Discussion:
Stirling's _The Sunrise Lands_ and misc thoughts
(too old to reply)
David T. Bilek
2007-09-30 20:38:35 UTC
Permalink
Someone a few weeks ago wondered why there hadn't been any posts about
_The Sunrise Lands_. In my case it was because I had no idea that
Stirling had written another book in the _Dies the Fire_ universe
until he posted that question.

Sooo... I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it but a feeling I've
had about Stirling has really crystalized here. He's getting quite
repetitive and doesn't seem any longer to be able to conceptualize a
story that doesn't involve the same basic template. Weird Stuff
happens, people are thrown into a new environment they have to adapt
to, they begin adapting, their survival is threatened by an evil
and/or insane antagonist from their own original environment, and
things are solved through force of arms. Also, there are lesbians.

What happened to the Steve Stirling of _Under the Yoke_? Now that was
a chilling, gripping, and original read. I suspect what happened is
that the Steve Stirling of _Island in the Same of Time_ took one look
at the piles of money he was making and strangled the Steve Stirling
of _Under the Yoke_ while he slept. Still, I miss the original Steve.
That guy could write. He was original. This new guy can still write,
sorta, but he's churning out formulaic stuff that doesn't really hold
any suspense of surprises. You know what's going to happen. You know
more or less how it's going to happen. The only real surprises are
which characters are going to survive, and even there it's pretty easy
to guess in advance.

You know, Steve, not every story has to revolve around one group of
people with pointy sticks or guns trying to beat up on another group
of people with pointy sticks or guns. There *are* other plots out
there. A story can be carried just on the tension of a group of
people trying to survive in a hostile natural environment *without*
some crazy dude trying to wipe out their way of life because he's
eevvvviiiiiilll (chews scenery).

Secondly, the whole Wiccans-ube-alles thing is really starting to
grate on me. The way this whole SF thing works is that you get to
postulate one crazy thing and have us believe it. You can write a
story in which electricity stops working and I'm there. You can write
a story in which the made-up-about-50-years-ago theology of Wicca and
modern neo-paganism has some truth to it and I'm there.

You can't write a story in which both things happen or my suspension
of disbelief goes kersplut. I'm trying to convince myself that what
we see as true prophecies and such handed out by the Wiccan deities is
actually the dudes who caused the Change meddling in events, but we
have seen no evidence of that. If it were the case, we would expect
miracles and such from *other* religious groups. The Roman Catholic
Church. The Church Universal and Triumphant. Whatever. They'd be
getting prophecies and true dreams and such, too. But we see no
evidence of that.

The only people that are getting visions and such from their "gods"
are the fuckin' neo-pagans, and it makes my disbelief go splat.

Lastly and most minorly, Steve has a real fetish for blondes,
redheads, and blue/green eyes. Does he realize how few people
actually have natural platinum blonde or fiery red hair and blue/green
eyes? Has he kept track of how many of the people in the _Sunrise
Lands_ universe have those traits? Has he considered that those
traits don't actually confer an advantage in survival chances? Then
why are so fucking many of the women in these books hot chicks with
blonde hair or red hair? It's like dark hair increased your chances
of dying in the Change by a factor of 10 or something. Sheesh.

Anyway, please come back Steve Stirling circa _Under the Yoke_. Please
stop writing about crazy dudes crazily trying to kill people because
they're crazy and being stopped by hot blonde chicks (twins!) and
strong jawed redheads.

Please?

-David
Gene Ward Smith
2007-09-30 21:02:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Anyway, please come back Steve Stirling circa _Under the Yoke_. Please
stop writing about crazy dudes crazily trying to kill people because
they're crazy and being stopped by hot blonde chicks (twins!) and
strong jawed redheads.
I'm saddened to think that I may agree with Bilek here.
Bill Snyder
2007-09-30 21:43:41 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 21:02:58 GMT, Gene Ward Smith
Post by Gene Ward Smith
Post by David T. Bilek
Anyway, please come back Steve Stirling circa _Under the Yoke_. Please
stop writing about crazy dudes crazily trying to kill people because
they're crazy and being stopped by hot blonde chicks (twins!) and
strong jawed redheads.
I'm saddened to think that I may agree with Bilek here.
It's only reasonable for even natural antagonists to agree on that
one; anybody who's read _Time Enough for Love_ knows it's the
strong-jawed redheads who should be the twins.
--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank.]
Keith Soltys
2007-09-30 22:00:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Someone a few weeks ago wondered why there hadn't been any posts about
_The Sunrise Lands_. In my case it was because I had no idea that
Stirling had written another book in the _Dies the Fire_ universe
until he posted that question.
Sooo... I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it but a feeling I've
had about Stirling has really crystalized here. He's getting quite
repetitive and doesn't seem any longer to be able to conceptualize a
story that doesn't involve the same basic template. Weird Stuff
happens, people are thrown into a new environment they have to adapt
to, they begin adapting, their survival is threatened by an evil
and/or insane antagonist from their own original environment, and
things are solved through force of arms. Also, there are lesbians.
What happened to the Steve Stirling of _Under the Yoke_? Now that was
a chilling, gripping, and original read. I suspect what happened is
that the Steve Stirling of _Island in the Same of Time_ took one look
at the piles of money he was making and strangled the Steve Stirling
of _Under the Yoke_ while he slept. Still, I miss the original Steve.
That guy could write. He was original. This new guy can still write,
sorta, but he's churning out formulaic stuff that doesn't really hold
any suspense of surprises. You know what's going to happen. You know
more or less how it's going to happen. The only real surprises are
which characters are going to survive, and even there it's pretty easy
to guess in advance.
You know, Steve, not every story has to revolve around one group of
people with pointy sticks or guns trying to beat up on another group
of people with pointy sticks or guns. There *are* other plots out
there. A story can be carried just on the tension of a group of
people trying to survive in a hostile natural environment *without*
some crazy dude trying to wipe out their way of life because he's
eevvvviiiiiilll (chews scenery).
Secondly, the whole Wiccans-ube-alles thing is really starting to
grate on me. The way this whole SF thing works is that you get to
postulate one crazy thing and have us believe it. You can write a
story in which electricity stops working and I'm there. You can write
a story in which the made-up-about-50-years-ago theology of Wicca and
modern neo-paganism has some truth to it and I'm there.
You can't write a story in which both things happen or my suspension
of disbelief goes kersplut. I'm trying to convince myself that what
we see as true prophecies and such handed out by the Wiccan deities is
actually the dudes who caused the Change meddling in events, but we
have seen no evidence of that. If it were the case, we would expect
miracles and such from *other* religious groups. The Roman Catholic
Church. The Church Universal and Triumphant. Whatever. They'd be
getting prophecies and true dreams and such, too. But we see no
evidence of that.
The only people that are getting visions and such from their "gods"
are the fuckin' neo-pagans, and it makes my disbelief go splat.
Lastly and most minorly, Steve has a real fetish for blondes,
redheads, and blue/green eyes. Does he realize how few people
actually have natural platinum blonde or fiery red hair and blue/green
eyes? Has he kept track of how many of the people in the _Sunrise
Lands_ universe have those traits? Has he considered that those
traits don't actually confer an advantage in survival chances? Then
why are so fucking many of the women in these books hot chicks with
blonde hair or red hair? It's like dark hair increased your chances
of dying in the Change by a factor of 10 or something. Sheesh.
Anyway, please come back Steve Stirling circa _Under the Yoke_. Please
stop writing about crazy dudes crazily trying to kill people because
they're crazy and being stopped by hot blonde chicks (twins!) and
strong jawed redheads.
Please?
-David
Pretty much exactly my thoughts. After skimming the sample chapters on his web
site, I don't think I'm going to bother with this one.

I might check out the space opera series that he's got going though, and I
will defintely read another Draka novel, if he writes one.

Keith
Jason Maxwell
2007-10-01 02:14:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Someone a few weeks ago wondered why there hadn't been any posts about
_The Sunrise Lands_. In my case it was because I had no idea that
Stirling had written another book in the _Dies the Fire_ universe
until he posted that question.
Sooo... I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it but a feeling I've
had about Stirling has really crystalized here. He's getting quite
repetitive and doesn't seem any longer to be able to conceptualize a
story that doesn't involve the same basic template. Weird Stuff
happens, people are thrown into a new environment they have to adapt
to, they begin adapting, their survival is threatened by an evil
and/or insane antagonist from their own original environment, and
things are solved through force of arms. Also, there are lesbians.
*snipped rest for space*

Yeah, I pretty much got to this point after the first Dies the Fire trilogy.
I'll pick up the new trilogy if I find it in one of my favorite used
bookstores, but I can't say I'm excited about it.

Jason
Rick
2007-10-01 02:24:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Anyway, please come back Steve Stirling circa _Under the Yoke_. Please
stop writing about crazy dudes crazily trying to kill people because
they're crazy and being stopped by hot blonde chicks (twins!) and
strong jawed redheads.
Please?
-David
I dunno, I liked it. I agree about the neo-Wiccan thing though.
Dan Goodman
2007-10-01 04:03:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
You can write
a story in which the made-up-about-50-years-ago theology of Wicca and
modern neo-paganism has some truth to it and I'm there.
Some of the sources Gerald Gardner borrowed (or "borrowed") from go
back to the 19th century, I believe.
--
Dan Goodman
"You, each of you, have some special wild cards. Play with them.
Find out what makes you different and better. Because it is there,
if only you can find it." Vernor Vinge, _Rainbows End_
Journal http://dsgood.livejournal.com
Futures http://dangoodman.livejournal.com
mirror: http://dsgood.insanejournal.com
Links http://del.icio.us/dsgood
Steve
2007-10-06 16:56:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Goodman
Some of the sources Gerald Gardner borrowed (or "borrowed") from go
back to the 19th century, I believe.
-- not to mention large chunks lifted from Hinduism, Buddhism and the
Western esoteric tradition reaching back to Pythagoras. It's really
quite an inventive piece of syncretism.

All religions have to start _somewhere_...
Paul Howard
2007-10-06 17:08:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by Dan Goodman
Some of the sources Gerald Gardner borrowed (or "borrowed") from go
back to the 19th century, I believe.
-- not to mention large chunks lifted from Hinduism, Buddhism and the
Western esoteric tradition reaching back to Pythagoras. It's really
quite an inventive piece of syncretism.
All religions have to start _somewhere_...
Unfortunately, he *claimed* that it was the *Old Religion* not a *New
Religion*. Sorry, if he just claimed to be creating a New Religion, it
wouldn't be so bad as what he actually did.
--
*
Paul Howard
*
Need a Wizard? Call on Harry Dresden not that Potter boy. [Very Big Grin]
*
Steve
2007-10-06 18:16:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Howard
Unfortunately, he *claimed* that it was the *Old Religion* not a *New
Religion*. Sorry, if he just claimed to be creating a New Religion, it
wouldn't be so bad as what he actually did.
-- Joseph Smith claimed he was given magical spectacles to read
magical golden plates. Mohammed said God was telling him the real
skinny because the Jews and Christians had gotten the message
confused, but that Moses and Jesus had really been Muslims.

And I could go on.

"Back-dating" is one of the perennial characteristics of new
religions.

Everybody's religion looks ridiculous from the outside, when you don't
share its assumptions.

I'm an atheist, so I've got no dog in that fight. To me, Catholicism
isn't any more absurd than Wicca, just older.

But I'm not the sort of atheist who assumes that religious people are
dumb or evil, either. When I'm in the head of a character who's a
believer, I take their belief structure seriously.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 14:00:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by Paul Howard
Unfortunately, he *claimed* that it was the *Old Religion* not a *New
Religion*. Sorry, if he just claimed to be creating a New Religion, it
wouldn't be so bad as what he actually did.
-- Joseph Smith claimed he was given magical spectacles to read
magical golden plates. Mohammed said God was telling him the real
skinny because the Jews and Christians had gotten the message
confused, but that Moses and Jesus had really been Muslims.
And I could go on.
"Back-dating" is one of the perennial characteristics of new
religions.
Everybody's religion looks ridiculous from the outside, when you don't
share its assumptions.
I'm an atheist, so I've got no dog in that fight. To me, Catholicism
isn't any more absurd than Wicca, just older.
But I'm not the sort of atheist who assumes that religious people are
dumb or evil, either. When I'm in the head of a character who's a
believer, I take their belief structure seriously.
And it shows. I've liked the depiction of the creation and
maintenance of the Clan MacKenzie, no matter how skimpy I find other
parts of the books.
David T. Bilek
2007-10-08 21:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by Steve
Everybody's religion looks ridiculous from the outside, when you don't
share its assumptions.
I'm an atheist, so I've got no dog in that fight. To me, Catholicism
isn't any more absurd than Wicca, just older.
But I'm not the sort of atheist who assumes that religious people are
dumb or evil, either. When I'm in the head of a character who's a
believer, I take their belief structure seriously.
And it shows. I've liked the depiction of the creation and
maintenance of the Clan MacKenzie, no matter how skimpy I find other
parts of the books.
My problem isn't that the MacKenzie religion is ridiculous (though it
is) as Steve rightly points out that they're all absurd from the
outside but that there are fairly objective indicators in the books
that there is some truth behind their religion while no such
indicators exist for the Catholics or the Mormons or whatever.

Like I said in the original post, I'm proceeding on the assumption
that it is ASBs meddling in human affairs but the lack of equivalent
meddling with the Catholics/Mormons/etc makes this a barely tenable
position.

-David
Richard R. Hershberger
2007-10-08 16:04:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by Paul Howard
Unfortunately, he *claimed* that it was the *Old Religion* not a *New
Religion*. Sorry, if he just claimed to be creating a New Religion, it
wouldn't be so bad as what he actually did.
-- Joseph Smith claimed he was given magical spectacles to read
magical golden plates. Mohammed said God was telling him the real
skinny because the Jews and Christians had gotten the message
confused, but that Moses and Jesus had really been Muslims.
And I could go on.
"Back-dating" is one of the perennial characteristics of new
religions.
Everybody's religion looks ridiculous from the outside, when you don't
share its assumptions.
I'm an atheist, so I've got no dog in that fight. To me, Catholicism
isn't any more absurd than Wicca, just older.
But I'm not the sort of atheist who assumes that religious people are
dumb or evil, either. When I'm in the head of a character who's a
believer, I take their belief structure seriously.
There is a qualitative difference between claiming divine revelation
and claims regarding facts. The person claiming divine revelation
might be lying, might be deluded, or might actually be reporting an
act of (a) god. The person making claims of historical fact either
can back it up or is bullshitting. He might believe he is
bullshitting for the greater good, but this is still bullshitting.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-01 04:40:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Someone a few weeks ago wondered why there hadn't been any posts about
_The Sunrise Lands_. In my case it was because I had no idea that
Stirling had written another book in the _Dies the Fire_ universe
until he posted that question.
That would be me. And despite my asking, I haven't actually bought
any of the Emberverse novels, just borrow them from the library. As
I've said here before, Stirling brought the true horror the Collapse
in such a vivid manner in chapter 17 of Dies The Fire, I have mixed
feelings about actually owning the book, and without it, there's no
point in owning the other standard recovered-from-disaster sequels.
Post by David T. Bilek
Sooo... I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it but a feeling I've
had about Stirling has really crystalized here. He's getting quite
repetitive and doesn't seem any longer to be able to conceptualize a
<snip very good criticism>
Post by David T. Bilek
some crazy dude trying to wipe out their way of life because he's
eevvvviiiiiilll (chews scenery).
Two points. First, I still don't think he's been quite as repetitive
as say Modesitt in the Recluse books. Even in The Fall of Angels,
where we learn the other-universe space based origins of the founders
of Westwind, the older space engineer protagonist seems too similar to
previous young male protagonists in the series. Bit of a non sequitor
that comment, but that's my standard for repetitiveness. Other more
widely read readers may know even worse examples.

