Soul Discussion Forum
For any questions you may have on my story, "Soul".
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sun tzu OM

This is where I'll be trying to address questions that were raised in reviews given to the story.

There's a suspension-of-disbelief problem or two here. Namely the fact that Eriko's powers are presumably highly unusual, yet the circumstances behind them are not. She can hardly be the first scientist to have "died" and been hesitant to follow the yellow brick road.

Well, there's a little more to it that. Firstly, while tens of billions of people have died since the dawn of mankind, the number of people who were "virtually dead", had an NDE, and came back isn't that big. Second, well, among them, those who'd have actually stayed for a long time to study the area would have been far, far less numerous - it takes a special mindset, and not anybody would have been able to figure it out in the first place (as we'll gradually see, Eriko is way above average, mentally. Way above). Third...well, there's actually more to it. Without giving too many spoilers, I'll say that if the very same thing had happened, say, fifty years earlier, Eriko would not have been able to pull any of those magic tricks. Something about the nature of NDEs has recently been modified to make it possible.

(Rereading it, I'm reminded of Dr. Manhattan's origin.)

Dr. Manhattan? Huh. Hadn't occurred to me (and, at the risk of being controversial, I always thought the doc was the weak point of the otherwise-excellent "Watchmen"). If anything, I think Soul's origin was inspired by "Fullmetal Alchemist" and the "Dead Inside" RPG...

Have you read Sailor Nothing? I'd guess yes, but just in case - if you haven't, do so.

Read it and loved it. Can't tell for sure if it inspired this story, as I can't remember if I read it before or after I came with the concept of Soul.

Maybe the Tsunami Channel webcomic Magical Mina, too, the OTHER story of a magical girl scientist.

Huh. Not familiar with that one. Maybe after I'm done watching Nanoha...

As a side note, I approve of your taste in sprite comics. Captain SNES was the first story-based webcomic I'd ever read, even before Megatokyo (which was what got me into webcomics as a field in general, and indirectly the same for anime). Just frustrated by the fact that JayDee hasn't visited any non-Nexus plot threads (including Marle's) since November 2004 - only about 100 comics, incidentally. Schedule slip's a **.

Webcomics are frequently awesome, and "Captain SNES" is among the most awesome of the lot (the fact that it's one of my favorite stories ever despite the fact that I've never played any of the SNES games it's based on, or even watched Captain N, should speak volumes).

I've actually used a version of Soul as my character in an online role-play. When I presented the character, I believe I said "think of her as the love child of Ami Mizuno and Alex Williams".

(Side note to the side note: I found this story by Googling "hope keene," finding a CBR thread, then clicking the link in your signature.)

Ah, Comic Book Rumble. The number one spot for never-ending geekfests.

Love that place.

6/15/2008 #1
Shay Guy

Well, there's a little more to it that. *SNIP*

Ah, okay. That clears it up a bit. Though it raises the question of how common NDEs are (more common with modern medicine?), what the conditions required for one are, and how common her mindset is - if it's just "being scientifically minded," like I read it, then that would also be more common in the modern day. I also wonder if she at all intends to publicize what she's learned.

(as we'll gradually see, Eriko is way above average, mentally. Way above)

Heh heh heh...smarter than you? Gonna be tricky, there...or maybe I'm only thinking that because of my near-total inexperience with writing.

(and, at the risk of being controversial, I always thought the doc was the weak point of the otherwise-excellent "Watchmen")

Well, he DOES stick out.

Huh. Not familiar with that one. Maybe after I'm done watching Nanoha...

http://www.tsunamichannel.com/comic.php?comic=MaMi

Brilliant scientist with a dose of Shonen Action Hero archetype, basically. Genius Bruiser magical girl. And some Ruri.

(the fact that it's one of my favorite stories ever despite the fact that I've never played any of the SNES games it's based on, or even watched Captain N, should speak volumes)

Ditto on both counts, with some exceptions like Super Mario World and Super Metroid. And I've started playing Chrono Trigger just recently. Final Fantasy VI doesn't count, since its cast hasn't actually been introduced yet. It's a little like a fusion of Captain N, Lost, and Kingdom Hearts, I think.

