Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3

post by Alicorn · 2010-12-30T14:37:04.195Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 355 comments

This is a thread for discussing my luminous!Twilight fic, Luminosity (inferior mirror here), its sequel Radiance (inferior mirror), and related topics.

PDFs, to be updated as the fic updates, are available of Luminosity (other version) and Radiance.  (PDFs courtesy of anyareine).  Zack M Davis has created a mobi file of Radiance.

Initial discussion of the fic under a Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality thread is here.  The first dedicated threads: Part 1, Part 2.  See also the luminosity sequence which contains some of the concepts that the Luminosity fic is intended to illustrate.  (Disclaimer: in the fic, the needs of the story take precedence over the needs for didactic value where the two are in tension.)

Spoilers are OK to post without ROT-13 for canon, all of Book 1, and Radiance up to the current chapter.  Note which chapter (let's all use the numbering on my own webspace, rather than, for consistency) you're about to spoil in your comment if it's big.  People who know extra stuff (my betas and people who have requested specific spoilers) should keep mum about unpublished information they have.  If you wish to join the ranks of the betas or the spoiled, contact me individually.

Miscellaneous links: TV Tropes page (I really really like it when new stuff appears there) and threadAutomatic Livejournal feed.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by jimrandomh · 2011-02-27T03:06:43.154Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is Elspeth going to try using her sending power for general education? If she could turn a human into a passable doctor by sending them someone's memories of medical school, for example, she can solve several broad classes of societal problems very effectively by mass-producing various types of professionals from volunteers.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-03-03T15:03:27.148Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suspect this will rapidly become a moot point, what with the growing population of immortal superpowerful supergeniuses: if there's a societal need for more Xes, the Empire can modify their "immigration" policy to put people willing to practice X for a decade or two on their fast-track.

Admittedly, you probably don't want newborn vampires practicing medicine.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-01T01:12:37.759Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


After Radiance ends (I currently expect #52 to be the last, maybe the second-to-last, chapter), I have two projects that will be lined up to go next.

However, both of these projects need significant amounts of preliminary work out of the way before I can even start writing the prose, let alone publishing it.

I don't want to go stagnant during this downtime, so while I'll definitely use the time freed up by no longer writing Radiance to hurry those preliminaries along, I also want to be, yanno, writing stuff as well as preparing to write stuff.

Solution: Luminosity/Radiance short stories. (Working title for the collection thereof: "Flashes".)

I'm not going to do a third novel. Two is enough, and I do have other stuff to get to that isn't fanfiction. But I can produce a short story (roughly the size of a Radiance chapter, i.e. more than 4,000 words but usually fewer than 5,000) once a week to keep in writing practice, and to offer additional perspectives on the Luminousverse, until Elcenia's relaunch and/or Dreamward are ready to go.

I've made noise about doing omake/other extras before, and people have given me suggestions, but I wasn't collecting the suggestions in any systematic way and don't have them stored anywhere. So, if you've already suggested something, suggest it again and this time I'll make a note; and if you haven't, this is a good time to present an idea. I'll come up with my own if I don't get reader submissions I like. Ideas should be "canon" (comply with the Luminousverse; e.g. no telling me to write a story about, I dunno, Addy having a torrid affair with Nathan during the twenty minutes or so she spent on the Isle of Man or Alice creating an immortal child or something, because that didn't happen). Suggestions could be as specific as "tell me how Aro and Sulpicia met" (I'm actually thinking of writing that one first to have ready to post before Radiance wraps up) or as vague as "something from some Volturi's perspective sometime when something was happening".

Replies from: Zack_M_Davis, DSimon, Larks, TheOtherDave, amazingeko, Arda
comment by Zack_M_Davis · 2011-03-01T03:50:50.894Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Tell us about the capital on the moon!

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-01T06:38:07.919Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Added to the list :)

Replies from: Giriath
comment by Giriath · 2011-03-01T10:09:29.845Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Uh, well I had made a few suggestions a ways back but I can't remember all of them and as it's my birthday I don't currently have the time to search for them amongst all my comments and private messages.

Here's a few though: tell us about when Bella met Allirea and Eleazar and managed to steal Allirea away and their subsequent journey up until they met with Elspeth and party again.

Tell us about how Bella reacts to Elspeth having been Chelsea'd, and if that is insufficient as an omake, what she is doing and thinking when and after Elspeth is abducted twice, and anything else you'd like to add pertaining to that time frame (e.g. Bella almost attacking Pera).

Tell us about the first major contact between the Golden Empire and human governments, and any subsequent contact you find interesting.

Tell us about the first direct public contact (televised or otherwise) between human society and the Golden Empire, preferably from the perspective of Bella's past human acquaintances, like Angela, Mike, Ben, Jessica, Lauren e.t.c.

Tell us about the first official function Elspeth attends. Will she wear a crown? Will Jacob really get a title?

Tell us about Allirea's experiences as personal bodyguard of the imperial family.

That's all I have for now. :)

comment by DSimon · 2011-03-03T23:38:54.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How about a story following a human trying to go through the official process of getting turned? I'd really like to see (a) how human society reacts to the demasquing, and (b) in particular, the interactions between those who want to become vampires and those who consider the vampires to be enemies.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-03T23:40:56.563Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm writing (this very minute, actually) the official form one needs to fill out to apply to get vamped. Depending on how long it winds up being, I might turn it into a framing mechanism for something more storylike.

comment by Larks · 2011-03-04T00:21:00.216Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It'd be cool to hear about how the New World Order is recieved by those Vampires who want to continue killing people.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-04T00:39:09.060Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

With brief violence.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-03-03T14:57:07.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would love to hear about what Alice has been up to since the Volturi were defeated.

(It keeps seeming odd that she isn't being consulted during all of this strategic planning... e.g., making sure that breaking the masquerade to various people's relatives won't result in being forced to kill them... so I assume that she's working on something off-camera. )

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-03T15:12:02.485Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Alice checked that with Addy ahead of time when Addy was making the appointments; the trouble was that they couldn't do a check on how Elspeth (or even her power in Addy's hands) would affect things because she blocks Alice.

comment by amazingeko · 2011-05-12T14:24:16.221Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know if you'll get this, but I was wondering about vampire powers. I'd be specifically interested in a high level martial artist (7th Dan in aikido or equivalent) gaining abilities. It seems like most vampires use brute force to fight, and even though different techniques are required, I can't imagine that a trained martial artist wouldn't have a distinct advantage.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-05-12T18:22:53.479Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I had a long reply written up but I accidentally hit cancel and it's gone. Argh.

Short reply:

No, wouldn't help noticeably. Vampires have a much higher strength-to-weight ratio than humans, so using their own weight against them is a technique of negligible value. Their muscles move independently to a greater degree, so locks don't work. They are too tough for "hitting 'em with the floor" (as my old sensei used to say) to be a worthwhile thing to do unless your aim is to destroy the floor. Etcetera. The adaptation from human martial arts required to effectively fight vampires is such that the martial artist might start out with an advantage in mental habituation to combat training (and so take to it more easily), but if you control for that there'd be no benefit.

comment by Arda · 2011-03-11T10:05:33.010Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This could be something you already have planned, but I don't want to make any assumptions, so: I would like to hear about the eventual effects, if any, which come from Elspeth telling Magic that she loves her Mama in chapter 12.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-11T15:16:26.953Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't have that planned because there isn't anything, really. Elspeth has to build her relationship with her mother (again), she can't pull it out of deep storage. She's quite aware that, as a little girl, she loved her mother, though.

comment by Arda · 2011-02-26T21:37:56.739Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They gave him his mate's murderer, then they gave him a new mate. I think this pretty much seals Marcus' undying loyalty to the Empire.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-18T13:56:03.461Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In an earlier thread there was a comment asking about the timeline; I replied there and will crosspost here.

These are the broad strokes. (Let me know if you want the dates of other events.)

January 17, 2005: Luminosity opens.

October 2005: Assorted hell breaks loose (partial list in order: Irina finds out who killed Laurent and tips off the Volturi; the Volturi descend upon the wolves; Jacob summons Bella; the Volturi send Demetri looking for Nahuel's sisters; he finds them and helps himself to Allirea).

November 4, 2005: With Allirea in tow, the Volturi nab Alice.

April 4, 2006: Bella encounters Jasper.

May 10, 2006: Bella finds Elspeth.

May 20, 2011: Radiance opens.

May 26, 2011: Last date of Addy touching Aro. Aro was reasonably up-to-date (within a month or two) on the Volturi and Volturi guard at this time, including Allirea. He doesn't keep quite so up-to-date, temporally speaking, on the wolves, but as of this date he has read all the then-in-village alphas and imprints (as they came in, to determine how to cover up their disappearance to the wider world), and about half of the village wolves who were activated when first brought in.

May 27, 2011: Elspeth and Jacob's pack are captured in New York.

May 28, 2011: Elspeth and Allirea jailbreak.

May 30, 2011: Elspeth & co. arrive in Denali. IT'S A TRAP! Some hours afterward, Bella shows up, encounters Allirea and Eleazar, and gets the former out of there.

June 8, 2011: Elspeth is first recruited as assistant brainwasher.

July 1, 2011: The events of "Weaver" take place.

July 3, 2011: Demetri starts looking for Allirea.

July 4, 2011 (no pun intended): Addy is sentenced to death and memory-blasts the Volturi compound and escapes with Elspeth and Jacob.

July 8, 2011: Elspeth's current party arrives in Alaska.

comment by Pavitra · 2011-03-04T23:13:59.423Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nathan, I'd like you to drum your fingers on the table. After each tap, choose the best time in the next second to tap again.

Tap tap ... tatap tatap ... tatap tap ... tap tap tap ... tatap tatap ... tatap tatap tap ... tatap tap tatap tap ... "I think now would be a good time to stop."

IMNSMGC ... I am N.'s magic?

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-06T04:59:45.741Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hereby dub this a Great Idea, and request a short story from Alicorn about it.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-06T05:41:42.884Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am not adding this to the list.

Replies from: Pavitra
comment by Pavitra · 2011-03-06T06:04:07.224Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because you don't feel like it, or because you want to encourage people to use the right comment thread / make direct replies to your comments so it shows up in your inbox / other please specify?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-06T06:06:20.127Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because I don't like the idea.

comment by jsalvatier · 2011-01-02T09:22:20.423Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've just started reading Luminosity because I haven't read the Luminosity sequence (starting it seemed mentally difficult for one reason or another) and I figured this would be a good introduction. It's quite engaging. Bella's habits do seem quite excellent and she's kind of (edit: definitely) a badass.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-24T22:33:23.604Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Can Elspeth grant a subagent other than the main one control of her body? If so, then she can become much more formidable thus: she has the memories of many, including of course many who are very good at combat, so create a 'Melee' subagent (in keeping with the tradition of names beginning with M) that is in charge of knowing vampire melee combat in and out, and when necessary grant it bodily control. In general, Elspeth+memories is a really powerful combination; with subagents she can process the knowledge in ways unavailable even to vampires, and do fun stuff with it.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-20T00:46:05.063Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I find myself really relieved that mother love is allowed to be at least on par with the mate bond in this world. I was ready to accept Elspeth's line of thinking--that because the mate bond is magic (and not just magic, but Super Magic, in that it tends to trump even other magic) it would override any "mere human" sorts of bonds. In my head, I could see that. But emotionally, no way. It would have made Bella impenetrably alien to me, and sort of monstrous, if that was the way her emotions worked. I'm glad she remains recognizably human in this way--it makes it much, much easier to sympathize with and root for her.

And I have a lot of sympathy for Bella in this chapter. She's doing really just remarkably well, dealing with regaining a post-Chelsea Elspeth, but Alicorn gave us enough of a window into her emotional state that I can really feel the immense strain she's under. She must have been wild with fear for her daughter this whole time--and now she's got that daughter back, but broken in one important way: all her social ties cauterized. In other words, her daughter has actually been terribly hurt, but hurt in a way that Elspeth herself can no longer perceive, and if Bella flew into a rage about it, that would only serve to drive Elspeth further away.

In moments like the one where Bella hauls off and kicks the mountainside, I feel like we're seeing someone who is putting up a good front, but is really a long way from being okay with the situation. I actually think the audience might be able to perceive it better than Elspeth does--because even though she's making significant progress toward maturity, Elspeth still has some of the natural self-centeredness of a child. And, of course, she doesn't particularly care about Bella anymore.

Assuming I'm not just projecting things onto Bella that aren't meant to be there, I have to say Alicorn's pulled off a really neat authorial trick. It takes good and subtle writing to show us things in first-person narration that the narrator herself is unaware of.

Anyway, Bella seems to be handling her daughter really, really well--respecting the changes that Elspeth's gone through in their time apart, demonstrating her willingness to accept Elspeth's new priorities as important, but at the same time guiding her daughter towards the sort of memories she'd need to be able to start reconstructing their relationship on an emotional as well as an intellectual level. I feel moderately confident that Bella will succeed in winning back her daughter's love if she continues to take this tack.

comment by Aharon · 2011-01-17T14:18:37.444Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow! Just.... Wow!

The latest chapter is excellently written. It stands out in a work that already sets high standards. I was deeply immersed when reading, and it was very suspenseful. Thumbs up!

I wonder what the consequences of Jacob phasing will be...

Replies from: None, Sheaman3773
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-17T17:12:29.169Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agreed! I enjoyed the chapter a lot, and I think it represents a turning point for Elspeth. She took an active role, used her power in a decisive (and emotionally powerful) way, and made some character-defining choices. She's evolved from a passive child into the heroine of her own story.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-18T21:32:47.781Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder what the consequences of Jacob phasing will be...

I suspect that if Aro reads a werewolf that's in werewolf form, he also reads all of the other werewolves that they are involuntarily connected to.

If that's the case and they're smart enough, they transferred all of the wolves except for one or two to the other packs, then keep one of the untransferred ones in wolf form right next to Aro at all times. Then the second Jake phased, whichever wolf was on duty should have moved to touch Aro, who would then get all of Jacob's memories, and the protagonists would quite possibly be screwed.

I could be mistaken, and Aro could only read the other wolves' surface thoughts, just like the other wolves. In that case, it would depend entirely on what Jake is thinking, which could range anywhere from disastrous (Alaskan air is cold, hope the Denali have medical supplies, that Demetri bastard is dead, etc) to irrelevant (Elspeth, my neck, Elspeth, the pain, Elspeth, it hurts, Elspeth, oh god it hurts) and anywhere inbetween. Or the Volturi might not think that they are worth such measures and transfer all of the other wolves to other packs, in order to keep them effective.

I can't deny that I'm looking forward to finding out which it is.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-18T21:38:31.306Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suspect that if Aro reads a werewolf that's in werewolf form, he also reads all of the other werewolves that they are involuntarily connected to.

No. Aro only reads the personal history of the individual he touches. This includes (their memories of) telepathic conversations where applicable, but not the other memories of packmates. Also, wolves don't have perfect recall. Their memories are humanlike.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-18T22:41:40.212Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, I was thinking that Aro would hijack the involuntary telepathic communication to read the remote wolves as well.

So we're back to it depending wholly on Jake's thoughts, which is why I thought he should phase back very quickly, but I suppose that might interfere with the healing process--diluting what venom is still in his system with a much larger body seems like it would increase his chances of survival, as well.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-06T00:39:02.241Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm still wondering about the 'arbitrary numbers of sub-agents' aspect of Elspeth's power. She found Magic there the first time she meditated, but apparently created Memory intentionally for the purpose of dealing with her Del-induced memory banks. Could she create other sub-agents with particular purposes? Could she create a 'Math' sub-agent that was really good at calculus? If she creates multiple sub-agents that then explicitly argue the truth of a point, could she become noticeably better than usual at discerning the truth from opposing clever arguments? This is the sort of mental power that seems like it could do just about anything (inward-directed), depending on the constraints.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-06T00:51:46.993Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could she create other sub-agents with particular purposes?

Yes, to a point. She can only create agents that represent parts of her that actually exist, though. She can't graft onto herself arbitrary traits by making subagents about them.

Could she create a 'Math' sub-agent that was really good at calculus?

This one is ruled out on a meta level: I cannot write a subagent that is good at calculus.

Replies from: alethiophile, RobinZ
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-06T01:43:23.553Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming that the needs of the narrative were taken care of, could she? Would she have to already be good at calculus herself to do so? If she was, but it took her entire concentration, could making a Math sub-agent allow her to do it 'in the background'?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-06T01:54:41.892Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming that the needs of the narrative were taken care of, could she?

If she somehow contained calculus skill (e.g. if she had memories from somebody who was good at calculus), then she could make a subagent about that. Making a Math subagent would indeed allow this skill to require less of the main subagent's conscious attention.

comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-06T01:23:29.520Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This one is ruled out on a meta level: I cannot write a subagent that is good at calculus.

How difficult would it be to collaborate with another party in order to allow such a thing?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-06T01:28:23.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't have a great collaboration track record. I managed it once for a while (a few years), but with a supernaturally easy-to-get-along-with person who still eventually found it too annoying to deal with me and has since abandoned our project to my tender mercies.

comment by CronoDAS · 2011-01-01T00:10:54.895Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Has Chelsea gotten a power boost from canon?

The Twilight Saga Wiki has this to say about her power:

However, as stated by Eleazar, she cannot as easily influence the emotional ties of people when those ties are stronger than just friends or acquaintances. She could not have changed the way Bella and Edward felt about each other, for example, or the ties between a true family. (emphasis added)

If this is accurate, she shouldn't have been able to cut the tie between Bella and Elspeth, although Edward and Elspeth weren't nearly as close.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-01T00:54:17.899Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The thing about a "true family" is speculation only in canon, never tested; the wiki is promoting it to law. Granted, it's speculation by Eleazar, but in context I think it's reasonable to read it as him reassuring Tanya.

Replies from: Giriath, anyareine
comment by Giriath · 2011-01-01T01:19:44.866Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even if it isn't strictly canon, I hardly think it's a horrible thing. Your Chelsea makes for a more interesting character, even if she is extremely creepy and most likely at least partly responsible for over a million murders.

comment by anyareine · 2011-01-01T15:36:47.307Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If thats true why hadn't Chelsea been told to cut the ties between the Cullen family before Bella screwed everything up? Were they perceived as not enough of a threat before that?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-01T16:00:22.139Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Edward would have noticed her doing that. Addy didn't join the Volturi until a ways into the timeline of Luminosity, so they still had to add to the guard voluntarily then, and an unprovoked attack on the family would not have been conducive to this plan.

comment by JenniferRM · 2010-12-31T19:20:53.059Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The part 2 discussion links forward to this page now :-)

comment by RobinZ · 2010-12-30T18:00:42.218Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The description of Marcus pre-tragedy is superawesome.

