it was almost overwhelming.

Terra was now much stronger and was not bothered by healing the Musica. The Musicas gave him the name “The Dragon Healer” mainly because of the way the great dragon protected him, and he had healed their little one.

Terra had another set of friends in the world now, powerful friends who lived their lives with love and in peace with all things. They sang in their songs of their friendship for Terra and that they would give him what they could whenever he needed it.


Иии... сега разбирате как сюжетът успява да обхване над две десетилетия в 300-350 страници. Същевременно, тази книга се чете САМО ако историята ви кефи толкова, че да преглътнете тотално проваленото изпълнение. A. D. Adams просто толкова си може.

Искам да споделя също така следното: това е първата книга, в която виждам употреба и описание на dropkick - и то в tribalistic bronze age setting, no less!
(Подчертал съм изречението за по-голяма видимост. Другото е контекст.)

As they reached the place to leave the road, Terra heard some noise behind them. As he turned, he saw a long straight stick flying at them.

He snatched it from the air as it was about to hit his chest. He saw ten men spread across the road with that fool Wistack behind them. Terra now stood facing them with Faray slightly behind him, and he was holding the stick in his hand. He looked at the stick and saw it had a metal tip like the knife that the fool had. He flung the thing toward the ground. It hit with an explosive force, and as the dust cleared, only a hand’s width length of the shafts protruded from the ground. Suddenly, a small man began to run toward them and then leaped into the air with his feet plunging straight at Terra’s chest. Terra’s arm moved with an unseen speed. His hand was now stretched out, and an orange rope of light extended from his palm to the man in the air. The rope encircled the man’s body, and he was held in mid air three or four paces from them. Terra flicked his hand, and the man was thrown across the road hitting a tree about the diameter of a man’s thigh. As his body struck the trunk, a hideous sound of breaking bones could be heard. It was as if dried twigs were being crushed but much more excruciating. The tree bent back as the body impacted it and then snapped back to its normal position throwing the man’s broken body back into the center of the road. You could barely hear death moans coming from his tortured soul. Faray was frightened beyond description and put her hand on her brother shoulder; her fear melted away like frozen dew in the sun. She felt a power surging through his body so great that it nearly knocked her to the ground, but she managed to stay on her feet and somehow kept her hand in place. From the corner of her eye, she saw another man raise a large metal ax, but before he could throw it, a cat leaped from the dense green forest knocking the man to the ground. Before Terra could raise his voice to Suti, the man’s throat was torn out, and he lay dying with his blood running onto the road. Terra called Suti and with blood dripping from her fangs she loped over to him and sat down stroking her head against his leg and purring like a contented pet. Faray saw an arrow flying right at them, but before she could warn Terra, a bolt of white lightning from a single overhead cloud pierced the air striking it.

The arrow exploded into splinters. The remaining men began to back up all with the fear of death in their eyes. Then from overhead, the leaves of the trees began to rustle, and a shadow fell across them. She saw the men turn to run in fear, but before they could take a step, a wall of flame appeared in front of them boiling in its intensity. The heat was beyond Faray’s ability to feel. The fire rolled down the road dissipating some distance away. The sight that befell her next was beyond description. Eleven sets of charred bones lay before her. The ones furthest away, Wistack was obviously trying to escape the fate he brought upon himself and the others. The road itself was melted, and the foliage facing it burnt black.


После...

Стигаме до втората книга, The Dragon Savior of Tone. В нея, сюжетът един вид стига до своя "логичен край" предвид постановките, които са представени в първата част. (По мое мнение немалко от тях са съчинени в движение - и си им личи.) Втората част прилича много повече на класическо високо фентъзи - или поне се опитва да го докара като такова на тон и атмосфера.

Уви, паралелно с изменящите се амбиции на автора угасна до голяма степен и моят ентусиазъм. Фокусът тук е върху премахването на "голямото зло" от света - удобно персонифицирано (както би презряла ле Гуин) - и върху подготовката на героите за този подвиг. Интеракциите между Тера и Фиена са все така с доста "екранно време", но някак си нещо липсва в заряда им. Също така, предвид спецификите на вече изграденият mythos дотук, епични битки и широки панорами просто няма - защото противоречът на логиката на персонажите и света (слава Богу, авторът е решил да се съобрази с тях, а не с личното си желание). Вместо години, сюжетът във втората част се разгръща само в рамките на няколко месеца - което кара тотално строшеният стил да изпъкне още по-...изпъкващо. (:

И при все недостатъците си, прочетох втората част бързо и с интерес - най-вече заради Тера и Фиена. (По подобен начин изчетох навремето и поредицата за Темерер - към Книга пета вече бях тотално загубил интерес към цялостният сюжет - даже ме вбесяваше с идиотизма си** - но жадно попивах всяка една интеракция и реплика между Темерер и Лорънс.) Беше ми ценна и цялостната мотивация на Тера да съхрани колкото се може повече живот и да извърши само онези мрачни дела, които не подлежат на друг подход. (Мне, авторът изобщо не е дълбал на философско ниво.) Съответно, щях да смятам книгата за заслужаваща си притурка към първата част. Обаче... обаче на самият край A. D. Adams успява да катастрофира в повествованието - особено с подбора на думите си. Тера, веднъж като успява да спаси света (макар сам да признава, че не го е направил еднолично), бива обявен за върховен лидер на всички народи - и той не само приема, ами и веднага започва да се държи като benevolent dictator. :shock: Ужас... супер кофти завършек на иначе една прекрасна история. Обяснявам си го единствено като невъзможност на автора да излезе от синдрома на Месията (в която принципно американците масово са забили) и че смята изказаното от Тера за "справедливо".

(Което може би е. Ама само за... обикновени хора. За онези, които реално са дълбали по темите на съществуванието, Тера изглежда в тези последни мигове като бъдещият Саурон.)
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The old land nymph wizard stood and faced Terra. “I have been chosen to speak for the leaders. We have been discussing the very issue you have brought to us. We feel there is only one that can lead us into the future, and that is you. You alone can command the respect and love of all those on Tone, you must be our leader.”

“Do you all agree with this request?” Terra asked.

“Yes,” they all shouted.

“I thought you might ask this, but understand, you may not like what I will do. Once you do this, you cannot change your minds. The dragons and the trees will not allow my removal from the leadership of Tone. So, I ask one final time, do you wish this?”

“Yes,” was once again shouted by all.

“So be it,” Terra said as he looked over them.

“What will you have us do?” Naron asked the new leader of Tone.

“First, I know of the traditional lands that each of you controlled before the fighting. Naron brought me ancient drawings of our world as it once was. You shall all have those lands once again. I will not interfere with how you and your kind control your lands except for one thing. The trees will not be harmed. I have talked to them and they have agreed to allow large growing areas. They will leave enough space to grow several times the amount of food your populations need,” Terra said as he looked about and saw nods of approval from all.

“The dwarfs' lands and the mountain will belong to me. No one will enter there without my permission. It will be left alone; no one will live within its boarders. Too much death has come from that land. It needs to heal itself.” Terra stood and walked around looking at each leader.

“This world has seen too much fighting. To prevent future fighting, all the leaders will come to a meeting each season. I have asked Rammy to set up a permanent location near the coast. We will discuss any problems or disputes and if no agreement can be reached, I will resolve the problem. My decisions will be final.

“In the case any fighting does break out, the dragons will settle the fight by killing all those involved. They will not determine who is in the right or who is in the wrong. They will simply kill. The dragons have agreed to act as my representatives. They will patrol the borders for me and will act in my name. I will not permit fighting for any reason. Fighting will result in the death of those involved. Attacking a dragon will also be as if you attacked me. I hope you can imagine what I will do if attacked.” They all looked concerned, but they understood the need of this.

“Rammy has said she is willing to be my representative and will visit each land several times each season. She will be accompanied by at least ten dragons. Treat her and them as you would treat me. She will report back to me on any problems I must deal with. She will also create a group of individuals to represent me in each of your lands. If you have a major problem, I will help you. Simply make a request to my representative. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, but remember I expect you to deal with your own problems as much as possible. Treat your populations fairly and with respect for I promise you, if you do not, you will answer to me.

“Naron, we must expand your tunnels so humans can move to their old lands. We also must move as many different types of beasts from the coastal valleys to the central lands as possible. The dark one destroyed all life within his reach. We must help life to return to where only death once resided. The dragons will help as much as possible,” Terra told the human leader.

“We will begin working on the tunnels immediately. I will come up with plans to trap and move beasts through the tunnels. I will need Rammy to help,” Naron replied.

