What does Immortals eat?

Yes, you did read that question right. What do they eat? Apart from pills and the likes, obv. Also, what kind of fecal matter do they excrete?
Genuinely corious from the biological point of view.

> inb4 lol wat da fak are you talking about, buddy?
Well, consumer goods are a part of economical system in the wuxia universe. If you can understand it a bit, perhaps you can something something expand horizon something something mastery or some shit like that.

Comments

  • Well, they eat the tastiest shit they can find, and as for producing waste, I'd imagine that if they eat they would have to go potty, but on the other hand there are more than enough immortals that abstain from food and the like, and unless they squat and let loose a torret of rainbows and cosmic energies, I guess they just don't poop
  • edited December 2016
    That's one of the downfalls of the genre. They have very little if any world building and the authors have some fetish for ridiculous scaling, so that which is detailed has little of any real consistency, rhyme or reason other than trying to create some kind of significance when forcefully matching a character's status.

    However, those novels that I have read generally designate food and water being:
    A) Completely unnecessary because a cultivator's only needed source to sustain themselves is the energy they refine or it's more of a sensory pleasure than actual fuel. They could be compared to a lot of interpretations of vampires in that regard.
    b) Food, is a "necessity", but it's very inconsistent as to why or when a cultivator needs to eat and most of the time it's more of a novelty than anything else. A lot of the novels have a very materialistic and shallow viewpoint, so the only times there's any real emphasis placed on it is when the point is to try and awe the readers by discussing the cost of their dinner.

    Their waste can be similar to the take on food. A) Cultivator's don't really go to the bathroom because it's not really necessary. The waste generated in their bodies are more or less considered being "impurities" and is something a cultivator can expunge through level breakthroughs or meditation, most commonly in the form of "foul smelling black ooze." Or again b) It's inconsistent whether or not it's actually a necessity. They don't really mention why or when, but the cultivator does have such bodily function; they only use them when they want to and in most cases, it's simply to urinate on a person in order to shame someone.

    ***
    Sure, characters could do xyz, but much like political machinations, large scale warfare, economics, tactics and schemes...the authors aren't quite up to that level of writing. Consumer goods and just economies in general, aren't really part of the wuxia system. Or more precisely, it's not part of the cultivator system.

    It's a "world of strength". Much of the stuff worth having isn't usually for sale so they have to earn it, steal it, or most commonly, find it in some conveniently placed location, under everyone's noses sitting in the dark for zillionbazoonga years, coincidentally close to when they needed it the most or happened to have the secret method of globsglobs the defender of yikk yakk yodle, which allows them and they alone, to unlock the door.
  • Tbaism said:
    That's one of the downfalls of the genre. They have very little if any world building and the authors have some fetish for ridiculous scaling, so that which is detailed has little of any real consistency, rhyme or reason other than trying to create some kind of significance when forcefully matching a character's status.

    However, those novels that I have read generally designate food and water being:
    A) Completely unnecessary because a cultivator's only needed source to sustain themselves is the energy they refine or it's more of a sensory pleasure than actual fuel. They could be compared to a lot of interpretations of vampires in that regard.
    b) Food, is a "necessity", but it's very inconsistent as to why or when a cultivator needs to eat and most of the time it's more of a novelty than anything else. A lot of the novels have a very materialistic and shallow viewpoint, so the only times there's any real emphasis placed on it is when the point is to try and awe the readers by discussing the cost of their dinner.

    Their waste can be similar to the take on food. A) Cultivator's don't really go to the bathroom because it's not really necessary. The waste generated in their bodies are more or less considered being "impurities" and is something a cultivator can expunge through level breakthroughs or meditation, most commonly in the form of "foul smelling black ooze." Or again b) It's inconsistent whether or not it's actually a necessity. They don't really mention why or when, but the cultivator does have such bodily function; they only use them when they want to and in most cases, it's simply to urinate on a person in order to shame someone.

    ***
    Sure, characters could do xyz, but much like political machinations, large scale warfare, economics, tactics and schemes...the authors aren't quite up to that level of writing. Consumer goods and just economies in general, aren't really part of the wuxia system. Or more precisely, it's not part of the cultivator system.

