[DbS] Issola by Brust (part 1 of 2: up to ch6)

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Thomas Yan

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Aug 23, 2001, 6:39:56 PM8/23/01
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Distracted by Shadows: _Issola_, by Steven Brust; 2001 Tor hardcover edition.

{
Intro and _Brokedown Palace_, resp.:

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=9lvahr%24nej%241%40news01.cit.cornell.edu
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=9lvapu%24nej%242%40news01.cit.cornell.edu

I've gotten a bit lazy about distinguishing [ ] and -" "-.
}

Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
Mild spoilers for _Taltos_ and Bujold's _The Vor Game_.

{Apologies for material duplicated in earlier posts.}

p1. [Title] {term?}
p2. "Books by Steven Brust" {no "Dragaeran Novels" category}
pp3-6. [Title page] {term?}, [Credits], [Dedication], [blank]
pp7-8. "Acknowledgments", [blank]

pp9-10. "Prologue"

pp11-26. ch1: "Adapting Behavior to Environment"

[Teldra find & sleeps with Vlad]

** p17 ** "Sethra {er, Timmer? (_Orca_)} had said something about--`Loiosh?'"
** p18 ** [new finger explanation] "sorceror tried to eviscerate me"

pp27-42. ch2: "Being a Good Listener"

[Sethra gives a history lesson] {however, I found it hard to follow:
she appears to relate events by grouping them into related motivations,
violating causal/chronological order to do so}

** p30 ** [Sethra] "vampire # superfluous"
** p34 ** {new event? new account of event we've already seen?}
"Morrolan in his Great Hall defending me [Vlad] from the Sorceress in Green"
{I tend to think "defense" is physical or magical, rather than verbal}
** pp34-35 ** [Sethra about gods; implies they gain strength from belief]
"Is their power acquired only because there are those who worship them?
Is their power, in fact, imaginary? There are no simple answers"
{Remember Bolk in _Brokedown Palace_!}
{creatures's power in Frank & Brian Herbert's _Man of Two Worlds_
is in fact the power of i(d)magination.}
** p35 ** [Sethra does not fully understand simultaneous manifestation]
"I don't understand entirely how it works; I am neither god nor demon.
[(The Necromancer is a demon, but don't try to control her!)]
# this one skill implies many others {namely?}.
# Some of the younger ones have been taught by some of the older ones;
I was once offered godhood. But [w]hence came the oldest of the gods [?]"
** p36 ** [chronology] {*what* about the appellation "Demon Goddess"?}
[The dragon, dzur, jhereg, and Serioli were produced by Nature.
Easterners came from who knows where.
Jenoine came afterwards, from who knows elsewhere.
Jenoine performed genetic experiments on all: Easterners --> Dragaerans.
Verra is of yet another species and was a servant of the Jenoine.]
{RASFW: "servant" = "demon"?}
"her you call the Demon Goddess. That name--but never mind that now."
** {how much did the Jenoine experiment on or modify *themselves*?}
** {inconsistency: _Jhereg_, ch9; p80 in _The Book of Jhereg_}
[Aliera] "Not all [Jenoine] were destroyed #
They had other interests besides genetics.
One of them was the study of Chaos.
[... boom!] # Great Sea of Amorphia, a few new gods, # no more Jenoine."
[Aliera offended by idea: Dragaeran = Easterner original genetic stock]
** {inconsistency: _Phoenix_, pp107-108 of Lesson 8 (pp103-118)}
[Morrolan]
"Some [gods] are actually Jenoine {really?} who survived the Creation of the
Great Sea of Chaos. Others are servants {ok} of theirs who managed to
adapt when it occurred and use its energy,
either while it was happening or in the millennia that followed."
[Aliera] "Some # are simply wizards who have become immortal {?},
and acquired the power to exist on more than one plane at the same time."
** [back to _Issola_] p37 ** [big bang, fate of original Jenoine on Dragaera]
"# it is clear that it was Verra, and a few others, # who
unleashed upon the world that which we call sorcery, who
themselves became the first of those we know as gods, and who
destroyed all of the Jenoine who then lived on this world."
{"sorcery" -- literally, no magic at all before, e.g. no witchcraft?}

{wording intentionally ambiguous?
how do we reconcile this account with the _Jhereg_ & _Phoenix_ quotes above?
+ "The first of those we know": Perhaps there were gods we don't know about,
e.g. prior to the existence of sorcery?
+ There are no Jenoine gods? Or, some Jenoine who were not on Dragaera
were nonetheless affected and became gods?}

{ambiguous words in movies and TV tangents:
+ "Memento": for a while I wished the line "Sammi Jankis was a con man"
had been delivered ambiguously to make "Sammi Janikis was a con, man"
a feasible interpretation.
+ "The Conversation": piecing phrases together is key.
+ On "Babylon 5", I wondered if an instance of the word "born" was actually
"borne", but JMS explicitly shot my theory down.}
** pp37-38 ** [Sethra relays a confusing chronology of 4 events]
{1} "I cannot, in my own mind, imagine the cataclysm of the
momement when [the Great Sea] came into being,
that instant when for the first time the Unknowable took form."
"What happens when the Unknowable takes form?
One answers is, it ceases to be unknowable.
As soon as there was a Sea of Amorphia, there had, sooner or later,
{2} to be a Goddess [Verra] to codify and define the Elder Sorcery
that could manipulate it;
{3} and a Serioli named Cly!ng Fr'ngtha that made the Elder Sorcery tangible
# in objects blurring the distinction between animate and inanimate;
{4} and a [Dragaeran Zerika] to craft an Orb
that would make this power subject to any mind #
it is a power such as exists [apparently] nowhere else # in any universe,
for there is more than one, as the Necromancer has demonstrated."

{Consider also a 5th event, {5} creation of the Dragaeran Empire.
In what order and over what time scale did these 5 events occur?
I would guess it took Verra at least a few millenia to do {2},
roughly at the same time "new" gods were still coming into existence
(see _Phoenix_ quote above).
Then, the Serioli got increasing resentful and did {3},
including Great Weapons.
Some time(s?) later (?), {5} and {4} happen in some order.}
** p39 ** [Sethra explains the Serioli's resentment]
"they resent us both {Easterners and Dragaerans, I presume}
# But above all, they resent the gods [... , ...] who #
inspired Kieron the Conqueror # and # led Zerika to create the Orb"
** p40 ** [Sethra explains part of the Serioli counter-attack]
"[they] crafted those half-living, half-inanimate artifacts called
the Great Weapons, each of which is, in one way or another,
obviously or not, directed against the gods."
** {inconsistency: _Dragon_, p36 in ch2 (pp29-41)}
[Kragar] "# they say [... b]ack before the beginning of the Empire
they [Morganti] were invented by a Serioli smith
to make war so horrible no one would fight anymore.
# it worked. # Among the Serioli."
{RASFW discussed: "among" means what --
Serioli vs Serioli, Serioli vs others, others vs Serioli?}
{What of Sethra's remarks on p37 about {event {3}}?}
** [backtracking] pp38-39 ** [Sethra explains what the gods do with souls]
"[they] protect us from the Jenoine [.] The place we call the
Paths of the Dead sits # both in and out of our world #
[They] sift souls as a Serioli sifts for gold in a mountain stream. #
[Some] have skills that might someday be useful,
and those are held # or reincarnated # A few study for the
Godhood themselves, and a tiny number are sent out once more, as Undead.
[including Sethra]"
{Are "study for Godhood" and "Undead" supposed to be roughly exclusive?
Sethra was offered Godhood, but is not a god or demon. So, did she
+ Not study Godhood?
+ Study Godhood, but stop partway through, choosing instead to be Undead?
+ Something else?}
** p32, p35, p40 ** [Sethra describes how fearsome the Jenoine are]

"I fear what we are facing is rather more powerful than a god."

"Jenoine, for all their talents and skills, cannot be in 2 places at once."

