Change One Thing

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James Nicoll

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Nov 4, 2005, 11:14:37 PM11/4/05
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This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:

If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
you choose?

If you could add one, what would you add?

For me, I would like never again to see "Earth, overcrowded and inherently
poor."

[Still the front runner for me. I'd consider "water, rarest element
in the universe" but I am saving that for "what error should get an author
consigned to PublishAmerica?"]

I wouldn't mind more "Planets, even 'earthlike' ones, are very large and
varied objects" although I will admit some old timey SF authors used to
play with that. I see far too many SF worlds that appear to be the size
of a small Pacific island.

[And an implication of this is that even if a world like, oh,
Mars (to pick a random example) is relatively poor in some resource
like, oh, the chemical water (to pick a random example), it still may
have a lot of water by human measurements, like this frozen sea:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4285119.stm

And while I am talking about Mars and its lack of water,
good for Asimov for thinking about how to get more water to Mars
but why, oh, why did he have to select the Rings of Saturn as the
source? Think of the implications of the orbital velocities!]


--
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/
http://www.livejournal.com/users/james_nicoll

Wayne Throop

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Nov 4, 2005, 11:29:03 PM11/4/05
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: jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll)
: If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would

: you choose? If you could add one, what would you add? For me, I
: would like never again to see "Earth, overcrowded and inherently poor."

How about, "Earth, overcrowded and inherrently wealthier", as
in the McAndrew's Chronicles in several places? That is, would
that be OK?

What would I like less of, hm, less of... sailin' ships in space,
of course, that goes without saying. But maybe also less roman-empire-
in-space and opressive-homeworld-stifles-brave-frontier-explorers, maybe.

On the other hand, seeming-paradoxically...
more Flandry-like stuff might suit. Hence the "maybe".

: [Still the front runner for me. I'd consider "water, rarest element


: in the universe" but I am saving that for "what error should get an
: author consigned to PublishAmerica?"]

Is that frequent? What are common examples?

: And while I am talking about Mars and its lack of water, good for


: Asimov for thinking about how to get more water to Mars but why, oh,
: why did he have to select the Rings of Saturn as the source? Think of
: the implications of the orbital velocities!

Hm? What implications in particular? Given that high-delta-v
fusion-powered reaction drives were cheap as popcorn (more or less).
On the other hand... it occurs to me that a long freefall trip is a bit
inconsistent with that. But on YAH, they *were* boosting water from
the bootom of earth's gravity well, so they weren't short of delta-v.

Anyways. What more of, what more of... I'm not sure. More Singularity!
Um, well, OK, not that. More near-future near-space stuff, perhaps along
the general lines of Flynn's Firestar series (but without the cryptic
alien menace, maybe). But I'm a bit conflicted as to what the motive
for that would be. Space is just such a wonderful place to wish
that somebody else would be adventurous in.


Wayne Throop thr...@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw

Gene Ward Smith

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Nov 5, 2005, 3:45:19 AM11/5/05
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Wayne Throop wrote:

> What would I like less of, hm, less of... sailin' ships in space,
> of course, that goes without saying. But maybe also less roman-empire-
> in-space and opressive-homeworld-stifles-brave-frontier-explorers, maybe.

Don't worry about it. People are only using these devices to express
concerns unique to the early 21st century.

Stewart Robert Hinsley

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Nov 5, 2005, 3:42:25 AM11/5/05
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In message <dkhbjd$doq$1...@reader2.panix.com>, James Nicoll
<jdni...@panix.com> writes

> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>
>
> And while I am talking about Mars and its lack of water,
>good for Asimov for thinking about how to get more water to Mars
>but why, oh, why did he have to select the Rings of Saturn as the
>source? Think of the implications of the orbital velocities!]
>
Where else would they go (with the knowledge of the time of writing)?
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

JavaJosh

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Nov 5, 2005, 6:02:39 AM11/5/05
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James Nicoll wrote:
> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>
> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> you choose?

I'm tired of writers ignoring spirituality and the family, or, if it's
addressed at all, ridiculing it or reducing it to some mechanistic
process. (Paradoxically enough, Zelazny's _Lord of Light_ was
suprisingly good at avoiding the latter).

Loose the "cursed Earth" convention that forces people to colonize
other planets or space. Even at its worst, Earth is more hospitable by
orders of magnitude that anywhere else.

> If you could add one, what would you add?

That's a tough one. I mean, they've all been used. Perhaps you mean
"get more of?" In that case, I'd love more psychological _Dune_ like
stories that explore conciousness and where the characters are very
hard to perturb.

> For me, I would like never again to see "Earth, overcrowded and inherently
> poor."

Yeah, that's a silly one.

> [Still the front runner for me. I'd consider "water, rarest element
> in the universe" but I am saving that for "what error should get an author
> consigned to PublishAmerica?"]

How can you hate on an idea that gave us "Ice Pirates"?

> I wouldn't mind more "Planets, even 'earthlike' ones, are very large and
> varied objects" although I will admit some old timey SF authors used to
> play with that. I see far too many SF worlds that appear to be the size
> of a small Pacific island.

Yes. It seems like people are telling each other all the time, "Hey,
meet me on planet Lustig" and somehow they always find each other. In
that same vein, how about losing planetwide governments, cultures, etc.

> [And an implication of this is that even if a world like, oh,
> Mars (to pick a random example) is relatively poor in some resource
> like, oh, the chemical water (to pick a random example), it still may
> have a lot of water by human measurements, like this frozen sea:
>
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4285119.stm

That hardly matters, though. Scarcity is governed by much more than
physical presence, as I'm sure you know. (Food scarcity in Africa is as
much a function of poor storage facilities as it is lack of arable
land.)

James Nicoll

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Nov 5, 2005, 8:13:44 AM11/5/05
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In article <+e1EdHCx...@meden.demon.co.uk>,

At the time, Vesta was thought to be rich in water, although
this turns out not to be the case.

jtingle

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Nov 5, 2005, 8:15:49 AM11/5/05
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On Sat, 5 Nov 2005 04:14:37 +0000 (UTC), jdni...@panix.com (James
Nicoll) wrote:

> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>
>If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
>you choose?