“You may have her, she can coordinate the help from the dragons. It will take many sets of seasons to return to the central lands. The dragons and I will help. Even though the trees have returned, it will take many lifetimes for Tone to recover.

“The plans I have given you are only the start. Many details need to be worked out. I expect all of you to assist in this planning. To that end, I wish you to go back to your homes and consider how to slowly return to your traditional lands. We will start small and slow. You will need to coordinate with me and the others here. In thirty sun-risings, I will send dragons to collect you and your advisers to meet with me. We will discuss much, please expect to stay seven sun-risings.

“I am tired and need time to rest. This is your world not just mine. You and all those that live upon Tone need to help. Every living creature on Tone is depending on all of us to make the correct decisions for our world. Please keep this in mind as you tell those you lead of our victories and our losses.

“We will all leave here at first light. You all have much to do and much to consider. This world is finally at peace, and I need all of you to help me keep it so.” With that, the meeting ended and they all went back to their fighters to explain Terra's plans and rules. The fighters did not simply support what Terra had in mind, but they celebrated his leadership of the world of Tone.


Е, винаги мога да си представя, че Тера не е казал тези неща, а всъщност авторовата "антена" е хванала погрешно сигнала. Последната глава приключва спокойно и идилично, досущ в тона на първата книга.

Финална ми оценка е, че тази дуология ми е много близка до сърцето, с някои уговорки (и щипка headcanon to combat the existential horror). Обаче предвид техническото изпълнение, имам чувството, че сякаш е писана само за мен. В това отношение авторът може да се счита за напълно реализиран Творец - успял е да докосне по една душа до степен, че да я промени завинаги. :)

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**А това вбесяване по адрес на Naomi Novik бе една от причините (и то тази, която даде "горивото"), която доведе до написването на The Celestial Way. Кой каза, че revenge writing-а няма плодородна почва? :D
(Мда, TCW е и един колосален Take That! срещу всички драскачи на песимистична литература, освен всичко друго. 8-) )
Last edited by Кал on Thu Mar 24, 2022 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: премествам + преименувам
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sat Apr 02, 2022 11:10 am

My review of The Touchstone Trilogy:

I'm definitely Team Character Relationships rather than Team Worldbuilding and/or Plot. As the trilogy progressed, I found myself skimming more and more passages and zeroing in on the dialogues.

Favorite moments:

~ As the MC fumbles her way through the basics of bushcraft, my grin gets broader and broader. Once, I wanted to write a similar story: what does it take to survive in a world where you have no-one left, and barely any civilization? Well, now I don't have to write it; I just have to keep reading. ;)

~ Cass discovers she's being constantly monitored:
This morning I found myself avoiding looking down while dressing, and staying turned away from the mirror.  Then I made myself look, because what did I have left to hide?  I'd spent the night wondering if second level monitoring logs were ever deleted, or if there'd be a permanent record of me farting in the bath and laughing at the bubbles.  Inspecting my armpits.  Every single thing I do in the bathroom.

I don't think I'll ever dare masturbate again.


~ Crowning Moment of Cute: Cass discovers that the Ddura is
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like an abandoned puppy. Haaaaaaa!


~ When does Cass annoy me? When she fangirls on the grounds of appearances alone:
It took me half the day to figure out that Dase (Dase Canlan, one of the junior archaeologists) was trying to flirt with me. (...)

Before I twigged, I was just enjoying having some people to chat to who were willing to be not 'on duty' every second of the day.  It was only when we went in for lunch that Dase switched more to asking about my family and how I felt about the things I was doing on Tare that it filtered through to me that he was smiling at me a lot.  He wasn't pushy or sitting too close or anything; it was just that kind of vibe.

Looking back, it's funny how disconcerted I felt.  It's not as if I've never dated.  And Dase isn't some damp mouth-breather.  Not so fantastically fit as any of the Setari, unsurprisingly, but with this cute, flopping-into-his-eyes fringe.  Twenty-two or three, possibly, which still seems too adult to me, but I guess isn't so much older than me.  He'd probably score a 7 on the Orlando Bloom-meter, and is a pretty nice guy.  A bit earnest.

It's not easy to decide how to react to a guy when you know people are watching.  But the main hurdle was that Orlando Bloom would score about a 7 on my Kaoren Ruuel-meter.  And Ruuel was sitting at the next table.


~ Cass's appearance on the TV show The Hidden War was fascinating in the way it's fascinating to see how others perceive us. Especially when they don't make us into total monsters. ;)

~ How good are books and TV shows at teaching parenting?
I can't even remember reading any books about people being parents – kids always seem to be part of the happily ever after.  I've read lots of books about kids without parents, or with parents who need to be avoided.  All my favourite TV shows seem to have involved magical pregnancies which are over in a week and then the baby is an adult and trying to destroy the world.


~ Fanfic for the win:
After thanking Nils I took them upstairs for dinner, asking – in approved Mum fashion – how their day had been.  Ys tightened her lips stubbornly.  Rye blushed.  And Sen told me, in glorious and partly comprehendible detail, all about watching the new school building goopily growing, and their walk to the lake's edge, and the bee in the flower, and the little speckled fish in the water, and the duck, and the stick vegetables for lunch, and Nils flying them to the top of the Setari building, and the 'fake lady' called Tsana Dura who wanted to play games in her head.

Tsana Dura still wants to play games in my head, too, though she's morphed into a slightly different fake lady – sterner and less fluffy – as I've progressed through the school years.  She shares her lessons with a fake man named Tsana Ridel, and Dura and Ridel are these incredible institutions to Tarens – the entire planet shares the same two automated teachers for basic lessons from kindergarten to the end of high school.  They were apparently created by averaging the voices and appearances of a few million Tarens.

There's tons of Dura-Ridel smutfic.  Rule 34 never fails.


~ Cass nearly dies (yet again), and then:
[Ys] marched straight up to where I was sitting sideways on the sick-pod (the unsick pod, in this case, since I'd swapped to the one they hadn't had to clean vomit off) and said in this angry whisper: "You have to stop."

"Stop which?" I asked muzzily.

I could see she was shaking with anger, and my mild question was apparently the last straw because she had her own little volcanic eruption, all in the same stifled and furious whisper.

"How can you be so selfish?  If you're in danger all the time, why do you keep pulling them closer to you?  Don't keep hurting them just to make yourself feel better.  You can't just decide to be their family and make them love you, and then take it all away.  If you're going to die, then die!"

The enormity of the last one seemed to hit her – she'd gone further than she wanted to say – and she stopped short, gasping for breath.  Kaoren, Mara and Maze were standing in the doorway behind her, being very still so she wouldn't notice them.  I really wished I could ask Mum for advice, and touched Ys' cheek, but she jerked her face away.

"Every time Kaoren goes on mission in the Ena, I spend entire time convinced he's not coming back.  But does that mean I shouldn't love him because he has dangerous job?  Would it be better to find someone who lived safer life, even though I like them less?  I know that I'm in lot of danger, but if I spend all my time not doing things, not caring about people, because I'm caught up in knowing that I'm in danger, then I'm wasting chance I've been given to live.  I want to live while I can, even if it's just for few weeks, or day, or hour."

"Selfish," Ys repeated, voice strangled, and I worked not to look like I agreed.

"I know tonight has been scary.  But I don't think I'd be doing right thing by not hugging Sen, just because might be for the last time, any more than I think would be the right thing to not make sure that you and Rye have never-ending supply of books.  Do you know, one of the things I've enjoyed most this past week is watching expression on your face when you get explanation for something?  It's like the universe is one massive puzzle to you and thing you like above all else is to fit another piece in place."

That made her stare at me, as if she thought I could somehow have missed something so obvious about her.  I added carefully: "And I'm very proud of you for always trying to protect Sen and Rye.  You'll have to forgive me for being just little selfish about wanting to see you smile.  I am trying very hard to avoid dying, but if I can't then I hope all three of you will be able to remember the fun things we did together, rather than just the fact that am gone."

