Two words about two letters etc.

Thu Jan 9 16:37:34 PST 2003

> Hi, I think the anti-gunpowder arguments are wrong, because:
> 1) the level of control needed to remote-explode gunpowder would be
> equivalent to that needed to explode oil lamps, burn down tents, set
> horses' tails on fire, dephosphorylate specific proteins in soldiers'
> brains;

And?  I'm sure that most of these have been tried on Dragaera at some
point.  And counterspells discovered.  That's what makes it an arms 
*race* :-)  It seems that at the current moment of Dragaeran military
history, it's easier to sabotage gunpowder than to use gunpowder
effectively.  This may or may not have always been true, nor need
it be true in the future.

[Digression: How often does some history-minded commander win a battle
by using an attack (magical or otherwise) so outdated that the enemy
doesn't remember the once-common counterspell?  I'm sure it's happened
a few times, though I expect that no one commander (except maybe Sethra)
lives long enough to pull it off twice...]


> 1) During Teckla reigns (republics, we're told somewhere) non-sorcerous
> science would be encouraged.

Why?  I mean, sure they *might*, but have we seen any actual textev for
this?  They could just as easily decide that "science" is something that
only pampered aristocrats do, whereas they were just going to make sure
the harvest season went smoothly.

> 2) The China etc. analogies don't hold in my view because the Chinese
> etc. never had experimental science, which _is_ present on Dragaera -
> it's an aspect of sorcery (see Aliera's forensic exchange with Sethra).

One thing that historical China shares with Dragaera is a *very* strong,
*very* centralized government, with a vested interest in preserving the
status quo.  That counts for more than a little.

[See also the book _Giving up the Gun_, by Noel Perrin, which documents
how the Japanese government managed to turn its back on gunpowder weapons
for about 300 years -- otherwise unprecedented in human history.]


> Just to have three theses here:
> The Serioli present the same Orb-problem I assert elsewhere.
> Someone-with-too-many-consonants-to-remember-his-name has the
> know-how to make Pathfinder, Blackwand, Spellbreaker, assorted goodies -
> how is it that the Serioli didn't ride into battle against the Empire
> on Morganti tanks?

Perhaps because they don't want to?  Why *that* is would require more 
knowledge of their culture than we yet have.


Alexx Kay
Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of my employers
alexx at world.std.com
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