1218: "Doors of Durin"

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby speising » Fri May 31, 2013 7:43 pm UTC

and the sad thing with the midichlorian retcon is: in a magical world, you can have objective good and bad, the light side and the dark side. the ethical superiority of the jedi is a given by he premises of the old story, they are good because they have an insight into human (or otherwise) nature just like buddist monks.
if it's just a matter of having the right symbiotes, who is to say what's light and what dark?
and, come to think of it, why can't they just inject those buggers? that'd be the corollary of a scientific approach.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby speising » Fri May 31, 2013 7:51 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
speising wrote:i would make the distinction between sf and f on the mindset the story is written in. if a phenomenon is treated in a scientific way, it is fictional science. if it is treated in a mystical way, it is fantasy.
telekinesis can be a psionic effekt, or a magical power.
there are stories that subvert this distinction intentionally, eg. starting out as fantasy, but then it is revealed that it plays on a colony planet that tell into barbarism. the difference is that it is implied the magic *can* be explained scientifically.


The Pern stories were clearly fantasy when the early ones were first written; by the time Dragonflight was assembled into a single novel, they'd had the SF backstory added.


ah, i didn't know those. sounds pretty construed, what i gather from wikipedia.
darkover comes to mind, too.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 31, 2013 7:51 pm UTC

speising wrote:and the sad thing with the midichlorian retcon is: in a magical world, you can have objective good and bad, the light side and the dark side. the ethical superiority of the jedi is a given by he premises of the old story, they are good because they have an insight into human (or otherwise) nature just like buddist monks.
if it's just a matter of having the right symbiotes, who is to say what's light and what dark?
and, come to think of it, why can't they just inject those buggers? that'd be the corollary of a scientific approach.


And why were the Jedi Council so happy about the possibility of a child born to "bring balance to the Force" when they've been living in a Light-Side dominated galaxy for thousands of years?

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Kit. » Fri May 31, 2013 8:01 pm UTC

AlexTheSeal wrote:
Kit. wrote:As an example, this is a short story by PKD that I personally consider the best of his work. Is it fantasy?


No, it's psychological fiction that plays with fantasy tropes. The protagonist is clearly schizophrenic.

The only problem with this interpretation is that the author reused the meta-idea of the story later....

Pfhorrest wrote:In my own (very slowly in progress) fictional universe, the stories to be told often play on this twist of genre depending on perspective. Many of my fantasy stories are followed up by sequels and prequels which gradually place them in the wider context of a science-fiction universe. Two apparently secondary worlds turn out to be actually connected to our world, one of them an alien planet and another a simulation; and in our world it turns out that most myths about gods and such are loosely based on true-in-universe science-fictiony events.

Well, I see.

In my fictional multi-world universe, magic is based on a "slightly" different interpretation of the role of the observer than is supported by the current physics (which by itself is less than 100 years old, by the way), the fundamental symmetries in my "physics" are "slightly" different too. However, using magic around Earth (as seen by the earthlings) is heavily restricted by the external political forces, so the earthlings very rarely can observe it, let alone study it.

I guess you will count it as fantasy then?

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 31, 2013 8:09 pm UTC

speising wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
speising wrote:i would make the distinction between sf and f on the mindset the story is written in. if a phenomenon is treated in a scientific way, it is fictional science. if it is treated in a mystical way, it is fantasy.
telekinesis can be a psionic effekt, or a magical power.
there are stories that subvert this distinction intentionally, eg. starting out as fantasy, but then it is revealed that it plays on a colony planet that tell into barbarism. the difference is that it is implied the magic *can* be explained scientifically.


The Pern stories were clearly fantasy when the early ones were first written; by the time Dragonflight was assembled into a single novel, they'd had the SF backstory added.


ah, i didn't know those. sounds pretty construed, what i gather from wikipedia.
darkover comes to mind, too.


Darkover started out as a deliberate clash of cultures - it was written from the beginning to explore the interaction between the Terannen and the Comyn - the spacefaring empire and the "natives" descended from a lost colony. It was only later that the stories set during the milennia of isolation (which could be mistaken for fantasy) were written. It started out as pretty pure SF (provided you accept that humans have latent psychic potential)

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 31, 2013 9:23 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:In my fictional multi-world universe, magic is based on a "slightly" different interpretation of the role of the observer than is supported by the current physics (which by itself is less than 100 years old, by the way), the fundamental symmetries in my "physics" are "slightly" different too. However, using magic around Earth (as seen by the earthlings) is heavily restricted by the external political forces, so the earthlings very rarely can observe it, let alone study it.

I guess you will count it as fantasy then?

Not if you're presenting the slight differences in physics as though they were plausibly real, e.g. if the humans in your fictional Earth could have the same physics theories as we do and just be wrong about them, then your story can (and sounds like it is) presented as "we think there's no such thing as 'magic', however that's just because it is intentionally kept hidden from us; and it's not really 'magic' anyway, it's just that physics works slightly differently than we think it does". It's no more fantasy than Star Trek's warp drive is: it's technology using physics that much of the authors and audience knows to be wrong physics, but it's presented as "future advances in physics will show this to be right", even if we all know (with reasonable certainty) that that's not true. We think there's no such thing as warp drive and that it's impossible, but Star Trek says that's just because warp-capable aliens are intentionally avoiding us, and our physics is wrong.
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby goofy » Fri May 31, 2013 10:39 pm UTC

speising wrote:and the sad thing with the midichlorian retcon is: in a magical world, you can have objective good and bad, the light side and the dark side. the ethical superiority of the jedi is a given by he premises of the old story, they are good because they have an insight into human (or otherwise) nature just like buddist monks.
if it's just a matter of having the right symbiotes, who is to say what's light and what dark?
and, come to think of it, why can't they just inject those buggers? that'd be the corollary of a scientific approach.


