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Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3

10 Post author: Alicorn 30 December 2010 02:37PM

This is a thread for discussing my luminous!Twilight fic, Luminosity (inferior mirror here), its sequel Radiance (inferior mirror), and related topics.

PDFs, to be updated as the fic updates, are available of Luminosity (other version) and Radiance.  (PDFs courtesy of anyareine).  Zack M Davis has created a mobi file of Radiance.

Initial discussion of the fic under a Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality thread is here.  The first dedicated threads: Part 1, Part 2.  See also the luminosity sequence which contains some of the concepts that the Luminosity fic is intended to illustrate.  (Disclaimer: in the fic, the needs of the story take precedence over the needs for didactic value where the two are in tension.)

Spoilers are OK to post without ROT-13 for canon, all of Book 1, and Radiance up to the current chapter.  Note which chapter (let's all use the numbering on my own webspace, rather than fanfiction.net, for consistency) you're about to spoil in your comment if it's big.  People who know extra stuff (my betas and people who have requested specific spoilers) should keep mum about unpublished information they have.  If you wish to join the ranks of the betas or the spoiled, contact me individually.

Miscellaneous links: TV Tropes page (I really really like it when new stuff appears there) and threadAutomatic Livejournal feed.

Comments (353)

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Comment author: jimrandomh 27 February 2011 03:06:43AM 9 points [-]

Is Elspeth going to try using her sending power for general education? If she could turn a human into a passable doctor by sending them someone's memories of medical school, for example, she can solve several broad classes of societal problems very effectively by mass-producing various types of professionals from volunteers.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 03 March 2011 03:03:27PM 3 points [-]

I suspect this will rapidly become a moot point, what with the growing population of immortal superpowerful supergeniuses: if there's a societal need for more Xes, the Empire can modify their "immigration" policy to put people willing to practice X for a decade or two on their fast-track.

Admittedly, you probably don't want newborn vampires practicing medicine.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 March 2011 01:12:37AM *  8 points [-]


After Radiance ends (I currently expect #52 to be the last, maybe the second-to-last, chapter), I have two projects that will be lined up to go next.

However, both of these projects need significant amounts of preliminary work out of the way before I can even start writing the prose, let alone publishing it.

I don't want to go stagnant during this downtime, so while I'll definitely use the time freed up by no longer writing Radiance to hurry those preliminaries along, I also want to be, yanno, writing stuff as well as preparing to write stuff.

Solution: Luminosity/Radiance short stories. (Working title for the collection thereof: "Flashes".)

I'm not going to do a third novel. Two is enough, and I do have other stuff to get to that isn't fanfiction. But I can produce a short story (roughly the size of a Radiance chapter, i.e. more than 4,000 words but usually fewer than 5,000) once a week to keep in writing practice, and to offer additional perspectives on the Luminousverse, until Elcenia's relaunch and/or Dreamward are ready to go.

I've made noise about doing omake/other extras before, and people have given me suggestions, but I wasn't collecting the suggestions in any systematic way and don't have them stored anywhere. So, if you've already suggested something, suggest it again and this time I'll make a note; and if you haven't, this is a good time to present an idea. I'll come up with my own if I don't get reader submissions I like. Ideas should be "canon" (comply with the Luminousverse; e.g. no telling me to write a story about, I dunno, Addy having a torrid affair with Nathan during the twenty minutes or so she spent on the Isle of Man or Alice creating an immortal child or something, because that didn't happen). Suggestions could be as specific as "tell me how Aro and Sulpicia met" (I'm actually thinking of writing that one first to have ready to post before Radiance wraps up) or as vague as "something from some Volturi's perspective sometime when something was happening".

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 01 March 2011 03:50:50AM 4 points [-]

Tell us about the capital on the moon!

Comment author: Alicorn 01 March 2011 06:38:07AM 1 point [-]

Added to the list :)

Comment author: Giriath 01 March 2011 10:09:29AM *  3 points [-]

Uh, well I had made a few suggestions a ways back but I can't remember all of them and as it's my birthday I don't currently have the time to search for them amongst all my comments and private messages.

Here's a few though: tell us about when Bella met Allirea and Eleazar and managed to steal Allirea away and their subsequent journey up until they met with Elspeth and party again.

Tell us about how Bella reacts to Elspeth having been Chelsea'd, and if that is insufficient as an omake, what she is doing and thinking when and after Elspeth is abducted twice, and anything else you'd like to add pertaining to that time frame (e.g. Bella almost attacking Pera).

Tell us about the first major contact between the Golden Empire and human governments, and any subsequent contact you find interesting.

Tell us about the first direct public contact (televised or otherwise) between human society and the Golden Empire, preferably from the perspective of Bella's past human acquaintances, like Angela, Mike, Ben, Jessica, Lauren e.t.c.

Tell us about the first official function Elspeth attends. Will she wear a crown? Will Jacob really get a title?

Tell us about Allirea's experiences as personal bodyguard of the imperial family.

That's all I have for now. :)

Comment author: DSimon 03 March 2011 11:38:54PM 3 points [-]

How about a story following a human trying to go through the official process of getting turned? I'd really like to see (a) how human society reacts to the demasquing, and (b) in particular, the interactions between those who want to become vampires and those who consider the vampires to be enemies.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 March 2011 11:40:56PM 4 points [-]

I'm writing (this very minute, actually) the official form one needs to fill out to apply to get vamped. Depending on how long it winds up being, I might turn it into a framing mechanism for something more storylike.

Comment author: Larks 04 March 2011 12:21:00AM 1 point [-]

It'd be cool to hear about how the New World Order is recieved by those Vampires who want to continue killing people.

Comment author: Alicorn 04 March 2011 12:39:09AM 3 points [-]

With brief violence.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 03 March 2011 02:57:07PM 1 point [-]

I would love to hear about what Alice has been up to since the Volturi were defeated.

(It keeps seeming odd that she isn't being consulted during all of this strategic planning... e.g., making sure that breaking the masquerade to various people's relatives won't result in being forced to kill them... so I assume that she's working on something off-camera. )

Comment author: Alicorn 03 March 2011 03:12:02PM 1 point [-]

Alice checked that with Addy ahead of time when Addy was making the appointments; the trouble was that they couldn't do a check on how Elspeth (or even her power in Addy's hands) would affect things because she blocks Alice.

Comment author: amazingeko 12 May 2011 02:24:16PM 0 points [-]

I don't know if you'll get this, but I was wondering about vampire powers. I'd be specifically interested in a high level martial artist (7th Dan in aikido or equivalent) gaining abilities. It seems like most vampires use brute force to fight, and even though different techniques are required, I can't imagine that a trained martial artist wouldn't have a distinct advantage.

Comment author: Alicorn 12 May 2011 06:22:53PM 1 point [-]

I had a long reply written up but I accidentally hit cancel and it's gone. Argh.

Short reply:

No, wouldn't help noticeably. Vampires have a much higher strength-to-weight ratio than humans, so using their own weight against them is a technique of negligible value. Their muscles move independently to a greater degree, so locks don't work. They are too tough for "hitting 'em with the floor" (as my old sensei used to say) to be a worthwhile thing to do unless your aim is to destroy the floor. Etcetera. The adaptation from human martial arts required to effectively fight vampires is such that the martial artist might start out with an advantage in mental habituation to combat training (and so take to it more easily), but if you control for that there'd be no benefit.

Comment author: Arda 11 March 2011 10:05:33AM 0 points [-]

This could be something you already have planned, but I don't want to make any assumptions, so: I would like to hear about the eventual effects, if any, which come from Elspeth telling Magic that she loves her Mama in chapter 12.

Comment author: Alicorn 11 March 2011 03:16:26PM 2 points [-]

I don't have that planned because there isn't anything, really. Elspeth has to build her relationship with her mother (again), she can't pull it out of deep storage. She's quite aware that, as a little girl, she loved her mother, though.

Comment author: Arda 26 February 2011 09:37:56PM 6 points [-]

They gave him his mate's murderer, then they gave him a new mate. I think this pretty much seals Marcus' undying loyalty to the Empire.

Comment author: Alicorn 18 January 2011 01:56:03PM 6 points [-]

In an earlier thread there was a comment asking about the timeline; I replied there and will crosspost here.

These are the broad strokes. (Let me know if you want the dates of other events.)

January 17, 2005: Luminosity opens.

October 2005: Assorted hell breaks loose (partial list in order: Irina finds out who killed Laurent and tips off the Volturi; the Volturi descend upon the wolves; Jacob summons Bella; the Volturi send Demetri looking for Nahuel's sisters; he finds them and helps himself to Allirea).

November 4, 2005: With Allirea in tow, the Volturi nab Alice.

April 4, 2006: Bella encounters Jasper.

May 10, 2006: Bella finds Elspeth.

May 20, 2011: Radiance opens.

May 26, 2011: Last date of Addy touching Aro. Aro was reasonably up-to-date (within a month or two) on the Volturi and Volturi guard at this time, including Allirea. He doesn't keep quite so up-to-date, temporally speaking, on the wolves, but as of this date he has read all the then-in-village alphas and imprints (as they came in, to determine how to cover up their disappearance to the wider world), and about half of the village wolves who were activated when first brought in.

May 27, 2011: Elspeth and Jacob's pack are captured in New York.

May 28, 2011: Elspeth and Allirea jailbreak.

May 30, 2011: Elspeth & co. arrive in Denali. IT'S A TRAP! Some hours afterward, Bella shows up, encounters Allirea and Eleazar, and gets the former out of there.

June 8, 2011: Elspeth is first recruited as assistant brainwasher.

July 1, 2011: The events of "Weaver" take place.

July 3, 2011: Demetri starts looking for Allirea.

July 4, 2011 (no pun intended): Addy is sentenced to death and memory-blasts the Volturi compound and escapes with Elspeth and Jacob.

July 8, 2011: Elspeth's current party arrives in Alaska.

Comment author: Pavitra 04 March 2011 11:13:59PM 5 points [-]

Nathan, I'd like you to drum your fingers on the table. After each tap, choose the best time in the next second to tap again.

Tap tap ... tatap tatap ... tatap tap ... tap tap tap ... tatap tatap ... tatap tatap tap ... tatap tap tatap tap ... "I think now would be a good time to stop."

IMNSMGC ... I am N.'s magic?

Comment author: alethiophile 06 March 2011 04:59:45AM 0 points [-]

I hereby dub this a Great Idea, and request a short story from Alicorn about it.

Comment author: Alicorn 06 March 2011 05:41:42AM 1 point [-]

I am not adding this to the list.

Comment author: Pavitra 06 March 2011 06:04:07AM 0 points [-]

Because you don't feel like it, or because you want to encourage people to use the right comment thread / make direct replies to your comments so it shows up in your inbox / other please specify?

Comment author: Alicorn 06 March 2011 06:06:20AM 2 points [-]

Because I don't like the idea.

Comment author: jsalvatier 02 January 2011 09:22:20AM *  4 points [-]

I've just started reading Luminosity because I haven't read the Luminosity sequence (starting it seemed mentally difficult for one reason or another) and I figured this would be a good introduction. It's quite engaging. Bella's habits do seem quite excellent and she's kind of (edit: definitely) a badass.

Comment author: alethiophile 06 March 2011 03:52:31AM 3 points [-]

Bella's law regarding no non-consensual turning of mates seems like it would be hard to enforce. If a vampire finds their mate and bites them before the Golden Empire can interfere, then even if the Empire finds out before the turning is finished, there's no real way to prove that it was nonconsensual. The mate will be incoherent during the turning process, and after turning will a. have fuzzy memories of right before the turning, and b. be more than willing to lie on behalf of their own mate. The only real way around this is for the Empire to isolate the mate during turning, perhaps applying Alec in order to help them, and then quiz them before they see their mate. However, it also seems that this could be gotten around by simply making sure that the turning is finished before the Empire finds them. It is mentioned that Alice's weekly check for eye color might find the turning, but I should imagine that turning through a syringe should not affect eye color. How might this be enforced?

Comment author: Alicorn 06 March 2011 03:58:35AM *  1 point [-]

They can interview the turning mate about whether they got permission or not, with Edward or Maggie or an adequately equipped Addy present.

I'm not sure what you mean about turning through a syringe and eye color. Newborns universally have bright red eyes, unaffected by diet until a couple months in (animal blood) or a year in (human blood). What Alice might notice is, when she's checking on Turner, that Turnee is physically nearby.

