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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

2,123 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Ajaxis wrote:
Questions from an American. How many times has the Supreme Court of the UK and its predecessors been overturned by the EU's Court of Justice? And what does the return of sovereignty do to those decisions?

Rarely. The British Supreme Court was required to "take note" of rulings from the EU Court but was not legally bound to accept them. It did so due to convention. The one thing that got people so enraged - us not being able to deport terror subjects to countries where they would be tortured - was actually down to Britain's own laws prohibiting rendition, and the EU merely reinforced the fact that it'd be illegal under both UK and EU law.

The issue here - another factor not really explained very well during the referendum - is that EU law is decided upon by European nations together. In fact, many of the laws regarding human rights were originated by British legal experts and then adopted in Brussels and replicated in our courts here.

The principle power of the EU was that UK law could not contravene the four pillars of membership of the EU (free movement of goods, people, capital and services). After leaving the EU, we will then be able to adjust those rules and prevent, for example, free immigration to the UK from anywhere in the EU. The problem is that all four factors are interrelated: you can't have one without the others. We've actually spent an enormous time talking about two of the pillars, people and goods (i.e. trade) but not much on the other two which are just as important. The EU over the weekend said that Britain's ability to trade capital and services in the EU (the so-called "financial passport") will also be withdrawn in the result of Brexit, limiting the ability of British banks and financial instituions to operate in Europe. Since Britain's economy rests firmly on the bedrock of financial services and the movement of capital this is an absolutely massive problem and is what has gotten the markets in a furore.

Fabius Maximus wrote:
This is relevant to my interests, but sounds like young adult fiction, which I'm generally not a fan of (anymore).

It's been marketed at YA, but it's certainly not written like it. It's quite an adult book in a few ways. No graphic sex or anything like that, but it is quite violent. The Battle Royale comparison I think is apt for that: just because most of the cast is teenage kids, that doesn't make it a kid's book.

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Regarding Valyrian steel:

It's widely theorised that forging Valyrian steel requires a human sacrifice. The Westerosi blacksmiths have lost the knack of it forging it because they don't know about it - fire and blood is needed, not just fire itself - and might balk at sacrificing people to forge more blades.

Similar thing with the dragon eggs, they only hatched after Mirri Maz Duur was sacrificed along with them and Dany took her walk of faith into the flames. It does beg the question why the eggs at Summerhall didn't hatch, but that may have been because the deaths were accidental rather than a deliberate sacrifice.

One thing I have noticed watching the BBC is that people (politicians and experts) are either ecstatically happy or doom and gloom depressed. This leads me to think that nobody has a deep understanding of all the implications of this vote. Reactions are too simplistic, not nuanced enough.

That was a major problem. Exiting or remaining in the European Union is an insanely complicated question. People have said it's a divorce but it isn't: it's separataing conjoined twins who have fused together almost at a cellular level, but instead of doing it in infancy it's trying to do it at age 45 and hoping against hope that both survive the process without long-lasting damage.

This is why Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even a lot of the Conservative Party vehemently refused to put this into a referendum, because they did not believe that the majority of voters - whether a mechanic from Gloucester, a banker in the city or a doctor in Liverpool - would have the time to sit down and read through every single possible outcome of the consequences and then make a considered judgement. If there was ever an issue that we voted career politicians to take a position on having sat through five hundred Parliamentary briefings on it and taken the advice of hundreds of civil servants and experts, it's this one.

It's true, as with most things that the people cheering it probably won't be very happy in five years when they realise what they've lost, and it's also true that the doom-mongers may be sighing with relief in five years that things did not go as badly as they could have done. But I don't think there's many people, apart maybe from the most insulated Leave campaigners, who genuinely don't believe that this decision has profoundly damaged Britain's social cohesion, sense of national identity, economy and political landscape. If we bounce back fast, it's not a major problem. But I don't think anyone really believes we will bounce back that fast.


At least that's the excuse used by the Labour MPs resigning from Opposition Shadow Cabinet, in a bid to force out Corbyn as leader.

Which seems to have backfired on them spectacularly, now evidence has been found, that they planned to do this regardless of the referendum result, and their local party members have come out in support of the leader.

Lots of petitions out there, for the rebels to be ousted from the party, and telling them they will never be elected again.

Apparently there's now a legal question in play. Corbyn thinks, as the sitting leader, he can gain re-nomination for the leader automatically. But the rules were changed a while ago and apparently the current understanding is that Corbyn needs to re-gather the nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party as everyone else does. As it stands, he cannot get enough nominations to stand again.

Exactly how that pans out with the party at large is unclear. Labour supporters may abandon the party in droves, or it may turn out that rather more people share the PLP's position than the hardcore Corbynites suppose.

If Corbyn does manage to stand again and then win, de-selecting the rebellious MPs will be extraordinarily difficult. Each one of the 140 local Labour party committees will have to deselect the MP in question which is actually far harder than you'd think mid-Parliament, especially for those MPs who have been there for decades. You also have the problem that it may trigger by-elections in each constituency and the Labour Party having to fight lots of little elections. It'd actually massively simplify the process to just wait for the next election if a snap one is going to be held in November or February and then re-select the MPs then. However, realistically the Labour Party can't be paralysed for those five or eight months or whatever, that would just help it be wiped out at the election.

Labour have got to sort this out ASAP. Contrary to some beliefs, they actually can turn things around incredibly quickly and win (such as Tony Blair transforming Labour into New Labour in just three years and going from winning what may have been a very modest victory into a landslide) but to do so they're going to need the Conservatives to implode, to find an articulate and charistmatic leader with a strong, easily communicated vision and stop the infighting.

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Never say never ! It will all dépends on how things turns out in a few months time... The EU is nothing but pragmatic, and the last economical crisis led it to construct on the fly new mechanisms ; even the ECB chose to ignore its own rules to do what was needed. If UK goes out of its collective way to wreck other economies for selfish reasons, nobody will object to its forced exclusion : all in the name of democracy and of the collective will of the british people.

Any such move would require the EU to change its fundamental rules to allow it to kick a member state out. Britain itself - which remember is still a member until the process is completed - will simply veto it. I suspect others - maybe Greece or Poland - would be starkly tempted to as well as the precedent would be alarming.

A third way of explaining Mr Cameron refusal to issue a formal declaration (despite having said before the vote that he would do so at once) could be that he refuses to personnally assume the responsability of the referendum he asked. Letting the next PM handle the matter could be a way of getting back at his Iago, BoJo. Of course, it can be argued that a continent-wide economical crisis is a harsh price to pay for personal revenge, but hey, politicians can be as insane, immature and mean as any other guy.

Yes. As Cameron walked back into Number 10 after announcing his resignation, he apparently said "Why should I do all the hard s**t?" He was also under the impression that the Leave camp had a plan all ready and waiting to roll.

Later that day Sky News political editor Faisal Islam asked a prominent Leave campaigner what the plan was for Brexit and they replied, "We haven't got one."

All of this is like a train wreck, all in slow motion.

Yup. We live in interesting times.

Gollancz have got an excellent "Complete Chronicles of Conan" collection, along with great one-volume collections of Jack Vancer's LYONESSE and DYING EARTH series. They also have the complete Fritz Leiber Newhon tales, but in two volumes, and an Elric collection which brings together the novels but not all of the novellas and short stories.

The Call by Peadar O Guilin


The island of Ireland has been sealed off from the rest of the world by a mystical barrier. Technology cannot penetrate it. The people of Ireland, the division between north and south no longer mattering, are under constant attack. Every teenager is "Called", summoned to another realm where they do battle with the Aes Sidhe, the ancient rulers of Ireland before they were banished in a great war. The Sidhe have a day in their realm (three minutes in ours) to hunt down and kill the child, otherwise the victim escapes. Sometimes the Sidhe spare the victim, to return them home mutilated or "changed" in some horrific fashion. Most of the time, the Sidhe kill them.