When I presented the character, I believe I said "think of her as the love child of Ami Mizuno and Alex Williams".

Heh...he WISHES.

Actually, I wonder if he knows any of the original Japanese names at all? We know he at least played the SNES game in the official translated version, because the names "Molly" and "Serena" have been used in the Sinistral scene instead of "Naru" and "Usagi." On the other hand, he's into anime enough to have seen Evangelion.

Ah, Comic Book Rumble. The number one spot for never-ending geekfests.

I'll see your CBR and raise you a TVT: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage

6/16/2008 #2
sun tzu OM

Ah, okay. That clears it up a bit. Though it raises the question of how common NDEs are (more common with modern medicine?), what the conditions required for one are, and how common her mindset is - if it's just "being scientifically minded," like I read it, then that would also be more common in the modern day

It's not just being scientifically minded (though that obviously was a huge help). Most people in her position - faced with their own recent death/quasi-death - would have latched onto the one source of warmth and comfort at their disposal, and walked toward the light. Eriko, on the other hand, is the kind of person who just has to stop and consider things rationally.

I also wonder if she at all intends to publicize what she's learned.

Good question. One that will be addressed soon.

Heh heh heh...smarter than you? Gonna be tricky, there...or maybe I'm only thinking that because of my near-total inexperience with writing.

If Timothy Zahn can write Grand Admiral Thrawn and Tsugumi Ohba can write Light Yagami, I can write Eriko Watanabe.

In fact, I have some experience writing a character at least as smart as her, if not more...Central character of my work over on Fanfiction.net.

Well, he DOES stick out.

There's a fine line between being deeply philosophical and being pretentiously nonsensical.

Dr Manhattan went way beyond that line in my opinion.

http://www.tsunamichannel.com/comic.php?comic=MaMi

Brilliant scientist with a dose of Shonen Action Hero archetype, basically. Genius Bruiser magical girl. And some Ruri.

Started reading it. Will see.

I'll see your CBR and raise you a TVT: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage

Dear God...You have named...The Unholy Devourer Of Time!

Heh. Truth be told? Reading through TVTropes gave me a lot of ideas for "Soul".

6/16/2008 #3
Shay Guy

Most people in her position - faced with their own recent death/quasi-death - would have latched onto the one source of warmth and comfort at their disposal, and walked toward the light. Eriko, on the other hand, is the kind of person who just has to stop and consider things rationally.

Hmm...how exactly does that differ from just having a scientific mind? Is it the addition of compulsion?

If Timothy Zahn can write Grand Admiral Thrawn and Tsugumi Ohba can write Light Yagami, I can write Eriko Watanabe.

In fact, I have some experience writing a character at least as smart as her, if not more...Central character of my work over on Fanfiction.net.

Ah, okay. So it IS my inexperience. Compounded with the trouble I seem to be having lately THINKING.

Reading through TVTropes gave me a lot of ideas for "Soul".

Oooh, I like what I'm heeeariiiiing! Last fic I read that was known to have been written by a TVT regular was Taking Sights, and that seems to have turned out quite well.

WOULD'VE EDITED SOONER, BUT FP IS BEING STUPID: Ah, yes, this would be the "Freedom City" RP on the Giant in the Playground forums? Nice. I know TVT is fairly popular over there. Hm, perhaps you'll be reusing some ideas for this incarnation of Soul? *insert sly-looking emoticon here* Nerd-o-rama and I think alike, it seems...

I see you have them on a guest list, too, over at CBR...where you've also mentioned them reproducing in a thread dedicated to such things. You wouldn't happen to be a shipper, would you? :P I only really ship one couple in one series (Naota/Ninamori - I actually realized "holy crap, I'm a shipper" while lying awake at night thinking about it).

Okay, looked up Dead Inside and have another question now: how much of the game's definition of a "soul" will you be borrowing? A lot, a little? How does something immaterial interact with a material brain?

6/16/2008 . Edited 6/17/2008 #4
sun tzu OM

Hmm...how exactly does that differ from just having a scientific mind? Is it the addition of compulsion?

It's a combination of factors...Eriko can be a bit vulcan-ish at times.

