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Fiery Diamond
2012-06-21, 07:38 PM
As the title says.

(Willing) suspension of disbelief is an odd thing. When we read, watch, or otherwise observe fictional stories, and especially fantasy stories, suspension of disbelief is a necessary (and desirable) thing. However, we don't want to have to constantly force ourselves - we want to be able to adopt a mindset and enjoy. This is one reason why we tend to gravitate toward certain types of stories; these are ones that contain things it is easy for us to suspend disbelief for. It is also why changing up the genre (or certain other expectations) in the middle of a story is so jarring: we adopt a certain way of looking at the story where certain "unrealistic" (for whatever value of that word we're using) things are accepted but others are not. If you're reading a gritty WWII historical fiction and suddenly aliens or mages appear, it doesn't matter how much you like alien sci-fi or sword&sorcery fantasy, it will break immersion.

But even if a story doesn't switch up the assumptions in the middle, there are some things we just can't bring ourselves to suspend disbelief for. Each one of us is different, and different things are "just too much" for different people. Examining what things are easy for us to suspend disbelief about and what things are hard or near-impossible can be an interesting (and sometimes enlightening) exercise. Sometimes a person has trouble with one thing but not another even when the two aren't all that different in how far removed from reality they are.

So, what breaks you suspension of disbelief? And do you have any interesting pairs of "I don't have trouble with THIS, but I do have trouble with the related THAT"?

I'll start with a small example:

I don't have any trouble with virtual realities (such as a virtual MMORPG where people put on headsets that relay information to the brain directly) that are essentially "real" enough to be seen as separate worlds.

But I do have difficulty with AI characters who are indistinguishable from humans in their apparent cognitive and emotional capacities. It provides mental conflict with my ability to view characters as people.

Whiffet
2012-06-21, 08:07 PM
A story where the real world and a fictional world both exist, but the fictional world can be found in the "real" world's media. Breaks my suspension of disbelief almost every time. I wasn't bothered by Heinlein's The Number of the Beast, but most of the time it is explained much more poorly.

Fortunately this isn't too common anyway.

The_Alec
2012-06-21, 09:14 PM
Deus ex Machinas are something that always break my suspension of disbelief. The idea of some random omnipotent being just happening to intervene on the hero’s behalf always strikes me as being so contrived.

Another thing that can break my suspension of disbelief is the concept of “destiny” that overrides free will. I don’t mind things like self-fulfilling prophecies or vague predictions of the future. However once you get to the point where people are honestly expected to perform certain acts in a certain way for no other reason than “its destiny” it just gets ridiculous.

Das Platyvark
2012-06-21, 09:34 PM
As soon people start acting on the will of the plot, when what they do seems less their choice and more the writers. It doesn't show up so often as you'd expect, but it's still present.

TheSummoner
2012-06-21, 10:00 PM
Lack of internal consistency is the biggest one for me.

"Chosen one" scenarios where only one character is capable of doing whatever needs to be done and everyone else is largely irrelevent (it's fine that the main character is the only one who does do something, but it bothers me when he/she is the only one who can do that thing).

Stories with a large number of characters and nothing bad ever happens to any of them. Have a small pool of characters who make it through unharmed? Fine. Have a large pool of characters but several die or suffer some other consequences of the story? Fine. Have a huge cast but no one ever dies or suffers permanant harm or gets a paper cut? I'll pass.

In video games specifically, "gamey" elements. Things in the game that actively remind you that you are playing a game. Achievements are an example of this. Really hate those. Pointless little virtual tokens that only exist as a method of artificially lengthening a game.

Traab
2012-06-21, 10:08 PM
Things that break their own rules. I am willing to accept pretty much anything in the course of a film or book, but as soon as the already established rules get broken, especially when they dont bother to justify it, I am bumped right out of my cozy enjoyment.

Mordar
2012-06-22, 12:28 AM
Stories with a large number of characters and nothing bad ever happens to any of them. Have a small pool of characters who make it through unharmed? Fine. Have a large pool of characters but several die or suffer some other consequences of the story? Fine. Have a huge cast but no one ever dies or suffers permanant harm or gets a paper cut? I'll pass.

This is a big one for me...Jim Butcher's fantasy series (Codex Alera? I forget the name) didn't get past book one for me because of this issue...several mooks died, as I recall, but despite the big bad battle, I don't think any named characters went down...on either side. Felt forced to me.

Modern-isms in fantasy/historical fiction (or even future fiction), particularly in movies...you know, people spouting lines that are current colloquialisms ("Chill, dude!" in anything pre-1980 is a gratuitious example) is another.

Finally, what I call "The Mallack" (from Conan the Destroyer) - the forced comic relief that the hero would never tolerate because all the clown succeeds in doing is making things harder on the hero.

I'm sure I'll think of more...but those ring true for me.

- M

Hazzardevil
2012-06-22, 01:44 AM
This is a big one for me...Jim Butcher's fantasy series (Codex Alera? I forget the name) didn't get past book one for me because of this issue...several mooks died, as I recall, but despite the big bad battle, I don't think any named characters went down...on either side. Felt forced to me.

At least 4 named people died in the book, but they were people that cease to be relevant after that book.
Who dies.

Kord
One of the marat chiefs
Bittan
Fidelalious (I know I've spelt that wrong)

Omergideon
2012-06-22, 02:42 AM
The biggest has to be characters breaking internal consistency. This one throws me out of it. As do events in the story just happening because "plot says so" without either previous events or character moments giving us a reason.


After this though something that always ruins my SoD is when the universe just craps on a character relentlessly. To the degree that they can never catch a break and it all goes wrong. And my SoD is permanently scarred when all the people in the story just accept this and don't move on.

I mean in Supernatural the universe treats the Winchesters like dirt when they are lucky. And worse most of the time. But they reflect on this a lot, react to it, are influenced by this constantly. And they still get wins, good moments and victories. Not too many but some. They get to smile sometimes (less so since the apocalypse started but still). So it is acceptable. But if the story has this happen with no actual light at the end of the tunnel my SoD is broken. Even if it does happen to people in real life it seems wrong in stories.

Manga Shoggoth
2012-06-22, 05:38 AM
An on-line collegue of mine was writing a story. It wasn't a bad story (he was still on the very early drafts), but at one point one of the characters - a vampire - was trying to drag a body. While in bat form.

Not only was this a somewhat unfeasible situation in the first place, I immediately visualised it as a scene from some 1980's Hanna Barbara cartoon. After that I could no longer take the story seriously.

Brother Oni
2012-06-22, 06:41 AM
My major break is lack of internal consistency, as others have said.

The other one I have is more dependent on the tone and nature of the story, where if something purports to be realistic, subsequently breaking the laws of physics because reality and facts got in the way of a good story.

Shonen anime in particular is bad for both - they strive for realism in order to add dramatic appeal, then they hit everybody with the idiot ball or gloss over physical impossibilities, because they've either written themselves into a corner or they didn't do the research.

