Letters Column for February 2005

Posted on March 1, 2005 by Jenna

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I want to thank each of you who donated or bought a copy of the first monthbook. It matters to me to know that this work has value to you; and it’s really nice to go into a little less debt this month because of it. ^_^

Thank you for your kind words,

Archangel Beth
Eric B.
Glory Box


Happy 100th birthday, Ayn Rand!
— tem2


I didn’t know it was her 100th birthday when I posted the first part of Aslan Shrugged.

Sometimes I’m pretty sure Hitherby has a muse. ^_^


I never get enough Objectivism, since it seems to echo my personal ethos very tightly. Of course, Aslan might have some issues wrestling with Lord Galt …
— SquidLord

Generally, in steel cage matches involving an industrialist and a magical lion who is also God—

Unless, of course, one adopts the beliefs of the barbaric Adoptionists who raid the outskirts of Helium and proclaim God divisible—

I would bet on the lion. It’s not so much the omnipotence as the claws.


I always found this test of loyalties by the Wtich to be the most starkly disturbing of all of the events in the entire series… mostly because I had absolutely no idea what Turkish Delight was when I was a little kid, and I figured it was some kind of hideously addictive opiate. So let me take this opportunity to thank you for updating that sense of distress to my current sensibilities (because nothing is going to scare the bejezus out of any modern person like the rise of a new breed of robber baron).
— Pierre

Bah! Edmund always was a thinly disguised rail baron.

“When I’m King of Narnia the first thing I shall do will be to make some decent roads.” And of course that set him off thinking about being a King … He had just settled in his mind … where the principal railways would run and what laws he would make … when the weather changed.
— C. S. Lewis

It’s his very special moment.


I know this is a bit of a tangent, but sin is a body fluid?
— Pierre

Sin is the length of the opposite side over the length of the hypoteneuse. A tangent would be the length of the opposite side over the length of the adjacent side. Body fluids are things like the vitreous fluid, bile, and phlegm.


Huh. Objectivism plus Christianity.
— solarbird

Ayn Rand and Jesus Christ didn’t agree on very much. They’d probably have argued a lot if they were friends.

But they both said, “Give of yourself, not in resentment but in joy, for what you think is right.”

It’s not surprising, whatever you think of either of them, that the thing they agreed on is pretty cool.

Sadly, they disagree pretty strongly over what happens when dawn comes and Schrodinger’s lion might, or might not, rise from the dead.

That’s why the story ends there.


It is a very silly thing to lock oneself in a wardrobe.
— Drooling Iguana

Peter’s military genius does not extend to fourth generation tactics, which leaves him open to mistakes like this one.


I’m wondering what prompted this one.
— S

All of my entries are implicitly based on secret messages hidden in the phone book. There’s a reason that not all the names are in alphabetical order, you know.


So…if Obegai killed everyone…who’s in the seraglio? And who would die if he didn’t visit it?
— Metal Fatigue

Life is resilient! In the distant future, new kinds of people evolve out of trees, rocks, discarded cans, cloning laboratories, and terrible hybrids of magic and technology. See

An Arbitrarily Accurate Online Randomized Predictive Algorithm for Event Evolution in Complex Systems by B. Awerbuch and H. Yves in the Proceedings of the Parallel and Distributed Computing Systems conference (PDCS 2003) for more details.


Hmm. Does this raise a question as to whether American cats are really made of cat? Aren’t they more something along the lines of “extract of cat” now?
— Eric

Cats are, in fact, extruded cat product. It’s the veterinarians’ horrible secret!


Was it that the monster wasn’t required to repent? Or that he wasn’t offered the option for forgiveness?
— Eric



Does Hitherby have the Buddha Nature?
— cappadocius

Inside the wogly it’s empty.


If Proteus is going to be picky,
— S

Proteus read his Herodotus in the original English. If it was good enough for Adam and Eve, it was good enough for him!

(If they didn’t speak English, how could they have mistaken the snake’s loud shout of “Apple Police! Get down!” for “Apple, please! Get it down?”

Honestly. Some linguists just don’t understand me or what it’s like to be my age and writing Hitherby Dragons all the time. They never had to figure this kind of thing out! They were probably born preaching about linguistic evolution. Pfui.)


//Response to the 23 October 2004 Merin (yes, this is cheating):

Is it too much to hope for that one could eventually transcend the cycle itself, and reach a new understanding accommodating both philosophical poles?

Or would one, at that point, cease to exist?//
— Metal Fatigue

This was the article that talked about the idea that people’s life philosophies follow a cycle that repeatedly travels through

“it’s us vs. them”


“we’re all just people”

each time transcending the other idea due to a new understanding of how we’re all basically different or all basically the same.

I don’t know if you can escape this cycle. The reason is simple: the cycle isn’t really a thing that happens so much as a way of looking what happens. It’s a way of explaining your philosophical evolution, rather than an actual trait of that evolution. It’s specifically an explanation for why people tend towards a particularly strong sense of “I’m an adult and you’re not” when they pose either one of these arguments—because they literally have outgrown the other argument, many times. And it’s hard to develop a philosophy of life that doesn’t to some extent fit the pattern, because it’s a flexible pattern, and I can probably wedge your philosophy into it somehow.

That said, you can certainly reach a point where this model is too simplistic to capture your philosophy well, and I don’t think it requires ceasing to exist. Understanding the alien and accepting both its alienness and its similarity is a good general business plan for life!


Martin thinks suffering builds character. He must expect that those (members of the Earth Division) who have been offered, and have accepted, clemency will suffer by so doing.
— Metal Fatigue

Consider the ideology and methodology of a monster. Let’s abstract it from the Hitherby meaning into the general case—genocidal tyrants, real-world sadistic abusers, and so forth.

A monster presents his ideas in a fashion that is coherent though not consistent. It is to logic and reason what non-Euclidian geometry is to geometry—possessed of the same intricate structure, but dissociated from some of the fundamental laws. In particular, monster logic can function in the presence of contradictions.

The purpose of this presentation, this ideology, this methodology, and this monster logic, is dominance, influence, and control.

What happens when that ideology and methodology is compromised? What happens when the truly redeemed cease to support the others, the entirely hypocritical vanish in the night, and only the halfhearted monsters remain?


could you imagine if each hitherby was available as a mp3? I swear. rolling in the mon-ies
— GoldenH

That’d be really cool. It’d definitely be lucrative, although I don’t know if it’d be profitable—I’m not sure I can get someone to read 300,000 words for cheap. ^_^


Hmmm. An interesting view on hell. But it seems to conflict with the idea that demons teach acceptance.
— Ben

Words are tricky things, and it is the dharma of a god to view certain moral and causal relationships from the other side. ^_^


I’m not sure how to respond to that.
— insanitykun

When you don’t know what to do, dance.


The angel (in “Coming Home”) reminds me of Eli a little.
— Archangel Beth

You know how A’s are. When there aren’t any around, they all kind of blur together. ^_^


Hhm. Hitherby made me quote Peter, Paul & Mary. How odd.
— Jason

Odder yet, it’s making them quote you!

That’s it for this month!

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for donating, thanks for buying the first volume or making a solemn promise to yourself to buy the first three when they’re available to save on shipping, thanks for all the nice things you said and all the mean things you didn’t say, and see you all again in the coming months!

And, hey, you lived to see the first of March, 2005, through all the troubles and pains and sorrows of your life. It wasn’t easy, and I honor you for it.