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For your viewing pleasure, here’s this month’s Storyboard.
I will admit, I’m kinda proud of the title….
Share and enjoy…
Awesome. Speaking of, your books actually are too awesome, since I’ve read them I just can’t seem to get into another fantasy novel, they lack the world immersion and characters you’ve created. So I figure I’d go to the guy to blame for this, you (or other denizens in this blog, I’m sure they know the feeling). What should I look to read next that has at least an approaching level of the masterpiece that is the King Killer Chronicles?
I’m always reviewing books over on Goodreads, if you want to check out my profile over there….
Since Pat has so many four and five star reviews on Goodreads, if you are having trouble narrowing down some choices, I’d recommend these to people who like Pat’s work:
1. Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson — Only book 1 is out (The Way of Kings), but it’s incredibly good.
2. The Amber books by Roger Zelazny — First person fantasy with some scenes in our world. If possible, get the audiobooks narrated by Zelazny himself as they are spectacularly done.
3. Discworld by Terry Pratchett– A humorous, and British, take on fantasy. There are series within the series which focus on different characters. Do you like hard-boiled detective thrillers? How about inventors and innovators? Bumbling wizards? He’s got books for all of those and more.
4. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin — The series that the Game of Thrones show is based on. I haven’t seen the show, but the books are as good as anything out there, particularly if you get tired of “safe” fantasy where characters never have major long-term consequences.
5. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher — Urban fantasy, but absolutely gripping from page one and Butcher only gets better as the series progresses.
I’ll 2nd ASOIAF – it’s one of the only series that has grabbed me the same way KKC has.
Though I’ve heard a lot of good things about Steven Erickson’ Malazan Series too, just haven’t had a chance to grab it up yet.
Been enjoying some Belgariad Series recently – though I can’t really say it compares.
And I will second The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The first one I picked up (Fool Moon I believe) got me hooked. I really enjoy reading them. At school when I get a new one I have to give it to my teacher, otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done. Seriously nothing.
PS I’m still in high school.
There were some good qualities in the Malazan books, but I couldn’t make myself keep reading after book 2. It has some real clarity issues, imho. I simply wasn’t able to understand what was happening in some scenes. I’m talking about the action specifically, like who was doing what.
I strongly recommend the ‘The Wheel Of Time” -Series. It was the only bookseries to attract me after reading Pat’s books :)
This is a great, and relevant discussion. Thank you.
Holy crap, can I go meta for a second on the above?
What the hell is that? This is a great … discussion. What human being that actually is into a subject talks like that. That’s like laying, post-coitus, with a young lady, still naked and panting, sweat glistening, and saying “Why thank you, miss, I found that indeed to be a lovely time; we shall have to do it again in a consensual manner, perhaps after consuming some measure of alcoholic beverage.”
. . .
Sorry about that, everyone.
Yeah. thank you for doing these, Pat, I really appreciate having the perspective from your side of the fence on these issues.
Great discussion, but as a German I was rather baffled, that people have so much problems with sex in book. Like Robert Redick said, there are boobs in primetime in Germany all the time. Hell, there is even sex in our soap-operas so what is all the fuss about? Game of Thrones (TV-series) is rated for 16-years-olds in Germany probably because of the violence and not so much because of the sex-secenes the same goes for True Blood. It is almost ever the violence that get higher rated than the sex-scences, it’s the same with video-games, the German versions have cuts during the violent scenes and of course therwe is less bloodf lying around. My parents would have never forbidden me to read book just because there were sex-scenes in it, but they sure didn’t like my Stephen King-phase and were worried about the violence in his books. So, I really think it is kind of a cultural problem. That said, I really like the sex-scenes in your second book, although it was kind of hard to adjust to it. Not because Kvothe was having sex, but because for me it was like watching my baby-brother having sex. I mean as a reader you were with him since his early childhood and so it was hard to adjust to the adult he has become. So, yeah I liked the sex-scenes in book 2, there were well-written and kind of nice.
Yeah, we’ve got some weirdness about sex here in the US.
And yet, Stephen King is an avid supporter of gun control. Kinda makes you go hmmmmmmm!