Second, I already told Stirling I would be disappointed if in the
second trilogy he didn't show a good bit more technological progress.
Twelve years of peace should have allowed those in the Willamette
valley to more fully exploit whatever technologies are still allowed.
We should have at least gotten mentions of Stirling based
refrigerators since those were explicitly mentioned as allowed in The
Protector's War. Then there are hydraulic ram water pumps to very
efficiently use moving water to power pumps to send part of the water
up in a different direction. Hydraulics has kept being mentioned as
the one major technological area completely unaffected by the Change.

Of course, Stirling was so wrapped up in setting up the "Quest of the
Sunrise Lands" to quote Astrid, that he didn't even mentioned what has
happened among the Bearkillers, much less the technological progress.
Post by David T. Bilek
Secondly, the whole Wiccans-ube-alles thing is really starting to
grate on me. The way this whole SF thing works is that you get to
postulate one crazy thing and have us believe it. You can write a
story in which electricity stops working and I'm there. You can write
a story in which the made-up-about-50-years-ago theology of Wicca and
modern neo-paganism has some truth to it and I'm there.
The one thing the bugs me about some people's continued rejection of
the Wicca religion in the books is that I don't think most of them
would have been bothered if this was a straight up fantasy. It's only
that the world starts off as being much like ours with our Wiccan
Wierdos that makes them conclude none of this could happen without
authorial fiat.
Post by David T. Bilek
You can't write a story in which both things happen or my suspension
of disbelief goes kersplut. I'm trying to convince myself that what
we see as true prophecies and such handed out by the Wiccan deities is
actually the dudes who caused the Change meddling in events, but we
have seen no evidence of that. If it were the case, we would expect
miracles and such from *other* religious groups. The Roman Catholic
Church. The Church Universal and Triumphant. Whatever. They'd be
getting prophecies and true dreams and such, too. But we see no
evidence of that.
Actually the C.U.T. seems to have its own connections to something.
It's the Catholics and the Mormons that be getting snubbed.

Likewise actual magic. Rudi's super soldier stength and speed and his
magic horse, Bele..er, Epona. Ingolf's arch enemy being able to get
him to involuntarily drop his sword.

I still maintain that Stirling can rescue this series if he conclusive
gives proof that Earth's been turned into a High Fantasy world where
magic isn't flashy like D&D but certainly exists and goes hand in hand
with a lack of technological progress over many centuries even without
disasters and civilization collapse.

Then depending on what's happened in the ISOT timeline (technological
paradise?), those that did this would have perhaps gotten High Fantasy
and High SF out of the opposite sides of one event. All I know is
that Ingolf entered the Coast Guard house and saw a portrait of
Swindapa or a recreation of both.
Post by David T. Bilek
The only people that are getting visions and such from their "gods"
are the fuckin' neo-pagans, and it makes my disbelief go splat.
What, "Lady Juniper's Luck" didn't do it? Among a great many things,
she gets almost literally plopped in her lap a recently retired man of
the SAS who can not only make bows and train people to use them, but
also grew up on a farm and knows more about it than anybody she
already hand, including the Carsons who depended more on machinery
than Sam's poorer farm.

And then the eight years later his commanding officer, son of said
officer, and local friend all show up from England to marry the three
women he may be most fond of other than his wife and daughters.

The Clan's been getting help from Someone from day one. Maybe because
Juniper actually started living the threefold rule from the day of the
Change.
Post by David T. Bilek
Lastly and most minorly, Steve has a real fetish for blondes,
redheads, and blue/green eyes. Does he realize how few people
<snip>
Post by David T. Bilek
blonde hair or red hair? It's like dark hair increased your chances
of dying in the Change by a factor of 10 or something. Sheesh.
All I can say is that Eilir(sp?) has raven black hair.
David T. Bilek
2007-10-01 18:11:06 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 21:40:01 -0700, ***@hotmail.com wrote:

(mucho snippage)
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Second, I already told Stirling I would be disappointed if in the
second trilogy he didn't show a good bit more technological progress.
Twelve years of peace should have allowed those in the Willamette
valley to more fully exploit whatever technologies are still allowed.
We should have at least gotten mentions of Stirling based
refrigerators since those were explicitly mentioned as allowed in The
Protector's War. Then there are hydraulic ram water pumps to very
efficiently use moving water to power pumps to send part of the water
up in a different direction. Hydraulics has kept being mentioned as
the one major technological area completely unaffected by the Change.
Of course, Stirling was so wrapped up in setting up the "Quest of the
Sunrise Lands" to quote Astrid, that he didn't even mentioned what has
happened among the Bearkillers, much less the technological progress.
But that's exactly the problem I mean when I bring up repetitiveness;
Stirling no longer seems to care about what makes a good story.
Showing how these people coped and geared back up technologically (as
much as possible) would have been *interesting*. Yet Another Ambush
Scene against the Rovers, virtually indistinguishable from various
ambush scenes from the Bearkiller bits in _Dies the Fire_, is not a
good story. Was there any chance that the Rover ambush would fail?
Was there any chance of anyone important being killed? Was anything
new revealed about these characters during the ambush?

No, to all of those questions. There is absolutely no point
whatsoever to most of these scenes except to eat up 30 pages or so
that could be doing something more interesting.

There were some very promising bits when the Fellowship ran into the
United States of Boise. It showed how vastly opposite various people
dealt with the Change. A travelogue showing a reverse Lewis and Clark
expedition from the West Coast to the East coast where they encounter
various enclaves like this and see the different societies that have
sprung up would have been great. I thought I was going to have to
post a mea culpa about this book.

But instead it devolved into exactly the same type of story I expected
all along. Whatever.

I maintain that Stirling knows he's not writing the most interesting
story he could but thinks it is the most saleable. Sadly, he's
probably right.

(more snippage)

-David
srogerscat
2007-10-02 02:01:23 UTC
Permalink
Goodman writes: "Some of the sources Gerald Gardner borrowed (or
"borrowed") from go
back to the 19th century, I believe."

Stirling stated shortly after ISOT was published that the Nantucket
Event was a deliberate act. Assuming that such a complex retooling of
local physics - especially while not snuffing every living thing on
earth instantly - was an action that required some preparation,
perhaps the entity(ies) responsible selected Gardner as their Prophet?

Steve
Gene Ward Smith
2007-10-02 02:13:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Stirling stated shortly after ISOT was published that the Nantucket
Event was a deliberate act.
Way better than 1632, where it was a dumb mistake. That totally blew
whatever was left of my WSOD.
Wayne Throop
2007-10-02 02:35:11 UTC
Permalink
:: Stirling stated shortly after ISOT was published that the Nantucket
:: Event was a deliberate act.

: Gene Ward Smith <***@chewbacca.org>
: Way better than 1632, where it was a dumb mistake. That totally blew
: whatever was left of my WSOD.

I thought it was an unintended side effect of an intentional act.
Sufficiently god-like Powers throwing around bits of spacetime is all
very well, until somebody's town gets put out. There was even some
vague notion of whoeverdunit being disciplined by Even More Godlike
Powers afterwards.

Well OK, that could shatter a pretty strong wsod, but still, from
an appropriately quirky piont of view, it all works out. Doesn't it?
Sort of?


Wayne Throop ***@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw
Gene Ward Smith
2007-10-02 03:19:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wayne Throop
: Way better than 1632, where it was a dumb mistake. That totally blew
: whatever was left of my WSOD.
I thought it was an unintended side effect of an intentional act.
Sufficiently god-like Powers throwing around bits of spacetime is all
very well, until somebody's town gets put out. There was even some
vague notion of whoeverdunit being disciplined by Even More Godlike
Powers afterwards.
Well OK, that could shatter a pretty strong wsod, but still, from
an appropriately quirky piont of view, it all works out. Doesn't it?
Sort of?
Not really. The whole thing is clearly planned; West Virginia slides into
Thuringia in just the right way, at just the right time, to create cool
results. The dowmtimers, and some of the uptimers, have a far more
plausible theory than the true theory, namely that God did it. That
explains many things the real explanation doesn't explain.

In fact, one result of that is a sort of theism bootstrap--you've got
this blatant miracle. The miracle tells you about stuff like Darwin. It
also suggests that Last Thursdayism is a reasonable alternative to
Darwin. God comes out a winner, supporting the idea that God did it.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-02 13:25:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wayne Throop
:: Stirling stated shortly after ISOT was published that the Nantucket
:: Event was a deliberate act.
: Way better than 1632, where it was a dumb mistake. That totally blew
: whatever was left of my WSOD.
I thought it was an unintended side effect of an intentional act.
Sufficiently god-like Powers throwing around bits of spacetime is all
very well, until somebody's town gets put out. There was even some
vague notion of whoeverdunit being disciplined by Even More Godlike
Powers afterwards.
They got punished, but for general irresponsibility, not this single
event, which the godlikes never noticed.
serg271
2007-10-02 12:58:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Goodman writes: "Some of the sources Gerald Gardner borrowed (or
"borrowed") from go
back to the 19th century, I believe."
Stirling stated shortly after ISOT was published that the Nantucket
Event was a deliberate act. Assuming that such a complex retooling of
local physics - especially while not snuffing every living thing on
earth instantly - was an action that required some preparation,
perhaps the entity(ies) responsible selected Gardner as their Prophet?
And that entity being hive mind of red-head and platinum blond green/
blue eyed lesbian clones .
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-02 13:45:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
But that's exactly the problem I mean when I bring up repetitiveness;
Stirling no longer seems to care about what makes a good story.
Showing how these people coped and geared back up technologically (as
much as possible) would have been *interesting*.
Very much so.
Post by David T. Bilek
Yet Another Ambush
Scene against the Rovers, virtually indistinguishable from various
ambush scenes from the Bearkiller bits in _Dies the Fire_, is not a
good story.
Only perhaps to people who haven't read the previous books, and what
percentage is that?
Post by David T. Bilek
Was there any chance that the Rover ambush would fail?
No.
Post by David T. Bilek
Was there any chance of anyone important being killed?
Before the cliffhanger? None at all.
Post by David T. Bilek
Was anything
new revealed about these characters during the ambush?
No, to all of those questions. There is absolutely no point
whatsoever to most of these scenes except to eat up 30 pages or so
that could be doing something more interesting.
But it was a lot easier and faster for Stirling to write those 30
pages than it would have to write something more interesting.

Fight scenes like that are to Stirling what infodumps are to Weber, a
way to speed up the writing. Asimov wrote copiously on how non-
fiction was so much easier for him than fiction because it just flowed
out naturally, while he had to work at fiction to get it to work. I
can just imagine Stirling and Weber hitting those spots so similar to
spots they've written before and putting out at least several pages at
a stretch.
Post by David T. Bilek
There were some very promising bits when the Fellowship ran into the
United States of Boise. It showed how vastly opposite various people
dealt with the Change.
Including some better technological progress by people interested in
resurrecting the United States. Corvallis is the only place in the
Willamette Valley that interested.
Post by David T. Bilek
A travelogue showing a reverse Lewis and Clark
expedition from the West Coast to the East coast where they encounter
various enclaves like this and see the different societies that have
sprung up would have been great. I thought I was going to have to
post a mea culpa about this book.
You might still, but I have this awful feeling that most of the trip
is going to get tossed off in favor of a rescue.
Post by David T. Bilek
I maintain that Stirling knows he's not writing the most interesting
story he could but thinks it is the most saleable. Sadly, he's
probably right.
Right, he starts with the events he wants to have happen first then
works backward to rationalize them.
srogerscat
2007-10-02 14:34:30 UTC
Permalink
<vast snippage>
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Right, he starts with the events he wants to have happen first then
works backward to rationalize them.
Hmm. I haven't read any of the four books in question, so canot
comment on specifics, but how is that different from any other
writer? Some do it more3 clumsily than others, but don't most
authors start out with an idea of how they want the story to go and
make an effort to get it there?

Steve
Yoicks! And Away!
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-02 14:51:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
<vast snippage>
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Right, he starts with the events he wants to have happen first then
works backward to rationalize them.
Hmm. I haven't read any of the four books in question, so canot
comment on specifics, but how is that different from any other
writer? Some do it more3 clumsily than others, but don't most
authors start out with an idea of how they want the story to go and
make an effort to get it there?
Well, yes, and I realized that when I posted, but I just couldn't
phrase how much I prefer stories where the events seem an inevitable
outgrowth from the initial setup.

Perhaps Stirling's trying to say that not all Americans, or human
beings, would fight to squeeze every bit of technological advantage
that they can out of a situation. I'm not sure I believe that.
People like to not have to work really hard. Squeezing every bit out
of tech can help.
David T. Bilek
2007-10-02 18:04:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by srogerscat
<vast snippage>
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Right, he starts with the events he wants to have happen first then
works backward to rationalize them.
Hmm. I haven't read any of the four books in question, so canot
comment on specifics, but how is that different from any other
writer? Some do it more3 clumsily than others, but don't most
authors start out with an idea of how they want the story to go and
make an effort to get it there?
Well, yes, and I realized that when I posted, but I just couldn't
phrase how much I prefer stories where the events seem an inevitable
outgrowth from the initial setup.
Perhaps Stirling's trying to say that not all Americans, or human
beings, would fight to squeeze every bit of technological advantage
that they can out of a situation. I'm not sure I believe that.
People like to not have to work really hard. Squeezing every bit out
of tech can help.
I hadn't considered it but your point about the most technologically
advanced places being those most closely interested in mirroring or
resurrecting the former United States is a good one. I'll admit that
it has bothered me how many apparently otherwise good people are
downright enthusiastic about bringback neo-feudalism, aristocracy, or
clan systems. Their rationalizations are unconvincing.

All I can figure is they went crazy during the Change.

But it is a well established principle that a free-er society will
outproduce and out research a less free society, all else being equal.
The PPA is a result of Arminger's insanity. But Mike Havel and
Juniper Mackenzie should fucking well know better.

Either they went crazy or they were assholes and rather terrible
Americans to begin with.

