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Messages - Wilshire

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Why does the Wracu high rate of mutation rule out selective breeding?  Its a basic tool of managing traits and the high rate of mutation means you're going to have a bunch that don't function very well or can't live because they're messed up internally.  Sky high hatching mortality is likely and probably keeps their numbers low.   Wracu are long lived so its quite possible their have only been a few generations with which to direct their development.
This just isn't how selective breeding works. It takes thousands of generations to get any meaningful separation of species/traits. When dealing with something that has any kind of generation time measured in years, let alone decades, this is just not possible. It would take millions, 10s of millions, of years to get what you have with the wracu. Since they were created on Earwa, its just not possible.

Granted, there's a ton of nonsensical biology that goes on in Earwa. We can simply say that "alien biology works differently", and therefore literally anything is possible. I find this unsatisfying, but acceptable. Magical Inchoroi "technology" coupled with infinitely "alien" biology, and a case can be made for anything. But if we're assuming any kind of IRL biology, selective breeding isn't possible.

I've seen zero evidence that Skin Spies are more intelligent than Wracu.  Skin Spies are trained to mimic men and infiltrate, which is something Wracu obviously can't do but they certainly comprehend and use language.
I disagree completely, but we're reading the same stuff so there's nothing else to say for this one. IMO, complex social behaviors indicate an extraordinary level of intelligence, well beyond anything we see of the wracu - which are closer to bashrag/sranc though maybe a bit smarter.

Did they find Wutteat in space?  The lines given suggested to me that he had been created in the Ark while it was in space. 
Its vague, but the general consensus is Wutteat was found in space. I believe the books are more clear that Wutteat is the template that the Earwa inchoroi used to create the Wracu.

As for the No-God controlling the Wracu, the writings suggest to me willing submission not control.   The No-God does not shout through Wracu throats.   They behave like vassals, not puppets.
That's not how I remember it, but its been a long time.

Souls in Earwa aren't the product of pure intelligence, but they do seem to require a near human level of intelligence because souls clearly require a significant level of self awareness.
I agree with H here, intelligence and souls seem to be unrelated imo. If random animals can have souls, then its not an intelligence thing.

The Wracu seem to possess this, although that might not be true.  Unlike Skin Spies we are not privy to their thoughts.
We have few intereaction with Wracu, especially disregarding Wutteat, but imo they show very limited awareness of any kind. Something closer to a sranc than anything else.

The other Weapon Races are dominated by their instincts and seem to lack both self awareness and ability to process contradictions.
Being dominated by instincts doesn't preclude the existence of a soul, nor does it guarantee it. Again, random animals can have souls.
Skin-spies must be extremely self aware to do what they do. As for the rest, probably not, and I include Wracu in that.

Sranc aren't as senseless as you seem to think though. For example, they have language, culture, complex social structures. They also are used as Elju for Nonmen, which indicates a huge capacity for not just memory and recall, but also communication.

All this to say, Wracu very much fit into the standard Weapon Race role. They aren't exceptional, other than their physical variation. I see no significant reasons for why they should have special rules.

Wracu were created on Earwa just like the rest of the weapons races, iirc. Wutteat was apparently found somewhere in the void and tagged along, but the Wracu were created to fight the Quya, which would have been centuries after The Fall once the Inchoroi exhausted their other weapons.

The Wracu are also controlled by the No God, just like the other races. They might be more intelligent than sranc, for example, but we have seen high levels of intelligence from skin-spies. Maybe even more so - they are in fact so intelligent that no one can tell they are fakes based on their behavior or speech. My point being that we know that Skin Spies do not have souls and imo they are smarter than Wracu, so it seems unlikely that Wracu have souls - especially since their behavior is so bestial compared to the skin-spys.

I'm pretty sure that if the Inchoroi could have created a great deal of skin-spy schoolmen, they would have. That they did not is proof that they cannot. The same goes for Wracu. They created the wracu to compete with the Nonmen Quya. If they were able to make more effective tools that could compete directly, meaning with the use of better and stronger magic, they would have. But again they didn't, which to me clearly means they cannot.

The Inchoroi themselves are a created ensouled race - or appear to be. But they were definitely not given the tools to make ensouled weapons-races themselves. The Inchoroi themselves know very little other than what the proginators gave them, and I doubt the proginators wanted their weapon-race to be creating a bunch of ensouled being and leaving them around the galaxy.

