The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae


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Post March 21, 2012, 01:21:19 PM

The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

This was a fun piece that took the reader through a massive part of pre-history. Creation, Eden, Atlantis, the glory of Greece, the Incan Civilization, Pyramids of Egypt - all eventually swept away with the power of a Judeo-Christian's gods hand.
No reason to argue if it really happened that way, as this is just a retelling and combining of myths from long ago.
As an atheist I enjoyed having the Judeo myths retold as what they are - myths. And the rest of the story put a different perspective on how the world was created and which gods (angels) ruled what. Much fun, well done.
Last edited by bottomdweller on March 21, 2012, 01:25:54 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post March 22, 2012, 01:47:24 AM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

I liked this one too . . . I've always been a fan of mythology, and this author has a real handle on it. The prose has that authentic sort of poetical voice about it Very nicely done. To me, though, it felt tragic, as opposed to being fun, as Michele said. All the old greatness is lost, and look what we've got left . . .
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Post March 22, 2012, 07:17:43 AM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

All the old greatness is lost, and look what we've got left . . .
Lester Curtis

Sounds like my life - but I'd rather have someone looking at the Judeo-Christian Creation Myths square in the face and expounding on them as myths, than have some Evangelical,Two-faced, Republican shaking a finger in my daughter's face telling her that she should be ashamed of herself for wanting contraceptives. Don't get me started!
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Post March 22, 2012, 11:15:19 AM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

bottomdweller wrote:
All the old greatness is lost, and look what we've got left . . .
Lester Curtis

Sounds like my life - but I'd rather have someone looking at the Judeo-Christian Creation Myths square in the face and expounding on them as myths, than have some Evangelical,Two-faced, Republican shaking a finger in my daughter's face telling her that she should be ashamed of herself for wanting contraceptives. Don't get me started!

Like I said . . . look what we've got left . . . (I don't want to look at what we've got on the right!)
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Post April 01, 2012, 12:19:06 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Told as a fable, this is an interesting take on God and his archangels. I’m a big mythology buff, so I tend to enjoy stories like this.

While I like the interweaving of mythologies, I wonder how much research the writer conducted. The timelines don’t mesh. We have one solid date to work with: the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD. It’s referenced in the story:
The last of the accursed statues, Michael's, disintegrated in an infinity of pieces of mud, suffocating the buildings meant for eternity and their splendid builders. The imperial infant of the Latins fell silent, buried alive.

Unless there’s a different time in Roman history where a city was buried in mud and preserved in perpetuity, but even then, the earliest would have been 9th century BC. Rome didn’t exist before then. So let’s give the writer the benefit of the doubt and say 800 BC.

As for the punishment of Egypt (“Almost dried up by the scorching heat, the Nile went on dragging itself like a silver snake with burned skin.”), the desertification of the Sahara, specifically on how it impacted that area, stabilized in 3400 BC. That’s a difference of about 2.5 millennia.

What was happening in South America during this time, specifically in the Andes? Well, there’s some latitude here, from the preceramic cultures to the Early Horizon period. However, the climatic collapse of various civilizations in this area (Moche, Nazca, Lima) didn’t occur until Early Intermediate period (200 AD – 600 AD) which was right after the Early Horizon period. I suppose a hurricane could have wiped out an unknown civilization as the climatic changes had more to do with drought than a tempest, but nothing historical supports that.

Atlantis? That mythical place, first reference by Plato in 360 BC, was believed destroyed 9600 BC. Of course, of all the places listed, this can move around the most, as it never existed.

Alright, so let’s assume the writer make the egregious mistake of using the term Latin to mean European. That provides a bit more wiggle room, but Europe remained largely Neolithic until about 1800 BC upon which the Bronze Age took hold. Still doesn’t overlap with Egypt.

The reason I’m writing this long critique is that there seems to be a perception that writing fantasy means you can skimp on the research. Let me state unequivocally that that’s false, especially if you’re using mythological or historical references. Poetic license needs to be supported with a foundation of facts. Bill might quibble on science, but I’ll quibble on myth and history.

Also, there were a number of regions not used that maybe should have been. What about the myriad cultures of Africa? China or India? Or the Norse religion? These areas might have actually fit better in terms of a timeline.
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Post April 01, 2012, 01:13:20 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Jamie, I don't think historical accuracy was the point of this story. Did Methuselah actually live to be 969 years old? Who cares? These are all myths, and could belong to any people at any time. The motive power of the story comes from its invocation of primal archetypes, and all of these belong to all of us, in every era. So the author shuffled the deck with respect to dates and places; it's still an enjoyable piece of work.