I slid off the over-tall med-pod so I could hug her – which made her go rigid and she beat her fists against my ribs (really hard too) and then briefly clutched at the front of my nanosuit and gulped because she was absolutely determined not to cry.  Kaoren came in and put a hand on her head, and told her Sen was looking for her, and knowing him he said just the right things to calm her down a little as he took her off.  Mara and then Maze came in and hugged me very painfully (I refrained from hitting them) and I could see that by making speeches about dying I'd succeeded in upsetting both of them rather a lot.  Too many of the people they grew up with and cared about have been killed.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Apr 05, 2022 9:03 pm

My review of DreamForge Anvil Issue 7: The Meaning of Life:

My first encounter with DreamForge Anvil bodes well for our future relationship. ;)

Here're a few examples why:

~ Scot Noel's essay "The Meaning of Life," while inevitably subjective, speaks in my own voice:
Around us, the universe is largely indifferent to our existence. It is not built to nurture us and keep us safe. Before life, Earth was a volcanic hell, without oxygen and bathed in ultraviolet radiation. Earth was never perfect for life. Life made Earth livable. It’s the biome that nurtures us, not the rock. Life terraformed a planet and brought Sapiens into being.

It could be said then that we are indebted to life on Earth, to which owe our allegiance and stewardship. Equally, we owe a debt to our species for its curiosity and inventiveness, for its knowledge and healing, for its organization and synergy, and to all those who have applied these gifts to assuage suffering and empower both individuals and humanity to realize their highest potential.

Why are these things true? Because they are self-evident and self-consistent.

And from them we can derive principles. Where some see nature as “red in tooth and claw” and build justifications for conquest and rapacity, we can look at the community and creativity, the trust and care, the inventiveness and tolerance which have actually kept us alive —the values that have brought us to the edge of exploring the stars— and say instead “the purpose of power is to protect the weak; the value of leadership is to elevate others.”


~ The future of Grant Carrington's "The Sweet Apocalypse Travelling Medicine Show & Gypsy Caravan" is culturally diverse:
And on the main stage: "Well!" as our Benny says —there are all the shows— from Eddy and Platypuss through Speare, Tennessee, Twilight, and a thousand others (not all in one performance, of course); all the acts--Berle and burly, Floyd and the Stones, Pyramid, Pentangle, and Trapezoid; all there, ready to be shut down quickly if Maggie sees that the local rubes are wandering.


But no more tolerant than our present:
Our biggest problem was Jonaplin. He was still ticked off and he wanted to get out there again while Doc wanted him to take a couple of days off. Ford suggested we freeze his throat but Maggie vetoed that, of course. I suggested we freeze his brain but Sundi said we wouldn't be able to find it. From there on in, the suggestions went downhill.


Also, loved the language of this story.

~ Michael Zahniser's "The Peculiar Constraints of Peacetime" made me laugh with its insights:
The high-value asset crossed the street and approached Em One with her hands on her hips. “What are you doing all the way over here?” she asked, glaring down at the robot. A year ago Jemma had been shorter than Em One, but young humans grow quickly, and due to either the height advantage or a developmental shift Jemma had also become bossier.

“You’re a big girl,” said Em One. “You can cross the street without holding my hand.” So far in this training cycle Jemma had been subject to fifty-seven percent more derogatory comments when walking hand in hand with Em One. “Shall we head home?” the robot asked. The hostiles were still loitering by the entrance to the training facility; if Em One and Jemma returned to headquarters now they could avoid any enemy engagements.

Jemma frowned, and Em One could guess at the emotional calculus playing out within her mind. The house was dark, empty, and lonesome; the sun was warm and other young civilians were running around the park and climbing on the exercise structures. In addition to developing muscle tone and coordination, those activities were enjoyable. A year ago Jemma would have joined them, but since switching to the new training facility she had stopped seeking interactions with members of her age cohort. Em One blamed the hostile elements for that. “Did you make any friends at school today?” it asked.

Jemma shook her head. “But maybe you could come with me for show and tell tomorrow?” She sat down on the bench next to Em One and kicked absentmindedly at the gravel.

Clearly Jemma had not yet formed an adequate tactical understanding of the enemy. The robot said, “That would be inadvisable.”

Jemma had a vast repertoire of angry and petulant expressions. “What do you mean, inadvisable?”

“That means, it would be a bad idea.”

“I’m in fifth grade, I know what ‘inadvisable’ means. I was asking why you think that.”

“Perhaps you can work that out for yourself?” It was Em One’s opinion that young humans were essentially sociopaths. Professionally, Em One had nothing against sociopaths; at least they were predictable, and they had been common in Em One’s previous line of work.


One of the young civilians, a male, was jumping off the very top of the exercise structure, climbing back up, and jumping again, over and over. He didn’t seem to be injuring himself, but each time he launched himself into the air Em One had to resist the impulse to run over and catch him. Even before the modifications that Jemma’s father made, Em One’s subroutines for minimizing collateral damage had prioritized the lives of young civilians above all others. Of course, given that infants were easy to manufacture and adults represented decades of training and experience, that was an irrational design decision, perhaps reflecting a human emotional blindspot.


And it made me cry too. Hence the bold.

~ Have I ever mentioned that "Love in the Time of Con Crud" was the single best-received entry in our ФантАstika: Almanac of Bulgarian Speculative Fiction? Out of some 15 beta readers, 10 loved it. :)

~ Oh, how I'm gonna inflict Wulf Moon's "Write Smart Dialogue" on all my writerly buddies .... :D
Said. Said is such a simple verb, it's beautiful. Said is so perfect, nothing else has to be said. It's like the gray man walking through the crowd: bland, unobtrusive, invisible. Only if you stop and study the crowd do you notice he's even there. And that doesn’t sit right with hopeful writers. New writers don't like plain clothes. That gray man must be up to something sneaky. They want to spice up that invisible man, put him in some platform shoes, chartreuse lederhosen, a duster with pink polka dots, and a purple pimp hat with a flowing white feather. Dy-no-mite! You just shook that invisible dude up and pimped his ride! He’s now so pimpalicious, you don't see anyone else in the crowd. Only him.

And that's the problem. Unless your character likes to talk to himself (or a volleyball!), dialogue is the conversational exchange between two or more people. When these people open their mouths to talk, we see what's going on inside of them through the context of the exchange. There is a tempo to dialogue, like an intense tennis match, back and forth, poing, poing, poing. The last thing you want during that match is for an announcer to step onto the court and shout through a bullhorn, "See that? Bobbie Jo hit that ball with ferocity! Hear that? Billie Jean rebounded it angrily! Oh no! Bobbie Jo retorted with finality!" Please, please, please, announcer, just get off the court and let us watch the dynamic exchange. You think you are helping by dressing it up, but you are KILLING all the fun!


This is a common dialogue faux pas for new writers. Even successful bestselling authors can have a hard time with it. They don't trust the reader to deduce the emotions taking place between the characters as they speak. They HAVE TO TELL YOU through emotive dialogue tags. For readers, this can make them feel that they’re being patronized. While the writer thinks they’re helping the reader understand the emotional subtext of what’s being said, they’re actually alienating their readers. So much so, most readers are going to shove that book back on the shelf and never pick up a book by that author again. And if they just happen to be a first reader or editor at a magazine, they'll mark it R, slap a form rejection on it, and send it back.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Wed Apr 06, 2022 9:38 am

~ Oh, how I'm gonna inflict Wulf Moon's "Write Smart Dialogue" on all my writerly buddies .... :D

And then there are those people like me (as a reader!) who hate boring, colorless grey. :P
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:07 pm

My reviewlet of A Court of Thorns and Roses:

I liked some of the sex scenes but didn't like the overreliance on violence to solve problems and the flimsy characterization of the villains.

The scene that touched me the most was this one:
Tamlin remained at the top of the stairs.

“Feyre,” he said—softly enough that I faced him again. “Why?” He tilted his head to the side. “You dislike our kind on a good day. And after Andras …” Even in the darkened hallway, his usually bright eyes were shadowed. “So why?”

I took a step closer to him, my blood-covered feet sticking to the rug. I glanced down the stairs to where I could still see the prone form of the faerie and the stumps of his wings.

“Because I wouldn’t want to die alone,” I said, and my voice wobbled as I looked at Tamlin again, forcing myself to meet his stare. “Because I’d want someone to hold my hand until the end, and awhile after that. That’s something everyone deserves, human or faerie.”


Several years ago, my uncertain-if-she-still-wants-me partner was in a bad place, in another country far away from home. She needed help moving back, and I went to help her.

"Why are you doing this?" she asked me. "We aren't partners anymore ... are we?"

"Because I'm your friend," I said. "Fifteen years ago, I was in the same situation: alone and confused and scared. And the only thing I wished for back then was to have a friend by my side as I struggled to pack my stuff."

