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On Rereading HELL'S GATE

"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: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:51 pm

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Howard,

I agreed that Sharona was stupid for not having a first contact protocol. I believe that any protocol Sharona created would not put such an emphasis on securing those encountered as the Arcanan Protocol required. Sharona has had much more experience in dealing with very different peoples to help in creating protocols that would ensure a peaceful encounter.

Not sure what I was to have agreed with here.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:09 pm

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As I look at both the Sharonan and the Arcanan approach to the possibility of first contact, I find myself thinking that the Arcanans were probably a bit more realistic in their planning than the Sharonans were.

Never mind that Jacek had that junior officer who was an idiot, disobeyed orders and turned the situation into a blood bath at Fallen Timbers. Or Thalmyr (sp), another idiot who lost his unit at Hell's Gate by poor planning and then having the lack of judgement as to fire on the Sharonian who was approaching him.

These unfortunate encounters were not the result of poor planning but incompetence of execution. In short, the wrong people were in the critical places for any prior planning to be successfully implemented.

Then there is our friendly mul who does his best to throw sand in the gears for political reasons domestic to Arcana. Again prior planning is not implemented due to a wrong person being in a key position and acting contrary to the spirit of what was really intended.

Had the Arcanans successfully taken the survey team into custody peacefully long enough to get a feel for their intentions and establish their credentials, the result of the contact could have turned out productively. But, well, as we all know, that's not what happened.

The Sharonians, on the other hand, apparently had no expectation of a first contact and had no plan b should one occur and not turn out well. So you wind up with a bunch of civilians prepared to deal with occasional bandits or the local wildlife with no concern at all about security otherwise. So when the unthinkable happened, about all they could do was run.

The survey team should have had a military component to deal with the unexpected. That would have established the Sharonians ability to parley on a bit more equal basis rather than submitting to custody. I agree with other comments that it was pretty dumb not to make provision for the possibility of what happened. The universe is not nessarily a benign place.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:19 am

Howard T. Map-addict
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Posts: 1392
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Location: Philadelphia, PA

" 'Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of
Death, I will fear no evil' ... for I (deem myself) the
nastiest S.O.B. in the Valley!"
Parody of a Bible quote.

It occurs to me that the average Sharonan might be so
very good at improvising, that a group of them don't
need a pre-arranged Plan for any Situation that will
be unique.
Unique situations don't fit into rigid Plans.

Why should they have a Plan for something that had not
happened in all the eighty years they'd been attached
to the Multiverse? Eighty years ago was 1935. Much has
happened since then! If we had made a Plan in 1935,
and then not had occasion to use it since then, at all,
would we still remember that Plan?
Better to improvise, say I!!

The Military Components were at the Portals.
Voices kept them in contact.

The bad application by Arcanans of their Plan is blatant.
The Plan itself is presumed good by all the characters
who think about it.
We readers begin by taking it for granted.
Only later have we questioned whether that Plan was
really a good plan, or was it a bad plan.
New thought:
Only now am I wondering whether any Plan at all is likely
to be too rigid to be worth having.

Howard T. Map-addict

n7axw wrote:
{snip - htm}
The Sharonians, on the other hand, apparently had no expectation of a first contact and had no plan b should one occur and not turn out well. So you wind up with a bunch of civilians prepared to deal with occasional bandits or the local wildlife with no concern at all about security otherwise. So when the unthinkable happened, about all they could do was run.

The survey team should have had a military component to deal with the unexpected. That would have established the Sharonians ability to parley on a bit more equal basis rather than submitting to custody. I agree with other comments that it was pretty dumb not to make provision for the possibility of what happened. The universe is not nessarily a benign place.

Don

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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:56 am

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Furthermore, Howard, the true risk is not knowing about the first encounter, especially when the encountered has suspect motives. Sharona will never face that risk, because their Voices will be in constant or near constant contact with their military outpost. They don't need to further plan on how to ensure that a message is sent informing Sharona about the encounter. The Voice network ensures that communication WILL be sent. Everything else is subject to improvising to adjust for whatever weirdness is encountered.

That's why Sharona didn't make a plan. It is still stupid not to have clear protocols for the simple reason that such a protocol gives a guideline to avoid panic reactions by the explorers. That and protocols would limit the ability of folks like that naturalist on Shaylar's team to insist on doing wasteful and or risky activities like burying Falsan.

I would agree with Howard that setting clear priorities would be sufficient. Establishing clear and detailed plans would be silly given the Voice network.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:" 'Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of
Death, I will fear no evil' ... for I (deem myself) the
nastiest S.O.B. in the Valley!"
Parody of a Bible quote.

It occurs to me that the average Sharonan might be so
very good at improvising, that a group of them don't
need a pre-arranged Plan for any Situation that will
be unique.
Unique situations don't fit into rigid Plans.

Why should they have a Plan for something that had not
happened in all the eighty years they'd been attached
to the Multiverse? Eighty years ago was 1935. Much has
happened since then! If we had made a Plan in 1935,
and then not had occasion to use it since then, at all,
would we still remember that Plan?
Better to improvise, say I!!

The Military Components were at the Portals.
Voices kept them in contact.

The bad application by Arcanans of their Plan is blatant.
The Plan itself is presumed good by all the characters
who think about it.
We readers begin by taking it for granted.
Only later have we questioned whether that Plan was
really a good plan, or was it a bad plan.
New thought:
Only now am I wondering whether any Plan at all is likely
to be too rigid to be worth having.

Howard T. Map-addict

n7axw wrote:
{snip - htm}
The Sharonians, on the other hand, apparently had no expectation of a first contact and had no plan b should one occur and not turn out well. So you wind up with a bunch of civilians prepared to deal with occasional bandits or the local wildlife with no concern at all about security otherwise. So when the unthinkable happened, about all they could do was run.

The survey team should have had a military component to deal with the unexpected. That would have established the Sharonians ability to parley on a bit more equal basis rather than submitting to custody. I agree with other comments that it was pretty dumb not to make provision for the possibility of what happened. The universe is not nessarily a benign place.

Don

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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:11 pm

n7axw
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Posts: 5101
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:" 'Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of
Death, I will fear no evil' ... for I (deem myself) the
nastiest S.O.B. in the Valley!"
Parody of a Bible quote.

It occurs to me that the average Sharonan might be so
very good at improvising, that a group of them don't
need a pre-arranged Plan for any Situation that will
be unique.
Unique situations don't fit into rigid Plans.

Why should they have a Plan for something that had not
happened in all the eighty years they'd been attached
to the Multiverse? Eighty years ago was 1935. Much has
happened since then! If we had made a Plan in 1935,
and then not had occasion to use it since then, at all,
would we still remember that Plan?
Better to improvise, say I!!

The Military Components were at the Portals.
Voices kept them in contact.

The bad application by Arcanans of their Plan is blatant.
The Plan itself is presumed good by all the characters
who think about it.
We readers begin by taking it for granted.
Only later have we questioned whether that Plan was
really a good plan, or was it a bad plan.
New thought:
Only now am I wondering whether any Plan at all is likely
to be too rigid to be worth having.

Howard T. Map-addict



I would point out that the Arcanans had a plan (or protocol--I care not what you call it) and they have been in the Multiverse far longer than the Sharonians. Never mind that through a combination of incompetence and political hash making, they screwed up the execution. The point is, they at least had thought through how they wanted to react and had they managed to do that, the result would have been far different.

I'm not suggesting a detailed straitjacket...just an overall statement of what you want to accomplish in a first contact situation and reasonable security to avoid being hung out to dry the way the survey crew was.

Don

-
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:55 pm

Howard T. Map-addict
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1392
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:47 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Don, my point is that 200 year old plans
are vulnerable to being partly forgotten,
misunderstood, insufficiently rehearsed,
and not quite applicable to a new situation.
The older a plan, the more likely a screw up, I say!

This Arcanan plan does not consider that the Others
might resent the way the situation was controlled in
the first place, or on further consideration might
conclude that it was a harmful plan, worse than no
plan at all.

And what if an attempt to control the situation,
had **failed?**
The blowback from a failed attempt would hurt Arcana.
In this case, had the Arcanan platoon kept the
Sharonans surrounded without moving in,
then in a few hours about twenty Sharonan cavalrymen
would have arrived and changed matters.

If Sharonan explorers had kept soldiers with them,
then they would have spent money on them for seventy-
nine years and eleven months with no benefit.

Now I wonder how Arcana can afford to use whole platoons
and sometimes companies of expensive soldiers to explore.
How can they afford the money and the time to slog
through forests and other conditions?
And why-oh-why would they use foot soldiers,
when they have dragons to search from on high at 100 mph?

Obviously I must suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story. Fiction seldom bears analysis,
unless Jane Austen or Lois Bujold writes it.

HTM


n7axw wrote:
I would point out that the Arcanans had a plan
(or protocol--I care not what you call it)
and they have been in the Multiverse far longer
than the Sharonians. Never mind that through
a combination of incompetence and political
hash making, they screwed up the execution.
The point is, they at least had thought through how
they wanted to react and had they managed to do that,
the result would have been far different.

I'm not suggesting a detailed straitjacket ...
just an overall statement of what you want
to accomplish in a first contact situation
and reasonable security to avoid being
hung out to dry the way the survey crew was.

Don

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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE-Road to Hell Spoiler
Post by brnicholas   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:21 pm

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Posts: 254
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PeterZ wrote:I can see that and it fits the mindset of the Andaran military. Now compare the Arcanan inexperience with really different societies to the Sharonans and their encounter and peaceful coexistence with both Simians and Cetaceans and the underlying differences between how the two civilizations view "others" becomes rather stark. Arcana has yet to learn how to focus on the truly important elements of a sentient other. They still confuse many of their societal choices as essential to society in general.

Andara, Mythal and Ransar all have these cultural elements that differ from their fellow Union members. The story emphasizes how these cultural elements cause friction. Compare that friction to the Sharonan societies including the non-human societies. Yes, the Uromathian Empire has issues with the rest of Sharona. That is explained repeatedly as the result of the amoral ruler. Cultural differences in Sharona tend to be interesting features of individuals, they are not for the most part elements of friction between individuals and groups of people. Sharonans are not perfect, but bigotry is not one of their societal vices.

Because this is true, mul Guthik can shape circumstances to spark a war and reshape the military.


I don't think I agree that Sharonan experience with non-human societies has made them more open to differences then the Arcanans. The first two books left me with the impression that the Simians and Cetaceans were not really Sharonans equals, but protected inferiors. That may be wrong but at this time my impression is that the Simians and Cetaceans are in much the same position as Native Americans in the USA. Their control over their reservations is secure as long as the US Government is willing to grant it to them. If the US Government decides to take the reservation away or let whites take the reservation away they are out of luck. Sharonans experience with compromising with someone different may be very limited.

Terenthia became so obviously superior to the rest of Sharona 3000 or more years ago that everyone started imitating it and by now in all things that truly matter, everyone agrees with Terenthia. When Sharona acquires enough knowledge to realize they are dealing with three groups that are actually capable of threatening them and one believes war is the most noble human activity (Andara), one believes people without gifts are not entitled to humane treatment (Mythal), and one believes hereditary monarchies are against the will of God (Ransar) I don't expect the reaction to be good. We will see.

Nicholas

PS - I'm aware I may be off on the generalizations but I needed something pointed for this post, the key point is Arcanans are not like Sharonans in a lot more then just having magic instead of talents.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:46 pm

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Posts: 6308
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Nicholas,

Not more unthinkingly open, no. They are more used to evaluating differences between sentients. I have no problem believing Sharonans will hold on to a considered opinion with much greater conviction than Arcana. I just believe they will be more open to considering different ideas and social beliefs.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:52 pm

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Posts: 5101
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Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Don, my point is that 200 year old plans
are vulnerable to being partly forgotten,
misunderstood, insufficiently rehearsed,
and not quite applicable to a new situation.
The older a plan, the more likely a screw up, I say!

This Arcanan plan does not consider that the Others
might resent the way the situation was controlled in
the first place, or on further consideration might
conclude that it was a harmful plan, worse than no
plan at all.

And what if an attempt to control the situation,
had **failed?**
The blowback from a failed attempt would hurt Arcana.
In this case, had the Arcanan platoon kept the
Sharonans surrounded without moving in,
then in a few hours about twenty Sharonan cavalrymen
would have arrived and changed matters.

If Sharonan explorers had kept soldiers with them,
then they would have spent money on them for seventy-
nine years and eleven months with no benefit.

Now I wonder how Arcana can afford to use whole platoons
and sometimes companies of expensive soldiers to explore.
How can they afford the money and the time to slog
through forests and other conditions?
And why-oh-why would they use foot soldiers,
when they have dragons to search from on high at 100 mph?

Obviously I must suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story. Fiction seldom bears analysis,
unless Jane Austen or Lois Bujold writes it.

HTM


Yes, there could be resentment. That would be a bearable price. It was not Arcana's survey crew that got caught pants down. That's my point. The universe is not necessarily a benign place. Arcana's plan was apparently pretty simple rather than detailed and probably would have worked fine if properly implemented.

As for "how they could afford it," gimme a break. What Arcana did and what I proposed would have cost a drop in the bucket compared to the wealth gained from the new universes they were discovering and exploiting.

Don

_
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:58 pm

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Posts: 5101
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

PeterZ wrote:Nicholas,

Not more unthinkingly open, no. They are more used to evaluating differences between sentients. I have no problem believing Sharonans will hold on to a considered opinion with much greater conviction than Arcana. I just believe they will be more open to considering different ideas and social beliefs.


More open than whom? Mythalans? Andarans? Ransarians? Three pretty dramatically different groups of people there...

The same would be true on the Sharonian side. Ternathians would be more open than Chava's bunch. <shrug> It would be wise not to too broadly stereoptype.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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