    It's a "world of strength". Much of the stuff worth having isn't usually for sale so they have to earn it, steal it, or most commonly, find it in some conveniently placed location, under everyone's noses sitting in the dark for zillionbazoonga years, coincidentally close to when they needed it the most or happened to have the secret method of globsglobs the defender of yikk yakk yodle, which allows them and they alone, to unlock the door.
    O Great Sage, part me some of your wisdom.
  • From as far as I know of (at least in Xianxia, which is also where you'd have an immortal anyways), once reaching a certain level of cultivation, food, water and even sleep is no longer a necessity. As a result, they do not produce any waste either. 
  • edited December 2016
    Myriea said:
    From as far as I know of (at least in Xianxia, which is also where you'd have an immortal anyways), once reaching a certain level of cultivation, food, water and even sleep is no longer a necessity. As a result, they do not produce any waste either. 
    What Myriea said. Plus, they feed on qi 气, also known as chi or ki. Basically the energy of the universe. They acquire it in various ways too, here are some:

    The most common method is absorbing 气 directly from one's surroundings. It's easy, but the 气's quality is low unless the location is special, say a holy land of some sort. There's a logical reason why these holy lands have more abundant 气, maybe an alchemist improved the 气 in them to make them more suitable for cultivation, or a very powerful being died there and left its 气 behind.

    Another source of 气 is the consumption of pills, elixirs or other conjured refreshments. These items are, technically, highly condensed 气 in the form of consumables. Alchemists create them by fusing together normal 气 with a combination of precious materials. Their advantage is that the 气 they have to offer is of relatively high quality, but the disadvantage is that they are hard to make and henceforth very expensive.

    The more sinister approach to cultivating 气 is directly absorbing the 气 of other cultivators or magical beings. You see such things very often in novels, cores being eaten, cultivation bases being consumed, etc. The positive side to this is that the absorbed 气 is not in small amounts, because you'd be consuming 气 that has been accumulated over years. The negatives are, well, for one, it's risky because you can get in trouble, but there's also the factor of purity involved -- if the 气 accumulated by the person you're feeding on is of low quality, you're going to be consuming low quality 气, i.e. there's a chance that such actions will cause disruptions to your cultivation base if your 气 is really pure, and if you're absorbing more than what you can handle. By handle, I'm actually talking about 'refine' -- after absorbing 气 of quality that varies from the one you have, you need to spend some time refining it, this goes for every cultivator. Also, it's important to note that some novels have different types of 气, it's not just "low quality" and "high quality", so for example if you're all about dark 气, absorbing light 气 would be kind of weird for you.

    Immortals are capable of surviving without food, water, sleep and all other necessities because the cultivation bases (or cores) that they have constructed over the years inside of their bodies are basically, well, engines. Engines that constantly absorb huge amounts of energy from their surroundings -- they can, of course, be turned on and off with just a thought, and even detonated. Immortals are like mini nuclear reactors, lol.

    Excrements and other waste formed by a cultivator's body is treated as impurities and is henceforth released directly into the air.

    Spirit stones which are used for exchange purposes are actually nothing more than naturally formed chunks of condensed 气. They're like gold and all other precious earth materials, you can mine them, you can separate them in different value, there are different types, etc.

    - - - TL;DR - - -

    1) Immortals feed on the qi energy of their surroundings, that's how they become 'immortals' and why they actually remain immortal.

    2) Qi energy is the basis of all foundation, and since it's a highly sought out commodity, it has also become the main pillar of xianxia economy. The spirit stones you see in these novels, the pills and elixirs, precious items, everything is basically highly condensed qi energy of varying quality.

    3) Excrements and other impurities get released into the air at will with the help of one's cultivaiton base. No, not like fart, more like foul matter, after it's broken down into atoms. They can be visible if they're released suddenly and in huge amounts (e.g. during cultivation breakthroughs), but usually they're not because these impurities get filtered out by one's cultivation base constantly, so they get released in very little amounts.
  • @Tbaism  

    I wouldn't say that the world building is a weak point. It's just that these worlds are over all the same.

