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BRC
2008-06-03, 07:54 PM
What are some Authors you admire for pulling of a specific literary trick very well. This dosn't have to be novelists, anything with a story counts. Personally

Sandy Mitchell, Author of the Hero of the Imperium Series. What I really like is not just that the series is great, but the way she treats both the GRIMDARK universe and the historical accounts. Despite being Comedic the series remains 100% true to GRIMDARK. The exact same stories could be told by a protagonist with a different personality and be depressing as hell. What makes it funny is Cain's tone more than anything.
The second thing is the Historical accounts, especially Sulla's memoirs (Which I have a habit of skipping, but still). All authors have a style, but Mitchell is able to write very well with multiple styles, including some that intentionally suck.

Of Course, I must put Terry Pratchett on here. Specifically, I admire him for his ability to show a changing and more realistic world than others. For Example, Anhk-Morpork. Alot of Fantasy Cities tend to be like the movie version of Minis Tirith (I am a heratic and never got around to reading ROTC, so I can't speak for the book version). They are designed around whichever situation the author wants to occur there, usually a nice dramatic battle. Besides that, they seem to exist only as a place for the story to happen. Ahnk-Morpork, and the Discworld in general, Is much more of a working, functioning place where the story just happens to occur. Ahnk-Morpork wasn't designed for Vimes to chase a golem through, nor for William De Word to start the first newspaper in, nor for Moist Von Lipwig to ride out of on a half mad brute of a horse named Boris with a sack of mail. And yet all that stuff happens there and it all makes sense. In addition, He's able to avoid flanderizing Morporkians.

I had some more, but I forgot them. Which authors do YOU admire, and why?

Fri
2008-06-03, 08:11 PM
It seems that I worship Neil Gaiman. Does that count?

His talent on making dreamy sentences seems to indicate that he's a modern bard with Perform: Prose skill maxed.

BRC
2008-06-03, 08:34 PM
I fee I should also throw in a mention to Chris Metzen. His world building was great, but specifically I want to thank him for two characters, well, one character expyd. Specifically Kerrigan and Sylvvanas. Specifically what I want to thank him for is not making either of them angst ridden Cursed With Awsome characters.

Cristo Meyers
2008-06-03, 08:35 PM
I picked up the first Dresden Files book on a whim about a month ago, I'm on book 5 now.

I love the first person narrative Butcher uses, especially coupled with Harry's personality. Even the one-liners he puts into the text don't take away from anything.

Mr. Scaly
2008-06-03, 09:13 PM
I adore Margaret Weis in general, but her book 'The Doom Brigade' did such a wonderful job of showing life from the eyes of a monstrous species seen as irredeemably evil thus far...it blew my mind.

Kane
2008-06-03, 10:11 PM
I've read the Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) and Nine Princes in Amber series (Roger Zelanzy Sp?), and I love the humor. Both have wisecracking or sarcastic characters, and the humor they use makes me laugh. (Which can be awkward in the back of math class, but I love 'em anyway.)

Hell Puppi
2008-06-03, 10:26 PM
Richard adams....the man that could go on a tangent so large that makes you think you're reading an entirely different book.....then gets straight back to the point and you find yourself oddly amazed, like it was a magician's trick.
Not to mention he wrote two books based on rabbits.
Both of which are amazing, but weirder still the rabbits aren't magical or hyper-intelligent, they're just rabbits.

Don Julio Anejo
2008-06-03, 11:35 PM
Tom Clancy. The bad guys are never bad guys, they're just people with different goals from the good guys. Heck, if we didn't know who the good guys are supposed to be, it wouldn't be apparent from the books.

That and complex plot lines where everything is intertwined together.

DomaDoma
2008-06-03, 11:35 PM
Tsugumi Ohba, for general acts of evil genius that no fanficcer has yet been able to match. Which is presumably why the ficdom is even shippier than usual.

J.K. Rowling, for bouncy, descriptive passages that create a sense of wonder, which yield smoothly to orchestral passages that create a sense of grief or terror or triumph. Marvelous style, especially in the sixth book. Chest monsters aside.

Brian Jacques, for making my mouth water, even when the dish is prawns or something else I have no desire to eat in real life.

George R.R. Martin, for crafting such compelling characters that to some extent, you root for all sides. Which ultimately makes things worse, considering what he does to characters on a regular basis, but I'm still reading ASoIaF for a reason.

Tengu
2008-06-03, 11:38 PM
I fee I should also throw in a mention to Chris Metzen. His world building was great, but specifically I want to thank him for two characters, well, one character expyd. Specifically Kerrigan and Sylvvanas. Specifically what I want to thank him for is not making either of them angst ridden Cursed With Awsome characters.

I respectfully DISAGREE AS HECK. Both of these characters are made of author appeal (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AuthorAppeal) and are among the few Blizzverse characters that really annoy me.

Killersquid
2008-06-03, 11:40 PM
I respectfully DISAGREE AS HECK. Both of these characters are made of author appeal (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AuthorAppeal) and are among the few Blizzverse characters that really annoy me.

...What? Explain.

My favorite authorship in the Warcraft Universe is Arthas. When I played WC3, I played as Arthas, and he was seemed so...mary sue-ish. Paladin, strong, a prince of the strongest human kingdom. Then it all goes downhill, and he goes insane, loses his soul, kills his father, dooms humanity (and possibly the world), merges with Ner'Zhul, and is the strongest being at the cost of his soul.

Favorite authorship ever? Paul from Dune. Just reading about him is fun, intriguing, and its great to read how he leads these people to glory, but he himself falls into what he hates.

CharlieSmiles
2008-06-03, 11:49 PM
George RR Martin creates the most believable (even the fantastical ones) and well rounded characters I've ever read.

Killersquid
2008-06-03, 11:52 PM
George RR Martin creates the most believable (even the fantastical ones) and well rounded characters I've ever read.

Most definitely. Every character has a few fatal flaws, and its so depressing when they get smashed for it.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 12:09 AM
...What? Explain.


Both of these characters are what I call an Evil Sue - a villain that the creator likes a bit too much, and who therefore can never lose in the long run and succeeds at anything s/he tries, often by deus ex machina or other characters suddenly acting like total idiots. Come on, when Kerrigan or Sylvanas makes a move, you can practically see the guys from Blizzard cheering and waving flags in the background.

Killersquid
2008-06-04, 12:36 AM
Perhaps I am just ignorant, but that doesn't occur to me.

Verruckt
2008-06-04, 12:37 AM
R.A. Salvatore, for bringing us Jarlaxle, and for being so simply sublime in his descriptions of combat.

Warren Ellis, for creating Spider Jerusalem, and inventing some of the most beautiful swears and generally morally horrifying dialogue ever written.

Garth Ennis, for making Frank Castle the grayest, grimmest, darkest character I've ever read (and I'm a 40k fan, he makes Ravenor's life look all sunshine and roses)

And finally Alan Moore, if only for "The Killing Joke" sure years of comics may have set up the shot, but a story that rips out your beating heart and throws it into a wood chipper on page 3 is off to a good start ya know?

