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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  People who know extra stuff (my betas and people who have requested specific spoilers) should keep mum about unpublished information they have.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)

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: 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: 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: 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: 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 [-]

Edited.

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: 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: Alicorn 06 May 2011 07:07:41AM -1 points [-]

I'm sorry you didn't like the ending sentence or feel compelled by the portion of Elspeth's character development which took place when she was five. I'm pretty sure that's all I can say to these complaints.

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: Alicorn 14 April 2011 12:11:08AM -1 points [-]

I'm leaving that open for others to imagine either way. It certainly does not become romantic when she is five.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 14 April 2011 12:54:48AM 4 points [-]

You say that with an emphasis that puzzles me, given that social intuitions about what is appropriate for a five-year-old pretty clearly don't apply to that character. Is it any more obviously inappropriate in that setting for five-year-olds to get romantic than it is for teenagers to marry lovers over five decades their seniors?

Comment author: Alicorn 14 April 2011 01:04:29AM *  2 points [-]

Elspeth is more mature than a human five-year-old. She is not as mature as she would have to be for it to not squick me.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 14 April 2011 02:23:47AM 0 points [-]

Which is totally cool.

I guess, thinking about it, that I read your emphasis as having an implied "...as any right-thinking person would already know" clause which, in retrospect, I have no reason to believe had its origins anywhere but my own mind.

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

Announcement:

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

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

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

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

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: Giriath 16 February 2011 01:45:04PM *  0 points [-]

There is a character page here.

Comment author: Alicorn 16 February 2011 01:43:27PM 1 point [-]
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.

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: 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: anyareine 10 February 2011 03:22:58AM 0 points [-]

Chapter 40 Spoilers.

I'm just amused about how the Bella For Queen talk didn't send anyone into a panic. I guess the thought of Bella being in power, instead of the Volturi, was comforting?

Though now that I think about it, I think we did see some ruffled feathers in relation to what Bella would use Pera for. Is that it though?

Comment author: Vaniver 08 February 2011 05:24:21PM 0 points [-]

Chapter 39: Did Elspeth dial into the conversation twice? Or are those two different conversations? Also, "wewaited" should be two words.

Comment author: Alicorn 08 February 2011 05:39:12PM 0 points [-]

Fixed the typo. Regarding dialing, can you be more specific about where you see the redundancy (give me a string to search for maybe?)

Comment author: Vaniver 09 February 2011 06:09:04PM 0 points [-]

The string "dial" turns up two matches in 39:

"I have a question," said Tanya's voice from Siobhan's end of the phone connection. It was quiet enough to be difficult to pick out, so I pulled out and dialed in.

And

"Got -" Alice started muttering names, and I dialed my own phone into the conversation so I didn't have to listen to everything secondhand through my mother's.

I got the impression both of those voices were being transmitted by Siobhan's phone

Comment author: Alicorn 09 February 2011 06:36:19PM 1 point [-]

Aha. I hallucinated writing a clause in the paragraph where Jake wakes up indicating that Elspeth closed her phone to have her hands free to deal with him, but it isn't actually there. Editing it in now. Thanks.

Comment author: anyareine 08 February 2011 10:37:52AM 0 points [-]

I am unable to update the old files anymore. So here is the new Radiance PDF link. http://www.mediafire.com/?qg0qqphqkl1mq36.

I'll try and find another file sharing program that I can use for free, and am able to update files.

Comment author: Alicorn 08 February 2011 03:44:13PM 0 points [-]

Y'know what? I have webspace. If you just send me copies of these PDFs, I will fling them up on my webspace; that takes three seconds apiece and I do not anticipate laziness causing appreciable delay.

Comment author: anyareine 08 February 2011 04:25:50PM 0 points [-]

Ok. Where do I send them?

Comment author: Alicorn 08 February 2011 05:27:22PM 0 points [-]

alicorn@elcenia.com

Comment author: anyareine 08 February 2011 06:09:21PM 0 points [-]

Sent. :)

Comment author: Alicorn 08 February 2011 08:30:00PM 0 points [-]

I'm adding a note about the availability of PDFs on the website's about page. Do you want to be credited under this handle or another? Want a link to anything?

Comment author: anyareine 09 February 2011 12:21:22AM 0 points [-]

The Luminosity links do not work on the About page. I get 404 Error messages. The Radiance one works fine though.

Comment author: Alicorn 09 February 2011 12:37:43AM 0 points [-]

This should be fixed now, my bad.

Comment author: anyareine 09 February 2011 12:45:23AM 0 points [-]

Arial font Luminosity is not working.

