Monday, August 18, 2008

A post at last! (Would you believe it?)

So much commenting goodness with the last post! I was going to respond there but thought maybe it might work just as well here... (given I am feeling a tad stuck with post ideas right now because a certain 3rd book has most of my attention).

Amongst all the excellent ideas batted forth and back I wanted to answer two things:

Firstly, to fulgars using swords: well, the idea is feasible - it has certainly crossed my addled thoughts (especially the reverse, ie. the dangers of using a metal weapon against a fulgar). The conclusion I am running with is that most fulgars would regard to use of a sword as some kind of admission of weakness - that their ability with their eclatics is not quite up to rigours of the stouche. It also strikes me that the more sword using pugnators (sagaars, sabrine adepts) might look a little darkly on such a practice - a kind of "demarcation dispute", that's our technique! Get your own! - and in return a fulgar would never stoop to admitting that another profession's technique might be worthy of use... Note that I say most, not all... I am trying not to be painful, but, you know, I have been thinking about how the H-C works for a little while now...

As to wire-swords (barbed or otherwise) well there is a concept though aforementioned demarcation would still be a problem here, and as far as "charged" bullets go, well the nature of electricity is that once the source of the current is no longer present then there is no current = once the ball had left the firelock it would no longer be charged (am I being annoying yet?) Having said that, it certainly is a snazzy idea, though I reckon you've got to allow pistoleers and scourges and the like their own specialty.

This leads rather niftily into my second topic of choice, technicality v fastasticality (is that even a word?). Some rules from our own world are fun to break (we cannot even do with all our technology what the transmogrifers do with lahzars or the masacaars with gudgeons), others I like to adhere to (certain laws of physics, for example). What I think makes for good ideation is not the consistency with our own world but the internal consistency of all the ideas together. Unfortunately I am no genius so I live in a fairly continuous concern that I am not being as internally consistent as I could be with the H-c - but I do try. Probably my main guiding factor is feel - does this idea feel like it could work? Does if feel right? Does it fit the feel of the H-c overall?

Part of that feel is the sense (I hope) of plausibility within the construct of the H-c itself. After years and years of laying down layers on layer of ideas I have begun to develop a kind of "box" of rules, a space - a vibe - in which it becomes easier to fashion ideas that fit well within the whole. This I reckon is the best thing to aim for (if world building is your thing of course) to take your time and let your ideas collect and meld and create their own distinct feel that is your own.


Anonymous said...

fastasticality is most deffinately a word!

Anonymous said...

Yup, here it is in the Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary. I can totally see where you're coming from where the matter of internal consistency is concerned as well as the fact fulgars would consider swords self-demeaning. I merely made the suggestion because if I were a fulgar (heaven forbid) completely devoid of professional pride I would use such a sword.
Personally, I think such swords would not fit in the 'feel' of your world very well. It seems like electrified swords would fit better in Star Wars since, in fact, there are such weapons in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Another noteworthy word I found in the afore mentioned dictionary MANIKIN has a secondary definition meaning 'dwarf' or 'little man'. I must wonder if you employed this second definition as a sort of joke; what with how Europe is always addressing Rossamund as 'little man'. After looking up the Greek root words I ask if there's any particular reason why you gave Threnody such a lamentably sad name? Any hidden, metaphorical meaning?
Another thing I must ask about: do the pugnators of Half-Continent ever receive facial crourpunxis?
I keep getting this image of a scourge with a monster face tattooed over his own features. Extreme it's very true, but if one was a scourge who could tell the difference?
POST SCRIPT: You should unquestionably be exerting yourself on Book 3! Keep it up and good luck.

noelle said...

So I have been thinking, and I am wondering about a couple of things.

First of all, who would win if a wit and a fulgar got in a fight, considering they were of equal skill/experience? Who would win if two fulgars got in a fight? Would they just absorb each other's arcs, or would they even be affected at all, i.e. thrown backwards by an arc?

Secondly, do wits lose their eyebrows/other body hair along with the hair on their heads?

Zakk said...

who cares?
not i.
wits rule - except for the hair problemo. the black eyed wit had eyebrows.Anyway. The release date for book 3 is...
please tell me!
i must know.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I believe wit's get to keep their eyebrows, as the bane on the cover of Lamplighter still has her's and she has apparently been a wit long enough to have suffered all the ill-effects of her surguries.
As to the question raised previously (the last set of comments) relating to a MBT forum I wish to point out that I post on here because it is one of the few places I can have some semblance of communication with an author whose writing I enjoy reading. In short, providing of course I don't see any 'who is the best leer' threads, and providing MR. Cornish is in, I'm in too.
And zakk, as for asking about release dates... Such is varily sacrilage; the chap hasn't anounced the title yet. Besides, knowing such things will only make you more impatient. In adition to that, I believe there is a 'non-disclosure agreement' Mr. Cornish signed.

pearl said...

Absolutely unrelated question! (Kind of, anyway.)

If MBT was definitely, 100% going to be turned into a movie, which ideal actors/actresses would fit each role?

Zakk said...

Is it just me or should Angelina Jolie play Europe? The drawings almost depict her after all.

