Two words about two letters etc.

Wed Jan 8 10:01:31 PST 2003

On Wed, 8 Jan 2003, Andrew Lias wrote:

> >From: Philip Hart <philiph at SLAC.Stanford.EDU>
> >now I finally understand why Dragaerans have not
> >(despite 200k years of recorded history and near-human intelligence)
> >developed technology - it's a quality-of-life issue...
> Near-human?  Ha!  I'd love to see Sethra's reply to that!

She might admit that the only Easterner she knows (ever knew?) is clearly
smarter than her (v. Orca) and her friends (v. Issola etc).

> Actually, I would contend that the Dragaerans not only have technology, but
> a rather high technology, it's just that their technology is based for more
> on Sorcery than on mechanical devices.  Certainly their science (e.g., their
> knowledge of genetics) is comparably advanced to our own.

I don't see Aliera being that much beyond Mendel in genetics - e.g.,
Dragaerans aren't anywhere near being able to change their bodies from
one house to another or we would have heard all about it in Jhereg and

> I would place modern Dragaeran society at a 20th century level of magical
> technology, with certain variations.  The biggest thing that they lack is
> anything analogous to computers but, by the same token, we don't have
> anything like their teleportation technology or the ability to put large
> permanent structures in the air (e.g., Castle Black).

The Orb of course is a computer/router/...  Zerika I managed to create
such a complex object from scratch but her empire was relying on exploding
sticks millennia later - this puzzles me.

Plane travel is pretty close to teleportation - consider its effect on
human digestion...  If I was an architect I'd argue that
steel/elevators/skyscraper design technology is equivalent (in effect if
not quite in aesthetics) to the magic behind (below) Castle Black -
including its unfortunate vulnerabilities.

Anyway, it's hard for me to understand the lack of guns, electricity,
what have you in the pre-modern era - esp. given that the empire trades
with an island where sorcery doesn't work.

- Philip