"Heart Is An Awesome Power" added.

Replies from: Giriath, alethiophile
comment by Giriath · 2010-12-30T21:57:42.806Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really enjoyed it too. I've never read of a pre-tragedy!Marcus that resembles anything close to what I think he would be like in canon. He's a very sharp man with a good handle on his power. He just doesn't have quite the same ambitions as Aro.

All the different personalities of the Volturi coven make me wonder how many arguments there have been about the morality of eating people. I'm sure many were prevented because Chelsea was the very first member in the guard.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-04T03:04:55.008Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very much agreed. He's kind of badass. I especially like his casual death threats to Chelsea. Does this imply that Marcus is functionally immune to Chelsea, since he can see what she's doing in real time?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-04T05:01:13.193Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It means he can tell that she's doing it; he's not functionally immune to her, since he doesn't care anymore, but in theory he could just scarper any time she tried. Or threaten to kill her again.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-05T00:03:47.950Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One imagines that, if he was doing something akin to Elspeth's heuristic, immediate feedback on what Chelsea's doing to him would be very useful. This is contingent, of course, on him caring, which at the moment he probably doesn't (though, if he's smart enough to put together a Xanatos Gambit instead of just going ape when he finds the memory, it might well be very useful then).

A side question: If Marcus became aware of Aro's part in Didyme's death, could Chelsea snip the emotional bond based around hatred and revenge that resulted? Or is that too tied up with the mate bond to be vulnerable?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-05T00:11:05.636Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Marcus became aware of Aro's part in Didyme's death, could Chelsea snip the emotional bond based around hatred and revenge that resulted? Or is that too tied up with the mate bond to be vulnerable?

I was wondering if anyone had noticed - Chelsea has only ever been shown to detect and work with positive relationships and positive seeds. She can't tell if people hate each other, or stop them from doing it.

Replies from: Vaniver, FAWS
comment by Vaniver · 2011-01-17T14:31:12.670Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was wondering if anyone had noticed - Chelsea has only ever been shown to detect and work with positive relationships and positive seeds. She can't tell if people hate each other, or stop them from doing it.

I'm guessing her sister worked with negative ones?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-17T14:32:10.704Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I haven't established the details of Chelsea's cousin's power, but that would be interesting, so sure, why not.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2011-01-17T14:52:53.592Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Right, cousin.

It just struck me as fitting, after seeing her possible limitation- it's not as useful, but still useful enough to make Chelsea non-essential (nuke people's grievances with anyone you don't like, erase resentment from anyone you want to keep around).

comment by FAWS · 2011-01-05T01:08:39.103Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So how could they recruit any of the stored witches if they couldn't counteract any hate resulting from being tortured for years/decades/centuries? I wouldn't think that any friendship imposed in addition should help. If some masked person tortured me for a long time for selfish reasons I don't think them turning out to be a dear friend of mine behind the mask would suddenly make everything OK.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-05T01:26:05.272Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Order of operations matters. When Chelsea's on the ball and has a seed, she can sprout that seed, coax it to arbitrary levels of growth, and keep pulling it back when it shrivels up a bit. Sure, the plant she grows will wilt whenever it occurs to the victim "hey, my friend here tortured me for several years", but unless this goes on unchecked long enough to leave no seed at all, Chelsea can just haul back the liking again. Eventually, I think somebody who finds that no amount of dwelling on the torture bit can let them stop liking the torturer will find a way to excuse or ignore the torture. On the other hand, if you like someone to begin with and then they torture you the sense of betrayal might be immediate and dreadful enough to completely obliterate the sort of seeds Chelsea needs to function.

Replies from: FAWS
comment by FAWS · 2011-01-05T09:45:07.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fortunately I have never been tortured (or had loved ones tortured/raped/murdered), but I imagine that the practical limit of how much you can hate someone is a lot higher than how much you can like someone (not so sure about love, but that doesn't seem to be what Chelsea's doing), and if you both liked and hated the same person as much as possible the hate would dominate.

To amend the example: First you are tortured for a long time by a masked person for selfish reasons, then the torture ends and you become close friends with someone, and finally that friend turns out to have been the masked person. I think I would see them mostly as the masked person, and the most the friendship would be worth would be giving them a chance to demonstrate how bitterly they regretted the torture, how much they have become a different person, how hard they worked on making amends etc. If that was less than completely convincing the friendship might as well never have happened, and even if it was completely convincing I still don't think I could stomach their company any time soon.

Replies from: wedrifid
comment by wedrifid · 2011-01-05T10:57:26.442Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

and if you both liked and hated the same person as much as possible the hate would dominate.

Sounds like a recipe for some seriously good breakup sex.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-03-06T04:54:41.290Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Question to Alicorn: how big does a chunk of a vampire's body have to be for Addy to borrow power from it, and how long will it continue to work if the vampire remains alive?

Because if a small enough chunk works for long enough, Addy really ought to work out some way to offer some kind of service to selected vampires in exchange for the ounce of flesh furthest from their heart.

That way she could assemble a charm bracelet with her favorite powers, and not have to keep them around.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-06T04:58:56.297Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A separated part will eventually die unless it is reattached to the vampire or soaked in a vat of that same vampire's venom. Smaller parts die faster. A part about the size of a little toe will last a couple of days.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-06T03:52:31.378Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bella's law regarding no non-consensual turning of mates seems like it would be hard to enforce. If a vampire finds their mate and bites them before the Golden Empire can interfere, then even if the Empire finds out before the turning is finished, there's no real way to prove that it was nonconsensual. The mate will be incoherent during the turning process, and after turning will a. have fuzzy memories of right before the turning, and b. be more than willing to lie on behalf of their own mate. The only real way around this is for the Empire to isolate the mate during turning, perhaps applying Alec in order to help them, and then quiz them before they see their mate. However, it also seems that this could be gotten around by simply making sure that the turning is finished before the Empire finds them. It is mentioned that Alice's weekly check for eye color might find the turning, but I should imagine that turning through a syringe should not affect eye color. How might this be enforced?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-06T03:58:35.854Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They can interview the turning mate about whether they got permission or not, with Edward or Maggie or an adequately equipped Addy present.

I'm not sure what you mean about turning through a syringe and eye color. Newborns universally have bright red eyes, unaffected by diet until a couple months in (animal blood) or a year in (human blood). What Alice might notice is, when she's checking on Turner, that Turnee is physically nearby.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-06T04:59:18.449Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True. Okay. I forgot that they have perfect supernatural lie detection available.

This seems like a remarkably harsh rule, since the dynamics of the mate bond with a human provide sufficient incentive to turn the mate without permission--whether permission would have been granted or not--that many people will do it, and it seems likely that a large number of them will successfully finish the turning and bond to their mate, necessitating large punishments for both the perpetrator and the victim of an act of which the victim was entirely innocent and which the victim is overwhelmingly likely to retroactively endorse. Leaving arguments of the morality of nonconsensual turning aside, a law that seems so likely to lead to the Empire carrying out so many morally questionable punishments seems suspect.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-06T05:25:10.154Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That one's not going to carry a death penalty. It is true and obvious that mates would generally still prefer to turn without permission than let their mates die. The rules accomplish two things:

a) strongly encourage at least a good-faith attempt at convincing the mate first;

b) serve signaling purposes to human societies they later reveal themselves to ("no, of course kidnapping humans to turn them is illegal; it carries an N year hiding sentence, and if we can humanely arrange for them to serve it without said mate, we do", as opposed to "yeah, if one of us wants to snag and vamp one of you badly enough it's gonna happen and we'll throw them an engagement party, sucks to be you").

Replies from: wedrifid, alethiophile
comment by wedrifid · 2011-03-06T08:20:19.234Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

yeah, if one of us wants to snag and vamp one of you badly enough it's gonna happen and we'll throw them an engagement party, sucks to be you

In a manner of speaking.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-10T03:51:16.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, any penalty short of death is going to be relatively little actual deterrent, in the long run. It'll encourage vampires to make a strong attempt to convince their mate, but if that isn't possible they will be quite willing to simply kidnap and turn them, in the sure knowledge that they will forgive them once turned, and make sure that the bond is fully established before the Empire intervenes so that they aren't serving N years hidden in the absence of their mate.

comment by gwern · 2011-02-04T00:22:04.704Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm troubled by Elspeth's new power in ch36, where Magic seems to have suddenly jumped from being solely about Elspeth's own personal subjective error-filled beliefs to being a royal road to objective Truth.

At least, I can't put any subjective spin on things like

"Well," I said to Magic, while everyone watched me to see if I was done thinking, "would it make sense to use that story as an analogy to what Alice and Jasper are doing? If I compared those things, would it make them understand something true?"

(What, Elspeth has to ask what she thinks about such a comparison?)

This turns Elspeth into an oracle who can answer any computable question. Memories are heavily fictional (at multiple levels, from not including all perceptions, including inferences and assumptions built into 'mentalese', to wishful thinking and biases, to simply what one pays attention to and doesn't, when the memories aren't outright false as in experimentally demonstrated induced memories by suggestion). Elpseth can compare memories against a question. That's all that's needed. Now Elspeth can have any question, and either already has a relevant memory from millions of years of memories or can just think of a fiction (a story), which lets her answer it.

Nor is there any obvious mechanism to defeat this. She can only compare memories? Fine, she compares against a memory of the story she just wrote to answer her question. Memories have to be vampirically good? Now she can't compare against her own memories, all the humans from Aro, werewolf memories, and this is an ad hoc & unmentioned limitation - which can probably be gotten around anyway. (All you need is some telepathic communication and editing ability, of one's own or another person's abilities. For example, hire CGI artists to render a needed fiction, watch it, and send Elspeth the memory - shorn of the memories of entering and exiting the theater. Or edit Elspeth directly. Or maybe memories of lucid dreaming would work, or maybe memories of hallucinogens.) And so on.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-04T00:51:44.515Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really should have thought about how annoying and complicated it would be to explain this power over and over before I gave it to Elspeth. Suffice it to say that she's not an oracle and does not have the capacity to turn into one.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2011-02-04T01:23:16.462Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I hope there will be an explanation and/or rewrite. The last few chapters have been annoying - 'Elspeth is an oracle, why do they keep on speculating and discussing when they could just ask Elspeth their questions? It didn't take all that long the first time they asked the oracle a question. Arrgh, stop saying words!'

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-02-04T01:51:57.714Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think she would have to have a comparable situation in her memory--I don't think memory of a story would fit, but that's speculation--and she has to be communicating with someone who already knows.

It's stated very early on that her power sometimes changes what she says when she's telling the truth to phrase it so that the listener would understand. That's already admitting that her power can reveal facts about the people she's communicating with, more specifically what they find to be true.

They have to speculate because they don't have anyone there who knows. Now, if they kidnapped someone who was in the know, and had Elspeth try to run through scenarios to see which analogies fit, then they could get information out of that person. Really, she's more of a sort of mind reader, in an incredibly roundabout manner, than any kind of oracle.

Assuming that my understanding is sound, did that clarify anything with you?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2011-02-04T02:41:33.280Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think memory of a story would fit, but that's speculation

Already gave a number of possible workarounds to demonstrate that any ad hoc rule will leak. This reminds me of computer security - someone puts forward an ad hoc system, someone else immediately breaks it, the first patches the exploit, and so on ad infinitum until eventually the patches start introducing as many security flaws as they fix and they just give up.

Really, she's more of a sort of mind reader, in an incredibly roundabout manner, than any kind of oracle.

I went back and re-read the scene. That could be the right explanation.

But that's not much better. Nothing in the scene forces Alice & Jasper to be there. For all we know, Elspeth could have run through the exact same mental steps with them on the other side of the planet (assuming A&J had telephoned with news of their defection or something): 'Magic, would comparing A&J to Del convince someone of the comparison?' 'Nope!' 'Oh good.' In fact, since truth or falsity do not change, Elspeth could as easily have worded her analogy as 'would comparing A&J at the instant they called to Del convince someone?' and gotten the same answer.

So your reading brings Elspeth down from logical omniscience to 'merely' being able to find out anything anyone has ever known (and maybe will know). Which is still so impressive a power that Alicorn couldn't've intended it.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-02-04T04:02:23.007Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Her magic changes what she says when she's communicating with people. I agree, nothing in the scene forces A&J to be there, but Elspeth's power--as I understand it--requires her to be communicating to the people she's testing for it to work.

Now, the fact that her magic now has an avatar might change the rules, but as Alicorn obviously didn't intend for it to work like how you are describing, you can assume that her magic is still limited to needing to be in communication with the person in question for it to determine whether the analogies fit.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-04T05:30:46.639Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even with those constraints, there are experiments that seem worth performing.

Experiment one: select some known object X. A confederate either puts X in their pocket, or doesn't. Elspeth attempts to say "You have X in your pocket" to the confederate. Does Magic object to Elspeth saying that when it isn't true?

If that doesn't work, set up an indirect version of the same thing where, instead of saying "You have X in your pocket," Elspeth calls up a memory of the person having X in their pocket and says "You're in a situation like that time when you had X in your pocket." That, at least, ought to work... it's essentially what Elspeth did to Alice.

Either way, there's a whole series of experiments to be performed in the same vein to establish whether this depends on someone having the knowledge, or whether it merely depends on the state of the world. E.g., experiment 1b: there are three people in the room, two of whom have a sealed box in their pocket. One of the boxes contains X. The third person in the room knows which box it is, but nobody else does. Elspeth attempts to say "You have X in your pocket" (or equivalent memory) to both people. 1c: get rid of the third person. Nobody knows which box it is. 1d: get rid of all the people; there are two boxes, left and right. Elspeth attempts to say to herself "The {left, right} box contains X".

Another direction of experimentation... set up the same experiment, but Elspeth is in another room far away, communicating by telephone. If that works, hang up, and have Elspeth simply intend to communicate by phone. (This should work if the first one does, since we've seen Magic answer questions about intended communications.) If that works, throw the phone away and have Elspeth intend to communicate in some unspecified fashion... or, if that fails, have her write the answers on a piece of paper with the intention of handing the paper to the appropriate person at the first convenient opportunity. If any of this works, how far away is too far? What if she doesn't know exactly where the people are?

Yet another variation: set up a probabilistic test case. That is, instead of "You have X in your pocket," try it with "This coin is about to come up heads." If it fails, try it again with Alice, after she has determined how the coin will come up.

Completely different: Every thirty seconds, Elspeth looks around the room and says "There are N people in this room." Allirea is in the room, fading in and out. Can Magic tell when what Elspeth wants to say is false? Does it matter if Bella is in the room?

It seems like these would be useful things to know about Elspeth's talent, not to mention useful directions to train it in if the potential exists. Some of them I expect to fail, because Word of God says she's not an oracle, but I'm not clear on which ones as I'm not exactly clear what an "oracle" is. In any case, Elspeth doesn't have access to Word of God, all she has is experiment.

But maybe Addy's the only one who has an experimental mindset about this stuff.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-05T17:32:44.118Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Completely different: Every thirty seconds, Elspeth looks around the room and says "There are N people in this room." Allirea is in the room, fading in and out. Can Magic tell when what Elspeth wants to say is false? Does it matter if Bella is in the room?

This one fails trivially. Elspeth has, in the past, without so much as a twinge from Magic, neglected Allirea's existence verbally and explicitly:

Siobhan pursed her lips and closed her eyes. "Elspeth, how many children does Joham have?" she asked, slowly and carefully.

"Three," I said.

"And their names are, from oldest to youngest...?"

"Noemi, Nahuel, and Iseul. Don't you already know -"

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-05T18:55:26.169Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True. Cool, they can scratch that one off the list.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-05T04:57:30.257Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just thought of something. Given Alice's precog, could she, for instance, guess passwords? Assuming a numeric entry code, could she do something along the lines of 1. decide to press 0 first; 2. if she sees the door opening in her precog set, press 0 and then go to 1; 3. if not, then try 1 with the number 1 instead, etc. (i.e., does her precog give her a set of possibilities based on future decisions, or does it give her only one possibility based on what she has in mind at the time?)

If the latter holds, and hence the above algorithm won't work, then how long a password is it feasible for her to guess by exhaustive mental search of the command space (i.e. resolve to type 0000, then if she sees door opening type it, otherwise go to 0001, etc.) with vampire mental speed? The advantage of this over simply trying each password is 1. that it's likely to be faster, with physical bottlenecks removed, and 2. it doesn't trigger anti-brute-force alarms in the system.

Replies from: Alicorn, grautry, wedrifid
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-05T14:42:00.425Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Alice could probably guess shortish numerical passwords like this; I could imagine her doing so to, say, make use of a stolen debit card or something and figure out the PIN. I don't think she has enough fine detail to determine whether one of the nearly-a-billion possible completed six-character alphanumeric case-sensitive passwords beginning with "A" is the right one, though. She sees in broader swaths than that.

comment by grautry · 2011-01-05T23:02:19.601Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's an interesting possibility.

Though, I think there's an easier approach.

In the case of passwords or PIN numbers or whatever, she could probably look into the future and see the password used by an authorized user of whatever-it-is-that-she's-trying-to-break(eventually, someone's going to use it).

This is vastly less universal(she can't solve problems unless someone already knows the answer), but far easier. She could, for example, try to see who's going to use the ATM next, overlook the PIN and then decide to steal that person's wallet.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how that interacts with her ability. If she, say, decided to look into the future for the next PIN, wouldn't that influence the future so that no one enters the PIN at all(since she's going to steal the wallet of the next person)? Or, would she see herself entering the correct PIN(which would be an extremely interesting possibility)?

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-07T04:54:18.630Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In Luminosity, Alice was able to see her future conversation with Bella about how blood smells to her, even though after she told Bella her results there was no reason for her to ever have that conversation. However, getting arbitrary information by resolving to write it down once she knows it, then seeing herself write it down, seems different. It would also be an absolute game-breaker, so for narrative reasons it probably won't work out that way. (Maybe it wouldn't work if the information pertained to someone that blocks her. That would be less game-breaking, but still bad.)

