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"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Tag Archives: fantasy

My New Alt-Dissident Fantasy Fiction

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5 (conclusion)

I have previously opined that the alt-dissidents ought to establish culture and aesthetics rather than just making formal arguments.
I decided to try to practice what I preach and for the last few weeks I’ve been working on a mini-novella instead of my regular blog posts. I’ve chosen to write in a fantasy setting because I’ve always wanted to, but also because establishing mythological tales is a natural place to start for an emerging culture. And much of modern mythology comes from fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero stories.
Narratives about gods and heroes are popular in every culture because humans seem to universally process the world around them in terms of archetypes. Greek Gods, Norse Gods, and modern superheroes all embody essential principles and the interactions of these characters mirror the relationships between those principles in real life. It is my guess that myth-making is a primal human activity because it can communicate abstractions even to people who are illiterate and/or low IQ on a visceral and intuitive level.

I have often used the concepts of Heaven and Hell on this blog to contrast the established social order with those who thrive outside of it and against it. Now, I have applied this analogy to a narrative.
I didn’t feel this blog was the right medium for longer pieces of fiction. I have always believed in sticking to essays here between 600-1500 words that readers can easily scroll through.
So I approached Kaiter Enless of Logos Club with a query and after reviewing it, he expressed his interest in publishing my story on his site divided into 4-5 parts. Part 1 was just put up today and I will have the rest forthcoming soon.

Special thanks to Garr who personally volunteered his time to edit and critique the story and to Ulric Kerensky who also read through the rough draft and gave me excellent feedback.

What Game of Thrones Tells Us About Modernity

It’s not often a work of fantasy breaks into the the mainstream.

I read tons of fantasy when I was a kid and with the exception of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, the whole genre was considered a niche market.

Thus the re-emergence of fantasy into the popular consciousness comes as a major landmark.
Why did this happen?

The first word that people use when they describe Game of Thrones is ‘realistic.’
There’s no clearly defined good or bad guys, plot twists break from established conventions.
The whole social world is defined by infidelity, incest, Machiavellian self interest, and betrayal.

The one classically moral character who refuses to adapt and insists on sticking to his values comes to a tragic end.
Not only is he killed, his best intentions lead only to strife and catastrophe.

I tried to read these books at the recommendations of some friends, but I didn’t get very far. The first thing I noticed was that I’d been introduced to about 20 different characters by page 50 and I struggled to keep them all straight in my head and remember their unremarkable Old English names.
Already the social relationships between these characters were becoming a web of petty backbiting.

In short: it was an awful lot like spending time on facebook; the kind of shallow social interaction I’d always gone to fantasy books to get away from!

Fantasy is a form of mythology; it tells larger than life stories about the experiences in our daily lives.

The huge success of Game of Thrones is a powerful indicator of how the popular consciousness has shifted.

The schemers win and the honorable men are naive fools who will only end up being taken advantage of. Worse, their good intentions will inevitably backfire within our modern order.

Why does this tragic outcome have such a deep appeal?
Members of the audience perhaps wish an Eddard Stark could have won the day but simultaneously have a cynical knowledge that this can never be.
In this moral dissonance, we perhaps find a certain catharsis that helps us resolve emotions we bottle up every day.

We know that asshole boss who played The Game of Thrones better than we did is going to be the winner over us, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

Perhaps before this Second Great Depression revealed beyond all doubt that a great game of selfish intrigue defines our society up to its highest ranks, we could tell ourselves that some how the good guys will win in the end.

Those who care about the future of this society would do well to take note that these ‘realistic’ attitudes have seeped into the wellsprings of our collective imagination.

LINK

Eddard Stark

Eddard Stark

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report: Orcs vs. Skaven

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