Oh, and the author of Identity crisis, although his success is as much a testament to excellent art direction (seriously, the Deathstroke/slade fight is my favorite in comics to this day) as it is to heart wrenching-ness.

turkishproverb
2008-06-04, 12:43 AM
PIcking one work for each:

Warren Ellis for Planetary, a great decostruction of.. oh... every. single. geeky. pop culture. thing. ever.

More importantly: A. Well. Done. ONE.

Grant Morrison, for watchmen. :smalltongue:


Seriously though, Grant Morrison for New X-men's startlingly good move on minority politics from 1960's issues to 2000's era issues.


Neil Gaiman, for the best summary of a comic book ever. "The Lord of Dreams learns that he must change or die, and he makes his decision"

hanzo66
2008-06-04, 01:02 AM
I believe that Craig Thompson deserves some praise for the book "Blankets", which is pretty touching for a Graphic Novel as well as having some great and imaginative art.


Personally I like Kerrigan and Sylvanas. In Sylvanas' part I find the alliance with the Horde something that can potentially lead to interesting character interactions with her Allies, who are fairly interesting characters in their own right.

Swordguy
2008-06-04, 01:19 AM
JRR Tolkein. Tell me who puts more work into his backstory and world-creation.

turkishproverb
2008-06-04, 01:21 AM
JRR Tolkein. Tell me who puts more work into his backstory and world-creation.

Odin? Zeus? Baal?(choosing dead belief system for obvious reasons)


No... actually...no, your right.

Tolkien is pretty much it. :smalltongue:

LBO
2008-06-04, 01:29 AM
Philip Reeve, for being a master of the shout out. Seriously. "Pharos Wheel."

poleboy
2008-06-04, 01:52 AM
It seems that I worship Neil Gaiman. Does that count?

Me too. And of course it does.

I'm also a huge fan of William Gibson even though I am constantly reminded (thank you internet :smallfurious:) that his writing has been going steadily downhill since his first book. Still, without him there would be no Matrix or Shadowrun. And the near-but-unlikely future would be a lot less cool.

Infinity_Biscuit
2008-06-04, 01:55 AM
Tanigawa Nagaru loads the Haruhi books with the most off the wall references and metaphors, and yet it all works out well in my eye at least.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 02:18 AM
Perhaps I am just ignorant, but that doesn't occur to me.

Well, anyone's entitled to their own opinion.

Of course, apart from Evil Sues there are also Evil Stus, like Arthas or Light Yagami. These have a higher tendency of being beaten in the end, though (which usually results in fanboy outrage). It is extremely annoying if a webcomic's Misaimed Fandom wants to see the resident Comical Sociopath as an Evil Stu - Belkar, Black Mage and Richard come to mind (although you'd have to think about the last one...).

On topic. I must say I respect Metzen too, as he has written a huuuge world which, despite having multiple layers and stories in work at once, is (despite what some say) internally consistent. Apart from one retcon which he acknowledged.

Serpentine
2008-06-04, 02:32 AM
I admire Tolkien's world-creation. Shame his ego got in the way of letting someone edit the damn things...

I wanna mention Tamora Pierce. She's not a brilliant writer - if you read through the Tortall series, you can actually see her get better. However, I think she's a genuinely feminist writer without even looking like dipping into feminazi territory.
Her main characters are always female. They are all strong, individual people, but don't necessarily start that way nor stay that way the whole time. They are surrounded by well-developed characters that aid or hinder in a realistic fashion. Some of the men are rabid chauvinists, some are accidental chauvinists (why would a girl want to become a knight? :smallconfused:), and some are sensitive new-age guys, but they're all believable in their various prejudices. Some of the women are feminazis, some are strong warrior-women or true feminists, and some are distressed maidens who squeak at the mere sight of a blade or look down their noses at working women. These are also believable, and sympathetic - a waif isn't despicable for her weakness, just different. Even the bad guys are real - there are some truly hateable villians, but nearly all of them are sympathetic in some way. The world is full of varying degrees of sexism (and racism, and agism, and classism, etc.), and these attitudes change with time and events. She discusses things like contraception, premarital sex and homosexuality candidly.
...Hmm. I think I'll stop there. You get the idea :smalltongue: I'll just say that I think every young girl should read them, and probably boys as well.

Last one for now: Roald Dahl. He recognised the bloodlust and desire for disgustingness among children, and obliged in abundance :smallbiggrin: The bad kids and the good kids get what they deserve. There's always this brilliant sheen of magic and wonder (the lollies!). He's just... brilliant.

I'd like to second and elaborate upon Pratchet. I think he's also really good at reflecting our own world back at us. Take Ankh-Morpork as London vs. invaders. When you look at English history, that's exactly what happened. The Vikings, for example. They came in, took over the country, and promptly became Just Another English Royal Line. Then there's Fourecks as Australia. It really made me think about my country. For example, I didn't know it was unusual for trees to lose their bark, nor that we were more anti-polititian than the rest of the world.
Also: DEATH. In fact, anthropomorphised concepts in general.

Revlid
2008-06-04, 05:42 AM
I have no real problem with the War/Starcraft characters or story, but to laud them for their wordbuilding is, honestly, a slap in the face (http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l111/Revlid/WTFBlizzard1.gif) to anyone who's contributed to the Warhammer Fantasy/40,000 universes.

Tolkein, for his worldbuilding, and his spawning of a whole genre.

Terry Pratchett, for his worldbuilding, fluid world, and mastery of humour.

Neil Gaiman, for his ability to make me go "Oh, that's awesome. I wish I'd thought of that".

Tamora Pierce, for her characters, and her moulding of my views on in-world morality, gods, and how some characters can be a bit too perfect. It's not-what-to-do, really, but I still greatly enjoy her books.

HP Lovecraft, for his ability to terrify me in ways that have nothing to do with sudden scares.

J.K Rowling, for solidifying my reading habits.

Sandy Mitchell and Dan Abnett, for giving me hope for the Black Library - not everything has to be trashy sci-fi.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 06:52 AM
I have no real problem with the War/Starcraft characters or story, but to laud them for their wordbuilding is, honestly, a slap in the face (http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l111/Revlid/WTFBlizzard1.gif) to anyone who's contributed to the Warhammer Fantasy/40,000 universes.


Neither space marines not bug-like aliens were invented by WH40K. Only people who are not familiar with the sources claim that Warcraft/Starcraft is a Warhammer Fantasy/40K ripoff.

BRC
2008-06-04, 07:01 AM
Heh, I was semi-kidding when I posted metzen. Really, The best thing he did was Mengsk for having him go from good guy to bad guy without changing at all.

That said, Dan Abnett. Guants Ghosts and the Ravenor Series is great, but what I especially admire him for is the Gaunts Ghosts spinoff novel Double Eagle about fighter Pilots. First of all, the book is amazing, I had trouble following it, but it was so good it didn't matter. Secondly, it wasn't a group of fighter pilots shooting down an ungodly number of faceless mook fighters which then explode in the air. Each Mook Fighter represented a considerable threat to the characters and was a challange to take down. You REALLY understood why five confirmed kills made somebody an ace.

