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Old 10-10-2017, 11:10 PM   #7582
Nebby. Back into the bag.
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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Is Guin considered a tough read?
That's pure surmising on my part, for both examples given there. Legends is famous for its political intrigue, whereas Guin is high fantasy. I've read neither. I've sampled neither.

For me, high fantasy presents the problem of a shitton of difficult make-believe names to keep track of. It's one thing in English, but it's something entirely different when it's in Engrish. Then there's the added problem of high fantasy vocabulary. All of the terms you take for granted that are associated with magecraft, all of the terms [...] associated with weaponry and armor, all of the terms [...] associated with medieval society ... We know many of these words thanks to the stories we've enjoyed these last fifteen years, words like "familiar" tsukaima and "curse" noroi ... But there are also many words that I don't know off the top of my head, like "cauldron", "rampart", "catapult", and "apprentice".

I'm happy to learn new words, grammar forms, and characters. But I also have my priorities and my preferences. I was explaining to AK2 the other night that, the difference between an N2 and an N1 is that an N2 is "conversationally fluent" whereas an N1 is truly fluent. And I further elaborated -- by "conversationally fluent", I mean that the speaker knows any word that we might expect a native 10-year-old child to know; whereby "truly fluent", I mean that the speaker knows each and every single word the language has to offer. True fluency, by this rigid definition, means a remarkable wealth of technical language knowledge -- knowing words like "appendectomy", "preeclampsia", "pneumothorax", and "cholecystitis", for medical starters; knowing words like "cryptocurrency", "shareholder", and "macroeconomics"; knowing words like "xenophobe", "calisthenics", and "artisanal." Words like these, we would forgive the native-born child for not knowing. But we might expect an adult claiming to be "fluent" in a language to know at least some if not all of them. (Fair enough if you want to exclude the medical jargon from the list. ) What we would not forgive a native-born child for not knowing, would be words like "beaver", "dam", "flood", and "icicle." These are examples of words I still don't know. Words which, in my opinion, disqualify me from being able to claim anything approaching "fluency".

What I'm getting at is, I want to read books that will help me learn words like "flood" and "icicle" rather than books that will ask me to learn words like "tuberculosis" and "dysentery." I'm happy to learn those words -- later! But for right now, it's priorities: learning words that any native child would know. I have to speak the language at least as well as a native child. If I can't even do that, what can I say of myself?

Maria-sama ga Miteru has a modicum of technical language in it. I have the benefit of having already studied French, so all of the Fraponais in the book gives me little to no difficulty. I have the benefit of greater familiarity with Catholic traditions than does your average Japanese reader have, so even if for me, a non-Catholic, things like "rosaries" or "Confession" seem exotic, they are not so exotic as to have to be learned; they are already learned, and I have much less to keep track of as a result than does your typical Japanese reader who is having to memorize both a new word and the new idea or concept that goes with it. But aside from these cosmetics, MariMite is fundamentally a school days anime set in a Japan that is ambiguously late 20th century -- a world both modern and familiar, and a world with fairly mundane vocabulary. The Yamayuri Council isn't talking about goblins, liches, or blood oaths (Overlord). It isn't talking about ley lines, time travel, or holy relics (Fate/stay night). Its hardest vocabulary tends to be adjectives I ought to learn -- words like "tranquil", "serene", and "delicate" -- or verbs that characterize an intermediate level of understanding -- words like "flutter", "sew; stitch; embroider", and "publish".

Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
I'm not surprised you soft-dropped it though - I haven't deleted Guin because of the renown and influence it allegedly has, but there's a lot more interesting things out there.
Kurimoto Kaoru wrote an average of four books a year across three decades (1979-2009, with 129 volumes in that time). That basically tells us that she took no breaks. Most light novelists appear to burn out within ten years of making their first big splash, and before they burn out they pump out an average of two to three books a year. She did more than that, for much longer.

I see only three possibilities there:
  1. She was desperately writing non-stop to pay the bills. Sure, she may have been writing crap, but it was crap that put food on the table.
  2. She was passionately writing non-stop because she loved to write. Sure, she may have been writing crap, but it was her crap and she loved it dearly.
  3. Guin Saga was hugely in demand, and this fan demand motivated her to keep working non-stop, not wanting to let the fans or her business partners down.
It's almost unheard of for a book series to resume publication after the original author dies partway through. Notable exceptions include Dune (continued by Herbert's son) and The Wheel of Time (continued by Jordan's fan and fellow novelist Brandon Sanderson). Almost always it happens only when the series is hugely popular. The fact that Guin Saga resumed publication in 2013, four years after Kurimoto's death, and the fact that in the time since then we've gotten at least three additional novels from what I can see (131, 132, and 133, with the unfinished 130 having been finished in 2009 some months after her death), that tells me that interest in the franchise hasn't completely gone away after the author's passing. If it were a dogshit series that people were just politely letting her publish because no one wants to shit on a nice lady trying to do nice things, then there'd have been no reason to continue it once she died. The very fact that they continued it ... the very fact that they've continued it three times since 2009 ... it tells me that there are people out there who want, who need, more Guin Saga.
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