-David
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-02 19:00:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by srogerscat
<vast snippage>
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Right, he starts with the events he wants to have happen first then
works backward to rationalize them.
Hmm. I haven't read any of the four books in question, so canot
comment on specifics, but how is that different from any other
writer? Some do it more3 clumsily than others, but don't most
authors start out with an idea of how they want the story to go and
make an effort to get it there?
Well, yes, and I realized that when I posted, but I just couldn't
phrase how much I prefer stories where the events seem an inevitable
outgrowth from the initial setup.
Perhaps Stirling's trying to say that not all Americans, or human
beings, would fight to squeeze every bit of technological advantage
that they can out of a situation. I'm not sure I believe that.
People like to not have to work really hard. Squeezing every bit out
of tech can help.
I hadn't considered it but your point about the most technologically
advanced places being those most closely interested in mirroring or
resurrecting the former United States is a good one. I'll admit that
it has bothered me how many apparently otherwise good people are
downright enthusiastic about bringback neo-feudalism, aristocracy, or
clan systems. Their rationalizations are unconvincing.
All I can figure is they went crazy during the Change.
But it is a well established principle that a free-er society will
outproduce and out research a less free society, all else being equal.
The PPA is a result of Arminger's insanity. But Mike Havel and
Juniper Mackenzie should fucking well know better.
Either they went crazy or they were assholes and rather terrible
Americans to begin with.
Don't be that harsh. They jumped on the back of a tiger and couldn't
let go until things were too advanced to reverse. The quasi-feudal
let up of the BearKillers was born of being on the move for the almost
all of the first book. The Clan grew from trying to set up a
structure that let everybody absorbed feel part of group. And both
had to fight Arminger in the first book, which Corvallis didn't. Or
at least that's the setup Stirling wrote. Also note, he didn't go
into any detail on how Corvallis managed to pull through, nor the
United States of Boise.

Oh, one other technical note: Plate armor suits *might* be easier to
arrange than Stirling realizes or wants to talk about. A guilty
pleasure for me before I read better were the original five books of
the Adventures of Conrad Stargard. Frankowski had him develop plate
armor suits sandwiched by cloth, with chain mail in the seams, and
zippers used to get the suits to fit without tailoring the suits to
each wearer. There was also supposed to be strategic air holes so
that moving around had air being forced around underneath.

There's also some Greek armor from around the supposed time of the
Trojan War that would be good. Multiple layers of linen around a
leather core. A TV demonstration seemed to show it stopping arrows
very well.

Ah, found it, Linothorax armor:

http://www.4hoplites.com/Linothorax.htm
David T. Bilek
2007-10-02 19:24:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
I hadn't considered it but your point about the most technologically
advanced places being those most closely interested in mirroring or
resurrecting the former United States is a good one. I'll admit that
it has bothered me how many apparently otherwise good people are
downright enthusiastic about bringback neo-feudalism, aristocracy, or
clan systems. Their rationalizations are unconvincing.
All I can figure is they went crazy during the Change.
But it is a well established principle that a free-er society will
outproduce and out research a less free society, all else being equal.
The PPA is a result of Arminger's insanity. But Mike Havel and
Juniper Mackenzie should fucking well know better.
Either they went crazy or they were assholes and rather terrible
Americans to begin with.
Don't be that harsh. They jumped on the back of a tiger and couldn't
let go until things were too advanced to reverse. The quasi-feudal
let up of the BearKillers was born of being on the move for the almost
all of the first book. The Clan grew from trying to set up a
structure that let everybody absorbed feel part of group. And both
had to fight Arminger in the first book, which Corvallis didn't. Or
at least that's the setup Stirling wrote. Also note, he didn't go
into any detail on how Corvallis managed to pull through, nor the
United States of Boise.
You think that the quasi-feudal setup of the Bearkillers was
irreversible because Mike Havel was in charge of their march for a
period of months after the change? We're talking a relatively short
amount of time before they got to the Pacific Northwest in the big
scheme of things.

And (almost) all those folks were adults before the change. They had
grown up and absorbed the fact of being free citizens.

They were perfectly willing to give up a thousand years of social
progress because some dude with a funny bear hat said so and managed
to walk them to Oregon from Idaho or whatever? What the fuck, people?
What happened to "watery tarts lying around in lakes distributing
swords is no. basis for a system of governmentÂ’"? Yeah, he's being a
fascist but goddamn it if his funny bear hat doesn't lend him an air
of authority!

Yeah, it was pretty scary for a while. I don't buy that everyone in
the MacKenzie place would adopt that utterly ridiculous neo-Wiccan
religion. Most people would laugh at it. No, I don't buy that
everyone would be perfectly fine with reverting to feudalism. Nor do
I buy that Mike Havel would have done so unless he was an ass to begin
with. Remember, he didn't just want to be in charge, he was very
concerned with making sure his kids would inherit after him. That's
not just "what's best for the group", that's "fuck everyone else, I
got mine."

But that wasn't my big problem with the novels; I suspended my
disbelief because it was clearly where Stirling wanted to start with
the story. It's the other stuff I wrote about in the original post
that has really bother me. The repetitiveness and lack of originality
of everything except the premise.

Stirling is brilliant and setting up an interesting premise. Then he
writes the most boring story he can within that premise.

-David
f***@mailandnews.com
2007-10-03 07:19:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
I hadn't considered it but your point about the most technologically
advanced places being those most closely interested in mirroring or
resurrecting the former United States is a good one. I'll admit that
it has bothered me how many apparently otherwise good people are
downright enthusiastic about bringback neo-feudalism, aristocracy, or
clan systems. Their rationalizations are unconvincing.
All I can figure is they went crazy during the Change.
But it is a well established principle that a free-er society will
outproduce and out research a less free society, all else being equal.
The PPA is a result of Arminger's insanity. But Mike Havel and
Juniper Mackenzie should fucking well know better.
Either they went crazy or they were assholes and rather terrible
Americans to begin with.
Don't be that harsh. They jumped on the back of a tiger and couldn't
let go until things were too advanced to reverse. The quasi-feudal
let up of the BearKillers was born of being on the move for the almost
all of the first book. The Clan grew from trying to set up a
structure that let everybody absorbed feel part of group. And both
had to fight Arminger in the first book, which Corvallis didn't. Or
at least that's the setup Stirling wrote. Also note, he didn't go
into any detail on how Corvallis managed to pull through, nor the
United States of Boise.
You think that the quasi-feudal setup of the Bearkillers was
irreversible because Mike Havel was in charge of their march for a
period of months after the change? We're talking a relatively short
amount of time before they got to the Pacific Northwest in the big
scheme of things.
And (almost) all those folks were adults before the change. They had
grown up and absorbed the fact of being free citizens.
They were perfectly willing to give up a thousand years of social
progress because some dude with a funny bear hat said so and managed
to walk them to Oregon from Idaho or whatever? What the fuck, people?
What happened to "watery tarts lying around in lakes distributing
swords is no. basis for a system of government'"? Yeah, he's being a
fascist but goddamn it if his funny bear hat doesn't lend him an air
of authority!
Yeah, it was pretty scary for a while. I don't buy that everyone in
the MacKenzie place would adopt that utterly ridiculous neo-Wiccan
religion. Most people would laugh at it. No, I don't buy that
everyone would be perfectly fine with reverting to feudalism. Nor do
I buy that Mike Havel would have done so unless he was an ass to begin
with. Remember, he didn't just want to be in charge, he was very
concerned with making sure his kids would inherit after him. That's
not just "what's best for the group", that's "fuck everyone else, I
got mine."
But that wasn't my big problem with the novels; I suspended my
disbelief because it was clearly where Stirling wanted to start with
the story. It's the other stuff I wrote about in the original post
that has really bother me. The repetitiveness and lack of originality
of everything except the premise.
Stirling is brilliant and setting up an interesting premise. Then he
writes the most boring story he can within that premise.
-David- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
As long as you are criticizing Stirling, here are some comments on
Conquistador, which I generally liked.

1. I was disappointed he gave away the secret of the alternate world
at the beginning of the book. In my opinion, it would have been a
better and more intriguing story if the secret was gradually revealed
to the reader as it was to the protagonist.

2. There was one scene in the book where the protagonist flies (I
think in an helicopter) over a plain and sees a herd of buffalo (I
think). Stirling did a good job of describing this scene, and I got a
real sense of wonder from it. But that was it, just one or two
paragraphs like that, and then it was back to moving the action
forward. The book could have used more of that kind of description of
the virgin world.

This doesn't really fit here, but it's something I've been thinking
about.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-05 18:19:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by f***@mailandnews.com
Post by David T. Bilek
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
I hadn't considered it but your point about the most technologically
advanced places being those most closely interested in mirroring or
resurrecting the former United States is a good one. I'll admit that
it has bothered me how many apparently otherwise good people are
downright enthusiastic about bringback neo-feudalism, aristocracy, or
clan systems. Their rationalizations are unconvincing.
All I can figure is they went crazy during the Change.
But it is a well established principle that a free-er society will
outproduce and out research a less free society, all else being equal.
The PPA is a result of Arminger's insanity. But Mike Havel and
Juniper Mackenzie should fucking well know better.
Either they went crazy or they were assholes and rather terrible
Americans to begin with.
Don't be that harsh. They jumped on the back of a tiger and couldn't
let go until things were too advanced to reverse. The quasi-feudal
let up of the BearKillers was born of being on the move for the almost
all of the first book. The Clan grew from trying to set up a
structure that let everybody absorbed feel part of group. And both
had to fight Arminger in the first book, which Corvallis didn't. Or
at least that's the setup Stirling wrote. Also note, he didn't go
into any detail on how Corvallis managed to pull through, nor the
United States of Boise.
You think that the quasi-feudal setup of the Bearkillers was
irreversible because Mike Havel was in charge of their march for a
period of months after the change? We're talking a relatively short
amount of time before they got to the Pacific Northwest in the big
scheme of things.
And (almost) all those folks were adults before the change. They had
grown up and absorbed the fact of being free citizens.
They were perfectly willing to give up a thousand years of social
progress because some dude with a funny bear hat said so and managed
to walk them to Oregon from Idaho or whatever? What the fuck, people?
What happened to "watery tarts lying around in lakes distributing
swords is no. basis for a system of government'"? Yeah, he's being a
fascist but goddamn it if his funny bear hat doesn't lend him an air
of authority!
Yeah, it was pretty scary for a while. I don't buy that everyone in
the MacKenzie place would adopt that utterly ridiculous neo-Wiccan
religion. Most people would laugh at it. No, I don't buy that
everyone would be perfectly fine with reverting to feudalism. Nor do
I buy that Mike Havel would have done so unless he was an ass to begin
with. Remember, he didn't just want to be in charge, he was very
concerned with making sure his kids would inherit after him. That's
not just "what's best for the group", that's "fuck everyone else, I
got mine."
But that wasn't my big problem with the novels; I suspended my
disbelief because it was clearly where Stirling wanted to start with
the story. It's the other stuff I wrote about in the original post
that has really bother me. The repetitiveness and lack of originality
of everything except the premise.
Stirling is brilliant and setting up an interesting premise. Then he
writes the most boring story he can within that premise.
-David- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
As long as you are criticizing Stirling, here are some comments on
Conquistador, which I generally liked.
1. I was disappointed he gave away the secret of the alternate world
at the beginning of the book. In my opinion, it would have been a
better and more intriguing story if the secret was gradually revealed
to the reader as it was to the protagonist.
Yeah, he only should have revealed enough that a perceptive reader who
knows about parallel worlds might have hazarded a guess. He could
have moved the beginning back to use as a flashback at the spot where
the protagonist first finds out for sure.
Post by f***@mailandnews.com
2. There was one scene in the book where the protagonist flies (I
think in an helicopter) over a plain and sees a herd of buffalo (I
think). Stirling did a good job of describing this scene, and I got a
real sense of wonder from it. But that was it, just one or two
paragraphs like that, and then it was back to moving the action
forward. The book could have used more of that kind of description of
the virgin world.
Got to keep that action moving forward to please your base. Heaven
forbid you give them something new or put something in to attract a
larger audience. On the other hand, if he started doing that sort of
stuff he might have six more months between books, and start acquiring
what Bujold's schedule was like before the Sharing Knife books.
Steve
2007-10-06 18:57:54 UTC
Permalink
2. There was one scene in the book where the protagonist flies (I think in an helicopter) over a plain and sees a herd of buffalo (I think). Stirling did a good job of describing this scene, and I got a real sense of wonder from it. But that was it, just one or two paragraphs like that, and then it was back to moving the action
forward. The book could have used more of that kind of description of
the virgin world.

-- and other people have complained (furiously and at length) how the
action stops because there are pages and pages and pages of
description of the virgin world getting in the way of the plot.

Moral: you can't please everyone and there's no point in trying. Just
write what _you_ like. Some people will like it; some won't. That's
a matter of taste.
Heaven forbid you give them something new or put something in to attract a
larger audience.

-- since the print runs have been going up by about fifty to a hundred
percent with each successive "Emberverse" book and the latest two have
hit the NYT bestseller list (#34, one week, for AMaC, #25 and #27, two
weeks, for TSL) building a larger audience seems to be taking care of
itself... 8-).

Look, no offense, but you're laboring under a fundamental
misapprehension as to how the creative process works.

The 'fitting and polishing' stage requires conscious craft, deliberate
choice, and that can be learned -- it's a matter of technique. You
can 'put something in' at that point, or take something out, or adjust
it, or do a bridging section.

That's where you say to yourself "no, already used that adjective
twice -- watch out, Steve, your liking for the word 'golden' is active
again", or "wait a minute, don't they already know that?" or "too many
sunsets, Herr Stirling" or "can a bow really do that?" Minor in-jokes
come into that category too.

But the fundamentals of the story, the characters and the setting and
what happens, are more like lucid dreaming, or experiencing and then
trying to write down extremely vivid waking dreams. This is
something you either have, or you don't, and it's not really under
detailed conscious control. In fact, if you try to look at it or
guide it too closely, it just stops.

At least, it's that way for me, and for most of the writers I've
talked to about it.
Gene Ward Smith
2007-10-06 19:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
But the fundamentals of the story, the characters and the setting and
what happens, are more like lucid dreaming, or experiencing and then
trying to write down extremely vivid waking dreams. This is
something you either have, or you don't, and it's not really under
detailed conscious control. In fact, if you try to look at it or
guide it too closely, it just stops.
Huh. Maybe that's why when I tried to write it kept trying to turn into a
pastiche of Plato's dialoges in prose-poem style. *Something* was going on,
but not that sort of thing.
Steve
2007-10-06 22:00:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gene Ward Smith
Huh. Maybe that's why when I tried to write it kept trying to turn into a
pastiche of Plato's dialoges in prose-poem style. *Something* was
going on,
but not that sort of thing.

-- every single author of prose fiction I've talked to about it has,
and has had from childhood, very vivid, colored, detailed/structured
daydreams and spends a lot of time inhabiting them. I certainly do.
I was already telling them to my friends when I was about eight.

I was surprised to learn, as a young man, that most people _don't_
have that sort of interior running story.

That isn't all you need to write fiction -- there are a couple of
other essentials, like being able to "hear" your own narrative voice
-- but it is a basic building-block.

Technique is like the car; the internal vision is the fuel. You can
get a fire of sorts with just the fuel; in a car you can make it go
somewhere you want; without the fuel, the car will just sit there. So
you have to be careful about technique; it's a good thing, in its
place, but it isn't what the writing is _about_, and you can loose the
impetus, the "ooomph" if you focus too much on it at the expense of
the emotional drives that made you want to write (and which drove you
to read a particular type of fiction) in the first place.