TheEmerged
2012-06-22, 08:08 AM
Failing internal consistency is a big one for me. I can tolerate a Deux Ex if the story mocks itself over it (the helicopter crash scene in the Adam West Batman is a good example) but failing to abide by your own established rules is a big no-no in Emerged country. The worst example of this I can think of off-hand comes from the Star Wars trilogy: Luke can't go fight Vader because he'll turn to the Dark Side, but then he has to face Vader to become a Jedi. Um, what? The only valid explanation for that involves Jedi Masters being habitual liars and, with thirty years of hindsight, maybe that's the only explanation needed :smallredface:

Similarly, I can tolerate small failures of basic physics/science as long as the plot doesn't hinge on it. But show me a helicopter pilot trying to escape from a giant, non-flying monster that doesn't try to gain altitude? Yeah, that'll blow it for me. Same with the "I'm trying to escape a tall, thin object that is falling by running away in the direction the object is falling instead of moving laterally" thing.

Another one that will blow it for me is showing a non-superhuman person, on foot, outrunning an explosion. No. Just... no.

Final one? Any time a scene is too obviously set up for fanservice. I was halfway enjoying the Elektra movie despite itself, for example, up to the lesbo kiss complete with bullet-time.

thubby
2012-06-22, 08:13 AM
internal consistency is an obvious one.

the other big one is people not being, well, people. that's why i always hate the corporate head with the swat team. people really don't put themselves in those situations without conviction.

SlyGuyMcFly
2012-06-22, 08:35 AM
One really bad one for me is when it turns out pretty much every single plot-relevant person is either related to another plot-relevant character or a childhood friend of one, or had some kind of life-defining encounter with one when they were a kid as a means to inject additional drama and cheap motivations.

DiscipleofBob
2012-06-22, 09:15 AM
Idiot balls.

Comes in lots of different flavors, and it's difficult for me to think of specific examples so here goes:

The first Transformers movie (Yeah, I know it had lots of problems but focus on this one for a moment). The characters get to the secret Area 51-esque compound. They find the MacGuffin. They learn that the Decepticons will stop at nothing to get said MacGuffin. Said soldier (who up until now has at least been more tolerable than everyone else) suggests they leave the [/i]heavily fortified desert compound[/i] to go to a densely populated metropolis to fight heavily armed giant killer robots with lots of explosions. Way to serve and protect, bro.

Jeeves and Wooster. I know, outdated example, but this particular scenario is common enough. Subject A is a socially awkward dense klutz of a man. Subject B is the woman of everyone's dreams: intelligent, beautiful, kind, everything. Subject A manages to win the affections of Subject B. Subject A makes a hilarious social faux-pas (leaning in too close to another woman because he's helping her get something out of her eye, needing a maid to reach a top shelf or the top of a window drape to close it so he's lifting her up from behind), Subject B walks in, sees Subject A in compromised position, and instead of bothering to ask what's going on for the completely innocent explanation, assumes adultery and runs out of the room crying ready to call the whole thing off. Conflict started, later resolved, everything's cleared up, then the exact same thing happens 2 episodes later, despite Subject A being clearly crazy about Subject B and having no history of fooling around whatsoever.

Man on Fire
2012-06-22, 09:45 AM
* When characters are acting unreasonable, just because plot says so.

* Any refferences to world mechanics into the story. Order of the Sticks manages to somehow work around it, through not always, while in Goblins it really breaks me out of the story every time.
** On the same note: Estabilishing rules of the world in-story and then breaking them when it's convinient.

* Stripterific female outfits, armors, costumes or just anything they wear that looks stupid - high heels in battle, unnecessary cleavage. (D&D, superhero comics)
** On the same note, ridiculous male costumes - underwear on pats, Space Marine shoulderpads, are equally stupid. (Superheroes, both Warhammers)

* When whatever supernatural abilities people have doesn't cange every day life in the slightest. (DCU)
** And when they are used to solve every problem in five minutes (Tippyverse)

* When I'm supposed to accept that characters with power are so far above normal people that normals become completely irrevelant in any conflict, even other heroes who doesn't have the power (D&D fans approach to the casters)
** When I'm supposed to accept that one normal human is better than anyone with powers and can beat every single powered being given prep time, yet at the same time he is more realistic. (Batman)
** Just generally when story promises me one thing to enjoy and then turns out it's a lie and tries to force me to enjoy something different (DC promises superheroes, forces Batman, D&D promises all kinds of fantasy heroes, forces casters)

* When the numbers doesn't make sense and writer clearly has no idea about the scale of things he/she is talking about (Kaaren Traviss and Mandalorians starting war on galactic scale with less people USRR had in WWII, Geoff Johns and all life in the Universe starting on Earth that shouldn't even exist when it happened).

* Trying to justify characters' amoral actions with made up excuses that only make them look stupid in comparision (Prime Directive)
** Trying to justify character's action while at the same time giving somebody else hard time for doing the same thing (Enterprise did this once)

* When I'm supposed to care about unlikeable jerks because they are doing cool things.

* All races being of one and the same nature (D&D "Always Chaotic Evil" BS)

* Elves being always better.
** Or just Elves in general, they piss me off.

Traab
2012-06-22, 10:22 AM
What kind of an error is it when someone uses a word that sounds like the one you want but it isnt? An example, "I like to do that two." It doesnt happen a lot, but I have seen that pop up in one or two books, and its the sort of thing that just shatters my immersion as my brain does a hiccup and tries to make sense out of what I just read. If I was saying the sentence out loud, there would be no mistake noticed, because two and too sound the same, but written down you go, "wait, what?" and it takes a bit to get past it.

Another one that effects me oddly is the unusual word choice. Especially when its clearly used to show off your vocabulary. Best two examples I can think of, in a mercedes lackey book, she used the word, verisimilitude. Has anyone here, EVER used that word in a sentence? Hell, it still takes me two tries just to pronounce it correctly even years after learning it. Another one, this time in a young adult novel, an old woman refers to the main character as a disreputable tatterdemalion. Now, sure in this day and age I have the internet and I can look that up easy, but back when I read the story, dial up was still awesomely cutting edge, and not everyone had it yet, including me. It took me DAYS to track down the definition of that word, and I couldnt stop obsessing over it long enough to finish the book. I needed to know what she just called that boy.

Yora
2012-06-22, 10:33 AM
I can go along with pretty much everything as long as the special rules and laws are applied consistently and the characters act in ways that appear reasonable given their situation and knowledge.

Fragenstein
2012-06-22, 10:38 AM
What kind of an error is it when someone uses a word that sounds like the one you want but it isnt?

That's a homophone.

Heheh. I adore a door who knows where the nose should be on a bee.


... this time in a young adult novel, an old woman refers to the main character as a disreputable tatterdemalion.

To be fair, I only knew what a tatterdemalion was because of that one Queen song.

