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Messages - Shecky

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DF Spoilers / Re: White Court, Venatori and Kemmler
« on: August 24, 2017, 03:08:03 PM »
Gentle reminder: what happens on these forums is intended to be friendly discussion, so let's keep it that way.

DF Spoilers / Re: New short story in process
« on: July 28, 2017, 01:05:44 PM »
Heheh, ya.  His writing instructor warned him not to let Bob's character become purely a vehicle for exposition, something commonly referred to as a "talking head".  So Jim went and made him a literal talking head.   ;D

Not to mention that the writing community has long had a phrase describing the infodumping talking heads: "As you know, Bob..." :D

DF Spoilers / Re: New short story in process
« on: July 21, 2017, 07:22:05 PM »
You mean like ... it's a story about a trip to the zoo.  They see lions there.  DId you know that the female lions are the ones who do all the hunting.  and ...

Then you go on about different things about lions. 

Is that an info dump?

No, that's just irrelevant background. An infodump is when story-necessary details are all lumped into one big delivery instead of integrated organically into the story where they would naturally occur (as "natural" as an artificially created story can be, that is). One of the old phrases in the genre writing community is "As you know, Bob," which mimics the typical start to such an infodump: one character explaining to another things they already know, purely for the purpose of delivering the information/background to the reader.

This is, of course, far too broad a generalization; good writers very often find ways of dumping a lot of story-necessary information at once without resorting to hamfisted "As you know, Bob" approaches, and nobody honestly thinks of those as infodumps. It's really a question of how deftly or clumsily the massive flow of information is woven into the effect of an organically developing plot/scene.

DF Spoilers / Re: New Blackstaff discussion
« on: July 05, 2017, 01:56:57 PM »
I'm wondering how close real-world politics are to touchy topics

Right there in the list.

Everyone, steer clear of Touchy Topics, and do please maintain the civilized decorum expected in these forums.

Have you seen the CS cosplay from last year's Dragon Con?

Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër?
See the løveli lakes
The wøndërful telephøne system
And mäni interesting furry animals

The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used are fictitious and any similarity to the names, characters, or history of any person is entirely accidental and unintentional.

Including the majestik møøse
A Møøse once bit my sister...
No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink"...

We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked.

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretti nasti...

Cinder Spires Spoilers / Re: Some plot elements just bug me....
« on: January 30, 2016, 02:11:54 PM »
whoops and forgot Ramps are just special forms of windlass one floor deep if you think about it but see the problem with  overall number of crystals, maybe lift crystals quicker and easier to grow. Need 250. hmmmmmmm

Sorry, what?

Cinder Spires Spoilers / Re: Some plot elements just bug me....
« on: January 30, 2016, 04:14:07 AM »
Good reply Shecky. But... grins  .. I still have some issues. There are 3 entrances exits. Surface Habble Landing Habble  morning. Habble Landing did "create" itself but where is it in the series of 250 Habbles. Impression I got was at first surface or near re read and thought . But if all goods have to hauled up and down internally [a hell of a task  not to mention how no draught animals no vehicles described and we have a city to service here population jim suggests of Manhattan.] then makes sense its around Habble 125. Still think humans as lazy as we are would have demanded and created lifts internal we have lift crystals after all . Doesn't need many Habbles largely self sufficient vats water gardens etc but hauling say wood internally and heavy goods machinery need some internal transport system other than pure muscle power.[ Otherwise I have images of Egyptian Slaves hauling waggons up ramps by rope. [OOOOhhhh   have we invented the wheel!!!!!]
Suggest just not mentioned yet as been no particular need.

Yes, Landing decided, because they were roughly halfway between top and bottom, they would be the perfect middlemen. But please remember that it took a LONG time for them to knock out just one hole in the spirestone to create an opening to the outside; imagine, then, the time, resources and manpower it would require to knock holes in each habble in order to run a vertical lift. And while they were working on that, that established trade route (assuming you'd put it in the ramps between habbles, or should they cut the holes where people are living or working?) would be at least partially blocked, restricting all movement significantly at the very least. Finally, the intermediate step of having lift-style platforms that could be guided up the ramps: crystals of any size or power are prohibitively expensive and relatively rare (the two go together), so, again, it would be easier to use existing merchant ships on the outside.

As for the attack. From memory the admiral of the Fleet [Wilson?] was embarrassed by the sneak attack  that dropped the marines. He ordered the fleet out to form a cordon around the spire so no attacker would get close. But they were already here and he reacted exactly as the Aurorians expected.

Mistshark was a neutral merchant under a Dolosian flag and already docked. Grimm suspected for his own reasons but no evidence and would the fleet believe him. Knowledge of Marines was not common knowledge and Spirearch kept it secret to flush out the traitor or traitors who could be in the Guard. So no Guard deployment. Just Grimm and his small crew who's orders were to protect and support Ferus and the others. He did what he could when he could. The marines blew up the landing  Mistshark caused chaos by destroying neighbouring ships thus assisting in the escape.  The fleet is miles away looking out not in so relatively easy for Random to dodge the cordon  until of course the Fleet knew it had been fooled again. Await with interest to see the political fallout in the fleet as a result.
Also the Spirearch has his resources witness the rallying of the Habble to putting out the fire etc. He simply was using Ferus et al as his trigger in a long wider game in which risks must be taken.