The "ooomph" is why authors who are, from a technical standpoint,
lousy writers can still tell great story; the conviction, the strength
of the vision, overrides the clumsiness of the tools they're using.

Edgar Rice Burroughs comes to mind, particularly in his earlier
phases. He's really not very good at a sentence-by-sentence level, no
better than a myriad of his contemporaries who've vanished like the
dew on the grass. But what he wrote is _vivid_. It resonates in the
mind and emotions.

Robert E. Howard is another example, though in terms of technique
Howard was better than is commonly thought -- just rather hasty
sometimes, which considering he was working at so-much-per-word for
the pulps isn't surprising.

Howard's Hyborian Age is a mishmash, when you look at it carefully,
though a colorful and entertaining mishmash fairly skillfully put
together. But Howard _believed_ in it.

At a deep level, while he was writing, he was living there, and he
loved the place. His better work blazes with it. Likewise his
emotional range was limited, but within that range he's as effective
as a sledgehammer between the eyes. "Red Nails", for example, is
about as good a baroque study in obsession, hatred and revenge as you
could want.

By way of contrast, de Camp's Howard pastiche is bad despite his being
a much better writer, technically, than Howard was. de Camp's own
fiction is excellent but it has an entirely different tone and feel
than Howard's; much cooler, more rational, with a more detached
appreciation of the human comedy.

His attempt to write Howard clunks; it doesn't have the mad, brooding
intensity that Howard infused his own best work with.
Gene Ward Smith
2007-10-06 22:09:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
His attempt to write Howard clunks; it doesn't have the mad, brooding
intensity that Howard infused his own best work with.
Karl Edward Wagner was the only one to try that who even had the right kind
of lunacy to start out with, I think.
Steve
2007-10-06 22:33:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gene Ward Smith
Karl Edward Wagner was the only one to try that who even had the right kind
of lunacy to start out with, I think.
-- yup, that's an excellent comparison. No accident that they both
died young, and by their own hands.

Wagner didn't actually put a bullet through his head, but he knew
perfectly well what he was doing to himself. In fact, I'd say the
biggest single difference between him and Howard was that Wagner was
more introspective. Or possibly just better-educated, and so more
aware of what was going on inside.

They had rather similar inner demons. Of course, if they'd been
epitomies of healthy, well-balanced normalacy they probably never
would have written, and certainly not the stuff they _did_ write.

You don't have to be crazy to write (although writers average a far,
far higher percentage of the certifiably demented than the general
population) but you've got to have a bit of craziness in there
somewhere.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 19:11:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Moral: you can't please everyone and there's no point in trying. Just
write what _you_ like. Some people will like it; some won't. That's
a matter of taste.
My tastes must have changed because writers whose work I've liked a
lot no longer produce work I like. Or maybe I've stayed the same, and
they've changed.
Post by Steve
-- since the print runs have been going up by about fifty to a hundred
percent with each successive "Emberverse" book and the latest two have
hit the NYT bestseller list (#34, one week, for AMaC, #25 and #27, two
weeks, for TSL) building a larger audience seems to be taking care of
itself... 8-).
*Wider* audience, more varied audience, is what I meant, but I know
full well that size is what matters.<g>
Post by Steve
Look, no offense, but you're laboring under a fundamental
misapprehension as to how the creative process works.
I am? Since I already knew about the separateness of 'fitting and
polishing' and the creative genesis, I don't think so.
Post by Steve
The 'fitting and polishing' stage requires conscious craft, deliberate
choice, and that can be learned -- it's a matter of technique. You
can 'put something in' at that point, or take something out, or adjust
it, or do a bridging section.
That's where you say to yourself "no, already used that adjective
twice -- watch out, Steve, your liking for the word 'golden' is active
again", or "wait a minute, don't they already know that?" or "too many
sunsets, Herr Stirling" or "can a bow really do that?" Minor in-jokes
come into that category too.
Like the purveyor of Fine Arms and Armor in Bend and his motto?<g>
Post by Steve
But the fundamentals of the story, the characters and the setting and
what happens, are more like lucid dreaming, or experiencing and then
trying to write down extremely vivid waking dreams. This is
something you either have, or you don't, and it's not really under
detailed conscious control. In fact, if you try to look at it or
guide it too closely, it just stops.
At least, it's that way for me, and for most of the writers I've
talked to about it.
So which is thinking about the implications of allowed physics on
allowable technology in the story, 'fitting and polishing' or 'lucid
dreaming'? Seemed like 'fitting and polishing' research to me, but
your methods may vary.
James Gassaway
2007-10-03 07:46:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
I hadn't considered it but your point about the most technologically
advanced places being those most closely interested in mirroring or
resurrecting the former United States is a good one. I'll admit
that it has bothered me how many apparently otherwise good people
are downright enthusiastic about bringback neo-feudalism,
aristocracy, or clan systems. Their rationalizations are
unconvincing.
All I can figure is they went crazy during the Change.
But it is a well established principle that a free-er society will
outproduce and out research a less free society, all else being
equal. The PPA is a result of Arminger's insanity. But Mike Havel
and Juniper Mackenzie should fucking well know better.
Either they went crazy or they were assholes and rather terrible
Americans to begin with.
Don't be that harsh. They jumped on the back of a tiger and couldn't
let go until things were too advanced to reverse. The quasi-feudal
let up of the BearKillers was born of being on the move for the
almost all of the first book. The Clan grew from trying to set up a
structure that let everybody absorbed feel part of group. And both
had to fight Arminger in the first book, which Corvallis didn't. Or
at least that's the setup Stirling wrote. Also note, he didn't go
into any detail on how Corvallis managed to pull through, nor the
United States of Boise.
You think that the quasi-feudal setup of the Bearkillers was
irreversible because Mike Havel was in charge of their march for a
period of months after the change? We're talking a relatively short
amount of time before they got to the Pacific Northwest in the big
scheme of things.
And (almost) all those folks were adults before the change. They had
grown up and absorbed the fact of being free citizens.
They were perfectly willing to give up a thousand years of social
progress because some dude with a funny bear hat said so and managed
to walk them to Oregon from Idaho or whatever? What the fuck, people?
What happened to "watery tarts lying around in lakes distributing
swords is no. basis for a system of government'"? Yeah, he's being a
fascist but goddamn it if his funny bear hat doesn't lend him an air
of authority!
Yeah, it was pretty scary for a while. I don't buy that everyone in
the MacKenzie place would adopt that utterly ridiculous neo-Wiccan
religion. Most people would laugh at it. No, I don't buy that
everyone would be perfectly fine with reverting to feudalism. Nor do
I buy that Mike Havel would have done so unless he was an ass to begin
with. Remember, he didn't just want to be in charge, he was very
concerned with making sure his kids would inherit after him. That's
not just "what's best for the group", that's "fuck everyone else, I
got mine."
But that wasn't my big problem with the novels; I suspended my
disbelief because it was clearly where Stirling wanted to start with
the story. It's the other stuff I wrote about in the original post
that has really bother me. The repetitiveness and lack of originality
of everything except the premise.
Stirling is brilliant and setting up an interesting premise. Then he
writes the most boring story he can within that premise.
Believe it or not, Stirling actually addressed this in the books. A couple
of the characters discuss the possibility that the ASBs messed with people's
minds when they changed the laws of physics. At another point the Mike
Havel character flat out states why he hasn't and won't try to revive the
USA.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
"Now, quack, damn you!"
David T. Bilek
2007-10-03 08:04:04 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 00:46:44 -0700, "James Gassaway"
<***@sonic.net> wrote:

mucho snippage
Post by James Gassaway
Believe it or not, Stirling actually addressed this in the books. A couple
of the characters discuss the possibility that the ASBs messed with people's
minds when they changed the laws of physics. At another point the Mike
Havel character flat out states why he hasn't and won't try to revive the
USA.
I must have forgotten about the musing on the ASBs messing with
people's minds. That's a mighty convenient way to write whatever you
want to write without needing to make it plausible as natural
character development though. "Yeah, it's weird the character reacted
like that. But it's because the ASBs messed with his/her brain!"

I prefer a story where normal people are reacting to an extraordinary
situation. Still, it does show that Stirling is aware that characters
are being more accepting of wacko ideas than they probably would be in
reality.

I did remember Havel's musings; it's why I wrote that I found his
justifications unconvincing. He was a marine, right? Any marine who
decides that all that equality and freedom stuff is really only
applicable when it is convenient and easy, then goes and sets up an
aristocracy based on martial prowess at the first opportunity deserves
to eat a bullet from his own rifle, and I have no doubt the Corps
would be ashamed he ever wore the uniform.

Havel is right that the USA is mortally wounded at least in the short
and medium term. Long term it is certainly possible to maintain a
Republic at the tech level available. But because the USA as a nation
state is gone for the immediate future doesn't mean the best
alternative is to set yourself and your buddies up as the heads of a
hereditary aristocracy.

From his fiction it reads like Steve Stirling is a very Hobbesian sort
of guy. His posts to RASFW would seem to support that view.

-David
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-03 13:27:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
I prefer a story where normal people are reacting to an extraordinary
situation. Still, it does show that Stirling is aware that characters
are being more accepting of wacko ideas than they probably would be in
reality.
I did remember Havel's musings; it's why I wrote that I found his
justifications unconvincing. He was a marine, right? Any marine who
decides that all that equality and freedom stuff is really only
applicable when it is convenient and easy, then goes and sets up an
aristocracy based on martial prowess at the first opportunity deserves
to eat a bullet from his own rifle, and I have no doubt the Corps
would be ashamed he ever wore the uniform.
And General-President Thurston? There should have been free elections
as soon as the lifeboat situation was over. The RON started getting
back towards normal as soon as they were sure people weren't going to
start keeling over from hunger.

And I haven't seen enough of Corvallis to tell if is being any more of
a real democracy than your usual University.
Post by David T. Bilek
Havel is right that the USA is mortally wounded at least in the short
and medium term. Long term it is certainly possible to maintain a
Republic at the tech level available. But because the USA as a nation
state is gone for the immediate future doesn't mean the best
alternative is to set yourself and your buddies up as the heads of a
hereditary aristocracy.
Is he saying gunpowder was absolutely vital to the formation of the
United States? Otherwise, the post-Change United States actually has
more than our founding fathers did. Anyway, Havel was a typical grunt
who focused too much on the tactical and not enough on the strategic.
How the hell do you set up a situation that the Laarson's ancestral
home can be taken away from them? Basically so Stirling can have
Signe fight to keep control for more positive reasons than just a
desire to keep power.
Post by David T. Bilek
From his fiction it reads like Steve Stirling is a very Hobbesian sort
of guy. His posts to RASFW would seem to support that view.
He doesn't associate himself with the wingnuts of the right but he at
least shares their Pavlovian hatred of Muslims.
srogerscat
2007-10-03 15:13:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by David T. Bilek
On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 00:46:44 -0700, "James Gassaway"
<much snipping>
Post by David T. Bilek
Havel is right that the USA is mortally wounded at least in the short
and medium term. Long term it is certainly possible to maintain a
Republic at the tech level available. But because the USA as a nation
state is gone for the immediate future doesn't mean the best
alternative is to set yourself and your buddies up as the heads of a
hereditary aristocracy.
From his fiction it reads like Steve Stirling is a very Hobbesian sort
of guy. His posts to RASFW would seem to support that view.
-David
Stirling is very Hobbesian - as am I in my moodier moments. Havel's
attitude is fairly understandable to me in light of the extreme trauma
all the survivors have by definition endured. I personally am deeply
suspicious whether a democracy/republican government can survive for
long in a pre-industrial cultural climate. Maybe so, but it probably
would not be one that we would consider free or fair by 21st century
terms.

A lot depends on why the Change was inflicted on humanity - mucking
about with human minds may well be part of the plan, whatever the
hell it is.
David T. Bilek
2007-10-03 20:57:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Post by David T. Bilek
On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 00:46:44 -0700, "James Gassaway"
<much snipping>
Post by David T. Bilek
Havel is right that the USA is mortally wounded at least in the short
and medium term. Long term it is certainly possible to maintain a
Republic at the tech level available. But because the USA as a nation
state is gone for the immediate future doesn't mean the best
alternative is to set yourself and your buddies up as the heads of a
hereditary aristocracy.
From his fiction it reads like Steve Stirling is a very Hobbesian sort
of guy. His posts to RASFW would seem to support that view.
-David
Stirling is very Hobbesian - as am I in my moodier moments. Havel's
attitude is fairly understandable to me in light of the extreme trauma
all the survivors have by definition endured. I personally am deeply
suspicious whether a democracy/republican government can survive for
long in a pre-industrial cultural climate. Maybe so, but it probably
would not be one that we would consider free or fair by 21st century
terms.
Ahh, but there is no reason for them to stay pre-industrial. Corvallis
seems to be moving towards an industrial economy quite handily. You
don't need electricity or gunpowder for an industrial economy. The
lack of high pressure steam engines will be more of a problem but
there are other things that will work; hydraulics are apparently
relatively unaffected.

In fact, people like Mike Havel and Juniper Mackenzie are actively
being detrimental to forward progress by retarding the move back to a
more industrial economy.
Post by srogerscat
A lot depends on why the Change was inflicted on humanity - mucking
about with human minds may well be part of the plan, whatever the
hell it is.
Well, yes, but this is lazy writing. If you can handwave any problems
or implausibility by saying it happened because the alien space bats
wanted it that way then why bother writing it at all? A good story
involves people with motivations we can understand making decisions
that appear to flow from those motivations. If you completely get rid
of the "motivations we understand" part by invoking ASBs, there is
nothing left but the repetitive battle scenes.

-David
Aaron Denney
2007-10-03 21:40:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Stirling is very Hobbesian - as am I in my moodier moments. Havel's
attitude is fairly understandable to me in light of the extreme trauma
all the survivors have by definition endured. I personally am deeply
suspicious whether a democracy/republican government can survive for
long in a pre-industrial cultural climate. Maybe so, but it probably
would not be one that we would consider free or fair by 21st century
terms.
There is a correlation between industry being widespread, and the
culture of those places. But are you sure that the causation isn't
the other way around -- that the cultures are what enables succesful
industry?

Consider how England developed, with large parts of
the expansion of freedom before the industrial revolution.
Sure, the Magna Carta was going from "King in control"
to "Nobles in control", not "commoners in control", but that's way
before the industrial revolution.
--
Aaron Denney
-><-
Matthias Warkus
2007-10-04 01:08:14 UTC
Permalink
srogerscat schrieb:
I personally am deeply
Post by srogerscat
suspicious whether a democracy/republican government can survive for
long in a pre-industrial cultural climate. Maybe so, but it probably
would not be one that we would consider free or fair by 21st century
terms.
Depends on how long you think is "long". There are lots of examples of
small republics surviving for centuries before the industrial age; most
of them are kind of strange from today's vantage point, though, i.e.
imperial cities in the HRE, or Iceland.

mawa
--
http://www.prellblog.de
Richard R. Hershberger
2007-10-04 13:36:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
I personally am deeply
Post by srogerscat
suspicious whether a democracy/republican government can survive for
long in a pre-industrial cultural climate. Maybe so, but it probably
would not be one that we would consider free or fair by 21st century
terms.
Depends on how long you think is "long". There are lots of examples of
small republics surviving for centuries before the industrial age; most
of them are kind of strange from today's vantage point, though, i.e.
imperial cities in the HRE, or Iceland.
I take it also that we are not considering the Roman Republic as
counting? Sure, there were issues of slavery and women not having the
franchise, but the same is true of the early United States.

