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Posts posted by dioscuri

  1. For those that are interested and may have missed it, ch.24 has been posted at http://www.dabeagle....igma/teof24.htm

    Thanks! That particular dog house is not one I've visited before -- I've kept on passing it by, but it looks like there are a few stories I'd love to read there.

    I guess Dreamer is used to being in the dog house by now! He keeps thinking that he's in charge of himself. I have a few thoughts about what position Dreamer could actually hold on Dream of Dawn without being in a conflict of interest position. I'm scratching my head on that one. I think he cannot Captain the Dream of Dawn.

    I'll get those thoughts together and post my conclusions.



  2. Science Fiction as a genre in itself may have a limited life span. Its problem is that its subject matter tends to get used up rather fast. There's only so much you can speculate on and still maintain some believability with the characters you create.

    Good characters perhaps need to be able to transcend a genre rather than depend on it. Detective fiction ends up in the same category I think. Enigma of Flatness tackles something that hasn't been tackled in a while, that is artificial intelligence. Interest in the field of A.I. has dropped off of late seeing that there have been no major advances in the technology. We are barely beginning to understand human intelligence, let along create an imitation or a machine/computer version of it.

    Add a new type of scanner and all of a sudden you get new results you never expected. Who expected the results that resulted from the study of music and the human mind using fMRI technology? This is radically new and will in the end transform not only our understanding of human cognition but also the field of music theory. The idea that one can study a musical composition simply by studying the notes the composer wrote are coming to an end. We'll be able to understand the structure based on how our minds understand it.

    Dreamer, as a character, is a radical departure from any other A.I. I've run into. Even Cmd. Data on Star Trek really broke no new boundaries, depending as it did on Asimov's positronic brain. Dreamer is just so unexpected.



  3. Oh! about science fiction authors, Harlan Ellison to be specific. You know he was a Viet Nam veteran and he published some short stories shortly after his return. I *know* this is not available anymore, if you find it, its a collectors item, that is the ORIGINAL version of "A Boy And His Dog", it is the single most shocking science fiction short story I've ever read. I could likely be rated as pornographic, the only reason it isn't is because there are no pictures in it. One of my profs brought a copy into one of the first "Speculative Fiction" classes ever taught in upper level education back in the 1970's ....



  4. Enigma is a nice story. Sufficient to hold ones interest, at least for a time. Keene is a good writer, but I'm not sure that I would put him on the same level as Jamie, but that is just my opinion. Having grown up with the likes of Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Bester, Bradbury, Ellison, et al, it took me a very long time before I stopped comparing other SF writers to them and finding the other writers lacking.

    But that is just me.

    Even though I love the genre, I have not necessarily loved the writers. Arthur C. Clarke seems cold to me and Asimov, for all his creative genius seems not to have been able to create a memorable character. I still like reading Asimov however. Heinlein at one point just got to mom, home and America apple pie for me. It has been Ray Bradbury's work that really got me thinking. For some reason I just loved "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and there is something diabolically evil about "Fahrenheit 513" (did I get the title right?). I have been fascinated with his images of Venus as a planet where there is continuous rain....enough to drive you mad. His images of our planetary systems are really fantasy however and maybe "Something Wicked" also belongs there to.

    If I can get into the first few chapters, I'll probably finish the book. In this case, Keene grabbed me with instant action by two characters who are basically lovable and then plops them (as an escape) right in Dreamer's arms so to speak. However, they have to rescue Dreamer's Avatar from the evil programming put in place by the Orions. So in the first two chapters, three of the main characters are thrown together and have to learn to trust each other. That was quite the compositional tour d' force!

    As you go along chapter by chapter, slowly Dreamer's past is revealed, I think he spent almost three years chained to that docking array on Alta-Ishasa! Meanwhile someone who hates loathes and despises Dream of Dawn sits stewing in his own hatred planning very elaborately for the day Dream of Dawn shows up. Ultimately, his obsession on Dream of Dawn proves his downfall. In the end he is nothing but a mass of interconnected computer parts, with no body capable of independent movement.

    And on re-reading parts of it, it is his sister ship, Celine who observes that Dreamer has not given up his habit up picking up strays! I think she is also accurate in observing that despite Dreamer's very independent attitude, he definitely needs a strong captain to keep him in tow.

    I've now reached the last published chapter, and to his credit, Keene has not given us a cliff hanger! YEAH! Now that isn't to say I won't be waiting with baited breath for the next installment.

    I keep thinking that there's only a bit to say about this story but the characters are so rich in differences and experiences that I could go on for days with just what is there. Devon, you'd better take really GOOD Care of Fennec! Fennec's chutzpah in walking up to two armed men with blasters ready to fire and calmly asking them to lower their weapons some how shows me that Fennec is much more than any of us suspect.

    Perhaps now that we are paying attention to this story, our attention will force the story up in importance to the author. I gather writing is not his full time profession.



  5. Tolkien's academic interests were in philology, particularly European philology and his works were an attempt to create an English mythology, something he thought was of great importance to a culture and was distressingly lacking in the English culture. He put this lack down to the indigenous culture's destruction first by the Romans then by the Anglo-Saxons followed by the Nordic incursions and finally completed by the Normans. I think he was quite successful in creating an English mythology, a little too late to be of any real cultural influence, but the colossal and the completely unexpected scale of the success of the LOTR films throughout the English speaking world showed just how much his mythology had entered the English consciousness. Success in spades.

    The construction of Elvish itself was an attempt to create a language based on a 'known' culture, i.e. an attempt to quantify how culture would influence the development of language.

    He also loved to write, both prose and poetry, of course. Just as well as else we would not have had the LOTR cycle.

    Many people wanted there to be an English mythology, hence King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Apparently the field of philology has morphed into something a bit different these days. These days a philologist might even be called a linguist. But never forget that the English have a particularly rich folk song tradition which seems in some people's minds to have tended to push down the number of influencial English composers from the Rennassaince to the 20th century.

    Tolkein was (interstingly) a member of the Inklings, a small group of English academics who gathered together and talked about things English and things religious to. C.S. Lewis was a prominent member of this group as well. They shared writings some of which were never published and many that eventually were.

    If you read C.S. Lewis' creation story, then read Tolkein's from the Silmarillion, you will see the similarity. But Tolkein's interest in language went far beyond just English and English mythology and history. He shows definite influences from many Nordic mythologies. One page a read stated that elvish bore great similarities to Finnish of all languages (which is not Scandinavian).

    Several times I've seen mention of the Edda Eldar, and other ancient Nordic lays. Oddly enough, this material seems to have also been of interest in Germany to E.T.A. Hoffmann who's opera Ondine is considered by many to have been the first opera in the Romantic tradition (unfortunately the sets and scores were burned in a fire which ended its successful run and it has only recently been reconstructed from orchestral parts and notes). Hoffmann is where Wagner gets much of his material for his operas. The link I've mentioned is interesting, it has much material that I've never read (yet) and was not available when I was sleuthing things out.

    I think that Tolkein's interest was in language and then came to understand that languages grow out of cultures or grow out along side the cultures and their histories. His stories are attempts to put histories with the languages he invented. There are, apparently quite a number of them in various states of completion. The Elvish ones seem to be the most complete. Language, a culture and its history walk together. Shakespeare is impossible without Elizabethan England, and it was also that he stood on the cusp of a radical change in the English language. Our language benefited greatly from his genius. The influence lingered on and moved into Europe in the 19th century where every composer I've studied about or learned about knew and had heard Shakespeare's plays ether in English or in translation.

    This, of course brings us full circle back to J.R.R. Tolkein and ostensibly Jamie de Valen (writer)!



  6. I agree with you in that Enigma of Flatness is a good story. There was a two year hiatus in posting which does seem to raise a question as to the author's commitment/ability to complete the story.

    There is always the danger of writer's block, real life intervention, personal disaster, death, even simply waning interest killing off a very good story. The online writing genre is littered with good and even great stories that have, or currently appear to have, died in mid flow.

    Songspell (pseudo early English style makes reading it hard work but it is very rewarding), Broken Pegasus Wings, Grey Eyed Justice, Noah, Erebi Seeking, A Quetion of Tine and many, many more come to mind.

    hmmm I'm not quite sure what you mean. I am actually using my Mac to have it read to me. The Mac has several convincing voices which sound very human-like and very easy to listen to. The only problem is that it doesn't always get contextual meaning and pronounciation correct. A notorious one is lead (which is led (past tense and the metal -- a noun) and read (red or reed). So the program reads quite well, but it certainly does not understand what its reading. The fact that they can make the voice sound convincing even in complex sentences is quite amazing. There are ways to attempt pronounciation corrections but I have not worked hard enough to find out how to get it right yet.

    However, I do love bed time stories! One thing it does do quite well is get past pronouncing viciously long names or ones I have no clue about. It flipped off the name of the boys home planet like it said the word every day. On the other hand I have been reading quite a bit of David McLeod's Book of Hero's "translations" for a while so I may have just gotten quite used to the style to.

    I noticed this hiatus as well, and am glad that you have noticed it to and mentioned it. I'm sure he will make note. Hopfully he's looking for our comments now. I've mentioned something about "talking behind his back" as an excuse for writing directly to him. Perhaps that will make us a little bit more real to him.