I got my dad to read Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear and he read through both and didn’t even mention the “sex parts”, maybe he is more down to earth than I thought…
Sex is always a touchy subject it is interesting, I prefer to have it in books since it’s a part of life. Although I think using it as the hook for a book / series tends to be over the top.
Totally agree with this. It’s just unrealistic to write adult characters that do not have sex – unless they have a specific reason for not doing so, which should be addressed early.
(and I totally think the same about my mother! LOL – sometimes I just recommend her something really intense and insane to see if she will say anything….)
That was a good episode, watched in one sitting.
I wanted to reply to your concern Pat, namely of unknowingly threading any cultural bias of your own, into your books and effectively “poisioning the next generation”, as I think you put it.
In WMF, during Kvothe’s time in Ademre, the way you built that alien culture, with their different habit’s in all spheres of life, of which sex is but one, put the notion of cultural conventions into question. (Things like manmothers, or lack of sexual dominance/repression).
From reading this blog, I see your same views on women and sexuality engineered into these books. But that said, I think that is a wonderful thing.
Fret not young Pat, but write on!
Any sex scene that doesn’t include the words orifice or salty tasking is tame.
* Salty TASTING. Sheesh! C’mon, Pat. No button for revisions?
If there was a button I could enable, I would.
But there isn’t….
So looking forward to watching this tonight!!
And thanks for the excuse to order pizza twice in one pay period! :)
Can we do this again next month? LOL.
At the beginning you said something along the lines of “there wasn’t any sex in “Lord of the Rings”, there weren’t even women”. You do realize that this sounds as if women=sex, right?
In “The Wise Man’s Fear” Tempi says that he has learnt to endure some things, like pain, hunger, thirst, and then mentions “women”, and it sounds as if he is talking about sex – or being extremely sexist. (I have only read a translation, and this might be a mistranslation – I do hope it is)
Well, sometimes a straight man likes to have sex over women… but, in the book the women Tempi is talking about are all strong women, they aren’t airy impressions of boobs and butt you see in the media here, and, by the way he is talking about mastery over things, at least how it sounded when I read it, is that both the Adem warriors are slightly less strict about resisting consensual desires and also, that the women are not really mastered.
Men seem to be considered the weaker sex among the Adem, which seems to be governed by a matriarchy.
There are all different types of people in this book, bad people, good people, men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, men and women who don’t seem to have an interest in sex. Their actions are the actions of characters, maybes Tempi is a chauvinistic pig, but that doesn’t mean the author is, or that the book is promoting chauvinistic ideas.
Look at why the words are as they are, look at where they are coming from.
Kak, sorry! That shouldnt say “over women” thats just bizarre. That should say “with women”
Don’t judge me on my typos please. >.<
It is exactly because the women Tempi knows can hardly be perceived as sex objects that I noticed this. If, for example, Ambrose had said something like that, I’d just have thought “Okay, that’s his culture.”
Women=Sex is a male point of view. Tempi, on the other hand, has seemingly been taught by women. I would have expected them to tell their pupils something like “Girls, you need to learn to resist sexy men” (If Adem culture was a matriarchy that mirrored known patriarchies; which it is not) or “Kids, you need to learn to resist sexual temptations” if it is a gender-equal society.
Yes, logically, Tempi would not say sexist things (at least nothing sexist against women). However, he is not a real person. He is a character in a book.
Which is why it is absolutely possible that he says something sexist that the author doesn’t recognize as sexist/male-centric because he lives in a culture in which male-centric language is normal.
I don’t have the passage in front of me, but from what you quoted it doesn’t sound to me like he’s talking about physical relations. It sounds more like he making a joke about trying to be a man in a matriarchal society. Really though, I’m not even sure it matters what society it is as, if I heard an American man say that, I’d assume he was simply implying he had difficulty dealing socially with women, but not specifically physically. In Tempi’s case, it could also mean that they beat the heck out of him in duels too though. :D
Tempi is talking about Sex in that scene. He’s just a heterosexual male who sometimes stumbles to find the correct word in aturan. (which isn’t his character’s first language)
So in that specific case, yes, Women=Sex, but not really in a sexist way.