Nessa is a teenager at school, but in this age schools do not teach algebra or humanities. Instead they teach each student on how to survive in the Sidhe realm, how to kill the fairies and how to escape back home. Nessa's prospects are dim due to a childhood brush with polio and the resulting weakening of her legs. But Nessa has made a vow to survive, no matter the cost.

It's been nine years since Peadar O'Guilin released his debut novel, The Inferior, an SF story of high-tech and savage, cannibalistic societies coexisting next to each other. Since then, he's made a habit of writing stories that combine mythology, SF and horror, told with verve and intelligence. The Call is an evolution of that storytelling style, and should be a major step forward for his career.

The Call is a rich story mixing horror, survivalism and deep-rooted Irish mythology. "Hey, this sounds a bit like The Hunger Games," some may say, and I suspect the comparison will become a cornerstone of future reviews. However, I would argue that the story is less like The Hunger Games and, at least in spirit and tone, more like that's novel's considerably darker, superior and more adult inspiration, Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. Like that novel The Call channels many of the real issues, challenges and emotional turmoils of being a teenager, given greater resonance by being studied through the lens of an extraordinary situation that transforms the foibles of adolescence into a grim and deadly game of survival.

The result is a mash-up of Battle Royale, Terry Pratchett's Lord and Ladies and an Irish version of Skins, but parsed by O'Guilin's signature dark wit and expert pacing. The book moves like a rollercoaster from the off, but has time to delve into Irish mythology, reflect on teenage angst and sexuality (this is a pretty frank book in that regard) and develop its key characters, not just redoubtable protagonist Nessa but also her friends, the teachers at the school and her sworn enemies. O'Guilin has developed that most enviable knack of dropping us into a character's head for a few moments and establishing them as a full-realised person in just a page or two. He does this so well that it's hard not feel sympathy even for the "bad guys" when they get offed.

It's a short novel at 320 pages, but it moves fast, is extremely bloody-minded and has a body count that might make even George R.R. Martin wince. It's also very smart, with its premise and "rules" interrogated by the characters as much as by the reader, and tremendously adult. It may be marketed as a "YA" book but it does not pander to presupposed juvenile tastes. It treats its audience with respect and credits them with intelligence.

There's not much to say that is negative. It's another one of these books that's the first of a series but the marketing doesn't really mention it (a sequel, The Cauldron, should follow in due course). It also feels like the danger of "sleeper agents", people sent back by the Sidhe having apparently survived their Calling but in reality transformed into their slaves, should have been more properly considered by the Irish authorities and protected against. But these are less than minor issues.

The Call (****½) will be published by David Fickling Books in the UK and Ireland on 30 August this year, and in the USA by Scholastic around the same time. I very strongly recommend it.

Edit: I've now had a couple of people ask about this. The term "Aes Sidhe" is the original Irish term ("Aos Si" is a more recent form) for a mythological species of fairies or elves who originally ruled Ireland before being defeated by men. The Book of Conquests (also The Book of Invasions or The Book of the Taking of Ireland) is an account of this conflict, dating back to the 11th Century but based on considerably older oral traditions.

Needless to say, the term massively predates the term "Aes Sedai", which Robert Jordan borrowed from the Irish for his Wheel of Time sequence beginning in 1990. O'Guilin is simply using the original term from Irish mythology.

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The EU has given the UK more than enough already. And they are still not satisfied. No point in trying to coddle them any further as they will always want more and are not even able to be reasonable about this. Playing with the EU's existence and the risk of yet another grave financial and economical crisis just to advance individuals' political carreers.

I fully agree. Britain got a colossal amount back from the EU for putting not a massive amount in. This message was not even remotely communicated at all by the Remain campaign during the referendum. A lot of British people think we put in less than we got out. Many of those same people have now been told that EU funding for their (often poor and neglected by London) regions will now be pulled and that nice new business centre or sports complex won't be happening and they're confused and angry about that.

All I'm saying is that if UK aims to use the letter of article 50 to hold hostage all EU, it's not completely impossible that other countries agree to go for the spirit of the text and cut it short. Certainly not tomorrow, but maybe in some months time, especially if the Financial crisis goes deeper and drags all of the continent down.

This won't happen. There is no legal mechanism in the EU for forcing a country out against its will, and introducing one quickly and in a knee-jerk reaction to Brexit would ring alarm bells across Europe, not to mention being tremendously out of character for an organisation that prefers a more measured, careful response to issues. They will instead enact pressure through other means (perhaps a hint of a moderately better deal if we invoke Article 50 sooner). This morning, in fact, they seemed to be saying that they'd be - relatively - happy as long as Article 50 is enacted by the end of this year, two months after when it is being proposed.

The voyage from Dorne to Mereen across the narrow sea is what, a couple/few days? It would have taken the dragon queen's armies weeks to prepare for their voyage, which is plenty of time for Varys to return.

Nope. Meereen is three thousand miles from Westeros. It's not even on the Narrow Sea, it's on the Summer Sea along Essos's south coast. On a medieval sailing ship, it's maybe a month's voyage with favourable winds. And it's not a trip you make easily, as you have to sail right around the volcanic peninsular of Valyria through pirate-infested waters. The show has seriously lowballed the logistical challenges faced in moving armies around by sea. There's a reason why, 1066 excepted, Britain has never faced a successful nautical invasion despite being only 25 miles from Europe across the Channel and often massively outnumbered by its enemies.

Of course, Daenerys now has a safe landing spot in Dorne which will help things a lot.

Exactly. The EU was never meant to be an actual nation. But it's been moving further and further towards that, and I sympathize with those that do not want their national identities watered down to the point of non-existence.

This has always been a massively overblown fear.

The United States of Europe, as a theoretical concept, is grounded in the idea that the European mainland is dominated by two principal powers, France and Germany, and that the continent cannot survive as long as those two powers are in competition with one another for land and resources. The first and second world wars resulted from that, along with the Franco-Prussian War and the Napoleonic Wars. After a century and a half of conflict, France and Germany found a way around the problem by sharing economic goals, getting rid of their borders and creating a shared currency (also, ditching fascism helped). Great for them. But of course there are a few other nations on the European continent other than those two who weren't happy with them working in lockstep for their own interest.

That is actually why Britain signed the Maastricht Treaty without going for a referendum (and that was massively controversial at the time), because the Conservative government under Major absolutely did not want a Europe dominated by the Paris-Berlin axis (rubberstamped by Brussels and Luxembourg) with nothing to stop them doing whatever they wanted. And Britain was rather more successful than it's often been credited for at getting in there and making sure that not everything went their way.

Since 2008 Britain's power in the EU has actually grown: France elected Hollande, whose left-wing political viewpoints are completely incompatible with Merkel's pragmatic economics, and as a result France and Germany have gone through an ideological separation. Britain has stepped in, its economy has surged past that of France and the for the last few years it has done an excellent job of getting things done in Europe. Most notably, cutting the EU budget a few years ago during the height of the economic crisis. During the Paris/Berlin lockstep days, that'd have been impossible. But Britain made the argument and carried it. We've actually been helped by this by the new eastern European member states who likewise don't share the enthusiasm for a United States of Europe, most notably Poland.

Right now, there is far less chance of a United States of Europe ever coming into existence. Euroscepticism is rife across Europe, even in France and Italy, and is a small but influential force now in Germany. Britain had effectively won the argument on stopping the ever growing union. In fact, we really should have started redefining what the European Union should be: a trade alliance of nations with some common laws to enable trade and travel to be easier and an inner core of countries with the single currency (which, to be frank, is looking increasingly unworkable in the long run). And Britain's ability to define the EU and taking a leading role in it was only growing: under previous forecasts and remaining in the EU we would have overtaken Germany by 2030 at the latest as the primary economic power in the EU.

Of course, we've just thrown that possibility out of the pram.

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Smarnil le couard wrote:
I'a afraid that to derail the Brexit now, your next pro-Leave PM (Boris Johnson ?) would have to renege, admitting that he didn't meant what he said during the campaign (that is, utterly wrecking his political career and taking the bullet for the greater good).