    And when they do need to eat, I think we are just supposed to assume they have the same bodily functions. It's only once they no longer need to eat that we could assume they don't have excrements....

    And frankly, in stories, the building of a world isn't really important. In fact, it's often better to not overly build it during the story (look at Star Wars prequels). We should just know what we need to know.

    So when mortal, they probably do poop....
  • edited December 2016
    DMR said:
    @Tbaism 

    I wouldn't say that the world building is a weak point. It's just that these worlds are over all the same.

    And when they do need to eat, I think we are just supposed to assume they have the same bodily functions. It's only once they no longer need to eat that we could assume they don't have excrements....

    And frankly, in stories, the building of a world isn't really important. In fact, it's often better to not overly build it during the story (look at Star Wars prequels). We should just know what we need to know.

    So when mortal, they probably do poop....
    I mean no offense, but it doesn't seem you are particularly familiar with what world building even entails, since no one that is, would actually suggest that it "isn't really important." It's one of the basic fundamentals of writing, distinguishing one work from another, creating a sense of immersion, and is interconnected to every single aspect in a story before it is even put on paper whether much forethought is put into the final decisions or not. Sure, putting too much into world building can be frustrating, but not enough can be just as bad if not worse.

    Your assumptions are simply that and more than likely, not particularly observant ones. You can point out in one story or another that would certainly suggest this or that, but I could most likely point out in the same exact stories why they do not or why it's questionable in a hundred different instances throughout the series. That is an author's lack of forethought, consistency and comprehensive world building. It can be  constant detractor(s) throughout and it's the same case with just about everything else in the story and that is a problem.

    While they certainly don't need to tell the audience every chapter that characters have basic human bodily functions, they could certainly spend an entire whopping one sentence to set the record straight, especially when there is so much emphasis placed on cultivator biology. And when it's suppose to "just be assumed", that's should clearly be more than enough of a reason to do so.

    Also, your example is moot at best. It's a franchise that's been in existence since '77 if you weren't aware. New generations have been born since then. They don't place emphasis on existing world building simply for the sake of those that watched it first or grew up understanding it.

  • DMRDMR
    edited December 2016
    Not exactly, a story should often focus more on the story.

    And what I meant wasn't building the world, but focusing on building a world (sorry, shoulda been more clear). Basically, the parts of the story shouldn't often go try to build the world,but have it naturally just be there, something that just expands naturally as a part.

    The world should be shown throughout the story as part of the story, not as something specifically explaining the world.

    Each world is basically the same in these novels, but often, then the differences shown. From the cultivation styles, to the systems used, to the levels and power logic, to the history, to even the rankings.

    They all use the same kind of base world and culture. The morals are basically the same, but they follow their own systems and the worlds are built off of that.

    It's like how we learn more about DE's world and CD worlds, and then, when we learn more about the lands of ATG, we learn about them through the story and through how things are happening.

    ISSTH does the same thing.

    They don't focus on building the worlds, but it builds itself because of how it moves the story forward and makes things more understandable.

    Am I making myself clear? or is what I'm saying feeling convoluted?

    The prequel thing I meant was that, in the prequels, Lucas often focused on building a world within the stories, while in the original trilogy, the world was just a part of the story, it just naturally flowed and seemed a part of everything. The story built the world. Learning about the story expanded the world naturally.

    Ancient mythos often did this too. It didn't overly explain the worlds and try to expand the worlds, but the adventures and actions of the character helped build the worlds.

    The worlds do kinda build themselves.

    And if you notice, most stories don't focus on if characters poop or not. That is something that isn't usually mentioned. The do usually mention though when characters don't need to eat or how long they can survive without food.
  • They are drug junkies. Lol
  • edited December 2016
    You are definitely making it clear that you prefer how these authors write. I fully understand that now. Aside from that however, everything else is...well incorrect. Pretty much every single chapter is riddled with forced exposition, forced dialogue, telling and not showing. These LN are in no way natural. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. They are about the furthest you can get.