@v How could you tell my face was straight? Anyway. Personally as video game story writers go Metzen and blizzard is pretty good, especially for a company that mainly makes RTS's as opposed to RPG's. In terms of actual sci fi/fantasy authorship, compared to novelists and screenwriters, not so much. Kerrigan and Sylvannas are, while not bad characters, pretty much the same character twice, and both times it's not exactly a great character. They show some originality, (NOTE: Showing originality does not=being original)

Tengu
2008-06-04, 07:02 AM
Heh, I was semi-kidding when I posted metzen. Really, The best thing he did was Mengsk for having him go from good guy to bad guy without changing at all.


Ah, okay. You'd be surprised how many fanboys say with a straight face what you said with irony.

DomaDoma
2008-06-04, 07:30 AM
R.A. Salvatore, for bringing us Jarlaxle, and for being so simply sublime in his descriptions of combat.

Ohh, yes. I wouldn't look down on Drizzt, either, for the first six books while he was still sharing the stage. (Halfling's Gem sucked, but it wasn't on Drizzt's account.)

LBO
2008-06-04, 07:35 AM
GW didn't invent squat, didn't always put a new spin on their content, but they put a damn sight more work into being unique and interesting (and, er, avoiding obvious plagiarism) than Blizzard. Starcraft ripped the Zerg whole from the Tyranids (say all the crap you like about both being inspired by Xenomorphs, but Xenomorphs were never planet-eating super-evolving unending swarms of psychic horrors.) Likewise, the appearance of the Marines are torn straight from 40k. OH BUT HEINLEIN CAME UP WITH POWERED ARMOUR! Yeah, Heinlein came up with something more like Crisis suits. Terran marine power armour is directly and obviously taken from 40k marines, they just filed off the gothic and made them criminal hicks rather than warrior-monks.

Of course, then you have butthurt fanboys going too far and saying the Protoss are Eldar (elder race, limited numbers tradition-bound, better tech. So? That's basically a trope itself) or Tau (CHECK EXPIRY DATE). Blizzard did rip off people other than 40k come up with some of their own content, and they even adapted it a little, but if you deny SC cribbed plenty from 40k, you're insane.

Warcraft is less clear because the whole crappy generic fantasy setting is a dreary, unoriginal wasteland, but it didn't tip you off how Blizzard orcs were culturally (generic, forgivable) and cosmetically (right down to the shade of green and the little tusks?) identical to Warhammer orcs, until they retconned some Proud Warrior Race Guy crap on? Oh, except they could summon a Bloodthirster. Hm. Fantasy isn't my thing, it's not something I care about much.

I'd have no objection to them calling them Astartes if Blizzard actually made good games - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. The accusations that GW ripped off Blizzard, and the rampant fanboying for the crappy Starcraft franchise and even crappier excuse for an RTS, are what give me nerdrage.

WalkingTarget
2008-06-04, 08:24 AM
I've read the Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) and Nine Princes in Amber series (Roger Zelanzy Sp?), and I love the humor. Both have wisecracking or sarcastic characters, and the humor they use makes me laugh. (Which can be awkward in the back of math class, but I love 'em anyway.)

I might suggest the books about Vlad Taltos by Steven Brust (starting with Jhereg). Similar wisecracking style.

Edit - @^ oh, and Heinlein invented more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug_%28Starship_Troopers%29) than the Mobile Infantry. Not saying that the Zerg weren't inspired by the 40K stuff, just that endless swarms of insect-like aliens wasn't a new idea for WH either.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 08:34 AM
blah blah

I don't like Blizzard enough to turn this thread into another "did Blizzard rip GW off?!" argument that were everywhere some time ago, but I'd like you to show me the vehicle you used to travel here from your alternate universe where Blizzard doesn't make good games. I'm interested in reverse-engineering it.

LBO
2008-06-04, 08:34 AM
oh, and Heinlein invented more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug_%28Starship_Troopers%29) than the Mobile Infantry.
Not really. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant)


I don't like Blizzard enough to turn this thread into another "did Blizzard rip GW off?!" argument that were everywhere some time ago, but I'd like you to show me the vehicle you used to travel here from your alternate universe where Blizzard doesn't make good games. I'm interested in reverse-engineering it.
Doubtless some Koreans are going to kill me for this, but Starcraft's lowest-common-denominator crap with poor gameplay, ugly graphics and a limited engine by 1998 standards, with a somewhat entertaining setting and rather good faction balance. From everything we've seen so far Starcraft 2 is the exact same game with marginally better graphics and Assault Marines. The Warcraft series is a mediocre set of RTSes which do nothing particularly originally or well save unit talk, and WoW is an average game with brilliant marketing and penetration. I haven't played any of their other stuff, but I find Blizzard games the most overrated, overhyped crap, with even more disgusting fanboying than the usual.

...ymmv, of course.

Solo
2008-06-04, 08:42 AM
I'd have no objection to them calling them Astartes if Blizzard actually made good games - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. The accusations that GW ripped off Blizzard, and the rampant fanboying for the crappy Starcraft franchise and even crappier excuse for an RTS, are what give me nerdrage.
Heh, I'm sensing a lot of anger here.

Did some one lose a 1v1 Lost Temple match to a Korean? :smalltongue:


Starcraft's lowest-common-denominator crap with poor gameplay, ugly graphics and a limited engine by 1998 standards, and rather good faction balance. From everything we've seen so far Starcraft 2 is the same game with marginally better graphics.
It is such a bad game that gaming magazines praise the original Starcraft to this day, and the entire nation of South Korea is addicted to it.

But what do they know? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarCraft#Reception)

LBO
2008-06-04, 08:52 AM
Fifty million smokers CAN'T be wrong!

Solo
2008-06-04, 08:54 AM
Fifty million smokers CAN'T be wrong!
Fascinating logic.

By the way, would you care to give a more concrete reason for distructing the opinions of a multitude of proffesionals?

Tengu
2008-06-04, 08:56 AM
with even more disgusting fanboying than the usual.


To compare, Warhammer's fandom:
http://cakwielcy2.republika.pl/rafaels/szkola.jpg

WalkingTarget
2008-06-04, 08:57 AM
Not really. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant)


Whatever. You were the one who brought up the Xenomorphs and ignored the Bugs from Starship Troopers, which are a much better fit. The premise of "soldiers in powered armor fighting swarms of giant insect-like aliens" is the point. GW took the idea and cranked the dial to 11, but that's what they did with pretty much everything when they made 40K.

Serpentine
2008-06-04, 09:00 AM
Well. This thread just completely lost both topic and interest :smallsmile:


I'm gonna mention director/writer Kaufman, for sheer head-fuggery. He can be pretty subtle, and I think that's pretty hard to pull off well.

LBO
2008-06-04, 09:07 AM
Whatever. You were the one who brought up the Xenomorphs and ignored the Bugs from Starship Troopers, which are a much better fit. The premise of "soldiers in powered armor fighting swarms of giant insect-like aliens" is the point. GW took the idea and cranked the dial to 11, but that's what they did with pretty much everything when they made 40K.
I wasn't talking about the premise of "soldiers in powered armor fighting swarms of giant insect-like aliens", I was talking about the premise of a horde of planet-eating alien psychic monsters who "evolve" bigger bugs and are composed mostly of teeth. 40k ripped their Nids from the Xenomorphs, the Buggers, the "Arachnids" and whatever the popular image of hivemind was and added psychic creepery, psychedelic colours and "evolution" stuff to make Darwin cry. SC ripped from 40k in everything and added the hivemind being a talking eyeball and buildings that squirt purple snot.