JCarter426
2012-06-22, 11:07 AM
Another one that effects me oddly is the unusual word choice. Especially when its clearly used to show off your vocabulary. Best two examples I can think of, in a mercedes lackey book, she used the word, verisimilitude. Has anyone here, EVER used that word in a sentence? Hell, it still takes me two tries just to pronounce it correctly even years after learning it.
Verisimilitude is an unusual word? And it's pronounced phonetically. :smallconfused:

Another one, this time in a young adult novel, an old woman refers to the main character as a disreputable tatterdemalion.
Ok, you got me there. Though at least it has the decency to mean what it sounds like to some extent.

Also, dialogue is special case. For a character to use an unusual word in speech would certainly break verisimilitude, but, depending on the writer's style, it might be acceptable in narrative.

Now, sure in this day and age I have the internet and I can look that up easy, but back when I read the story, dial up was still awesomely cutting edge, and not everyone had it yet, including me. It took me DAYS to track down the definition of that word, and I couldnt stop obsessing over it long enough to finish the book. I needed to know what she just called that boy.
You don't have a dictionary? :smallconfused:

Whiffet
2012-06-22, 11:10 AM
I thought lack of internal consistency was so obvious that it wouldn't make sense to mention it. :smalltongue:

Here's something interesting: there are times where something doesn't usually bother me when I'm by myself, but as soon as I share a story with someone else (especially a movie or TV show) I start seeing things that immediately pull me out of immersion. Because I want the person to like it, and now it looks ridiculous. This keeps happening with Batman TAS. I tried showing my sister the episode Beware the Gray Ghost, which I loved. Then,SHOOT DA BOMBS! That makes sense! Now remote control cars are going faster than the Batmobile!


What kind of an error is it when someone uses a word that sounds like the one you want but it isnt? An example, "I like to do that two." It doesnt happen a lot, but I have seen that pop up in one or two books, and its the sort of thing that just shatters my immersion as my brain does a hiccup and tries to make sense out of what I just read. If I was saying the sentence out loud, there would be no mistake noticed, because two and too sound the same, but written down you go, "wait, what?" and it takes a bit to get past it.

Ugh, how about "defiantly" when "definitely" was intended?

Dr.Epic
2012-06-22, 11:14 AM
Harry Potter in general and how neither the protagonists nor villains can seem to defeat the other when victory could so obviously be claimed for one side.

Fragenstein
2012-06-22, 11:20 AM
What about improperly used accents? For example, a character from ancient Greece is written into the script. How do we know he's from ancient Greece?

Because he speaks with a Bitish accent, that's how.

Or when Thor talks as if he's been reading the King James edition of the Bible.


Thor: "Thou preperest to feeleth mine wrath!"

Ultron: "Hey. I'm pretty sure that pre-Christian Nordies never said 'thou'. What the hell?"

thompur
2012-06-22, 12:03 PM
What kind of an error is it when someone uses a word that sounds like the one you want but it isnt? An example, "I like to do that two." It doesnt happen a lot, but I have seen that pop up in one or two books, and its the sort of thing that just shatters my immersion as my brain does a hiccup and tries to make sense out of what I just read. If I was saying the sentence out loud, there would be no mistake noticed, because two and too sound the same, but written down you go, "wait, what?" and it takes a bit to get past it.

Another one that effects me oddly is the unusual word choice. Especially when its clearly used to show off your vocabulary. Best two examples I can think of, in a mercedes lackey book, she used the word, verisimilitude. Has anyone here, EVER used that word in a sentence? Hell, it still takes me two tries just to pronounce it correctly even years after learning it. Another one, this time in a young adult novel, an old woman refers to the main character as a disreputable tatterdemalion. Now, sure in this day and age I have the internet and I can look that up easy, but back when I read the story, dial up was still awesomely cutting edge, and not everyone had it yet, including me. It took me DAYS to track down the definition of that word, and I couldnt stop obsessing over it long enough to finish the book. I needed to know what she just called that boy.

Gods, yes! For me, it's when they use 'then' when they mean 'than'. That drives me up the wall!!

Scowling Dragon
2012-06-22, 12:11 PM
Yeah. idiot balls are my biggest problem.

Gorgon_Heap
2012-06-22, 12:34 PM
When a character does not have anything akin to a normal person's reaction to something just because they need to get involved quickly.

I actually just posted this in a movie thread:


I gave Inception an honest shot, but when it came to meeting Ellen Page's character i just about burst a blood vessel. "You kidnapped me, drugged me and are now jamming hallucinations directly into my brain, making me question reality and my own sanity. Yeah, I'm Ok with that."

My epithets were loud and ear-shatteringly vulgar. I stopped the film and took it back to the library.

Yora
2012-06-22, 12:39 PM
What character is that? I only remember two women in the whole movie.

Traab
2012-06-22, 12:39 PM
Verisimilitude is an unusual word? And it's pronounced phonetically. :smallconfused:

Ok, you got me there. Though at least it has the decency to mean what it sounds like to some extent.

Also, dialogue is special case. For a character to use an unusual word in speech would certainly break verisimilitude, but, depending on the writer's style, it might be acceptable in narrative.

You don't have a dictionary? :smallconfused:

I do now, I didnt back then. Also, keep in mind this was something like 15-20 years ago, I was like... 10 years old. And yes, verisimilitude IS an unusual word. I have never once heard it used in any casual conversation. I have only read it in that one book that one time, and only ever used it myself in scenarios like this one. It might have been jammed into that V for Vendetta speech in the movie, but if it was, I missed it.

Karoht
2012-06-22, 12:49 PM
@Movies
I give movies a looooot of leeway on suspension of disbelief. Partly because I walk in going 'it is a movie' and partly because I posess the brain capacity to hold a detail in my head long enough for the movie to explain it or resolve it.
If I am ever confused or lost, I always give the film the 5 minute rule. Maybe something seems odd or not consistant because we are unaware of the rest of the rules or something.
I also utilize the 5 minute rule while watching films because I absolutely HATE people who will ask for an entire character backstory when the opening credits are still going, so I never want to be that guy myself.
It's when the 5 minute rule turns into the 'answered in a quick sentence/handwave at the end of the film' that I get a bit iffy.
If the detail is never addressed, I typically assume it is intended to be a myster or unanswered question. That is why it is unanswered. Usually this sort of thing is sequel bait, but I've often found that the films I enjoy most are the ones which do not answer all the questions, and encourage your imagination to extrapolate, speculate, and either answer the question in your own way, or never answer it at all.


@Comics
I sat through the entire Clone Saga back in the day with Spider-Man. At age 13, I was fully aware at the time that Marvel was producing a comic book with a business model that relied on subscriptions. As such I was pretty sure that unanswered questions were just going to be the name of the game for a rather long time. I learned then to be patient, pay attention for clues, but don't expect answers/resolution for a rather long time.
Then the Clone Saga ended. My patience was rewarded, mostly.
Otherwise, I again give comics a rather large margin for error. It's expected, it's a comic. And the writers of the past seem to have ignored scale on many an occasion. It still happens, but far less now. Either way, the precedant has been set, so I just expect it.

