Three Pound Brain

No bells, just whistling in the dark…

Tag: The Great Ordeal

Some New Reviews of The Great Ordeal

by rsbakker


In The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, the late Clifford Nass presents research using ‘computer confederates’ to study, among many other things, the way introverts and extroverts respond to self-promotion: it turns out introverts prefer self-deprecation, whereas extroverts prefer self-glorification. Since the last post was a shameless exercise in the latter, I was hoping to throw a blanket of self-deprecation over it with the following post. But alas, nothing fitting that description has come to fruition, so I thought I might as well be truly shameless and post links to the latest batch of reviews from a wide variety of venues around the web… The first one is truly special, I think.

Welcome to the Night Vale


The Otherlander’s Blog

Frigid Reads

A Sky of Books and Movies

Autumnal Update

by rsbakker

I had some luck at the craps tables in Vegas, finishing $10 ahead, which is nothing short of a miracle. I made several others a small fortune shooting. Vegas, as far as I’m concerned, is the holiest city in the world, just edging out Jerusalem and Mecca, and leaving Rome in the dust. Why? Because of the living monumentality, all of it dedicated to the simulation of exceptionalism.

Just a few fiction related tidbits from the web (thanks to those of you who sent me links):

The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography has published an enthusiastic review of The Great Ordeal. My favourite blurb is,

“If you are waiting for George R.R. Martin’s next book to come out, make sure to read some R. Scott Bakker. It’s epic fantasy of an entirely different flavor, alien and grimdark, convoluted and terrifyingly beautiful.”

Dan Smyth over at Elitist Book Reviews has posted a decidedly less enthusiastic review (but still, a sight better than the personal offence he felt reading The White-Luck Warrior). When it comes to books, some people are prone to shout “poison!” when you serve them the wrong brand of tea., the biggest SF&F website in Russia, has posted a Russian translation of “The False Sun,” the preeminent Atrocity Tale, I think it’s safe to say.

Omni has listed Neuropath among the “Best Philosophically Driven Sci-Fi Books” in their Buyer’s Guide. My first experience with Omni came in grade seven, when Mr. Allen (who once gave me some Pascal to take home!) read “Sandkings” aloud to our class, convincing me there was something with staples cooler than comic books. So I guess you could say this closes an ancient circuit, wonder to wonder.

The UK and World Release of THE GREAT ORDEAL

by rsbakker


So it’s been a busy summer. Fawk.

I answered next to no emails. The computer I’m writing on this very moment is my only portal to the web, which tends to play laser light show to my kitten, so I avoided it like the plague, and managed to piss off a good number of people, I’m sure.

I’ve finished both “The Carathayan,” an Uster Scraul  story for the Evil is a Matter of Perspective anthology, as well as a philowank Foreword entitled, “On the Goodness of Evil.”

I submitted an outline for “Reading After the Death of Meaning,” an essay on literary criticism and eliminativism solicited by Palgrave for a critical anthology on Literature and Philosophy.

I finished a serious rewrite of The Unholy Consult, which I printed up and sent out to a few fellow humans for some critical feedback. My favourite line so far is “Perfect and insane”!

This brought back some memories, probably because I’m still basking in the post-coital glow of finishing The Unholy Consult. It really is hard to believe that I’m here, on the far side of the beast that has been gnawing at my creative bones for more than thirty years now. My agent has completed the deal with Overlook, so I can look forward to the odd night eating out, maybe even buying a drink or two!

And tomorrow, of course, is the day The Great Ordeal is set to be released in the UK and around the world. If you have a tub handy, thump away. Link the trailer if you think it might work. Or if you’re engaging an SF crowd, maybe link “Crash Space.” It would be nice to sell a bazillion books, but really, I would be happy selling enough to convince my publishers to continue investing in the Second Apocalypse.

To the Coffers, my friends. The Slog of Slogs is nearing its end.



by rsbakker


One of my big goals with Three Pound Brain has always been to establish a ‘crossroads between incompatible empires,’ to occupy the uncomfortable in-between of pulp, science, and philosophy–a kind of ‘unholy consult,’ you might even say. This is where the gears grind. I’ve entertained some grave doubts over the years, and I still do, but posts like these are nothing if not heartening. The hope is that I can slowly gain the commercial and academic clout needed to awaken mainstream culture to this grinding, and to the trouble it portends.

I keep planning to write a review of Steven Shaviro’s wonderful Discognition, wherein he devotes an entire chapter to Neuropath and absolutely nails what I was trying to accomplish. It’s downright spooky, but really just goes to show, at least for those of us who periodically draw water from his Pinocchio Theory blog. For anyone wishing to place the relation of SF to consciousness research, I can’t think of a more clear-eyed, impeccably written place to begin. Not only does Shaviro know his stuff, he knows how to communicate it.

Robert Lamb considers “The Great Ordeal’s Outside Context Problem” over at Stuff to Blow Your Mind, where he asks some hard questions of the Tekne, and Kellhus’s understanding of it. SPOILER ALERT, though. Big time.

Dan Mellamphy and Nandita Biswas-Mellamphy have just released Digital Dionysus: Nietzsche and the Network-Centric Condition, a collection of various papers exploring the relevance of Nietzsche’s work to our technological age, including “Outing the It that Thinks: The Coming Collapse of an Intellectual Ecosystem,” by yours truly. The great thing about this collection is that it reads Nietzsche as a prophet of the now rather than as some post-structuralist shill. I wrote the paper some time ago, at a point when I was still climbing back into philosophy after a ten year hiatus, but I still stand by it and its autobiographical deconstruction of the Western intellectual tradition.

