Tales of Known Space - Pak vs. Slavers

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Raymund F. Eich

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Aug 26, 1994, 5:47:26 PM8/26/94
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In article <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com>, bbu...@netcom.com (Brian Button) writes:
|> I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
|> umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
|> between the Pak and the Slavers.
|>
|> We know that the Slaver's empire encompassed the entire galaxy, but it
|> seemed to have holes (see "World of Ptaavs" where the Slaver character
|> discovered a new slave planet).
|>
|> And the Pak didn't have FTL space travel and didn't explore any other
|> star systems, except for the expedition Pssthpok(?) followed.
|>
|> So were they unknown contemporaries of each other, or did the Slavers
|> preceed the Pak? Any opinions?
|>

The Slavers, best I can tell, far predate the Pak. The Slaver empire collapsed
around 1500 million years ago. In the 'Phssthpok' section of _Protector_, if
I remember right, it is mentioned that the expedition he followed set out
5-10 million years ago (enough time for adaptive radiation to produce humans
and other primate species here on Earth), and the Pak homeworld had been
civilized for a few (5-10 million?) more years than that. So, say the Pak
are 20 million years older than humanity. 1500 million years ago, our ancestors
(in the real universe) were bacterial soup; I'd say the Pak were about the same.

Of course, you can argue the opposite: the Pak are damn old, but the Slavers
couldn't find them b/c the Slavers used good ol' Quantum I hyperdrive, which
doesn't let you get out of gravity wells (such as the crowded core). I'd just say you're wrong, though :)

|> And whatever happened to Home? Jack Brennan converted them to
|> Protectors to face the Pak invasion, but Niven never mentioned them
|> again. Sounds like good grounds for a novel!!!
|>

I agree: several million Home... (Homeites? Homers?) residents, turned into
protectors, flying a huge fleet of Bussard ramjets against the waves of Pak ships... maybe Niven didn't want to. Check the expanded 'Down in Flames' outline at, I think, the gandalf.rutgers site (some net.god please help me on that): Niven doesn't seem too keen on writing epic battles where the human-sized characters get lost in the shuffle.

It's been too long... was the Pak invasion launched because of the Core
explosion? And would anyone like to hear a biochemist's tirade at the utter
unbelievability of humans not being evolutionarily related to every other
species on this planet? Thought not.

Raymund Eich

Brian Button

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Aug 26, 1994, 2:58:33 PM8/26/94
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I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
between the Pak and the Slavers.

We know that the Slaver's empire encompassed the entire galaxy, but it
seemed to have holes (see "World of Ptaavs" where the Slaver character
discovered a new slave planet).

And the Pak didn't have FTL space travel and didn't explore any other
star systems, except for the expedition Pssthpok(?) followed.

So were they unknown contemporaries of each other, or did the Slavers
preceed the Pak? Any opinions?

And whatever happened to Home? Jack Brennan converted them to


Protectors to face the Pak invasion, but Niven never mentioned them
again. Sounds like good grounds for a novel!!!

bab
--
--
Brian Button email: bbu...@netcom.com, but...@wg2.waii.com
Houston, TX

David Empey

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Aug 27, 1994, 2:32:31 AM8/27/94
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In <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> rfe...@owlnet.rice.edu (Raymund F. Eich) writes:

>I agree: several million Home... (Homeites? Homers?) residents, turned into
>protectors, flying a huge fleet of Bussard ramjets against the waves of Pak ships... maybe Niven didn't want to. Check the expanded 'Down in Flames' outline at, I think, the gandalf.rutgers site (some net.god please help me on that): Niven doesn't seem too keen on writing epic battles where the human-sized characters get lost in the shuffle.

>It's been too long... was the Pak invasion launched because of the Core
>explosion? And would anyone like to hear a biochemist's tirade at the utter
>unbelievability of humans not being evolutionarily related to every other
>species on this planet? Thought not.

No, no, Raymund (may I call you Eichray?) The fun is in figuring out how
in the Galaxy it could have happened. Obviously, _Protector_ to the
contrary notwithstanding, humans evolved on Earth. The how did the
human-related Pak get on their planet? My theory: the Outsiders done it.
No, wait, that won't work. OK, the Puppeteers done it. Three million years
or so ago, they sent a mad Puppeteer to Earth, engineered the Protector
virus and sent a colony of humans to the Pak home planet, safely far away
at 20 000 light-years, to see how the society would evolve? Uhhh, no,
I don't think so. OK, I give. How did it happen? Any ideas, anyone?

>Raymund Eich
--
-Dave Empey (speaking only for myself)
Rule 27B: Never make key tactical decisions while suffering
electro-shock convulsions. -M. N. Vorkosigan

David Empey

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Aug 27, 1994, 2:36:52 AM8/27/94
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oops! I forgot I wanted to comment on this, too:

In <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> rfe...@owlnet.rice.edu (Raymund F. Eich) writes:

>
>Of course, you can argue the opposite: the Pak are damn old, but the Slavers
>couldn't find them b/c the Slavers used good ol' Quantum I hyperdrive, which
>doesn't let you get out of gravity wells (such as the crowded core). I'd just say you're wrong, though :)

But if I remember the opening scene of _World of Ptavvs_, the Slaver
hyperdrive was so fast that you didn't know where you were after you
turned it on, exactly. You had to stop and figure out where you were.
Boy, that'd be a fun thing to discover in a stasis box sometime, a working
Slaver hyperdrive. I bet you could trade one to the Outsiders for the
answer to the question "What will you do now the Core is exploding?"

Joe Slater

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Aug 27, 1994, 5:32:07 AM8/27/94
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bbu...@netcom.com (Brian Button) writes:

>I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
>umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
>between the Pak and the Slavers.

The Slavers lived a *long* time ago. Like, long enough for everything in
our world to evolve from algae. The Pak arrived long ago, like long
enough to seed our planet with homo habilis and perhaps some animals.

>And whatever happened to Home? Jack Brennan converted them to
>Protectors to face the Pak invasion, but Niven never mentioned them
>again. Sounds like good grounds for a novel!!!

Home is mentioned as a failed colony, and once the population was
converted (and all descendants dead) they'd avoid letting humans know what
happened to them. They may be still fighting a war out there in the later
novels; they may have won and committed suicide. There's no particular
reason anyone would come across them. Space is big.

jds
--
j...@zikzak.apana.org.au | `You SHOULD have said "It's extremely
T: +61-3-525-8728 F: +61-3-562-0756 | kind of you to tell me all this" -
If all else fails try Fidonet: | however, we'll suppose it said.'
joe_s...@f351.n632.z3.fidonet.org | (The Red Queen)

Ethan A Merritt

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Aug 28, 1994, 1:26:27 PM8/28/94
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In article <33mmu4$4...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> dge...@cats.ucsc.edu (David Empey) writes:
>
>But if I remember the opening scene of _World of Ptavvs_, the Slaver
>hyperdrive was so fast that you didn't know where you were after you
>turned it on, exactly. You had to stop and figure out where you were.
>

I don't think that proves that the hyperdrive was amazingly fast or
different, just that the Slavers are too stupid to understand their
own navigation manuals. Kzanol (sp?) considered himself a "good navigator",
but it turns out he can't even hold enough numbers/symbols in his head
to recognize a straight flush in a poker hand. I reckon they "navigated"
by pointing in the right direction, turning the drive on for a bit,
and then hoping the computer could figure out how close they came to where
they wanted to be.

Ethan A Merritt
mer...@u.washington.edu
the d

Erik Max Francis

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Aug 28, 1994, 1:21:36 PM8/28/94
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dge...@cats.ucsc.edu (David Empey) writes:

> But if I remember the opening scene of _World of Ptavvs_, the Slaver
> hyperdrive was so fast that you didn't know where you were after you
> turned it on, exactly. You had to stop and figure out where you were.
> Boy, that'd be a fun thing to discover in a stasis box sometime, a working
> Slaver hyperdrive. I bet you could trade one to the Outsiders for the
> answer to the question "What will you do now the Core is exploding?"

I wouldn't be surprised if it was something that they already had in
their wares.


Erik Max Francis, &tSftDotIotE ...!uuwest!alcyone!max m...@alcyone.darkside.com
USMail: 1070 Oakmont Dr. #1 San Jose, CA 95117 ICBM: 37 20 N 121 53 W _
H.3`S,3,P,3$S,#$Q,C`Q,3,P,3$S,#$Q,3`Q,3,P,C$Q,#(Q.#`-"C`- ftmfbs kmmfa / \
Omnia quia sunt, lumina sunt. ("All things that are, are lights.") -><- \_/

Pete Hardie

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Aug 28, 1994, 4:26:23 PM8/28/94
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Didn't the last Slavers give a mental deathshout to all sentient life
in the galaxy one they realized that the tnuctipun were going to win the
war? This would tend to imply that the Pak are post-Slaver.


