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Messages - Aen Elderberry

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Brandon Sanderson / Brandon mentioned in an obituary
« on: May 14, 2008, 06:31:43 PM »
I'm not sure if this is of interest here but I thought I'd post it just in case.  Seems Brandon's name comes up all over the place.

My wife's friends lost their son to a brain tumor last week.  Wonderful young man.  My wife reported that the funeral was inspiring.

From his obituary:

"He loved fantasy novels, especially those written by Terry Brooks and Brandon Sanderson. He would often read a book in one day, and talked about eventually becoming a writer himself."

(  Obituaries and Guest Books for 5/11/2008)

Everything Else / Re: Sword Fighting Prowess
« on: March 13, 2008, 05:17:17 PM »
Actually, nothing anywhere states that Andúril is magical.  It is certainly a family heirloom, but that's hardly the same thing.

For the non-magical category I'd want to add a few others to the poll:

John Carter
The Grey Mouser

And I suppose we should give the women a chance as well -

Red Sonja

If magical blades are allowed then I'm going with Elric of Melnibone.

But if magic sword is okay what about magic user with blades?  Can't we include Vin?  Could any of them compete with her?

Role-Playing Games / Re: Farewell Gary Gygax
« on: March 08, 2008, 01:37:53 AM »
Thanks, Gary!

I need to find time to play an RPG this weekend in honor of Gary.

Rants and Stuff / Re: Bad Science
« on: March 08, 2008, 01:35:55 AM »
I'll take the bait and rant . . .

So at what point does science become a stumbling block in a book/movie/TV show for you?

If, for the sake of the story, light is a particle and they never mention that it also has properties of a wave, I'm fine with that.

I guess it depends on how integral it is to the plot.

Also, unless the POV character is the scientist you can always explain it away as a confused or ignorant POV character.  :)     Perhaps my hero needs to learn a little more about technology -- "The woman raised her delicate arm and pointed the small plastic object at the TV.  I wasn't sure if the TV was mesmerized by her beauty or if the small plastic object was some sort of destructive weapon.  In any case I realize that the TV had acquired sentience because it hastened to do her bidding and immediately changed channels."

At one point are things that not everyone knows, but are definitely true.

I'm a doubter.  The non-fiction science book I recently listened to bugged me each time the author said, "scientists thought  [some out-dated notion] but they now know [current fashionable notion]."

It's like Lord Kelvin a hundred years ago pronouncing that scientific knowledge was nearly complete, just a few loose ends to tie up.  Smugness bothers me more than "error."

You say "definitely true" and I say "really?"   You say "mostly true like Newton's Law of Gravity" and I'm a little more comfortable with your declaration.

Then there is the other end where the science is completely out there and may as well be magic.  Once you accept the transporter beams and faster-than-light travel, everything else is easy.   Where in the middle does it get irritating, and does it matter how much you know about a given topic?  For example, does Jurassic Park really irritate biochemists or someone who knows how much work it would take to replicate a dinosaur while those of us who have no idea can pass it by?

Seems like the point of SciFi is to extrapolate advances, i.e. things that now seem difficult or impossible are suddenly easy or at least doable, and what are the ramifications of such advances.  If you're talking about Space Opera, that's a different matter.

If I wrote a story that included faster-than-light travel I hope I won't have to accurately explain in detail how to actually build a faster-than-light ship.   If I was that smart I'd stop writing and start building the ship.  However cool my story might be it would be a lot cooler to be zipping through the galaxy.  :)

I think that what does bug me (which is probably what you are saying and I was just misunderstanding because of my unconscious need to be disagreeable) is a bunch of hand waving, vague explanations that are supposed to be scientific and are meant to add credibility to the story when it appears that the writer didn't bother to learn anything about the subject.  If they had even looked up the subject on wikipedia they'd have realized how inane their "scientific explanation" was.

