Discussion:
Magic systems
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a***@gmail.com
2020-01-14 08:57:22 UTC
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What's your most believable magic system in a particular fantasy world? I liked the magic in Wheel of Time, and it seemed systematic and well thought out.

Abhinav Lal

"What lies beyond man's knowledge"
-dsr-
2020-01-14 21:04:08 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
What's your most believable magic system in a particular fantasy world? I liked the magic in Wheel of Time, and it seemed systematic and well thought out.
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.

There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.

All theological systems are equally unbelievable: "one or more god(s) said
so".

The technological systems are combinations of AI, nanotech and advanced
engineering in ways that range from utterly believable (a magic mirror
understands voice commands and turns on the lights in your house) to the
utterly unbelievable (a solid hologram butler delivers your coffee while
you are otherwise lost on an alien world).

That leaves various systems in which the characters are in a simulated world.

The breakdown there includes:

- the simulation has magic built into it

- the character doing magic was given authorization to access underlying
simulation systems

- the magician figured out how to access the underlying system without
authorization

- lots of characters know they are in a simulation

- everybody knows they are in a simulation

I probably left something out.

-dsr-
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-14 21:17:07 UTC
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Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.

Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.

(I really want Graydon to explain how the Power is a made thing, that
someone deliberately *brought into the world*, and why the
Commonweal's accepted descriptions of how it works all seem to involve
algebraic topology.)

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-14 21:33:11 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
(I really want Graydon to explain how the Power is a made thing, that
someone deliberately *brought into the world*, and why the
Commonweal's accepted descriptions of how it works all seem to involve
algebraic topology.)
Well, maybe someday he'll tell us. Volume 5 comes out this
Friday.....
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
D B Davis
2020-01-14 22:30:41 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
Is there anything on Earth that expresses duality better than a mirror?
A mirror's magic attracts small children who intuitively understand the
force in mirrors.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (RAH) uses mirrors to
incorporate standard spellbound symbolism into the story. The story's
mirrors function as portals to different reality or dimension.

Surrealism Through the Mirror of Magic

... The force of magic flows in two directions. One we may call
"energetic magic", and the other, "ritual magic". ...

... The imagination and magic are innately connected through
a use of matter as metaphor-matter’s ability to represent
something else. ...

... Taboo has more power than mana, because taboo things contain
power and elicit fear and the opprobrium of shunning. ...

https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/surrealismandmagic/essay.html


2. Mirror magic and power

Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
Alice in Wonderland aside, stories involving mirrors are
typically unsettling. Mirrors are seen as providing more than
mere reflections, casting souls and spirits, endowed with the
potential power to trap them. For example, Narcissus lost him-
self in his own reflection and a spell of 7 years of
unhappiness is casted onto those breaking a mirror. Mirrors
surrounding a corpse are carefully draped, because it is said
that anybody whose reflection is casted with a corpse will
die soon after. After the burial of a familiar member,
observant Jews sit Shiva (in mourning). During this time all
mirrors are covered. In vampire stories, mirrors are powerful
instruments for deciding who is alive and who is already dead.
Meanwhile, in reality, mirrors do serve as instruments for
deciding whether someone is alive or not, placing one close
to the mouth to see if it collects the mist of a breath.

http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/rochat/lab/The%20uncanny%20mirror%20-%20A%20reframing%20of%20mirror%20self-experience[1].pdf



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-14 22:58:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
Is there anything on Earth that expresses duality better than a mirror?
A mirror's magic attracts small children who intuitively understand the
force in mirrors.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (RAH) uses mirrors to
incorporate standard spellbound symbolism into the story. The story's
mirrors function as portals to different reality or dimension.
Surrealism Through the Mirror of Magic
... The force of magic flows in two directions. One we may call
"energetic magic", and the other, "ritual magic". ...
... The imagination and magic are innately connected through
a use of matter as metaphor-matter’s ability to represent
something else. ...
... Taboo has more power than mana, because taboo things contain
power and elicit fear and the opprobrium of shunning. ...
https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/surrealismandmagic/essay.html
2. Mirror magic and power
Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
Alice in Wonderland aside, stories involving mirrors are
typically unsettling. Mirrors are seen as providing more than
mere reflections, casting souls and spirits, endowed with the
potential power to trap them. For example, Narcissus lost him-
self in his own reflection and a spell of 7 years of
unhappiness is casted onto those breaking a mirror. Mirrors
surrounding a corpse are carefully draped, because it is said
that anybody whose reflection is casted with a corpse will
die soon after. After the burial of a familiar member,
observant Jews sit Shiva (in mourning). During this time all
mirrors are covered. In vampire stories, mirrors are powerful
instruments for deciding who is alive and who is already dead.
Meanwhile, in reality, mirrors do serve as instruments for
deciding whether someone is alive or not, placing one close
to the mouth to see if it collects the mist of a breath.
http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/rochat/lab/The%20uncanny%20mirror%20-%20A%20reframing%20of%20mirror%20self-experience[1].pdf
I forget the title of Donaldson's duology about magic mirrors,
but I remember with extreme Schadenfreude the end of the second
book, in which the leading spherical SOB* gets his truly just
desserts by means of one.

____
*"An SOB whichever way you look at him."
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
David DeLaney
2020-01-15 12:10:46 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I forget the title of Donaldson's duology about magic mirrors,
The two books are The Mirror of Her Dreams & A Man Rides Through; Wikipedia
thinks the duology is called _Mordant's Need_.

Dave, upon mild reflection
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "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>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
D B Davis
2020-02-03 15:45:18 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
Is there anything on Earth that expresses duality better than a mirror?
A mirror's magic attracts small children who intuitively understand the
force in mirrors.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (RAH) uses mirrors to
incorporate standard spellbound symbolism into the story. The story's
mirrors function as portals to different reality or dimension.
Surrealism Through the Mirror of Magic
... The force of magic flows in two directions. One we may call
"energetic magic", and the other, "ritual magic". ...
... The imagination and magic are innately connected through
a use of matter as metaphor-matter???s ability to represent
something else. ...
... Taboo has more power than mana, because taboo things contain
power and elicit fear and the opprobrium of shunning. ...
https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/surrealismandmagic/essay.html
2. Mirror magic and power
Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
Alice in Wonderland aside, stories involving mirrors are
typically unsettling. Mirrors are seen as providing more than
mere reflections, casting souls and spirits, endowed with the
potential power to trap them. For example, Narcissus lost him-
self in his own reflection and a spell of 7 years of
unhappiness is casted onto those breaking a mirror. Mirrors
surrounding a corpse are carefully draped, because it is said
that anybody whose reflection is casted with a corpse will
die soon after. After the burial of a familiar member,
observant Jews sit Shiva (in mourning). During this time all
mirrors are covered. In vampire stories, mirrors are powerful
instruments for deciding who is alive and who is already dead.
Meanwhile, in reality, mirrors do serve as instruments for
deciding whether someone is alive or not, placing one close
to the mouth to see if it collects the mist of a breath.
http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/rochat/lab/The%20uncanny%20mirror%20-%20A%20reframing%20of%20mirror%20self-experience[1].pdf
I forget the title of Donaldson's duology about magic mirrors,
but I remember with extreme Schadenfreude the end of the second
book, in which the leading spherical SOB* gets his truly just
desserts by means of one.
____
*"An SOB whichever way you look at him."
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?

Note.

[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-03 16:57:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
I googled "dualism" in an attempt to learn what you meant by it,
and found several definitions.

So I'll abandon that effort and merely mention Randall Garrett's
Lord Darcy stories, in an alternate universe as nearly like our
own as can be expected, given its two points-of-departure:

(1) Richard I did not die of his wounds from the Siege of Chaluz,
but spent a lengthy illness contemplating how being a raging
stickjock was not the best life-plan, and lived to be a wise and
benevolent King ... with the result that in the 1960s (the time
during which Randall was writing the stories) the Plantagenet
line are still ruling the Angevin Empire.

(2) In the fourteenth century (I think, I haven't time to look up
the exact date), St. Hilary of Walsingham discovered the laws of
magic, so that magical science has developed further than
physical science. E.g., there's something called a "teleson,"
which is either a telegraph or a telephone, Randall never came
out and told us which, but is carried by wires. No one has
figured out yet how it works.

