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Dilandu's little hysteria,

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Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by Dilandu   » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:21 pm

Dilandu
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, or, "three things from TFT that I really didn't like" (bad, bad me :D )


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1) No tech progress outside the Charis. Literally. The book is filled with Charisian-introduced innovations and new tech, but outside the Charis? Nothing. At best, other nations are trying to copy Charisian steam locomotives, of course with unimpressive results.

Considering that the whole idea of Charisian tech development was to encourage the others to do the same, the utter lack of interest to any non-Charisian tech development just seems to be... puzzling. We have quite a lot of text, describing how awesome Charisian new battleship, the "Thunderbolt", is. About the first Dohlaran Navy steam-powered warship, the "Arbalest" we knew only that this wooden-hulled ship suffered an unfortunate incident with coal combustion.

What is my problem with that? Well, my problem is, that the awesome "Thunderbolt" is absolutely not interesting to reader. We never doubted that Charis, with Owl's help, could design another new battleship with some improvements.

The modest "Arbalest" is the one which is actually interesting. Because she is the first really ingeniously designed steam warship ever build on Safehold. She wasn't calculated by mighty supercomputer using old Earth knowledge; she was completely designed and build by Dohlaran engineers & workers. She represent the litmus test; how efficiently the whole idea about "spreading innovation by example" is working, after all! It is really interesting to see, what solutions peoples, who does not have access to base of Terran Federation knowledge, would use.

But no, we didn't even get a look on her. Moreover, even when its mentioned that Dohlaran Navy is conducting joint exercises with Charisian, we never saw any one of Dohlaran warships.

Moreover, the previously mentioned non-Charisian technical ideas have a nasty habit of evaporating in TFT. The fantastic Dohlaran ironclad-killing rockets? Gone. Despite rocket artillery of different sizes being used quite extensively during the last stages of Holy War, there is no mention of any battlefield rockets in TFT, far less of heavy, coastal defense ones. I dare to predict that they would never make a reappearance later also, and any further rocketry would be another "marvelous Charisian innovation".

2) Bad guys are idiots. Or immoral. Or immoral idiots. It seems that the supply of capable men, not friendly to Charisians, was completely exhausted during the war.

The majority of bad guys of TFTare incompetent to literally laughable degree. With the exception of raping and plundering, they are completely unable to do anything right. All their planning and scheming are usually aimed toward "what other bad for us solution we could chose?". All their actions against good guys are the constant string of stupid faliures.

The blatant demonstration of bad guys stupidity, is when they saw the Charisian airship, they immediately dismiss it as harmless, because "it would be hard to fire rifles from airship". Here, I feel a strong urge to do a facepalm. I mean, really? The bad guys in question are Harchongians, which until very recently was pretty backward country, which military still relied on slings, bows and arrows. Which are ballistic weapons.

How is it possible, that no one of them ever thought about the possibility of airship DROPPING projectiles from altitude? Seriously, for peoples, well-aquitted with bows and slings, the idea of dropping projectiles from altitude would be... obvious. Not to mention that another obvious possibility - to drop explosives & incendiaries on bad guys-controlled towns. With all respect to "Safehold is not Earth", but I refuse to believe that flaming arrows and catapult-delivered incendiaries were completely absent from Safeholdian siege warfare.

3) Merlin is continues to cheat. Pretty expected, but, well, still unpleasant. He basically gave up all pretenses about working for the all humanity, and clearly worked only for Charis, supplying his beloved human toys with anything they asked. Geological data, so Charis could have as much gold as they wanted? Sure! Technical information? Just ask! High-tech espionage? Of course!

The problem is, that there are no vital reasons to do any of this. Charis is not under immediate threat, and have overwhelming tech advantage already over basically all other nations combined. The official justification is "to ensure the competition, to show the example for others", but it doesn't seems convincing - especially considering the utter lack of interest to other nations tech-development.

Must also point out, that I notice the example of goalpost moving in TFT. In previous books, the goal of Charisian innovative example was to spread the innovative thinking. In TFT, this goal is "suddenly" replaced with spreading industrialization. Which is NOT the same thing.

- spreading innovation - means encouraging others to adopt the inquisitive and explorative mindset, to study the world around and think how exactly it would work.

- spreading industrialization - means building factories & railroads by using Charisian-delivered technology. Nothing more.

And basically this switch of declared goals are symptomatic. As well as the obvious concentration of "all clever guys" in Charis shadow. The most blatant example is Dohlar - which was, during the war, the only one who could actually represent a challenge to Charis. In post-war era, the relations between two former rivals improved so much, that they are basically allies now. Despite all bad blood, all clear geopolitical questions with Charisians having a presence in the Gulf of Dohlar... All this is just ignored; all clever, innovative guys are in same boat now.

Conclusion: I sincerely hope that this little [s]screech[/s] speech would not be perceived as "you just didn't like the book, that's all!" (who am I trying to fool? This is exactly how my words will be perceived) I love the Safehold series. But - there are problems that concerned me, and, unfortunately, many of those problems became only more worrying from book to book...

Sincerely, Dilandu.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by captinjoehenry   » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:11 pm

captinjoehenry
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Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:36 pm

No tech progress outside the Charis. Literally. The book is filled with Charisian-introduced innovations and new tech, but outside the Charis? Nothing. At best, other nations are trying to copy Charisian steam locomotives, of course with unimpressive results.

If you are talking about anyone else coming up with something entirely new and game changing your quite correct and frankly it's extremely unlikely any of that is going to happen with the advantages Charis has in making new technology. As it is reading a chapter about someone coming up with an improvement to a machine from outside of charis just isn't that interesting or relevant compared to the subjects covered in the book.

Moreover, the previously mentioned non-Charisian technical ideas have a nasty habit of evaporating in TFT. The fantastic Dohlaran ironclad-killing rockets? Gone. Despite rocket artillery of different sizes being used quite extensively during the last stages of Holy War, there is no mention of any battlefield rockets in TFT, far less of heavy, coastal defense ones. I dare to predict that they would never make a reappearance later also, and any further rocketry would be another "marvelous Charisian innovation".

I'm entirely sure there are still rockets. It's just a matter of what to cover in the book. This whole book makes almost no mention whatsoever about ANY military details. TFT more or less purely covers in passing the situation in Harchong and Siddarmark. Everything else is at best glossed over. Lots of stuff happens off camera in this book as this book is purely setting up the basic society situation and the absolute bare bones of what types of tech might be around in the next series.

Bad guys are idiots. Or immoral. Or immoral idiots. It seems that the supply of capable men, not friendly to Charisians, was completely exhausted during the war.

This isn't that surprising. The two bad guy empires are both basically the arrogant stuck up empires. The bad guys in Sidemark are very very competent but entirely immoral as robber barons which is something that very much happened during the industrial revolution.

Merlin is continues to cheat. Pretty expected, but, well, still unpleasant. He basically gave up all pretenses about working for the all humanity, and clearly worked only for Charis, supplying his beloved human toys with anything they asked. Geological data, so Charis could have as much gold as they wanted? Sure! Technical information? Just ask! High-tech espionage? Of course!

How is this bad? Merlin can only really work through Charis and has a vested interest in Charis. He needs to have Charis as advance and innovating as possible. Going off of the little interaction we see from Dohlar it's obvious the rest of the world is eagerly seeking to duplicate the advantages that Charis has and Charis will NEED those advantages in the next arc due to how much worse the fighting is going to be. Plus everyone in the inner circle is in Charis. You can't really expect them to say no to making their situation better

Basically overall the main issue seems to be that TFT glossed over / did not give time to all the things you have issues with which isn't that surprising when TFT practically doesn't even mention innovation or military advancement even where Charis is concerned. Tech wise all TFT sets up is the barest of bare bones of what type of technologies will be available in the next arc. So all the innovation in other places for sure happens but it just isn't covered in the book as the book is just setting the political stage for the next arc and only the most bare bones background for everything else in the next arc.

Also we already know Merlin wins from the fact of the source of the prelude to TFT. The interesting bit is how he gets there.
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:12 pm

SilverbladeTE
Commander

Posts: 167
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:14 am

To an extent, yeah :/

15 years and little innovation anywhere outside Charis?!

Oddly one of the things they should have shared is how to produce dynamite.
It's absolutely critical for advancement of scale they need, blasting roads, canals, mines, forest clearing, foundations etc.
Limited military use especially on a planet cooler than Earth, it freezes at +13C, and especially when it then thaws...if it's not well made, ESPECIALLY if it's in a sealed metal container like a warhead, kiss your ass goodbye!
:mrgreen:

Chemical as well as mechanical and civil engineering are cornerstones of advancement.
Primers on such should have been shared.
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by dobriennm   » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:19 pm

dobriennm
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Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:44 pm

Dilandu wrote:
Must also point out, that I notice the example of goalpost moving in TFT. In previous books, the goal of Charisian innovative example was to spread the innovative thinking. In TFT, this goal is "suddenly" replaced with spreading industrialization. Which is NOT the same thing.

- spreading innovation - means encouraging others to adopt the inquisitive and explorative mindset, to study the world around and think how exactly it would work.

- spreading industrialization - means building factories & railroads by using Charisian-delivered technology. Nothing more.


Sincerely, Dilandu.


Well, the change in goals was explained with a very clear, convincing reason - the potential return of the Archangels in 915.

It's a short term goal with the intent of getting them past a potential return and hopefully having a sane Archangel not do an Armageddon Reef on most of the planet. (the idea being if everyone is industrialized, the target becomes all of Safehold, meaning all that's left of humanity)

Now that they are past that, they can return to their original goal of encouraging innovation while at the same time undermining the COGA, the Writ, and the Archangels themselves via Operation Androcles and the Lost Testimony of Schuler.
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:23 am

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

captinjoehenry wrote:If you are talking about anyone else coming up with something entirely new and game changing your quite correct and frankly it's extremely unlikely any of that is going to happen with the advantages Charis has in making new technology. As it is reading a chapter about someone coming up with an improvement to a machine from outside of charis just isn't that interesting or relevant compared to the subjects covered in the book.


But we could at least have somethink like "this machine/weapon/tool was of improved design, suggested by a clever guy in Dohlar", or something. Which would at least confirm that all Merlin work is not futile. And again, we have totally irrelevant description of "Thunderbolt" here.


I'm entirely sure there are still rockets. It's just a matter of what to cover in the book. This whole book makes almost no mention whatsoever about ANY military details. TFT more or less purely covers in passing the situation in Harchong and Siddarmark. Everything else is at best glossed over. Lots of stuff happens off camera in this book as this book is purely setting up the basic society situation and the absolute bare bones of what types of tech might be around in the next series.


Which vasically add to abovementioned point.


This isn't that surprising. The two bad guy empires are both basically the arrogant stuck up empires


Even the arrogant stuck up empires rarely were such stupid as Harcongese presented. They seems to lack any understanding of plotting & intrigue (which is rather strange for corrupt decadent court, isnt it?) - instead of playing all sides in North Harchong against each other by half-support and half-promises, they throw all their weight behind the worst ones.

How is this bad? Merlin can only really work through Charis and has a vested interest in Charis.



Which is neither effective not productive in long therms. Logically, he should shut down his support for Charis except of energencies, as soon as the war was over.

He needs to have Charis as advance and innovating as possible.


Which actually is counter-productive, because Charisian "innovations" aren't ingenious. Other world - are.

and Charis will NEED those advantages in the next arc due to how much worse the fighting is going to be. Plus everyone in the inner circle is in Charis. You can't really expect them to say no to making their situation better


But Merlin could say "no" to them, when they start to abuse their advantages.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by captinjoehenry   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:10 am

captinjoehenry
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Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:36 pm

Which is neither effective not productive in long therms. Logically, he should shut down his support for Charis except of energencies, as soon as the war was over.

The big issue here is that that would be 100% out of character for Merlin. He has a very very deep personal connection with Charis which by the nature of his character means he'll do all he can to support Charis not to mention all the many many members of the inner circle who also have access to the information. In addition to it being out of character constantly pushing the pace of innovation in Charis helps Merlin's goal as it gives the rest of the world more and more evidence of all the wonderful things they could invent and use if they follow Charis's footsteps and innovate and create new things.
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by Julia Minor   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:15 am

Julia Minor
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Dilandu wrote:
Even the arrogant stuck up empires rarely were such stupid as Harcongese presented. They seems to lack any understanding of plotting & intrigue (which is rather strange for corrupt decadent court, isnt it?) - instead of playing all sides in North Harchong against each other by half-support and half-promises, they throw all their weight behind the worst ones.


We know Zhyou-Zhwo was impatiently waiting for his "turn" on the throne. We don't know if he got any training for his eventual role. If Waisu was under the bureaucrats' thumbs, and it sounds like he was, then he certainly couldn't train Zhyou-Zhwo in anything other than "shut up and let the bureaucrats do their job" ... which obviously didn't take.
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:07 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

captinjoehenry wrote:The big issue here is that that would be 100% out of character for Merlin. He has a very very deep personal connection with Charis which by the nature of his character means he'll do all he can to support Charis not to mention all the many many members of the inner circle who also have access to the information.


That's the problem; basically, Merlin started to invent excuses for what he is doing, persuading himself that "what's good for Charis is good for all Safehold". Which, of course, is not guaranteed at all. I'm not sure it's actually beneficial for Charis itself in long run, since the total dependence on Merlin-delivered superiority might result in them being completely unable to work by themselves, when such support would run out (and it would run out, because the ultimate goal is the rediscovery of modern Terran Federation technology - after which, Merlin would simply run out of cheats to give them)

captinjoehenry wrote:In addition to it being out of character constantly pushing the pace of innovation in Charis helps Merlin's goal as it gives the rest of the world more and more evidence of all the wonderful things they could invent and use if they follow Charis's footsteps and innovate and create new things.


Again; doesn't seems to be working. Not to mention that in that case he should support also the other nation innovations efforts.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by captinjoehenry   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:44 pm

captinjoehenry
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:36 pm

That's the problem; basically, Merlin started to invent excuses for what he is doing, persuading himself that "what's good for Charis is good for all Safehold". Which, of course, is not guaranteed at all. I'm not sure it's actually beneficial for Charis itself in long run, since the total dependence on Merlin-delivered superiority might result in them being completely unable to work by themselves, when such support would run out (and it would run out, because the ultimate goal is the rediscovery of modern Terran Federation technology - after which, Merlin would simply run out of cheats to give them)

The thing is though almost all of the innovation itself is coming from people without access to Owl. Their innovations are almost entirely home grown with only slight guidance. Just look at Delfak he has a massive stream of constant inventions flowing over his desk from all the people he has working for him. That's a massive success of giving people hints and encouraging them to innovate. So yes if you look at Charis you essentially have an entire nation of inventors and scientist almost all of which are working and coming up with new things without Owl. The best example is the invention of the metallic cartridge. That was effectively an entirely organic idea with only a very logical argument in favor of centerfire due to it's reliability.

Again; doesn't seems to be working. Not to mention that in that case he should support also the other nation innovations efforts.

Merlin is not able to support any other countries innovators. He has no practical way to provide them with support. Not to mention Dohlar completely designed and built their own steam warship from the ground up and have undoubtedly continued to improve on them entirely on their own. You even see Desnair and Harchong being forced to innovate in order to keep up with the rest of the world after they cut off contact with Charis. There's loads of it off camera with the best on camera example being Desnairs homegrown bolt action magazine fed rifle.
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Re: Dilandu's little hysteria,
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:32 pm

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captinjoehenry wrote:
That's the problem; basically, Merlin started to invent excuses for what he is doing, persuading himself that "what's good for Charis is good for all Safehold". Which, of course, is not guaranteed at all. I'm not sure it's actually beneficial for Charis itself in long run, since the total dependence on Merlin-delivered superiority might result in them being completely unable to work by themselves, when such support would run out (and it would run out, because the ultimate goal is the rediscovery of modern Terran Federation technology - after which, Merlin would simply run out of cheats to give them)

The thing is though almost all of the innovation itself is coming from people without access to Owl. Their innovations are almost entirely home grown with only slight guidance. Just look at Delfak he has a massive stream of constant inventions flowing over his desk from all the people he has working for him. That's a massive success of giving people hints and encouraging them to innovate. So yes if you look at Charis you essentially have an entire nation of inventors and scientist almost all of which are working and coming up with new things without Owl. The best example is the invention of the metallic cartridge. That was effectively an entirely organic idea with only a very logical argument in favor of centerfire due to it's reliability.

Again; doesn't seems to be working. Not to mention that in that case he should support also the other nation innovations efforts.

Merlin is not able to support any other countries innovators. He has no practical way to provide them with support. Not to mention Dohlar completely designed and built their own steam warship from the ground up and have undoubtedly continued to improve on them entirely on their own. You even see Desnair and Harchong being forced to innovate in order to keep up with the rest of the world after they cut off contact with Charis. There's loads of it off camera with the best on camera example being Desnairs homegrown bolt action magazine fed rifle.

All of this legacy technology doesn't need to be reinvented. Reintroducing legacy tech as is being described in the stories is the means of reintroducing the scientific method and the process of innovation. The idea isn't to reinvent all that tech, but to quickly get everyone to Terran Federation level tech with a refined innovative mindset.

Desnair is encouraged to innovate as much as they can by their hatred of Charis. They place restrictions upon themselves because they don't want to have social upheaval as they introduce an industrial revolution. That is a laudable goal. Their values and social structures are NOT laudable, but trying to reduce social unrest is.

Harchong is trying to do much the same thing but treat their citizens in such a vile manner that the unrest is cause by their values and not by the innovations from Charis. Much of their conservatism stems from trying to keep social inferiors....inferior.

Nothing Merlin can do will change that. Charis can conquer those nations to make those changes in their society. However, conquering those nations is best done by keeping their tech piss poor and sending in the military to hammer their sorry butts. Yet that will pose problems with all the other nations that are willing to innovate. Bottom line, Charis is best off letting Desnair and Harchong chose their own way and helping anyone else they can as much as they can. Help them to NOT reinvent legacy technology, but help them achieve Terran level tech ASAP while developing an innovative mindset.
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