The Smithsonian magazine had an article about Jesse James and mentions this movie.  It claims that James was a bandit, would be a terrorist in our day,  that was a part of groups that killed women and children.  He was popular among those that kept their slaves despite the Emancipation Proclamation and that he fought against northern "tyranny."  Not an entirely kind treatment of the folk hero.

Who know were the truth lies?

Everything Else / Re: Sword Fighting Prowess
« on: March 08, 2008, 12:26:53 AM »
I selected Other -  Westley from The Princess Bride.   Not sure why . . . he's the one that came first to mind.

Writing Group / Re: NaNoWriMo 2007
« on: November 02, 2007, 04:54:00 PM »
thanks, Eric.

does this look right?

your link includes  /eng/    Hope mine works if anyone wants to add me.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: No longer Rumors of Brandon Jr.
« on: November 02, 2007, 04:42:08 PM »
Congrats!  Way cool.

Writing Group / Re: NaNoWriMo 2007
« on: October 26, 2007, 04:43:38 PM »
I'm doing it.

Username:  hauf

I can't see any way to add a buddy.  Where is that feature?

I won't be starting the writing until Nov. 7.  Starting a week late.  But last year I did about 6oK so I hope that missing the first week won't kill my effort.

Books / Re: So, apparently Dumbledore is gay.
« on: October 26, 2007, 04:23:14 PM »
She then went on to say that the reason Dumbledore was so blind to Grundelwald's evil was because he was in love with him.

I thought, from reading the book, that he was blind to Grundelwald's evil because of his love for power.  And it made him more noble when he declined to be Minister of Magic because after his experience with Grundelwald he recognized that he couldn't trust himself with that much power.

But perhaps, if you want to read that he is "gay," there is nobility in his celibacy.  Dimbledore is obviously an astute observer of human nature.  If you take the Christian view you might say that he recognizes his desire for power as well as his other desires as being dangerous and not in either his or society's best interest.  (And yes, I realize I could get flamed for this comment.  :)

Or perhaps there is something of George Bernard Shaw in Rowling.   In Pygmalion there is an attraction between Eliza and the Professor and apparently the fan fiction of the day had them getting married.  But, apparently just to annoy people, Shaw claimed that Eliza married Freddy and had to work the rest of her life to take care of the worthless lump.   So "ditto" on letting the book stand on it's own.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Alcatraz out?
« on: September 11, 2007, 07:58:19 PM »
Will there be a local booksigning for Alcatraz?

Everything Else / Re: Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day
« on: September 11, 2007, 07:46:02 PM »
I think I'll wait till 2010 to participate.

Good idea.  That's what I did.  But I waited even longer, until 2047, to come back for time travel day.   But 2010 would be good a good year as well.  If I remember right the big fad in 2010 was banana peel clothing.  You'll definitely attract attention.

Brandon Sanderson / Value of Fiction
« on: August 31, 2007, 06:17:10 PM »

I was one of the people told by the Israel-book-guy at Brandon's BYU Bookstore signing that  "Mine is the only book worth reading at this table."  I saw him using that line on another person -- as if tearing down others would convince people to buy his book.

I was surprised at his nerve.  Then I felt a little angry at his hubris.  I asked him how he knew.  Had he read any of the books?  "No, but I know about those kinds of books.  They are just Fluff.  A waste of time."

I wish I'd included Brandon's point in my response to him but I did come up with three points all by myself.

First we need recreation.  "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."  Even if the stories are only entertainment we  need entertainment.  We need to relax.  Unstring the bow lest it lose its spring.

Second, we learn from stories.  And some things are learned best from a story.  "Did you ever tell your children stories?  The three pigs?  The three bears?"  I don't think this was at all convincing to him.  I realize it just reinforces the stereotype that stories are for little children.  Adults are supposed to be interested in reality, right? 