How do we know the midichlorian theory is true? We only heard it from Qui-Gong, and perhaps his belief in midichlorians was symptomatic of his failings as a Jedi. After all he chose Annakin.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Shaggai » Fri May 31, 2013 11:32 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
speising wrote:i would make the distinction between sf and f on the mindset the story is written in. if a phenomenon is treated in a scientific way, it is fictional science. if it is treated in a mystical way, it is fantasy.
telekinesis can be a psionic effekt, or a magical power.
there are stories that subvert this distinction intentionally, eg. starting out as fantasy, but then it is revealed that it plays on a colony planet that tell into barbarism. the difference is that it is implied the magic *can* be explained scientifically.

This is exactly what I've been trying to get across. Thanks. Science vs mysticism, technology vs magic, the distinction being a difference in how a phenomenon is viewed, not a difference in kinds of phenomena.


What about books like Brandon Sanderson's Way of Kings, in which magic exists but is scientifically studied, i. e. spren? The phenomenon is viewed by the reader as magic, but by (some of) the characters as science. I guess it's still fantasy, as it's in a completely different universe, but the magic is portrayed as being understandable to mortals.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:53 am UTC

Ugh. I see no point in trying to slice up genres.

I just didn't really get the joke. Is the door slamming shut because someone said "frenemy" and "frenemies" are bad? Is it because "frenemies" are something of a "goth" concept (!?) so "mellogoth" is funny? Would the door not have slammed shut if someone just said the Elvish word for "enemy" ?

Also:
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:30 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Ugh. I see no point in trying to slice up genres.

I just didn't really get the joke. Is the door slamming shut because someone said "frenemy" and "frenemies" are bad? Is it because "frenemies" are something of a "goth" concept (!?) so "mellogoth" is funny? Would the door not have slammed shut if someone just said the Elvish word for "enemy" ?

Also:
Image

I thought it was funny because of the juxtaposition of the "old-timey" feel of a fantasy setting, the formal language of a novel that was written a lifetime ago, and the contemporary slang word "frenemy." I figure the gate slams shut because a "frenemy" is nothing close to a real friend, although it could just be that the gate slamming shut is funny because "frenemy" is a ridiculous word.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:38 am UTC

It's probably the second. After all, a linguist made the world
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby sotanaht » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:21 am UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:
thanksbastards wrote:I know ppl were complaining about frame rates, but isn't slowing the sequal down this far a bit of an overreaction? :moray:

ah if only. And for the record, give me allllll the fps please.

The controversy was all "HURF DURF higher framerate makes things not blurry enough so it looks like shit" Give me a break.

Please spend a good 100 years perfecting film imagery to match human biology, and then provide detailed technical specs of how digital processing is used to overcome this limitation before either hurfing, durfing or requesting breaks.

Film speed is not choosen by pulling numbers out of hats, asses or thin air.


I was always under the impression that the first and foremost reason for the standard movie framerate was cost. They were using the lowest possible "smooth" framerate, therefor minimizing costs involved in both the cameras and storage mediums. Increasing that framerate is therefor a natural extension of 100 years of perfecting related technology to the point where the savings no longer outweighs the benefit.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:40 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Image

It has other names as well. In Sindarin is it Orodruin ("fiery mountain") or Amon Amarth ("mountain of fate"). "Mt. Doom" is the English translation of a a rough Westron calque of the latter, "doom" here meant in the antiquated sense of "fate".
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby J L » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:22 am UTC

Kit. wrote:
J L wrote:If a story tells about things or happenings that at the time of writing are "known" or "understood" to be "impossbile", but tells about them nonetheless, it's Fantasy. The important part is that slightly defiant "I don't care it's impossible" part, which ideally is shared by both author and reader. If there are different assumptions about the concept of "possible" on either side, it gets tricky, of course. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether a story "believes" in its own realizability, or whether it makes a point of being impossible, but worth telling in spite of it.

So, basically, every attempt at SF written by a scientist ends up as fantasy - the authors know where they are putting the loose ends - to say - under the carpet.

...

Besides - and partly thus - I find the "science fiction" a misnomer. The SF is not about fictional science (that, ironically, would most probably be classified as "fantasy"). At "best" (not in terms of quality of work, but in terms of closeness to the literal meaning of the term), it is about fictional tech.

Historically, it's exactly the other way around. The term evolved when publisher Hugo Gernsback, in 1926, tried to explain what kind of stories he was going to publish in his new magazine Amazing Stories: "By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story – a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision." Science, not fiction, became the modifier that characterized the genre; it's scientific fiction, that is, fiction told in a scientific manner. (Early SF clearly had a didactic approach, even putting little essays in the magazines explaining the readership about chemistry, astronomy and physics.)

What SF does is, it accepts a given novum (as Darko Suvin called it), like, again, a Warp Drive, and develops a story around it which otherwise observes scientific fact and common logic: the Warp Drive is not a Silmaril which just as well might (random examples here) destroy a God or revive someone dead (which, and this is the important point, would also be considered a miracle by those watching), and it's not the Infinite Improbability Drive either, which just as well turns whales into flower pots (difficult example, but humor me). In the fictional universe it's just a boring engine which follow basic, well-known parameters (not talking about STID here ;)) -- you can study it, you can build it, you can repair it -- and nobody today knows for a fact that such an engine can never be built.

That, by the way, is the main reason why many SF stories are set in the future; it's the easy way out when trying to explain why novae exist in a story. Around 1900, they still could be set in Antarctica or on Mars, because nobody really knew how it looked like there. Today, our neighborhood is pretty much chartered and explained, so we have to move further away through either time or space.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:10 pm UTC

J L wrote:
Kit. wrote:
J L wrote:If a story tells about things or happenings that at the time of writing are "known" or "understood" to be "impossbile", but tells about them nonetheless, it's Fantasy. The important part is that slightly defiant "I don't care it's impossible" part, which ideally is shared by both author and reader. If there are different assumptions about the concept of "possible" on either side, it gets tricky, of course. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether a story "believes" in its own realizability, or whether it makes a point of being impossible, but worth telling in spite of it.