    Back to Enigma, as to a 'gay' AI, I don't think so. I see Dreamer as needing, perhaps desiring would be a better word, or even feeding off, human emotion, maybe a consequence of too much human emulation in his programming. Careful reading clearly shows that his 'emotions' are emulations, there is a real 'personality', but it is more akin to that of a high functioning autistic, paralleling normal human responses/urges but not quite synchronized, there is a definite disconnect there, an intellectual appreciation of emotion rather than an emotional one, if that makes sense.

    He seems aware of his non-human humanity and sometimes almost falls into that trap. I think he did with his first captain. He most definitely makes a good counselor for those two Orion boys who can't quite get past their societies misguided rules against males touching or loving. Serveral times he called them both out on it, saying that he could see all their biometric readings sand not to try to pull the wool over his eyes. On the other hand, he makes a crucial mistake with Fennec when he dances with him.

    Having the two Orion men there as in love with each other as they are perhaps makes Dreamer stronger in a way in that it prevents him from edging to close to his top ranked captain and crew members. Remember though, that Dreamer is massively under manned currently. Notice his penchant for picking up lost strays, something like those kids that can't leave a stray puppy or kitten without a home!

    In some ways, his ability to flirt with being human and not get caught up in it may be one of his strong points .... but who really knows yet. Have you run into his sister yet?

    LOL he's quite upset when she calls Dreamer her sister ship and insists that they are sibling ships. They came off the production line a mere 4 hours after one another.

    Oddly, only Liorelle even come near to understanding Fennec. I think I can see what has happened to him in a way because there was so much left out of my own development at home growing up in a Christian fundamentalist family who cut me off from friends with whom I had things in common with, leaving me a lonely teen feeling that parental love was dangerous. They had cut me off from things like drama and musical theatre, and sometimes had threatened to take away my piano lessons. This left me even more isolated during those key periods of development. So in a way I understand how lost Fennec must feel not having much of himself really there and no memories to go with it.

    I don't know if Dreamer can quite understand that, he's to flip and to fast with the smart reply .... you cannot do that with Fennec just yet. Liorelle needs to see to his education or something like that. For all their focus on family and bloodlines, the Kinjori seem totally ruthless and completely self-centred. They are willing to sacrifice any of their own for the dominance of their own race. Hence the Onyx Hand. (I wonder just how brittle onyx really is). Liorelle has been hurt badly by this herself ... see the letter Dreamer delivers to her from her mother.

    Dreamer is certainly not your usual dispassionate A.I. that's for sure. There is another much more non-human A.I. lurking out there which is quite dangerous yet. Dreamer is not yet aware of her and its only been mentioned once so far. For being nominally sentient it seems very sure of its sexuality however and I find that puzzling (and dangerous).

    I saw that gap as well, and in his author notes he mentions that to, I think if he starts getting tons of attention for his writing he may see it as a much higher priority. Also when I point out that he's in the same league with Jamie.wri that changes things a lot. I am not just kidding around here. I really think that Devon Keene is one of those writers you do not want to loose. This is science fiction writing at its best. No vampires or werewolves, nothing supernatural just speculative science and its wonderful for a change.

    thanks for reading!



    P.S. I wonder if Dreamer might visit my twin stars .... of course no ulterior motives here at all!

  7. I agree that there is a Prison of Pain/Vosh connection, most likely the original Vosh adopted the dress in honour of the sacrifice made by the rescued prisoners. In truth I doubt we will ever hear the story of what actually happens as it is probably of no importance to the story, not to mention that as far as we know the Vosh had lost most of their early history.

    On the other hand, perhaps Jamie.wri will be moved to writing a Silmarillion-like addition after TSOI completes. I am sure there would be great interest, here and publicly if Jamie.wri does ever publish the story.

    Speaking of the Silmarillion, I just happened to have my copy handy! As I thought I had remembered, what was published as The Silmarillion was published after his death and consisted not only of the Silmarillion itself but many other interesting fragments.

    I remember reading comments by Tolkein himself in which he stated that his motives for creating LOTR sprang from his invention of the Elvish language. As he pointed out, every language develops in a culture and has a history. Much of the Silmarillion is just that. It was written over the entire span of his life.

    Jamie.wri being quite another person will not have conceived his tale in the same way. The only thing I would much like to see is some more bits of the Icarian language. We may still since it will likely be used in the ceremonies surrounding the Wizard and the King assuming their stations.

    I'm sure Jamie.wri has never quite experienced the amount of questioning and speculation which is taking place during the time he is writing the next chapter! As you may have noticed, I have found another story about which I think I'm just about as passionate about as TSOI.I am truly puzzled about the "Enigma of Flatness".

    I think whoever made those Farships, may have made a gay one! Dreamer sure is attached to his male crew members.

    Hmmm, Odd, I had not considered that flat was enigmatic, but I know others do! Einstein on the other hand was sure that time was bent and twisted in a kind of corkscrew! Now all we need is a shape for space itself; just a small insignificant problem!

    Thus endeth my speculation and thoughts on TSOI and LOTR (and the Silmarillion of course); they are birds of quite a different feather!

    That reminds me to write to the author instead of just talking behind his back.. even though everything I've said is nice and complimentary. Oh, and I'd like a date with Dreamer to! By my twin stars! His farship could jump through those cracks in space and be here in no time at all! You know it is those binary star systems which produce a plethora of jump points to!



  8. These could be two of the most prominent factors. We do know they were treated poorly. Promises made and promises broken.

    True enough, however, the promises and treaties that were broken and over which the Vosh call the Xanamarians Oath Breakers all happen after the fall of Kuronos and during the period of stasis. They seem to have no legends save the Prophecies which seem to point to Jamie as the one to fulfill the broken promises.

    It seems odd that they have no history before that since they seem at the present time to be keeping such careful documentation of their history.

    That they are somehow related to the Kalorians seems logical. Also keep in mind that the Kalorians had only limited immunity to the virus that infected and killed the humans or removed their capacity for higher level thought processes. It could be that the Vosh are descended from those Kalorians who's memory was affected by the plague but were not killed. There is so much room for speculation!



  9. Well, I'm almost lost for words here! I started reading The Enigma of Flatness with little or no hope that it would be a truly good Science Fiction story and have been proven completely and utterly wrong!

    I've only just run across this story, and it looks like the author posts only every two or three months, but each chapter has pulled me inexorably deeper into the plot. This is a true Science Fiction story, there are no vampires, no alternate universes and no magic. Its a story in the true sense of the genre.

    The author gives you no hint at the beginning where this story might be heading. There are two young men, orphans living on the planet Astral-Ishasa, who've been living with each other all their lives, and of course, dreaming of the stars. One day, crossing a street Tallas picks up a plain white opened envelope in which he finds a data disk. He absent mindedly puts it in his pocket. The next day, after falling asleep with at his friend's Sabrin's dorm room, they are awakened by a frantic call from a friend warnig them of the police attempting to hunt down Tallas. Frightened at being arrested by the quiet nasty Orion Police, they run. Run for three days before stumbling through a space port and slipping inside the only ship that isn't an Orion War Ship.

    The ship is a small ovoid shaped black ship which neither of them have seen before. Stumbling through the door they are saved from the Orion Police when the ship's AI shuts the air lock. However on the bridge they are greeted by the ship's avatar who keeps shooting at them. The avatar begs them to disable the security locks put in place by the Orions. After pulling the optical cables from the wall, the killer Avatar collapses.

    I won't go on since the author, Devon Keene cleverly attempts to hide his identity by not posting his name in the first few chapters, claiming that this is his first story posting. Well, don't hide from us! You are good. This is one of the few Sci Fi stories online that comes anywhere close to the quality and craftsmanship of Jamie de Valen's The Scrolls of Icaria. (The Scrolls are found over at The Awesomedude's site.)

    There are few stories in which the author succeeds in truly endearing all his main characters to his readers. Devon Keene succeeds admirably at this.

    Oh! by the way, the ship is not just a ship, the ship, Dream of Dawn is really an AI far ship, a ship capable of scouting and finding jump points which can be used to jump huge distances between stars and even galaxies. The AI, who prefers to be called just Dreamer, has resigned from his own navy and just disappeared. After three years the AI is now held captive by the Orions and accidentally stumbled upon by Tallas and Sabrin as they flee for their lives. With his slight southern drawl, and his charming sense of humour (a hint of sarcasm thrown in ) we soon realise that there are now three main characters, not just two.

    Dreamer is appalled when Sabrin proposes selling Dreamer for the cash since they are broke. Of course Sabrin is just kidding, yanking Sabrin's chain. There are more than a few hints that Dreamer's sexuality may be slightly skewed --- I think he's attracted to humans and male humans at that! Either that or he has the habit of picking up strays he finds and keeping them as his crew!

    If I'm wrong about his sexual attraction, I'm certainly not wrong about his want to help those in trouble, those who have been unjustly treated by an uncaring and unsympathetic universe. So far, I have only found hints of Dreamer's story, how he came to be one of only two existing far ships. In a later chapter he runs into his sister ship.

    I'll not say more about the plot, and I haven't given to much away since so much more happens they meet so many more strangely interesting people along the way!

    Has anyone else found this story and followed it? Please post and start a discussion, even just about the title. How is flatness enigmatic? Perhaps, for Dreamer, time makes life flat since it goes on so long that looking over life's landscape, events seem to even out over the length of time. Of course that's just my idle speculation.

    Yeppers! this is the first story since finding The Scrolls of Icaria that I've been as excited about reading it.

    The only problem is that yet again, I seem to be reading faster than authors are posting chapters! But that's a problem you run into with quality and highly creative authors ... they inspire their readers.



