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Thoughts on the storyline...

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:39 pm

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Astelon wrote:I wasn't thinking of an invasion; more of a small strike force transported by dragons, going around any sharonian forces. The dragons possibly could survive (I doubt they need magic just to live or even fly), although they would (likely) lose their fire and lightning attacks.

As for the physics, there is likely a base level of physics that is the same on all worlds, as Phillies notes the POWs have not died as they are moved further into enemy territory. Shaylar and Jathmar have gotten far enough into arcanan territory that their talents don't work any more, then they should be far enough for any health effects to show.

This "base physics" (the physics which are the same) are why I think that sharonian weapons are likely to work on Arcana, even when the Talents fail. Also if the sharonian weapons don't work further into Arcanan territories (they fail along with the talents) then Sharona has no hope of ever fully prosecuting the war. On the other hand Arcana can (eventually) reverse engineer rifles and artillery; and then use them against Sharona even if the won't work on Arcana. They might have to build them towards the front, but they could do it.


Things like gunpowder, etc. rely not upon talents or magic, but upon normal baseline physics that we all know. There is no indication that baseline physics is not the same from universe to universe.

Where the differences seem to come in is with the exercise of mentalist phenomena such as gifts and talents.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Louis R   » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:17 am

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Actually, we're informed that baseline physics _is_ different in every universe. c is as baseline as it gets - when it changes the behaviour of everything, including chemical bonds, changes and something as simple as combustion will be radically different.

Since, as you say, it doesn't _look_ like there are any differences from what we know, and no effects from moving from universe to universe, we have a bit of a conundrum. In the end, my bet is that it will be resolved by RFC quietly letting the whole idea drop. But who knows? Maybe when the Sharonans get here they'll find that the loads in their cartridges either don't get the bullet to the end of the barrel or burst their weapons like overripe watermelon.

n7axw wrote:
Astelon wrote:I wasn't thinking of an invasion; more of a small strike force transported by dragons, going around any sharonian forces. The dragons possibly could survive (I doubt they need magic just to live or even fly), although they would (likely) lose their fire and lightning attacks.

As for the physics, there is likely a base level of physics that is the same on all worlds, as Phillies notes the POWs have not died as they are moved further into enemy territory. Shaylar and Jathmar have gotten far enough into arcanan territory that their talents don't work any more, then they should be far enough for any health effects to show.

This "base physics" (the physics which are the same) are why I think that sharonian weapons are likely to work on Arcana, even when the Talents fail. Also if the sharonian weapons don't work further into Arcanan territories (they fail along with the talents) then Sharona has no hope of ever fully prosecuting the war. On the other hand Arcana can (eventually) reverse engineer rifles and artillery; and then use them against Sharona even if the won't work on Arcana. They might have to build them towards the front, but they could do it.


Things like gunpowder, etc. rely not upon talents or magic, but upon normal baseline physics that we all know. There is no indication that baseline physics is not the same from universe to universe.

Where the differences seem to come in is with the exercise of mentalist phenomena such as gifts and talents.

Don
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:28 am

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Yet if the internal chemical processes of humans outside the gift and talent differences are identical, we can assume that whatever differences there is in natural physics the oxidation of carbon would be the same in both worlds. Otherwise, the humans would show signs of having the different chemical reactions impacting their physical bodies. Shaylar and Jathmar would have begun showing physical distress by now.

Louis R wrote:Actually, we're informed that baseline physics _is_ different in every universe. c is as baseline as it gets - when it changes the behaviour of everything, including chemical bonds, changes and something as simple as combustion will be radically different.

Since, as you say, it doesn't _look_ like there are any differences from what we know, and no effects from moving from universe to universe, we have a bit of a conundrum. In the end, my bet is that it will be resolved by RFC quietly letting the whole idea drop. But who knows? Maybe when the Sharonans get here they'll find that the loads in their cartridges either don't get the bullet to the end of the barrel or burst their weapons like overripe watermelon.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Louis R   » Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:09 pm

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Exactly!

On the face of it, that isn't consistent with variant physics.

My own take is that the gates are essentially philosophical constructs. A truly deep metaphysics could adapt material objects to local conditions as part of the translation. Those aspects that local conditions don't permit disappear in the process. The immaterial need not be translated by the same rules - or, as we see, at all.

PeterZ wrote:Yet if the internal chemical processes of humans outside the gift and talent differences are identical, we can assume that whatever differences there is in natural physics the oxidation of carbon would be the same in both worlds. Otherwise, the humans would show signs of having the different chemical reactions impacting their physical bodies. Shaylar and Jathmar would have begun showing physical distress by now.

Louis R wrote:Actually, we're informed that baseline physics _is_ different in every universe. c is as baseline as it gets - when it changes the behaviour of everything, including chemical bonds, changes and something as simple as combustion will be radically different.

Since, as you say, it doesn't _look_ like there are any differences from what we know, and no effects from moving from universe to universe, we have a bit of a conundrum. In the end, my bet is that it will be resolved by RFC quietly letting the whole idea drop. But who knows? Maybe when the Sharonans get here they'll find that the loads in their cartridges either don't get the bullet to the end of the barrel or burst their weapons like overripe watermelon.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Astelon   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:39 am

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Louis R wrote:My own take is that the gates are essentially philosophical constructs. A truly deep metaphysics could adapt material objects to local conditions as part of the translation.