It's fairly obvious that the brass's reaction was short-sighted: guard the targets of military importance to the Spire's own military (i.e., the Navy's yards, the most easily accessible entry—meaning the topmost). The purely commercial port simply wasn't a priority, and it was even less a priority given the intelligently executed, unforeseen method of sneak attack. Ransom was a "known non-hostile," remember.

As for power sources  in the habbles we have lumins [crystals]  the spirestones themselves channel etheric energy  Jim hasn't said that i recollect  what fuel they use to cook for example but could be electricity from an "etheric"source we just don't have the detail. We know there are steam engines they need power to heat water  wood is expensive  no petroleum coal [surface problems] so my money is on electricity generated for public use and to power steam. We have Grimms electric tea pot as an example. Demand and supply!

There's obviously infrastructure in place for such things, but when you've always done everything a certain way, and your society is based on that assumption, there's not going to be much innovation. And if the Spire wanted to divert the power that's already in use, how are they going to rewire the whole Spire (see earlier point about spirestone being less than easily manipulated)?

Cinder Spires Spoilers / Re: Some plot elements just bug me....
« on: January 28, 2016, 12:55:36 PM »
Okay, addressing a few of these questions:

- Spires do not float. I don't understand the reasoning of "If there is a bottom port, then the spire is not on the ground." There is an entryway at ground level, but it's like having a shipping dock on the ground on a planet where the critters from the Alien movies are having a big Happy Fun Acid-blood Picnic: not conducive to stepping outside for a smoke.

- Habble Landing's port has two important aspects: 1) It took years and years of wearing down the spirestone wall of their habble (spirestone is tough) to put an opening in it. 2) The port structure was added on by the habble and is not made of spirestone. Habble Landing was born as a middleman in the trade between habbles, to provide much quicker shipping between upper and lower habbles (there are no lifts/elevators inside, so they essentially have rudimentary ships that are really little more than lift crystals with big platforms to raise and lower cargo, turning them into the equivalent to freefloating freight elevators); it's a purely commercial venture by one habble, which can easily be vulnerable to the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing sneak attack that happened in the book (if your firepower is all docked and is suddenly under fire while you're sitting there picking your teeth, say bye-bye à la Pearl Harbor). And the fleet defense was unwisely concentrated by the military leadership around the fleet's port at the top, not at Landing.

- Grimm is frankly understaffed and undergunned for full interdiction on top of everything else he and his crew are trying to do at that particular moment.

- Plastics are out of the question; they require petroleum-analog substances and therefore surface drilling in the places where such analogs are. Most ferrous metals are also out of the question for, well, reasons.

- Getting a message between habbles would involve either an on-foot messenger running up aaaaaaaaaaaaall the ramps between levels or a courier flying outside from Landing to the summit (which, if you don't have a dock, is kind of hard to start).

I truly don't intend to be snarky when I suggest re-reading the book; it will answer these questions even better than my bare-bones explanations can (and be far more entertaining :D ). And keep in mind that Jim, like most good series authors, saves the answers to some questions for a later, plot-boosting scene.

Cinder Spires Books / Re: The Cinder Spires Description and Meaning
« on: January 21, 2016, 01:09:57 PM »
Yes. I still imagine the spires as towers, more or less cone shaped. I don't care for reality, I imagine what I want  :P

Stop being so healthy. :D

Cinder Spires Books / Re: The Cinder Spires Description and Meaning
« on: January 19, 2016, 01:02:51 PM »
Jim talks in his public appearances of the spires as Borg cubes. Which sort of destroys any visual image as a spire which has to at least be taller than wide and should taper but a square based tower ie rectangle  would sort of cover a spire. In the book chapter 33 further confusion as the spires are described round with the habbles having a square floor plan fitting inside. This contradicts the maps drawn for the books which reverse  to square containing circle.
Perhaps its pedantic and can be dismissed as the characters Bridget in this case having no real idea of geometry and having never gone outside to see the actual shape of the spire. Whether the earth is flat or round matters very little to most people in conducting their day to day lives.
But editing should have spotted this for Jim.

Editing did spot this. Two things: 1) "Spire"—Word meaning drifts over time; think of the original vs. current usage of "terrible" if you want a perfect example. The same concept applies, if not as dramatically, to "cinder." 2) Squared circle vs. circled square—oops. ;)

Cinder Spires Spoilers / Re: Should I feel offended?
« on: October 30, 2015, 02:34:56 AM »
'Muricans! ;)

Cinder Spires Books / Re: Sails?
« on: October 27, 2015, 01:25:25 PM »
I'll freely admit that I've been assuming a particular set of things:

1) That the lift crystal is the big one because that's the one that deals with the biggest force: gravity. It makes structural sense to have a single large one at the center of gravity; it's easiest to design a support system that hinges on one point of force instead of multiple. Having multiple smaller lift crystals distributed throughout the ship would supply a lot of redundancy, true, but it would also make designing supports far more complex and make managing their output perhaps beyond the capacity of a single pilot. It's the way I would do it, anyway. May also have something to do with the higher efficiency/effectiveness of a single large crystal as compared to those of multiple small crystals.

2) That the attitude crystals can't be set to provide force along varying vectors, not just with or against gravity. I've personally seen no reason to think that something that applies a force must be limited to one axis (again, I may easily be wrong on this, so grain of salt, etc.), and with the lift crystal's support system supplying a central axis point, it would therefore be easy to distribute attitude crystals to work around that rotational point in all three dimensions. (Again, see maneuvering thrusters on, for example, Apollo spacecraft.)

A lot of assumptions, I know. But they make engineering sense to my eye.

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