Comment author: alethiophile 06 March 2011 04:59:18AM 3 points [-]

True. Okay. I forgot that they have perfect supernatural lie detection available.

This seems like a remarkably harsh rule, since the dynamics of the mate bond with a human provide sufficient incentive to turn the mate without permission--whether permission would have been granted or not--that many people will do it, and it seems likely that a large number of them will successfully finish the turning and bond to their mate, necessitating large punishments for both the perpetrator and the victim of an act of which the victim was entirely innocent and which the victim is overwhelmingly likely to retroactively endorse. Leaving arguments of the morality of nonconsensual turning aside, a law that seems so likely to lead to the Empire carrying out so many morally questionable punishments seems suspect.

Comment author: Alicorn 06 March 2011 05:25:10AM 4 points [-]

That one's not going to carry a death penalty. It is true and obvious that mates would generally still prefer to turn without permission than let their mates die. The rules accomplish two things:

a) strongly encourage at least a good-faith attempt at convincing the mate first;

b) serve signaling purposes to human societies they later reveal themselves to ("no, of course kidnapping humans to turn them is illegal; it carries an N year hiding sentence, and if we can humanely arrange for them to serve it without said mate, we do", as opposed to "yeah, if one of us wants to snag and vamp one of you badly enough it's gonna happen and we'll throw them an engagement party, sucks to be you").

Comment author: wedrifid 06 March 2011 08:20:19AM 1 point [-]

yeah, if one of us wants to snag and vamp one of you badly enough it's gonna happen and we'll throw them an engagement party, sucks to be you

In a manner of speaking.

Comment author: alethiophile 10 March 2011 03:51:16AM 0 points [-]

Also, any penalty short of death is going to be relatively little actual deterrent, in the long run. It'll encourage vampires to make a strong attempt to convince their mate, but if that isn't possible they will be quite willing to simply kidnap and turn them, in the sure knowledge that they will forgive them once turned, and make sure that the bond is fully established before the Empire intervenes so that they aren't serving N years hidden in the absence of their mate.

Comment author: gwern 04 February 2011 12:22:04AM 3 points [-]

I'm troubled by Elspeth's new power in ch36, where Magic seems to have suddenly jumped from being solely about Elspeth's own personal subjective error-filled beliefs to being a royal road to objective Truth.

At least, I can't put any subjective spin on things like

"Well," I said to Magic, while everyone watched me to see if I was done thinking, "would it make sense to use that story as an analogy to what Alice and Jasper are doing? If I compared those things, would it make them understand something true?"

(What, Elspeth has to ask what she thinks about such a comparison?)

This turns Elspeth into an oracle who can answer any computable question. Memories are heavily fictional (at multiple levels, from not including all perceptions, including inferences and assumptions built into 'mentalese', to wishful thinking and biases, to simply what one pays attention to and doesn't, when the memories aren't outright false as in experimentally demonstrated induced memories by suggestion). Elpseth can compare memories against a question. That's all that's needed. Now Elspeth can have any question, and either already has a relevant memory from millions of years of memories or can just think of a fiction (a story), which lets her answer it.

Nor is there any obvious mechanism to defeat this. She can only compare memories? Fine, she compares against a memory of the story she just wrote to answer her question. Memories have to be vampirically good? Now she can't compare against her own memories, all the humans from Aro, werewolf memories, and this is an ad hoc & unmentioned limitation - which can probably be gotten around anyway. (All you need is some telepathic communication and editing ability, of one's own or another person's abilities. For example, hire CGI artists to render a needed fiction, watch it, and send Elspeth the memory - shorn of the memories of entering and exiting the theater. Or edit Elspeth directly. Or maybe memories of lucid dreaming would work, or maybe memories of hallucinogens.) And so on.

Comment author: alethiophile 24 January 2011 10:33:23PM 3 points [-]

Can Elspeth grant a subagent other than the main one control of her body? If so, then she can become much more formidable thus: she has the memories of many, including of course many who are very good at combat, so create a 'Melee' subagent (in keeping with the tradition of names beginning with M) that is in charge of knowing vampire melee combat in and out, and when necessary grant it bodily control. In general, Elspeth+memories is a really powerful combination; with subagents she can process the knowledge in ways unavailable even to vampires, and do fun stuff with it.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 January 2011 12:46:05AM *  3 points [-]

I find myself really relieved that mother love is allowed to be at least on par with the mate bond in this world. I was ready to accept Elspeth's line of thinking--that because the mate bond is magic (and not just magic, but Super Magic, in that it tends to trump even other magic) it would override any "mere human" sorts of bonds. In my head, I could see that. But emotionally, no way. It would have made Bella impenetrably alien to me, and sort of monstrous, if that was the way her emotions worked. I'm glad she remains recognizably human in this way--it makes it much, much easier to sympathize with and root for her.

And I have a lot of sympathy for Bella in this chapter. She's doing really just remarkably well, dealing with regaining a post-Chelsea Elspeth, but Alicorn gave us enough of a window into her emotional state that I can really feel the immense strain she's under. She must have been wild with fear for her daughter this whole time--and now she's got that daughter back, but broken in one important way: all her social ties cauterized. In other words, her daughter has actually been terribly hurt, but hurt in a way that Elspeth herself can no longer perceive, and if Bella flew into a rage about it, that would only serve to drive Elspeth further away.

In moments like the one where Bella hauls off and kicks the mountainside, I feel like we're seeing someone who is putting up a good front, but is really a long way from being okay with the situation. I actually think the audience might be able to perceive it better than Elspeth does--because even though she's making significant progress toward maturity, Elspeth still has some of the natural self-centeredness of a child. And, of course, she doesn't particularly care about Bella anymore.

Assuming I'm not just projecting things onto Bella that aren't meant to be there, I have to say Alicorn's pulled off a really neat authorial trick. It takes good and subtle writing to show us things in first-person narration that the narrator herself is unaware of.

Anyway, Bella seems to be handling her daughter really, really well--respecting the changes that Elspeth's gone through in their time apart, demonstrating her willingness to accept Elspeth's new priorities as important, but at the same time guiding her daughter towards the sort of memories she'd need to be able to start reconstructing their relationship on an emotional as well as an intellectual level. I feel moderately confident that Bella will succeed in winning back her daughter's love if she continues to take this tack.

Comment author: Aharon 17 January 2011 02:18:37PM 3 points [-]

Wow! Just.... Wow!

The latest chapter is excellently written. It stands out in a work that already sets high standards. I was deeply immersed when reading, and it was very suspenseful. Thumbs up!

I wonder what the consequences of Jacob phasing will be...

Comment author: [deleted] 17 January 2011 05:12:29PM 2 points [-]

Agreed! I enjoyed the chapter a lot, and I think it represents a turning point for Elspeth. She took an active role, used her power in a decisive (and emotionally powerful) way, and made some character-defining choices. She's evolved from a passive child into the heroine of her own story.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 18 January 2011 09:32:47PM 1 point [-]

I wonder what the consequences of Jacob phasing will be...

I suspect that if Aro reads a werewolf that's in werewolf form, he also reads all of the other werewolves that they are involuntarily connected to.

If that's the case and they're smart enough, they transferred all of the wolves except for one or two to the other packs, then keep one of the untransferred ones in wolf form right next to Aro at all times. Then the second Jake phased, whichever wolf was on duty should have moved to touch Aro, who would then get all of Jacob's memories, and the protagonists would quite possibly be screwed.

I could be mistaken, and Aro could only read the other wolves' surface thoughts, just like the other wolves. In that case, it would depend entirely on what Jake is thinking, which could range anywhere from disastrous (Alaskan air is cold, hope the Denali have medical supplies, that Demetri bastard is dead, etc) to irrelevant (Elspeth, my neck, Elspeth, the pain, Elspeth, it hurts, Elspeth, oh god it hurts) and anywhere inbetween. Or the Volturi might not think that they are worth such measures and transfer all of the other wolves to other packs, in order to keep them effective.

I can't deny that I'm looking forward to finding out which it is.

Comment author: Alicorn 18 January 2011 09:38:31PM 2 points [-]

I suspect that if Aro reads a werewolf that's in werewolf form, he also reads all of the other werewolves that they are involuntarily connected to.

No. Aro only reads the personal history of the individual he touches. This includes (their memories of) telepathic conversations where applicable, but not the other memories of packmates. Also, wolves don't have perfect recall. Their memories are humanlike.

Comment author: alethiophile 06 January 2011 12:39:02AM 3 points [-]

I'm still wondering about the 'arbitrary numbers of sub-agents' aspect of Elspeth's power. She found Magic there the first time she meditated, but apparently created Memory intentionally for the purpose of dealing with her Del-induced memory banks. Could she create other sub-agents with particular purposes? Could she create a 'Math' sub-agent that was really good at calculus? If she creates multiple sub-agents that then explicitly argue the truth of a point, could she become noticeably better than usual at discerning the truth from opposing clever arguments? This is the sort of mental power that seems like it could do just about anything (inward-directed), depending on the constraints.

Comment author: Alicorn 06 January 2011 12:51:46AM 4 points [-]

Could she create other sub-agents with particular purposes?

Yes, to a point. She can only create agents that represent parts of her that actually exist, though. She can't graft onto herself arbitrary traits by making subagents about them.

Could she create a 'Math' sub-agent that was really good at calculus?

This one is ruled out on a meta level: I cannot write a subagent that is good at calculus.

Comment author: alethiophile 06 January 2011 01:43:23AM 2 points [-]

Assuming that the needs of the narrative were taken care of, could she? Would she have to already be good at calculus herself to do so? If she was, but it took her entire concentration, could making a Math sub-agent allow her to do it 'in the background'?

Comment author: Alicorn 06 January 2011 01:54:41AM 2 points [-]

Assuming that the needs of the narrative were taken care of, could she?

If she somehow contained calculus skill (e.g. if she had memories from somebody who was good at calculus), then she could make a subagent about that. Making a Math subagent would indeed allow this skill to require less of the main subagent's conscious attention.

Comment author: RobinZ 06 January 2011 01:23:29AM 1 point [-]

This one is ruled out on a meta level: I cannot write a subagent that is good at calculus.

How difficult would it be to collaborate with another party in order to allow such a thing?

Comment author: Alicorn 06 January 2011 01:28:23AM *  2 points [-]

I don't have a great collaboration track record. I managed it once for a while (a few years), but with a supernaturally easy-to-get-along-with person who still eventually found it too annoying to deal with me and has since abandoned our project to my tender mercies.

Comment author: JenniferRM 31 December 2010 07:20:53PM 3 points [-]

The part 2 discussion links forward to this page now :-)

Comment author: RobinZ 30 December 2010 06:00:42PM 3 points [-]

The description of Marcus pre-tragedy is superawesome.

"Heart Is An Awesome Power" added.

Comment author: Giriath 30 December 2010 09:57:42PM *  1 point [-]

I really enjoyed it too. I've never read of a pre-tragedy!Marcus that resembles anything close to what I think he would be like in canon. He's a very sharp man with a good handle on his power. He just doesn't have quite the same ambitions as Aro.

All the different personalities of the Volturi coven make me wonder how many arguments there have been about the morality of eating people. I'm sure many were prevented because Chelsea was the very first member in the guard.

Comment author: FocacciaBread 06 May 2011 05:52:14AM 2 points [-]

First post on the site- please excuse any nonsensical aspect of the following, as it is rather late and I am a bit muddled from sleep-deprivation. However, this issue has been bugging me for some time, and I would greatly appreciate a response.

I apologize if I'm reading too much into this sentence, but the last line of Radiance disturbs me a bit.

"I still usually can't remember my dreams, but I'm told, and have every reason to believe, that they are happy ones."

If the goal of achieving radiance is similar to that of being luminous (aka living logically), or at the very least is to achieve knowledge of one's self in order to best interact with the outside world, then I can't help but feel disappointed in Elspeth. If Luminosity!Bella had dreams visible to anyone who cared to look, she would have hoarded it and analyzed it (much like her notebooks)- yet Elspeth is merely content to take the word of others when they say she is content? (That is, if we assume that dreams are subconscious manifestations of our waking minds, which to be fair, not everyone believes.)

