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rwallace comments on The Hero With A Thousand Chances - Less Wrong

63 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 04:25AM

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Comment author: rwallace 31 July 2009 05:13:15AM 1 point [-]

Good story! The Tolkien reference was nicely done; is Aerhien's background your own invention or inspired by another source? I get the feeling I've seen it somewhere, though that could be merely a matter of having seen each ingredient separately.

My one quibble about the hero is that he deduces too much from too little data - in particular, the probability that the counterforce exists, is an exponential function of how many times the world has been saved so far; in his shoes I'd look at the records before making a call on that one.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 05:59:29AM 0 points [-]

Rick Cook's "Wizard's Bane" has Shiara the Silver; that was a neighbor that came to mind when I wrote Aerhien.

Also, even going on only the words Aerhien says out loud, it sounds like there've been a lot of lucky heroes.

Comment author: ChrisBrown 31 July 2009 01:42:23PM 3 points [-]

"Another said: a superhero is someone who can save people who could not be saved by any ordinary means; whether it is few people or many people, a superhero is someone who can save people who cannot be saved. "

This seems to be a reference to (or at least influenced by) Fate/Stay Night, correct?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 02:12:29PM 1 point [-]

Correct. (Direct reference, not influence.)

Comment author: thomblake 31 July 2009 03:04:06PM 2 points [-]

Ooh, is this "guess the reference"?

Look upon the Abyss without flinching

Neon Genesis Evangelion / Warhammer 40k fanfic?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 03:04:46PM 2 points [-]

But of course. I quoted that particular line in a "Rationality Quotes" a while back.

Comment author: RolfAndreassen 31 July 2009 04:39:40PM 1 point [-]

Out of curiosity, have you played the games, or did you just come across that particular quote and approve?

Comment author: CronoDAS 31 July 2009 06:44:17PM 0 points [-]

I was annoyed to discover the other day that none of the Type Moon games have official English releases. We've gotten the manga and anime adaptations, but not the visual novels. (There is a fan translation patch, but importing the Japanese game is not as easy as getting an official English version. And I'm not going to stoop to piracy to get it.)

Comment author: rwallace 31 July 2009 06:07:32AM 2 points [-]

Ah! Yes, I knew she reminded me of someone.

(To anyone who hasn't read the Wiz series: highly recommended.)

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 06:23:47AM 0 points [-]

So you also associated to her specifically? I noticed the similarity while writing, but didn't think it would be noticeable while reading. Guess I was wrong. I'll rewrite slightly - if that's noticeable to others, it bothers me.

Comment author: rwallace 31 July 2009 06:31:03AM 2 points [-]

For what it's worth, I don't see any need to change it; archetypes echo down generations of storytellers because they work, and this character works very well as she is.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 06:36:26AM 1 point [-]

I do see such a need, actually; I think that particular sector of description was influenced by Shiara, which means I got lazy for ten seconds and didn't do my own thinking, and was punished accordingly. So I changed the emphasis slightly, to what I think it might have been if I hadn't also thought of Shiara. I expect this sort of thing can be handled by changing one or two lines rather than a complete rewrite.

Comment author: rwallace 31 July 2009 06:48:08AM 0 points [-]

Fair enough, that's reasonable.

Comment author: SoullessAutomaton 02 August 2009 02:21:16AM 0 points [-]

For what it's worth, I also thought of Shiara immediately when I read it last night, largely because of the "summoning an offworlder with mysterious knowledge" premise combined with the shared archtype and the "dead lover" bit.

Comment author: rwallace 31 July 2009 06:38:48AM 1 point [-]

And yes, "a lot of lucky heroes" is what I'm thinking - suppose there have been a thousand wins at 50-50 odds, that's about 300 decimal orders of magnitude, which makes it almost certain that the counterforce really does exist. If the number were less, that makes the anthropic explanation more likely. That's why I would check on the numbers before drawing the anthropic conclusion.