Also, the powered-armour-versus-alien-swarms combat as actually described in the Starship Troopers book bears very little resemblance to SC or 40k, except the tunnel fighting bit, which is probably half of where GW nicked Space Hulk from (the other half being, again, Aliens. THEY CAME FROM THE CEILING).


To compare, Warhammer's fandom:
http://cakwielcy2.republika.pl/rafaels/szkola.jpg
http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u320/LBO_photos/orkchan.jpg
is more like it.

DomaDoma
2008-06-04, 09:22 AM
Er, guys? Could you take it to another thread?

WalkingTarget
2008-06-04, 09:32 AM
I wasn't talking about the premise of "soldiers in powered armor fighting swarms of giant insect-like aliens", I was talking about the premise of a horde of planet-eating alien psychic monsters who "evolve" bigger bugs and are composed mostly of teeth. 40k ripped their Nids from the Xenomorphs and whatever the popular image of hivemind was and added psychic creepery, SC ripped from 40k in everything and added leader worms and buildings that squirt purple snot.

Also, the powered-armour-versus-alien-swarms combat as actually described in the Starship Troopers book bears very little resemblance to SC or 40k, except the tunnel fighting bit, which is probably half of where GW nicked Space Hulk from (the other half being, again, Aliens. THEY CAME FROM THE CEILING).

Ah, I see.

Starship Troopers was required (or at least recommended) reading for the actors playing the marines in Aliens. If the 'Nids were ripped from the Xenomorphs, the X's were at least somewhat taken from the Bugs (sure the character design came from the art of Giger). The Bugs had a hivemind (at least at the colony level) but I'll grant that the evolving-more-teeth thing or whatever is a neat addition. The Bugs were already a "perfect organism" and had relied on "normal" evolution to get that way, and the evolving aspect of Xenomorphs wasn't really present at the time that 40K was first published, was it? I'd say that the rapid-evolution bit is actually something interesting that they took from neither previous setting.

Anyway, something more on-topic. Ooo, nobody mentioned Gaiman's story "A Study in Emerald". The best story from the Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu Mythos mash-up anthology it was in and the only one that I thought really worked. The twist ending totally got me by surprise too.

Fri
2008-06-04, 10:02 AM
Yes. But at least two people had already said that they worship Neil Gaiman :smallbiggrin:

Dervag
2008-06-04, 10:12 AM
Last one for now: Roald Dahl. He recognised the bloodlust and desire for disgustingness among children, and obliged in abundance :smallbiggrin: The bad kids and the good kids get what they deserve. There's always this brilliant sheen of magic and wonder (the lollies!). He's just... brilliant.And you've gotta respect someone who can go from gas station attendant to fighter ace to author of popular children's books.

Versatile fellow.


Anyway, something more on-topic. Ooo, nobody mentioned Gaiman's story "A Study in Emerald". The best story from the Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu Mythos mash-up anthology it was in and the only one that I thought really worked. The twist ending totally got me by surprise too.Yeah. That was awesome.


Likewise, the appearance of the Marines are torn straight from 40k. OH BUT HEINLEIN CAME UP WITH POWERED ARMOUR! Yeah, Heinlein came up with something more like Crisis suits. Terran marine power armour is directly and obviously taken from 40k marines, they just filed off the gothic and made them criminal hicks rather than warrior-monks.Nah, Terran Marines are more like Imperial Guardsmen. Sure they've got power armor, but power armor is a common SF trope. Terran Marines are only slightly less expendable than Zerglings, and arguably not as effective pound for pound unless you throw in their AA capabilities.

And if you look at the fluff, Terran Marines are still expendable. It's pretty obvious from reading the descriptions of stuff like the StimPack and the Medic that Marines aren't expected to last long in combat. Whereas Warhammer Space Marines are not expendable, not to anything like the degree the Terran Marines are. As in, they're individually strong in combat, and it takes a long time to make new ones.


Not really. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant)Ya really.

Heinlein was the first guy to think "what would happen if ants evolved into a star-travelling species." In real life, ants have no brains and no technology; they act purely on instinct. The workers and soldier ants aren't being controlled by the queens or breeders.

Whereas Heinlein came up with the ideas that:
-A large 'hive' of insectoids might actually have a centralized brain controlling it, and
-The insectoids in question might be effective technology users, capable of competing with intelligent species.

At least, I know of no earlier use of those two concepts in fiction. Nor do either of them exist in real life.

Note that Heinlein did NOT come up with the idea that the hive-mind insectoid aliens would use Organic Technology to make their individual warriors capable of tearing apart tanks with their mandibles, the way the Zerg and Tyranids do. Heinlein's Bugs used guns and stuff, more or less like their opponents.


Doubtless some Koreans are going to kill me for this, but Starcraft's lowest-common-denominator crap with poor gameplay, ugly graphics and a limited engine by 1998 standards, with a somewhat entertaining setting and rather good faction balance. From everything we've seen so far Starcraft 2 is the exact same game with marginally better graphics and Assault Marines. The Warcraft series is a mediocre set of RTSes which do nothing particularly originally or well save unit talk, and WoW is an average game with brilliant marketing and penetration. I haven't played any of their other stuff, but I find Blizzard games the most overrated, overhyped crap, with even more disgusting fanboying than the usual.

...ymmv, of course.Since most people get enormously more mileage out of them than you do, it seems unreasonable of you to denounce the games so fiercely. Dismissing all the people who actually like Starcraft, think it is a good game with fairly good balance, et cetera, involves insulting a lot of people. Many of whom have good taste.


Whatever. You were the one who brought up the Xenomorphs and ignored the Bugs from Starship Troopers, which are a much better fit. The premise of "soldiers in powered armor fighting swarms of giant insect-like aliens" is the point. GW took the idea and cranked the dial to 11, but that's what they did with pretty much everything when they made 40K.I think they introduced the Tyranids later than the Space Marines. It's like, they were releasing a new edition of the game, and they thought:

"I wonder what else we can throw at the Imperium. We've got Chaos Demons, we've got the Eldar, we've got the Orks... Oh! I know! Space bugs!"

So the swarms of space bugs wasn't part of the initial premise of the game.

WalkingTarget
2008-06-04, 10:17 AM
Yes. But at least two people had already said that they worship Neil Gaiman :smallbiggrin:

Right, I like his work immensely too. I just tried to think of a specific Admirable Feat to bring up other than just "oh, you know, everything". :smallsmile:

How about Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal which manages to be an exciting thriller about an assassination attempt on a historical figure who wasn't assassinated. It's like Apollo 13, you know they make it back but it's exciting anyway.

LBO
2008-06-04, 10:37 AM
Nah, Terran Marines are more like Imperial Guardsmen. Sure they've got power armor, but power armor is a common SF trope. Terran Marines are only slightly less expendable than Zerglings, and arguably not as effective pound for pound unless you throw in their AA capabilities.