I think it would probably be "Libertarians-in-Spaaaace". I really
doubt that the governing whatever and/or populace of a space station
will be happy to have everyone do their own thing, and have a private
ajudicator settle any disputes afterwards. My suspicion is that rules
will be fairly strictly and quickly enforced.

Regards,
Jack Tingle

Par

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Nov 5, 2005, 9:25:01 AM11/5/05
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JavaJosh <java...@gmail.com>:

> > [Still the front runner for me. I'd consider "water, rarest element
> > in the universe" but I am saving that for "what error should get an author
> > consigned to PublishAmerica?"]
>
> How can you hate on an idea that gave us "Ice Pirates"?

Agreed. Also the best (erm) time warp ever.

/Par

--
Par use...@hunter-gatherer.org
Dawkins is the prototypical evangelical fundamentalist atheist
-- Nix

Robert A. Woodward

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Nov 5, 2005, 12:03:01 PM11/5/05
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In article
<1131186898.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
"JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> wrote:

> James Nicoll wrote:
> > This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
> >
> > If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> > you choose?

<snip>


>
> Loose the "cursed Earth" convention that forces people to colonize
> other planets or space. Even at its worst, Earth is more hospitable by
> orders of magnitude that anywhere else.

Er, you mean "Lose the .."; in this context, "loose" has a meaning
opposite of what you want.

--
Robert Woodward <robe...@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw>

r.r...@thevine.net

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Nov 5, 2005, 11:56:41 AM11/5/05
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On 5 Nov 2005 03:02:39 -0800, "JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> wrote:

>
>Yes. It seems like people are telling each other all the time, "Hey,
>meet me on planet Lustig" and somehow they always find each other. In
>that same vein, how about losing planetwide governments, cultures, etc.
>

Why wouldn't planetwide governments make sense? Unless you have
multiple colony ships going to the same planet, I would assume that
the colony starts out as one government, and that government grows and
spreads as the colony does. Now, as it gets bigger I am sure that
regional offices will develop, but I can't see why you would get
competing governments. Well, ok, I can see it (if you get situations
where, say water-rich X gets tired of sending water to water-poor Y,
and decides to secede and set up their own government, for example).
But even that can probably be minimized by having the original
government have a monopoly on certain things like transport, medical
care, access to the local spaceport, etc. Things that would make a
break-away state want to come back to the fold.

Rebecca

Peter D. Tillman

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Nov 5, 2005, 12:24:28 PM11/5/05
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In article <dkhbjd$doq$1...@reader2.panix.com>,
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:

"MW, DH"??

>
> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> you choose?
>
> If you could add one, what would you add?

The conventions are fine with me, when handled intelligently. I'd like
to see more well-written hard-SF that doesn't shoot itself in the foot
with REALLY STUPID plot-devices and/or elementary science errors.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
--
[SF] was a commercial genre born in the old adventure pulp magazines
of the first third of the twentieth century, aimed primarily at
adolescent males, which, over the decades, in fits and starts,
evolved into an intellectually credible, scientifically germane,
transcendental literature without losing its popular base.

Of what other literature in the history of the western world can
this truly be said? -- Norman Spinrad

James Nicoll

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Nov 5, 2005, 12:36:43 PM11/5/05
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In article <Tillman-1C7491...@corp-radius.supernews.com>,

Peter D. Tillman <Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE> wrote:
>In article <dkhbjd$doq$1...@reader2.panix.com>,
> jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:
>
>> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>
>"MW, DH"??

More Words, Deeper Hole, my livejournal.

>>
>> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
>> you choose?
>>
>> If you could add one, what would you add?
>
>The conventions are fine with me, when handled intelligently. I'd like
>to see more well-written hard-SF that doesn't shoot itself in the foot
>with REALLY STUPID plot-devices and/or elementary science errors.

Meeeee tooooooo.

David Cowie

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Nov 5, 2005, 12:39:36 PM11/5/05
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On Sat, 05 Nov 2005 10:24:28 -0700, Peter D. Tillman wrote:

> "MW, DH"??

James's live journal is called "More Words, Deeper Hole"

--
David Cowie

Containment Failure + 17329:05

Wayne Throop

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Nov 5, 2005, 1:23:31 PM11/5/05
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:: What would I like less of, hm, less of... sailin' ships in space, of

:: course, that goes without saying. But maybe also less roman-empire-
:: in-space and opressive-homeworld-stifles-brave-frontier-explorers,
:: maybe.

: "Gene Ward Smith" <gws...@svpal.org>
: Don't worry about it. People are only using these devices to express


: concerns unique to the early 21st century.

Ah, so these types of story will diminish as our use of sailing
ships and boarding parties with swords declines, and we stop building
aqueducts. Well, that's a relief.

JavaJosh

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Nov 5, 2005, 1:26:44 PM11/5/05
to

Of course, it's just extrapolation at this point, but I sense that
planetwide governments would be the exception not the rule. On first
principle, single governments are more ordered and so prone to entropy.
Even if a single government existed, you'd get something like Trantor
(which Assimov sketched wonderfully, never letting the reader forget
that we were only brushing the surface of a vast labrynth of humanity.)

Seems to me that lots of SF writers pretty much take an early 19th
century swashbuckler tale, trade the colonies for planets, the sailing
ships for space ships and have done. But that's wrong, and part of the
wrongness is the homogeneity of the colonies. The forces that would
imply diversity are: 1) size - planets are bigger and have more space,
encouraging physical and cultural seperation, 2) high technology - the
survival pressure to organize may be lessened (althought there's a
counter-argument that high-tech implies mono-culture, something that
recent history may begin to suggest), 3) space colonials would
probably, in general, be more diverse than historiacal European models.
I think it likely that, under stress, diverse colonials would if
anything fall back on their roots. There's a great example of this
possibility in the unfortunately titled "War World" series of stories
edited by Pournelle.