Ah, okay. So it IS my inexperience. Compounded with the trouble I seem to be having lately THINKING.

Don't get me wrong, writing superintelligent characters can be a challenge (and I say that as a former MENSA member)...but, the fact that the writer has omniscience relative to the world he writes gives him and advantage in these matters.

6/17/2008 #5
sun tzu OM

Ah, yes, this would be the "Freedom City" RP on the Giant in the Playground forums? Nice. I know TVT is fairly popular over there. Hm, perhaps you'll be reusing some ideas for this incarnation of Soul? *insert sly-looking emoticon here* Nerd-o-rama and I think alike, it seems...

Well, the Freedom City version of Soul was adapted to fit into Mutants&Masterminds, so, obviously there are a few differences (aside from the Americanization). Powers that don't necessarily make sense, less exploration of how her powers actually work (that I claim to be Arthur C. Clark, but I try to have some consistency with this story)...It has to fit into the game, after all.

I see you have them on a guest list, too, over at CBR...where you've also mentioned them reproducing in a thread dedicated to such things. You wouldn't happen to be a shipper, would you? :P I only really ship one couple in one series (Naota/Ninamori - I actually realized "holy crap, I'm a shipper" while lying awake at night thinking about it).

Define "shipping". I generally don't have a strong emotional investment behind "ships" (with rare exceptions), but...

Okay, looked up Dead Inside and have another question now: how much of the game's definition of a "soul" will you be borrowing? A lot, a little? How does something immaterial interact with a material brain?

Well, it's not "based" on "Dead Inside", it just got a little inspiration from it (heck, I don't actually the "Dead Inside" rulebooks; I just read the free material they put on their website and the Websnark review).

As for the interaction between the soul and the brain...well, I don't claim that I'll come up with a perfectly realistic physical model that explains everything that happens in the Soulverse, but I have a general idea, and this is one of the many questions Eriko is facing. She knows that the mind is clearly affected by physical effects on the brain (you'll note how some emotions subsided when she was NDEing and had no hormones. I didn't go into details, partly because I didn't want to have to change the rating...). It seems clear enough that the brain generates the mind.

And yet...some of her new data complicates that view, doesn't it?

6/18/2008 #6
sun tzu OM

Six days, 5358 words. That gonna be a typical pace?

No promise.

And I'm gonna guess Nexus is another Captain SNES reference, though "Node" might be a little more accurate. Nexus does sound cooler though.

Nah, I wasn't thinking of "Captain SNES". Nexus is just a cool word.

And Junko doesn't read webcomics.

"If it exists, then, pretty much by definition..." Didn't Jalil Sherman say something like that in the Everworld books? "Everything that exists is part of nature?" Hence, "supernatural" is meaningless?

That's Eriko's position, yes. Science being the study of that which exists, anything that exists is science by definition.

Of course, that's not going to keep anyone from calling it magic, especially with Aurora calling it that.

Another question, inspired by Portal: What happens if she makes a pair of portals, the one on top opening downward and the one on the bottom opening upward, positioned so that anything coming out of the top one falls into the bottom one, in an infinite loop? Would an object passing through drain more energy from her as it accelerated? (This girl is probably the biggest thing to happen to physics since...hell, maybe Newton.)

While I haven't played Portal myself, I can promise you this much: Eriko's going to put a lot of creativity into her use of portals.

And yet another, inspired by my own musings, most of which can probably be traced back to 1/0: Junko feels like she's in a magical girl anime. Will she ever consider that maybe she really, truly is? With all that that entails? An unorthodox one, certainly, but still it would have consequences - for instance, to stay alive, one would want to maintain not only competence, but ensure popularity among hypothetical fans.

Nah. "Soul" isn't going to break the fourth wall - this is more akin to how the characters in "Sailor Nothing" compare what they're dealing with to magical girl anime.

Finally...will Mother Aurora be basically the same as you described her on the Giant in the Playground Forums? What about the rest of the rogues gallery? Is "Ryan" working for one of the other guys listed?

The Mother Aurora from GitP was inspired by this one, but there are some differences. As for the rest of the rogue gallery...Some will show up, some won't, and some have been heavily modified. But as a minor spoiler...The title of the next chapter is "Downfall".