It merely seems as if she is stuck in endless cycles where she is defining herself and acting according to others' heuristics. At the beginning, she is living according to Bella's rules. After a brief period in which she independently decides she cannot be independent, she is captured by the Volturi; enter Chelsea's brainwashing. While Elspeth's magic was a deprogramming agent, it seems that it cured everyone but her of the reliance upon others' advice/guidelines/rules. Elspeth follows Addy and Siobhan wherever the wind takes them, content to be the magic eight ball of esoteric lore, until she once again lands with Bella, the new queen of the world. While the Golden Coven offers her a degree of autonomy in her position, she is still comfortably wedged in a position where she is not required to, or is even encouraged, to develop her own heuristics. How can she, when her intellectual growth has been impacted by thousands of other vampires, as well as most of the authority figures whose reason she has trusted more often than her own?

And then to have the ending depict that she cannot determine for herself if she is happy....

Is it possible to live a life based upon logic while still being a dependent? Is luminosity solely reserved for the independent individual?

Comment author: alethiophile 02 April 2011 04:22:42AM 2 points [-]

Ooh, the latest Flash is interesting...

Do we know why Adelaide (presumably) killed those people? How did she kill those people? Did she in fact get super martial arts skills (or assassin skills, or whatever) from somewhere? What's with the head trauma?

Is this backstory at all canon, or just made up here? Either way, human!Adelaide driving people off with a violin is awesome.

Comment author: Alicorn 02 April 2011 05:19:19AM 3 points [-]

Addy's an original character! It's weird, people tend not to ask about my other original characters if various features of theirs are canon...

Anyway, she (allegedly) killed people because she didn't like them or they had stuff she wanted and couldn't steal discreetly or were pawing at her and wouldn't leave when she violin-screeched at them. Head trauma was just convenient. I haven't decided if she actually got to watch anybody skillfully murdered or not.

Comment author: RobinZ 23 March 2011 03:58:33PM 2 points [-]

Another plotbunny: statistical authorship tests. Any vampire whose writing career spans much more than a human lifespan...

Comment author: erratio 24 March 2011 07:00:28AM 1 point [-]

Also: vampire authors writing under different aliases would probably get bad reviews in their later works due to their being so obviously 'derivative' of their earlier stuff :p

Comment author: [deleted] 02 April 2011 05:23:46AM 0 points [-]

In Orlando, if I recall correctly, Virginia Woolf has it work out a little differently for her hero/ine: works rejected as derivative in one era have come back into fashion in a later period.

Comment author: Giriath 24 March 2011 05:19:26AM 0 points [-]

Couldn't this simply be resolved by false identities? I don't think there have been a lot of vampires with academic ambitions in the Twilight verse because of the relatively uncivilized state their previous diet put them in; most were nomads prior to the new regime. The Golden Empire has many resources to create as many false identities as they want for any vampires who gets interested in academics with the new diet change.

I also don't think it will take more than a human life time for the new regime to start directly influencing the human societies, or even publicly reveal themselves to all.

Comment author: RobinZ 24 March 2011 06:29:43AM *  0 points [-]

What I'm suggesting would be more like a vampire whose writing career started under one alias in 1710 and proceeded through a series of such in the time since then. I'm trying to think of what kind of people might be visiting the PRPR office, and someone who identified and was investigating an immortal might fall under that class.

Comment author: Giriath 24 March 2011 07:07:10AM 0 points [-]

Sure, if there were any such vampires, which I kind of doubt considering my previous point and also because that's probably the kind of thing the Volturi would notice and not appreciate.

Comment author: alethiophile 02 April 2011 04:36:01AM 0 points [-]

It's an interesting idea. I wonder if Carlisle has been publishing medical papers, or something. He's the vampire that has been vegetarian, and hence high-probability for writing in free time, longest (I think). When did the Denalis become vegetarian?

Comment author: RobinZ 23 March 2011 05:12:42AM 2 points [-]

Plotbunny that recently occurred to me: would the new murder-free regime cause a statistically-significant drop in the murder rate? I gather there are several thousand vampires who eat ... how many humans a week? Might not be visible on the level of statistics for cities or states, but someone looking at worldwide statistics might notice the sudden change.

Comment author: Alicorn 23 March 2011 01:58:17PM 3 points [-]

Vampires tend to eat a person or two every week or two. Ones who eat more than that have historically experienced shorter lifespans - they are more likely to slip up in a way that gets Volturi attention. The new regime will probably cause a statistically significant drop in the death rate, although probably not the recorded murder rate, as it's been widely considered unwise by the vampire community to leave evidence of murder instead of simply disappearance.

Comment author: RobinZ 23 March 2011 02:00:46PM 1 point [-]

Right - the relevant statistic would be missing persons, not murder. So, probably on the order of hundreds of thousands worldwide, with a few hotspots like Volterra which would have significant local changes.

Comment author: Alicorn 23 March 2011 02:15:40PM 2 points [-]

During the Volturi reign hunting was illegal within Volterra itself, and Heidi spread out her harvesting.

Comment author: RobinZ 23 March 2011 03:15:11PM 3 points [-]

Mmhm - that makes sense.

Okay, checking Wikipedia, we have 834,536 missing persons entries in the United States in 2005, with the US composing 4.5% of the world population. If we guessed 200,000 worldwide, vampire-related fatalities could be as much as 1% of the total.

Comment author: Alicorn 23 March 2011 03:18:24PM 3 points [-]

How many of those 834,536 people were eventually found?

Comment author: RobinZ 23 March 2011 03:54:43PM 2 points [-]

Article claims 109,531 open files at the end of the year. Relative to that number, vampire-related fatalities would be 9%.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 06 March 2011 04:54:41AM 2 points [-]

Question to Alicorn: how big does a chunk of a vampire's body have to be for Addy to borrow power from it, and how long will it continue to work if the vampire remains alive?

Because if a small enough chunk works for long enough, Addy really ought to work out some way to offer some kind of service to selected vampires in exchange for the ounce of flesh furthest from their heart.

That way she could assemble a charm bracelet with her favorite powers, and not have to keep them around.

Comment author: Alicorn 06 March 2011 04:58:56AM 1 point [-]

A separated part will eventually die unless it is reattached to the vampire or soaked in a vat of that same vampire's venom. Smaller parts die faster. A part about the size of a little toe will last a couple of days.

Comment author: alethiophile 27 February 2011 02:36:45AM 2 points [-]

Some thoughts about heredity.

Alicorn, I believe, has said that half-vampires can breed with either vampires or humans (or, presumably, other half-vampires) and create hybrids of different fractions of vampire-ness. Thus, any children Elspeth has will be at least one-quarter vampire, which if I recall correctly is above Alicorn's threshold for "still technically part-vampire" as regards the on-or-off abilities of hybrids (males venomous, immortal are the ones I can think of). It is also hypothesized that male wolves imprint because their imprints are capable of passing on the wolf gene. I'm not sure of the degree of certainty attached to this, but it seems a reasonable supposition. Given these questions, what happens if Elspeth and Jacob have a child? It's quite probable that the child would be a wolf, since Jacob imprinted on Elspeth. The child would also be at least one-quarter vampire. Can you have a hybrid wolf? If the child is male, presumably he would also be venomous--how does this interact with the wolves' very negative reaction to vampire venom? This seems to be a question that would come up even in canon Twilight, and I wouldn't necessarily expect Meyer to have thought about it, but it would be interesting if Alicorn had a perspective.

Comment author: Alicorn 27 February 2011 02:55:49AM 0 points [-]

I haven't decided. I'm not planning for the story to go on that long. However, my first-pass approximation at an answer is that the wolf would be like a quarter-vampire in "human form", and like a slightly souped-up wolf in wolf form. I don't think I said anywhere that a quarter-vampire could be venomous, and if I did, I retract it: the quarter-vamp wolf would not be venomous regardless of gender. However, the quarter-vamp wolf would be better able to recover from venom-related injuries than standard-issue wolves.

Comment author: alethiophile 27 February 2011 03:10:20AM 0 points [-]

Hm. Would a quarter-vamp non-wolf be venomous or immortal? (Presumably a quarter-vamp wolf would be just as immortal as a wolf; would they also be immortal if they quit their wolves?)

Comment author: Alicorn 27 February 2011 03:15:26AM 0 points [-]

Allirea's children (the only quarter-vampires who currently exist in the world of Luminosity) will not die of old age. Neither would a hypothetical wolf-quitting (or inactive) quarter-vamp wolf.

Comment author: AlexMennen 26 February 2011 05:44:15PM 2 points [-]

from chapter 48:

I'm prepared to consider you sufficiently self-controlled even on a human blood diet that I'll give you dispensation to get it in a less sentient package. Ransack whatever the Irish equivalent of the Red Cross is, if you decide that you'd prefer to go on living in Ireland after all regardless of where I set up. But I think it was fairly predictable that I wouldn't be allowing murder.

Doesn't the amount of blood in a human body in a blood bank go towards saving much more than one person, in which case stealing from a blood bank is killing more people than stealing the same amount of blood directly out of a human?

Comment author: Alicorn 26 February 2011 06:00:59PM *  4 points [-]

Actually, vampires could probably subsist on blood that was about to be chucked for being too close to its expiry date, so not necessarily.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 03 March 2011 02:29:35AM 0 points [-]

Though, I seem to recall Edward saying that older blood tasted worse. If I'm remembering correctly, Siobhan would probably not chose nearly expired blood, unless that was explicitly stipulated.

Comment author: [deleted] 21 February 2011 10:49:34PM 2 points [-]

Ch 46 - ah ha ha, excellent plot twist! But I can't see how it really helps Marcus, since the mate bond magic won't be in place. I suppose with Addy's help he might be able to craft himself a pale replica of the bond...

Comment author: mjr 21 February 2011 11:29:50PM 4 points [-]

Agreed, a fine twist indeed. I wager, in fact, that the poor woman has become Didyme for all intents and purposes, and that the bond will therefore retake. Quite plausible to handwave with Aro's high-fidelity brain dumps.

I, for one, would welcome such a positive plot twist (cough for not-long-ago our sworn enemy) for a change.

Comment author: mjr 22 February 2011 11:17:59AM *  2 points [-]

More generally, seems to me one could start resurrecting people, or at least vampires, killed by Aro (or previously read by him, though then there'd be some local death).

Of course, the downside is that it requires human sacrifice, though it occurs to me that one should at least try to do so with brain dead or severely damaged subjects (given that they're already quite happy with eating animals, humans of comparable or lesser capacity should not pose major ethical barriers when a full person's life is on the line).

'course, might not work on a less than fully functional human. Perhaps one could get a trickle of volunteers from bored with life humans who aren't attracted to turning. Consider it full organ donation. [Edit: Duh, obviously this should be the euthanasia method of choice for terminal people who don't wish to become vampires but do wish for their suffering to end.]

Wouldn't be surprised though if Elspeth just didn't want to get involved with that kind of thing, even indirectly through Addy. But hey, it's a thought ;)

Comment author: Lila 24 February 2011 03:40:56AM 1 point [-]

I wager, in fact, that the poor woman has become Didyme for all intents and purposes

If she has, that might imply that Elspeth's power doesn't just send memories/experiences, but also personality traits. Or that identifying strongly with a set of absorbed memories is enough to give you those personality traits (I don't really like that theory).

The bond might or might not be affected by personality, but I'm not sure I could consider her to be "Didyme resurrected in a new body" (or even just "close enough") unless the personality was basically Didyme's (or close enough).

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 February 2011 04:00:30PM *  1 point [-]

(nods) That intuition is shared by many.

Ironically, the reversal test often fails, though: that is, it's not uncommon for people to intuit that a copy of X that lacks trait Y isn't really X, while at the same time intuiting that if X were to lose trait Y, it would still be X.

Identity is complicated.

For my own part, I think the terms "memory" and "personality trait" stop being clearly distinguishable from one another, when you drill down into implementation. Our brains create persistent data structures in response to events, and those data structures underlie both personality and memory. That distinction is functional -- we distinguish a personality trait from a memory based on how we behave, not based on any kind of awareness of the underlying data structures. And it's not at all obvious (nor even likely) that all the things we call "memory" share a common data structure, or that they don't share underlying data structures with what we call "personality."

Then again, I feel the same way about "identity."

To understand an elephant is to realize that recognizing the difference between trunk and tusk is not the end of the story.

So I would expect a psychic power that interacted with those data structures not to respect the boundaries between "memory" and "personality" in any kind of intuitive way.

That said, many witch-powers in this fictional world do respect those intuitive boundaries, so it's not clear what any of the above actually has to do with events in the story.