Richard R. Hershberger
Steve
2007-10-06 17:54:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
There's also some Greek armor from around the supposed time of the
Trojan War that would be good. Multiple layers of linen around a
leather core. A TV demonstration seemed to show it stopping arrows
very well.
-- depends on the arrow and the bow. There was, to put it mildly, a
lot of variation in both.

A bodkin-pointed arrow from a really powerful bow, the type salvaged
from the "Mary Rose", for example (averaging around 100lbs draw-
weight), will punch through leather or canvas armor like it wasn't
there.

Chain mail is also a poor defense against arrows, or other stabbing
weapons with narrow points. The point breaks the link it hits. Mail
is quite effective against swords, but lousy against penetration or
crushing.

What you need to stop arrows or bolts is a very smooth, polished,
curved metal plate. That's also the optimum protection for stabbing
and cutting weapons in general, and it's much more resistant to blunt-
trauma crushing blows than any form of flexible armor because it
distributes the force of the impact.

In fact, late medieval and early-Renaissance European plate is the
finest ever made, in terms of both protection and mobility. There's a
reason so many of the weapons of the time look like can-openers on
sticks. Furthermore, it's modular, so you can take off some pieces to
suit the tactical situation, building up or taking down around the
foundation of the basic back-and-breast and helmet.

Even a full suit of good plate won't stop all arrows, though, or all
crossbow bolts. It'll stop (by 'glancing') a _lot_ of arrows or
bolts.

The main drawback was that the stuff was expensive.

(Though note that a good trained destrier cost several times what even
a really first-rate suit of Milanese plate did. One of the staple
administrative headaches of warfare in the era was men-at-arms putting
in 'loss claims' for horses and overstating their value by claiming an
ordinary riding horse that died had actually been a high-quality
destrier worth about thirty times as much.)

In the Emberverse, some places are manufacturing plate armor in
standardized sizes using hydraulic presses and salvaged alloy-steel
sheet, which would be better than anything the medieval period had
available -- the quality of their steel was extremely variable and
they couldn't control it with the available technology.

One of the differences between Emberverse and medieval warfare is that
the advanced states can give all their soldiers optimum protective
gear. OTOH, they can also field more effective missile weapons.
Torbjorn Lindgren
2007-10-06 21:25:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by M***@hotmail.com
There's also some Greek armor from around the supposed time of the
Trojan War that would be good. Multiple layers of linen around a
leather core. A TV demonstration seemed to show it stopping arrows
very well.
-- depends on the arrow and the bow. There was, to put it mildly, a
lot of variation in both.
A bodkin-pointed arrow from a really powerful bow, the type salvaged
from the "Mary Rose", for example (averaging around 100lbs draw-
weight), will punch through leather or canvas armor like it wasn't
there.
The Mary Rose bows they tested were avering about 100 lbf draw force
NOW, after having been in the water/mud for a long time. It doesn't
take much imagination to guess that this may have damaged the wood
which was confirmed by examination of the wood.

Wikipedia says almost all bows in MR are estimated to have a draw
weight of at least 143 lbf, with most estimates around 160-180 lbf.

This is also similar to the range they got when they built replica
bows, which ended up in the 150-200 lbf range, which tends to confirm
the previous number.

The extremely high pull strength is the reason why it took so long to
get decent longbow men, you can actually see deformation on the
skeleton caused by training with extremely high pulls from early
childhood. Together that means that if the extra pull hadn't been
important they wouldn't have been using bows that heavy.

Hunting Longbows has much less draw, somewhat similar to the Longbows
that tends to be built today but there are modern day people who can
shoot even 200 lbf pull bows (without the early childhood training)..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_longbow
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longbow
Keith Soltys
2007-10-06 22:14:09 UTC
Permalink
<snip />
Post by Torbjorn Lindgren
The extremely high pull strength is the reason why it took so long to
get decent longbow men, you can actually see deformation on the
skeleton caused by training with extremely high pulls from early
childhood. Together that means that if the extra pull hadn't been
important they wouldn't have been using bows that heavy.
Hunting Longbows has much less draw, somewhat similar to the Longbows
that tends to be built today but there are modern day people who can
shoot even 200 lbf pull bows (without the early childhood training)..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_longbow
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longbow
But with judicious use of steroids, no doubt (grin).

Keith
Steve
2007-10-06 22:19:43 UTC
Permalink
The Mary Rose bows they tested were avering about 100 lbf draw force NOW, after having been in the water/mud for a long time.
-- According to Strickland and Hardy, THE GREAT WARBOW, most of them
couldn't be drawn fully or safely at all even after very careful
restoration; the cellular structure of the wood had decayed. They
were useful in giving the shape, construction techniques and
dimensions of the longbow, rather than being used directly to test
things like draw-weight.

(The authors were involved in the restoration work and building
replica bows.)

The replicas were of Oregon yew, and draw-weights ranged from a little
under to well over 100 lbs. However, there's no guarantee that Oregon
yew precisely duplicates the Spanish and Balkan yew that was the
favored material of medieval English bowyers; the strength of the bow
is heavily dependent on the thickness of the growth-rings, for
instance.

Also bows probably varied widely in draw-weight, with some being
specialist weapons. There was always a trade-off between draw-weight
and rate of fire. After you reach a certain speed (about 200 fps)
increasing the draw-weight will not increase the velocity of the arrow
much; it will increase the kinetic energy, but only if you use a
heavier arrow. However, most arrows were mass-produced to fairly
standard designs, because in military use they were shot off by the
hundreds of thousands in a major engagement and often not reused.

Also bows vary widely in their efficiency.

For example, a reflex-deflex shaping of the bow will increase it
rather substantially; this was sometimes done with the "classic"
longbows, but more often not.

The modern practice of using a rigid central handle or riser, with a
cutout so that the arrow can shoot through the centerline of the bow,
also saves energy because it makes it possible to use a much stiffer
arrow. (See "archer's paradox"; it's a bit complex).

A modern bowyer, even using only traditional materials, can make a
much better bow than any available in the medieval period, simply
because we understand the forces involved better.

The classic 'crooked stick' longbow in particular is a brute-force
approach to the whole problem.

Just a note on draw-weights: a 50-lb hunting bow has been known to
send an arrow right through an adult bull elk (an animal about the
size of a horse), breaking through ribs going in and coming out.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 18:21:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by M***@hotmail.com
There's also some Greek armor from around the supposed time of the
Trojan War that would be good. Multiple layers of linen around a
leather core. A TV demonstration seemed to show it stopping arrows
very well.
-- depends on the arrow and the bow. There was, to put it mildly, a
lot of variation in both.
A bodkin-pointed arrow from a really powerful bow, the type salvaged
from the "Mary Rose", for example (averaging around 100lbs draw-
weight), will punch through leather or canvas armor like it wasn't
there.
<snip>
Post by Steve
One of the differences between Emberverse and medieval warfare is that
the advanced states can give all their soldiers optimum protective
gear. OTOH, they can also field more effective missile weapons.
Well that demonstration was demonstrating its effectiveness against
the bows and arrows available to the Greeks so point taken.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 18:23:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by Steve
Post by M***@hotmail.com
There's also some Greek armor from around the supposed time of the
Trojan War that would be good. Multiple layers of linen around a
leather core. A TV demonstration seemed to show it stopping arrows
very well.
-- depends on the arrow and the bow. There was, to put it mildly, a
lot of variation in both.
A bodkin-pointed arrow from a really powerful bow, the type salvaged
from the "Mary Rose", for example (averaging around 100lbs draw-
weight), will punch through leather or canvas armor like it wasn't
there.
<snip>
Post by Steve
One of the differences between Emberverse and medieval warfare is that
the advanced states can give all their soldiers optimum protective
gear. OTOH, they can also field more effective missile weapons.
Well that demonstration was demonstrating its effectiveness against
the bows and arrows available to the Greeks so point taken.
That demonstration of Linothorax armor that is, if I wasn't clear.
Joe Veazey
2007-10-08 19:23:52 UTC
Permalink
Just as an aside, why is it called the "Emberverse"?
Rick
2007-10-08 21:05:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Veazey
Just as an aside, why is it called the "Emberverse"?
Because the first book was "Dies the Fire," and after a fire dies, there are
embers left.
Matthias Warkus
2007-10-04 01:05:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
I maintain that Stirling knows he's not writing the most interesting
story he could but thinks it is the most saleable. Sadly, he's
probably right.
Right, he starts with the events he wants to have happen first then
works backward to rationalize them.
Well, it's how he apparently wrote the first Draka novel and people seem
to like them.

mawa
--
http://www.prellblog.de
Larry Caldwell
2007-10-04 04:08:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Including some better technological progress by people interested in
resurrecting the United States. Corvallis is the only place in the
Willamette Valley that interested.
I haven't started this one yet, but have read as far as AMaC. I have
been disappointed that the characters abandoned technology just because
electricity quit working. It didn't take Stirling long to reinvent
napalm, but that was as far as he got.

Chemistry and biology seem to work just fine, and so should most medical
practices. I bet you could even use natural radioactive materials to do
X-rays. There are a lot of trees around, but nobody seems to be
manufacturing paper.

Does TSL start to fill in this huge hole? You give me hope.
--
For email, replace firstnamelastinitial
with my first name and last initial.
David T. Bilek
2007-10-04 07:05:49 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 21:08:04 -0700, Larry Caldwell
Post by Larry Caldwell
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Including some better technological progress by people interested in
resurrecting the United States. Corvallis is the only place in the
Willamette Valley that interested.
I haven't started this one yet, but have read as far as AMaC. I have
been disappointed that the characters abandoned technology just because
electricity quit working. It didn't take Stirling long to reinvent
napalm, but that was as far as he got.
Chemistry and biology seem to work just fine, and so should most medical
practices. I bet you could even use natural radioactive materials to do
X-rays. There are a lot of trees around, but nobody seems to be
manufacturing paper.
Does TSL start to fill in this huge hole? You give me hope.
Sorry to dash your hope but no, no it doesn't. Which is exactly why I
started the thread; because I'm so disappointed that Stirling decided
to write yet more interchangeable battle sequences instead of dealing
with the actually interesting bits about reacquiring technology and
such.

Corvallis is not seen and hardly mentioned at all in TSL.

-David
Steve
2007-10-06 18:04:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Caldwell
There are a lot of trees around, but nobody seems to be
manufacturing paper.
-- actually, it's mentioned in "Corvallis" that Corvallis has a
newspaper and is manufacturing paper. Paper, particularly the rag-
pulp method, is actually a fairly simple technology.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 14:33:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by Larry Caldwell
There are a lot of trees around, but nobody seems to be
manufacturing paper.
-- actually, it's mentioned in "Corvallis" that Corvallis has a
newspaper and is manufacturing paper. Paper, particularly the rag-
pulp method, is actually a fairly simple technology.
But how expensive is its manufacture after 12 years of peace in which
to concentrate on technological advancement of very useful things like
paper? I have no knowledge of what the relative cost of paper was
before the Industrial revolution.
David DeLaney
2007-10-08 20:22:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
But how expensive is its manufacture after 12 years of peace in which
to concentrate on technological advancement of very useful things like
paper? I have no knowledge of what the relative cost of paper was
before the Industrial revolution.
(And, hm, without electricity aluminum turns back into a precious metal
again, though they can probably mine landfills for it for quite some time...)

Dave "many people do not realize the motive behind the Washington Monument's
cap" DeLaney
--
\/David DeLaney posting from ***@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 20:44:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by David DeLaney
Post by M***@hotmail.com
But how expensive is its manufacture after 12 years of peace in which
to concentrate on technological advancement of very useful things like
paper? I have no knowledge of what the relative cost of paper was
before the Industrial revolution.
(And, hm, without electricity aluminum turns back into a precious metal
again, though they can probably mine landfills for it for quite some time...)
Recycling aluminum doesn't seem to require electricity, just
temperatures that are still allowed.
Richard R. Hershberger
2007-10-03 14:21:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
Secondly, the whole Wiccans-ube-alles thing is really starting to
grate on me. The way this whole SF thing works is that you get to
postulate one crazy thing and have us believe it. You can write a
story in which electricity stops working and I'm there. You can write
a story in which the made-up-about-50-years-ago theology of Wicca and
modern neo-paganism has some truth to it and I'm there.
The one thing the bugs me about some people's continued rejection of
the Wicca religion in the books is that I don't think most of them
would have been bothered if this was a straight up fantasy. It's only
that the world starts off as being much like ours with our Wiccan
Wierdos that makes them conclude none of this could happen without
authorial fiat.
My objection is much like David's. We have an interesting idea: what
if all of a sudden electricity and gunpowder didn't work? We get a
story about how people deal with this situation. But we gradually
also get a story with magic.

Stirling did the same thing with The Peshawar Lancers. It is mostly a
straight alternate-history novel--indeed, it has a particularly
original and interesting premise. But then we get working mysticism
tossed into the mix. I found it very jarring. The problem seems to
be that I thought I was readind an alternate-history story, when what
Stirling wanted to write was a pastiche of several unrealted genres.
Of course he can write whatever genre he wants, but I do wish he would
stop being marketed as a writer of alternate history. And for
whatever it is worth, "an interesting premise, plus magic" interests
me rather less than the interesting idea alone.
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by David T. Bilek
You can't write a story in which both things happen or my suspension
of disbelief goes kersplut. I'm trying to convince myself that what
we see as true prophecies and such handed out by the Wiccan deities is
actually the dudes who caused the Change meddling in events, but we
have seen no evidence of that. If it were the case, we would expect
miracles and such from *other* religious groups. The Roman Catholic
Church. The Church Universal and Triumphant. Whatever. They'd be
getting prophecies and true dreams and such, too. But we see no
evidence of that.
Actually the C.U.T. seems to have its own connections to something.
It's the Catholics and the Mormons that be getting snubbed.
Likewise actual magic. Rudi's super soldier stength and speed and his
magic horse, Bele..er, Epona. Ingolf's arch enemy being able to get
him to involuntarily drop his sword.
I still maintain that Stirling can rescue this series if he conclusive
gives proof that Earth's been turned into a High Fantasy world where
magic isn't flashy like D&D but certainly exists and goes hand in hand
with a lack of technological progress over many centuries even without
disasters and civilization collapse.
Then depending on what's happened in the ISOT timeline (technological
paradise?), those that did this would have perhaps gotten High Fantasy
and High SF out of the opposite sides of one event. All I know is
that Ingolf entered the Coast Guard house and saw a portrait of
Swindapa or a recreation of both.
Post by David T. Bilek
The only people that are getting visions and such from their "gods"
are the fuckin' neo-pagans, and it makes my disbelief go splat.
What, "Lady Juniper's Luck" didn't do it? Among a great many things,
she gets almost literally plopped in her lap a recently retired man of
the SAS who can not only make bows and train people to use them, but
also grew up on a farm and knows more about it than anybody she
already hand, including the Carsons who depended more on machinery
than Sam's poorer farm.
And then the eight years later his commanding officer, son of said
officer, and local friend all show up from England to marry the three
women he may be most fond of other than his wife and daughters.
The Clan's been getting help from Someone from day one. Maybe because
Juniper actually started living the threefold rule from the day of the
Change.
Yes, it is possible that everything will be neatly wrapped up in the
end, and we will wonder that we didn't see the inevitable conclusion.
But I have my doubts: Peshawar Lancers followed the same pattern and
didn't get wrapped up this way.