Who cares? I'm sure you, of all people want to know when book 3 comes out, who doesn't?

If Rossamund is a mannikin, you didn't show it well in book one, hes a weakling, can't fight back and its only until he drags Europe to the dig that we see some strength. And regardless of what Ben says: When does book 3 come out?

Anonymous said...

DM -- I agree wholeheartedly that a work of fiction needs stay within the bounds and rules that that it sets up for itself. It is terrible when a story suddenly veers off and uses a plot device that appears inconsistent with the "rules" that have been previously set up. Since the starting point for every reader's experience is the "real world," I think an author needs to set up fairly early how his or her fantasy world varies from the real world, and needs to stay within those bounds. For example, through two books, there is no "magic" in the Half Continent of the sort one frequently sees in fantasy novels, and so I would feel horribly cheated if a "wizard" showed up and started slinging spells around in book three. Introducing "charged bullets" might be a less egregious in terms of internal consistency, but I still think it should be avoided since it's not set up by the first two books.

On a side note, although I completed Book 2 the first weekend it came out, I just finished reading it aloud to my son over several months of bedtimes. As was the case with Book 1, I appreciated it more on the second read, which I think is the ultimate sign of a good book.

RottenPocket said...

zakk- It might be an age issue. I always thought that evolving -being a main component of stories- was established here as rossamund growing, both physically and in confidence. Also, there were a few sly notes in Foundling suggesting his abnormality, like him liking the scent of the John Tallow, or whatever it's called.

Someone mentioned previously fulgars using storms for electricity. Is that mentioned in the first book? I thought it was but I can't find anything...

I've mixed feelings about Angelina Jolie... Maybe if she had the persona like that back when she did 'Hackers'. There's many more actresses who'd suit the role better, and appear more as Miss Europe, than AJ.

... Hmmm I vote Jennifer Connoly, if she could master the posh, english accent.

MooseGuy said...

I just finished Lamplighter. Goooood stuff, once again!

Idea for cashing in on the popularity of the series: After or in conjunction with the release of Book 3, you could publish a combined, revised and (perhaps) expanded Explicarum. I would buy one. Maybe.

Questions, questions...

Is there sentient life on the other planets of the H-C's solar system? Or any life whatsoever? Or boring planets (don't hurt me, astronomers!), like ours?

Are the Gottlands one nation, many, or somewhere in between like the Empire?

Could there be new types of lazhar technology in the H-C's 'future'? Including new antics or even completely new varieties of lazhar?

Anonymous said...

Gotland is an island on the east side of Sweden (joke).

Don´t think Angelina is the right person to play Europe. When I look at the picture on this site I think of an older-looking person. Angelina looks to "young".

Sam Hranac said...

John wrote: "On a side note, although I completed Book 2 the first weekend it came out, I just finished reading it aloud to my son over several months of bedtimes. As was the case with Book 1, I appreciated it more on the second read, which I think is the ultimate sign of a good book."

Ditto that. I'm on the same track with my son. Sometime during the reading he just has to yell out - usually at Threnody's aloofness or to laugh about Sebastipole's cool manner.

Joshua said...

About charged bullets: Since an electric charge involves a build-up or deficit of electrons on an object, a bullet could theoretically retain a charge after leaving the gun. (Just think of static cling on your clothes or the static shocks you can get in dry winter weather, and so on.) However I suspect it would pretty quickly be neutralized by friction with the air and in any case I think the bullet would have to be pretty big to carry a charge capable of doing significant damage—the greater the charge, the faster it will tend to run off into the surrounding environment.

If anybody else knows more about the physics involved here please feel free to contradict me. :)

Vahlaeity said...

Internally consistency is crucial within any narrative but perhaps more vitally so in a 'fantasy' world. H-c is pleasingly consistent throughout both books, it's the 'feel' a much as any hard and fast rules as far as I can tell. Achieved by a creator who knows his stuff.

There's plenty of hints as to Rossamud's nature throughout book 1 (in hind sight any way,lol) and even more in book 2. The reader (or at least I) assumed that the note 'Rossamund' left with the baby boy is his name... What if it's not? In hindsight it seems to be a 'label' explaining his nature rather than a 'name' (does that make sense? Obviously on another level all names are merely labels...)

DM... unless its giving too much away was the note in fact intended as a 'lable' and not a 'name'?

Certainly in book 2 Numption's comments are pertinent and stand out evern more so on the second reading.

As for AJplaying Europe, she's not quite right IMHO, I think it's that her beauty is not an understated beauty as I imagine Europe's to be. Maybe an older Natalie Portman would suit? Actually I think Aussie Actress Claudia Karvan would be fantastic.

As I read of Threnody I must admit I envision her to look a lot like Emma Watson from the HP films. (Imperious and vulnerable, brave and self centred.)

Vahlaeity said...

HELP: Anyway of editing posts once posted? Have noticed glaring spelling mistake :(

DM Hope that book 3 is progressing well :)

Anonymous said...

E.N. Reinmuth. "Good fighting weather" was the mention in Book One. I myself have been wondering how fulgars are affected by lightening storms.

