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Old 07-29-2009, 03:49 PM   #31
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... Yeah, but surely it's not when somebody tries to reconciliatorily suggest that neither side is obviously right... as opposed to agreeing with you that your side is right and the other wrong....
Only when someone tries to equate specific mythological beliefs, with scientific knowledge, and demands equal respect (other than as to literary qualities.)

Then I get agitated and beat my chest, and protest loudly.

Particularly loudly, if the mythology in question denies my eventual evolution into something less hairy....
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:56 PM   #32
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Only when someone tries to equate specific mythological beliefs, with scientific knowledge, and demands equal respect (other than as to literary qualities.)

Then I get agitated and beat my chest, and protest loudly.

Particularly loudly, if the mythology in question denies my eventual evolution into something less hairy....
MonkeyMan: DO NOT - I REPEAT - DO NOT READ SIMMONS' ILLIUM AND OLYMPOS.

Spoiler:

The gods and goddesses are just a bunch of advanced future humans, and Troy has been uprooted from time and space, and the whole war is being re-enacted on Mars with resurrected characters re-living the war.


I thought it was great, but you will really have to suspend some disbelief in order to power through these two huge books.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:03 PM   #33
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I am not sure about Central Park; The Statue of Liberty is specifically mentioned as being a flaming pile of rubble. They do walk through Battery Park at one point. What makes it worse for me is that the two main characters are a police detective and a newspaper reporter. Surely *they* would think to wonder where the special bathtub manufacturing place is if the whole world is Manhattan?

I keep thinking about Aristotle, who I was forced to read in university. He talked about the difference between probability and possibility. The audience can suspend their disbelief for something improbable as long as you set it up to be possible, but they cannot believe something impossible. So if I say to you 'assume, for the purposes of this story, that all chairs are blue' then it is improbable, but you are willing to go along with me. If a character then comes along with a green chair though, you are justified in saying wait a minute and asking for an explanation. I am sort of feeling this way about the special bathtubs right now
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:10 PM   #34
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I am not sure about Central Park; The Statue of Liberty is specifically mentioned as being a flaming pile of rubble. They do walk through Battery Park at one point. What makes it worse for me is that the two main characters are a police detective and a newspaper reporter. Surely *they* would think to wonder where the special bathtub manufacturing place is if the whole world is Manhattan?

I keep thinking about Aristotle, who I was forced to read in university. He talked about the difference between probability and possibility. The audience can suspend their disbelief for something improbable as long as you set it up to be possible, but they cannot believe something impossible. So if I say to you 'assume, for the purposes of this story, that all chairs are blue' then it is improbable, but you are willing to go along with me. If a character then comes along with a green chair though, you are justified in saying wait a minute and asking for an explanation. I am sort of feeling this way about the special bathtubs right now
Special bathtubs? LOL!
That book sounds absolutely dreadful. Shouldn't any survivors of the initial world-shattering kaboom blast be dying of leukemia and radiation poisoning? That would be the part that I couldn't overlook. Yep, I stand by my previous theory that the reason you are picking it apart is because it is simply a bad book.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:16 PM   #35
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Only when someone tries to equate specific mythological beliefs, with scientific knowledge, and demands equal respect (other than as to literary qualities.)

Then I get agitated and beat my chest, and protest loudly.

Particularly loudly, if the mythology in question denies my eventual evolution into something less hairy....
I have difficulty sympathizing when you choose to attack caricatured beliefs that are not even held by the majority of mainstream adherents or even mainstream denominations' clergy and leadership.

I also have the pleasure of coming from a country where atheism was the officially supported state religion for decades... so I'm sure you'll understand why I have as little enthusiasm for it, as you do for functional and still (whether for better or worse) relevant forms of spirituality that you call "mythology" in order to purposefully malign by unorthodoxly closely associating it with beliefs that are near-universally considered outmoded.

Quite apart from the above though, I still think you're great and continue to look forward to your posts on a wide variety of topics in the future.

