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Dec 02, 2022 10:45 AM
towertopia exports its own interdimensional fiction!
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Hmm. Given the various reactions to the recent romance stories, TIER is going to have to clear some things up. For example, some of the audience seemed to think that the two rivals from the "love triangle" story should wind up marrying one another? This does not make sense because they are both men, and men don't marry one another -- they can of course form close bonds of friendship (and in this story they do), but that isn't the realm of marriage or sexuality.

Second, some reviews do not seem to understand what a priest is (and the one that did seem to understand the basic concept seemed to be... a polytheistic kobold?). This has quite concerning implications.

In an effort to bridge some of these gaps, the next book released by TIER is an unusual novel written following the Great Conflict in order to help rehabilitate those who had been on the defeated side. The protagonist is a young man who had been in training to join the opposition to Unity before the war ended and his training camp was liberated. He attempts to adapt to society and is surprised to learn how different it is from what he had expected. Much information about Towertopian society and its structure, prevalent social norms, the role and practical teachings of religion, etc. is conveyed via the protagonist's travails, the humorous misunderstandings he finds himself in, and so on. There isn't really that much of a plot per se, but it mostly succeeds at mixing slice-of-life misadventures with useful social information.

Along with it, TIER also releases two other items. The first is an epistolary novel in the form of posts on an Internet forum. The posts center around an incident where someone disrupted a major gaming tournament with a strange prank, interrupting the tournament stream at a critical moment with a cryptic video and selection of music. However, the pranksters then released the footage from the portion of the broadcast that they had overridden. The users of the forum are confused by the meaning of the prank and attempt to decode why it occurred and what it meant.

Popular theories include that the hack was sabotage by a rival game company, that it was a guerrilla marketing campaign created by the company that made the game being played in the tournament to reveal future content for a sequel, or that it was a political protest by people who thought the game's theme (a war game pertaining to the Great Conflict) was in bad taste. Different factions on the forum argue with one another and try to prove their case. Ultimately they manage to discover that the disruption occurred in order to conceal cheating and that the released footage of the match was itself altered, dramatically exposing the cheaters' fraud just before they can be awarded a seasonal prize for their performance in the league.

 

Lastly, there is a film set a few years before the Conflict in which a famously eccentric and controversial painter decides to try and to reclaim much of his old work for himself. The artist goes to many private collectors and other holders of his work, offering to buy his paintings back from them, to give them new works to their specifications in exchange for the old, and so on. This plan goes well for some time -- some of the collectors even return his work for free, tickled to see what the great artist is planning! A montage of the artist checking paintings off a list, meeting with various collectors, etc. shows that all but one of his major works are accounted for and in his hands. Unfortunately, the last and most famous painting is in a museum led by a curator and former romantic interest of the artist's who views the artist's older work as artistically superior to his more recent productions, which the curator dismisses as catering to vulgar and sentimental themes in search of commercial value. This museum refuses all the author's entreaties.

The film undergoes a sudden tonal shift as the author responds by beginning to plan a heist in order to steal his own painting back and replace it with a new one, assisted by some of the collectors he had visited earlier. When the time comes to execute the heist, though, the curator recognizes one of the collectors who is there in disguise to facilitate the plot and she grows suspicious. The artist's allies manage to successfully distract the guards and he sneaks in and swap the paintings, but before he can abscond with the work he is trying to reclaim the curator confronts him. The artist and the curator engage in a martial arts battle -- after an extended fight the artist seems to have the advantage, but as he turns to make his escape, the route that he thought would bring him to freedom instead proves to be a trap, allowing the curator to lock him in a room and wait for security to arrive!

Communicating over an intercom, the curator tells the artist that she had studied the artist's work so intensely that she was able to understand the artist's psychology and predict what moves he would be inclined to make, allowing the curator both to predict the heist on very little information and later to subtly direct the artist towards a seeming escape that would in fact entrap him instead. The artist is silent, but when museum security arrives they find the door has been barricaded from the inside. They manage to ram down the door and find the artist sitting calmly cross-legged on the floor, hands folded in his lap. As the guards and curator burst in, the artist just smiles and opens his hand, revealing a simple origami flower made from the remains of the painting! The curator is shocked, and the artist explains that while the curator's understanding of his old work was very good, if she had bothered to study the new work instead of disdaining it as inartistic, she would have realized the author's true motives -- not to have his old paintings all to himself. but to destroy them!
 
