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Yoon Ha Lee wrote, quoting myself:

> > I've not developed much of a culture around my lang, but there are a
> > few hints here and there.
>
> I had the culture *before* the lang. The lang is really an aid for a
> fantasy novel-in-progress, _Origami Souls_. (Hey, it's up to 14
> chapters and some 20,000+ words).

That's (roughly, in the sense of 'more than half and less than double')
comparable to the length of "The Cries of an Injured World". Which is a
story I've co-written with a friend, and we finished the actual writing
ages and ages ago, but I haven't got around to finishing the editing
stages because I'm just far too much of a perfectionist.

The story talks about language quite a bit. We learn that the hero's
name, Zerrakhi, means "Explorer", and indeed that's what it means in my
conlang. We also learn that the medallion worn by the lead woman contains
an inscription in the forgotten language of the First Wizards (Zerrakhi's
ancestors). Considerable mystery is built up around this, and there's a
scene wherein Zerrakhi uses a dictionary of that ancient language to
translate the inscription. It says, "Behold the Key of Restoration".

> > The legends of the people describe the force in terms of a legendary
> > giant eagle as it punctures the flesh of its victim. Actually it's
> > something of an analogy for human sexuality, and there's no WAY that
> > I'm going to explain where I got the idea (let's just say I wrote the
> > story to take my mind off certain things, and also as a communicative
> > measure).
>
> <g> I've destroyed most of my earlier stories, especially the ones I
> couldn't figure out how to salvage anything useful from. Anything that
> survived from high school or earlier usually gets mutilated terribly
> when I try to turn it into a viable story.

Yeah, I don't have any of my earlier stuff. "The Door to Destruction" was
one that came before "The Clawmark". And before that was "The Snakewhip
Adventure". And all sorts of junk before that, most of it involving the
god-like hero Antherus, who was something of an obsession of mine. The
earliest story I remember writing for pleasure was "Gelikokia", featuring
a family of goats in the forest.

> With the giant eagle I would've thought of Prometheus, myself. =^)

It symbolises the idea of a mark, i.e. of a permanent change. As in 'You
are never the same after ...' There is a more gruesome aspect, but that's
what I'm not going to talk about.

In "The Cries of an Injured World", an eagle symbolises a warning.

> Magic exists in my conculture but is generally regarded in an animistic
> sort of fashion. What theology there is didn't really come from the
> magic system, but from my memories of folk religion and Buddhism and
> what-have-you in Korean.

As you've probably gathered, theology is an interest of mine :-) The
Christian culture/church that I come from encourages people to think for
themselves in matters of faith, and my faith is very much tailored to my
own preferences in analogies, explanations and favourite verses, yet
remains fully congruous with mainstream Christianity.

I admire Buddha as a historical figure. Here was someone in whom the
effects of corruption in the world cut so deep that he could not bear
even to eat until he caught a glimpse of a solution. That, to me, is the
mark of true spiritual greatness.

> I've *tried* portraying institutionalized--la-Catholicism (my knowledge
> of which ends shortly after the Protestant Reform--what I get for
> focussing too much on medieval history) religion, but I can never get
> it right. :-/ At some level I fundamentally don't understand that sort

Can't help you there ... I'm a protestant.

> > In the language (not necessarily connected to either of the stories)
> > the culture is basically monotheist. The word for 'God' /roKi/ is a

Should be /rOKi/. I actually like this as a word for 'God'. A friend once
jokingly criticised it on the grounds that you can't _swear_ a word like
that!

> <wry g> When culture-building occasionally my own beliefs filter into
> the culture's belief-system, but I don't specifically set out to design
> them that way. OC, I belong to the semi-perfectionist-wannabe school of
> worldbuilding. It would be neat to try something like what you've
> described, though my own faith is so messed-up and uncertain it'd
> really come out confused!

I just think it would be interesting to take analogies that lie on the
/edge/ of my own faith (i.e. descriptions that I personally find helpful)
and move them into the very /centre/ of a fictional faith, and see what
happens. But I haven't done this.

> More kudos to you.

Chocolate flavoured ones? :-)

> Cheers,
> YHL

--
web.       | Here and there I like to preserve a few islands of sanity
netyp.com/ | within the vast sea of absurdity which is my mind.
member/    | After all, you can't survive as an eight foot tall
dragon     | flesh eating dragon if you've got no concept of reality.