So, basically, every attempt at SF written by a scientist ends up as fantasy - the authors know where they are putting the loose ends - to say - under the carpet.
...
Besides - and partly thus - I find the "science fiction" a misnomer. The SF is not about fictional science (that, ironically, would most probably be classified as "fantasy"). At "best" (not in terms of quality of work, but in terms of closeness to the literal meaning of the term), it is about fictional tech.

Historically, it's exactly the other way around. The term evolved when publisher Hugo Gernsback, in 1926, tried to explain what kind of stories he was going to publish in his new magazine Amazing Stories: "By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story – a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision." Science, not fiction, became the modifier that characterized the genre; it's scientific fiction, that is, fiction told in a scientific manner. (Early SF clearly had a didactic approach, even putting little essays in the magazines explaining the readership about chemistry, astronomy and physics.)

I'm not disagreeing with that.

The point is that it's usually broken science. The whole reason why it ends up in fiction and not scientific papers or patents is because it's not supposed to work in real life.

It may show a "didactic approach", but if the authors are experts in the subject, they realize that what they write is just a "scientifically" looking fantasy and nothing more.

J L wrote:What SF does is, it accepts a given novum (as Darko Suvin called it), like, again, a Warp Drive, and develops a story around it which otherwise observes scientific fact and common logic:

First, a cute little scientific fact: a faster-than-light movement is possible. However, all the information you can receive by using it is also possible to receive without using it. Do authors of a new shiny fictional tech like the warp drive care about the implications of such facts?

J L wrote:the Warp Drive is not a Silmaril which just as well might (random examples here) destroy a God or revive someone dead (which, and this is the important point, would also be considered a miracle by those watching), and it's not the Infinite Improbability Drive either, which just as well turns whales into flower pots (difficult example, but humor me). In the fictional universe it's just a boring engine which follow basic, well-known parameters (not talking about STID here ;)) -- you can study it, you can build it, you can repair it -- and nobody today knows for a fact that such an engine can never be built.

So, when my protagonist is being taught by her companions how to mass-resurrect an army with a proper and specific application of her will - the genre is SF?

(What's worse, I have a kind of background "physics" for that. However, she doesn't know it - and doesn't need to know it. Her companions do - but so far I cannot see a setting where speaking about "eigenstates" wouldn't be out-of-character for them)

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby hadrian » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:39 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Ugh. I see no point in trying to slice up genres.

I just didn't really get the joke. Is the door slamming shut because someone said "frenemy" and "frenemies" are bad? Is it because "frenemies" are something of a "goth" concept (!?) so "mellogoth" is funny? Would the door not have slammed shut if someone just said the Elvish word for "enemy" ?

I think the joke is that by a asking the Elvish word for “frenemy”, thereby causing the door to shut, white hat guy turns out to be a “frenemy” (whereas Cueball proves to be a friend by providing the correct answer).

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:03 pm UTC

I'm walking into the middle of this debate with no real knowledge of the subject, but regarding Clarke's third law it seems to me that there is something distinctive about magic, which I'll have a go at putting my finger on.

The main idea is this: magical properties generally seem to inhere in the individual; although they may have a wizard's staff or cook up spells in a cauldron, they are almost always capable of doing magic without any of those physical props, and the physical props are often useless to somebody who doesn't have magical powers themselves. By contrast, arbitrarily advanced technology can in principle be wielded by anybody who can get their hands on it; training and a certain level of aptitude/intelligence might be required, but in principle anybody can use it. Anyone can learn to fly a helicopter, but only a witch can fly a broomstick. It's the difference between Batman and Superman.

When it comes to magic rings and the like, I'm on shakier ground, but there's a feeling that the object itself has a kind of life or agency of its own - the Lord of the Rings is full of stuff to the effect that the Ring itself is trying to get somewhere, wanting to be found, etc. Such objects are a bit like trained horses; subservient (or not) to the "operator", but with a will of their own. The difference is that a horse doesn't do anything astounding, it just walks and runs with somebody on its back.

It depends what Clarke meant by "indistinguishable", I suppose.
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby sotanaht » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:58 pm UTC

hadrian wrote:
Jorpho wrote:Ugh. I see no point in trying to slice up genres.

I just didn't really get the joke. Is the door slamming shut because someone said "frenemy" and "frenemies" are bad? Is it because "frenemies" are something of a "goth" concept (!?) so "mellogoth" is funny? Would the door not have slammed shut if someone just said the Elvish word for "enemy" ?

I think the joke is that by a asking the Elvish word for “frenemy”, thereby causing the door to shut, white hat guy turns out to be a “frenemy” (whereas Cueball proves to be a friend by providing the correct answer).


I think it's a little more related to this comic: http://xkcd.com/919/, the word itself is so damn stupid it offended the doors.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:18 pm UTC

goofy wrote:
Flumble wrote:
goofy wrote:Vey interesting. Why do you use an asterisk?

The asterisk is commonly used in linguistics to note the word probably doesn't exist in practice but that it's a reconstruction (and would've been that word if it were used). (src) You can often see it in proto-Germanic or proto-Whatever etymology of words.


I know that, but I thought it was a weird thing to do for a constructed language. You didn't use an asterisk for melgoth-, does that mean that melgoth- is attested?

Ah bollocks. I missed that.

...so did Tolkien, sometimes.

Yes, asterisk for unattested. It's used regularly in the Tolkien language circles to distinguish Tolkien's own words from neologisms and derivations.

Edit again: actually, because I was still in the midst of building a neologism, because melgoth- is not being given as a complete word, it didn't need an asterisk. It's really only when you get to the stage of offering a word that it needs to be prefixed with an asterisk.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:35 am UTC

I don't know if there's any connection, but I've always imagined the asterisk prefacing unattested words as being related to the asterisk prefacing a proposition to be disproven via reductio ad absurdum (e.g. "*P, P → Q, P → ¬Q, ∴ P → (Q ∧ ¬Q), ∴ ¬P"), and read it likewise as "hypothetical" or "supposed". *P is a hypothetical or supposed proposition not actually being asserted, we are merely considering the possibility of it; and likewise *melgothon is a hypothetical or supposed word not actually being used, we are merely considering the possibility of it.

