More Questions from an L.E. Modesitt Fan

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ironwill96
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More Questions from an L.E. Modesitt Fan

Post by ironwill96 »

I found this discussion board from the semi-official website that your friend runs. I have been reading your books for years and love them all! I have several questions for you that I hope you won't mind answering.

1. In Gravity Dreams there are many allusions and spiritual ideas that can be drawn from the book, what inspired you to write this one? (A great book for any of you if you have not read it!).

2. I have always been amazed at how prolific a writer you are. Are you really writing at the pace of 2-3 books a year, or have you written several in years past and they are just getting published all at once? (like this year you have 3 that I know of coming out).

3. Which do you enjoy writing more, SF or Fantasy? You seem to alternate between them and do a wonderful job with both.

4. Did you make a purposeful decision to not write "Epic" fantasy type novels where one character or set of characters is followed for many many books - or did this just come about as you finished what you felt to be their story?

I really love all of your books, even though I have not read many of your SF yet (a fact I am remedying now). The Corean Chronicles is awesome and reminds me of what I loved about the Recluce novels. I also initially did not like how you would not follow some of my favorite characters for more than one to two novels in the Recluce series, but I now appreciate you doing this. Other authors such as Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind have stalled out with books following their characters when they get past book 7 or 8.

Thanks again and keep up the good work!
Nathan
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Response

Post by ironwill96 »

I'd love to see a response from Mr. Modesitt himself, but does anyone else have any opinion on my questions?

Thanks,
Nathan
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Post by MidasKnight »

He usually responds quickly. This one must have just slipped past him. Boinging it should help.
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Lost replies

Post by lmodesitt »

I have to apologize for not answering some of the questions posted. Since I'm not as familiar with following threads, etc., I didn't realize that questions were being posted on several different lines. So... we'll try to catch up on the ones I missed.

Cover art: I tend to get input on the fantasy art early on, and often am asked for suggestions of what scenes might be most appropriate -- that's for the Tor editions. For British editions, while I get to see the art before publication [usually], I have little input. For example, I was essentially told that the British publisher was going to recover all the Recluce books. It's an interesting thought, and we'll have to see how it works out.
For SF work, I don't get quite as much input.


Gravity Dreams: Dzin is a future development of Zen, and many of the quotes that head the chapters are based on Zen sayings, although some are totally original. The idea underlying the book was my thought about the difference in societies, i.e., how some societies evolve out of tribal and geographic identities while others are value-driven.

Actually, there are both Jimjoy and Jimbob in my books. Jimbob is the boyhood name of the ruler of Defalk in the Spellsong Cycle, while, as several posters noted, Jimjoy is the hero of the first two Ecolitan books.

I may have overlooked other questions, but I'll try to scan all the thread lines from here on out.


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Post by MidasKnight »

Mr. Modesitt is a stud.

Thanks for staying in touch with your fans. It really means a lot to me in this day and age of megalomania.
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A Few More Answers

Post by lmodesitt »

So far, at least, I've never written more than three books about a single character, or two, in the Recluce Saga. This has been a very conscious decision on my part, based largely on my own experience.

The danger of following an "epic" character through book after book is that the character becomes either a "serial cardboard cutout" or a self-parody or an imitation of James Bond [the man who starts out imaculate and polished, goes through endless death defying adventures, makes love to beautiful women, but never seems to be able to keep them... and then starts the whole thing over with the next book].

I'm not saying that an epic can't be done with a real character, but I'm not interested, not at present, in any case, in writing such an epic.


As for the number of books I write... for the past ten years or so, I've averaged five books every two years. That's been a comfortable pace for me, but I won't promise that forever -- although there will be three books out in 2004, and probably two in 2005.

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Thanks!

Post by ironwill96 »

Thanks for your responses. It is refreshing to see an author who actually makes an effort to keep in touch with his readers!

I look forward to the third book in the Corean Chronicles and the new Recluce books, which I will order through the Amazon link on your semi-official website.

Nathan
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Replies

Post by lmodesitt »

Thank you for the kind words about my efforts to reply.

