Monthly Archives: October 2014

Deconstruction Roundup for October 17, 2014

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is unconvinced of his own greatness, because others do not say he is great.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

duckbunny: Sensical

Erika M. and Will Wildman: Something Short and Snappy

Fred Clark: Slacktivist


Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip SandiferPhilip Sandifer: Writer (formerly TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue)

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Dragonquest: Out Of The Mouths Of Kids

Last time, Robinton proved he had more empathy in him than the Lords Holder and the dragonriders combined. There was also telescope-viewing of the Red Star, and the confirmation that Southern grubs were meant as the second line of defense against Thread, after dragons in the air.

Dragonquest: Chapters XIV-XV: Content Notes: Depression, mental regression, slut-shaming

I’m going to open up Chapter XIV’s commentary with an extensive quote, because Jaxom (whose perspective we have to start the chapter) is so painfully observant about everything that has happened up to this point that it confirms for me that these terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad decisions in the narrative are all deliberate and have been thought through, which increases their ick factor logarithmically.

He [Jaxom] had never shaken off his sense of blasphemy from invading the Hatching Ground, and he wondered if this were his punishment. But he was a logical boy and the deaths of the two queens had not occurred at Ruatha, not over Fort Weyr to which Ruatha Hold was bound. He’d never met Kylara or Brekke. He did know F’nor and felt sorry for him if half what he’d heard was true – that F’nor had taken Brekke into his weyr and had abandoned his duties as a Wing-second to care for her. She was very sick. Funny, everyone was sorry for Brekke but no one mentioned Kylara, and she’d lost a queen, too.

Jaxom wondered about that but knew he couldn’t ask. Just as he couldn’t ask if he and Lytol were going to the Hatching.
[…]
Not that anyone had done much more than Thread-watch since the wedding at Telgar.

Jaxom sighed. That had been some day. He shivered, remembered how sick, cold, and – yes – scared he’d been. (Lytol said a man wasn’t afraid to admit to fear.) All the time he’d seen F’lar fighting T’ron, he’d been scared.[…]Everything was going wrong on Pern. Dragon queens killing each other, Weyrleaders dueling in public, Thread falling here and there, with no rhyme or reason.[…]It wasn’t fair. Everything had been going so well.

Jaxom, never change, please. Keep that sharp observing eye of yours, and keep empathy for everyone. Jaxom understands that something is very wrong with the Brown Rider Rapist, that everyone is conspicuously shunning Kylara for some reason, and that everyone is on edge over fighting dragonriders and out-of-phase Thread. Since they are noticed by Jaxom, they were meant to be there. Which makes them deliberate, and exceedingly more icky and problematic because of it.

One good thing, though – props to Lytol, who is instilling in Jaxom a conception of masculinity that explicitly says it’s okay to be scared out of your mind. This is different than the performance masculinity he’s getting from other Lords Holder, his peer children, and the Weyrbred fosterlings. I think Lytol’s conception is superior, and will pay dividends further down the line. Lytol also refused fire-lizard eggs earlier on, which Jaxom is miffed at, so there’s still some work to do in getting Jaxom to check his privilege and think of his office less as getting himself things and more of providing protection to those under his care.

In any case, it turns out that Jaxom and Lytol are going to the Hatching at Benden, where Brekke will be represented as a candidate for a new queen dragon. Since we’re staying with Jaxom (and Felessan) at this point, though, Jaxom’s attention is focused completely on an egg that’s been pushed aside – the egg that Jaxom touched. Until the candidates arrive, that is, and then all eyes are on the dragons, including the hatching queen – whom all the other girls defer to Brekke as the first candidate to try and Impress.

Brekke doesn’t. Her fire-lizard actively interferes with it, no less, and another girl Impresses (the candidate from Ruatha. How… something). With all the dragons hatched, everyone else turns to leave. Except Jaxom, whose empathy overflows, and who is the only one to notice that the small egg that nobody is paying attention to is showing signs of wanting to hatch. So Jaxom helps out, cracking the outer shell and using his knife to cut through membrane holding in… a white dragon. Whose name, Jaxom tells us, is Ruth.

