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Author Topic: Not-comic book reading  (Read 1407 times)

Offline HarryTrotter

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Not-comic book reading
« on: May 20, 2021, 06:32:11 PM »
So after getting burned out on Horus Heresy (God-Emperor,Deathfire sucked),I decided to take a break and started a whole bunch of other books. So currently reading:
-Dreams of steel. Im back to Black Company. Which is a seriously awesome series,that oddly doesn't get talked about all that often.
-Dune. I'm giving it a second chance because it's popular again. I didn't really turn around. Impressive world building and a lot of original ideas for it's time. But the story is still shallow and characters are still one dimensional.
- Hyperion. I didn't get that far yet,but it seems promising. It's like Centerburry Tales in space.
-Star Trek Twist of Faith. It's the DS9 continuation that actually work way better then you would expect. Good thing there is a recap/timeline at the beginning,since I did forgot a lot. Rom becoming the Nagus?
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 05:20:19 AM »
Never got into Dune. I know some people are real interested in the new movie so it's never been something I've gravitated towards.

I've always wanted to get into the Star Trek Deep Space Nine continuation novels. Might have to look into them sometime. Timeline/recap sounds like a good idea.



Offline Epimethee

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2021, 02:07:19 PM »
I loved the first Dune book, even if the characters are more archetypal that deep, but that’s not exactly an uncommon trait in SF; I believe it works here.

When re-reading Dune a few years later, I found quite a few parallels with a book I had read recently, T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Lawrence of Arabia’s autobiography). That mix of influences, from colonialism vs jihadism to messianism to Greek myths to ecology (in the 1960s!) is what makes the book compelling.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 03:05:04 PM by Epimethee »
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2021, 02:26:10 PM »
Yeah,the world building is impressive for the time. Feudal future, doing away with robots and computers and aliens,Guild,Navigators,eugenics...but the actual story is like Dances with wolves type of thing. Good guys are perfect in everything and bad guys are evil kiddie touchers. Okay, eugenics,but it's still all kinda shallow.

I did rewatch DS9 2-3 years back and I still forgot a lot of subplots,tbh. Again,Rom becoming the Grand Nagus? Then I was like,oh yeah,he started out dumb then became a...Ferengi socialist,I guess? Anyway,the DS9 books work way better then they have any right to, honestly.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2021, 07:34:28 AM »
Quote
Then I was like,oh yeah,he started out dumb then became a...Ferengi socialist,I guess? Anyway,the DS9 books work way better then they have any right to, honestly.

Good to know the books are actually good. I think I mentioned how incredibly disappointing I found the "Spotlight: Cardassians" comic was a few times. I've always been a bit worried the novels were a bit too much like bad fanfic. I've heard a few of them are a bit like that.

Rom was a good enough character, but the show was inconsistent with how dumb he was and indeed some of his plots sprang from working for Quark and being mistreated and underappreciated. Being the Ferengi, I suppose Zek appointing Rom the position of Nagus was just supposed to be a joke, but oh well.


Offline Nyte Dragon

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2021, 02:31:44 PM »
Rom becoming the Grand Nagus? Then I was like,oh yeah,he started out dumb

Rom was a good enough character, but the show was inconsistent with how dumb he was and indeed some of his plots sprang from working for Quark and being mistreated and underappreciated.

 I never considered Rom as dumb. When the show first started the character was presented as slow, I do agree to that much. But I see Rom as having some sort of condition similar to autism, perhaps the Ferengi version of Aspergers. He's not comfortable or confident in social situations, including doing business.
 Moogie even says that Rom 'didn't have the lobes for business', much like his father. This also suggests he could have inherited the condition from his father. And given Ferengis focus on business and acquiring profit, mental health issues were probably not a major focus. So others just viewed Rom as slow, or dumb.
 This changed for Rom once the Federation took over DS9. While the Cardassians would never allow for it, the Federation allowed Rom to study, learn, and work along side them in a variety of engineering tasks. This is where Rom was able to excel, he had a intuitive mind for this kind of work.
 So, much like Sheldon Cooper (for a fictional refrence) is pretty socially inept while excelling at physics, Rom has the mind for engineering. (Or if you want a RL example, Ellon Musk recently came out as having Aspergers).
 And by finding his 'niche', Rom began to gain confidence in himself. And with help from his newly found relationships (especially Leeta) he began to be able to deal with social situations better. His "condition" could also be one of the reasons the Nagus appointed Rom as his successor. Rom saw things in a different light then other Ferengi did.