JavaJosh

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Nov 5, 2005, 1:28:36 PM11/5/05
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Robert A. Woodward wrote:
> In article
> <1131186898.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
> "JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > James Nicoll wrote:
> > > This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
> > >
> > > If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> > > you choose?
> <snip>
> >
> > Loose the "cursed Earth" convention that forces people to colonize
> > other planets or space. Even at its worst, Earth is more hospitable by
> > orders of magnitude that anywhere else.
>
> Er, you mean "Lose the .."; in this context, "loose" has a meaning
> opposite of what you want.

It's missing a helping phrase; there needs to be an "on the sf-reading
world" in there somewhere.

Or I could lose the extra o. :)

Wayne Throop

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Nov 5, 2005, 1:28:58 PM11/5/05
to
: "Robert A. Woodward" <robe...@drizzle.com>
: Er, you mean "Lose the .."; in this context, "loose" has a meaning
: opposite of what you want.

No, no, see, writers have a death-grip on that concept,
and they should set it loose, you know, get rid of it.
Yeah, that's the ticket.

Duke of URL

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Nov 5, 2005, 1:30:43 PM11/5/05
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James Nicoll @ jdni...@panix.com

> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>
> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> you choose?

The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every time I read a
story where an entire habitable planet is presumed to have one, only ONE,
very narrow sort of climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe
stem to keep from grinding my teeth.
--
Cliologist, Philanthropologist, Prothonotary Wibbler,
Paleoconservative, Surface Warrior Squid; dilSEXiA is fnu


Duke of URL

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Nov 5, 2005, 1:31:58 PM11/5/05
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Wayne Throop @ thr...@sheol.org

>> jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll)
>> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one
>> would you choose? If you could add one, what would you add? For
>> me, I would like never again to see "Earth, overcrowded and
>> inherently poor."
>
> How about, "Earth, overcrowded and inherrently wealthier", as
> in the McAndrew's Chronicles in several places? That is, would
> that be OK?
>
> What would I like less of, hm, less of... sailin' ships in space,
> of course, that goes without saying. But maybe also less
> roman-empire- in-space and
> opressive-homeworld-stifles-brave-frontier-explorers, maybe.

I disagree - that's just being realistic about politics.


--
Cliologist, Philanthropologist, Prothonotary Wibbler,

Paleoconservative, Surface Warrior Squid; BREAKFAST.sys halted. Cereal
port not responding


Gene Ward Smith

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Nov 5, 2005, 2:04:02 PM11/5/05
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Wayne Throop wrote:

> Ah, so these types of story will diminish as our use of sailing
> ships and boarding parties with swords declines, and we stop building
> aqueducts. Well, that's a relief.

It's not the aqueducts which are the problem, but all these collapsing
empires. Since empires were collapsing left and right in the forties,
Azimov had no choice but to write about them. It was a psychohistorical
inevitability.

What this makes me think is that someday we will perhaps simply
psychohistorically compute our fiction, or in some other manner distill
the Zeitgeist into prose. I can imagine the poor fellow who wants to
read about sailing ships in space, but can't get the damned machine to
spew any out, since the Zeitgeist is all wrong. Or the gal who wants to
read Jane Austen in space, and all she can get are historical romances
set in 21st century America.

Jordan

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Nov 5, 2005, 7:47:11 PM11/5/05
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James Nicoll said:

>I wouldn't mind more "Planets, even 'earthlike' ones, are very large and varied objects" although I will admit some old timey SF authors used to play with that. I see far too many SF worlds that appear to be the size of a small Pacific island. <

Under the heading of "old timey SF authors," the two masters of
interesting and varied planets were Poul Anderson and Jack Vance.

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

Jordan

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Nov 5, 2005, 7:50:40 PM11/5/05
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Java Josh said:

> Loose the "cursed Earth" convention that forces people to colonize other planets or space. Even at its worst, Earth is more hospitable by orders of magnitude that anywhere else. <

I never noticed any such convention.

I do think that a realistic future in which technology continues to
advance even slowly will include the expansion of humans to other
worlds, but this is more of a "pull" than "push"-driven situation
unless the future history has something VERY bad happen on the Earth
(for instance the CoDominium civil war in Pournelle's _Mercenary_ /
_Mote in God's Eye_ future). I think that most science fiction has
assumed that it is the opportunity presented by rich resources / new
habitats etc. on other planets, rather than something inherently bad
about the Earth, that drives interplanetary colonization.

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

Jordan

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Nov 5, 2005, 7:53:01 PM11/5/05
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Rebecca said:

>Why wouldn't planetwide governments make sense? Unless you have multiple colony ships going to the same planet, I would assume that the colony starts out as one government, and that government grows and spreads as the colony does. Now, as it gets bigger I am sure that regional offices will develop, but I can't see why you would get competing governments. <

I actually agree with your main premise, but I'll point out that it
_is_ possible to have multiple colony ships colonize the same planet
(_Space 1889's_ Mars and Venus), rifts develop among the colonizers
even before landing (_Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri_), or a formerly
unified colonial government breaking up as part of a general anarchy
(Drake and Stirling's _The General_ series).

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

Jordan

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Nov 5, 2005, 7:55:03 PM11/5/05
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Duke of URL said:

>The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every time I read a story where an entire habitable planet is presumed to have one, only ONE, very narrow sort of climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe stem to keep from grinding my teeth.<

One could have a world which, from the Earth's POV, trends towards that
direction. For instance, Tran-ky-ky (from Alan Dean Foster's
_Icerigger_ trilogy), was from _our_ POV an "ice planet," though I'm
sure the natives were very aware of the changes of climate from pole to
equator.

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

Mike Schilling

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Nov 5, 2005, 9:22:37 PM11/5/05
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"Jordan" <JSBass...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1131238031.6...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

In particular, Vance's _Big Planet_, about a planet that's, well, really
big. We visit only a small fraction of it, but still see a bewildering
variety of cultures.


Mike Schilling

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Nov 5, 2005, 9:24:37 PM11/5/05
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"Jordan" <JSBass...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1131238503.1...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...


And it's quite reasonable to have a "water world" like Earthsea, in which
all the land is in the form of islands.