Comment author: RobinZ 26 February 2011 01:03:29PM 0 points [-]

If she has, that might imply that Elspeth's power doesn't just send memories/experiences, but also personality traits. Or that identifying strongly with a set of absorbed memories is enough to give you those personality traits (I don't really like that theory).

Or that Paola and Benito were already similar in personality to Didyme and John, although that's a bit of a coincidence.

Comment author: Pavitra 22 February 2011 02:43:13AM 0 points [-]

It would be an interesting commentary on cryonics and/or uploading either way.

Comment author: alethiophile 23 February 2011 03:38:24AM 0 points [-]

So what happens to someone who is vampire-memoried and then turned? Do they still have the same memories? What if the current John-as-human was turned, and then Elspeth/Addy gave him another dump of just John-as-vampire's memories? Also, will the mate bond work on Didyme-human turned with Marcus, since she "remembers" it so? If not it would be awfully traumatic for both, probably.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 23 February 2011 04:18:52AM *  1 point [-]

It would be noteworthy if a human, after being brain-dumped and turned, had the same memories as before the turning, given that in general memories encoded by human brains are lost during transition.

Given that what Elspeth does is different from the normal encoding of memories it's not impossible, though. Only Alicorn knows for sure, if that.

Perhaps more interesting is the ethical question. That is, if we grant for the sake of most-inconvenient-possible-world that turning someone without their permission is unethical because of their moral standing, is it then ethical to turn someone brain-dumped?

Presumably this depends somewhat on how well a delayed "upload" via Aro via Addy via Elspeth into a random human brain preserves the copied vampire's identity: if the upload isn't really a full-fledged personality, it presumably lacks the relevant moral standing, and the answer is "no."

But assuming it's close enough -- or, to really turn the hypothetical screws, assuming it's a pale shadow of the original vampire but, given how much cooler vampire cognition is than human, it's still more than cool enough to count as (that is, have equivalent moral standing to) a human-type person -- well, then what?

If the original human's identity is in there somewhere, then there are two resident identities. Do they both have to give permission (supposing that, say, Edward can get in touch with them), or does just one suffice?

More generally, supposing somebody figures out how to undo the effects of Addy's blast, is it ethical to do so (thereby killing the pseudovampire)? Is it ethical not to (thereby keeping the human dormant indefinitely)? Is the best solution some kind of time-sharing plan? Other?

Comment author: alethiophile 24 February 2011 06:27:05AM 0 points [-]

It now seems that the thorny ethical problem is resolved with the fact that the human person caught in the blast no longer exists. (Unless that's just Addy lying, but she's still in range of Edward and one would assume that he would tell Bella if Addy lied about something of that magnitude.) I'm very curious to see what happens if one of the human!vampires is turned.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 February 2011 06:27:41PM 2 points [-]

(nods) Agreed.

Thinking about this some more, I wonder whether an actual reflection is even necessary.

That is, if one of the four "nutcases" looked into a surface they believed was reflective, but which actually presented an image of a young-looking vampire in Elspeth's memories, would that be enough to trigger the filtering/identification process?

Presumably it would depend on how relevant the body's memories of looking the way it actually looks are to the process. I could see it going either way. Given that the four "nutcases"es original identities are irretrievably lost, and the state of identifying as a single upload seems strictly preferable to the state of being muddled between many of them, it seems like an experiment worth trying.

Unrelatedly: if the uploaded Didyme turns out to satisfy Marcus' mate bond, things just got very interesting. It seems to follow that every vampire in the world who has lost a mate promptly shows up on Elspeth's doorstep, a similar-appearing human in tow, demanding that she "resurrect" their mate. Politically useful, albeit ethically challenging.

The related question of whether Elspeth can "resurrect" humans seems relevant for similar reasons. Available data suggests that she can't, since the vampire memories displace the human ones, but I'd want to see what happens with a blast comprising only human memories. (My expectation would be that it wouldn't eradicate the body's memories in the first place, though... I'd expect the effect to be similar to the effect of Addy's blast on vampires. Still, if the body is already brain-dead for some other reason, that might be different.)

Of course, this isn't just a resurrection trick; it's also a duplication trick. I wonder if any mate-bonded vampires would be interested in a polyamorous relationship with multiple uploaded copies of their mate? (The mate-bond seems to imply monogamous attachment, but that could just be a side-effect of not being attracted to anyone but their mate.) Certainly there are humans who would be.

Unrelatedly: I admire the aplomb with which Didyme and John are handling their physical and cognitive deficiencies. In their position, I would be insisting that someone turn me, right now. (After all, the difference between their current state and the state they remember is overwhelmingly greater than what I experienced when I woke up hemiplegic and brain-damaged after my stroke, and if I could have recovered from that with a few days of agony, I'd have signed up in a heartbeat... even if it was my last.)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 February 2011 08:28:50AM 0 points [-]

if the uploaded Didyme turns out to satisfy Marcus' mate bond, things just got very interesting.

Hee! Well, then.

Given that that worked, I would expect pretty much every mated vampire who is aware of the situation and at least marginally clever to demand their mate be "backed up" via Aro's knee into Addy's mind for safe keeping... and soon, as that knee has limited shelf-life.

I wonder, if they had figured this all out prior to killing Aro, if they'd have been tempted to keep him alive to power the backup mechanism indefinitely. It's an awfully useful trick to have up one's sleeve... though perhaps less so if you're immortal and nigh-indestructible.

Unrelatedly: another implication of Elspeth's vampire-reincarnation trick, potentially, is the ability to create edited versions of existing vampires.

That is, we've already seen that she can selectively choose what subsets of her memories she transmits; it seems to follow that not only can she overwrite a human with memories of vampire X as of their last Aro-read, she can overwrite a human with a more-or-less arbitrary subset of those memories.

I can't come up with any useful applications of that ability in the current tactical situation, but it's a cool idea nevertheless.

Comment author: Vaniver 26 February 2011 09:46:56PM 0 points [-]

I wonder, if they had figured this all out prior to killing Aro, if they'd have been tempted to keep him alive to power the backup mechanism indefinitely. It's an awfully useful trick to have up one's sleeve... though perhaps less so if you're immortal and nigh-indestructible.

It remains to be seen whether or not Didyme 2 is a witch, but if so, why not just recreate Aro when necessary?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 February 2011 10:16:09PM 0 points [-]

We've seen no evidence that Elspeth's trick affects witch-talents, and it would really startle me if it did.

But, sure, if a witch turned up who can read/store/project those powers, the way that the Addy in conjunction with Aro and Elspeth combination can read/store/project memories, that would be fantastically useful.

The existence of Addy suggests that something like this is theoretically possible... that is, it suggests that witch powers really are some kind of discrete thing that can be read and written as a class.

Of course, I can't go too far down that road without becoming utterly frustrated that nobody in that world is even trying to research the mechanisms that underlie witch-powers, or vampirism, or etc. That would be the real payoff.

Comment author: Vaniver 28 February 2011 10:02:27AM 0 points [-]

Of course, I can't go too far down that road without becoming utterly frustrated that nobody in that world is even trying to research the mechanisms that underlie witch-powers, or vampirism, or etc. That would be the real payoff.

Isn't Addy?

Comment author: Alicorn 28 February 2011 04:38:51PM 0 points [-]

Not really. Addy is diligently studying the use and limitations and practical potential of witchcraft, but she doesn't particularly care what makes magic work, as long as it does work and it's tasty.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 28 February 2011 01:57:03PM 0 points [-]

Certainly more so than the rest of them, yes.

It would be ironic if she ended up contributing, some day, to a genuine theoretical understanding of whatever it is that underlies all of their abilities... she could be responsible for saving and improving more lives than anyone else we've met in this world.

Comment author: alethiophile 24 February 2011 10:46:26PM *  0 points [-]

Another thing I'm wondering: what was it, precisely, that deleted Benito's original human memories? Was it the experience of any higher-fidelity vampire memories, or was it the overload caused by all of it simply overwriting the least vivid? If the former, then Elspeth has an easy way to resurrect an arbitrary dead vampire, but needs to be careful sending anything to a human lest their mind be lost (wouldn't it purely suck to have only the vampire memories of a single event Elspeth showed you, and nothing else?). If the latter, then Elspeth needs to blast a human entire and hope they reidentify as the vampire she actually wants to resurrect; which is more chancy.

Comment author: Nornagest 24 February 2011 11:08:23PM 3 points [-]

Uploading into a physical body might not even be necessary. I wonder what would happen if Elspeth constructed a subagent to model the behavior of someone she's got stored?

Comment author: alethiophile 26 February 2011 04:57:45AM 2 points [-]

Man, that would be a weird way to wake up. "Hi, you got killed by Aro, he read your mind, I got a bunch of your memories dumped on me, and by the way you exist only in my head."

Comment author: Alicorn 26 February 2011 05:37:41AM 5 points [-]

Or "Hi, you're a 500-years-outdated backup of a vampire who's alive and well..."

Comment author: anyareine 10 February 2011 07:26:03AM *  2 points [-]

Nathan is a very likeable person/vampire. He's my new favourite character. Like to know more about him. :)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 29 January 2011 04:09:50PM 2 points [-]


Either I have completely misunderstood what Elspeth just did, or Elspeth's power is quite a bit more useful than anyone is considering. I'm hoping it's the former.

That is: OK, yes, Magic cares about whether "Alice and Jasper are doing something kind of like what Del did to Pera" is true or not. But how does Magic have that information to query in the first place?

It's essentially a question about the strength of Alice's alliances, which means memories from before Alice was Chelsead are pretty much irrelevant, and I can't think of any other mundane source of information from which that datum derives. So either I'm missing something significant (entirely possible), or Magic itself is the source of that datum.

If it's the latter... doesn't that suggest that Magic can detect not only whether what Elspeth is saying (or considering saying) is honest, but also whether it is true?

That seems like it can't be right. At least, if it is right, Siobhan ought to immediately hand Elspeth a list of useful true/false questions to have Magic answer.

And I don't follow why the trick with using Memory to extract analogous situations from the past is even necessary. Wouldn't asking Magic whether it would allow Elspeth to say "Alice and Jasper are still loyal to the Volturi" and similar tests achieve the same result?

Comment author: [deleted] 29 January 2011 04:58:09PM 1 point [-]

doesn't that suggest that Magic can detect not only whether what Elspeth is saying (or considering saying) is honest, but also whether it is true?

Magic only cares whether Elspeth believes it is true. If she said "Alice and Jasper are still loyal to the Volturi" it would probably not sound true, because Elspeth wasn't sure of that at the moment.

What Magic helps Elspeth do is tell the truth, and to tell it in a particular way that the other person will understand. So the indirect trick she is using here was spelled out back in chapter 5:

Here is how I use my power to learn things about other people.

It takes a very, very long time. It's completely indirect. There is some guesswork. There are always gaps. I can't just call up my power and point it at someone and learn who they are.

First, I make a guess about the thing I am trying to learn. Then, I think of something about myself that is like my guess. And then I figure out how I would explain that part of myself to the person, and see if the explanation refers to things about my guess. If it is, then my guess was close to right.

It's confusing, and it took me a long time to figure out. Here's how it might work. Suppose I go back to Kora's town and find her, and she seems sad. I figure out as much as I can without any magic and I decide that my best guess is that she misses her best friend who is out of town. The closest thing I have to that is when I miss people who I have had to leave behind - people like Kora.

So I think about how I would tell her the way I feel about that. If I wanted to say to Kora, "I miss my old friend Raine as much as you miss your best friend", then that would mean saying that will make Kora understand something true, because that is how my power works. Then I would know that my feelings about Raine and Kora's about her friend are the same.

But it would not make sense to tell Kora that. I'm never going to see Raine again, and Kora's friend will come home, for one thing. I knew Raine for a much shorter time and we were not as close. And that is the biggest problem with using my power to do this. It only works if I make a correct guess, and I can only make a correct guess if I have something that's sort of like what's going on for the other person.

Comment author: gwern 13 January 2011 09:21:04PM 2 points [-]

I will say one thing, while it's not as good as MoR, its plot moves much faster, which helps compensate. I think Alicorn also handles the emotional stuff better than Eliezer (unsurprisingly); I felt far less cynical and contemptuous than I might've.

On the other hand, Eliezer is much better at lacing in the didacticism since it feels like the lessons has for the reader are abandoned toward the end of book 1; and there isn't much one could learn from book 2 with Elspeth.