The Leave campaign has reneged on its two primary campaign promises in less than 72 hours, so they're getting there.

Interesting reports suggesting that Boris's thinking was that Britain would vote Remain, he would congratulate Cameron and they'd hug it out, Boris would then dutifully and loyally support Cameron for three years, glowing with praise for him, hinting at a peerage, and then be ushered into office with the EU matter at rest, the economy improving and able to begin the Glorious Golden Age of Boris.

The fact that Leave won and he is now expected to negotiate the UK's departure from the European Union has left him with a rictus grin on his face as he's realised that he has absolutely no clue at all on how to do that. That's why he went off to play cricket yesterday rather than talking to anyone and has spent today apparently in emergency meetings with Gove and other Leave Tories trying to work out WTF they are going to do. Becoming PM and having to negotiate Brexit amidst a suddenly declining economy and the potential breakup of the United Kingdom was not in his script.

I think it's sad that many of the pro-leave are already regretting their vote. In fact quite a few younger people who voted to leave have since been interviewed by various agencies and even stated they voted to leave because they thought their vote wouldn't matter.

Apparently it was not communicated well that the rules for the referendum were different to a general election (where the Tories won majority control of Parliament last year with just a third of the vote) and that some people thought that if their area got a majority their vote wouldn't count, so they protest voted or didn't bother voting at all.

That the same petition that is all over social media and anyone in the world can sign?

Nope. You need a UK address to sign the petition. In theory people can simply use a friend's address, but their vote would then be discounted if too many people use the same address and if they do not appear on the electoral register.

The petition does allow non-UK-born residents of Britain and also 16 and 17 year olds to vote. Both groups were unable to vote during the actual referendum, amidst great controversy.

ericthecleric wrote:
Werthead, the agreement (about the border) is the result of a bilateral agreement and won't change, even as a result of Brexit. Here's a link to the relevant story.

It's a bilateral agreement that either side can terminate at two years' notice. So far the Mayor of Calais and the representative for the whole region have said they now see no logical reason for France to continue shouldering the bulk of the costs of maintaining the camp on their side of the tunnel. Others in the French government have said that they won't be rushing to change agreements without further discussions with Britain. They COULD choose to terminate it and we would have no say in the matter. How that pans out depends a lot on French internal politics and the Brexit discussions.

A petition for a second referendum in the UK has reached almost 3 million signatures.

Despite that extraordinarily high figure, I would agree that it would be undemocratic to rerun the referendum. The result has to be taken as it is. The only grounds on which to rerun the decision would be if there was a material change to the premise of the referendum.

Of course, part of the premise of the referendum was that the government would spend £350 million a week more on the NHS and would also halt the free movement of people from the EU. And in the last 36 hours senior members of the Leave campaign have rolled back on both of those promises. Is that enough to justify a second referendum? Maybe. The new Tory leader has to agree that both of those promises are enshrined in the Brexit negotiations or I think they will come back to bite them.

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

So, I've seen this being trotted around; most glaringly, I watched a piece yesterday with Alex Scrivener from the Another Europe is Possible Coalition arguing against a member of the Socialist Workers Party and their Lexit campaign in which the former claimed that "One thing it has definitely done is it's secured peace on this continent since the Second World War."

And, of course, the first thing I thing of is the Balkan Wars in the '90s. Now, I'll grant you, going from lots of wars to only one war in seventy years isn't too bad, but why does it seem like some (many?) people are ignoring them.

As mentioned above, neither Yugoslavia nor its successor states were part of the EU (a lot of them still aren't), which was part of the problem, and then suffered arguments over borders, which the EU effectively nullifies. The religious disagreements were also quite strong, but the EU has also done a reasonable job of keeping those issues under control.

This has been borne out in the last 36 hours. Britain controls the peninsula of Gibraltar, which borders the far southern tip of Spain, and has done for centuries. Spain has argued that it should be part of its own country because of proximity. Prior to the EU there were lots of arguments and threats over the issue. The EU nullified that because, well, it doesn't really matter when they're both part of the EU and then the UK and Spain made lots of money from Spanish workers who could cross the border freely to work in Gibraltar (at rather higher rates of pay than they could get locally, in some cases).

Almost immediately post-Brexit, Spain said soothingly that the estimated 800,000-1 million British expats living in Spain would still be welcome and could stay with no problems. And then, of course in a competely unrelated statement, said that they expected "joint sovereignty" over Gibraltar with the UK as a transitional stage before the colony completely joined the Spanish state. There was an interesting undertone there, "Give us Gibraltar and we won't force a million mostly old codgers to return to the UK and collapse your economy - er, more than it has been - overnight."

In addition, Britain helps pay for a migrant camp in Calais to stop illegal migrants crossing the Channel to Britain. To make that work legally, the border between Britain and France is at the edge of the migrant camp (as a bit of legal busywork to ensure that Britain has to pay for it, not just the French government). France has said that this arrangement - which can be terminated by either side - is no longer in their interest post-Brexit and they could choose to terminate it, which would allow migrants to enter the Channel Tunnel or even legally hitch a lift in vans to the far side at Dover, where a new migrant camp would have to be set up, 100% at the British taxpayer's expense.

The EU didn't do anything to prevent or mitigate the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Years of Lead in Italy, or ETA in the Basque country, either.

The worst excesses of those campaigns all took place before the modern EU was effectively founded with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. In addition, the EU actually is at a cornerstone of the resolution of the Troubles.

Technically, continued co-membership of the European Union by both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is stipulated in the Good Friday Agreement (which effectively ended the Troubles), and the EU provides an important forum for discussions between Dublin and London. On paper, at least (the UK PM and the Irish Taoiseach usually have no problems just talking to each other direct), the EU provides an important forum for discussions between the Republic and the UK. The UK leaving the EU means that the Good Friday Agreement has to be reworked, which no-one really has engaged with because the mere thought of it causes politicians to break out in hives.

The Troubles (probably) wouldn't restart, of course, but the reintroduction of a physical land border between the Republic and the North and the end of free movement at will between the two states is going to be politically sensitive, problematic and migraine-inducing.

the UK breaking away from the EU is good. It may present some terrible consequences in the short run, but in the long run it will be good for the UK.

What do you base this on? A long-term good result for the UK requires the UK to either start building something to sell to the rest of the world - which there is no realistic prospect of - or for it to be allowed continued free access to the EU market, which there is also no realistic prospect of.

I assume HBO will have them film both seasons back to back.

Negative. Benioff and Weiss have simply hit a wall in being able to film 10 episodes a year with the production requirements that the final two seasons will need. The two seasons will need to be shorter or one super-sized season could be filmed, but we'd have to wait 18-24 months for it, which damages HBO's income for the next financial year. Two shorter seasons is the apparent compromise.

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Yorkshire now expressing concern that leaving the EU means it will lose its EU funding.

I am at a loss as to why these people think that they are either 1) going to get EU money despite not being part of the EU or 2) going to get the same amount from a British government voted into office on a mandate of reducing spending to all-time record lows.

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Damage Report: Day 2 of the New Order (Hail, Boris)

$2.1 trillion wiped off the world economy. Er, sorry about that.

Britain loses its 5th position in the world GDP rankings to France. India not far behind.

British stock markets collapse by 8%, but recover 2%. Worries of further losses next week, but some suggestion there could be a further recovery. However, the markets overall think there will be two years of volatility due to the Brexit negotiations and then a further period of volatllity as the impact of Brexit is measured.

British currency and economy crashes in the worst one-day decline since Black Monday in 1987. In perspective, this was far worse for the UK economy than any day of the 1990s recession or the late 2000s one.

Britain credit rating downgraded to "Negative" by Moodys. Standards and Poor strip Britain of its AAA credit rating.

Morgan and Stanley reveal they have a contingency plan to shift 2,000 UK jobs to Dublin and Frankfurt and will enact it if we don't get a free trade agreement with the EU. HSBC apparently has a similar plan.