Does anyone know if there is any actual connection between these two uses of the asterisk?
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby J L » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:29 am UTC

Kit. wrote:It may show a "didactic approach", but if the authors are experts in the subject, they realize that what they write is just a "scientifically" looking fantasy and nothing more.

But that is the important difference. It looks and feels scientific in some way (which might also include the social sciences). Fantasy, usually, does not.

Plus, not all SF authors are experts in the subject (I'm certainly no expert on physics and I write about space travel), but they try to make you believe what they write about might be possible. Fantasy, authors, usually, do not.

(Apologies and kudos to all exceptions which of course do exist).

Of course, SF and F and supernatural fiction ("Horror") are all shades of "fantastic" or "imaginative" literature (as opposed to "mimetic" literature that depicts the world as we know it). But calling something imagined a "fantasy" is not the same as the literary genre of fantasy fiction, which does follow certain rules and falls into several sub-genres itself.

I'm not sure if I understand your point correctly, but you seem to argue that ultimately, it's all just some kind of fantasy. And this might even be true on the most general of levels, but that's a bit like saying "all fiction is a form of lying", or "all music is a form of mathematics". It somehow misses the point in my opinion. I'm more interested in the nuances (and you seem to be, too, given all the questions you ask :)). All I tried to do was to explain about some distinctions commonly made in secondary literature. It's purely descriptive, not prescriptive. You're absolutely free to explore the boundaries of a genre or ignore the boundaries altogether.


orthogon wrote:Anyone can learn to fly a helicopter, but only a witch can fly a broomstick. It's the difference between Batman and Superman.

...

It depends what Clarke meant by "indistinguishable", I suppose.


These are some very interesting points. I'm sure we could think of many exceptions, but indeed magic, most of the time, seems to be about shaping reality to do your bidding, and science about creating tools to attain one's ends, which then of course might be used by anyone else, too.

I guess what Clarke meant is that any sufficiently advanced helicopter is indistinguishable from a broomstick. There's no telling whether that guy who just performed something inexplicable is Batman, Superman or just a fraud.

Just recently, for example, I met two people on the street, both talking into thin air. The first one was wearing a headset, the second one was drunk, or insane. I could mostly tell by their clothing and demeanor. As soon as headsets will get even smaller and cheaper, it will get even harder to tell. Now imagine being somebody how doesn't know about cell phones :)

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Kit. » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:53 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:The main idea is this: magical properties generally seem to inhere in the individual; although they may have a wizard's staff or cook up spells in a cauldron, they are almost always capable of doing magic without any of those physical props, and the physical props are often useless to somebody who doesn't have magical powers themselves. By contrast, arbitrarily advanced technology can in principle be wielded by anybody who can get their hands on it; training and a certain level of aptitude/intelligence might be required, but in principle anybody can use it. Anyone can learn to fly a helicopter, but only a witch can fly a broomstick.

In SF, yes. In real life, anyone who tries to fly a helicopter without proper training and manages to take off, will quite (if not most) probably not survive the landing. So, any sufficiently foolproof helicopter is indistinguishable from a broomstick.

Although what you have noticed is generally true, I would like to put it in a slightly different perspective:

Fantasy writers (or at least "high" fantasy writers) don't want the mundane reality to stop them from playing with the wonders of character development (or from just plainly indulging in moralizing), and bend the rest of their world toward their main goal. That's why their magic is so personal to their characters.

SF writers (or at least "hard" SF writers) don't want the mundane reality to stop them from playing with new shiny tech toys (or from pulling some supposedly global problems out of thin air), and draw the rest of their world just for as long as it's needed for the readers to hold their suspension of disbelief. Their tech is impersonal, because they don't care to explain how those measly humans are supposed to learn to use it - it's not part of their story.

Then there come "New Wave" writers - who give amazing toys to amazing characters - and the real fun begins. Then there come "Space Opera" writers and totally kill the genre.

J L wrote:
Kit. wrote:It may show a "didactic approach", but if the authors are experts in the subject, they realize that what they write is just a "scientifically" looking fantasy and nothing more.

But that is the important difference. It looks and feels scientific in some way (which might also include the social sciences). Fantasy, usually, does not.

That's quite a different point. So far, we were speaking about distinction between "possible worlds" of SF and "impossible worlds" of F, and that's the approach I was arguing against.

As for "scientifically" looking, yes, SF tries to make its worlds look "objective". But it does that not by promoting objectivity, but by playing down subjectivity.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:38 pm UTC

A common trope in fantasy is the unique masterwork - the item forged under unique circumstances, or as the supreme effort of some master smith, or from a unique material, or the item given as a gift from the sufficiently advanced beings - the One Ring, imbued with a portion of Sauron's essence; Excalibur, gifted by the Lady of the Lake; Mjollnir, Thor's hammer, dwarf-forged at Loki's instigation; Captain America's shield, the result of a metallurgic accident.

In science fiction, the prototype may have unique qualities (due to including components that are left out of the production model), but a mass produced version soon follows - the White Star soon becomes the White Star Fleet; Iron Man's armour has been copied many times, though Stark's latest model is (usually) ahead of the curve.

On the other hand, SF also has examples of equipment being locked to a specific user - either because it's specifically tailored to them in some way, or because it uses an identification technique to block unauthorised users...

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Kit. » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:06 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:A common trope in fantasy is the unique masterwork - the item forged under unique circumstances, or as the supreme effort of some master smith, or from a unique material, or the item given as a gift from the sufficiently advanced beings - the One Ring, imbued with a portion of Sauron's essence; Excalibur, gifted by the Lady of the Lake; Mjollnir, Thor's hammer, dwarf-forged at Loki's instigation; Captain America's shield, the result of a metallurgic accident.