  10. OMG NO!!!! Noooooo!!!!! I was just correcting a long reply to Talon when Firefox suddenly crashed (I'm using a beta version) and I've lost the post I think. We'll see if it turns up by some feat of magic or one of those quantum chance events physicists like to talk about.

    I'f It doesn't reappear, I'll see If I can reconstruct it. There was a long intricate stream of logic in it I'm not sure if I can reproduce ....

    cheers, (shaking his fist at the universe!)


  11. Snip...Mystery stories I can accept, its the Vampire stories I cannot abide! Every time I turn around these days there is a story called Sci/fi with a heard of Vampires and other supernatural creatures in it. This isn't science fiction, nor is it fantasy. The correct genre for Vampire stories and the like is Horror. One of the reasons I read TSOI is that there is not hint of vampires or any other super or preternatural character.Once you've read one vampire story, you've read them all. All they do worry about being murderers because they are now carnivores that need human blood to live. Darn it all, so do Vampire bats and mosquitoes. Someone invent a Vampire that doesn't drain its victim please? Doesn't this basically make sense? The concept of vampires is flawed, its basically the same as when Marry Shelly wrote the first Vampire story. Lets have some creativity here.cheers,dioscuri

    Sorry, Mary Shelly did "Frankenstein" not vampires. The popularity of vampires began with John Polidori's "The Vampyre" in 1819. It is Bram Stroker's 1897 novel "Dracula" that further popularized and provided the stereotypical vampire that is the basis of the modern vampire genre of horror novels, films and TV shows.

    Remember, all such stories are fiction. As is TSOI. Fiction being "the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, esp. in prose form". Being fiction, the characters, events, plot lines and any other elements of such stories are all the products of the writers imagination and it is the province of the author of the fiction as to whether or not it has any relation to reality.

    Many people like the vampire genre stories. I'm not overly fond of them, so the simple solution for me is to ignore them.

    My favorite genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy or a combination of the two. I don't read Science Fiction stories with the expectation that all of the science has any relation to real science. Key word there is "fiction". The Fantasy genre kind of speaks for it self, no reality there.

    I read and follow TSOI for no other reason than it is a great story. Whether or not the genetic manipulation in the story that created the Icarians or the Kalorians reflects the current genetic research in the real world is irrelevant. The same is true of the mirror gates and research into teleportation devices. It's irrelevant, it's not important. What is important is if it fits and enhances the story. What may be more important is the authors talent and skill in being able to grab and hold the attention of and provide some enjoyment for the reader. Jamie has those in spades and is, IMHO, a true Wordsmith.

    Sorry didn't mean to get into a rant. :)


    Thomas; I don't see your post as a rant in any way at all. It is simply a statement of your own personal preferences in the Literature you read. You are certainly entitled to that. I, myself am horribly picky in what I like to read. I plowed my was through "Foundation" but after the first volume, I found I didn't like the direction Asimov was taking his story. Reading all of them was simply to be able to say to any critic that I had indeed read all of them and my judgement stands. It was also just plain dogged determination that the series was not going to defeat me!

    I was standing by an elevator the other day and commented that we should have transporter beams to take us to our destination for they would certainly be more efficient. Look at your cell (mobile phone for anyone outside of North America) and think of the communicators used in StarTrek. Not quite the same but you can see the similarity. What is Science Fiction today may not be in the future.

    As far as genetic manipulation goes, we are on the cusp of some true understanding. With things like fMIR (Functional MIR) scanning we can look deep into the brain and see in great detail its functioning and in real time. I mentioned that they had discovered that babies inthe womb had already learned a musical vocabulary while they still had no language ability. This was a stunning surprise and its affects were felt into the Anthropologist community and into the study of psychological evolution. It seems that music has played a far more important role in our development than we thought and it may have preceded language!

    We are learning more about DNA and how it affects us far beyond the simple strands of genes. Genes have other meta markers which may be turned on or off or have other setting. These are changed and set after conception and not before. This means that for many complex things in humans, that the simple understanding of basic DNA is simply not enough. That we are pre-programmed for our sexuality is not a simple matter of either possessing or not possessing a certain gene, It may be a matter of something that happens to the genes inside our mother's womb before birth and after conception. Truly, what we do know is simply dwarfed by what we do not know. A certain amount of humility is required of us humans, something which seems to have been lacking in the Empire. The very idea that someone could have claimed to have reached a state of self actualization is quite simply presumptuous. Basically, they devceved themselves. Charles, I don't think has quite realised this. He is on his way to understanding this, but he is not there. Hippolito on the other hand, in quite simply incapable of understanding this concept.

    I think Croal had begun to understand this, and had greatly desired to right some of the wrongs which he himself may have been responsible for. Perhaps he will by the time we finish this book. This is one of the reasons why I am being patient with our author as he struggles to put into words what I could never in a thousand years accomplish.

    Developing new species like the Kalorians and the Icarians simply tests out own humanity. Obviously those in the Empire saw those two newly created species as less than human and as property and not as real people. I hope you realise that not long ago women were considered property and children as well. Children have fared far worse than women in this change in status. If children are considered real people, for all intents and purposes they are treated by their parents as property. In most cases, the child has no defense and has ho advocate for his own rights. Perhaps the treatment of the Icarians and Kalorians really points the finger at us and how we treat each other.

    Gay kids frequently know for sure about their own sexuality as soon as puberty hits, and that's between 11 and 13 usually, yet the laws in most countries do not acknowledge that a child might be able to understand who he is. Of course this is utter rubbish, but the laws continue to make this distinction. Heterosexual until proven otherwise is the usual motto. Far to many of us have suffered under that deliberate misunderstanding of sexuality and many live in prisons with invisible bars which prevent them from fraternizing with those with whom they have the most in common. In many cases we are as patronizing and dismissive of our children as the Empire was of the Icarians and Kalorians. The biggest question is if anyone will learn from the eloquent writing of the likes of jamie.wri. I am pessimistic about this possibility. We surely have not learned anything from the tragedy of "Romeo and Juliet". Odd isn't it, that the love theme from Tchaikovsky's tone poem inspired by the Shakespeare play was inspired by his first gay love in what we'd consider high school! SSShhh don't tell anyone, they'll try to take the work out of music libraries in schools everywhere! No, some presumptuous self-centred, pompous music historian will come by and drop some sort of gibberish reason why this is not so and the academic peer reviewed magazines will jump on it as just giving voice to the "other side". (why I have this love/hate relationship with muisc theorticians and historians.)

    Thanks for pointing out my error with Marry Shelley. While she was not responsible for the resurrection of the Vampires, she certainly was the progenitor of a whole genre of literature to do with horror. Without Mary Shelly, we certainly would not have that rich, very unique way of exploring the human psyche. Odd how it was often English writers who forged the way in literature.

    Studying music, Shakespeare's influence in music from his own time through to the present day is quite phenomenal. Not only did he influence those English speakers, but his plays found their way into the literature of the stage of almost every European country. Verdi, Wagner, Berlioz, Schubert, even Beethoven was influenced by Shakespeare's work and quite frequently set it to music. No other author save perhaps E.T.A. Hoffmann has had more influence, its to bad that English is the onlly language badly servered with good translations of E.T.A. Hoffmann's literature.

    His music is important almost beyond belief, His opera, "Ondine" is often counted as the first Romantic Opera. Weber's Der Freischutz takes the honour only because the sets and costumes for Ondine were destroyed in a tragic fire. The production has only recently been reconstructed by scholars. In Engllish, likely the works of Edgar Allan Poe would have been impossible without Hoffmann. Most of Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas are based in whole or in part on characters and ideas found in Hofffmann's work almost a century before.

    His greatest work perhaps is the one about Tom Cat Muir. It is perhaps the strangest book ever written and published. It begins with a publishers note that the galley proofs arrived in complete disarray. Apparently someone (Tom Cat Muir) had used the blank side of the pages to write is own memoirs. The publisher thinks the book has so much merit that he publishes it as is, so the book is printed as it arrived with Tom Cat Muir's memoirs sometimes gracing the page then a a few pages later, suddenly and frequently in mid-sentence, we are in a completely different setting and in the story of the "original" author. This story is about a back water kingdom somewhere in Germany in which the people at court display the utter blandness and inane gossip, and somewhere within that story is Hoffmann's own mirror image in the personage of Kapelmeister (a conductor or music director) Johannes Kreisler.

    Kreisler's music is misunderstood and he is completely unappreciated for the musical genius he is. Then suddenly we are back with the cat. The cat has somehow learned to read, write, and converse with humans and so has in theory become one of the educated elite. Unfortunately, his true nature bubbles to the surface when a rat runs through a banquet hall where Muir is attending a banquet. Muir's instincts take over and instantly he is the hunter we know cats to be. He gets a feral look in his eyes. Pounces on the rat and devours it in front of the invited guests. Hoffmann's own cat was named Muir by the way, he was a grey tabby and the two of them died within months of each other in about 1823. There is a translation which would be in the public domain but it has not been made avaailable however there is a translation published by Penguin books.

  12. I have a question about gate travel. We are told in no uncertain terms that two beings cannot be touching at the time they travel through the gates, yet Liudowag and Barcepa run through the gate holding hands.

    Then, when Charlie is awakened, then sent away with the Ghroum, Spinoza is thrown at Charlie and travels the gate on Charlie's shoulder. At least this is the impression those two passages give. Isn't this a contradiction?