It seems to me Rossamund's nature expresses itself most in times of stress. The notable exception would be the barrel of shot that nearly flattened him. Another thing to note is that he has done a lot of physical exercise in the space between Foundling and Lamplighter, though I don't know if that would make a significant difference.
Have any laden jars (precursors to the battery; essentially glass jars with charged acid inside.) been invented in Half-Continent?
But maybe we're over obsessing about the weapons for lazhars--yes I know I started it with the swords but I've changed my tune a tad bit.
On the topic of the film: (Personally, unless it gets ecstatic reviews, I will not be going to seeing it. At all. You see, I hated what was done with the Prince Caspian film and I don't want to see such blatant butchery performed on MBT.)
My two non-sense are as follows:
I haven’t seen any of the Harry Potter films but I do recall perusing an article that indicated Emma was too old to play someone of Threnody's age.
Rossamund I'm not even going to try guessing at since I have no idea who of that size would work for the part.
As for Angela playing Europe, I had thought about it but she just doesn't seem correct for the role. Natalie Portman bugs me for some intangible reason, but as said before, I'm probably not going to be seeing the film so why should I care.
But I pay no attention to any films but Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and assorted less known films, so don't mind my opinions on this.

Zakk said...

Almost typical of you to disagree with me.
Is anyone besides me wondering what other kinds of teratorologists look like - we read but dont see.
Hoping Book 3 is called Zakk

Anonymous said...


After reading both of your books, i have finally found something to curb my Star Wars cravings :D. The Universe you have created is so amazing! I must admit i'm entirely envious as to the fact you have something so awe-inspiring up there in that head of yours.. Now I was wondering, where can I join this site?.. Now i'm at a loss for words :D anyway

yours sincerely
The boy no K

MooseGuy said...

Most defs for Claudia Karvan playing Europe, Vahlaeity. A somewhat older, but still attractive woman would be better suited to the role (appearance-wise, at least) than Natalie Portman or Angelina Jolie, and she's Australian, too, which is usually a good thing.

RottenPocket said...

DM- As an author (although this is your first publication, all the more reason to ask) do you find it difficult to produce in words exactly what is presented in your mind?-I suppose I mean in ways that let readers picture the H-C exactly as you do. It's already been discussed that feel is a vital component of a great story, but no one seems to be able to tell me whether or not they follow certain ideals.

I have no idea if this is Gibberish or not, and I still vote Jennifer Connoly...

Anonymous said...

While Fulgars wielding swords does sound rather cool, I must agree that it would be 'self demeaning' as it has already been pointed out. However, in the off chance that a Fulgar were to wield a 'weapon' per se, I would think that a pike or halberd would be more fitting the almost harundo like movements of Europe's spinning.
unfortunately I cannot contribute to the film topic as I have very little recall of actors names and faces, but I reckon it would be a large, albeit almost impossible undertaking to wholly incorporating the first book of MBT into a segment of approximately 140 some minutes.

I would now like to pose a question... Not only to Mr Cornish but to you too, what does Sinister look like? How do you invision the city/port? is it clausterphobic, filled with dirt, decay and bodies as most of the Half Continents denisens believe? or is it an uncannily sterile while dark and foreboding place, kind of like an old or impoverished hospital?

pearl said...

Speaking of what things look like, I've never really gotten my head around how a lamp look like, with the bloom and seltzer water and the winding out bit. D:

And I vote Jack Davenport for Sebastipole. I can't think of anyone for Europe, but Claudia Karvan or Jennifer Connolly suit pretty well.

jfgarnant said...

Totally agree with that comment. Although carrying a weapon would be very demeaning, something that you mentioned, the staff or halberd, or something of that nature would be most like them, but still, defeats the point I guess.
Again, I must agree wtih jakalope in regards to the movie, unable to keep up with actors names and faces, but still, I would hate to see the movie destory the book series in a zeal for publicity. I doubt Cornish would like that at all.
As to pearlius, I also agree. Any good people here with a skill for art feel like showing what they think the lamps look like? Much appreciated as my head just can not figure it out. Must be slow...

Sam Hranac said...

This could be way off... Probably is because I never try to do this sort of thing - match people up to roles.

With some hair and make up, perhaps Sigorne Weaver as Europe? Or do you think Jamie Lee Curtis could pull it off now that she's older?

D.M. Cornish said...

Hear! Hear! and a hearty Amen! to this all!

Please, folks feel free to draw your idea of a lamp and send it through to ... makes me think I need to perhaps draw one to make it clearer myself.

I shall get to many of these excellent questions soon(ish) but will right now say that my thought for Europe has recently been Rose Burn. A reckon the less well known any MBT actors might be the better... IMHO

My big hopes for director Peter Wier or Brad Silberling or Luc Besson, maybe Marc Caro & Jeab-Pierre Jeunet or even Michael Mann - a A Sereies of Unfortunate Events meets Master & Commander meets The Last of the Mohicans kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

I know the weapons for the fulgars is probably a boring topic by now to most people out there however one weapon i could easily picture the fulgar using (although possibly not Europe) and i haven't seen anyone mention would be the good old fasioned whip, im not exactly sure of the mechanics of the necessary flexibility of certain metals but the whip would allow the fulgar to give quick shocks and be able to arc continually into a poor nicker or such, without necessary having to fight as close as hand to hand, probably used when fighting 1:1 with the bigger beasties rather than a pack of smaller ones (i could just picture an unknown fulgar with the whip around the neck of an ettin sized monster bringing it to its knee's).

loved both books and cant wait for 3

RottenPocket said...