From those two points-of-departure, Randall concocted a
self-consistent, deeply interesting alternate present.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Garrett Wollman
2020-02-03 17:43:07 UTC
Reply
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
[I wrote:]
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
I googled "dualism" in an attempt to learn what you meant by it,
and found several definitions.
Dualism, as in, not materialism: there are things that exist and are
"real" but are not material. Souls, gods, demons, shades, True Names,
etc.


-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Robert Carnegie
2020-02-03 21:51:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
Is there anything on Earth that expresses duality better than a mirror?
A mirror's magic attracts small children who intuitively understand the
force in mirrors.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (RAH) uses mirrors to
incorporate standard spellbound symbolism into the story. The story's
mirrors function as portals to different reality or dimension.
Surrealism Through the Mirror of Magic
... The force of magic flows in two directions. One we may call
"energetic magic", and the other, "ritual magic". ...
... The imagination and magic are innately connected through
a use of matter as metaphor-matter???s ability to represent
something else. ...
... Taboo has more power than mana, because taboo things contain
power and elicit fear and the opprobrium of shunning. ...
https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/surrealismandmagic/essay.html
2. Mirror magic and power
Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
Alice in Wonderland aside, stories involving mirrors are
typically unsettling. Mirrors are seen as providing more than
mere reflections, casting souls and spirits, endowed with the
potential power to trap them. For example, Narcissus lost him-
self in his own reflection and a spell of 7 years of
unhappiness is casted onto those breaking a mirror. Mirrors
surrounding a corpse are carefully draped, because it is said
that anybody whose reflection is casted with a corpse will
die soon after. After the burial of a familiar member,
observant Jews sit Shiva (in mourning). During this time all
mirrors are covered. In vampire stories, mirrors are powerful
instruments for deciding who is alive and who is already dead.
Meanwhile, in reality, mirrors do serve as instruments for
deciding whether someone is alive or not, placing one close
to the mouth to see if it collects the mist of a breath.
http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/rochat/lab/The%20uncanny%20mirror%20-%20A%20reframing%20of%20mirror%20self-experience[1].pdf
I forget the title of Donaldson's duology about magic mirrors,
but I remember with extreme Schadenfreude the end of the second
book, in which the leading spherical SOB* gets his truly just
desserts by means of one.
____
*"An SOB whichever way you look at him."
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
The novel _Spock Must Die!_ is about a famous pediatrician
who... heh, no; the Enterprise transporter beam is aimed
into a mirror, with hilarious consequences. Well, anyway,
with consequences.

A few episodes of _Charmed_ (1998 version) don't count
as literature, I suppose.

Somehow just now I'm inclined to pick at the idea
that a character is good and their mirror twin is evil.
(Or vice versa.) Because who is all good?

Rather a lot of Terry Pratchett's _Guards! Guards!_
is at <https://apilgriminnarnia.com/2014/10/20/evil/>
along with Hannah Arendt on "the banality of evil".
I seem to remember Narnia's problem of evil being
mainly witches but that isn't quite right, is it.

Here we get the Tyrant's theory that - at least to
get things done - "There are, always and only, the
bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides."

We also get a look at book-in-book _The Summoning of
Dragons_ handwritten - whose original owner believed that
"the Pure in Harte maye stille call a Draggon of Power
as a Forse for Goode in thee worlde, and this ane nighte
the Grate Worke will commense." Singed by the author.

"What kind of a man was he?"

The Librarian gave this the consideration....
Then he shrugged.

"Particularly holy?" said Vimes.

The ape shook his head.

"Well, noticeably evil, then?"

The ape shrugged, and shook his head again.

[Text further mutilated by me, for quotation.]

I believe that many people are quite nice, or uncommonly
nice. I think I am not entirely un-nice but it's not
my strong suit.
D B Davis
2020-02-03 22:52:23 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
Is there anything on Earth that expresses duality better than a mirror?
A mirror's magic attracts small children who intuitively understand the
force in mirrors.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (RAH) uses mirrors to
incorporate standard spellbound symbolism into the story. The story's
mirrors function as portals to different reality or dimension.
Surrealism Through the Mirror of Magic
... The force of magic flows in two directions. One we may call
"energetic magic", and the other, "ritual magic". ...
... The imagination and magic are innately connected through
a use of matter as metaphor-matter???s ability to represent
something else. ...
... Taboo has more power than mana, because taboo things contain
power and elicit fear and the opprobrium of shunning. ...
https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/surrealismandmagic/essay.html
2. Mirror magic and power
Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
2. Mirror magic and power
Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
Alice in Wonderland aside, stories involving mirrors are
typically unsettling. Mirrors are seen as providing more than
mere reflections, casting souls and spirits, endowed with the
potential power to trap them. For example, Narcissus lost him-
self in his own reflection and a spell of 7 years of
unhappiness is casted onto those breaking a mirror. Mirrors
surrounding a corpse are carefully draped, because it is said
that anybody whose reflection is casted with a corpse will
die soon after. After the burial of a familiar member,
observant Jews sit Shiva (in mourning). During this time all
mirrors are covered. In vampire stories, mirrors are powerful
instruments for deciding who is alive and who is already dead.
Meanwhile, in reality, mirrors do serve as instruments for
deciding whether someone is alive or not, placing one close
to the mouth to see if it collects the mist of a breath.
http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/rochat/lab/The%20uncanny%20mirror%20-%20A%20reframing%20of%20mirror%20self-experience[1].pdf
I forget the title of Donaldson's duology about magic mirrors,
but I remember with extreme Schadenfreude the end of the second
book, in which the leading spherical SOB* gets his truly just
desserts by means of one.
____
*"An SOB whichever way you look at him."
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that The Man Who Folded Himself (Gerrold) almost
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).
The novel _Spock Must Die!_ is about a famous pediatrician
who... heh, no; the Enterprise transporter beam is aimed
into a mirror, with hilarious consequences. Well, anyway,
with consequences.
A few episodes of _Charmed_ (1998 version) don't count
as literature, I suppose.
Somehow just now I'm inclined to pick at the idea
that a character is good and their mirror twin is evil.
(Or vice versa.) Because who is all good?
My mirror malism merely makes my main idea easier to understand. Don't
get too hung up on good and evil, at least not in this subthread.

The _Trek_ story splits Spock into good and evil, at least according to
Wikipedia. Didn't a similar schism strike Kirk in a TOS episode?
Clones meet the mirror image criteria. _Rogue Moon_ (Budrys) ought
to also qualify.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-03 22:46:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Robert Carnegie
We also get a look at book-in-book _The Summoning of
Dragons_ handwritten - whose original owner believed that
"the Pure in Harte maye stille call a Draggon of Power
as a Forse for Goode in thee worlde, and this ane nighte
the Grate Worke will commense." Singed by the author.
Did you really mean to type "singed"? Not impossible, when
dragons are involved.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Robert Carnegie
2020-02-04 04:00:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Robert Carnegie
We also get a look at book-in-book _The Summoning of
Dragons_ handwritten - whose original owner believed that
"the Pure in Harte maye stille call a Draggon of Power
as a Forse for Goode in thee worlde, and this ane nighte
the Grate Worke will commense." Singed by the author.
Did you really mean to type "singed"? Not impossible, when
dragons are involved.
Of course, why else would I bring it up? Actually
the stated condition of the book is "slightly foxed
and extremely dragoned".

Also there's the story of comedian Peter Sellers,
abetted by colleague Harry Secombe - and if true,
I wonder who was being pranked at different points -
who got a fan letter requesting a "singed photograph",
and since Sellers had a cigarette lighter handy,
he gleefully obliged.