EDIT: As for "Ryan" (to those who don't read "Captain SNES" and thus won't get the joke, the villain in the future scenes)...Well, that will become clearer with time.

6/20/2008 . Edited 6/20/2008 #7
Shay Guy

And Junko doesn't read webcomics.

No, but her author does...

Science being the study of that which exists, anything that exists is science by definition.

I'd contest that. Nature is what exists, science is a particular method for studying nature. "Magic" is something else entirely and is very poorly defined, in fiction and out - there's no reason why the label can't be applied to what Eriko's discovered. But this is all semantics anyway.

Nah. "Soul" isn't going to break the fourth wall - this is more akin to how the characters in "Sailor Nothing" compare what they're dealing with to magical girl anime.

Right, standard genre-savvy, yes...but question. Is it still breaking the fourth wall if the character in question does not actually have Extra-Story Perception? Back to 1/0 for a moment, I'm thinking in particular of the character "Mock," who was pretty much the only one to be born with a fourth wall. Even with the wall, however, he was still aware that most people had radically different ideas about the world around him than he and his father Marcus did, and he was still capable of noticing inconsistencies suggesting they might be right - the most explicit being that everybody seemed to know what a "year" was, and what a "sun" was. He still couldn't perceive speech bubbles, panel borders, the audience, Tailsteak, anything like that - all that came much later.

In this case, it'd just be a hypothesis - and an incorrect one at that, since Soul is NOT an anime or manga, but rather a story written in English and posted to FictionPress.com. Of course, just because their world's fictional doesn't mean they can't set the field of physics on fire and watch it run around like a pansy WITHIN their world. But this is all philosophy anyway.

Though I did have an amusing thought that Eriko might be able to try and alter her target demographic: if she focuses on romance and other matters of the heart, it's shoujo; if she trains in combat like crazy, it's shonen; if she sticks with her intellect, it's probably seinen (though Death Note was published in Shonen Jump, so maybe not). She might also be able to affect things by designing her costume - with enough work and a spandex bodysuit, she might even be able to turn her story into an AMERICAN comic book. :P But since any effort in this direction would all be for the purpose of manipulating events to her purposes, and she still has her intellect and intellectual desires, it'll probably default to seinen anyway. But I'm probably making no sense at all, especially since the genre and demographic don't change from OUR perspective. (Plus she can only control her OWN actions.) So forget you ever read this paragraph.

6/20/2008 #8
sun tzu OM

There's still some problems with formatting. Single-spacing between paragraphs doesn't really work very well without indentation. And while I know it's tricky to denote multiple languages, I don't think dashes are one of the better methods. (I take it and FP still aren't accepting angle brackets?) You have no idea how many methods I tried to denote languages. Hell, I originally intended to do it as early as chapter 1...

I'm not entirely sure how Aurora expects them to hold on to a masquerade with demons popping out of nowhere and being fought by what looks a lot like a magical girl. "CGI" a la Negima isn't going to cover it, nor is "publicity stunt for Toei's latest series."

Heh. Well, Aurora knows they can't (for now at least) prevent knowledge of magic-based events from the public...But there's a big difference between knowing that a magical girl fought a demon in Downtown Tokyo last week, and knowing how she got her magic powers and how you can get your own. Not Aurora's ideal situation, but she figures that it'll do for now.

Noble magic still makes me curious about information flow. Namely, if Eriko doesn't know, how does the magic know?

She's wondering about that too. Remember how, in chapter 2, Aurora said Eriko connected to "He Who Is"? Without getting spoilery, that's where the answer lies.

And I still advocate the practice of using the Internet to ask for stuff like "magical girl series that places high emphasis on action sequences, tactics in particular." It's a perfectly reasonable thing for an anime fan to be interested in watching, no plausible deniability problem whatsoever.

Sure, though she's only getting started with this, so for now she's deferring to Junko's expertize.

But you can be certain Eriko's going to check one of those "Magical Girls' dos and don'ts".

(From what I know of Sailor Moon, I SERIOUSLY doubt it'll tell her any more than Nanoha did. Pretty Cure, maybe.)