Comment author: Alicorn 09 February 2011 12:48:52AM 0 points [-]

Now I'm stumped...

Comment author: anyareine 08 February 2011 09:33:57PM 0 points [-]

My fanfiction.net account will do. http://www.fanfiction.net/~anyareine

Comment author: wedrifid 08 February 2011 10:57:57AM 0 points [-]

I'll try and find another file sharing program that I can use for free, and am able to update files.

Well, my first thought was "github would be perfect!". But possibly overkill. :P

Comment author: anyareine 08 February 2011 11:14:03AM 0 points [-]

github?

Comment author: alethiophile 08 February 2011 06:02:04AM *  0 points [-]

I was all bummed by the apparent missed update on Friday, but then now there's two. Yay!

Jacob still has alpha-voice powers over whoever is in his pack, right? If so, couldn't he simply order everyone who can hear him not to tell anyone about anything as soon as he phases? That would work unless a packmate happens to be near Aro at the time. (Or runs into him in future; but is Aro making a habit of reading all the wolves regularly, given the stress this is likely to induce? Or would they be keeping a packmate of Jacob's near Aro at all times? Someone suggested this, and it's certainly a good idea to get info.) Also, Bella could shield Jacob before he phases; if they're keeping a packmate near Aro, then a shield would negate that particular threat, though Aro would have to become aware of the fact that the wolf is suddenly shielded if he happened to try to read him during the conversation. Also, it might have occurred to Aro that keeping one of the few creatures that can credibly threaten a vampire right nearby and susceptible to the mind-control of a known enemy is a bad idea. Unknown whether this could sway him more than the potential intelligence coup. My sense is that even with a surprise, shielded attack a single wolf probably couldn't take out Aro, given the likely quick response by every other vampire; he wouldn't have time to set a fire, certainly.

Comment author: Alicorn 08 February 2011 06:12:40AM 0 points [-]

I warned about the delayed update via RSS feed, but I suppose I should have advertised it in other channels too. I spent Friday moving from Connecticut to North Carolina.

Alpha-voicing does not exclude the option of swapping packs. In fact, that is how there came to be three packs in the first place - Rachel alpha-voiced Becky and then Jacob, thereby prompting them to split off. If Jacob just alpha-voiced his packmate, said packmate could run to one of the sisters and still tell all.

Comment author: [deleted] 08 February 2011 09:54:02PM 0 points [-]

I hope your move went well! Research Triangle area?

Also, Bella for Queen of the World! I really liked the bit where she offhandedly explains the difference between the Bella we got to know over the course of "Luminosity" and the Bella who appears at the first part of Radiance--she was functioning without her mate, of course she was no longer pursuing ambitious plans.

Comment author: Alicorn 08 February 2011 10:55:14PM *  0 points [-]

Apparently I am indeed in the Research Triangle area now. The move went fine :)

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 10 February 2011 09:58:41AM 0 points [-]

Welp, that's my idea gone! XD

Comment author: Lila 17 February 2011 08:07:23PM 0 points [-]

Maybe Elspeth can learn to love her mother in much the same way as a child who is adopted at an older age might learn to love their adoptive parents. That would require Elspeth to give Bella a chance to act motherly towards her. If Elspeth thinks mothering is something she needs, she might accept it from Bella.

But if Elspeth doesn't need or want that kind of relationship (maybe 5-year-old half-vampires can do fine without it) I see no reason why she should love Bella. She might also choose to have that kind of relationship with someone else, though it would be hard to find someone as enthusiastic and devoted to the job as Bella. And even though she doesn't love Bella, maybe she has some kind of impersonal goodwill toward her, and might choose her out of kindness.

Comment author: anyareine 04 February 2011 12:02:22PM 0 points [-]

Random thought/question.

Will we be seeing the vampire Maria?, aka Jaspers maker and the leader of the vampiric army in the south.

Is there still a army in the south? I'm not sure if you mentioned it in the books, and I can't remember if they were still there in canon...

Comment author: Alicorn 05 February 2011 05:18:21PM 0 points [-]

Oh, the newborn armies running around in the South got smacked down by the Volturi a while ago. I'm assuming Maria was a casualty.

Comment author: anyareine 06 February 2011 01:54:13PM 0 points [-]

A while ago meaning fifty years, or a while ago meaning five years?

Comment author: Alicorn 06 February 2011 02:13:44PM 0 points [-]

Like in the late 1800s.