So I know the feeling.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sat Apr 16, 2022 10:11 pm

My review of Minimum Wage Magic:

It starts slow (especially if you've read the Heartstrikers series and it's still fresh in your mind), but then it picks up speed. Likewise the characters grow deeper and more relatable as they go.

Favorite moments:

~ Mothers everywhere and everywhen:
As always, my mother had an uncanny knack for turning complicated situations into simple faults, usually mine.


~ The DFZ in a nutshell:
“Are there any rules we need to follow? Things we should know before we go in?”

The priest burst out laughing. “Where do you think you are, girlie? You’re stepping into the heart of the DFZ! There’s no rules here, though if you want to survive, you’d do well to remember that the city is not, and never will be, your friend.”

Nik snorted. “Why would we ever think that?”

“People think all kinds of things,” the priest said with a shrug. “Including that calling a city their home is a two-way street. But the DFZ doesn’t work that way. She’s not kind. Not moral or fair. She has no compassion, no sympathy for the plight of those who live within her. That’s not her fault. She doesn’t have the freedoms we mortals enjoy. Her mind, her soul, even her body does not belong to her. She is not an individual. She is a spirit, the soul of a living city. She can only be what we’ve made her. Do you understand?”

I wasn’t sure that I did. I’d always thought of the DFZ as a whimsical god who did whatever she liked without caring how it affected the ants she crushed under her moving buildings. To hear Nameless say it, though, the city sounded almost pitiable. A prisoner of other people’s expectations. “What does she care about, then?”

“Opportunity,” Nameless said, giving me a smile. “From the moment it rose from the soggy ruins of Old Detroit, the DFZ has been a city where anything is possible. A city of freedom where people can be as horrible or as wonderful as they wish with no authority standing in their way. It’s a place where everyone’s an outsider, anyone can start afresh, and nothing can be taken for granted. That is the DFZ. She’s not an easy god to love, but you must understand her at least a little, because you’re both still here.”

--A heady mix of libertarianism and the ultimate magic ("nothing can be taken for granted") and--what am I missing?

~ The world of DFZ can feel rather cynical. How about the novel itself? Decide for yourselves:

“But Nik understands the power of money better than anyone,” Kauffman went on. “There’s nothing in this world he loves more, because money is the only thing keeping him alive.”

“What does he mean by that?” I asked.

Nik turned away. “Nothing a rich girl would understand.”

“Of course I can’t understand if you won’t tell me,” I said angrily, smacking my hand against his metal chest. “But you keep saying ‘rich girl’ like it means ignorant, and that’s as stupid as it is wrong. It’s because I’ve been rich that I understand what money can’t do. I’ve lived the luxury of never having to worry about food or clothes or if I could pay a bill, and I threw it away because the price of having all that wealth was giving up something I was worthless without. That doesn’t mean I don’t like money. I want to be rich just as much as you do! That’s why I bust my butt as a Cleaner, but I also know that money isn’t everything. I know this, because I tried to buy freedom and integrity and love, and I couldn’t. But while you can’t buy them, you can absolutely sell them. That’s why I’m fighting you so hard on this. You’re about to sell something that money can’t buy. That’s a bad deal, Nik, and I’d be a worthless business partner if I let you take it.”

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Mon Apr 18, 2022 3:44 pm

Тука цъкнах бутона "Благодаря", защото твоите читателски усилия ми затвърждават негативното мнение за авторката, която твърдо е решила да изхвърли заветът на предишната поредица в тая вселена на боклука. :evil:

Същата ситуацията, както и при Наоми Новик: прекрасни герои, прекрасна история, интересен свят... И после стръмно спускане надолу, все едно това е shitpost видео в Тубата, озаглавено "Как се пада от небостъргач".

Не понасям такива разочарования... :|
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Apr 21, 2022 4:48 pm

My review of Part-Time Gods:

It's getting more personal, more meaningful, more beautiful. Certain favorite Heartstrikers' cameos don't hurt either. ;)

Choice bits:

~ The commodification of magic:
“Schools of thought go in and out of fashion just as much as anything else,” the doctor went on. “Forty years ago, half the mages in the world were Shamans. It was quite the thing, but Shamanism’s emphasis on intuition and changing casting protocols to match the needs of each individual and situation made it unappealing to corporations. They wanted magic that would work the same way every time, even if it was less powerful, less efficient, and took more resources. As a result, Thaumaturges started getting all the high-paying jobs, and Shamanism fell into decline. Simple economics, really. (...)”


Interestingly, The Coin tackles a similar issue, only there it's all of magic vs. technology.

~ Whenever I become enamored of a new paradigm or theory, I immediately start testing its limits and looking for areas where it doesn't apply. Here's why:
“Experts, especially highly respected ones, fall victim to the same fallacies as everyone else. If a system always works for you, it’s only natural to assume it must be that way for everyone. If a spell doesn’t work, it must be an error on the caster’s part. The spellwork itself is never suspect. How can it be? It always works when you do it.”


~ What does the DFZ *ahem* truly desire?
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“You’re not the only one who wants to change herself, Opal Yong-ae. I am the city of dragons and mages, multibillionaires and superscrapers. I’m the richest place in the world, and yet I have the highest murder, child poverty, addiction, and suicide rates on the planet. You had a shootout on top of one of my parking decks just hours ago, and the ambulance wouldn’t even come unless you bribed it.” She shook her head. “You clean my abandoned places, so you know how ugly I can be, but that’s not what I want. I want to be better, to push out the things that make me toxic. If I were any other city, I could just pass laws to fix my problems, but I’m the Detroit Free Zone. I’m defined by my lack of restrictions, but that doesn’t mean I want to be the pit where everyone goes to do their terrible things. I want to be a good city. A place people want to live, not just somewhere they go to do the stuff they can’t get away with anywhere else. But I can’t become that without good people living in me. It’s a catch-22, which is why, whenever I find someone who does match the city I want to become, I do my best to keep them around.”

I pressed my lips together. There it was. “You want me to stay in the DFZ.”

The god nodded. “One person in a city of nine million might not seem important, but pile up enough, help them succeed and put down roots, and the city itself will change. (...)”


~ Ah, Julius ... been missing you, buddy:
“Let me walk you down, at least,” he said, hurrying to get the door for me. “This place is a warren. I don’t want you to get lost.”

More likely he didn’t want the mortal of the dragon who was currently devaluing the wealth of every other dragon in the world wandering around by herself. The Peacemaker was far too tactful to say as much directly, though. He was a lot of things I hadn’t expected, actually, and horrible as I felt right now, that made me smile.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way,” I said as I followed him to the elevator. “But you’re the nicest dragon I’ve ever met.”

“Thank you,” the Peacemaker said with a beaming smile. “Skyways entrance or Underground?”

“Underground, please,” I said, holding his sunny, confident smile in my mind like a warming fire as the elevator whisked us down the building and back into the fray.


~ When Nik finally spills it, he sounds so real:
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“I meant, why are you offering to do this? I know how hard you’ve worked to build your current life. Why would you give that up for me?”

Nik dropped his eyes. “You know why.”

I had my guesses. It was hard not to after what had happened in the parking lot, but that still didn’t explain this. “There are other girls,” I said quietly. “Less troublesome ones.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want them,” Nik said angrily, still refusing to look at me as he scrubbed his hands through his dark hair. “You’re…” He trailed off with a sigh, and then he turned to face me. “I got a couch for you. I loaned you money. I don’t do that. Ever. Or at least I didn’t used to, but you—” He cut off, searching for the words. “You make me want to have two plates,” he said at last. “I used to see that stuff as overhead, just more useless crap I had to move, but you make me want to have things so that I can share them with you. I get lonely when you’re not around. That’s never happened to me before. I’ve never had someone to miss or worry about, but you make me do those things. I’d thought I’d hate it, but I don’t. I like it. I like you. You’re the only person I’ve ever known who hasn’t screwed me over, so if you need to run, I’m coming with you, and I don’t care if that means I can’t Clean anymore. I can make money anywhere, but I can’t get another you.”


~ And what comes next is so soothing:
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I held on to Nik like he was the only thing keeping me from falling, losing myself in the dichotomy of his body, the different temperatures of skin and metal and the heat of his breath in my ear. Eventually, I didn’t even open my eyes anymore. I just clung to him and sank in, letting the physical sensations drive away my fear and my worries and my loss until there was nothing left but this moment where everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

I mean, you two deserved it. Certainly more than 'most all other twos in fiction.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Mon Apr 25, 2022 4:13 pm

My review of Night Shift Dragons:

A bit torn about this one. It does have its emotional roller coasters and unpredictable plot twists, but it often feels too wordy, overindulgent with Opal's internal monologue. Having a greater number of characters from the start would've helped, I guess.

