All I Survey

I'm not sure if this is a disjointed thoughts-on-writing post or a random-thoughts-in-general post. Let's see, won't we?
  • I realized the problem with fantasy and SF fans, that leads them to value "subversions" so highly, and makes them insist that lords and others "in power" never be portrayed in a positive light. It's not really politics. It's their pathetic adolescence, coloring everything about their later lives. All the praise they heap on fantasy of that sort, called "daring" despite it towing the strict politically-correct line in denouncing concepts like nobility and kingship, actually just boils down to "it sticks it to the jocks". Because after all, a knight is an athletic person, and a king is often popular.

    We get it, you got beat up in high school. Move on, man.

  • It occurred to me that my felinoids' kinship is both like and unlike Eskimo. Why? Because their kinship terms don't mark sex—mother and father are both "parent", brother and sister are both "sibling", and so on.

    On the other hand, in speech, they almost always specify sex ("male sibling", "female parent", etc.,). So basically they have a sexless form of Eskimo that functions as Eskimo most of the time. And yes, I just leave those words as "brother" or "mother" in scenes from their POV, just like nobody translates "joƓ" as "female king", even though that's what it means.

    Still have no idea how they address their parents casually, but then again Japanese had no "babytalk" word for mother until they borrowed "mama" from the Portuguese.

  • Further translation convention: I render their noble titles with an "-ess" (or whatever), if the title happens to be held by a woman, and render their word for "lord" as "lady" if its referent is female. I gloss over the fact that their word for "citizen", which is used as polite address for everyone other than nobles, marks marital status (but it doesn't mark sex)—they actually have two words for citizen, analogous to "Miss" and "Mrs" except unisex.

    It's not really a translation convention, but their soldiers address superior officers as "lord", and (but I don't know if it's ever come up) higher-ranked enlisted men and NCOs as "citizen". Meanwhile everyone, but everyone, addresses those below them as their rank title. The one exception is duke; everyone, even unto the equivalent of privates, addresses dukes as "duke".

  • Does anyone else think that Morgaine, in the Qhalur Gate stories by C. J. Cherryh, is a sort of anti-Elric? She's got the same fay (and fey) beauty, the same sort of civilization-leveling goals, and a similarly monstrous sword, but she's got the sense to feel bad about it.

    Then again, because Cherryh is a grownup, Vanye's culture is actually complex, the kind of thing Moorcock could never write about.

  • So what does it say about me that, when I read the manga Beelzebub (not bad at all), my first thought was, "Wait, that's not the right sigil for Beelzebub." And I went and hunted for it.

    We may conclude that, given the Hebrew use of the term, Beelzebub is the same as the Bael/Baal listed in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Which means that the Beelzebub sigil looks like this:It's a stylized bug, plainly.

    Yes I'm a nerd (also, I'm pretty sure I just established this as a Random Thoughts post).

  • Speaking of the Key of Solomon and Hermetic ritual magic, am I the only one who's found you have to look elsewhere if you want realistic spells? Go read that book: there's no bones about the fact it contains instructions—however spurious—for trafficking with the fallen angel. I don't know, I'm pretty sure if the wizards in a fantasy book were to put spells in such conspicuously Christian (albeit diabolist) terms, it would somewhat impair the fun. That's why most writers, me included, tend to fall back on folk-magic and pagan ritual for a model, though I don't go full-on "Witch Cult of Europe" like Lovecraft did.

    The one exception is alchemy, and perhaps Rosicrucian-Freemasonry. Those are Hermetics whose stuff you can use without people being reminded of Deuteronomy 18:10—alchemy and Rosicrucianism tend to be more "natural forces" than "I accost you, foul and unclean spirit".

  • Where do people get the bizarre idea that H. G. Wells was an anti-Imperialist? He was one of the first (modern) proponents of a World-State. All the Fabian Socialists were almost rabid Imperialists, especially Shaw; some of the things Wells and the others wrote during the Boer War might have come from Bernhardi, even Goebbels, let alone Kipling. Wells was also the jackrag who coined the phrase "war to end wars" of the Great War (Belloc mocked that concept endlessly, since he was actually acquainted with human nature, as well as being a professional historian).

    Just because the guy was a pinko, don't assume he was a hippie.

  • I really do think that people who say our society has no values are naive. I was just re-reading Superversive, and Tom Simon's claim that there's nothing left to subvert. Poppycock. You can subvert their self-righteousness, their ever-so-knowing self-congratulation on their own ostensible enlightenment, and you can rub their hypocrite faces in all the blood their precious, precious ideologies have on their hands.

    No society ever existed without values, and most take their values completely for granted. Ours certainly isn't intelligent enough to know that it's doing it, indeed it rocks itself to sleep at night with its childlike faith in its own skepticism.

    I realize, just now, why I hate sneering satire of the type so prized by Moorcock and Mieville: their smugly unreflective Anglo left-liberalism is more risible than anything they are concerned to mock.

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