The investment sector will have to stop trading in Euros. This was already annoying the Eurozone. When we're out of the EU altogether, we simply won't be able to do it which will hammer investment banking. Which would be less of a problem if the British economy wasn't overwhelmingly based around services.

The ECB confirms that Britain will lose its EU financial passport if we don't allow free movement of peoples, which will impact Britain's ability to offer financial services to Europe. Since that's the underpinning of our economy (we actually make nothing in this country that others can't do instead) that's "mildly" worrying.

Spain confirm that the c. 800,000-1 million British people (mostly elderly) living in Spain won't have to worry and they probably won't be deported back to the UK. Oh, and by the way can they start having some discussions about the control of Gibraltar? Not that the two are related, at all. Oh, and all those people living in Spain will now have to buy private health insurance because they won't be protected by the NHS any more.

EU funding for the British regions (which basically keeps Cornwall, a large chunk of Wales and parts of Northern Ireland afloat) will be terminated. £1 billion+ EU funding for British scientific projects, including our contributions to the LHC, will be terminated.

But, good news! The government has indicated that it will take over the EU subsidies for private landowners, so the British taxpayer will shortly be paying Iain Duncan Smith £150,000 a year for no readily explicable reason.

Kazuka wrote:
That's what makes me worry about this. How bad are they going to make things for the people?

Very. Cameron and Osborne's policies have inflicted colossal economic and societal damage on the UK, and there's always been the fear that they - coming from the centre-right of the Conservative Party - were actually the least worst option from the party. The likes of Iain Duncan Smith, whose policies at the Department of Work and Pensions drove hundreds of people to suicide, and Michael Gove, who almost destroyed the British education system, are not going to hold back on taking things much further. Boris Johnson is actually much more centrist and liberal than people give him credit for, so if he emerges as PM things may not be quite that bad.

The vote to leave was mainly by the older generation - that is, the people who won't have to live with the long-term consequences of this. On the other hand, the younger people voted overwhelmingly to stay - and they're the ones who will be impacted the most if the UK actually decides to go through with it. (The resolution is non-binding, and Parliament technically could ignore it if they wanted to. They may still choose to do so if they decide it's politically acceptable.)

It's worth noting that 16 and 17-year-olds were barred by voting, which was hugely controversial because they were allowed to vote in the Scottish referendum two years ago. They were overwhelmingly for Remain, and of course this will affect their long-term prospects.

EU citizens who'd been living in the UK for over 5 years - in some cases more than a decade - were barred from voting. A lot of British voters overseas, who were also overwhelmingly for Remain, also found themselves unable to vote due to complications in arranging it. So given the narrowness of the victory, yes, it's more than slightly controversial.

All this talk of the Youth getting shafted - what is the youth unemployment like in the EU again...? Oh right.

That's down to the Euro, which was a hideous mistake and should be abolished, and to the internal policies of each country. Britain was actually highly praised in the EU for how it's handled the economy and weathered the financial storm, even Germany took some inspiration from it and France's current problems stem from being unable to do the same thing.

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So the Leave campaign won by forging an unholy alliance between the hard-right of the Conservative Party and the older, disenfranchised, northern working class citizen who hasn't voted since the Thatcher years, on the basis that the Tories would massively invest in public services and local resources.

In terms of unlikely alliances, this probably isn't quite up there with the Nazi-Soviet Pact but may certainly be in the Sauron-Saruman ballpark.

There is a slight problem here, namely what happens to those disaffected working class voters when the Tories continue to sell off the NHS, continue (if not double down on) austerity and keep shrinking government and public services. Maybe a resurgent Labour under Corbyn, having survived the new leadership challenge and vanquished the last remaining Blairites, sweeps them up and delivers this country to a socialist utopia in 2020. Or UKIP starts hoovering them up at a rate of knots as part of its potential new raison d'etre, "encouraging" immigrants already here to start going home.

Seriously? (1) Could this be true? If so, how widespread is Bregret? (B) When you cast a vote, make it the one you actually want.

Anecdotally, quite widespread. This morning, the people of Cornwall - which voted for Brexit - suddenly asked if leaving the EU meant they'd lose their EU funding (hint: yes). And if so, would the small-government, ultra-capitalist, free market-obsessed Conservative Party step in and replace that funding (hint: no)?

That was far from being the sole argument of the Leave side.

It was the predominant argument once it became clear that they had comprehensively lost the economic one. At one point in the campaign the Brexit camp looked completely beaten because they had tried going toe-to-toe on the economy and were crushed. They had to double down on immigration, immigration and immigration (with a dash of sovereignty, which the Tories didn't want to get into too much because of how they won the last general election but UKIP was happy to) because the second they tried to fight on any other ground they dipped in the polls.

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"It's not all about you, Jon."

Sort of. They implied you were captured at that point and the rest of XCOM (and ENEMY WITHIN) was you constantly rerunning the original war as a battle simulation that the aliens could learn from.

Remember there'll probably be an XCOM 3, maybe even in 2018. XCOM 2 has a pretty massive cliffhanger ending.

Three wildly different endings??? Cool! Do we get red, green or blue again?

Nope. Apparently it's more of a NEW VEGAS deal, where you have three major end-states and then several dozen variations to each end state depending on how you interacted with the other factions. You can win outright by conquering everyone, or win through an alliance with other factions or, er, presumably just losing. There's also different methodologies for defeating the Mist which will have different results on the endings.

It's got to be an improvement on XCOM and XCOM 2 which had one ending each, which was a bit poor. Especially when XCOM 2 (kind of) completely ignored the ending from XCOM 1.

Terrible, sad news. Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the new movies, has passed away following a car accident at his home :(

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Julian Gollop, the original creator of X-COM (along with LORDS OF CHAOS and LASER SQUAD, and advising on the new Firaxis XCOM games), has announced a new X-COM-esque strategy game called PHOENIX POINT.

The game will play in a similar way to the original X-COM, with a world map from which you can organise research, recruitment and procuring equipment and then a turn-based battle mode where you fight the enemy in procedurally-generated landscapes. In a twist, there will also be procedurally-generated monsters and enemies, assembled on the fly from dozens of body parts and types to form hundreds of potential enemies.

The plot is that the melting permafrost has released a virus known as "the Mist" that mutates both people and creatures into terrible monsters. The Mist has also spread across much of the globe, destroying civilisation and reducing it to pockets surviving in Mist-free enclaves scattered over the globe. There are numerous factions of survivors, some of whom are more interested in fighting each other than the Mist, and you have to guide your faction - the titular Phoenix Point - to victory by arranging strategic alliances or even outright conquering other factions to help gather resources to drive the Mist back.

Gollop has taken inspiration from several sources: the original X-COM (and the third game, APOCALYPSE) for the strategic layer, which will be more involved and dynamic than the Firaxis games. The other factions will be fighting one another, researching and doing other stuff regardless of your actions, so if you kick back too much you might let other factions wipe one another out but you might also end up out-resourced, outnumbered and outflanked. The second inspiration is ALPHA CENTAURI, for the very different factions and their goals and ways to appear them. The third is survival horror: although the game has lots of combat and action, the monsters are disturbing and genuinely monstrous, constantly mutating and evolving to adjust to your tactics. The Mist is also active on the battlefield, capable of warping or mutating your soldiers if you don't find ways of defeating it. Some of the monsters are also absolutely huge. The final inspiration is the modern XCOM, which Gollop has praised for its approachability and accessibility, but thinks there is a way of getting a more complex and malleable game underneath. PHOENIX POINT will have at least 3 wildly different endings (possibly more) depending on how the campaign unfolds.

PHOENIX POINT's release date will apparently be in 2018 on PC, with console versions possible.

Clearly we disagree on the issue, so rather than carry on with that dead end, I'll drop that there.

For those who may be interested, here's a selection of other reviews of the series:


Pat's Fantasy Hotlist - "So if you are looking for a new voice, an original series, set in a world that is fascinating and different than what is currently the norm in the fantasy genre, populated by deeply realized characters and societies, then The Darkness that Comes Before is definitely for you!"