In science fiction, the prototype may have unique qualities (due to including components that are left out of the production model), but a mass produced version soon follows - the White Star soon becomes the White Star Fleet; Iron Man's armour has been copied many times, though Stark's latest model is (usually) ahead of the curve.

Is Cat's Cradle fantasy then?

Edit: here again, the unique quality of an item is the consequence of how the item was intended to be used in the story, and not the qualifying element of the genre per se. In F, needing an item for an unique use by an unique character is more common than in SF.

Uh-oh... (found by googling for "qualifying elements of the genre"), tell me that it seems to describe "my" genre just by a coincidence...
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby speising » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:48 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:A common trope in fantasy is the unique masterwork - the item forged under unique circumstances, or as the supreme effort of some master smith, or from a unique material, or the item given as a gift from the sufficiently advanced beings - the One Ring, imbued with a portion of Sauron's essence; Excalibur, gifted by the Lady of the Lake; Mjollnir, Thor's hammer, dwarf-forged at Loki's instigation; Captain America's shield, the result of a metallurgic accident.

In science fiction, the prototype may have unique qualities (due to including components that are left out of the production model), but a mass produced version soon follows - the White Star soon becomes the White Star Fleet; Iron Man's armour has been copied many times, though Stark's latest model is (usually) ahead of the curve.

Is Cat's Cradle fantasy then?


since it earned vonnegut a masters degree, it is obviously a scientific work.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby AlexTheSeal » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:54 pm UTC

J L wrote:you seem to argue that ultimately, it's all just some kind of fantasy. And this might even be true on the most general of levels, but that's a bit like saying "all fiction is a form of lying", or "all music is a form of mathematics". It somehow misses the point in my opinion.


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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Flumble » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:20 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:Edit again: actually, because I was still in the midst of building a neologism, because melgoth- is not being given as a complete word, it didn't need an asterisk. It's really only when you get to the stage of offering a word that it needs to be prefixed with an asterisk.

Do you know whether that's common practice in Quenya discussions or also in linguistics? Wiktionary tends to prefix every reconstructed word and particle with an asterisk.

Pfhorrest wrote:I don't know if there's any connection, but I've always imagined the asterisk prefacing unattested words as being related to the asterisk prefacing a proposition to be disproven via reductio ad absurdum (e.g. "*P, P → Q, P → ¬Q, ∴ P → (Q ∧ ¬Q), ∴ ¬P"), and read it likewise as "hypothetical" or "supposed". *P is a hypothetical or supposed proposition not actually being asserted, we are merely considering the possibility of it; and likewise *melgothon is a hypothetical or supposed word not actually being used, we are merely considering the possibility of it.

Does anyone know if there is any actual connection between these two uses of the asterisk?

I presume not, since the asterisk is a commonplace symbol and linguistics basicly needed a standardized symbol, whereas mathematics uses every symbol in dozens of ways whether appropriate or not. That said, I haven't seen the notation *P until just now.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby goofy » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:44 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
cream wobbly wrote:Edit again: actually, because I was still in the midst of building a neologism, because melgoth- is not being given as a complete word, it didn't need an asterisk. It's really only when you get to the stage of offering a word that it needs to be prefixed with an asterisk.

Do you know whether that's common practice in Quenya discussions or also in linguistics? Wiktionary tends to prefix every reconstructed word and particle with an asterisk.


In historical linguistics, every reconstructed or hypothesized form is prefaced with an asterisk, whether it's a "complete word" or not.

cream wobbly wrote:
...so did Tolkien, sometimes.


Tolkien used asterisks? To denote hypothetical forms in languages that he himself created? What a guy.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby orthogon » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:03 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:In SF, yes. In real life, anyone who tries to fly a helicopter without proper training and manages to take off, will quite (if not most) probably not survive the landing. So, any sufficiently foolproof helicopter is indistinguishable from a broomstick.

Although what you have noticed is generally true, I would like to put it in a slightly different perspective:

Fantasy writers (or at least "high" fantasy writers) don't want the mundane reality to stop them from playing with the wonders of character development (or from just plainly indulging in moralizing), and bend the rest of their world toward their main goal. That's why their magic is so personal to their characters.

SF writers (or at least "hard" SF writers) don't want the mundane reality to stop them from playing with new shiny tech toys (or from pulling some supposedly global problems out of thin air), and draw the rest of their world just for as long as it's needed for the readers to hold their suspension of disbelief. Their tech is impersonal, because they don't care to explain how those measly humans are supposed to learn to use it - it's not part of their story.

Then there come "New Wave" writers - who give amazing toys to amazing characters - and the real fun begins. Then there come "Space Opera" writers and totally kill the genre.


Excellent stuff from you and rmsgrey. It's an interesting point about uniqueness: I suppose that SF is about engineering in as much as once something has been invented, it can be rebuilt at any time. If you destroy the megathrobulator, somebody else could eventually make another one, whereas if you destroy the One Ring, it's so unique that perhaps nobody could make another one.

One small point: regarding the helicopter, isn't it the other way around? It's the Blackhawk (insert better example as required, I'm not really into military hardware) that's apparently indistinguishable from a broomstick i.e. the person who flies it may as well have supernatural powers. The "foolproof" helicopter (a stabilised autopilot version with six buttons: up, down, left, right, forwards, backwards) is the thing that anyone can fly.
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:39 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:Is Cat's Cradle fantasy then?


I thought the problem with Ice-9 was the opposite of it being a unique, irreplaceable creation - on the contrary, anyone with a sample can easily make more - just add water (to coin a phrase).

Actually, there are real-life examples of near-irreplaceable creations - the Apollo program relied on components whose design tolerances were more precise than the theoretical precision achievable from the production lines - they flew, not because of good design, but because everyone working in every single one of those factories exceeded the limitations of their tools, and performed minor miracles to improve on the precision of the manufacture by a factor of ten or more...