 Granted this isn't supported anywhere AFAIK,  but it's my take on it.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 03:06:27 AM »
Interesting take indeed, ND.

Here's what I got to add. In an early episode, Odo calls out Quark on an alibi by saying "Rom's an idiot. He couldn't fix the [so-and-so] if he tried." Now on the one hand, the writers might not have planned it out, and Odo's job is be good at sniffing out facts. On the other hand, Odo is dismissive of the Ferengi because of Quark and doesn't have the highest opinion of Rom as it is.

Also it's established that Rom learned to be good with engineering-related fields of work from having to do cost-effective makeshift repairs for Quark's holosuite, having to improvise because Quark, being the cheapskate that he was, wouldn't spring for the proper parts. I think I'm remembering most of that right.

So it's certainly possible your take on him is a valid one, but there is a in-universe explanation as well.

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 04:20:23 AM »
There is also a bit of inconsistent writing going on. Very early on,Rom is more malicious,then he becomes a goofball/comedy sidekick,before trying to get Quarks workers to unionize and quoting Karl Marx.

As for Zek- he did have a religious experience.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 04:28:33 AM »
Quote
There is also a bit of inconsistent writing going on. Very early on,Rom is more malicious,then he becomes a goofball/comedy sidekick,before trying to get Quarks workers to unionize and quoting Karl Marx.

As for Zek- he did have a religious experience.

That is true as well. And the acting for both Rom and the acting and characterization of Zek changed over time too. Zek was made far more goofy after his first appearance and Ishka had a lot of influence on him.

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2021, 01:51:45 PM »
Funny enough,Quark doesn't change over the course of the series. He's still the same dude who put the "must give me umox" clause in the dabo girls contracts. 😄
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Offline Nyte Dragon

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2021, 05:13:32 PM »
In an early episode, Odo calls out Quark on an alibi by saying "Rom's an idiot. He couldn't fix the [so-and-so] if he tried." Now on the one hand, the writers might not have planned it out, and Odo's job is be good at sniffing out facts. On the other hand, Odo is dismissive of the Ferengi because of Quark and doesn't have the highest opinion of Rom as it is.

This actually fits into my theory. Everyone assumed Rom was 'slow and dumb, because he was never really given his chance to shine before. And Odo is indeed good at chasing facts, but if Rom was never allowed to show his talents, then Odo would have to use the facts he has. That being Rom has always shown himself to be 'an idiot. Plus as you said, Quark probably has colored Odo's perception of Ferengi.

Quote
Also it's established that Rom learned to be good with engineering-related fields of work from having to do cost-effective makeshift repairs for Quark's holosuite, having to improvise because Quark, being the cheapskate that he was, wouldn't spring for the proper parts. I think I'm remembering most of that right.

 And this is where I think Rom began discovering his aptitude for engineering. Because he had to repair Quark's equipment, and under Quark's cheapskate directives, he slowly grew in skill. And actually, because he had to become adaptive due to Quark, it may very well helped him excel.

 And the funny thing about this whole discussion... I'm not even a big fan of Rom. :lol: That would go to Dax, Jadzia and Ezri.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2021, 03:56:07 AM »
Quote
That would go to Dax, Jadzia and Ezri.

I'm very much an Ezri advocate. Which is not to slight Jadzia.

Not a huge fan of Rom either, but that just speaks to how well DS9 grew and made use of its rather extensive cast. Except Jake, he didn't have much to do.