I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending - "Taken as a whole, The Prince of Nothing series is a true masterpiece of speculative fiction, the most enthralling trilogy fantasy has been gifted with since 1959, and I envy all who have the opportunity to read these words for the first time."

Sandstorm Reviews - "This series distinguishes itself with a very dark and serious take on the subject, and is a long way from being by-numbers fantasy froth, for all that the landscape looks familiar."

The Atlantic - "These are brutal stories, with complex and often unsympathetic characters thrown together in a harsh and unforgiving world. For serious readers, Bakker's work is also quite a lot more philosophical than many of his contemporaries. Between fierce battles and sometimes truly chilling violence, there is plenty to keep you thinking."

Nethspace - "The Prince of Nothing trilogy stands apart as the single best completed fantasy series that I have read to date."

Mark Lawrence - "A book with depth, complexity, written with skill, and well worth a look."

George R.R. Martin - "I have read and admired his first trilogy." (GRRM's usual measured enthusiasm at work here)

John R. Fultz - "I’ve been singing the praises of Bakker’s fantasy work for awhile now. His is a fantasy on the scale of Tolkien without stealing any of the usual tropes that go with that scale. His work is brilliant, illuminating, and challenging. In short, it is literary fantasy…i.e. fantasy with literary qualities. “What exactly does that mean?” I hear somebody asking. Well, here’s what I tell my students on the first day of any literature class: Literature is a written work of art that explores what it means to be human."

Victoria Strauss - "To properly appreciate the scope, sweep, and power of this series, not to mention its complex thematic structure, it must be read from the beginning. And it should be read. Violent, passionate, darkly poetic, seethingly original, these are books that deserve attention from all true connoisseurs of fantasy."

Steven Erikson - "Exquisitely intelligent and beautifully written, R. Scott Bakker’s first novel in The Prince of Nothing series inspires both confidence and anticipation–this is fantasy with muscle and brains, rife with intrigue and admirable depth of character, set in a world laden with history and detail. Take note, one and all, something remarkable has begun here.…"

John Marco - "The Darkness That Comes Before introduces a vast and richly detailed world for lovers of good fantasy. Bakker’s imaginative creation is an impressive addition to the genre."

The Toronto Star (print review) - "One of the finest new fantasy creations in recent memory, a dazzling epic that breaks utterly free of the conventions of its genre."

The Globe & Mail (print review) - "Bakker has been praised by fans and critics around the world for his thoughtful, complex and meticulously detailed world, his colorful and credible characters, and his deviously intriguing, action-packed plotting."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer - "A fine example of the new anti-epic fiction at its best . . . This is one of the more brilliant pieces of writing that you’re liable to read for a long time."

Blogcritics - "A journey unlike any other you have experienced. Part Dante’s Inferno and part Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, this is fantasy literature like you’ve never read before."

January Magazine - "What Bakker does that his contemporaries do not and that those SFF luminaries did was completely imagine — from the ground up — a universe so satisfyingly detailed you felt as though you could slip inside."

Edmonton Journal (print review) - "It is a profound and massive achievement, a work of both narrative and philosophical imaginative sweep."

The Guardian (print review) - "Intelligent is a term trotted out so often by publishers that it has become almost worthless – which is hard for the likes of Bakker, whose The Darkness That Comes Before truly is intelligent, and original, and all those other overused words."

Doesn't matter. He chose to write the series he wrote. There was nothing requiring him to do so.

All art is the choice of the creator, and in Bakker's case it is simply inarguable that the story he is telling is dark, deeply disturbing and chooses to confront issues which epic fantasy typically does not. It is also inarguable that some of his storytelling techniques and choices are massively problematic on all manner of levels.

I also reject the notion - taken by some other fans of the series - that you need to read all of it to take on board all of the issues. The fact that the later books repudiate quite strongly some of the issues raised in the first three is of no value if those issues make it impossible to get through the first book and into the series as a whole.

Hell, even Game of Thrones portrays its misogynistic culture as a bad thing

And The Second Apocalypse very much portrays its misogynistic culture as an incredibly bad, self-defeating and self-destructive thing that needs to change.

The difference, of course, is that Martin puts it up front in Book 1. Bakker holds back on it for most of the first trilogy, which was certainly a major error of storytelling.

There are more male victims of sexual assault in the book because the ratio of male to female characters is about 30:1. The fact that more male characters than female characters are victims doesn't change the fact that it's a fraction of the male characters versus all of the female characters.

The 30:1 comparison is a slight exaggeration, but the point is taken. However, all of the major male characters (including, I believe, every male POV character in both series bar two minor ones) are also subjected to sexual violence at one time or another.

Moreover, most of the rape scenes are pornographically, rather than horrifically, described. The author was clearly enjoying writing them, and seemed to be attempting to make them enjoyable to the reader.

The such scenes in the books are described in terms that are, frankly, deeply disturbing and borderline nauseating. I don't think that they were intended to be written to elicit such a reaction at all, and I certainly have not encountered any readers who believe they were. Bakker is certainly not Terry Goodkind, who uses such scenes as titilation, to appear "edgy" and who treats rape as a blunt instrument to deploy whenever cheap tension is needed.

This is easily the most divisive and "Marmitey" (for lack of a better term) work of epic fantasy of this century, so I certainly don't have a problem with people disliking it. Scott also definitely does not help himself with his online attitude (where trolling and actual argument tend to overrun one another), which is self-defeating.

The setup of Bakker's universe is actually the same as in many fantasy settings: that the belief of the population is responsible for the shaping of reality. And the population of an inherently male-dominated, late Bronze Age-style setting is going to be unsurprisingly misogynistic.

This actually dramatically changes in the books. As a result of the arising of Kellhus, women are given more power and more responsibility and his daughter founds a sorcerous school and becomes a key power in the world. There's also the fact that the only one of the Hundred Gods to really make a stand against Kellhus is the Goddess of Fertility, Yatwer, which results in a shift in the viewpoint of women on the opposing side. The second series has a much larger cast of female characters with volition and agency (the central protagonist of the second series, Mimara, is also female and a prime mover of the storyline). Later developments also recast some of the events of the first trilogy (most notably the impact of Serwe, a minor character treated very much like a victim in the first two books) in a different light.

But yeah, the underlying and opening metaphysics of the world are disturbing (right across the board, not just in this area). This series is very much not for everyone and Scott's online argumentative style is extremely unhelpful.

Female characters all get raped because, well, they're just weak. Some of them come to sorta like it.

This, on the other hand, is a significant misrepresentation of the series. I don't think this happens (the "liking it" part), ever, and the overwhelming majority of the victims of sexual violence in the books are men.

First part of A Story So Far for the previous books in the series. Scott was kind enough to provide some exclusive new info for this article.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
And you know this because...?

1. In ADWD Coldhands has been dead for many years and can speak the Old Tongue. Benjen has been missing for less than two years.

2. GRRM donated the original ADWD manuscript to a library in the US. Someone got curious and checked it out and discovered it had all of the editor's annotations in the corner, including: "Is this Benjen?" when Coldhands shows up. GRRM's response was a very firm, "NO."

BNW - They referred to him as Ser Gregor a couple of episodes back. The whole "Ser Robert Strong" thing didn't last any time at all.

I think he meant Coldhands.

Although this is very strictly show-only. In the books, he will be someone else.

The Aspect-Emperor Book 3: The Great Ordeal


The Great Ordeal marches onwards under the leadership of its Aspect-Emperor, Anasurimbor Kellhus. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers, drawn from all corners of the Three Seas, and hundreds of sorcerers haven been assembled in the greatest army to march for thousands of years. Its goal: to cross the vast, sranc-infested northern plains and reach fell Golgotterath, the resting place of the Ark of the Heavens. There the Ordeal will destroy the dreaded, unholy Consult and prevent the second coming of the No-God and the onset of the Second Apocalypse.