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:27 am UTC

I think that what you're describing with unique items has to do with the origin myth type. Fantasy is often meant to evoke myth and traditional belief, so origins for special plot device items follow the conventions and logic of traditional origins for features of the word; they're unique interactions between larger-than-life forces that it wouldn't make sense to talk about reproducing. They are unique events, but I don't think that's so much a contrast between science and magic as it is between myth and realism, which are narrative styles that happen to have ontological implications, not just different ontologies.

rmsgrey, the Apollo reference is fascinating; I've always thought that things like the space program (and for me, always, the SR-71) had a certain mythic quality to them, not simply because they're Promethean technologies, but because the work and resources and tolerances that went into making them happen seemed so much larger than life. Not just in quantity - the idea of a plane that doesn't fit together properly until it's heated by the friction of its cruising speed is just - well, quite a bit like a hammer that no one else can lift.
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:40 am UTC

This uniqueness thread ties closely to the sort of magic-vs-technology, mysticism-vs-science, supernatural-vs-natural distinction I was hinging everything upon as well. As unique an endeavor as the Apollo program was, it could, in principle be replicated. As difficult as it is to fly a helicopter, it can, in principle be mastered by anyone. Helicopter piloting skill is not a mystical talent bestowed by divine forces; it's just a direct application of refined versions of ordinary abilities everybody has. The Apollo program was not some once-in-the-history-of-the-universe cosmology-shaping cataclysm; it was just a project pushing ordinary skills and techniques and technologies to new limits. They are out there in the rarefied areas of mundane activities and abilities, but they are still on that continuum; there is not a sharp divide between the wizards who can fly helicopters and build spaceships and the muggles who never could no matter how much they studied and practiced, there's just those who can do it, and those who can't do it yet but in principle could.

That's exactly the same as the distinction I am saying underlies the perspectives of sci-fi and fantasy respectively, the distinction between technology and magic, science and mysticism, natural and supernatural. It is holding the latter to be sensible concepts at all -- holding there to be things which are fundamentally beyond the scope of human mastery, things that cannot be understood and controlled with sufficient investigation of the natural world and refinement of our mundane abilities to affect it, but which lie across the other side of a fundamentally uncrossable discontinuity between ordinary things and extraordinary things -- which is the hallmark of fantasy, which distinguishes it from sci-fi. Both treat, in a sense, "extraordinary" things, in that they are speculative genres which treat things not seen in the day-to-day world. But sci-fi treats those things as distant, as-yet-unknown parts of the mundane world -- knowledge and powers we don't yet have, but which in principle we could have -- while fantasy treats them as fundamentally impossible for us mundanes to understand or master.

The oxygen catastrophe was a unique event in the history of Earth, one which is not likely to ever happen again. But in principle it could happen again, either on another planet, or on Earth if it was ever somehow returned to the right circumstances; and with sufficient knowledge and power, we mundane humans could make such an event occur, if we wanted to. Noah's Flood, on the other hand, was an absolutely unique event in the history of the world, according to those religions which believe in it, which could only be caused by the Almighty God and which absolutely will never happen again.

A short way to put it might be that sci-fi adheres to the principle of mediocrity: as unusual or unfamiliar as a phenomena or event in the story might be, it's always to be treated as just one instance of a class of possible phenomena or events, rare though they may be. Fantasy on the other hand puts forth that there are special events, special objects, special powers, special people, special things which cannot be integrated into the mundane systems of the world that we know as mere outliers or rarities, but which are fundamentally apart from the mundane in a way that can never be reconciled with it.
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Kit. » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:08 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:One small point: regarding the helicopter, isn't it the other way around? It's the Blackhawk (insert better example as required, I'm not really into military hardware) that's apparently indistinguishable from a broomstick i.e. the person who flies it may as well have supernatural powers. The "foolproof" helicopter (a stabilised autopilot version with six buttons: up, down, left, right, forwards, backwards) is the thing that anyone can fly.

It's not "foolproof", it's "foolsafe". And even then the pilot would still need to care about safe (weather permitting) landing areas and approaches, mid-air collision avoidance and so on.

And a sufficiently foolsafe helicopter is indistinguishable from an elevator. It has no pilot, it only has a passenger. If you need the full functionality of a helicopter, but don't want a fool to be killed by attempting to use it, you need a helicopter that won't start if a fool is at controls.

rmsgrey wrote:
Kit. wrote:Is Cat's Cradle fantasy then?

I thought the problem with Ice-9 was the opposite of it being a unique, irreplaceable creation - on the contrary, anyone with a sample can easily make more - just add water (to coin a phrase).

As the MacGuffin, it was an unique (although shareable) single-use artifact of unique destructive power.

Besides, our common sense shall tell us that "Ice-9" is impossible in our world. Otherwise it would have already been here.

rmsgrey wrote:Actually, there are real-life examples of near-irreplaceable creations - the Apollo program relied on components whose design tolerances were more precise than the theoretical precision achievable from the production lines - they flew, not because of good design, but because everyone working in every single one of those factories exceeded the limitations of their tools, and performed minor miracles to improve on the precision of the manufacture by a factor of ten or more...

Actually, there could have been real life prototypes for "Thor's hammer", unique and irreplaceable in their local neolithic cultures. And the source of their material - stones that fall from the sky - would have been considered "fantasy" by scientists till the 19th century.

Pfhorrest wrote:This uniqueness thread ties closely to the sort of magic-vs-technology, mysticism-vs-science, supernatural-vs-natural distinction I was hinging everything upon as well. As unique an endeavor as the Apollo program was, it could, in principle be replicated. As difficult as it is to fly a helicopter, it can, in principle be mastered by anyone. Helicopter piloting skill is not a mystical talent bestowed by divine forces; it's just a direct application of refined versions of ordinary abilities everybody has. The Apollo program was not some once-in-the-history-of-the-universe cosmology-shaping cataclysm; it was just a project pushing ordinary skills and techniques and technologies to new limits. They are out there in the rarefied areas of mundane activities and abilities, but they are still on that continuum; there is not a sharp divide between the wizards who can fly helicopters and build spaceships and the muggles who never could no matter how much they studied and practiced, there's just those who can do it, and those who can't do it yet but in principle could.

