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The Killing Stroke
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 10:08 am    Post subject: The Killing Stroke Reply with quote

I was surprised not to see a thread about this one here. Just wondering what everyone thinks of it.

Personally, It's my absolute favourite of his short stories. I picked up Reave the Just at a book store in London a few years ago, and although I read the whole thing of course, through the years I've found that the only story from it that I read over and over again is that one.

Admittedly, I've always had a fondness for esoteric philosophies coupled with physical skills that spring first from the mind, and second from the body, but I think that The Killing Stroke has to be my favourite example.

Perhaps naturally, I'm particularly fond of the "Art of Circumvention" as practiced by the Nahia. The ideal of knowledge, compromise, and adaptation is one that I find very beguiling, not to mention that I agree with the inherent danger of assumptions.

Anyway, just curious as to everyones take on it.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved it! Very Happy

Very well written... I liked the fact that the good guys had less scruples than the bad guy... and the bad guy wasn't all that bad after all! Very Happy

I liked the different fighting types as well. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a doubt one of his best short stories-be until I reread it I can't do it justice here...
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the time I read DoR, The Killing Stroke was my favorite of his short stories. It put into fictional form the philosophy I have followed for decades -- very rewarding to see SRD expressing it.

I have since raised The Woman Who Loved Pigs to position as my favorite, but for storytelling reasons. Philosophically, The Killing Stroke still rules. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest, I didn't really enjoy the other stories in Reave the Just. It's been a long time since I read them, but didn't The Woman Who Loved Pigs tie in with one of the other stories?

Although I must say that the one about the vampire was pretty good.

I have to agree with you about the philosophical aspects of The Killing Stroke. A lesson in perspective.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one about the vampire (Penance, I assume you mean) is the one SRD has mentioned a couple times as possible material for a novel. Smile

I like The Woman Who Loved Pigs because it has the epic sweep of his novels. It is the atmosphere which I think comes most naturally to him.

He kept saying he's not a polemicist -- though don't you get the feeling lately that he's accepting he is a polemicist? He seems to me to be using a lot of his short stories to send a message, including Killing Stroke.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dragonlily wrote:
He kept saying he's not a polemicist -- though don't you get the feeling lately that he's accepting he is a polemicist? He seems to me to be using a lot of his short stories to send a message, including Killing Stroke.


Smile Sorry it took so long to get back to this one. I'm not sure what you mean about "lately", and to be honest it's not something I've really thought about, but doesn't all his work send some sort of message?

I certainly think that the Chronicles send a message, one about despair, about love, about hope. Perhaps it's ineveitable that anything written sends some sort of message, whether or not the autor intends it to?

Afterall, in many ways, writing is simply an independant reflection of some part of the writer. Admittedly a reflection that the writer can, to some extent, control, but a view of him nonetheless.

I think that in essence, The Killing Stroke is a tale of perception. How even though something may seem to be a certain way, or that others tell you that it is, that does not make it so. Perhaps it is, above all, a story about assumption.

Regardless though, it's a brilliant one. In fact, I think I'll re-read it very soon.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean about "lately",


Parts of the Gradual Interview
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aaah. Thanks, I'll check it out Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2004 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the way that the "good guys" in The Killing Stroke wanted to kill the "bad guys" just for knowing things.

Then again, I enjoy common perceptions being turned on their heads. It keeps me on my toes as a reader. Very Happy

I loved the way that SRD pushed Isla, Asper, the shin-te master, and even the nerishi-qa master beyond the normal bounds of what they knew and believed in order to see their truth in different ways.

I do agree with Joy though that The Woman Who Loved Pigs was brilliant. The way the story was told was great.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No matter how many you find, there is always another Truth.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't read the gradual interview in a long time, but didn't SRD hint that expanding The Killing Stroke mythology was at least plausible? Even if he did, it could be ten or fifteen years, but seriously, how cool would that be? My first impression when I read it, was: "there has to be more to this story."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'v been this close to starting a Killing Stroke thread for months now. I was waiting to reread it.

Can someone please explain the ending to me? I don't get it. Spoiler:
IIRC, the bad guy champion says, you're right, there is no killing stroke, and walks away. But I don't see why he comes to that conclusion based on what the good guy champion says.

I haven't been able to find a thread where anyone discusses this. I am close to declaring that the Emperor has no clothes.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone does explain the end...do so privately or with a spoiler block.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aha! No one can explain the end.

Just as I thought.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without re-reading it, for what it's worth:

Spoiler:
There was no killing stroke because the choice was in the action of the victim. By giving himself up to the blow, he took the power from the agressor.

It was no longer the champions will that would kill him, it was his own acceptance. By ceasing to fight, by effectively committing suicide, it was the victim himself who made (allowed) the final blow.


Or at least, that's how I remember it. Might be time for a re-read of this, my favourite of all his short stories.

Like HoC said...there's gotta be more. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Av. That's what the ending seems to mean, if you don't look at it too closely. However:

Spoiler:
Are we really supposed to accept that a person cannot be slain unless they allow themselves to be slain?

Are we really supposed to accept that a blow that is allowed by the 'victim' is not nonetheless a 'killing blow'?

And, most of all, are we really supposed to believe that the other champion was prevented from striking down the first chamion by any of this revelation?

As you can see, I don't see how any of what you pointed out actually has any relationship to why the story unfolds the way it does.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's because SRD is working under a different philosophy than you are, Wayfriend. I've emailed with him about this. The basic assumption to this story is that people attract into their lives what they choose to attract. By consciously understanding and taking control of their choices, they control their lives.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

agreed
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But ... But ... knowing these things doesn't make the story make sense!!!

Please help me connect the dots from "people attract into their lives what they choose to attract; by consciously understanding and taking control of their choices, they control their lives" to ... and that is why that happened in the Killing Stroke.

It cannot be done.
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