"almost perfect natural immunity to the disruptive effects of amorphia."
"[can] resist even powerful Morganti weapons"
"[But] Great Weapons are the only reliable way to kill Jenoine"
** p35 ** {what does the expression "to beg the question" mean?
I seem to recall being told that it is often misused.}
** {I've decided I don't agree that irony or "irony" are overused in _Issola_;
they appear a lot in the other books, too, where Vlad calls irony an old
friend, and on p40, Sethra agrees Vlad was "always good with irony #
even in the days before the Empire I remember that about you".
** p41 ** [Sethra explains the grand scheme of things]
"We who carry the Great Weapons are the appointed of the gods
# we must look out for each other
# The gods hate our weapons and need us who wield them;
the Jenoine fear our weapons and hate the gods.
# I # am here, watching the Great Weapons, observing the Jenoine,
listening to the gods, and trying to see that nothing upsets the balance.
# I think we were all, even then, [while creating the Empire in past lives,]
marked out by the gods."
** [Zungaroon has a Great Weapon] "only by accident and [has] not
the least clue what it is for, or what to do with it".
** {Morrolan is conspicuously absent as one of those listed as being
important around the time the Empire was created. Is he the
reincarnation of someone important from back then?}
** p42 ** [Sethra of Trout, presumably a god] "knows the motives of the gods"
** {p67 of _Athyra_, ch5 (pp60-76): "Trout" and "Naro, the Lady Who Sleeps" }

pp43-56. ch3: "Dropping in Unexpectedly"

[Vlad & Teldra visit Aliera & Morrolan in Jenoinesburg]

** pp43-44 ** [Sethra to Vlad] "make contact with Blackwand"
{inconsistency:
+ p25, [Sethra to Vlad via Teldra: link between Pathfinder & Spellbreaker]
+ p53, [Morrolan thinks Vlad found Pathfinder; Vlad corrects him]}
** p44 ** {RASFW inconclusive: (_Taltos_ spoiler...)
Why should witchcraft still work when sorcery does not?
True, works in Paths of the Dead (_Taltos_), but
Phoenix stones can block witchcraft and sorcery (_Phoenix):
proof that disruption is possible, and Jenonie are skilled...}
** {RASFW inconclusive: lifespan of Noish-pa's cat familiar Ambrus}
** p44 ** "even across necromantic boundaries,
# Blackwand should be able to sense # [Morrolan's] windows"
** {Phoenix stone questions and speculations:
+ RASFW: maybe used to protect the Paths of the Dead.
I tend to think not: Would the gods want their own powers limited,
even if those of the Jenoine are also limited? It seems unlikely that
the gods are adept at counteracting the effects of Phoenix stone.
+ I don't think Verra can reach Greenaere, perhaps not even if someone
there tries to summon her, which is why she needs Vlad as
her agent in _Phoenix_.
+ "Phoenix" stone: who named it and why that name?
any connection to Phoenix House?}
** p45 ** [Vlad removes the Phoenix stones]
{I did not notice that he leaves them off until (?) he put them back on,
on the last page.}
** p50 ** [Blackwand's hilt = "Verra's Tears" = Black Water smoothed obsidian]
{"Black Water" = "Dark Water [_Athyra_, ch3, p38]"?}
** p50 ** [Vlad sees things in Morrolan's window?]
{what? Godslayer being forged? Devera?}

pp57-70. ch4: "Making Acquaintances"

[Jenoine show up, abduct Teldra, give Vlad a Morganti knife and an offer]

** p58 ** "laying hands on another's Great Weapon is # close to certain death"
{but possibly with a delay factor: even Mario takes/took time}
** p61 ** [significance of Teldra's job is lost on Easterner Vlad]

pp71-86. ch5: "Pleasantries with Deities" [Vlad and Teldra visit Verra]

** pp72-73 ** "A god # is the living, sentient embodiment of a symbol.
# [Easterners] might {!} speak of a god of life, # of death, # of mountains
# Death # is a very powerful symbol because it defines life.
# By tradition, [Verra] represents the random arbitrariness of life.
# The tradition is not wrong, # merely imprecise."
** p75 ** [Teldra says, unlike Vlad, she had no "personal contact" with Verra]
{no contact? only impersonal contact? never actually met Verra, despite
being prepared to greet her as a guest in Castle Black?}
** p77 ** "ker" = honorific used among the Jenoine equivalent of the military
** p78 ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot be #
your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
# It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.
# [Also] I cannot appear among the Jenoine"
{thanks, RASFW: "cannot *be*" vs "cannot *appear* (unsummoned)"}
** p79 ** [Verra to Vlad]
"I have offended against your innate right to be a useless cyst
# I intend to continue making you useful."
** [Verra about the Jenoine] "not unlike the Yendi;
they will have anticipated our response, and worked it into their plans.
They will have secondary and tertiary responses to our moves.
Their objective will be concealed under lays of illusion and misdirection."
{_The Vor Game_ spoiler: Alien version of Bujold's Cavilo? same weakness?}
** [flash forward] p134 ** [Teldra reassures Vlad he is not paranoid]
"these are Jenoine [not Yendi]. Much more worrisome.
With a Yendi, at least one *knows* everything is subterfuge and misdirection.
# we don't understand them, # we don't know {!} if they understand us."
** [flash forward] p252 ** [Vlad says, why worry, be happy; Sethra responds]
"they have a great deal of power. #
They don't understand us, that's all. They never have.
Talk to Verra some time; that's been their flaw from the beginning."
** p80 ** [Verra] -"Jenoine must neutralize Sethra, Aliera, Morrolan, others"-
{RASFW discussed: sure, as wielders of Great Weapons,
but why Aliera and Morrolan *now*? That's why their plans failed!
Perhaps just a bit too soon: They *are* experts on amorphia.
The Jenoine and the Empire {alien, like Bolk and Verra},
but they sure seem stupid for all their powers!}
** {silly, but recorded for completeness: the Jenoine probably did *not*
have anything to do with _Brokedown Palace_}
** p80 ** [even after a Jhereg had killed Morrolan]
"had Morrolan not been returned to life,
Blackwand would have continued to guard his soul.
And it might have done far more than that {RASFW: revenge?};
the Jhereg assassin was a fool. By now, Vlad,
you should begin to understand something about the Great Weapons."
** p81 ** [Verra likes Noish-pa's: simple misfortune vs complicated problems]
** p84 ** {typo?} "get {you?} back to Morrolan and Aliera"
** p85 ** [Verra is unhappy about Spellbreaker]
"You have no idea, do you?
** [Vlad contacts *Pathfinder* this time, with Verra's help]

pp87-100. ch6: "Trading at the Market"

[Vlad frees Aliera & Morrolan, who escape; Teldra & Vlad go unconscious]

** p88, p98 ** [Morganti blades are always an] "ugly, dull, grey-black metal"
** p92 ** [concept of "quantum", but Vlad cannot recall the word]
** p96 ** "by Verra's skinny ass" {heh: just an expression? literally true?}
** [re: Morrolan's wizard's staff]
"While I was fettered, # it's power was nullified.
The Jenoine are rather skilled in counterspells."
** p99 ** ["arithmetic" of 0 versus 1 alternative]
{RASFW: cf. "own 0 dogs" vs "own 2 dogs"; Grice's Conversational Maxims}
** [Vlad wonders if his Morganti blade would hurt the Jenoine]
{typo?} "According to Verra {Sethra?}, no it couldn't."
{happily and sadly, that didn't stop Teldra from using it}
** p100 ** {why Teldra has blood, but Vlad is unbloodied?
maybe he does, but it's like his attitude towards lives (_Orca_):
careful with observing others, but casual with observing himself}
--
Thomas Yan (ty...@cs.cornell.edu) I don't speak for Cornell University
Be pro-active. Fight sucky software and learned helplessness.
Apologies for any lack of capitalization; typing hurts my hands.