A set of flashbacks shows the artist taking the works he had reclaimed and destroying them in various ways, culminating in him barricading the door, ripping up his famous painting, folding part of it into a flower, and eating the remains! The artist explains that while in a sense this newer works are more sentimental, they do not originate from commercial motives but from a genuine religious conversion. Faced with the thought of having produced material that he now considers decadent and immoral. the artist decided to renounce and destroy his old works, but did so in a somewhat disguised manner that took advantage of his controversial and mysterious behavior of the past.

The angry curator has the artist imprisoned for the harm he caused the museum. Sickened by the paint he ingested, the artist's health fails and he dies not long afterwards, leaving a note in which he forgives the curator and bequeaths her a last few old paintings of his that he had still endorsed and hence not destroyed. The curator is moved to tears by this, and the final shot of the movie pans slowly back from the origami flower made from the remains of the destroyed painting -- it is now on display as the centerpiece of a new collection of the artist's endorsed works, both new and old.

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novel written following the Great Conflict in order to help rehabilitate those who had been on the defeated side


This is an amazing psychological horror story, wow. Props to the author for never succumbing to the temptation to make the subtext obvious, that's really hard at least for Greens, they'd have a coda or something about it at the end but this one maintains its tone flawlessly the entire time even as the protagonist alters all of his beliefs and values under threat of force. Quotes from the translations into Green languages acquire meme-share analogous to "you are not immune to propaganda". 8/4.

an epistolary novel in the form of posts on an Internet forum


The format for this one is fun but mysteries aren't that exciting to most of the Green audience. The reviews are deceptively positive since most people who are bored don't finish it and don't vote. 7/5.

a film set a few years before the Conflict in which a famously eccentric and controversial painter decides to try and to reclaim much of his old work for himself.


This is a pretty well put together movie but the plot point of understanding the artist's psychology by looking at their paintings is pretty implausible and the fact that the film sympathizes with a clearly mentally unwell artist who destroys artwork that had already entered the public consciousness is bizarre. The origami'd painting is nice as a symbol, sort of? Nobody can really tell what's wrong with the old paintings, even with the context of the psychological horror novel to suggest what kind of mores they might have conceivably been violating. 2/10.
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In an effort to bridge some of these gaps, the next book released by TIER is an unusual novel written following the Great Conflict in order to help rehabilitate those who had been on the defeated side.

Interesting, it looks like a world where T----t is worshiped directly by mortals, instead of directing them to the Worthy Ministers and the Celestial Bureaucracy. Maybe because they don't have magic, or a plethora of sapient species, or the like? And of course the specifics of the rules for behavior have to be adapted for not just that, but the fact that the people are human, whose psychology would require a different approach than kobolds.

Anyway, distribution will probably have to to be limited to clergy, to avoid readers reaching heretical conclusions about how kobolds should behave in our world through ignorance. Still, it looks like an important communication from a world united under the Creator's faithful, however weird it seems that the Creator would make a world where humans are the only people. Likely there's going to be years of thinking and prayer and debate among the clerics as a result, unless Her Imperial Majesty is sent a revelation by T----t on the matter.

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This does not make sense because they are both men, and men don't marry one another -- 

Er. Is there. A reason you’re arbitrarily restricting lifebonding. Are you guys a dystopia?

In an effort to bridge some of these gaps, the next book released by TIER is an unusual novel written following the Great Conflict in order to help rehabilitate those who had been on the defeated side. 

…That sure is a dystopia, yep. Uh. The Antfolk are pleased to announce that 87% of hives have stated that they’re accepting refugees, for anyone who wouldn’t like to live in a dystopia, and researchers have been assigned to figuring out what humans need to be safe and healthy! What the heck.

The first is an epistolary novel in the form of posts on an Internet forum. 

