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Messages - Wilshire

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1
Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: November 03, 2021, 12:56:16 pm »
Well I'm glad that one worked out for you. Those are some interesting comparisons, and I'll try to remember it later when I'm looking for a book. I've been struggling to finish a Peter F Hamilton book, which is a space opera that started out fun but has really dragged towards the end. Empire of Silence might be something I read in the future to make up for it.

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I actually don't think I ever really thought about the Inchoroi bringing out old weapons race from previous planets and unleashing them on Earwa. So when Wutteat talked about traveling through the void I just assumed that meant they found him out there and let him tag along for some reason.

However with that now under consideration, it seems more likely he was created - just a much older creation than anything else they unleased on Earwa.

3
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.
I wouldn't call it consensus - it's so far one person's head canon, which other people seemed to for some reason accept without further examination.

Wutteat says something about traveling through the void through the ages, maybe even many worlds, so its at least somewhat supported by the text, rather than "one persons' head canon".

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.
It's more that Bakker's comments seem to imply that - he outright states that Wracu have souls, that they have metaphysical interaction with Chorae, that their fire is neither sorcerous nor mundane, that they might be living topoi, etc.

I'm always of the opinion that Bakker's comments aren't particularly reliable or even generally useful. If its not in the books, and we've got 7, then its speculation. Interesting topics for conversation maybe, to try and fit what he says into the books, but hardly evidence imo.

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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.

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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.

6
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.


7
Writing / Re: Three Roses, Bk. 1, by Roger Eichorn (sample chapters)
« on: September 14, 2021, 02:51:54 pm »
Well I don't know if I'd qualify the SA community as going and/or strong, but we do persist! There's also a Discord now which several active member have migrated to (H can provide you the link if you're interested).

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Writing / Re: Three Roses, Bk. 1, by Roger Eichorn (sample chapters)
« on: September 14, 2021, 12:08:54 am »
Thanks for the update. Someone not long ago was asking about this, looks like we have an update!

Also apparently H posted a link back in July - is this more updated than that (https://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=765.msg49406#msg49406) ?

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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 ;)

10
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.

11
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.

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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.

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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.

14
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.


15
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 E√§rwa!

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.

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