There is also the problem of will we care by the time this gets
finished? "Lady Juniper's Luck" might be an integral part of the meta-
story of how the world works. But to the reader, it looks remarkably
like lazy writing. This is in much the same way that the rehash of
"Zulu" in the second (?) ISOT book might be intended as a homage, but
looks like a shortcut to save time on plotting and characterization.

Like the original poster, I found the Draka books very interesting, in
a disturbing way. I have been reading Stirling since mostly on
momentum from those books, but he has slid from the "buy in paperback"
category (he never reached buying in hardback) to "reserve at the
library" to "consider checking out from the library if I happen to
notice it".

Richard R. Hershberger
srogerscat
2007-10-03 15:21:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
My objection is much like David's. We have an interesting idea: what
if all of a sudden electricity and gunpowder didn't work? We get a
story about how people deal with this situation. But we gradually
also get a story with magic.
Yes but: How do you get a situation where electricity and gunpowder
stop working but every living thing on the planet doesn't drop stone
dead *without* invoking magic/magic-level technology? Besides,
Stirling wrote on Usenet - back before Google took it over I think -
that Magic or something magicish was involved.
James Gassaway
2007-10-04 02:21:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
what if all of a sudden electricity and gunpowder didn't work? We
get a story about how people deal with this situation. But we
gradually also get a story with magic.
Yes but: How do you get a situation where electricity and gunpowder
stop working but every living thing on the planet doesn't drop stone
dead *without* invoking magic/magic-level technology? Besides,
Stirling wrote on Usenet - back before Google took it over I think -
that Magic or something magicish was involved.
I don't remember seeing that (not saying it doesn't exist, just that I
haven't seen it) but could that simply be a reference to Clarke's Law? "Any
sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
"Now, quack, damn you!"
Richard R. Hershberger
2007-10-04 13:32:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
My objection is much like David's. We have an interesting idea: what
if all of a sudden electricity and gunpowder didn't work? We get a
story about how people deal with this situation. But we gradually
also get a story with magic.
Yes but: How do you get a situation where electricity and gunpowder
stop working but every living thing on the planet doesn't drop stone
dead *without* invoking magic/magic-level technology?
If the book is a fantasy, there is no need to invoke anything: it
simply happened. If someone wants to use "it's magic" as an
explanation, that is fine.

The real point, though, is one of literary genre. Is this a novel
about how people deal with the new situation? If so, then the
explanation for the new situation is irrelevant. Is it an exercise in
intellectual gymnastics to arrive at the desired combination of
results (hmm... How can we get no electricity or gunpower, and neo-
pagan magic works?) That can be fun in an undergrad-bull-session sort
of way, but awkward as a narrative hook. Finally, there is the
distressing slide into Mad Max knock-off. I expect that this sells
reliably, but only in the fungible fiction way of series romances or
the like.

Of course Stirling can write whatever he wants and if I don't like it
I don't have to read it. But there is an element of writing books that
look like and are marketed as one genre and turn out to be something
else entirely.

Richard R. Hershberger
Steve
2007-10-06 19:09:40 UTC
Permalink
But there is an element of writing books that look like and are marketed as one genre and turn out to be something else entirely.
-- genre and sub-genre are things that marketing executives(*) worry
about. Authors just write books, and regard the marketing types as
pains in the patootie when they complain about 'but where shall we put
it on the shelf"?

(*) and academic lit-crit types.
James Gassaway
2007-10-06 20:10:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
But there is an element of writing books that look like and are
marketed as one genre and turn out to be something else entirely.
-- genre and sub-genre are things that marketing executives(*) worry
about. Authors just write books, and regard the marketing types as
pains in the patootie when they complain about 'but where shall we put
it on the shelf"?
After 'Sr' and before 'Su' one would think. :p
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
"Now, quack, damn you!"
Steve
2007-10-06 22:19:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gassaway
After 'Sr' and before 'Su' one would think. :p
-- not necessarily... 8-). For example, my first novel came back from
the editor with "put more magic in, we want to establish this as
fantasy".
James Gassaway
2007-10-07 02:28:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by James Gassaway
After 'Sr' and before 'Su' one would think. :p
-- not necessarily... 8-). For example, my first novel came back from
the editor with "put more magic in, we want to establish this as
fantasy".
The only response to that I can come up with is "Humans are smart, people
are stupid." *grin*
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
"Now, quack, damn you!"
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-04 14:25:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
My objection is much like David's. We have an interesting idea: what
if all of a sudden electricity and gunpowder didn't work? We get a
story about how people deal with this situation. But we gradually
also get a story with magic.
Yes but: How do you get a situation where electricity and gunpowder
stop working but every living thing on the planet doesn't drop stone
dead *without* invoking magic/magic-level technology? Besides,
Stirling wrote on Usenet - back before Google took it over I think -
that Magic or something magicish was involved.
More selective editing of reality. One, Stirling has never admitted
anything of the sort no matter how many vague hints he might have
dropped. Two, Google bought Deja-News, period. It did not replace
Usenet no matter how much it or others like to think otherwise.

And I say this as person who wouldn't object to outright magic appear
on this Earth for reasons I've outline elsewhere. On the other hand,
I've never read The Peshawar Lancers so I didn't know about the
working precognition until just now. Dies the Fire and the sequels
now seem even more similar, just reason for less advanced technology
made stronger, and the time and location changed and connection to
ISOT added to make it more interesting to somebody like me.
srogerscat
2007-10-04 15:47:30 UTC
Permalink
On Oct 4, 10:25 am, ***@hotmail.com wrote:

<snip>
Post by M***@hotmail.com
More selective editing of reality. One, Stirling has never admitted
anything of the sort no matter how many vague hints he might have
dropped. Two, Google bought Deja-News, period. It did not replace
Usenet no matter how much it or others like to think otherwise.
<snip>

Oh, he never admitted it - but he said magic *might* sorta kinda be
involved. As to google/deja takeover, how is that germane to what I
wrote? Are you trying to pick a squabble? The tone of that paragraph
seems to point that way. I have no particular dog in the quality/lack
of same fight concerning the Emberverse - I was attracted to the
thread because my library has Dies The Fire and I was considering
checking it out. So far it sounds like I would enjoy DTF, the other
books, not so much.

Steve

Steve
Wayne Throop
2007-10-04 17:51:20 UTC
Permalink
: srogerscat <***@aol.com>
: I have no particular dog in the quality/lack
: of same fight concerning the Emberverse - I was attracted to the
: thread because my library has Dies The Fire and I was considering
: checking it out. So far it sounds like I would enjoy DTF, the other
: books, not so much.

It is true that most of the interesting worldbuilding occurs in DTF,
and (at least to my eye) the others are mostly "and mayhem ensues",
prolonged and repeated. I'm still following along, but I did find
the followons less interesting than the first.

Of course... when I was a kid, I spent most of my playing-with-vee-hicles
time designing and building the "city" they were goning to operate in.
Once that was done... pushing them around in the setting was less
interesting to me. Possibly this was influenced by the fact that I had
available a "sandbox" (which was actually an farmable-soil-box, but the
principle was the same) of a size about 20 feet by 100 feet. So there
was room to keep elaborating things without actually playing with them.
But I digress.


Wayne Throop ***@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw
Gene Ward Smith
2007-10-04 18:27:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wayne Throop
Possibly this was influenced by the fact that I had
available a "sandbox" (which was actually an farmable-soil-box, but the
principle was the same) of a size about 20 feet by 100 feet. So there
was room to keep elaborating things without actually playing with them.
But I digress.
Bring a few of those to Mars and problem solved!
Dr. Rufo
2007-10-05 00:14:23 UTC
Permalink
srogerscat wrote:


< snip >
Post by srogerscat
I was attracted to the
thread because my library has Dies The Fire and I was considering
checking it out. So far it sounds like I would enjoy DTF, the other
books, not so much.
Go ahead. If you're in the Library anyway, pick up the book and
start reading. You may like it -- or not. What's it gonna cost you?
Coupla minutes, max.
I liked the first of the three best and considerably more than the
Island in the Sea of Time trilogy.
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-07 21:18:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Yes but: How do you get a situation where electricity and gunpowder
stop working but every living thing on the planet doesn't drop stone
dead *without* invoking magic/magic-level technology?
If I understand correctly, electric current no longer flows in metals
or in solids. No living thing requires that, or explosions, for life.
Post by srogerscat
Besides, Stirling wrote on Usenet - back before Google took it over
I think - that Magic or something magicish was involved.
Google took over Usenet? I'm always the last to be told these things.
How much did they pay the cabal for exclusive rights to Usenet, and
where's my share?
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
l***@yahoo.com
2007-10-03 15:28:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
This is in much the same way that the rehash of
"Zulu" in the second (?) ISOT book might be intended as a homage, but
looks like a shortcut to save time on plotting and characterization.
I'm trying to think of ways to gently chide the next author who writes
the battle of Roarke's Drift into a novel. Something involving
baseball bats ought to be about right.
Richard R. Hershberger
2007-10-04 13:21:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
This is in much the same way that the rehash of
"Zulu" in the second (?) ISOT book might be intended as a homage, but
looks like a shortcut to save time on plotting and characterization.
I'm trying to think of ways to gently chide the next author who writes
the battle of Roarke's Drift into a novel. Something involving
baseball bats ought to be about right.
Writing Rorke's Drift into a novel is bad enough. Writing "Zulu" into
a novel is worse.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-04 14:27:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
This is in much the same way that the rehash of
"Zulu" in the second (?) ISOT book might be intended as a homage, but
looks like a shortcut to save time on plotting and characterization.
I'm trying to think of ways to gently chide the next author who writes
the battle of Roarke's Drift into a novel. Something involving
baseball bats ought to be about right.
Writing Rorke's Drift into a novel is bad enough. Writing "Zulu" into
a novel is worse.
The people who hold the movie rights would object.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-04 14:31:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard R. Hershberger
There is also the problem of will we care by the time this gets
finished? "Lady Juniper's Luck" might be an integral part of the meta-
story of how the world works. But to the reader, it looks remarkably
like lazy writing. This is in much the same way that the rehash of
"Zulu" in the second (?) ISOT book might be intended as a homage, but
looks like a shortcut to save time on plotting and characterization.
It was set up in the second, it was the third in which it all became
clear.
Steve
2007-10-06 17:36:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Second, I already told Stirling I would be disappointed if in the
second trilogy he didn't show a good bit more technological progress.

-- note that all the advanced places have running water, and the
cities (and bigger castles) have methane-based gaslight systems.
There are fast pedal-driven systems on the railways, and networks of
heliograph/semaphore systems. People are manufacturing clocks and
reapers and sewing machines and bicycles with interchangeable parts,
to mention only those cited in the books. Armies use 'field
artillery' cocked by hydraulic bottle jacks. There are antibiotics
and anesthetics and so forth.

That's just not the _theme_ of the books; it's not the _focus_.

These are going to be very frustrating books for those whose basic
orientation is "let's invent a cool technological thingie to solve
this problem".

There is no scientist figuring out how to -- aha! -- depolarize the
whatthehellium crystals and so realign the givitabreakion field.

It's more a matter of people learning to live as decently as possible
with something they can neither understand nor change.
Post by M***@hotmail.com
All I can say is that Eilir(sp?) has raven black hair.
-- and Mike Havel has black hair; Father Ignatius has black hair;
Abbot Dmowski has black hair; Odard Liu has black hair; Norman
Arminger has brown hair; Sandra Arminger has brown hair; Mathilda
Arminger has brown hair; Sam Aylward has brown hair; Edain Aylward has
light-brown hair; his girlfriend Eithne has black hair; Ingolf has
brown hair; Denis Martins Mackenzie has dark brown hair; the Hutton
family have (of course) black hair; the Prophet Sethaz has brown hair
and hazel eyes...

On a personal level, I have dark brown hair and greenish-hazel eyes,
as my mother did. My father has black (well, white now) hair and
bright blue eyes; my wife is a green-eyed redhead (auburn hair) and
her brother has brown hair and greenish-hazel eyes.

One of my brothers is a green-eyed redhead, of the spectacular-coppery-
hair-freckles-milk-pale-skin type, one has black hair, one has light-
brown hair and one (myself) dark brown.

My redheaded brother's son and daughter are blond and redheaded
respectively. A niece on my wife's side who just got married has
light brown hair and blue-green eyes. Her brother is ash blond...

Due to the accidents of survival -- which follow logically from the
initial premise -- most of the surviving population of North America
in the Emberverse books is of British and other northwestern and
northern European derivation.

People of that background have a high percentage of light eyes and,
typically, various shades of brown hair with a largish blond and a
smaller redheaded minority.

After allowing for the Hispanic and other non-Anglo characters, that's
precisely what the characters in the books have.
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-07 21:12:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Second, I already told Stirling I would be disappointed if in the
second trilogy he didn't show a good bit more technological progress.
-- note that all the advanced places have running water, and the
cities (and bigger castles) have methane-based gaslight systems.
There are fast pedal-driven systems on the railways, and networks
of heliograph/semaphore systems. People are manufacturing clocks
and reapers and sewing machines and bicycles with interchangeable
parts, to mention only those cited in the books. Armies use 'field
artillery' cocked by hydraulic bottle jacks. There are antibiotics
and anesthetics and so forth.
You've conceded that salt water must still conduct electricity, since
otherwise human life would be impossible. Within a decade or two
after the Change, someone ought to invent liquid-state electronics.
Radio is of course of great military value.

I've figured out how to construct all the necessary components. I'll
go into detail if anyone's interested.
Post by Steve
These are going to be very frustrating books for those whose basic
orientation is "let's invent a cool technological thingie to solve
this problem".
That's the sort of species we are, especially those of us who were
raised in industrialized Western society. The longer after the Change
people have failed to recreate most of the absent technology under the
new rules, the more difficult my suspension of disbelief. I'm sure
there would be liquid-state morse code radios by CY 20, voice radios
by 30, television by 40, computers by 50, and the Internet would be
back online by 60.