It’s well-written, but the plot’s kind of boring. Not really our thing.

Lastly, there is a film set a few years before the Conflict in which a famously eccentric and controversial painter decides to try and to reclaim much of his old work for himself. 

This is horrifying! Where are the content warnings for destruction of art and self-loathing??

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This is an amazing psychological horror story, wow. Props to the author for never succumbing to the temptation to make the subtext obvious, that's really hard at least for Greens, they'd have a coda or something about it at the end but this one maintains its tone flawlessly the entire time even as the protagonist alters all of his beliefs and values under threat of force. Quotes from the translations into Green languages acquire meme-share analogous to "you are not immune to propaganda". 8/4.

…That sure is a dystopia, yep. Uh. The Antfolk are pleased to announce that 87% of hives have stated that they’re accepting refugees, for anyone who wouldn’t like to live in a dystopia, and researchers have been assigned to figuring out what humans need to be safe and healthy! What the heck.

Oh no, it's actually quite the reverse -- the protagonist is recovering from being propagandized! Society is helping him become a more flourishing and fulfilled individual despite the awful indoctrination he suffered under an immoral regime! The Great Conflict was a stain on our history and the actions of the various Disunity factions were a great shame, but that doesn't mean we should have just... locked all their victims up or killed them or otherwise abandoned them to their fates? Here is another narrative we have that deals with these events from a perspective that might seem more positive:


A novel set in a thinly-veiled version of one of the Disunity territories during the early phases of the Great Conflict, written by someone who grew up there, escaped, and became a prominent author during and after the Conflict. In the novel, three close friends attend a giant multi-day hedonistic forest rave. The party is being held to celebrate the anniversary of a revolution that overthrew a moralistic government and swept in a decadent and libertine era, and takes place at the overgrown and ruined grounds of a monastery that was looted during the revolt. The friends think that these events, while violent and in some ways regrettable, nevertheless represented an enlightenment and heralded a new phase of society and civilization, unconstrained by the needless restrictions of the past. During the party, the three get separated from one another.

The first friend begins seeing strange things in the corner of her vision which seem to draw her attention to various secluded parts of the ruins – when she goes to look more closely, they are always gone, but each time she notices something about the ruins that she hadn't before -- an inscription on a stone, a damaged statue, a stained-glass panel, and so on. As the party continues, she finds herself more and more curious about the ruins and increasingly troubled by the party and what it celebrates.

The second friend is busy dancing the night away and doesn’t notice her friend’s troubles. However, something changes when she reacts badly to a drug she is given, which forces her away from the festivities for a time. Searching for an isolated place to recover, she is surprised to walk in on the first friend crying in a corner. The second friend begins to have pangs of guilt over having gotten her friends more and more involved in this scene in the first place, and the two comfort one another.
 
The third friend has lived much of her life doing whatever she wants regardless of what others might think – this rave is, for her, a perfect expression of that ethos, and she throws herself into the festivities with gusto. However, the event doesn’t provide the joy that she was anticipating. Melancholy begins to set in and she throws herself more and more into hedonistic pursuits to try and drown it out, but activities that once struck her as greatly pleasurable now seem empty and meaningless at best. She searches for her friends, only to find them struck by similar doubts themselves.

The three friends end up discussing their experiences together in a hidden part of the ruins, isolated from the other partygoers. After extended angst and psychological drama, they realize that the decadence and hedonism of their society has left them with something ultimately hollow – that not just this party but the way they have been living more broadly is fundamentally unworthy, a betrayal of what they could be if only they strove for it. The novel concludes on an ambiguous but hopeful note, with the three friends resolving together to live for (and be) something more than they were and try to bring others to do the same.

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…This is definitely not evidence against you people being a dystopia, if people are rebelling. That’s one of the most natural and fundamental rights! Why is it being shown as a bad thing? Sure, the looting is bad, but it seems like the rebellion itself is being seen that way, not specific actions? 

Also, the problem these characters seem to be having is that they, personally, do badly under hedonism, not that it’s wrong? What’s the lesson supposed to be here, exactly?