--
Pete Hardie email: ...!emory!slammer!nyet!pete
"Well, Darkness has a hunger that's insatiable,
And Lightness has a call that's hard to hear" -- Indigo Girls

Mike Scott

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Aug 28, 1994, 4:12:08 PM8/28/94
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In article <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com>
bbu...@netcom.com "Brian Button" writes:

>I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
>umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
>between the Pak and the Slavers.

The Slavers came and went. Millions of years passed. More millions of
years passed. A whole lot more millions of years passed. The Pak
evolved.

Read the books! The Slavers were around something over a *billion*
years ago. The Pak, a few million at most. They are not even remote
contemporaries - compared with the Slavers, Pak and humans are very
close contemporaries.

--
Mike Scott || Confabulation is the 1995 UK national SF convention
Mi...@moose.demon.co.uk || Mail Con...@moose.demon.co.uk for more details

Mike Giroux

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Aug 29, 1994, 7:32:31 PM8/29/94
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bbu...@netcom.com (Brian Button) writes:


>I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
>umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
>between the Pak and the Slavers.

The Slavers were a few MILLION years ago. The Pak are relatively
contemporary with humanity (or directly ancestral, actually), so they're
at most 50,000 years back.

> ... lines deleted ...

>And whatever happened to Home? Jack Brennan converted them to
>Protectors to face the Pak invasion, but Niven never mentioned them
>again. Sounds like good grounds for a novel!!!

Actually, Brennan comes back in "Down in Flames" in _N-Space_, but that
story "never happened". It's just an outline of a way Niven could
totally destroy known space. It's fairly twisted, but fun!

--
Mike Giroux, mi...@llc.org
Charny, Quebec, Canada

Vociferous Mole

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Aug 29, 1994, 10:04:07 PM8/29/94
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In article <33tr6f$n...@bobby-sands.llc.org>, Mike Giroux <mi...@llc.org> wrote:
>bbu...@netcom.com (Brian Button) writes:
>
>
>>I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
>>umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
>>between the Pak and the Slavers.
>
> The Slavers were a few MILLION years ago. The Pak are relatively
>contemporary with humanity (or directly ancestral, actually), so they're
>at most 50,000 years back.

Nope. Slavers existed 1.5 _billion_ years ago, by Niven's own words:
read the Down_in_Flames summary/outline. (Of course, according to
DiF, the Slavers didn't exist at all. But all the planted evidence
says 1.5Gy.)

And while the Pak may have _arrived_ on earth a 50,000 years ago (although
I think longer is more likely), they had to make the journey from the
core at slower than lightspeed, so add a few hundred thousand more. (I
can't find my copy of Protector right now).

SteveG

--
A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great
sense, and *men*, serve the state with their consciences also, and
so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly
treated as enemies by it. -Henry David Thoreau

Toda

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Aug 30, 1994, 12:05:22 AM8/30/94
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In article <778104...@moose.demon.co.uk>, Mi...@moose.demon.co.uk (Mike Scott) says:
>
>In article <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com>
> bbu...@netcom.com "Brian Button" writes:
>
>>I've just gone back and reread the entire Known Space series for the
>>umpteenth time, and a question came up. What is the relative timeline
>>between the Pak and the Slavers.
>
>The Slavers came and went. Millions of years passed. More millions of
>years passed. A whole lot more millions of years passed. The Pak
>evolved.
>
>Read the books! The Slavers were around something over a *billion*
>years ago. The Pak, a few million at most. They are not even remote
>contemporaries - compared with the Slavers, Pak and humans are very
>close contemporaries.

It would be closer to 3 or 4 billion, I think. In the beginning of WoP,
Knazol crashlands on an earth without life except for the slaver food
source -- from which, presumably, all other life (except humans, of course)
would have evolved. That would put the date much further back, I believe.

Matt Austern

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Aug 30, 1994, 12:45:30 AM8/30/94
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In article <33ub62$j...@nntp.crl.com> To...@lizzard.org (Toda) writes:

> It would be closer to 3 or 4 billion, I think. In the beginning of WoP,
> Knazol crashlands on an earth without life except for the slaver food
> source -- from which, presumably, all other life (except humans, of course)
> would have evolved. That would put the date much further back, I believe.

Niven assumes that life on Earth evolved somewhere between 1 and 2
billion years ago. (See, for example, "The Green Marauder".)

I don't know whether Niven is right in assuming that, of course. I
don't know how much we can really tell from the unicellular fossil
record. To me, at least, 2 billion sounds a bit more plausible than 4
billion---but then, I'm no evolutionary biologist.
--

--matt

Matt McIrvin

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Aug 29, 1994, 7:40:18 PM8/29/94
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In article <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,
David Empey <dge...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:

>Obviously, _Protector_ to the
>contrary notwithstanding, humans evolved on Earth. The how did the
>human-related Pak get on their planet? My theory: the Outsiders done it.
>No, wait, that won't work. OK, the Puppeteers done it. Three million years
>or so ago, they sent a mad Puppeteer to Earth, engineered the Protector
>virus and sent a colony of humans to the Pak home planet, safely far away
>at 20 000 light-years, to see how the society would evolve? Uhhh, no,
>I don't think so. OK, I give. How did it happen? Any ideas, anyone?

Um, the Blinovitch Limitation Effect.

No, uh, okay, there's this synchronicity, see, between the Pak and
the humans, it's like, um, a quantum mechanical mystical thingie, and,
um, it makes them evolve in parallel, it's like doppelgangers, or
something, and it made all the native Homo erectus hide when the Pak
breeders came so they didn't know they were there, and, uh, nahh...

Uh, no, uh, really, Homo erectus and Pak breeders are similar, see,
because they both have these little beings in them, they're called
thetans, and somebody named Xemu kept them in this volcano, see, and
when they go Clear they turn into Protectors, and, um...

uh, no... um... did I mention the Blinovitch Limitation Effect?
--
Matt 01234567 <-- Indent-o-Meter
McIrvin ^ Harnessing tab damage for peaceful ends!

Jon

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Aug 30, 1994, 5:59:20 AM8/30/94
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: >years passed. A whole lot more millions of years passed. The Pak

: >evolved.
: >
: >Read the books! The Slavers were around something over a *billion*
: >years ago. The Pak, a few million at most. They are not even remote
: >contemporaries - compared with the Slavers, Pak and humans are very
: >close contemporaries.

: It would be closer to 3 or 4 billion, I think. In the beginning of WoP,
: Knazol crashlands on an earth without life except for the slaver food
: source -- from which, presumably, all other life (except humans, of course)
: would have evolved. That would put the date much further back, I believe.

I believe Niven put the Slavers at around 1 000 000 years ago.

The PAK are, by this reckoning, very close to our own time. I think
Physpokk (sp?) took 30-odd thousand years to get here in our frame of
reference, and about 1400 years in his own.

Jon

Avram Finkel

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Aug 30, 1994, 6:47:57 AM8/30/94
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Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...
People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?

Just a-ramblin'
-Avi

--
==============================================================================
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Think about it. av...@oak.wpi.edu
==============================================================================

Jon

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Aug 30, 1994, 6:57:47 AM8/30/94
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Avram Finkel (av...@oak.WPI.EDU) wrote:
: Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...

: People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
: Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
: the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?

Slavers also appeard in at least one story by... by... oh bugger. It was, I
think, a book called "Alien Worlds" and one of the stories was about a group
og people who were investigating a planet that had had a "planet-buster" aimed
at it during a war with the Slavers.

Another story in this book was about a bunch of people who were flying
up an almighty f-big mountain called "Stormont" (sp?).

Jon

Niall McAuley

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:19:09 AM8/30/94
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References: <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com> <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>

In article <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,
David Empey <dge...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:

>In <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> rfe...@owlnet.rice.edu (Raymund F. Eich) writes:

>>And would anyone like to hear a biochemist's tirade at the utter
>>unbelievability of humans not being evolutionarily related to every other
>>species on this planet?

>Obviously, _Protector_ to the


>contrary notwithstanding, humans evolved on Earth. The how did the
>human-related Pak get on their planet? My theory: the Outsiders done it.
>No, wait, that won't work. OK, the Puppeteers done it. Three million years
>or so ago, they sent a mad Puppeteer to Earth, engineered the Protector
>virus and sent a colony of humans to the Pak home planet, safely far away
>at 20 000 light-years, to see how the society would evolve? Uhhh, no,
>I don't think so. OK, I give. How did it happen? Any ideas, anyone?

OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.
So, some other unknown race. They find Earth X million years
ago, sample the flora and fauna, and terraform the Pak homeworld.
The Pak evolve there, and then colonize Earth.

That bit is a stretch, that they should rediscover Earth, but they
could find X million year old records of the original terraformers,
just as Phsssthpok (sp?) finds their records a million years later.

They must travel slower than light, so records of another definitely
habitable world might tempt them, rather than trying to find an
earthlike world themselves. Of course, we know that known space is
jammed full of worlds habitable by earthlife, but the Pak don't.

Since they aren't a curious lot, and are uninterested in abstract
knowledge, they may neither know nor care that their "homeworld"
is a colony. Brennan must have figured it out, and lied.

This seems more consistent to me with other known space stuff.
In Ringworld, for example, it is mentioned that life on Earth
and the Kzinti share ancestry via the Slaver farms, yet Speaker
cannot eat Louis Wu.

So who were the terraformers ? How long ago ? Where are they
now ?

Suggestions: Black Monoliths from the core :), 10 million years ago,
buggered off ahead of the core explosion.

Jon Leech

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:34:42 AM8/30/94
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In article <33v2ot$1...@bigboote.wpi.edu>,

Avram Finkel <av...@oak.WPI.EDU> wrote:
>Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...
>People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
>Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
>the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?

You heathen :-)

What you might be thinking of is this: Niven's story "The Soft Weapon"
was adapted into one of the animated Star Trek episodes in the 70s,
replacing human characters with the Enterprise crew but leaving the Kzin
characters pretty much unchanged. This was the one where a total-conversion
beam weapon is found in a Slaver stasis box.

Jon
__@/

Raymund F Eich

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:49:58 AM8/30/94
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In article <33trl2$g...@scunix2.harvard.edu>, mci...@scws36.harvard.edu (Matt McIrvin) writes:
|> In article <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,
|> David Empey <dge...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
|>
|> >Obviously, _Protector_ to the
|> >contrary notwithstanding, humans evolved on Earth. The how did the
|> >human-related Pak get on their planet?

[munched outsiders, puppeteers, the Blinovitch Limitation Effect]

A couple of possibilities occur, though they require some rewriting of
the canon...

1) Pak are a damn sight older than Phssthpok thinks in _Protector_. The
first colony to Earth set out ca. 1000 million years ago, landed with an
entire ecosystem, and wiped out any vestige of Earth's original lifeforms.
When tree of life failed, the Pak colony died out; without protector management,
large animals in the ecosystem soon followed, leaving only bacteria etc. These
Pak microorganisms are the ancestors of all life on Earth, including humans.
This requires some hardwired genetic reason for life on Earth to develop
bilateral symmetry, etc. Besides, even if we evolve to look like the Pak, our
molecular structure would likely be so different that tree of life wouldn't
work on us. So scratch that.

2) Tree of life is a product of tnuctipun nanotechnology. The root+virus is
really an AI with nanomachines that can rebuild a bipedal sapient into a
superintelligent superstrong being. It doesn't matter what the genetic code,
protein structure, etc. of said bipedal sapient is: the AI will figure out
the optimal warrior to make from it. (Perhaps protectors are immune to the
Slaver power?). So humans and Pak just coincidentally look similar, but tree of life converts them into the same thing. The Pak colony Phssthpok searched
for just died out without a trace, somewhere in nearby space (check out the
Kzinti, or Pierin worlds...)

Yeah, it's a kluge, but what can we do?

And to David Empey: thanks for pointing out that the Slavers did _not_ use
Quantum I hyperdrive.

Raymund Eich

Jyrki Valkama

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Aug 30, 1994, 11:10:41 AM8/30/94
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Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:

: This seems more consistent to me with other known space stuff.


: In Ringworld, for example, it is mentioned that life on Earth
: and the Kzinti share ancestry via the Slaver farms, yet Speaker
: cannot eat Louis Wu.

Nitpick: Speaker could eat Louis Wu but for the sake of honor wouldn't.

Cheers! Jyrki Valkama

Ross Cunniff

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Aug 30, 1994, 11:52:03 AM8/30/94
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> Jon

Niven also wrote an episode of the Star Trek animated series; it's been
a long time, but I think Kzinti were in it, and a Slaver weapon... In
fact, it may have been similar to the Niven store, "Soft Weapon". But
then, as I said, it's been a *long* time...

Ross Cunniff
Hewlett-Packard Graphics Software Lab
cun...@fc.hp.com

Jon

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Aug 30, 1994, 12:26:32 PM8/30/94
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Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:

: OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak


: aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright
indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
their genetic hardwiring.

: So, some other unknown race. They find Earth X million years


: ago, sample the flora and fauna, and terraform the Pak homeworld.
: The Pak evolve there, and then colonize Earth.

: That bit is a stretch, that they should rediscover Earth, but they
: could find X million year old records of the original terraformers,
: just as Phsssthpok (sp?) finds their records a million years later.

That IS a bit of a stretch.


: Since they aren't a curious lot, and are uninterested in abstract


: knowledge, they may neither know nor care that their "homeworld"
: is a colony. Brennan must have figured it out, and lied.

But they would care. The Pak were very single minded when it came to anything
that wasn't Pak. If they had *known* about other planets, even ones inhabited
by Pak, they would have gone ape.

Not only that, but why would Brennan lie?

: This seems more consistent to me with other known space stuff.


: In Ringworld, for example, it is mentioned that life on Earth
: and the Kzinti share ancestry via the Slaver farms, yet Speaker
: cannot eat Louis Wu.

But in other KS stories, the Kzinti *do* eat people. Often and very messily.

: So who were the terraformers ? How long ago ? Where are they
: now ?

They are called Pting and they live in my garden....

Jon

Richard Michael Todd

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Aug 30, 1994, 3:51:45 PM8/30/94
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av...@oak.WPI.EDU (Avram Finkel) writes:

>Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...
>People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
>Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
>the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?

Yes, the animated ST series episode "Slaver Weapon", written by Larry Niven.
Basically it's the short story "The Soft Weapon", with a global
search-and-replace done of Spock for Nessus and Sulu and Uhura for the two
humans on the ship whose names I don't remember right now.

Carlton Brown

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Aug 30, 1994, 9:41:50 PM8/30/94
to
eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se ( Niall McAuley ) writes:
>OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
>aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.
>So, some other unknown race. They find Earth X million years
>ago, sample the flora and fauna, and terraform the Pak homeworld.
>The Pak evolve there, and then colonize Earth.

The Pak aren't very bright!??!!?? I STRONGLY urge you to read or re-read
_Protector_. The Pak are extremely intelligent. The Pak *breeder* form is
a dim creature. Feed it tree- of-life and it becomes a being with
intelligence equivalent to Pssthspok's. Homo sapiens is an already
intelligent mutation of the Pak breeder. Feed a human tree-of-life and you
get ..... Well, I'll leave it to you to discover what happens.

[..]

>In Ringworld, for example, it is mentioned that life on Earth
>and the Kzinti share ancestry via the Slaver farms, yet Speaker
>cannot eat Louis Wu.

You lost me here. Speaker *chooses* not to eat Louis because his honor
forbids the murder of an ally, even in order to survive. Its one of the
best scenes in the book...Speaker looks at Louis wistfully and asks; "Can
you eat the leaf-eater's food?" Brrrrr!

-WCB
- "Louis if honor requires me to starve, I will starve." -

Hiro-Matsu

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:25:30 PM8/30/94
to
In article <33vgum$h...@larry.rice.edu>, rfe...@owlnet.rice.edu (Raymund F Eich) says:
>
>In article <33trl2$g...@scunix2.harvard.edu>, mci...@scws36.harvard.edu (Matt McIrvin) writes:
>|> In article <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,
>|> David Empey <dge...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
>|>
>|> >Obviously, _Protector_ to the
>|> >contrary notwithstanding, humans evolved on Earth. The how did the
>|> >human-related Pak get on their planet?
>
>[munched outsiders, puppeteers, the Blinovitch Limitation Effect]
>
>A couple of possibilities occur, though they require some rewriting of
>the canon...
>
>1) Pak are a damn sight older than Phssthpok thinks in _Protector_. The
>first colony to Earth set out ca. 1000 million years ago, landed with an
>entire ecosystem, and wiped out any vestige of Earth's original lifeforms.
>When tree of life failed, the Pak colony died out; without protector management,
>large animals in the ecosystem soon followed, leaving only bacteria etc. These
>Pak microorganisms are the ancestors of all life on Earth, including humans.
>This requires some hardwired genetic reason for life on Earth to develop
>bilateral symmetry, etc. Besides, even if we evolve to look like the Pak, our
>molecular structure would likely be so different that tree of life wouldn't
>work on us. So scratch that.