I particularly loved the writing for Allirea; not so much an interesting character but reflected very nicely.

In some respects I am disappointed by characters' thinking & planning. They seem very... humdrum, straightforward, and locked into magical thinking. This could be explained in some cases, but not all. Very rarely did I find myself thinking, 'ah, clever!' or 'oh, they're right, that wouldn't work'.

I came into Luminosity expecting Bella to sort of be like Harry in MoR; but she's not very much like him. Harry with Bella's advantages and obstacles would have taken over the world in the first few years. Bella is running and hiding as a data entry clerk? I mean, I may be echoing some comments I saw go by in the comments feed, but I feel the Volturi are just not much of an obstacle.

Vampires die easily of fire? Splendid, Bella spends a few months reading and developing a fuel-air bomb and there they go. (Easily justifiable, too, consequentially.) Or steals a nuke. Or maybe she has the Cullens buy up some hospices and builds a newborn army while they develop a more-fun turning process which could be mass deployed. Or something! (Creating some werewolf packs was a remarkably stupid thing to do, even if we largely go along with Bella's analysis. And if we judge by the consequences, even more stupid.)

Comment author: [deleted] 14 January 2011 04:36:31PM 6 points [-]

Personally I like it at least as well as MoR. Harry is perilously close to a Gary Stu; he dominates each of the canon characters in turn, forcing them to explicitly acknowledge Harry's moral and mental superiority. It's kind of tiresome and it's surprisingly naive fanfic writing. At this point I'm a lot more interested in Draco, who is a genuinely nuanced character and whose point of view is often very funny.

By contrast none of the characters in Radiance feel like Mary Sues (even though Elspeth has exceedingly Sueish hair). But she's got depth to her personality, and flaws that are realistic given her background--I'm specifically thinking of her tendency to passivity. She has an interesting and flexible power, and a couple of lucky "gimmes" (like being Jake's imprint), but she's not set up as someone who's going to easily and utterly dominate everything around her. To me, that makes her story a lot more interesting.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 14 January 2011 05:01:48PM 1 point [-]


Though that's been the price of admission for HP:MoR from almost the very beginning... it isn't about the characters, still less about their relationships, and it becomes less and less so over time.

Quite the contrary: a lot of what is being explicitly discarded from canon has to do with relationships (though at least Harry is starting to look to actual peers to have imaginary relationships with, rather than entirely hypothetical ones, which I guess is progress of a sort).

Agreed about Draco. Then again, he always intrigued me in the originals as well, and we never got to see his narrative there.

Luminosity was far more about characters from the outset. Radiance started out that way, though it is becoming problematically (for my taste, I mean; I accept that tastes vary) distracted by tactics.

Comment author: [deleted] 14 January 2011 09:00:38PM 1 point [-]

Though that's been the price of admission for HP:MoR from almost the very beginning...

I know, but at this point we've got a Harry who beats Hermione at wandwork, out-threatens Snape, humbles Dumbledore using his own phoenix, snaps orders (which are meekly accepted) at Minerva McGonagall... I find this kind of thing pretty grating, and I'm really glad that Luminosity and Radiance never went in that direction.

I don't mean to bag on MoR, because there are certainly things about the story that I really enjoy--for instance, I love the little throwaway lines explaining things like why Quidditch points count for the House Cup. I've always really enjoyed that kind of thing, fanwanking in its best and highest form--I encountered it first in the Baker Street Irregular group of Sherlockian fans, where it's done as almost an art form.

Anyway, I do like MoR, but I really don't want to see Bella or Elspeth become more like Harry.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 January 2011 02:38:09PM 1 point [-]

I know, but at this point we've got a Harry who beats Hermione at wandwork, out-threatens Snape, humbles Dumbledore using his own phoenix, snaps orders (which are meekly accepted) at Minerva McGonagall... I find this kind of thing pretty grating, and I'm really glad that Luminosity and Radiance never went in that direction.

Sure, all this is annoying, and not a good way to build sympathy, but since we've been shown that Harry is extraordinarily clever, confident and astute, I think it's marginally allowable. Eliezer lost me when Harry made it out of Azkaban without being killed or exposed. That would not and should not have happened, and IMO the fic went irretrievably to Hell at the exact moment the characters went there retrievably.

Comment author: Alicorn 13 January 2011 10:00:53PM 1 point [-]

On the other hand, Eliezer is much better at lacing in the didacticism since it feels like the lessons has for the reader are abandoned toward the end of book 1; and there isn't much one could learn from book 2 with Elspeth.

Where story and didacticism are in tension, I chuck didacticism in favor of story.

I came into Luminosity expecting Bella to sort of be like Harry in MoR; but she's not very much like him.

Well, good, I wouldn't want to be doing the exact same thing. How redundant. (Also, have to admit that while Eliezer's writing has many strong points, writing characters I'm interested in welcoming into my brain ain't among them.)

Harry with Bella's advantages and obstacles would have taken over the world in the first few years.

I think Harry would probably have gotten himself killed the minute he wandered near Volterra and was too obtrusively dangerous. Pretty much everybody who spends any amount of time with Harry in his story figures he's probably kind of hazardous to have around, even as an ally, and he doesn't curb this tendency very quickly. This is the sort of character trait that makes the Volturi kill you. (And had they earnestly tried to kill Bella in Volterra, even her juiced-up shield wouldn't have saved her. The fact that they were willing to risk waiting a while to see how she turned out allowed her to survive.)

Vampires die easily of fire? Splendid, Bella spends a few months reading and developing a fuel-air bomb and there they go.

That would be boring and tweaks personal buttons of mine. Sorry.

(Easily justifiable, too, consequentially.)

There is a sharp limit to how much this can really surprise you if you have been paying any attention. If you want to read stories where the Good Guys reason consequentialistically, find another author.

Comment author: gwern 15 January 2011 09:19:50PM *  1 point [-]

Where story and didacticism are in tension, I chuck didacticism in favor of story.

It's too bad you can't do both; I liked Luminosity-the-articles.

Well, good, I wouldn't want to be doing the exact same thing. How redundant.

I don't think it's any more redundant than any 2 LW articles on applying probability theory or akrasia are. The universe of plots featuring sane characters ought to be as large as the usual universe of plots featuring less-than-rational characters.

Pretty much everybody who spends any amount of time with Harry in his story figures he's probably kind of hazardous to have around, even as an ally, and he doesn't curb this tendency very quickly.

Yes, and he gets away with his lack of secrecy because he knows of no live enemies. He's told pretty shortly after being introduced to the wizarding world 'oh and by the way your only real enemy or competitor is apparently dead and all his followers are keeping their heads low', and shortly thereafter he's busily recruiting the most dangerous & active of his enemies - Quirrel and the Malfoys - into being his mentor and student.

Any reasonable extrapolation of MoR Harry involves him being frightened out of his wits by depraved enemies with millions of years of experience the moment he's told of them, and if we somehow postulate that he decides to go around being scary, his visit to Volterra would cure that.

That would be boring and tweaks personal buttons of mine. Sorry.

Also unfortunate. I winced at the Demetri bit in the chapter today. Of course it matters how good Demetri is at hand-to-hand combat compared to other handy vampires, because we all know there's no other way to fight. A pity their kung fu is not best!

There is a sharp limit to how much this can really surprise you if you have been paying any attention.

A deontologist who can't justify war or bombings is in a sorry state indeed. I tend to assume you aren't writing stupid deontologists and so they ought to be considering more effective methods.

Comment author: alethiophile 05 January 2011 04:57:30AM 2 points [-]

I just thought of something. Given Alice's precog, could she, for instance, guess passwords? Assuming a numeric entry code, could she do something along the lines of 1. decide to press 0 first; 2. if she sees the door opening in her precog set, press 0 and then go to 1; 3. if not, then try 1 with the number 1 instead, etc. (i.e., does her precog give her a set of possibilities based on future decisions, or does it give her only one possibility based on what she has in mind at the time?)

If the latter holds, and hence the above algorithm won't work, then how long a password is it feasible for her to guess by exhaustive mental search of the command space (i.e. resolve to type 0000, then if she sees door opening type it, otherwise go to 0001, etc.) with vampire mental speed? The advantage of this over simply trying each password is 1. that it's likely to be faster, with physical bottlenecks removed, and 2. it doesn't trigger anti-brute-force alarms in the system.

Comment author: Alicorn 05 January 2011 02:42:00PM 2 points [-]

Alice could probably guess shortish numerical passwords like this; I could imagine her doing so to, say, make use of a stolen debit card or something and figure out the PIN. I don't think she has enough fine detail to determine whether one of the nearly-a-billion possible completed six-character alphanumeric case-sensitive passwords beginning with "A" is the right one, though. She sees in broader swaths than that.

Comment author: grautry 05 January 2011 11:02:19PM *  1 point [-]

That's an interesting possibility.

Though, I think there's an easier approach.

In the case of passwords or PIN numbers or whatever, she could probably look into the future and see the password used by an authorized user of whatever-it-is-that-she's-trying-to-break(eventually, someone's going to use it).

This is vastly less universal(she can't solve problems unless someone already knows the answer), but far easier. She could, for example, try to see who's going to use the ATM next, overlook the PIN and then decide to steal that person's wallet.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how that interacts with her ability. If she, say, decided to look into the future for the next PIN, wouldn't that influence the future so that no one enters the PIN at all(since she's going to steal the wallet of the next person)? Or, would she see herself entering the correct PIN(which would be an extremely interesting possibility)?

Comment author: [deleted] 01 January 2011 06:15:43PM *  2 points [-]

Ch 24 - So I'm assuming that Bella is with Allirea. I've been wondering about Allirea -- it's kind of a neat reading experience to have this important knowledge that the characters themselves can't retain in their heads.

Smart of Allirea to go and find Bella once she got loose. So Bella knows about the trap in Denali, and probably knows that Edward is alive (unless Allirea chose not to tell her that for some reason) -- but that also means that Bella and Allirea must be dealing with Demetri, which is dangerous and could take a while.

When Allirea extends her field over somebody, does it have the kind of range that Allirea's own shield does? In other words, if she happened to cloak Bella, would it then cause Siobhan and Elspeth to forget about their plans to contact Bella for as long as the cloak was in place?

Comment author: Alicorn 01 January 2011 09:25:08PM *  8 points [-]

When Allirea extends her field over somebody, does it have the kind of range that Allirea's own shield does? In other words, if she happened to cloak Bella, would it then cause Siobhan and Elspeth to forget about their plans to contact Bella for as long as the cloak was in place?

Allirea's aura of unimportance propagates in a way that I can best describe as "really, really weird". It's retroactive and has arbitrary range for anyone she has interacted with while faded. Observe:

1: Bella and Edward learn Allirea's name from Nahuel. Nahuel would only have been able to remember that Allirea bore mentioning if she were unfaded at T1, so this was one of the times when Allirea happened to be unfaded, so her brother could list her. However...

2: Bella and Edward continue remembering Allirea's name without any trouble, even when Allirea fades, because they do not interact with (faded) Allirea directly. Bella successfully passes on the name and description to Elspeth later on.

3: Elspeth never experiences any issues remembering Allirea's existence when she knew it only as hearsay (see Radiance ch. 1 narration).

4: Allirea and Elspeth actually meet, and Allirea spends time actively diverting Elspeth's attention by fading.

5: Thereafter, Elspeth does not consider Allirea important except at times when Allirea is unfaded. (These times are very uncommon, especially now that Allirea is not typically with her family, who were historically the only people she routinely wanted paying attention to her.)

6: This applies to her interpretation of her memories (e.g. if Elspeth were asked to repeat aloud the conversation where Bella told her for the first time that Allirea existed, she would no more reproduce Allirea's name than she would any time Bella said "um"; it's just not worth putting in).

7: However, if Elspeth transferred that memory whole cloth with her power, Allirea's name would be included. Any person she gave the memory to who's never been around a faded Allirea could notice and consider important that third name on the list Bella gave.

8: It should go without saying that Bella's just completely immune to Allirea, and will assign her importance independent of Allirea's fading.

9: If Allirea fades Bella, then this will not inhibit anyone's thoughts about Bella until and unless they interact with faded Bella.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2011 12:22:06AM 3 points [-]

This is fascinating, thanks.

So since Siobhan has never met Allirea, she'd be able to factor Allirea into her plans if for example she does go ahead and request the full memory-blast from Elspeth.