I've been struck with drawing ideas DM, so trust me to leapt at that option...

Rose Burn- Good Idea.
Master and Commander- Good Movie

Though, I had always thought that an extended Miniseries would suit MBT better. It'd be proper for a viscous tale such as this.

Nick said...

heya, just wanted to say something off topic thats been getting at me
i was really amazed (more so with lamplighter) that it was in the 9-12 section of waterstones, especialy as M.B.T. is more mature in some of its themes than alot of 'adult' books, and as a (only slightly moody at 17) teenager i love the dark world it portrays, yet i only stumbled on the book my accident passing through, despite regularly looking in teen and adult fiction books looking for a book like this, and instantly loving the title (loving both tattoos and monsters) and cover, had to read it and got through both in a span 2.5 days only leaving the house once to get the 2nd after completing the 1st (i do have a life its just college holidays and im a fast reader). anyway to get to my point, does anyone else find the age band this book seem to be thrown into slightly off and restricting to those who might get it if it was in an older age band (or is it just waterstones being strange and other bookstores treated it differently)
also a thought that occured to me about the fulgar-whips i wrote about(as annonymous) i just thought how violent that scene i pictured was and would have to be a very violent fulgar and rossamünd would be very distraught by such a scene
thank you to anyone who listens to any nonsensical ramblings of me.

P.S. thank you d.m. this blog has really impressed me as i have never seen a writer so actively comunicating with their fans and allowing them to have there say in a world that is, ultimately, all yours.

Anonymous said...

Preveiously I said I wouldn't mind a MBT forum, but now I'm feeling that the comments page on here is sufficient and certainly far cozier, if that makes sense.
Mr. Cornish.
I looked up 'welladay' in my dictionary and it showed up as an archaic synonym for 'alas'. Heading off the welcome section of this site with alas is not good policy.
I believe Monster-Blood Tattoo is classed as a childrens or 'young adult' book is because the protagonist is a young chap and it has a very fantastical air about it.
I can tell you, when my friend first mentioned it I was picturing a dark, horrific world of constant fear, destruction, and arcane magic. Instead I get a protagonist who is neither surly, wantonly destructive, nor emotionally desturbed. I can't say I'm at all unhappy. What really impressed me was moral conflicts were actually present in a world of media devoted to vanities.
On the idea of fulgar whips: I feel a chain would probably work better than an unconventianal whip. Some copper on the links would be essential for conduction. Plus, a whip (being somewhat of a blugdoening weapon rather than a peircing one) would better injure through gaulding. A fuse of sixteen feet swung from on high would not feel good at all.
Certainly whips and such-like fluid weapons are workable but notoriusly hard to wield.
The only reason I brought up the fulgar sword was that it seemed logical to use a cuting blade at close range rather than the shorter of the two fulgaris, particularily if the blade is coated with libermane or some conductive or toxic potive.

I am very pleased to say I got both boks from the library and have been consuming the appendices and loving them. The entry on concometrists was highly amusing and all such subtle sarcasm and satyr is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

vote for forum--no. it is rather nice here, i think.
also i did know that welladay [shakespearian-ish phrase] meant alas, and i was sort of torn between pointing it out and seeming like a word snot [not ocourse that ben b is one :)] and not saying anything and figuring you had your reasons... N E way.
it is a good phrase.

as to MBT being more appropriate for adults--IMHO, most really good stories, whatever the designated category, are appropriate for everyone. [barring the obvious *coughstephenkingcough*] examples: I grew up on shakespeare. my parents loved Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy. The Princess Bride sprung from the pen of the same fellow who wrote Marathon Man. everyone should read Roald Dahl. etc, etc, etc

one thing that i really like about your stories, D M, is how deeply you have gone into your own imagined world. i--+ i think other people, too--get tired of fantasy going halfway with the Other Realm and then filling it with familiar mythology and familiar catchphrases and contemporary elements that offset whatever story they are trying to tell just enough to make it seem less real. whereas you've run off and gone so far as to re-invent half the language!
*more salutations*

i doff my hat.

must be hard, tho, coming out of that every day after writing


D.M. Cornish said...

I tell you, Monday, some days it's hard getting in, too... :\

Anonymous said...