Oh, goody. The PAK as the dinosaur-killers. Let me tell you, the field really
*needed* that idea...

Reason why it still might work: Pak and terr. life derive from common ancestors
spread by Slavers. No major canon rewrite required.

Reasons why it still won't work: 1) Not enough time for most species to have
evolved 2) Too many dangerous species left alive by the Pak (sharks, mosquitoes,
e.g., with provably longer ancestry than 100 Myears. 3) Need an explanation for
where birds came from. Ditto large carnivorous mammals. (See #1)


>2) Tree of life is a product of tnuctipun nanotechnology. The root+virus is
>really an AI with nanomachines that can rebuild a bipedal sapient into a
>superintelligent superstrong being. It doesn't matter what the genetic code,
>protein structure, etc. of said bipedal sapient is: the AI will figure out
>the optimal warrior to make from it. (Perhaps protectors are immune to the
>Slaver power?). So humans and Pak just coincidentally look similar, but tree
>of life converts them into the same thing. The Pak colony Phssthpok searche

>for just died out without a trace, somewhere in nearby space (check out the
>Kzinti, or Pierin worlds...)

Ignores the "fatal attraction" and doesn't explain the middle-aged human-
specific nature of ToL. I.e., why would the tnictipun make something so specific
to a (then) nonexistent species, and why not choose better starting material
like Kzinti to use for this? Also ignores explaining the degenerative changes
of human middle-age, absent ToL.


Not a bad try, though. Let's see...postulate a crash-landing on earth that
kills all but 1 or 2 protectors and leaves them crippled + dying. They get rid
of the obvious threats, but don't have time to deal with everything. No, forget
that, Pssthpok read their reports send back home, saying they landed safely.

How about if a Protector and an Allosaur are evenly matched? They all died
killing off the dinosaurs? Not unless the Pak lost all technology relevant to
the situation, but somehow kept interstellar communication...nah.

What was that about the Blinovitch Effect, again?

Hiro-Matsu

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Aug 30, 1994, 11:56:09 PM8/30/94
to
Niall McAuley says:

[ to a hopeless mess of attributions ]

>>>And would anyone like to hear a biochemist's tirade at the utter
>>>unbelievability of humans not being evolutionarily related to every other
>>>species on this planet?
>

>>the Outsiders done it.
>>No, wait, that won't work. OK, the Puppeteers done it. Three million years
>>or so ago, they sent a mad Puppeteer to Earth, engineered the Protector
>>virus and sent a colony of humans to the Pak home planet, safely far away
>>at 20 000 light-years, to see how the society would evolve? Uhhh, no,
>>I don't think so. OK, I give. How did it happen? Any ideas, anyone?
>
>OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ?

>So, some other unknown race. They find Earth X million years
>ago, sample the flora and fauna, and terraform the Pak homeworld.
>The Pak evolve there, and then colonize Earth.

>Since the[ Pak] aren't a curious lot, and are uninterested in abstract


>knowledge, they may neither know nor care that their "homeworld"
>is a colony. Brennan must have figured it out, and lied.
>
>This seems more consistent to me with other known space stuff.
>In Ringworld, for example, it is mentioned that life on Earth
>and the Kzinti share ancestry via the Slaver farms, yet Speaker
>cannot eat Louis Wu.
>
>So who were the terraformers ? How long ago ? Where are they
>now ?
>

Could still be the slavers.

In "World of Ptaavs", (where IS my copy?) Kzanol the slaver describes
the proto-Earth he's about to land on as, 'just another steamy food
planet'.

"Steamy"???

That strongly implies a cloud-covered, non-reducing atmosphere. We can
guess that the slaver food source on this world (at least) consisted
of the simplest CHON producers -- prokaryotes and aphotosynthetic
eukaryotes. Staying with the evidence, this puts us, sloppily and
depending on who you believe, at between 2 and 4 billion years ago.

Now: Who says the Slavers had only ONE sort of food? Just as one farm
raises corn while the next one raises soybeans, why not different
crops on different planets?

So, Earth and the Pak homeworld were both dedicated to raising corn,
though the Pak world was "planted" much earlier. The Kzinti homeworld,
on the other hand, was devoted to soybeans.

Result: Life on Earth and Pakworld is mutually compatible, but not
compatible with Kzin. Puppeteers evolved from "Oats", or "sorghum".

It fits. I think?

Rick

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Aug 30, 1994, 11:21:43 PM8/30/94
to
eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se ( Niall McAuley ) writes:

>OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
>aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

Umm, I think they're very bright, it's just that their fundamental
competiveness precludes cooperation on large projects. From the Known
Space series, we know they developed (off the top of my head) twing,
nuclear reaction suppression and scrith. To my mind, they are more
like bloody dangerous Motie Engineers.

>In Ringworld, for example, it is mentioned that life on Earth
>and the Kzinti share ancestry via the Slaver farms, yet Speaker
>cannot eat Louis Wu.

Where are Slavers mentioned in Ringworld? I think it's more a case
of Speaker not wanting to eat Louis, rather than cannot. I vaguely
remember incidents of Man-consumption from the Man-Kzin Wars,
and one of the characters in _The Soft Weapon_ was threatened with
limb removal for the benefit of the fresh-meat-less crew of the
Traitor's Claw.

Rick.
--
Rick "JT" Lyons | C/C++/x86/X | What claim? Dis claim!
Telecom Australia | Unix/DOS/Novell | Usenet before net uses you.
ACN 051 775 556 | |
work:pcl...@qus102.qld.npb.telecom.com.au | play:ri...@razorback.brisnet.org.au

Niall McAuley

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Aug 31, 1994, 6:20:02 AM8/31/94
to
jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes :

>: OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
>: aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

>Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright


>indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
>their genetic hardwiring.

I was comparing them to Brennan (equally focussed but brighter),
and the puppeteers. Brighter than me, certainly.

>: Since they aren't a curious lot, and are uninterested in abstract


>: knowledge, they may neither know nor care that their "homeworld"
>: is a colony. Brennan must have figured it out, and lied.

>But they would care. The Pak were very single minded when it came to anything


>that wasn't Pak. If they had *known* about other planets, even ones inhabited
>by Pak, they would have gone ape.

But they did: they launched the original colony/invasion effort. I meant
that the abstract fact that Earth is the "homeworld" and Pak the colony
wouldn't interest them.

>Not only that, but why would Brennan lie?

He told a lot of lies, whenever it suited him. I haven't figured out why
in this case, but I'm not as bright as him. He is bright enough to realize
that the scenario presented in the book is outrageously false.

I joined the thread when rfe...@owlnet.rice.edu (Raymund F. Eich) said :


>And would anyone like to hear a biochemist's tirade at the utter
>unbelievability of humans not being evolutionarily related to every other
>species on this planet?

OK, so we share a common ancestor in the Slaver soup. This then ignores
the mountain of morphological and genetic evidence showing that humans
evolved from earth life.

Hence my "pak is the colony" idea.

>:Speaker
>: cannot eat Louis Wu.

>But in other KS stories, the Kzinti *do* eat people. Often and very messily.

I grovel humbly, as I have been soundly kicked on this point.

Niall

Erik Max Francis

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:17:36 PM8/30/94
to
ste...@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM (Vociferous Mole) writes:

> Nope. Slavers existed 1.5 _billion_ years ago, by Niven's own words:
> read the Down_in_Flames summary/outline. (Of course, according to
> DiF, the Slavers didn't exist at all. But all the planted evidence
> says 1.5Gy.)

Figures in the Known Space series concerning the Slavers also indicate
that they were around 1-2 billion years ago as well, so it's not just
from "Down in Flames." The Slavers definitely were around and died of
a long, long time ago.

Erik Max Francis

unread,
Aug 30, 1994, 10:20:03 PM8/30/94
to
av...@oak.WPI.EDU (Avram Finkel) writes:

> Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...
> People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
> Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
> the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?

Indeed it was. Niven wrote the script for the animated Star Trek
series; the episode was called "The Slaver Weapon." It is, by the
way, quite a good (considering the format) adaption of one of his, in
my opinion, best stories, "The Soft Weapon."

Erik Max Francis

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:22:44 PM8/30/94
to
jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes:

> Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:
>
> : OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
> : aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

> Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright
> indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
> their genetic hardwiring.