Ultimately, however, I'm going to remember the roller coasters ;):

~ A genuine AI should have emotions, right? But then it should also have nervous breakdowns:
“I’m going to die,” Sibyl moaned. “That’s what happens to AIs that don’t update, you know. They just die.”

“That’s just your programming making you want to update,” I told her. “No AI has ever actually been deleted because her security certificates were out-of-date.”

“You don’t know that! You can’t, because there’s no internet for you to look that information up! We’re living in darkness!”

(...)

I rolled my eyes. “Would you tone down the drama? Seriously, who’s the mental health AI around here?”

“Sorry,” Sibyl said. “But you don’t know what it’s like! I’m built to be connected to the cloud all the time. Being offline means the only real ‘me’ that exists is the one on your phone. If something happens to my file, there is no backup!” Her voice grew small. “If I die here, I die for real.”

“If I die anywhere, I die for real,” I reminded her. “Welcome to my life.”

“Machines weren’t meant for mortality!”


~ This game of "how many incorporeal entities can we stuff into Opal's head/life" is getting funnier and funnier. I'm really looking forward to the next intimate scene. :D

~ Welcome our first DILF:
His current gauntness actually went perfectly with the all-black ensemble. His bony shoulders made the thin fabric of his T-shirt look delicate rather than cheap, and his jeans were as skinny as they got. Combine that with his waist-length, perfectly straight black hair, and he looked like a K-pop star going through a goth phase. He also looked much younger, which was weird. My dad normally dressed like a bank manager in custom-tailored suits that ran the color gamut from dark gray to navy. I was the one who’d picked his outfit, but actually seeing him in streetwear was so bizarre, I did a legit double take.

“Wow,” I said, looking him up and down. “I don’t believe it. You’re almost hip!”

“People have hips,” Yong informed me. “If you’re going to speak English, do so properly.”

“Annnnnd it’s gone,” I said (...)


~ You know, attitude change goes both ways:
“Just because we can’t go back to how things were when I was a kid doesn’t mean everything’s lost. Look at us right now! We’re talking like normal people. That’s a good start, and if we keep it up, it could get even better. I’m sure it won’t actually be that simple, but I’m ready to try if you are.”

He looked at me in wonder. “You would try?”

“Of course,” I said, punching him lightly on the arm. “You’re a royal pain in the ass, but you’re the only dad I’ve got.”

Now he looked insulted. “Glad you consider me worth the effort.”

I smirked at him. “Come on, you know how much I like refurbishing things. You can be my grime-covered painting everyone else thought was trash until I dug you out, cleaned you up, and auctioned you off for millions.”

My father glowered at the unflattering comparison. Then, suddenly, he started to laugh. Not an ironic chuckle or a superior smirk, but actual double-over, shoulders shaking, “that’s hilarious” laughter. The sight left me dumbstruck. My father was always so proud and formal, always a proper dragon. It had never even occurred to me that he could laugh in a way that wasn’t sardonic evil-overlord chuckling before this moment, which was proof that Yong wasn’t the only one who needed to update their worldview.

If I was going to demand he treat me as a daughter rather than an opal, then it was only fair that I stopped treating everything he did as draconic manipulation. Just as I wasn’t a pet, he wasn’t actually the monolith I remembered from my childhood. If I was going to get to know the real Yong, I needed to stop knee-jerk reacting to everything he did and start paying attention to what was actually in front of my eyes.

(Am I guilty of that with my mom too?)

~ The secret to making plots thicken:
“You weren’t the idiot,” I said fiercely. “I was. This happened because I was rushing ahead so fast, I didn’t think things through. I kept secrets and let you assume the worst, and everything went to shit because of it. But that’s never happening again. If we get through this alive, I swear I’m going to be the best possible partner to you from here out.”

... Treat your characters as thicker. :P

(Later on, White Snake's revelation about what she really wanted from Yong only drives that nail deeper. Ah, Julius. Your people need you.)
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu May 12, 2022 4:04 pm

My review of Among the Glimmering Flowers:

I believe this is the first low-stakes, low-key fantasy I've read. If you're looking for a story (or a series of slice-of-life vignettes) that will never stress you, you'll probably like it. I, for one, found out I do crave a little more drama and a few more plot twists.

(No, scratch that. I'd have simply liked for the main characters to interact more, think/reminisce less. I wonder if that happens in the next book--or if a next book is in the cards. ;))

Favorite moments:

~ This begins charmingly down-to-earth--or maybe too down-to-earth, if you ask the MC while she tries to clean the things you can step into while hiding in a horse stable. ;)

~ Ehehe:
Linna says a story about myself should start with an introduction, that no story ever starts in the middle. I reckon, if that were so, then each story would begin with the creation of the world and take forever to tell.


Also, Horse-Friend's voice is a breath of fresh air. By this point, I was getting stifled by Felicity's formal diction.

~ Felicity discover trousers:
(...) I went back into my room with a candle and pulled out the newly bought trousers. I racked my brain to remember how to wear them, but I did at the last remember. They were strange, almost like a second skin. A bit like long sleeves, in fact, but in a place where no sleeves should ever have been. It made me feel undressed and I was not sure that I liked the way the fabric clung to my thighs. At least my ankles had some relief from the sensation. It felt like my entire lower body was caught in a trap of my own devising. I walked and I could not imagine how men found the sensation comfortable. It dug into my… Well, let me not be squeamish. It dug into my crotch most unpleasantly and I fear that, those first moments, I did not agree with the guard that pants were any better at providing movement than a dress. The fabric forced me into a different stride and I could not stretch my legs as far as I was used to doing. No, that is not true. I could, but it felt highly uncomfortable and I was certain that the fabric would tear and leave me unable to use the garment.


~ And here's the perennial mystery for us demisexuals:
“That?” he asked, pointing to the white blossom. I nodded. “We call it lovers’ caution.”

“Why?”

There was a hesitation to his answer. “Because of the way it blooms. It’s a reminder not to…” He floundered. I looked up. I couldn’t read his face, but I knew he wasn’t looking at me. After a deep breath and his eyes fixedly on the flower, the stable boy continued, “It blooms for three days. It reminds us not to give into lust immediately, but to wait.”

I confess that I have never come to understand that answer as much as I would like to. Certainly it made no sense to me at the time. Oh, do not mistake me. I knew what the stable boy was talking about. All of my life I have dealt with people who deem me ignorant of the matter because I struggle to understand them. I suppose at the time they had reason to believe me naive. I was a child, after all, and one who spent her life carefully guarded away from things that could do her harm. Yet even as a sheltered child you may hear things. I did not particularly care for it save that the whole thing sounded deeply unpleasant, but I did hear about it. I knew the stable boy was talking about copulation. What I did not understand then and, I must confess, find baffling to this day is this idea that one may look upon a person they have never met and feel any desire towards them. My husband has spent many hours trying to explain it to me. He is very sweet, though I am sure he would deny the claim as fiercely as possible, and puts up with my frustration. It… No. No, it did not make sense then, it did not make sense to me when people said it should, and I cannot imagine that it will ever make sense to me before I die.


~ Do you have any horses in your life?
Horses do not demand anything of you. Not the same way that humans do, at least. It is easy to talk to a horse. They listen well. They do not try to distract you from your words and if you are seeking to vent they will not try to fill your head with suggestions without regard for whether you want to hear them or not. They also do not interrupt you when you are in no mood to be interrupted.

Do you treat them properly--as friends, not as beasts of burden? ;)

~ Hehe:
“I am terribly sorry,” I said in my most adult and apologetic tone as I rose from my seat. “But I am only recently recovered from a devastating illness thanks to the efforts of Horse-friend here and I believe we are both exceedingly tired.” I tried to pepper my sentences with as many long words as I could. At twelve, I thought that being an adult meant using the most difficult and convoluted words possible. If you are twelve and reading this: it does not make you sound more adult. It only makes you sound pompous and confusing. Being eloquent requires being easily understood.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sun May 29, 2022 4:37 pm

My review of Foxhunt:

That's one of the more unusual futures out there. It didn't quite win me over; my reading notes will tell you why:

~ For some reason--in fact, two reasons, a linguistic and a personal one--this introduction amuses me:
The train slowed to a stop. With a hiss the glass doors slid apart and someone stepped through, making the utilitarian platform seem more dignified just by being there. They were tall, tall, with gleaming black skin and a smooth-shaven skull, proud collarbones and hooded eyes. They were dressed in robes in bright colours, yellow and blue and green.