Having watched Sailor Moon, I agree...But, well, Junko's Junko.

Don't forget books on combat tactics in general, which can be adapted for her needs and abilities. Oh, yeah - torrent some Avatar episodes, too. Not something Junko would suggest, and Eriko's been out of the States since before it started, but maybe she's read about it online.

This hasn't been stated explicitly yet, but Eriko spends about as much time on the English-seapking portions of the Web as the Japanese ones (like Junko noted, half the comics/books/shows Eriko likes are non-Japanese stuff, so...)

Finally, thanks for updating. I'd promote this story elsewhere, but I'm not sure how, other than sticking a userbar in my signatures or something.

Hey, that's a good start.

Oh, and...aside from having begun work on chapter 4, I've also written a short omake (which I won't be using for a few chapter yet). Title? "A Demon Went Down to Tokyo".

6/29/2008 #9
Shay Guy

Heh. Well, Aurora knows they can't (for now at least) prevent knowledge of magic-based events from the public...But there's a big difference between knowing that a magical girl fought a demon in Downtown Tokyo last week, and knowing how she got her magic powers and how you can get your own. Not Aurora's ideal situation, but she figures that it'll do for now.

It's still proof positive of the existence of paranormal phenomena with much significance for the physical world. That's going to get a lot of people's attention, including some very powerful ones. Governments are going to be putting a lot of research into the paranormal. That includes NDEs. With enough funding, and enough respected people taking it seriously, there's inevitably gonna be a breakthrough sooner or later.

But you can be certain Eriko's going to check one of those "Magical Girls' dos and don'ts".

Like this? http://www.angelfire.com/anime/Slacker/girl.txt

Not sure how much of that applies to her circumstances, given that she doesn't need any artifacts or words to use her magic. And her only magical ally at the time being is Aurora. But ensuring that her combat outfit is bulletproof is a good idea.

But, well, Junko's Junko.

So she is. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for her - she has this huge debt hanging over her head, and she barely has anything with which to pay it back. Even her knowledge of magical girl anime isn't helping much. Can she really hope to be anything more than the local equivalent of Naru Osaka?

There's also the fact that she probably still wants to do stuff WITH Eriko for enjoyment's sake, which may contribute to her choice of Sailor Moon. Or am I misinterpreting her on that?

6/29/2008 #10
sun tzu OM

It's still proof positive of the existence of paranormal phenomena with much significance for the physical world. That's going to get a lot of people's attention, including some very powerful ones. Governments are going to be putting a lot of research into the paranormal. That includes NDEs. With enough funding, and enough respected people taking it seriously, there's inevitably gonna be a breakthrough sooner or later.

True, but better later than sooner...and I'm not going to say how exactly, but Aurora's hoping that by the time this could become a problem, she'll have a more long-term solution ready.

Like this? http://www.angelfire.com/anime/Slacker/girl.txt

For example, yes.

So she is. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for her - she has this huge debt hanging over her head, and she barely has anything with which to pay it back. Even her knowledge of magical girl anime isn't helping much. Can she really hope to be anything more than the local equivalent of Naru Osaka?

To be fair, she is helping protect Eriko's secret identity...but, yeah, her inability to repay her debt (and the ensuing frustration and feelings of self-worthlessness) is going to be a major part of Junko for at least the first arc.

There's also the fact that she probably still wants to do stuff WITH Eriko for enjoyment's sake, which may contribute to her choice of Sailor Moon. Or am I misinterpreting her on that?

Eh, she mostly went for Sailor Moon for the reasons given: Because it's practically the genre-maker (kinda-sorta). Also, because I watched it myself and knew what Eriko could and couldn't get from it...

6/30/2008 #11
sun tzu OM

Stories written in the Magical Girl category normally come off as horribly unoriginal for me, but this story definitely broke out of that pattern. I'm not exactly sure why I like this story so much. Maybe it's because of the way Eriko's powers work, maybe it's because the Mentor character isn't (or won't be) 100% good(an automatic gold star in the genre for me), maybe it's because a boring two-dimensional romantic interest wasn't introduced in the first thousand words, or maybe a mixture of all that and more.