He then was asked to send another photograph
"as this one is signed all round the edges".
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-04 04:20:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Robert Carnegie
We also get a look at book-in-book _The Summoning of
Dragons_ handwritten - whose original owner believed that
"the Pure in Harte maye stille call a Draggon of Power
as a Forse for Goode in thee worlde, and this ane nighte
the Grate Worke will commense." Singed by the author.
Did you really mean to type "singed"? Not impossible, when
dragons are involved.
Of course, why else would I bring it up? Actually
the stated condition of the book is "slightly foxed
and extremely dragoned".
Heh.
Post by Robert Carnegie
Also there's the story of comedian Peter Sellers,
abetted by colleague Harry Secombe - and if true,
I wonder who was being pranked at different points -
who got a fan letter requesting a "singed photograph",
and since Sellers had a cigarette lighter handy,
he gleefully obliged.
He then was asked to send another photograph
"as this one is signed all round the edges".
Leaving us all wondering whether the fan got the joke and was
responding in kind, or was just not very good at spelling.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-03 22:44:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold) /almost/
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).
Then there's Zelazny's _Doorways in the Sand_, a major plot
element of which is the protagonist's having to reverse his own
chirality (fortunately for him, a machine that will do that and
his skill as a cat burglar have already been planted).
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
D B Davis
2020-02-03 23:28:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold) /almost/
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).
Then there's Zelazny's _Doorways in the Sand_, a major plot
element of which is the protagonist's having to reverse his own
chirality (fortunately for him, a machine that will do that and
his skill as a cat burglar have already been planted).
Excellent!

The Rhennius Machine turns out to have a very necessary effect;
it is a great plot device. One of the effects of the Rhennius
Machine is that it can reverse (replace with a mirror image)
every molecule in any object passed through it's mobilator.
Including people. People with an interest in organic chemistry
will have a lot of fun with the extensive material on what it's
like to be reversed from a first person point of view.

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=31

This story may predate research into the implications of chiral drugs on
chiral living systems. Can a Rhennius Machine theoretically throw a
monkey wrench into the coronavirus?



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-04 00:44:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Then there's Zelazny's _Doorways in the Sand_, a major plot
element of which is the protagonist's having to reverse his own
chirality (fortunately for him, a machine that will do that and
his skill as a cat burglar have already been planted).
Excellent!
The Rhennius Machine turns out to have a very necessary effect;
it is a great plot device. One of the effects of the Rhennius
Machine is that it can reverse (replace with a mirror image)
every molecule in any object passed through it's mobilator.
Including people. People with an interest in organic chemistry
will have a lot of fun with the extensive material on what it's
like to be reversed from a first person point of view.
E.g. Spiegelschnapps.
Post by D B Davis
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=31
This story may predate research into the implications of chiral drugs on
chiral living systems. Can a Rhennius Machine theoretically throw a
monkey wrench into the coronavirus?
I wouldn't want to try it without a *lot* of previous research.
If you reverse the virus in the laboratory, and it's no longer
infective, great. If you try to reverse the infected patient, I
suspect the inverted virus would continue to affect the inverted
patient.

Which is another element in _Doorways_: protagonist ...



should I put spoiler space? The thing was written in 1976, for
Cat's sake.....





.... protagonist has an inverted parasite which, once they get to
the point of having the same chirality, becomes a very useful
symbiote.

Before that, it gets graphically weird.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
D B Davis
2020-02-22 06:31:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Then there's Zelazny's _Doorways in the Sand_, a major plot
element of which is the protagonist's having to reverse his own
chirality (fortunately for him, a machine that will do that and
his skill as a cat burglar have already been planted).
Excellent!
The Rhennius Machine turns out to have a very necessary effect;
it is a great plot device. One of the effects of the Rhennius
Machine is that it can reverse (replace with a mirror image)
every molecule in any object passed through it's mobilator.
Including people. People with an interest in organic chemistry
will have a lot of fun with the extensive material on what it's
like to be reversed from a first person point of view.
E.g. Spiegelschnapps.
Post by D B Davis
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=31
This story may predate research into the implications of chiral drugs on
chiral living systems. Can a Rhennius Machine theoretically throw a
monkey wrench into the coronavirus?
I wouldn't want to try it without a *lot* of previous research.
If you reverse the virus in the laboratory, and it's no longer
infective, great. If you try to reverse the infected patient, I
suspect the inverted virus would continue to affect the inverted
patient.
A couple of researchers at the University of Texas recently made a
breakthrough that will aid in the discovery of an inhibitor to block
2019-nCoV replication. [1] [2] [3]

A chiral compound's toxicity often differs from its mirror image. When a
chiral inhibitor's too toxic, you can possibly substitute it's milder
mirror image instead.
In other words, to borrow from this thread's topic, you send the
inhibitor through the Rhennius Machine only once. If it goes through
three times you wind up with the original inhibitor. God only knows how
the second pass changes the inhibitor.

Note.

[1] Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Spike Structure Mapped at Atomic Scale by
Cryo-EM

https://www.genengnews.com/news/coronavirus-sars-cov-2-spike-structure-mapped-at-atomic-scale-by-cryo-em/

[2] US Scientists achieve a 'breakthrough' in tracing atomic map of
coronavirus

"The structure shows that although the spike is made of the
three identical proteins, one flexes out above the rest,
effectively giving the virus a longer reach," [virologist
Benjamin Neuman at the Texas A&M University-Texarkana, who
was not involved in the work said.]

A useful aspect of the structure for vaccine development is
that it maps out the size and
molecules the virus uses in part to avoid being detected by
the human immune system, added Neuman.

Cryogenic electron microscopy uses beams of electrons to
examine the atomic structures of biomolecules that are
frozen to help preserve them.

Three scientists-Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard
Henderson-were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 for
their development of an effective method for generating
three-dimensional images of the molecules of life.

https://www.theweek.in/news/health/2020/02/20/US-Scientists-achieve-a-breakthrough-in-tracing-atomic-map-of-coronavirus.html

[3] X-ray Structure of Main Protease of the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
Enables Design of a -Ketoamide Inhibitors

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.17.952879v1



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
James Nicoll
2020-02-04 03:05:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold) /almost/
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).
Then there's Zelazny's _Doorways in the Sand_, a major plot
element of which is the protagonist's having to reverse his own
chirality (fortunately for him, a machine that will do that and
his skill as a cat burglar have already been planted).
Even luckier, he's using a version of the machine that won't flip
charges on protons and electrons, which the first model of the
machine would.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My tor pieces at https://www.tor.com/author/james-davis-nicoll/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Gary R. Schmidt
2020-02-04 02:18:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by D B Davis
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
Is there anything on Earth that expresses duality better than a mirror?
A mirror's magic attracts small children who intuitively understand the
force in mirrors.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (RAH) uses mirrors to
incorporate standard spellbound symbolism into the story. The story's
mirrors function as portals to different reality or dimension.
Surrealism Through the Mirror of Magic
... The force of magic flows in two directions. One we may call
"energetic magic", and the other, "ritual magic". ...
... The imagination and magic are innately connected through
a use of matter as metaphor-matter???s ability to represent
something else. ...
... Taboo has more power than mana, because taboo things contain
power and elicit fear and the opprobrium of shunning. ...
https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/surrealismandmagic/essay.html
2. Mirror magic and power
Mirrors are peculiar objects associated with peculiar, uncanny
experiences. Myths and superstitions about mirrors abound.
Alice in Wonderland aside, stories involving mirrors are
typically unsettling. Mirrors are seen as providing more than
mere reflections, casting souls and spirits, endowed with the
potential power to trap them. For example, Narcissus lost him-
self in his own reflection and a spell of 7 years of
unhappiness is casted onto those breaking a mirror. Mirrors
surrounding a corpse are carefully draped, because it is said
that anybody whose reflection is casted with a corpse will
die soon after. After the burial of a familiar member,
observant Jews sit Shiva (in mourning). During this time all
mirrors are covered. In vampire stories, mirrors are powerful
instruments for deciding who is alive and who is already dead.
Meanwhile, in reality, mirrors do serve as instruments for
deciding whether someone is alive or not, placing one close
to the mouth to see if it collects the mist of a breath.
http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/rochat/lab/The%20uncanny%20mirror%20-%20A%20reframing%20of%20mirror%20self-experience[1].pdf
I forget the title of Donaldson's duology about magic mirrors,
but I remember with extreme Schadenfreude the end of the second
book, in which the leading spherical SOB* gets his truly just
desserts by means of one.
____
*"An SOB whichever way you look at him."
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold) /almost/
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).

