Two words about two letters etc.

Tue Jan 14 16:18:56 PST 2003

A few words on the subject of firearms

    First, I don't think Vlad would actually be proficient in firearms. Not
only do they seem out of Vlad's style, (he seems to prefer a quieter,
quicker, and more precise strike when he can) but they would have several
problems that would be troublesome for a young assassin. They are
inaccurate, which could lead to messy accidents and failed attempts, and
they are very loud.  The report of a gun would certainly call attention to
the area and would probably call the guards, making escape significantly
more difficult.  He'd have to deal with the distinguishing smell and sight
of the gunpowder and smoke, and have to carry the heavy equipment around, in
addition, if used for defense purposes, since he is usually attacked by many
opponents, it would be almost a one-shot weapon, especially since they are
shielded anyway.

    Second, it's quite possible that the reason that there are no firearms
is because the materials needed to make it are not in sufficient supply in
the area.  Unless I'm wrong, Dragaera is not on Earth itself, and possibly
not even in the same world, therefore either the particular area they happen
to reside in has no saltpeter or, like in Zelazny's Amber, Gunpowder does
not ignite here.

    Finally, (and most likely) would be the fact that because of magic,
there was never any motive for the development of more advanced ranged
weapons.  They went from simple ones, like bows, and then jumped to magic
based ones like flashstones.  Now the Dragaeran weapon R&D is focusing
entirely on magical methods and counter methods.  So who would want to
develop alternate weapons?
    the Empire?  Nah, they have the ultimate magical weapon, the orb
    the Teckla? They aren't educated enough to learn the proper chemistry
for creating a                             weapon like that, and if they
did, they would be "encouraged" to stop
    the Jhereg?    Not with the Left Hand wanting to keep a monopoly on that
sort of                     power
    the Easterners?  now there is a good question.  They certainly have the
motive, their witchcraft is not comparable to sorcery in combat, at least
insofar as we are aware.  But that also requires an industrial sort of
community combined with the right kind of luck.  After all would you believe
me if I told you that I could make rocks explode by setting them on fire?
And how much more unlikely is it with Dragaerans randomly invading?  They
don't even have the idea that there is such a thing as exploding power, at
least not without using magic of some sort.  My Chinese history is certainly
rusty but weren't the first explosives used in fireworks rather than
military uses?  Then to develop the weapons in any quantity you would need
to construct a workshop or factory of some kind, the type of thing singled
out for razing in a Drageran invasion.

This ended up a bit longer than I thought, heh.

Akodo Bob
Already waiting impatiantly for the next Brust novel