On the note of books that appeal to all ages I say ‘hear hear’. I have heard it said some of the most enduring children’s books are those not written for children. Certainly books like Peter Pan (none of the lousy spin-offs I’m talking about the original) and the Lord of the Rings were not penned exclusively for children yet are beloved of all ages.
I believe there are some subtle references to mythology, or should I saw mythesized-history, in Monster-Blood Tattoo. What I noticed were the many references to the Heldinsage, particularly relating to the genealogies of the upper-class denizens of Half-continent. It rather reminds me of one of the books I plodded through for world literature called the Histories of Herodotus, wherein many of the prominent Greek nobles trace their blood back to heroes like Heracles, Perseus, Menelaeus, Ajax, Diomedes, Agamemnon, and the rest; all of whom existed in a veritable heroes age and most of whom were allegedly descended from a 'god'. The heritage of one's country and national pride had a lot to do with these long greyed ancestors and their mention (however fleeting) in the works of Homer. And now I see Mr. Cornish has the Iliad on his list of favorite books it seems a safe guess there is an intentional parallel. The urchins and other monsters with humanoid bodies but animal-esque heads also recalls to mind the fantastical creatures devised by the ancient Greeks and their forebears the Egyptians and other ancient cultures.
If I'm wrong I apologize profusely and beg all your pardons.
You did say earlier, Mr. Cornish, that there were some things that didn’t ‘fit’ the feel of your works as well as might be desired. Will you expound, please? Perhaps offer some examples?

Zakk said...

Well I think the books are for teens, not oldies that have too much time on their hands. I'm only 13 and i understand it perfectly. Children's books are for children.
LOTR is set for an older audience - no child deserves to sit through so much boring gabble - sure its a great storyline but it swaps between like three stories!

D.M. Cornish said...

I was actually a year younger than you, Zakk, when I read LOTR and it blew my mind. I have re-read it several times since and it has continued to be THE BOOK for me, the one (along with Mervyn Peake's wonderful work) that really triggered this whole H-c thing. So if you like MBT then it perhaps a happy thing I for one did not find LOTR to be "boring gabble".

As for MBT itself it is for whomever gets it, loves it, whether they have time on their hands or not - I do not write with a particular age-group in mind. I think I might have said this before - long time ago - but just because a protagonist is a child does not mean the text is necessarily meant only for children. That MBT is YA is more an accident than a choice on my behalf... would you believe.

It truly is time for me to post again. There are some excellent questions from both this and the previous post that really need answering.

Nick said...

heya, something that i've been wondering about, sorry if it's something you've already considered, the fulgar's fuse sounds very similar to an electromagnet (being copper wire coiled around a pole, admitedly not an iron one but a pole nonetheless) and with a current passing through this it would act as one, i was just wondering if this would effect combat in anyway (especially if fighting with humans) sorry if im just over-thinking things it was just an absentminded thought i had while flicking through the explicarium.

pearl said...

I think that books are books. I don't usually follow a category.. As long as I am interested in the book, it doesn't really matter which section of the library I plucked it out of. :)I still read children's books (Roald Dahl!), if it makes anyone feel any better.

RottenPocket said...

I agree. I sometimes go to convenience stores and buy a bunch of lesser known, $2 books, mainly because of my interest in the wider fields of imagination. (also to be plain I just can't afford mainstream...) There are a lot of interesting tales that I can't even try to place into categories.

I even read Book Of Shadows and Book Of Spirits by James Reese, (definitely not a children's book) the first of which when I was 14.

Back to the topic of Lamps-
I think I have it sorted.... I've read Foundling and a bit of Lamplighter since my last post (mind you, I've been studying for QCS too) for info on the lamps and how seltzer works.

I've drawn up a few ideas, but a question rises about the structure. The lamps I've defined are like regular lamps, a glass, pentagonal structure and the light source stands/sits within, be it candle or wick and oil etc. On the cover of Lamplighter [hardcover edition] the Vialimn in the top right corner is unlike the others unlit, whilst Rossamund (it is assumed) holds a light within his hand.

I just wanted to know if the workings of a Vialimn (regardless or gears, I've already sorted it out) concerning the Bloom, is a lantern structure within some sort of holder within, for a canister that has a separated structure within that where half holds the bloom, and through holes in some kind of separator the seltzer chemicals pour when the lamp is hoisted or 'wound out'.

I could probably explain this better but I am a little woozy from a cold, so basically, stick, box on top. Box is glass, window front, inside gears and such (at base, delicate and complicated, continued through to the outside crank thingy majigy) with say a clip-like attachment to a cylindrical case thingy with chemicals and algae inside.

-This is more directed towards D M Cornish, but I'll be open to conversation.

By the way you pick up SO MUCH MORE when you read MBT again- like Freckles banterings:

"see a dog, call it a dog" etc.

Anywho, peace!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick question... Are there two different mechanisms on the outside of the lamp structure? I know of the hook with the chain attached pulley ordeal but isnt there are seperate one which has to be rotated? not sure if this is correct just my memory making things up (due to me giving MBT1 and 2 to a freind to spread the joy around)
Reinmuth's idea sounds feasible but it seems a bit overcomplicated... gears and such would be destroyed if a human sized nicker were to bounce into one of these lamps... which is why I thought that the pump action of the chain and hook might be a sort of bellows, the device which you squeeze to pump air into a fire. The bellows would then pump air into a sponge like material which contained all the chemicals which entered the algae through holes in the top of a container.
Due to the smallness of this bellows it requires several pumpings to create enough pressure to force the mixture of compounds to feed the algae.
Anyway just my thoughts... woo lamps!

RottenPocket said...