Thank you,
One of Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Bar" stories - _Mirror Mirror_ -
with the second mirror printed as mirror text, which uses this :-)

Cheers,
Gary B-)
--
Waiting for a new signature to suggest itself...
D B Davis
2020-02-04 03:09:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Gary R. Schmidt
Post by D B Davis
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold) /almost/
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).
One of Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Bar" stories - _Mirror Mirror_ -
with the second mirror printed as mirror text, which uses this :-)
It must be this guy: "Mirror/rorriM Off the Wall" [1]. Perfect! Both
your story and Dorothy's are available in my /dead tree/ _Analog_
archive.

Note.

[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?50254



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Kevrob
2020-02-04 05:10:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Monday, February 3, 2020 at 10:10:07 PM UTC-5, D B Davis wrote:

<snip>
Post by D B Davis
It must be this guy: "Mirror/rorriM Off the Wall" [1]. Perfect! Both
your story and Dorothy's are available in my /dead tree/ _Analog_
archive.
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?50254
Otto Binder wrote, and C.C. Beck drew:

"Captain Marvel Fights Niatpac Levram!"
in the December, 1952 CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #139

https://www.comics.org/issue/10135/ reprinted in 1973, which is when I read it

....reprinted in 1973, which is when I read it.

https://www.comics.org/issue/26109/#175785

Kevin R
D B Davis
2020-02-06 15:01:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
<snip>
Post by Gary R. Schmidt
Post by D B Davis
Mirror chirality, or handedness, in sfnal literature is interesting.
Imagine an evil twin in the mirror. It's the same person, except for the
spirit within. The man who looks into a mirror's good while his
reflection's evil.
By definition the reflection's a mirror image. Unique unsympathetic
psyches prevent perfect metaphysical superimposition and thereby creates
character chirality between the good and the evil. Sfnal chirality, if
you please.
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?135104
*** addendum ***
It occurs to me that _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold) /almost/
contains sfnal chirality. Unfortunately, all of the Uncle Jims, Daniels,
Dons, Dianes, and Aunt Janes have slightly different ages. Although
they're deeply different underneath, sfnal chirality does not occur
because they're not superficial mirror images. The same show stopping
slight age annoyance also appears in "All You Zombies" (RAH) and
"By His Bootstraps" (RAH).
One of Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Bar" stories - _Mirror Mirror_ -
with the second mirror printed as mirror text, which uses this :-)
It must be this guy: "Mirror/rorriM Off the Wall" [1]. Perfect! Both
your story and Dorothy's are available in my /dead tree/ _Analog_
archive.
Note.
[1] http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?50254
My dead tree _analog_ uses "mirror rorrim off the wall" as the title,
sans the caps shown at isfdb.

When a classic /mirror as portal/ archetype appears above Callahan's bar
an entertaining evening ensues. The mirror bridge built by thiotimoline
enables patrons to sample chiral esters from a parallel world...



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Leif Roar Moldskred
2020-02-14 09:31:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
There is the novella "The Tain" by China Miéville where earth is invaded
by the mirror images.
--
Leif Roar Moldskred
D B Davis
2020-02-17 17:51:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by D B Davis
"The Mirror Image" (Gibson, Serling) uses sfnal chirality. [1] Can
anyone think of any other literature with sfnal chirality?
There is the novella "The Tain" by China Miéville where earth is invaded
by the mirror images.
Excellent! Graham Sleight hauntingly reviews "The Tain" as /non-fiction/:

It's not difficult, in other words, to arrive at an
explicitly political reading of The Tain. If, Miéville
seems to be saying, I made you see the horror of the
mirror-peoples' plight, what is there you take for
granted in the real world which is also founded on
exploiting other beings? The clothes you wear? The
food you eat? What would you say to those who make
the things you use if you met them face to face?

http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/tain.htm

Miéville reportedly credits Jorge Luis Borges and Margarita Guerrero for
"The Tain"'s theme. Because Miéville's imagos come straight out of
"Animales de los espejos" (Borges & Guerrero).
Preexisting, freely available, English translations ("Engpanish" to
coin a word) of "Animales de los espejos" left me unsatisfied and
motivated me to translate the story. My own translation "on the double"
recently joined the fray and is now freely available [1] too.
_Looking for Jake_ (Miéville), which contains "The Tain," is on
order and will be read after _Doorways in the Sand_ (Zelazny), suggested
by Dorothy elsewhere in this thread, is completed. And an English
translation of the Borges is also on order to see if a professional
translation suits me better. Regardless, it'll help me grade my own
effort.
isfdb.org interestingly identifies the story as ... /non-fiction/.

Note.

[1] https://crcomp.net/review/animalesdelosespejos



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
-dsr-
2020-01-14 22:59:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Isn't that Sufficiently Advanced Technology?
Post by Garrett Wollman
Of course, such an explanation usually has to explain how it can be
that the secondary world is *so* much like our own and yet has
radically different laws of physics. And almost invariably
encompasses some form of dualism, even if it's not a theological one.
(I really want Graydon to explain how the Power is a made thing, that
someone deliberately *brought into the world*, and why the
Commonweal's accepted descriptions of how it works all seem to involve
algebraic topology.)
My shiny nickel says that it's simulation. The usual run of Dark Lords don't
live long enough in relative peace to work it out, but maybe Halt has.

Possibly entelechs are unintended side-effects.

-dsr-
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-15 03:35:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Isn't that Sufficiently Advanced Technology?
Not necessarily -- I'm thinking, for example, of some psi systems that
are handwaved through extra dimensions -- well, some people were just
born with 18-dimensional brains, sucks to be you if you're only
three-dimensional. These can sometimes interact with technology, or
have technological augmentation (think Julian May[1]) but the general
form in sentient minds doesn't express in a technological way.

I was wondering on Twitter a month or so ago about what range of
fantasy metaphysics is actually possible (as a literary matter, of
course). I posit that materialism is fundamentally incompatible with
how we construct fantasy as a genre -- if it's compatible with a
wholly materialist understanding of the universe, we assign it a
different genre label.

-GAWollman

[1] I find May a particularly interesting example because the setting
is clearly dualistic, Teilhard de Chardin wasn't a materialist by any
stretch of the imagination, but the phenomena are described as working
through exactly the sort of structures and mechanisms theoretical
physicists of the 1970s were using to explain the physical world.
Many of the most prominent metapsychic theorists in the Milieu are
theoretical physicists, and that's not an accident, it's clear from
the /Companion/ that May intended readers to make that connection.
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
J. Clarke
2020-01-15 04:00:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Isn't that Sufficiently Advanced Technology?
Not necessarily -- I'm thinking, for example, of some psi systems that
are handwaved through extra dimensions -- well, some people were just
born with 18-dimensional brains, sucks to be you if you're only
three-dimensional. These can sometimes interact with technology, or
have technological augmentation (think Julian May[1]) but the general
form in sentient minds doesn't express in a technological way.
<snip reluctantly>

An example that comes to mind where it's physics based is Mary
Robinette Kowal's "Glamorist" series, in which the magic is based in
the manipulation of an ether (in an alternate universe where there is
an ether) that is perceptible to and manipulable by some humans. The
term "second sight" is used on at least one occasion. As depicted it
is primarily an art form, although with some military applications and
hints that she may be going somewhere more overtly technological with
it.
D B Davis
2020-01-15 05:18:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Isn't that Sufficiently Advanced Technology?
Not necessarily -- I'm thinking, for example, of some psi systems that
are handwaved through extra dimensions -- well, some people were just
born with 18-dimensional brains, sucks to be you if you're only
three-dimensional. These can sometimes interact with technology, or
have technological augmentation (think Julian May[1]) but the general
form in sentient minds doesn't express in a technological way.
I was wondering on Twitter a month or so ago about what range of
fantasy metaphysics is actually possible (as a literary matter, of
course). I posit that materialism is fundamentally incompatible with
how we construct fantasy as a genre -- if it's compatible with a
wholly materialist understanding of the universe, we assign it a
different genre label.
-GAWollman
[1] I find May a particularly interesting example because the setting
is clearly dualistic, Teilhard de Chardin wasn't a materialist by any
stretch of the imagination, but the phenomena are described as working
through exactly the sort of structures and mechanisms theoretical
physicists of the 1970s were using to explain the physical world.
Many of the most prominent metapsychic theorists in the Milieu are
theoretical physicists, and that's not an accident, it's clear from
the /Companion/ that May intended readers to make that connection.
All roads lead to five dimensional handwavium in Rhodan's Perryverse:
FTL travel, matter transmission, positronic computer brains, psychic ray
generators, human mutant superpowers, ...