JavaJosh

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Nov 5, 2005, 9:32:15 PM11/5/05
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James Nicoll wrote:
> In article <Tillman-1C7491...@corp-radius.supernews.com>,
> Peter D. Tillman <Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE> wrote:
> >In article <dkhbjd$doq$1...@reader2.panix.com>,
> > jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:
> >
> >> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
> >
> >"MW, DH"??
>
> More Words, Deeper Hole, my livejournal.

Wouldn't it be easier (all around) to simply type "my blog"?

Wayne Throop

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Nov 5, 2005, 9:34:29 PM11/5/05
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: "Mike Schilling" <mscotts...@hotmail.com>
: And it's quite reasonable to have a "water world" like Earthsea, in which
: all the land is in the form of islands.

"Like Earthsea", yes... but it is not at all clear to me that
Earthsea is a "world" in the sense of a "planet", any more than
Ethshar is. Settings like Ethshar and Earthsea are exempt from
the need to make sense in terms of planetary development,
size, and so on.

Keith Morrison

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Nov 5, 2005, 9:48:38 PM11/5/05
to
Yeah verily, on Sun, 06 Nov 2005 02:24:37 GMT, Mike Schilling did exercise
fingers and typed:

>>>The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every time I read
>>>a story where an entire habitable planet is presumed to have one, only
>>>ONE, very narrow sort of climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my
>>>pipe stem to keep from grinding my teeth.<
>>
>> One could have a world which, from the Earth's POV, trends towards that
>> direction. For instance, Tran-ky-ky (from Alan Dean Foster's
>> _Icerigger_ trilogy), was from _our_ POV an "ice planet," though I'm
>> sure the natives were very aware of the changes of climate from pole to
>> equator.
>
>And it's quite reasonable to have a "water world" like Earthsea, in which
>all the land is in the form of islands.

Island versus continent: fellow geologists, discuss.

(Reason I point this out is because the distinction isn't clear cut: New
Zealand is composed of continental crust and is clearly tectonically
separate from the closest continent, but is considered islands.)

Mike Schilling

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Nov 5, 2005, 10:31:22 PM11/5/05
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"Keith Morrison" <kei...@idontwantnosteenkingspam.qiniq.com> wrote in
message news:9grqm11jt9tv33r01...@4ax.com...

OK. Little bitty pieces of land vs. great big gobs of it, so that long
journeys always involve water (or, I suppose air) transportation.


Mike Schilling

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Nov 5, 2005, 10:31:51 PM11/5/05
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"JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1131244335....@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

That's *six* letters.


Luna

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Nov 5, 2005, 10:47:57 PM11/5/05
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In article <eOebf.24619$6e1....@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,
"Mike Schilling" <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:

In The Voices of Heaven by Pohl, the planet they're colonizing has only
one big land mass, like Pangea. There's lots of earthquakes.

John VanSickle

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Nov 6, 2005, 12:01:25 AM11/6/05
to
James Nicoll wrote:

> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>

> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> you choose?

I would make Trek conventions go away.

Seriously, as the keeper of the Grand List of Overused Science Fiction
Cliches, I find this question rather difficult to answer. Even to name
the top ten would be difficult.

Regards,
John

JavaJosh

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Nov 6, 2005, 12:30:47 AM11/6/05
to

Mine is 7, Jame's is 6 overall, but the trump card is that my version
requires no shift key! Ha!

JavaJosh

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Nov 6, 2005, 12:36:17 AM11/6/05
to

Duke of URL wrote:
> James Nicoll @ jdni...@panix.com
>
> > This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
> >
> > If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> > you choose?
>
> The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every time I read a
> story where an entire habitable planet is presumed to have one, only ONE,
> very narrow sort of climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe
> stem to keep from grinding my teeth.

Why? Earth is an ice-world every now and again (60k years or so?)

As for waterworlds, I don't see why that's unreasonable. There would be
some ice at the poles, but that's otay. The Earth could very well
settle down into a water world. Certainly there are plenty of
homogenous worlds in our solar system (Venus comes to mind - and Mars
could certainly be called a "desert planet").

Global jungles are nonsense, though, unless you have jungles adapted
for various climates and so take liberties with definitions. (Hey,
that's actually a cool story idea...)

Stewart Robert Hinsley

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Nov 6, 2005, 2:20:16 AM11/6/05
to
In message <9grqm11jt9tv33r01...@4ax.com>, Keith Morrison
<kei...@idontwantnosteenkingspam.qiniq.com> writes
IANAG, but New Zealand is a microcontinent (continental fragment)
composed of 3 major and several smaller islands. I suppose you could
call it 2 continental fragments, separated by the Alpine Fault.

I jokingly refer to Rockall (less than 0.5 acres) as the world's
smallest continent, as in area of isolated continental crust. Then,
there's also New Caledonia and the Seychelles.

When I've designed waterworlds, the continents have generally been
awash, with the land primarily in the form of archipelagos.
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

James Nicoll

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Nov 6, 2005, 8:18:10 AM11/6/05
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In article <11311...@sheol.org>, Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>: jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll)
>: If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
>: you choose? If you could add one, what would you add? For me, I

>: would like never again to see "Earth, overcrowded and inherently poor."
>
>How about, "Earth, overcrowded and inherrently wealthier", as
>in the McAndrew's Chronicles in several places? That is, would
>that be OK?

I thought that Earth was always on the edge of a collapse
(Not counting the time someone killed a billion people in "Killing
Vextor").


>What would I like less of, hm, less of... sailin' ships in space,
>of course, that goes without saying. But maybe also less roman-empire-
>in-space and opressive-homeworld-stifles-brave-frontier-explorers, maybe.

Don't forget the British. There's a huge amount of nostalgia
for the British Empire.

>On the other hand, seeming-paradoxically...
>more Flandry-like stuff might suit. Hence the "maybe".
>
>: [Still the front runner for me. I'd consider "water, rarest element
>: in the universe" but I am saving that for "what error should get an
>: author consigned to PublishAmerica?"]
>
>Is that frequent? What are common examples?

Well, mostly I am thinking media SF but there is an upcoming
SF novel whose plot depending on water being hard to come by.