So far, I've been fortunate enough, and my readers considerate enough in their questions and comments, not to have received an inordinate amount of mail and email or bulletin board comments.

I honestly doubt that I could respond to the volume of inquiries that someone like Stephen King receives -- not and keep writing.

So I'm grateful that my readers have been most perceptive and asked the questions that should have been asked and not all manner of irrelevancies, and I thank you all for that.


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Post by MidasKnight »

Don't let the forum pull at you too much. Some of us make 20-30 posts a day and many are trivial. I hope you don't feel too pressured.
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Post by fortyseven »

What's the 13th Recluce about? setting? timeframe?
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Recluce Novels

Post by lmodesitt »

Wellspring of Chaos is the twelfth book in the Saga of Recluce and takes place some 60 years after The Order War. It is set largely in Nordla and Austra, and the main character is Kharl, a cooper in Brysta. The thirteenth book is entitled Ordermaster and takes place several years after Wellspring of Chaos. It opens in Austra.


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Post by fortyseven »

Thanks. So Kharl is in Ordermaster too?
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ORdermaster

Post by lmodesitt »

I didn't say who was in the book. At the moment, that's all I'd like to say about Ordermaster, sinceWellspring of Chaos isn't even published yet.

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Post by fortyseven »

That's cool. I look forward to reading them. Have you decided how many Recluce novels there will be? If you've answered this b4, could you direct me to the answer thanks in advance.
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Recluce novels

Post by lmodesitt »

No. I haven't decided how many Recluce novels there will be -- not in terms of numbers, at least. What I said earlier still holds: I will only write Recluce books so long as I can do something new, interesting, and different in each additional book.

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Post by MidasKnight »

As I've said before, I trust Mr. Modesitt completely. Whatever he writes will be great and whatever he chooses NOT to write will be for the best.
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Silly question

Post by torybear »

This has frustrated me since I first read one of your novels...
How do you pronounce your last name. I know it seems irrelevant, but as I am often walking around reading one of you books, and I regularly get the question...who is the author? I would rather not butcher your last name.
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Pronunciation

Post by lmodesitt »

It's pronounced MODD-ess-it, with the emphasis on the first syllable.


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Post by MidasKnight »

Modd as in Modern or Modd as in Mode?
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Pronunciation

Post by lmodesitt »

Under the standard rules of English/American punctuation, a vowel followed by a double consonant is short, not long. Therefore, MODD is rhymes with ODD. Unhappily, "Modesitt" does not follow the standard rules, which is why people think that the Mod part rhymes with mode or ode, but it doesn't.

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Post by MidasKnight »

Thank you, and good question Torybear.
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Post by Croaker »

I have just finished the Spellsong Saga and ...



... Whoa, warning, SPOILERS ...







... I find myself troubled by the conclusions that Secca and Alcaren come to upon the destruction of Stura. Admittedly, I would never have thought twice about such mass destruction had they not put so much thought into it.

After discussing it with some friends, it seems to be that the destruction of the entire island of Stura was a mistake in that the Maitre, if he had been sane enough to think things through, could have easily turned the destruction of Stura to his advantage.

Sure, the Sea Priests were a brutal people. But their kill count, for the two Shadowsorceress books could not match Secca, I think. Had they simply made the destruction of Stura widely known they could perhaps have cultivated allies among the Nesereans and other peoples of the Liedwahr, siting Secca as a greater threat to all people.

Admittedly, that wasn't what happened, but it seems to be luck on Secca's part that the Maitre didn't do that.

I can't help thinking of Japan during WWII when I read the last book in the series. I would like to think that a destruction of two or more of the Sea Priest's major cities, and their fleets, would have been enough of a show of force, as opposed to genocide.

Secca's reasoning that the Sturinesse would just return in a score of years seemed flawed as well. It seems as if Nordwei, upon the destruction of the Priest's fleets, were intent on expanding their trade empire into Sturinesse areas, and without any fleets the Sturinesse were prostrate before the fleets of the Liedwahr.

I would think that by breaking their economy, combined with the destruction of their fleets and the Maitre, it would bypass the need to destroy Stura. Perhaps even allow for a cultural absorption of Stura over time.