Everyone else noticing this, while nobody explicitly says anything profane, basically thinks, “Shit.”

And that’s chapter XIV.

Chapter XV shows us that Brekke had been cured of her depression, brought out by her experience at the Hatching. Regrettably, the narrative’s price for returning Brekke to the land of the aware is that she, like Lessa, is now devoted to her rapist. Brekke uncorks her long-held grief and starts to cry for everything, which is apparently okay for a little bit, but after a while, Manora slaps Brekke and then dunks her in a bathing pool to snap her out of her grief. Well, now I know where both half-brothers get that particular idea on how to relate to others. And Brekke thanks her for the abuse.

Not that she’s out of the woods yet. Any time she remembers the tragedy, the depression threatens to swallow her back up, prompting the dragons and fire-lizards to interfere. Brekke is safely bundled off to sleep with a bowl of broth and a sleeping draught, served to her in a no-nonsense manner by her own fosterling, Mirrim. Who then hustles out the Brown Rider Rapist with a directive to get his dragon fed before settling in to watch Brekke.

Once Brekke falls asleep, we shift over to the party after the Hatching, where Lessa is happy for Jaxom, but extremely worried about what Jaxom’s actions are going to mean and do for politics. Because he’s a Holder with a dragon, instead of all the fire-lizards being distributed to the other Holders. She doesn’t think the white dragon will prosper: Ramoth tells her she’s wrong. And Lessa finally explicitly mulls over the idea of succession at Ruatha, and ultimately concludes that she wants to keep Jaxom there, since he has some small part of the Bloodline she has, so it’s okay. Anybody else is fucked, though.

And I just can’t believe this. I can believe Lessa saying “Well, I’m not likely to go back, and things seem to be going okay, so I guess Jaxom can stay.” I can believe “I want to keep Ruatha close to me, so I should be friendly with Lytol and Jaxom so that I can still interfere at Ruatha.” But “Jaxom is part of my bloodline, so he’s all right in charge there”, no fucking way. If Lessa really believes purity of bloodline is what’s needed there, then she wants herself to rule, because her blood is purest. So, if we want a consistent Lessa, there must be some other reason she’s okay with Jaxom and Lytol staying in charge (for now), and it should probably have something to do with keeping and making alliances.

So Lytol and Robinton, who are apparently matching each other cup for cup of wine, declare that Jaxom has to stay in the Hold, while other Holders say that Jaxom had to go to the Weyr because he Impressed a dragon. Lessa takes advantage of the drinking to use her Sith Force powers to lean on the minds of the Holders and bring them around to the idea that Jaxom should stay at Ruatha. The Lord Holders cannot be dissuaded, though, leaving Jaxom to plead his case, which he does admirably, holding his own against the bigger and older Holders. Lessa’s instinct to interfere is curbed by Robinton, who shows that he’s a lot more sober than his act suggested, and by Lytol, who stands by his ward.

The situation with Jaxom resolved, Robinton, Lessa, and F’lar go to the secret experimental chambers with the Masterfarmer, who was just flown in to examine the grubs. He has the same reaction as the Masterherdsman, and specifically mentions that Farmer lore says to watch for the grubs…and then realizes what he’s just said. Watch for the grubs, not destroy them. Which brings him around immediately to the idea that the grubs are beneficial, although he’s confused about the purpose of dragonriders in a world where the grubs can eat all the Thread and repair any plants struck by spores. Robinton mentions that wood pulp paper can be used to store and disseminate knowledge, so the practices of the various Crafts can be preserved and spread everywhere, over the Masterfarmer’s objections that some knowledge should remain Craft secrets. Before he leaves, though, the Masterfarmer is converted to the cause of spreading the grubs, and will work to get his Craft to do the same, even though he would much prefer to have the flashiness of the dragonriders to the boring, ugly practicality of the grubs.

And just when we thought we’d coast in to the end of a chapter, the Masterfarmer asks about Kylara…

“What of that adulterous transgressor?”

“She – lives,” and there was an uncompromising echo of the Farmer’s coldness in Lessa’s voice.