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
David DeLaney
2020-01-15 12:15:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
My shiny nickel says that it's simulation. The usual run of Dark Lords don't
live long enough in relative peace to work it out, but maybe Halt has.
Possibly entelechs are unintended side-effects.
Entelechs are noted in several places to be "horrors from outside the world",
which is highly supported by the Westcreek's old magical alarms going off when
Edgar finally hatches.

So possibly the simulation is being run in an environment UTTERLY unlike ours?

Dave, also note that Edgar was simultaneously an ordinary child of two human-
variety people, and the incubation ground for the horror from outside the
world which he later -became-
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "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>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-15 14:03:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David DeLaney
Post by -dsr-
My shiny nickel says that it's simulation. The usual run of Dark Lords don't
live long enough in relative peace to work it out, but maybe Halt has.
Possibly entelechs are unintended side-effects.
Entelechs are noted in several places to be "horrors from outside the world",
which is highly supported by the Westcreek's old magical alarms going off when
Edgar finally hatches.
So possibly the simulation is being run in an environment UTTERLY unlike ours?
Dave, also note that Edgar was simultaneously an ordinary child of two human-
variety people, and the incubation ground for the horror from outside the
world which he later -became-
Now you are causing me to wonder about Halt's distant parentage.
They *may* have been human.

Halt, for those who haven't read Graydon's books (and why haven't
you?) presents as a kindly grandmother. Those with sufficient
sensitivity can discern, behind the grandmother, a spider.
Behind the spider, something that casts a shadow "looking like a
rosebush that hasn't leafed out yet, or a bundle of raspberry
canes." But Halt does say somewhere, "I may have been human
once."

Halt terrifies practically everybody. But on the opening pages
of _A Succession of Bad Days,_ when Edgar wakes up not knowing
where he is or what's happened to him, and he manages to turn his
head and sees the kindly grandmother knitting, my immediate
reaction, was "Oh, Halt's here; everything's going to be all
right."

Graydon has told me that's not how he expected anybody to react
to Halt.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Jaimie Vandenbergh
2020-01-15 14:36:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by David DeLaney
Post by -dsr-
My shiny nickel says that it's simulation. The usual run of Dark Lords don't
live long enough in relative peace to work it out, but maybe Halt has.
Possibly entelechs are unintended side-effects.
Entelechs are noted in several places to be "horrors from outside the world",
which is highly supported by the Westcreek's old magical alarms going off when
Edgar finally hatches.
So possibly the simulation is being run in an environment UTTERLY unlike ours?
Dave, also note that Edgar was simultaneously an ordinary child of two human-
variety people, and the incubation ground for the horror from outside the
world which he later -became-
Now you are causing me to wonder about Halt's distant parentage.
They *may* have been human.
Halt, for those who haven't read Graydon's books (and why haven't
you?) presents as a kindly grandmother. Those with sufficient
sensitivity can discern, behind the grandmother, a spider.
Behind the spider, something that casts a shadow "looking like a
rosebush that hasn't leafed out yet, or a bundle of raspberry
canes." But Halt does say somewhere, "I may have been human
once."
Halt terrifies practically everybody. But on the opening pages
of _A Succession of Bad Days,_ when Edgar wakes up not knowing
where he is or what's happened to him, and he manages to turn his
head and sees the kindly grandmother knitting, my immediate
reaction, was "Oh, Halt's here; everything's going to be all
right."
Graydon has told me that's not how he expected anybody to react
to Halt.
Hee hee. I had a similar response - "Whatever Edgar's being, Halt can probably
stop it being a bad thing". Which I think counts as "everything's going to be
all right".

Cheers - Jaimie
--
Tomorrow (noun) - A mystical land where 99 per cent of all human
productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.
-- http://thedoghousediaries.com/3474
Gary R. Schmidt
2020-01-16 08:23:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by David DeLaney
Post by -dsr-
My shiny nickel says that it's simulation. The usual run of Dark Lords don't
live long enough in relative peace to work it out, but maybe Halt has.
Possibly entelechs are unintended side-effects.
Entelechs are noted in several places to be "horrors from outside the world",
which is highly supported by the Westcreek's old magical alarms going off when
Edgar finally hatches.
So possibly the simulation is being run in an environment UTTERLY unlike ours?
Dave, also note that Edgar was simultaneously an ordinary child of two human-
variety people, and the incubation ground for the horror from outside the
world which he later -became-
Now you are causing me to wonder about Halt's distant parentage.
They *may* have been human.
Halt, for those who haven't read Graydon's books (and why haven't
you?) presents as a kindly grandmother. Those with sufficient
sensitivity can discern, behind the grandmother, a spider.
Behind the spider, something that casts a shadow "looking like a
rosebush that hasn't leafed out yet, or a bundle of raspberry
canes." But Halt does say somewhere, "I may have been human
once."
Halt terrifies practically everybody. But on the opening pages
of _A Succession of Bad Days,_ when Edgar wakes up not knowing
where he is or what's happened to him, and he manages to turn his
head and sees the kindly grandmother knitting, my immediate
reaction, was "Oh, Halt's here; everything's going to be all
right."
Graydon has told me that's not how he expected anybody to react
to Halt.
I must say, that was also my reaction on Edgar seeing Halt. (Not that
*he* knew it was Halt.)

Cheers,
Gary B-)
--
Waiting for a new signature to suggest itself...
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-16 15:31:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Gary R. Schmidt
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Halt terrifies practically everybody. But on the opening pages
of _A Succession of Bad Days,_ when Edgar wakes up not knowing
where he is or what's happened to him, and he manages to turn his
head and sees the kindly grandmother knitting, my immediate
reaction, was "Oh, Halt's here; everything's going to be all
right."
Graydon has told me that's not how he expected anybody to react
to Halt.
I must say, that was also my reaction on Edgar seeing Halt. (Not that
*he* knew it was Halt.)
But *I* knew it was Halt, which is why I immediately got hopeful
about Edgar's future.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-15 17:59:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David DeLaney
Dave, also note that Edgar was simultaneously an ordinary child of two human-
variety people, and the incubation ground for the horror from outside the
world which he later -became-
On the tablet I use to read ebooks, I have been keeping notes of
various aspects of the setting. So far I have a page of notes about
The Twelve (of which we know six, or maybe seven if Ongen is one,
which is never stated[1]), one listing the names of all the other
independents mentioned even in passing, one with the eight gesiths
(and it's still not clear to me if "gesith" is an *office* or a
*ministry*, or maybe both by metonymy), and one with the talent
flavo(u)rs, listing examples of who is described as having what
flavor.

"Entelech" is one of the puzzles, because sometimes Saunders describes
it as a kind of talent, and sometimes as a kind of *being* -- maybe
these are actually indistinguishable. "Tagmat" is another: there's
Eugenia's conversation with Crow about Order, which I don't understand
at all, and it's mentioned a few other times as something someone
*could* be, but I have no clue what is actually intended. We're told
that there is a "yaldre" flavor as well, but without any examples (and
a Google search just brings up anagram sites).

I suppose, broadening it out a bit, that nearly every fantasy with
systematized magic has a similar notion that every individual magic
user has certain kinds of effects, or certain ways of practicing
magic, that they prefer or are even capable of. Certainly that's true
for all of the psi systems that I've ever read: some people have
telepathy, some people have prolepsis, some people are coercers, and
this is usually understood to be innate and immutable.

-GAWollman

[1] The Twelve are said to be the militant sorcerers who were defeated
by Laurel and the Foremost and passed the Shape of Peace to become
independents in the nascent Commonweal. Ongen is described as having
*served* Laurel, and being "not particularly militant", but also as
having commanded graul.
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Kevrob
2020-01-15 18:17:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
"Entelech" is one of the puzzles, because sometimes Saunders describes
it as a kind of talent, and sometimes as a kind of *being* -- maybe
these are actually indistinguishable.
Some sort of "perfected" being or thing?

https://www.lexico.com/definition/entelechy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentiality_and_actuality#entelechy

I ran across this one in my collegiate days, but rarely, if ever,
have cause to use it.