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-07T13:24:08.680Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

getting arbitrary information by resolving to write it down once she knows it, then seeing herself write it down, seems different

Specifically, she'd have to actually have a path forward to learning the information, within the horizon that she can see, outside of any "shadows" cast by wolves or hybrids, that isn't influenced by too many other people's shaky choices. This means she'd have to be reasonably likely to learn the information (and not be misled by misinformation) if she didn't make the prediction. If Bella commits to informing Alice of something in the future conditional on Alice not yet knowing that thing, that's a clear path to the information.

comment by wedrifid · 2011-01-05T09:22:57.788Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The latter case seems likely. Your points about bringing things up to vampire mental speed are good!

comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-01T18:15:43.357Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ch 24 - So I'm assuming that Bella is with Allirea. I've been wondering about Allirea -- it's kind of a neat reading experience to have this important knowledge that the characters themselves can't retain in their heads.

Smart of Allirea to go and find Bella once she got loose. So Bella knows about the trap in Denali, and probably knows that Edward is alive (unless Allirea chose not to tell her that for some reason) -- but that also means that Bella and Allirea must be dealing with Demetri, which is dangerous and could take a while.

When Allirea extends her field over somebody, does it have the kind of range that Allirea's own shield does? In other words, if she happened to cloak Bella, would it then cause Siobhan and Elspeth to forget about their plans to contact Bella for as long as the cloak was in place?

Replies from: Alicorn, RobinZ
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-01T21:25:08.402Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When Allirea extends her field over somebody, does it have the kind of range that Allirea's own shield does? In other words, if she happened to cloak Bella, would it then cause Siobhan and Elspeth to forget about their plans to contact Bella for as long as the cloak was in place?

Allirea's aura of unimportance propagates in a way that I can best describe as "really, really weird". It's retroactive and has arbitrary range for anyone she has interacted with while faded. Observe:

1: Bella and Edward learn Allirea's name from Nahuel. Nahuel would only have been able to remember that Allirea bore mentioning if she were unfaded at T1, so this was one of the times when Allirea happened to be unfaded, so her brother could list her. However...

2: Bella and Edward continue remembering Allirea's name without any trouble, even when Allirea fades, because they do not interact with (faded) Allirea directly. Bella successfully passes on the name and description to Elspeth later on.

3: Elspeth never experiences any issues remembering Allirea's existence when she knew it only as hearsay (see Radiance ch. 1 narration).

4: Allirea and Elspeth actually meet, and Allirea spends time actively diverting Elspeth's attention by fading.

5: Thereafter, Elspeth does not consider Allirea important except at times when Allirea is unfaded. (These times are very uncommon, especially now that Allirea is not typically with her family, who were historically the only people she routinely wanted paying attention to her.)

6: This applies to her interpretation of her memories (e.g. if Elspeth were asked to repeat aloud the conversation where Bella told her for the first time that Allirea existed, she would no more reproduce Allirea's name than she would any time Bella said "um"; it's just not worth putting in).

7: However, if Elspeth transferred that memory whole cloth with her power, Allirea's name would be included. Any person she gave the memory to who's never been around a faded Allirea could notice and consider important that third name on the list Bella gave.

8: It should go without saying that Bella's just completely immune to Allirea, and will assign her importance independent of Allirea's fading.

9: If Allirea fades Bella, then this will not inhibit anyone's thoughts about Bella until and unless they interact with faded Bella.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-02T00:22:06.495Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is fascinating, thanks.

So since Siobhan has never met Allirea, she'd be able to factor Allirea into her plans if for example she does go ahead and request the full memory-blast from Elspeth.

I understand her point about not wanting to be out of commission right now, but I expect she WILL want the memory blast sometime pretty soon, since tacticians are generally quite hungry for all the information they can get.

(I had to stop here and think about whether Siobhan's power would actually get better with access to more information--if I'm understanding it right the answer is "only so far as that information would help her clarify her goals," which, y'know, is far from insignificant.)

Anyway, after the memory blast, Siobhan would be able to remember and plan for Allirea while Addy wouldn't, which I could see making for some critical differences down the road.

I'm also consumed with curiosity about how Bella and Allirea are getting along. Will Allirea feel threatened by Bella's immunity to her power, or will they be BFFs by the time we meet them? Bella and Allirea and Pera all have sort of negative/shieldy powers--which, come to think of it, might have some bearing on why Pera registered as a singer to Bella. (None of this is an honest request for spoilers, I'm just musing aloud.)

comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-01T20:09:31.427Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be polite to flag guesses as guesses, for those of us who are spoilerphobic. ;)

But yes, that seems like a possibility. It would probably require something like Allirea being in the camp when they were discussing Bella's line of approach, but it would neatly explain it.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-01T20:19:45.093Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be polite to flag guesses as guesses, for those of us who are spoilerphobic. ;)

Sorry! I edited to make that clearer. For the record, I am spoilerphobic too, so all of my speculations are always just that.

comment by FocacciaBread · 2011-05-06T05:52:14.692Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First post on the site- please excuse any nonsensical aspect of the following, as it is rather late and I am a bit muddled from sleep-deprivation. However, this issue has been bugging me for some time, and I would greatly appreciate a response.

I apologize if I'm reading too much into this sentence, but the last line of Radiance disturbs me a bit.

"I still usually can't remember my dreams, but I'm told, and have every reason to believe, that they are happy ones."

If the goal of achieving radiance is similar to that of being luminous (aka living logically), or at the very least is to achieve knowledge of one's self in order to best interact with the outside world, then I can't help but feel disappointed in Elspeth. If Luminosity!Bella had dreams visible to anyone who cared to look, she would have hoarded it and analyzed it (much like her notebooks)- yet Elspeth is merely content to take the word of others when they say she is content? (That is, if we assume that dreams are subconscious manifestations of our waking minds, which to be fair, not everyone believes.)

It merely seems as if she is stuck in endless cycles where she is defining herself and acting according to others' heuristics. At the beginning, she is living according to Bella's rules. After a brief period in which she independently decides she cannot be independent, she is captured by the Volturi; enter Chelsea's brainwashing. While Elspeth's magic was a deprogramming agent, it seems that it cured everyone but her of the reliance upon others' advice/guidelines/rules. Elspeth follows Addy and Siobhan wherever the wind takes them, content to be the magic eight ball of esoteric lore, until she once again lands with Bella, the new queen of the world. While the Golden Coven offers her a degree of autonomy in her position, she is still comfortably wedged in a position where she is not required to, or is even encouraged, to develop her own heuristics. How can she, when her intellectual growth has been impacted by thousands of other vampires, as well as most of the authority figures whose reason she has trusted more often than her own?

And then to have the ending depict that she cannot determine for herself if she is happy....

Is it possible to live a life based upon logic while still being a dependent? Is luminosity solely reserved for the independent individual?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-05-06T07:07:41.358Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm sorry you didn't like the ending sentence or feel compelled by the portion of Elspeth's character development which took place when she was five. I'm pretty sure that's all I can say to these complaints.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-04-02T04:22:42.378Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ooh, the latest Flash is interesting...

Do we know why Adelaide (presumably) killed those people? How did she kill those people? Did she in fact get super martial arts skills (or assassin skills, or whatever) from somewhere? What's with the head trauma?

Is this backstory at all canon, or just made up here? Either way, human!Adelaide driving people off with a violin is awesome.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-04-02T05:19:19.660Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Addy's an original character! It's weird, people tend not to ask about my other original characters if various features of theirs are canon...

Anyway, she (allegedly) killed people because she didn't like them or they had stuff she wanted and couldn't steal discreetly or were pawing at her and wouldn't leave when she violin-screeched at them. Head trauma was just convenient. I haven't decided if she actually got to watch anybody skillfully murdered or not.

comment by RobinZ · 2011-03-23T15:58:33.555Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another plotbunny: statistical authorship tests. Any vampire whose writing career spans much more than a human lifespan...

Replies from: erratio, Giriath
comment by erratio · 2011-03-24T07:00:28.700Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also: vampire authors writing under different aliases would probably get bad reviews in their later works due to their being so obviously 'derivative' of their earlier stuff :p

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-04-02T05:23:46.501Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In Orlando, if I recall correctly, Virginia Woolf has it work out a little differently for her hero/ine: works rejected as derivative in one era have come back into fashion in a later period.

comment by Giriath · 2011-03-24T05:19:26.076Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Couldn't this simply be resolved by false identities? I don't think there have been a lot of vampires with academic ambitions in the Twilight verse because of the relatively uncivilized state their previous diet put them in; most were nomads prior to the new regime. The Golden Empire has many resources to create as many false identities as they want for any vampires who gets interested in academics with the new diet change.

I also don't think it will take more than a human life time for the new regime to start directly influencing the human societies, or even publicly reveal themselves to all.

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-03-24T06:29:43.666Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What I'm suggesting would be more like a vampire whose writing career started under one alias in 1710 and proceeded through a series of such in the time since then. I'm trying to think of what kind of people might be visiting the PRPR office, and someone who identified and was investigating an immortal might fall under that class.

Replies from: Giriath
comment by Giriath · 2011-03-24T07:07:10.309Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure, if there were any such vampires, which I kind of doubt considering my previous point and also because that's probably the kind of thing the Volturi would notice and not appreciate.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-04-02T04:36:01.867Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's an interesting idea. I wonder if Carlisle has been publishing medical papers, or something. He's the vampire that has been vegetarian, and hence high-probability for writing in free time, longest (I think). When did the Denalis become vegetarian?

comment by RobinZ · 2011-03-23T05:12:42.643Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Plotbunny that recently occurred to me: would the new murder-free regime cause a statistically-significant drop in the murder rate? I gather there are several thousand vampires who eat ... how many humans a week? Might not be visible on the level of statistics for cities or states, but someone looking at worldwide statistics might notice the sudden change.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-23T13:58:17.851Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Vampires tend to eat a person or two every week or two. Ones who eat more than that have historically experienced shorter lifespans - they are more likely to slip up in a way that gets Volturi attention. The new regime will probably cause a statistically significant drop in the death rate, although probably not the recorded murder rate, as it's been widely considered unwise by the vampire community to leave evidence of murder instead of simply disappearance.

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-03-23T14:00:46.449Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Right - the relevant statistic would be missing persons, not murder. So, probably on the order of hundreds of thousands worldwide, with a few hotspots like Volterra which would have significant local changes.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-23T14:15:40.597Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

During the Volturi reign hunting was illegal within Volterra itself, and Heidi spread out her harvesting.

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-03-23T15:15:11.023Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mmhm - that makes sense.

Okay, checking Wikipedia, we have 834,536 missing persons entries in the United States in 2005, with the US composing 4.5% of the world population. If we guessed 200,000 worldwide, vampire-related fatalities could be as much as 1% of the total.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-23T15:18:24.765Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How many of those 834,536 people were eventually found?

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-03-23T15:54:43.204Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Article claims 109,531 open files at the end of the year. Relative to that number, vampire-related fatalities would be 9%.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-27T02:36:45.259Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some thoughts about heredity.

Alicorn, I believe, has said that half-vampires can breed with either vampires or humans (or, presumably, other half-vampires) and create hybrids of different fractions of vampire-ness. Thus, any children Elspeth has will be at least one-quarter vampire, which if I recall correctly is above Alicorn's threshold for "still technically part-vampire" as regards the on-or-off abilities of hybrids (males venomous, immortal are the ones I can think of). It is also hypothesized that male wolves imprint because their imprints are capable of passing on the wolf gene. I'm not sure of the degree of certainty attached to this, but it seems a reasonable supposition. Given these questions, what happens if Elspeth and Jacob have a child? It's quite probable that the child would be a wolf, since Jacob imprinted on Elspeth. The child would also be at least one-quarter vampire. Can you have a hybrid wolf? If the child is male, presumably he would also be venomous--how does this interact with the wolves' very negative reaction to vampire venom? This seems to be a question that would come up even in canon Twilight, and I wouldn't necessarily expect Meyer to have thought about it, but it would be interesting if Alicorn had a perspective.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-27T02:55:49.782Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I haven't decided. I'm not planning for the story to go on that long. However, my first-pass approximation at an answer is that the wolf would be like a quarter-vampire in "human form", and like a slightly souped-up wolf in wolf form. I don't think I said anywhere that a quarter-vampire could be venomous, and if I did, I retract it: the quarter-vamp wolf would not be venomous regardless of gender. However, the quarter-vamp wolf would be better able to recover from venom-related injuries than standard-issue wolves.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-27T03:10:20.910Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hm. Would a quarter-vamp non-wolf be venomous or immortal? (Presumably a quarter-vamp wolf would be just as immortal as a wolf; would they also be immortal if they quit their wolves?)

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-27T03:15:26.928Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Allirea's children (the only quarter-vampires who currently exist in the world of Luminosity) will not die of old age. Neither would a hypothetical wolf-quitting (or inactive) quarter-vamp wolf.

comment by AlexMennen · 2011-02-26T17:44:15.577Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

from chapter 48:

I'm prepared to consider you sufficiently self-controlled even on a human blood diet that I'll give you dispensation to get it in a less sentient package. Ransack whatever the Irish equivalent of the Red Cross is, if you decide that you'd prefer to go on living in Ireland after all regardless of where I set up. But I think it was fairly predictable that I wouldn't be allowing murder.

Doesn't the amount of blood in a human body in a blood bank go towards saving much more than one person, in which case stealing from a blood bank is killing more people than stealing the same amount of blood directly out of a human?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-26T18:00:59.971Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, vampires could probably subsist on blood that was about to be chucked for being too close to its expiry date, so not necessarily.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-03-03T02:29:35.872Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Though, I seem to recall Edward saying that older blood tasted worse. If I'm remembering correctly, Siobhan would probably not chose nearly expired blood, unless that was explicitly stipulated.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-02-21T22:49:34.478Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ch 46 - ah ha ha, excellent plot twist! But I can't see how it really helps Marcus, since the mate bond magic won't be in place. I suppose with Addy's help he might be able to craft himself a pale replica of the bond...

Replies from: mjr, alethiophile
comment by mjr · 2011-02-21T23:29:50.864Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agreed, a fine twist indeed. I wager, in fact, that the poor woman has become Didyme for all intents and purposes, and that the bond will therefore retake. Quite plausible to handwave with Aro's high-fidelity brain dumps.

I, for one, would welcome such a positive plot twist (cough for not-long-ago our sworn enemy) for a change.

Replies from: mjr, Lila, Pavitra
comment by mjr · 2011-02-22T11:17:59.967Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

More generally, seems to me one could start resurrecting people, or at least vampires, killed by Aro (or previously read by him, though then there'd be some local death).

Of course, the downside is that it requires human sacrifice, though it occurs to me that one should at least try to do so with brain dead or severely damaged subjects (given that they're already quite happy with eating animals, humans of comparable or lesser capacity should not pose major ethical barriers when a full person's life is on the line).

'course, might not work on a less than fully functional human. Perhaps one could get a trickle of volunteers from bored with life humans who aren't attracted to turning. Consider it full organ donation. [Edit: Duh, obviously this should be the euthanasia method of choice for terminal people who don't wish to become vampires but do wish for their suffering to end.]

Wouldn't be surprised though if Elspeth just didn't want to get involved with that kind of thing, even indirectly through Addy. But hey, it's a thought ;)

comment by Lila · 2011-02-24T03:40:56.837Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wager, in fact, that the poor woman has become Didyme for all intents and purposes

If she has, that might imply that Elspeth's power doesn't just send memories/experiences, but also personality traits. Or that identifying strongly with a set of absorbed memories is enough to give you those personality traits (I don't really like that theory).

The bond might or might not be affected by personality, but I'm not sure I could consider her to be "Didyme resurrected in a new body" (or even just "close enough") unless the personality was basically Didyme's (or close enough).

Replies from: TheOtherDave, RobinZ
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-26T16:00:30.134Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(nods) That intuition is shared by many.

Ironically, the reversal test often fails, though: that is, it's not uncommon for people to intuit that a copy of X that lacks trait Y isn't really X, while at the same time intuiting that if X were to lose trait Y, it would still be X.

Identity is complicated.

For my own part, I think the terms "memory" and "personality trait" stop being clearly distinguishable from one another, when you drill down into implementation. Our brains create persistent data structures in response to events, and those data structures underlie both personality and memory. That distinction is functional -- we distinguish a personality trait from a memory based on how we behave, not based on any kind of awareness of the underlying data structures. And it's not at all obvious (nor even likely) that all the things we call "memory" share a common data structure, or that they don't share underlying data structures with what we call "personality."

Then again, I feel the same way about "identity."

To understand an elephant is to realize that recognizing the difference between trunk and tusk is not the end of the story.

So I would expect a psychic power that interacted with those data structures not to respect the boundaries between "memory" and "personality" in any kind of intuitive way.

That said, many witch-powers in this fictional world do respect those intuitive boundaries, so it's not clear what any of the above actually has to do with events in the story.

comment by RobinZ · 2011-02-26T13:03:29.694Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If she has, that might imply that Elspeth's power doesn't just send memories/experiences, but also personality traits. Or that identifying strongly with a set of absorbed memories is enough to give you those personality traits (I don't really like that theory).

Or that Paola and Benito were already similar in personality to Didyme and John, although that's a bit of a coincidence.

comment by Pavitra · 2011-02-22T02:43:13.474Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be an interesting commentary on cryonics and/or uploading either way.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-23T03:38:24.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So what happens to someone who is vampire-memoried and then turned? Do they still have the same memories? What if the current John-as-human was turned, and then Elspeth/Addy gave him another dump of just John-as-vampire's memories? Also, will the mate bond work on Didyme-human turned with Marcus, since she "remembers" it so? If not it would be awfully traumatic for both, probably.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-23T04:18:52.388Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be noteworthy if a human, after being brain-dumped and turned, had the same memories as before the turning, given that in general memories encoded by human brains are lost during transition.

Given that what Elspeth does is different from the normal encoding of memories it's not impossible, though. Only Alicorn knows for sure, if that.

Perhaps more interesting is the ethical question. That is, if we grant for the sake of most-inconvenient-possible-world that turning someone without their permission is unethical because of their moral standing, is it then ethical to turn someone brain-dumped?

Presumably this depends somewhat on how well a delayed "upload" via Aro via Addy via Elspeth into a random human brain preserves the copied vampire's identity: if the upload isn't really a full-fledged personality, it presumably lacks the relevant moral standing, and the answer is "no."

But assuming it's close enough -- or, to really turn the hypothetical screws, assuming it's a pale shadow of the original vampire but, given how much cooler vampire cognition is than human, it's still more than cool enough to count as (that is, have equivalent moral standing to) a human-type person -- well, then what?

If the original human's identity is in there somewhere, then there are two resident identities. Do they both have to give permission (supposing that, say, Edward can get in touch with them), or does just one suffice?

More generally, supposing somebody figures out how to undo the effects of Addy's blast, is it ethical to do so (thereby killing the pseudovampire)? Is it ethical not to (thereby keeping the human dormant indefinitely)? Is the best solution some kind of time-sharing plan? Other?