Xondoure
2012-06-22, 01:07 PM
I do now, I didnt back then. Also, keep in mind this was something like 15-20 years ago, I was like... 10 years old. And yes, verisimilitude IS an unusual word. I have never once heard it used in any casual conversation. I have only read it in that one book that one time, and only ever used it myself in scenarios like this one. It might have been jammed into that V for Vendetta speech in the movie, but if it was, I missed it.

Really? It comes up a lot when discussing suspension of disbelief. Which is a nice coincidence it being the topic of this thread and all.

RadicalTurnip
2012-06-22, 01:34 PM
Yes, the idiot ball, and especially when someone has the power or ability to just win this encounter no problem, but apparently forgets? I dunno, but they aren't using their power.

On a similar note: humans being not human. Eg: Batman is the worst, but other "only human" superheroes too. If Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne gets thrown through a wall, they are *not* getting back up. One hit from ubermonster that Superman is fighting, and they are *dead*, no question. Same is true of Lex Luthor.

And yes, grammatical errors and typos in written media, but also when I'm reading a book and there are more than just words in there: I can't handle drawings or charts or diagrams in my novels, it just makes me start thinking about the printing process to do it.

razark
2012-06-22, 02:02 PM
When an author demonstrates they have no idea what they are talking about.

For example, physics:
Character A, part of a group, is at the bottom of a shaft, holding a large bucket. A chain runs from the bucket, up over a pulley, and is attached to a weight. A is holding the bucket so that it doesn't go up until the rest of the group can get in to escape. Once everyone is in, A stops holding the bucket, and then jumps into the same bucket. Since he is no longer holding the bucket down, the weight causes the bucket to rise.

Or, vocabulary:
The author mentions that the hauberk is too large for the dwarf, and he had to break the handle to make it short enough for him to wield.

An Enemy Spy
2012-06-22, 02:25 PM
When an author demonstrates they have no idea what they are talking about.

For example, physics:
Character A, part of a group, is at the bottom of a shaft, holding a large bucket. A chain runs from the bucket, up over a pulley, and is attached to a weight. A is holding the bucket so that it doesn't go up until the rest of the group can get in to escape. Once everyone is in, A stops holding the bucket, and then jumps into the same bucket. Since he is no longer holding the bucket down, the weight causes the bucket to rise.

Or, vocabulary:
The author mentions that the hauberk is too large for the dwarf, and he had to break the handle to make it short enough for him to wield.

Had to look up the word hauberk to understand that.

I hate when somebody who isn't supposed to be an expert at combat is still able to mop the floor with faceless goons who really should be able to defeat them. Even a rookie private in real life should be able to beat an untrained adversary in a fight. This is even worse when we see actual trained professionals like soldiers and cops being easily defeated by the same bad guys that a fifteen year old who doesn't even know how to shoot a gun properly can slaughter in droves.

Eakin
2012-06-22, 02:26 PM
Maybe it's more of a pet peeve than a suspension of disbelief thing, but mine would be when a story sets up an interesting moral dilemma with two morally ambiguous options, but then throws in some other factor about one side so they can have the heroes pick the "right" answer.

As a hypothetical example, Tech Company has invented some procedure/device/Macguffin that lets them transfer life span from one person to another in fixed doses, so one use makes the recipient a year younger and the donor a year older, biologically. They plan to offer the procedure for hire, so the recipient will pay, say, a million dollars, the donor will receive 250,000, and Tech Company keeps the rest for expenses/profit. Lots of different angles you could approach that from or moral questions you could raise, and you might expect that reasonable people could disagree on whether it was OK or not.

Then, 10 minutes before the end of the episode, it turns out that Tech Company is kidnapping orphans to drain the life out of! They must be stopped! Our heroes rush in and make sure justice is served, the bad guys lose and the technology will never be looked at again in another episode. Then everyone involved treats the whole thing like "this technology was evil because kidnapped orphans" is actually a valid argument rather than a transparent sidestepping of the original, much more interesting question.

Xondoure
2012-06-22, 02:27 PM
The conservation of ninjutsu really bugs me. Fortunately this isn't really a problem in books most of the time.

An Enemy Spy
2012-06-22, 03:11 PM
Another one that effects me oddly is the unusual word choice. Especially when its clearly used to show off your vocabulary. Best two examples I can think of, in a mercedes lackey book, she used the word, verisimilitude. Has anyone here, EVER used that word in a sentence? Hell, it still takes me two tries just to pronounce it correctly even years after learning it. Another one, this time in a young adult novel, an old woman refers to the main character as a disreputable tatterdemalion. Now, sure in this day and age I have the internet and I can look that up easy, but back when I read the story, dial up was still awesomely cutting edge, and not everyone had it yet, including me. It took me DAYS to track down the definition of that word, and I couldnt stop obsessing over it long enough to finish the book. I needed to know what she just called that boy.

So it's bad to use words not everybody knows? When I don't understand a word, I look it up in a dictionary(it's this papery thing with words you don't need internet to use) and actually learn it, and maybe even know how to use it later on. It's called expanding your vocabulary.

Traab
2012-06-22, 04:08 PM
No its not that its bad to use big words or some such thing, but it is bad when its just thrown out there in the middle of a story like a freaking hand grenade, used once, then nothing even close to that is used again over the next 30 or so books they release. I read plenty of stories where fairly obscure words get used frequently. Often its a part of a specific characters behavior. But its something else entirely when some farm boy in a fantasy novel refers to some one drinking lots of milk as a galactophagist out of nowhere.

Manga Shoggoth
2012-06-22, 04:10 PM
What kind of an error is it when someone uses a word that sounds like the one you want but it isnt? An example, "I like to do that two." It doesnt happen a lot, but I have seen that pop up in one or two books, and its the sort of thing that just shatters my immersion as my brain does a hiccup and tries to make sense out of what I just read. If I was saying the sentence out loud, there would be no mistake noticed, because two and too sound the same, but written down you go, "wait, what?" and it takes a bit to get past it.

That's a homophone.


...Or possibly a malaprop, depending on how close the two words sound - Although malaprops are usually deliberate on the part of the writer. (I remember a story where an old lady at a ball asks one of the young gentlemen to get her a drink as as she is about to expite from dehydranger...)

TheThan
2012-06-22, 04:14 PM
Ok things that break mine… lets see
1: lack of common sense. When characters do things that don’t make any sense in the context of the story begin told. For example if the big bad evil army is marching forward on the horizon, and everyone knows it. Why are the heroes (and everyone else for that matter) just sitting around doing nothing, when they should be preparing for the soon to come fight.

2: lack of internal consistency. This ties in with article 1, a lot of times, things are supposed to work a specific way, but then the writer writes himself into a corner and has to spontaneously change the way things work in order for the plot to continue. This also has a lot to do with basic verisimilitude, if the universe doesn’t feel like it should work, then I’m not going to buy into it actually working.

3: chosen one scenarios, where the hero is the only one capable of doing anything. (that’s different than being the only one willing to do anything).

4: omnipotent heroes (happens a lot in anime). This is when the hero is sooooo powerful that nothing can stand up to him in a straight conflict. I don’t mind a character growing in power, and becoming strong, but I hate it when they start out this way.

