2.13.2012

Your Bi-Weekly Update #2

1. I revised and updated my Game of Thrones book review after giving the series a great deal of further thought in light of the essay "In Defence of Rockets and Quests". Ultimately, I realised that although George Martin's skill in writing is most excellent, I could not in good conscience give the series any better than 2/5 stars owing to the appalling theme that underlies the whole thing.

2. I've also done a fair bit of further work on developing the background and plotline for the as-yet unnamed fantasy novel I'm working on; I've placed some of these developments regarding characters onto the "What I'm Working On" page. I'm having great difficulties deciding what to call the "technomages" who wield the weapons and other relics of the extinct civilization of this world ... I thought perhaps to call them magisters because of the scholarly connexion, but they're not really teachers, plus it's a bit close to the "maesters" in A Song of Ice and Fire. And thaumaturges or theurgists seems too difficult to parse, though I thought to have thaumaturgy be an area of specialisation along with alchemy for them. If anyone has some suggestions, I'd love to hear them (hoping Sophia's Favourite will have something).

I'm also thinking I need to change the background for Stavalka slightly. I do wish to portray the country as greatly weakened, decadent, and corrupt owing to several generations of weak rule of a series of elected monarchs who were little more than puppets to certain powerful nobles. My initial idea was to give Stavalka, in its recent history, a civil war that resulted in the winners imposing something similar to Poland's Third of May Constitution which gave everyone the right (among other things) to acquire membership in the nobility (szlachta). Only taking it a step further and actually making everyone "nobility" (meaning that the aristocracy was essentially done away with). Which means that knighthood means very little anymore, and wealthy merchants have come to dominate dominate. This will bear further thought.

3. Otherwise, it seems that the ever fickle Muse has abandoned me again. Of course, I was able to write Chimera in her absence, and my confreres at the Collegium say it's my best work yet. Ironically I do seem to write well when totally uninspired, but I get no enjoyment at all from writing during those times. And considering that I am not getting paid for my writing, I wonder what's the point in writing when it is not fun? Perhaps focussing on some more artwork in the interim would be a better use of my time -- and getting back to painting my Warhammer 40K stuff which I haven't done in over a month.

1 comment:

Sophia's Favorite said...

I've always been partial to "artificer", as the term for guys who use magic and tech together. Ars is Latin for both "art" and "technology", as well as often implying "magic", and -ficus is the ending for several Latin words relating to magic, like veneficus, which literally means "poisoner" but usually is used for "witch" (which is odd, the Navajo word for "witch" also means "poisoner", as does the Hebrew one). The "-ficer" part is also the equivalent of the ourgos in "thaumaturge" (and the "art" part is the Latin equivalent of technos).

Good idea, using the szlachta; they've been the inspiration for several ideas in my own writing (I also like to point out their Jewish members when people claim Poland had a history of widespread anti-Semitism—quite the reverse is actually true). Come to think of it, broadening out membership in the nobility until "nobleman" actually just means "citizen" is basically what has happened in the Anglophone world, that's why "gentleman" means "person with basic manners" and "esquire" means "citizen" rather than "has a coat of arms" (it comes from the Norman French word for shield).

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