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Traveller Chronicles: Campfire Stories

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Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from Vld
Review:
Nice one. I think Carter should also reflect on a parallelism she made with another sorceress she compared herself too.

I mean Lina Inverse, of course. First, let's see what magics she uses. Yes, she uses dark magic. Far as i know, she only ever used three dark spells. "Dragon Slave", "Laguna Blade" and "Giga Slave". Four if he count "Garv Flare" (but Garv being a dragon rather than a demon, can a spell coming from him be called dark?). Other than that, she mostly uses elemental magic (Fireball, Flare arrow, Freeze arrow, Dim Wind, etc...), though she has more of an affinity with destructive fire.
To top that, she also uses at least two "white" spells, "Elmekia Lance" and whatever spell she uses for healing.

Then you have her mindset to take into account. She's greedy, ill-tempered, selfish, and has an ego the size of Seilun. At least. She also, for all her brains, lacks a lot of common sense (throwing "Dragon Slave" at a dragon within the walls of a village she's trying to protect... not her best idea).
But when it matters, she's here to fight the good fight. Shabranigudu. Clone-Rezo. Fibrizzo. She knew how dangerous Giga Slave was for her and those she cared about... didn't stop her from using it to deal with Fibrizzo.

Let's add that unless she's rightly pissed (which, granted, happens often) she won't use her more dangerous spells if not needed.

In my book, she's several shades of grey, with white spots and black spots. More white than dark.

Now that i've covered Lina, i must also mention two of her cohorts. Justice-addict Amelia first. Good girl? Yes. Completely? Hell no! She uses mostly white magic, with some spiritual and elemental magics on the side... yet she wanted to learn the Dragon Slave NOT for her goals of justice but because she was impressed by its destructive power. She also was quick to ignore when she messed up, and run away when her accidental victims came to confront her. And let's not forget the "Taskete-kudasai! Shaburanigudu-sama" crap she once pulled. Seriously, a supposedly white-mage asking a Demon Lord for help like that?

That brings me to the last part: Sylphiel. The only pure White Sorceress in the show... until she learned the "Dragon Slave". Yet she's good.

So, since Carter is familiar with Lina in some ways, she should realize something along the same lines.

If i may digress a little bit more... let's take a look at the Force (yes, i mean Star Wars). In most of all i read and watched about it, it was only implyied that there were only a light side and a dark one. That is, until the "New Jedi Order" series, where Jacen Solo started thinging along some other lines. Well, there was that one where Luke met a girl who practiced "Neutral Force" but other than that... the error i always saw in the "jedi" mindset is that... it's not what techniques you use that matter. It's only how you use it. I mean, "Force Push" can be used to throw an opponent over a cliff... if that's not cruel, i don't know what is! So, why not use "Force lightning" as a taser? Or as a medical technique?
Comments from author:
Thanks for the review Vld,

The whole intent/use vs. source thing is indeed something that is nicely played about in Slayers. The dragons are 'light' but not necessarily good as shown at several points in TRY (true, the Mazoku are a lot worse, even if I find Xellos likeable). In TRY also, the prophecy sends Filia looking for people 'standing between light and dark' and Lina fits the bill.

In these campfire stories, one of the points of the chapter 3 was to point out that, in my universes, white and black magic have a reputation for being good or evil, but no fundamental morality.

As a Zelazny fan, I always preferred Order and Chaos anyway...
Review By [Vld] • Date [25 Feb 13] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from Morgomir
Review:
Great chapter. Keep up the good work.
Comments from author:
thanks Morgomir
Review By [Morgomir] • Date [21 Jul 12] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from jimk
Review:
Haha! Washu did it! I love it. No one can really argue with that and it is completely plausible and easily within character.

I still don't see why immortality for a society is that big deal. When you get right down to it there really aren't that severe effects on an individual's life. They just live longer. As long as they are good at a job, they can keep it if they are interested. If they lose interest, they either find something else or they end up getting fired. In any case new jobs open up as the economy expands. It's not as if people have to die to open up a job since hardly anyone stays in the same job let alone career any more for very many years. It seems to me the most you'd have to do is relatively minor tinkering with education to reorient universities towards adult education as people want to learn new careers. That's sort of what you are talking about I think but I don't see why that needs to be planned so much or worried about. If people get bored they can save up money and then take off for a few years to either have a mini-retirement or learn a new field. You can drop all pension savings if you want or leave it in place but only allow people to collect it for ten years or so before they have to go back to work.

Bottom line is why really worry about it or try to plan for it when no one really knows how it would all shake out? There doesn't seem to be anything disastrous to worry about so why not just let people develop the society as they will and just make changes as people demand them or issues pop up? Seems like that would be a lot more effective and less troublesome.