Kevin R
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-15 18:30:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
On the tablet I use to read ebooks, I have been keeping notes of
various aspects of the setting. So far I have a page of notes about
The Twelve (of which we know six, or maybe seven if Ongen is one,
which is never stated[1]),
Could you post your list? My husband is continually rereading
Graydon, trying to find a list of all the Twelve, in which I
don't expect him to succeed because I don't think Graydon's
mentioned them all yet. :)

one listing the names of all the other
Post by Garrett Wollman
independents mentioned even in passing, one with the eight gesiths
(and it's still not clear to me if "gesith" is an *office* or a
*ministry*, or maybe both by metonymy),
Both, I'd say. Or "company," as in "The Worshipful Company of
Ironmongers", a group of people who are in charge of a particular
function of life and/or government.

When in doubt with Graydon't terminology, search Old English
glossaries, where you may or may not find answers. In this case,
"gesith" is something like "kinship," but remember that the
people of the Commonweal (and, I suspect, particularly the
Creeks) recognize families-of-choice more easily than our current
contemporaries.

and one with the talent
Post by Garrett Wollman
flavo(u)rs, listing examples of who is described as having what
flavor.
"Entelech" is one of the puzzles, because sometimes Saunders describes
it as a kind of talent, and sometimes as a kind of *being* -- maybe
these are actually indistinguishable.
"Entelechy" is described as "the state of having achieved one's
full development." Google does not recognize "entelech" as a
noun.

"Tagmat" is another: there's
Post by Garrett Wollman
Eugenia's conversation with Crow about Order, which I don't understand
at all, and it's mentioned a few other times as something someone
*could* be, but I have no clue what is actually intended.
Me neither. Googling shows it used only as a proper name of a
corporation or rock group.

We're told
Post by Garrett Wollman
that there is a "yaldre" flavor as well, but without any examples (and
a Google search just brings up anagram sites).
Searching "gealdre" brought up _bi tham gealdre_ "from [his] old
incantation," from _gealdor,_ "elder." The context is a note on
an OE poem whose title is translated "Vainglory," and the line
appears to refer to the Prophet Isaiah.

So I would translat "yaldre" as "enchanter."
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
-dsr-
2020-01-15 19:47:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
one listing the names of all the other
Post by Garrett Wollman
independents mentioned even in passing, one with the eight gesiths
(and it's still not clear to me if "gesith" is an *office* or a
*ministry*, or maybe both by metonymy),
Both, I'd say. Or "company," as in "The Worshipful Company of
Ironmongers", a group of people who are in charge of a particular
function of life and/or government.
I think that "foo-gesith" refers to a person who has responsibility
to the Commonweal for foo, and is also the word used to describe any
group of those people.

Remember the aggressive egalitarianism. I suspect there's no theoretical
hierarchy among the people sharing a gesith's duties. There might be
practical differences in standing based on knowledge, experience, or
current assignment.


-dsr-
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-15 21:10:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
Remember the aggressive egalitarianism. I suspect there's no theoretical
hierarchy among the people sharing a gesith's duties. There might be
practical differences in standing based on knowledge, experience, or
current assignment.
There's no *fixed* hierarchy of rank, but there are clearly Clerks who
work for each gesith, and other individuals or collectives who are
contracted to perform work for one in whatever passes for a labor
market. I have been vaguely assuming that "gesith" is an appointment
given by Parliament, not a rank, but that still doesn't clarify
whether it's an individual or a collective, or perhaps both depending
on the scale of the job.

The labor markets are another thing I'm trying to understand. There's
a very obvious notion of LTV underpinning the discussions about the
economics of wizard-teams at the end of SAFELY YOU DELIVER, which is a
real stumbling block given the restriction on distinctions of
prosperity.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-15 21:39:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
Post by Garrett Wollman
one listing the names of all the other
Post by Garrett Wollman
independents mentioned even in passing, one with the eight gesiths
(and it's still not clear to me if "gesith" is an *office* or a
*ministry*, or maybe both by metonymy),
Both, I'd say. Or "company," as in "The Worshipful Company of
Ironmongers", a group of people who are in charge of a particular
function of life and/or government.
I think that "foo-gesith" refers to a person who has responsibility
to the Commonweal for foo, and is also the word used to describe any
group of those people.
Remember the aggressive egalitarianism. I suspect there's no theoretical
hierarchy among the people sharing a gesith's duties. There might be
practical differences in standing based on knowledge, experience, or
current assignment.
A fylstan is the leader of at least one gesith, the one whose
subordinates are Clerks. I would have to reread all four volumes
(and Vol. 5 coming out day after tomorrow!) with my OE dictionaries
at my elbow, to figure out who's who.

And I don't have time just now; we have DunDraCon coming up in four
weeks, and Hal and I are up to our navels in pre-registration
work. (We'll be up to our earlobes by the last week of January.)

On the other hand, a small benchmark: I've finished the first
draft of the WIP I've been struggling with for the last five
years. I hope now to have the second draft ready for beta
readers by FogCon, in early March.

Also, whew.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-15 22:02:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by -dsr-
Remember the aggressive egalitarianism. I suspect there's no theoretical
hierarchy among the people sharing a gesith's duties. There might be
practical differences in standing based on knowledge, experience, or
current assignment.
A fylstan is the leader of at least one gesith, the one whose
subordinates are Clerks.
That can't be quite right, because the scene in UNDER ONE BANNER
clearly shows that Doucelin can *represent* the Galdor-gesith, and
make minor policy decisions as required in exigent circumstances,
because "they are portable" as the gesith proper is not. And
elsewhere Doucelin is noted as "the Galdor-gesith's full fylstan",
suggesting that there may be more junior individuals who have less
responsibility or authority. I think it's implied if not explicit
that most of the people who are employed directly by each gesith are
Clerks: the actual government services are provided by collectives who
tender for contracts with a gesith to provide them.

I figured out the responsibilities of the eight gesiths: Book, Food,
Galdor, Geld, Hale, Line, Lug, and Peace -- news and publishing,
agriculture, sorcery, taxation and the economy, health and safety, the
military, transportation, and law enforcement.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-15 21:04:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Garrett Wollman
On the tablet I use to read ebooks, I have been keeping notes of
various aspects of the setting. So far I have a page of notes about
The Twelve (of which we know six, or maybe seven if Ongen is one,
which is never stated[1]),
Could you post your list? My husband is continually rereading
Graydon, trying to find a list of all the Twelve, in which I
don't expect him to succeed because I don't think Graydon's
mentioned them all yet. :)
I don't even have to look that one up. It's Halt, Shimmer, Wake,
Rust, Crow, and Wheel, plus six others as yet unrevealed. We know
that the first four are ranked by dread in that order, but we don't
yet know where Crow and Wheel fall on the list, and of course we've
never seen Wheel in person (although Block was Wheel's student, and
before the Empress destroyed Snow, in pre-Commonweal times, Wheel
served Snow).