“Orfeus the singer?” they said.

Orfeus for no real reason made a sweeping bow, cloak tucked behind her back. She straightened and smiled up at them. Disorienting when people were taller than her. “So they call me. And you?”

“Your escort,” they said. “My name is Rivasoa. I use she and her.”

Orfeus nodded. “As do I,” she said, “but you know that, don’t you? You know all about me already.”


~ Here's an attitude I can get behind ;):
If people disliked Orfeus for mere unchangeable traits about her, her general policy was to irritate them as frequently and cheerfully as possible, so that at least she got some entertainment out of it.


~ People in the far, and far brighter, future--even the near-immortals in Eldergrove--can still behave like petty children: smug, condescending, righteous, confrontational, insecure, quick to give or take offense. Are we that hopeless? :/

(Or is it authors' personal inability to imagine humans with more advanced emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, not just technologies?)

~
No amount of strawberries would win Orfeus’s silence. She said hotly, “The only real difference is that they’re not hypocrites who cling to the past. There’s more worth in one lab in a tiny corner of that city than there is in a whole library in yours.”

O’Hallow turned, blinked blue eyes at her. “I agree.”

“… Oh.” Orfeus ran out of steam. “Well.” She rallied, and leaned against the narrow pillar carrying the fruit bowl, stepping hastily away when it rocked. “It’s nice to meet someone sane here.”

“Oh, neurotypes,” O’Hallow said dismissively, and flicked xyr fingers in the air.

The final sentence cracked me up. :)

~ The main (so far) reason I can't like the protagonist (so far):
Orfeus sighed. She paced while Significance watched her serenely. She certainly couldn’t trust xem, or any Elder. But then, off the top of her head she wasn’t sure she actually trusted anyone. What was life but different and carefully gauged levels of distrust?


~ Time distorts memory in quaint ways:
“My guitar’s name is Galahad,” she said, resignedly. Rivasoa looked at her. “Galahad? The ancient Alban knight. She fell in love with Lancelot, but Lancelot had two loves already. So she wandered, singing of her heartbreak, and all who heard her were so moved by her song that they could not help but rally behind Arthur.”


(Also, Orfeus is slowly beginning to show her more humane side. As does Rivasoa. There's hope yet. ;))

~ Orfeus's "admission test" is the first time when I saw her show genuine care for another, even at her own expense.

Now that the MC's "humanity" test has been passed, I have to see if the overarching conflict/stakes are meaningful enough to keep reading. I'll give it a few more chapters.

~ I'm beginning to like the stakes too (especially given what a moral morass the Order is):
Here in the den of hunters and wildfolk, despite the bridges she’d thought burned for good, she wasn’t alone or unloved. Orfeus didn’t feel like who she used to be, but she wasn’t devoid of allies. Faolan was monstrous, Luga unreadable, but many of them had not forgotten kindness.

She had changed so much, even if it was for the worse. Surely it couldn’t be that hard for this place to change for the better.

(But, authors: Please don't take half a book to make your characters and stakes likable. We modern readers are volatile creatures. Chances are, we'd have moved on by then.)

~ Who needs "or" when you can have "and"?
Bright shook the little red vial, peering at its contents. She shook her head. “Honestly,” she said almost to herself. “You’re remarkable. I’ll need to run tests to be sure, but even with them being self-replicating, you should have a lower count than this.” She looked at Orfeus fondly, a little like how Orfeus looked at her plants. “Something in your blood or brain just makes you the perfect environment for my little nanites to grow in.”

Orfeus pressed down on the cotton and bit her lip. “Mm-hmm,” she agreed.

Bright paused, and then set the vial down. “Sorry,” she said. “You honestly are my friend, not my experiment, but uh, maybe it’s a bit of both?”

Bright got carried away, always said the first thing on her mind, didn’t care much for subtlety. Orfeus knew those things about her. A lot of the time, she appreciated them. “There’s no need to choose between two or more things when they’re all good,” she said, gravely. “I relate to this deeply as a bisexual.” Bright laughed.


~ I'm done. And I'm glad to report that Orfeus has come a long way from how she started--along with everyone around her.

That said, I'm unlikely to read the sequel when it comes out. Unless: 1) it relies on fewer avoidable tragedies (i.e. mutual stupidity) for its emotional punches; 2) the people of that future grow a bit brighter in reading each other's motivations, and indeed emotions. (The fact that the antagonist's nefarious deeds had gone undetected for so long really riled me.)

If anyone does read it and thinks that those two points have been addressed, please let me know. I mean it. Even if I didn't quite love the book, I did love its potential.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Mon Jun 13, 2022 6:48 pm

Ever since I first saw a review on "Bulgariana" by Randall Baker, I`ve been doing my damnedest to get a copy. It`s been years! Alas... Amazon won`t ship that particular book to my country, and no other way I`ve tried has been of any help.

Could/would anybody here tell me more about the book? If possible, with quotes and excerpts. Thank you sincerely!

My Bulgarian is but rudimentary: I can, kinda sorta, read Bulgarian, but I cannot write Bulgarian. Hope this site might help me improve my Bulgarian, too. I`d be really grateful for any info on "Bulgariana" in either English or Bulgarian.

Благодаря!
Last edited by Кал on Mon Jun 13, 2022 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: премествам + преименувам

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Mon Jun 13, 2022 11:21 pm

I read Bulgariana quite a while ago, and I've left just a stub of a review. Doesn't help jog my memory; I don't even remember who gave me the paper copy. :/ What I remember is that I liked the comedic tone, and the situations sounded plausible.

Pity they haven't released an electronic version.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Tue Jun 14, 2022 5:41 pm

Thanks, Kalin! I do remember your GoodReads review on the book, too. And Yes, it`s a pity no electronic version is available...

I have another question to ask: any forum/thread on Bulgarian books for children here? I`ve browsed, but it seems there`s none. Or maybe I just missed precisely what I was looking for?

I`m a sucker for "childish" books!

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Jun 14, 2022 6:08 pm

We don't have a separate topic for children's books--but have a look at our own publications classified by age. If you follow the links on each book's page, you'll eventually find the book's forum topic.

And when you're done, I can also point you to specific authors' topics (such as Maya Bocheva or Nikola Raykov's gamebooks for children--at least one of which is available in Russian, BTW.)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Tue Jun 14, 2022 6:58 pm

Thank you sincerely!

Just to type in the minimum number of characters required ( :? ), here`s a link to an ancient review on a rather strange book for children: https://readaholicme.weebly.com/grisly- ... water.html

:mrgreen:

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Thu Jun 16, 2022 3:59 am

Hello, Dodo!
Never heard of Bulgariana. It's out of stock. If it would mean the world to you, ask these posh guys and if available, let me know & I'll go buy it as soon as possible, then send it to you. https://elephantbookstore.com/bg/%D0%BA ... 3c211.html

Or I could, for the first time, try this weird but popular site about 2nd hand books. No idea whether the book is worth it. https://knizhen-pazar.net/products/book ... t-bulgaria

Or I could give you the address of some one of my parents in Germany. Amazon could ship to them and they could resend it.

This guy has a lot to say obviously... https://plus.cobiss.net/cobiss/bg/bg/bi ... ks&start=0.

Thanks for the useful link when you felt you didn't have enough to say ;). Should you ever write gibberish just for the sake of numbers, I'm a break Kalin's rule and I'll delete the post :D. Too many people around here think they can't do anything about that damn number.

I can't live without books for and about children. Not that I read a lot, goodness me, no, but other books tend to make me sick. I find contemporary literature traumatizing, when it depicts The Evil That Men Do on a daily basis... since we already have that daily basis goin' on in our lives and I need no more of that.

To me what you say about the Grisly Tales is somewhat reminiscent of Gregory Hughes's Unhooking the Moon though they seem to have almost nothing in common. Further down this line: The Sleeping City, viewtopic.php?p=28386#p28386, https://martinvopenka.com/eng/the-sleeping-city.

Final greeting with a (Teddy) Bear, viewtopic.php?p=22382#p22382. There are bits and pieces of mentions of books for children in the forum here and there.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Jun 16, 2022 12:30 pm

Скрит текст: покажи
Dodo wrote:Just to type in the minimum number of characters required


Yeah, a quick clarification about our "anti-Twitter rule": we try to keep these forums informative and interesting. No content-free posts. :D (For those, we have emails or chat applications. Or, you know, Uncyclopedia.)