    They may shadow certain settings, basing in some fantastical take on ancient china, just as how western fantasy emphasizes medieval times, along with some other details, but it's pretty clear the authors are trying to create specific worlds. It's the lack of details which results in a lack of pronounced differences, not that they happen to write in the same genre. To suggest otherwise is a poor excuse indeed.

    The waste and food, as I said, are more inconsistent than not. The MC could require food one day, pop appetite suppressants for days if not weeks/undisclosed time, cultivate for hundreds if not thousands of years in isolated mediation without moving a muscle. They could scream about urinating on some fool's parents grave as a toddler, urinate on a bully the in the sect, and downing the evil rapist in a pool of excrement a few arcs down, etc.

    The authors could clear things up in a sentence or two, but they often will not. They have no issues writing pages about their pedophile fantasies, but they can't spend a minute or two explaining how long that appetite suppressant actually works for. The MC himself would normally wonder about this, not simply the audience. The lists are huge and it doesn't take much actual world building to create a more immersive world, adding depth and intrigue, presenting us the world through the MC's and others' eyes. And it is the same case for about everything else. There is no story without world building.
  • No, I do get that the scenes and moments are being told, but the worlds are overall similar from how they think and act.

    It's mostly cookie cutter (copy and paste). I'm not defending it, rather explaining it.

    And the differences are mostly shown. The worlds and places are expanded throughout the writing.

    In fact, I actually think this genre is more like a drug, in the way that it addicts you.

    I mean, the main characters are too OP and lucky to the point that it is annoying

    But then they make enemy characters that are so freaking annoy and hateful that you just want the MC to do well just so that you feel better about how the characters you hate got screwed over......

    But what don't we know about the worlds over all? For CD, we know of how there are so many worlds, how large they are, how their laws work, the organizations and power and mentality of the people and all the injustice and stuff.

    In ISSTH, we know about all the planets and how the world is filled with many hidden worlds and powers and that they all go around 9 mountains, and how there are lower realms and 33 outside realms.

    And in the long run, aren't all the immortals kinda the same? Sure, they use different systems, but they are all over all cookie cutter in the long run, and just look different.

    Of course, I believe that all of us over all love this genre regardless of the flaws (though they sometimes irritate me), and maybe we just notice different flaws.... Cause if we didn't love these stories, why would we be here?
  • Myriea said:
    From as far as I know of (at least in Xianxia, which is also where you'd have an immortal anyways), once reaching a certain level of cultivation, food, water and even sleep is no longer a necessity. As a result, they do not produce any waste either. 
    What Myriea said. Plus, they feed on qi 气, also known as chi or ki. Basically the energy of the universe. They acquire it in various ways too, here are some:

    The most common method is absorbing 气 directly from one's surroundings. It's easy, but the 气's quality is low unless the location is special, say a holy land of some sort. There's a logical reason why these holy lands have more abundant 气, maybe an alchemist improved the 气 in them to make them more suitable for cultivation, or a very powerful being died there and left its 气 behind.

    Another source of 气 is the consumption of pills, elixirs or other conjured refreshments. These items are, technically, highly condensed 气 in the form of consumables. Alchemists create them by fusing together normal 气 with a combination of precious materials. Their advantage is that the 气 they have to offer is of relatively high quality, but the disadvantage is that they are hard to make and henceforth very expensive.

    The more sinister approach to cultivating 气 is directly absorbing the 气 of other cultivators or magical beings. You see such things very often in novels, cores being eaten, cultivation bases being consumed, etc. The positive side to this is that the absorbed 气 is not in small amounts, because you'd be consuming 气 that has been accumulated over years. The negatives are, well, for one, it's risky because you can get in trouble, but there's also the factor of purity involved -- if the 气 accumulated by the person you're feeding on is of low quality, you're going to be consuming low quality 气, i.e. there's a chance that such actions will cause disruptions to your cultivation base if your 气 is really pure, and if you're absorbing more than what you can handle. By handle, I'm actually talking about 'refine' -- after absorbing 气 of quality that varies from the one you have, you need to spend some time refining it, this goes for every cultivator. Also, it's important to note that some novels have different types of 气, it's not just "low quality" and "high quality", so for example if you're all about dark 气, absorbing light 气 would be kind of weird for you.

