We’ve been doing many TAGs recently, but we found it’s a nice way to collaboratively write something fun quickly 😉 We still have a few we wanna do, this time – it’s the Real Neat Blog Award – many thanks to Lashaan of Bookidote for the nomination! We will be using his set of questions, so remember – there are no stupid questions, and answers are our sole responsibility 🙂
1. If you could do something better than you’re already doing right now, what would it be?
Piotrek: Organizing my time. I don’t have too much to do, just a bit more than I used to – and there goes good bit of my reading time, and, sadly, most of my blogging time. Less politics, less FB, better concentration – should help, if I find the willpower 😉
Ola: Surfing. Achieving zen-like peacefulness in the middle of the week. Watercolor painting. I could go on and on, but that’s enough work for now 😀
2. What would you like this new decade (2020-2029) to bring to your life?
Piotrek: Personal life couldn’t be better (although some improvements are in order – see question 1 😉 ). Books, TV shows – there is a steady stream of great new stuff, and vast archives of as of yet unexplored gems… seems I’m safe on this front, as well. So, a continuation of existing trends would be nice there.
On larger scale, I would love to see my country choosing rule of law and modern civilization again.
Ola: Better prospects regarding the fate of the world would be nice :). On a personal level, I’d love to find a bit more stability, and fruition of some of my long-in-the-making plans. But I’ll be very happy with just the plan minimum – that my life will be just as it is now :D.
Piotrek: Aren’t we the lucky ones 🙂
3. Is there a sequel to something that you look forward to?
Piotrek: Well, since we’re talking next decade, perhaps GRRM will finish his series ;)? I hope we can count on Abercrombie and Czajkowski to publish new books regularly, they have a proven record of doing just that… Butcher went back to Dresden, that’s good… oh, and I’d love if Vaughan and Staples did the second half of Saga faster 🙂
Ola: I’m tired of sequels. I’d like to see something original and new, engaged in an intelligent discussion with what had come before. Pretty please?
4. What are some of your favourite stories in any medium (comics, books, shows, movies, video games, etc.)?
Ola: That’s a tough one. I like well-told stories with more than one layer of meaning. I appreciate when the author lets me into their world without pretenses, false claims and ulterior motives. The story should be the key, and by “story” I mean much more than just narrative: it’s a journey as much outward as it is inward, so characters and their development are very much an integral part of it.
Looks like I’m cheating my way out of the question 😉 All right then, here we go.
Among my favorite stories are myths and legends – the story of Hercules, Achilles, children of Loki, king Arthur, fall of Angels, Cú Chulainn, Faust, Zmij… So it should come as no surprise that I love books referring more or less overtly to myths and creating something unique on that common basis – Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, Mann’s Doctor Faustus, White’s The Once and Future King, Mignola’s Hellboy, Zelazny’s Lord of Light or even Lucas’s/Kershner’s Empire Strikes Back.
I’m an avid consumer of war-related books, shows and movies, which allow me to neatly merge professional interests with passion, and among my favorites you can find as diverse stories as Herr’s Dispatches, HBO’s Generation Kill, Miller Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, Netflix’s Marvel’s The Punisher (S01) and Garth Ennis’s take on The Punisher, (particularly the war comics that I really should review one day!), Coppola’s Apocalypse Now!, Cook’s Black Company books and many more.
I love well-told stories, from the deceptively simple to extremely convoluted: Lynch’s Straight Story, Llosa’s Conversation in the Cathedral, Pratchett’s Small Gods and his City guard series, Hobb’s Fitz and Fool series, Stephenson’s Anathem (certainly the best book I’ve read this year!), Simmons’s Hyperion duology… well, you get the gist by now 😉 Whenever I feel like a partner in the conversation with the author, I’m all the way in. I might not agree with the author’s views (as indicated in my reviews of Neal Asher’s Agent Cormac series), I might not be happy with plot resolutions or authorial decisions regarding character development (Czajkowski’s/Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt is a good example of that), but I’ll still wholly appreciate the book and the opportunity it presents for pure and simple intellectual enrichment.