  13. Good catch on the scar Dioscuri.

    Perhaps T can edit the thread title, Origins of the Cow is not very flattering to Jamie.wri :lol:

    On to the points you raise.

    Saki's training would have been crucial. Sorry, your logic is way off there ;) Even with the Emperor dead I doubt the Empire is in disarray, current events are more of an irritation as Loka implied speaking to Jamie as he was captured. If you are in a small, bare room and I shoot at you I could easily miss, if I lob a grenade in you are dead. And the Gahdar are experts at hand to hand fighting and, I grant you, tactics, but they are not trained as soldiery and must have been severely disadvantaged in this, but they did have the assistance of a large contingent of the Kalorian League, how many that was we do not know.

    Time and time again we are told that the virus attacking the humans of the Empire is advancing far faster than anyone has admitted. That's the reason I say the Empire is in disarray. Savaron Loka up to now has been a successful manipulator of the Emperor. The Emperor does what Loka wants. His absence changes nothing, the virus is the agent that introduces the disarray inside the Empire. Gold Glass is all but gone.

    And the Ghdar know more than we think about ordinary soldiering. Niklas has instilled in them the Code of the Ghadar. Part of that is that they fight for their cause and they fight for each other. This is close to how the Wizard's Own Legion is constructed.

    # Taldor Valoron is now cut off. Where will the living Kalorians go? The Ardentin forest is the obvious place. Very difficult to speculate at the moment, perhaps the anti-Kalorian virus never gets released, or is only partially released, perhaps the Kalorian League had some stasis units set aside for their own use, after all we now know Jamie left the saving of all loyal Icarians in Kalorian hands. As Tomasg suggested, perhaps some left Taldor Valoren after the barrier shut down. Maybe the virus wasn't 100% fatal or never even reached some outlying or remote areas.

    Still a lot to learn and not much book left, so perhaps we will have to wait for book three to answer some of the questions. Of course, if one reads book 2 before book 1 then a great deal more will make sense. Maybe I'll do that. No offense to Jamie.wri, but I really do not like mystery stories.

    Mystery stories I can accept, its the Vampire stories I cannot abide! Every time I turn around these days there is a story called Sci/fi with a heard of Vampires and other supernatural creatures in it. This isn't science fiction, nor is it fantasy. The correct genre for Vampire stories and the like is Horror. One of the reasons I read TSOI is that there is not hint of vampires or any other super or preternatural character.

    Once you've read one vampire story, you've read them all. All they do worry about being murderers because they are now carnivores that need human blood to live. Darn it all, so do Vampire bats and mosquitoes. Someone invent a Vampire that doesn't drain its victim please? Doesn't this basically make sense? The concept of vampires is flawed, its basically the same as when Marry Shelly wrote the first Vampire story. Lets have some creativity here.



  14. Sorry Dioscuri, it IS a mystery story, and sci/fi, and fantasy.

    Now, if Jamie.wri had placed book 2 first then it wouldn't be a mystery story. By introducing a case of amnesia for the main characters and presenting book 1 first he has made it a mystery story, even if he did not intend to.

    TSOI so far follows all the precepts for a mystery story, there is an important event the cause of which is unknown, the main characters follow clues in order to solve/understand this mystery, they encounter red herrings and contradictions and may even find the answer without realising it, eventually the mystery is resolved.

    So there :P

    But then all stories about life are mysteries, none of the characters know what will happen to them, and neither does the reading audience. I've thought about placing the second book first, but, somehow, it just wouldn't work. The whole story became much more mundane, and the cold sleep syndrome affect would be of no importance because we'd know they'd get their memories back already, Most of what we didn't know would have been served up on a silver platter.

    Life, as we live it is a mystery. We are trapped by time, trapped because we do not know the future and because we cannot move back and forth like we could on a line on a graph. We, like the characters in TSOI are stuck in that mystery called life and there are no detectives to hire and solve those mysteries, no John Steed and Emma Peel, no Sherlock Holmes to take charge of the problem. We face it without knowing what the future brings.

    TSOI is closer to real life than we may think. Notice who is telling this story. Jamie is telling it. This gives you a a clue. Jamie is going to survive. We have no hint that Jamie is broken in spirit so we can be fairly sure that Niklas has survived. That is another clue.

    Now if jamie.wri had chosen a third person narrative format for his story, Then we'd really have no clue as to what happens. But its that his narrator is part of the plot itself, we know at list a little bit more than we think we do. TSOI just has no Miss Marple. Mysteries all have their Miss Marple or the equivalent detective.



  15. I don't think the barrier has been activated yet. Jamie did instruct someone on how to do it. I don't think the Empire would be in too big of a hurry to go after the Kalorians in Taldor Valoren. Why waste the time, there are plan's to eliminate the race anyway


    This now also brings up another question, if the barrier was only to last for 100 years, why is there still a barrier in place? Is it the same one, or a different one. I have to wonder of Jamie set up a second one to protect the area around the Tower of Agramon knowing what he knows about it, it's possible.

    True we don't know if those in Taldor Valoren activated the barrier or not, I rather think they would have as it was part of the measures to protect their children.

    We know it isn't the same one protecting Altinestra, I suspect Jamie sets that one up at another time before they enter stasis, no doubt there will be an answer in the next instalment as that is rather a crucial feature in the story. Although I suppose it is possible, not likely, but possible, Jamie and the others were in stasis for 100 years, woke up, found everything still in turmoil, blocked off Altinestra and went back for another couple of thousand years :lol:

    Read the page on the Orbs, there is some fascinating information there. There is information which implies the creator of the orbs or the programming inside the orbs *knew* and understood the encrypted data on the Monastery of Infinity.

    I'm going out on another tangent here. No one knows who created and built the Monastery or the Tower of Agromon. Who named them that and why? The Tower of Agromon is so high that it reaches above the clouds frequently. To me it seems as if it is a broadcast centre of some sort or a control centre.

    There is also the issue of who the Ghroum's Guadajeir was, what his purpose was and why he failed at what he was to do. All we know is that this Guardageir did not fulfill his mission. I get the impression that there is some unknown consequences for a guardajeir who fails in his duty. Perhaps this is why the Empire attempted genocide as a solution.

    I'll take another guess, the fact that the Ghroum only communicate well telepathically, and that their facial and body expressions do not fit in with those common to ALL Earth cultures currently known, they were placed on that planet with the promise that it would be a safe haven for them. When the humans made land fall, that all changed for some reason and we don't know why.

    To bring this all together, I think there is a great deal of power controlled by the Tower of Agromon and the Monastery of Infinity. Jamie understood the Monastery, so did Croal and also Jonas I would guess. Someone else is in on this secret to otherwise the Orbs would not have been created the way they were. It seems some of them were finished with great haste and the purpose of some were changed.

    This story is not a real mystery, it only feels like that to us because Jamie.wri is not writing as fast as we can chew up what he writes! No writer can! Tolkien took how many years to finish the Lord of The Rings? How man years did Dune take to finally finish? What about Asimov's Foundation series? While these were books, the audience was left at the end of many of them knowing that they had to wait for another book to find out information they wanted to know. This doesn't make them mysteries, there's no detective work, just a large amount of time. Three ages of Middle earth for Tolkein, I''ve forgotten how many for Asimov's Foundation and for Dune. TSOI is at a tipping point. Jamie.wri has to bring things together for us soon. However, remember, we have another book to go after this one. We are merely cleaning up old history at this point. We are learning what Jamie and Niklas and many other Icarians forgot during the long cold sleep. what we need is patience, and the understanding that the kind of writing that Jamie.wri is doing is exceedingly difficult. He has stated that he has the ending of the book planned out that he does have the outline of the book finished. My inclination is to trust him since he has not really let us down so far.

    It is difficult I know, that is why I've been doing other reading. I've found stories like Owen which has enchanted me. We've finished part one with 54 chapters I believe, and we're on to Owen II. There are characters in that story about a farm boy who longs to go to University, he makes it there, finds an unexpected friend, falls in love (again). Many crazy mad cap things happen (there's one place where a character accuses another of being "... as confused as a new born baby in a topless bar!") and some tragic things as well. I've read and re-read David McCleod's Book of Heros stories about another world where magic is a reality. "George of Sedona" is a good one to start with. Some people from this Earth have slipped through to this place just called World. Imagine a world where humans live to nearly 800 years old, and the time you spend as a youth is extended drastically. You'll have to go to Gay Authors for this one. The author is not currently adding to these stories but each one is complete in itself. Oh! and I just discovered another one on Nifty! "The Enigma of Flatness" (personally, I've never found flatness enigmatic in the slightest -- i still await what is enigmatic!Perhaps if the flatness, the plane was twisted a bit ..... and turned into a one sided plane (a mobeius strip -- no, not a stripper joint! though there is a short story in a book called Fantasia Mathematica where a stripper attempts it!) It might turn out to be somewhat enigmatic --- but then it wouldn't be flat) was a complete and delightful surprise. A "far ship", a ship that is an AI has a human avitar that is cute, good looking, funny, adventurous, and looking for a crew .... apparently cruising the Universe and hopping from galaxy to galaxy looses its novelty and the AI longs for human company finding it in two boys running from the secret police on their home planet and stumble onto "the Dream of Dawn", the AI calls himself Dreamer for short. Alll this I have discovered while waiting for jamie.wri to give us another episode. He's got competition but you will notice that I keep coming back to TSOI for more.