    Immortals are capable of surviving without food, water, sleep and all other necessities because the cultivation bases (or cores) that they have constructed over the years inside of their bodies are basically, well, engines. Engines that constantly absorb huge amounts of energy from their surroundings -- they can, of course, be turned on and off with just a thought, and even detonated. Immortals are like mini nuclear reactors, lol.

    Excrements and other waste formed by a cultivator's body is treated as impurities and is henceforth released directly into the air.

    Spirit stones which are used for exchange purposes are actually nothing more than naturally formed chunks of condensed 气. They're like gold and all other precious earth materials, you can mine them, you can separate them in different value, there are different types, etc.

    - - - TL;DR - - -

    1) Immortals feed on the qi energy of their surroundings, that's how they become 'immortals' and why they actually remain immortal.

    2) Qi energy is the basis of all foundation, and since it's a highly sought out commodity, it has also become the main pillar of xianxia economy. The spirit stones you see in these novels, the pills and elixirs, precious items, everything is basically highly condensed qi energy of varying quality.

    3) Excrements and other impurities get released into the air at will with the help of one's cultivaiton base. No, not like fart, more like foul matter, after it's broken down into atoms. They can be visible if they're released suddenly and in huge amounts (e.g. during cultivation breakthroughs), but usually they're not because these impurities get filtered out by one's cultivation base constantly, so they get released in very little amounts.

    some support, QI can be find in anything, even mortal's food...but very very little and mortal cannot even gain it from food..but when you know how to gain the QI(wuxia, xiuxian), you on on you way to become a XIAN.
  • @Tbaism
    Not trying to defend the world building of most xianxia because they are indeed shallow and lacking, however, I want to give some reason as to why.

    First is the amount of time the author spent on a chapter. For a published novel, an author can spend few months on a self-contained story arc of less than ten-thousand words, going through drafts and having editors checking for errors and inconsistencies. For a fanfiction, an author have no obligation and can spend week to months working on a single chapter of few thousands words. For Chinese web serial, an author writes for money and can do none of these if he want to remain in the top of the rankings (higher rank -> more visibility -> more readers -> more $$). The expectation is that an author should update daily and each update should be around 3000 words (but the more the merrier). So when an author have to pump out 3000-word chapter a day, often in addition to school or work, it is clear why the story can be lacking in world build and full of inconsistencies. The chapters we see are most likely the unedited first draft.

    Second is the necessity of world building. Literary merit is probably not the main thing a web serial author is striving for. If an author improves on world building (everything stays the same) would the story become better? Definitely. Would it helps the story become more successful and earn more money? Most likely not. The intended audience most likely don't care much about the world building. The authors who do write stories with great world building are mostly published authors or someone who write as a hobby. Why someone who write as a hobby? Because if they write for money they would starve as a chapter every week would earn less money than flipping burgers at McDonald. And it would be at most a chapter every week, as world building and lack of inconsistencies requires an author to maintain an outline and edit their works, all of which takes substantial time.

    Basically most xianxia stories have crap world building because the authors are either unable, due to time constraint, or unwilling, due to lack of incentive as most readers don't care. So if you want xianxia with good world building, look at published works. There are a few xianxia web serial with great world buildings, however, they have a more niche following and not well known (well, at least someone who only look at top rankings stories would not know of them), thus haven't been picked up for translation.
  • edited December 2016
    Dear Tbaism,

    After reading your first post and sleep, somehow I feel something incomplete. For example, sure consumer goods and economy is not the real part of main theme of the story, but don't you think that economy in and of itself is a structured knowledge about scarcity. Especially when a good part of cultivation is consuming many rare drugs.

    So, shouldn't it be possible that some immortals, apart cultivates their daos, cultivate some other scarce resource? For example, a portion of violet sect which cultivate plants or herbs. Where does the mineral for the medicinal herbs come from apart from heaven and earth? Like fertilizer? Isn't it much more compelling to the reader that that part of the sect is like farmer who harvest the excrement of immortals to fertilize their herbs?

