Author Topic: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!  (Read 7738 times)

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
C'mon, that's how journalism works. ;)

Either contribute something meaningful or **** off.

Like, what do you expect? I don't read interviews/articles too often for the reasons you named and it's part of this buisness; something that's probably being expected of you.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
You don't have a very good idea of how journalism works.

 
Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
Indeed I don't have a detailed insight into journalism; I just happen to run into the results from time to time.

 

Offline Rhymes

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
You seem to be conflating bias (which is inherent to everything involving humans) with pushing an agenda. Bias is passive and unconsciously injected into everything we do. An agenda is a conscious choice. I can tolerate bias, and even skilled writers can fall prey to it (although I should hope they try to minimize its impact on the reporting) but deliberately, consciously pushing an agenda is where I run into problems. That's what opinion pieces are for. Leave it out of interviews.
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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
Well i can’t possibly make this thread worse so here’s my attempt at a hardball question:

Was Benjanun Sriduangkaew able to perpetrate her campaign of abuse due to a systematic tendency of social justice advocates to excuse bullying and cruelty when done in the name of diversity by people with ‘unprivileged’ identities? Would her behaviour have continued to be accepted and tolerated had she not ultimately been proven to target other minorities and had instead truly reserved her rape and death threats for straight white males?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 07:51:51 pm by Phantom Hoover »
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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
Finally got some time to read the interview ! (The rest of the thread will have to wait, though)

The fact that a lot of the questions are oriented towards diversity is quite telling indeed...
Quote
Diversity is realism. I don’t think of it as ‘adding diversity’, I think of it as removing blinders.
[...]
As a rule, history was more diverse and complicated than the caricatures we remember.
That about sums up a lot of the issues that I have with standard "cis-white men club" stories and mindsets. The world is so much richer than most people realise. And when you point out how improbable this all is, it's usually met with a shrug and a "does it really matter?", missing the point altogether. Hell, it often takes me a while to notice that kind of thing myself. Case in point :
Quote
[In] War in Heaven you play as a dark-skinned lesbian of African descent
This is something that flew completely over my head, my mental picture of Laporte had always been of a standard young white girl (with dark hair).


Another nugget that stood out for me:
Quote
I know I have to make a conscious effort to do this, because left in my own comfort zone I’d just read technothrillers, space opera, and nonfiction about horrible diseases.
For some reason, I really like that last bit :P


 
Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
Since I can't really respond with something really constructive or something along the lines, I'll just say: thank you for sharing your insight on the matters, Battuta. This interview should definitely serve as a guideline and food for thought for young aspiring writers around the place (it definitely gave me some inspiration even though I'm not a writer of any kind).

Also, thank you for the opportunity to read this interview, Iain. It's definitely cool to see HLP get some movement in the social media section.
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Offline Spoon

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
This is something that flew completely over my head, my mental picture of Laporte had always been of a standard young white girl (with dark hair).
Same, but blond.
In our defense, I don't think (or at least, I don't remember) BP actually giving a ingame description of what Laporte looks like(?).
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Offline The E

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
The closest to a physical description of her is something like "raven like", iirc, which is very much open to interpretation (and probably relates more to her physicality rather than physique)
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
Yeah it’s quite ambiguous, which tends to let people fill in their cultural defaults (which are not, usually, consciously determined). She’s described as shorter than Simms and darker, in a corvine sort of way.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
I also imagine her as shorter and heavier just because those are helpful traits for a combat pilot but honestly I haven’t pinned anything down beyond that.

  
Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
I also imagine her as shorter and heavier just because those are helpful traits for a combat pilot but honestly I haven’t pinned anything down beyond that.

Didn't you said once that physical aspects are more or less irrelevant for a fighter pilot?

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
So, I had my rest ... time to adress what happened on Monday.

*deep breaths*

Firstly, an apology is warranted.
I failed to do my due dilligence on Monday to engage with the interview on its own terms; a number of lateral moves would have been required and I did none of those. As a result I let the dissonance between my opinions and the opinions expressed in the answers get the better of me and results are as they are.
I will now try to offer an explaination to what the cause of said dissonance is.

I apologize for the offence given.



As for the explaination, let's start with a fundamental point - I have little regard for Realism as stylistic choice for which Battuta expressed his perferrence.

I actually tried to find if I had given my speech on the subject on HLP before, but no results. I hope the tl;dr suffices: In essence, while Realism frequently produces works of great quality, I find there is a "mutness" about works of Realism. "Muteness" in this context is not the same as expressionless or empty, it is more the absence of points to connect beyond the surface level.

