SPOILER for _Dragon_...what's up with Vlad, again?

Tue Feb 11 06:02:16 PST 2003

On Tue, 11 Feb 2003, David Silberstein wrote:

>>That's what single quotation marks are for.

> Only if it's an exact quote, which this wasn't.  Or is that a rule of
> style that I am unfamiliar with?

Double = exact, single = paraphrase, at least in the US, outside of quotes
(i.e., M said, "Last Cycle Sethra said to me, 'Why should I not kill
you?'").  The English tend to use a nested quote system starting from
single going to double, the Germans often like "<< .. >>", the French
(getting down Dumas) use the (Joycean?) leading dash system, the
Dragaerans ...

Anyway, the single/double distinction above is what they used to teach in
intro formal logic.

> >Must be getting old - I don't remember this line in _I_.
> Chapter 14, pg 211 (HB ed): "I'm generalizing from one example, here,
> but everyone generalizes from one example.  At least, I do."

If one takes selection bias into consideration this is not a nutty
thing to do.  It may be that there's no other available evidence about
the acuity of D. senses, but if I could show that M. is far beyond
human norm then we need to either accept my hypothesis as likely or
develop one about M's exceptional abilities and the lack of an
associated legend (V being acutely conscious of what he knows about
the ways those around him surpass him.)

> >
> >The scene in _Taltos_ I was referring to turns out to exist - Chapter
> >9.  M. sees or hears the cat centaurs, V. has no clue, L. flys "for
> >most of a minute" before reporting back.
> >
> At that point, sorcery still works.  It might have been a sorcerous
> detection spell at work; we don't know.

Odd of him not to say anything at this point if he's got a clear vision;
interesting to wonder if sorcerers walk around with amplified senses.

> >  Why M. wants to walk to Deathgate Falls with V. when they could
> >presumably step through a window is beyond me.
> Morrolan may have been reluctant to show off that particular power to
> someone he didn't know too well yet.

There's no "yet" from M's perspective - he's not expecting to wake up

> >
> >A related point - Dragaeran memory is impressive.  Sethra has detailed
> >recollection of incidental conversations from (too lazy to check Alexx's
> >timeline) many hundreds of years ago (_Yendi_) which Vlad probably
> >misreports after a few years.  The storage capacity, chemical stability,
> >filing heuristics, brain cell lifetime, ... involved are a triumph for
> >those lame guys (the Shaqs of the Dragaeran universe).
> >
> Besides the fact that Sethra is a special case, might I point out that
> Vlad is the only source we have on how accurate that recollection was?

In how many ways is S exceptional?  Or to reverse that, is there any
exception to her exceptionalism?  And note that she's a relatively early
model given that there seems to be a lot of selection pressure on the

Anyway, not arguing from Sethra, someone sophisticated in physiology
or specifically memory should now chime in and explain what's involved
in a human-derived brain living three thousand years and maintaining
clear memories of active lives, which I suspect requires more radical
changes than long-lived brain cells - or I will form a hypothesis about
middle-aged Ds forgetting their childhoods etc.  I note that the
Musketeers seem to maintain (or Paarfi finds it not worth exclaiming
about when he portrays them maintaining) clear recall of events some
seven hundred years in the past.  If I recall, some people with eiditic
(photographic) memories have the experience of their heads filling up
(though perhaps this is just a breakdown in the storage mechanism - out
of my depth here obviously).

- Philip