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2021, 04:45:34 PM »
Beowulf- the national epic of English speaking peoples. About the Danes. Reading it after so many years,you can see that what we have has to be an abridged version,or a small part of a cycle. And the fact that Christian references have to be retconed in by the transcribers later on.
I was always more interested in it from a historical perspective,since it's the only surviving thing from the old Anglo-Saxon culture. Like,this was the thing that HAD to be saved from the Norman purges. This one story. It just raises so many questions.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2021, 12:52:48 PM »
Saw a theatre presentation of Beowulf in Scotland with my great uncle. It was more like a dramatic reading or telling of the story by one person. Interesting enough story, but definitely one of those ones that's been around so long as to be told and retold and embellished in various ways. Pretty much anything notable enough that's fallen into the public domain gets that treatment.

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2021, 04:11:10 PM »
Well,all the transcribing was done by monks in those days,so they would probably retcon in Christian elements. Like Grendel and his mother being descendants of Cain.
And there are references to,what I assume,are past adventures. Like, remember that time Beowulf killed a bunch of Franks?
Oh,and there is actually a lot of reimaginings of the story. So something about it inspires people to give it their own spin.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 04:18:33 PM by HarryTrotter »
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2021, 04:43:37 PM »
This will ,by the very nature,get political,so trigger warning,I guess?
Unrestricted Warfare,somewhat oddly subtitled "Chinas master plan to destroy America". Which it really isn't. It's basically a thought exercise/commentary on the Gulf War. In general, it's study of how wars would look like in the future.Being written in 1999,makes it a bit of a weird historical artefact. It does predict the rise of terrorism. Some other things like militarized hacker attacks...I guess that has yet to happen. Lawfare ended up being used more by corporations against individuals then countries against other countries. Tanks have yet to be written off. Trade embargoes are still a thing. Media manipulation got way worse (I wonder if the writers knew that Operation Mockingbird is a thing).
So if this was a master plan (and the book is apparently not that well know in China), things worked out? Because American Empire is in way worse shape then it was 22 years ago. And outside of crazy neocon fantasies,a war with China would be suicide.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2021, 06:53:29 PM »
So Im reading a bit of Lovecraft lately. Some of it works. Some of it is just narrator going: "It was really scary. Can't describe how scary it was. Trust me. I fainted"
I get the "don't show the monster" approach,but having the pov character faint every time is really cheap. I guess people just fainted a lot in the 1920's.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2021, 11:58:25 PM »
Doesn't sound great, but I've heard many, many times that a big part of the idea behind the Cthulhu mythos is that mankind cannot comprehend the true form of the creatures in those stories. That simply being in their presence and interacting with them on any level is enough to break the human mind.

Whether that be a crutch to get away with it or not, that's a matter of debate I suppose.

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2021, 12:22:01 AM »
So Im reading a bit of Lovecraft lately. Some of it works. Some of it is just narrator going: "It was really scary. Can't describe how scary it was. Trust me. I fainted"
I get the "don't show the monster" approach,but having the pov character faint every time is really cheap. I guess people just fainted a lot in the 1920's.

All joking aside, that actually was a much more common trope in earlier eras.  Heck, it's how Dante gets his Pilgrim past all the obstacles in the Inferno.  But it was also more common in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FaintInShock
« Last Edit: June 20, 2021, 12:23:40 AM by BentonGrey »
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2021, 05:28:30 PM »
I get the intent,and the idea of humans not being equiped to process some things. But it's just not that scary when the narrator tells you that it was really scary.
When he gives a few more details,it actually works. Like the elbow of something huge in The Shunned House. Or the glimpse of Dagon we see...in Dagon.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2021, 06:44:55 PM »
I'm sure that's true, HT, but he was also kind of pioneering a new genre.  There are usually some growing pains in such situations, so that's not terribly surprising. 
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2021, 06:45:22 PM »
Quote
I get the intent,and the idea of humans not being equiped to process some things. But it's just not that scary when the narrator tells you that it was really scary.
When he gives a few more details,it actually works. Like the elbow of something huge in The Shunned House.

There's also the Tvtrope "Nothing is Scarier" meaning what leaving it to the imagination is thought to be more scarier than showing the monster.

Quote
Or the glimpse of Dagon we see...in Dagon.