5: unpronounceable names: this is a huge one for me. We’ve all seen it, that alien name that is 15 letters long and filled with either all vowels or all consonants, usually has a lot of apostrophes and other unnecessary punctuation in it. Here’s a hint writers, if you can’t pronounce the name of your character by reading it out loud, then your audience can’t either.

kpenguin
2012-06-22, 04:17 PM
Not much, really. My suspension of disbelief is pretty hardy.

GenericGuy
2012-06-22, 07:21 PM
Mine might get a little political, but I think it’s valid because it tends to crop up in historical fiction.

When disenfranchised peoples don’t act like they did in those times, instead like modern day people who were “born before their time.” Nostalgia Chick touched on this during her review of Wild Wild West, where Jim West didn’t act like a man who was born and raised as a slave, but as Will Smith. I noticed something similar in the AMC series Hell on Wheels, where rapper Common’s character was very defiant and acted like 19th century Malcolm X (he acted far more like a man who was bitter at losing freedom than a man who never had it). There is a reason why large scale civil rights movements and slave rebellions didn’t happen in the South at the time, most people can wrap their heads around losing freedom which they have, but there is a big difference between that and being born into servitude. It marks a person, not by filling them with righteous anger, by like an abused child filled with fear (which doesn’t make for a “heroic” figure, so we instead go with the “what doesn’t kill makes you stronger” thing).

Man on Fire
2012-06-22, 10:22 PM
Maybe it's more of a pet peeve than a suspension of disbelief thing, but mine would be when a story sets up an interesting moral dilemma with two morally ambiguous options, but then throws in some other factor about one side so they can have the heroes pick the "right" answer.

I have a buddy who get all angry at Avatar: The Last Airbender for this reason. Well, this and the fact that Azula got defeated by Katara whom she had no emotional connection whatsoever. And that the fight was too easy for no reason.

And before you ask, he hates Zuko's guts, but even he says that it robbed Zuko's subplot from the conclusion.

Jayngfet
2012-06-23, 01:28 AM
I hate it when power levels fluctuate around for no reason. If a character is depowered, I'm fine with it. If a character gets a boost or a shiny new toy and is stronger, I'm cool with it. What I don't like is characters suddenly gaining or losing powers as the plot demands. The entire DC Universe seems to be another pretty good example. Silver Age Green Lantern or Superman wound up developing new powers pretty much at random, then through the bronze age lost them gradually, only for them to occasionally get some kind of godly powerup that basically restored them to previous levels, then for that powerup to slowly get stripped down, only to gain a NEW powerup all over again. There's never any real explanation as to how or why they don't just use power X that they never lost or just regained in a fight.

Another thing I really don't like is when a character goes all "This isn't a game!" or says something similar, particularly to a character who's been established as competent and knows what they're doing. It feels like they're devaluing literally everything done up to that moment to make what's coming up seem more impressive. A pretty big offender would be the early 00's Green Lantern stuff. I mean you can't tell someone "this isn't another one of your brightly colored supervillain fights" when he's not only got more experience with the current enemy than you, but he's gone up against STRONGER guys and won regularly. It's meant to come off as one character being cool most of the time, but 99% of the time it just winds up coming off as both the character and writer having no idea what they're doing.

Yora
2012-06-23, 06:11 AM
Ok things that break mine… lets see
1: lack of common sense. When characters do things that don’t make any sense in the context of the story begin told. For example if the big bad evil army is marching forward on the horizon, and everyone knows it. Why are the heroes (and everyone else for that matter) just sitting around doing nothing, when they should be preparing for the soon to come fight.

2: lack of internal consistency. This ties in with article 1, a lot of times, things are supposed to work a specific way, but then the writer writes himself into a corner and has to spontaneously change the way things work in order for the plot to continue. This also has a lot to do with basic verisimilitude, if the universe doesn’t feel like it should work, then I’m not going to buy into it actually working.

3: chosen one scenarios, where the hero is the only one capable of doing anything. (that’s different than being the only one willing to do anything).
Number 1 and 2 are the same as mine.
And yea, ab absolutely loath number 3! :smallamused:
But I don't think it makes the story implausible. Just stupid and bad.

HandofShadows
2012-06-23, 06:51 AM
I hate it when people use real life things and don't bother doing basic research on them. One book that was supposed to take place on a Earth very much like ours (same weapons technology, different people in elected office type thing) and it worked for awhile. The you find out that in this book the US Airforce has hundred or even thousands of Anti-Ballistic missiles hidden is cities (under civilian looking houses that also served as the launch control center) all over the US. And has had them in place since at least the 60's. WHAT? That does not ruin a suspension of belief. That takes it out back and beats it to death.

Gnoman
2012-06-23, 12:07 PM
I hate it when people use real life things and don't bother doing basic research on them. One book that was supposed to take place on a Earth very much like ours (same weapons technology, different people in elected office type thing) and it worked for awhile. The you find out that in this book the US Airforce has hundred or even thousands of Anti-Ballistic missiles hidden is cities (under civilian looking houses that also served as the launch control center) all over the US. And has had them in place since at least the 60's. WHAT? That does not ruin a suspension of belief. That takes it out back and beats it to death.

That particular example is technically possible (ABM systems from the 1950s/1960s have a relatively low hit chance, but this was remedied by giving them a nuclear warhead. They were scrapped because the introduction of MIRV rendered point-defense economically impractical).

HandofShadows
2012-06-23, 01:20 PM
That particular example is technically possible (ABM systems from the 1950s/1960s have a relatively low hit chance, but this was remedied by giving them a nuclear warhead. They were scrapped because the introduction of MIRV rendered point-defense economically impractical).

I am familiar with missiles like the Nike and what they could do. (There is a restored Nike site near San Fransisco BTW. Wish I could visit it). The Nikes where a fairly large missile, something like 40 foot in length. Do you really think you could hide one of those and keep it launch ready? Now try doing that with *hundreds* of them around major cities and not anyone knowing it, including the USSR. The idea is utterly unrealistic and unworkable. Not to mention the US had missiles bases that where out in the open and could (and DID) do the job. So you don't even NEED to try and hide anything.

Aotrs Commander
2012-06-23, 01:36 PM
Complete lack of understanding of scale, especially when coupled with excessive rule-of-cool. (See: larger-than-planetary-to-universe-sized mecha/starships/anything, less soldiers used in the largest galactic war in the continuity than in you would need to take Europe in WW2, or thousands of years of history where everything remains the same tech level (be it medieval or sci-fi).

Cut-scene stupidity in which the player's agency is taken away so that the character can be handed a defeat by an enemy when the character acts in a manner inconsistent with their available abilities and previous practise.

Spiryt
2012-06-23, 02:00 PM
, or thousands of years of history where everything remains the same tech level (be it medieval or sci-fi).



I never really got outrage about this - at least as far as medieval goes.

There were hundreds of culture from Africa to America that most probably wouldn't ever leave roughly medieval (of course with differences, every culture changes are kind of unique) if not usually very violent European intervention.

Whole thousand years old cultures appeared and died without ever getting 'above medieval', whatever should this mean.