Anyway, not saying there aren't some issues but to me at least people just seem to grossly overestimate how much immortality changes things. Of course I'm speaking of a point of view from the States versus you from France and maybe that's why you place more emphasis on social planning than I would. That and for all I know people in France may not change jobs, let alone careers as frequently as people do here so maybe jobs there don't open up as much until someone retires? Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing you should change your story. You're doing a great job of explaining your point of view and it all holds together well. Just kicking out some feedback and thoughts on what you've imagined.

Edit: You know I didn't even think of the possibility you were Swiss and not French. Sorry! No insult intended especially since most Americans tend to have a much higher opinion of the Swiss! If anything we probably agree with the Swiss outlook on things more than any other Europeans. Who else has such a history on self defense, personal responsibility and local democracy? My impression has always been that Switzerland has quite a bit less state involvement than France does. So, I guess that shoots part of my suppositions out of the water and all we're left with is the more typical European view of the state which is still noticeably different from most Americans but nowhere near as extreme as my impression is with the French.

fyi, we do have the same type of citizen initiated referendum you describe but it is not national. It varies by state and California for example is famous or infamous for the number and importance of them.

I agree population growth is the only likely serious concern. My impression from the fic was you were talking about much more since when they discussed it the examples used was all about not being bored and a cycle of learning and such. I'm not so sure though that population growth is that big a problem anyway. Look at what's happened to every developed country and their growth rate or lack thereof. They might have more children over three or four centuries but it could very likely be at a rate that is easily managed. In any case I agree with you that it is a valid concern and something that while not immediately urgent some monitoring and planning would be reasonable.
Comments from author:
Thanks jimk.

Indeed, it's in character as we are speaking of 'do you want to be my guinea pig?' Washu. In the Okuda manga, she often manipulates the Tenchi crew for her experiments. Her goals are most of the time noble, but her methods... less so.

On the question of immortality: it's true that sensibilities differ from one country to another. I'm from the French-speaking part of Switzerland and we are a pretty conservative country. A Swiss author once wrote a short essay called "what if God was Swiss." His conclusion was that if God was Swiss, he would probably still be waiting for the best moment to start Creation.

It is true that we have a lot more state-involvement than you do. A typical example is the fact that we have mandatory health insurance since 1911. We also have structures you don't, like the fact anyone can start a referendum (he needs to gather enough agreements from citizens in a given time for it to go to popular vote).

In my opinion, the main problem with a society of people living for centuries is the control of population growth. As you pointed, social structures can adapt (though I think a little planning may have things run smoother, but we Swiss are like Japanese in this matter: we love contingency plans) but biology rather built us reproduce around 15-20 and die somewhere between 30 and 40 (if we look at typical lifespans in the past). Then we invented medicine, lifespan grew and infantile mortality plummeted in developed countries. World population grew a lot.

I set up the average Muvian lifespan between 3 and 4 centuries. Thankfully, the Muvians are too few and have too many resources to bother about exponential population growth, particularly if they stay fertile for most of that lifespan.

EDIT: and I love that kind of feedback, jimk
Review By [jimk] • Date [21 Jul 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from AlphaBeta
Review:
Nice little read. Hope the next main story chapter will be out soon!
Comments from author:
Thanks AlphaBeta
Review By [AlphaBeta] • Date [21 Jul 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from cjcold
Review:
Nice addition.

Like that you show Sam having to go back to school for her liscence.

Interesting point about the fact everyone is accepting of the changes. I had previously put it down to everyone that was to weak being altered, But not everyone had a costume to help them. Interesting idea that Washuu interfered to help them accept their situation and survive and thrive.

Look forward to the next chapter of the chronicles.

More soon please.
Comments from author:
Thanks cjcold

There were some hints in the initial chapters. Washu often spoke of 'normalizing' the population during Halloween.
Review By [cjcold] • Date [20 Jul 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from Aenea
Review:
Good chapter, so everything that has happened so easily is because Washu plays with loaded dice and Dawn's energy was what was running the effect, but as she gets herself under control the effects lessen.

I saw in one of your earlier review response talk about energy matter space and time with energy being the chaos side and the others the order side. I've been seeing your cosmology more as Order, Chaos, and Context. Each needed in order to create and stabilize a Universe. Tsunami for Order, Tokimi for Chaos, and Washu for Context. Order sets the Rules, Chaos forces it to Evolve, and Context gives it a Frame of Reference in which to act. This set up also gets repeated in Lovecraft with Azathoth (Order), Nyarlathotep (Chaos), and Yog-Sothoth (Context). Context based effects within a Universe just seem to lend themselves more to the Order side when enacted more for the fact that a Chaotic use of Context would render one unable to observe its effects. Come to think of it the only Chaotic use of Space Time I can think of in fiction is the Culture's Grid Fire.
Comments from author:
Thanks Aenea,

Your use of Context as a 'Third Element' is interesting. The cosmology I described in that answer was the one I designed for another story where dualism was more prevalent and Balance merely a momentary state.