Just like that really good one-off episode of Digimon that's a lot better in the original Japanese version.  :lol:

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2021, 07:32:02 PM »
I'm sure that's true, HT, but he was also kind of pioneering a new genre.  There are usually some growing pains in such situations, so that's not terribly surprising.
Fair enough. I would also assume that after 90 more years of horror since then, a modern reader would be harder to scare.
Quote
Just like that really good one-off episode of Digimon that's a lot better in the original Japanese version.  :lol:
Was that Tamers? Because Chiaki Konata is a Cthullu Mythos writer. And Serial Experiment Lain writer. Which really tells you a lot about Tamers.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2021, 08:28:03 PM »
Quote
Fair enough. I would also assume that after 90 more years of horror since then, a modern reader would be harder to scare.

As mentioned in the first Simpsons Halloween special, when discussing The Raven and Friday the 13th Part One. I discovered this year it also applies to the original Twilight Zone.

Quote
Was that Tamers? Because Chiaki Konata is a Cthullu Mythos writer. And Serial Experiment Lain writer. Which really tells you a lot about Tamers.

His Master's Voice, the "Dark Ocean" "Dark Undersea Master" episode of Adventure 02. The creature was literally called Dagomon, but that's not mentioned in the dub (it's mentioned in a much later episode in the Japanese version in a very clunky way). And it was Konata who wrote that. The dub naturally added way more shipping and off-screen humor, while the JP version stuck to the creepy atmosphere.

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2021, 03:16:38 AM »
Very true, HT.  I imagine that there are few genres that are more prone to diminishing returns in proportion to genre savviness than horror, and especially existential horror.

SS, that's a bit surprising.  I've found that the Twilight Zone holds up surprisingly well for me. 
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2021, 04:23:12 AM »
Quote
SS, that's a bit surprising.  I've found that the Twilight Zone holds up surprisingly well for me.

I briefly mentioned watching it in some random thread in tv/movie earlier this year (my exact words were "it's soooo good"). And what I mean is that while the show is incredibly solid (though many episodes are better than others) very little of it is scary to me, due to how dated it is and how limited the effects could be. The famous gremlin looks ridiculous, the guy who gets turned into a jack-in-the-box is a very limited effect.

There are two episodes I found genuinely chilling, in the whole set (well, I didn't see the 1-hour S4 because Netflix U.S. skipped it): the haunted Nazi concentration camp and the dead rising from the grave. none of the other episodes were frightening to me. There might be some I forgot about but those were the ones that stood out.

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2021, 02:27:01 PM »
Twilight Zone is a similar case. Much like Lovecraft's works,people end up familiar with it more by pop culture osmosis then by watching/reading the actual thing.
Simpsons did a lot of TZ episodes, Johnny Bravo did the cornfield one...Like Real Ghostbusters did Collect Call of Cthulhu,and so on...
Some things,like Texas Chainsaw massacre (the original) are actually scarier with age. The grainy footage makes it seem more realistic.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2021, 05:07:11 PM »
I finished Dune. Boy,that ending feels rushed. There is a big battle (we mostly don't see),The Emperor surrenders,there is a duel because we need an action finale. There are no stakes because the opening of every chapter tells us how this ends.
Also,Herbert really likes to tell,not show. Like the whole book telling us how tough the Sardaukar are only for them to be complete jobbers in every fight. Actually "these guys are tough,trust me because they just are" could be the books subtitle.
Pointless aside,but the "hill tribe" trope is very unrealistic. If you got chased off into the mountains it's because everyone around kicked your butt. You don't chose to live there because you're that tough.
''Even our origin stories have gone sour.''
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2021, 08:18:45 PM »
Yeah, I really didn't find Dune particularly good.  I felt like it was full of good worldbuilding and lots of great ideas, but the actual storytelling was very poor.  In general, it's actually one of the handful of books I've read where I thought, 'the movie actually improved on this.'

As for the hill tribe trope, that's actually got plenty of historical precedent.  Folks from the rougher regions were often hardy and tough, and they often made for courageous warriors.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Not-comic book reading
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2021, 04:25:12 AM »
In real world term, it's the horses that made up that important difference. Say,Comanches went from near extinction to the most powerful tribe on the continent because of horses.
In Dune terms,a prison planet breeds people who are super tough,loyal and good at following orders. And it just works. And Freeman are just straight up superhuman from living in the desert.
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