Sounds like it could work, but your design seems more complicated and not so much related to MBT's lamp structure.

By that I mean, I viewed the 'winding' concept about as much as I do to music boxes or those little teeth thingies that chatter. There was a phrase somewhere in Book two: "Up to three, down two three it went" [wind it few times, few times it will release, many times, long time to release etc]
and that there were different amounted of 'winding' to each lamp characteristically, which pretty much vaguely suggested that it was all gears and such.

The gears wouldn't necessarily be destroyed. In my past comment it probably was poor word choice to say 'Delicate' and complicated, but I really mean small and compact.

Any music box I've dropped or thrown in a tantrum as a child never broke, and for box like structures filled with mechanisms you have to actually hit it on the corner or something like a weak spot in order to break it completely, and even if there were a problem with iron gears breaking, so would the lamp being made of glass.

I guess on the proposal of it's destruction, a 12 year old, I have witnessed, spends a lot of effort on breaking a plastic toy. My sister's ex tried to pry the head off a Scooby Doo wind up toy (was 19 at time, males... go figure) and broke his tooth in half.

Nickers I understand are super powerful, but Vialimns are iron, not plastic, posing the same, if not more of a challenge, as the above concept.

My Flu has worsened, so I won't be surprised if nobody can understand any of this...

Anonymous said...

Zakk, I must protest. I like books for teens and children and I´m quite a bit older than you. If you have a "young" mind why stick on old dusty stories? I read books for older people too but I can´t escape like I do when I read children/teen litterature.

Zakk said...

I'm surprised Ben Bryddia hasn't attacked me over this comment, because he would (mortal enemy).

Can a mannikin break out of its human form and be a monster and attack like a monster?

Anyone Else,
Should MBT go beyond book 3?
It too good to end i mean come on.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about the fine grey areas that seem to exist between the types or approaches to monster-hunters myself. This particular issue of the fulgars sword strikes me as much the same thing. What does a man or woman do to succeed as a monster hunter? Is there a barrior to what is skill or training and what is a Gudgeon?
Would a skold learn the process to make Lahzars artifical organs or even with the knowledge be to fearful to apply it? I wonder and could see a skold or dispenserist taking the treatments of a leer but to go further would to some seem inevitable and neccecary, but to others a heresy and make them a gudgeon of the ilk they hunt.
Am I alone in this line of thought?
B. Charli. H

RottenPocket said...

It's difficult to say whether or not I would like to see some more MBT after book three, I'd have to wait until I read its ending. Though it would be a good idea to publish another book of Europe's personal accounts (can't recall her word for it), up to the end point of the story, so that it and MBT can mould together -

'today I met the strangest little man'..... 'dearest box-face...' 'young rossamund's old foundlingery masters are quite the odd sort...... '

by the by, a lot of people are only asking questions like 'can manikins do this, that' etc.

I'm reading it as untermen that appear everymen and have superior strength, and I am absolutley dying to read book three and find out if there's a huge climax where people discover that monsters can be people, are a people of their own, and that there are some monsters that hate everymen passionately and become brutes that fight to kill (like the Horned nickers at the beginning book2). And more rossamunderlings appear and go 'In your face!' Rossamund gets a kitten cuz dogs don't like him and Sebastipole hooks up with a Rossamunderling named Annita.....

As you can see, my cold has lifted much and my mind is active, so in short, I really like Monster Blood Tattoo.....

Go David!

portals said...

Hi DM,
I have questions about lahzars' weapons.
Is a fulgar's fuse used as a kind of spear, or more like a lightsaber from Star Wars?
Do wits have any kind of weapon that they use?

MooseGuy said...

Methinks "E.N. Reinmuth" thinks and writes too much.

I suppose enthusiasm's good, though.

As for your guess at the ending of the trilogy, well... I know it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek but I just want it to be known how much I personally would hate such an ending.

We've been talking about fantasticality versus technicality, and how speculative fiction should stick on the whole to the real world, with certain rules broken to allow for the whole 'speculative bit'. Well the most important thing in this is NOT just that scientific rules are followed (or else consistently broken), but rather that people behave like the do in 'real life', or at least in a way that makes sense in their circumstances.

Am I making sense? Probably not, but on I go...

Everyone realising that some monsters are fine? Well the lesson, the moral of the story, would definitely be an important one. But the prejudice against monsters runs SO deep in the H-C, much deeper than most of the bigotry we encounter in our own lives, that such an outcome would be ridiculous.

This seems obvious, and again I wonder if I am making any sense at all here. But I just want to stress how very important that is that characters in all fiction, but especially SF & F and those in between, act like REAL PEOPLE.

Real people stuff up. Sometimes badly. Real people don't realise that this action now will have serious consequences in the future, whether good or bad. Real people brush their teeth and go to the toilet and EAT and do all sorts of mundane things. Real people say stupid things or mean things or just unthinking things. Real people can be extraordinarily kind to strangers and not expect anything in return. Real people know stuff about some stuff and not about others; that is to say, real people aren't segregated into those that know everything about everything and nothing about anything.

Most importantly, real people make CHOICES, rather than being propelled along by the events going along around them. And these choices have many ramifications, good and bad, obvious and subtle.