And if you look at the fluff, Terran Marines are still expendable. It's pretty obvious from reading the descriptions of stuff like the StimPack and the Medic that Marines aren't expected to last long in combat. Whereas Warhammer Space Marines are not expendable, not to anything like the degree the Terran Marines are. As in, they're individually strong in combat, and it takes a long time to make new ones.
Read again, you'll note I said "appearance" and "armour". The people inside and their battlefield roles are definitely different.


At least, I know of no earlier use of those two concepts in fiction. Nor do either of them exist in real life.
I didn't know whether Heinlein came up with it first or not. Hmm.


Since most people get enormously more mileage out of them than you do, it seems unreasonable of you to denounce the games so fiercely. Dismissing all the people who actually like Starcraft, think it is a good game with fairly good balance, et cetera, involves insulting a lot of people. Many of whom have good taste.
Bawww, tell the ones who bitch out 40k all the time for being too silly or GRIMDARK they're being "unreasonable", you'll find plenty more of them. Also, I said it has good balance. Balance is the good thing about Starcraft, which RTS games since have struggled to match. Otherwise, by my standards and tastes, it's an inferior and stupidly overrated game.


I think they introduced the Tyranids later than the Space Marines. It's like, they were releasing a new edition of the game, and they thought:

"I wonder what else we can throw at the Imperium. We've got Chaos Demons, we've got the Eldar, we've got the Orks... Oh! I know! Space bugs!"

So the swarms of space bugs wasn't part of the initial premise of the game.
Actually, "Tyranids" (the initial critter was something resembling a 2ed Termagant) did appear in the very first edition Rogue Trader. They were served by Zoats (that ate three Zoatibix a day) and were just another minor throwaway race, like Jokaero. The Rogue Trader nids weren't nearly as similar to either the Xenomorphs or the "Bugs", either - it was only in 2ed (or perhaps later in 1ed, I only have the initial Rogue Trader sourcebook) that they started to be the psychic-horror-horde-of-alien-locusts-doom thing. (Interestingly enough, it was Chaos which was pretty much left out of the first book.)

...And thinking back to Rogue Trader, I just realised something. The Marines in Starcraft are identical to the Rogue Trader Astartes - psychopathic thugs dredged from the worst parts of humanity, given some augmentation and brainwashing, shoved in big suits of power armour and thrown against the worst horrors in the universe. Hmm...

Also, I said it once and I'll say it again. Philip Reeve. NEEDS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Reeve) MORE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_Engines) LOVE (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MortalEngines). Amazing writer.

Serpentine
2008-06-04, 11:10 AM
Here boys, your very own thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4418877#post4418877). Now you have no excuse, so scoot.

Fri
2008-06-04, 11:29 AM
Right, I like his work immensely too. I just tried to think of a specific Admirable Feat to bring up other than just "oh, you know, everything". :smallsmile:



Ah, Study in Emerald is a Chtulhu and Sherlock Holmes cross over, but we mustn't forgot about that time when he wrote Chtulhu without crossover.

http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/shortstories/chulthhustory/

BRC
2008-06-04, 11:34 AM
Can we get this thread back on topic. This is supposed to be a "I like author X because they do Y Well thread", not a "YOU SUCK FOR LIKING AUTHOR X, THEY STOLE Y FROM AUTHOR Z!" Thread.

I'll second and/or third and/or fourth Jim Butcher. Dresden Snarks at an epic level, he solves problems through ways besides "I blast it with MAD MAGIC SKILLZ!". He has a supporting cast of likeable and well developed characters, and no matter how many times they succeed you are impressed by them, everybody has plot armor, but theirs is fairly thin or at least invisibile.
@V Apparentally somebody complained about my old one or the mod's got around to deciding that my name was too political, so Rawhide asked me if I would mind having it changed and what to. Some are born with a name change, some achieve name changes, and some (Like Me) have name changes thrust upon them.

LBO
2008-06-04, 11:35 AM
That's been done.

Hey, how'd you get your name changed?

WalkingTarget
2008-06-04, 11:52 AM
Ah, Study in Emerald is a Chtulhu and Sherlock Holmes cross over, but we mustn't forgot about that time when he wrote Chtulhu without crossover.

http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/shortstories/chulthhustory/

I'm assuming you're trying to get to direct to this (http://www.neilgaiman.com/p/Cool_Stuff/Short_Stories/I_Cthulhu) (sorry, your link just takes me to the general "cool stuff" portion of his site).

I liked that one too. It's not available on his site, but how about "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" (http://www.clarkesworldbooks.com/book_1892058073.html)? Another humorous Lovecraftian thing he did.

Revlid
2008-06-04, 01:46 PM
That's been done.

Hey, how'd you get your name changed?

I imagine you'd have to talk to a mod about it.

And I must apologize for bringing that Starcraft/40k stuff up. I didn't know it would go this far. :smallfrown:

I'd also like to laud Roald Dahl, for his understanding that the blood and gore was not removed from children's books for children, but for squeamish adults.

LBO
2008-06-04, 02:05 PM
I imagine you'd have to talk to a mod about it.

And I must apologize for bringing that Starcraft/40k stuff up. I didn't know it would go this far. :smallfrown:

I'd also like to laud Roald Dahl, for his understanding that the blood and gore was not removed from children's books for children, but for squeamish adults.
Well at least here it was civil, rather than "two pages of screaming ***hole" Kaceir. :smalltongue: (I added the smiley face! it doesn't count as offensive!)

It seems I'm alone in that I never really liked Roald Dahl's kiddie books. All the violence and cruelty and nastiness just struck me as... contrived, even when I was little. It was the semi-grown-up stuff like Henry Sugar, which managed to tell a good story about people not getting murdered and eaten, which I enjoyed.

Of course, I now thoroughly enjoy Iain Banks, so it might just have been a phase...

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-04, 04:35 PM
Oh, except they could summon a Bloodthirster. Hm. Fantasy isn't my thing, it's not something I care about much.

Balrogs came first and D&D had Balors (poor rip offs of balrogs created due to copy right) before Games Workshop started making games. You definately can't seriously call a demon with goat legs original either.


Also, I said it once and I'll say it again. Philip Reeve. NEEDS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Reeve) MORE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_Engines) LOVE (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MortalEngines). Amazing writer.

My aunt bought me the book for a birthday years ago and I never read it or heard anyone say a good thing about it. But I guess it did somehow get sequels.

Bryn
2008-06-04, 05:23 PM
I don't know how popular he is in America, but where I live in Somerset, England, the Mortal Engines series is pretty popular; I'm a huge fan myself, especially of the first book :smallbiggrin: His other book, Here Lies Arthur, is also really good, a nice gritty historical story based around the Arthurian legends. So, more praise for Phillip Reeve, I say!

I'm not such a fan of Larklight, but that's probably an age thing, and it's a nice little steampunk story in itself.

LBO
2008-06-04, 05:44 PM
Yeah, I didn't like Larklight that much either. On its own merits, it's a fine little kiddie steampunk story, but after Mortal Engines, seeing just how damn well he does hate and hope and love and death and a whole brilliant setting with a GRIMDARK flavour, it just seems... a waste to write little kiddie stories about Traversing the Luminous Aether with a band of Jolly Coves.