“She lives?” The Masterfarmer stopped again, dropping Lessa’s arm and staring at her in anger. “She lives? Her throat should be cut, her body…”

“She lives, Masterfarmer, with no more mind or wit than a babe! She exists in the prison of her guilt! Dragonfolk take no lives!”

…and there goes my hope that we’d be able to get through two chapters without a Whatfruit.

Cocowhat by depizan

First, narrative, I hate you for putting both Kylara and Brekke into a situation where they were attacked viciously, because they were both independent-thinking women who wanted progress, or at the very least, to be treated seriously.

Second, unless I am severely mistaken about what we have been told about Weyr culture, the Masterfarmer just grossly insulted Kylara, an insult Lessa is willing to let slide because she blames Kylara for everything, too. From what we are told about Weyr culture, their sexual attitudes do not care much about monogamous pairings, especially for queen riders, because any bronze could theoretically fly the queen at any flight. (They, presumably, are also a-OK with male-male partnerships, since men ride green dragons.) Weyrs raise all the children collectively to avoid parental attachments suffering when pairings of riders change based on mating fights. There should be very little conception of marriage among those born and raised in a Weyr (or those raised in the Weyr from a young age), so the idea of adultery should be nonexistent, and its suggestion (that someone should be punished because they slept with someone other than their preferred partner) taken as a slur, an attempt to impose inferior Hold (or Craft) morals on the dragonriders that have transcended them.

Or, it would be if dragonriders behaved according to what we’ve been told about Weyr culture. What we’ve been shown, on the other hand, is that Weyr culture functions much more similarly to the Holds and Crafthalls. Of the named rider pairings we’ve seen involving queen dragons, except for Kylara, they’re all monogamous between Weyrleader and Weyrwoman (or want to be monogamous, in Brekke’s case) in a very marriage-like setup. Kylara’s tastes and willingness to actively satisfy her sexual appetites are regularly shamed and disparaged by other characters, and is used as the justification for the Brown Rider Rapist’s violation of Brekke. Green dragons’ active sex desires are routinely used as running jokes or other indications of their lesser status. We also see no male-male partnerships at all. From what’s been shown to us, dragonriders are just as prudish about sex as everyone else. And so the Masterfarmer’s insult is un-remarked-upon.

The end of chapter XV is upon us. Only one more to go.

Writer Workshop October 15th, 2014

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!

Open Thread: Games you haven’t played

(posted by chris the cynic)

What is a game/what are some games you haven’t played but would like to?

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

This week in the Slacktiverse, October 11th 2014

(posted by chris the cynic, written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

  • Storiteller wrote about the everyday realities of living with a toddler this week, from sleep to play.  In Figment the Magic Sleep Dragon, she writes about when she was at her wits’ end, a special stuffed animal finally helped both her and her son get some sleep.  (Of course, as soon as she wrote that, her son decided that he didn’t want to go to sleep easily anymore.  Inevitable.)  In The Many Toys My Kid Loves to Play With, she talks about how her son loves to play with doors, dirt, blankets, the remote control, and lots of other household items that aren’t designed for small children.
  • chris the cynic wrote:
    • I finally made an index so that you can find all of the Narnia stuff I’ve written in one place.
    • The post, “Internet, the near future, and stuff about the blog.” was written at a bit of a low point.  It’s no secret that I’m sort of financially screwed, but when I wrote that post I was worried that it was leaving me with no internet, which turned out to not be true (mere coincidence), and I was nearly at the point of tears as I thought that I’d lose the ability to continue the blog.
    • Austeritas delenda est! Because austerity it bad and it’s killing my university.  If you’re interested in the details, read the post.
    • All that remains,” is an image post.  When I took the picture on Friday the third I thought it was just an oddity.  An artifact of the fact that if you leave something in the wrong place people will steal everything that isn’t welded on.  Three days later my university fired 50 faculty.  Profitable ones, no less.  Now I think it’s symbolic of the vision certain people have for my school.
    • On Thursday the 9th I made a speech.  I tried to record it but the file was somehow damaged.  I’m in the process of seeing if I can extract any good data.  I’ll make a post on it if I can.