Once things go to 'sci-fi', then indeed prolonged stasis becomes very unnatural though.

Man on Fire
2012-06-23, 02:13 PM
Complete lack of understanding of scale, especially when coupled with excessive rule-of-cool. (See: larger-than-planetary-to-universe-sized mecha/starships/anything,

I can defend this one - when played right it is entertaining. urren Lagann does insanely sized mechas well because through all episodes they repeadetly estabilish that laws of physics just doesn't have a thing to say in their story and a person comes to accept that. In Getter Robo it's pleyed for scares - it should be impossible and people are terrified when Getter grows insane large. I can see your point and understand where you coming from, but I wanted to point this out.

Kyberwulf
2012-06-23, 04:51 PM
One of them for me, is in "superpowered movies" i.g. Avengers, you got Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America,.... then Black Widow and Hawkeye? It is just implausible to me, that those two "humans" didn't have any superpowers. It really grinds my gears, when two representatives of the human race... are doing super hero level things. Such as when Black Widow Jumps off Captain America's Shield and grabs onto the Passing by Enemy's Flightcraft, with no ill-effects. Or when Hawkeye did that NO look bow shot. They have to have SOME superpowers( or their on Steroids.)

Another example, Blade Trinity's The Nightstalkers, I think that was their name, is another prime example.

Traab
2012-06-23, 05:11 PM
One of them for me, is in "superpowered movies" i.g. Avengers, you got Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America,.... then Black Widow and Hawkeye? It is just implausible to me, that those two "humans" didn't have any superpowers. It really grinds my gears, when two representatives of the human race... are doing super hero level things. Such as when Black Widow Jumps off Captain America's Shield and grabs onto the Passing by Enemy's Flightcraft, with no ill-effects. Or when Hawkeye did that NO look bow shot. They have to have SOME superpowers( or their on Steroids.)

Another example, Blade Trinity's The Nightstalkers, I think that was their name, is another prime example.

Actually, I disagree with the nightstalkers one. They werent some psychopathically effective vamp hunters. They had great toys, used traps and tactics, and won by killing (from what we could tell) mainly fledgling level vamps. The more powerful ones were a bit more troublesome. And I think it was established early on that its not like blade was the first vamp hunter to ever exist, that there are plenty of non super powered hunters out there who do just fine. Granted they may have a higher attrition level than blade has, but its a dangerous job.

HandofShadows
2012-06-24, 11:40 AM
Once things go to 'sci-fi', then indeed prolonged stasis becomes very unnatural though.

There is one way it could happen an it not be unnatural though. When it's deliberate. When someone or something stops or greatly inhibits progress.

Lord Raziere
2012-06-24, 12:26 PM
There is one way it could happen an it not be unnatural though. When it's deliberate. When someone or something stops or greatly inhibits progress.

Yea, y'know how fantasy stories always used to have some golden age, followed by a cataclysm?

a good villain for such stories would be someone keeping the world in medieval stasis to prevent the golden age from happening again, so that a cataclysm does not happen, believing that he is "protecting" the world from greater danger.

Aotrs Commander
2012-06-24, 12:27 PM
I can defend this one - when played right it is entertaining. urren Lagann does insanely sized mechas well because through all episodes they repeadetly estabilish that laws of physics just doesn't have a thing to say in their story and a person comes to accept that. In Getter Robo it's pleyed for scares - it should be impossible and people are terrified when Getter grows insane large. I can see your point and understand where you coming from, but I wanted to point this out.

I know the reasons, but the whole concept is so mind-cripplingly daft to me it utterly shatters my suspension of disbelief. There is no amount of blurb or rationale that can justify to me personally the presence of a universe-sized anything that is more than over-inflated rule-of-cool which I personally find to be stupid, not cool. It smacks to be of more the sort of childish "my Dad can beat up your Dad" bickering, rather than creative writing.

(I mean, for a kick off, no-one would ever be able to SEE them, for starters, given light has a speed.)


I never really got outrage about this - at least as far as medieval goes.

There were hundreds of culture from Africa to America that most probably wouldn't ever leave roughly medieval (of course with differences, every culture changes are kind of unique) if not usually very violent European intervention.

Whole thousand years old cultures appeared and died without ever getting 'above medieval', whatever should this mean.

Once things go to 'sci-fi', then indeed prolonged stasis becomes very unnatural though.

The entire recorded history of the world happened in less than ten thousand years. Virtually no fantasy world I can think of uses a primitive hunter/gatherer culutre that might last a very long time, they use much more advanced cultures which very definitly don't.

It's also unecessary, as the hundreds of years where nothing happens could be condenced into tens with no loss to the impact of the story (let alone the fact this simply does not happen; there has a been a major war of some type somewhere, about once every five years throughout history (I acually checked at one point). It's using big numbers for the sake of numbers.

It took less than a thousand years to go from Medieval (a modal "default" setting for most fantasy in general) to modern, yet even most of the really good fantasy authors will cheerfully have three thousands plus years where there is no technological development (see: Lord of the Rings in the Third Age).

Dark Ages don't last that long, really they don't.

Kyberwulf
2012-06-24, 12:53 PM
Oh yeah, I just remembered. It really breaks my suspension when characters do things perfectly ALL the time. I mentioned this on another thread, but you know the scene in most action movies where they Jump do a backflip land and disarm a bomb.. the WHOLE time shooting Guns from both hands hitting EVERYTHING they aim at perfectly...

After awhile it just gets.. old lol

HandofShadows
2012-06-24, 01:15 PM
It took less than a thousand years to go from Medieval (a modal "default" setting for most fantasy in general) to modern, yet even most of the really good fantasy authors will cheerfully have three thousands plus years where there is no technological development (see: Lord of the Rings in the Third Age).

Dark Ages don't last that long, really they don't.

Actually if you look at the histroy of the America's (North or South) that is exactly what happens. Civilizations get to a certain point and fail (never getting to Medieval). Heck, the Greeks lost the ability to write not once, but twice.

Technological advacement needs a number of factors to occur. And even if one of those factors is missing or in the wrong amount, not much happens. Look at China. Despite everything they invented, they never really advanced technology wise in a very large part due to societal factors. The Americas could not get past a certain point due to their missing an importat factor (beasts of burden). Technology advanced in Europe because they had all the proper tools and the right attitiude for technology to advance. But not everywhere is like the Europeans from back then.

Traab
2012-06-24, 01:47 PM
They also had a lot of outside influences to spur innovation. Lots of other nations also developing, albeit along different paths. When they contacted those nations, and these new ideas got exchanged, both sides could advance. An isolated nation is more likely to petrify and stagnate. So thats another reason these fantasy nations could stay medieval-ish in development, because they didnt have those outside influences to spur new innovation, and they ran out of new ideas.

Gnoman
2012-06-24, 02:19 PM
The real world also had considerably fewer apocalyptic events than the typical fantasy setting. Even LOTR, which is fairly low on the cataclysmic scale, had the world completely wrecked several times. While modern events of that sort tend to accelerate progress, that's because we fight our wars and battle plagues with a technological arms race. In the typical semi-medieval setting, that doesn't happen. It didn't happen in our world very much either.