As the Ordeal marches, the New Empire Kellhus established to build it teeters on the brink of ruin. The fanatical Fanim have besieged the imperial capital at Momemn, but Empress Esmenet is distracted by the plight of her disturbed children. Sorweel, the Believer-King of Sakarpus, has been sent with Kellhus's daughter Serwa to establish an alliance with Ishterebinth, the last extant stronghold of the mighty Nonmen, but he is unprepared for what awaits him there. And in the Mountains of Demua, the wizard Drusus Achamian and Esmenet's daughter Mimara have located Ishual, the stronghold of the Dunyain and the birthplace of Kellhus. There Achamian hopes to find the information he needs to expose Kellhus as a fraud and determine whether he leads humanity to salvation or damnation.

The Great Ordeal is the third and penultimate volume of The Aspect-Emperor, itself the second of three great movements in a larger, over-arching series called The Second Apocalypse. If you are invested already in this series, then this is the easiest review in history: The Great Ordeal is a stunning addition to the series, go and buy it as soon as it is available. For those who remain unconvinced, it's rather unlikely this book will do anything to change your minds.

The Great Ordeal is ultimately a novel of change and revelation. The Great Ordeal and its participants have been tested before, but never as they are in this book. Dark horrors - psychological and physical - await the characters as fresh revelations about the Dunyain, the Nonmen, the Hundred Gods, the Judging Eye, the Logos, the nature of the No-God and Kellhus's own designs are made. Characters grapple with decisions: in the dark shadow of the looming confrontation with Golgotterath there seems to be little hope of salvation, only survival, and a path of least harm may be the best that can be hoped for. It is a dark novel where characters struggle against the fact that some of them are only chess pieces in a grander design set by the gods, the Consult or the Aspect-Emperor, but some of them also discover new ways of gaining agency and thwarting the grand designs that seek to enslave them.

As with previous Bakker novels, the novel mixes political intrigue with religious musings with philosophical insights with scenes of horror and warfare, the author moving smoothly between such elements with a skill and ease of prose that grows more enviable with each volume. There is also a formidable display of imagination, with new worldbuilding concepts and ideas being introduced into the narrative with assured confidence and ease. Characterisation is, as usual, very strong and Bakker seems to tacitly acknowledge the criticisms he has had in the past with a very limited roster of female characters by increasing the amount of screentime for Serwa, Kellhus's daughter and the most intriguing of the new generation of characters. Mimara's importance also increases dramatically in this volume, as it begins to appear that her Judging Eye may hold the ultimate answer to the questions so many characters hold about the Consult and Kellhus himself. The metaphysics of Earwa which seem to hold - on this world anyway - women as an inferior sex are also better explained and shown to be the fault of men and religious dogma (rather than some kind of deep-seated authorial problem) more explicitly than before.

The book is deeply concerned with such metaphysics and Bakker is forced to engage with longer musings on the nature of reality, damnation and salvation. These ideas are key to the storyline and plot of the novel, but are also complex and could risk slowing down the pace of the novel. However, Bakker keeps things moving briskly and (mostly) avoids getting bogged down in philosophy at the expense of the main narrative drive.

The Great Ordeal was originally the first half of a much longer book that had to be split for publication. The risk here was that it may only feel like half a novel, but this is not the case at all. Events are set in motion at the start of the book which culminate in the caverns of Ishterebinth, in the forests of Kuniuri, on the streets of Momemn and, most spectacularly, on the summit of Dagliash. This multi-stranded finale is epic and breathtaking, among the greatest convergences in modern epic fantasy, and the notion it was originally supposed to be a mid-novel climax makes you wonder what exactly Bakker is holding back for the second half. The problem with this climax is that only a couple of strands are firmly resolved, with the rest ending on a series of absolutely titanic cliffhangers (as in, Dance with Dragons levels of cliffhangers or greater).

For those who find Bakker's vision too bleak, his world too grim and his imagination too strewn with horror, The Great Ordeal will do little to reassure them. Occasionally the darkness gets a little too oppressive and the deployment of (mostly implied and off-screen) sexual violence (mostly by men against other men) risks feeling rote, but it does start to feel like there is a method in the madness of Earwa, and the first inklings that some may harbour ambitions to deliver the world not just from the Consult but from the actual darkness it is trapped in beyond that. Whether that is a deliverance to a better existence or something even more appalling remains to be seen.

The Great Ordeal (****½) fairly seethes with intelligence, action and revelation and is a worthwhile continuation of the smartest epic fantasy of our generation. It is also grim and challenging in a manner that won't do much to resolve Bakker's reputation as the most divisive author in modern fantasy. The novel will be published on 5 July 2016 in the United States and on 29 September 2016 in the United Kingdom. The Aspect-Emperor series will conclude with The Unholy Consult, which is already complete and will be published in early-to-mid 2017.

Necrothread! I am reading an ARC of the third book in the second series (which is now called THE GREAT ORDEAL, as it got too big and had to be split in half) and it reminded me of this thread, and a few questions I forgot last time around.

I meant those of the Inchoroi who died in space, who defines reality there?

How the metaphysics work beyond Earwa is unknown. The implication from THE WHITE-LUCK WARRIOR was that each world has its own belief/afterlife structure and system.

Don't the majority of people believe the Cishaurim are damned like all sorcerers, yet they aren't.

I think the previous books also provided an explanation for this as well (no spoilers from THE GREAT ORDEAL, just the earlier books):

The will of the belief of humanity is important, but so is the will of the gods - the Hundred - empowered by that belief. The Cishaurim have the favour of the Hundred so are not damned. It's implied that the mass-damnation of the other sorcerers comes from their actions during the First Apocalypse: as the Hundred cannot perceive the No-God, they blamed the sorcerers of the Ancient North and the Three Seas for the depredations of the No-God and the Consult, and the attempt to wipe out humanity (and thus source of the gods' power, and existence). The Cishaurim come from a different tradition so are not damned.

Or the number of sranc seems far greater than human, I guess they can't express belief.

The previous books imply that the sranc are not capable of human thought and thus belief in the same way.

Very minor spoiler from THE GREAT ORDEAL:

THE GREAT ORDEAL confirms this when one is subjected to a sort-of post mortem: the sran's high cognitive functions have been removed by the Consult to turn them into the rapacious slave-monsters we all know and love, so they are incapable of expressing belief. If they were, of course, they'd also be capable of free will and might turn on the Consult.

The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney


Oxford, 1929. The Great Depression is looming. Anna Francis is a Greek refugee, one of many forced to flee the fighting between Turkey and Greece in the aftermath of the First World War. She lives with her father, who continues to campaign on behalf of his countrymen. Whilst Anna's father hosts meetings and writes to politicians, Anna explores Oxford and the surrounding countryside. One night she sees something in the fields that she wasn't supposed to, irrevocably changing her and the course of her life.

Paul Kearney is, very easily, the most underread author in modern fantasy. He has written epic fantasy with vast armies clashing, heroic fantasy about the tribulations of a flawed hero and several "slipstream" stories about people who cross from one world to another. He has also written a personal novel about the real world's intersection with the fantastic. He's even written a Warhammer 40,000 novel about Space Marines (although that's currently on hold due to legal issues). Kearney has an ability to switch gears and voices to tell many different kinds of story that is highly enviable.

The Wolf in the Attic represents another such gear shift. This is a story about a young woman coming of age in a country that treats her like a foreigner, despite her fluency in the language and her father's attempts to integrate. The notion of being a refugee and trying to find a home after your own is destroyed is a powerful one, and Kearney tells this part of the story extremely well. There is also an impressive mastery of POV and characterisation: Anna idolises her father whilst also being honest about his flaws, but even so the reader may pick up on things about him that Anna herself does not (or is in denial about).

These musings on identity, home and growth sit alongside a couple of scene-stealing cameos from C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis and Tolkien had met and become friends in the mid-1920s and would remain in contact for the rest of their life. They appear very briefly, but Kearney has clearly done his research about the two men, their characters and the times they lived in.