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: Alicorn 04 February 2011 12:51:44AM 0 points [-]

I really should have thought about how annoying and complicated it would be to explain this power over and over before I gave it to Elspeth. Suffice it to say that she's not an oracle and does not have the capacity to turn into one.

Comment author: gwern 04 February 2011 01:23:16AM 2 points [-]

Well, I hope there will be an explanation and/or rewrite. The last few chapters have been annoying - 'Elspeth is an oracle, why do they keep on speculating and discussing when they could just ask Elspeth their questions? It didn't take all that long the first time they asked the oracle a question. Arrgh, stop saying words!'

Comment author: Sheaman3773 04 February 2011 01:51:57AM 1 point [-]

I think she would have to have a comparable situation in her memory--I don't think memory of a story would fit, but that's speculation--and she has to be communicating with someone who already knows.

It's stated very early on that her power sometimes changes what she says when she's telling the truth to phrase it so that the listener would understand. That's already admitting that her power can reveal facts about the people she's communicating with, more specifically what they find to be true.

They have to speculate because they don't have anyone there who knows. Now, if they kidnapped someone who was in the know, and had Elspeth try to run through scenarios to see which analogies fit, then they could get information out of that person. Really, she's more of a sort of mind reader, in an incredibly roundabout manner, than any kind of oracle.

Assuming that my understanding is sound, did that clarify anything with you?

Comment author: gwern 04 February 2011 02:41:33AM 0 points [-]

I don't think memory of a story would fit, but that's speculation

Already gave a number of possible workarounds to demonstrate that any ad hoc rule will leak. This reminds me of computer security - someone puts forward an ad hoc system, someone else immediately breaks it, the first patches the exploit, and so on ad infinitum until eventually the patches start introducing as many security flaws as they fix and they just give up.

Really, she's more of a sort of mind reader, in an incredibly roundabout manner, than any kind of oracle.

I went back and re-read the scene. That could be the right explanation.

But that's not much better. Nothing in the scene forces Alice & Jasper to be there. For all we know, Elspeth could have run through the exact same mental steps with them on the other side of the planet (assuming A&J had telephoned with news of their defection or something): 'Magic, would comparing A&J to Del convince someone of the comparison?' 'Nope!' 'Oh good.' In fact, since truth or falsity do not change, Elspeth could as easily have worded her analogy as 'would comparing A&J at the instant they called to Del convince someone?' and gotten the same answer.

So your reading brings Elspeth down from logical omniscience to 'merely' being able to find out anything anyone has ever known (and maybe will know). Which is still so impressive a power that Alicorn couldn't've intended it.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 04 February 2011 04:02:23AM 0 points [-]

Her magic changes what she says when she's communicating with people. I agree, nothing in the scene forces A&J to be there, but Elspeth's power--as I understand it--requires her to be communicating to the people she's testing for it to work.

Now, the fact that her magic now has an avatar might change the rules, but as Alicorn obviously didn't intend for it to work like how you are describing, you can assume that her magic is still limited to needing to be in communication with the person in question for it to determine whether the analogies fit.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 04 February 2011 05:30:46AM 2 points [-]

Even with those constraints, there are experiments that seem worth performing.

Experiment one: select some known object X. A confederate either puts X in their pocket, or doesn't. Elspeth attempts to say "You have X in your pocket" to the confederate. Does Magic object to Elspeth saying that when it isn't true?

If that doesn't work, set up an indirect version of the same thing where, instead of saying "You have X in your pocket," Elspeth calls up a memory of the person having X in their pocket and says "You're in a situation like that time when you had X in your pocket." That, at least, ought to work... it's essentially what Elspeth did to Alice.

Either way, there's a whole series of experiments to be performed in the same vein to establish whether this depends on someone having the knowledge, or whether it merely depends on the state of the world. E.g., experiment 1b: there are three people in the room, two of whom have a sealed box in their pocket. One of the boxes contains X. The third person in the room knows which box it is, but nobody else does. Elspeth attempts to say "You have X in your pocket" (or equivalent memory) to both people. 1c: get rid of the third person. Nobody knows which box it is. 1d: get rid of all the people; there are two boxes, left and right. Elspeth attempts to say to herself "The {left, right} box contains X".

Another direction of experimentation... set up the same experiment, but Elspeth is in another room far away, communicating by telephone. If that works, hang up, and have Elspeth simply intend to communicate by phone. (This should work if the first one does, since we've seen Magic answer questions about intended communications.) If that works, throw the phone away and have Elspeth intend to communicate in some unspecified fashion... or, if that fails, have her write the answers on a piece of paper with the intention of handing the paper to the appropriate person at the first convenient opportunity. If any of this works, how far away is too far? What if she doesn't know exactly where the people are?