As such reading his answers in details requires a lot more mental legwork for me, as I tend to be in a quasi-Idealistic position (and to try to be subversive tends to bring a smile to my face :D ).

Due to that position it kinda came tumbling down following this:
Quote
CD: Following on from this, some of your characters undergo a major change during their story arcs. For example, Laporte, the protagonist in War in Heaven, starts off as a young, naïve and possibly schizophrenic rookie pilot. She then matures into a hardened fighter ace, then on to a state sponsored spec-ops terrorist. Eventually, she becomes a pivotal element in the war, and mankind’s survival as a species, when it is revealed that her presumed schizophrenia is in fact communications with post-human intelligences. How did you ‘get into the head’ of such a character, and what techniques did you use to avoid Laporte falling into the clichéd ‘Mary Sue’ or ‘The Chosen One’ tropes.

I don’t think there is any real value in thinking about ‘tropes’. They’re lists of things that often happen in stories. What matters is understanding why and how they’re used.

Laporte is a person raised in a culture of sanctity and compassion who discovers, and must come to terms with, her own talent for killing. She’s been activated as a weapon or agent by an alien power using humanity in a proxy war. She has to decide who she’s going to become under these circumstances. I think about these things. I don’t think about tropes.

Now going from what he describes, I read a disinterest in the normative side of narration here, beyond the inherit "represent what is". Coming from an idealistic position that side however is crictially important.

From an idealistic position you already picked your cause and you chose to champion it.
You are engaged in an act of communication, and thus have to take the reader by the hand and lead them into the logic inherit to the story. "Tropes" are points of familiarity, the starting proposition with which you gain the trust of your audience.

Of course, the first steps don't make the dance. :D


I don't want to propose some sort of hierarchy here. I don't want to declare that the way I engage with writing is inherently better.
There are differences in execution and intend here, that goes all the way down to the axioms. However as "violent" as my infiltered reaction may be, there is no need actually compete on merits of any of these points.



As to why I found Battuta's reactions ... "poor" is related to what I just called "the normative side of narration".

The premise of the Destiny questions, dogwhistles as they are, is that all narration is normative, which is not an odd proposition considering how a lot of narrative traditions tend to focus on morality tales, i.e. stories that also serve to transmit the values of a society.
However the premise tends to fail the test of reversing its logic - the importance of morality tales does not make all narration normative.

Add a garnish and serve :D

Now there are more aspects to responding to that kind of dogwhistle but they tend to be non-universal; hegemonies, to which such dogwhistles are supposed to draw defenders, tend to be quite specific systems - so I will refrain from further, more uniformed propositions.



re: Laporte appearance
For some reason I imagined her to be of mixed-african descent, but I can't eactly point to the why ... maybe a deduction from her adopted(?) uncle being from Johannesburg?

As to physical traits:
Military recruitment today tends to focus on smaller hights for pilots and drivers - in no small part because it easier to adjust a vehicle to smaller person than a larger one.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 04:10:08 pm by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
@Nightmare:
Perhaps since Martians experienced lower gravity throughout their lives than Earthers, they became a tad higher and slimmer than their ancestors, but also had less dense bones and muscles which limits their capability of coping with G-forces?
How do you kill a hydra?

You starve it to death.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
I have no idea what most of that means but none of it is about the inanity or lack thereof of that one question AFAICT. But I appreciate your thoughtful reply, genuinely.

When it comes to ‘diversity’ or lack there of, any departure from realism should be purposeful. Most such departures aren’t - they’re just filling casts with more white guys than you’d expect from random chance.

 
Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
@Nightmare:
Perhaps since Martians experienced lower gravity throughout their lives than Earthers, they became a tad higher and slimmer than their ancestors, but also had less dense bones and muscles which limits their capability of coping with G-forces?

That's an interesting idea. Indeed this was to happen if mankind would stay on Mars for longer, but I'm not sure if the colonisation would be long enough in FS (or in this case BP) for such effects to occur as the selection pressure from low-g to high-g is much higher than vice-versa. Also I'd presume such effects could be compensated by technology for a prolonged time at this point, not to mention further migration from Earth.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Interview article with Seth Dickinson - AKA our very own General Battuta!
none of it is about the inanity or lack thereof of that one question AFAICT.

PM incoming.

When it comes to ‘diversity’ or lack there of, any departure from realism should be purposeful. Most such departures aren’t - they’re just filling casts with more white guys than you’d expect from random chance.

There is just the tiny problem about those of us who are not blessed with a treasure trove of primary sources.

While the answer is, of course, to knuckle down and do your research from other sources, the logistics of it aren't always as easy.
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."