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Bill Dugan
2020-01-16 20:04:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Garrett Wollman
On the tablet I use to read ebooks, I have been keeping notes of
various aspects of the setting. So far I have a page of notes about
The Twelve (of which we know six, or maybe seven if Ongen is one,
which is never stated[1]),
Could you post your list? My husband is continually rereading
Graydon, trying to find a list of all the Twelve, in which I
don't expect him to succeed because I don't think Graydon's
mentioned them all yet. :)
one listing the names of all the other
Post by Garrett Wollman
independents mentioned even in passing, one with the eight gesiths
(and it's still not clear to me if "gesith" is an *office* or a
*ministry*, or maybe both by metonymy),
Both, I'd say. Or "company," as in "The Worshipful Company of
Ironmongers", a group of people who are in charge of a particular
function of life and/or government.
When in doubt with Graydon't terminology, search Old English
glossaries, where you may or may not find answers. In this case,
"gesith" is something like "kinship," but remember that the
people of the Commonweal (and, I suspect, particularly the
Creeks) recognize families-of-choice more easily than our current
contemporaries.
and one with the talent
Post by Garrett Wollman
flavo(u)rs, listing examples of who is described as having what
flavor.
"Entelech" is one of the puzzles, because sometimes Saunders describes
it as a kind of talent, and sometimes as a kind of *being* -- maybe
these are actually indistinguishable.
"Entelechy" is described as "the state of having achieved one's
full development." Google does not recognize "entelech" as a
noun.
"Tagmat" is another: there's
Post by Garrett Wollman
Eugenia's conversation with Crow about Order, which I don't understand
at all, and it's mentioned a few other times as something someone
*could* be, but I have no clue what is actually intended.
Me neither. Googling shows it used only as a proper name of a
corporation or rock group.
We're told
Post by Garrett Wollman
that there is a "yaldre" flavor as well, but without any examples (and
a Google search just brings up anagram sites).
Searching "gealdre" brought up _bi tham gealdre_ "from [his] old
incantation," from _gealdor,_ "elder." The context is a note on
an OE poem whose title is translated "Vainglory," and the line
appears to refer to the Prophet Isaiah.
So I would translat "yaldre" as "enchanter."
But there's already an enchanter talent flavor.
Magewolf
2020-01-15 18:34:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Isn't that Sufficiently Advanced Technology?
.
Post by -dsr-
-dsr-
Nanomachines. Lots and lots of nanomachines. They are the gift that
keeps giving, even across cultural and language barriers. I know there
are at least two Japanese light novel series that use them as the excuse
for their magic systems on top of all the English language examples.
Juho Julkunen
2020-01-16 01:30:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by -dsr-
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
You left out (4) physics.
Isn't that Sufficiently Advanced Technology?
.
Post by -dsr-
-dsr-
Nanomachines,
son.
--
Juho Julkunen
David DeLaney
2020-01-15 12:06:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
(I really want Graydon to explain how the Power is a made thing, that
someone deliberately *brought into the world*, and why the
Commonweal's accepted descriptions of how it works all seem to involve
algebraic topology.)
... the latter, if you look, is not generally 'How the Power works', but
rather "what did you {points to particular sorcerer} DO with the Power to get
that particular set of things to happen?". Apparently once your memory becomes
perfect and eternal, learning higher math gets easier, and it works as a way to
get a shorthand for description of a spell or effect, sort of like Rick Cook's
magical programming, or the motonic science of the Exalted RPG setting.

A description precise enugh for a different sorcerer who can read the math to
say "Oh, you mean like THAT" and, in their own paradigm, do the gestures /
prepare the ritual / combine the materials / exert the Will properly / etc. to
do it themselves.

Also, at least once it's noted that four such descriptions, each in an ENTIRELY
different portion of higher math (I don't even want to THINK about what "Halt
notation" might turn out to be), were exactly equivalent in descriptive /
explanatory power.

Dave, also see Eddings' sorcerers, each of whom worked mentally differently
enough that one could not get himself out of an underground magical
entombment by another
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "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>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Robert Carnegie
2020-01-18 15:11:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by -dsr-
Post by a***@gmail.com
What's your most believable magic system in a particular fantasy world? I liked the magic in Wheel of Time, and it seemed systematic and well thought out.
If you want "believable" to go with "magic", you need to posit a logical
reason for magic to work.
There are, I think, three: theological, technological, and simulation.
All theological systems are equally unbelievable: "one or more god(s) said
so".
Apparently gods (and other supernatural people)
get to do that. It's broadly what "supernatural"
means, you give orders and the world obeys.
I don't believe in it in real life, but many
people do.

So, you can ask for help that way, call for the
magic power of Whoever to be placed in your hands.
Apparently Whoever has good hearing, or word gets
around. Or it's actually hand signals and the words
just help the readers.

Some prayers may effectively require that matter
generally is conscious and knows what is asked for,
or that events in the physical past have an outcome
that you're praying for now. This is asking a lot
from magic as well as from gods, and it may not be
available. I don't know if religions that I'm
unfamiliar with tell you what won't work; I don't
remember it from growing up under the Church of
Scotland.
Post by -dsr-
The technological systems are combinations of AI, nanotech and advanced
engineering in ways that range from utterly believable (a magic mirror
understands voice commands and turns on the lights in your house) to the
utterly unbelievable (a solid hologram butler delivers your coffee while
you are otherwise lost on an alien world).
That leaves various systems in which the characters are in a simulated world.
- the simulation has magic built into it
- the character doing magic was given authorization to access underlying
simulation systems
- the magician figured out how to access the underlying system without
authorization
- lots of characters know they are in a simulation
- everybody knows they are in a simulation
I probably left something out.
Ben Aaronovitch's modern "Rivers of London" series
doesn't really have believable or coherent magic,
but it's fun. His hero Peter Grant does say
that when he met a ghost - his first magical
manifestation - then it was necessary to
believe in it. (Excluding special effects or
mind-altering drugs - implicitly.)
Garrett Wollman
2020-01-19 03:48:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Robert Carnegie
Ben Aaronovitch's modern "Rivers of London" series
doesn't really have believable or coherent magic,
but it's fun. His hero Peter Grant does say
that when he met a ghost - his first magical
manifestation - then it was necessary to
believe in it. (Excluding special effects or
mind-altering drugs - implicitly.)
Compare the Commonweal: focuses work by active consent -- but in a
very technical sense that e.g. a disease or neurological parasite
could cause its victim to have; ritual magic requires one to feel
certain emotions as part of the ritual in order to succeed, even if
those things are not actually the magic-worker's considered feelings.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Robert Carnegie
2020-01-19 13:19:10 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Robert Carnegie
Ben Aaronovitch's modern "Rivers of London" series
doesn't really have believable or coherent magic,
but it's fun. His hero Peter Grant does say
that when he met a ghost - his first magical
manifestation - then it was necessary to
believe in it. (Excluding special effects or
mind-altering drugs - implicitly.)
Compare the Commonweal: focuses work by active consent -- but in a
very technical sense that e.g. a disease or neurological parasite
could cause its victim to have; ritual magic requires one to feel
certain emotions as part of the ritual in order to succeed, even if
those things are not actually the magic-worker's considered feelings.
-GAWollman
Hmm, we might be at cross purposes. What I meant
to express, to quote, was that Peter decided to
believe there was a ghost because there was, in
fact, a ghost.

Not the other way around.

The other happens in his world; everyone "feels"
magic and psychic residues, "vestigia", but they
are experienced as memories, random thoughts,
smells, sounds - so it takes attention and practice
to recognise the magic ones amongst ones that
you have anyway.
s***@yahoo.com
2020-01-14 23:31:14 UTC
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In the mid century anthro film "The Cows of Dolo Kenpe" you can see how real world magic works inside peoples heads. A cow was slashed. The licensed ordeal operator has been summoned. He & assistant do a bunch of stuff, ask questions. As the operator ritually heats up the knife, the criminal desperately confesses.
p***@hotmail.com
2020-01-15 01:51:56 UTC
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Post by s***@yahoo.com
In the mid century anthro film "The Cows of Dolo Kenpe" you can see how real world magic works inside peoples heads. A cow was slashed. The licensed ordeal operator has been summoned. He & assistant do a bunch of stuff, ask questions. As the operator ritually heats up the knife, the criminal desperately confesses.
I may have seen that film. Was the ordeal operator shown being driven to
the village in a van? Did he wear sunglasses? Was the cow hacked across the
lower spine with a machete?

Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist
s***@yahoo.com
2020-01-16 22:59:52 UTC
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.. Did he wear sunglasses? Was the cow hacked across the
lower spine with a machete?
and went everywhere with an umbrella

Nils
David DeLaney
2020-01-15 12:16:53 UTC
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Post by s***@yahoo.com
In the mid century anthro film "The Cows of Dolo Kenpe" you can see how real
world magic works inside peoples heads. A cow was slashed. The licensed ordeal
operator has been summoned. He & assistant do a bunch of stuff, ask questions.
As the operator ritually heats up the knife, the criminal desperately
confesses.

Also see various explanations of the magic system in the Lord Darcy stories.