Phew! Okay, rant over. I hope you can find some sense and some important stuff in that, y'all. And don't take offence, please, Reinmuth, I'm not so much attacking your comment (or at least not intentionally) as much as using it as a springboard for my opinions.

Nate said...

I'm looking forward to book 3.
I'm hoping for a lot more of the HC after this trilogy. It's such a rich and unique world that I'd love to see it continue to develop for a long long time.
I think what I enjoy the most are the monsters and the mystery surrounding them. I'm still hoping to learn more about the false-gods and the history of humans interactions with monsters.

Nate said...

In response to Zakk's comment near the top
"If Rossamund is a mannikin, you didn't show it well in book one, "

I think he hinted at it very strongly in Book one, I was pretty sure Rossamund was monster about halfway into the book. Me and my brother even argued about whether he was a monster or not after the first book.

portals said...

I agree with zakk about rossamunds mannikinism (if thats a word). Licurius' detecting of smells separates him from others but that is probably the first sign. I thought it only became clear that he was different when freckle started talking about rossamund being named because of what he was. Before the Spindle there was next to no sign except for all the talk about monsters.

noelle said...

i disagree...there were plenty of hints in book one to suggest that rossamund was a mannikin, such as rossamund realizing that he liked the smell of the scented monster-bait (which i have forgotten the name of...) and being made queasy by the monster repellent cones. i was suspicious very early into book one about rossamund's true nature.

Anonymous said...

there were lots of hints, yes, but i only caught most of them after re-reading book 1 knowing what i knew from book 2.
and then ocourse you smack yr forehead and say, 'poxonit, how could i have MISSED that'

Sam Hranac said...

I enjoy reading the books to my 12-year old to see him raise an eyebrow at an early hint. Sometimes, he asks me to back up and read a bit again. Then he asks a question, but I just say, "We'll have to keep reading." He hasn't come out and said, but he seems to guess that Rosamond has special powers or something.

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering...

What if DM wrote a guide to the monsters and places of the Half Continent.

That would provide me with a lot of entertainment for months.

portals said...

Ok i stand corrected, there were actually lots of hints.

portals said...

Although this is unrelated, in the nimbleschrewd scene, Licurius' face is described as 'indescribably broken'. Would this have been because of his sthenicon or because of something else?

Anonymous said...

I'm totally in the same boat with you, Monday. I only began guessing during the attack on Wormstool and now that I've re-puroused books 1 and 2 I see I was being my usual, gullible self about Monster-Blood Tattoo. For anybody who has played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, I didn't get the plot twist there either. Truth be told, I usually miss the hints 'til the plot has twisted and my aching heart with it.
I'm such a hopeless little boy...
To Jak.
Just wait 'til Half-continent has gained more of a following then the publishers might let him get away with publishing a large, illustrated encyclopedia of some sort. The only problem with such fantasy reference books is that they rapidly become obsolete as new material is published.
And I totally agree with you, Mooseguy; stories of the fantastical nature, even if they're star fish, toys, or animals must always contain that human element we can relate, hate, and sympathize with. Humans are deadly complex things to write well just as they are to draw. Of course, I'm no authority since I can do neither. Fare ye well.
Post Script: Here, Zakk, no hard feelings. Have a puff on me peace pipe!

portals said...

I think that there has to be an element of technicality in a fantasy novel. Even if it is not strong, it needs to be there to let readers understand thoughts and decisions. If characters thought in completely different ways there would be no sense and storylines would fall apart.

Even though it may be hard to understand certain characters ideas, there should still be a techical basis to their opinions so that storylines do not seem stupid and unrealistic.

I can see where most people in the h/c are coming from and i think this is great for the stories and I plots.

sorry if I am just copying what others have said; i have not read all the comments :1

Sam Hranac said...

portals, you are so right about there being an element of technicality in a fantasy novel. I would say that fantasy has its own special set of technicalities, but that writing in general contains quite a few. It is an art and a science. And, if you lack one, you don't end up with books like these.

portals said...

I reckon MBT has the right amount of technicality to be beliveable, but the right amout of fastasticality to make it amazing!

RottenPocket said...

Mooseguy- No problemo, this place is a discussion hoarding warehouse, it's hard to distinguish attacks from simple conversation, but if you keep that in mind, nothing worries you. Whilst we're on the subject, yes yes, my last post was a little out there, just like conflict, relief from other commitments is hard to identify when down in writing...

I hope I won't encourage a third debate on Technicality Vs Fantasticality, but the Lamp design is done and I have a friend who's trying to do a fan art of Numption's work stall 143.

Also, is it possible that crazy people are more aware of the Untermen than regular folk?
Like in Buffy (sorry to say, it's the only analogy I have), when Dawn is the 'key' to open the Hell Dimension, she is not human but a ball of energy, and all people from the hospital that are mentally infirm say riddles like 'beautiful light, not what it seems', 'what is there, shouldn't be there, can't you see! She's not there!' - and whatnot.

Just reading Lamplighter again, slowly, and Numption seems to be aware of Rossamund's origins, saying that unlike Mr. 'Pole, he must be friends with Numps' old friends, and like cinnamon and freckle, he'd say nought about Rossamund too...