The North American Release of The Great Ordeal

by rsbakker


I was wrong! Jason actually has one final teaser—this one catching Saubon shortly before one of my favourite scenes in the whole of The Second Apocalypse.

So the book is out in North America! If you believe in the series, thump whatever tub you can… you’re the credible ones.

Everything I do just seems to scare people away!

The Other Lidless Eye…

by rsbakker



Overlook has released the last of Jason Deem’s spectacular visual teasers drawn from The Great Ordeal, this one featuring Mimara and the mystery of the Judging Eye.

Adam has posted A History of Earwa, Part 5: The Holy War, his conclusion to his epic recounting of the epic histories forming the backdrop to The Second Apocalypse. The TPB piece on secondary worlds and histories I mentioned previously is almost finished, so I hope to have it up soon. What Adam is doing is providing an alternate interpretation of an alternate interpretation of fictitious sources reporting events that never happened. This is pretty cool, like disentangling the form of an important socio-cognitive mechanism from the hair of the real. The degree to which his account layers my account allows you to see the way ‘realism’ or ‘credibility’ has to be a function of the organization of information as opposed to any source. Why should that be? Why should the compounding of interpretations generate ‘realism effects’?

The Darkness that Comes Before has been listed as one of “The Top Ten Best Fantasy Books” over at Top Ten Plus.

And for those who are interested in the philosophical underpinnings of the series, I stumbled across an old article of mine on the topic dating from 2000, some time prior to the publication of TDTCB: “Why Fantasy and Why Now?” It’s bizarre bumping into younger strangers possessing your name—yet another radical transformation in our cognitive habitat, I’m sure. Yet another reason to buy another sack of rice at the supermarket.




A World that Only the Blind Can See

by rsbakker



Overlook has released the third of Jason Deem’s magnificent countdown teasers, as you can see above. The Last Cishaurim, I must say, has special place in my heart. Such water!

The Daily Dot has listed The Second Apocalypse as one of ten series to read while waiting for the next Game of Thrones installment. A recommendation echoed by the Spanish language culture webzine, Conectica.

And last, but certainly not least, Adam has “The History of Earwa, Part 4: The Modern Age” up at the Wertzone.

Reading Adam’s ongoing exegesis, especially while revising and expanding the Encyclopedic Glossary for The Unholy Consult, has got me thinking hard about the significance of world building in fantastic literature, and role of what might be called ‘folk ontologies,’ and the notion of ‘adaptive ignorance.’ I’ll be posting on this in the near future.

On the Irreducible Unity of Language and Ancient Old Souls

by rsbakker



So Overlook has released another one of Jason Deem’s visual interpretations of The Great Ordeal. This time he takes us deep into Ishterebinth, and to the revelation that will transform Sorweel forever.

Adam Whitehead continues his epic recounting with, History of Earwa, Part 3: The Apocalypse. The more I read, the more I want to buy this Bakker guy’s books, largely because I’m a ‘world junkie’ from way back. I’ve been cooking, snorting, smoking, and injecting ontologies for as long as I can bloody remember. Part of what makes Adam’s treatment so cool, of course, is the way he incorporates Jason Deem’s art to visualize his retelling.

And lastly, Mike Hillcoat has opened two subforums on The Second Apocalypse discussion boards, an Author Q&A where I will answer, as best I can, general questions pertaining to the series, and also TGO ARC Author Q&A, where I will do my best to not answer specific questions pertaining The Great Ordeal (and of course, The Unholy Consult), but will do my best to sound generally informative. Bear with me on these. And remember, I love difficult questions. If a zone swallows me up during the day, as is usually the case, then I will try to respond sometime after 10PM, Eastern Standard Time.

Updatage: History, Hell, and Thievery

by rsbakker




Check out Jason Deem’s rendition of Kellhus in the Thousand Hells. If you pester him enough, he might spill the beans on his inspiration painting the scene, as well as my inspiration writing it.

Kudos to everyone who contributed to the previous thread: I think I’ve compiled a great list of zingers to send to my new publicist thanks to you.

Just a note of warning to those who think I need neither food nor shelter to write, there’s apparently some phishing sites using The Great Ordeal as click bait. It looks like they’re even lifting material from The Second Apocalypse Forum to lend the appearance of legitimacy.

Also, the inimitable Adam Whitehead has posted A History of Earwa, Part 2: The Age of Man on Wertzone. Very, very cool, especially if you, like me, were bewitched by historical atlases in your youth. Consulting a number of different sources, Adam has pulled together a very interesting interpretation of the overthrow of the Nonmen and the rise of Men to literate civilization. But simply being able to visualize the ebb and flow of nations and empires through the centuries will, I think, help those who feel overwhelmed by my historical references.

And the winners of the Second Apocalypse Forum galley giveaway have been announced. Congratulations to Corky and Litgreg!

If Truth does not shine, then perhaps it glimmers now and again… or blinks like an icon.

Orbital Corpses

by rsbakker

Speaking of dead worlds…


It’s hard to express how cool it is to map out the final corners of the World.


To finally ink in Golgotterath, where it lies waiting.

If we don’t know how it ends, then at least we know where.