(Two days later I'm listening to G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy -  ". . . ethic and philosophy come from being fed on fairy tales. . . . I could note many noble and healthy principles that arise from them. There is the chivalrous lesson of "Jack the Giant Killer"; that giants should be killed because they are gigantic. It is a manly mutiny against pride as such. For the rebel is older than all the kingdoms . . . There is the great lesson of "Beauty and the Beast"; that a thing must be loved before it is loveable."  Chapter 4, The Ethics of Elfland,

Third I believe that the fight between right and wrong goes on at many levels.  We need imaginative literature that appeals to various audiences that inspires the reader to do good, to be heroic.

If I'd felt like he was listening to me at all I'd have given him more detail.  And here I'm getting even more religious.  A good story includes part of the hero myth.  I think the hero myth is part of us and it's healthy for our minds and spirits to "indulge" in the universal story.  Whether contemplating the sacrifices of Frodo, or Aslan, or Kelsier, or Vin, or Harry, or Christ we are really contemplating the example we need to follow.

I did try to affirm the value of what he had written and tried to understand his arguments.  "Yes, the house of Israel is an important topic.  It's mentioned a number of times in the scriptures."   "Yes, our society does spend too much time on Fluff, junk food, american idol entertainment and we, myself included, could be more enthusiastic about learning."  But I don't think he really heard anything else I said.

Later I looked at his book.  I'm no longer sure it is of much interest to me.  I haven't read it so don't rely on my impressions.  But it does smell like an effort to prove the superiority of many early LDS church members and their descendants based on uncertain evidence that they are descendants of the Kimmerians, or Cimmerians.  He repeats an old, very questionable claim that the Kimmerians are the the lost tribes of Israel.  Check out and to get a feel for the issue.  You're probably thinking the same thing I thought.  "Who'd have thunk?  Conan was an Israelite.  I'll have to write a book - Conan the Levite."  You skaa, and you mudbloods as well, had better read this book to learn of the superiority of the blood descendants of the Kimmerians.

I whole heartedly agree with Brandon.  What he is doing is "MORE important than a deep and scholarly book about something boring."   I believe that the greatest of all virtues is charity, which is based on kindness and understanding, so it is MORE important than even an exciting scholarly book. 

The Israel-book-guy could learn something from reading Mistborn or Harry Potter.

Role-Playing Games / Re: D&D 4th edition??
« on: August 22, 2007, 11:35:19 PM »
. . . and I hope that you don't think I believe you're in a bad company. I'd love to work for them, though not on D&D products anymore.

I hope the corporate culture hasn't changed since I visited in 2002.  We were in Washington on vacation and visited Renton, where I lived once upon a time.  I just had to visit.  Loved the dragon hanging in the stairwell.  The receptionist was awesome.  She gave my children free Harry Potter and Pokemon cards, let us look around, and was very nice.  I always interpret the way the receptionist acts as a sign of how the company operates.  Probably a bad generalization but that's my experience.  I got the feeling that they like to have fun.

I'd love to work for them as well.

I could spend every lunch hour sitting on the stairs looking up at that dragon.  (They've moved since then, haven't they?  But I assume the dragon is still hovering somewhere.)

Writing Group / Re: WotC Discoveries Open Call almost open
« on: August 21, 2007, 12:19:05 AM »
From the post I get the feeling that Science Fiction is not the sort of speculative fiction they're looking for.  Am I right?

I followed the link and it says this:
Though no two books in this line will be quite the same, each will share some element of fantasy, science fiction, or horror. From magical realism to techno-thrillers and back again, these are books where anything can happen.

This brilliant line-up of original works come from a range of speculative fiction genres, from the southern gothic ghost story to a unique take on superhero mythology, to spooky and enlightening memoir, to challenging literary fantasy, and more.

Looks like sci-fi is part of the line.

Thanks for the notice Stacer.

I got an email from Mark Sehestedt that he was leaving Wizards and told me that the story I submitted to him was being passed on to the new editor.  Do you know if that will change the sort of stuff they are looking for?

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