In Case You Missed This

Firedrake writes:

A summary of a couple of evangelical Christian groups’ positions on
the environment. As always in history, both sides have built
theological justifications for what they wanted to argue anyway.
Humans, bah.

Things You Can Do

chris the cynic writes:

What’s going on at my university is complex and difficult.  Some of the stuff being done is illegal, but not illegal in the way that gets one prosecuted by a DA.  Instead those victimized will need to provide their own legal representation which isn’t cheap.  Apart from that, a lot of it is based on claims that are questionable at best and outright lies at worst.  A fund has been set up for the dual purposes of assisting victims attempting to get legal representation and determining the actual facts.  Send some money their way if it’s the sort of thing that interests you.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Roundup for October 10, 2014

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who understands that his life’s problems are miniscule compared to everyone else’s.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

  • Currently on hiatus due to bridge-dweller interference.

duckbunny: Sensical

Erika M. and Will Wildman: Something Short and Snappy

Fred Clark: Slacktivist


Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Omskivar: Omskivar Reviews


Philip SandiferPhilip Sandifer: Writer (formerly TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue)

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Dragonquest: The Aftermath

Last time, the narrative inflated the egos of the confirmed rapist half-brothers before inflicting a series of unnecessary traumas on Brekke, culminating in the death of her dragon, Wirenth, and Kylara’s dragon, Prideth, in a terrible two-fer that seems to be composed mostly of spite.

Dragonquest, Chapter XIII: Content Notes: Depression, suicidal ideation

It has been six days since the loss of both gold dragons, and Masterharper Robinton has…

No, I can’t continue yet. A six day time skip after this tragedy robs everyone of the ability to do those lovely empathetic things that are so important after death, things like the expression of anger, the close calls of depression and the rest of the things that would produce all sorts of character development. That has been taken from us, to be replaced by Robinton’s retrospective. This is a very poor storytelling decision, and lessens the impact of the event. It’s probably supposed to blunt any empathy we might feel for Brekke or Kylara, but it also prevents us from getting the entire message the narrative wanted to give us about what happens to women who try to be progressive.

So. Six days have passed, and Robinton isn’t sure if the best way to keep people from dwelling too long on the tragedy is to push forward with the idea of taking a trip to the Red Star. But he’s attending a viewing party at Fort, where he is able to mentally comment on the virtues of having many people know all the Craft secrets – he has five possible successors and three apprentices studying to be possible successors, unlike the other Crafts that apparently don’t spread their knowledge around, despite existing in a culture that regularly complains about the variability of its paper records and that has an entire Craft devoted to the transmission and preservation of culture though songs, poems, and other oral methods. We’re supposed to brush it off as if they were trade secrets, but over the last four hundred Turns, each of the Mastercraftsmen has seen proof of how much data and information has been lost though transmission methods that lack redundancy, and had apparently decided that the secrecy is more important than the redundancy. Bullshit. Especially since Fandarel had no apparent backup method, despite his relentless quest for efficiency. I would think every Smith knows as much of the knowledge as their brains can handle, so that the teaching and transmission of the knowledge goes as efficiently as possible. And the same for every other Craft.

Anyway, Robinton asks Lessa about Brekke.

“She does as well as can be expected. F’nor insisted that we bring her to his Weyr. The man’s emotionally attached to her – far more than gratitude for any nursing. Between him, Manora, and Mirrim, she’s never alone.”

“And – Kylara?”

Lessa pulled her hand from his. “She lives!”

And there’s the meat of it, how we’re supposed to view this. Brekke, since she was sweet and innocent, and a main character loved her enough to forcibly have sex with her, is being cared after and worried about. Kylara? Two words, with clear contempt for the thought that she is alive. Lessa blames Kylara, so everyone else at Benden likely does as well. And likely blames Kylara for having an active sex life as the cause. (Lessa, remember, is apparently unable to conceive, but this seems more than just jealousy at potential fertility.) You could search for a clearer example of the virgin-whore dichotomy if you wanted to with regards to Brekke and Kylara, but I don’t think there will be many more that are this obvious to follow.