Spiryt
2012-06-24, 02:26 PM
East Asian states were pretty much 'stuck' in feudal, largely farming based, etc. 'medieval' state, until they weren't forced out of isolation and statis by European and co. empires.

So all the "progress" is in itself somehow unique occurence.

If people are generally content with state of society, or at least people in power are interested in keeping it as it is, radical technology etc. development can be indeed practically halted.

Especially in world where magic and certain narrative clichés actually exist. :smallwink:

Madara
2012-06-24, 02:30 PM
I can't watch anything in black and white, seriously.

Tengu_temp
2012-06-24, 02:40 PM
I never really got outrage about this - at least as far as medieval goes.

There were hundreds of culture from Africa to America that most probably wouldn't ever leave roughly medieval (of course with differences, every culture changes are kind of unique) if not usually very violent European intervention.

Whole thousand years old cultures appeared and died without ever getting 'above medieval', whatever should this mean.

East Asian states were pretty much 'stuck' in feudal, largely farming based, etc. 'medieval' state, until they weren't forced out of isolation and statis by European and co. empires.

So all the "progress" is in itself somehow unique occurence.

If people are generally content with state of society, or at least people in power are interested in keeping it as it is, radical technology etc. development can be indeed practically halted.

Ow. That's so historically inaccurate (and Eurocentric to boot) my head started to hurt.

Xondoure
2012-06-24, 03:23 PM
Ow. That's so historically inaccurate (and Eurocentric to boot) my head started to hurt.

Glad someone said it. Stasis is a myth for the most part. Almost every society ever has had some pretty ingenious technological feats attributed to their name.

Terraoblivion
2012-06-24, 03:29 PM
Glad someone said it. Stasis is a myth for the most part. Almost every society ever has had some pretty ingenious technological feats attributed to their name.

And even when not, there are ups and downs and changes. Both the Incan and Aztec empires were quite new by the time the Spanish showed up, for example, and had already had major social changes compared to their founding years. Even if there isn't much progression towards the specific technology of the modern world, other cultures still changed. A lot.

Spiryt
2012-06-24, 04:32 PM
Glad someone said it. Stasis is a myth for the most part. Almost every society ever has had some pretty ingenious technological feats attributed to their name.


Ow. That's so historically inaccurate (and Eurocentric to boot) my head started to hurt.

Uh?

Maybe elaborate a bit?

Haven't started nowhere that societies around the world didnt have their share of inventions and monumental in scale works of architecture or whatever, that frankly caused some of modern 'scholars' to talk about aliens. :smallconfused:

Doesn't change the fact that there weren't really any sights of something akin to cultural and technological revolution that started rolling seriosuly around 17th century.

Eurocentrism is also weird accusation, considering that if anything, my post contained slight skepticism of 'progress' being that much of good occurrence.

If anything, assuming that invention of widespread print, industry, modern borders, countries is something 'natural' or obvious is Eurocentric.

It was something that obviously occurred once, in certain set of conditions, circumstances and so on.

Could have very well didn't happen as well, for example if Black Death didn't run so rampart trough Europe.



Even if there isn't much progression towards the specific technology of the modern world, other cultures still changed. A lot.

I don't think that anybody said it didn't. Just pretty inevitably, changes led to.... changes, not some huge civilizational revolution.

Terraoblivion
2012-06-24, 04:58 PM
I don't think that anybody said it didn't. Just pretty inevitably, changes led to.... changes, not some huge civilizational revolution.

I'm pretty sure that the invention of terrace farming and an elaborate system of roads in some of the most impenetrable mountains on the planet counts as a major revolution. I'd imagine that all-out warfare throughout the Andes so the living king wouldn't look bad compared to the other, richer royal mummies after his death was kind of a big deal too.

I'd also like to point out that widespread print came way earlier in East Asia than it did in Europe. It was woodblock printing, not movable type, but by the Ming dynasty China had such a big publishing industry that they started innovating more impressive ways of printing pictures, just to make a given version of a book more appealing to customers than others. Japan on the other hand dived head first into the application of printing for advertising and packaging.

SoC175
2012-06-24, 05:32 PM
All in all, the Europeans were lucky to hit it off with the world-wide-empire-phase a century early than the others, but if they had left the others alone, they would have also evolved dramatically within the next century or two.

Whole nations being stuck in a state for a 1,000 years or longer only happens in bad fiction backgrounds.

Yanagi
2012-06-24, 05:41 PM
Doesn't change the fact that there weren't really any sights of something akin to cultural and technological revolution that started rolling seriosuly around 17th century.

Yeah...there's a reason for that. It's because Europe's "revolution" was funded by labor and resources from a much larger area: a straight up cash infusion from all the precious materials stripped from South and Central America; an unfree labor force spread across three continents lowering food costs; seizing control of vital and luxury resources rather than trading with intermediaries; the ability to control colonized people's consumption such that they had to produce raw materials to sell cheap and buy finished goods at a high price. Half of the world worked in horrific conditions to fund the infrastructure growth that happened in Europe.

Which actually ties in to somethings that messes with my suspension of disbelief: it really irks me that fantasy settings so often conflate culture and ethnicity. Hence no matter how geography, resources, and magic change the context, you tend to end up with the "normal" setting and the liminal "Oriental" setting, complete with like-Earth ethnic demography. It makes no sense, and pretty much can only be there by author/designer fiat.

Spiryt
2012-06-24, 05:56 PM
Still not sure how all of this is counter-argument to anything I wrote - so yes, all this "revolution" could happen due to certain set of events - like the fact that certain Europe powers produced military/expansive groups and mindsets to easily subdue and abuse a lot of people around the world, among other things.

If Mongols from whatever reason, tried harder in 13th/14th century, they could probably ruin vast parts of Europe enough that this couldn't happen, for example.

It's not far fetched to assume that it could happen, and it most probably would have changed about everything.

Yanagi
2012-06-24, 06:32 PM
Still not sure how all of this is counter-argument to anything I wrote - so yes, all this "revolution" could happen due to certain set of events - like the fact that certain Europe powers produced military/expansive groups and mindsets to easily subdue and abuse a lot of people around the world, among other things.

If Mongols from whatever reason, tried harder in 13th/14th century, they could probably ruin vast parts of Europe enough that this couldn't happen, for example.

It's not far fetched to assume that it could happen, and it most probably would have changed about everything.

Your statement is a naked opinion with no structural backing. Build an actual argument that someone can't crack and maybe I'd give you a modicum of respect. As is, your proposition is basically a European wizard did it, because culture and stuff.

Melayl
2012-06-24, 08:08 PM
For me, it would be grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. And idiot balls...

Aotrs Commander
2012-06-24, 08:51 PM
Still not sure how all of this is counter-argument to anything I wrote - so yes, all this "revolution" could happen due to certain set of events - like the fact that certain Europe powers produced military/expansive groups and mindsets to easily subdue and abuse a lot of people around the world, among other things.