Thomas Yan

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Aug 23, 2001, 6:43:00 PM8/23/01
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pp101-115. ch7: "Asking for and Receiving Assistance"

[Vlad frees himself & Teldra; they find a door]

** {Vlad doesn't mention the shards of old chains: gone, reformed into
current chains, or Vlad didn't bother mentioning them?}
** [backtracking] p95, ch6 ** [chains] "shattered" "sound like broken pottery"
** p101 ** [chains] "lighter than they seemed" {ceramic?}
** p103 ** [reflex] "Shut up, Loiosh"
** {RASFW to the rescue! Hungarian --> English dictionaries:
http://consulting.medios.fi/dictionary/
http://dict.sztaki.hu/english-hungarian
}
** [Vlad] "tragya" {Hungarian (Fenarian?) for "[we're in deep?] shit"}
** [Teldra] "legalabb" {Hungarian (Fenarian?) for "at least"}
** [Teldra] "koszonom" = [Vlad] "thank you" = {Hungarian} "thanks"
** [Vlad] "szivesen" = [Vlad] "you're welcome"
= {Hungarian} "gladly", "willingly", "readily", "certainly", "not at all"
** p104 ** "too far-fetched" [to consider as courtesy in witchcraft/sorcery]
{namely?}
** p104 ** "out East # village whose name translated to `Blackchapel'"
{RASFW: "East" != Fenario}
** pp104-105 ** {like significance of Teldra's job, ch4}
[Morrolan's past is common knowledge, or at least no secret, except to Vlad]
[didn't know villages sacrified were Dragaerans, not Easterners]
** [Morrolan's Fenarian name] "Sotetcsilleg"
{could not find in the online dictionaries given above.
+ "erkolcsileg" = "morally"
(variants: to moralize, to go bad, debauched, to whitewash)
+ "szovegezesileg" = "stylistically"
+ maybe "-sileg" is simply the Hungarian equivalent of "-ly"...except
that "soteten" = "darkly".
+ "sotet" = "blackguard"
+ "sotet" = "dark", "shady", "somber", "of evil omen", "obscure", "somber",
"black", "murkey", "heavy", "grim", "grey", "funereal", "gloomy", ...
}
** {"legvar" is Hungarian for "castle in the air"}
** "Morrolan" = "same thing, rendered into the ancient tongue of the Dragon"
{Literally -- dragons had their own language, or old Dragon House language?}
{Vlad has long seemed interested in etymology, e.g. telling them to us, and
e.g. at least once Kragar gave the etymology of a target's name as
part of his report to Vlad. Also, recall the careful discussion of
Serioli between Morrolan and Mr. Coughs-up-a-Lung.
(What and when did Morrolan ask anyway, and what was the response?)}
** p105 ** [Morrolan made a pact with Verra; Teldra was]
"of some help to him when he was gathering his Circle of Witches"
{whose purpose we and Vlad don't know}
** "There are --or, rather, were-- # kingdoms" [in the East]
{what happened to them?}
** p106 ** "Aw nuts. # rescue #" {heh}
** p107 ** [Spellbreaker "slithered" back to Vlad & "crawled" up his arm]
{heh. "The cat came back!"}
** p94 (ch6), p108 ** [thread imagery: Vlad breaks chains M&A and himself&T]
{also when he entangles his soul with Teldra's (ch16) -- parallels?
any deeper meanings to "lines of power" or "emptying buckets of water"?}
** p111 ** [Teldra made a difference working for Morrolan]
{hm, what difference will she make working for Vlad?}
** [Teldra did not hear Verra referring to Vlad as a "tool"]
** [Teldra about Verra's speech] "Sometimes # we do not hear the same thing"
{She does not say there is something else about (all or most of) the *gods*,
which is what I originally thought. So maybe it is similar with other gods,
e.g. Bolk in _Brokedown Palace_, but *not* all that many of them.}
** p113 ** {typo?} [Teldra and Vlad start together, go around the room in
opposite directions, and finish] "back to where we started"
{*across* from where they started? maybe, they met up across from where
they started, then by some unspoken agreement {namely?},
crossed the room, back to the starting point.}
** p115 ** [Teldra talks about necromantic gates and has some
understanding that each star is associated with a "world"]
{doesn't seem to distinguish planets versus suns/"Furnaces" (p119, ch8)}

p116. [blank]

pp117-131 ch8: "Fishing Etiquette"

[Vlad and Teldra take a took, visit amorphia river, get blue stone]

** p117 ** [story: World, Darkness, Chaos, sisters Night, Pain, Magic=Verra,
Sky, Evil=(?)Jenoine] {meaning?}
** p118 ** [Vlad] -"shock, realization: entire world != that one room"-
{ironic: Jenoine "place" -- entire world = one room = same place}
** p119 ** [Jenoine sky like Fenarian sky: blue, with a sun/Furnace]
{I missed the Overcast RASFW mentioned it, but when flipping through the old
Vlad books to take notes and rereading _Issola_, I saw many references.
I'm obviously somewhat oblivious to that kind of detail.}
** p119, p120, p122 ** [Jenoine world appears fabricated, like Dzur mountain;
also reminiscent of the Paths of the Dead]
{RASFW thread tie: Vlad and Teldra "subvocalize" loudly (supervocally?)}
{Recall _Phoenix_, Lesson 8, p107: Vlad practically broadcasts his thoughts}
** p120 ** {John Moreno on RASFW:
Loiosh is "whistling in the dark" about glamour immunity (end of ch9).
However, Loish *is* right that it is}
"to conceal something, not to alter the appearance of what [they]'re seeing"
** [Vlad's philosophy of opponents: if assuming <foo> implies certain failure,
then assume <foo> is false. However, one guy]
"could jump an 11-foot crevasse [but luckily had] the wrong kind of boots"
** p121 ** [Vlad asks, now what? Teldra replies] "[contact] one's patron god",
"impossible task in exchange for minimal aid # ironically fatal" or
"[mysterious] artifact # take[s] over # soul, # killing # beloved"
** "death might not # stop him [Morolan]"
** p122 ** "grey" {like Morganti?}"
"unfinished" {Morganti are/appear unfinished?}
"[Vlad] again reminded of Paths of Dead" {why?}
** p125 ** {"you" = me? Brust? pour out?}
"you drinking # favorite wine # listening to my [Vlad's] voice pour out"
** p128 ** "ceramic bottle" {how advanced is ceramic tech?}
** "dira juice" {?} "particular jungle fever" {?}
** "bottle spinning" [to catch amorphia]

p132. [blank]

pp133-149. ch9: "How to Break Unwelcome News"

[Teldra tells Vlad more about Morrolan, who shows up with Aliera.
They don't escape, Vlad goes somewhere strange, shakes off glamour.]

** p134 ** {see flash forward note in ch5}
** {typo?} "each step we have taken is in accordance with their wishes.
Didn't Sethra {*Verra*, p79?} say as much?"
** p135 ** [Teldra to Vlad] "afraid I can't help you"
** p136 ** [Morrolan sacrified] "hamlets", not "villages"; "*was* at war"
[Vlad didn't know] "retaking ancestral lands"
** pp136-137, "worshipped Tri'nagore, a God {why capitalized?}
you don't hear from much anymore {why not?}"; "had overrun Blackchapel"
** p137 ** "Vudric e'Lanya" "was casting aspersions on Adron's character"
** "Adron is one of Morrolan's heroes" [Vlad didn't know!]
** p138 ** "Drien" ["Shaman" warrior], "brilliant, fiery, talented, creative,
powerful, and unstable", [changed genders]
** p139 ** "Morollan charg[ed] up to Dzur mountain"
[upon learing Sethra hadn't paid tribute]
** [Vlad] Jenoine = "demigods" {strange term: stronger than gods!}
** -"Necromancer spent 12 hours pulling out {how?} of Blackwand memories
she didn't know she had"- {hm, what other such memories are there?}
** [Morrolan] "thin black wizard's staff" <--> "blue ring # on left hand"
** p140 ** [Vlad] "Sethra's lovers? Morrolan?"
{children? Easterner's still fertile like us? when are Dragaerans fertile?}
** p140 ** [foursome try to escape, Vlad goes to la-la-land]
** p141 ** {I briefly wondered if the stream of consciousness contained
a mix of Vlad's and Teldra's thoughts from when they first lost
consciousness (end of ch6) -- not exactly. There appears to be
nothing from Teldra's thoughts, but a snippet of what probably
is Vlad's thoughts as the foursome try to use Morrolan's window might
also correspond to what happened just before Vlad lost consciousness}
"Teldra and Aliera and Morrolan had cross-stepped, while I lunged"
** {The POV cycles round-robin through 3 streams, but I didn't know that.
I thought the interweaving pattern might be more complex, i.e. less
regular: I wrote out each paragraph on part of an index card and tried
to rearrange them to make sense. A number of possibilities seemed to work,
but then I noticed the skip-3 pattern and
realized I had been working much too hard. Oops.}
** {typo?} "movement # is to be here and not here and {at?} the same time"
** {some phrases/imagery the same when Vlad is (re)forging Teldra/Godslayer.}
"spinning corridors of gold that were within and without,
and then through once more {once more?}"
** [flash forward] p241 ** "through corridors of gold"
** [backtracking] p141 **
"studied, scanned, analyzed, and ultimately # discarded"
{when? during this particular escape attempt? earlier? later?}
** [Vlad invokes Spellbreaker] "a chain of gold light"
** p142 ** "question begged an answer" {not an instance of "begs the question"}
** [Loiosh] "*Where did you [Vlad] go?"
{i.e. Vlad *was* gone. where and why? strange place because Jenoine
interfered with escape? or expressly whisked away by the Jenoine for
study, maybe to figure out why he didn't kill Verra, or maybe to
implant a Trojan horse in his mind?}
** p143 ** [Vlad] "Where are we?" "Silence greeted the question"
** "unconscious around 9 hours" "10"
{Why discrepancy? They don't know how long, total, he's been gone?
Was he some place where time flows differently?}
** pp144-145 ** [Vlad gives a tour of the {house}]
[trellanstone] "dark shiny grey {like Morganti?}, with pink veins"
"4 large jugs or vats, pottery #, green with black geometrical patterns"
"sand", "ash", "water?", "tiny seashells?"
"doorway"
"shelves", "obviously weapons", "scary" "crystals" [of various sizes]
"don't recognize # [like] strange object that Sethra has"
"walls" with "probably sorcerous" "designs"
"table", "more lighting devices than I'd thought"
"8 hrs" {er, not 9 or 10?}
** p147 ** [Vlad remembers incidents] {some we haven't yet seen}
"Necromancer's cold, cold fingers on my soul"
{hee, can mis-parse as 2 separate things:
(1) N's cold, (2) fingers on soul -- one reason semicolons are good!}
{Orb: how big? golf, tennis, basket-, beach ball? VW bug?}
{Orb: trellanstone, or predominantly the refined ore, necrophia?}