As far as I recall from the fantasy examples I know, the only reason why becoming someone like "Gandalf" is impossible for a mere human is because "Gandalf" is technically not a human. And there's nothing fantasy specific. It's impossible for a mere human to become Solaris. It's impossible for a single human to become the Borg.

When only human beings are considered, the sharp divide between the wizards and the helicopter pilots in fantasy is usually explained by mundane realistic reasons: they can be born into different social classes, they can have different physical abilities, their lives are not long enough to master both subjects and so on. Stephen Hawking cannot fly helicopters, but there are not so many helicopter pilots that could made new discoveries in the modern physics. Most of fantasy is actually more realistic than (presumably) most SF when it comes to skill specialization and professional tech use.

Pfhorrest wrote:That's exactly the same as the distinction I am saying underlies the perspectives of sci-fi and fantasy respectively, the distinction between technology and magic, science and mysticism, natural and supernatural. It is holding the latter to be sensible concepts at all -- holding there to be things which are fundamentally beyond the scope of human mastery, things that cannot be understood and controlled with sufficient investigation of the natural world and refinement of our mundane abilities to affect it, but which lie across the other side of a fundamentally uncrossable discontinuity between ordinary things and extraordinary things -- which is the hallmark of fantasy, which distinguishes it from sci-fi. Both treat, in a sense, "extraordinary" things, in that they are speculative genres which treat things not seen in the day-to-day world. But sci-fi treats those things as distant, as-yet-unknown parts of the mundane world -- knowledge and powers we don't yet have, but which in principle we could have -- while fantasy treats them as fundamentally impossible for us mundanes to understand or master.

That's quite a childish state of SF. At some point, the SF writers need to start thinking about limits of the capability of a human brain. For example, may the Borg have an idea so complicated that conveying it to a single human being is impossible just because a human does not have enough neuron links to comprehend it?

(And FWIW, I consider this SF)

Pfhorrest wrote:A short way to put it might be that sci-fi adheres to the principle of mediocrity: as unusual or unfamiliar as a phenomena or event in the story might be, it's always to be treated as just one instance of a class of possible phenomena or events, rare though they may be. Fantasy on the other hand puts forth that there are special events, special objects, special powers, special people, special things which cannot be integrated into the mundane systems of the world that we know as mere outliers or rarities, but which are fundamentally apart from the mundane in a way that can never be reconciled with it.

Again, you can look at it from another angle: there's usually nothing inherently unique in fantasy events, nothing that couldn't be made in some other worlds at least. But the focus point of the story is not in the mediocrity of the event from the literary critic's perspective, but in the reaction of the story characters, which have no prior knowledge of such an event happening.

(and even then, there is "low" fantasy, whose characters could have been dying of boredom from the repeated nature of their mundane sword and sorcery performance)

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby higgs-boson » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:30 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
cream wobbly wrote:There. I made an etymologically correct neologism for "frenemy" in an artificial language.

Ah, love the post. :D

That said, it's not impossible for portmanteaux to be constructed in another language, thereby applying the structures of that language. (Indeed, I can't think of an example, but I'm sure they exist.)


tlhIngan is, if I remember the lectures I had correctly, a grammatical pain1 in the posterior. Go for it.


1Despite lacking a native speaker we were even recommended to practice speaking. That was a pain, too (pun intended).
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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:01 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:Again, you can look at it from another angle: there's usually nothing inherently unique in fantasy events, nothing that couldn't be made in some other worlds at least. But the focus point of the story is not in the mediocrity of the event from the literary critic's perspective, but in the reaction of the story characters, which have no prior knowledge of such an event happening.


The Silmarillion (and hence, to a lesser extent, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) is littered with one-time-only creations - the Great Trees, Telperion and Laurelin; the Silmarils, holders of the last of the Light of the Trees; the Sun and the Moon, last fruits of the trees; the Rings of Power, whose powers, tied to the One Ring, only lasted so long as did the One Ring itself; the One Ring, which was imbued with much of Sauron's power, diminishing him in its absence; Sauron's fair form, lost in the downfall of Numenor; Sauron's corporeal being, lost at the end of the Second Age...

In principle, many of those things could have been recreated - the Trees would just have needed another pair of Ainur with similar affinities at the peak of their powers, and possibly a fresh creation where such magic had not yet been woven; the Rings, a world where no Ruling Ring had been forged and destroyed; and so on...

The great Artifacts of mythic fantasy are more like great artworks than the products of technology - unique creations in the same way as the Mona Lisa or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, rather than the way the first ever Model-T Ford, or Stephenson's Rocket is unique.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:28 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Kit. wrote:Again, you can look at it from another angle: there's usually nothing inherently unique in fantasy events, nothing that couldn't be made in some other worlds at least. But the focus point of the story is not in the mediocrity of the event from the literary critic's perspective, but in the reaction of the story characters, which have no prior knowledge of such an event happening.


The Silmarillion (and hence, to a lesser extent, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) is littered with one-time-only creations - the Great Trees, Telperion and Laurelin; the Silmarils, holders of the last of the Light of the Trees; the Sun and the Moon, last fruits of the trees; the Rings of Power, whose powers, tied to the One Ring, only lasted so long as did the One Ring itself; the One Ring, which was imbued with much of Sauron's power, diminishing him in its absence; Sauron's fair form, lost in the downfall of Numenor; Sauron's corporeal being, lost at the end of the Second Age...

In principle, many of those things could have been recreated - the Trees would just have needed another pair of Ainur with similar affinities at the peak of their powers, and possibly a fresh creation where such magic had not yet been woven; the Rings, a world where no Ruling Ring had been forged and destroyed; and so on...