Hope that makes your version a little clearer, I know sometimes translations can differ. I love reading South American authors – yet learning spanish remains on my to do list LOL
I thought about this, but he seems to know the word “sex” (he said so earlier), and it would have made about the same amount of sense in that context as “women” did.
Either way, one of the things he mentions is not like the others. If he talks about hunger, why doesn’t he talk about chastity? (Okay, here, it’s quite likely that he doesn’t know the word. Adem probably don’t have a word for that.)
hmm, didn’t notice that he properly used the word sex previous to said conversation – I’ll have to check my version now, its the original english version.
But, I would guess if thats a proper translation, it’s probably worth broadening to something more aiken to Tempi’s desire for women, not just sexually but all around.
(Touch, emotional connection, discussion, combat) They’re culture is very centered around women, so that would make some sense.
Though I do agree, I doubt the Adem have many words relating to chastity – LOL :))
You don’t seem to understand what I want to say.
You seem to think I oppose sexual desire, and want men to desire women “not just sexually”.
This is not the case. I oppose the view that women are objects to be desired in any way at all. Women are people. Some of whom are not sexy, but are still women.
A gender-equal society is never centered around women, because in an equal society, women are the ones who center the society around something – and they’re probably more interested in martial arts of something like that than they are in “women”.
(This might be a language misunderstanding. To me “centered around” is something other than “dominated by”, or even “-centric”. “Centered around”, to me, implies that someone else does the centering. )
That TVTropes article maybe explains what I mean:
Did the four of you make some sort of bet before you started the discussion about who could use the most innuendoes without laughing? I ask because there were even more than in the Rebel attack on the Death Star.
Honestly, I didn’t like Wise Man’s Fear. The sex. The violence. The tone. I’ll probably read book 3, but book 2 really hurt me.
The Wise Man’s Fear changes the mood for a reason.
We all know what kind of story this is.
It’s a shame you felt that way. To me, the descent into darker themes seemed a necessary part of making Kvothe into who he was in the framing story. Then again, as sweet as the romantic parts of the first book were, I can understand where you’re coming from.
If there were a like button I would click it, Ghost Writer. Simply said and without judgment. I completely agree that the descent into darker themes goes with the ‘present day’ view of Kvothe telling the story. How everything came about. He can’t be that self destructive without having done some things. Any things.
I thought the sex and violence fit rather well into the whole story. The darkness is also very fitting for the process of taking us to the point Kvothe is at now — having in some way completely “lost himself.” The thing that Bast is so worried about.
Got my fingers crossed that Bast and Chronicler figure out how to pull him out of it.
I assume, as an author, that there are always going to be some things that you write about that a small minority of your readers are not going to appreciate. For various personal or cultural reasons. The story Pat Rothfuss tells will never be the story another person would tell. (Or perhaps would like to tell, or enjoy reading about.) I think it’s terribly important, as an author, to think about your readers. However, that being said, it is not in any way the most important thing. What I love most about reading is that I am hearing this author’s story, in the manner that this particular person wishes to tell it. Yes, it is at some times terrible… or wondrous, or painful, or exhilarating. Yes, sometimes I am wounded by the events that occur. The very best books often take me places I never would myself have imagined going.
Is it possible to provide the topic of the next story board beforehand in a blog, to allow people to post questions that can then be discussed?
Questions I would have asked:
1) If good books evoke emotion, what emotion are you aiming for when you write a sex scene in a book that is not erotica? Are you still trying to get the reader turned on, or is it meant to be beautiful or emotionless. How do you balance those?
2) What are the mechanics/ tricks that you use when writing a sex scene? How do you avoid cliche?
3) Even if sex has real world consequences, does making it appear on the page, as opposed to suggested, add anything of value other than the thrill factor.
Fantastic! This is exactly my problem with some Fantasy books. Does the sex add anything to the story? Almost always the answer is no! It is thrown in for the cheap thrill and to make it more “real”. It has just become part of the formula and fails to avoid being cliche. Authors seem afraid to try writing without it (and write their scenes badly) and others (who write better scenes) are actually writing Erotica with a Fantasy backdrop.
I guess I’m more prudish than most, but less so than many others. I wasn’t offended by the sex in book 2, but maybe slightly uncomfortable. Though, I think you handled it very well.