Also: Yes, the Bloodthirster is nothing original, but AFAIK GW were the first to attach the word "daemon" (note spelling) to their big red balrog. And then we have GW-esque orcs summoning a monster that owes more to the Bloodthirster than a traditional balroggy thing, which is called a "daemon". Uh huh.

Hoggy
2008-06-04, 05:49 PM
I admire David Gemmel for his sheer mastery of forehead-to-nose action. Nary a chapter in a Gemmel work of art goes by without thick hero-skull coming into contact with fragile villain-cartilage at velocity high enough to shatter steel.

Rest In Peace, Sir Gemmel of the Headbut, most talented exploiter of ye common nut.

Also, I really really like his books.

CurlyKitGirl
2008-06-04, 06:16 PM
Pratchett for being so, so, so versatile. His universe is fluid, it isn't changed just for the story to happen meaning that everything seems natural (Discworld natural that is). Think about it; this man started out writing straight parodies and now he has five (if we accept that Moist von Lipwig is the fifth) arcs, each with a different sort of theme.
Vimes is a detective arc.
Death is the Pure Awesome arc.
And so on.
Plus, did you know that when someone started trying to map it Pratchett was against it because he said fantasy worlds could never be mapped on account of geography being merely a way to get from A to B and was extremely surpised when the Discworl actually fit together so well.

Gaiman for being so artistic and real. I mean, I've only read one book written by him and him alone (money problems you know) and I fell in love with his writing. That's happened with very few authors and most of them'll be listed in this post.

George R R Martin. Just George R R Martin.

Roald Dalh for knowing that children aren't afraid of gore. I bet he took a lot of inspiration from children's fairy tales.

Hans Christian Anderson and the brothers Grimm because of their stories/anthologies of truly wonderful stories. They're virtually part of the subconcious now and oh so bloody. Yet parents still read them to their little four year olds.:smallbiggrin:

The guy who wrote Watership Down.

Probably others, but sleep makes one forget things.

Prophaniti
2008-06-04, 07:03 PM
I've always admired authors who can do first person narrative from different peoples perspectives and actually keep the unique voice for each individual. Sandy Mitchell did this with the Ciaphas Cain series, great stuff.
George R. R. Martin does the same thing, though he doesn't use the first person much. Also great reading.
I'm also a fan of classics, I really did enjoy Once and Future King and, of course, Lord of the Rings. I'm also one of the few people I know who not only read Silmarillion, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe everyone should read The Chronicles of Narnia when they're 10 or so.

Theres a lot more, but I'm at work now and can't peruse my library (such as it is) to remember authors' names...

poleboy
2008-06-05, 02:05 AM
Oh yeah... I almost forgot: Phillip K. **** (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillip_K_****). Author of fine, fine and very disturbing science fiction.

EDIT: Fine, Philip K. Male Genetalia then.

WalkingTarget
2008-06-05, 08:51 AM
Oh yeah... I almost forgot: Phillip K. **** (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillip_K_****). Author of fine, fine and very disturbing science fiction.

EDIT: Fine, Philip K. Male Genetalia then.

It's ok to bypass the filter for stuff like this (author names or book/movie titles that aren't obscene in and of themselves.

Phillip K. ****

Also, I like the works of Tim Powers in that he manages to come up with plausible "secret histories" for real people/events. Anybody who plays Unknown Armies should read some of his stuff.

Joran
2008-06-05, 09:17 AM
Much love to Douglas Adams. He wrote one of the funniest stories I ever read and many of his concepts have leaked into the wider geek lexicon (the number 42, Babelfish, and "Don't Panic"). I particularly liked how when the tenth planet was found, people voted to name it "Rupert".

GoC
2008-06-05, 11:21 AM
JRR Tolkein. Tell me who puts more work into his backstory and world-creation.

Terry Pratchet.

Serpentine
2008-06-05, 11:28 AM
To be fair, Pratchet hasn't invented a whole language.

On the other hand, the Discworld evolves and changes in a manner similar to reality. Did anything actually happen in Middle Earth - say, new developments in technology, national borders shifting, attitudes changing - in the however many thousands of years there were between Sauron's defeats? :smallconfused:

Telonius
2008-06-05, 11:33 AM
Robert Howard, for economy of words. That man could squeeze more meaning out of a couple sentences than I can out of a paragraph or two.

Mark Twain. If my writing is ever even a quarter as funny as his was, I'll be pleased. His review (http://http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/writings_fenimore.html) of Cooper's Pathfinder and Deerslayer could give modern bloggers a run for their money on the snarkiness scale.

Many others, but those two sprung to mind first.

Telonius
2008-06-05, 11:43 AM
To be fair, Pratchet hasn't invented a whole language.

On the other hand, the Discworld evolves and changes in a manner similar to reality. Did anything actually happen in Middle Earth - say, new developments in technology, national borders shifting, attitudes changing - in the however many thousands of years there were between Sauron's defeats? :smallconfused:


National borders did shift. After the Silmarillion's events, Gondor conquered up to the Black Gates, before being slowly driven out. Arnor was established, and destroyed. Eregion prospered, then was destroyed. The Dwarves of Lonely Mountain were driven out, then re-established themselves. The "Necromancer" rose and fell in Mirkwood.

As for military technology, Saruman was able to figure out a way to produce better and more efficient orcs, if that counts. :smallbiggrin:

PhallicWarrior
2008-06-05, 11:51 AM
Matthew Stover. He doesn't really do any one thing mad awesome, but taken all together, his books are, bar none, the best I've ever read.

Go read Traitor, or his Episode III novelization, and you'll see what I mean. He just gets into the characters heads, and really pulls out what motivates them. After reading Traitor, all of the other NJO books just seemed, well, flat. His novelization let me look at Lucas' baby in a whole new way.

mentatzarkon
2008-06-05, 12:16 PM
Philip K. **** is also one of my favorite authors. I just finished Confessions of a Crap Artist and I'm always amazed by his ability with characters. He just pulls you into their lives and because a lot of the time, truly horrible things happen to them, that's not always a good thing. I highly recommend that book by the way, to anyone who's a fan of ****, or not, because it's radically different from anything I've read by him. In other words, it's actually a very ordinary story!

Gene Wolfe. He is crammed slightly up his own butt with how 'clever' he is. I mean, writing a whole series about a character that forgets most of his identity every morning and still making it believable? (Soldier of the Mist) Writing a story about a guy who's a totally brutal torturer, yet still making you like him? (The Book Of The New Sun series) But for modern fantasy, I've yet to find an author who's got the scope of this guy. I think that modern Tolkien more or less does it justice.

Fritz Leiber for his totally unpretentious good writing. He did a whole series of swords and sorcery novels that are a DnD nerd’s wet dream.

Harry Harrison for the stainless steel rat series. I really appreciate funny and all the more when it's in a scifi setting. Great for light reading that nevertheless is satisfying and rich in details.

Bernard Cornwell, for rewriting the Arthur myths totally devoid of any Christian monk’s reinterpretation of what was probably druidic folklore to begin with. Also for his attention (read obsession) to the details of medieval existence.

turkishproverb
2008-06-05, 02:11 PM
Bernard Cornwell, for rewriting the Arthur myths totally devoid of any Christian monk’s reinterpretation of what was probably druidic folklore to begin with. Also for his attention (read obsession) to the details of medieval existence.