I guess it depends on your definition of _bright_. In my opinion,
brightness involves something which allows alternate solutions to
different problems. In a way protectors do not have this, because
they are supposedly so smart that they automatically see the optimal
solution to a problem and cannot sway from it for any reason.

They are most definitely very smart, but something of that
intelligence is limited by genetics tying their hands behind their
back.

> But they would care. The Pak were very single minded when it came to anything
> that wasn't Pak. If they had *known* about other planets, even ones inhabited
> by Pak, they would have gone ape.
>
> Not only that, but why would Brennan lie?

Hard to say; after all, he's a protector, and protectors have their
own reasons which are not terribly clear at all times.

> But in other KS stories, the Kzinti *do* eat people. Often and very messily.

Indeed. In "The Soft Weapon," the Kzinti captors threaten to torture
their captured humans by painlessly removing their limbs and eating
them in front of them.

Erik Max Francis

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Aug 30, 1994, 10:29:15 PM8/30/94
to
cun...@fc.hp.com (Ross Cunniff) writes:

> Niven also wrote an episode of the Star Trek animated series; it's been
> a long time, but I think Kzinti were in it, and a Slaver weapon... In
> fact, it may have been similar to the Niven store, "Soft Weapon". But
> then, as I said, it's been a *long* time...

Indeed they were. It was indeed based on "The Soft Weapon"; the

episode was called "The Slaver Weapon."

Jim_...@transarc.com

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Aug 31, 1994, 8:02:48 AM8/31/94
to

av...@oak.WPI.EDU (Avram Finkel) writes:
> Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...
> People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
> Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
> the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?
>

Well, sort of. One of the Star Trek animated episodes is "The Slaver
Weapon," which is based on Niven's "The Soft Weapon." The puppeteer is
replaced by Mr. Spock.

******************************************************************
Jim Mann jm...@transarc.com

Transarc Corporation
The Gulf Tower, 707 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (412) 338-4442

Football players, somewhere back in their phylogenic development,
learned how to talk like football coaches. ("Our goals this week were
to contain Dickerson and control the line of scrimmage.") Baseball
players say things like, "This pitcher's so bad that when he comes in,
the grounds crew drags the warning track."
-- Tom Boswell, "99 Reasons Why Baseball Is Better than Football"

Jon

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Aug 31, 1994, 9:18:12 AM8/31/94
to
Erik Max Francis (m...@alcyone.darkside.com) wrote:
: jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes:

: > Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:
: >
: > : OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
: > : aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

: > Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright
: > indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
: > their genetic hardwiring.

: I guess it depends on your definition of _bright_. In my opinion,
: brightness involves something which allows alternate solutions to
: different problems. In a way protectors do not have this, because
: they are supposedly so smart that they automatically see the optimal
: solution to a problem and cannot sway from it for any reason.

Well, we're getting a little philosophical now, but surely we look
for alternative solutions to a problem only because we want to reach
the optimum one. Turn the question around the other way: why go for a
"sub-optimal" solution if you have the optimum one at hand? (OK, so the
"sub-optimal" one might be "good enough" but that's not what I'm getting at).


: They are most definitely very smart, but something of that

: intelligence is limited by genetics tying their hands behind their
: back.

Which is pretty much what *I* said above... :-)

: > But they would care. The Pak were very single minded when it came to anything


: > that wasn't Pak. If they had *known* about other planets, even ones inhabited
: > by Pak, they would have gone ape.
: >
: > Not only that, but why would Brennan lie?

: Hard to say; after all, he's a protector, and protectors have their
: own reasons which are not terribly clear at all times.

I agree. But, the protector's driving force is to protect *his* branch of the
race. There is a hierarchy, I guess, with the survival of the Pak race being
higher than that of the family, but, the blood line of the individual
protectors is really what it is all comes down to.

Whatever, to make the story credible, Brennan must have a good reason to lie.
My question is, what is that reason?

: > But in other KS stories, the Kzinti *do* eat people. Often and very messily.

: Indeed. In "The Soft Weapon," the Kzinti captors threaten to torture
: their captured humans by painlessly removing their limbs and eating
: them in front of them.

Yum!


Jon

Jon

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Aug 31, 1994, 9:27:18 AM8/31/94
to
Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:
: jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes :

: >: OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
: >: aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

: >Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright
: >indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
: >their genetic hardwiring.

: I was comparing them to Brennan (equally focussed but brighter),
: and the puppeteers. Brighter than me, certainly.

And me. But... in a way Brennan is less focussed... or is he...? I don't
know. On the one hand, he wipes out the Martians as any self-respecting Pak
should, but on the other he recognises that humans have evolved to where they
are now and will continue to do so; he encourages this by not letting ToL
back on earth. Dunno. Brennan's a strange one. I think Niven has a few more
stories there.

: >: Since they aren't a curious lot, and are uninterested in abstract


: >: knowledge, they may neither know nor care that their "homeworld"
: >: is a colony. Brennan must have figured it out, and lied.

: >But they would care. The Pak were very single minded when it came to anything
: >that wasn't Pak. If they had *known* about other planets, even ones inhabited
: >by Pak, they would have gone ape.

: But they did: they launched the original colony/invasion effort. I meant
: that the abstract fact that Earth is the "homeworld" and Pak the colony
: wouldn't interest them.

Right. I see what you mean. And I agree. I think.

: >Not only that, but why would Brennan lie?

: He told a lot of lies, whenever it suited him. I haven't figured out why
: in this case, but I'm not as bright as him. He is bright enough to realize
: that the scenario presented in the book is outrageously false.

But we have the advantage of freedom of choice....


: >:Speaker
: >: cannot eat Louis Wu.

: >But in other KS stories, the Kzinti *do* eat people. Often and very messily.

: I grovel humbly, as I have been soundly kicked on this point.


We do get our own back, though... in one of the "Kzin Wars" stories some
bod skewers a puncing Kzin with a sharp pole. Ouch.

Jon

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Aug 31, 1994, 10:11:57 AM8/31/94
to
Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.sf.written: 30-Aug-94 Re: Tales of Known
Space - .. Raymund F Ei...@owlnet.ri (2005)

> 1) Pak are a damn sight older than Phssthpok thinks in _Protector_. The
> first colony to Earth set out ca. 1000 million years ago, landed with an
> entire ecosystem, and wiped out any vestige of Earth's original lifeforms.
> When tree of life failed, the Pak colony died out; without protector
> management,
> large animals in the ecosystem soon followed, leaving only bacteria etc. These
> Pak microorganisms are the ancestors of all life on Earth, including humans.
> This requires some hardwired genetic reason for life on Earth to develop
> bilateral symmetry, etc. Besides, even if we evolve to look like the Pak, our
> molecular structure would likely be so different that tree of life wouldn't
> work on us. So scratch that.

And humans have bone-for-bone similarity to the Pak. Lotta hardwiring there.

If we assume that modern humans are nearly Pak, but we are related to
all of Earth life, then Pak evolved on Earth. No other possibility. The
brief introduction in _Protector_ never said that the Pak had proved
they evolved on the "Pak homeworld"; after N millenia of war, there
might not be any evidence left.

A prehistoric race of Earth hominids evolved intelligence, spaceflight,
started a colony on Pak. Then they all died here. (I wish I could blame
the Slavers for that, but it's a billion years too late.) All other
Earth hominids of the period died too? Sure; because all Earth hominids
of the period used the Tree-of-Life system! Something happened after the
proto-Pak left Earth. All the thallium disappeared... no, that's silly;
the point of the thallium business was that the stuff is common around
Pak but rare in our solar system. Besides, thallium is toxic as hell to
us! (Look it up.) So original Earth Tree-of-Life could live on Earth.
Then something happened; the virus mutated and started killing breeders
instead of converting them. That would have had to be deliberate; a
natural mutation wouldn't affect the entire virus population, or all
hominids. A Pak weapon gone wrong. An alliance of Pak freeze their
breeders and flee Earth. Along the way, they engineer an entirely new
virus to replace the lost natural one. But why go all the way to Pak?
Known Space has habitable planets. If they've cured their breeders of
the old virus, why leave Earth at all?

Ok, try this. The original (Earth) virus was magical. Eventually, the
mana got low enough that it could no longer convert breeders to
protectors. Pak / humanity is a magic-dependent species, and it goes
mythical! Only monkeys are left on Earth. But the Pak already had
colonies on other planets, lofted by vast teleportation spells while the
mana was still plentiful. One by one, they fail and collapse, leaving
nothing at all. (They didn't import whole ecosystems to their colonies.
At first they didn't need them, having the untapped magic of a whole
world; by the time they realized something was happening, it was too
late for interstellar travel.) Only the "Pak homeworld" survives...
because it's closest to the Core, and the intense cosmic radiation
pushes mana through the planet's magnetic field. Just traces, but enough
to sustain the species. Pssthpok was wrong about the thallium! The
thallium-rich soil he brought to Earth was mana-rich as well; that's why
it grew Tree-of-Life.