So richly and vividly drawn is 1929 Oxford that the reader may even forget they're reading a fantasy novel until the supernatural enters the fray. First slowly and then with a growing presence, Kearney presents a sort of magical shadow world intersecting with our own, with people and factions represented as one thing in our world but having another role in the other. A mid-novel twist brings the supernatural element much more to the fore and this transition is successful as the book becomes more of a quest or road trip that takes Anna from her comfortable life into something more mystical and primeval.

Kearney has always had an excellent grasp of character and no-nonsense writing, but his writing skills in this book reach new heights with easily the most accomplished prose of his career to date. He handles the transition from the earlier, more grounded chapters to the later, more fantastical ones very well and he makes Anna a compelling protagonist, young but not foolish, inexperienced but not naive. If there is a weakness it might be that some secondary characters are not developed as strongly (Luca most notably) but in a first-person narrative that may be expected.

Overall, The Wolf in the Attic is an unusual book. It has YA hallmarks but isn't really YA. It has elements of fantasy and mythology and history but is more than the some of those parts. The movement between realistic childhood issues and fantasy reminded me somewhat of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but The Wolf in the Attic is an effortlessly superior novel which has more to say.

The year may only be half over, but The Wolf in the Attic (*****) makes a bold claim to be the best SFF novel released this year (contested, at least so far, only by Guy Gavriel Kay's Children of Earth and Sky). It is a rich and unputdownable read and increases its already-talented author's range and capabilities even further. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.

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please don't let it become a portal fantasy with a group of gamers being put into the Forgotten Realms....

I can't find the quote now, but I think that someone from Hasbro said this wasn't the case.

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I think the decision not to do novels was down to Hasbro's insistence that the movie has to tie into the current books and help shift some more of them, so it'll probably be set in the "present day" of FR 5th Edition.

Apparently there was one comment from the studio that they saw the tone of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was something they should aspire to: dramatic and serious (it's not an out-and-out comedy) but with a knowing, even slightly meta sense of humour.

Which is great if it works, but will be terrible if it doesn't.

MannyGoblin wrote:
I suspect that Yara is going to try to beat Euron to Dany and seduce her first. ;)

Try? Assuming they're being literal about needing to build their thousand ships from scratch, Yara and Theon will have had their feet up in Meereen for weeks before one of Euron's ships could set sail.

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...but what exactly is the movie going to be about?

DL? FR? Greyhawk?

Rob Letterman isn't a stellar director but apparently his D&D Movie Franchise pitch swayed the WB execs making this decision.

So many ways this movie can be botched. Is there any real hope?

It's set in the Forgotten Realms and will involve the Yawning Portal Inn, so at least part of the film will be set in Waterdeep.

They're also looking at the shared universe possibilities, so we may see DRAGONLANCE, DARK SUN, PLANESCAPE etc as future ideas. But right now it's going to be FORGOTTEN REALMS.

THE CITY AND THE CITY is being adapted as a TV series. I'm really interested to see how the hell they're going to pull it off. But at least it's doable, unlike some of his other books (PERDIDO STREET STATION would take a budget of about half a billion and would need to be 12 hours long).

Of Mieville's novels, I think the best, most coherent and the most memorable is THE SCAR. Armada is a brilliant creation and the way the story unfolds is really well-handled, plus the ending is pretty cool.

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So instead of Cersei having CGI nudity, it is Dany having it. Drat no nudity clause.

Nope, that was her.

Emilia Clarke: "But this is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ That ain’t no body double!"

It hasn't been confirmed, just rumours:

One is that Vader dispatches the Grand Admiral bad guy to take down the Rebel spies, and periodically talks to him by holo-communicator, but he doesn't show up in the flesh.

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WILD CARDS was optioned by SyFy, but then all the interested people at SyFy left. The rights are due to revert to GRRM any day now.

When they do, I suspect we could see interest from HBO.

Lord Snow wrote:
** spoiler omitted **


And Shaidar Haran apparently raped both Moghedien and Graendal and possibly Cyndane.

So based on that assumption, I conclude that it's pretty hard to do convincing monstrous humanoid races with actual humans. Might be a challenge for a TV show if it was for a movie.

I think the gist from Jackson was that he thought the actors in prosthetics were fine for quite small roles, but that they couldn't emote fully with a massive amount of rubber on their face. Because he wanted to have Azog and Bolg play big roles in THE HOBBIT, it'd be easier to do them with CG faces. I think that was wrong.

Considering that no Trolloc - apart from the Mighty Narg (who will of course by played by Daniel Day Lewis) - ever speaks in all 11,000 pages of the books, I think it'd be fine to go with prosthetics.

Something that might happen considering the season 6 preview. Around the :47 mark there is Littlefinger standing in a Snowy forest. He might appear to Sansa and her group and attempt to take her away by reasoning that Ramsey will be beelining for Castle Black.

I'm not a fan of Teleporting Littlefinger and this really would be preposterous. He'd have no way of finding them in the wilderness.

Based on the images from the set:

Sansa is at the Battle of Winterfell with Jon and the Stark banners. My guess is that Sansa and Jon join forces, rally as much of the North as possible and win the battle. It is also possible they are defeated, but are then relieved by the Vale army led by Littlefinger (which he was gathering up in Season 5 to invade the North). I can then see an alliance between them designed to bring down the Lannisters, possibly just in time for Dany to arrive and they can thrash things out between them. Of course, with the White Walkers invading, this may all become academic.

rape is going to become a major theme

There is one quite prominent example of sexual assault in the series, and it's by a female character on a male one. RJ didn't handle it the best, but he did at least make an interesting point through the role-reversal. It's the sort of thing I suspect HBO would either eject or play for comedy (RJ did a bit, which was probably the wrong approach, but it did at least start a debate in the fandom).

I honestly think HBO is incapable of doing a Wheel Of Time show that wouldn't just be a miserable attempt to up the ante on Game Of Thrones, which would be totally inappropriate for the style of the series.

This, this and a thousand times this.

Kryzbyn wrote:
According to his website:

As of yesterday, STORMLIGHT #3 is at 53% on his website. I think Brandon's current plan is to have the book edited and turned in by the end of this year and out in early 2017.


Wait, I thought that the Stormlight Archive is a five book series, to be followed by another five book "sequel series" - but that the five books should be readable as a complete series of their own.


Sort of. The two halves will be more closely connected than, say the three MISTBORN trilogies (and especially between the three trilogies and the Wax & Wayne side-quartet), but they won't necessarily need to be read straight though. I think he's indicated that Book 5 won't end on a massive cliffhanger that leaves you hanging for years whilst he works on the second MISTBORN trilogy.

However, it is roughly 1.5-3 years between every individual installment of most series', since with the exception of Mistborn I believe, almost all of his books are doorstoppers.

STORMLIGHT (900-1100 pages in hardcover) are the really massive books. The core MISTBORN trilogies will be long (500-600 pages in hardcover) but still quite a bit shorter than STORMLIGHT, and everything else should be a lot shorter. His YA and children's books are very short and he can churn them out in a couple of months each.

With the rotation he does it's very easy for delays to cascade into other delays, and he keeps adding new projects onto the pile, that's it's very possible a lot of series' could be unfinished.

More to the point is the fact that his adult fantasy novels are all set in the same universe and all telling the same story, and that story will risk being unfinished unless he gets a handle on how he's going to do it. The Cosmere mega-series (incorporating STORMLIGHT, MISTBORN, ELANTRIS, WARBREAKER, DRAGONSTEEL and a number of other works) is planned to be something like 45 books in length and so far we've only had 10 of them in 11 years. I mean, that's still awesome given he's also written another 14 novels outside the Cosmere in the same period, but if he wants to get the Cosmere wrapped up in a reasonable timeframe he needs to maybe have another thing about this, especially if he slows down as he gets older.

Since it was only the first 6 books which Jordan really churned out I always just assumed that he had at least written rough versions of them before the first was published, since the first several came out basically yearly. (Generally publishers don't like authors to put out more than 1/yr as they start to cannibalize their own sales. I know that some authors actually write nonfiction on the side during their downtime because it doesn't take them a full year to write a novel.)