Wow. I've never seen someone disliking of traditional Arthurian lore so much, much less calling the severe changes made by Cornwell (Uther still alive?) somehow more believable as the original interpretation or intent before those "christian monks" that actually wrote it down got ahold of it. Especially considering he's using Lancelot (A french creation) and Merlin (Whom while mentioned early on, is not in the earliest written accounts of arthur) The existance of Nimue by extension isn't very sensible, as her part came a fair bit after merlins.

His whole problem with the "christian monks version" is funny really (though the description is not surprising if you've read the books, where all religion is utterly evil), especially given a good chunk of the people working on early arthur were considered historians, especially on such works as "A History of the kings of Britain" in which Arthur's life is only a small section.

Even as historical fiction they're not exactly strong, as he insists upon himself to the point of repeating details "Survived a death pit made by druids lalala" and the darned near grimdark feel him manages to put, something I rarely see in even novels convering Stalinist russia. Then you have the fact that Derfel becomes a marty stu fairly quickly...

And all this is aside from my issues with his "historical" version of history.

Arioch
2008-06-05, 03:12 PM
Dresden Files (again), for being fun and funny books that still have action and a deep backstory. And because they have sidhe, which are, in any incarnation, pure awesome.

Terry Pratchett, for reasons already mentioned.

Tamora Pierce, for combining a realistic medieval setting with fantasy. My favourites are the Aly duet, where we have a heroine whose skills are less combat-orientated.

Garth Nix, for weaving horror and fantasy to create an extremely well-written trilogy that managed to avoid just being a clichefest. The Keys to the Kingdom series are...quirky, and written for younger readers, but I like them. I'm looking forward to the next Old Kingdom book about Clariel, whenever it's due to come out.

The Mortal Engines quartet are certainly well-written, but I didn't like them much.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-05, 05:29 PM
Bernard Cornwell, for rewriting the Arthur myths totally devoid of any Christian monk’s reinterpretation of what was probably druidic folklore to begin with. Also for his attention (read obsession) to the details of medieval existence.

Except that's complete nonsense, since King Arthur was made up by fellows like the German knight and poet Wolfram von Eschenbach or the French troubadour Chrétien de Troyes.

Christian monks have next to nothing to do with the legends of King Arthur and niether do druids, since who knows what King Arthur would have worshipped as a member of the Romano British Aristocracy. He could have been anything from a Christian to a follower of a novelty Syrian mother godess. Christianity would not have been "new" to Britain, since it was after all part of the world's first Christian Empire and has very large ammounts of archaelogical evidence for Christianity during the Roman period. Any powerful person outside Scotland would have been very aware of anything happening in Rome because they were running a Roman province.

Terraoblivion
2008-06-05, 05:39 PM
For that matter the nature of the stories that in the middle ages became the basis for what we know as the King Arthur character is unclear. I have heard arguments for him being Celtic, Romano-British, British after the Romans left and Saxon, he cannot have been all of these. And that is provided he can be clearly traced to a specific historical figure and is not just wholly created for stories the way many of the other great kings of chivalric literature is. In short what is the truth about the historical King Arthur is anybody's guess, the best we can do is look at the earliest stories we have. And those present him clearly along the lines of early medieval conceptions of knighthood and cosmology and not according to what we today would consider the truth about medieval society.

mentatzarkon
2008-06-05, 07:11 PM
Wow, I'm amazed that bland comment sparked so much debate! I'm sorry that people took it as being anti-Christian, it was not intended that way. I like Malory just as much as the next guy, however, it's nice to not get preached at with my fantasy. Anyway, unlike all of us, Cornwell is actually a medieval scholar, so he probably has a middling to fair idea of what he's talking about. Stylistically I have to agree with turkishproverb, Cornwell is not really such a great writer.

Oh and as to the myths being re imagined by Christian monks, I'm basing that on what I learned in a class about Arthur (yes I actually got college credit for learning about King Arthur). According to my teacher, the myths went through many iterations, and became more and more focused on the grail quest and redemption as time went on. Whether Arthur has a true foundation in druidic tradition, yeah, I can't prove that, but I think it's a fun idea.

Also, Closet_skeleton, you're thinking of the Parzival myth for Wolfram von Eschenbach and the other guy did Lancelot and also some Perceval too. It was Geoffrey of Monmouth who's the original Arthur author.

Anyway to get back to the point of the thread, I realize now that I should throw in Malory for turning me on to the Arthur myths in the first place and for his talent with language. My personal fav is his take on Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady.

Oooh ooh, and while I'm at it, I should list T.H. White, for his wonderful descriptions of Arthur's training by Merlin. Especially the bits where he turns him into various animals.

Nibleswick
2008-06-06, 01:00 AM
I would like to nominate A. A. Milne's When We Were Very Young, Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, and Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books. All for the great beauty of their words, and for their ability to express the sheer joy of being alive.

turkishproverb
2008-06-06, 01:20 AM
Wow, I'm amazed that bland comment sparked so much debate! I'm sorry that people took it as being anti-Christian, it was not intended that way. I like Malory just as much as the next guy, however, it's nice to not get preached at with my fantasy. Anyway, unlike all of us, Cornwell is actually a medieval scholar, so he probably has a middling to fair idea of what he's talking about. Stylistically I have to agree with turkishproverb, Cornwell is not really such a great writer.

Oh and as to the myths being re imagined by Christian monks, I'm basing that on what I learned in a class about Arthur (yes I actually got college credit for learning about King Arthur). According to my teacher, the myths went through many iterations, and became more and more focused on the grail quest and redemption as time went on. Whether Arthur has a true foundation in druidic tradition, yeah, I can't prove that, but I think it's a fun idea.

Also, Closet_skeleton, you're thinking of the Parzival myth for Wolfram von Eschenbach and the other guy did Lancelot and also some Perceval too. It was Geoffrey of Monmouth who's the original Arthur author.

Anyway to get back to the point of the thread, I realize now that I should throw in Malory for turning me on to the Arthur myths in the first place and for his talent with language. My personal fav is his take on Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady.

Oooh ooh, and while I'm at it, I should list T.H. White, for his wonderful descriptions of Arthur's training by Merlin. Especially the bits where he turns him into various animals.


I didn't take your comment as anti christian, just his books.

(not that it's that close to home anyway, I'm a buddhist)

Yea, T.H. White is fun, as is Malory. Personally, I like Gawain and the Green Knight too.

Mr. Scaly
2008-06-06, 08:37 AM
Every single author who's had the perfect brave, honourable and noble character die a brave, honourable and noble death for a truely good cause. Call me a sap, but with all the gritty conflicted protagonists out there it's heartwarming to see someone we can really call a 'hero'.

Terraoblivion
2008-06-06, 02:39 PM
The grail quest is not as much a Christian topic as a chivalric one, however. Most descriptions of the grail and of knights question for it was found in secular literature, especially the French troubadours and German minnesangere. It certainly has Christian motifs and is a Christian symbol, but it is not strongly connected with the Roman catholic church, but rather with the nobility. In the same vein it can be seen that most illustrations of the grail were found in secular literature and among the decorations of the castles of the secular elite.