Anyway I think I can comment on the reactions you got. I think it does have a lot to do with expectations and you all covered that very well. But I think there’s something much deeper.
People reach puberty around 12 to 14. The average age of marriage in the US is around 25 I think. This creates a huge disparity if you believe sex is reserved for marriage (which a significant number of people in the US believe). What else are you supposed to do in the face of such a disparity other than make sex taboo?
Even for the people that don’t believe sex is reserved for marriage, when are those people comfortable with their children having sex? 16? 18? 20? If it’s 18 you still have this 4-6 year period where your child’s body is telling them they’re ready for sex but you as parent are not ready for that. What are you going to do about that? Again, I think they resort to tabooing sex.
At least, that’s my thinking.
I’m struggling with a similar issue in my own writing, whether or not to include elements of romance, sex, or sensuality in a work that is otherwise very dark science fantasy. Perhaps even more trouble, my protagonist is female, and she’s in love with another woman. On one hand, I could simply drop subtle hints, allowing readers to decide for themselves if there’s “something there”. On the other, I could be more blatant and risk alienating a lot of people. Still, the character herself is a sensitive, sensual person, and this relationship could become a major catalyst for events in the story.
I guess I have to decide how many potential readers I’m willing to sacrifice. The story is already very dark, with strong horror elements and a certain amount of violence and gore. It’s ironic to me that a kiss is what might keep it from being read.
The reason so many people get upset when a book that previously did not have a lot of sex has a sequel that is full of it is that they feel tricked. Fantasy novels do not necessarily equal sexual fantasy novels. You read those Kushiel books and that’s what you get, Wheel of Time nope. To find a book you love for its good storytelling and great characters only to have the tone change dramatically in the next installment is going to be disappointing because expectations are set by the first book.
I find the question of males and females in books without sex very interesting. It is not realistic to say that no one in the book is ever having sex, this I agree with. But that doesn’t mean that in order to be realistic the author needs to describe the sexual acts taking place during the story. Since the battle of good versus evil is rarely won by the two beloved romantic leads having sex, the scene is actually going to be an aside from the action. Also it brings in to the story the sexual tastes of the readers and leaves many dissatisfied, when if left to the imagination of the reader it is much better. I also find that written sex scenes are just boring. Writing is not a good medium for this sort of thing because of taste issues and the fact that it is extremely difficult for it not to sound somehow mechanical or stupidly overblown. Many readers get much more enjoyment out of a carefully crafted witty exchange or a scene of thwarted longing.
In your book, Pat, the whole Fellurian thing was just plain “when is he getting out of here and getting back to the action?” boring. Being introduced to sex also made Kvothe from a nice guy into a jerk as far as girls went, which was another disappointment. With the presentation of the Warrior Society it felt very superficial like going through a checklist of feminist society points and it was hard to care or see why their sexual preferences mattered because they were not made personally interesting the was Kvothe’s people were. Sex does not equal depth, so it was another boring aside from the main action.
Well, I have read a lot of these comments and varied opinions of the whole “sex” thing, wondering what is really the point. I have not finished book 2 yet but can say that I am looking forward to finishing it. I like the way the story flows with the characters and it creates new challenges for the reader in how they feel and think about what is going on.
Honestly if there is sex in the books, what difference does it make? Does it change the story, character, plot or anything else, I don’t think it does. Mind you again I have not finished the 2nd book yet, so I can not comment on the rest of it. What transpires is the growing of a person you are reading about, we all I would like to say learn about this part of life and choose how we become part of it. Hence the situation with Kvothe’s life, it shows depth in a sense of growing into an adult man.
This is just an opinion, I mean it does not change the way I see the books in any way. It does not change whether I will read the 3rd book or not. An aside..I was disappointed in what happened with Devi and Kvothe, I really enjoyed the times when he would visit her.
Oh my number one subject! Sex and violence.
It is my belief that it is the very problem with society as a whole. Let’s look at it.
Sex is creation. Sex is, some believe, touching the divine: Tantra (if you haven’t tried it, you really should think about it).
A proper orgasm is the one time you are completely egoless.
