Posts tagged ‘R Scott Bakker’

Friday Fast Forward Rewind

Here are some interesting fantasy-related posts that have piqued my interest lately – may they pique yours also.

Friday Fast Forward Rewind

Herewith another selection of links to interesting fantasy-related articles I’ve read this week.

Friday Fast Forward Rewind

Friday Fast Forward Rewind

Herewith some delectable titbits from the world of fantasy this week:

Wednesday Word of the Week: lazaret/lazaretto

This is a word taken from my current reading, R Scott Bakker’s The White-Luck Warrior. Unfortunately, the context in which the author uses it doesn’t match the definition (except in the sense of being a synonym for ‘hospital’) – especially as its root, ‘lazar’, means ‘leper’ (from ‘Lazarus’). I wonder whether a word with such a clear origin in real-world proper nouns has a place in the text of a secondary world narrative.


–noun, plural -tos.
1. a hospital for those affected with contagious diseases, especially leprosy.
2. a building or a ship set apart for quarantine purposes.
3. Also called glory hole. Nautical . a small storeroom within the hull of a ship, especially one at the extreme stern.

Also, laz·a·ret, laz·a·rette  /ˌlæzəˈrɛt/

1540–50; < Upper Italian ( Venetian ) lazareto, blend of lazzaro lazar and Nazareto popular name of a hospital maintained in Venice by the Church of Santa Maria di Nazaret


A dispute at one of the watering tributaries between Galeoth Agmundrmen and Ainoni Eshkalasi knight lead to bloodshed – some twenty-eight souls lost, another forty-two sent to the lazarets.

Source: The White-Luck Warrior by R Scott Bakker.

Docx versus Bakker

I just read an interesting couple of articles. Firstly was a piece on the Guardian website by Edward Docx (possibly named after a Microsoft Word document) decrying the state of literature today and basically saying that genre fiction (fantasy, thriller etc) is bad and literary fiction is good – actually, he doesn’t quite say that, but he does say that good genre fiction cannot be as good as the best literary fiction.

R Scott Bakker, author of The Darkness that Comes Before and other excellent fantasy books as well as a pair of techno-thrillers, posted a response on his Three Pound Brain blog, in which he expounds his view that critics and writers subscribe to the Myth of the Vulgar Cage, which basically amounts to a specious justification literary snobbery towards genre fiction.

To be honest, the Docx article struck a chord for me. It’s great that people are reading, but is it not a problem that people are reading the easy stuff like Harry Potter and Dan Brown in such huge numbers and not reading the challenging stuff, whatever the genre, by authors such as (picking a name completely at random) R Scott Bakker?

Most stuff is crap. I love fantasy, but I wouldn’t touch a Feist or a Goodkind novel with a barge pole. I’m sure most literary fiction is crap, too (I don’t read enough to pick some bad authors). But I think it’s true that it’s easier for publishers to put out badly written genre fiction because it ticks all the boxes or it cashes in on a current fad (Harry Potter rip-off, The Name of the Wind comes to mind). Literary fiction sells so little, that I would guess publishers have to really make sure it’s worth it before risking publishing a new literary author.

I found myself agreeing with both critiques – any worthwhile area of human endeavour or thought is complex enough that it allows multiple contradictory viewpoints, all of which have some validity. All genres have their conventions and limitations, including literary fiction. The job of a conscientious reader is to be aware of them and to read the best, whatever shelf of the bookshop it’s stocked on. The job of a good writer is to work within genre conventions and to transcend them at the same time.


ap·o·dic·tic /ˌæpəˈdɪktɪk/

1. incontestable because of having been demonstrated or proved to be demonstrable.
2. Logic. (of a proposition) necessarily true or logically certain.

Also, ap·o·deic·tic  /ˌæpəˈdaɪktɪk/ Show Spelled, ap·o·dic·ti·cal.

1645–55; < L apodīcticus < Gk apodeiktikós proving fully. See apo-, deictic

—Related forms
ap·o·dic·ti·cal·ly, ap·o·deic·ti·cal·ly, adverb


The fact is, I am dogmatic. I do have unwavering faith in a set of claims. I may affect suspicion of them, but FAPP, I use them as apodictic truths.

Source: Three Pound Brain.