This being said the grail was a major part in the transformation of the knighthood from just being the elite warriors of the medieval princes, into a divinely ordained brotherhood tasked with protecting Christianity and the like. As such these stories have a clear didactic angle of showing how a proper knight should behave, while at the same time serving for the nobility to show that they were above the brutality of the past. It does not change that they are predominantly created by educated nobles for the use of other educated nobles and are not predominantly the work of monks.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-06, 04:01 PM
The grail quest is not as much a Christian topic as a chivalric one, however. Most descriptions of the grail and of knights question for it was found in secular literature, especially the French troubadours and German minnesangere. It certainly has Christian motifs and is a Christian symbol, but it is not strongly connected with the Roman catholic church, but rather with the nobility. In the same vein it can be seen that most illustrations of the grail were found in secular literature and among the decorations of the castles of the secular elite.

After all, the Holy Grail is makes no appearance in the Bible. The drinking cup used at the last supper idea is if anything a retcon. Unless you subscribe to an unlikely theory I once read that the Holy Grail is just a metaphore for the Ark of the Covenant, which is in the Bible.


This being said the grail was a major part in the transformation of the knighthood from just being the elite warriors of the medieval princes, into a divinely ordained brotherhood tasked with protecting Christianity and the like. As such these stories have a clear didactic angle of showing how a proper knight should behave, while at the same time serving for the nobility to show that they were above the brutality of the past. It does not change that they are predominantly created by educated nobles for the use of other educated nobles and are not predominantly the work of monks.

I'm pretty sure this transformation has something to do with the Crusades, but probably in a really complicated way.

Terraoblivion
2008-06-06, 04:11 PM
The crusades was another part of the transformation actually, it was not the end goal of this transformation of the role of the knight. The goal was a combination of wanting to decrease violence and feuding in society as large as well as underscore the supremacy of the church over the princes who had been getting stronger as Europe worked out of the dark ages and into the middle ages. Because if the military elite could be taught to focus on being proper knights instead of on their family, their lord and other secular manners. The success can definitely be debated, but it was the goal.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-06, 04:27 PM
The crusades was another part of the transformation actually, it was not the end goal of this transformation of the role of the knight. The goal was a combination of wanting to decrease violence and feuding in society as large as well as underscore the supremacy of the church over the princes who had been getting stronger as Europe worked out of the dark ages and into the middle ages. Because if the military elite could be taught to focus on being proper knights instead of on their family, their lord and other secular manners. The success can definitely be debated, but it was the goal.

I did my coursework on this several months ago and I'm unsure of how much I want to be reminded.

The point you forgot to mention was Saladin and how he inspired some of the Western ideals of chivalry.

Terraoblivion
2008-06-06, 04:34 PM
Or was interpreted in the light of them. I cannot recall the exact time Saladin lived compared to the advent of romances. If he was early enough that there was only Chanson de Geste, then it is quite likely that he did if it was after the genre of romance got started then he was unable to inspire them as they were already developed, though interpretations did of course change.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-06, 04:59 PM
Or was interpreted in the light of them. I cannot recall the exact time Saladin lived compared to the advent of romances. If he was early enough that there was only Chanson de Geste, then it is quite likely that he did if it was after the genre of romance got started then he was unable to inspire them as they were already developed, though interpretations did of course change.

Wikipedia says Saladin reigned between 1174 and 1193. Which is around 100 years after the earliest confirmable parts of the Chanson de Geste. However his affect on Chivarly is mainly on battlefield conduct towards you enemies than knightly romances. The Song of Roland did however involve Charlamagne fighting Muslims instead of the Basques he fought in real life.

deepsear
2008-06-06, 05:02 PM
I admire Clive Cussler, for every book involves almost the same outline, but he still grabs you by the you-know-whats and keep you enthralled to the last page. Plus, the action sequences are awesome to the max.

Terraoblivion
2008-06-06, 05:16 PM
And at least a few decades after the first romances. His inspiration of proper battlefield conduct is quite likely, however, as he is the single non-Christian described most favorably in medieval literature and that is despite being an actual enemy and not just some guy who hadn't been baptized.

Even so Muslims were one of the two great enemies in medieval Europe, the other being the Jews. In general the middle ages weren't that tolerant of deviant beliefs.

mentatzarkon
2008-06-06, 05:16 PM
I forgot to mention Ross MacDonald for his Lew Archer series. Especially The Blue Hammer, for being powerfully moving and disturbing. He has a talent for writing characters that you both sympathize with and dislike at the same time.

hamishspence
2008-06-07, 11:56 AM
I remember reading that the very early Arthur legends actually portrayed him as a bad guy, with him being thwarted by monks. I think this was the bit Bernard Cornwell was tapping into. Not sure what the name of the saint featuring in these legends was though.

Dave Rapp
2008-06-07, 12:27 PM
And the oscar goes to... Orson Scott Card, for "The Enemy's Gate is Down!"

Seriously, it's just an awesome line and it was awesomeley executed... twice.

Another good line is God's final words to his creation, from the end of the Hich Hiker Trilogy. I won't say them here because, well, SPOILER ALERT, but they're still an awesome choice of words.

VanBuren
2008-06-09, 07:19 PM
Well, anyone's entitled to their own opinion.

Of course, apart from Evil Sues there are also Evil Stus, like Arthas or Light Yagami. These have a higher tendency of being beaten in the end, though (which usually results in fanboy outrage). It is extremely annoying if a webcomic's Misaimed Fandom wants to see the resident Comical Sociopath as an Evil Stu - Belkar, Black Mage and Richard come to mind (although you'd have to think about the last one...).

Black Mage? A Stu? No no no. He's far too much of a buttmonkey to ever be a Stu.

turkishproverb
2008-06-09, 10:14 PM
Black Mage? A Stu? No no no. He's far too much of a buttmonkey to ever be a Stu.

I think that kinda applies to the entire recurring cast.

VanBuren
2008-06-09, 10:31 PM
I think that kinda applies to the entire recurring cast.

Far more so for BM. I think the author even admitted that the universe takes pleasure in screwing him over, and that it is the sole function of their relationship.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-06-09, 10:47 PM
China Mieville for coming up with a much different take on a fantasy home setting, where a democracy doesn't automatically mean enlightment, freedom, and all around disgusting goodness (Or just an incompent bunch of idiots for the protagonist to try and work around). Sure he could probably deal with less nudity-for-the-sake-of-nudity and things of that ilk, but otherwise has a very nice world to play around in. Oh...and for saying what D&D adventurers would actually look like in close-to-modern viewpoint.

poleboy
2008-06-12, 02:51 AM
Another vote for Douglas Adams.

Aldous Huxley - his writing is like Orwell, if Orwell had spent his childhood locked in a dark basement dissecting small, furry animals.

sun_tzu
2008-06-13, 05:53 AM
G.R.R. Martin for...ah, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Awesome writer.
Timothy Zahn, Tsugumi Ohba and Gosho Aoyoma for writing some incredibly intelligent characters.
T Campbell. The way he combines numerous simultaneous plots and insane amounts of character developments for large casts are truly worthy of admiration.