Random Stuff/Questions

Randomness: I’ve just rewatched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Thus, for anyone who wasn’t around the first time it came up, this is your reminder that wuxia is a good model for what classical melee combat looks like in the ‘verse – only glowier, since space magic, unlike qi, has that as a side effect.

(It only gets crazier when done in microgravity.)

Question: how much are the Imperial Couple permanently vastened by on their coronation; and why?

In the modern day, quite a lot. Coronation comes with a semi-Fusion with the Imperial Presence, which is one of the Transcend’s archai, in addition to serving as a repository for the memories – or, in the earliest cases, the eidolons – of all their predecessors.

(The same thing applies to the various Ministers of the Throne, although on a more temporary basis, who have a synnoetic relationship with the appropriate member of the Ennead, the nine archai which correspond roughly to the Ministries – the Comptroller, the Warmind, the Signet, et. al.. A busy meeting of the Stellar Council can burn through a lot of cycles.)

Why? Well, who can afford a competence gap?

More Randomness: This story; which can be summed up as “Ontario initiates basic income pilot program; people make decisions based on program as it was explained to them; new government cancels program abruptly; people whose decisions were retroactively made bad are really, really pissed at being stabbed in the back”.

Makes an excellent case study for EX0487: Exosophontology of Mass Coercion, I deem. Probably in that subsection titled “Democracies: Naturally Treacherous or Just Incompetent?” (See, this is why we think social contracts, being all implicit and unilaterally modifiable, are what is technically known as “bullshit”. Actual contracts, now those are something you can build a society on.)

Question: In lieu of my previous question: What does the local culture make of the idea of what TVTropes calls the “Humongous Mecha“?

Mostly, that it’s a damn silly idea. Let’s take what could be a perfectly respectable armored vehicle, then give it a huge target profile, a statically unstable single-point-of-failure (in the sense of “shoot it in the ankle, it falls over”) locomotion system and probable ground pressure issues, then strip off some of the ranged weaponry and replace it with melee-range kit.

Then let’s throw the designer out the airlock for thinking any of that was a good idea.

Whatever coolness factor it may have is entirely overwhelmed by the audience’s awareness of just how many Idiot Balls the responsible parties were holding. They may have a certain intimidation factor going for them, but there’s already plenty of that available, and if you need to turn it up to eleven, there’s always the Fight In The Shade maneuver.

(Walkers, they have, for handling certain types of terrain, but they’re sensible low-slung spidery-legged types.)

Randomness: Marines 3D-print a barracks. The world gets a little more like Starcraft every day.

But we have not yet gone full ‘verse until they can print a version with a bioprinter inside that goes on to 3D print Marines

Question: On the subject of pronouns (and particularly Japanese pronoun equivalents): Does eldraeic have any that would fill the role of kisama ( 貴様 ) or onore ( 己 ), for those moments when you really need to call someone out?

It’s not a pronoun, but it is an affix that can be attached to a pronoun. Or anything else, of course.

(And it’s not defined yet, so I can’t quote it for you.)

More coming, but let’s go with this for now…


The Pronouns of Pros

(Loosely inspired by a G+ post in which I contemplate trying to phrase Eldraeic self-concepts into Japanese pronouns and honorifics: I went with a baseline of watakushi-sama, if you’re curious.)

Did you know (you did not) that archaic – or bearing in mind that it’s a deliberately designed language, prototype – Eldraeic had no first-person pronoun? All self-references had to be done through illeism, with name, title, epithet, or some combination of the former.


The Great and Powerful Trixie approves of this!

“I” was just too damn self-effacing, don’ch’know; a puny pronoun unsuited to the truly magnificent magisterial awesomeness of – well, any one of us, really. Pronouns, after all, are substitutable; individuals are very much not.

(It’s also handy when it comes to matters of valëssef, since your choice of name, title, or epithet to use lets people know which of your facets you are manifesting at the present time, without resorting to wearing masks Chresytanri-style.)

Even third-person pronouns were typically replaced by names when referring to people, for reasons of respect and because by the same principle, it lets the person addressed know which of their facets is being addressed.

Second-person pronouns were… best avoided, really.

Modern Eldraeic, however, does have a first-person pronoun (val), usable in casual speech to save time, but much like the third-person, it’s an assignable variable; it’s customary to illeize when you first speak, and on all subsequent valëssef shifts, to let people track the changes. Third person usage has tracked this change in approximately the same way.

No-one will find it particularly strange if you go full illeist, though. It just moves you into an extra-formal register.


A Brief Pronoun Note

You may notice that in “Purpose” I used the male-default pronoun and person-reference – i.e., “men of every kind”, “him and his”, etc.

This is, of course, a decidedly imperfect translation of the Eldraeic original, which uses, of course, the word daráv – “person, sophont” – in formations like the former, and whose pronouns are all entirely ungendered unless deliberately gendered, which in this case they weren’t because there’s no reason so to do.  Unfortunately, while in modern texts I can use “soph” for the former, at least, English has no slightly-archaic gender-neutral constructs that would fit into a text set in this era without seeming, well, clunky.  At least in my opinion, and since I’m the one doing the writing here, it’s my opinion we’ll be going with.

But if you were wondering why Her Divine Majesty Seledíë I Selequelios, by Right of Coronargyr and Chartered Mandate Empress of the Eldrae, Chief Executive Officer of the Imperium Incorporate, First of the Free, Defender of the Star’s Flame, Heart of the Realm, Sovereign Lady of the Heights and Depths, Dyarch of the Infinite, etc., etc., was speaking in the masculine, that’s why.

Gendered Pronouns

As you may have noticed from here, here, and here, I appear to have settled on using the ve/vis pronouns to represent the eldraeic neuter (but animate) gender, and the hse/hsis set to represent the hermaphrodite gender.

(Still no sign of what I may or may not use to represent “prenuptial catalyst” or “postnuptial catalyst”, though…)

Pronoun Choices

And, based on that last story, it looks like I’ve elected to use the Egan-style ve/ver/vis pronouns for the neuter gender (the friend, although it never comes up, was a kaliatar; a neuter member of a trisexual species).

Still haven’t settled on which English pronouns to use for herm, though.  Hm.  (And part of me is now trying to remember unsuccessfully which pronoun(s) Bujold used for Bel Thorne, et. al. in the Vorkosigan books.  Not that fiction-writing has binding precedents, or anything, but still.  Curious.)