>: And while I am talking about Mars and its lack of water, good for
>: Asimov for thinking about how to get more water to Mars but why, oh,
>: why did he have to select the Rings of Saturn as the source? Think of
>: the implications of the orbital velocities!
>
>Hm? What implications in particular? Given that high-delta-v
>fusion-powered reaction drives were cheap as popcorn (more or less).
>On the other hand... it occurs to me that a long freefall trip is a bit
>inconsistent with that. But on YAH, they *were* boosting water from
>the bootom of earth's gravity well, so they weren't short of delta-v.

If you need lots of water, getting it from a place where high
delta vees are needed is counter-indicated, because you are tying up
an unnecessarily large amount of resources to get it. The same fleet
exploiting low delta vee sources could deliver more water.

If you go to Pheobe, not only is it probably rich in
water but its escape velocity is is 70 meters a second, its orbital
velocity around Saturn is just -1.7 km/s and it is well placed to
exploit Saturn's gravity.

>Anyways. What more of, what more of... I'm not sure. More Singularity!
>Um, well, OK, not that. More near-future near-space stuff, perhaps along
>the general lines of Flynn's Firestar series (but without the cryptic
>alien menace, maybe). But I'm a bit conflicted as to what the motive
>for that would be. Space is just such a wonderful place to wish
>that somebody else would be adventurous in.

James Nicoll

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Nov 6, 2005, 8:21:10 AM11/6/05
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In article <1131255377.6...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

JavaJosh <java...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>Duke of URL wrote:
>> James Nicoll @ jdni...@panix.com
>>
>> > This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>> >
>> > If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
>> > you choose?
>>
>> The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every time I read a
>> story where an entire habitable planet is presumed to have one, only ONE,
>> very narrow sort of climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe
>> stem to keep from grinding my teeth.
>
>Why? Earth is an ice-world every now and again (60k years or so?)
>
>As for waterworlds, I don't see why that's unreasonable. There would be
>some ice at the poles, but that's otay. The Earth could very well
>settle down into a water world. Certainly there are plenty of
>homogenous worlds in our solar system (Venus comes to mind - and Mars
>could certainly be called a "desert planet").

I expect homogenity here depends on perspective. Mars is dry but
its geology is various.

There isn't enough water to cover the whole Earth, which is good
because the composition of our air depends on exposed rock. I am not sure
ocean worlds can have Earthlike atmospheres.

>Global jungles are nonsense, though, unless you have jungles adapted
>for various climates and so take liberties with definitions. (Hey,
>that's actually a cool story idea...)
>

Imagine a world with a denser atmosphere and better heat transfer.
The climate might be less varied than ours.

rja.ca...@excite.com

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Nov 6, 2005, 9:43:03 AM11/6/05
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JavaJosh wrote:

> James Nicoll wrote:
> > I wouldn't mind more "Planets, even 'earthlike' ones, are very large and
> > varied objects" although I will admit some old timey SF authors used to
> > play with that. I see far too many SF worlds that appear to be the size
> > of a small Pacific island.
>
> Yes. It seems like people are telling each other all the time, "Hey,
> meet me on planet Lustig" and somehow they always find each other. In
> that same vein, how about losing planetwide governments, cultures, etc.

AIUI Tatooine has only one spaceport, which has only one bar. So you
don't have to look too far.

I think unitary planetwide government and/or culture arises if the
planet was colonised by a single culture or organisation, and if my
organisation was colonising then I'd certainly prefer exclusive rights
to the planet - I don't want someone else landing on the other
continent and ripping me off, polluting my atmosphere etc.

Elsewhere - SF authors seem to have liked to imagine world unity for a
long time, usually a democracy with local and global government or a
computer-ocracy, to see it as a natural and happy outcome (natural not
implying absence of hard work to bring it about), seeing that war,
exploitation, and discooperation essentially arise from having a
plurality of sovereign states. Of course, as with the moonbase, they
have greatly underestimated the obstacles to this desirable goal.
You're asking populations to regard former enemies as neighbours (and
whose fault is it they were enemies...); you're also changing political
constitutions - and those who do not want to keep things as they were
for the sake of their personal goals, want to change things for the
sake of their personal goals, rather than the public good.

And in any case it's be careful what you wish for. I'm glad that Georg
W. Bush isn't /my/ President. In a world state of a certain sort,
someone like him could be.

It's no spoiler to say that the Star Trek novel _Prime Directive_
starts with a planet of two superpower states, because at that point
they have already nuked each other - then we go to flashbacks. At
least a couple of other times, one or another Starship Enterprise has
encountered a politically divided planet - or divided star system - and
had to deal with both sides, and on the other hand quite often they
deal with an emergency handled not by a government but with the local
equivalent of Medecins Sans Frontieres or International Rescue.

Robert A. Woodward

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Nov 6, 2005, 11:51:04 AM11/6/05
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In article <11312...@sheol.org>,
thr...@sheol.org (Wayne Throop) wrote:

> : "Robert A. Woodward" <robe...@drizzle.com>
> : Er, you mean "Lose the .."; in this context, "loose" has a meaning
> : opposite of what you want.
>
> No, no, see, writers have a death-grip on that concept,
> and they should set it loose, you know, get rid of it.
> Yeah, that's the ticket.

You mean let it round around freely, getting into everything? I
thought the idea was to lock it up somewhere SECURE where nobody
could get to it at all.

--
Robert Woodward <robe...@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw>

Peter D. Tillman

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Nov 6, 2005, 11:59:06 AM11/6/05
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In article <FPdbf.24615$6e1....@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,
"Mike Schilling" <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:

For that matter, present-day Mars could accurately be called a desert
world. *Very* cold, dry desert....

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

Peter D. Tillman

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Nov 6, 2005, 12:16:08 PM11/6/05
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In article <9grqm11jt9tv33r01...@4ax.com>,
Keith Morrison <kei...@idontwantnosteenkingspam.qiniq.com> wrote:

> >
> >And it's quite reasonable to have a "water world" like Earthsea, in which
> >all the land is in the form of islands.
>
> Island versus continent: fellow geologists, discuss.
>
> (Reason I point this out is because the distinction isn't clear cut: New
> Zealand is composed of continental crust and is clearly tectonically
> separate from the closest continent, but is considered islands.)