So was it necessary? The destruction of Stura, I mean.
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Stura -- and human nature

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After looking at how women are treated -- and have been for more than a 1,000 years -- in much of the Islamic Middle East, after noting that it took almost a century and a half in "peaceful" America for women to begin to approach equal rights, and after noting that it took two atomic bombs on highly populated cities to get a Japanese surrender in WWII -- and that was AFTER the Japanese knew they were facing the largest armed forces ever assembled in the history of the world... tell me again that Secca had an option that was workable over the long term. She has no true armed forces; she has no industrial base; and she has no way to build a peace-keeping force.

Yes, the Nordlans will take over the western ocean trade, and they're not exactly wonderful, but they don't chain their women, and they don't rip out the tongues of women they don't like.

I'm probably a bit cynical, but a long study of history has convinced me that, unhappily, most peoples bow only to overwhelming force, be it military, political, or economic. Secca's problem is that she has none of those, and the only overwhelming force she has is magic -- and she can only be in one place at a time. She still faces a race against time. Can she build her nation and its dependencies and allies into a more advanced and economically powerful force before she either dies or others forget what her power can do? Or will she have to do it again? Remember, the only thing that ended the Punic Wars was when Rome finally razed Carthage and salted the fields and lands around the city.


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Re: Stura -- and human nature

Post by Croaker »

lmodesitt wrote:After looking at how women are treated -- and have been for more than a 1,000 years -- in much of the Islamic Middle East, after noting that it took almost a century and a half in "peaceful" America for women to begin to approach equal rights, and after noting that it took two atomic bombs on highly populated cities to get a Japanese surrender in WWII -- and that was AFTER the Japanese knew they were facing the largest armed forces ever assembled in the history of the world... tell me again that Secca had an option that was workable over the long term. She has no true armed forces; she has no industrial base; and she has no way to build a peace-keeping force.


Well, I think it was Machiavelli who said something along the lines that if you're going to hurt someone hurt them so bad that they can never threaten you again. After reading the above I agree that Secca had no other option.

Yes, the Nordlans will take over the western ocean trade, and they're not exactly wonderful, but they don't chain their women, and they don't rip out the tongues of women they don't like.


They do allow women in leadership positions. I just realized they might even be better than modern day USA. We've never had a woman president.

I'm probably a bit cynical, but a long study of history has convinced me that, unhappily, most peoples bow only to overwhelming force, be it military, political, or economic. Secca's problem is that she has none of those, and the only overwhelming force she has is magic -- and she can only be in one place at a time. She still faces a race against time. Can she build her nation and its dependencies and allies into a more advanced and economically powerful force before she either dies or others forget what her power can do? Or will she have to do it again? Remember, the only thing that ended the Punic Wars was when Rome finally razed Carthage and salted the fields and lands around the city.


I forgot how limited Secca and Liedwahr's resources were at the time. And the Sturinesse WOULD keep coming until they were stopped. Thanks for clarifying all that.

On the Third Punic Wars thing though:

I thought it was Cato the Elder who was the main force behind the Third Punic Wars. It seemed to me that he literally harrassed Rome into attacking Carthage. This was the man who ended everything he said with something along the lines of "... and Carthage must be destroyed." I think the final straw was when he dropped fresh figs on the floor of the Senate, proof of Carthage's proximity.

Other Romans at the time, the Scipios for instance, actually liked Carthage in the sense that they saw Carthage as the noble enemy that kept Rome strong. I don't agree with the viewpoint but I wanted to show that it's easy to see someone like that when they're no threat to you.

From the impression I got by the Third Punic Wars Carthage was no longer a threat economically or militarily. It was just a quick war to grind Carthage into the ground.

Of course that did allow Rome to dominate the Mediterranean.
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Cato and the Third Punic War

Post by lmodesitt »

Cato may have been right, and he may have been wrong about the threat Carthage posed. Since he persuaded Rome to eliminate the putative threat, there's really no way to tell. Also, for a mercantile economy, which Rome was, Carthage was certainly an economic threat to the Roman merchants.


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