I understand her point about not wanting to be out of commission right now, but I expect she WILL want the memory blast sometime pretty soon, since tacticians are generally quite hungry for all the information they can get.

(I had to stop here and think about whether Siobhan's power would actually get better with access to more information--if I'm understanding it right the answer is "only so far as that information would help her clarify her goals," which, y'know, is far from insignificant.)

Anyway, after the memory blast, Siobhan would be able to remember and plan for Allirea while Addy wouldn't, which I could see making for some critical differences down the road.

I'm also consumed with curiosity about how Bella and Allirea are getting along. Will Allirea feel threatened by Bella's immunity to her power, or will they be BFFs by the time we meet them? Bella and Allirea and Pera all have sort of negative/shieldy powers--which, come to think of it, might have some bearing on why Pera registered as a singer to Bella. (None of this is an honest request for spoilers, I'm just musing aloud.)

Comment author: CronoDAS 01 January 2011 12:10:54AM *  2 points [-]

Has Chelsea gotten a power boost from canon?

The Twilight Saga Wiki has this to say about her power:

However, as stated by Eleazar, she cannot as easily influence the emotional ties of people when those ties are stronger than just friends or acquaintances. She could not have changed the way Bella and Edward felt about each other, for example, or the ties between a true family. (emphasis added)

If this is accurate, she shouldn't have been able to cut the tie between Bella and Elspeth, although Edward and Elspeth weren't nearly as close.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 January 2011 12:54:17AM *  1 point [-]

The thing about a "true family" is speculation only in canon, never tested; the wiki is promoting it to law. Granted, it's speculation by Eleazar, but in context I think it's reasonable to read it as him reassuring Tanya.

Comment author: Giriath 01 January 2011 01:19:44AM 1 point [-]

Even if it isn't strictly canon, I hardly think it's a horrible thing. Your Chelsea makes for a more interesting character, even if she is extremely creepy and most likely at least partly responsible for over a million murders.

Comment author: Mestroyer 13 December 2012 12:40:47PM 1 point [-]

Are the people in Alice's visions simulations that wink out when she's done foreseeing?

Comment author: shminux 29 June 2012 05:48:41PM 1 point [-]

I'm wondering if there have been any speculations on the potentially realistic physical composition/metabolism properties of vampires in the canon or this fanfic.

Off-hand, the canon description is consistent with the vamps consisting of mostly carbon nano-fibers, with the sparking parts being traces of carbon in the diamond form. The conversion process appears to be a form of virus-based DNA rewriting. The metabolism could be based on catalytic cold fusion, with blood acting as a combination of a catalyst and a power source (human blood is a better catalyst).

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 09 May 2012 11:57:07AM 1 point [-]

"Why," I asked, "did he come back to school? I realize it's a hassle to move, but if he's likely to lose it around me, why didn't he just stay wherever he went that week he was gone? I think my life ought to be worth some hassle."

I wonder if I'm the only one, in that I could hear Professor Quirrel burst out laughing as I read this.

Comment author: Alicorn 09 May 2012 04:29:24PM *  0 points [-]

Funny thing is, Bella's life is in fact worth all of the hassle ever to Edward, he just doesn't know quite why right away. For the same reason, staying away from her is not mere hassle.

Comment author: Pavitra 01 March 2011 01:08:31AM 1 point [-]

Some thoughts on the New World Order.

(1) Very little attention seems to have been given to the problem of how to peel back the masquerade without various major world governments trying to make vampires extinct. I infer that this will be the primary conflict of book 3.

(2) What is the best choice of long-term dominant species? The known species so far are vampires, half-vampires, possibly other fractions of vampire, werewolves, and non-wolf humans (let's call them muggles).

Muggles have the major disadvantage of being mortal. Werewolves can't reproduce without help from muggles or half-vampires. Male half-vampires may or may not be able to reproduce at all, as there appear to be several sex-linked issues relating to half-vampires, such as vampire fertility and half-vampire venom.

Vampires have three different Chelsea-level-creepy major psychological changes: the Thirst for human blood, the mate Bond, and the Freeze in personality and personal development. Male werewolves likewise suffer from imprinting.

Creating a population that can never reproduce, such as everyone being a vampire with no muggles left, pretty much guarantees extinction eventually. The average vampire lifespan is probably well under ten thousand years. Even if the Golden Empire somehow manages to improve that by, say, a factor of a million, we still have a finite expected-time-to-live for People In General.

An all-werewolf-and-vampire population might or might not be able to reproduce, if the females never activated and were turned after menopause.

If half-vampires can mate with each other to produce more half-vampires, then they would seem to be the best choice. Unfortunately, the half-vampire population is at present critically low. Perhaps, as the unmasqueing starts to bottleneck, preference should be given to women who are willing to carry a half-vampire child to term before turning.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 March 2011 01:18:21AM 2 points [-]

There will be no Book 3. There will be some short stories (see the announcement I just posted) but I'm planning for at least most of them to take place in "the past".

Male half-vampires can reproduce, with half-vampires or "muggles" or with mostly-muggle hybrids.

Werewolves can reproduce without help (although they will not activate without any vampires present). A female werewolf who quits her wolf amounts to a physically-25-year-old "muggle" who will pass on wolfiness to all of her children, and male wolves are obviously capable of siring children with "muggles", presumed capable of doing so with half-vampires, and demonstrably capable of doing so with non-active wolves. (Two of the currently-active wolves have a child together from before they activated.)

There is no particular reason why a population consisting entirely, or almost entirely, of half-vampires or other degrees of hybrid-ness wouldn't work.

Comment author: Pavitra 01 March 2011 05:55:48PM 0 points [-]

Can activated werewolves reproduce without help? It seems that sustaining an all-wolf population would require most of the females dying of old age.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 March 2011 06:13:58PM 3 points [-]

No. An active female werewolf cannot get pregnant. Sustaining an all-wolf population, however, is possible without people dying of old age if one waits to activate the females until after they have had however many kids; they retain the ability to activate until age 25.

Comment author: Pavitra 02 March 2011 07:34:48PM 0 points [-]

Ah, I hadn't thought of that. And if you start to run low on venom, then since

female werewolf who quits her wolf amounts to a physically-25-year-old "muggle" who will pass on wolfiness to all of her children

it should be possible to safely turn a quit wolf.

Comment author: alethiophile 27 February 2011 02:42:39AM 1 point [-]

While Allirea makes a very effective bodyguard in the combat sense, she is less helpful in the intimidation sense because, of course, no one can remember that she's there. What would happen if a vampire who had a reasonable expectation to win against Bella alone, and was not talked by Elspeth into believing that he could not win a fight, attacked Bella and was taken apart by her and Allirea? Would he know what was happening? What would his relevant memories suggest? Would said memories become clear while Allirea was unfaded? Is this a valid method to control the vampire population? (It might actually be quite effective--anyone who attacks Bella is taken apart by something they can't remember happening. Great creepy factor.)

Comment author: Alicorn 27 February 2011 02:52:39AM 3 points [-]

The thought process would probably go something like, "I attacked the Empress, and the next thing I knew I was scattered across the ground in bits the size of Tic-Tacs. I don't think I'll try that again."

Comment author: JGWeissman 27 February 2011 03:23:59AM *  4 points [-]

Well, that would be a normal person's thought process, at least.

Comment author: alethiophile 01 March 2011 03:34:51AM 0 points [-]

That implies something very interesting about Allirea's power. The usual criterion for the spreading of umbrella-type effects attached to persons is that events that are heavily influenced by the person are under the umbrella, apparently, and I'm going to assume that that applies to Allirea's fading as well. This means that Allirea can trick someone into thinking that something vitally important to their survival is simply unimportant--that the fact that someone is currently reducing them to gravel is not worth remembering. Wow.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 March 2011 06:28:36AM 2 points [-]

Well, they can tell that they are being reduced to gravel, and that this is important, but they can't ascribe an important action like "reducing me to gravel" to someone as unimportant as Allirea; she is too inconsequential. Something else must be responsible for the gravel-reducing, clearly.

Comment author: Giriath 09 February 2011 04:35:08PM *  1 point [-]

All that Bella-for-Queen! talk in the latest chapters again made me wonder how the state of vampire society and its influence on human society will be handled after the inevitable fall of Volturi rule. I don't think Bella as she is now is most equipped to realize any ambitions, be it on the planning stage or in practice. She is perhaps most ambitious though, although I would argue how healthy they are, for both vampire and human society.

I think it would be very interesting if Alicorn didn't stop with the fall of the Volturi and instead continued with the story until Bella's ambitions are realized, or the societies of Earth are relatively stable (and human society is currently doing a good job at eliminating life on the planet...).

Vampires are far from eternal, and have a lot of self-interest in the survival of humanity, even if they can permanently survive on the blood of other creatures. A certain amount of population of either humans or vampires is needed to achieve goals such as harnessing solar energy to create matter, or interstellar travel. Both or either of which will be necessary to avoid extinction when the Sun dies, and to have access to more resources than the Earth can provide.

If the Big Bang is a pulsating phenomena, I wonder if it's possible to alter it or outright stop its cycle. I imagine such a task would require massive amounts of resources applied by incredible technology, and would probably be the result of much of the universe's sentient beings' cooperation. Humanity is very primitive in that we do not apply scientific thinking (which has proved to produce results) to adapting in the most healthy way to a constantly changing environment.

I doubt we would claim ownership over anything other than our bodies if we did; instead cooperatively striving to understand ourselves and the environment so that we can best use it to be healthy, and ensure our race's survival by reaching out into the stars.

One another note, the reactions of all Bella's past acquaintances when she makes her come-back as Vampire Queen of The World ought to be amusing.

Comment author: Alassieth 07 February 2011 10:11:13PM 1 point [-]

When Elspeth destroys the bonds that Chelsea has forged she makes people realise that those feelings are false and to forget them, right? So to re-connect bonds that Chelsea has snipped would it not be possible for her to "remember the truth"?

So, if she said to Magic "I love my mother" it would be false at that moment but surely "I should love my mother" and "If not for Chelsea's tampering I would love my mother" would be true and could help re-connect the bonds, maybe?

(Do you think there are stubs of threads where Chelsea has cut, or if they wither away? With the stubs left it feels like it should be easier to re-connect them.)

Comment author: Alassieth 28 January 2011 11:51:18PM 1 point [-]

DARN YOU!! Having just finished reading Luminosity I have now dissolved into a snivelling pile of salt water and mucus that you would probably be loath to poke with a stick. Definitely more crying when heard about Alice than Edward but then she's infinitely more likeable that he is...was...sniff

Comment author: [deleted] 29 January 2011 04:48:27PM 1 point [-]

You should start reading the sequel right away; I think you'll be pleased with it.

Comment author: Giriath 26 January 2011 10:20:02PM *  1 point [-]

Wow, what a cliffhanger! And I was listening to Daft Punk's TRON Legacy soundtrack when I read the chapter. Brushing your teeth is dramatic when listening to that score.

I though of many potential plots for future outtakes in this chapter, here's one: How did the Cullen's react when Elspeth 'disappeared', did they look for her long? Is there any tension between some of them now that they know Bella took her, and how did their reunion work, from their own perspectives?

I'm most interested in Rosalie, who displayed canonical possessiveness of Elspeth at the end of Luminosity, when it became apparent that she may become parentless.

Comment author: alethiophile 25 January 2011 12:37:37AM 1 point [-]

If Bella shields phased Jacob while another alpha is also phased, does the shield extend to that alpha and/or his/her pack? It's mentioned in Luminosity that there can be cross-talk between wolves in different packs to some degree if both alphas are phased. Will this allow Elspeth to transmit to all the wolves at once if the alphas are phased? If both are true, then they can carry out a surprise attack with the wolves by having them all phase, Bella shield Jacob, and Elspeth disillusion them all with the Volturi at once; they would then presumably yield to their general instinct to attack vampires, and with the shield in place they could well be immune to most of the powerful witches in the compound (Jane and Alec certainly, possibly Aro's shield (Renata?) as well). With some intelligent use of Elspeth, the wolves could know just as much about the compound, village, town as the Volturi, and if this was timed in conjunction with another attack (by a newborn army, perhaps), it could cause major damage.

Comment author: Alicorn 25 January 2011 12:55:00AM 1 point [-]

If Bella shields one wolf in a pack, she shields them all. This does not interfere with inter-pack telepathy. Elspeth's power does not propagate through a pack the way Jane's or Alec's does, so sending to one phased wolf will not automatically give other phased packmates copies of the sending, although if she sent something in real time, the other wolves could listen in while the wolf she sent to received it.

having them all phase

They'd do this how?