    I have discovered more stories, but that should keep some of you reading for a while. Its kept me sane while being patient with our beloved author --- and I'm not being sarcatic, I think Jamie.wri is one brilliantly talented author who is sharing his creative process in part with us. We see how a real novel is built and how much work is involved. Now that I've given away some of my discoveries, gimme some of yours!

    Chapter 43 has been an eye opener. Most of the things that happened I suspected or knew would happen, I just had no idea they'd take place the way they did. I had thought that the Emperor would be assassinated along with Savaron Loka at Castle Rood when the Ghadar were supposed to be put to death. I was right about the assassination of the Emperor but wrong about who would do the deed. I suspect that if we read back we'll find a clue that Renaud had every intention of setting things up for Jamie to take his own revenge on the Emperor. We missed that clue!

    Were this a mystery, there would be clues enough to solve the mystery by now. Instead, the plot simply thickens. We hear less and less about the Commonwealth, though the gate interdiction still stands.There was also a comment about someone or something with the power to simply wipe out everything on the planet. Who or what this is we do not know and I think that the characters we are following do not know either. What we see as mysterious, they aren't even thinking about.

    What is it that Jamie knows or thinks he knows about Charles that makes Charles afraid of Jamie and Jamie so angry at Charles? I've said this before, the Legion of Red and Black were an order of Icarians that were infiltrated by the Empire and used for their own means. Charles either does not know the whole story or has just not got the power to change what has gone wrong.

    You think TSOI is a mystery? I've found some amazing things about music and the human brain. You realise that we understand music long before we understand language. We understand music and its grammar/syntax etc. in our mother's womb. Language waits until after birth. As a musician I guess I really got a head start on everyone else in the arts. That, btw, I found on the You Tube of all places! Life, it seems is a frustrating place to be, but what other choice to we have? I dearly wish I could meet up with a far ship like Dream of Dawn and trip off across the stars...... but then, where would my piano be?

    We're just at a frustrating point in the story. I'll assure you that Jamie.wri is even more frustrated at this point, wishing that he was further ahead. But you realise that it is us that keeps him on his toes and keeps pointing out discrepancies.

    I'll leave you now with this long run on post. There's lots here to occupy you and lots to comment on to.



    the twins are watching you!

  16. We've never truly discussed this topic because there's never been enough evidence to say much of anything. Now we have some, but just a little.

    1. We know the 7 and 81 are the 781 children or younger people who were saved during the night of flight.
    2. We've seen older Kalorians dressed in grey coats running the the Kalorian part of the operation.
    3. We know the Emperor is dead and so is a good part of his idea to move to Argon..
    4. We know the empire is in a sort of disarray, obviously not expecting the kind of battle they had to fight. imagine being a battle hov pilot and having to fight or shoot at one of those small tiny moving targets (the Ghadar) when you're used to shooting at larger objects and your weapons are made for destroying larger objects. I wonder how many battle hovs were destroyed when a Ghadar duet duped two hovs into shooting each other down. Remember, this is part of the battle which Niklas *knew* in advance they'd be fighting and where Master Saki's training would have been crucial.
    5. Taldor Valoron is now cut off. Where will the living Kalorians go? The Ardentin forest is the obvious place.

    This is really just a flash of logic, and probably flawed to some extent, but now the origin of the Vache may make more sense. There is ONE last thing. Remember that the Vache know about the scar that Hippolito gave Jamie and where it is on his body. The night of flight is how they knew. He was naked from the waist up for much of this episode --- that's where that legend and part of the prophecy came from.

    Remember as well, the Kalorian League are resident at Domain Carolus not in Taldor Valoron.

    Lets continue down this thread until its finally revealed who and where the Vache really came from.



  17. Interesting chapter. Much to consider.

    The death of the Trio didn't come as a surprise. It was the where and the how that was unknown.

    We really know of only one of the trio, though that the rest might have suffered the same fate wouldn't surprise me. That the trio decided to fight along side of the Ghadar wasn't that much of a surprise seeing as how much the three admired them.

    I was a bit surprised that Hippolito left Jamie with the Emperor and didn't wait to take custody of him once he was finished with him. We knew that Renaud hated the Emperor, though the method of Renaud's execution of the Emperor was to say the least, unique. I think it gave him a kind of back handed revenge that he allowed and armed the Emperor's assassin himself.

    So finally Loka gets it! I thought he was brighter than he turned out to be. That he missed the connection between Jamie de Valèn and Niklas Agromos seems to me to be the classic error of not paying attention to history. It is, however, not an uncommon mistake.

    Both Hippolito and Loka are about to make another fatal error in judgement. They've planned to have Jamie and Niklas in the same arena when they are to be executed. Not only that but Loka has made the most careless error possible, he's ordered that Hippolito leave Jamie's execution to the last. Not a good move considering Jamie's amazing powers. Even if Loka's scans didn't make him aware of Jamie's powers surely what he pulled off at Angel Falls should have alerted him that there was something different and our of the ordinary going on.

    That said, how often do those in power simply take their power for granted? They assume that it will always be there. There is something about having the amount of power and influence Loka had that fans the belief of invincibility. No one, no superhero, no divine being is invulnerable to defeat. Even in the Bible where God is considered omnipotent, Satan manages to stage a rebellion which it seems was almost successful since he took quite a number of the heavenly host with him when he was eternally damned! Yes, Satan lost, but it does show that the God so many assume invincible isn't really invincible.

    Oh! was that blasphemous? Perhaps, but my statement is logical. No, I'm not meaning to mock anyone's faith, I mean only to point out part of what the Bible says happened before even the Earth was created -- there was a rebellion in the heavenly dwelling place of God. Where rebellion can happen, defeat for both sides is possible.

    All of Loka's hand wringing will not change what happened while he wasn't looking. All his hand wringing won't change the fact that Croal at this point, even though dead, is in control.

    Moving away from the divine and back to the mundane, everything in this world, even perhaps everything in the known universe is built upon something that happened before. We know that it almost for sure will not duplicate what came before, but if it happens a second time there must be a compelling reason for it to happen again. This is why I have been pointing out examples of what may be animal intelligence, animal pair bonds, cross species bonds and the ability to communicate across species (crows have been known to cooperate with wolves in order to have a carcass ripped open so they can scavange and it seems that wolves are more than happy to oblige.)

    The more I study music, the more I realise that everything is built upon what someone else did before. You cannot unhear what you have already heard. I just ran into a composition on the Internet, a fugue. Its called "The Nokia Fugue". Its subject is the ring tone from one of the Nokia phones! Yes, its a real fugue, and its playable and I'm going to learn it! Now I've got that ring tone running through my head, forward, and backwards, and upside down, and perhaps even backwards. Evolution itself underlines this principal of change and growth in complexity.

    Loka and Hippolito do not understand that principal yet, nor do they understand that neither history nor time stand still, they move inexorably on down an unknown path. Perhaps we are lucky enough to be able to alter it ..... however, Savaron Loka and Hippolito Corcorian will not be one of the few that will alter the future much longer!



    P.S. One other thing, reading about the Orbs, there are two charms related to time. Te one called time tamer, and the other the ability to produce a cleft in time. The Imperial does not have to possess the Orb to be a time tamer, if his genetics are right, he can do it naturally without any enhancements. At this point I'm sure that Jamie's ability as a time tamer are bacuase of his genetic make up and not the result of an Orb. I wonder if this also is true of the charm of the time cleft.


  18. Well, Altinestra, if I recall correctly, was settled by scientists who were most likely non-religious as a group.

    I think that's a bad assumption to make. You never hear scientists talk about religion unless they are directly asked. Scientists know enough to make the distinction between religious faith and scientific theories based on evidence. Scientific theories change, and change radically based on research. As the theory is tested, the parts of the theory that are proven wrong are changed. Facts gained by experimental means must be able to be repeated.

    Miracles cannot be tested. Miracles can only be claimed by the person for whom the miracle has occurred, therefore it cannot be repeated even if the circumstances could be reproduced.

    Many scientists have some sort of religious belief, but they do not allow these beliefs to cloud the work they do in their area of science.

    Even if there were some with a powerful belief I doubt the majority would have accepted any organised observance or shown any interest. Also one can assume there was little 'unknown' among the original settlers, not understood, perhaps, but not unknown. Religion depends on ignorance and the fear of the unknown to take hold, in my opinion, of course and I have no problem with other people having a belief, provided they don't use it as an excuse to interfere with me.

    From what I gathered, many of the colonists, in deep cryogenic sleep for as long as they were suffered from Longer Term Stasis Memory Loss Syndrome. Many of them could not remember who they were let alone help or make decisions about their government.

    The analogues with real world religion are obvious, so I won't say more. Nor would I wish my atheist views to offend, I very much believe in each to their own.

    By the author's design; I don't think you can make an corresponance with any of the religions of our world. If anything, the Sarajanus religion is a kind of combo mix of the worst characteristics of them all.... with none of the good. Very cleverly crafted I think.

    My point with bringing up animal intelligence and questioning our own definitions of intelligence was meant to make people think. Remember, anything we create or discover new these days is built on something that came before. About the only people who can discover something new are physicists. Even they are stretching neat their limit.

    Creativity is not dead, it is what it always was, based on what came before and a reaction to events in the present. I am reminded of that every time I have to explain to a rock musician about modes, what they are and where they came from. Its me, the musician who does all that music of those dead white men who they come to when they want something which doesn't seem to fit in explained. They to, are building on what came before --- or even resurrecting it! But always remember, we do not know everything and its dangerous to look back and consider ourselves "more advanced" than some species or civilization.