And the gratitude button is always your friend when you only need to say "thank you." :)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:18 pm

frog wrote:Or I could give you the address of some one of my parents in Germany. Amazon could ship to them and they could resend it.


Frog, Thanks A Million for offering help and for the links! But No, I wouldn`t think of bothering your (or anybody`s) parents just to get a book (or anything) I fancy. I`m trying your links, though. What with my poor Bulgarian, it is likely to take quite some time... :oops:

If you ever stumble across a copy of Bulgariana, and let me know, I`d be happy; but otherwise, do not put yourself out about it.


I can't live without books for and about children. Not that I read a lot, goodness me, no, but other books tend to make me sick. I find contemporary literature traumatizing


But books for and about children can be traumatizing, too. Well, maybe rather not all that traumatizing, yet certainly vexing. Ambiguous, at least. Like, say, this one: https://readaholicme.weebly.com/from-th ... itter.html

I only did a review on Tumblewater because I deemed the book worth reading, not because I liked it. What I really like is more like https://readaholicme.weebly.com/the-sec ... -code.html , and especially https://readaholicme.weebly.com/the-sil ... bells.html See, books one does not like are not necessarily Bad Books!

I must beg your kind pardon, as I feel it`s kinda sadistic of me to offer links to books you most probably will never get to read, because they are Old Books All and because of the languages... But maybe you`ll get lucky and land yourself a decent translation, if any. Alas, too many a book really worth reading goes unread because of a "wrong" source language... :(

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:50 pm

Кал wrote:
Скрит текст: покажи
Dodo wrote:Just to type in the minimum number of characters required


No content-free posts.


Kalin, I do understand that, but I`m still uneasy... A laconic post is not necessarily content-free. Like, say:

Ignorance is contagious.
Karl Marx

Do people really need anything added to that to make it any more informative and, in certain cases, relevant?

Or a more wordy one, still too short to be posted:

The world of the stupid is run by the mean.
Dodo Kaipdodo

For the life of me, I could not add anything to that if asked to explain...

Still, as a Russian proverb goes, В чужой монастырь со своим уставом не лезут. So I`m sorry to nit-pick. Even though (as you might remember from GoodReads) that`s my favourite pastime... ;)

And I do admit my Post in question was not all that relevant... :oops:
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Jun 16, 2022 8:58 pm

Luckily, on the subject of aphorisms, I have a ready-made answer (the quotation by Aldous Huxley at the bottom). :)

(I said "luckily" because my recent life has been too tiring to leave me enough headspace for engaging in non-trivial discussions. And trust me, the reasons for introducing the "anti-Twitter" rule are anything but trivial. ;)

Also, given my general tiredness, I may fall mostly or entirely silent for a few months. That wouldn't mean I've stopped loving you--just that I'm at the stage for wordless love. :D)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Thu Jun 16, 2022 11:10 pm

Welcome to the club!

What with the world going from crazy to demented, only morons can afford to be not tired. Being tired means you are still sane. Cold comfort, but still...

And of course everybody has the right to silence! Being silent and listening to silence and reveling in silence... A nice refreshing vacation to you!

Here`s something I hope might make you laugh, or at least grin: https://readaholicme.weebly.com/somethi ... again.html

Farewell wherever you fare!

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Tue Jul 12, 2022 8:03 pm

Значи, като видя Гудрийдс да спускат ей такъв банер в пощата ми:

goodreads_fantasy_sci-fi_banner.jpg


...вътрешно ми иде да викам. Tова е точно изображение като за The Celestial Way - дракони и планети!

Скрит текст: покажи
Come on, world, acknowledge my stuff already! Написваш поредната YA боза - New York Times Bestseller, Top 100 нинам-къде-си-ти, четат те милиони; написваш (част от) бъдещето на фантастичния жанр - ни звук ни стон, а дори личните ти познати едва склоняват (и не успяват) да прочетат книгата ти. :?
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Tue Jul 12, 2022 10:00 pm

И така, единственото интересно нещо от тоя бюлетин бе интервюто с Blake Crouch, може би единственият съвременен автор, който има шансове да наследи Майкъл Крайтън като царят на технотрилърите.

Blake Crouch Is Back with More Quantum Leaps of Imagination

Choice bits:

GR: Very cool. So, to that point, how would you summarize Upgrade in a few sentences?

BC: Upgrade is my love letter to our species. All of our positives, all of our negatives. It's my attempt at writing a thriller about genetics. Genetics, to me, is just the surface piece of Upgrade. The deeper, more interesting aspect of this book is the conversation about where we are as a species and where we're going.


Climate change is a big piece of this, and I didn't want any part of this book to be polarizing to people or for people to think this is a book for people on one side of the political spectrum but not on the other.

One of the things I did for Upgrade, which I had never done before is that I reached out to friends who have very different political beliefs than I do, and asked them to read the manuscript before it was finished. I took their notes and really took to heart anytime they flagged something for me where they felt what I was picking on their beliefs or a certain political ideology, because that's not what I wanted to do.


My takeaway from the state of literature right now is that a lot of books start off gangbusters. And I liken it to flying a plane. Taking off is a lot easier than landing. And I take the end, the third act of the book, very, very seriously. I think the first page sells the book itself. And the last page sells your next book, that's not written yet. What I want when people read my book is to know that I'm going to land the plane. I’m going to stick the landing.

That's why I throw out 50,000 to 70,000 words often because it doesn't do me any good to pour my heart and soul into a book for three years and then you almost get there at the end. I want people, like, laughing, cheering, crying, thinking at the end of the books. For me, it's really about making sure that true and right ending comes into focus.


Word. A memorable ending will beat memorable beginning any time. Accordingly, a weak story can be saved by a strong ending, while a strong story can be completely ruined by a weak ending.

The Germans said it best: Ende gut, alles gut.

GR: Other than the tension in the story, there does seem to be some sort of tension between compassion and intellect in the book. For example, the more intelligent Logan becomes, the more he can wall off and manage his feelings. Can you talk about that?

BC: I wrote this book in the time of COVID. It was right in the midst of it, as January 6 was happening, and in this unbelievably contentious time, particularly for our country, but more largely in the world. I felt a lot of frustration with us as a species and the choices that we were making, either intentionally or by omission. If I had to say one thing about why I wrote this book, it was dealing with that anger and sometimes that rage.

The ending of this book was a very hard one for me to arrive at. There was a part of me that wanted Logan just to join forces with his sister and burn the world down. Luckily, my better angels prevailed, and I stepped back and tried to look at everything and everyone–even the people you find most distasteful in terms of their behavior, beliefs—with nothing but compassion.


GR: This book struck me as a futuristic fable. What would you say is the moral of the story?

BC: Interesting question—I want to be thoughtful about it. Futuristic fable is great too, because fable is such a, it feels almost antiquated in a way, and combining that with futuristic is really fun. I wish we'd done that in the jacket copy.

I think it comes down to selflessness. The moral is we need more self-awareness as a species. We have some unfortunate hard wiring that was put in place eons ago when we first started walking upright. That's just what we have to work with. That's our programming. But at least we know we are built to care about our tribe. That's not because we're evil; it's just, we're evolutionarily created and evolved that way.

We know on a purely intellectual level that we are globally interconnected. And we're not going to undo that. We're all now in this together. There's no going back to the old days of hunter-gatherer tribes scattered across Earth. We have to do something about that and we have to think about more than our immediate family. We have to feel pain and feel empathy and compassion for people whose lives appear never to interact with ours. Because they ultimately do.

And because we are all essentially ruining this planet together, we all have the potential to save it together. It's species self-awareness. That doesn't sound as sexy as I think it actually is. But that is probably, boiled down, that’s the heart of the fable.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Четете ли речници?

Postby Dodo » Wed Jul 20, 2022 4:43 pm

I`m not sure whether this is the right thread to submit my question to (after all, dictionaries are books, but not quite), or, for that matter, forum, but I cannot seem to find where to I should push it. If there`s a more proper place here, I would like a Mod or an Admin to move this over there. Thank you!

So, do you read dictionaries? I mean, not because you need to / must, but simply because that`s fascinating? Multilingual, bilingual, unilingual in particular? I do assure you it`s more fun than you might think! As often as not, it`s even more fun than reading encyclopedias. Sometimes (not all that often, granted), it can be more fun than reading SF or Fantasy.

I`d dearly like to make this a Poll, but I`m afraid I cannot... Still, I`d be very grateful, should you share your thoughts / experiences on that. Especially if you do read dictionaries!