Yet another variation: set up a probabilistic test case. That is, instead of "You have X in your pocket," try it with "This coin is about to come up heads." If it fails, try it again with Alice, after she has determined how the coin will come up.

Completely different: Every thirty seconds, Elspeth looks around the room and says "There are N people in this room." Allirea is in the room, fading in and out. Can Magic tell when what Elspeth wants to say is false? Does it matter if Bella is in the room?

It seems like these would be useful things to know about Elspeth's talent, not to mention useful directions to train it in if the potential exists. Some of them I expect to fail, because Word of God says she's not an oracle, but I'm not clear on which ones as I'm not exactly clear what an "oracle" is. In any case, Elspeth doesn't have access to Word of God, all she has is experiment.

But maybe Addy's the only one who has an experimental mindset about this stuff.

Comment author: Alicorn 05 February 2011 05:32:44PM 0 points [-]

Completely different: Every thirty seconds, Elspeth looks around the room and says "There are N people in this room." Allirea is in the room, fading in and out. Can Magic tell when what Elspeth wants to say is false? Does it matter if Bella is in the room?

This one fails trivially. Elspeth has, in the past, without so much as a twinge from Magic, neglected Allirea's existence verbally and explicitly:

Siobhan pursed her lips and closed her eyes. "Elspeth, how many children does Joham have?" she asked, slowly and carefully.

"Three," I said.

"And their names are, from oldest to youngest...?"

"Noemi, Nahuel, and Iseul. Don't you already know -"

Comment author: TheOtherDave 05 February 2011 06:55:26PM 0 points [-]

True. Cool, they can scratch that one off the list.

Comment author: Giriath 03 February 2011 06:01:00AM *  0 points [-]

(Chapter 38 SPOILERS below)

Ah, was that a small moment of affection for her mother Elspeth had at the end there? It would be great if Elspeth came to enjoy her mother's presence in different ways then she did before Chelsea robbed her of all relation she felt with her.

I don't think it's particularly healthy to feel very dependent on another person, so I think it would be a good thing if she developed independence and confidence in herself, and affection for those she believes deserves it.

That would probably be more difficult to do had her subconscious dispositions towards her mother not been erased; and nearly impossible to completely alter. Chelsea could definitely use her witchcraft to make people happier and healthier. Only first you'd have to research what makes people--both in general and in specific individuals--happier and healthier.

If the deprogramming of Chelsea's witchcraft causes different behavorial reactions in its subjects, based on whatever original intent and emotion it has repressed and how relevant that is to the present, then the wolves will most likely be more willing to completely exterminate the Volturi than anyone else.

Under the influence of Chelsea, they have done and have things done to them that they by their original beliefs and behavior would consider extremely horrible, all of which will be very relevant to the present if Siobhan's plan is carried out as discussed in chapter 38.

Forget stopping them from sounding any alarms or restraining Elspeth; the real problem may be stopping all their howling and any crazed attempts to race into the compound. I knew stacking all that unwilling manpower would eventually quite literally bite the Volturi in the ass.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 01 February 2011 08:33:50PM 0 points [-]

How voluntary is Alice's control over what--or rather, when--she sees?

I thought that she had control on whether or not she looked into the future, but the way she describes playing games, it seems like she doesn't have a choice whether or not she's looking to see how the game turns out.

I'd think she could at least focus her visions at something irrelevant while playing the game, if she didn't want to "cheat" badly enough, but I suppose that might interfere with her ability to play the game.

Comment author: Alicorn 01 February 2011 08:48:13PM *  2 points [-]

It's mostly voluntary. She will tend to see things she looks for, and also tend to see things that are relevant to her regardless of whether she tries. As long as she's committed to playing a game, she's going to see the future of the game, unless she uses up most of her spare mental capacity to forcibly direct her sight at something irrelevant (thereby handicapping herself even relative to how well she could play with her sight blocked outright).

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

(CH 36 SPOILERS)

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: TheOtherDave 29 January 2011 06:21:01PM 0 points [-]

Sure, that was the limitation she was operating under back in Chapter 5, when (among other things) she wasn't able to interact with Magic as a separate subagent.

She communicates with her ability radically differently, now; there's no particular reason to believe the same limitation applies.

But, sure, maybe she experimented with this off-camera and concluded that it still does, for whatever reason, and we just haven't read about that. So, OK, maybe she can't attempt to say "Alice is still loyal to the Volturi" and see whether Magic objects.