    Oh gosh, I forgot to turn my work mode off. :D
  • @ Piday

    There's some obviously shared misconceptions about what world building actually entails, it's purpose, it's effects, and how one goes about doing it.

    World building are goals in order to construct a comprehensive and cohesive imaginary world to add depth, breadth, and overall better the experience of reading their stories. They can be big questions, little questions, simple, complex, easy, and hard. It's up to the author to decide what, where, why, and how many they want to address. No one expects everything to be covered and no one actually wants all of that which can be added, to be included in the book, and no one, no matter how much time or effort they put into it, will get it perfect. Those reasons you posted are really just excuses. Sure, time constraints, word count, and escapism not only explain some things but can also necessitate others; However, in regards to the majority of inconsistencies, lack of explanation, bad habits and poor writing practices, it's nothing but a cop-out.

    @ tomk                                      

    Considering how often we see it in the LN, you would think scarcity being the case wouldn't you? Again, there's so many inconsistencies, macguffins, and lack of world building, it's not unreasonable to question if resources truly are a scarcity or whether or not an economy is necessary in cultivator society. In fact, much of what we do know would suggest the exact opposite in regards to "normal" cultivation practices. There seems to be plenty of crap to go around, ways to find it, grow it, buy it, make it, earn it, steal it, etc. There's very little semblance of any rational and logical set of systems in place. It's one thing this arc, another the next, and even at times discrepancies in the same exact one. Some try to address certain aspects but they never really get anywhere, glossing over this, neglecting that, completely contradicting another. A lot of stuff is just there, not there, or happens simply because.

    I agree that more World Building would create a more compelling story but in regards to the dao path and resources... That one has some philosophy behind it and the problem is that there are so many contradictions throughout that there's no knowing what's really heads or tails at any point.
  • Regardless on the eating situation, with the amount every immortal drinks there is no way they could write in piss breaks into the story. Although, if they did instead of repetitive descriptions of the same techniques and whatnot, we would be reading the same piss break every chapter. So I guess it's more of a pick your poison since no matter what you'd be reading the same thing over and over. Preferably after thinking about it, I'd rather read about the MC being hungover puking everywhere or taking a dump in their pants than the repetitive stuff that we get now. You could get really creative with it or at least just write some of that here and there. As it stands a lot of people just skip over parts in a chapter because you already know what's written anyway.  
  • edited December 2016
    s0hlless said:
    Regardless on the eating situation, with the amount every immortal drinks there is no way they could write in piss breaks into the story. Although, if they did instead of repetitive descriptions of the same techniques and whatnot, we would be reading the same piss break every chapter. So I guess it's more of a pick your poison since no matter what you'd be reading the same thing over and over. Preferably after thinking about it, I'd rather read about the MC being hungover puking everywhere or taking a dump in their pants than the repetitive stuff that we get now. You could get really creative with it or at least just write some of that here and there. As it stands a lot of people just skip over parts in a chapter because you already know what's written anyway.  
    I'd rather not see anywhere near as much of the repetition, and in many cases, any at all, because majority of it isn't even warranted. That's where creativity, forethought, and preparations comes into play and it certainly would be nice to see a little effort put into thins. It could require less word count, the same, and even more depending on the circumstances. Not only could they meet the count, and those time constraints, it'd also result in a far more compelling and interesting story.

    Addressing even simple and basic world building questions can open doors instead of constantly slamming everything closed and boxing themselves in as it appears to happen so often. The MC could get captured but instead of dues ex machina, he actually saves himself. The only means of opportunity is pulling a Shawshank Redemption and plunging into the sewers systems. He ends up in a vat of crap on the outskirts of the Violet Sect. Why? It's because the surrounding sects made a pact with the Violet sect in order to receive small discounts on any pill purchases for their members. One of those agreements could have been creating a plumbing network that provides a continuous supply of fertilizer for the herb production and expansion. It's not particularly difficult.
  • Tbaism said:
    @ Piday

    There's some obviously shared misconceptions about what world building actually entails, it's purpose, it's effects, and how one goes about doing it.

