NeilNjae

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NeilNjae
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  • I've finished it, so post when you're ready.
  • These comments raise the question: should we continue with the Broken Earth slow read? It seems few, if any, have really enjoyed the book. From what I remember, the other books are more of the same. Is it time to stop?
  • Replies to multiple posts: (Quote) If the story were Lovecraft-influenced, what would you expect to see? (Quote) Was it that Innon didn't want the blood on his hands, or that he wasn't capable of the orogeny needed? (Quote) In case you don't know…
  • Another thing I forgot to mention: why had Fulcrum left active the Allia volcano? They could easily monitor it, and Syenite had no trouble capping it. Why risk another Season?
  • (Quote) Volcanoes aren't simple pipes to the mantle. There's hotspots and bubbles and magma chambers and dykes and all sorts. I'd expect the channel at Allia to fail quite quickly as magma comes up, cools and depressurises, and then clogs the hole. …
  • (Quote) What meaning to people here-and-now derive from game playing and winning? Once basic material needs are met, what's the point in anything? I think that's one of the issues brought up by the book, about what people could or should do to make …
    in Question 1 Comment by NeilNjae March 15
  • (Quote) It was a follow-up on Innon's statement that Syenite was stronger than Alabaster, as Alabaster was fragile and only just holding together. I think it was more a reference to Syenite's greater resilience. (Quote) I'm enjoying all the specula…
  • (Quote) They're the things that occur to me, as an attempt to start conversations. They're not meant to be in any way proscriptive. If you have your own thoughts, please come up with them! I'm aware that me posting questions may restrict the discuss…
  • (Quote) Good analysis! The issues of frames around knowledge, and alternatives to them, is something to look forward in the next chapters. I think it's clear that the several strands in the book are there to give different perspectives on ... whate…
  • (Quote) I've been reading this and thinking it's quite British, but not that bad, surely. Then I came to the chapter entitled "The Jackanory Version". Oh, you poor yanks. You won't have a clue.
  • (Quote) Chance, unpredictability, and free will are all strong themes of the book. I don't think anything is certain in the outcome of the fall of the Azad empire.
    in Question 5 Comment by NeilNjae March 10
  • (Quote) Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but isn't it a happy coincidence that Gurgeh's ennui comes to a head just in time for the grand Azad tournament? Just how long ago did Contact start playing this game?
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 10
  • Still catching up with the book, but I'm somewhat surprised that no-one's mentioned the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Several times, the game of Azad is described as a language, with Gurgeh communicating with other players through it. The most striking ex…
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 10
  • (Quote) Another point from my delayed read. While touring the city, Flere-Imsaho says that Contact hasn't already intervened in Azad because all the interventions it's modelled have resulted in more suffering than letting Azad continue as it is. Us …
    in Question 5 Comment by NeilNjae March 10
  • Still churning my way through my re-read, and something I'd not noticed before, and may add to the symbolism of the game playing... Gurgeh is dark-skinned. The Azadians are light-skinned and racist, to the extent that the expectation is that any dar…
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 10
  • (Quote) My day job is an AI researcher. This is an old problem, and one we're already dealing with. Airbus planes will over-ride the pilot's control inputs if it's dangerous. This has prevented some accidents. It's also caused others, when the plane…
    in Question 5 Comment by NeilNjae March 8
  • (Quote) Perhaps we should read a le Carré / Smiley book soon, as a comparison on how to portray espionage? And perhaps a Flemming / Bond book as a contrast?
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 8
  • (Quote) It turns out, this isn't such a great insight, as Banks tells us, near the beginning of the book, that Gurgeh will be played by Contact. An early chapter, before the game of Stricken, before Gurgeh is contacted by Concact, while Gurgeh is e…
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 7
  • (Quote) Really? That's an extreme isloationist / libertarian view, it seems. Do you not want people giving you advice, even if they're experts and you're not? Do you not want governments to implement public-health campaigns, or provide public goods …
    in Question 7 Comment by NeilNjae March 7
  • (Quote) Especially as, as we saw with Grugeh, that it's easy for the Minds to manipulate people into behaving as the Minds would like.
    in Question 1 Comment by NeilNjae March 5
  • (Quote) By "people" I meant "we, the readers," and not how the in-universe characters react to her. Sorry that wasn't clear. Not that it negates your answer in any way!
  • (Quote) I don't know if you've read other Culture books, but... this comes up. There are some people, and some Minds, that disagree with the Culture and what it does, and decide to leave the Culture. The Culture, being the Culture, let them go with …
    in Question 7 Comment by NeilNjae March 4
  • (Quote) It's interesting that biblical scholars think so. I don't think it's that relevant for anyone else. (Quote) To a great extent, they are. In fact, they really are the loving God of Christianity. I've not thought of it that way before. Going …
    in Question 5 Comment by NeilNjae March 4
  • I'll continue to sing the praises of the wonderful Mindjammer RPG. It's very Culture-like, apart from the lack of Minds. There's plenty of scope for adventure there (including my Mindjammer/Thunderbirds mash-up, _Interstellar Rescue). There are a c…
    in Question 7 Comment by NeilNjae March 4
  • Should NATO have intervened in Kosovo, or Yugoslavia, or Syria, or Iraq? None of those was an existential threat to NATO countries, but the humanitarian imperative was clear. Should the UK and US governments press China to implement more human right…
    in Question 5 Comment by NeilNjae March 4
  • It's obviously not a problem for the Culture because the Culture is being successful. I think it rests on what the Culture is for. It's not about expansion, efficiency, or other such capitalist-inspired value judgements. If that were the case, the M…
    in Question 4 Comment by NeilNjae March 4
  • (Quote) That's the one I was thinking of. I think the times when the Mind tells Gurgeh to switch languages from Marain to Azad and back to Marain is the most obvious way it's manipulating him. And you can imagine the conversations between the SC Mi…
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 4
  • Yes, it's a communist utopia. No-one wants for anything, and people are free to concentrate on the important things, like playing games, writing poetry, and hobby-building GCVs. On the other hand, the Minds are so far above humans (and most drones)…
    in Question 1 Comment by NeilNjae March 3
  • I've not actually read the book this month (I lent my copy to someone, and the reservation at the library hasn't come through yet...), but. One thing that struck me from my last read. Who is the "player" referred to in the title? What gam…
    in Question 2 Comment by NeilNjae March 3
  • (Quote) That just shows I should pay more attention to my betters! (Quote) I think the world has verisimilitude because it hews close to a series of tropes and touchstones about the world. They all make sense in isolation, but when we try to put th…