- Ahi

Last edited by ahi; 07-29-2009 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:48 PM   #36
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... I also have the pleasure of coming from a country where atheism was the officially supported state religion for decades... so I'm sure you'll understand why I have as little enthusiasm for it, as you do for functional and still (whether for better or worse) relevant forms of spirituality that you call "mythology" in order to purposefully malign by unorthodoxly closely associating it with beliefs that are near-universally considered outmoded.
...


Heh, I usually try to keep personal details off the web, but since my credentials are challenged...:

I was also born in a land far, far away (a little South-East of the Land of the Magyars:-), where "The People" ruled, and God was a General Secretary.

Thus, I can also argue from experience, that a significant reason for Communist hostility to religion, is that all "true believers" are, by their very nature, hostile to competing belief systems.

Communism exhibited "religious" traits, from its focus on personal belief demands (rather than being satisfied with civil conduct rules,) to the creation of its own hagiography, to its discouragement of association with "non-believers," to its suppression and persecution of "non-approved" scientific knowledge (see Lysenkoism), etc..

Communism was, so to speak, a "jealous God."

In any case, even though you are evidently a fish, and I am a mammal, I very much enjoy you personally, and look forward to your posts.

Therefore, I now retire to look for lice.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:31 PM   #37
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For me, as was said before by someone else, fiction must be internally consistant to be enjoyable. I'm willing to believe just about anything so long as the author gives me a decent reason to believe it.

So long as the story makes sense and is believable within the construct of the story itself then I am happy. Once the author starts contradicting themself or just leaves out explainations then I get cranky.

Cheers,
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:42 PM   #38
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Don't know where, but I'd heard that a novel can have one basic issue that requires the reader to suspend disbelief:

...the anal-retentive CEO and the ex-hippy free spirit can fall in love and complete each other (rather than pick each other to pieces)

...humanity will be able to find a propulsion system that allows them to travel the distant reaches of the galaxy (rather than the ship arriving generations after it left)

...good always triumphs over evil (rather than the tyrant getting to keep all the money, women, and power)

But if you try to pile on one improbable thing after another, sooner or later the reader's going to throw the book against the wall with a heart-felt, "Oh, come on!"
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:51 PM   #39
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I hate fiction that is internally inconsistent.

It doesn't really matter what the subject matter is. E.g., historical novels shouldn't have glaring anachronisms.
But anachronisms does not have to make a book internally inconsistent. It just makes the book a bad history book.

Personally I think that an internally inconsistent book nearly always is very bad but a historical book with anachronisms can often be fun to read and sometimes good.
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #40
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I was talking with some co-workers (one of whom does not read for fun) about a current book I am reading, and a problem I am having with it. Basically, I feel that the book does not make any sense. The two main characters get transported to the future, where there is a highly advanced technological utopia-esque society. Yet the entire world (except for a portion of mid-town Manhattan) has been rendered uninhabitable by nuclear war and other catastrophes. There are literally no people living anywhere else.

So, after pages of a parade of cool new technology including some special bathtubs, I started wondering how a society as 'large' as mid-town Manhattan would be able to sustain the manufacturing and agricultural infrastructure to support such things. It just did not make sense to me. If Manhattan was all you had to work with, you'd lose a lot of useable space just growing food to support the people, never mind manufacture the special bathtubs. It just defied logic that the society portrayed in the book could exist.

And he told me that it's all pretend anyway so it doesn't have to make sense. I say fiction or not, it still has to make sense and if there is some special explanation for something illogical, they need to clue the reader in. So, what do you think...it's all pretend so who cares, or I am right to demand an explanation.
I share part of that feeling also. As I judge scifi work when I read it, every action must obey laws of physics and of nature. If they don't they're fantasy. What I also like about a good scifi story is the aspect of futurology in where tangents from our actions reflect what will happen in technology and other fields. The stories built around those scientific facts are the fiction. But all that is my personal preference.

There are numerous stories using time travel, light year speeds, teleportation, all those I've switched over to fantasy as I learned how they'll never be possible. But I still like them as fiction or fantasy, just not as science fiction. A space ship appearing does not automatically mean a scifi work. To me Scifi must remain credible.