    World building are goals in order to construct a comprehensive and cohesive imaginary world to add depth, breadth, and overall better the experience of reading their stories. They can be big questions, little questions, simple, complex, easy, and hard. It's up to the author to decide what, where, why, and how many they want to address. No one expects everything to be covered and no one actually wants all of that which can be added, to be included in the book, and no one, no matter how much time or effort they put into it, will get it perfect.
    I am not sure why you address this to me. Not once in my post had I talked about what world building entails, or had I tried to refute your observation that most xianxia lack world building. I was merely trying to give some contexts as to why this is the case.

    Those reasons you posted are really just excuses. Sure, time constraints, word count, and escapism not only explain some things but can also necessitate others; However, in regards to the majority of inconsistencies, lack of explanation, bad habits and poor writing practices, it's nothing but a cop-out.
    I am going to be blunt here: no shit those are excuses, I even said so in my post. Acknowledging them as excuses, however, doesn't mean they can be dismissed. It is simply not reasonable to expect authors to be able pump out update everyday and maintain the standards you are demanding. I doubt there are many authors in the world who can do so, and I bet that none of them are writing web serial xianxia stories.

    Are there no xianxia stories that met these standards? Of course such stories exist, but none of them are being translated because they are not as popular (slow update speed + slower to climax due to actually dedicating words to set up plot, character development, and show instead of tell) and have a niche following, and thus not picked up for translation. You can compare the xianxia stories being translated to fast food. When people walk into a fast food restaurant they are not exactly expecting a fine meal by a master chef. They are eating fast food because (1) they want to be served quick (fast update), (2) fast food is cheap (compared to costs of books or watching movies, reading web serial is a much cheaper hobby), and/or (3) fast food satisfies a craving (the wish-fulfilliment cliches that plague the genre).

    To stretch the metaphor: you came into the thread and said "fast food is bad: it's low quality and unhealthy". To which I responded: "Yes I agree, but the reasons fast food is low quality and unhealthy are because it is cheap and quick to make them this way. And there is no incentive to improve the quality because it is unprofitable to do so. If you want higher quality and healthier food, you should stop eating fast food and try eating at actual restaurants, or at some hole-in-the-wall places." To which you replied: "These are just excuses for why fast food is low quality." Which is a complain that I think rather misses the point.

    And to finish this rant: the current web serial industry is toxic to the development of authors. In addition to being exploited by distributors like qidian, web serial authors are being encouraged (by monetary gains or fans) to constantly pump out subpar stories, instead of slow down to produce better stories.
  • edited December 2016
    @ Piday                         

    I can direct my comment towards you as well, precisely due to your response. You may have some ideas about what world building is and what my standards are, but they are clearly broad strokes at best and completely inaccurate in others. I don't walk into a fast food joint and expect to be fed by Gordon Ramsay, nor did I suggest they should at that level or have to be. However, requests and expectations for extra pickles, hold the mustard, and "Yes, I would like fries with that" are neither difficult to accomplish nor outside the parameters of their work space, job description, and allotted time constraints.

    I can certainly dismiss those excuses for specific areas that do need improvement, should be improved, and can be without hindrances or any real effort aside from actually using the means to accomplish it. Not only can I do that, but I should, as well as anyone else that is reader. Nothing gets done if no one acknowledges the problems and keep regurgitating the same cop-outs and perpetuating the notion that it is impossible, too difficult, or a necessity based on non-sense.

    The OP had a question about food and cultivator biology, two very common world building questions amidst countless possible and relevant to these stories. Would the question of what they eat and drink, whether or not they defecate and urinate, require a particularly complex, lengthy, unnatural, story stopping, and job threatening answer when throughout the entire series the author is constantly addressing these very specifics or aspects that concern them? Would it require a particularly complex, lengthy, unnatural, story stopping, and job threatening answer in order to provide the occasional update on those aspects whenever major character developments occur? Would it require particularly complex, difficult, lengthy, unnatural, story stopping, and job threatening methods in order to keep it consistent throughout the series?