Brekke, as the good girl in this pairing, is going to be re-presented as a candidate for Impressing a queen dragon at the first opportunity, which is a blatant disregard for custom and tradition (tradition!) that nobody is raising an objection over. Lessa also doesn’t understand why Brekke isn’t more active, since she can still talk to all the other dragons.

“Brekke says nothing. She will not even open her eyes. She can’t be sleeping all the time. The lizards and the dragons tell us she’s awake. You see,… Brekke can hear any dragon. Like me. She’s the only other Weyrwoman who can. And all the dragons listen to her.”

“Surely that’s an advantage if she’s suicidal?”

“Brekke is not – not actively suicidal. She’s craftbred, you know,” Lessa said in a flat, disapproving tone of voice.

Cocowhat by depizan

And then there’s this fucked-up classist bullshit about non-Weyrbred people. That Lessa feels entirely comfortable saying in front of the Masterharper, who is presumably also craftbred. I really wonder what Robinton thinks of the dragonriders when they aren’t around. Some part of dealing with all these people that think they’re better than you must grate at some point. Not to mention that Lessa disapproves of Brekke not trying to kill herself.

“No, I didn’t know,” Robinton murmured encouragingly after a pause. He was thinking Lessa wouldn’t ever contemplate suicide in a similar circumstance and wondered what Brekke’s “breeding” had to do with a suicidal aptitude.

“That’s her trouble. She can’t actively seek death, so she just lies there. I have this incredible urge…to beat or pinch or slap her – anything to get some response from the girl. It’s not the end of the world, after all. She can hear other dragons. She’s not bereft of all contact with dragonkind, like Lytol.”

“She must have time to recover from the shock…”

“I know, I know…but we don’t have time. We can’t get her to realize it’s better to do things…”

And… this actually makes sense, awful behavior that it is. Robinton, the Harper, fundamentally understands what depression is and can relate to it. Lessa and the dragonriders, because their pair-bond is so deep-set that it is a core part of their being, as unshakable a fact as their own existence, that they cannot really conceive of what life would be like without their dragon. And so, they lack empathy, not because they choose not to (well, that might be too generous), but because they can’t. Which is why Lessa doesn’t understand why Brekke is still depressed, despite being able to maintain contact with other dragons. She thinks the connection is still there, even though it isn’t. Lessa thinks Brekke lost a very close friend, but has others to sustain her, where Brekke lost the entity that she loved the most in her life, and that hole can’t be filled by the presence of other friends. It’s actually a little sad here, even though Lessa appears to be taking the Weyrleader’s technique to heart on how to get someone reluctant to do what you want as her primary desire. Because the misunderstanding is so fundamental, and Robinton understands that getting Brekke moving will not be sufficient to cure the depression.

Brekke will need a lot of time to grieve, and, if it’s possible, to heal from what has happened to her, and it will take much longer than six days. After all, there are cultures where the surviving spouse is expected to be in mourning for at least a year in our world. I wonder if dragonriders have developed mourning rituals for lost dragons, or whether they have basically assumed that riders without dragons will find a way to commit suicide and hold off on the ritual until both are gone. Since, in this set of books, we have only Lytol as the example of what happens when the dragon dies before the rider, there’s nobody who can really speak to this part of dragonrider culture.

I’d also like to know why he hasn’t been called in as a consultant, though, since, again, he’s the only one with a clue as to what Brekke is going through.

Before moving on, is also like to now that this is the second moment of Big Empathy in this book, and that all the empathetic characters (Terry, Brekke, Robinton) are all either in the Crafts or come from there. Whatever it is they are doing in those Halls, it should be replicated planet-wide, because both the Holdbred and Weyrbred seem to be missing the ability to empathize outside a very carefully selected few. That’s a shame, because when we see empathy, it’s loving and beautiful and I want more of this instead of the other stuff.

Anyway, the Brown Rider Rapist, Manora, and Mirrim are all fretting over Brekke, with the BrnRR sounding much like he’s either really panicked because he loves Brekke, or really panicked because of what he did right before Brekke got in the fight and feels guilty, and the Benden Weyrleader has taken sick by popping through hyperspace to the fighting queens before his own knife wounds had fully healed.