The great Artifacts of mythic fantasy are more like great artworks than the products of technology - unique creations in the same way as the Mona Lisa or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, rather than the way the first ever Model-T Ford, or Stephenson's Rocket is unique.

I think what Kit was getting at is that most of the creations in fantasy novels are not unique within the entire fantasy genre, hence the mention of "the mediocrity of the event from a literary critic's perspective." For example, the Rings of Power are hardly the only magic rings in fantasy novels.

I'm not sure why he was getting at that, though. Seems irrelevant.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:44 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:And a sufficiently foolsafe helicopter is indistinguishable from an elevator. It has no pilot, it only has a passenger. If you need the full functionality of a helicopter, but don't want a fool to be killed by attempting to use it, you need a helicopter that won't start if a fool is at controls.

Cars are considered "sufficiently foolsafe," in that the government allows all manner of fools to drive them, and most of the fools survive. Cars are distinguishable from moving walkways.

Many of the functions of contemporary cars are computer-controlled. It is theoretically possible that more functions of a helicopter could be computer-controlled. If enough of the controls are automated, piloting a helicopter could be analogous to driving a car. This probably won't happen, for practical reasons, but I doubt that it couldn't happen, for theoretical ones.

Even if it couldn't happen for theoretical reasons, the fact remains that flying a helicopter only requires training and developing talents that most people have, rather than some rare and inexplicable "gift" or the influence of one or more supernatural entities. Helicopter pilots are for damn sure cool, but they are certainly not wizards. The better parallel for a helicopter pilot in fantasy literature is a craftsman. Anybody can become the blacksmith, it just takes enough time and training that most don't get the opportunity or don't bother.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby J L » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:16 pm UTC

Agreeing to what Pfhorrest and rmsgrey said. Maybe the notion of uniqueness, of being special, is even one of the main appeals of fantasy, as naive as the belief in larger-than-life heroes and romances might be.

I also liked the comparison to works of art. It reminds me of "legendary" Japanase swords which can only be created once that way (don't know if this is just cinema folklore or if there's something to it).

Also, the whole world view of fantasy is more animistic, magical in itself: items and even acts can get "charged" with the efforts and hopes of those who create and perform them, so the One Ring can never be recreated, because its creators, their motives and the circumstances of their creation will never be exactly the same. Like orthogon pointed point, such items even seem to lead a life of their own.

Kit. wrote:That's quite a childish state of SF. At some point, the SF writers need to start thinking about limits of the capability of a human brain. For example, may the Borg have an idea so complicated that conveying it to a single human being is impossible just because a human does not have enough neuron links to comprehend it?


There are plenty SF stories where humans encounter something so complex and vast they can never comprehend it, like e.g. Solaris. Still, the notion is that maybe sometime, humans will have enough neurons or wisdom. There's a strong and optimistic belief in the powers of evolution in most traditional SF, including stories where individuals or whole civilizations achieve a kind of "godhood". In classical fantasy, such striving is often considered to be evil (like Saurons greed for power), and the overall world view is that of a decaying, aging, "thinning" world which loses its vitality and magic over the milennia, the further away from the "Golden Age" it is set. This might serve as another fuzzy distinction between both genres.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby Kit. » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:23 pm UTC

WriteBrainedJR wrote:I think what Kit was getting at is that most of the creations in fantasy novels are not unique within the entire fantasy genre, hence the mention of "the mediocrity of the event from a literary critic's perspective." For example, the Rings of Power are hardly the only magic rings in fantasy novels.

I was pointing out that judging the uniqueness of the creation from ours outsiders' perspective does not tell us about the genre. Instead, we should look how it is portrayed by - or to - the characters. Tolkien's One Ring is no ordinary ring even for literary critics, but it's definitely a fantasy item when we see what most of Tolkien's characters think of it.

However, there is one exception... if the story of Arda was told from Tom Bombadil's point of view, it could as well end up as SF.

WriteBrainedJR wrote:
Kit. wrote:And a sufficiently foolsafe helicopter is indistinguishable from an elevator. It has no pilot, it only has a passenger. If you need the full functionality of a helicopter, but don't want a fool to be killed by attempting to use it, you need a helicopter that won't start if a fool is at controls.

Cars are considered "sufficiently foolsafe," in that the government allows all manner of fools to drive them, and most of the fools survive. Cars are distinguishable from moving walkways.

Road traffic accidents cause about 2% of all human deaths. It's only about 30% less than the deaths from all intentional injuries (suicides, violence, war etc.) combined. That is not sufficiently foolsafe in my book... YMMV, though.

WriteBrainedJR wrote:Even if it couldn't happen for theoretical reasons, the fact remains that flying a helicopter only requires training and developing talents that most people have, rather than some rare and inexplicable "gift" or the influence of one or more supernatural entities. Helicopter pilots are for damn sure cool, but they are certainly not wizards. The better parallel for a helicopter pilot in fantasy literature is a craftsman. Anybody can become the blacksmith, it just takes enough time and training that most don't get the opportunity or don't bother.

I don't understand why you all think that becoming a wizard in a typical fantasy world is such a big deal. Is it really that harder than becoming, say, a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon in our world?

(BTW, in my story I will need to teach a whole species to become wizards, otherwise they wouldn't be able to survive the world changing event. But I have already noticed that my world is a whole bunch of involuntarily subverted fantasy tropes)
Last edited by Kit. on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1218: "Doors of Durin"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:33 pm UTC

Kit. wrote: I don't understand why you all think that becoming a wizard in a typical fantasy world is such a big deal. Is it really that harder than becoming, say, a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon in our world?


Umm... I think most people do consider it hard (and therefore a big deal) to become a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon. Although, it taking a certain kind of person to become either, a random member of the population of this forum is very likely more apt to become either than, say, a random member of the entire world population, or of the entire English-speaking world population, or what-have-you...
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.


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