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A novel set in a thinly-veiled version of one of the Disunity territories


Okay, this one's neat! It is totally a relatable experience to be caught up in short-term fun and then find that your psychological check-engine-light is trying to alert you to a lack of depth. Greens usually solve this with having kids or something but they like the ambiguity of this end, it's ficcable. The fanon consensus is that the first one is going to be a historian or art-restorationist of some stripe and the second one is going into medicine and the third one is going to find a coparent and have kids and bring them up. 6/6, a lot of people don't really like the specific character arcs here or find the transitions uncompelling but some people like it a lot.

This doesn't really change the psychological horror thing? They're going to need to start tagging stuff in this vein either "#won't break character" (for when creators continue doing a bit even when they're questioned in situations that would normally call for just being themselves with their normal, typically-not-cultural-genocide opinions) or, uh, "#war crimes apologism" if they're gonna double down on the cultural genocide, depending on how further clarifications shake out.
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Hobbyist Hydroponics Hub / Community / Forums / Off-Topic / Fiction-As-In-Books / Towerverse / Community / Sharing_Shared_Books
 
Speculation thread for speculating about Sharing_Shared_Books

 
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PrescientPlantgirl
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I've heard everything you wrote, and it still seems implausible to me that there is only one person writing all of this.
I agree that it is possible and never said otherwise. I just don't think it's likely.
I feel like this conversation has been going in circles and I probably won't respond to replies.
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lightlytoasted (MOD)
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Sharing_Shared_Books just dropped another anthology. The foreword reads:
 
There was an author, once upon a time, who thought it'd be funny or clever to pretend they weren't the one who wrote the thing that they wrote. No. They were just sharing what they'd found in an old journal, or sharing letters they'd found in some dusty drawer, or sharing a dire warning about secret worlds published as fiction to be disseminated enough to find its target without giving up the masquerade. And everyone agreed that this was funny or clever or had literary merit or whatever other stupid thing makes a trope a staple for centuries. 
 
Like dousing the commons in kerosene to see how pretty it'd look while it burned.
 
There is a world besides this one. I keep trying to tell you all, but you don't even think I'm crazy. You don't even think I'm lying.
 
You think I'm joking.
 
I opened up my entire life to you, showed you everything on my computer, put out bounties for people to catch me in the act of writing this. To catch anyone on this planet in the act of writing any of this.
 
And now you think that I'm really committed to the joke. I'd rather be really committed to an asylum.
 
There is a world besides this one, they are individually inclined to violence in a way few on our planet still are, and they've collectively fought conflicts that killed millions, and they would feel themselves morally obliged to subjugate us, and they have military technology we do not. I'll keep sharing these books they shared with me, because I don't know any other way to prepare you, gentle reader, for the day when their culture and capabilities are more fully made known to you.
 
And until then you'll keep calling me the greatest mind of the generation. You'll keep heaping praise on how I create or redefine five or six new genres every couple of months, keep wondering at my prolific contributions to engineering and philosophy and science, keep marveling at how "a look into [their] mind is like skimming the surface of an entirely different world", keep speculating on how I'm pulling all of this off and what the payoff will be at the end of the prank.
 
And until then you'll keep paying me for sharing the books shared with me, keep paying for spots at my conventions, keep paying for signatures and paying for interviews.
 
And until then I'll keep putting your money into the planetary defense force and into extraplanetary records-keeping.
 
And until then I'll keep going slowly insane.
 
/quote
 
Right now my best guess as to how they're doing this is a combination of the "there's a whole team of people behind it" and the "they wrote it all before publishing the first anthology" positions. I think it's evidence towards the latter that none of the books seem to address or acknowledge previous criticism, but I'm not sure how much; we know that whoever is writing these is staggeringly good at perspective taking of ignorance.
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PrescientPlantgirl
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I'm suddenly wondering if all of this is cover for Sharing_ to build history's biggest pile of weapons ever and then use them for something.
Though surely if they tried that, the soldiers wouldn't go along?
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I had a really great idea for a signature last night while I was dreaming, but I woke up and realized it was stupid.
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