Regarding wracu breeding, its extremely unlikely the Inchoroi were using animal husbandry to create wracu. For one, they appear to be very divergent as individuals which is basically impossible with selective breeding (we don't have dogs that have 85 legs or that can breathe underwater). There are also simply not enough wracu for it to be possible for some kind of breeding system to have taken place. I also think they have a lifespan that is far to  great to make breeding in the few thousands years they've had on Earwa to be in the cards. Its really just not possible all around.

The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« on: September 02, 2021, 12:19:14 pm »
I have always found rereads rewarding for TSA, especially going back through the whole series once a new book was released. I admit that I haven't done this post-TUC though. After  X many reads it feels like there shouldn't be anything left... obviously this isn't the case though! What comes after determines what comes before.

I don't have a great memory so connections between books has always been somewhat fleeting to me unless I'm coming down from a reread. I'll have to take a look through the two chapters you've mentioned there and see what there is to see.

As always, thanks for posting! Its been quite around here for a while, but there are still those of us lurking. Share with us, the silent audience, your revelations as they come ;)

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: July 28, 2021, 02:06:18 pm »
Empire's Ruin by Brian Staveley (25)

The newest installment in the Unhewn Throne universe, taking place some 5-10 years after the events of the previous book. New characters, new troubles, some great writing. Staveley does a good job at keeping the religion/philosophy on the back burner and not letting it get in the way of the series. Similar to his previous books, the story follows 3 separate groups which you can see imagine coming together at the end of the series in a conflagration.

Trying to think back to Emperor's Blades, I think Staveley's writing has improved. That said, I'm not entirely sure all the stories in his most recent book are as individually compelling as they were for Unhewn Throne. Time will tell though, and I look forward to Staveley's writing career.

Bloodline by Will Wight (26)
What can I say. Its the same books, more/less, every time. But its still fun. There is something entertaining about magical kung-fu. This book feels like Wight picked a new direction for the series. Maybe "new direction" is too extravagant, but there at least appears to be a new goal, a lot of storylines were wrapped up, the general narrative will likely tighten a bit in the future because of this, and it seems new foundations were laid for probably another 10 books.

I think probably "portion of god" and/or Third Sight seems something closer to Intellect than Soul. Why else would Moenghus shine so brightly. Also, this explains why Skin Spies wouldn't necessarily jump out in the Third Sight.

The Cish don't see souls, but something else entirely.

I was thinking about this again, going back to Bakker's D&D campaign...perhaps what the Cish see is the relative portion of stats?

Souls "shine" in the sense that great souls have great intellect/charisma/wisdom...possibly even physical stats are the usual manifestation of a great soul. And since this has always worked out, as far as the Cish can explore metaphysics (they don't seem to have any facility with the Daimos) they just see the skin-spies perfect machinery as bright souls?

Skin-spies, other than raw intellectual power, would probably be very similar to dunyain. They are calculating, can do complex impressions which implies a great deal of intellect and/or problem solving capability, and they are physically stronger and faster than the Dunyain. Kellhus wins his engagements with them through trickery and luck, plus the ever present Superior Intellectual Prowess.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: July 08, 2021, 04:15:41 pm »
The Red Knight by Miles Cameron (23)

This remains one of my favorite books. Cameron is a great character writer, which an interesting (if chaotic) world for those characters to exist in. Cameron really knows his historic fighting, which make his battles (both large scale and individual) very believable and fun to read. The story of this first book is very standard fantasy, but Cameron sticks to what he knows and it makes the book better for it. The dialogue usually makes up for the standard plot, and I'm very much hoping there is unseen complexity in the woldbuilding that will be revealed later on.

I highly recommend this book.

The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron (24)

This book felt like a transition novel. Its still very good, but if felt like a story was shoehorned around the necessity of bringing the main character to a particular point. It took a whole book to get there, and it was written well, but I can't decide if it was really necessary. Luckily Cameron is delightful to read and so I can't really complain too much about it. There's still enough going on that I want to see the plot continue, and I feel invested in the vast majority of the storylines and characters. I'll pick up book 3 later on this year.

But first, Staveley just released his most recent book, and I got Wight's most recent one on sale, so I'll switch gears a bit before coming back.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: June 18, 2021, 03:45:26 pm »
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (21)
I'd have to say I was impressed by this one, though admittedly because it was written in '86 which makes it stand out against its peers. Bujold actually wrote and published some scifi in the 80's that wasn't strictly a futurist vision with characters built to explore the setting, though the 80's aren't quite as egregious as earlier decades... There was actual characterization, good prose, amusing dialogue.