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-24T06:27:05.261Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It now seems that the thorny ethical problem is resolved with the fact that the human person caught in the blast no longer exists. (Unless that's just Addy lying, but she's still in range of Edward and one would assume that he would tell Bella if Addy lied about something of that magnitude.) I'm very curious to see what happens if one of the human!vampires is turned.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-24T18:27:41.183Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(nods) Agreed.

Thinking about this some more, I wonder whether an actual reflection is even necessary.

That is, if one of the four "nutcases" looked into a surface they believed was reflective, but which actually presented an image of a young-looking vampire in Elspeth's memories, would that be enough to trigger the filtering/identification process?

Presumably it would depend on how relevant the body's memories of looking the way it actually looks are to the process. I could see it going either way. Given that the four "nutcases"es original identities are irretrievably lost, and the state of identifying as a single upload seems strictly preferable to the state of being muddled between many of them, it seems like an experiment worth trying.

Unrelatedly: if the uploaded Didyme turns out to satisfy Marcus' mate bond, things just got very interesting. It seems to follow that every vampire in the world who has lost a mate promptly shows up on Elspeth's doorstep, a similar-appearing human in tow, demanding that she "resurrect" their mate. Politically useful, albeit ethically challenging.

The related question of whether Elspeth can "resurrect" humans seems relevant for similar reasons. Available data suggests that she can't, since the vampire memories displace the human ones, but I'd want to see what happens with a blast comprising only human memories. (My expectation would be that it wouldn't eradicate the body's memories in the first place, though... I'd expect the effect to be similar to the effect of Addy's blast on vampires. Still, if the body is already brain-dead for some other reason, that might be different.)

Of course, this isn't just a resurrection trick; it's also a duplication trick. I wonder if any mate-bonded vampires would be interested in a polyamorous relationship with multiple uploaded copies of their mate? (The mate-bond seems to imply monogamous attachment, but that could just be a side-effect of not being attracted to anyone but their mate.) Certainly there are humans who would be.

Unrelatedly: I admire the aplomb with which Didyme and John are handling their physical and cognitive deficiencies. In their position, I would be insisting that someone turn me, right now. (After all, the difference between their current state and the state they remember is overwhelmingly greater than what I experienced when I woke up hemiplegic and brain-damaged after my stroke, and if I could have recovered from that with a few days of agony, I'd have signed up in a heartbeat... even if it was my last.)

Replies from: TheOtherDave, alethiophile
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-26T08:28:50.618Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

if the uploaded Didyme turns out to satisfy Marcus' mate bond, things just got very interesting.

Hee! Well, then.

Given that that worked, I would expect pretty much every mated vampire who is aware of the situation and at least marginally clever to demand their mate be "backed up" via Aro's knee into Addy's mind for safe keeping... and soon, as that knee has limited shelf-life.

I wonder, if they had figured this all out prior to killing Aro, if they'd have been tempted to keep him alive to power the backup mechanism indefinitely. It's an awfully useful trick to have up one's sleeve... though perhaps less so if you're immortal and nigh-indestructible.

Unrelatedly: another implication of Elspeth's vampire-reincarnation trick, potentially, is the ability to create edited versions of existing vampires.

That is, we've already seen that she can selectively choose what subsets of her memories she transmits; it seems to follow that not only can she overwrite a human with memories of vampire X as of their last Aro-read, she can overwrite a human with a more-or-less arbitrary subset of those memories.

I can't come up with any useful applications of that ability in the current tactical situation, but it's a cool idea nevertheless.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2011-02-26T21:46:56.009Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder, if they had figured this all out prior to killing Aro, if they'd have been tempted to keep him alive to power the backup mechanism indefinitely. It's an awfully useful trick to have up one's sleeve... though perhaps less so if you're immortal and nigh-indestructible.

It remains to be seen whether or not Didyme 2 is a witch, but if so, why not just recreate Aro when necessary?

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-26T22:16:09.173Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We've seen no evidence that Elspeth's trick affects witch-talents, and it would really startle me if it did.

But, sure, if a witch turned up who can read/store/project those powers, the way that the Addy in conjunction with Aro and Elspeth combination can read/store/project memories, that would be fantastically useful.

The existence of Addy suggests that something like this is theoretically possible... that is, it suggests that witch powers really are some kind of discrete thing that can be read and written as a class.

Of course, I can't go too far down that road without becoming utterly frustrated that nobody in that world is even trying to research the mechanisms that underlie witch-powers, or vampirism, or etc. That would be the real payoff.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2011-02-28T10:02:27.922Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Of course, I can't go too far down that road without becoming utterly frustrated that nobody in that world is even trying to research the mechanisms that underlie witch-powers, or vampirism, or etc. That would be the real payoff.

Isn't Addy?

Replies from: Alicorn, TheOtherDave
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-28T16:38:51.660Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not really. Addy is diligently studying the use and limitations and practical potential of witchcraft, but she doesn't particularly care what makes magic work, as long as it does work and it's tasty.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2011-03-01T13:41:35.106Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

At a field's infancy, engineers are typically more effective than philosophers. Her age and current disinclination suggest she won't be the first philosopher of witchcraft, but whoever is will undoubtedly benefit from her memories.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-28T13:57:03.247Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Certainly more so than the rest of them, yes.

It would be ironic if she ended up contributing, some day, to a genuine theoretical understanding of whatever it is that underlies all of their abilities... she could be responsible for saving and improving more lives than anyone else we've met in this world.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-24T22:46:26.481Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another thing I'm wondering: what was it, precisely, that deleted Benito's original human memories? Was it the experience of any higher-fidelity vampire memories, or was it the overload caused by all of it simply overwriting the least vivid? If the former, then Elspeth has an easy way to resurrect an arbitrary dead vampire, but needs to be careful sending anything to a human lest their mind be lost (wouldn't it purely suck to have only the vampire memories of a single event Elspeth showed you, and nothing else?). If the latter, then Elspeth needs to blast a human entire and hope they reidentify as the vampire she actually wants to resurrect; which is more chancy.

Replies from: Nornagest
comment by Nornagest · 2011-02-24T23:08:23.882Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Uploading into a physical body might not even be necessary. I wonder what would happen if Elspeth constructed a subagent to model the behavior of someone she's got stored?

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-26T04:57:45.845Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Man, that would be a weird way to wake up. "Hi, you got killed by Aro, he read your mind, I got a bunch of your memories dumped on me, and by the way you exist only in my head."

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-26T05:37:41.818Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or "Hi, you're a 500-years-outdated backup of a vampire who's alive and well..."

comment by anyareine · 2011-02-10T07:26:03.677Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nathan is a very likeable person/vampire. He's my new favourite character. Like to know more about him. :)

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-29T16:09:50.114Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Either I have completely misunderstood what Elspeth just did, or Elspeth's power is quite a bit more useful than anyone is considering. I'm hoping it's the former.

That is: OK, yes, Magic cares about whether "Alice and Jasper are doing something kind of like what Del did to Pera" is true or not. But how does Magic have that information to query in the first place?

It's essentially a question about the strength of Alice's alliances, which means memories from before Alice was Chelsead are pretty much irrelevant, and I can't think of any other mundane source of information from which that datum derives. So either I'm missing something significant (entirely possible), or Magic itself is the source of that datum.

If it's the latter... doesn't that suggest that Magic can detect not only whether what Elspeth is saying (or considering saying) is honest, but also whether it is true?

That seems like it can't be right. At least, if it is right, Siobhan ought to immediately hand Elspeth a list of useful true/false questions to have Magic answer.

And I don't follow why the trick with using Memory to extract analogous situations from the past is even necessary. Wouldn't asking Magic whether it would allow Elspeth to say "Alice and Jasper are still loyal to the Volturi" and similar tests achieve the same result?

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-29T16:58:09.014Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

doesn't that suggest that Magic can detect not only whether what Elspeth is saying (or considering saying) is honest, but also whether it is true?

Magic only cares whether Elspeth believes it is true. If she said "Alice and Jasper are still loyal to the Volturi" it would probably not sound true, because Elspeth wasn't sure of that at the moment.

What Magic helps Elspeth do is tell the truth, and to tell it in a particular way that the other person will understand. So the indirect trick she is using here was spelled out back in chapter 5:

Here is how I use my power to learn things about other people.

It takes a very, very long time. It's completely indirect. There is some guesswork. There are always gaps. I can't just call up my power and point it at someone and learn who they are.

First, I make a guess about the thing I am trying to learn. Then, I think of something about myself that is like my guess. And then I figure out how I would explain that part of myself to the person, and see if the explanation refers to things about my guess. If it is, then my guess was close to right.

It's confusing, and it took me a long time to figure out. Here's how it might work. Suppose I go back to Kora's town and find her, and she seems sad. I figure out as much as I can without any magic and I decide that my best guess is that she misses her best friend who is out of town. The closest thing I have to that is when I miss people who I have had to leave behind - people like Kora.

So I think about how I would tell her the way I feel about that. If I wanted to say to Kora, "I miss my old friend Raine as much as you miss your best friend", then that would mean saying that will make Kora understand something true, because that is how my power works. Then I would know that my feelings about Raine and Kora's about her friend are the same.

But it would not make sense to tell Kora that. I'm never going to see Raine again, and Kora's friend will come home, for one thing. I knew Raine for a much shorter time and we were not as close. And that is the biggest problem with using my power to do this. It only works if I make a correct guess, and I can only make a correct guess if I have something that's sort of like what's going on for the other person.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-29T18:21:01.434Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure, that was the limitation she was operating under back in Chapter 5, when (among other things) she wasn't able to interact with Magic as a separate subagent.

She communicates with her ability radically differently, now; there's no particular reason to believe the same limitation applies.

But, sure, maybe she experimented with this off-camera and concluded that it still does, for whatever reason, and we just haven't read about that. So, OK, maybe she can't attempt to say "Alice is still loyal to the Volturi" and see whether Magic objects.

Instead, she has to come up with an example from her memory of someone experiencing something like what it would be for Alice to still be loyal to the Volturi, and then attempt to say "Alice is in a situation kind of like that example" and see whether Magic objects.

Fine... it's magic, it has whatever limits it has.

And maybe those examples have to be actual memories... maybe it won't work if she says "Consider Vanessa, a hypothetical Volturi guard who is pretending to no longer be loyal to the Volturi in order to fool her friends into trusting her. Alice is in a situation similar to Vanessa's" and see whether Magic objects. (Similarly, maybe comparing Alice's situation to that of a character in a novel or a movie won't work.)

Regardless, in all of those cases Elspeth is constructing a version of the statement "Alice is doing X" and consulting Magic about the truth of that statement, when Elspeth herself does not know whether Alice is doing X.

If that actually works -- and it sure does seem to have -- then Magic has access to information that Elspeth does not have access to, and it seems that this is a huge tactical advantage that everyone appears to be neglecting.

For example, Bella was wondering earlier whether what she sensed was a packmate of Jacob's. So, Elspeth can come up with some memory of some witch using a power on a wolf that includes its packmate, then try to say "What Bella is sensing is like that" and see if Magic objects.

For example, suppose Elspeth wants to know whether the Volturi are actively hunting them right now. So, she comes up with a historical example of situations where the Volturi were actively hunting someone who wasn't sure whether they were hunting him or not, and tries to say "Our situation is kind of like so-and-so's."

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Presumably there are limits to this, but it seems like establishing those limits and using her power within them would be... um... a good plan.

Replies from: alethiophile, JGWeissman
comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-05T21:49:23.220Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As far as I can tell, what Elspeth is doing is, in talking to Alice, seeing if her magic, which helps her communicate the truth to people in ways they will understand, would suggest analogies between the current situation and previous situations. I.e., if Elspeth were trying to explain the situation of Addy and Pera to Alice, would her magic suggest Alice and Jasper's own situation as an example? If so, then that means that Alice and Jasper's situation is analogous to that of Addy and Pera, and hence it implies something about their motives. Magic has a mind-reading power, kind of, whose intent is solely to determine how to comprehensibly explain the truth to someone. Elspeth is using this for a method not originally intended, in order to determine something about Alice and Jasper. Thus, it's not an oracle; it depends critically on Elspeth currently being in communication with someone who knows the answer.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-02-05T23:05:04.554Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mostly agreed... the subsequent edit of Magic's reply made that much clearer.

As per other thread, it is not clear to me that what the boundaries of "in communication" are, and it's not clear to me what sorts of information Magic has access to. That said, I'm increasingly concluding that I'm somehow being obtuse, because this seems to be clear to everyone else.

comment by JGWeissman · 2011-01-29T18:39:58.817Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the way it works is that Elspeth asks if referencing Alice and Jasper''s experience of whatever they are going through now would help them understand this memory that Elspeth believes is true.

Though this explanation seems backwards from what is implied by:

"Yes," said Magic, "this sounds about right. I would let you use this story to say something true about Alice and Jasper."

I would have expected it to be:

"Yes," said Magic, "this sounds about right. I would let you use Alice and Jasper's experience to say something true about this memory."

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-29T19:11:05.351Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You're right, I wrote that backwards. I'll fix it now.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-29T19:17:25.828Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah. That helps clarify matters. Thank you.

comment by gwern · 2011-01-13T21:21:04.058Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I will say one thing, while it's not as good as MoR, its plot moves much faster, which helps compensate. I think Alicorn also handles the emotional stuff better than Eliezer (unsurprisingly); I felt far less cynical and contemptuous than I might've.

On the other hand, Eliezer is much better at lacing in the didacticism since it feels like the lessons has for the reader are abandoned toward the end of book 1; and there isn't much one could learn from book 2 with Elspeth.

I particularly loved the writing for Allirea; not so much an interesting character but reflected very nicely.

In some respects I am disappointed by characters' thinking & planning. They seem very... humdrum, straightforward, and locked into magical thinking. This could be explained in some cases, but not all. Very rarely did I find myself thinking, 'ah, clever!' or 'oh, they're right, that wouldn't work'.

I came into Luminosity expecting Bella to sort of be like Harry in MoR; but she's not very much like him. Harry with Bella's advantages and obstacles would have taken over the world in the first few years. Bella is running and hiding as a data entry clerk? I mean, I may be echoing some comments I saw go by in the comments feed, but I feel the Volturi are just not much of an obstacle.

Vampires die easily of fire? Splendid, Bella spends a few months reading and developing a fuel-air bomb and there they go. (Easily justifiable, too, consequentially.) Or steals a nuke. Or maybe she has the Cullens buy up some hospices and builds a newborn army while they develop a more-fun turning process which could be mass deployed. Or something! (Creating some werewolf packs was a remarkably stupid thing to do, even if we largely go along with Bella's analysis. And if we judge by the consequences, even more stupid.)

Replies from: None, Alicorn, CronoDAS
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-14T16:36:31.343Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Personally I like it at least as well as MoR. Harry is perilously close to a Gary Stu; he dominates each of the canon characters in turn, forcing them to explicitly acknowledge Harry's moral and mental superiority. It's kind of tiresome and it's surprisingly naive fanfic writing. At this point I'm a lot more interested in Draco, who is a genuinely nuanced character and whose point of view is often very funny.

By contrast none of the characters in Radiance feel like Mary Sues (even though Elspeth has exceedingly Sueish hair). But she's got depth to her personality, and flaws that are realistic given her background--I'm specifically thinking of her tendency to passivity. She has an interesting and flexible power, and a couple of lucky "gimmes" (like being Jake's imprint), but she's not set up as someone who's going to easily and utterly dominate everything around her. To me, that makes her story a lot more interesting.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-14T17:01:48.088Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Though that's been the price of admission for HP:MoR from almost the very beginning... it isn't about the characters, still less about their relationships, and it becomes less and less so over time.

Quite the contrary: a lot of what is being explicitly discarded from canon has to do with relationships (though at least Harry is starting to look to actual peers to have imaginary relationships with, rather than entirely hypothetical ones, which I guess is progress of a sort).

Agreed about Draco. Then again, he always intrigued me in the originals as well, and we never got to see his narrative there.

Luminosity was far more about characters from the outset. Radiance started out that way, though it is becoming problematically (for my taste, I mean; I accept that tastes vary) distracted by tactics.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-14T21:00:38.119Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Though that's been the price of admission for HP:MoR from almost the very beginning...

I know, but at this point we've got a Harry who beats Hermione at wandwork, out-threatens Snape, humbles Dumbledore using his own phoenix, snaps orders (which are meekly accepted) at Minerva McGonagall... I find this kind of thing pretty grating, and I'm really glad that Luminosity and Radiance never went in that direction.

I don't mean to bag on MoR, because there are certainly things about the story that I really enjoy--for instance, I love the little throwaway lines explaining things like why Quidditch points count for the House Cup. I've always really enjoyed that kind of thing, fanwanking in its best and highest form--I encountered it first in the Baker Street Irregular group of Sherlockian fans, where it's done as almost an art form.

Anyway, I do like MoR, but I really don't want to see Bella or Elspeth become more like Harry.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-15T14:38:09.428Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I know, but at this point we've got a Harry who beats Hermione at wandwork, out-threatens Snape, humbles Dumbledore using his own phoenix, snaps orders (which are meekly accepted) at Minerva McGonagall... I find this kind of thing pretty grating, and I'm really glad that Luminosity and Radiance never went in that direction.

Sure, all this is annoying, and not a good way to build sympathy, but since we've been shown that Harry is extraordinarily clever, confident and astute, I think it's marginally allowable. Eliezer lost me when Harry made it out of Azkaban without being killed or exposed. That would not and should not have happened, and IMO the fic went irretrievably to Hell at the exact moment the characters went there retrievably.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-13T22:00:53.885Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the other hand, Eliezer is much better at lacing in the didacticism since it feels like the lessons has for the reader are abandoned toward the end of book 1; and there isn't much one could learn from book 2 with Elspeth.

Where story and didacticism are in tension, I chuck didacticism in favor of story.

I came into Luminosity expecting Bella to sort of be like Harry in MoR; but she's not very much like him.

Well, good, I wouldn't want to be doing the exact same thing. How redundant. (Also, have to admit that while Eliezer's writing has many strong points, writing characters I'm interested in welcoming into my brain ain't among them.)

Harry with Bella's advantages and obstacles would have taken over the world in the first few years.