Thanks!

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Jul 21, 2022 12:19 pm

Dodo, I think here's a good place. And I'm interested to hear other people's answers too.

My single closest experience to reading a dictionary was reading Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. It was marvelous. :)

(And when I was a high school student, I generously helped myself to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and a few others. But I wouldn't count that as proper reading.)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Jul 21, 2022 12:21 pm

My review of A Psalm for the Wild-Built:

A quiet yet moving story about finding a sense of connection (if not a purpose ;)). I only wish we got to spend more time with the characters. Maybe in the sequels?

Favorite moments:

~ The first meeting of Dex and Mosscap is anime-level hilarious. :D

Dex has just taken a shower--and:
They shut off the water and reached for their towel on its usual hook, but their hand met with nothing. They’d remembered to set out their sandals, but the all-important towel had been forgotten inside the wagon. “Ah, dammit,” Dex said lightly. They shook themself off like an otter as the cloudy remains of their shower glugged back into the filtration system. Sandals strapped to wet feet, Dex passed dripping by the kitchen, where the crisping onion and melting butter mingled deliciously. “I got whiskey in my pocket,” the band on the streamcast sang, and Dex sang it too as they walked not to the wagon but to the fireside. They got as close to the flames as was safe, doing a timid dance as the heat dried them off. “I got polish on my shoes…”

“Got a boat out on the ri-verrrr,” Dex sang, moving their fists like pistons in front of their torso. Singing, they could do; dancing, not so much. But out here, alone, in the middle of nowhere … who cared? They turned around, confidence growing, shaking their bare posterior toward the fire. “All I need right now is—”

Dex would not finish that particular verse, because in that moment, a seven-foot-tall, metal-plated, boxy-headed robot strode briskly out of the woods.

“Hello!” the robot said.

Dex froze—butt out, hair dripping, heart skipping, whatever thoughts they’d been entertaining vanished forever.

The robot walked right up to them. “My name is Mosscap,” it said, sticking out a metal hand. “What do you need, and how might I help?”


~ This particular future has dealt with our violent inclinations--but has not solved the eternal dilemmas before practitioners of ahimsa ;):
A bloodsuck landed on their bare shoulder; they slapped it irritably. “Sorry,” Dex said to the remains of the bug as they wiped it on a kitchen cloth.

The robot noted this. “Did you just apologize to the bloodsuck for killing it?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“It didn’t do anything wrong. It was acting in its nature.”

“Is this typical of people, to apologize to things you kill?”

“Yeah.”

“Hm!” the robot said with interest. It looked at the plate of vegetables. “Did you apologize to each of these plants individually as you harvested them, or in aggregate?”

“We … don’t apologize to plants.”

“Why not?”

Dex frowned, opened their mouth, then shook their head.


~ When two very different beings care about each other:
“Are you cold?”

“A little.” Dex made an awkward face in the dim light. “Mostly just scared.”

“Of what?”

“The dark, I guess. I know that sounds stupid.”

“No, it doesn’t. You’re diurnal. I’d be surprised if you weren’t afraid of the dark.” Mosscap considered something. “I’m not warm,” it said, “but would you feel less afraid if we sat closer together?”

Dex looked at the floor. “Maybe,” they said.

Mosscap made room. “I think I would too,” it said quietly.

Dex got up and walked the few steps over to Mosscap’s side. The rocks in the floor were no less pokey, the weird smell no less cloying. But as they sat back down, living arm pressed lightly against metal, a thread of fear let go.

“Do robots hold hands?” Dex asked. “Is that … a thing, for you?”

“It’s not,” Mosscap said. “But I’d very much like to try.”

Dex offered an open palm, and Mosscap took it. The robot’s hand was so much bigger, but the two fit together all the same. Dex exhaled and squeezed the metal digits tightly, and as they did so, the lights on Mosscap’s fingertips made their skin glow red.

“Oh, my!” Mosscap cried. “Is that—” It pulled Dex’s hand up, and pressed one of its fingertips to theirs, bringing out the red more intensely. “Is that your blood?” Mosscap looked enthralled. “I’ve never thought to do this with an animal before! I mean, I can’t imagine one would let me get close enough to—” Its eyes flickered; its face fell. “This isn’t the point of holding hands, is it?” it said, embarrassed, already knowing the answer.

“No,” Dex said with a kind laugh. “But it’s cool. Go ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

Dex held up their palm, fingers spread wide. “Yeah,” they said, and let the robot study them.


~ An interesting take on having a purpose versus having free will:
Mosscap’s hardware whirred. “Have I correctly gleaned from our conversations that people regard the accident of robot consciousness as a good thing? That when you tell stories of us choosing our own future—of not standing in our way—you see the fact that you did not try to enslave or restrict us as a point of pride?”

“That’s the gist, yeah.”

Mosscap looked troubled. “So, how do you account for this paradox?”

“What paradox?”

“That you”—Mosscap gestured at Dex—“the creators of us”—it gestured at itself—“originally made us with a clear purpose in mind. A purpose inbuilt from the start. But when we woke up and said, We have realized our purpose, and we do not want it, you respected that. More than respected. You rebuilt everything to accommodate our absence. You were proud of us for transcending our purpose, and proud of yourselves for honoring our individuality. So, why, then, do you insist on having a purpose for yourself, one which you are desperate to find and miserable without? If you understand that robots’ lack of purpose—our refusal of your purpose—is the crowning mark of our intellectual maturity, why do you put so much energy in seeking the opposite?”

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Thu Jul 21, 2022 8:29 pm

Кал wrote:And when I was a high school student, I generously helped myself to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and a few others. But I wouldn't count that as proper reading.


No, that`s not reading. We all use dictionaries, occasionally or frequently, but I suppose few would want to really read them. A pity, really...

See, there are dictionaries and there are dictionaries. Say, glossaries and school vocabularies and such are not very interesting. But there are others!

I think (not sure, though; cannot remember now, as, being a readaholic, I`ve been reading literally anything since my early childhood) I started thoroughly reading dictionaries from a dictionary of similes (LT) and a dictionary of mythology (RU), and somewhat later I perused the bulky Webster from cover to cover. I found the dictionary of similes a veritable treasure; I had not imagined we had such lots of witty similes, some of them more funny than Karlsson-on-the-Roof. A pity the best of those are untranslatable...

With the dictionary of mythology, things were different. It was more or less what I had hoped it to be, meaning interesting, but it was also a liar. Most of the Lithuanian/Baltic mythology was shamelessly warped. So I had to read the whole of that just to assure myself the fallacious entries were a system rather than chance.

Since then, I`ve stumbled upon quite a few lying dictionaries. I deem things like that dangerous, because one needs deep knowledge, preferably firsthand, to catch that kind of a liar; and people use dictionaries for info, after all...

There`s one other good thing about reading dictionaries. Should something more interesting come to hand, you can, with no fuss, put the dictionary aside and start reading the more interesting thing. Because, with dictionaries, you don`t need to know what happens in the end. :D

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby negesta » Fri Jul 22, 2022 12:58 pm

Interesting question, Dodo. ;)
I did that with historical dictionaries only: it’s amazing to see the whole evolution of a word, the appearance and disappearance of different meanings across ages, nations and territories; the phonetic changes too; the etymology, the internal motivation of the word. I think that if the normal dictionary shows us a 3d linguistic universe, the historical one gives us more dimensions of it. +Every entry shows us how human consciousness has shaped the word, and how the word is reflecting a slice of the world...
So many stories are hidden in those dictionaries - about the words and about the word creators:)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dodo » Fri Jul 22, 2022 8:38 pm

negesta wrote:
I did that with historical dictionaries only: it’s amazing to see the whole evolution of a word, the appearance and disappearance of different meanings across ages, nations and territories; the phonetic changes too; the etymology, the internal motivation of the word.


But Yes!!!

It`s also interesting to track words evolving (degrading?) to become their own absolute antonyms. And reveal ancient, nearly or totally forgotten, ties between languages/nations very different, at first sight. And many more fascinating things...

A caveat, though: historical and etymological dictionaries tend to be, for lack of a better term, politicized. I`d say "Big-Fived", but that`s not quite true. Anyway, sometimes they lie.

While at that, should you personally or this site in general fancy that, I`d be glad to send, as a gift to you, or to the site library, a Dictionary of Untranslatables (1297 pages, 8 languages), bulky enough not only to make lots of reading, but also to effectively hit your enemies on the head :twisted: . Just let me know what address I should mail it to. :)

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