Back to the viewing party at Fort. Meron appears to observe the Red Star through the telescope, sending Robinton and Lessa into disapproval of his presence so soon after his involvement in the incident. And by involvement, we mean that he was the person Kylara was having sex with. Still, that line of disapproval is a pretty thin one, considering that Lessa was involved in trying to stop the fight and is here to observe as well. So Meron steps up to the eyepiece and looks. He’s shocked at first, but then steps back up for another good long look at it. After Lessa accuses him of monopolizing the telescope, Meron insults her with a lascivious comment. Before Lessa can get satisfaction with him, Fandarel picks Meron up bodily and moves him to the farthest permissible point away from the telescope, setting him down roughly. Fandarel’s actions to protect Lessa from the narrative are so noted.

Anyway, Lessa steps up to the telescope and we see the surface of the Red Star for the first time, with polar ice caps, clouds, and gray masses. It looks like… a planet. After Lessa leaves, others stepping up to the eyepiece react in fright and want to know why they can see so well, despite it being dark. Fandarel explains albedo and the fact that planets exist in three-dimensional orbits, so light from the sun can still reflect off the Red Star. (Again, the scientific knowledge available to a supposedly-medieval pastiche is quite extensive. Perhaps this is what would have been if not for the Vandals, Goths, and others destroying and scattering the knowledge of Greece and Rome in our time.) Then, as the Lords squabble over what they have seen, the Masterglasssmith, Wansor, answers their questions about whether the grey stuff is land, why the Red Star had clouds, and so forth, in his best scientific way – admitting when the information is incomplete or when they don’t know.

We find Meron’s true purpose at the gathering not soon after – to accuse Robinton of being in the pocket of Benden Weyr, which gets Robinton ready to defend his honor as Meron accuses Robinton of having an attraction to Lessa. Which Robinton deftly dismisses by saying he’s more interested in Benden wine than Benden Weyrwomen. Which is a rather misogynist statement – “I think wine is more interesting than this woman. How ugly she is. Bitches, amirite?” But Robinton has gauged his audience correctly, and his indication that he’s part of Team Misogyny is just right to defuse the situation.

And then he turns around and gives a The Reason You Suck speech to the assembled Lords Holder, correctly detailing the unknowns (the grey masses could all be Thread, it’s possible the clouds are not water clouds, and so some form of protection may be needed, and it’s possible that others have gone and failed). Wansor picks up those threads, detailing the needs for more observations, but Meron continues, obstinately, demanding a specific time for an attempt, and then claiming that fire-lizards eating Thread should be enough to keep all the lands clear.

Which actually plays to Lessa, and she sweetly offers to make sure the Weyr that normally covers Meron’s lands doesn’t sweep them for Thread. And then gives him a much-abbreviated version of a The Reason You Suck speech, holding the lives of the innocents as more important than Meron’s stupidity. She even offers a subtle quid pro quo – if the Lords Holder want anything done to Kylara with regard to Wirenth and Prideth, they need to do something to Meron for his involvement. Since the Lords Holder are all about Team Bros Before Hos, that pretty well settles the matter of Kylara.

I’m surprised the narrative doesn’t immediately strike her down where she stands for all of this action. Maybe because she only feinted instead of attacking?

After the viewing party breaks up, Robinton asks whether Lessa is in favor of the Red Star jump.

“It scares me. It scares me because it seems so likely that someone must have tried. Sometime. It just doesn’t seem logical…”

“Is there any record that someone, besides yourself, jumped so far between times?”

“No.” She had to admit it. “But then, there hadn’t been such need.”

“And there’s no need now to take this other kind of a jump?”

“Don’t unsettle me more….How can we know? How can we be sure?”

“How were you sure the Question Song could be answered – by you?”

While it’s nice to see that Lessa does have fear of something (and a rather smart one, at that), Robinton, these things are not alike. There is a lack of records about a time-jumping Weyrwoman because her future self needs to not see her successes so that she decides to go back and succeed. It’s very Stable Time Loop requirements that demand the excision of records. A hop to the Red Star may not carry any records because everyone who went could easily die without returning or having their corpses analyzed to assist the next team. Even if they could hit the right space-time coordinates, there’s no guarantee the environment there would be hospitable enough for anyone. So Lessa has a well-justified fear here – the environment is so alien that it’s likely everyone who tried died without leaving any useful information. As opposed to dying in an attempt to time skip to somewhere that is at least known to be habitable.