Comment author: alethiophile 27 January 2011 03:39:02AM 1 point [-]

Wait until the wolves are on a mission with their Volturi handlers, then do it. Have the wolves kill the handlers and run. Doesn't have the same shock value as an attack on Volterra, but may well hurt the Volturi fairly badly depending on who of the guard is in the party and adds the wolves to the rebels' side rather than the Volturi's.

Does Bella's shield extend through the telepathy between different alphas, or not? If not, the utility of the plan is lessened, though the mission variant could still work if the alpha there forwards Elspeth's deprogramming to his/her pack. (Who are the alphas? Still Rachel, Rebecca and Jacob only?)

Comment author: Alicorn 27 January 2011 03:52:07AM 1 point [-]

Wait until the wolves are on a mission with their Volturi handlers

The wolves do not all go on missions simultaneously. (Only ten were in the group that captured Elspeth out of Denali, for instance.) While on missions, they are sometimes not all phased simultaneously.

Does Bella's shield extend through the telepathy between different alphas, or not?


Who are the alphas? Still Rachel, Rebecca and Jacob only?)


Comment author: RobinZ 24 January 2011 08:06:30PM 1 point [-]

You know, it occurs to me: it should be obvious that the Volterra would leave one pack member in Jacob's pack - all Chelsea has to do is leave that attachment, rather than weaken it, and they have someone with split loyalties who probably wants Jacob to rejoin the guard.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 January 2011 08:52:05PM 2 points [-]

True as far as it goes, but presumably that's only useful to them under two circumstances: (a) they think they can get Jacob back through that wolf, or (b) they think they can detect Jacob's location using that wolf.

The Volterra seem like the sorts to have given up on (a) a while ago... Jacob goes where Elspeth goes, Elspeth is demonstrably unreliable, ergo Jacob isn't reliable, and none of them are particularly valuable. Kill 'em all.

(b) is more compelling. That said, if they are accustomed to using Demetri to find people, it may simply not have occurred to them to construct a backup plan. "Why bother? Demetri will return eventually, with.... um.... whatever unimportant task it is he's trying to accomplish accomplished, and then we'll deal with Jacob and Elspeth."

Comment author: Alicorn 24 January 2011 10:20:17PM 2 points [-]

Elspeth is in fact unreliable, but she didn't escape from Volterra the second time under her own power. Addy and Jacob took her. So it's not as obvious to the Volturi as all that.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 22 January 2011 12:42:40AM 1 point [-]

Actually, something that I've been wondering about is, could we get a breakdown of the Volturi numbers? The impression that I've been getting of their size seems to vary depending at the time.

I understand if you can't, due to spoilers, but even a general outline would be nice. Are there a dozen of them? Two? If you include the witches Elspeth helped seed?

Comment author: Alicorn 22 January 2011 01:03:59AM *  4 points [-]

Head Honchos & Wives:

Aro and Sulpicia
Caius and Athenodora

Original Guard:

Chelsea and Afton
Demetri (deceased); temporarily, Allirea
Saeed (non-canon)
Assorted non-witch, non-canon-specified guard (~5 or so)

Guard Added Via Witch Dungeon & Seeding Efforts:

Alice and Jasper
Benjamin and Tia
Hao and Kazuo
Vasanti and Mehul
Sukutai and Okey
Taamusi and Valdis

Currently Captive:


Wolves Etc:

See the character list under "Wolves", "Imprints", and "Puppies". All living wolves, imprints, and puppies except for Jacob and Elspeth are currently in Volterra and loyal to the Volturi.

Comment author: Giriath 22 January 2011 09:26:07PM *  3 points [-]

Wow. I really got a better feel of how massive the attack on La Push was when I read the character listings of the wolves, imprints and puppies. I also didn't know or remember that Victor and Maureen's daughter Natalie Hanley died in the NYC capture.

I really like that there are stories like these where the Volturi's actions are actually representative of their character. Meyer set them up as extremely powerful and bent on world domination, but only made them act when it was convenient to her love story. Unfortunately much of the canon-fanfiction follows in this vein. You can't have such a powerful, experienced and greedy entity like the Volturi in a story and not have an all-out war; it's just not consistent with their character.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 22 January 2011 04:35:07AM 1 point [-]

Wow, thanks! I really wasn't expecting anything this detailed so quickly. Thanks again for being so helpful.

PS: You mentioned Santiago & Felix twice.

Comment author: Giriath 15 January 2011 07:22:10AM *  1 point [-]

So it looks as if Demetri is finally going to kick the bucket over the next few chapters? I hope they manage to kill him before he can contact Volterra with the news that there are a whole lot of more vampires in Denali than the traitors have reported.

This chapter further solidified my infatuation with Allirea. I'm not really sure why I like her so much--probably because I associate her with most of the sparse humorous moments in the series. I believe the killing of lifeforms can often be selective, and think that the more sentient should especially not be killed. Therefore I don't approve of Allirea killing humans when she has many options to survive without doing so. But I also believe we are our consciousness and personality, and that that is shaped by the experiences our environment gives us. I don't believe in punishment as a way to make things "better". I think people can change to be happier and healthier (which is my definition of "good" and "right") and to want that for other people, too, but punishing them for how their environment has shaped them is not the way to do that. I think you do that by exposing them to the beliefs you want them to endorse, and encourage them to inform themselves about it.

Still, I'm not naïve enough to think that everyone will be willing to commit to that change, or that there will always be an opportunity to introduce it. If someone is trying to hurt or even kill me and I've exhausted every other option, I'd probably hurt or kill them back. Maybe I won't even have time to think about my options, or I do but I don't because I'm not infallible to fear or greed and other emotions that may make me think and act differently than I otherwise would, once faced with an unusual situation.

In the case of Demetri arriving in the recent chapter, I'd probably approve of killing him. He would be a huge risk to extremely many lives in so many ways should they incapacitate him and try to help him change his ways.

Comment author: mjr 17 January 2011 09:23:43AM 5 points [-]

In the case of Demetri arriving in the recent chapter, I'd probably approve of killing him.

Me, too. But kudos to Alicorn for making him, and the killing itself, tragic. Hell, it was effectively in part a mercy killing at that point.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 January 2011 05:30:58PM 2 points [-]

In the case of Demetri arriving in the recent chapter, I'd probably approve of killing him.

I hope very much to see Demetri slaughtered next chapter, preferably cinematically and in slow-motion.

Allirea (or more specifically, the way people behave around Allirea) can be funny, but the scene with her saying goodbye to her children was heartwrenching.

And Bella is back! I really liked seeing Bella through Elspeth's eyes, and watching Elspeth reassess that relationship.

One request: can we get a physical description of Siobhan, for those of us who haven't read the books? There are various references to her being "huge" and I'm not sure exactly how to construct that, mentally.

Comment author: Alicorn 15 January 2011 05:42:48PM 2 points [-]

One request: can we get a physical description of Siobhan, for those of us who haven't read the books? There are various references to her being "huge" and I'm not sure exactly how to construct that, mentally.

From Luminosity, Book 1:

Siobhan was a brunette, with a short and well-maintained haircut. She was very tall and broad, and she moved forward to greet us with an undulating smoothness that I considered trying to emulate before deciding that its impressiveness depended on her size. I wondered if she could beat Emmett in a fight and was unsure. She was barefoot, like the others, and they were all dressed in simple outdoor wear.

Comment author: alethiophile 06 January 2011 03:59:09AM 1 point [-]

So what is Siobhan's power? We have Del's actions to confirm that she has one, but what evidence did Carlisle have that he was so convinced? If Carlisle only saw Siobhan herself carrying out her plans, then it could be that Siobhan is simply of the mindset that puts together elaborate plans in a way that emphasizes fallback positions, and her actual power is something like a supernatural talent for Indy Ploys. However, if Carlisle saw others carrying out Siobhan's plans, and they still worked well enough to convince him that she was a witch and not merely a good planner, then that power must affect others as well as herself, invalidating the theory that Siobhan is simply supernaturally competent at achieving her goals in a way unrelated to plans. The obvious conclusion is that her power is the mode of thought that attempts to put together plans with great regard for the possible holes therein; the alternate hypothesis is that her power somehow contaminates plans she devises with Essence of Success, or something, which is really reaching and not consistent with how witchcraft has so far worked here.

Comment author: Alicorn 06 January 2011 04:12:52AM 3 points [-]

Carlisle had (as was described in Book 1) really bad evidence. The way I'm cashing out Siobhan's power (which is confirmed in canon only by an asterisk next to her name in the Breaking Dawn character list, not by any actual achievement of hers during the book... for some reason there's not even a scene with her talking to Eleazar about it while they're in the same house...) is that when she makes a good plan based on good info, it will tend not to fall prey to black swan events and will tend to fall into the outcome she envisions rather than turning out in some wacky unexpected fashion.

Comment author: gwern 13 January 2011 08:27:32PM 2 points [-]

it will tend not to fall prey to black swan events and will tend to fall into the outcome she envisions rather than turning out in some wacky unexpected fashion.

Fascinating. So she's immune to tropes. I could see that being very useful.

Comment author: VAuroch 21 December 2013 09:01:08AM 0 points [-]

Having read Luminosity, but not Radiance:

If you set out to write a story in which someone tries to be rational and it absolutely backfires, you have succeeded. The majority of Bella's problems are caused or aggravated by her own insufficient luminosity and her perception that she is better off in that department than she actually is. In particular, she doesn't seem to gain any benefits from her above-average rationality at any point after she has fully transitioned to being a vampire; many of her problems are caused by overestimating her abilities and insufficiently analyzing her decisions to keeping things secret. In short, she lives for almost the entire story in the valley of bad rationalism.

Since that was not the stated purpose of the story, I don't think I can even reasonably consider this rationalist fiction. Which is highly disappointing.

Comment author: avichapman 29 June 2012 06:07:37AM 0 points [-]

Is anyone else out there interested in a Luminosity pod-cast? Unfortunately I can't volunteer, as I have a terrible voice and bad recording equipment. But I would LOVE to have a pod-cast of it, in the same vain as the HPMOR podcast.

Comment author: Alicorn 29 June 2012 05:07:26PM 0 points [-]

I considered recording one myself, but determined that it would take a long time. Someone volunteered to do one, but he was a dude, and I was sufficiently apathetic about having my first-person teenage girl narrated by a dude that he decided against it. (Of course, anyone can do what they like with it, pretend it's under the CC license I put everything else under but can't for this because it's a fanfic.)

Comment author: avichapman 02 July 2012 03:21:13AM 0 points [-]

That's fair enough. I'll just have to keep hoping that a female volunteer comes along. I just really enjoy listening to HPMOR in the car and would love to do the same with this. Oh well. I'm sure if it happens at some point, news of it will appear on lesswrong.

Comment author: Alicorn 02 July 2012 05:28:33AM 0 points [-]

News of it might appear on LW; you could also subscribe to Luminosity's RSS feed to be really sure.

Comment author: Kikiara 12 August 2011 05:33:12PM 0 points [-]

So, its probably not going to happen anywhere except my head. But does anyone else feel this ends in a way that parallels the God Emperor of Dune?

I've just got this rather imaginative image of a global vampire regime ruled from the Golden Throne and all this interesting intrigue and corruption and various groups vying for power, and the very fate of humanity itself?

Comment author: Marri 22 June 2011 04:17:52AM 0 points [-]

Random suuuuper minor question. Was re-reading some of the flashes cause I love them to pieces, and- anyone know why Kim is "Mrs. Kim Connweller-Cameron"? I thought Jared's (and Vivian's) last name was Norton.

Comment author: Alicorn 22 June 2011 05:15:00AM 0 points [-]

My bad. I got Cameron out of an outdated spreadsheet and I'll fix it.

Comment author: Marri 22 June 2011 08:35:01PM 0 points [-]

Is there an Official Way to ask about stuff like that without spamming this thread?

Comment author: Alicorn 23 June 2011 05:40:20AM *  0 points [-]

People use the TV Tropes discussion thread to ask me miscellaneous questions about the stories/settting/continuity. I also have my contact info up on my website.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 09 May 2012 05:35:45PM 0 points [-]

I also have my contact info up on my website.

Do you still check that one?