Violence is destruction. Violence is touching the base of our humaness.
Violence is nothing but Ego.
And religion says sex is bad..go figure.
Lol, good point!
I, for one, find it quite refreshing to see sex make its way into fantasy. After all, doesn’t everybody fantasize about great sex?
I think the way people react to sex scenes in a book is a lot to do with how they personally relate to the characters involved. Patrick has created extremely complete and complex characters and that could be part of the adverse reaction. As you get to know a character you will relate to them in a particular way, they may remind you of someone in the way they are portrayed and the kind of quirks they have and you build some kind of ongoing connection with them as the story is told.
Depending on that relationship that is built in your mind, you really may not want to know the details of their sex life – like I would not want to know the details of the personal sex lives of my friends. The less connected you are with a character, the easier it is to be objective about what they do. The more personal the character becomes to you, there are certain parts of their life that even you as the reader want them to be able to keep private.
In Jacqueline’s Kulshiel series there are plenty of graphic descriptions of sex scenes between Phedre and either captors or patrons, they were not ‘private’ to her, in the way that her relationship with Joscelin was. As a reader you sense that privacy and really have no interest in reading gratuitous sex scenes involving them as a couple.
So perhaps the question is not about how to make the sex scenes more acceptable to readers but to find out what about them is making people feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it is not as much to do with people’s attitude towards sex in general than it is to do with feeling like they are spying on something private that was never meant to be shared.
In High School, when Mom asked me to start censoring my brothers books, it was just something I had to do. And there were some books that I did deny him. Now, as an adult, I share my choice books with my family. Including Peter V. Brett and you, Patrick Rothfuss. In fact those two series I read at the same time as my Dad, and every night we would talk and ask ‘Where are you?’ and discuss what we liked. We never mentioned the sex parts. Just kinda’ skipped over those chapters.
My Dad heard me talking to my sisters about 50 Shades of Grey. He had to inform us that ‘That is a Smutty book!’ He had downloaded it, based on a recommendation and half way through had to stop because the content was unacceptable.
My sisters and I had just been discussing how the story line was lacking, the writing style, grammar, spelling and punctuation were unfortunate and the sex, especially in the last two books, was unimaginative.
With the changes in the publishing industry, the way books are becoming available on Amazon and B&N, I have been finding more and more sex in my books. In fact, I’m sure that twenty years ago I would have to visit a particular store, on a gloomy night to find the smut I can now get from the privacy of my own bed room. Or what my parents can now download from their own.
Regarding whether or not sex should be in books (in my opinion): I think it’s fine if the sex is relevant to the plot. Or if the book is relying on sex as part of the entertainment value of the genre in question.
I get annoyed by reviews that one star a book because the reviewer didn’t care to read about sex. Rather, I guess I should say that I completely dismiss those reviews. I don’t mind sex at all; in fact, I think sex is pretty neat.
That being said, I do prefer that sex in a novel be relevant and not gratuitous. Just like I prefer everything else in a novel. There are times where I feel like the sex in a novel is misplaced and breaks away from the overall tone of the work.
In regards to this episode: a part of me longs for a more nuts and bolts approach. By that, I mean that I was hoping for great tips on how to write a sex scene.
Things like: how deep to go into POV, what POV should be chosen and why, is less more, when is graphic sex relevant and why, does a sex scene need conflict or a potential arc?
I’m afraid the answers to all of those questions are probably going to just be, “Whatever works best for the story in question.” But still, it’s that nuts and bolts breakdown of a sex scene that I think could provide fantastic tips.
Just finished the first book, on to the second. Beautifully written!
On the sex topic, this storyboard episode feels a little bit false. I mean no disrespect (I really don’t! I’m a fan!), but Pat starts off with a genuine concern and confusion about why people are upset and wants to explore the issue, yet all of his guests agree with him and liberally use sex in their recent stories. The comments of fans that appreciate the sexual content are lauded, while the others aren’t so much. The squeaky-cleanness of Brooks/Tolkien/Jordan gets picked on a bit, but no one with their proclivities is there to say why they do what they do.
Again, no offense intended. But it really seemed like Pat was looking for support/justification, not really exploring the topic.
Anyway, incredible first book.
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