"edge of Blackwand against my throat"
"laugh of the Serioli
who led me by circuitous routes to the Wall of Baritt's Tomb"

p150. [blank]

pp151-164. ch10: "Courtesy Towards Inanimate Objects"

[Morrolan and Aliera tutor Vlad; glamour is removed; Verra is summoned]

** p151 ** [back to the trellanstone]
"piece of something that was even larger[?]" {er, uh-oh?}
** p154-155 ** "Your [Vlad's] education # is sadly lacking."
[primer Orb-sorcery, Greater Sea, necrophia, resonance, correspondence]
[primer on Elder sorcery, amorphia]
[primer on necromancy, necrophia, amorphia, energy levels of life-states]
[primer on witchcraft, understanding]
** p155 ** -"Orb sentient?"-
** p155 ** "greeterbird", "glamour", "[seal] # against necromantic gates"
** p156 ** "I *am* cute" ("told you", p216)

** pp165-178. ch11: "Disagreements with Deities"

[They talk a bit, use Pathfinder to pay the Jenoine a visit]

** p165 ** [hearing different things from Verra]
[Morrolan] "Most of a day" {that was the answer; what was the question?}
** p166 ** [Morrolan] "Vlad's help"
** [Verra's scared], [Vlad] "Dear Verra"
** p167 ** [Morrolan] "It is the only means we have of learning"
** p168 ** "refining petroleum"
{translation? outdated saying? contemporary process?
I can't tell if Teldra even recognizes the word "petroleum"}
** "you [Vlad] are # quite skilled in # courtesy"
** p169 ** -"Aliera, Morrolan, and Verra tour the"- "pretty little stream"
{heh, Jenoine hired the equivalent of Bujold's Ekaterina to tune it?}
** [Vlad] -"Sethra enjoys flavors? {textures?}"- {apparently: _Orca_}
** p171 ** "By Verra's tits"
** p172 ** "Am I the very soul of # courtliness?" "Am I a 3-legged tiassa?"
** p173 ** [Everyone but Vlad is temporarily stupid] "Pathfinder"
** Blackwand = very "aggressive"
** p174 ** Blackwand = "female", Pathfinder = "no clear indication of sex",
"more patient", -"protective?"-, -"inquisitive"-,
"[plus] other, more subtle differences, too"
** [Spellbreaker only] "about a foot long" {waking up? more active?}
** -"Aliera's eyes reminiscent of Aibynn drumming"-

pp179-191. ch12: "Exercising Due Care for the Comfort and Safety of Others"

[Aliera and Morrolan are paralyzed. Vlad lo(o)ses his blue marble.
Vlad gets his left arm paralyzed interposing himself. They all visit Sethra.]

** p184 ** -"Vlad's memory is confused"-
"That was stupid, little Easterner; she {Verra determined Jenoine gender?}"
** p191 ** "To survival"
** p191 ** [Vlad] -"Tukko = Sethra's only servant?"-
{how long do Sethra's servants live? how many (sets) has she had?
{does Tukko know Sethra = Kiera?}
** "She [Sethra] smiled as if sharing a joke with herself"
{what joke? blood wine? older than Vlad? something to do with Kiera?
Hm, maybe something to do with Ferenk's (_Taltos_)?}

p192. [blank]

pp193-207. ch13: "While in the Care of the Physicker"

[They eat, talk, realize Aliera's "Daddy [will] cause trouble" (p207)]

** p201 ** [Teldra] "such other gods as [Morrolan& Sethra] come in contact"
{who? had she met Verra prior to these events? see p75 notes}
** [concept "place" not used in everyday Jenoine life, only in math]
** p202 ** "best wit is shared with no one except Loiosh and you {me? Brust?}"
** p203 ** {Jenoine had aha! insights on fresh ways to attack}
"not # failure of my mundane defenses # nor of the {not `my'?} magical ones"
"they redefined your defenses"
** p204 ** [Sethra] -"how, amorphia in Jenoinesburg?"-
** p205 ** -"Jenoine subvert citizens through mind-Orb-links"- "shudder"
** p206 ** {Dzur mountain was fabricated;
interesting: it had a weakness the Jenoine were able to use}
** [Morrolan] "defense" = "foul"; [resents being called young]
** "trellanstone [Dragaeran]" = "kyrancteur [Serioli]"
{how/when did Morrolan figure out it was a Serioli word?
recognized a Serioli `flavor'?}
** -"Jenoine wanted me [Morrolan] and Aliera out of the way" {see p80 notes}

p208. [blank]

pp209-223. ch14: "Conversations with the Undead"

[They make plans and contact the Necromancer and Empress]

** p210 ** "Morrolan is still a young Dragon"
= "seeing the world with one's self as the center"
= not "thinking only of yourself", but "seeing the world as it affects you"
= "courtesy"
= "wondering what he should do, rather than wondering what needs to be done"
** p211 ** {Morrolan under Sethra was Miles, AICMFP}
** "young Issola" "obsequious # or timid"
** "young Easterners" ** "but everyone generalizes from one example"
** p212 ** "hissy-cow"
** pp212-213 ** "My life was now complete"
{heh, so why not eat at Milliways? damn, already ate!}
** p217 ** [Sethra] "become part of the rock of Dzur Mountain again" {!}
** pp220-221 ** [Sethra] "There they are" [groundless panic]
[Vlad] "did that on purpose{?}" [Sethra] "No"
{hm, accidental, or Sethra didn't know *who* was arriving?}
{Did Verra need Aliera or someone else to help to manifest?}
** p221 ** "Very well" {everyone hear something different}
** "I could reach the Necromancer and--" "Disturb her whiles she works"
** p222 ** "aid from Barlen, and several of the other Lords of Judgment"

p224. [blank]

pp225-238. ch15: "When Negotiation Becomes Strained"

[4 Jenoine show up, one dies, Morrolan and Teldra are killed]

** p226 ** {why did I write "weapon"? maybe: Spellbreaker changes length}
** p230 ** {what's that dark cloud?} {related to Morrolan's (Fenarian) name?}
** p231 ** {typo?} "no option but to flight {fight?}"
** p233 ** [Verra] "writhing and gyrating, as if possessed # arms flail"
{simultaneous manifestation/time travel: apparently not used -- why not?
sure could use fugue, as in Zelazny's _Creatures of Light and Darkness_}
{"flail" reminds me of beating near end of Zelazny's _This Immortal}
** {RASFW+Monty Hall+Brust -- extra-textual spoiler about the dragon:}

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=9j6m26%24589%241%40news01.cit.cornell.edu

pp239-249. ch16: "Funereal Customs"

[Vlad (re)forges Teldra/Spellbreaker/Godslayer and kills a Jenoine]

** p241 ** {see p241 flash forward among p141 notes in ch9}
** p246 ** {I wrote down something that looks roughly like "p246, o g ?",
but at this point I have no idea what I had in mind.}

p250. [blank]

pp251-255. ch17: "Taking One's Leave of Friends"

[Morrolan is revived, Necromancer sends Vlad to Valabar's]

** p252 ** {see flash forward note in ch5}
** p253 ** -"Sethra says somethng mysterious about Teldra waking up"-
** p255 ** -"Vlad puts amulets back on"-

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 9:09:00 PM8/23/01
to
Thomas Yan wrote:
>

Spoilers for _Issola_ and a few others (like _Dragon_)

> ** p104 ** "out East # village whose name translated to `Blackchapel'"

Can't help wondering why Teldra[Brust] felt it necessary to translate
the name of that village.