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (22)
This one was less impressive from a prose standpoint. It was the first book published in the series (Falling Free is first chronological but was written a few years later), and imo it shows.

Overall I was mostly underwhelmed. Bujold is a good writer, and I can see why the Vorkosigan saga was popular at the time and for decades after. But today I'd say it falls more toward good than great. I don't see myself reading the other 20ish books in the series - there's just better alternatives now. I got these two for free from audible so no harm done, though I am glad I didn't have to pay for them.

As I'm not sure the Heron Spear actually did anything last time, I do think its possible some kind of magic laser ballista scenario this time around with Akka pulling the trigger.
Well, there is that dream where Akka sees Anaxophus failing to "take up the Spear" and just parroting the No-God's words.  But it is totally unclear if that is a clear vision of the past, or a paranoids corruption of the true.  I guess one thing is that it leaves the Herron Spear well and open to be anything the narrative ends up wanting it to be though.
Yeah at this point in time, we know that Bakker is not entirely sure of all the exact details of TNG even as he finished TUC. This could be something he left open to decide later if he needed/wanted to use it.

Still not convinced.  I will try to put out my thoughts.  I'm erratic and in sore need of a reread.  If the Celmomian Prophesy is the basis for their "knowledge" of needing Kellhus as an insertant, they are making some intense cognitive leaps (which I guess maybe I can't be expected to understand, them being Dunyain and all).  All the prophesy says is an Anasurimbor will return at the end of the world.  I don't think there's any more to it, since we are shown the scene where Celmomas says it to Seswatha.  That's so vague, it could mean any of the many Anasurimbors running around, why decide on the most difficult to grab?

I would just like to say, yes 1000%.

So much weight is put onto the prophecy, both in the books and in discussion here/elsewhere. But the prophesy itself sucks. In all the iteration we get, it boils down to the section I bolded above. "An Anasurimbor" is the Harbinger of the end, the warning sign that the end is nigh.

If you allow for Kellhus being that Anasurimbor, which I think we aught, the prophecy is fulfilled once Kellhus shows up in the Three Seas halfway into TDTCB.

It most emphatically does not say that an Anasurimbor causes the end of the world.

Physics?  This is Eärwa!

I mean, I am thinking this lack of Chorae is going to matter, but it definitely is unclear how or why.  Especially since I am holding fast to my "Mimara answers the No-God" prediction, of course.
I agree that its more Gun than Herring. It seems a rather unnecessary red herring, and too strange a detail to just throw out there.

That said, they thought it was going to be Kellhus in there. Maybe hoping they could use some metagnosis translocation or something. Now that its Kelmomas who doesn't know any neat spells, it could be for naught and provide an avenue for defeat that wasn't available last time.

As I'm not sure the Heron Spear actually did anything last time, I do think its possible some kind of magic laser ballista scenario this time around with Akka pulling the trigger.

Literature / Re: YOU MUST TELL ME ... What else are you reading?
« on: June 10, 2021, 04:51:54 pm »
Gardens of the Moon ( Malazan )

Took me 3 years to read it, just couldn't get into it. Getting it on Audible allowed me to finish it. I'm glad I did, the second half of the book gets much better. I enjoyed it, some very cool characters, some nice twists and turns in the end that I liked.

I'm glad you liked it!

Yeah... So that's pretty much the Malazan/Erickson pattern. Every book is about 500 pages of buildup and 500 pages of crazy action. If they were normal length books closer to 200-500 pages total this wouldn't seem so strange, but since most of the books are 1000 pages it makes for a really long intro.

Also Erikson likes to introduce new characters ever few pages, and this continues throughout the series, which magnifies this effect.

Not sure I'll read the 2nd book unless someone can tell me if it takes up where the last one ends or if it's a time jump into the future and essentially a different story.

Book 2, Deadhouse Gates, could very nearly be a different series entirely. Its obviously not in the sense that Erikson is still writing it, its still within the Malazan universe, and IIRC its still on the same timeline. That said, its a whole new book. New characters, different military campaign entirely, and in fact the writing is much improved  as well. Deadhouse Gates is an incredible book.

Not that I wouldn't still read it, just too much on my reading list to commit to more at this time.

Even though I loved DG, every book is a major time commitment. Its not a series that is worth "pushing through to the end". If you dont have the time, or dont enjoy it enough to spend the time on it, there is absolutely no reason to continue. The payoff at the end of book 10 is in no way "worth it", considering you have to read nearly 10,000 pages to get there. Yes, nearly every book is great in its own right, and yes there is a lot of lore and story that you may want to see through... But at what cost? There are just way to many words to read if you aren't enjoying it.