  19. I know we're getting a little off topic here, but speaking of religion. In the past time line, there has been no mention of a dominate religion. The only religion mentioned is in the current timeline.

    It was not my intention for this post to have anything to do with religion. I was drawing links between Earth's history (the home planet) and events at Gold Glass.

    As I have learned more about animals and biology in general, I have been astounded by what has been discovered, then even more astounded by what has been covered up in the name of preserving what can only be called ethnocentric ideas of the distinction between humans and animals and humans and other species.

    I did mean to bring into question the reaction of the human population to the Ghroum simply because they embody everything that we are, except that they express it in exactly the opposite manner. This brings to a point how we will communicate with an entirely new species.

    In bringing up the issue of Parrots and also Corvides (Corvides are family from which crows and ravens are from) who are turning out to be exhibiting more and more signs of intelligence once only thought to be found in humans and perhaps chimpanzees. Scientists for some reason have been loathe to investigate these most interesting developments and they remain for the most part controversial.

    I have in the past owned cats, dogs and parrots as pets. They relate to humans in entirely different ways. Cats and dogs are more similar to each other than either of them are to Parrots. With cats, its questionable who adopted who as pets, cats or humans. Certainly it is an arrangement of convenience for both species. With dogs, it should be humans who become the alpha of the dog's pack (family), but walking down the street, it is quite obvious that many dogs are taking their humans for walks not the other way around.

    With dogs and humans, humans are alpha IF we choose to be alpha. Being Alpha to a domestic dog has nothing to do with the human's gender simply the leadership role they play.

    Cats, when possible, maintain a lion like pride hierarchy, with females collectively caring for kittens, and males completely excluded from the process. This gets interrupted constantly by the way in which we keep felius catus as single pets.

    When it comes to birds and specifically parrots, things change dramatically. Neither dogs nor cats wild or domestic make permanent bonds on a regular basis the way parrots do. The connection between two birds or one bird and its flock seem to be in some ways interchangeable. A parrot's natural home is usually a hole in a tree or split in some large log. That's where they sleep, not where they spend their waking hours. I think that it is interesting that my little sun conure (a miniature relative of the macaw) would crawl out of its cage in the dark, scramble into the bed and snuggle into bed next to me in what looked at first like a hole in the sheets and blankets.

    What is odd about that behaviour is that birds naturally go to sleep as soon as it is dark. Staying conscious long enough to crawl across the apartment and into bed with me is quite remarkable. Cats and dogs also do this but cats are at least partially nocturnal and dogs would naturally seek their pack. There's nothing about darkness that acts as a sleeping draft for them like darkness does for birds.

    I began to realise just how different having a parrot was from having a dog or cat. It is almost as if your parrot wants or is a part of you. Your parrot wants to be with you all the time. It wants to know where you are at all times. It became very clear to me that Parrots saw their owners in a completely different manner than cats or dogs. That was borne our by all the reading I did.

    I had a friend who owned the most beautiful Molucan Cockatoo, (Moluccan Cockatoos are white, with and orange crown which usualy only shows when they are excited. Their natural habitat is northern Australia, and the South East Asian Islands north and of course, the Island of Moluccai) Peaches he called him/her. However, Howard eventually admitted he didn't have the time needed to devote to owning a Cockatoo. He would have to be mate and flock to the bird.

    Leaving aside personification (that leaves out LOTS of behaviour) and looking at each one as a different species, you gain a deeper insight into what you now and what you do not know about them. All of a sudden the gap between you and your pet gets wider and wider. You realise how much adaptation they do to accommodate you, not the other way around.

    What I refuse to acknowledge, is that we are at the top of some hierarchical triangle of intelligence. I think intelligence shows itself in many different ways. In fact, there is no reason why a species should choose technological development against remaining closer to its own environment. What I am saying is likely going to be seen by all sides in any argument as flawed. I also have nothing to replace that hierarchical triangle with.

    What I'd like to see is real communication with another species. I'd like us to learn to speak Parrot (whether its the Macaw or Cocktoo dialect) AND the parrot learn to speak our language. Then I might admit there was some communication. Cats and Dogs are at a disadvantage there because they do not have the mechanical means for speech, just like the Ghroum do not.

    Perhaps it might be a good idea to lean Dolphin as well. How many accounts are there of Dolphins saving swimmers from sharks? Why? what was in it for the Dolphin? Did this exhibit altruism? We do not have answers for these questions, any scientist who claims to know the answer is covering up his own discomfort at how close to human these other species really are. (quite frankly I'm sick and tired of the way scientists and academics view anecdotal evidence, it doen't just border on snobbism, it IS snobism... and for absolutely no reason either.)

    Now, back to what Croal did genetically with the Icarians. According to the accounts, the only attributes he carefully activated in the Avian DNA was the immune capacity. Any other manifestations such as wings that worked was an untoward result. Pair bonding capacity may have been one of those untoward results perhaps serendipitously!

    I did not mean my post to have any religious implications. I did mean, however, to question the perceived top of the heap hierarchy with humans at the top. I did mean to question any kind of better than or worse than comparisons between other species.

    TSOI very clearly brings those assumptions into the foreground, but only if you are willing to look at them honestly and study the available data on the subject.



    Remember the two stars looking down upon you as you travel during the day (or night).

  20. Your arguments don't convince me. Jamie and particularly Niklas are virtually clones of De Valan and Agramos, not much left to chance there.

    I think that genetics and DNA in particular are more complicated that you make them out to be. Just having the same genes doesn't automatically make you a carbon copy of yourself. Everything that happens in the womb from the time of conception affects how the DNA present will be expressed. Yes, we have some observations that Jamie reminds people of the original de Valen, but then they didn't know him. All they have are stories. As far as Niklas being a carbon copy, all you have is the exclamation of one Ghroum who states: "... It is as if they just put wings on him!". We don't know what basis the Ghroum has for saying that. We do not know the life expectancy of the Ghroum. They, themselves are not sure.

    Nor do I dispute that the underlying theories of Jonas and Croal's plans are based on chaos theory. As I see it the chaotic element was in creating a species with sufficient potential to break the empire and then standing back. After all, if the majority of Icarians turned out like Hippolito, entirely possible with chaos theory, well things might not have been so rosy.

    Either a system is complex/chaotic or it is not. It is not as if you can choose to have one or other chaotic elements. Croal and Minnoton's argument goes to the very structure of the universe they lived in. Minoton and his disciples attempted to control their environment along strict guidelines. They quickly got it thrown back in their face when one of their genetically engineered crops failed completely due to a single parasite. Minoton had developed a species without the means to adapt to the conditions in which it found itself. Minoton would believe in intelegent creation. That is, that the world we live in was created by someone or something who set parameters within which things would work.

    Croals whole point in complexity is that the less control you exercise over any given species, the more likely it is that the species itself will find ways to adapt and keep thriving. This belies intelligent creation and points towards evolutionary forces ... the forces of complexity.

    I certainly agree that Croal saw Kalorians and Icarians as people rather than things and that normal socialisation was an important element. But don't forget, the majority of Icarians exhibit the best traits of humanity despite their upbringing and training, so nobility must be part of the innate Icarian character, although Hippolito and no doubt others were certainly lacking.

    And don't forget Croal was a terrible 'father', manipulating, continually spying on and controlling his 'sons'.

    And which responsible parent doesn't have one eye on their children at all times? Children do not always make the most responsible choices. Also if I recall, it was Castor who kept his eagle eye on Jamie and Charlie, not Croal.

    We do not see much of Croal interacting with people, mostly we hear about what people thought he was like. I think both sides of these pictures of Croal are skewed, which way its hard to tell. One thing is sure, Croal loved his two sons and was as demonstrative as he could be. Where he knew he would fail, he made sure that his sons had other roll models. If you ask me, he was a loving and responsible parent. No parent is perfect! Croal knew his short comings all to well.

    I wouldn't look at him through Jamie's eyes, reality says he was 90% scientist and 9% revolutionary. Not a lot of loving left there. He may have been on the side of right as we see it, but he was just as ruthless as anyone else in the empire.

    I think you are being unfair to Croal. Croal as abundantly clear on his short comings as a parent, but you will notice that he surrounded his sons with others who could and did provide that loving and caring environment. Croal was not unloving or unkind otherwise he would never have cared what happened to his creations. I think Jamie saw behind the hard edged side of Croal and saw his more loving side.

    To compare him with people like Savaron Loka or Henrik Blackwell is going way to far. Those two are completely self serving and ruthless. Croal, unlike the Emperor and his lapdog Loka, had a concsience. It was Croal who left Gold Glass because of the way Loran was being treated. It was Croal who took the chances with his own life in order to give his sons a chance and the rest of the Icarians and Kalorians. Croal went into the creation of Jamie and Charlie not only because he loved them but becuase he knew that through them, some of the wrongs done over the centuries might be righted. Croal knew from the outset that he would be assassinated somehow. Knowing this, he went on ahead with what he knew was right.

    I can assure you I certainly do not confuse religion and science, nor blur any lines, intentionally at least. I am 99% atheist with 1% agnostic as nothing is completely impossible. I see no validity in any religion, to my mind they are all obviously human constructs without spiritual foundation. I use 'soul' because as a word it is understandable as being the fundamental, essential, innate essence of a person's sentience, everything that makes them what they are.

    OK, but the problem is that the word soul has no scientific meaning. It does, however, have religious implications. If by soul you are talking about sentience, use it in place of soul.

