Tad Williams' Message Board

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'
-    Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Welcome to the message board for tadwilliams.com. All comments are welcome, whether kudos or brickbats. However, please bear in mind that Tad would like this to be a friendly, civil message board, at least in the relations between users. We reserve the right to remove postings, or even ban postings, from anyone who crosses the boundary of reasonable taste. Basically, you can argue vigorously with someone, but watch your language, okay? We have a lot of young readers as well as grown-ups, so please show them some respect.

But the main requirement here is: have fun.


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#1 2015-04-06 08:54:41

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Antiquity in Otherland

as part of an upcoming conference on Antiquity in SF Literature.

http://www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-27563

Tad Williams Otherland (Simon Lentzsch)
„Wenn er es denn je war…“

Antikenrezeption in Tad Williams „Otherland“

Das Ziel des Vorhabens besteht darin, die verschiedenen Elemente und Ebenen der Antikenrezeption im Science-Fiction-Roman „Otherland“ von Tad Williams zu untersuchen, der zwischen 1996 und 2001 in vier Bänden erschienen ist.

Der namensgebende Hauptschauplatz in „Otherland“ ist ein virtuelles Netzwerk, in dem eine wesentlich höhere Intensität der Immersion als in anderen Netzwerken möglich ist, was im Laufe der Handlung dazu führen kann, dass einzelne Individuen fast vollständig mit ihrem Avatar verschmelzen. Neben diesem Aspekt werden Fragen nach der Zuverlässigkeit von, womöglich künstlichen, Erinnerungen und der Entwicklung einer Künstlichen Intelligenz (KI) aufgeworfen.

In Hinsicht auf das Dachthema Antikenrezeption im Science-Fiction-Roman ergibt sich ein Ausgangspunkt darin, dass zahlreiche der virtuellen Welten, durch die sich die Protagonisten bewegen, explizit an Vorbilder aus der antiken Geschichte und Mythologie angelehnt sind. Ein Schwerpunkt liegt hierbei auf der Mythologie des Alten Ägyptens sowie auf derjenigen der griechischen Welt. Diese Szenen sollen in einem ersten Schritt gesammelt werden, um sie auf die jeweilige Darstellung der antiken Szenarien hin zu untersuchen.

Hiervon ausgehend lassen sich weitere Beobachtungen zum Umgang mit antiken Themen in „Otherland“ anknüpfen. So ist der Subtext von weiten Teilen der Erzählung in der ‚Odyssee‘ Homers zu suchen, die von den Protagonisten, besser gesagt einer Gruppe unter ihnen, in teilweise umgekehrtem Handlungsverlauf durchlitten wird. Gleichzeitig betreten einige Figuren eine virtuelle Version des homerischen Mittelmeers – die wiederum deutlich anderen Gesetzen als ihr antikes Vorbild gehorcht. Die Darstellung der Einbettung der homerischen Welt in die virtuelle Realität „Otherlands“ soll eingehend untersucht werden.

Ein hiervon unabhängiger Einfluss antiker Vorstellungen kann in der für die Handlung in „Otherland“ in mehrfacher Hinsicht bedeutenden Rolle von Träumen und Traumdeutung gesehen werden, die daher ebenfalls untersucht werden soll.



Simon Lentzsch hat an der Universität zu Köln Geschichte und Germanistik studiert (2004-2010). Seit 2013 ist er Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Historischen Institut der Universität zu Köln (Lehrstuhl: Prof. Dr. K.-J. Hölkeskamp) und arbeitet an einer Promotion im Bereich der Geschichte der römischen Republik. Zu weiteren Interessensgebieten zählen Erinnerungs- und Geschichtskulturen der Antike, Militärgeschichte der Antike sowie die Antikenrezeption.


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Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#2 2015-04-06 09:03:56

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I just wrote to the university that I would like to register as a guest for that conference.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#3 2015-04-06 10:01:56

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13270

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

*ponders*


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#4 2015-04-06 10:48:53

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

This seems to be of interest to other scholars too:


Article: The Immortality of the Human Mind: Reception of Classical Culture in Tad Williams’ Otherland
Ornella Rossi
[Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This paper explores the presence and the role of classical tradition in the tetralogy Otherland by Tad Williams. Williams’ saga, published between 1996 and 2001, has encountered large public success, with translations into numerous languages and with the production of an MMO videogame, to be released in 2010. My purpose is, first, to discuss how Williams draws on classical material (in particular Roman history and Homeric Greece) to create some of Otherland’s fantastic worlds. Secondly, I aim to illustrate how the interaction between classical mythology and other mythological traditions shapes the novel’s core themes, such as the relation between technological and ‘human’ progress, and the eternal quest for immortality. ‘Otherland’ is a universe of hyper-realistic virtual worlds created by a group of very rich men; through it, they aim to devise a way to live forever like gods, freed from their mortal bodies. The protagonists are instead common people who, for various reasons, are drawn, and then trapped, into the ‘Otherland’ network. Thus the novel follows the complex intertwining of their adventures from one sim-world to the other, as they try to figure out who governs the system and how – and why. Among the many worlds they encounter, some of the most important ones for advancing the plot reproduce classical scenarios. For example, the journey followed by the novel’s key character, Paul Jonas, takes him to Ithaca, where he realizes that he is impersonating Odysseus himself, and from there to Troy, in a sort of Odyssey à rebour. Williams’ conscious manipulation of classical myths offers a very interesting example of how the classical world can be brought back to life by artistic creation, and through it delivered to a wide public. The desire to give life to what is unattainable (both what is lost in the past and anything one can dream of) is also what Williams imagines as originally inspiring the creators of ‘Otherland’. Yet the technological advancement turns into a quest for the ultimate dream of eternal life – which is pursued at all costs. This act of hybris paradoxically leads to ‘human’ regression, to losing the immensely variegated – and truly immortal – cultural heritage through which human beings have learned to deal bravely with death. The role of classical culture in Williams’ imaginative and intelligent exploration of these themes deserves attention; with this paper I wish to offer a first insight into this very interesting case of reception of the classical world into contemporary popular culture. If possible, I also plan to invite Mr. Williams to participate in this paper, either in person or virtually (through Skype).


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#5 2015-04-06 11:56:53

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13270

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

Sounds very interesting but I cannot find the actual paper.


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#6 2015-04-06 12:12:53

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

Neither could I. I have been trying to locate it, but so long without success.

I am trying to contact the author, Ornella Rossi, to see if I can obtain a copy in time for cologne.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#7 2015-04-06 12:16:46

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13270

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

It goes without saying tha if you have it I want it.


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#8 2015-04-06 12:22:23

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

Of course :-)


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#9 2015-04-07 11:58:16

geoffw35
Pilgrim
From: Bellevue
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 107

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I'd like to have it too.

Geoff

 

#10 2015-04-07 12:50:58

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I am now officially registered as a guest at that conference :-)


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#11 2015-04-08 11:39:39

geoffw35
Pilgrim
From: Bellevue
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 107

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I joined Researchgate.net where the paper also exists. I put in a request for the full text, but they say they need to send the request to the author. Strange that an uploaded research paper would be unavailable without author permission at the site where she uploaded it. I hope she gets back with me and sends it along.

Geoff

 

#12 2015-04-08 14:42:03

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

If you hear from hear, please let us know here.
I could not find a working email address for her.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#13 2015-04-08 14:46:12

geoffw35
Pilgrim
From: Bellevue
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 107

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

Olaf wrote:

If you hear from hear, please let us know here.
I could not find a working email address for her.

I'll do that.

 

#14 2015-04-09 13:13:05

geoffw35
Pilgrim
From: Bellevue
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 107

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I wonder if this last sentence in the abstract: "If possible, I also plan to invite Mr. Williams to participate in this paper, either in person or virtually (through Skype)" means that this paper may not have been written. Still no information from the writer. Is it possible for any of Tad's close friends here could ask him whether he was approached?

Geoff

 

#15 2015-04-09 13:55:46

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13270

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I'll do that.


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#16 2015-04-10 00:49:31

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

I think this must have been written (with or without Tad´s input) as the entry suggests it was published in an electronic journal and the conference this was devised for was in 2012.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#17 2015-04-13 07:25:35

geoffw35
Pilgrim
From: Bellevue
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 107

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

Well, ResearchGate turned out to be a dead end. Here is the response to my question to them:
"Thanks for getting in touch. Ornella Rossi has not uploaded the text to ResearchGate, and since she is no longer a member, I'm afraid I can't help you obtain it." So all that is there is the same abstract that is posted above. Too bad.

Geoff

 

#18 2015-04-28 08:19:01

geoffw35
Pilgrim
From: Bellevue
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 107

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

It looks like my guess was correct. I received this today:
Dear Mr. Wright,
I have received a message saying that you wished to see my paper on Tad Williams' Otherland. Unfortunately I only wrote the abstract for that paper, which was accepted to a conference in Paris a few years ago, but then had to withdraw from it because my father got ill. The project was left aside then and I was never able to get back to it.
Thank you anyway for your interest in my work. Sincerely,
Ornella Rossi

 

#19 2015-04-28 11:28:57

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13270

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

Oh, bummer.
I have not heard back fro Tad yet, that's why I did not have to say anything o the matter.


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#20 2015-04-28 12:58:55

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4907
Website

Re: Antiquity in Otherland

That is a shame.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

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