Or Malaysia/Indonesia, specifically the Malay peninsula paired with its
almost-twin, Sumatra... [pulls down atlas]. Huh. The 500 ft-deep
iso-something runs all the way out to (surprise!) the Wallace Line, and
includes Borneo, Java, the Java Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, a good deal
of the Andaman Sea; and just barely misses (at Sibutu Island, E of
Sabah) making the Philippines a dry-land walk at max. ocean draw-down.
Which was, what, 500 ft +/-, at the height (depth?) of the Ice Ages....

I can't remember how much continental crust Java has, but it can't be
much. Especially compared to Sumatra. I'll leave it to someone with a
fast connection to supply URLs for local geology/topography/bathymetry.

Anyway, the reminder is that (topographic) islands are strongly
sea-level dependent <G>.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

Victoria L.

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Nov 6, 2005, 3:42:08 PM11/6/05
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James Nicoll wrote:
> This got good play over on MW, DH so I will ask it here:
>
> If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would
> you choose?

I'd like to see the "alien cultures are monolithically devoted to one
concept, while human cultures are full of infinite variety," convention
go away. I suppose it's gotten better over time, but it's still out
there.

Victoria

Duke of URL

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Nov 6, 2005, 4:28:16 PM11/6/05
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Peter D. Tillman @ Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE
ahem ... "habitable"

--
Cliologist, Philanthropologist, Prothonotary Wibbler,
Paleoconservative, Surface Warrior Squid; There are three kinds of
lies: Lies, Statistics & Benchmarks


r.r...@thevine.net

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Nov 6, 2005, 4:22:08 PM11/6/05
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On 5 Nov 2005 10:26:44 -0800, "JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> wrote:

>r.r...@thevine.net wrote:


>> On 5 Nov 2005 03:02:39 -0800, "JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >Yes. It seems like people are telling each other all the time, "Hey,
>> >meet me on planet Lustig" and somehow they always find each other. In
>> >that same vein, how about losing planetwide governments, cultures, etc.
>> >

>> Why wouldn't planetwide governments make sense? Unless you have
>> multiple colony ships going to the same planet, I would assume that
>> the colony starts out as one government, and that government grows and
>> spreads as the colony does. Now, as it gets bigger I am sure that
>> regional offices will develop, but I can't see why you would get

>> competing governments. Well, ok, I can see it (if you get situations
>> where, say water-rich X gets tired of sending water to water-poor Y,
>> and decides to secede and set up their own government, for example).
>> But even that can probably be minimized by having the original
>> government have a monopoly on certain things like transport, medical
>> care, access to the local spaceport, etc. Things that would make a
>> break-away state want to come back to the fold.
>
>Of course, it's just extrapolation at this point, but I sense that
>planetwide governments would be the exception not the rule. On first
>principle, single governments are more ordered and so prone to entropy.
>Even if a single government existed, you'd get something like Trantor
>(which Assimov sketched wonderfully, never letting the reader forget
>that we were only brushing the surface of a vast labrynth of humanity.)
>
>Seems to me that lots of SF writers pretty much take an early 19th
>century swashbuckler tale, trade the colonies for planets, the sailing
>ships for space ships and have done. But that's wrong, and part of the
>wrongness is the homogeneity of the colonies. The forces that would
>imply diversity are: 1) size - planets are bigger and have more space,
>encouraging physical and cultural seperation,

See, I would disagree here. Planet big, colony small would, to me,
encourage people to clump together. If nothing else, do you really
want to drive 4000 miles to pick up your date for the dance? Of
course, a lot of this depends on how you set up your colony, how many
people they have to start with, what kind of tech they have, etc.

Rebecca

Keith Morrison

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Nov 6, 2005, 4:40:53 PM11/6/05
to
Yeah verily, on Sun, 06 Nov 2005 10:16:08 -0700, Peter D. Tillman did
exercise fingers and typed:

>> >And it's quite reasonable to have a "water world" like Earthsea, in which

Indonesia is being considered by some people as a sunken continent, dragged
down by mantle activity. Australia has, in the past, popped up and down
due to passing over areas of the mantle that have been rising and falling
independent of sea level. The mid-continental ocean in North America
during the Mesozoic is considered to have the same cause (the continent
passed over an old subduction zone that dragged the middle of it down).

Mike Schilling

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Nov 6, 2005, 5:04:12 PM11/6/05
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"Duke of URL" <NotMa...@NotKDSI.net> wrote in message
news:11mstbm...@corp.supernews.com...

> Peter D. Tillman @ Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE
>> In article <FPdbf.24615$6e1....@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,
>> "Mike Schilling" <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>> "Jordan" <JSBass...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
>>> news:1131238503.1...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>>>> Duke of URL said:
>>>>
>>>>> The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every
>>>>> time I read a story where an entire habitable planet is presumed
>>>>> to have one, only ONE, very narrow sort of
>>>>> climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe stem to keep
>>>>> from grinding my teeth.<
>>>>
>>>> One could have a world which, from the Earth's POV, trends towards
>>>> that direction. For instance, Tran-ky-ky (from Alan Dean Foster's
>>>> _Icerigger_ trilogy), was from _our_ POV an "ice planet," though I'm
>>>> sure the natives were very aware of the changes of climate from
>>>> pole to equator.
>>>
>>> And it's quite reasonable to have a "water world" like Earthsea, in
>>> which all the land is in the form of islands.
>>
>> For that matter, present-day Mars could accurately be called a desert
>> world. *Very* cold, dry desert....
>>
> ahem ... "habitable"

Mars is habitable. (You didn't *say* by humans.)


Tim McDaniel

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Nov 6, 2005, 5:46:08 PM11/6/05
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In article <w5vbf.25012$6e1....@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,

Mike Schilling <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>"Duke of URL" <NotMa...@NotKDSI.net> wrote in message
>news:11mstbm...@corp.supernews.com...
>> Peter D. Tillman @ Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE
[2 intermediate levels elided]

>>> Duke of URL said:
>>>
>>>> The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every
>>>> time I read a story where an entire habitable planet is presumed
>>>> to have one, only ONE, very narrow sort of
>>>> climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe stem to
>>>> keep from grinding my teeth.
>>>
>>> For that matter, present-day Mars could accurately be called a
>>> desert world. *Very* cold, dry desert....
>>>
>> ahem ... "habitable"
>
>Mars is habitable. (You didn't *say* by humans.)