If Mongols from whatever reason, tried harder in 13th/14th century, they could probably ruin vast parts of Europe enough that this couldn't happen, for example.

It's not far fetched to assume that it could happen, and it most probably would have changed about everything.

Technological (http://www.krysstal.com/display_inventions.php?years=2%2C000+BC+to+1%2C000 +BC) progress (http://www.krysstal.com/display_inventions.php?years=1%2C000+BC+to+1+BC) is not (http://www.krysstal.com/display_inventions.php?years=1+AD+to+1%2C000+AD) static (http://www.krysstal.com/display_inventions.php?years=1000+to+1500), and never has been. Those aforelinked lists comprise (some of) the technological advances made world-wide between 2000BC and 1500AD; a period which covers the entire Iron Age and the Middle Ages/Medieval period. (I can count of the fingers of one hand how many fantasy things are set in a bronze age period.) That goes literally from pre-Roman, heck, pre-Etruscan times right through to the point where the traditional fantasy knight in full plate (invented, incidently in the 1200s, and steriotypical "knight" armour as depicted in most media is closer to very late post Medival (15th-16th century)) was having to deal with gunpowder and cannons, and was on his way out.

Compare to the period of the Middle-Earth's Third Age (3000 years, following the 3500 year-second age - during which the whole time technology didn't go anywhere) or Faerun's history (which covers a staggering 25 thousand years of civilisation, rise and fall), or even Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar, whch covers the same 2500 years (from the collapse of an existing thriving civilisation through a dark age to the rise of a new one; and Valdemar even makes a spirited attempt to try and integrate changes over time).

The world never has been idle; once past the tribal stage, civilisation and advancement is a Pandora's box that doesn't ever fully close. Even when there are "dark ages", following the collapse of a civilisation, they don't last very long.

So, yeah, thousand year periods without technological development, especially within active civilisations, just are not realistic, as even a cursory glance at actual history shows. And thus, as someone who understands this, I find it enormously grating to my suspension of disbelief.



(Not to mention from your statement, you seem to be implying that the Mongols weren't a hightly developed civilisation in their own right (largest contiguous land empire in history), that in fact was itself spreading new ideas and inventions; had it not collapsed as and when it did, it would likely have been a major power right through until modern day.)

Dienekes
2012-06-24, 09:11 PM
Mind you this isn't really a defense of stagnation or not. But the links you gave Aotrs is looking at the tech of a whole world. If you look at the advancements shown in the Americas, during the first three links you have:
chocolate, peanuts, and smoking pipes. And while these can certainly cause change, not the kind that would cause the really drastic changes we see in the medieval to industrial periods of Europe.

Now this is out of curiosity, but anyone here who knows more about Native American cultures, could they give a brief look of how they changed? I've heard crazy things such as the Native Americans never realizing the usefulness of a wheel in transportation. Or that similar nomadic culture dominated large territory for thousands of years. Sure there was war between them and one tribe could conquer or destroy another but the basic technological level did not significantly improve. Is this accurate? And if not, how?

Knaight
2012-06-24, 09:27 PM
East Asian states were pretty much 'stuck' in feudal, largely farming based, etc. 'medieval' state, until they weren't forced out of isolation and statis by European and co. empires.

Have you seen China? They started dumping the feudal system with the Qin Legalist reforms, in 240 BCE. Mass production predates that, as does standardization. As for agriculture - it was huge compared to modern times throughout, yes. Plow developments, massive irrigation networks, and changing use of domesticated animals led to huge changes in the size of non-farming classes. Then there is the small matter of developments in machinery - if anything, this got China out of a 'medieval' state far before any of Europe.

Speaking broadly, most "medieval" modern and near-modern cultures are relatively young. They tend to be in areas settled recently, and tend to have been changing, but to have fewer years of development in said geography. Given more time, there are clear indications that there would have been more progress, which is yet another indicator that technological stasis is a nonsense concept.


Now this is out of curiosity, but anyone here who knows more about Native American cultures, could they give a brief look of how they changed? I've heard crazy things such as the Native Americans never realizing the usefulness of a wheel in transportation. Or that similar nomadic culture dominated large territory for thousands of years. Sure there was war between them and one tribe could conquer or destroy another but the basic technological level did not significantly improve. Is this accurate? And if not, how?
The wheel really wasn't all that useful given the conditions. The larger empires tended to be in very mountainous regions where wheels are more trouble than they're worth, and less mountainous regions usually didn't have much in the way of road systems simply because they weren't necessary. Add to that the lack of beasts of burden to pull wheeled carts and such, and this leaves the best case scenario trying to haul a wheelbarrow through thick grass, across rivers, in mountainous terrain, so on and so forth. It's not helpful. However, in areas where there were horses, oxen and the like the wheel is a much more viable tool.

JoeMac307
2012-06-24, 09:57 PM
I can't watch anything in black and white, seriously.

That makes me a little sad. I mean, how about Young Frankenstein? That movie is genius.

Xondoure
2012-06-25, 01:13 AM
Mind you this isn't really a defense of stagnation or not. But the links you gave Aotrs is looking at the tech of a whole world. If you look at the advancements shown in the Americas, during the first three links you have:
chocolate, peanuts, and smoking pipes. And while these can certainly cause change, not the kind that would cause the really drastic changes we see in the medieval to industrial periods of Europe.

Now this is out of curiosity, but anyone here who knows more about Native American cultures, could they give a brief look of how they changed? I've heard crazy things such as the Native Americans never realizing the usefulness of a wheel in transportation. Or that similar nomadic culture dominated large territory for thousands of years. Sure there was war between them and one tribe could conquer or destroy another but the basic technological level did not significantly improve. Is this accurate? And if not, how?

Well the tribes in the northwest had some pretty devilishly clever fishing traps. And some of the more nomadic tribes had methods of long range communication that far outstripped old world counter parts.

An Enemy Spy
2012-06-26, 10:20 PM
I can't watch anything in black and white, seriously.

Not even Schindler's List?:smalleek:

Jayngfet
2012-06-27, 01:36 AM
One thing that tends to Irk me is mismatched fantasy ethnic groups. I mean the sort of cases where the author just kind of writes down a bunch of skin and hair colors on a dart board and goes crazy. While I don't expect absolutes for how people should look and there's always exceptions that might never be explained, but for the most part I want to feel like there's a reasonable explanation for why the people of some area look and act the way they do.

I mean this is my main beef with Wheel of Time. The Aiel are a bunch of Native American inspired desert dwellers who've lived on the desert as long as anyone can remember and are supposed to be perfectly adapted to it...

...but they're all a bunch of pale skinned redheads. I don't want a play by play description of history down to the individual decades and I don't need a melanin chart, but details like that kind of rip me out of the story when hardened desert dwellers are supposed to have the skin texture and color of an idealized European.

Roland St. Jude
2012-07-02, 10:16 PM
Sheriff: Thread locked for a massive veer into real world politics. Permission granted to the OP to repost with a note to keep it to fiction and away from real world politics.