The next morning, Lessa repeats her fears to the Weyrleader, and reports on the success of his experiment with grubs – N’ton substituted for the Brown Rider Rapist and had proven to be very discreet. The Weyrleader wants to discuss the results with N’ton. Who arrives, unbidden, a few moments later, with Wansor, who has discovered that Pern and the Red Star are not the only planets in the sky and that the Red Star also has its own rotation, independent of Pern. Wansor would like to put carved lenses into place at the Weyr so as to allow for observations.

Afterward, N’ton is sent on a journey to gather grubs from all over the Southern Continent, as the Weyrleader is fairly convinced they are intended to be the ground protection against Thread. N’ton shares this perspective, as well as the likelihood that grubs became a problem in the north because a secret that should have been communicated didn’t go through because someone died. The chapter comes to a close with more of the Weyrleader’s annoyance at his continued sickness.

Open Thread: Break out the pitchforks

(posted by chris the cynic)

The latest administration of my university appears to be attempting to self destruct via austerity driven implosion.

Who is making you want to break out the pitchforks?  (Local or not.)

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

This week in the Slacktiverse, October 5th 2014

(posted by chris the cynic, written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

  • Last week (you didn’t send it in too late, I screwed up) Frobbor wrote:
    • I finished posting my commentaries on Revolutionary Girl Utena episodes, and I’m particularly proud of my discussion of the last couple of episodes. (Content warning: suicide, statutory rape, sexual/domestic abuse and abuse tactics, especially gaslighting.)
  • Storiteller was all about the outdoors this week, from the roads on bikes to the parks on foot.  In Family Biking O’Rama, she describes a family biking workshop she attended, where she learned about equipment (cargo bikes! e-assist bikes!), snacking, and much more.  A highlight of the week was visiting a local park that has an awesome train ride with a real engine, a terrifying disembodied plaster pig’s head, and a retro playground. For lots of reasons, she’s glad this place exists, as she describes in Old-School Childhood.
  • chris the cynic wrote:
    • My first post of the week was letting everyone know that I lost my internet because I didn’t have enough money to pay the bill.  That, and some details surrounding it.  Not the best start ever.  (Currently using a Greyhound bus’ free internet.)
    • In an effort to have content, and also in an effort to say, “Hey, I sometimes produce good things,” I reposted something I posted three years ago.  What has become known as “The Universal Lord’s Prayer,” was in response to the statement that the Lord’s Prayer is, “as generic and universal a prayer as can be crafted” in part as an attempt to bring that statement closer to true.  It begins:
      • Our Father, who may be female or generdless or polygendered or just plain multiple and who may or may not have a relationship with us and might not even exist at all, who art in heaven, by which we mean whereever her/she/it/they happens to be, or indeed not be since we’ve established that he/she/it/they might not exist in the first place.
    • After using a scaled down version of it as the image for an open thread elsewhere, I made a post on my own blog about some vaguely recent permutations of my Mona Lisa modifications.

In Case You Missed This

No submissions this week.

Things You Can Do

Last week Frobbor wrote:

My sister recently finally left a long-term and very toxic relationship. This has required her to completely uproot her life, including quitting her job and moving hundreds of miles. She could use a little help finding her feet. (I know, GoFundMe is extremely problematic, but she didn’t know that when she made the page, and she could really use the help.) Anything anyone can do, even if it’s just sharing, would be greatly appreciated.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Roundup for October 4, 2014

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who has to think about… something.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

  • Currently on hiatus due to bridge-dweller interference.

Amarie: Amarie’s Dreamjournal: Multiple Deconstructions

duckbunny: Sensical

Erika M. and Will Wildman: Something Short and Snappy

Fred Clark: Slacktivist


Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

Justice_Turtle: ReadAllTheNewberys

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip SandiferPhilip Sandifer: Writer (formerly TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue)

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse