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Pliocene, Narnia

I re-read Julian May's Saga of Pliocene Exile recently. Still good. Still geologist porn.

Partway through Book 1 I wondered about sending robust materials back through the time gate, like engraved stone or fired clay. Then we meet someone who'd tried to arrange for such communication, albeit with different materials. Happy that the author addressed that.

I wondered that exiles didn't get more warning or worry more about the Metapsychic Rebels having forced their way through, with contraband equipment no less. If you're going back to hopes of a primitive society and freedom, shouldn't you worry about being Marc Remillard's mindthrall in an orderly society instead? Friend S said that was too small potatoes to fit his profile, which I guess turned out to be true. Plus people thought he was dead. OTOH that makes it worse: the Intervention books showed us how just one maybe adept coercer-reactor can take over a society; the rebels had like 100 masterclass minds.

OTOH brutal despotism was a likely outcome for Exile society anyway, so I guess adding illegal operants and weapons to the mix doesn't change much. And you don't go on a one-way trip to the Pliocene with prudence being a major concern.

I kind of like how fucked up most of the Exiles are. Something like half of Group Green is arguably sociopathic. The rest are not quite suicidal.

I was surprised at how much of a total asshole Marc is at first; I had better memories of him. I guess he earns those in the last book. Still kind of assholish there, for that matter. But early on? Authoritarian cult of personality all the way.

I remember being disappointed in the Milieu trilogy. I don't remember it well, but the Rebellion seeming more pathetic than steeped in grandeur, perhaps. That actually fits better now, I got more a sense of Marc being fucked up even while ambitious.

I'd remembered Felice almost d-jumping through raw power and instinct, and Marc figuring it out with mechanical enhancement. I really didn't remember that *Brede* could d-jump, "as a legacy from my Spouse." That seems pretty wacky, a non-masterclass artificial operant being able to casually teleport across the galaxy (if she had anywhere to go) while a Grand Master psychokinet and Paramount Grand Master creator needs elaborate enhancement rig to learn it at all. And Brede seemed to think she could have taught Elizabeth, if Lizzie had more PK.

Also odd, the word 'teleport' gets used with Pliocene society, but in one context it's clearly applied to a clumsy levitation. People do sometimes "appear out of nowhere" but that could be dropping invisibility instead of whisking oneself into place, and no one teleports for travel purposes.


Re-read some Narnia books too. Dawn Treader, Horse, Magician. First two more fun than the third. First has a neat fantasy journey, also various morals for children. I liked the fake Arabic storytelling in Horse, and perceived less moralizing, though man, Aslan's really keeping a close paw on things. Made me wonder if Aslan's always intervening in Narnian lives... per the explicit Jesus analogy, maybe he should be! I also wondered if the Pevensies ever had sex as grown-up kings and queens. Probably they shouldn't have, as good chivalrous Christians who never got married. But Susan was considering marriage! That would have been weird.

Archenland is like Narnia's younger brother, with fewer Talking Animals. The cabbie-king's second son becomes first king there, and I wondered if at the time of High King Peter, Archenland still continued the original royal line. Which then makes me think after the Pevensies disappeared that one of the princes should have taken over Narnia, rather than things falling apart again until the Telmarines came.

What I really want to re-read is the Silver Chair; I remember that as having pretty trippy fantasy without much moralizing. I expect I'm wrong on the second count.

As a kid I'd somehow thought of the Dawn Treader as sailing west, and thought this until I saw a fan map of Narnia. Pretty stupid of me, given the details in the book, or the name of the ship itself.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/377768.html#comments


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)
IIRC, there is a tradeoff in that the pain from displacement weakens the adept, making it harder for them to break back into normal space. Brede has enormous pain-coping mechanism so she isn't perceptibly weakened by a local galaxy jump since she has had to endure intergalactic jumps while conscious and yoked to the Ship. Likewise, Elizabeth could handle pain well, which is both why she could have been a candidate for D-Jump, and why it was necessary for Brede to expose her to D-Jump, because there was nothing else dire enough to push Elizabeth into the level of distress that allows learning insights to happen. Eventually, Elizabeth's coping would rise to accommodate D-Jumping without being weakened, but a certain minimum amount of PK is necessary to break out of normal space to begin with.

It's okay for the Millieu to allow non-heads to risk subjugation, because they have already made the informed choice to refuse the lesser and greater hardships including euthanasia, gulag, redaction. The thing is to avoid strengthening the rebels with additional adepts or munitions. And it's hinted that some people outside the govt suspect the rebels are in the past when a stem shield is discovered among the loot at Gateway.

You are right about the war of rebellion not living up to its reputation. It was foreshadowed as an epic world war II sort of thing with several characters serving with distinction as if they were in conventional campaigns, but it was written more as a series of cold war capers with the hot war being largely abortive, other than the destruction of the Krondaku staging planet.
Oct. 13th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
Brede also had the Ship mitigator program, which made jumping basically painless within a galaxy. And she used the pain of unmitigated jumping on herself, as part of Elizabeth bringing her up to full operancy. I didn't see any mention of coping skills increasing; the mitigator program could be simply taught, and Creyn tried bargaining it to Marc.

The amazing bit was that Brede's level of PK was enough to break out of normal space. Must be another highly efficient thing the Milieu[1] never discovered, like the mitigator program. People said not even the Tanu elite were as strong as Milieu masters (though I wondered how the non-operants would know); Brede seemed off to the side and strong in her own right (and 14,000 years old!), but I doubt she was more than masterclass.

Hmm, point on the rejected options. I did think "it's like the Milieu doesn't care that much what happens to them" which seemed to conflict with the smothering altruism, but yeah, these are the people who have turned their faces away from proto-God-mind despite every chance. If they make their own hell so be it, as long as they don't mess up the timeline...

[1] Apart from one annoying quasi-Lylmik, who didn't discover it himself...
Oct. 14th, 2013 07:02 am (UTC)
Yes, Brede has the spiffy mitigator, but some people are just cussedly tough,like Diamond-Mask who sneaks around the anesthesia for jumping as child IIRC and takes a d-factor in the low thousands. Elizabeth may have had that level from suffering through the reconstructive procedures while in mourning.

Brede's PK may be a contribution from the Ship as well, writ upon her like the way Felice and wozname got writ on that ruby crystal.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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