    They do not. Existing and futures readers not only acknowledge when these types of changes are made but greatly appreciate them, which very much does result in continued, increased, and expanded viewership. In other words, better product means more money on individual and industry wide scales. This is not an opinion but a fact. It baffles me how you can pretend to know that it isn't, based on circumstances in which writers have and continue to address by the thousands through the form of tips, tricks, and techniques specifically designed to counter them.
  • edited January 2017
    Just jumping into this conversation without reading everything have said here already.

    To answer the question what does immortals eat, it is actually a very broad and difficult question to answer. 
    The short answer is, there isn't a definitive answer to it; Chinese people, depends on their backgrounds or geographic regions, will give you different answers. I know we are probably working within fictional worlds here in different novels, but I think it is very appropriate to discuss the background and origins where these concepts came from. 

    First of all, if you want to know what he eats, you must first know who he is.
    The first issue is that the definition of xian or immortal is vague and gross-generalized term in both reality and fiction. As I have said, depends who you ask or what documents you consult with, you will have a different answer. In Chinese culture, immortals typically are lumped together with gods to form the term 神仙 (gods immortals). This term usually refer to any supernatural beings or religious characters that people pay respect to. So there is a huge range of beings that you can refer to as gods or immortals. (I think Greek mythology would be a good counterpart example to explain the variety of deities) 
    Though people use 神(gods) and 仙 (immortals) interchangeably, but they are not of same. And here is where the confusion begins; there isn't a definitive answer agreed by all ancient texts. Some separate the two by the ability of the cultivator to be able to tell other's level of cultivation (this is according to 吕洞宾 Lu Dong Bin). Another, from Buddhism origins, separates them into Taoist Gods (天尊) and Buddhist Immortals (金仙). There are tons more ancient literature about this topic, and each have their own ways of classification. I like the one presented in the Zhong Lu Chuan Dao Ji (钟吕传道集): there are five types of immortals, ghost immortals, human immortals, earth immortals, god immortals, sky immortals. 

    Anyways, you get the point, so here is a brief summary: immortals are simply supernaturals beings that have achieved eternal immortal life; they do not need to go through cycle of life; they can morph into any psychical appearance (usually in human shape); they have powerful abilities; and they live in realms typically not reachable to mortals (can be anywhere: sky, water bodies, on land or underground, in forest or others). 

    Moving on to second point, the concept of 仙 xian/immortals came from cultural and religious backgrounds such as Taoism, Buddhism, and local ancestral traditions. Many of these religions and traditions are still practiced today in China, so people typical don't really question what do the deities they pay respects to eat. On the offering tables to the gods or the immortals, you would typically find fruits and pastries; basically non-meat edible foods. (side note: I think the concept of 'no-killing offerings to gods' came from Buddhism, but Chinese (at least the Hans) kinda adopted to Taoism deities as well.)

    Now we are done with history and reality check, we can discuss mythology. In Chinese mythology, other than the famous 仙丹 (Immortal Pills) created by Taishang Laojun (太上老君), there is another essential item that the deities consume in heaven palace, and that is the Peaches of Immortality. There said to be a peach garden somewhere in the Heaven Palace owned by Queen Mother of the West. Every few thousand years, the peach trees would produce peaches that once eaten, would give the immortal few thousand years of life. One great reference to this is from the famous fiction novel of all time, Journey to the West. In there the Monkey King, assigned with the job to be the Protector of the Peaches, ate almost all of the peaches (and drank all of the immortal wines if I remembered correctly) that were meant for the Fest of Peaches held every few thousand years.

    There you have all the concrete pieces to explain what immortals eat. Here is my own speculation:
    I think in addition to eating peaches and immortal pills as well as spiritual cultivation, immortals and gods also rely on the energy gathered from the amount of people paying respect to/worshiping them. I think it would be reasonable to say that the greater number of people worship a particular deity (气场; level of qi), the more powerful they can get. 

    Lastly just to entertain your notion of excretion of waste, there isn't any texts written about immortal's toilet matters. Therefore, I would say for those immortals who are did not reach the level of enlightenment, perhaps they would do the same as a mortal would do. And for those who are enlightened, perhaps they can use techniques to manifest the waste in other forms and excrete them out. This is totally up to one's speculation here...
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