Dave, and how it can be learnt by anyone, but only certain folks actually have
it work when they try
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "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>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
m***@sky.com
2020-02-05 05:08:25 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
What's your most believable magic system in a particular fantasy world? I liked the magic in Wheel of Time, and it seemed systematic and well thought out.
Abhinav Lal
"What lies beyond man's knowledge"
The magic in the first three of LeGuin's Earthsea book is believable in the sense that it is reminiscent of superstitions about knowing names giving power. Blish's "Black Easter" says that all magic is the result of deals with demons, so all you need to believe, in principle, is the existence of powerful demons (though why negotiations with them should require all of the paraphernalia of traditional demonaical magic is another question).
Dimensional Traveler
2020-02-05 07:07:06 UTC
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Post by m***@sky.com
Post by a***@gmail.com
What's your most believable magic system in a particular fantasy world? I liked the magic in Wheel of Time, and it seemed systematic and well thought out.
Abhinav Lal
"What lies beyond man's knowledge"
The magic in the first three of LeGuin's Earthsea book is believable in the sense that it is reminiscent of superstitions about knowing names giving power. Blish's "Black Easter" says that all magic is the result of deals with demons, so all you need to believe, in principle, is the existence of powerful demons (though why negotiations with them should require all of the paraphernalia of traditional demonaical magic is another question).
What better way to humiliate humans than make them dress up funny and
perform nonsensical rituals?
--
"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"
Robert Carnegie
2020-02-05 21:16:45 UTC
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Post by m***@sky.com
Post by a***@gmail.com
What's your most believable magic system in a particular fantasy world? I liked the magic in Wheel of Time, and it seemed systematic and well thought out.
Abhinav Lal
"What lies beyond man's knowledge"
The magic in the first three of LeGuin's Earthsea book is believable in the sense that it is reminiscent of superstitions about knowing names giving power. Blish's "Black Easter" says that all magic is the result of deals with demons, so all you need to believe, in principle, is the existence of powerful demons (though why negotiations with them should require all of the paraphernalia of traditional demonaical magic is another question).
Ah...
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_%28Discworld%29#Rite_of_AshkEnte>
"Although the Rite can be performed by a couple of people
with three small sticks and 4 cc of mouse blood or even
with a fresh egg and two small sticks, the wizards
(Ridcully excepted) prefer to do it the old fashioned way,
with heavy equipment consisting of numerous drippy candles,
octograms written on the floor, thuribles, and similar
paraphernalia. They feel it's not "proper" wizardry if it's
not showy enough."
Mike Van Pelt
2020-02-05 21:20:57 UTC
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Post by m***@sky.com
Blish's "Black Easter" says that all magic is the result of
deals with demons, so all you need to believe, in principle, is
the existence of powerful demons (though why negotiations with
them should require all of the paraphernalia of traditional
demonaical magic is another question).
They're just seeing how many bizarre hoops they can make the
idiot mortals jump through, for the lulz.
--
Mike Van Pelt | "I don't advise it unless you're nuts."
mvp at calweb.com | -- Ray Wilkinson, after riding out Hurricane
KE6BVH | Ike on Surfside Beach in Galveston
k***@outlook.com
2020-02-08 01:02:32 UTC
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I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system, the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic

by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward "laws".

Nils
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-08 02:39:50 UTC
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Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.

He made a formal entrance into Twelfth Night Court (West Kingdom,
SCA) to tell the King that because he wasn't getting proper
credit for casting weather magic so it wouldn't rain on our
tournaments, he was going to cease doing so and we had all better
look out. The King told him he could do what he wanted, unless
he threatened anybody with anything. The Seneschal (the King's
CEO) just smiled. We had better weather that year than ever before.

Isaac the Unlikely's been dead for a while and nobody misses him.
Do your research somewhere else.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
J. Clarke
2020-02-08 12:49:30 UTC
Reply
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
He made a formal entrance into Twelfth Night Court (West Kingdom,
SCA) to tell the King that because he wasn't getting proper
credit for casting weather magic so it wouldn't rain on our
tournaments, he was going to cease doing so and we had all better
look out. The King told him he could do what he wanted, unless
he threatened anybody with anything. The Seneschal (the King's
CEO) just smiled. We had better weather that year than ever before.
Isaac the Unlikely's been dead for a while and nobody misses him.
Do your research somewhere else.
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-08 15:05:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
His spells? No. His lies? Sometimes.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
m***@sky.com
2020-02-08 16:34:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
"..one who could do that would not be on Wathhort or Narveduen", said the Changer. "He would be here at the gates of Roke, and the end of the world would be at hand!"
Peter Trei
2020-02-08 17:15:22 UTC
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Post by m***@sky.com
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
"..one who could do that would not be on Wathhort or Narveduen", said
the Changer. "He would be here at the gates of Roke, and the end of the
world would be at hand!"
Hmmm. Source?
If you're referring to the quote at the end, its from LeGuin's Earthsea
series. Not sure which book.

pt
Robert Carnegie
2020-02-08 20:07:05 UTC
Reply
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Post by Peter Trei
Post by m***@sky.com
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
"..one who could do that would not be on Wathhort or Narveduen", said
the Changer. "He would be here at the gates of Roke, and the end of the
world would be at hand!"
Hmmm. Source?
If you're referring to the quote at the end, its from LeGuin's Earthsea
series. Not sure which book.
I don't think it's about weather. An early lesson
in Earthsea wizarding is that a great wise master does
not magic the rain to fall or not fall for his convenience,
he wears a hat. And/or a good cloak - I haven't looked
at _A Wizard of Earthsea_ for a while.
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-02-08 21:46:55 UTC
Reply
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Post by Peter Trei
Post by m***@sky.com
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
"..one who could do that would not be on Wathhort or Narveduen", said
the Changer. "He would be here at the gates of Roke, and the end of the
world would be at hand!"
Hmmm. Source?
If you're referring to the quote at the end, its from LeGuin's Earthsea
series. Not sure which book.
Thank you. I know I've read those, but it was so long ago I've
forgotten everything but the rushwash tea.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
m***@sky.com
2020-02-08 21:00:36 UTC
Reply
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Post by m***@sky.com
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by k***@outlook.com
I suppose I ought to mention, for those of you writing another system,
the two reference books;
Authentic Thaumaturgy
Real Magic
by P.E.I. Bonewitz.
He got a self defined major in magic, functionally an anthropologist
looking at lots of cultural stuff and distilling it into straightforward
"laws".
Heh. I knew him. He was a faker (as distinguished from a fakir)
and the kind of man who would (and did) tell young women that he
would put a spell on them if they didn't go to bed with him.
Forgive me for asking, but--did it work?
"..one who could do that would not be on Wathhort or Narveduen", said
the Changer. "He would be here at the gates of Roke, and the end of the
world would be at hand!"
Hmmm. Source?
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
This is at the beginning of the third book of the original trilogy, "The Farthest Shore". Master Changer is actually wrong. There are mystic and other reasons to suspect that something is not right with the world, together with rumours of trouble from a particular direction. Master Changer seems to expect something close to an apocalyptic showdown predicted by their mythology, but the centre of the trouble is indeed far away and does involve a powerful Mage, but not that sort of overt challenge.

If I was ever convinced that supernatural activity - of any sort - was abroad in this world, I too would suspect an apocalyptic showdown, because my interpretation of our freedom to believe or disbelieve relies on the world adhering to entirely natural processes, regardless of the level of inspection and experimentation we choose to use (and with modern and pending future big data collection and analysis, that sets pretty strict limits on what supernatural forces could get away with without compelling belief from expert observers). Also, why bother threatening young women for transitory pleasures when there are billionaires and dictators to be negotiated with, if not threatened?
k***@outlook.com
2020-02-10 09:22:42 UTC
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I didn't say I liked the guy, I just said he wrote the books. Just from reading it I got the negative impression about him personally. A friend of his stood up for him in conversations.
Robert Carnegie
2020-02-10 10:24:49 UTC
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Post by k***@outlook.com
the books. Just from reading it I got the negative
impression about him personally. A friend of his
stood up for him in conversations.
And your point is, the books can be considered as a
reference to "real" magical practices (!) if a nicer
person hasn't compiled something similar.

Maybe a nice person wouldn't. Scholarship of magic is
a bit creepy... well, there comes to mind M. R. James's
<https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ghost_Stories_of_an_Antiquary/Lost_Hearts>
or "I can tell where this is going".

Even nice fictional magicians like Harry Potter
encounter s lot of creepy bad guys.
k***@outlook.com
2020-02-13 14:45:41 UTC
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I vaguely recall the Bonewitz books as being straightforward, appropriate for a D&D game, listing laws etc.

Nils K. Hammer
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