I recommend you read it only as long as you are enjoying it. If you find yourself bored, its probably time to just put it down and move on - even if that's in the middle of a book.

It took me nearly 2 years to read Malazan, since it takes so long to read each on individually, plus I read at least 1 or 2 books (by other authors) in between each book of Malazan.

Anyways, I like R and Abercrombie more, but I would still give it an A, well written and it got fun to read. I'll steal a few ideas for my D&D campaign ( loved the Jaghut Tyrant - I want to be him and using him in my campaign kinda would make me, hee hee! - not sure if I spelled the correctly as I was listening to the book ).

In case you haven't started it yet, I'd have to say I'm mildly disappointed with Abercrombie's most recent series. I had high hopes after First Law, so its a shame. Still worth a go though, probably.

Also, if you stop reading it at some point, it is worth reading through the Malazan wiki. There's a lot of good idea fodder in there, especially for the Jaghut if you liked them in GOTM.

As for your spoilers... Its mostly explained later. Either read and find out, or search for it on the wiki.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: June 08, 2021, 11:06:25 pm »
A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay (20)

Now there's a great book. GGK did something amazing with A Brightness Long Ago. The first book I read by him was Tigana, and while quite good,  it doesn't hold a candle to A Brightness Long ago. The pacing is wonderful, actions and consequences piled up without feeling rushed. The way he tells the story through a series of flashbacks and mixed POVs is crisp, unique, and refreshingly. The whole book feels like a brilliantly connected series of short stories, just long enough to make you feel something profound but not so long as to get mired in the telling. You skip lightly across the surface of the world, catching glimpses of the depths beneath.

The way the story is told, maybe even more so than the story being told, is what turns this book into something magnificent.

And who doesn't love a quote about books inside a book:
So many stories can be told, in and around and braided through the one we are being given. Don’t we all know that stories can be sparks leaping from the bonfire of an offered tale to become their own fire, if they land on the right ground, if kindling is there and a light breeze but not a hard wind?

Someone is deciding what to tell us. What to add, what not to share at all or when (and how) to reveal a thing. We know this, even as we picture in our minds another young man, a tailor’s son from Seressa, remembering a spring ride, how we used to like to sing…

We want to sink into the tale, leave our own lives behind, find lives to encounter even to enter for a time. We can resist being reminded of an artificer, the craft. We want to be immersed, lost, not remember what it is we are doing, having done to us, as we turn pages, look at a painting, hear a song, watch a dance.

Still, that is what is being done to us. It is.

Loved it.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: June 06, 2021, 07:56:22 pm »
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb (19)

A conflicted review. I like Hobb's writing a lot, generally speaking, which includes this book. But Ship of Magic seemed to have pacing issues. It just takes too long to get to the end of the book, to the point where the entire thing feels like a prequel. This is in opposition to Assassins Apprentice, where the book feels like something great in-and-of itself while still allowing for a much greater story to unfold. So that's my major complaint. Ship of Magic feels like a book filled with sidequests and finally at the end you get to where you wanted to be all along.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: May 26, 2021, 07:54:18 pm »
Binti got ALOT of attention when it came out (last year?). I'm glad to heard its good from someone here

Yes. The very deadly Consult trap that, seemingly, could have gone undetected by Kellhus and detonated wiping out the Ordeal and most importantly...Kellhus....

...thus making System Resumption an impossibility.

For a goal that relies entirely on the insertion of a living, breathing person with Anasurimbor blood, the Consult seems to play awfully fast and loose with things. Detonating an atomic bomb, using the Heron Spear’s sister spear to nearly kill Serwa, then Skuthula to nearly kill Kyutas and to actually kill Serwa. Then a skin-spy kills Kellhus. And the arrival of Kelmomus seemed wasn’t on anyone s playbook.

It bugs me. And there’s nobody that loves this story more that me, bugs me.

Those are all... very good points lol. Especially because we know the Dunyain are the Consult at this point. I think we're supposed to assume they how to get the No-God running again.

Maybe they figured if they did end up killing all of them, they could either go back and grab Theli, or maybe force one of themselves into the thing. After 2000 years, all the Dunyain are a least a little Anasurimbor.

So maybe as an excuse we can say that Kellhus alive is more of a threat than Kellhus dead.
Or, that they came to the same conclusion that Kellhus did, and figured that whoever needed to live to make it into the No-God and seal the world would eventually just make it into the golden room. Since it "already happened"...

That said, those are pretty unsatisfying excuses.

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