I do agree with you on the parts that were missing; I felt that lack myself. Why would God neglect so much of the world when he was passing out archangels? But, name a deity who hasn't behaved in an outright foolish manner at some point. That's another point of this story: that the beings we worship are reflections of ourselves, warts and all.
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Post April 01, 2012, 07:08:12 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Well, Lester, *I* care. I have a deep respect for the mythologies and, more importantly, the cultures that inspired them. Mythologies aren't just stories. They are the deep religious convictions of a culture. They didn't think they were make-believe.

You can say historical accuracy isn't important, but if you're going to use historical references in your writing, you should be held accountable for using the sources so that they can fit together. As for giving Mr. Niculae feedback, I don't think we're doing him any favors by glossing over a very important aspect of writing: do your research.
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Post April 01, 2012, 08:18:08 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

I apologize if I seemed insensitive, Jamie, and I hope I didn't offend you.

Ordinarily I'm another stickler for researching my material, to give it the necessary authenticity. For example, an early passage in my novel describes a childbirth, and after reading it to one of my writers' groups, a couple of the women commented on the realism of it and asked if I'd witnessed one, or how many kids I had. I told them I had no children, and got all the background from researching birth and child development on the 'net. It worked.

Now, we won't know until or unless Mr. Niculae weighs in on it, but perhaps he was deliberate in his disregard of the historical order of events. Your commentary makes it clear that the story would have been a whole lot different if he had kept everything in proper chronological order. I would be interested in his response.

By the way, your first post in this thread was an impressive display of scholarship. You actually know this stuff; I just grab as much as I need to to fool the readers, and move on to the next thing.
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Post April 01, 2012, 11:25:14 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Lester Curtis wrote:By the way, your first post in this thread was an impressive display of scholarship. You actually know this stuff; I just grab as much as I need to to fool the readers, and move on to the next thing.


Well, I had to look most of it up for the details. There was a lot of research in this critique. :lol:
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Post April 02, 2012, 12:04:56 AM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Jaimie wrote:
Lester Curtis wrote:By the way, your first post in this thread was an impressive display of scholarship. You actually know this stuff; I just grab as much as I need to to fool the readers, and move on to the next thing.


Well, I had to look most of it up for the details. There was a lot of research in this critique. :lol:

Oh, you got me! Good job, all the same!
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Post April 04, 2012, 12:13:23 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Lester Curtis wrote:Now, we won't know until or unless Mr. Niculae weighs in on it, but perhaps he was deliberate in his disregard of the historical order of events.


Maybe we don't actually need the author but can go by the story, as the third-to-last paragraph (the one starting with "Time did its dirty deed") tells us that the author was quite aware at the time of writing that the history presented in the story differs from the history the readers may know.
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Post April 04, 2012, 01:11:33 PM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

vates wrote:
Lester Curtis wrote:Now, we won't know until or unless Mr. Niculae weighs in on it, but perhaps he was deliberate in his disregard of the historical order of events.


Maybe we don't actually need the author but can go by the story, as the third-to-last paragraph (the one starting with "Time did its dirty deed") tells us that the author was quite aware at the time of writing that the history presented in the story differs from the history the readers may know.

Well, there we have it (emphasis mine):
Time did its dirty deed of mystifying all evidence, playing as it always has with the malleable mortal mind -- it changed dates, places and people, it had rocks lie when asked their age and it moved the remains around so much that the puzzle is impossible to resolve. And because they base their beliefs on the morsels left behind, no one will now trust that the world of Then might have had an entirely different chronicle.
Good catch, Vates.
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Post April 05, 2012, 12:19:03 AM

Re: The Story No One Knows by Alex Niculae

Haha... wow.

I never thought I'd see a literal version of deus ex machina, i.e., "god out of the machine".

Sorry, not trying to be insensitive. I've seen that term slung around here too often when someone doesn't think a plot should follow a certain path. I actually grown to despise that term, but here's a crystal-clear example of it.

Going back to the writer and giving some feedback, deus ex machina is considered poor writing. You're relying on a higher power to resolve your plot deficiencies. Yes, I know you can argue the story involves God and he can do what he wants, but to be a better writer, you can't say that a deity will come along and fill in your plot holes. That takes work and research (and feedback). So if you're going to twist history to suit your purposes, then it needs to be integral to the actual narrative.

Good catch, Vates. I missed that sentence, although I probably would have been more harsh if I had recalled it.
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