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Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 2 March, 2021 03:01PM
Quote:
Platypus:
One thought did occur to me, that I hesitate to mention, for fear that those who liked the volume will be offended. But I just have to mention the elephant in the room. The series has a undertone (admittedly vague) of sado-eroticism.

I'd like to diverge here; I think that this is an important observation and it has a general application, so far as I'm concerned.

Much has been said in praise of the TV series "Game of Thrones". While I liked and enjoyed it for quite a while, it came to me that one of the subtle, but significant, reasons I liked watching it was that it was very close to soft-core porn.

Yep. That's what set the hook, in my opinion.

I now suspect that these sub-textual appeals are more common than I had first realized, simple rube that I am.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: The Sojourner of Worlds (IP Logged)
Date: 2 March, 2021 04:00PM
I believe Wolfe converted to Catholicism only once he got married so his perspective is not one of a born Catholic but of a converted one. I don't know how much that means to you but even if it doesn't I'm sure you can draw a parallel to an abandoned child trained to torture people who eventually and slowly tries his very flawed best to find a place by the Increate's side.

Always liked this quote.

Quote:
“It has been remarked thousands of times that Christ died under torture. Many of us have read so often that he was a “humble carpenter” that we feel a little surge of nausea on seeing the words yet again. But no one ever seems to notice that the instruments of torture were wood, nails, and a hammer; that the man who built the cross was undoubtedly a carpenter too; that the man who hammered in the nails was as much a carpenter as a soldier, as much a carpenter as a torturer. Very few seem even to have noticed that although Christ was a “humble carpenter,” the only object we are specifically told he made was not a table or a chair, but a whip.”

― Gene Wolfe, Castle of Days

I would suggest trying out The Book of the Long Sun since the protagonist might be more to your liking, but the New Sun, the Long Sun and the Short Sun are all considered parts of the Solar Cycle and I suspect the experience might be significantly hampered by skipping one or two.

Quote:
A young priest Patera Silk tries to save his manteion (neighborhood church and school) from destruction by a ruthless crime lord. As he learns more about his world, a vast generation ship called the Whorl, he learns to distrust the gods he has worshiped and to revere the supposedly minor god known as The Outsider who has enlightened him.

Anyway, if you don't like it, you don't like it. It is what it is. But I do believe you're missing a lot. There are layers upon layers here that can hardly be found in any other work of speculative fiction.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 2 March, 2021 06:21PM
Re Wolfe. I actually much preferred the Starbridge Chronicles by Paul Park (the first two books, anyhow) which are very similar tonally to Wolfe (ie, vivid, literary, opaque) but which I found much more engaging.

Re Christ. I do remember some work of literary fiction (not The Last Temptation) which covered Christ's early years and had him working as a carpenter, his primary source of income being the manufacture of crucifixes, largely because - in the book's re-working of the gospels - he was as bad a carpenter as he was a good preacher, and incapable of making anything else. I always found this pretty improbable; it's far more likely crucifixes were made by ordinary Roman soldiers, who would have had the necessary skills to do so.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2 Mar 21 | 06:22PM by Cathbad.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 2 March, 2021 06:25PM
I mean, how hard can it be to make a crucifix?

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 2 March, 2021 07:40PM
I always thought that they were ready-made and in stock, like kitchen cabinets.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 3 March, 2021 03:44AM
More than likely. They probably came in different sizes, too (ie, small, medium and large).

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 3 March, 2021 03:45AM
;)

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 3 March, 2021 02:30PM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> More than likely. They probably came in different
> sizes, too (ie, small, medium and large).


Exactly how I see it, too.

;^)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 4 March, 2021 03:32PM
The Sojourner of Worlds Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I believe Wolfe converted to Catholicism only once
> he got married so his perspective is not one of a
> born Catholic but of a converted one. I don't know
> how much that means to you but even if it doesn't
> I'm sure you can draw a parallel to an abandoned
> child trained to torture people who eventually and
> slowly tries his very flawed best to find a place
> by the Increate's side.

I was merely mentioning that what originally piqued my interest was not the cover art or blurbs but another equally-unreliable indicator. But of course, I am way past that now. I have read the first volume, and I did not like it.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 5 March, 2021 06:57AM
Reading the first book as a teenager, I didn’t attribute Severian’s profession to some Catholic hang-up. I wasn’t aware that Wolfe was a devout Catholic, only that he had served in Korea, and I assumed that this was the key influence - ie, I thought the book had been written by a vet who hadn’t really processed his issues, with the themes of torture and interrogation and the element of emotional detachment supporting this theory.

And who knows? It could be true. I don’t think it’s any more or less credible than assuming Wolfe’s catholicism was a factor.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 5 March, 2021 08:32AM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Reading the first book as a teenager, I didn’t
> attribute Severian’s profession to some Catholic
> hang-up. I wasn’t aware that Wolfe was a devout
> Catholic, only that he had served in Korea, and I
> assumed that this was the key influence - ie, I
> thought the book had been written by a vet who
> hadn’t really processed his issues, with the
> themes of torture and interrogation and the
> element of emotional detachment supporting this
> theory.
>
> And who knows? It could be true. I don’t think
> it’s any more or less credible than assuming
> Wolfe’s catholicism was a factor.

A disquieting thought, now...

Perhaps no one has noticed, but it certainly seems that some gut level of interest, or attraction to, torture, or physical disadvantage to other humans, has broad cross-cultural appeal, and perhaps always has.

Why is that?

I mean, I suspect that every culture has its niche of torture porn/snuff porn. If true, what is the basic, underlying commonality?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 5 March, 2021 02:47PM
My memory of the book is that Wolfe doesn’t go into much detail - it’s all the more effective for being implicit. It’s also a skill-set that Severian doesn’t seem to put to much use outside the guild. He’s like a gunslinger who does very little gun-slinging. So in fairness to Wolfe, I don’t think the book is about exploiting a prurient interest in torture. It’s more about establishing a character with a very disquieting profession.

Some things make for compulsive watching and torture scenes are a case in point (e.g. ‘Marathon Man’). There’s also that sense of catharsis when the hero is tortured, then turns the table on his tormentors.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 5 March, 2021 07:15PM
"There’s also that sense of catharsis when the hero is tortured, then turns the table on his tormentors."

This doesn't account for attendance at public executions, etc.

Just to be clear, don't think that the author's background as a Catholic or a vet of Korea accounts for his apparent choice of a torturer as a protagonist.

It's just another weirdo thing about humans, I'm afraid.

There are still some very brutal and direct drives hard-wired into the species, in my opinion, and art kinda deals with it by brushing around the edges sometimes, like the Russian roulette scene in Deer Hunter.

I think that Ligotti flirts with stuff like this somewhat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 6 March, 2021 03:06PM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I mean, how hard can it be to make a crucifix?


Well, the easy part is making the cross. The hard part is getting or making a Jesus to affix to it.

I'm a bit slow. When I first read this thread, I could not figure why Jesus the carpenter would be manufacturing crucifixes, even in a silly work of fiction. It belatedly occurred to me that "crucifix" was intended to mean "cross for crucifixion".



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 6 Mar 21 | 03:15PM by Platypus.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 6 March, 2021 03:33PM
My bad! I guess selling mementos of an event before it actually happened would have shown a lot of foresight on J.C.’s part? But then he is the Son of God.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 6 Mar 21 | 03:35PM by Cathbad.

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