> ** [Morrolan's Fenarian name] "Sotetcsilleg"

Brust confirmed it as "dim/dark star".

> part of his report to Vlad. Also, recall the careful discussion of
> Serioli between Morrolan and Mr. Coughs-up-a-Lung.
> (What and when did Morrolan ask anyway, and what was the response?)}

The answer may have been "Pathfinder".

> ** p117 ** [story: World, Darkness, Chaos, sisters Night, Pain, Magic=Verra,
> Sky, Evil=(?)Jenoine] {meaning?}

Neat story, likely a recycling of a Gypsy/Hungarian/other myth. And,
of course, it lets us speculate about Verra's family. (And I thought
the Sandman's family was odd.)

> {RASFW thread tie: Vlad and Teldra "subvocalize" loudly (supervocally?)}
> {Recall _Phoenix_, Lesson 8, p107: Vlad practically broadcasts his thoughts}

Later, we're told they were doing something similar to "dreamwalking"
(whatever that means, see _Dragon_), and so I assume that only thier
thoughts and perceptions had left the room, and therefore hearing
what the other is thinking isn't too surprising. But it does raise
the question of how Vlad managed to return with a physical object (the
blue stone).

> {Orb: how big? golf, tennis, basket-, beach ball? VW bug?}

I got the impression it was roughly basketball sized when we saw it in
FHYA. Larger, and it would be hazardous to anyone standing nearby.


>
> ** p246 ** {I wrote down something that looks roughly like "p246, o g ?",
> but at this point I have no idea what I had in mind.}

"Oh, gee!"?


--KG

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 9:24:40 PM8/23/01
to
Thomas Yan wrote:
>
> Distracted by Shadows: _Issola_, by Steven Brust; 2001 Tor hardcover edition.
>
I'm still planning on starting my meticulous reread next week (or the
week after), and since you're cranking these guys out so fast, could
you do _Athyra_ next (or after whichever one you've just started)? I
wondered aloud earlier what it'd be like to reread in alphabetic order,
and so that'll be first for me. By the time I finish it (and certainly
by the time I finish BP), you'll probably have finished all of yours.

> Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
> Mild spoilers for _BP_ and _Phoenix_.
>

> pp7-8. "Acknowledgments", [blank]

No comment on the Chemical Engineering Dept.?

> Easterners came from who knows where.
> Jenoine came afterwards, from who knows elsewhere.

Is it certain that the Jenoine were uninvolved with bringing the
Easterners here, and that they are from somewhere else?

> [They] sift souls as a Serioli sifts for gold in a mountain stream. #

So how do Dragaerans look for gold? Or do the Serioli have a monopoly
on it?



> ** pp72-73 ** "A god # is the living, sentient embodiment of a symbol.
> # [Easterners] might {!} speak of a god of life, # of death, # of mountains
> # Death # is a very powerful symbol because it defines life.
> # By tradition, [Verra] represents the random arbitrariness of life.
> # The tradition is not wrong, # merely imprecise."

She is also the personification of [the use men make of] sorcery [BP].

I really should write that gods vs personifications post soon.

> ** p78 ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot be #
> your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
> # It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.

Great misleading comment, assuming the Cawti rumor is true.

> ** p96 ** "by Verra's skinny ass" {heh: just an expression? literally true?}

Maybe; "blood on Verra's floor" was literal :)


--KG

David Silberstein

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 9:33:35 PM8/23/01
to
In article <9m40tk$dah$2...@news01.cit.cornell.edu>,
Thomas Yan <ty...@twinkie.cs.cornell.edu> wrote:

(Huge spoilers for _Issola_)

>** {RASFW to the rescue! Hungarian --> English dictionaries:
> http://consulting.medios.fi/dictionary/
> http://dict.sztaki.hu/english-hungarian
> }
>** [Vlad] "tragya" {Hungarian (Fenarian?) for "[we're in deep?] shit"}
>** [Teldra] "legalabb" {Hungarian (Fenarian?) for "at least"}
>** [Teldra] "koszonom" = [Vlad] "thank you" = {Hungarian} "thanks"
>** [Vlad] "szivesen" = [Vlad] "you're welcome"
> = {Hungarian} "gladly", "willingly", "readily", "certainly", "not at all"

>** [Morrolan's Fenarian name] "Sotetcsilleg"


> {could not find in the online dictionaries given above.

>** "Morrolan" = "same thing, rendered into the ancient tongue of the Dragon"

You must have missed me deducing that it breaks out into
Sötét Csillag (Sotet Csillag), both of which are in the dictionary.
Dark Star.

I'm not sure if spelling it with an "e" is a typo, or just the
proper grammatical form for that particular formation.

http://groups.google.com/groups?as_umsgid=GFJ5x...@kithrup.com

More to the point, of course, is Brust himself saying it:

http://groups.google.com/groups?as_umsgid=3B38B024...@dreamcafe.com

>** {"legvar" is Hungarian for "castle in the air"}

That's amusing.

David Silberstein

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 9:41:18 PM8/23/01
to
In article <3B85AA07...@worldnet.att.net>,

Konrad Gaertner <gae...@aol.com> wrote:
>Thomas Yan wrote:
>>
>
>
>
>Spoilers for _Issola_ and a few others (like _Dragon_)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>> ** p104 ** "out East # village whose name translated to `Blackchapel'"
>
>Can't help wondering why Teldra[Brust] felt it necessary to translate
>the name of that village.
>
>> ** [Morrolan's Fenarian name] "Sotetcsilleg"
>
>Brust confirmed it as "dim/dark star".

It's got to be specifically _Dark_ Star because that's the title of
a Grateful Dead song. :-)

http://groups.google.com/groups?as_umsgid=GFMqs...@kithrup.com

Thomas Yan

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 10:23:12 PM8/23/01
to
In article <3B85ADB3...@worldnet.att.net>,

Konrad Gaertner <gae...@aol.com> wrote:
>Thomas Yan wrote:
>>
>I'm still planning on starting my meticulous reread next week (or the
>week after), and since you're cranking these guys out so fast, could

(
Actually, not so fast. I had typed in an about "half" of an early
pass of _Issola_, then took some time off --I believe it was to read
the Khaavren romances and BP-- and then spent a number of days
entering my BP notes, after which I worked to finish up my _Issola_
notes. I entered in the second "half", and then made another pass to
enter chapter page ranges, titles, summaries, and try to clean up the
formatting a bit.

Wow, that was time consuming! Each took me about 2 to 3 times as much
time as I had expected. However, I am finding it enjoyable (oh yeah,
in _Orca_, Vlad says (a) he hopes he never has to go through so many
notes again, and (b) he enjoyed going through them -- what?!), and I
am pleased that you and others have been looking at them.

So I plan to continue, but I'm afraid that I need to spend time on
another things, too, so I won't go at quite the speed I have been.
On the other hand, I think my notes on the other Vlad books were
much less detailed since I was mostly noting stuff I hadn't
noticed before and/or stuff relating to Sethra and Great Weapons.

I think I'll also be quoting more briefly, but hopefully with
enough detail that if one is interested, it is easy to spot them
in the text.
)

>you do _Athyra_ next (or after whichever one you've just started)? I

Sure, no problem. I think I'm also going to start attaching page and
maybe chapter refs to each of my DbS remarks so that they are easier
to maintain when people are trimming.

>wondered aloud earlier what it'd be like to reread in alphabetic order,
>and so that'll be first for me. By the time I finish it (and certainly
>by the time I finish BP), you'll probably have finished all of yours.