Now, if magic is strongest closest to the Core, the Core explosion takes
on new meaning. The Puppeteers are in for a surprise. They'll return to
Known Space after the blast passes, expecting fertile empty worlds, and
find that they're toys to a galaxy full of gods...

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Sean Eric Fagan

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Aug 31, 1994, 1:25:10 PM8/31/94
to
In article <341vuk$s...@pheidippides.axion.bt.co.uk>,

Jon <jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk> wrote:
>Well, we're getting a little philosophical now, but surely we look
>for alternative solutions to a problem only because we want to reach
>the optimum one.

Pak Protectors have much less free will than human Protectors. The Pak,
remember, are in a constant state of war. When they're not busy, they
dream. Whey they are busy, they are responding to a threat -- almost all of
their lives are spent *reacting*, not *acting*.

Brennan-monster, on the other hand, did *other* things during his life. He
reacted to threats, and anticipated and whatnot, but he did other things as
well. (The duplicate Stonehenge, for example.)

Brennan-monster thinks it was mostly cultural, and I'd have to agree: Niven
set up a society where the Pak Protectors, driven by instinct and encouraged
by their upbringing, fight constantly. The human Protectors don't -- it is
much easier for them to deal with all of humanity, and not just their
descendents. Although, they are still driven by instinct -- this drives a
lot of what Brennan-monster did.

Jeffrey Robertson

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Aug 31, 1994, 2:19:20 PM8/31/94
to
In article <9408301416.AA06655@eeiatus01>,
Niall McAuley <eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se> wrote:
>References: <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com> <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>

>
>The Pak aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

Not very bright?!?!?!

I'd say the race that built the Ringworld is pretty bright.
FTL isn't everything, you know.

--
-------------------------------------+----------------+-----------------
Jeffrey Robertson | je...@bnr.ca | BNR, Ottawa
"I speak for myself, not BNR" - Me +----------------+ (Meriline)
"Verbing weirds language" - Calvin OC-48 FiberWorld

Mike Scott

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Aug 31, 1994, 2:42:31 PM8/31/94
to
In article <33tr6f$n...@bobby-sands.llc.org> mi...@llc.org "Mike Giroux" writes:

> The Slavers were a few MILLION years ago. The Pak are relatively
>contemporary with humanity (or directly ancestral, actually), so they're
>at most 50,000 years back.

No, no, no. From _World of Ptavvs_, p.44 in the 1978 Orbit (UK)
edition, after a preamble in which Kzanol/Greenberg spends some time
ruminating on how things have changed (asteroid belt thinned, yeast
evolved to people),

"A billion years wouldn't be long enough. Two billion might do it."

Now admittedly these are underpowered American billions, but the Slavers
were clearly more than 1,000,000,000 years ago.

--
Mike Scott || Confabulation is the 1995 UK national SF convention
Mi...@moose.demon.co.uk || Mail Con...@moose.demon.co.uk for more details

Jens Kilian

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Aug 29, 1994, 9:21:27 PM8/29/94
to
Raymund> Of course, you can argue the opposite: the Pak are damn old, but the
Raymund> Slavers couldn't find them b/c the Slavers used good ol' Quantum I
Raymund> hyperdrive, which doesn't let you get out of gravity wells (such as
Raymund> the crowded core). I'd just say you're wrong, though :)

In "World of Ptavvs", Kzanol uses a ramjet.

Bye,
Jens.
--
Internet: je...@hpbbn.bbn.hp.com | Phone: (0|+49)7031-14-4785 (TELNET 778-4785)
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As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.

David Empey

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Aug 31, 1994, 11:42:46 PM8/31/94
to

>References: <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com> <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>

In article <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,
David Empey <dge...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:

>In <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> rfe...@owlnet.rice.edu (Raymund F. Eich) writes:
>>And would anyone like to hear a biochemist's tirade at the utter
>>unbelievability of humans not being evolutionarily related to every other
>>species on this planet?

>Obviously, _Protector_ to the
>contrary notwithstanding, humans evolved on Earth. The how did the
>human-related Pak get on their planet? My theory: the Outsiders done it.
>No, wait, that won't work. OK, the Puppeteers done it. Three million years
>or so ago, they sent a mad Puppeteer to Earth, engineered the Protector
>virus and sent a colony of humans to the Pak home planet, safely far away
>at 20 000 light-years, to see how the society would evolve? Uhhh, no,
>I don't think so. OK, I give. How did it happen? Any ideas, anyone?

How about a Down in Flames type hoax: Phssthpok was a (modern) Tnuctipun
artifact, too--but he was too smart for them and got away with a set of
false memories to confuse him. But what were the Tnuctipun up to?
Trying to create a race of unstoppable warriors for some reason or other.

Incidentally, anyone want to start up the "there were Protectors in
the Solar System during the First Man-Kzin War argument" again?
I'm convinced that Brennan wouldn't have left the humans protectorless
when he went off to fight the Pak, (who must really have been either
a Tnuctipun hoax or actual war fleet, coming to fix the mistake of
Phssthpok's escape) but then it's hard to explain why Earth did so
poorly in M-KW I. I'm toying with an idea like: Earth's protector
doesn't want to start a successful campaign against the Kzin too soon,
because if the Kzin started to lose quick they might be able to create
some was of destroying the Earth, if they couldn't conquer it--attack
with relativistic missiles that you can't see in time to dodge, or something.
So they shore up Earth's defenses, figuring if the Kzin seem to be slowly
winning they won't worry too much about unexpectedly effective defense,
and meanwhile plot a way to destroy _all_ the Kzin as simultaneously as
possibly. But when the hyperdrive appears, all bets are off, you can no
longer hope to get even most of the Kzin, so they cancel the Kzin
extermination project. Yes? No? Maybe?

--
-Dave Empey (speaking only for myself)
Rule 27B: Never make key tactical decisions while suffering
electro-shock convulsions. -M. N. Vorkosigan

David Empey

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Aug 31, 1994, 11:46:56 PM8/31/94
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In <UiN8yhi00gpI8A=G...@andrew.cmu.edu> "Andrew C. Plotkin" <ap...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

>If we assume that modern humans are nearly Pak, but we are related to
>all of Earth life, then Pak evolved on Earth. No other possibility. The
>brief introduction in _Protector_ never said that the Pak had proved
>they evolved on the "Pak homeworld"; after N millenia of war, there
>might not be any evidence left.

snip...

>Ok, try this. The original (Earth) virus was magical. Eventually, the
>mana got low enough that it could no longer convert breeders to
>protectors. Pak / humanity is a magic-dependent species, and it goes
>mythical! Only monkeys are left on Earth. But the Pak already had
>colonies on other planets, lofted by vast teleportation spells while the
>mana was still plentiful. One by one, they fail and collapse, leaving
>nothing at all. (They didn't import whole ecosystems to their colonies.
>At first they didn't need them, having the untapped magic of a whole
>world; by the time they realized something was happening, it was too
>late for interstellar travel.) Only the "Pak homeworld" survives...
>because it's closest to the Core, and the intense cosmic radiation
>pushes mana through the planet's magnetic field. Just traces, but enough
>to sustain the species. Pssthpok was wrong about the thallium! The
>thallium-rich soil he brought to Earth was mana-rich as well; that's why
>it grew Tree-of-Life.

>Now, if magic is strongest closest to the Core, the Core explosion takes
>on new meaning. The Puppeteers are in for a surprise. They'll return to
>Known Space after the blast passes, expecting fertile empty worlds, and
>find that they're toys to a galaxy full of gods...

ROTFL! This is great! Send it to Niven!

Matt McIrvin

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Aug 31, 1994, 1:50:51 PM8/31/94
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In article <MATT.94Au...@physics16.berkeley.edu>,
Matt Austern <ma...@physics.berkeley.edu> wrote:

>Niven assumes that life on Earth evolved somewhere between 1 and 2
>billion years ago. (See, for example, "The Green Marauder".)
>
>I don't know whether Niven is right in assuming that, of course. I
>don't know how much we can really tell from the unicellular fossil
>record. To me, at least, 2 billion sounds a bit more plausible than 4
>billion---but then, I'm no evolutionary biologist.

