Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Geeking Out About Swords With His Mongoliad Co-Authors - Neal Stephenson

"At some point, perhaps after a rousing round of bashing each other with canes, the group started tossing around a concept for a movie — one that, as Stephenson puts it, "would essentially take the tropes of martial arts movies and move them over whole to medieval Europe. If you see a movie set in the East and you see a couple of guys fighting, there's a huge foundation of knowledge and myth that you've got in your head. You know that they're not just making this up: each one of these guys has spent years practicing specific, very highly sophisticated techniques that have names, and give them much greater ability to fight than someone who doesn't have them. That doesn't have to be discursively explained to the audience. But if you see a couple of knights square off, they're doing this kind of HUHHH! — ksssh! — thing..." The group played with the movie idea for a while, but then they got sidetracked by a question about some of its backstory — specifically why it was that the Mongols, having already flattened Eastern Europe, didn't press onward into Western Europe after the death of Ögedei Khan in 1242. The answer they devised was that a small crew of European warriors, or whatever the European equivalent of samurai would be, came up with the inevitable dangerous but cunning plan." 3.5 out of 5