I think Harry would probably have gotten himself killed the minute he wandered near Volterra and was too obtrusively dangerous. Pretty much everybody who spends any amount of time with Harry in his story figures he's probably kind of hazardous to have around, even as an ally, and he doesn't curb this tendency very quickly. This is the sort of character trait that makes the Volturi kill you. (And had they earnestly tried to kill Bella in Volterra, even her juiced-up shield wouldn't have saved her. The fact that they were willing to risk waiting a while to see how she turned out allowed her to survive.)

Vampires die easily of fire? Splendid, Bella spends a few months reading and developing a fuel-air bomb and there they go.

That would be boring and tweaks personal buttons of mine. Sorry.

(Easily justifiable, too, consequentially.)

There is a sharp limit to how much this can really surprise you if you have been paying any attention. If you want to read stories where the Good Guys reason consequentialistically, find another author.

Replies from: gwern, FAWS
comment by gwern · 2011-01-15T21:19:50.543Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where story and didacticism are in tension, I chuck didacticism in favor of story.

It's too bad you can't do both; I liked Luminosity-the-articles.

Well, good, I wouldn't want to be doing the exact same thing. How redundant.

I don't think it's any more redundant than any 2 LW articles on applying probability theory or akrasia are. The universe of plots featuring sane characters ought to be as large as the usual universe of plots featuring less-than-rational characters.

Pretty much everybody who spends any amount of time with Harry in his story figures he's probably kind of hazardous to have around, even as an ally, and he doesn't curb this tendency very quickly.

Yes, and he gets away with his lack of secrecy because he knows of no live enemies. He's told pretty shortly after being introduced to the wizarding world 'oh and by the way your only real enemy or competitor is apparently dead and all his followers are keeping their heads low', and shortly thereafter he's busily recruiting the most dangerous & active of his enemies - Quirrel and the Malfoys - into being his mentor and student.

Any reasonable extrapolation of MoR Harry involves him being frightened out of his wits by depraved enemies with millions of years of experience the moment he's told of them, and if we somehow postulate that he decides to go around being scary, his visit to Volterra would cure that.

That would be boring and tweaks personal buttons of mine. Sorry.

Also unfortunate. I winced at the Demetri bit in the chapter today. Of course it matters how good Demetri is at hand-to-hand combat compared to other handy vampires, because we all know there's no other way to fight. A pity their kung fu is not best!

There is a sharp limit to how much this can really surprise you if you have been paying any attention.

A deontologist who can't justify war or bombings is in a sorry state indeed. I tend to assume you aren't writing stupid deontologists and so they ought to be considering more effective methods.

comment by FAWS · 2011-01-15T16:58:02.902Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry with Bella's advantages and obstacles would have taken over the world in the first few years.

You mean weeks, right?

I think Harry would probably have gotten himself killed the minute he wandered near Volterra and was too obtrusively dangerous.

He wouldn't have gone there until prepared to deal with them. The very first thing Harry would have done (or possibly second after being turned) would have been experimenting with Alice's precognition. It's at least three orders of magnitudes more powerful than all other abilities combined, can be experimented on safely and instantly and allows you to do most other experiments safely and instantly as well. Given a fully cooperative Alice and his creativity the only credible opponent at that point is the author (there are no wolves around at that point, the Volturi not aware of Half Vampires [right? I have no knowledge of canon], and the "free will" limitation doesn't make sense and either can be eliminated, mitigated, or has implications that completely change the picture, like that they are in a simulation that might be hackable, or characters in a story).

comment by CronoDAS · 2011-01-15T21:58:06.691Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Creating some werewolf packs was a remarkably stupid thing to do, even if we largely go along with Bella's analysis. And if we judge by the consequences, even more stupid.)

The purpose of creating the werewolf packs was to protect the not-yet-activated werewolves. And, as far as I can tell, the werewolves are, indeed, still alive. It didn't work out very well for Bella, though.

Replies from: Alicorn, gwern
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-15T22:46:56.283Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the werewolves are, indeed, still alive.

Eve and Brady are both dead.

comment by gwern · 2011-01-15T22:00:59.237Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not all of them are alive (late Radiance mentions at least one dead, IIRC), and the kill rate can be expected to go up with the coming war.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-06T03:59:09.782Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So what is Siobhan's power? We have Del's actions to confirm that she has one, but what evidence did Carlisle have that he was so convinced? If Carlisle only saw Siobhan herself carrying out her plans, then it could be that Siobhan is simply of the mindset that puts together elaborate plans in a way that emphasizes fallback positions, and her actual power is something like a supernatural talent for Indy Ploys. However, if Carlisle saw others carrying out Siobhan's plans, and they still worked well enough to convince him that she was a witch and not merely a good planner, then that power must affect others as well as herself, invalidating the theory that Siobhan is simply supernaturally competent at achieving her goals in a way unrelated to plans. The obvious conclusion is that her power is the mode of thought that attempts to put together plans with great regard for the possible holes therein; the alternate hypothesis is that her power somehow contaminates plans she devises with Essence of Success, or something, which is really reaching and not consistent with how witchcraft has so far worked here.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-06T04:12:52.647Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Carlisle had (as was described in Book 1) really bad evidence. The way I'm cashing out Siobhan's power (which is confirmed in canon only by an asterisk next to her name in the Breaking Dawn character list, not by any actual achievement of hers during the book... for some reason there's not even a scene with her talking to Eleazar about it while they're in the same house...) is that when she makes a good plan based on good info, it will tend not to fall prey to black swan events and will tend to fall into the outcome she envisions rather than turning out in some wacky unexpected fashion.

Replies from: gwern, alethiophile
comment by gwern · 2011-01-13T20:27:32.380Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

it will tend not to fall prey to black swan events and will tend to fall into the outcome she envisions rather than turning out in some wacky unexpected fashion.

Fascinating. So she's immune to tropes. I could see that being very useful.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-06T04:55:52.616Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So does this extend as well to other people carrying out her plan? It could be some sort of generalized psychic ability that tries to make events go as she wills them to, but requires a level of concentration achieved by planning it out in detail. Whatever; it seems that the results are well enough defined, even if the implied method is odd.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-06T12:53:39.051Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

does this extend as well to other people carrying out her plan?

Insofar as she makes plans that appeal reasonably well to the people carrying them out. Bella wouldn't be significantly influenced here, but as long as Siobhan makes a plan of typical quality for her, Bella doesn't have a reason to be contrary either.

comment by VAuroch · 2013-12-21T09:01:08.454Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Having read Luminosity, but not Radiance:

If you set out to write a story in which someone tries to be rational and it absolutely backfires, you have succeeded. The majority of Bella's problems are caused or aggravated by her own insufficient luminosity and her perception that she is better off in that department than she actually is. In particular, she doesn't seem to gain any benefits from her above-average rationality at any point after she has fully transitioned to being a vampire; many of her problems are caused by overestimating her abilities and insufficiently analyzing her decisions to keeping things secret. In short, she lives for almost the entire story in the valley of bad rationalism.

Since that was not the stated purpose of the story, I don't think I can even reasonably consider this rationalist fiction. Which is highly disappointing.

comment by Mestroyer · 2012-12-13T12:40:47.761Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are the people in Alice's visions simulations that wink out when she's done foreseeing?

comment by shminux · 2012-06-29T17:48:41.779Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm wondering if there have been any speculations on the potentially realistic physical composition/metabolism properties of vampires in the canon or this fanfic.

Off-hand, the canon description is consistent with the vamps consisting of mostly carbon nano-fibers, with the sparking parts being traces of carbon in the diamond form. The conversion process appears to be a form of virus-based DNA rewriting. The metabolism could be based on catalytic cold fusion, with blood acting as a combination of a catalyst and a power source (human blood is a better catalyst).

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-05-09T11:57:07.002Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Why," I asked, "did he come back to school? I realize it's a hassle to move, but if he's likely to lose it around me, why didn't he just stay wherever he went that week he was gone? I think my life ought to be worth some hassle."

I wonder if I'm the only one, in that I could hear Professor Quirrel burst out laughing as I read this.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T16:29:24.381Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Funny thing is, Bella's life is in fact worth all of the hassle ever to Edward, he just doesn't know quite why right away. For the same reason, staying away from her is not mere hassle.

Replies from: MarkusRamikin
comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-05-09T17:10:02.962Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yup. Of course Bella doesn't know that yet in that scene.

comment by Pavitra · 2011-03-01T01:08:31.981Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some thoughts on the New World Order.

(1) Very little attention seems to have been given to the problem of how to peel back the masquerade without various major world governments trying to make vampires extinct. I infer that this will be the primary conflict of book 3.

(2) What is the best choice of long-term dominant species? The known species so far are vampires, half-vampires, possibly other fractions of vampire, werewolves, and non-wolf humans (let's call them muggles).

Muggles have the major disadvantage of being mortal. Werewolves can't reproduce without help from muggles or half-vampires. Male half-vampires may or may not be able to reproduce at all, as there appear to be several sex-linked issues relating to half-vampires, such as vampire fertility and half-vampire venom.

Vampires have three different Chelsea-level-creepy major psychological changes: the Thirst for human blood, the mate Bond, and the Freeze in personality and personal development. Male werewolves likewise suffer from imprinting.

Creating a population that can never reproduce, such as everyone being a vampire with no muggles left, pretty much guarantees extinction eventually. The average vampire lifespan is probably well under ten thousand years. Even if the Golden Empire somehow manages to improve that by, say, a factor of a million, we still have a finite expected-time-to-live for People In General.

An all-werewolf-and-vampire population might or might not be able to reproduce, if the females never activated and were turned after menopause.

If half-vampires can mate with each other to produce more half-vampires, then they would seem to be the best choice. Unfortunately, the half-vampire population is at present critically low. Perhaps, as the unmasqueing starts to bottleneck, preference should be given to women who are willing to carry a half-vampire child to term before turning.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-01T01:18:21.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There will be no Book 3. There will be some short stories (see the announcement I just posted) but I'm planning for at least most of them to take place in "the past".

Male half-vampires can reproduce, with half-vampires or "muggles" or with mostly-muggle hybrids.

Werewolves can reproduce without help (although they will not activate without any vampires present). A female werewolf who quits her wolf amounts to a physically-25-year-old "muggle" who will pass on wolfiness to all of her children, and male wolves are obviously capable of siring children with "muggles", presumed capable of doing so with half-vampires, and demonstrably capable of doing so with non-active wolves. (Two of the currently-active wolves have a child together from before they activated.)

There is no particular reason why a population consisting entirely, or almost entirely, of half-vampires or other degrees of hybrid-ness wouldn't work.

Replies from: Pavitra
comment by Pavitra · 2011-03-01T17:55:48.963Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Can activated werewolves reproduce without help? It seems that sustaining an all-wolf population would require most of the females dying of old age.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-01T18:13:58.391Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No. An active female werewolf cannot get pregnant. Sustaining an all-wolf population, however, is possible without people dying of old age if one waits to activate the females until after they have had however many kids; they retain the ability to activate until age 25.

Replies from: Pavitra
comment by Pavitra · 2011-03-02T19:34:48.499Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, I hadn't thought of that. And if you start to run low on venom, then since

female werewolf who quits her wolf amounts to a physically-25-year-old "muggle" who will pass on wolfiness to all of her children

it should be possible to safely turn a quit wolf.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-27T02:42:39.516Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

While Allirea makes a very effective bodyguard in the combat sense, she is less helpful in the intimidation sense because, of course, no one can remember that she's there. What would happen if a vampire who had a reasonable expectation to win against Bella alone, and was not talked by Elspeth into believing that he could not win a fight, attacked Bella and was taken apart by her and Allirea? Would he know what was happening? What would his relevant memories suggest? Would said memories become clear while Allirea was unfaded? Is this a valid method to control the vampire population? (It might actually be quite effective--anyone who attacks Bella is taken apart by something they can't remember happening. Great creepy factor.)

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-27T02:52:39.835Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The thought process would probably go something like, "I attacked the Empress, and the next thing I knew I was scattered across the ground in bits the size of Tic-Tacs. I don't think I'll try that again."

Replies from: JGWeissman, alethiophile
comment by JGWeissman · 2011-02-27T03:23:59.478Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, that would be a normal person's thought process, at least.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-01T03:34:51.177Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That implies something very interesting about Allirea's power. The usual criterion for the spreading of umbrella-type effects attached to persons is that events that are heavily influenced by the person are under the umbrella, apparently, and I'm going to assume that that applies to Allirea's fading as well. This means that Allirea can trick someone into thinking that something vitally important to their survival is simply unimportant--that the fact that someone is currently reducing them to gravel is not worth remembering. Wow.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-01T06:28:36.046Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, they can tell that they are being reduced to gravel, and that this is important, but they can't ascribe an important action like "reducing me to gravel" to someone as unimportant as Allirea; she is too inconsequential. Something else must be responsible for the gravel-reducing, clearly.

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-09T16:35:08.573Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

All that Bella-for-Queen! talk in the latest chapters again made me wonder how the state of vampire society and its influence on human society will be handled after the inevitable fall of Volturi rule. I don't think Bella as she is now is most equipped to realize any ambitions, be it on the planning stage or in practice. She is perhaps most ambitious though, although I would argue how healthy they are, for both vampire and human society.

I think it would be very interesting if Alicorn didn't stop with the fall of the Volturi and instead continued with the story until Bella's ambitions are realized, or the societies of Earth are relatively stable (and human society is currently doing a good job at eliminating life on the planet...).

Vampires are far from eternal, and have a lot of self-interest in the survival of humanity, even if they can permanently survive on the blood of other creatures. A certain amount of population of either humans or vampires is needed to achieve goals such as harnessing solar energy to create matter, or interstellar travel. Both or either of which will be necessary to avoid extinction when the Sun dies, and to have access to more resources than the Earth can provide.

If the Big Bang is a pulsating phenomena, I wonder if it's possible to alter it or outright stop its cycle. I imagine such a task would require massive amounts of resources applied by incredible technology, and would probably be the result of much of the universe's sentient beings' cooperation. Humanity is very primitive in that we do not apply scientific thinking (which has proved to produce results) to adapting in the most healthy way to a constantly changing environment.

I doubt we would claim ownership over anything other than our bodies if we did; instead cooperatively striving to understand ourselves and the environment so that we can best use it to be healthy, and ensure our race's survival by reaching out into the stars.

One another note, the reactions of all Bella's past acquaintances when she makes her come-back as Vampire Queen of The World ought to be amusing.

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-10T03:22:58.741Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 40 Spoilers.

I'm just amused about how the Bella For Queen talk didn't send anyone into a panic. I guess the thought of Bella being in power, instead of the Volturi, was comforting?

Though now that I think about it, I think we did see some ruffled feathers in relation to what Bella would use Pera for. Is that it though?

comment by Alassieth · 2011-02-07T22:11:13.581Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When Elspeth destroys the bonds that Chelsea has forged she makes people realise that those feelings are false and to forget them, right? So to re-connect bonds that Chelsea has snipped would it not be possible for her to "remember the truth"?

So, if she said to Magic "I love my mother" it would be false at that moment but surely "I should love my mother" and "If not for Chelsea's tampering I would love my mother" would be true and could help re-connect the bonds, maybe?

(Do you think there are stubs of threads where Chelsea has cut, or if they wither away? With the stubs left it feels like it should be easier to re-connect them.)

Replies from: Alassieth
comment by Alassieth · 2011-02-10T09:58:41.028Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Welp, that's my idea gone! XD

Replies from: Lila
comment by Lila · 2011-02-17T20:07:23.049Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe Elspeth can learn to love her mother in much the same way as a child who is adopted at an older age might learn to love their adoptive parents. That would require Elspeth to give Bella a chance to act motherly towards her. If Elspeth thinks mothering is something she needs, she might accept it from Bella.

But if Elspeth doesn't need or want that kind of relationship (maybe 5-year-old half-vampires can do fine without it) I see no reason why she should love Bella. She might also choose to have that kind of relationship with someone else, though it would be hard to find someone as enthusiastic and devoted to the job as Bella. And even though she doesn't love Bella, maybe she has some kind of impersonal goodwill toward her, and might choose her out of kindness.

comment by Alassieth · 2011-01-28T23:51:18.118Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

DARN YOU!! Having just finished reading Luminosity I have now dissolved into a snivelling pile of salt water and mucus that you would probably be loath to poke with a stick. Definitely more crying when heard about Alice than Edward but then she's infinitely more likeable that he is...was...sniff

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-29T16:48:27.470Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You should start reading the sequel right away; I think you'll be pleased with it.

Replies from: Alassieth
comment by Alassieth · 2011-02-06T23:06:49.837Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Back again having finally caught up with the sequel. Everything seems to be getting pretty serious...

This was going to be a longer post but I lost track of where it was going, although it was basically:

Yay! Not what we thought! Poor Bella, not knowing. Oh wait! She did know!! Moar plz!!!

(Multiple exclamation marks, the sure sign of a diseased mind)

comment by Giriath · 2011-01-26T22:20:02.755Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow, what a cliffhanger! And I was listening to Daft Punk's TRON Legacy soundtrack when I read the chapter. Brushing your teeth is dramatic when listening to that score.

I though of many potential plots for future outtakes in this chapter, here's one: How did the Cullen's react when Elspeth 'disappeared', did they look for her long? Is there any tension between some of them now that they know Bella took her, and how did their reunion work, from their own perspectives?

I'm most interested in Rosalie, who displayed canonical possessiveness of Elspeth at the end of Luminosity, when it became apparent that she may become parentless.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-27T17:26:47.289Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wondered exactly the same thing myself. Taking Elspeth the way she did made sense for Bella, but it was a pretty rotten thing to do to Carlisle, Esme, and Rosalie, who must have been frantic with worry and ultimately heartbroken (and maybe consumed with guilt, for "letting" Elspeth be lost).

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-25T00:37:37.698Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Bella shields phased Jacob while another alpha is also phased, does the shield extend to that alpha and/or his/her pack? It's mentioned in Luminosity that there can be cross-talk between wolves in different packs to some degree if both alphas are phased. Will this allow Elspeth to transmit to all the wolves at once if the alphas are phased? If both are true, then they can carry out a surprise attack with the wolves by having them all phase, Bella shield Jacob, and Elspeth disillusion them all with the Volturi at once; they would then presumably yield to their general instinct to attack vampires, and with the shield in place they could well be immune to most of the powerful witches in the compound (Jane and Alec certainly, possibly Aro's shield (Renata?) as well). With some intelligent use of Elspeth, the wolves could know just as much about the compound, village, town as the Volturi, and if this was timed in conjunction with another attack (by a newborn army, perhaps), it could cause major damage.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-25T00:55:00.644Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Bella shields one wolf in a pack, she shields them all. This does not interfere with inter-pack telepathy. Elspeth's power does not propagate through a pack the way Jane's or Alec's does, so sending to one phased wolf will not automatically give other phased packmates copies of the sending, although if she sent something in real time, the other wolves could listen in while the wolf she sent to received it.

having them all phase

They'd do this how?