Piotrek: Amen. I agree, and I count most of the above mentioned stories among my favourites. I could add some more books, but let me change the medium. Witcher 3 is a computer game that tells a great story that is co-created by the player. It’s a vast, complex set of larger and smaller adventures that together form one vast tale. A task of creating such a tale is very demanding – it needs to have multiple possibilities that would satisfy different players, and whenever the story demands that players are prodded into certain direction, it needs to be done in a discrete way. Lashaan recently reviewed a game that failed to do that. In Witcher 3 I always had a feeling the games allows me to make choices that corresponded with my vision of the protagonist, and I was very satisfied with the end result. Plots of computer games are not as sophisticated as great novels, but they give you a sense of immersion not available in any other medium. That’s why I still try to find some time to play 🙂
5. What are some of your least favourites stories in any medium (comics, books, shows, movies, video games, etc.)?
Ola: Don’t make me start! 😉 I won’t name any names and mention any titles, but I will say that I abhor unoriginal, redundant, stereotypical, trope-y stories of any kind. Unnecessary sequels and prequels, needless or harmful retellings and remakes… The commercialization of art is one of the sticky points for me – I said I won’t name any names, but a certain big Hollywood conglomerate who acquired some famous trademarks could have done an infinitely better job of curbing their greed and focusing more on the quality of their products instead of sales 😛 And “originality” for the sake of mindlessly introducing illogical or incoherent twists just to be different is also on my black list (yes, I’m talking about that guy whose name rhymes with Bling, who destroyed one iconic comic book character and is now on his way to destroy another…)
Piotrek: Unnecessary prequels, the bane of movie franchises… but I wanted to concentrate on something else. One of the things I hate is when an decent, established author tries a genre he has no talent for, just because it’s what currently sells. Well, that’s my, harsh judgement, maybe the motivations are more complex, but I really wish Brian McClellan kept to non-urban fantasy, and Tad Williams’ detour into the same field was equally frustrating. I guess, I mostly want to say urban fantasy is not easy to do right and I’m frustrated the publishers often cannot recognize the good stuff? When the story is just a repetition of the most overused tropes, garnished with painfully stereotypical jokes, that’s the kind of story I hate.
6. What does blogging bring to your life?
Piotrek: It gives more structure to my reading, often I start thinking in terms of a post while still reading a book. I pay more attention to details, to connections that can be found. Yes, it made me a better reader. It’s also a way to connect to people sharing similar tastes, to find some support to my passions that are not always fully appreciated at home 😉
Ola: I could actually point up to Piotrek’s answer, it nicely sums up most of it. I’d like to emphasize the connection aspect, though. I find it incredible that through the blog I can communicate with people from so many various places and cultures – literally around the world; that I can enter into long-lasting, fascinating discussions on everything from global warming to favorite comic books. The support and the community I found in the blogosphere is something I cherish.
7. If there’s something you could change of the world, what would it be?
Piotrek: In the world? That’s big, and, potentially, political. In my current after-election mindset I would go to abolish nation-states in their current form. We’re probably not ready for a united planet, but the I’d rather have the European Union for my homeland than the parochial, hateful Poland of 2020. It could also be big enough to meet the challenges of our times, climate change, global migrations, technology changing the economy ever faster.
Ola: Are we going into the “peace in the world” category? I have a few ideas… 😛
8. What do you wish you could eat right now?
Piotrek: My girlfirend’s fruit crumble, but I’ll have to wait for tomorrow…
Ola: I’m past breakfast, thank you very much. Bit more sunshine would be nice, though (and the ability to draw sustenance from it wouldn’t hurt either) 😉
9. If there was one mythological creature that could ever exist in the world, what would it be?
Piotrek: Dragons, obviously.
Ola: Loch Ness monster. And yeti. But ARE they mythological? 🤣🤣🤣
10. Do you think there’s a cure for stupidity?
Piotrek: The only one I know to be reliable is bitter, personal experience. It’s rare for people to wise up after reading a book or even having a discussion with someone smarter. Individuals and societies learn best when their stupidity hits them in the face, forcefully. And then after a few years, or a generation, they forget everything.
Ola: Education helps. There are always exceptions, but if we’re talking about pure and simple stupidity, and not the wilful, malevolent type, education is generally my answer. As for whether our current education system is up to the task… well, that’s a totally different topic ;).
We had fun, now’s your turn! 😀 As we’re too lazy to come up with our own questions, we invite you to answer Lashaan’s ones – they’re real neat!