    I also think it has more to do with chemistry than anything spiritual. I consider humanity to be no more than the top tier of higher animals, so on that basis, yes, many animals do have a 'soul'. Anyone with a cat or dog will recognise curiosity, playfulness, pain, irritation, anger etcetera, even perhaps nobility and self-sacrifice on occasion, all of which fits my interpretation of 'soul'. I will be pleased and amazed if there turns out to be an afterlife, but I doubt very much there is.

    That you consider humans on the top tier of life is your theory and one that is as yet, unproven. I don't think we, as yet, have found a way to communicate with any other species using the other species method of communication. If there is communication between species, then it must be using our language. They must learn our language before they can say anything to us. You have obviously never owned a parrot or been around one of the larger species of parrots. Their kind of intelligence is utterly unlike a cat or dog. There is most definitely something more happening inside those parrot brains than most scientists are willing to admit

    We do not know if Parrots have their own language or not. Nor do we know chimpanzees have or have not a language of their own. I think science itself is partially to blame because it has encouraged the belief that mankind is at the top of the evolutionary heap which is just another way of saying that we are superior to and so forth. I would argue with those scientists who claim that dogs and cats do not have emotion. I would not like to be the one to place a ruler marking at the place where sentient life begins here on earth. The real honest answer is that we do not know.

    We have been surprised over and over again when we discover some new fact about a species we didn't know before. Who knew in Darwin's day just how whales communicate. Did anyone in the scientific community in Darwin's day think that dolphins might have their own language?

    Science has its own biases, its own attachments to theories it thinks are correct. Much time, effort and money has been poured into research on the intelligence of chimpanzees, admitting that Parrots may in any way equal or surpass their chosen species does not go down very well. Scientists do not like to be proven wrong. Perhaps that was one of the major failings of Gold Glass!

    After all said, everything we create now is created on top of what came before. Without what came before, what is now couldn't possibly be. Is that a theory or a basic truth statement? I don't know. I know for sure it is true in music, everything you hear that claims to be "new" is based on what came before it.



  21. I know we're getting a little off topic here, but speaking of religion. In the past time line, there has been no mention of a dominate religion. The only religion mentioned is in the current timeline.

    Basically the argument at Gold Glass amongst the scientists was between complete control of a system and those who espoused very little control of the system. Since the system involved here is life itself, this is simply an argument between evolution (complexity) vs. complete control (Intelligent design). How can you see it differently? Yes, it is couched very nicely outside the realm of religious dogma, but it still comes down to who pulls all the strings? Can anyone control all possibilities?

    From the very beginning, almost everything about the rise of the human population on this planet seems to stink. Life for those who re-awoke after stasis on the generational ships, awoke into a world utterly unlike any world they had imagined. Right there the seeds of discontent have been sown.

    If you want to put it in political terms, notice that the society created by the original human settlers on the planet as essentially a Feudal system. The land was all taken, pre-owned when those in stasis re-awoke. They awoke into a world taken back to 1000 C.E. instead of being able to take advantages of all the experiments in government since then.

    A truly open system which allowed things to progress without someone in complete control evolves into something quite different than anyone would imagine.

    Just look at what happens when a few thousand software developers join another in making a project called Linux. Large corporations sneer at these "amateurs", but these amateurs happen to be qualified enough to be called professionals during their 9-5 jobs. Open Source has revolutionized the modern world. The Internet is another complex system which many would like to control for their own ends. The Internet remains living just so long as it is free to develop along the lines it would naturally develop.

    The unforeseen consequence of the development of the transistor, then the Integrated circuit was the Internet. No one foresaw what the Internet would do. Nothing puts into contrast the difference between things that can be valued monetarily and things that have no value at all monetarily but which people value in other ways.

    Open ended systems, systems with many untoward consequences are the ones which have the most chance of success!

    One other observation, before the fall of Kuronos, Icarians were quite likely to refer to themselves as angels. Where does that come from? Certainly they cannot have been as aware of the cultures from the "Home Planet" and just simply leave out religion. I'm not saying they'd have to accept it or that it would have to be some driving force, just that you can't have the cultural things they seem to have inherited without some of the other things that directly influenced those cultural events or creations.



  22. Hhhmmm, I can't say I agree with your position.

    As I read it, Croal knew exactly what he was creating with Jamie, Niklas and Charlie and probably Giovanni and Jonathan as well. The chaos element was in their having powers and attributes far beyond the empire's understanding and thus beyond the empire's ability to control them.

    No! No! NOT! Complexity and chaos theory were principals that Croal and Jonas of Amodon built into all their work, not just two or three Icarians. The principals of complexity go down to the very nature of the evolutionary process. Evolution itself is complex and chaotic. That is why it had the success it had. The whole Icarian race was conceived using those principals. What Croal realised after creating Loran was that one of the essential chaotic and complex things in the creation of a living being is the environment in which he/she/it is raised. That is why he chose to create Jamie and Charlie in his own secret lab away from Gold Glass and raise them at home. To the scientists at Gold Glass this was interfering in the controlled situation they had in the lab and outside of the lab no results could be trusted.

    Croal understood that he was dealing with living sentient beings. To Croal, none of the Kalorians or the Icarians were experiments. They were not lab animals, and needed to be treated with the same respect the children of their own species were treated.

    This is particularly so with Jamie and Charlie, thus introducing the seven-sided dice, roll them expecting them to have six sides and the result is completely unpredictable.

    I do not think birds of any species represents a model, genetic or otherwise, for Icarian bonding, to me it is clearly a 'soul sharing', or whatever you want to call it, type thing.

    As I mentioned above, the whole Icarian race was created bearing in mind the theories of complexitiy. As for the seven sided dice, yes, Croal did some things genetically with Jamie and Charlie partially because of advances he had made himself since creating Loran and partially be cause he did add some new genetic material (from the Ghroum). Croal careful chose a VERY FEW traits to control, leaving 90% of the rest up to chance, up to the complexity of evolution.

    Remember that the only parts of avian genetics Croal purposefully built into the Icarians was their immune system. Nothing else. The fact that they had wings that worked was the result of chance. Their extended life span also was an unintended consequence, the result of complex systems interacting.

    What is a soul? What is soul sharing? Who has a soul? How do you know Parrots or Dolphins do not have a soul? You are treading on thin ice here, you blur the lines that distinguish religion from science. Science and religion do not mix at all. Mostly the mixture is explosive. To put a point on it, Focus on the Family now has a position on animal homosexuality. Of course they'll relate it to bestiality and a whole host of other half truths they've tried to paint the gay community with.

    That group of people under the banner of Exodus is trying to cure gay people of being gay using all sorts of unauthorized methods administered by unqualified people. Canada just booted someone from South Africa out of the country for his use of eletro-shock therapy in treating gay men for their homosexuality. That's what happens when you attempt to use a religious tomb of dubious origins as a book of science!

    Perhaps I've now just kicked the wasp's nest as General Zakaria might say!



  23. The Ghroum, as we stand back and look at what horrors were done, we have hardly asked the question; Why? If the Empire under the Blackwell monarchy was capable of what it did, what does it say about humanity in general? As we have seen, they are quite willing to take the most inspried creations from Earth's past and continue the practice of performing it, and hardly ever give a thought to what it meant.

    Our scientists, some of the most trusted people on our planet, the ones we trust our health and well being to, the ones who are trusted to keep us from diseases which in the past have decimated entire populations, are not disinclined to blur and fudge the truth. They have, until having their noses rubbed in it by a PhD. Student thesis (the student studied at University of British Columbia, in Vancouver where I live.) supported the claim that no animals engaged in homosexual activity. They brushed off the most blatant examples as male dominance rituals or some nonsense like that. It took a post graduate student, working mostly on his own, to produce "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity", based on existing research but simply not published or spoken about. The biologists involved refused to call a spade a spade. They excused the behavior as anything but what it was, or simply ignored its existence so Bruce Bagemihl, Ph.D., it as material for a thesis. I think he encountered more than a little opposition to this work.

    Our own scientists have not been honest with us in many cases, choosing instead to encourage religious mumbo jumbo instead of using their "scientific method". It seems this did not change in the centuries between now and events on Altinestra.

    A genocide as attempted by the Empire. Because the humans did not understand the Ghroum, and did not take the time nor did they even think that what they saw in the facial expressions of the Ghroum did not match what they regarded as a universal chart of human emotions. They concluded the Ghroum were dangerous. This YouTube video <

    > explains these universal emotions as seen by every human culture on earth. Of course this does not apply to felius catus (house cat) or canis lupis famliaris (domestic dog). If you think your dog or cat is smiling, think again, you're imposing your own human ideas on your pet.

    I could tell that our pet Boxer wanted, craved and loved chocolate because at the mere mention of the word chocolate, she would start salivating to the point of drooling. But that wasn't a smile. Certainly it was some sort of emotion but I cannot pinpoint it exactly enough to be able to spot the same type of reaction to something else where it might be more subtle.

    So, our descendants in the Empire, learned not one whit from us here in the 21st century, and continued to make the same wrong headed, stupid assumptions we've been making.

    However, I will admit that where if you looked for animal homosexuality in google before the popularization (publication in Pocket Book format), you would have found next to nothing, now you get pages and pages on it.

    What do we know about the Ghroum? Really next to nothing. Exactly what are they teaching Charlie and Jamie? Do they communicate with Giovanni? Are they increasing in number? How do they procreate?