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-27T03:39:02.164Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wait until the wolves are on a mission with their Volturi handlers, then do it. Have the wolves kill the handlers and run. Doesn't have the same shock value as an attack on Volterra, but may well hurt the Volturi fairly badly depending on who of the guard is in the party and adds the wolves to the rebels' side rather than the Volturi's.

Does Bella's shield extend through the telepathy between different alphas, or not? If not, the utility of the plan is lessened, though the mission variant could still work if the alpha there forwards Elspeth's deprogramming to his/her pack. (Who are the alphas? Still Rachel, Rebecca and Jacob only?)

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-27T03:52:07.417Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wait until the wolves are on a mission with their Volturi handlers

The wolves do not all go on missions simultaneously. (Only ten were in the group that captured Elspeth out of Denali, for instance.) While on missions, they are sometimes not all phased simultaneously.

Does Bella's shield extend through the telepathy between different alphas, or not?


Who are the alphas? Still Rachel, Rebecca and Jacob only?)


Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-27T04:17:30.352Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe not as useful, then. I still think that Bella's shield-pack ability has to be significant in the future; it's too blatant a foreshadow not to be.

comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-24T20:06:30.850Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You know, it occurs to me: it should be obvious that the Volterra would leave one pack member in Jacob's pack - all Chelsea has to do is leave that attachment, rather than weaken it, and they have someone with split loyalties who probably wants Jacob to rejoin the guard.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-24T20:52:05.253Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True as far as it goes, but presumably that's only useful to them under two circumstances: (a) they think they can get Jacob back through that wolf, or (b) they think they can detect Jacob's location using that wolf.

The Volterra seem like the sorts to have given up on (a) a while ago... Jacob goes where Elspeth goes, Elspeth is demonstrably unreliable, ergo Jacob isn't reliable, and none of them are particularly valuable. Kill 'em all.

(b) is more compelling. That said, if they are accustomed to using Demetri to find people, it may simply not have occurred to them to construct a backup plan. "Why bother? Demetri will return eventually, with.... um.... whatever unimportant task it is he's trying to accomplish accomplished, and then we'll deal with Jacob and Elspeth."

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-24T22:20:17.876Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elspeth is in fact unreliable, but she didn't escape from Volterra the second time under her own power. Addy and Jacob took her. So it's not as obvious to the Volturi as all that.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-22T00:42:40.551Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, something that I've been wondering about is, could we get a breakdown of the Volturi numbers? The impression that I've been getting of their size seems to vary depending at the time.

I understand if you can't, due to spoilers, but even a general outline would be nice. Are there a dozen of them? Two? If you include the witches Elspeth helped seed?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-22T01:03:59.568Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Head Honchos & Wives:

Aro and Sulpicia
Caius and Athenodora

Original Guard:

Chelsea and Afton
Demetri (deceased); temporarily, Allirea
Saeed (non-canon)
Assorted non-witch, non-canon-specified guard (~5 or so)

Guard Added Via Witch Dungeon & Seeding Efforts:

Alice and Jasper
Benjamin and Tia
Hao and Kazuo
Vasanti and Mehul
Sukutai and Okey
Taamusi and Valdis

Currently Captive:


Wolves Etc:

See the character list under "Wolves", "Imprints", and "Puppies". All living wolves, imprints, and puppies except for Jacob and Elspeth are currently in Volterra and loyal to the Volturi.

Replies from: Giriath, Sheaman3773
comment by Giriath · 2011-01-22T21:26:07.965Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow. I really got a better feel of how massive the attack on La Push was when I read the character listings of the wolves, imprints and puppies. I also didn't know or remember that Victor and Maureen's daughter Natalie Hanley died in the NYC capture.

I really like that there are stories like these where the Volturi's actions are actually representative of their character. Meyer set them up as extremely powerful and bent on world domination, but only made them act when it was convenient to her love story. Unfortunately much of the canon-fanfiction follows in this vein. You can't have such a powerful, experienced and greedy entity like the Volturi in a story and not have an all-out war; it's just not consistent with their character.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-22T04:35:07.706Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow, thanks! I really wasn't expecting anything this detailed so quickly. Thanks again for being so helpful.

PS: You mentioned Santiago & Felix twice.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-22T12:40:09.347Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fixed the duplicate. (Was pasting from my notes and then editing; must have edited incompletely.)

comment by Giriath · 2011-01-15T07:22:10.223Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So it looks as if Demetri is finally going to kick the bucket over the next few chapters? I hope they manage to kill him before he can contact Volterra with the news that there are a whole lot of more vampires in Denali than the traitors have reported.

This chapter further solidified my infatuation with Allirea. I'm not really sure why I like her so much--probably because I associate her with most of the sparse humorous moments in the series. I believe the killing of lifeforms can often be selective, and think that the more sentient should especially not be killed. Therefore I don't approve of Allirea killing humans when she has many options to survive without doing so. But I also believe we are our consciousness and personality, and that that is shaped by the experiences our environment gives us. I don't believe in punishment as a way to make things "better". I think people can change to be happier and healthier (which is my definition of "good" and "right") and to want that for other people, too, but punishing them for how their environment has shaped them is not the way to do that. I think you do that by exposing them to the beliefs you want them to endorse, and encourage them to inform themselves about it.

Still, I'm not naïve enough to think that everyone will be willing to commit to that change, or that there will always be an opportunity to introduce it. If someone is trying to hurt or even kill me and I've exhausted every other option, I'd probably hurt or kill them back. Maybe I won't even have time to think about my options, or I do but I don't because I'm not infallible to fear or greed and other emotions that may make me think and act differently than I otherwise would, once faced with an unusual situation.

In the case of Demetri arriving in the recent chapter, I'd probably approve of killing him. He would be a huge risk to extremely many lives in so many ways should they incapacitate him and try to help him change his ways.

Replies from: mjr, None
comment by mjr · 2011-01-17T09:23:43.111Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the case of Demetri arriving in the recent chapter, I'd probably approve of killing him.

Me, too. But kudos to Alicorn for making him, and the killing itself, tragic. Hell, it was effectively in part a mercy killing at that point.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-15T17:30:58.536Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the case of Demetri arriving in the recent chapter, I'd probably approve of killing him.

I hope very much to see Demetri slaughtered next chapter, preferably cinematically and in slow-motion.

Allirea (or more specifically, the way people behave around Allirea) can be funny, but the scene with her saying goodbye to her children was heartwrenching.

And Bella is back! I really liked seeing Bella through Elspeth's eyes, and watching Elspeth reassess that relationship.

One request: can we get a physical description of Siobhan, for those of us who haven't read the books? There are various references to her being "huge" and I'm not sure exactly how to construct that, mentally.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-15T17:42:48.585Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One request: can we get a physical description of Siobhan, for those of us who haven't read the books? There are various references to her being "huge" and I'm not sure exactly how to construct that, mentally.

From Luminosity, Book 1:

Siobhan was a brunette, with a short and well-maintained haircut. She was very tall and broad, and she moved forward to greet us with an undulating smoothness that I considered trying to emulate before deciding that its impressiveness depended on her size. I wondered if she could beat Emmett in a fight and was unsure. She was barefoot, like the others, and they were all dressed in simple outdoor wear.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-15T17:53:25.940Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Awesome, thank you. I remember that scene now--it probably didn't stick in my mind across the two stories because Siobhan wasn't terribly important in Luminosity.

comment by avichapman · 2012-06-29T06:07:37.633Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is anyone else out there interested in a Luminosity pod-cast? Unfortunately I can't volunteer, as I have a terrible voice and bad recording equipment. But I would LOVE to have a pod-cast of it, in the same vain as the HPMOR podcast.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2012-06-29T17:07:26.363Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I considered recording one myself, but determined that it would take a long time. Someone volunteered to do one, but he was a dude, and I was sufficiently apathetic about having my first-person teenage girl narrated by a dude that he decided against it. (Of course, anyone can do what they like with it, pretend it's under the CC license I put everything else under but can't for this because it's a fanfic.)

Replies from: avichapman
comment by avichapman · 2012-07-02T03:21:13.215Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's fair enough. I'll just have to keep hoping that a female volunteer comes along. I just really enjoy listening to HPMOR in the car and would love to do the same with this. Oh well. I'm sure if it happens at some point, news of it will appear on lesswrong.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2012-07-02T05:28:33.171Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

News of it might appear on LW; you could also subscribe to Luminosity's RSS feed to be really sure.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-04-27T07:46:38.677Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something bugs me just a little. In the original series, Bella kept still through her turning despite the pain in order to spare Edward, in Luminosity she did the opposite and hoped to hurt him enough that he'd kill her. Is this somehow a logical consequence of having started the story with a different Bella? Or is it simply that Luminosity is meant to be less idealistic about such things (pain matters more, love matters less), and if you had to work with original!Bella it'd still come out that way?

comment by Kikiara · 2011-08-12T17:33:12.160Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, its probably not going to happen anywhere except my head. But does anyone else feel this ends in a way that parallels the God Emperor of Dune?

I've just got this rather imaginative image of a global vampire regime ruled from the Golden Throne and all this interesting intrigue and corruption and various groups vying for power, and the very fate of humanity itself?

comment by Marri · 2011-06-22T04:17:52.686Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Random suuuuper minor question. Was re-reading some of the flashes cause I love them to pieces, and- anyone know why Kim is "Mrs. Kim Connweller-Cameron"? I thought Jared's (and Vivian's) last name was Norton.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-06-22T05:15:00.735Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My bad. I got Cameron out of an outdated spreadsheet and I'll fix it.

Replies from: Marri
comment by Marri · 2011-06-22T20:35:01.696Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there an Official Way to ask about stuff like that without spamming this thread?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-06-23T05:40:20.083Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

People use the TV Tropes discussion thread to ask me miscellaneous questions about the stories/settting/continuity. I also have my contact info up on my website.

Replies from: MarkusRamikin
comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-05-09T17:35:45.905Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also have my contact info up on my website.

Do you still check that one?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T18:02:10.797Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The address I have up on my sites remains valid. It forwards a couple times, I think, but lands in something I check all the time. Why, did you email me and not get an answer? Resend in that case.

Replies from: rhollerith_dot_com
comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2012-05-09T18:12:56.998Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It bounces a couple times, I think, but . . .

I suggest that in the future you say instead, "It gets automatically forwarded a couple of times."

When you say "bounce" in the context of email, many readers (and most readers who have been using email since the early 1990s) will think immediately of one those "Mail Undeliverable" emails you get when you try to send an email to a non-existing address.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T18:18:10.606Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Vaniver · 2011-06-18T12:36:03.119Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When she wasn't sucking down as much blood as they could get her (and damned if it didn't feel bizarre slurping down a mug of red liquid that had been coursing around in Charlie's veins minutes earlier), she was devouring eggs and everything else that was brought to her.

Um, Charlie's veins? Shouldn't that be an animal's?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-06-18T14:49:59.759Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nope, this is human!Sue pregnant with Cody. She can drink human blood (and indeed will hold up better for it) without going nuts; Charlie donated some.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2011-06-18T18:22:30.970Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, ok! I wasn't imagining non-violent ways of procuring his blood.

comment by mjr · 2011-06-11T22:13:28.685Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ha, dunno if my earlier speculation had a part in it, but nice that you ran with the resurrection thing.

Wonder if Irina will mate-bond again for the first time...

comment by Lila · 2011-04-13T23:21:07.239Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I got the impression that Elspeth and Jacob's relationship remains non-romantic. Is that correct?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-04-14T00:11:08.374Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm leaving that open for others to imagine either way. It certainly does not become romantic when she is five.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-04-14T00:54:48.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You say that with an emphasis that puzzles me, given that social intuitions about what is appropriate for a five-year-old pretty clearly don't apply to that character. Is it any more obviously inappropriate in that setting for five-year-olds to get romantic than it is for teenagers to marry lovers over five decades their seniors?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-04-14T01:04:29.510Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elspeth is more mature than a human five-year-old. She is not as mature as she would have to be for it to not squick me.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-04-14T02:23:47.699Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which is totally cool.

I guess, thinking about it, that I read your emphasis as having an implied " any right-thinking person would already know" clause which, in retrospect, I have no reason to believe had its origins anywhere but my own mind.

comment by Giriath · 2011-04-01T06:24:19.339Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So Adelaide was always that disturbing.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-04-01T15:06:15.750Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah. I wasn't sure that she was going to be like that when I started the story, but then she was like "hey, shouldn't my sister-in-law be dying under mysterious circumstances nowish?" and I went with it.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-10T03:56:55.220Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What does Razi need to know about a place before he can teleport there? Alice can see anyone, but if there are no visual cues as to the location nearby she can't tell where they are (as in Luminosity, in which she is fooled into thinking James is in Florida when he is in fact on a movie set). Does whatever information Alice has on the look of a location suffice for Razi to go there? If not, then a vampire can evade Empire justice for some time simply by staying in a dark room, or being in an undifferentiated forest somewhere. Not long-term, maybe, but enough time to turn a mate and ensure the bond is established.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-10T04:25:42.129Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't have this rigorously described, because Razi himself doesn't know (that's why he hasn't dared try teleport to the moon, because he's not sure if his Required Secondary Powers will let him go betwixt celestial bodies safely). However, if Alice shares a vision with Razi, he can go to the location it displays even if Alice can't tell where it is. He won't know where he is when he gets there, though.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-10T05:04:55.090Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay. Addy can take Razi's power and go with him, and Alice can scope out the area beforehand (has to, in fact) and note if there's anything too ambushy or powerful there. Thus, single vampires can probably be taken out. It's a pity all the trackers died, though they're much less useful in the Empire phase as the vampire population increases because they have to meet everyone. I would be leery of teleporting to random places, were I Razi, but he can just jump out again on no notice if necessary, I guess.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-10T05:09:27.405Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would be leery of teleporting to random places, were I Razi, but he can just jump out again on no notice if necessary, I guess.

Indeed he can. It takes something pretty heavy-duty to catch Razi in a situation that he can't hop out of. (This is why Addy could only catch him once - she had to do it with Alec's power when he wasn't expecting it. Alec's power is way too slow to catch Razi if he's aware of the danger.)

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-10T01:51:22.872Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yay, final update! Now I can put it on my Kindle and not feel like I have to replace it three times a week.

Two questions.

First, are the chapters in Radiance going to be rearranged the way the ones in Luminosity were?

Second, to what degree does Benjamin have control over the classical elements? Can he, for instance, summon fire from the air? If so, then he should be easily the most formidable fighter around, with the possible exception of Pera, and even she would be vulnerable to a less-metaphorical firewall. Can he put himself out if he's on fire? If so, why were the Volturi so blase about igniting Bella and assuming her death, multiple times? (This one I could believe as basic laziness when they have no reason to believe her power makes her immune to fire, but it's a thought.)

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-10T02:06:15.017Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

1: No. They're staying as-is.

2: Yes, he can conjure fire, but only a small amount of it. He could set some portion of a vampire on fire, and they'd have to stop for a sec to put it out, but they would not be unable to do so except under weird circumstances. Benjamin is, however, personally averse to combat applications for his power. He can put himself out if he's on fire as long as he's only a little bit on fire and not in pieces at the time. (Bella was in pieces when set on fire, both times.)

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-03T05:41:18.272Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now I want to hear more about this nontrivial skill component to War. Unless it's skill at cheating, I really can't imagine what it might be.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-03T05:48:27.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They are playing a slightly relaxed version where one may choose to put one's captured cards on top of or under one's deck.

Replies from: JGWeissman, alethiophile
comment by JGWeissman · 2011-03-03T23:26:29.605Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aw, I was hoping it was more subtle, like putting the captured card on top of or under the card that captured it, when placing both always under the deck.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-03-03T23:19:32.316Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah. Okay, I get it now.

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-28T14:17:47.626Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You mix up Grace and Gwyn in the scene in Jane's room. It should be Grace following Elspeth, but halfway through you start writing Gwyn and continue doing that throughout the chapter. Good chapter!

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-28T16:36:12.417Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, I'll fix that. (There were too many wolves to give them all names that started with different letters =/)

Replies from: JGWeissman
comment by JGWeissman · 2011-02-28T17:49:28.782Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(There were too many wolves to give them all names that started with different letters =/)

Yeah, the pigeonhole principle can be a real nuisance.

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-19T10:26:53.064Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ch. 45 spoilers!

Huh, so that's it for the Volturi. I wonder what the conflict will be from here on out. There's bound to be some vampires who won't be pleased with the new diet rules, and I'm also wondering what Bella will do with regards to humanity; will she let them in on the secret, or try to influence them without doing that?

I'd also like to see what she does with her parents. Renée and Phil may be interested in vampirization. And what will the wolves do? I hope Alicorn doesn't cap it off soon, even if there's no immediate threat to the current reign and the Cullen's.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-19T14:09:44.297Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I plan to provide what I hope will be a satisfactory denouement.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-02-18T18:02:41.491Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ch. 44 -- Wow. Very visceral, very dark chapter... Elspeth putting her father back together was grisly, and because we saw Bella's Revenge from Chelsea's perspective, it became more gothic tragedy than asskicking vengeance.

And now Addy has Elspeth! So even though things are going well for Our Team, I'm left with a strong sense of foreboding.

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-17T08:25:09.622Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 44 spoilers!

Wow...that didn't go anything like I had expected. Adelaide will have to have one hell of a trump card or suddenly have fallen in like with Bella's ambitions (and I doubt those include her holding Elspeth hostage) to have some hope of getting out of this.

Maybe she does have someone powerful enough to make a difference working for her in the insurgency, like I speculated in my last comment, or some immense leverage over the entire group. Whatever it is, it will have to be big to ensure they won't become a threat to her later on.

comment by Strange7 · 2011-02-16T10:42:30.698Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there, or could you add, a "characters" page with short summaries of every (known) witch's power?

Replies from: Alicorn, Giriath
comment by Giriath · 2011-02-16T13:45:04.947Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There is a character page here.

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-15T10:19:15.132Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Somehow I don't think things will go quite as planned. Infilitrate, break Volturi members; decide who lives, who dies and who rules the world. That sounds too easy, and I doubt Adelaide will make her move after the vampires who don't particularly like her research have assumed a stable reign of the world.

Maybe she has someone working for her on the inside. There have been remarkably few protests about Bella running for Queen of the World, despite her ambitious future plans regarding vampire conduct. I'm quite sure no one has thought to have Maggie ask everyone in the insurgency whether they've ever had contact with Adelaide, and if they have, what relation they have and how that may affect the plan.