Instead, she has to come up with an example from her memory of someone experiencing something like what it would be for Alice to still be loyal to the Volturi, and then attempt to say "Alice is in a situation kind of like that example" and see whether Magic objects.

Fine... it's magic, it has whatever limits it has.

And maybe those examples have to be actual memories... maybe it won't work if she says "Consider Vanessa, a hypothetical Volturi guard who is pretending to no longer be loyal to the Volturi in order to fool her friends into trusting her. Alice is in a situation similar to Vanessa's" and see whether Magic objects. (Similarly, maybe comparing Alice's situation to that of a character in a novel or a movie won't work.)

Regardless, in all of those cases Elspeth is constructing a version of the statement "Alice is doing X" and consulting Magic about the truth of that statement, when Elspeth herself does not know whether Alice is doing X.

If that actually works -- and it sure does seem to have -- then Magic has access to information that Elspeth does not have access to, and it seems that this is a huge tactical advantage that everyone appears to be neglecting.

For example, Bella was wondering earlier whether what she sensed was a packmate of Jacob's. So, Elspeth can come up with some memory of some witch using a power on a wolf that includes its packmate, then try to say "What Bella is sensing is like that" and see if Magic objects.

For example, suppose Elspeth wants to know whether the Volturi are actively hunting them right now. So, she comes up with a historical example of situations where the Volturi were actively hunting someone who wasn't sure whether they were hunting him or not, and tries to say "Our situation is kind of like so-and-so's."

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Presumably there are limits to this, but it seems like establishing those limits and using her power within them would be... um... a good plan.

Comment author: alethiophile 05 February 2011 09:49:23PM 1 point [-]

As far as I can tell, what Elspeth is doing is, in talking to Alice, seeing if her magic, which helps her communicate the truth to people in ways they will understand, would suggest analogies between the current situation and previous situations. I.e., if Elspeth were trying to explain the situation of Addy and Pera to Alice, would her magic suggest Alice and Jasper's own situation as an example? If so, then that means that Alice and Jasper's situation is analogous to that of Addy and Pera, and hence it implies something about their motives. Magic has a mind-reading power, kind of, whose intent is solely to determine how to comprehensibly explain the truth to someone. Elspeth is using this for a method not originally intended, in order to determine something about Alice and Jasper. Thus, it's not an oracle; it depends critically on Elspeth currently being in communication with someone who knows the answer.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 05 February 2011 11:05:04PM 0 points [-]

Mostly agreed... the subsequent edit of Magic's reply made that much clearer.

As per other thread, it is not clear to me that what the boundaries of "in communication" are, and it's not clear to me what sorts of information Magic has access to. That said, I'm increasingly concluding that I'm somehow being obtuse, because this seems to be clear to everyone else.

Comment author: JGWeissman 29 January 2011 06:39:58PM 2 points [-]

I think the way it works is that Elspeth asks if referencing Alice and Jasper''s experience of whatever they are going through now would help them understand this memory that Elspeth believes is true.

Though this explanation seems backwards from what is implied by:

"Yes," said Magic, "this sounds about right. I would let you use this story to say something true about Alice and Jasper."

I would have expected it to be:

"Yes," said Magic, "this sounds about right. I would let you use Alice and Jasper's experience to say something true about this memory."

Comment author: Alicorn 29 January 2011 07:11:05PM 0 points [-]

You're right, I wrote that backwards. I'll fix it now.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 29 January 2011 07:17:25PM 0 points [-]

Ah. That helps clarify matters. Thank you.

Comment author: Giriath 29 January 2011 12:16:34PM 0 points [-]

Spoilers chapter 36!

Seeing all those future possibilities was very interesting. And all that just by deciding to do something, even if there was an uncommonly high amount of possibilities resulting from this particular decision. I wonder if they'll tell Genevieve anything more, now that they've already established contact and what seems to be an alliance with Alice and Jasper.

If Alice and Jasper ever meet with Bella again, and I assume they will, that would make for a very interesting reunion to read from their own perspectives.

Comment author: [deleted] 29 January 2011 05:04:40PM 0 points [-]

Spoilers chapter 36!

Seeing all those future possibilities was very interesting.

Yeah, I thought that part was great -- very well-written.

Comment author: Alicorn 29 January 2011 05:33:05PM 2 points [-]

Apparently that part had a nice, high ratio of effect to effort! I just turned off several filters between my brain and my fingers (including the one telling me to stay in a consistent tense) and let go.

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