Thank you.

Where the mentor-figure is concerned...Without revealing too much, I'll say that Mother Aurora is a case of "noble goals, unacceptable methods". And, yeah, a bit of a "pink b*** in the sky".

As for romantic interests...I'm not saying there won't be any, but it's definitely not going to be the focus of the story. I don't feel qualified to write romance (or all that interested, either).

...And I liked "Sailor Moon"'s Mamoru more in the first season, when he was snarky-yet-chivalrous, than in the rest of the series where he was chivalrous-but-boring.

I really like the asides in bold at the end of the chapter in particular. I've always enjoyed glimpses in the future, especially when they leave the reader wondering how you get from Point A to a radically different Point B.

Well, I blatantly stole that one from "Captain SNES", but glad you like it.

6/30/2008 #12
sun tzu OM

Kazu (do I smell love interest?)

Pick among the following:

A)Since All Girls Want Bad Boys, Eriko will be drawn to Kazu like a magnet; he will eventually open up to her, showing his softer side, and they'll live happily ever after...while the writer throws up.

B)Kazu will unexpectedly display magical powers of his own, join Eriko's group, then turn against her and reveal he's a shapeshifting monster from another world.

C)Kazu will never show up in the story again.

D)I only brought up options A through C as a way of telling you none of them will happen.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this girl?

And we haven't even had any Crowning Moments of Awesome yet...

C'est la vie. Go ask your psychology teacher, it's normal.

Yes, but Eriko's thirteen, and not without some insecurities...

And pardon my philosophizing, but how do you know this is "real life?" Besides, the testimonies are there, and there's no incentive to lie.

True. But in real life, if people heard about this kind of stuff happening...what would their first reaction be?

I imagine some initial incredulity is to be expected...Hence why the news networks are "waiting for the other shoe to drop", so to speak.

Got your will in order? (Hyosuke's no L, I'm sure, but he seems like he'll do fine.)

Less "L", more "Light's father", but less high-ranking. (And, you know, not related to the person he's trying to investigate)

"Pure energy" is kinda nebulous.

Light - and, therefore, lasers - are pure energy.

Good to know celebrity and memetics are universal. Er, multiversal.

There are a few similarities between the Supreme One's court and Louis XIV's.

...as are bureaucracy and idiocy.

There are a few similarities between the Supreme One's court and Imperial China.

Knowing Mother Aurora, she will probably do her best to prevent widespread use of magic on that world. I'd LOVE to know why you think she'd do that, Chancell...

*Whistles innocently*

the "extension" of He Who Laughs /me raises an eyebrow

*Whistles innocently*

This is a newly linked world, and you already know it's populated by "humans?" Creatures for whom there is a clear evolution record on their own world? Interesting...

Yeah, Chancell did figure out the world in question was populated by humans before he even set foot there. Knowing what he knows, it was pretty obvious :P

Are the parts after the Ryan dialogue still part of Eriko's flashbacks? She doesn't have Alex's somewhat nebulous Game Master powers, remember, so unless she's gotten some knowledge of these events from Hyosuke and Chancell...well, I guess it can be chalked up to literary license. I mean, it worked in Wicked.

Yeah, not all the non-bolded scenes are Eriko's flashbacks. Even as early as the first chapter, there's the scene where her mother gets a phone call from the hospital. Eriko can't remember it - she wasn't there - but it's still in the story.

7/14/2008 #13
sun tzu OM

I can't quite pin down what Eriko's doing wrong with regard to Kazu, aside from the fact that she's used to making problems go away by logicking at them. Maybe she should try "befriending" him instead, seems like he'd get that message. Or if we're sticking to words, was she just not firm enough? Ooh! Another thing. Is she more used to arguing on message boards? That'd make a big difference.

There's that. There's the fact that, as she noted, she's not as experienced in verbal skirmishes as the resident Bad Boy. And there's the fact that, simply put, Kazu cares a lot less about making sense.

And the others weren't human? Murder was telling the truth when he said that the elysians were "immortal spirits?" In any case, this would suggest the same thing as the last chapter - that "humans" are present on universes other than the one we know and love. Again, all evidence suggests that we evolved here. So how exactly are universes related to one another? Do they split and converge over time?