I'm happy to do the Vlad ones in any order, but I think I want to save
both Khaavren romances for *after* I've done all the Vlad ones.

>> Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
>> Mild spoilers for _BP_ and _Phoenix_.
>>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

>> Easterners came from who knows where.
>> Jenoine came afterwards, from who knows elsewhere.
>
>Is it certain that the Jenoine were uninvolved with bringing the
>Easterners here, and that they are from somewhere else?

Not exactly. Assuming Sethra is correct, which I do, Easterners
arrived on planet-Dragaeran before the Jenoine did (top half of
page 36), but that does not rule out the Jenoine somehow having sent
them there in the first place. Sethra makes no attempt to explain how
either the Easterners or Jenoine got to planet-D.

Furthermore, she doesn't seem to say anything of the native-to-Earth
animals being brought to planet-D, e.g. I assume don't "orca", "cat",
and "dog" refer to (derivatives) of the Earth animals we know today.

>> [They] sift souls as a Serioli sifts for gold in a mountain stream. #
>
>So how do Dragaerans look for gold? Or do the Serioli have a monopoly
>on it?

I was wondering about that, and if it was an outdated saying (even
with the present tense "sifts") that used to be literally true but is
no longer.

[Verra]


>She is also the personification of [the use men make of] sorcery [BP].
>
>I really should write that gods vs personifications post soon.

(I look forward to it.)

>> ** p78
>> ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot be #
>> your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
>> # It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.
>
>Great misleading comment, assuming the Cawti rumor is true.

How, misleading? Maybe Cawti is not of peasant stock, but Vlad could
be, right?

Thomas Yan

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 10:48:07 PM8/23/01
to
In article <3B85AA07...@worldnet.att.net>,

Konrad Gaertner <gae...@aol.com> wrote:
>Thomas Yan wrote:
>>
>
>
>
>Spoilers for _Issola_ and a few others (like _Dragon_)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>> ** p104 ** "out East # village whose name translated to `Blackchapel'"
>
>Can't help wondering why Teldra[Brust] felt it necessary to translate
>the name of that village.

Good point. Do you agree that Teldra was translating from some
Eastern language into Fenarian? I forget, besides Vlad remarking that
black is the color of sorcery, do we know why black features so
dominantly in Morrolan's affairs? His name, "dark/black star", his GW
"Blackwand", that village, "Blackchapel", his abode "Castle Black"?

>> ** [Morrolan's Fenarian name] "Sotetcsilleg"
>
>Brust confirmed it as "dim/dark star".

(Oh yeah, I had forgotten; sorry David and Steven.)

>Later, we're told they were doing something similar to "dreamwalking"
>(whatever that means, see _Dragon_), and so I assume that only thier
>thoughts and perceptions had left the room, and therefore hearing
>what the other is thinking isn't too surprising. But it does raise
>the question of how Vlad managed to return with a physical object (the
>blue stone).

I think you might be misreading that (p202):

"When we physically left the room #
we were, in their view, spirit-walking.
Well, that isn't exactly right"

That is, spirit/dreamwalking is not a perfect analogy, and it is only
an analogy to explain the wacko Jenoine viewpoint: In Dragaeran and
consensus Earth reality terms, they physically did everything they
were described as doing.

>> {Orb: how big? golf, tennis, basket-, beach ball? VW bug?}
>
>I got the impression it was roughly basketball sized when we saw it in
>FHYA. Larger, and it would be hazardous to anyone standing nearby.

True, although I guess I'm a bit confused as to how strong Dragaerans
are.

(I had originally assumed it was about the size of that probe they
used on Leia in the original "Star Wars" movie, but then I realized I
didn't know. I also briefly wondered if I had misread "revolving
above Zerika's head" as "orbiting around Zerika's head".)

{
Hm. Maybe I'll add a section "...But the Dog Ate my Homework", where
I list my more hare-brained ideas and misconceptions. :) For example,
I had lots of trouble parsing part of the top paragraph on p246. I
kept reading it as Vlad saying Verra *was* a Great Weapon: -"like
Iceflame and Pathfinder, she was completely absorbed in coping,
because to do otherwise risked her beloved wielder/self"-.
}

>> ** p246 ** {I wrote down something that looks roughly like "p246, o g ?",
>> but at this point I have no idea what I had in mind.}
>
>"Oh, gee!"?

That is plausible: "Oh, goddess", or "Verra's tits!" :)
{anime thread-tie: "Ah, my goddess!"}

Thomas Yan

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 11:06:34 PM8/23/01
to
In article <GIJtn...@kithrup.com>,

David Silberstein <dav...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>In article <9m40tk$dah$2...@news01.cit.cornell.edu>,
>Thomas Yan <ty...@twinkie.cs.cornell.edu> wrote:
>
>>** {RASFW to the rescue! Hungarian --> English dictionaries:
>> http://consulting.medios.fi/dictionary/
>> http://dict.sztaki.hu/english-hungarian
>> }
>>[unable to find a/some Hungarian word(s) due to spelling variations]
>
>[correct spelling and ex cathedra confirmation]

It looks like neither one really supports wild-card searches; if they
do, they don't prominently advertise it.

However, it looks like you can trick the top one into half-heartedly
doing wild-card searches: use a period (.) to denote "guess some
letters".

Thus, searching for "bolcses.g" does not find "bolcsesseg" as a word
by itself, but *does* find some expressions with "bolcsesseg" as one
of the words.

Doing this for "csil.g" also worked.

J.B. Moreno

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 11:16:53 PM8/23/01
to
Konrad Gaertner <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> Later, we're told they were doing something similar to "dreamwalking"
> (whatever that means, see _Dragon_), and so I assume that only thier
> thoughts and perceptions had left the room, and therefore hearing
> what the other is thinking isn't too surprising. But it does raise
> the question of how Vlad managed to return with a physical object (the
> blue stone).

No. That's how the Jenoine look at what they did, not how anyone else
looks at it.

--
JBM
"Your depression will be added to my own" -- Marvin of Borg

Fred Galvin

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 12:36:00 AM8/24/01
to
On 23 Aug 2001, Thomas Yan wrote:

> + "erkolcsileg" = "morally"
> (variants: to moralize, to go bad, debauched, to whitewash)
> + "szovegezesileg" = "stylistically"
> + maybe "-sileg" is simply the Hungarian equivalent of "-ly"

Sort of, but the suffix is "-leg". By the way, Hungarian "cs" as in
"erkolcsileg" is one letter, pronounced like English "ch".

> ...except that "soteten" = "darkly".

That's OK, Hungarian has several different suffixes for forming
adverbs. Another way: "rossz" = "bad", "rosszul" = "badly".

> ** {"legvar" is Hungarian for "castle in the air"}

From "leg" = "air" and "var" = "castle".

Fred Galvin

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 1:04:39 AM8/24/01
to
On Fri, 24 Aug 2001, David Silberstein wrote:

> You must have missed me deducing that it breaks out into
> Sötét Csillag (Sotet Csillag), both of which are in the dictionary.
> Dark Star.
>
> I'm not sure if spelling it with an "e" is a typo, or just the
> proper grammatical form for that particular formation.

Must be a typo. "Csillag" is the basic word ("nominative"), and all
other forms are obtained by adding suffixes: "csillagok" = "stars",
"csillagom" = "my star", etc.

Scott Schwartz

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 1:30:21 AM8/24/01
to
Konrad Gaertner <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> writes:
> Later, we're told they were doing something similar to
> "dreamwalking" ... But it does raise the question of how Vlad

> managed to return with a physical object (the blue stone).

Maybe they're in something like virtual reality.

James Nicoll

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 12:17:06 PM8/24/01
to
In article <8gy9oa8...@galapagos.cse.psu.edu>,

That might explain how the character Brust can contact
Vlad.

Barton's _The Transmigration of Souls_ had a related but
nastier technology, where real, physical universes could be made
which were constrained by their design to provide amusing gaming
experiences for the people making universes. The inhabitants were
real and quite aware of the trap they were in.

I should probably define what I mean by "real" in this context.