Mars is habitable by unprotected humans. (You didn't *say* for how
long.)

--
"Me, I love the USA; I never miss an episode." -- Paul "Fruitbat" Sleigh
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tm...@panix.com

Bill Snyder

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Nov 6, 2005, 6:16:52 PM11/6/05
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On 6 Nov 2005 16:46:08 -0600, tm...@panix.com (Tim McDaniel) wrote:

>In article <w5vbf.25012$6e1....@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,
>Mike Schilling <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>"Duke of URL" <NotMa...@NotKDSI.net> wrote in message
>>news:11mstbm...@corp.supernews.com...
>>> Peter D. Tillman @ Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE
>[2 intermediate levels elided]
>>>> Duke of URL said:
>>>>
>>>>> The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every
>>>>> time I read a story where an entire habitable planet is presumed
>>>>> to have one, only ONE, very narrow sort of
>>>>> climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe stem to
>>>>> keep from grinding my teeth.
>>>>
>>>> For that matter, present-day Mars could accurately be called a
>>>> desert world. *Very* cold, dry desert....
>>>>
>>> ahem ... "habitable"
>>
>>Mars is habitable. (You didn't *say* by humans.)
>
>Mars is habitable by unprotected humans. (You didn't *say* for how
>long.)

But once you start that, is there any place that *isn't* habitable by
unprotected humans?

--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank.]

James Nicoll

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Nov 6, 2005, 6:28:50 PM11/6/05
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In article <nl3tm1ppk18pmdh7b...@4ax.com>,

Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>On 6 Nov 2005 16:46:08 -0600, tm...@panix.com (Tim McDaniel) wrote:
>
>>In article <w5vbf.25012$6e1....@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,
>>Mike Schilling <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>"Duke of URL" <NotMa...@NotKDSI.net> wrote in message
>>>news:11mstbm...@corp.supernews.com...
>>>> Peter D. Tillman @ Til...@toast.net_DIESPAMMERSDIE
>>[2 intermediate levels elided]
>>>>> Duke of URL said:
>>>>>
>>>>>> The nonsense of "tropical worlds" "icicle worlds" et al. Every
>>>>>> time I read a story where an entire habitable planet is presumed
>>>>>> to have one, only ONE, very narrow sort of
>>>>>> climate/vegetation/terrain, I have to chew on my pipe stem to
>>>>>> keep from grinding my teeth.
>>>>>
>>>>> For that matter, present-day Mars could accurately be called a
>>>>> desert world. *Very* cold, dry desert....
>>>>>
>>>> ahem ... "habitable"
>>>
>>>Mars is habitable. (You didn't *say* by humans.)
>>
>>Mars is habitable by unprotected humans. (You didn't *say* for how
>>long.)

Something under a minute, I'd say. 15 seconds to passing
out, maybe.

>But once you start that, is there any place that *isn't* habitable by
>unprotected humans?

On that note, any idea what exactly would kill a naked human
on Titan? The atmosphere can carry heat away about 40x faster than
on Earth. I assume that the moment one inhaled, the 95 K N2 atmosphere
would turn your alveoli into icicles but is that actually the case?
If you had mukluks on your feet and didn't inhale, how far could you
run?

Yes, I did wonder during That Scene in Spooks exactly
what effect first kills someone with their head stuck in a deep
fat fryer. Also whether it would be better to hold one's breath
or inhale and hope it was fast.

Mike Schilling

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Nov 6, 2005, 6:35:11 PM11/6/05
to

"James Nicoll" <jdni...@panix.com> wrote in message
news:dkm3ji$hnv$1...@reader2.panix.com...
> In article <nl3tm1ppk18pmdh7b...@4ax.com>,

>
> Yes, I did wonder during That Scene in Spooks exactly
> what effect first kills someone with their head stuck in a deep
> fat fryer. Also whether it would be better to hold one's breath
> or inhale and hope it was fast.

Why would you, of all people, worry about that?

"It turns out that catching your head in a deep fat fryer is less hazardous
than one might think, certainly far safer than feeding a raccoon that turns
out to be suffering from asymptomatic rabies."


Joseph Michael Bay

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Nov 6, 2005, 6:47:33 PM11/6/05
to
"JavaJosh" <java...@gmail.com> writes:

>Why? Earth is an ice-world every now and again (60k years or so?)

>As for waterworlds, I don't see why that's unreasonable. There would be
>some ice at the poles, but that's otay. The Earth could very well
>settle down into a water world. Certainly there are plenty of
>homogenous worlds in our solar system (Venus comes to mind - and Mars
>could certainly be called a "desert planet").

>Global jungles are nonsense, though, unless you have jungles adapted
>for various climates and so take liberties with definitions. (Hey,
>that's actually a cool story idea...)

Yeah, "jungle" really just means that there's a hell of a lot
of vegetation and it's hard to get through, although usually
it refers to a thick rainforest. But I could imagine a set of
conditions existing (right temperature, sunlight, rainfall, lots
of CO2, etc.) where the vast majority of dry land is covered by
a lot of plants. Or alternatively, it doesn't strain my
imagination too much to conceive of a planet where most of the
land is in a certain zone (tropical, equatorial), or where,
as has been noted, the overall temperature is extreme from our
POV and only the hottest/coldest part is habitable by us (and
it would seem to us very cold/hot, respectively).

"Desert world" is easy -- something Marslike which was colonized
by an Earthlike group who terraformed it to the extent they were
able, introducing a denser atmosphere and more (but still little)
surface water by, er, lithobraking comets or something.

I always figured it was just that the only part of Dagobah we
see is a really awesome swamp, which makes sense, but apparently
the whole place is supposed to be like that, which makes less.