According to RFC (via an interview) the more people from one side that inhabits a universe the farther physics swings their way. This indicates that the universes that Sharona and Arcana visit are changed by the visitors, and do not work change on them.

Louis R wrote:On the face of it, that isn't consistent with variant physics.


It all depends on which of the "laws of physics" are changed. It becomes a question of what the laws are different; obviously those governing mental Talents and magical Gifts, and which stay the same. It wouldn't take much change in the laws governing chemistry to kill a person when they wandered into those differing laws.

The failure of Shaylar's and Jathmar's talents indicate they are deep into any change of physics that they will experience; also they are not in distress, indicating their bodies survive despite the change. Therefore chemical interaction is largely unchanged, along with electricity, visible light, and a whole host of other areas the human body depends on just to survive (and stay in one piece). This would define the minimum baseline physics that are the same in every universe so far discovered. Thus the apparent conundrum disappears.

If there is a universe where the baseline physics are different I suspect that any human (arcanan, sharonian, and terran) would sicken as they approach it. They would feel the effects little at first, and increasingly with every universe, similar to the way their Talents failed Shaylar and Jathmar; not all at once, but bit, by bit.

Louis R wrote:I think that it's a pretty safe bet that dragons are magical in and of themselves - and thus there's a hard limit to how far up the chain they can go.

The problem is that they fly, they mass 30-40 _tonnes_ and the largest modern fliers mass <26 _kilograms_. The largest known - or at least thought to be - true fliers are the pterosauria, which top out at <250kg.


Dragons in particular are an interesting point in regards to the changes in physics. There is no reason a forty or sixty ton creature can't live without some kind of "artificial" assistance (whether its mechanical or magical). Also there is no inherent reason that sixty tons can't be made to fly (earth has aircraft even heavier). The question becomes that of flight unassisted by artificial means (magical or mechanical) for sixty ton creatures. The objection raised is one based on that of natural evolution; however dragons did not evolve, they were genetically engineered. with the proper "design" I see no reason why a very large creature, like dragons, couldn't be able to fly. It is simply a question of wing size (and design), versus speed that allows any weight to stay aloft.

Having said that, I do not believe that the possibility of magical assistance for dragons to achieve flight can be dismissed entirely. However, if dragons can not fly without magical assistance, then they can only go so far down the chain to Sharona before they must be left behind. Once that happens Arcana loses all of its advantages in regards to mobility. So for story purposes I suspect that dragons can fly without assistance, allowing Arcana the continued advantages of mobility.

As for controlling dragons, the battle dragons were controlled through touch, while the transports were controlled through a metal rod, which was touched (or slapped) to the appropriate areas. If there are magical controls, or inhibitions those would fail; though those are more likely to be in the more violent battle dragons, which would be all but useless when the magic fails anyways.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:12 am

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I thought there was a link posted for that interview where David comments on the physics of the Multiverse. But I can't find it. Does anybody else know?

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Louis R   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:24 pm

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Sorry. I didn't suggest the _universe_ changed things, I suggested the _gates_ do, as part of translating objects from one universe to the next.
Astelon wrote:
Louis R wrote:My own take is that the gates are essentially philosophical constructs. A truly deep metaphysics could adapt material objects to local conditions as part of the translation.


According to RFC (via an interview) the more people from one side that inhabits a universe the farther physics swings their way. This indicates that the universes that Sharona and Arcana visit are changed by the visitors, and do not work change on them.

Louis R wrote:On the face of it, that isn't consistent with variant physics.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Astelon   » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:32 pm

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Still don't buy your theory. If the gates "adapted" the people and objects passing through them to fit local conditions then there wouldn't be any need to have the physics of the different universes change. Just because some of the laws of physics change when moving between universes doesn't mean all of them change.

If the change in physics is small enough it would require extremely sensitive experiments to tell the difference. These experiments are likely beyond the capability of Sharona (hence they will only notice when the change becomes pronounced), but likely within the magical capacity of Arcana (after all genetic modification requires fine control).
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:33 am

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I've been thinking a bit about the internal situation in both Sharona and Arcana. Between Mythalan plotting and the mechanizations of Chava Busar, it would appear that we have the possibility of a civil war on both sides.

So if that were to happen, would both sides pull back from each other? Or would the external threat force a quick resolution to the internal problems?

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Louis R   » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:14 am

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sorry, but there _aren't_ Laws of Physics

to the best we can determine, there is _a_ physics. what you may have been taught in high school, or even most undergraduate courses, is a gross simplification [and, yes, many working physicists employ one or another version of that simplification, or they couldn't accomplish anything at all], but all physical law is intertwined. tightly intertwined. change anything, and everything changes. depending on the direction of change, 'too small to detect' translates into nothing _to_ detect, and nobody to _do_ the detecting.

which is something of an issue in modern physics, AAMOF, because it raises questions that fall solidly within the domain of metaphysics, and even theology, and many people just don't want to leave them there - it would be against their anti-religion ;)

Astelon wrote:Still don't buy your theory. If the gates "adapted" the people and objects passing through them to fit local conditions then there wouldn't be any need to have the physics of the different universes change. Just because some of the laws of physics change when moving between universes doesn't mean all of them change.

If the change in physics is small enough it would require extremely sensitive experiments to tell the difference. These experiments are likely beyond the capability of Sharona (hence they will only notice when the change becomes pronounced), but likely within the magical capacity of Arcana (after all genetic modification requires fine control).
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