Look! Over there! The Winged Victory of Samothrace!

sf/x: the sound of running footsteps, getting progressively
quieter.
James Nicoll

David Silberstein

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 1:12:31 PM8/24/01
to
In article <9m4gbq$10g$1...@news01.cit.cornell.edu>,

Thomas Yan <ty...@twinkie.cs.cornell.edu> wrote:
>In article <GIJtn...@kithrup.com>,
>David Silberstein <dav...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>>In article <9m40tk$dah$2...@news01.cit.cornell.edu>,
>>Thomas Yan <ty...@twinkie.cs.cornell.edu> wrote:
>>
>>>** {RASFW to the rescue! Hungarian --> English dictionaries:
>>> http://consulting.medios.fi/dictionary/
>>> http://dict.sztaki.hu/english-hungarian
>>> }
>>>[unable to find a/some Hungarian word(s) due to spelling variations]
>>
>>[correct spelling and ex cathedra confirmation]
>
>It looks like neither one really supports wild-card searches; if they
>do, they don't prominently advertise it.
>
>However, it looks like you can trick the top one into half-heartedly
>doing wild-card searches: use a period (.) to denote "guess some
>letters".

Oh. Well, the way I did it was to put in the first few letters of the
word. It's like a paper dictionary lookup - it shows all the words
that begin with those letters.

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 3:25:16 PM8/24/01
to
"J.B. Moreno" wrote:
>
> Konrad Gaertner <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
> > Later, we're told they were doing something similar to "dreamwalking"
> > (whatever that means, see _Dragon_), and so I assume that only thier
> > thoughts and perceptions had left the room, and therefore hearing
> > what the other is thinking isn't too surprising. But it does raise
> > the question of how Vlad managed to return with a physical object (the
> > blue stone).
>
> No. That's how the Jenoine look at what they did, not how anyone else
> looks at it.

Perhaps, but in thier world (which obviously doesn't work the way
we're used to), thier view may be the most valid.

--KG

Damien Raphael Sullivan

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 3:59:35 PM8/24/01
to
gae...@aol.com wrote:
>Thomas Yan wrote:

>> Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
>> Mild spoilers for _BP_ and _Phoenix_.
>>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

>> Easterners came from who knows where.
>> Jenoine came afterwards, from who knows elsewhere.
>Is it certain that the Jenoine were uninvolved with bringing the
>Easterners here, and that they are from somewhere else?

Aliera in _Jhereg_ says there are theories that humans were brought in as
controls by the Jenoine. But if we trust Sethra, that's at least half wrong.
Verra in _Phoenix_ says Kelly's ideas go back all the way "to those who first
discovered this world."
"The Jenoine?"
"Before the Jenoine."
"Who-?"
"It doesn't matter."

I'll trust Sethra and Verra over Aliera.

>> ** p78 ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot
>> be # your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
>> # It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.
>
>Great misleading comment, assuming the Cawti rumor is true.

Misleading?

-xx- Damien X-)

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 4:25:13 PM8/24/01
to
Thomas Yan wrote:
>
> In article <3B85ADB3...@worldnet.att.net>,
> Konrad Gaertner <gae...@aol.com> wrote:
> >Thomas Yan wrote:
> >>
> >I'm still planning on starting my meticulous reread next week (or the
> >week after), and since you're cranking these guys out so fast, could
> >you do _Athyra_ next (or after whichever one you've just started)? I
> >wondered aloud earlier what it'd be like to reread in alphabetic order,
> >and so that'll be first for me. By the time I finish it (and certainly
> >by the time I finish BP), you'll probably have finished all of yours.
>
> I'm happy to do the Vlad ones in any order, but I think I want to save
> both Khaavren romances for *after* I've done all the Vlad ones.

Well, I'm going to be really slow with my reread. Basically, it'll be
less a reread and more a deconstruction: read a sentence; decide what
exactly it's saying, and whether I'll ever need that info in the
future; if so, write down page number, line number(s), and context;
repeat until end of book. Since I'll likely only have about an hour
a day to for this, I'm guessing at least a month per book, and there's
three books (A, BP, D) before I get to Khaavren.

And there's several important books being published in late October
through December.

> >> Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
> >> Mild spoilers for _BP_ and _Phoenix_.
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> Easterners came from who knows where.
> >> Jenoine came afterwards, from who knows elsewhere.
> >
> >Is it certain that the Jenoine were uninvolved with bringing the
> >Easterners here, and that they are from somewhere else?
>
> Not exactly. Assuming Sethra is correct, which I do,

Except that we've seen Verra make mistakes, and Brust told us Aliera
was wrong in her rendition of her daddy's hissy-cow, so I'd guess that
Sethra is next to be proven fallible, and then Bolk or Noish-pa.

> Easterners
> arrived on planet-Dragaeran before the Jenoine did (top half of
> page 36), but that does not rule out the Jenoine somehow having sent
> them there in the first place. Sethra makes no attempt to explain how
> either the Easterners or Jenoine got to planet-D.
>
> Furthermore, she doesn't seem to say anything of the native-to-Earth
> animals being brought to planet-D, e.g. I assume don't "orca", "cat",
> and "dog" refer to (derivatives) of the Earth animals we know today.

She might not even realise these animals can be found on other worlds.

> >> ** p78
> >> ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot be #
> >> your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
> >> # It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.
> >
> >Great misleading comment, assuming the Cawti rumor is true.
>
> How, misleading? Maybe Cawti is not of peasant stock, but Vlad could
> be, right?

Misleading for Vlad, who thinks she's just some illegitimate orphan
(mostly right, in fact).

--KG

J.B. Moreno

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 10:23:56 PM8/24/01
to
Konrad Gaertner <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

What evidence do you have that their world doesn't work the way we're
used to? They have a different perspective, but the world they were on
seemed normal enough -- not exactly like our world, but well within what
I would consider an acceptable variation for a world circling another
star. The only strange thing about it was the lack of life, and that
can be explained easily enough.

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Aug 25, 2001, 3:58:38 PM8/25/01
to

What about that 'glamour'? Vlad and Teldra walked completely around
the room, _pushing_ at the walls, and didn't find the doorway, or the
big jars, or the furniture, or anything else.

--KG

Thomas Yan

unread,
Aug 25, 2001, 8:27:16 PM8/25/01
to
In article <3B86B908...@worldnet.att.net>,

Konrad Gaertner <gae...@aol.com> wrote:
>Thomas Yan wrote:
>>
>> In article <3B85ADB3...@worldnet.att.net>,
>> Konrad Gaertner <gae...@aol.com> wrote:
>> >Thomas Yan wrote:
>> >>
>> >I'm still planning on starting my meticulous reread next week (or the
>> >week after), and since you're cranking these guys out so fast, could
>> >you do _Athyra_ next (or after whichever one you've just started)? I

I couldn't resist. Since Athyra was only one side of an index card, I
decided to crank it out. Enjoy!

>> >wondered aloud earlier what it'd be like to reread in alphabetic order,
>> >and so that'll be first for me. By the time I finish it (and certainly
>> >by the time I finish BP), you'll probably have finished all of yours.
>>
>> I'm happy to do the Vlad ones in any order, but I think I want to save
>> both Khaavren romances for *after* I've done all the Vlad ones.
>
>Well, I'm going to be really slow with my reread. Basically, it'll be
>less a reread and more a deconstruction: read a sentence; decide what
>exactly it's saying, and whether I'll ever need that info in the
>future; if so, write down page number, line number(s), and context;
>repeat until end of book. Since I'll likely only have about an hour
>a day to for this, I'm guessing at least a month per book, and there's
>three books (A, BP, D) before I get to Khaavren.

Cool! But I think I'll wait for annotatable e-books that let you
share the annotations before doing something that detailed!

However, Isuspect some my later DbS posts will contain lots of very
brief entries: page number and enough (hopefully) quoted "key" words [*]
to be able to spot the passage of interest.

[*] non sequitor: We had some guests last night, who mostly spoke in
Chinese, but there was one girl who knew only a little bit of
Chinese. She said she could at least guess at the topics being
discussed if they threw in an English word now and then. I
laughed to myself and muttered, "key frames!"

J.B. Moreno

unread,
Aug 26, 2001, 8:55:00 AM8/26/01
to
Konrad Gaertner <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> "J.B. Moreno" wrote:
> >
> > Konrad Gaertner <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

-snip Jenoine take on the world they held Vlad and Co prisoner-


> > > Perhaps, but in thier world (which obviously doesn't work the way
> > > we're used to), thier view may be the most valid.
> >
> > What evidence do you have that their world doesn't work the way we're
> > used to? They have a different perspective, but the world they were on
> > seemed normal enough -- not exactly like our world, but well within what
> > I would consider an acceptable variation for a world circling another
> > star. The only strange thing about it was the lack of life, and that
> > can be explained easily enough.
>
> What about that 'glamour'? Vlad and Teldra walked completely around
> the room, _pushing_ at the walls, and didn't find the doorway, or the
> big jars, or the furniture, or anything else.