I suppose she has been listening in on most conversations and could point out any lies, but she herself may be suspect. IIRC, Gianna is still guarding Molly, who may be taken hostage should Adelaide gather some friends. Then we would have no way of knowing who is working for her, as Maggie would cover their lies.

We learned this chapter (43) that all wolves and puppies are present (as far as Elspeth remembers), so we can safely assume Adelaide is in the presence of one or more of Allirea's siblings or her children. If she has one or more of Allirea's children as a hostage, it may of course upset the plan. She knows of them, and also that Allirea is a big threat, so why wouldn't she try to get some leverage on her? She may not be able to plan around her fading though.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-15T03:15:34.926Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yay, stuff is happening! Siobhan is cool, and having her on one's side is a major asset. I'm still very nervous about what Addy is doing, though. It's not like her to let this major an upset happen without her input. More generally, the second shoe has yet to fall. I wonder what it'll be?

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-02-16T19:26:24.586Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's pretty much how I'm feeling, now that it's Showtime. Siobhan is great, but Addy's out there being the anti-Siobhan. What's she up to?

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-12T06:48:34.163Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 42 spoilers.

So, we're finally getting close to the actual battle. Their current plan seems sound, but I really wonder what Adelaide is doing that might derail it, or what the Volturi themselves have done to counteract any attack; they're not stupid, as Siobhan said.

It would seem that Pera remembers enough of Bella to be quite irrationally afraid of her. :)

It's amusing to see Siobhan become more and more exasperated with being the leader of this operation. I'm beginning to understand why she doesn't want to be "Queen of the World", even though she's very qualified for the position. She has little ambition beyond being the chief vampire of Ireland, and quickly becomes bored with the people around her, when in a leadership position.

Replies from: LauralH, None, mjr
comment by LauralH · 2011-02-19T20:44:13.736Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I honestly am not buying the degree of Pera's skittishness with respect to Bella. Their meeting wasn't even that traumatic, she lunged and was restrained and unhid. As a vampire it should barely register. Did Chelsea increase her minor fear of Bella?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-19T21:03:40.390Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pera has irrational degrees of fear about stuff in general. (Personality-based powers and hers is hiding.) Chelsea is not responsible and Pera's fear of Bella was never minor.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-02-14T16:27:25.602Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bella reflecting on the incident with Pera made me realize that, while they've planned for mate bonds snapping in, they haven't planned for singers. I suppose that if Nathan goes nuts and devours an imprint, it wouldn't be absolutely catastrophic for anybody but him (and, well, the imprint, and her mate)--and the only way to close off that possibility would be to avoid sending any vampire into the village.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-14T20:21:59.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually (although you aren't expected to know this) any singer in the village will have marinated in nasty wolf smell long enough that Nathan has a reasonable chance of checking the impulse to eat her. (Edward makes a comment to this effect about Bella in canon.)

comment by mjr · 2011-02-12T15:57:07.936Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would seem that Pera remembers enough of Bella to be quite irrationally afraid of her. :)

Indeed. That may also make her more receptive to suggestions that perhaps she should be helping stop vampires from eating humans in general.

comment by Vaniver · 2011-02-08T17:24:21.156Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 39: Did Elspeth dial into the conversation twice? Or are those two different conversations? Also, "wewaited" should be two words.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-08T17:39:12.789Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fixed the typo. Regarding dialing, can you be more specific about where you see the redundancy (give me a string to search for maybe?)

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2011-02-09T18:09:04.710Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The string "dial" turns up two matches in 39:

"I have a question," said Tanya's voice from Siobhan's end of the phone connection. It was quiet enough to be difficult to pick out, so I pulled out and dialed in.


"Got -" Alice started muttering names, and I dialed my own phone into the conversation so I didn't have to listen to everything secondhand through my mother's.

I got the impression both of those voices were being transmitted by Siobhan's phone

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-09T18:36:19.583Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aha. I hallucinated writing a clause in the paragraph where Jake wakes up indicating that Elspeth closed her phone to have her hands free to deal with him, but it isn't actually there. Editing it in now. Thanks.

comment by anyareine · 2011-02-08T10:37:52.187Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am unable to update the old files anymore. So here is the new Radiance PDF link.

I'll try and find another file sharing program that I can use for free, and am able to update files.

Replies from: Alicorn, wedrifid
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-08T15:44:13.957Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Y'know what? I have webspace. If you just send me copies of these PDFs, I will fling them up on my webspace; that takes three seconds apiece and I do not anticipate laziness causing appreciable delay.

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-08T16:25:50.850Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ok. Where do I send them?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-08T17:27:22.091Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-08T18:09:21.451Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sent. :)

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-08T20:30:00.912Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm adding a note about the availability of PDFs on the website's about page. Do you want to be credited under this handle or another? Want a link to anything?

Replies from: anyareine, anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-09T00:21:22.226Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Luminosity links do not work on the About page. I get 404 Error messages. The Radiance one works fine though.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-09T00:37:43.875Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This should be fixed now, my bad.

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-09T00:45:23.913Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Arial font Luminosity is not working.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-09T00:48:52.932Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now I'm stumped...

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-09T01:22:42.792Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I get a "File does not begin with '%PDF-'" pop up.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-09T01:28:06.694Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can download the file from the link on the about page, but now I can't open it for some reason...

Edit: Taking down the links until I know how to make them work because otherwise I will get 5 e-mails about it.

comment by anyareine · 2011-02-08T21:33:57.028Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My account will do.

comment by wedrifid · 2011-02-08T10:57:57.152Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'll try and find another file sharing program that I can use for free, and am able to update files.

Well, my first thought was "github would be perfect!". But possibly overkill. :P

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-08T11:14:03.590Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by alethiophile · 2011-02-08T06:02:04.574Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was all bummed by the apparent missed update on Friday, but then now there's two. Yay!

Jacob still has alpha-voice powers over whoever is in his pack, right? If so, couldn't he simply order everyone who can hear him not to tell anyone about anything as soon as he phases? That would work unless a packmate happens to be near Aro at the time. (Or runs into him in future; but is Aro making a habit of reading all the wolves regularly, given the stress this is likely to induce? Or would they be keeping a packmate of Jacob's near Aro at all times? Someone suggested this, and it's certainly a good idea to get info.) Also, Bella could shield Jacob before he phases; if they're keeping a packmate near Aro, then a shield would negate that particular threat, though Aro would have to become aware of the fact that the wolf is suddenly shielded if he happened to try to read him during the conversation. Also, it might have occurred to Aro that keeping one of the few creatures that can credibly threaten a vampire right nearby and susceptible to the mind-control of a known enemy is a bad idea. Unknown whether this could sway him more than the potential intelligence coup. My sense is that even with a surprise, shielded attack a single wolf probably couldn't take out Aro, given the likely quick response by every other vampire; he wouldn't have time to set a fire, certainly.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-08T06:12:40.385Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I warned about the delayed update via RSS feed, but I suppose I should have advertised it in other channels too. I spent Friday moving from Connecticut to North Carolina.

Alpha-voicing does not exclude the option of swapping packs. In fact, that is how there came to be three packs in the first place - Rachel alpha-voiced Becky and then Jacob, thereby prompting them to split off. If Jacob just alpha-voiced his packmate, said packmate could run to one of the sisters and still tell all.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-02-08T21:54:02.484Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hope your move went well! Research Triangle area?

Also, Bella for Queen of the World! I really liked the bit where she offhandedly explains the difference between the Bella we got to know over the course of "Luminosity" and the Bella who appears at the first part of Radiance--she was functioning without her mate, of course she was no longer pursuing ambitious plans.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-08T22:55:14.907Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Apparently I am indeed in the Research Triangle area now. The move went fine :)

comment by anyareine · 2011-02-04T12:02:22.847Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Random thought/question.

Will we be seeing the vampire Maria?, aka Jaspers maker and the leader of the vampiric army in the south.

Is there still a army in the south? I'm not sure if you mentioned it in the books, and I can't remember if they were still there in canon...

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-05T17:18:21.912Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, the newborn armies running around in the South got smacked down by the Volturi a while ago. I'm assuming Maria was a casualty.

Replies from: anyareine
comment by anyareine · 2011-02-06T13:54:13.371Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A while ago meaning fifty years, or a while ago meaning five years?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-06T14:13:44.866Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Like in the late 1800s.

comment by Giriath · 2011-02-03T06:01:00.036Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Chapter 38 SPOILERS below)

Ah, was that a small moment of affection for her mother Elspeth had at the end there? It would be great if Elspeth came to enjoy her mother's presence in different ways then she did before Chelsea robbed her of all relation she felt with her.

I don't think it's particularly healthy to feel very dependent on another person, so I think it would be a good thing if she developed independence and confidence in herself, and affection for those she believes deserves it.

That would probably be more difficult to do had her subconscious dispositions towards her mother not been erased; and nearly impossible to completely alter. Chelsea could definitely use her witchcraft to make people happier and healthier. Only first you'd have to research what makes people--both in general and in specific individuals--happier and healthier.

If the deprogramming of Chelsea's witchcraft causes different behavorial reactions in its subjects, based on whatever original intent and emotion it has repressed and how relevant that is to the present, then the wolves will most likely be more willing to completely exterminate the Volturi than anyone else.

Under the influence of Chelsea, they have done and have things done to them that they by their original beliefs and behavior would consider extremely horrible, all of which will be very relevant to the present if Siobhan's plan is carried out as discussed in chapter 38.

Forget stopping them from sounding any alarms or restraining Elspeth; the real problem may be stopping all their howling and any crazed attempts to race into the compound. I knew stacking all that unwilling manpower would eventually quite literally bite the Volturi in the ass.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-02-01T20:33:50.465Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How voluntary is Alice's control over what--or rather, when--she sees?

I thought that she had control on whether or not she looked into the future, but the way she describes playing games, it seems like she doesn't have a choice whether or not she's looking to see how the game turns out.

I'd think she could at least focus her visions at something irrelevant while playing the game, if she didn't want to "cheat" badly enough, but I suppose that might interfere with her ability to play the game.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-02-01T20:48:13.508Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's mostly voluntary. She will tend to see things she looks for, and also tend to see things that are relevant to her regardless of whether she tries. As long as she's committed to playing a game, she's going to see the future of the game, unless she uses up most of her spare mental capacity to forcibly direct her sight at something irrelevant (thereby handicapping herself even relative to how well she could play with her sight blocked outright).

comment by Giriath · 2011-01-29T12:16:34.863Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Spoilers chapter 36!

Seeing all those future possibilities was very interesting. And all that just by deciding to do something, even if there was an uncommonly high amount of possibilities resulting from this particular decision. I wonder if they'll tell Genevieve anything more, now that they've already established contact and what seems to be an alliance with Alice and Jasper.

If Alice and Jasper ever meet with Bella again, and I assume they will, that would make for a very interesting reunion to read from their own perspectives.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-29T17:04:40.647Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Spoilers chapter 36!

Seeing all those future possibilities was very interesting.

Yeah, I thought that part was great -- very well-written.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-29T17:33:05.770Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Apparently that part had a nice, high ratio of effect to effort! I just turned off several filters between my brain and my fingers (including the one telling me to stay in a consistent tense) and let go.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-28T21:10:35.026Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Of course, it occurs to me, Siobhan just mentioned that blocking Alice was still visible to perhaps Alice went there because she saw that that location was being blocked?

Maybe she wasn't tracking Elspeth/Rose/Emmett, or her human family. Maybe Alice was tracking down the areas in which she was inexplicably blocked.

edit: Well, my theory was completely off. Oh well.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-19T22:30:12.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 32

"Now my shield thinks you're a threat. Probably because the blast would have been incapacitating."

I'm rather confused. In canon, Elspeth was born with an anti-shield gift that allowed her to ignore Bella's shield. Here...I'd have to go back to Luminosity and check, but now it looks like she's suggesting that it was voluntary the whole time? That Elspeth doesn't have a shield-busting witchcraft? This is...odd.

Actually, was the shield-busting confirmed by Eleazar in canon, or was it just assumed?

Replies from: Alicorn, arundelo
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-19T23:56:07.449Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are two speculations about how Renesmee got through Bella's shield in canon, neither confirmed by anybody who would actually know.

comment by arundelo · 2011-01-19T22:59:53.375Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elspeth isn't a canon character. You're probably thinking of Renesmee.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-19T23:57:15.575Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In fairness, Elspeth is just Renesmee born earlier with a different name.

Replies from: RobinZ, arundelo
comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-20T00:27:00.596Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also in fairness, someone born earlier of the same parents would not be genetically identical.

Replies from: Alicorn, wedrifid
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-20T00:46:23.841Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elspeth is. (I wanted to give her the same power and have her look the same, so I wanted her genetically the same. And it's feasible, given that in Luminosity, Bella had a number of eggs harvested, so they could have snagged the one that would have ripened when Renesmee was conceived in canon; and Edward is a vampire, so I can handwave as necessary on his end.)

comment by wedrifid · 2011-01-20T04:42:33.179Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Particularly if the genetics of the parents have clearly been altered dramatically too. :)

comment by arundelo · 2011-01-20T07:14:06.188Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gotcha. (I haven't read the books so am not directly familiar with her.)

comment by shokwave · 2011-01-17T15:17:47.583Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 31.

Something is going on regarding imprinting, mate bonds, and half-vampires. Contrast Elspeth's feelings on Jacob c31

My wolf, my wolf, my wolf.

With Allirea's feelings on Demetri c31

"You will have to kill me to stop me from killing him,"

and I am confused.

Elspeth cares for Jacob normally, and expresses her caring more directly and powerfully due to her power, and more rapidly due to her sped-up hybrid brain and body? But she seems to care too much, on the order of a mate-bond.

Werewolf imprinting gradually activates the vampire mate-bond phenomenon, which is present in Elspeth despite her hybridity?

Half-vampires have the vampire mate-bond phenomenon, but their humanity lets them retain choice in the matter, and either Jacob's imprinting has silently overridden this choice, or Elspeth has actually fallen in love with him?

Replies from: None, Alicorn, NeonFox
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-17T17:07:03.898Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elspeth cares for Jacob normally, and expresses her caring more directly and powerfully due to her power, and more rapidly due to her sped-up hybrid brain and body? But she seems to care too much, on the order of a mate-bond.

I think she cares for him a great deal at this point. Also, Chelsea did some work on Elspeth and Jake, which Elspeth has not tried to undo. In fact that bond has only been strengthened by the time they've spent together and the events they've gone through. I think at this point Jake must sort of feel like the last living member of Elspeth's family--even though he isn't. He's not a parent, not a brother, but the only person that she can relate to on that kind of level. So it's pretty natural that she cares a lot.

Replies from: shokwave
comment by shokwave · 2011-01-18T03:27:39.254Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah. I'd forgotten about Chelsea - or rather, only thought of her as snipping bonds. It makes sense now.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-17T15:23:19.566Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But she seems to care too much, on the order of a mate-bond.

Jacob nearly got himself killed trying to protect Elspeth. I couldn't have her thinking "me oh my, this is a dispreferred state of affairs".

Werewolf imprinting gradually activates the vampire mate-bond phenomenon, which is present in Elspeth despite her hybridity?

No, absolutely not. Mating isn't "gradual", at least not in the magical sense (the relationships can develop gradually), and if this had happened, Brady would still be alive (they had Marcus check Pera for a mate bond to him and he found no such thing and Chelsea was able to snip what there was.)

Half-vampires have the vampire mate-bond phenomenon


Elspeth has actually fallen in love with him

No. For crying out loud, she can be distressed that her wolf is full of poison because he got between her and an assailant without being in love with him. Please don't try to wedge what Jacob and Elspeth have into conventional relationship patterns. It won't work, or if it does, I am doing it wrong.

Replies from: shokwave
comment by shokwave · 2011-01-17T16:31:56.838Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Huh. Her reaction to Jacob's injury was remarkably similar to a vampire's reaction to their mate being injured. I can't recall any examples of non-mate reactions that were this instantaneously overriding.

Replies from: AdeleneDawner
comment by AdeleneDawner · 2011-01-17T16:40:33.647Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think a vampire reacting to their mate being injured would consider whether other people asking for their attention might actually be worth attending to, as Elspeth does:

"ELSPETH!" my mother shouted, but didn't she have the scar to prove that she could survive being bitten, the baldness to prove that she could survive being powdered and ignited? She didn't need me. Jake did.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-17T16:42:55.275Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To be fair, Elspeth is mistaken about why Bella was shouting - Bella just thought Elspeth shouldn't be leaving Allirea's protection.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-17T23:34:38.647Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which is actually a fairly telling detail from a characterization standpoint. I'm pretty sure that the Elspeth of chapter one would have interpreted Bella's order correctly. Now her first thought is that her mother might be depending on her. That shows that she's gained confidence in her own power, and also that she's learned about her parents' fallibility.

comment by NeonFox · 2011-05-27T14:47:59.365Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I know it's months later, but I have a possible answer to this: [Elspeth] seems to care too much, on the order of a mate-bond.

Jacob is the only person Elspeth had around during her imprisonment in the Village (she is Number 6) who she could care about without it feeling false as far as her magic was concerned. It's pretty logical that that feeling would have seriously magnified importance.

comment by anyareine · 2011-01-17T10:57:16.086Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have conflicting emotions. On one side I feel really bad for Allirea, and what Demetri has done to her. But on the otherside I feel really angry at the matebond for making Demetri feel that way about Allirea and therfore inflicting him upon Allirea.

I'm not sure that makes sense.

Replies from: Sheaman3773, TheOtherDave, Vaniver
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2011-01-18T04:05:14.206Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I guess that my reading of the situation is rather different from most of yours, in that I know exactly what the OP means, and agree (more or less).

I feel terribly for Allirea. An eternity of rape is a horror beyond comprehension, and I am completely okay with her choice to kill him at the end of ch 31.

But look at Demetri. He mate-bonded with a half-vamp. As far as his instincts are concerned, that's the same as mating a pure vampire. He doesn't just hope, think, or expect that she'll love him back--he knows it, with every fiber of his being, because that's exactly what would have happened if she was a pure vampire.

The way I read it, it's not that he saw that she didn't like him, and disregarded it; he was literally incapable of reading into her revulsion and hatred as anything other than a playful, loving game. Perhaps she played it too often, or went too far with it, but that's what mates are for, isn't it? She was just showing her playful side, and her respect for his tracking abilities, because obviously she wouldn't part from her mate for long if she didn't think he'd be right behind her. The fact that he would have considered her strongest attacks negligible doubtlessly only exacerbated the situation.