No radio by CY 22, which I seem to recall is when the second series is
set, isn't too much of a strain. But if all there is in those novels
is more medievalish battles, what's the point? Been there, done that,
got the chain-mail t-shirt. I want to read *new* things. Developing
new technologies is one obvious cool thing to do with the premise.
Otherwise, why not write something in a different series? Perhaps
a 100-years-later look at ISOT or at New Virginia.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
David DeLaney
2007-10-07 22:06:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
That's the sort of species we are, especially those of us who were
raised in industrialized Western society. The longer after the Change
people have failed to recreate most of the absent technology under the
new rules, the more difficult my suspension of disbelief. I'm sure
there would be liquid-state morse code radios by CY 20, voice radios
by 30, television by 40, computers by 50, and the Internet would be
back online by 60.
Please - the Inter_wet_.

Dave "world wide wave" DeLaney

PS: Gives new meaning to "hyperwave transfer protocol", also...
--
\/David DeLaney posting from ***@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
David M. Palmer
2007-10-08 05:05:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by David DeLaney
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I'm sure
there would be liquid-state morse code radios by CY 20, voice radios
by 30, television by 40, computers by 50, and the Internet would be
back online by 60.
Please - the Inter_wet_.
It's a series of tubes.
--
David M. Palmer ***@email.com (formerly @clark.net, @ematic.com)
srogerscat
2007-10-08 02:10:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I've figured out how to construct all the necessary components. I'll
go into detail if anyone's interested.
Please do.
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-10 01:56:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by srogerscat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I've figured out how to construct all the necessary components.
I'll go into detail if anyone's interested.
Please do.
Okay. For those just tuning in, this is in reference to S.M.
Stirling's _Dies The Fire_ and its sequels. The premise in those
novels is that one day in 1998, electricity, firearms, explosives,
internal combustion engines, and steam engines all suddenly stop
working. Lots of people die, governments collapse, and there is
lots of medievalish warfare among the survivors.

The author later clarified that since nerves, neurons, and lightning
still work, what he meant by electricity no longer working is that
current will no longer flow in metals or in solids. All metals and
all solids have become insulators, but saltwater must still conduct.
And by "salt" I mean not just sodium chloride. Nerves require
mobility in response to electric fields of sodium, hydrogen,
potassium, calcium, magnesium, and hydroxyl ions, and probably
quite a few more.

For something to conduct, two things are both necessary and
sufficient: It must contain electrically charged particles, and those
particles have to be free to move. In metals, the particles are
electrons, and they are free to move because the valence electrons are
held in common. In saltwater, the particles are ions (atoms with more
or fewer electrons than protons), and they are free to move because
everything is free to move in water. I can imagine some entity
causing metals to stop conducting, but there's no way to get saltwater
to stop conducting without either making water a solid or making salts
insoluble, either of which would make life impossible.

The first thing that's needed is a source of power. A generator that
works by rotating a permanent magnet inside a coil of wire can be made
to work under the new rules by simply replacing the coil of wire with
a coil of plastic tubing filled with saltwater. The generator can be
turned by hand, or by animal power, or by falling water.

Plastic tubing filled with saltwater replaces wire in nearly all our
applications. We could use metal tubing instead of plastic, but
plastic has the following advantages:

* It's transparent, so we can see if there are any bubbles or debris
blocking the current flow
* It can easily be squeezed shut, to act as an "off" switch
* It can easily be bent into shape
* It can easily be cut to the desired length
* We can test these circuits under the present-day rules without
worrying about whether it's the water or the tubing that's conducting

Saltwater doesn't conduct as well as copper wire, so there will
probably never be anything like our network of power lines, phone
lines, cable TV, etc. I'm considering only small (desktop size)
self-contained devices.

For a resistor, just make the tubing narrower, or put something in it
that blocks most of its diameter.

For a capacitor, have two basins divided by a very thin non-conductor
such as plastic wrap. It's tempting to use gold foil instead of
plastic wrap as the dielectric, given that gold no longer conducts,
and can be hammered very thin. Of course that can't be tested under
today's rules, as the gold would short the whole thing out.

For an inductor, have a coil of plastic tubing, possibly with steel in
its center. This also doubles as an electromagnet. An electromagnet
can be used to make a relay, by having it open or close a "switch," by
squeezing shut some other plastic tubing.

Two such coils on a common steel core make a transformer. A coil
attached to a diaphragm, loosely around a permanent magnet, makes a
microphone or a speaker.

What about active elements, analogous to vacuum tubes or transistors?

Vacuum tubes are somewhat problematic under the new rules, since
liquids and vacuum don't mix. But I can envision a cross between a TV
picture tube and a carburetor. A tiny nozzle sprays a thin mist of
saltwater into the vacuum. The water instantly evaporates, becoming
loose water molecules, sodium ions, and chloride ions. That's the
cathode. The anode would consist of salty ice. (The author confirmed
that refrigeration still works.) It doesn't conduct very well, but it
does conduct. The grid can consist of a grid of plastic tubing. Or
instead of a grid, use electromagnets to deflect the beams of ions
toward one anode or toward another, much as the yoke coils on a CRT
deflect the electron beam to light up first one part of the screen
then another.

Since the water vapor from the cathode nozzle and from the anode ice
would be constantly tending to contaminate the vacuum, a vacuum pump
would have to be kept running all the time.

The ancestry of this tube owes something not just to the carburetor
and the TV picture tube, but also something to the klystron and the
mass spectrometer. With sufficient R&D it can lead back to the
picture tube, or to the microwave oven, or to the cyclotrons and
synchrotrons that are essential to explore the new post-Change
physics.

Fortunately, we don't need vacuum tubes for radios. If we have a
solution of some substance with physically large positive ions and
physically small negative ions, such as cesium fluoride, on one side
of a semipermeable membrane such as unglazed porcelain, and a solution
of some substance with physically small positive ions and physically
large negative ions, such as hydrogen iodide, on other side, we would
have a diode: It conducts much better in one direction than the other.
Of course these solutes would tend to get mixed together with time, so
they'd have to be continuously replenished. But that's not a major
problem, as one mole (a few grams) of +1 or -1 ions represents more
than one ampere-day.

Note that our original generator produces AC, and radios work best
with DC. Four of these diodes, together with capacitors and
inductors, are just what we need to convert the AC to smooth DC.
They're also essential to "detect" radio waves, i.e. change currents
that oscillate millions of times per second into currents that
oscillate at audio frequencies.

They can also be used as a convenient DC power source by keeping some
at room temperature and heating others over a fire, i.e. a thermopile.

To make a transistor, just add a third element to the diode. The
outer two chambers would contain P type material (e.g. a solution of
hydrogen iodide) and the inner chamber would contain N type material
(e.g. a solution of cesium fluoride). Or vice versa. Between the
chambers would be semipermeable membranes such as unglazed porcelain.

An antenna is of course just more plastic tubes of saltwater. A
ground connection is such a tube leading into a large puddle of
saltwater on the ground. Or into the ocean if it's handy.

For tuning a radio you need a variable capacitor or a variable
inductor. A capacitor can be varied by changing the shape of the
basins that comprise it. An inductor can be varied by inserting a
steel rod more or less into the middle of a coil of saltwater tubing.

That's all the components one needs to make radio transmitters and
receivers capable of conveying the human voice anywhere in the world
via shortwave. All with no solid or metallic conductors. If I had
more time, money, and motivation, I'd go ahead and build one.

I find it hard to believe that nobody would come up with such a thing
within 20 years after the Change. Especially considering its obvious
military value.

I can't see why, with further R&D, television, integrated circuits,
computers, CD players, MP3 players, etc., should not be possible.
People will be eager to recover the terabytes of inaccessible but
still existing information locked into CDs, DVDs, and hard disks
from 1998 and earlier.

Such liquid-state electronics will always be inferior to what we can
do under today's rules. But of course we haven't fully exploited
today's rules yet. So while there's no doubt that the Changed
liquid-state electronics of 2100 won't be as good as our solid-state
electronics of 2100 will be, they could easily be better than our
solid-state electronics of 2007 are.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Daniel Silevitch
2007-10-10 02:20:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by srogerscat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I've figured out how to construct all the necessary components.
I'll go into detail if anyone's interested.
Please do.
One nitpick
Post by Keith F. Lynch
For an inductor, have a coil of plastic tubing, possibly with steel in
its center. This also doubles as an electromagnet. An electromagnet
can be used to make a relay, by having it open or close a "switch," by
squeezing shut some other plastic tubing.
If reality has been twiddled with to the extent that metals no longer
conduct, I don't think you can reasonably assume that iron alloys will
remain ferromagnetic, as the magnetism is quite intimately tied up with
the electronic behavior.

Of course, the Alien Space Bats could decree that magnetism isn't
touched by their magic insulator-o-matic field. Since I haven't read the
books in question, I don't know whether that's the case.

-dms
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-10 02:41:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Silevitch
If reality has been twiddled with to the extent that metals no
longer conduct, I don't think you can reasonably assume that
iron alloys will remain ferromagnetic, as the magnetism is quite
intimately tied up with the electronic behavior.
Sorry, I should have mentioned that the author said that compasses
and magnets still work.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Steve
2007-10-08 04:18:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
That's the sort of species we are, especially those of us who were
raised in industrialized Western society.

-- actually, that's very much a minority taste even in contemporary
Western society, and vanishingly rare elsewhere.

And the mass die-off of the immediate post-Change period kills
proportionately even more of that minority than it does of the
populace at large. By its nature, they're less likely to survive it.
For starters, they're more urbanized, and there are dozens of other
reasons they're more vulnerable than a random sample.

What's more, it doesn't just kill nearly all of them; it shatters
beyond repair the institutional, economic and psychological support
structure that made them influential, and does so in a whole series of
interlocking ways -- for example, by massively discrediting
scientistic materialism among the survivors.

(Most people today have very little actual understanding of science,
but they tend to support it, more or less, because it does wonderful
things.)

The consensus opinion after the Change is that something or Someone
very, very powerful _disapproved_ of that outlook, a view which has
powerful empirical support... 8-).

More emotionally, there's a widespread sense of betrayal. Science is
a God who failed, spectacularly.

The philosophical impact of the Change is, in the long run, about as
big as the physical one. The world is "re-enchanted" after the "dis-
enchantment" of the last few centuries.

And by CY22, most of the population are "Changelings", either born
after the Change or too young at the time to really remember the old
world well. Even the people in their 40's were teenagers.

To the Changelings, cities are ruins, and cars and guns are a myth;
they don't miss what they never had or only vaguely remember -- how
far back do your detailed memories go? Progress is hardly even a myth
any more; it's one of those meaningless words that the (rare)
surviving grandparent uses now and then, with an episode of mutual
bafflement following.

Reality is horses and swords. Reality is the round of the seasons,
plowing and harvest.

As I said, for those so emotionally committed to the idea of progress
that they can't enjoy getting into a different worldview even in
_fiction_ (*), these are going to be intensely frustrating and
annoying books, books which continually refuse to give them the
reinforcement they're looking for.

(*) I'm all for progress out here in the real world.

In the world of the Change, people with that outlook will break their
hearts and usually end up dead one way or another, or if they're very
lucky, mumbling in a corner by the fire, a crazy old coot everyone
ignores. The survivors are those who _accept_.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I want to read *new* things. Developing new technologies is one obvious cool thing to do with the premise. Otherwise, why not write something in a different series? Perhaps a 100-years-later look at ISOT or at New Virginia.
-- because I'm doing _other new things_ with these ones. Things that
amuse and interest _me_.

Stuff like "what does it mean to be a king?" and "how do our
archetypes shape us?" and "what will the generation gap between people
who were adults in the old world and their post-Change children be
like?".

What's it like to survive the end of modern history, and and of
modernity itself, and live out your life in the Age of Myth And
Legend, a displaced person from a different worldview?

I'm writing it because that's what _I_ want to write, right now.

(And the terraformed Mars-and-Venus books, for variety).

As long as it continues to sell (which it's doing very well indeed) I
get to write whatever rings my bell at any given moment. Later I'll
want to write something else.

I'm in this business because it's fun. That's why I'm not a lawyer.
One of the reasons I got into it was to write the books I wanted to
read that nobody else was writing.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The longer after the Change people have failed to recreate most of the absent technology under the new rules
-- Let's put it this way: the new rules were imposed by people/ASB's/
Vingean post-humans/gods/whatevers who are intellectually to us as we
are to a dog, and they evidently didn't _want_ us to be able to
recreate the old stuff.

It's not like primitive humans trying to cope with advanced humans,
where the difference is the size of the knowledge base but the brains
have much the same inherent capacity.

It's impossible to outsmart the ASB's because they're whole orders of
magnitude smarter than you; it's like a dog trying to play chess.(*)

Trying to understand how they did it is like a dog trying to
understand one of those automatic dog fences. The dog can feel the
consequences, but the mechanisms involved are just beyond his inherent
capacity to comprehend. And we can't explain it to a dog, even if we
wanted to.

Who They are may or may not be revealed in the course of the books....
8-).

(*) and of course I don't have to explain superhuman intellects
either. All I have to do is show the effects. You, I and the
characters are in the same boat.
David T. Bilek
2007-10-08 04:29:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
It's impossible to outsmart the ASB's because they're whole orders of
magnitude smarter than you; it's like a dog trying to play chess.(*)
Trying to understand how they did it is like a dog trying to
understand one of those automatic dog fences. The dog can feel the
consequences, but the mechanisms involved are just beyond his inherent
capacity to comprehend. And we can't explain it to a dog, even if we
wanted to.
Who They are may or may not be revealed in the course of the books....
8-).
It was the Draka, with the Samothracians saving Nantucket!!!11!1!!!1

Okay so maybe not, but that's going to be my answer every single time
in every single book you write until, some day, it comes true.