I seem to recall that, from the evidence of fossilized bacteria, life
arose on Earth less than a billion years after the Earth solidified--
over three and a half billion years ago. For most of the subsequent
time, there was nothing but prokaryotes, and probably viruses, if you
count them as life. Multicellular life was, I think, confined to the
last billion years, as far as can be told.
--
Matt 01234567 <-- Indent-o-Meter
McIrvin ^ Harnessing tab damage for peaceful ends!

Andrew Solovay

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Sep 1, 1994, 6:29:42 AM9/1/94
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In article <11...@nyet.uucp>,
Pete Hardie <pe...@nyet.UUCP> writes:
>Didn't the last Slavers give a mental deathshout to all sentient life
>in the galaxy one they realized that the tnuctipun were going to win the
>war? This would tend to imply that the Pak are post-Slaver.

The "psychic deathshout" stuff is just conjecture. We don't really
*know* how the war ended; the Grog have long since forgotten (if they
really *are* Slaver descendants), Kzanol timefroze before the war
started, the Soft Weapon was stasis'd in mid-war... That *may* be how
the war ended. OTOH, maybe the Tnuctipun killed off all the Slavers,
but were too badly hurt in the war to recover, and all the other
slave races were killed in the crossfire.

But yes, if _World_of_Ptavs_ and _Protector_ are at all to be
believed, the Pak are *long* post-Slaver.

And yes, the idea that humans aren't (closely!) related to rats and
iguanas is ludicrous. I mean, just compare the skeletons, f'r pete's
sake. Coincidence? Not hardly.
--
Andrew Solovay [PGP public key available on request]

"Cottleston, cottleston, cottleston pie."
-- Pooh

Andrew Solovay

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Sep 1, 1994, 6:39:02 AM9/1/94
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In article <341vuk$s...@pheidippides.axion.bt.co.uk>,

Jon <jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk> writes:
>Erik Max Francis (m...@alcyone.darkside.com) wrote:
>: jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes:
>
>: > Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:
>: >
>: > : OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
>: > : aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.
>
>: > Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright
>: > indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
>: > their genetic hardwiring.
>
>: I guess it depends on your definition of _bright_. In my opinion,
>: brightness involves something which allows alternate solutions to
>: different problems. In a way protectors do not have this, because
>: they are supposedly so smart that they automatically see the optimal
>: solution to a problem and cannot sway from it for any reason.
>
>Well, we're getting a little philosophical now, but surely we look
>for alternative solutions to a problem only because we want to reach
>the optimum one. Turn the question around the other way: why go for a
>"sub-optimal" solution if you have the optimum one at hand? (OK, so the
>"sub-optimal" one might be "good enough" but that's not what I'm getting at).

Also, the Protectors were quite able to come up with "alternate
solutions". Remember, (beware: I'm summarising from memory) when the
Brennan-monster flew for Home, he armed his ship with four different
weapons. When he got into a dogfight with protectors, he knew that if
he rationally chose the best weapon, the other protectors would
rationally deduce which weapon he chose, and prepare accordingly. So
he chose one of the four at random. The other protectors could surely
anticipate that he would do this, but that didn't help; all they could
figure out was thqat he'd use some reasonably good weapon, instead of
the optimal (but predictable) one.

Which seems like decnet lateral thinking to me...

Andrew Solovay

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Sep 1, 1994, 6:49:31 AM9/1/94
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In article <340v0p$b...@nntp.crl.com>,

Hiro-Matsu <To...@lizzard.org> writes:
>
> In "World of Ptaavs", (where IS my copy?) Kzanol the slaver describes
>the proto-Earth he's about to land on as, 'just another steamy food
>planet'.
>
> "Steamy"???
>
> That strongly implies a cloud-covered, non-reducing atmosphere.

That's a bit of a stretch. I can think of several other, equally
plausible readings, e.g.:

1. Earth (then & now) is just warmer & more humid than Kzanol's
homeworld. Not Venus-like, just a little steamy.

Or:

2. Kzanol had once visited a food-world which was "steamy" (to
whatever degree: Venus, Florida, Vivid Video). Dim bulb that he is, he
assumes *all* food worlds are, likewise, steamy. But in fact, I'd
expect a lot of variation in food worlds: there are probably *many*
worlds that are too extreme in some way for comfortable Slaver/Slave
life, but those clever Tnuctipun could come up with some kind of food
yeast to live on any with liquid water (and probably many more
besides).

> Now: Who says the Slavers had only ONE sort of food? Just as one farm
>raises corn while the next one raises soybeans, why not different
>crops on different planets?
>
> So, Earth and the Pak homeworld were both dedicated to raising corn,
>though the Pak world was "planted" much earlier. The Kzinti homeworld,
>on the other hand, was devoted to soybeans.
>
> Result: Life on Earth and Pakworld is mutually compatible, but not
>compatible with Kzin. Puppeteers evolved from "Oats", or "sorghum".

As noted, Kzinti can, and do, eat humans. Puppeteers can eat Earth
vegetables (remember Nessus drinking carrot juice at the start of
Ringworld?), and Louis could eat food from Nessus's food-generator.
Speaker-to-Animals couldn't, but that's because he's a carnivore, not
(necessarily) because their biochemistry was incompatible. (Do any
sources talk about Kzinti eating Puppeteers?)

Niall McAuley

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Sep 1, 1994, 8:42:44 AM9/1/94
to
dge...@cats.ucsc.edu (David Empey) writes:

>Incidentally, anyone want to start up the "there were Protectors in
>the Solar System during the First Man-Kzin War argument" again?

The protectors think mankind needs whipping into shape, so they
allow the Man/Kzin wars. We know the puppeteers are around, and
the Protectors are scratching their heads, wondering what to do
about them.

They hatch a cunning plan, to fake the core explosion, and scare
the little cowards away.

Any takers ?

Jon Leech

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Sep 1, 1994, 8:31:38 AM9/1/94
to
In article <solovayC...@netcom.com>,

Andrew Solovay <sol...@netcom.com> wrote:
>The "psychic deathshout" stuff is just conjecture. We don't really
>*know* how the war ended; the Grog have long since forgotten (if they
>really *are* Slaver descendants), Kzanol timefroze before the war
>started, the Soft Weapon was stasis'd in mid-war...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the (6, so far) Man/Kzin War
collections, which are part of Known Space continuity despite not being
written by Niven. One story involves another de-statisfied Slaver found in
the Wunderland belt, complete with ship and slaves, and provides a view of
events just prior to the "deathshout".
Jon
__@/

Mark Rosenfelder

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Sep 1, 1994, 12:49:17 PM9/1/94
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In article <LsHwRc...@alcyone.darkside.com>,

Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.darkside.com> wrote:
>jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes:
>> Niall McAuley (eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se) wrote:
>> : OK, not the puppeteers, what motive would they have ? The Pak
>> : aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.
>
>> Are you sure? The impression I got was that the Pak were *very* bright
>> indeed but that their "brightness" was very tightly focused because of
>> their genetic hardwiring.
>
>I guess it depends on your definition of _bright_. In my opinion,
>brightness involves something which allows alternate solutions to
>different problems. In a way protectors do not have this, because
>they are supposedly so smart that they automatically see the optimal
>solution to a problem and cannot sway from it for any reason.

Well, if life consists of a sequence of story problems, as it pretty much
does in Niven's books, then increasing intelligence may indeed preclude
free will.

This paradigm works for physics; not so well for biology. Biological
systems tend to produce a bewildering variety of solutions to a problem...
they only need to find a good solution, not the optimal solution. For
that matter, biological systems have an additional degree of freedom:
it's not just a matter of evolving the best creature for a particular
ecological niche; you can also discover new niches, or modify the old ones.

Cultural systems are even more complicated. Consider the "problem" of
writing an sf novel: is there a single optimal solution?

Finally, one could argue that a mindset which assumes that there is always
precisely one solution to a problem is *due to that very attitude* unlikely
to find that solution. Dogmatic, recipe-ridden minds are not good at
lateral thinking and original thought. I'll take a Richard Feynman
over a Pssthpok any day...

dkuc...@vax.oxford.ac.uk

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Sep 1, 1994, 7:43:01 AM9/1/94
to

Also, Niven's comments about Puppeteers and hyperspace navigation suggest that
Puppeteers don't have any psionic powers at all, unlike humans and Kzinti.
So presumably, Puppeteers can't use mana and wouldn't have magic. But
suppose the Puppeteers figured out how to drain mana from a region, using
technology?
Dan Kucerovsky

Bronis Vidugiris

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Sep 1, 1994, 4:30:35 PM9/1/94
to
In article <343irg$2...@darkstar.ucsc.edu> dge...@cats.ucsc.edu (David Empey) writes:
)
)In <UiN8yhi00gpI8A=G...@andrew.cmu.edu> "Andrew C. Plotkin" <ap...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

)>Now, if magic is strongest closest to the Core, the Core explosion takes
)>on new meaning. The Puppeteers are in for a surprise. They'll return to
)>Known Space after the blast passes, expecting fertile empty worlds, and
)>find that they're toys to a galaxy full of gods...
)
)ROTFL! This is great! Send it to Niven!