That will be answered in due time, and...Ah, screw it. Basically, numerous physical universes run concurrently, each particle acting exactly the same as all of its parallels in other universes. At one point, something breaks that symmetry, and the universes begin to diverge. Since humans were already around, well, each of these universes has humans - even if their History differs.

You'll notice how Murder, upon arriving in America, guessed it was an English colony. Also, how his Japanese sounded like it was from the medieval era or something. That's because he was relying on a language learned in other worlds.

That...seems vaguely disturbing. Is there a reason for this, like civilizations tending to self-destruct after reaching a certain tech level? Or does it have to do with when the average world gets linked?

Nothing so sinister. Our world just happened to get lucky - we had the Greek philosophers early on, their works were preserved by monks during the dark ages, we had Gallileo and Newton when we had them, we had Edison and Tesla, we had WWII acting as a catalyst for research. All in all, our science and technology developed faster than average, even if not as fast as some worlds.

...Then again, your guess isn't completely off. There were worlds were the appearance of magic stunted the development of science and technology, for more than one reason.

Regarding Sailor Moon, exactly why did she go through the whole season? By the first dozen episodes or so, she'd surely have gotten an assessment of how much good it would be, so why hasn't she switched to Precure or Avatar?

Because once Eriko gets started on a story, she finishes it.

Yet even she can't penetrate the division between Nexus and Earth?

Oh, Mother Aurora could go to Earth.

But she'd need to use the full extent of her powers non-stop to remain there, so she wouldn't really be able to accomplish much. I could probably stand up while carrying a man on my shoulders, with a lot of effort...but I'd be useless in a fight in those conditions. The golden knife took over a year for Aurora to create.

The...okay, how many MORE of these have you slipped in here that I've missed?

Well, Tokyo doesn't really have that many districts...

Is this part omniscient or limited?

Well...I'll admit, there was no clear border there.

Again, sorry for the delay, and thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this chapter and the omake!

8/15/2008 #14
greenmean

"we had the Greek philosophers early on, their works were preserved by monks during the dark ages"

This is not completely correct. A lot of greek and roman work was burned in the middle ages. Non-european countries copied and translated those works. They got recovered by being translated back. (Translated from Arabic. Other Arabic (science) stuff got translated as well. Examples include math and medicine(surgery). )

11/11/2008 #15
sun tzu OM

Pressure difference?

There's that, but they can fly...

Okay, I think I like this character. So far. From the "interesting times" bit, I suspect there's more to her than meets the eye.

Monsoon? Oh yes. Definitely. Without getting too spoilery, I will say this much: They may work together, but Monsoon and Mother Aurora are very, very different from each other.

I notice Eriko didn't mention WHICH surname Aurora used.Ah. Don't read too much into it - it has more to do with how Jnko presented herself to Mother Aurora (so, if anything, it tells us of Junko's state of mind...)

...Okay, I'll admit I'm not that knowledgeable on what the "average kid" learns when, much less the average Japanese kid, but not knowing what antimatter is at age 13?Honestly, I don't think most adults know what antimatter is. What may seem obvious to us geeks can never come up for most people - and Junko has never shown any real interest in science, except in her attempts to please Eriko.

Got that one from the Devourer of Time?

Actually, from the "It Got Worse" entry on TVTropes.

I thought Eriko blew of that hat? Did he conjure a new one?

Yes and yes. He already had the new one when he let the Yakuza capture him last chapter. The hat itself is perfectly normal, and only takes a short moment to create with magic.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." —Clarke "Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology." —Niven "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from SCIENCE!" —Heterodyne

Any sufficiently awesome science-related line will eventually appear in "Girl Genius".

Didn't notice his first name last time, but...was it meant as an ironic reference to "Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun?"Nope. Had to google it just now.

Shouldn't that be "Masaki?" (This guy isn't Juraian, is he?) Your last chapter had a "Kahahara," too.

Ah. The spell-checker doesn't catch those, unfortunately. (and, well, I've never watched any of the Tenchi series.)

Portals aren't the only spatial distortions available, then?