-David
Dr. Rufo
2007-10-08 06:09:22 UTC
Permalink
David T. Bilek wrote:

< snip >
Post by David T. Bilek
Post by Steve
Who They are may or may not be revealed in the course of the books....
8-).
It was the Draka, with the Samothracians saving Nantucket!!!11!1!!!1
Okay so maybe not, but that's going to be my answer every single time
in every single book you write until, some day, it comes true.
I'll bet 5 cents (U.S.) at even money that it AIN'T GONNA BE SO!
Dr. Rufo
2007-10-08 06:06:44 UTC
Permalink
Steve wrote:
< snip >
Post by Steve
It's impossible to outsmart the ASB's because they're whole orders of
magnitude smarter than you; it's like a dog trying to play chess.(*)
< more snip >
Post by Steve
Who They are may or may not be revealed in the course of the books....
8-).
(*) and of course I don't have to explain superhuman intellects
either. All I have to do is show the effects. You, I and the
characters are in the same boat.
Mr. S.,
I've gotta ask -- only 'cause YOU brought up this possibility -- do
you have any "sort-of-like-Heinlein plans" to make the Alien Space
Bats of your ISOT series and DTF series and TSL series turn out to
be the SAME ASBs who did the hard work in the Lords of
Creation/terraformed Venus & Mars series?
You know, subsume all the individual pieces/trilogies into a
Gigantic Meta-Novel that would, if you pulled it off, really
out-Heinlein Heinlein??
Cor, wouldn't THAT be loverly?
Of course, just to be "consistent" you'd need to present the
connection to New Virginia as another manifestation of the same
ASBs, right?
Just asking.
Steve
2007-10-08 06:17:39 UTC
Permalink
You know, subsume all the individual pieces/trilogies into a Gigantic Meta-Novel that would, if you pulled it off, really out-Heinlein Heinlein??
-- not until I'm very old, semi-retired, and feeling mean... 8-).
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 18:18:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Keith F. Lynch
That's the sort of species we are, especially those of us who were
raised in industrialized Western society.
-- actually, that's very much a minority taste even in contemporary
Western society, and vanishingly rare elsewhere.
Yet youself said in Dies The Fire that people world round were
perfectly happy to make use of the products of Western society over
their own technology if it made their lives easier. Are you saying
they wouldn't want to make the adaptations themselves, just receive
the finished product? BTW, I think the rural populations around the
world that had tourism would at least be able to go back to depending
on the same cloth, baskets and pottery some of them have been making
for well-off suckers, er tourists.<g>
Post by Keith F. Lynch
What's more, it doesn't just kill nearly all of them; it shatters
beyond repair the institutional, economic and psychological support
structure that made them influential, and does so in a whole series of
interlocking ways -- for example, by massively discrediting
scientistic materialism among the survivors.
But it isn't scientistic materialism I would rely on, it's
constructive laziness. The type typified in Heinlein's excellent
short story in the midst of TEFL, "The Man Too Lazy To Fail". He was
perfectly capable of doing as hard of work as his situation required,
but always sought to do no more. He was raised to face the south end
of a northbound mule[*] for his life but decided he could do better
and kept trying to find such until he could lay in his hammock most of
the day, and in such a way that he didn't engender fear or emnity in
others. Are people like that so rare in real life that Willamette
would no longer have enough of them to affect future developments?

(*) As a Missourian, I'm interested in how successful has been the
breeding of mules, given how useful they seemed to people before
having their place usurped by now disallowed machines.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The consensus opinion after the Change is that something or Someone
very, very powerful _disapproved_ of that outlook, a view which has
powerful empirical support... 8-).
As Dennis said, his faithless faith was shook.<g> Which is why I
wasn't given you the same complaints as Bilek on that subject.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
To the Changelings, cities are ruins, and cars and guns are a myth;
they don't miss what they never had or only vaguely remember -- how
far back do your detailed memories go? Progress is hardly even a myth
any more; it's one of those meaningless words that the (rare)
surviving grandparent uses now and then, with an episode of mutual
bafflement following.
Reality is horses and swords. Reality is the round of the seasons,
plowing and harvest.
Meaning they have no interest in any labor saving devices allowed so
they have more time to hunt or sing or dance or practice such or pray
or etc, etc.? Awfully odd humans, or for that matter apes, since I've
never seen any ape do more than it needed to fill its belly, protect
itself, and breed.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
As I said, for those so emotionally committed to the idea of progress
that they can't enjoy getting into a different worldview even in
_fiction_ (*), these are going to be intensely frustrating and
annoying books, books which continually refuse to give them the
reinforcement they're looking for.
(*) I'm all for progress out here in the real world.
Except that unlike Keith[*], I have no interest in having you
resurrect our world, just showing people trying to do more with less
labor. There are a great many books available to them to help in
technology *re*creation.

(*) He shows a similar simple faith in the ease of technology
*creation* as Jordan Bassior, who's been amusing us by saying
colonizing Mars would be a snap with no more than a bit better
technology than we have now),
Post by Keith F. Lynch
-- Let's put it this way: the new rules were imposed by people/ASB's/
Vingean post-humans/gods/whatevers who are intellectually to us as we
are to a dog, and they evidently didn't _want_ us to be able to
recreate the old stuff.
I, at least, understand that, but I'd still want to exploit whatever
the change allowed anyway. My logic would be that either the ASB
chose these particular changes because they wanted their test
subjects[*] to develop the particular technologies possible or these
were the maximum changes they could make. That hydraulics is
completely unaffected should give everybody every incentive to exploit
that in ways that don't require steam or electricity. Hydraulic ram
water pumps being one example. The only sophisticated use of
hydraulics I saw in the book was military.

(*) I'm reminded of Microcosmic God.
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-09 03:15:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Except that unlike Keith[*], I have no interest in having you
resurrect our world, just showing people trying to do more with less
labor. There are a great many books available to them to help in
technology *re*creation.
(*) He shows a similar simple faith in the ease of technology
*creation* as Jordan Bassior, who's been amusing us by saying
colonizing Mars would be a snap with no more than a bit better
technology than we have now),
It wouldn't be our world, exactly. The question is what can be done
within the new rules.

I didn't say it would be easy. I think it would take 10 or 20 years
to build even a short-range morse-code-only radio system, comparable
in capability to what we had in the late 19th century. But, given
that electric currents will still flow in salt water, and that even
such a primitive radio system would be of great military value, I'm
sure it would be built. And would inspire further liquid-state
electronics over the next few decades.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Gene Ward Smith
2007-10-09 03:34:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
And would inspire further liquid-state
electronics over the next few decades.
Mercury is a conductor of sorts. Could it be doped? It's used in
semiconducotr manufacturing, but I don't know what for.
Wayne Throop
2007-10-09 04:44:38 UTC
Permalink
: "Keith F. Lynch" <***@KeithLynch.net>
: I didn't say it would be easy. I think it would take 10 or 20 years
: to build even a short-range morse-code-only radio system, comparable
: in capability to what we had in the late 19th century.

What would be the motive for doing so, given that semaphore or other
mechanical/optical signaling systems would surely have been set up? In
our world, radio didn't take off as anything but a laboratory curiosity
until it had considerable range, and any setup with tubes of fluid would
seem likely to be very touchy.

And remember, given the way the spacebats handle fire and compression of
gasses, it seems likely they'd limit the voltages, and perhaps amperages,
available quite sharply. (Yes, lightning... but even so, that's in air,
and I think it'd be quite difficult to build a radio out of air.)

: But, given that electric currents will still flow in salt water, and
: that even such a primitive radio system would be of great military
: value,

What military value would the first attempts at radio be?
Presumably, there'd be large batteries (unless you could figure
out some way to make a generator/alternator, which seems unlikely),
so it wouldn't be portable at all. So it's be station-to-station.
And, per above, short range. So... why wouldn't they be using
semaphores, acoustic signals, etc, etc, etc? Which would be much
more portable, and possibly higher bit-rate.


Wayne Throop ***@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-10 02:32:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wayne Throop
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I didn't say it would be easy. I think it would take 10 or 20 years
to build even a short-range morse-code-only radio system, comparable
in capability to what we had in the late 19th century.
What would be the motive for doing so, given that semaphore or other
mechanical/optical signaling systems would surely have been set up?
Semaphores don't work over the horizon, or in bad weather. And to get
any kind of range at all you have to use tall towers on tall hills.
Such towers are obvious military targets.

Semaphores are obvious to everyone. Radio is completely stealthy if
your opponent doesn't have one.
Post by Wayne Throop
In our world, radio didn't take off as anything but a laboratory
curiosity until it had considerable range,
In 1901 signals were first sent across the Atlantic. Not quite the
19th century, but pretty close. Earlier, they had already saved
lives on ships in distress.
Post by Wayne Throop
and any setup with tubes of fluid would seem likely to be very
touchy.
I can't see why. You'd use plastic aquarium tubing, which isn't
particular known for a tendency to shatter. Some parts of the system
may be dependent on gravity drips, so if the table it's built onto
gets knocked over, that's likely to put it off the air for a few
minutes. But it ought to work fine on a rolling ship. Or even in
a backpack that's always kept pretty much upright.
Post by Wayne Throop
And remember, given the way the spacebats handle fire and
compression of gasses, it seems likely they'd limit the
voltages, and perhaps amperages, available quite sharply.
Perhaps. But radio doesn't require high voltages or currents. If
there is a limit in any one circuit element, just put several of
them in series or in parallel as necessary.
Post by Wayne Throop
(Yes, lightning... but even so, that's in air, and I think it'd be
quite difficult to build a radio out of air.)
Voltage, unlike current, isn't *in* something, it's *across*
something. And since, after generating the voltage across one
thing, you can slip something else into its path...

As for building a radio out of air, the first transmitters used
electric sparks in air to generate radio waves. That's how Marconi
got a signal across the Atlantic.

The take-home message here is that radio is not an epiphenomenon of
metals or of solids. It's exactly like visible light, only with a
longer wavelength. There are innumerable ways to generate it and
countless ways to detect it. The ASBs can't take all of them away
without simply shutting down the whole electromagnetic force -- which
would of course cause an instant end to all life. (And would cause
the Earth to collapse into a black hole in a matter of minutes, not
that anyone would still be around to be hurt by this.)
Post by Wayne Throop
What military value would the first attempts at radio be?
Check on how radio was used in WWI. Check on how the telegraph was
used in the American Civil War, and how much better it could have
been used without those pesky wires for enemy troops to cut.
Post by Wayne Throop
Presumably, there'd be large batteries (unless you could figure out
some way to make a generator/alternator, which seems unlikely),
Generators are easy. Or you could use a thermopile, and keep it
powered for as long as you could keep a fire lit. See my message
earlier this evening.
Post by Wayne Throop
so it wouldn't be portable at all.
It would be man-portable but not mobile, i.e. you could move it from
place to place, but you couldn't use it while it was in motion -- with
the important exception of ship-board radio, which could be used while
the ship was in motion.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-09 13:19:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Except that unlike Keith[*], I have no interest in having you
resurrect our world, just showing people trying to do more with less
labor. There are a great many books available to them to help in
technology *re*creation.
(*) He shows a similar simple faith in the ease of technology
*creation* as Jordan Bassior, who's been amusing us by saying
colonizing Mars would be a snap with no more than a bit better
technology than we have now),
It wouldn't be our world, exactly. The question is what can be done
within the new rules.
I didn't say it would be easy. I think it would take 10 or 20 years
to build even a short-range morse-code-only radio system, comparable
in capability to what we had in the late 19th century. But, given
that electric currents will still flow in salt water, and that even
such a primitive radio system would be of great military value, I'm
sure it would be built. And would inspire further liquid-state
electronics over the next few decades.
As I said, simple faith. You assume it would/will happen because you
want it to happen. You'll have to be a lot more detailed in how such
a system would work, or at least cite sources that *seriously* make
you think it is possible.

Then as Wayne is asking and related to Mars Colonization: how is doing
it so superior to the alternatives available that you spend the time
and effort on making it work rather than on other activites. You may
have infinite time, energy and money, but most people don't and have
to make choices.
j***@gmail.com
2007-10-10 01:42:27 UTC
Permalink
Ok.

Read TSL and thought it was a great read as always. I have yet to be
bored with any of the Change/Event novels. But one thing keeps
cropping up here and there that makes me wonder, and I haven't seen it
mentioned elsewhere.

Something is going on in Singapore. It pops up now and then that the
population survived there and whatever is leading or causing it is
fairly unique.

In Drakon Singapore got special mention from Gwen, as a recipient of
the tech she was introducing in that Earth. At the end of Drakon Tom
Carstens was hightailing it for parts unknown in the submarine with
the baby already self aware of her potential. Now this is just
spitballing, but what are the odds this world had that adventure, or
one very similiar to it occur a few years before The Change. That
would give the Draka child enough time to mature (or accelerated
growth) and start gaining real power. All while laying low in
Singapore. Then The Change happens and "poof!" the kid has to limit
herself to a much slower progression of power or simply settle for
ruling Singapore. A unique situation.

Just a thought.
Keith F. Lynch
2007-10-10 01:59:52 UTC
Permalink
At the end of Drakon Tom Carstens was hightailing it for parts
unknown in the submarine with the baby already self aware of her
potential. Now this is just spitballing, but what are the odds this
world had that adventure, or one very similiar to it occur a few
years before The Change. That would give the Draka child enough
time to mature (or accelerated growth) and start gaining real power.
All while laying low in Singapore. Then The Change happens and
"poof!" the kid has to limit herself to a much slower progression of
power or simply settle for ruling Singapore. A unique situation.
Unfortunately for your theory, the Change was in 1998, and Drakon was
set in 1999. Different universes.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
j***@gmail.com
2007-10-10 02:05:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
At the end of Drakon Tom Carstens was hightailing it for parts
unknown in the submarine with the baby already self aware of her
potential. Now this is just spitballing, but what are the odds this
world had that adventure, or one very similiar to it occur a few
years before The Change. That would give the Draka child enough
time to mature (or accelerated growth) and start gaining real power.
All while laying low in Singapore. Then The Change happens and
"poof!" the kid has to limit herself to a much slower progression of
power or simply settle for ruling Singapore. A unique situation.
Unfortunately for your theory, the Change was in 1998, and Drakon was
set in 1999. Different universes.
--
Keith F. Lynch -http://keithlynch.net/
Please seehttp://keithlynch.net/email.htmlbefore emailing me.
I'm not saying it's the same universe. Just one very close to it. And
off by about five or so years. The beauty of the multiverse.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-10-08 18:33:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Post by M***@hotmail.com
Second, I already told Stirling I would be disappointed if in the
second trilogy he didn't show a good bit more technological progress.
-- note that all the advanced places have running water, and the
cities (and bigger castles) have methane-based gaslight systems.
There are fast pedal-driven systems on the railways, and networks of
heliograph/semaphore systems. People are manufacturing clocks and
reapers and sewing machines and bicycles with interchangeable parts,
to mention only those cited in the books. Armies use 'field
artillery' cocked by hydraulic bottle jacks. There are antibiotics
and anesthetics and so forth.
That's just not the _theme_ of the books; it's not the _focus_.
So much so that 200+ pages of setting up the Quest showed barely more
than was already available in the first three books. On the other
hand, you didn't even mention anything that had happened with the
Bearkillers in the same span of pages, so perhaps that's another
indication of where your focus was.

P.S. One thing in those pages needs addressing: are passenger pigeons
coming through the portal, because I'm sure you already know that any
on the island at the time of the switch wouldn't have bred
successfully.
Post by M***@hotmail.com
These are going to be very frustrating books for those whose basic
orientation is "let's invent a cool technological thingie to solve
this problem".
There is no scientist figuring out how to -- aha! -- depolarize the
whatthehellium crystals and so realign the givitabreakion field.
Except I have no interest in you writing that sort of book.
Post by M***@hotmail.com
It's more a matter of people learning to live as decently as possible
with something they can neither understand nor change.
Which should include doing what they are allowed to do.
pullo
2007-10-01 08:57:11 UTC
Permalink
"David T. Bilek" <***@att.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
[The Sunrise Lands]
Sooo... I'm only about 2 of the way through it but a feeling I've
had about Stirling has really crystalized here. He's getting quite
repetitive and doesn't seem any longer to be able to conceptualize a
story that doesn't involve the same basic template. Weird Stuff
happens, people are thrown into a new environment they have to adapt
to, they begin adapting, their survival is threatened by an evil
and/or insane antagonist from their own original environment, and
things are solved through force of arms. Also, there are lesbians.
LOL - Okay, "chuckle out loud".

He pretty much describes daily life hereabouts - especially wierd lesbians
with forceful arms changing their own original environment.
Continue reading on narkive:
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