Curiously Curious, and yes I do indeed think and write too much.... (you should see my short stories, not very short at all)

OH! and is it likely that the sparrow king is responsible for Rossamund being left at the foundlingery, and why the sparrows/nuglugs are often around?

portals said...

I think the sparrows and nuglugs are there to watch over Rossamund. It could be that after the encounter with Freckle aboard the hogshead that Rossamund's manikinism became known by the bogles.

Unknown said...

D.M Cornish,
i have just finished reading lamplighter,, and i'm impressed again by your imagination, ability and integrity. I was inspired several months ago to begin reading again (my interest in literature had somewhat lessened, momentarily, because of a drought in readable books) by a veritable avalanche of gifts, the origins of which i'm still unsure. Your book was preceded by such greats as Alan Bennet, Roald Dahl (whose imagination could be almost favorably compared to your own), Virginia Woolfe and finally James Joyce (Ulysses, none of this Finnegan's Wake crap). In short, i enjoyed your book as much as the others you see listed above.

I have only one request. Please don't stop writing. If you were to leave any aspect of the H-C unexplored in even some minor way i will feel that terrible feeling of disquiet and depression that follows the closing of a good book with no sequel (in spirit or matter).
I had a strange urge the other day to buy your books as they come out and horde them somewhere, to share with any children i might have/meet in later ages.


RottenPocket said...

portals- good point.... although the actual nuglug (or is it nuglungs... Last time I read the word it was Numps speaking...) was seen in Foundling, in the olive bush, and only the sparrows after the Hogshead ruckus.

Though Freckle was brought on board midway through Rossamund's journey to High Vesting, he only met the boy at High Vesting, and then was released to tell the tale, so that rules the Sparrowling out... but it might contribute I guess, If the sparrows were sent to keep more of an eye out because he had a run in with such trouble.

Geez, thinking and writing too much again....

portals said...

Good point about the nuglungs ( i realised it was NG afterwards). i also thought of this after i had posted the comment.

Freckle mentions cinnamon, so cinnamon could have been looking for him in the high vesting area. just a thought, probably not true, but anyway . . .

Anonymous said...


I couldn't think of anywhere else to leave this, but I figured you might want to know that the EXPLICARIUM in the US version of the site ( has one entry put incorrectly. The entry for lahzar is actually the definition for a scourge. Sorry to be nitpicky, but it is rather a big difference. I'm sure you have an amazing third book to write so I won't keep you too long but I thought you should know.

Zakk said...

You really must post again DM

RottenPocket said...

portals- you made me curious, but I lent my Foundling book to a friend... OH! I forgot to post the link for the lamp. and it's the last deviation I've put up.

Not a lot of people get the username, but just so as you know, I like spitting Cobras...

portals said...

Sorry if i'm bothering some people but I had an interesting thought.
Rossamund being left at Madam Opera's seems to be a bit of an unsolved mystery, so I thought about it and the facts are: Fransitart found him, and 'Rossamund' was written in charcoal.
Fransitart somehow knows of Rossamund's manikinism, cares for Rossamund, says in 'Lamplighter' that he has spoken with bogles, and is ashamed that he has killed a monster. His tattoo is described as a bogle and monsters seem to be the only ones that can detect a manikin.
Maybe a bogle found Rossamund in a threwdish area, delivered him to Madam Opera's (I believe it says in Foundling that some bogles manage to get into cities), and is seen by Fransitart after Rossamund has been left by the door, charcoal maybe being the only writing tool a little monster could find. The bogle may have tried to explain Rossamund's unusual case to Fransitart, who, influenced by anti-monster propaganda, may have attacked and killed the bogle,taking pride in an achievement he would later be ashamed of. This would explain why Fransitart has killed a monster, spoken with a monster and knows about Rossamund's manikinism.
At the time he might have believed that the baby Rossamund was stolen and, because of this, let Rossamund be given a girls name. The bogle may have been trying to inform the people that Rossamund was a manikin, by labeling him with a tag that read 'Rossamund'.
Later Fransitar may have realised this, regretted killing the bogle, told his good friend Craumpalin, and tried to be nice to Rossamund to 'make up' for the monsters death.
Sorry if I'm just babbling on with random rubbish.

portals said...

I apologise if my prievious comment was just me bashing out random ideas on the keyboard.

portals said...

Sorry to keep saying things, but i take back some of my big comment. I justy read a bit of foundling and, when talking about his monster killing fransitart refers to his shipmates.

MooseGuy said...

The idea of the mentally infirm being more aware of mannikinism reminds me of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, and how such people are more sensitive to fairies and magic.

Anonymous said...

yes, [LOVE that book] that and certain bits of old, old, old folklore [which ms clarke probably referenced, actually]

i think stephen king made use of this in Black House, too, but i can't recall for certain

in any case, those of us who've always known we're crazy can now feelgood about it, right?

MooseGuy said...

yay insanity!

Anonymous said...

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Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Sasuke_Naruto said...

The 3rd book will be called Factotum and is coming out in September of 2010