Letters Column for September (October tomorrow)

Posted on November 1, 2004 by Jenna

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Thank you for your kind words,


And a Donate button! That’s great! I’ve wanted to give money to you since… well, the dawn of Hitherby time, at least.
— Jason

This seems as good a place as any to note that the Donate button seems to be working. Thank you, Liralen! ^_^


As I visualize it, Dragons are the things outside of the bounderies of what we know, that are probably strange, glorious, and dangerous. They can have scales and wings and gold, of course, but they don’t have to. They can be Dragons without any of those things.
— Eric


If Dragons include all the things outside the boundaries of the known, then what good is it to say “Here There Be Dragons”?


Interesting. Weird. A sympathetic monster, sort of.
— ArchangelBeth

Jane considers the motivations of monsters a fairly complex issue.

She’s not responsible for the histories. I’m just sayin’. ^_^


did both the hero and the monster become the god?
— GoldenH

The monster created one from the hero.

still doesn’t seem like an end, however…
— GoldenH

Then perhaps there is more.


The appendices have scant information on Mylitta.
— Sparrowhawk

They’re based on information from the previous chapter, plus some bonus notes. Most of the bonus notes are “things I might have forgotten if I didn’t put it there,” which means that any secrets that I know by heart aren’t there at all.

To me, it seems to me that Mylitta was a poor Hero, but why?
— Sparrowhawk

She asked a question, “Why can’t I fix you?”
and then failed to answer it.


Is a god just an alter that can affect the world on its own?
— DSPaul

I think that the answer is “no.”

The gods created through the agency of the monster serve a functional purpose similar to Dissociative Identity Disorder. But this isn’t what gods are. It’s simply one function that they can serve. Tainted John, Forbidden Angel, and Nemesis are examples of gods who don’t match this theory.

People who can create gods do seem to create them in the same circumstances where other people might create additional personalities. They also create them in other circumstances. Look at and for some hints about the limitations on this.


Where do Ripper Kringles *come* from?
— Archangel Beth

The red side of the candy cane.


Out of curiousity, is this in continuity with the story about the decision to waste perfectly good tea? And will there be sequels?
— Egarwaen

I suspect not. There may be sequels, though. ^_^


Sadly, I am not sure that the Master’s wisdom is applicable to the illusion that is the world. If it were truly possible to prevent strife by being peaceful and without hatred, then the world would surely be a better place?
— Sparrowhawk

I think the point of Confucian philosophy is not so much that behaving properly magically makes problems disappear as that behaving improperly never helps.

On a random note, I like the idea that people perceive actions and bad deeds done by others as about 125% as bad as when they do them themselves. I figure that this puts a lot of the issues raised by “being the lone good person doesn’t work!” in perspective and lets one find a rational balance between the moral high ground and effectiveness. On the other hand, I’m not really in any conflicts with anyone right now, so I can’t apply it and find out. ^_^


Someone’s feeling political this morning.
— Lise

Surrounded by Our Dead was about Elvis first and Bishop Usher later. ^_^

Really, in a lot of ways, it’s a bad poem, because I never managed to squeeze into its structure the core idea that the guy was a public schoolteacher and/or scientist that Bishop Usher was haunting to keep him silent. Which isn’t a political statement, because Bishop Usher is like Nixon—not just a public figure, but a public myth, reusable for many purposes.

That said, if you find it surprising that I consider him a hostile figure …

Bishop Usher’s work might well have been good research at the time. (Seriously. It’s like modern AI—in a few centuries, computer scientists will probably laugh at it, but you have to work with the ideas you have available, and trying to rigorously figure out the world is *good*.)

In 2004, young-Earth Creationism is unambiguously bad science. This isn’t a political judgment. It’s my judgment as a one-time professional scientist. Not every thought that is politically relevant is political.

Er, but did I misunderstand your observation?


I plead ignorance. What game is this?
— S

The game in question was Gauntlet.


How do you do that?
— Rene

With verve!


How, for example, does Devadatta know that he is, in fact, an 89 man killer and not a 92 man killer? Did he at some point try to kill 90 men and simply run out of steam? If so, why didn’t that 90th man do him in?
— Jason

Sages. Dozens of sages. With abaci.

There are butterflies in their hair.

That’s it for September! Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting—even if you didn’t get thanked for a compliment or picked for a specific response—and see you again this coming month!