I agree - this is great stuff!
--
Get a CLUE! There is only the _c_ontinuous, _l_inear, _u_nitary, _e_volution
of the wavefunction. -- John Booz

David K. Leikam

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Sep 1, 1994, 10:53:00 PM9/1/94
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In article <342ftr$s...@scunix2.harvard.edu>,
Matt McIrvin <mci...@scws36.harvard.edu> wrote:

>>I don't know whether Niven is right in assuming that, of course. I
>>don't know how much we can really tell from the unicellular fossil
>>record. To me, at least, 2 billion sounds a bit more plausible than 4
>>billion---but then, I'm no evolutionary biologist.
>
>I seem to recall that, from the evidence of fossilized bacteria, life
>arose on Earth less than a billion years after the Earth solidified--
>over three and a half billion years ago. For most of the subsequent
>time, there was nothing but prokaryotes, and probably viruses, if you
>count them as life. Multicellular life was, I think, confined to the
>last billion years, as far as can be told.

That's basically true, but it's also basically RECENT. Most references
will still cite the previous conjecture, that life arose about 1.5
billion years ago. I believe it was just in this past year that the line
was pushed back to about 4 billion years ago.

So if anybody's going to cite sources sometime, make sure they're up to
date sources.


shaham orit

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Sep 2, 1994, 9:57:05 AM9/2/94
to
Avram Finkel (av...@oak.WPI.EDU) wrote:
: Sorry to go off-ropic here, but this has been gnawing at me for a while...

: People have been discussing these 'Slavers', and while I've never read any
: Niven (yeah, I know, I'm a heathan and all that...), I swear that I recognize
: the name... Was it in a Star Trek episode or novel, perhaps?
:
: Just a-ramblin'
: -Avi
:

Yes. Niven adapted his story, "Slaver Weapon", into an Animated Star Trek
episode.

Orit

p.s. oh, and *do* read Niven.

Erik Max Francis

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Sep 1, 1994, 10:14:45 AM9/1/94
to
ma...@physics16.berkeley.edu (Matt Austern) writes:

> In article <33ub62$j...@nntp.crl.com> To...@lizzard.org (Toda) writes:
>
> > It would be closer to 3 or 4 billion, I think. In the beginning of WoP,
> > Knazol crashlands on an earth without life except for the slaver food
> > source -- from which, presumably, all other life (except humans, of course)
> > would have evolved. That would put the date much further back, I believe.


>
> Niven assumes that life on Earth evolved somewhere between 1 and 2
> billion years ago. (See, for example, "The Green Marauder".)

"The Green Marauder," though, is a Draco Tavern story, and is not
part of Known Space.

> I don't know whether Niven is right in assuming that, of course. I
> don't know how much we can really tell from the unicellular fossil
> record. To me, at least, 2 billion sounds a bit more plausible than 4
> billion---but then, I'm no evolutionary biologist.

I think it's safe to say that the evolutionary goes back to about 4
billion years, or very shortly (geologically speaking) after the Earth
itself formed.

Erik Max Francis

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Sep 1, 1994, 10:18:19 AM9/1/94
to
jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Jon) writes:

> Rick (pcl...@qus102.qld.npb.telecom.com.au) wrote:
> : eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se ( Niall McAuley ) writes:
>
> : Where are Slavers mentioned in Ringworld? I think it's more a case
>
> Err... the field of Slaver Sunflowers?

There was also mention of a Bandersnatch skeleting in _The Ringworld
Engineers_ (or maybe it was _Ringworld_).

Jerry Cullingford

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Sep 2, 1994, 8:15:29 AM9/2/94
to

*SPOILER* for Ringworld Engineers ahead!

In article <346se5$r...@crl7.crl.com> dtr...@crl.com (James Gassaway) writes:
>I don't remember reading anywhere that the Pak built Ringworld.

read Ringworld Engineers; medium plot spoiler coming up...

There's strong evidence that the Pak built Ringworld towards the end of the
book; There's certainly tree-of-life virus around, and a typically Pak setup,
including some stuff that was built into the ringworld.

--
+------------------------------------------------------------------+ |
| Jerry Cullingford #include <std.disclaimer> +44 442 230000 x3875| ,-|--
| j...@crosfield.co.uk j...@selune.demon.co.uk je...@shell.portal.com | \_|__
+-----(Work)--------------(Home)--------------(another alternate)--+ \___/

Chad C. Mulligan

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Sep 2, 1994, 9:44:14 AM9/2/94
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James Gassaway (dtr...@crl.com) wrote:
: je...@bmerha2a.bnr.ca (Jeffrey Robertson) writes:

: >In article <9408301416.AA06655@eeiatus01>,


: >Niall McAuley <eei...@eeiatus01.ericsson.se> wrote:
: >>References: <BBUTTON.94...@netcom17.netcom.com> <33lnte$k...@larry.rice.edu> <33mmlv$3...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>
: >>
: >>The Pak aren't very bright, but they are ruthless and dangerous.

: >Not very bright?!?!?!

: >I'd say the race that built the Ringworld is pretty bright.
: >FTL isn't everything, you know.

: I don't remember reading anywhere that the Pak built Ringworld.

I don't remember it being explicitly stated, but Louis Wu (sp?) certainly
thought so, and Teela Brown had to get her ToL from *somewhere* on the
Ringworld, didn't she?

But this is a good question... if the Pak were as rabidly xenophobic as they
appear to be, why on earth (or Pak homeworld or the Ringworld) would they
make replicas of Earth, mars and Kzin on the Ringworld?

Jon

May T. Young

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Sep 2, 1994, 10:06:22 AM9/2/94
to
In article <33tr6f$n...@bobby-sands.llc.org>, Mike Giroux <mi...@llc.org> wrote:
>
> Actually, Brennan comes back in "Down in Flames" in _N-Space_, but that
>story "never happened". It's just an outline of a way Niven could
>totally destroy known space. It's fairly twisted, but fun!

A little off topic: What and where is the latest version of "Down in Flames"?
The SF Library on gandalf.rutgers.edu has the 1977 version, but didn't Niven
update it since then?

Michael F Gordon

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Sep 2, 1994, 11:49:27 AM9/2/94
to
In <347a7e$d...@pheidippides.axion.bt.co.uk> jmcc...@fmg.bt.co.uk (Chad C. Mulligan) writes:
>But this is a good question... if the Pak were as rabidly xenophobic as they
>appear to be, why on earth (or Pak homeworld or the Ringworld) would they
>make replicas of Earth, mars and Kzin on the Ringworld?

As I remember it (my copy of The Ringworld Engineers is 400 miles away)
the maps were there to confuse people looking for the repair centre and
control room, which was hidden under the map of Mars. Louis found it
when he noticed that there were indentations on the underside of the
ringworld where the other maps were, but the underside of the map of
Mars was solid.


Michael Gordon
--
Politicians are like nappies, both should be changed regularly
and for the same reason - graffito on a wall in Yeovil.

James Terman

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Sep 2, 1994, 3:12:10 PM9/2/94
to
In article <alien...@acheron.wanganui.gen.nz>,
Ross Smith <al...@acheron.wanganui.gen.nz> wrote:
>Not necessarily; the best evidence we have indicates that life on Earth
>was single-celled up to about 1.3 billion years ago. Niven states in
>several places that the Slavers lived about 1.5 billion years ago.
>

I believe the earliest evidence for life is in rocks that are dated 3.5
thousand million years ago. This is fully developed single cell life with
DNA and everything. There was a heavy period of bombardment of the inner
solar solar system that lasted until 3.8 thousand million years ago (this
comes from the Apollo lunar rocks) in which it is doubtful that life could
have survived. So life might have indeed started within a few 100 million
years of when it possible to do so.
--
| James L. Terman | Science may set limits to know- |
| ter...@holmes.astro.nwu.edu | ledge, but should not set limits |
| ter...@ossenu.astro.nwu.edu | to imagination. |
| | - Bertrand Russell |

Chris Anderson

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Sep 2, 1994, 8:31:03 PM9/2/94