As illusions or holograms or something else -- maybe mind tampering
considering that Vlad freed himself and Loiosh by using Spellbreaker in
his mind.

David Goldfarb

unread,
Aug 27, 2001, 3:20:25 AM8/27/01
to
In article <9m6bn7$d...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,

Damien Raphael Sullivan <pho...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
>gae...@aol.com wrote:
>>Thomas Yan wrote:
>
>>> Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
>>> Mild spoilers for _BP_ and _Phoenix_.
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>> ** p78 ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot
>>> be # your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
>>> # It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.
>>
>>Great misleading comment, assuming the Cawti rumor is true.
>
>Misleading?

Making Vlad think it was done by people with no connection to him,
when in fact it was done by his (ex-)father-in-law.

--
David Goldfarb <*>|"I suppose an idiot plot is better than
gold...@ocf.berkeley.edu | no plot at all."
gold...@csua.berkeley.edu |
| -- Katie Schwarz

David Silberstein

unread,
Aug 27, 2001, 5:42:30 PM8/27/01
to
In article <9mcsbp$1jtd$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

David Goldfarb <gold...@OCF.Berkeley.EDU> wrote:
>In article <9m6bn7$d...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,
>Damien Raphael Sullivan <pho...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
>>gae...@aol.com wrote:
>>>Thomas Yan wrote:
>>
>>>> Spoilers for _Issola_, _Orca_.
>>>> Mild spoilers for _BP_ and _Phoenix_.
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>> ** p78 ** "there is 1 place {Fenario, _Brokedown Palace} I [Verra] cannot
>>>> be # your [Vlad's] countrymen are responsible for that.
>>>> # It was a blood prince, and you are of peasant stock.
>>>
>>>Great misleading comment, assuming the Cawti rumor is true.
>>
>>Misleading?
>
>Making Vlad think it was done by people with no connection to him,
>when in fact it was done by his (ex-)father-in-law.
>

Or rather, his wife's father (just nitpicking that Miklos & Brigitta
were not formally wed).

Are Vlad & Cawti definitely legally divorced? I was under the
impression that their separation was not necessarily permanent
(although I have no idea how marriage and divorce work in the
Empire).

Michael S. Schiffer

unread,
Aug 28, 2001, 2:22:12 PM8/28/01
to
dav...@kithrup.com (David Silberstein) wrote in
<GIqxM...@kithrup.com>:

>In article <9mcsbp$1jtd$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,
>David Goldfarb <gold...@OCF.Berkeley.EDU> wrote:

>...


>>Making Vlad think it was done by people with no connection to him,
>>when in fact it was done by his (ex-)father-in-law.

>Or rather, his wife's father (just nitpicking that Miklos & Brigitta
>were not formally wed).

I don't think that matters. If I understand it correctly, "in-law"
referred to a relationship considered by Canon Law to prohibit marriage
between the two parties. (I.e., if your wife died, you still couldn't
marry your mother-in-law or sister-in-law, as they were considered
equivalent under the law to your mother or your sister.) It was later
extended to similar relationships where that wasn't so much an issue
(same sex marriage not being a big area of Canon Law jurisprudence,
AFAIK). So if we acknowledge that Miklos is Cawti's father, then he
is/was equally Vlad's father-in-law even if he wasn't married to her
mother. (But this is all going to be translation anyway, since it
seems unlikely that the terms in Dragaera or Fenario would come from
the same source as ours. Well, unless that's another thing that's
virtually unchanged in the several hundred thousand ensuing years, like
Fenarian names and language.)

>Are Vlad & Cawti definitely legally divorced? I was under the
>impression that their separation was not necessarily permanent
>(although I have no idea how marriage and divorce work in the
>Empire).

They never seem to have gone through any legal proceedings for either
their marriage or their divorce. It's unclear if getting married
requires anything beyond Cawti's proposal and Vlad's acceptance, or if
it has to be registered with the House or the Empire or the Adrilankha
city authorities. Ditto divorce-- Kiera's equivocation as to what
Cawti considers Vlad suggests that whether or not they're married is a
matter still in question. The Empire may take a more or less common
law approach to the matter-- if two people tell the community they're
married and are recognized by others as being married, they're married.
If not, then not. Or there may be legal divorce proceedings that
neither have wanted to bother with (and which Vlad's fugitive status
would in any case make difficult).

Mike

--
Michael S. Schiffer, LHN, FCS
ms...@mediaone.net
msch...@condor.depaul.edu

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Aug 28, 2001, 7:26:26 PM8/28/01
to
"Michael S. Schiffer" wrote:
>
> dav...@kithrup.com (David Silberstein) wrote in
> <GIqxM...@kithrup.com>:
>
> >Are Vlad & Cawti definitely legally divorced? I was under the
> >impression that their separation was not necessarily permanent
> >(although I have no idea how marriage and divorce work in the
> >Empire).
>
> They never seem to have gone through any legal proceedings for either
> their marriage or their divorce. It's unclear if getting married
> requires anything beyond Cawti's proposal and Vlad's acceptance, or if
> it has to be registered with the House or the Empire or the Adrilankha
> city authorities. Ditto divorce-- Kiera's equivocation as to what
> Cawti considers Vlad suggests that whether or not they're married is a
> matter still in question. The Empire may take a more or less common
> law approach to the matter-- if two people tell the community they're
> married and are recognized by others as being married, they're married.
> If not, then not. Or there may be legal divorce proceedings that
> neither have wanted to bother with (and which Vlad's fugitive status
> would in any case make difficult).

No idea if there's any legal necessities, but just the proposal isn't
enough. We saw Vlad and Cawti in _Dragon_, a couple weeks after
_Yendi_, and they still weren't considered (by Vlad at least) wed.


--KG

David Silberstein

unread,
Aug 28, 2001, 8:56:12 PM8/28/01
to

Spoiler space (ISSOLA, DRAGON)...

In article <9m40tk$dah$2...@news01.cit.cornell.edu>,
Thomas Yan <ty...@twinkie.cs.cornell.edu> wrote:

>** p139 ** "Morollan charg[ed] up to Dzur mountain"
> [upon learing Sethra hadn't paid tribute]

I was re-reading DRAGON, and I noticed that Morrolan doesn't tell
Vlad why Sethra is willing to be his general. I wonder if that
service is (part of) her "tribute"...

David Silberstein

unread,
Aug 30, 2001, 10:10:36 PM8/30/01
to
In article <9m40ns$dah$1...@news01.cit.cornell.edu>,

Thomas Yan <ty...@twinkie.cs.cornell.edu> wrote:
>
>Distracted by Shadows: _Issola_, by Steven Brust; 2001 Tor hardcover edition.
>
>
>Spoilers for _Issola_ - Big ones...
>

>[Teldra find & sleeps with Vlad]

I had some more thoughts about this, so here they are...

You know, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me that
"Lady Teldra loves Vlad" is carefully set up from the very beginning
of ISSOLA (*not* in any of the earlier books - there simply isn't
enough interaction with her to tell, and I've been looking for it on
my re-reads). It isn't something she can come out and say; there are
simply too many social barriers between them (he's married *and* a
different (sub)-species[1]).

However, once she has informed Vlad that he is needed, what reason
did she have to accept his suggestion of staying the night with him?
She could have easily and politely said, "I thank you for the offer,
but now that you have been alerted, I will teleport back to Castle
Black/Dzur Mountain If you wish, I can bring you with me." Yet
she quietly snuggles up...

I also think her little speech on courtesy, and *Vlad* being the
epitome of courteousness (!) might be another hint about the way
she feels about him: After all, for the deeply infatuated, is not
their beloved's every action appropriate and perfect, no matter
what they do?

And it might also explain her final actions: despite having no training
in weapons, she wants to do something significant that will affect Vlad,
demonstrating how she feels about him, even if it kills her. Perhaps
especially *because* it kills her...


[1] And diverting to taxonomy, would Dragaerans be "Homo Dragaeresis"
or "Homo Sapiens Dragaeresis"?

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