    Those are all interesting questions, but that glosses over the ugly truth. The humans in the Empire are not any better than the worst of the tyrants here on Earth to date. In other words, the "Enlightened Ones" have learned in fact, nothing. They are making the same mistakes we ourselves have made in the past.

    Will Croal's seven sided dice change anything? Will the new Icarian species leave behind the self-centered assumptions human beings lived with and apparently exported off world?

    Will my two stars ever see humans change their ways?



  24. I've mentioned bonding, mating pairs, mates etc. several times. There seems to be a great deal of information and some mis-information about this subject.

    1. Croal for all his genius, works basically within the model which came from Earth. His genius for creating "new species" isn't something that came from out of the blue. What he has done is managed to understand how evolutionary processes molded humans and other species into what they are now.
    2. Croal and Jonas of Amodon have realised that the forces of evolution are inherently based on a complex and what seems on the surface to be a chaotic system.
    3. Part of their genius is in realising that they must work within the system and not against it. They are not god or God, and not the fathers of any kind of intelligent design.
    4. FInaly, they took what was there, in the genetic soup of his world, and gently nudged it in some ways. At every step there is the chance of an unexpected outcome.

    What can we conclude from that? I believe that everything that Croal did or produced, was already in existance in some form or other. The Icarian bone structure is described the way avian bone structure is described, for instance. Even the idea of Jamies screen which is a repository for a huge amount of data has already been at least thought of and the very small beginnings of it are present in our technology today. We aren't even close to it yet however.

    We still are being surprised at discoveries we make about the human brain. Researchers were shocked to find out that music cognition predates linguistic cognition since it is already present in the unborn foetus. An newly born infant is capable of comprehending a melody and comprehending right and wrong notes even though language is clearly beyond the grasp of the new born infant. We still do not understand what music means unless it is associated with words or a description. That it has meaning is not in question. It is also unique to humans (that we currently are aware of). This has lead genetic evolutionary anthropologists to revise the way evolution gave rise to human intellignece. The development of Music now comes before the development of language. There is still controversy over this, but it does go to show that science must be ready and willing to admit when it is wrong and willing to revise its own theories.

    We already have a genetic model for the kind of bonding which we think Croal designed into the Icarians: It is present in Parrots. Large parrots such as African Greys, Blue & Gold , Red & Green, Hyacinth and Indigo Macaws all form permanent bonds.

    To date there has been little research on the intelligence of birds. The concentration has been on large brained mammals. The Chimpanzee is held to be our nearest neighbor and on of the few animals capable of understanding human language. The reasoning for this is that the size of the brain is an indicator of intelligence. The use of human language by large Parrots (and also corvids -- that is crows) is held to be nothing more that the mimicry of sound. There is no proof of this, just an assumption on a large body of the scientific community.

    Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence to the contrary is simply dismissed as anecdotal. Yes, that is a circular argument on my part but none the less true. Many times scientists (and our M.D.'s) refuse to accept anecdotal accounts because of what they are. However, you cannot simply dismiss evidence on this basis because all of our scientific knowledge began as anecdotal accounting.

    Follow this link to the Conservancy of the Phoenix, and read something that might change your mind about how these animals with tiny brains (compared to ours) can learn and speak human language, how they can bargain and trade for things they want, and how they communicate with sound and with gestures. It turns out that an African Grey can match or out match a chimpanzee in the ability to learn language!

    This type of bond is a special one, its not just for procreation its much more than that. It is the reason why I chose NOT to have a parrot as a pet. They do not make good pets, if you own a parrot and are treating it the way you should it is your partner, your mate, your friend; you are its partner, its mate, and/or its flock and it forms a permanent bond with you. The death of a human owner is devastating to many of these large parrots. I've seen just a few of the results of this kind of loss to a parrot. The tragedy is that many parrots outlive their human owners, leaving a grieving bird, which may or may not recover fully or at all from the loss of its only partner in life. The bird has a bigger chance if it has not only a partner, but also a flock to which it belongs.

    If you have ever seen a parrot little or no feathers, it is because the bird has plucked itself bare. Plucking is an extension of preening. Parrots (and all birds) must preen their feathers because all new feathers emerge coated with a cuticle-type coating which the bird nibbles oif as it preens itself. It is assisted in this process by its mate or flock. I've seen more than a few birds in this state, and it is next to hopeless to stop this kind of behavior. If you see a bird like this you can be sure it has been mistreated or mishandled in some way.

    Since Croal said he used Avian DNA in creating the new Icarian species, it is not a great leap to see how this might have been accomplished quite naturally.

    There is yet another reason why this pair bonding would be easily accomplished without any outside intervention. Bonding of the type implied in TSOI has its origins in the history and mythology of the "home planet" (Earth of course).

    "... Plato argued that pairs of homosexual lovers would make the best soldiers (symposium 178E-179; cf. Aristotle Politics 2.5.5) and the Thebans actually formed an army of such pairs in what turned out to be an extraordinarily successful experiment..." [
    Boswell, John,
    Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality
    , University of Chicago Press Ltd, London &c 1980]

    So, Croal's nudges towards bonded pairs comes from two sources, human beings and from the avians he wished to obtain an enhanced immune system. We also know that there was other things thrown into the mix. Remember, this is all part of Croals 7 sided dice! He is upsetting the apple cart so to speak in ways even he does not know of.

    Ultimately, how Icrians deal with their natural affinity for bonds of this nature is unkown at this point. We have herd of the results of disunion. Loran is an example. He is currently attempting to be both himself and Alexander at the same time, both King and Wizard. I think he will be just a tad upset when he finds that Alexander has given the staff (meant for him) to Jamie!

    What is on the Icarian's side at this point is that everything is an unknown, they can create what they will out of the ashes of Earth's history and their own history. The question is, are we capable of leaving behind the hatred and homophobia of our past?

    Hopefully this opens up some discussion about TSOI rather than just speculation on the story's outcome. The "Enlightened Ones" Charles likes to speak of, those who were the recent ancestors of those who comprise the "Empire" have turned out to be less than Enlightened when measured against what we know and what they surely knew about life and its origins. It then also calls into question the ethics and morality of the humans that inhabit that planet.

    By the way, if there is one thing you do not want to ever encounter, that is a pissed off Macaw or Cockattu! Yes, they can do damage to your body, but the destruction they are capable of wreaking on the contents of a home or apartment are truly amazing (or appalling if the property is yours). These birds are for the most part gentle and affectionate creatures, and will only respond in that destructive manner should they or one they consider to be a partner mistreated! How very Icarian of them!

    We, as a species, come out with a failing grade when it comes to the treatment of these highly intelligent creatures. The illegal trade in Cockatus from Australia and S.E. Asia, and Macaws from South and Central America is appalling. Despite their capability of creating a sustainable population, poaching and the destruction of habitat is slowly but surely pushing them to complete extinction.

    On that note, I'll leave off, but continue in another related thread.



  25. We know there are two Jonas' referred to in TSOI. The first one is Jonas of Amodon. He is human and one of Croal's most trusted and brilliant friends. It is suggested that it is Jonas of Amodon who first concieves the Icarian project and who, for a great deal of the time is in control of it as the designer of the new species. Croal is the genetic genius that can give form to what Jonas of Amodon maps out. Both Jonas of Amodon and Croal are exponents of complexity theory. It is on those principles that the project goes forward.

    I think by the time the Orbs come to be created, the principals of design on which the project is based are already embedded deeply into the project that nothing that gets laid on top of it, like the power of the Orbs, can change it. The Orbs will be dealt the same roll of the dice that everything else is going to be.

    It seems logical that it is Jonas of Amodon to whom Charles promises to guide the project along on the principals of complexity and it is why Charles has for the most part kept his hands off events after resurrection. When Charles talks about an obligation and a promise made to "Jonas", it surely must be one made to Jonas of Amodon since he is the only one who would fit the circumstances in which Charles makes those comments.

    The Jonas of the "Circle of Jonas" cannot be other than Jonas of Amodon. Again the reason I say this is that the subjects which are discussed regarding the Icarians can only be from information gained from someone who actually worked on the project from the beginning.

    There is another Jonas, an Icarian named Jonas. This Jonas is introduced to one of the Blacks when he delivers the extracted tooth. He is also present at the resistance meeting at the Mondale which Jamie crashes. While our Icarian with teal tipped wings named Jonas may be a figure in the resistance, and also associated with Croal at his clandestine lab in Isewire, we dont' know much more about him or his fate.

    My question is, when the name Jonas is mentioned, to which Jonas does it refer? Logically an Icarian cannot be involved in the planning of his own species before it even exists. So, what else do we know about the Icarian named Jonas?

    Do we have an answer to this question at present or is this just another one of those questions for which there is little evidence and what evidence there is only brings up more questions?

    I'll take a chance and make a wild guess here. The purpose of the Legion of Red & Black was originally to be the guides that would keep the new Icarian race on track. It was never meant to be used as a clandestine spy network, nor as it meant to be used as the Empire used it. The Legion of Red & Black was poisoned and thrown off track when Savaron Locka got his claws into it. Charles is, in fact, the one who has kept the Legion of Red & Black on track as much as was possible under the circumstances. Notice that he attempts to personally train the best of the Icarians in his class of Icarians by circulating them through his own office as his personal assistants. It as noted that he gained a great deal of soilidarity and faithfulness from the legion by doing this. What has Charles so deeply upset that he has blood dripping from his hands is that he is forced to stand by and watch his own Icarian house being misdirected and used by the Empire for its own evil purposes.






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