THE EYE OF THE WORLD was finished in 1988 but not published until 1990. He had finished THE GREAT HUNT and was into THE DRAGON REBORN by the time the first book came out. He just stayed ahead of the train by writing non-stop until Book 7, when he was told by his doctor and family to take the pedal off the metal somewhat.

People that are clutching their pearls over the possibility of HBO producing this for fear of 'blood and sex' do realize that WoT had plenty of both, right? I think HBO could do a fantastic adaptation of the series personally. I'll agree that GoT sometimes goes overboard but in general the show has been great and I'm glad we got to see it.

But absolutely nowhere near as much as GoT, and no on-screen sex at all, although there's a fair bit of nudity.

According to those in the know, HBO weren't interested in the rights when they were being shopped around and aren't the studio that's paid for them. The deal has actually been done, we're just waiting for the official announcement to come through.

Because Sansa is such an interesting, captivating character....

Not necessarily captivating, but interesting, certainly. She betrayed her father (without meaning to), suffered the loss of her Stark identity after losing her wolf and then had to learn to play the game of thrones to survive Joffrey and then learn from Littlefinger, the guy who basically turned her life into total misery.

The problem with the TV show is that it's kind of interrupted that arc with this story in Winterfell, and it's quite unclear how Sansa's arc is going to unfold now. I think the TV show and books are going to end up in the same place with Sansa, but the way the TV show is doing it may have more action and jeopardy, but it's not really furthering Sansa's character development and has pushed her back into the victim role too readily.

I just wouldn't want you to miss the stuff in this book simply to wait till the series is finished. I feel I'd be doing you a disservice not asking you to reconsider. It's pretty amazing.

I think Brandon's encountered a big problem with this series in that it's all taking much longer than he expected. The delay between the first two volumes was down to him having to finish WHEEL OF TIME, so fair enough, but the gap between Books 2 and 3 was supposed to be maybe 18 months and now it's looking like closer to 3 years. And if that continues for the remaining seven volumes of the series after Book 3 then it will not be finished until close to 2040 (!). And that's not including the fact that he'll be rolling the second MISTBORN trilogy into the mix and he's still got the seven-volume DRAGONSTEEL series and then the final MISTBORN trilogy and the HOID wrapping-up book/series after that point, and that's not even including WARBREAKER II and ELANTRIS II and III.

I think Brandon might be having to have a rethink about how he's going to handle things going forwards, including just making the books a lot shorter, otherwise the project isn't really going to be practical.

Lemmy wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

That really isn't how George rolls.

Decisions like that will have been made and committed to a long time ago. So yup, unless George has gone bonkers or decides to dramatically streamline the story and abandon entire plot threads in the last two volumes, Sandor is pretty definitely alive in the books.

In the books, yes. In the show, Kevan isn't even alive anymore, IIRC.

As said above, yes he is. We saw him in the final episode of Season 5 in KL and as far as we know he's still there.

Yeah, SPACE MARINE was fun. I hated the QTE-reliant final battle, but the rest of the game was enjoyable.

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Kate Griffin/Claire North/Catherine Webb (her real name) is a pretty good writer. I'd be interested in seeing her stuff on screen. It's like a more literary version of Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE.

I think THOMAS COVENANT really is unfilmable. You can't not have him carry out the sexual assault he does in the books as that torpedoes the entire story (which is all about his redemption from that act), but it will also revolt and turn off viewers in droves (the same way it puts off enormous numbers of readers).

Tad Williams has indicated that there is renewed interest in MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN, especially since he has revealed that there will befive new novels in that world coming out in the next few years.

I did a list a couple of months back of all the books/series headed to the screen. In brief, it's a good time to be a Neil Gaiman fan:

Filming/In post-production
ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer (film)
LIKELY STORIES by Neil Gaiman (TV series)
AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman (TV series)
SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS by Mike Carey (film)
STORY OF YOUR LIFE by Ted Chiang (film)
THE DARK TOWER by Stephen King (film)
MIDNIGHT, TEXAS by Charlaine Harris (TV series)
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline (film)
LUKE CAGE (TV series)
IRON FIST (TV series)
PREACHER (TV series)

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK by Neil Gaiman (film)
WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams (TV series)

100 BULLETS by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (film)
ALTERED CARBON by Richard Morgan (TV series)
THE CITY AND THE CITY by China Mieville (TV series)
HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman (TV series)
RED MARKS by Kim Stanley Robinson (TV series, recently delayed by still going forwards)
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood (TV series)

ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie (film)
ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman (TV series, possibly cancelled and folded into AMERICAN GODS)
SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman (film)
GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (TV series)
DISCWORLD: THE CITY WATCH by Terry Pratchett (TV series)
DARKOVER by Marion Zimmer Bradley (TV series)
THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman (film)
FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov (TV series, on the backburner at HBO)
GATEWAY by Frederik Pohl (TV series)
HORRORSTOR by Grady Hendrix (TV series)
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN THE WALLS by Jonathan Bellairs (film)
HYPERION by Dan Simmons (TV series)
IN THE LOST LANDS by George R.R. Martin (film)
THE SKIN TRADE by George R.R. Martin (TV series)
THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE by Patrick Rothfuss (film and TV series, somehow)
THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters (TV series)
LOCK IN by John Scalzi (TV series)
LUNA by Ian McDonald (TV series)
MADADDAM by Margaret Atwood (TV series)
MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER by Terry Brooks (film)
THE MORGAINE CYCLE by CJ Cherryh (film)
THE GHOST BRIGADES by John Scalzi (TV series)
OTHERLAND by Tad Williams (film)
RED RISING by Pierce Brown (film)
REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi (TV series)
RIVERS OF LONDON by Ben Aaronovitch (TV series)
ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson (film)
SIX MONTHS, THREE DAYS by Charlie Jane Anders (TV series)
SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson (TV series)
THE STAND by Stephen King (film, TV series or some mix of the two)
TEMERAIRE by Naomi Novik (TV series)
UPROOTED by Naomi Novik (film)
TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu (film)
VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab (film)
THE WARLORD CHRONICLES by Bernard Cornwell (TV series)
WATCHMEN by Alan Moore (TV series)
Y: THE LAST MAN by Bryan Vaughan (TV series)
THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (TV series)

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Temeraire should be good if they can make that into a movie/series. Napoleonic war, with dragons!

Peter Jackson has the rights (seriously) and has been working on a TV adaptation for a few years, since he became too busy to work on it as a movie. I think it'd be a great hook-up with HBO for a post-GoT fantasy series, and would keep the CGI dragon people happy.

Am I the only one here that think Michael Moorcock and/or Elric Saga is great literature?

It's certainly in the canon of influential and important fantasy series, but it hasn't aged very well. Elric always felt like more of an interesting potential character but the execution made him often come off as a prototypical Drizzt. I think Steven Erikson nailed that archetype more successfully with Anomander Rake.


There's no weirwood Trunk.

Bet you the roots go that far.

In the TV show that's a possible explanation. But in the books the greenseers need the actual eyes of the weirdwood face to see through. They can't seen anything that happens outside that radius.

Hama wrote:
Hound is dead. Also, he wouldn't stand a chance against frankengregor

"The Hound" is certainly dead.

But, as shown in A FEAST FOR CROWS, Sandor lives.

The show skipped the whole Sept commune from the books that people think the Hound lives from. I don't think they'll pull a thread from season 4 that they didn't touch on all last season or in the previews. I mean, Brienne and Pod could still stumble across it on their way back south, but i see that as a stretch. I think it will be confessed and repented Knight of Flowers vs Strong. Loras beat real Gregor way back in the Hand's Tourney, and it will be a neat circle of closure on the stories.

Nope, it's all in this season. They even got Ian McShane to play Septon Meribald, or an amalgamation of him and the First Brother from the septry on Quiet Isle.
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