Here, Context exists independently and justifies the existence of beings I will call the Grey Lords in reference to Moorcock. I think this is something I will need to think about.

NB: I would reverse Azathoth and Nyarlathothep roles' as the first one appears to me as a manifestation of Entropy but that's minor.
Review By [Aenea] • Date [20 Jul 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from CageFire
Review:
Nice new installment. :) Keep up the good work. :)
Comments from author:
Thanks CageFire
Review By [CageFire] • Date [20 Jul 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from Panaka
Review:
Seed and Key. Dawn and her Tree are the obvious candidates.

Good short dealing with Sam
Comments from author:
Thanks Panaka,

They are a definite possibility indeed.
Review By [Panaka] • Date [20 Jul 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Is one year long or short?" from (Recent Donor)tchizek
Review:
Okay that makes quite a bit of sense. Someone messed with Wilkens' Sunnydale effect spells...
Comments from author:
Yep. Who said the bad guys were the only one allowed to 'pervert' something...
Review By [(Recent Donor)tchizek] • Date [20 Jul 12] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "De rerum magicae" from Morgomir
Review:
Great chapter. Keep up the good work.
Comments from author:
Thanks, Morgomir
Review By [Morgomir] • Date [18 Jun 12] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Father Blaise's sermon" from Morgomir
Review:
Sorry for the late review (exams). Great chapter. Keep up the good work.
Review By [Morgomir] • Date [18 Jun 12] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "De rerum magicae" from LordSia
Review:
And now you add sensible metaphysics with useful, scientific metaphors and terms.
I really do love your work.
Comments from author:
Thanks LordSia, I really appreciate this.
Review By [LordSia] • Date [17 Jun 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "De rerum magicae" from CageFire
Review:
Another great chapter. :) Keep up the nice work. :)
Comments from author:
thanks for the review, CageFire
Review By [CageFire] • Date [16 Jun 12] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "De rerum magicae" from (Recent Donor)tchizek
Review:
Great addition to the series, I really, really like this explanation of magic and may use it in the future.

Thanks for a great chapter!
Comments from author:
Thanks for the review, tchizek and be my guest.
Review By [(Recent Donor)tchizek] • Date [15 Jun 12] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "De rerum magicae" from yog
Review:
Nice! Of course you then run into entropy as a measure of chaos and "white" magic decreasing it (either in direct violation of second law of thermodynamics, or by adding a siphon to take entropy away) and "black" magic doing the opposite. In this sense "black" magic would be fundamentally "evil" as it would accelerate the approach of the heat death of the universe, and "white" magic would be good, as it would delay it.

You could potentially balance it (since magic tramples thermodynamics as we understand them already) by saying that white magic breaks conservation of energy in the negative direction (by decreasing sum total amount of energy to produce negative entropy field, i.e. "order"), and black magic does it in the positive direction (thus slowing down the expansion of the universe, but ultimately leading to big crunch). On the other hand currently it is believed, I think, that conservation of energy is already broken on the universal scale (the density of dark energy is constant in the expanding universe in some models).

So, there is a possibility that black magic is ultimately (when you operate on the level of cosmological beings) evil, is ok (and not any worse) on middle level (scientific magic, level where Sunnydalers only just start to enter) and is bad again on low level (bargains with demons, hedge witchcraft).

Or you could leave it as it is, but keep those thoughts in mind.

Also, some grammar mistakes:

"I mean magic is not by essence something we cannot understand?" should be "I mean is magic not by essence something we cannot understand?"

Overall, pretty nice.
Comments from author:
Thanks for the review, yog.

I will definitely keep those thoughts in mind as using entropy in this way is an axis I did not explore. From a philosophical standpoint, I consider that Entropy = Chaos has a limitation. It does not consider the creative aspect of Chaos, only the destructive aspect.

My interpretation was rather to consider the 'Four Elements of Physics': Energy, Matter, Space and Time.

In that system, I consider Chaos to be Energy. It's mutable and everything ultimately comes from it and will return to it. Matter and Space-Time are Order, as they are what gives a shape and structure to Energy.

I stayed vague on the matter as some things I read recently concerning dark matter and negative energy will probably lead me to other ideas in my 'physics of magic'.

Anyway, thanks for giving me more food for my thoughts.
Review By [yog] • Date [15 Jun 12] • Rating [8 out of 10]
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