Comment author: Alicorn 09 May 2012 06:02:10PM *  0 points [-]

The address I have up on my sites remains valid. It forwards a couple times, I think, but lands in something I check all the time. Why, did you email me and not get an answer? Resend in that case.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 09 May 2012 06:12:56PM *  0 points [-]

It bounces a couple times, I think, but . . .

I suggest that in the future you say instead, "It gets automatically forwarded a couple of times."

When you say "bounce" in the context of email, many readers (and most readers who have been using email since the early 1990s) will think immediately of one those "Mail Undeliverable" emails you get when you try to send an email to a non-existing address.

Comment author: Alicorn 09 May 2012 06:18:10PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: Vaniver 18 June 2011 12:36:03PM *  0 points [-]

When she wasn't sucking down as much blood as they could get her (and damned if it didn't feel bizarre slurping down a mug of red liquid that had been coursing around in Charlie's veins minutes earlier), she was devouring eggs and everything else that was brought to her.

Um, Charlie's veins? Shouldn't that be an animal's?

Comment author: Alicorn 18 June 2011 02:49:59PM *  0 points [-]

Nope, this is human!Sue pregnant with Cody. She can drink human blood (and indeed will hold up better for it) without going nuts; Charlie donated some.

Comment author: Vaniver 18 June 2011 06:22:30PM 0 points [-]

Oh, ok! I wasn't imagining non-violent ways of procuring his blood.

Comment author: mjr 11 June 2011 10:13:28PM 0 points [-]

Ha, dunno if my earlier speculation had a part in it, but nice that you ran with the resurrection thing.

Wonder if Irina will mate-bond again for the first time...

Comment author: Alicorn 16 May 2011 08:44:58AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Lila 13 April 2011 11:21:07PM 0 points [-]

I got the impression that Elspeth and Jacob's relationship remains non-romantic. Is that correct?

Comment author: Giriath 01 April 2011 06:24:19AM 0 points [-]

So Adelaide was always that disturbing.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 April 2011 03:06:15PM 1 point [-]

Yeah. I wasn't sure that she was going to be like that when I started the story, but then she was like "hey, shouldn't my sister-in-law be dying under mysterious circumstances nowish?" and I went with it.

Comment author: alethiophile 10 March 2011 03:56:55AM 0 points [-]

What does Razi need to know about a place before he can teleport there? Alice can see anyone, but if there are no visual cues as to the location nearby she can't tell where they are (as in Luminosity, in which she is fooled into thinking James is in Florida when he is in fact on a movie set). Does whatever information Alice has on the look of a location suffice for Razi to go there? If not, then a vampire can evade Empire justice for some time simply by staying in a dark room, or being in an undifferentiated forest somewhere. Not long-term, maybe, but enough time to turn a mate and ensure the bond is established.

Comment author: Alicorn 10 March 2011 04:25:42AM 0 points [-]

I don't have this rigorously described, because Razi himself doesn't know (that's why he hasn't dared try teleport to the moon, because he's not sure if his Required Secondary Powers will let him go betwixt celestial bodies safely). However, if Alice shares a vision with Razi, he can go to the location it displays even if Alice can't tell where it is. He won't know where he is when he gets there, though.

Comment author: alethiophile 10 March 2011 05:04:55AM 0 points [-]

Okay. Addy can take Razi's power and go with him, and Alice can scope out the area beforehand (has to, in fact) and note if there's anything too ambushy or powerful there. Thus, single vampires can probably be taken out. It's a pity all the trackers died, though they're much less useful in the Empire phase as the vampire population increases because they have to meet everyone. I would be leery of teleporting to random places, were I Razi, but he can just jump out again on no notice if necessary, I guess.

Comment author: Alicorn 10 March 2011 05:09:27AM 0 points [-]

I would be leery of teleporting to random places, were I Razi, but he can just jump out again on no notice if necessary, I guess.

Indeed he can. It takes something pretty heavy-duty to catch Razi in a situation that he can't hop out of. (This is why Addy could only catch him once - she had to do it with Alec's power when he wasn't expecting it. Alec's power is way too slow to catch Razi if he's aware of the danger.)

Comment author: alethiophile 10 March 2011 01:51:22AM 0 points [-]

Yay, final update! Now I can put it on my Kindle and not feel like I have to replace it three times a week.

Two questions.

First, are the chapters in Radiance going to be rearranged the way the ones in Luminosity were?

Second, to what degree does Benjamin have control over the classical elements? Can he, for instance, summon fire from the air? If so, then he should be easily the most formidable fighter around, with the possible exception of Pera, and even she would be vulnerable to a less-metaphorical firewall. Can he put himself out if he's on fire? If so, why were the Volturi so blase about igniting Bella and assuming her death, multiple times? (This one I could believe as basic laziness when they have no reason to believe her power makes her immune to fire, but it's a thought.)

Comment author: Alicorn 10 March 2011 02:06:15AM 0 points [-]

1: No. They're staying as-is.

2: Yes, he can conjure fire, but only a small amount of it. He could set some portion of a vampire on fire, and they'd have to stop for a sec to put it out, but they would not be unable to do so except under weird circumstances. Benjamin is, however, personally averse to combat applications for his power. He can put himself out if he's on fire as long as he's only a little bit on fire and not in pieces at the time. (Bella was in pieces when set on fire, both times.)

Comment author: alethiophile 03 March 2011 05:41:18AM 0 points [-]

Now I want to hear more about this nontrivial skill component to War. Unless it's skill at cheating, I really can't imagine what it might be.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 March 2011 05:48:27AM 0 points [-]

They are playing a slightly relaxed version where one may choose to put one's captured cards on top of or under one's deck.

Comment author: JGWeissman 03 March 2011 11:26:29PM 0 points [-]

Aw, I was hoping it was more subtle, like putting the captured card on top of or under the card that captured it, when placing both always under the deck.

Comment author: alethiophile 03 March 2011 11:19:32PM 0 points [-]

Ah. Okay, I get it now.

Comment author: Giriath 28 February 2011 02:17:47PM *  0 points [-]

You mix up Grace and Gwyn in the scene in Jane's room. It should be Grace following Elspeth, but halfway through you start writing Gwyn and continue doing that throughout the chapter. Good chapter!

Comment author: Alicorn 28 February 2011 04:36:12PM 0 points [-]

Thanks, I'll fix that. (There were too many wolves to give them all names that started with different letters =/)

Comment author: JGWeissman 28 February 2011 05:49:28PM 1 point [-]

(There were too many wolves to give them all names that started with different letters =/)

Yeah, the pigeonhole principle can be a real nuisance.

Comment author: Giriath 19 February 2011 10:26:53AM 0 points [-]

Ch. 45 spoilers!

Huh, so that's it for the Volturi. I wonder what the conflict will be from here on out. There's bound to be some vampires who won't be pleased with the new diet rules, and I'm also wondering what Bella will do with regards to humanity; will she let them in on the secret, or try to influence them without doing that?

I'd also like to see what she does with her parents. Renée and Phil may be interested in vampirization. And what will the wolves do? I hope Alicorn doesn't cap it off soon, even if there's no immediate threat to the current reign and the Cullen's.

Comment author: Alicorn 19 February 2011 02:09:44PM 1 point [-]

I plan to provide what I hope will be a satisfactory denouement.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 February 2011 06:02:41PM 0 points [-]

Ch. 44 -- Wow. Very visceral, very dark chapter... Elspeth putting her father back together was grisly, and because we saw Bella's Revenge from Chelsea's perspective, it became more gothic tragedy than asskicking vengeance.

And now Addy has Elspeth! So even though things are going well for Our Team, I'm left with a strong sense of foreboding.

Comment author: Giriath 17 February 2011 08:25:09AM *  0 points [-]

Chapter 44 spoilers!

Wow...that didn't go anything like I had expected. Adelaide will have to have one hell of a trump card or suddenly have fallen in like with Bella's ambitions (and I doubt those include her holding Elspeth hostage) to have some hope of getting out of this.

Maybe she does have someone powerful enough to make a difference working for her in the insurgency, like I speculated in my last comment, or some immense leverage over the entire group. Whatever it is, it will have to be big to ensure they won't become a threat to her later on.

Comment author: Strange7 16 February 2011 10:42:30AM 0 points [-]

Is there, or could you add, a "characters" page with short summaries of every (known) witch's power?

Comment author: Alicorn 16 February 2011 01:43:27PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: Giriath 16 February 2011 01:45:04PM *  0 points [-]

There is a character page here.

Comment author: Giriath 15 February 2011 10:19:15AM *  0 points [-]

Somehow I don't think things will go quite as planned. Infilitrate, break Volturi members; decide who lives, who dies and who rules the world. That sounds too easy, and I doubt Adelaide will make her move after the vampires who don't particularly like her research have assumed a stable reign of the world.

Maybe she has someone working for her on the inside. There have been remarkably few protests about Bella running for Queen of the World, despite her ambitious future plans regarding vampire conduct. I'm quite sure no one has thought to have Maggie ask everyone in the insurgency whether they've ever had contact with Adelaide, and if they have, what relation they have and how that may affect the plan.

I suppose she has been listening in on most conversations and could point out any lies, but she herself may be suspect. IIRC, Gianna is still guarding Molly, who may be taken hostage should Adelaide gather some friends. Then we would have no way of knowing who is working for her, as Maggie would cover their lies.

We learned this chapter (43) that all wolves and puppies are present (as far as Elspeth remembers), so we can safely assume Adelaide is in the presence of one or more of Allirea's siblings or her children. If she has one or more of Allirea's children as a hostage, it may of course upset the plan. She knows of them, and also that Allirea is a big threat, so why wouldn't she try to get some leverage on her? She may not be able to plan around her fading though.

Comment author: alethiophile 15 February 2011 03:15:34AM 0 points [-]

Yay, stuff is happening! Siobhan is cool, and having her on one's side is a major asset. I'm still very nervous about what Addy is doing, though. It's not like her to let this major an upset happen without her input. More generally, the second shoe has yet to fall. I wonder what it'll be?

Comment author: [deleted] 16 February 2011 07:26:24PM 0 points [-]

That's pretty much how I'm feeling, now that it's Showtime. Siobhan is great, but Addy's out there being the anti-Siobhan. What's she up to?

Comment author: Giriath 12 February 2011 06:48:34AM *  0 points [-]

Chapter 42 spoilers.

So, we're finally getting close to the actual battle. Their current plan seems sound, but I really wonder what Adelaide is doing that might derail it, or what the Volturi themselves have done to counteract any attack; they're not stupid, as Siobhan said.

It would seem that Pera remembers enough of Bella to be quite irrationally afraid of her. :)

It's amusing to see Siobhan become more and more exasperated with being the leader of this operation. I'm beginning to understand why she doesn't want to be "Queen of the World", even though she's very qualified for the position. She has little ambition beyond being the chief vampire of Ireland, and quickly becomes bored with the people around her, when in a leadership position.

Comment author: LauralH 19 February 2011 08:44:13PM 0 points [-]

I honestly am not buying the degree of Pera's skittishness with respect to Bella. Their meeting wasn't even that traumatic, she lunged and was restrained and unhid. As a vampire it should barely register. Did Chelsea increase her minor fear of Bella?

Comment author: Alicorn 19 February 2011 09:03:40PM 1 point [-]

Pera has irrational degrees of fear about stuff in general. (Personality-based powers and hers is hiding.) Chelsea is not responsible and Pera's fear of Bella was never minor.

Comment author: [deleted] 14 February 2011 04:27:25PM 0 points [-]

Bella reflecting on the incident with Pera made me realize that, while they've planned for mate bonds snapping in, they haven't planned for singers. I suppose that if Nathan goes nuts and devours an imprint, it wouldn't be absolutely catastrophic for anybody but him (and, well, the imprint, and her mate)--and the only way to close off that possibility would be to avoid sending any vampire into the village.

Comment author: Alicorn 14 February 2011 08:21:59PM 3 points [-]

Actually (although you aren't expected to know this) any singer in the village will have marinated in nasty wolf smell long enough that Nathan has a reasonable chance of checking the impulse to eat her. (Edward makes a comment to this effect about Bella in canon.)

Comment author: mjr 12 February 2011 03:57:07PM 0 points [-]

It would seem that Pera remembers enough of Bella to be quite irrationally afraid of her. :)

Indeed. That may also make her more receptive to suggestions that perhaps she should be helping stop vampires from eating humans in general.