Fantasy work, to be good must also remain credible in its subject and treatment, not necessarily in nature's laws but in the realm where it takes place with the laws of that place. No transgressions allowed. If I see a single one, I'll lose interest. Harry Potter is a good example of a well composed fantasy. There is not an action that takes place out of the laws and nature of that world. Carver's 'Sunborn' is an other excellent example of wishy-washy scifi but excellent fiction.

This is my way of seeing it and I will not judge any one off track for thinking otherwise, it's just my apraisal of what makes quality work in scifi. I'm sure as I read more and more and as I get further experience in thinking fiction that my way of judging scifi will change.


BTW ficbot, In a story based on cataclysm, technology and manufacturing are the first casualties. Maintenance is vital, and you're right in assuming that it's unrealistic. If only one major city in the States was to disappear, every aspect of technology advancement would suffer brutally. We have a technology ecology, a tiny bit is made here an other one there, some material mined there, its processing made elsewhere, any part of which takes time to rebuild and slows the whole project. It can also affect worldwide evolution.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:03 PM   #41
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Don't know where, but I'd heard that a novel can have one basic issue that requires the reader to suspend disbelief:

...the anal-retentive CEO and the ex-hippy free spirit can fall in love and complete each other (rather than pick each other to pieces)

...humanity will be able to find a propulsion system that allows them to travel the distant reaches of the galaxy (rather than the ship arriving generations after it left)

...good always triumphs over evil (rather than the tyrant getting to keep all the money, women, and power)

But if you try to pile on one improbable thing after another, sooner or later the reader's going to throw the book against the wall with a heart-felt, "Oh, come on!"
I don't think there is anything magical about only one. For me a fiction book can describe a set of parameters that must be internally consistent. A science fiction book can set up a whole set of world events but once set up then science in that framework must be consistent and obey the rules.

A fantasy can describe a whole gambit of rules describing a world much different or not much different than the one we have but then must be internally consistent and have a degree of logic. A science fantasy is only slightly more constrained.

Each kind of fiction has its own set of consistencies but in all cases the author is free to set up a "what if" scenario and proceed from there.

Dale
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:55 PM   #42
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You are right to demand an explanation in my opinion.

Strangely, I don't like sci-fi or apocalyptic books with large illogical plot points. It's kind of treating you like an idiot in a way, assuming you won't have the brains to question the premise of the book.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:32 AM   #43
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I also have the pleasure of coming from a country where atheism was the officially supported state religion for decades...
Athiesm isn't a religion. It doesn't even resemble a religion in any way.

Either your state had officially 'no religion' or your state had a (quasi) religion of which lack of belief in gods was part of the doctrine.

Sorry to nitpick, but it is grating to hear athiesm called a religion when it is no such thing.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:37 AM   #44
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I don't think there is anything magical about only one. For me a fiction book can describe a set of parameters that must be internally consistent. A science fiction book can set up a whole set of world events but once set up then science in that framework must be consistent and obey the rules.
Dale
Yes!

And as an extension, anything that a reasonable person would consider inconsitent with the world should be explained away.

Most reasonable people would apply the rules of our world unless otherwise prompted.

For example, time travel is not currently possible, so writers use quasi science to make time travel seem plausible. Don't tell me something that common sense tells me is impossible unless you give me the courtesy of making it seem plausible.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:29 AM   #45
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Athiesm isn't a religion. It doesn't even resemble a religion in any way.

Either your state had officially 'no religion' or your state had a (quasi) religion of which lack of belief in gods was part of the doctrine.

Sorry to nitpick, but it is grating to hear athiesm called a religion when it is no such thing.
did not want to go down this path but it look like it to late to stop

it depends on how you define Religion

like lets at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion
Quote:
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affair
does Athiesm met this yes.
what we can say for sure is it is not a organized religion.

what there can be no question about is that it is a belief.

as I see it is not the absence of belief in the existence of deities
but the belief in the absence of the existence of deities

that in and of it self it what make it a religion in my book.
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