--
Joe Bay Leland Stanford Junior University
www.stanford.edu/~jmbay/ Program in Cancer Biology
The white zone is for loading and unloading only. If you have to load
or unload, go to the white zone. You'll love it. It's a way of life.

James Nicoll

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Nov 6, 2005, 6:54:25 PM11/6/05
to
In article <Pqwbf.9399$BZ5....@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com>,

Once again, I'm not the guy from Unbreakable. I need a cane.
I'm deaf in one ear. I've lost most of the feeling in my left hand
(which can be handy). I shave my head because the scars on my scalp
gave a stupid looking bald spot (shaped like a ? and aside from Edward
Nigma, who wants a ? on their head).

There's a treatment for rabies.

Serious burns hurt like hell and I can't imagine having my eyes
dipped in boiling oil will make them work any better.

The _worst_ would be molten sugar. I refuse to cook with the
stuff.

Midnighter

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Nov 6, 2005, 6:56:15 PM11/6/05
to

"Victoria L." <Vic...@rcn.com> wrote in message
news:1131309728.2...@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

I do like when that is used with humour or irony in a story. One where
aliens meet a drunk in an alley or something and take him as a
representative of humanity, or that episode of Stargate where Oneil and
Carter end up in Antartica and think they are on an ice world.


Midnighter

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Nov 6, 2005, 7:07:17 PM11/6/05
to

"Joseph Michael Bay" <jm...@Stanford.EDU> wrote in message
news:dkm4ml$2of$1...@news.Stanford.EDU...

Not neccesarily in the vein of a millenia spanning starfaring people. Let's
say Dagobah was a somewhat wet world. It had the usual variations, what
not. Mr and Mrs swamp thing decide to set up shop there. Of course they
take omse decorative plants. Make the back garden look spiffy for when Mr
tentantclehead Mr Swamp things boss comes round for tea and cake. Over the
millenia these invaders really really like the planets atmosphere, as a
matter of fact they like it muuuch more than the native vegetation.

By the time Mrs Tentacleswamp (fifth generation byproduct of an illicit
affair between Mr Tentacleheads great grandson, and Mr Swamp things grand
neice) gets round to visiting the ancestral home its all grown over.

who knows how thoroughly wrecked the worlds in Star Wars ecosystems are?
Dagobah might have been like earth until some sort of underground super
cactus stored all the water away or something.

I'm sure the new republic has some sort of beureu that deals specifically
with nature invaders...

"I'm sorry Mr Wookiescratcher, but you cannot bring a Taun Taun to Kasshyuk
(sp?) They are a natural competitor for the wronghaunches and are
detrimental to their habitat."


rja.ca...@excite.com

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Nov 6, 2005, 7:39:35 PM11/6/05
to
r.r...@thevine.net wrote:
> See, I would disagree here. Planet big, colony small would, to me,
> encourage people to clump together. If nothing else, do you really
> want to drive 4000 miles to pick up your date for the dance?

I believe Bill Gates told his newspaper column audience (I don't know
if he still does it) that he dated by phone. His date was elsewhere in
the country. They'd go see a movie together, but not in the same
cinema.

John F. Eldredge

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Nov 6, 2005, 7:41:07 PM11/6/05
to

Of course, maybe you're the villian from _Unbreakable_. Despite all
of the injuries he had received, he was still alive. You don't happen
to be black and own a comics shop, by any chance?

--
John F. Eldredge -- jo...@jfeldredge.com
PGP key available from http://pgp.mit.edu
"Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better
than not to think at all." -- Hypatia of Alexandria

Joseph Michael Bay

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Nov 6, 2005, 9:06:31 PM11/6/05
to
"Robert A. Woodward" <robe...@drizzle.com> writes:

>In article <11312...@sheol.org>,
> thr...@sheol.org (Wayne Throop) wrote:

>> : "Robert A. Woodward" <robe...@drizzle.com>
>> : Er, you mean "Lose the .."; in this context, "loose" has a meaning
>> : opposite of what you want.
>>
>> No, no, see, writers have a death-grip on that concept,
>> and they should set it loose, you know, get rid of it.
>> Yeah, that's the ticket.

>You mean let it round around freely, getting into everything? I
>thought the idea was to lock it up somewhere SECURE where nobody
>could get to it at all.


Cry havoc, and lose the dogs of war. Dogs are so last century.
You should look into cats of war, or fainting goats of war.

lclough

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Nov 6, 2005, 9:12:53 PM11/6/05
to
James Nicoll wrote:


You just have to handle it with respect. Certainly you can get
a wicked burn. But it is the only way to achieve creme caramel,
or spun sugar.

Brenda


--
---------
Brenda W. Clough
http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda/

Recent short fiction:
FUTURE WASHINGTON (WSFA Press, October '05)
http://www.futurewashington.com

FIRST HEROES (TOR, May '04)
http://members.aol.com/wenamun/firstheroes.html

Joseph Michael Bay

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Nov 6, 2005, 9:10:23 PM11/6/05
to
"Victoria L." <Vic...@rcn.com> writes:

Do you think, though, that this might be largely due to
availability error, at least in some cases? As in, of
*course* all the Yargzinians you've met are traders; that's
the only reason they *come* to Earth. And every Sarghon
you've seen is annoyingly pious about the Great Star, because
the Church of the Great Star was expelled from Sarghonia due
to their extreme annoyingness, so they tend to travel a lot.

Of course I'm sure it's usually just lazy writing, though.

Alexander Kay

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Nov 6, 2005, 10:49:24 PM11/6/05
to
In <dkm53g$g52$1...@reader2.panix.com> jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) writes:

> Serious burns hurt like hell and I can't imagine having my eyes
>dipped in boiling oil will make them work any better.

> The _worst_ would be molten sugar. I refuse to cook with the
>stuff.

I was once in an emergency room next to a man who had had an accident while
making creme brulee. I will be happy if I never hear a human being make
those sounds again.

Alexx


Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of my employers.
alexx@carolingiaSPAMBL@CK.org http://www.panix.com/~alexx
Don't get suckered in by comments -- only debug code.
[Seen on a Nancy Button, www.nancybuttons.com]

JavaJosh

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Nov 6, 2005, 10:52:40 PM11/6/05