That was actually a kinetic shield at work - when Masaki's fist was getting close to Downfall, it was getting a burst of kinetic energy pushing it in the other direction.

Okay, I give up. How does "*" translate to Japanese?

It translates as, roughly, "the writer wasn't certain what degree of profanity was too much, and decided for now to censor the mobster's cusswords". Or, more succintly, "f***".

Wouldn't it be simpler to just make gold? Or has it not occurred to them that mostly-non-magical worlds tend to have chemically simple, scarce, highly-valued resources?

I'm not sure it would be simpler, actually. Bills have a very high worth/mass ratio, can be used directly at any stores, and raise far less questions. If Chancell provides the Yakuza with magic-generated bills, they assume he's just a skilled counterfeiter running an efficient, lucrative operation that they can get a share in by giving him protection. If he started providing them with gold and other rare materials, they'd be a lot more curious. And with the whole magical mess going on, there's a small risk someone might connect the dots.

1/4/2009 . Edited 1/4/2009 #16
Shay Guy

Actually, from the "It Got Worse" entry on TVTropes.

That's what I said. From the Devourer of Time.

Nope. Had to google it just now.

Eh. Figured if you'd been looking at the "Hot Blooded" article...

Partially, I just assumed that bills would be annoyingly difficult to duplicate, what with complexity and all. And it can't be that hard to convert them to cash. Though come to think of it, if the police decide to start keeping an eye on precious metal dealers...

1/4/2009 #17
sun tzu OM

That's what I said. From the Devourer of Time.

*smacks forehead*

Partially, I just assumed that bills would be annoyingly difficult to duplicate, what with complexity and all.

That's what noble magic is for.

1/4/2009 #18
Shay Guy

That's what noble magic is for.

May as well ask now -- how does noble magic scale with complexity? Is it substantially more difficult to duplicate, say, a laptop computer than a cinderblock of equal mass? Or a living plant? (We've seen pretty complex alterations with Eriko's "Soul" disguise, but no actual creation of a new organism.)

1/4/2009 #19
sun tzu OM

Well...Noble magic can copy (or or make modifications based on pre-existing configurations) with ease. Eriko's disguise, after all, involves moving around billions of cells, each of them an insanely complex thing in itself. So, when it comes to quantity, noble magic can go very high. What limits are there have yet to be encountered in the story.

However, noble magic isn't very intelligent. It has no real creativity. It cannot come up with something genuinely new.

So, if you think "create bills such as these ones, but with different serial numbers", noble magic can do that, no problem; the information is already available. If you think "create the plans for a fully reusable single-stage orbiter", nothing will happen, because the magic doesn't have that kind of information available to it.

Now...If you think "write down the first decimal of pi", that works. If you think "write down the thousandth decimal of pi", that works. But that leaves the question of what happens when you think "write down the googleplex-th decimal of pi". Could noble magic handle that level of complexity? Eriko hasn't determined that yet.

1/4/2009 #20
Shay Guy

Right, you established that a while back. No imagination whatsoever. I hadn't thought about using it for brute computation, though. (How about the FIRST digit of Graham's number? :D)

Though I noticed you dodged the question of whether it can create a SEPARATE, independent organism. Here, of course, we're getting into the fact that at least some organisms have been shown to have a nonmaterial, magically-linked component, humans among them. Intuition suggests that that would be VASTLY more difficult to duplicate magically, if it's possible at all (though there's obviously a question of how it gets there in the first place). Would organisms created without this component function at all? (I'm sure Eriko's spent umpteen hours wondering how a nonmaterial entity which does not depend on a material substrate -- or whatever the term is -- affects the material world. :P)

1/4/2009 #21
sun tzu OM

You're right - she has been wondering about it a lot. And for the records, she has successfully experimented with using noble magic to duplicate living plants.

1/4/2009 #22
Shay Guy

Gotcha. Wasn't too clear on that point -- all Eriko said was "I could use magic to modify the plants," and the only feats actually DISPLAYED were the ones in the disguise.

1/4/2009 #23
sun tzu OM

Well, since I'm trying to move discussion toward the new forum, I'm answering the recent reviews there...

4/9/2009 #24
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