Two words about two letters etc.

Wed Jan 8 18:02:08 PST 2003

Well, I can't type nearly as fast as you.  Some brief rejoinders follow.

On Wed, 8 Jan 2003, Andrew Lias wrote:

> >There are plenty of sharp Easterners around in Dragaera (Khaavren's
> >librarian, the Marxist in Teckla/Phoenix) but relatively speaking
> >I don't recall many Dragaerans acting intelligently - Khaavren,
> >perhaps Pel, certainly Sethra in Orca.
> Surly the Dragon, all of the Yendi we've met, to say nothing of Mario, whom
> even Vlad is in absolute awe of.

Mario, Mr. "Here's a bauble that will allow you to slay the emperor, trust
Well-trained, skillful, not smart.  Morrolan is a killing machine but a
dolt.  The Jhereg, Orca, etc. who constantly underestimate Vlad?  Anyway,
my "near-human intelligence" was in jest - what I was trying to get at
was that Brust (mostly subtly) makes Vlad more interesting by making the
surrounding characters a bit dim.  That's why Sethra has to be told by
Vlad to ask the Necromancer to help (somewhere early in Issola) or why
Stony (a non-fighter/non-sorcerer) shows up with 2 bodyguards to take on
Vlad, having forgotten that the Jhereg's best assassin and an undead
Athyra wizard in his keep weren't enough to nudge him over death's door.

> >so Vlad has to remind Aliera that Pathfinder is good for looking for
> >things, or teach Morrolan basic witchcraft (use your own blood) -
> On the other hand, Vlad has a very difficult time with Sorcery (even the
> basics).

He can teleport ok, having had about the equivalent of a Dragaeran's day
to learn how, whereas plenty of Jhereg can't...

Re generation time vs real time, I think we're both handwaving at this
point.  But anyway...
> To suggest another reason, it's a well known fact that most physicists and
> mathematicians do their best work before they hit thirty.

I've worked for a couple of old Nobel prize winners in physics, and man
is it frightening how smart they are.  Say a Dragaeran Fermi or Faraday
only has 100 years of peak function - yikes.

> I still think that it's implausible that they East would remain this
> undeveloped for 200 THOUSAND years.  We know that Dragaerans haven't been
> continually invading them each and every generation.  Regular invasions, on
> a Dragaeran timescale, can easily leave gaps of anywhere from two to five
> hundred years.  For that matter, I would opine that not all reigns are prone
> to staging invasions.  Can you imagine the Empire in the cycle of the Tekla
> doing so?  I can't.  If so, that's several thousand years, right there.
> More than enough time for entire human civilizations to rise and fall!

Here's a negative feedback loop - Teckla reign, Easterners develop
gunpowder/good steel, start incursions, Teckla reign ends so the
next house can deal, Sethra the Younger's great-grandmother stomps
the Easterners back to hunter-gatherers or Pel's great-grandaunt sows
discord between the Hungarians and the Czechs etc.  Or the local
Eastern powers-that-be keep the tech level down to prevent the above...

Re the physics stuff, see the other branch of the thread, plus I think
you're overlooking the fact that for 200 millennia pre-interregnum, 20th
century technology would be pretty nifty.

> I don't see any indication that Dragaeran engineering, physics and chemistry
> isn't advanced...

In a spell-based world, a little tech can be a great thing - see Kiera's
reaction to an air-plunger on a thread.  Combinations of tech and magic
could be devastating in battle, but don't seem to be in use so...

- Philip