Do I feel sorry for Demetri? Yes. Do I think Allirea should have spared him? Not a chance, because in regards to his "mate," he's effectively insane, and would never, ever stop.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-17T16:55:16.510Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think it does.

Demetri was in a position where the sine qua non of his life turned out to have value judgments inconsistent with the way he was living his life.

That happens in the real world. Not as blatantly or clumsily as in the Twilight universe, admittedly, but it happens.

Another person in the same situation might have chosen to change the way he was living his life to earn her love and respect. Or chosen to respect her preferences and suffer the harm of living without her instead of inflicting upon her the harm of his presence.

He chose instead to disregard her values, her actions, her stated and expressed preferences, the many readily available credible reports of her actual state, a completely implausible preponderance of available evidence... he chose to ignore all of that in favor of an impenetrable fantasy that she was what he wanted her to be, felt what he wanted her to feel, wanted what he wanted her to want.

Put another way: as a person she was inconvenient, and rather than suffer that inconvenience he reduced her to a thing.

That happens in the real world, too. More's the pity.

Sure, I agree with you that the whole matebond arrangement is pretty awful. But to blame it for Demetri's behavior is giving him a pass he hasn't earned.

Replies from: anyareine, Alicorn
comment by anyareine · 2011-01-17T20:46:35.924Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not blaming the mate bond for his behavior, what I'm really trying to say- and doing it badly- is that the mate bond is a stupid thing for it to group Demetri with Allirea as he seems incapable of change, and change he must for her to even consider any sort of loving relationship.

Though Allirea never really considered the mate bond, I think once she saw that he could see her she hated him immedietly and to me that means that she is also incapable of change, so why would the matebond group Demetri to her?

And also if Demetri is so unable to even process the thought that she doesn't love him, then he is very stupid, and crazy and because he is such things why did the matebond bond him to somebody that doesn't like those things?

I'm not very good at explaining my thoughts coherently, so this is probably a bunch of nothing that no one can understand.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-17T20:53:07.983Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's always problematic, though tempting, to infer that someone is incapable of change from the fact that they didn't change in a particular context.

In any case, agreed that the matebond is stupid in the sense you mean. It doesn't take the likely consequences of each case into account. Of course, even in the real world, people have all kinds of stupid urges in that sense.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-17T17:34:06.385Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

change the way he was living his life to earn her love and respect

She wasn't exactly objecting to his diet or his employment status or anything like that which he could have volunteered to revise. She went "ohgodohgod he can see me" - which wasn't something he chose ahead of time - and she bolted and he followed her because he had no idea what the hell was going on except that she was his mate and this had Certain Implications. It snowballed horribly, but he started out sincerely confused and only gradually mutated into outright batshit delusional.

Replies from: TheOtherDave, None
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-17T20:02:14.244Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not talking about just the first ten minutes of their relationship, nor even the first ten days.

Agreed, it was an awkward beginning, for reasons that are not entirely his doing. (On the other hand, his alliances and the context that brought him to her door weren't exactly neutral, either.)

And it's profoundly unclear, even to the readers, how he might have turned that around; what could have earned her love and respect, what she valued, what made her happy other than being left alone. Perhaps there was no way he could have offered her anything she wanted.

And perhaps he spent some frustrating time trying to figure it out, in which case he earns some respect from me during that period, which he then subsequently discards when he gives up trying without giving her up altogether.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-01-17T18:36:28.621Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure, but he could have tried to overcome her fear by courting her with respect and restraint. I agree pretty wholly with TheOtherDave's reading.

comment by Vaniver · 2011-01-17T14:13:51.204Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Those sound like complementary emotions. The mate bond is a terrible thing, because it causes people to do terrible things.

comment by tenshiko · 2011-01-15T04:26:34.208Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another question about vampire not-biology: Say a vampire consumes the blood of someone who has just partaken in some drug - like heroin or alcohol. Is that any different from regular blood? Or do these substances just count as regular food does to a vampire, i.e. completely void of their regular delicious, nutritious, mind-bending nature? How different would this be for a half-vampire?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-15T04:29:54.593Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Say a vampire consumes the blood of someone who has just partaken in some drug - like heroin or alcohol. Is that any different from regular blood? Or do these substances just count as regular food does to a vampire, i.e. completely void of their regular delicious, nutritious, mind-bending nature?

"The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" says it tastes funny relative to un-substance-laced human blood (but even "tainted" blood retains its delicious, nutritious, mind-bending, etc. nature.)

How different would this be for a half-vampire?

I rule that a half-vampire would be less sensitive to these flavor differences (but better able to actually discriminate between prey on this basis, due to not going sharkily insane around blood).

Replies from: mjr
comment by mjr · 2011-01-17T09:29:35.805Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think what tenshiko was asking (and what I'd anyway like to know ;) is if the drugs in the blood would affect (half-)vamps any. My guess would be that half-vamps yes, though probably milder and burned away more quickly?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-17T13:31:53.585Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm going to rule that the answer is usually no at normal doses, and, yeah, milder and briefer if the prey was really hopped up on the stuff.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-13T02:44:07.536Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Stuff is happening.

I really like the writing for Allirea, but it's incredibly frustrating having important plot details constantly being hidden behind a power curtain. Elspeth's reactions are very funny.

Could Allirea use her phasing as a signalling mechanism? For instance, someone she'd met could reasonably often check if they can remember her existence (if doing it mentally is prohibited by the power, then have a PDA or something that sets off an alarm with the word 'Allirea' every five minutes) and if so, take some action. (The relevant question here is, I suppose, whether Allirea's phasing immediately affects everyone on earth who knows her, or not. If the former, is there a lightspeed delay?)

Replies from: Alicorn, Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-13T13:19:04.959Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really like the writing for Allirea, but it's incredibly frustrating having important plot details constantly being hidden behind a power curtain.

There's actually nothing that would be that revelatory to the reader in Siobhan and co.'s dialogue which I've hidden behind all of Elspeth's zoning out. Like Elspeth flinging summaries every which way as she goes, it was a way to gloss over repetitive information dispensing. You guys already know who Allirea is and what she does and what her motives are.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-13T13:15:00.331Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could Allirea use her phasing as a signalling mechanism? For instance, someone she'd met could reasonably often check if they can remember her existence (if doing it mentally is prohibited by the power, then have a PDA or something that sets off an alarm with the word 'Allirea' every five minutes) and if so, take some action.

This is plausible in principle.

The relevant question here is, I suppose, whether Allirea's phasing immediately affects everyone on earth who knows her, or not. If the former, is there a lightspeed delay?)

I'm not planning to figure in a lightspeed delay on account of that being a pain in the neck. It propagates immediately (or at least over the course of the time it takes her to (un)fade). And it's "fading". "Phasing" is what wolves do when they shapeshift.

Replies from: Zack_M_Davis
comment by Zack_M_Davis · 2011-01-13T18:44:56.464Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not planning to figure in a lightspeed delay on account of that being a pain in the neck.

It shouldn't matter much either way: the diameter of Earth is only 0.04 light-seconds.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-13T22:44:20.020Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There would be little to no plot-relevance either way; it would just be incredibly amusing if the available method of FTL signalling involves someone conditioning on whether or not they can remember Allirea's existence.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-10T04:25:59.607Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So what is Nathan's power? He seems to think telling Siobhan about it would impair its effectiveness on her, and she notes knowing he was on the island but never quite being around where he was. Something like Siobhan's that induces things to go his way?

Replies from: shokwave
comment by shokwave · 2011-01-10T13:42:23.800Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think so. Judging from his demeanour, from Alicorn's mention of Black Swans downthread when talking about Siobhan's power, and sheer symmetry, I guess that Nathan's power is a variant on Siobhan's "indirectly get what you want" that is powered by Black Swans. So telling Siobhan would hurt his power, because her power isn't being actively used to combat Black Swans. If she tried to plan for a specifically Black-Swan-free situation, her power might be specific enough to beat his.

Maybe he can make specific, unlikely events happen by focusing on them. Dunno though, it's all wild speculation. Cool power, though.

Replies from: mjr
comment by mjr · 2011-01-11T08:42:03.452Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming this, might be he's somewhat responsible for the arrival of our two distinguished surprise guests.

Replies from: Alassieth
comment by Alassieth · 2011-02-07T22:50:03.943Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I had the idea that it could be the opposite of Siobhan's power. So, rather than making plans he can break them. So if he told Siobhan what his power was she might be able to plan around it.

Replies from: LauralH
comment by LauralH · 2011-02-08T22:05:29.311Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My guess was that he has Murphy's Law as a power.

comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-08T20:22:13.563Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

New chapter is up.

Alicorn, lately the updates have been becoming later and (unless I'm imagining things) getting shorter. It may be worthwhile for you to switch from a M-W-F update schedule to a whenever-it's-ready schedule in order to prevent them from becoming work that is unseemly to contemplate, because that's the easiest way I can think of for this to end prematurely. And that would be sad.

Replies from: Alicorn, grautry
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-08T20:30:13.666Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

a whenever-it's-ready schedule

I must not do that. Whatever I do, I have to not do that. Maybe it works for Eliezer, but I need a schedule and the sensation that somebody would notice if I didn't update in order to stick with a project. Without that, I take unannounced hiatuses, ditch things altogether, decide to start over and never get around to it, and start to update slower and slower. Then there is project death. That was the fate of my first webcomic. Poor thing.

If I feel like I have to, I'll change the schedule (I already did that once; when I first started Luminosity it updated daily) but I think I'm going to be able to catch up a bit over the weekend and stick to the thrice weekly thing. This is just leftover slippage from the holidays and an inconveniently timed plot bog that I think I've written past now. But thanks for your concern!

(As for the "shorter" thing, the goal has always been to clear 4k words. I've done that every time, but yes, when I'm cutting it too close, I clear it by a smaller margin.)

Replies from: Kutta
comment by Kutta · 2011-01-10T10:26:32.388Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That was the fate of my first webcomic. Poor thing.

It isn't HTHT, alright? You updated it quite recently. Also, I'm just here to tell you that HTHT is awesome. I looked at it a few months ago and I was put off by the rough artwork, however, after reading Luminosity my expectations got shifted upwards considerably, and then I read HTHT. It was the funniest thing I read in 2010.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-10T13:10:58.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

HTHT was not my first. (I've never missed an HTHT update, or even gotten one up past Thursday.) Syzygy was. (There was also a short-lived collaboration between me and my sister on one called "Ensorcel", but that ended because said sister became self-conscious about her art (which the comic was explicitly intended to practice) being online for all to see.)

comment by grautry · 2011-01-08T22:28:08.406Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think I've ever seen a fanfic that updated with this kind of regularity or speed.

Incidentally, Alicorn, I think that might be an interesting thing to add to your Luminosity sequence. Maybe make Seven Shiny Stories into Eight Shiny Stories(or add something like Ureshiku Naritai) and elaborate - based on your own example - how do you force yourself to write more, how you caught that without a schedule/that sensation of "somebody would notice" you don't update regularly and so on. I think it might serve as an interesting example of dealing with akrasia, just like Ureshiku Naritai serves as an interesting example of dealing with depression.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-08T23:14:25.336Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I could write about this, but one thing that helped me write more prolifically was accepting how utterly idiosyncratic it is and ceasing to wrestle with techniques I'd heard from well-meaning others that didn't feel right to me. So I don't know how much use it'd be for anyone else. I guess I could go meta and talk about how I found the techniques that work for me?

Replies from: grautry
comment by grautry · 2011-01-09T00:32:46.346Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So I don't know how much use it'd be for anyone else.

Well, maybe you're doing a sort of inverse of generalizing from one example in that you assume that your process wouldn't be of use to anyone else, when in fact, it might be useful? :-)

Your Seven Shiny Stories are also very specific examples that theoretically apply to that one person only but can serve to highlight more general principles.

Going for the meta article with "this is how you find those techniques" with an example added of "this is how I found this" might be the best though, similarly to how the Sequence/Seven Shiny Stories work now.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-09T00:38:05.494Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, maybe you're doing a sort of inverse of generalizing from one example in that you assume that your process wouldn't be of use to anyone else, when in fact, it might be useful? :-)

Ha! Maybe.

All right, I've added this to my list of posts to write, but I don't know when I'll write it up.

comment by Giriath · 2011-01-08T12:55:08.887Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aww...That's some cliffhanger Alicorn! Any theories on who the two unexpected vampire visitors are, anyone?

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-08T16:26:20.626Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First guess: Adelaide and Bella.

Edit: Pathetically wrong! Sweet.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-08T16:46:23.993Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What's your hypothesis about how they would arrive together?

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-08T17:30:03.413Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My hypothesizing made it as far as "Adelaide would want to try to borrow Bella's powers, as she now knows this is possible, and therefore might include 'find Bella' in her plan" ... and just about petered out there.

Edit: In order for them to be the two arriving at the meetup, Bella would need to be in Europe already - which is plausible if Bella was trying to get in contact with Gianna et al., but otherwise probably not.

On the plus side for the theory, I must note, is that Adelaide may well want access to Siobhan's powers.

Replies from: topynate
comment by topynate · 2011-01-08T17:51:48.747Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How about: Allirea's been shielding Bella both from being seen directly and from Alice's power. Addy found them - Bella was in the vicinity - made a deal with them, and then they came back together. Allirea may still be around and using her power, or she may have left. Possibly Addy's taking of Siobhan's power enabled her to take Allirea into account, somehow, which made it easier for her to find them.

By the way Alicorn, I've been thoroughly enjoying your two stories. Your portrayal of Allirea's power is one of my favourite parts.

Replies from: Giriath
comment by Giriath · 2011-01-09T00:28:10.205Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your portrayal of Allirea's power is one of my favourite parts.

I agree! She's a very quirky woman with a very interesting power that I very much enjoy, even if she does eat people and see herself as part of a 'master' race.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-04T16:30:50.559Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Rch25) Given that Siobhan is interested in the motives of various key players, I am surprised that she's not asking Elspeth what Elspeth would say to them in order to communicate to them the value of turning against the Volturi. (At least the ones Elspeth has met; I'm not clear on whether merely having memories of having met them counts, for purposes of Elspeth's power).

Were it anyone but Siobhan, I would assume she just didn't think of it, but given Siobhan that seems to imply that it wouldn't actually be useful to do.

But I can't figure out why it wouldn't be. Given how Elspeth's power seems to work, Magic is a far better judge of what a given target would find convincing than Elspeth is, and that seems almost a royal road to the sort of information Siobhan wants.

What am I missing?

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-04T17:25:36.034Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elspeth's power helps her convey facts and her own feelings. She could comprehensibly explain to people "the Volturi performed the following actions and I feel like so about it", but she has no magical advantage beyond that at convincing anyone to adopt her values.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-04T17:45:40.512Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I didn't mean convincing anyone to adopt her values, I meant convincing them to adopt a particular course of action by communicating the facts that they would find most convincing.

E.g., if I want to convince someone to go to the store and get me chocolate-chip ice cream, perhaps the most effective way to convince Sam to do this is to let him know that I would really appreciate it (which is true), and the most effective way to convince Pat to do it is to let her know I'd pay her $10 (which is also true). That reflects a difference in their values, neither of which has anything to do with my own, but the course of action is the same across all three of us.

What I had been thinking about was choosing ways to express the value of the target turning against the Volturi, in terms of the target's values. E.g., "it would be worthwhile for you to do so, in order to avenge your dead mate" or "it would be worthwhile for you to do so, in order to avenge your shamed mother" or whatever it is.

That doesn't change anyone's values, it just communicates true things to them, which Elspeth knows, that most effectively convince them that it's consistent with their values to do something in particular, which it is. (I mean, unless it actually isn't consistent with their values to do so, in which case presumably that would be useful knowledge as well.)

But, OK, I think I understand you: Elspeth's power lets her communicate that some fact X is true in a way that most effectively convinces the target of the truth of X, but it doesn't help her select true Xes to communicate for other purposes.

Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks!

comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-04T15:12:37.900Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

New chapter. I wonder if Elspeth's dreams will be interesting. I wonder if Elspeth's range exercises affect her dreaming.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-04T15:14:36.664Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder if Elspeth's range exercises affect her dreaming.

Someone in the village would have noticed before this point if the range exercises made her dreams leak other than through her hands via touch.

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-04T18:13:38.468Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Jake, specifically. Never mind that one.

Replies from: Alicorn
comment by Alicorn · 2011-01-04T18:18:01.171Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, not Jake so much, since while Elspeth is asleep he's usually watching her dreams deliberately, or is asleep himself. But the next-door neighbors might have been up late and gone "huh, what's that?"

Replies from: RobinZ
comment by RobinZ · 2011-01-04T19:09:13.640Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Rereading, though: she was only started range exercises the day before they fled ... and then she fell asleep in a car and in a plane with Addy present and not touching, so yeah, it would have been noticed.

Replies from: grautry
comment by grautry · 2011-01-04T20:17:15.267Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Though, didn't Addy say that Elspeth still thinks of her power as touch-based even after she is capable of range?

Maybe she needs to think of her power as ranged on a more instinctual, subconscious level before she begins broadcasting her dreams as she sleeps.

comment by Giriath · 2011-01-13T00:03:01.022Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been thinking about something for the past few days. One of Bella's ambitions in Luminosity was to reveal the existence of vampires to humankind and offer their version of immortality as a way of preserving life. I would argue that our planet Earth has a limited amount of resources and though vampires require less nutritional intake than humans, it can only support so many before there's a limited amount of species of which to feed from. This holds true even if they feed without killing; Earth is a limited space, even if its lifeforms manage to occupy nearly every crevice and still maintain the necessary resources for survival.

Of course, if humanity--especially turned vampire with the inherent thought-capacity boost--universally put their minds to colonizing other planets and galaxies in a search for resources, then perhaps we will succeed and ensure our species survival for a very long time.

Another possible problem that may arise if vampirism were to be revealed and made available is that all of humanity may want to be made vampire. Even if vampires feed from other species, or feed in a non-fatal way, there will eventually be no humans. This problem can of course be prevented if humans have children before they are made vampire, but then follows the problem of over-population.

If it were me, I would probably do my best to solve vampire issues first. I would ask myself and vampire society how to best ensure our (the vampires) survival and simultaneously be happy and healthy, and to think about this in a rational way. Hopefully it will be concluded that when there is a unity moving towards a goal, the more people that form that unity, the more likely it is that the goal be met. Vampires are made from humans, so making an enemy of them will be inconsistent to meeting that goal.

Once vampire society has reached a unity at that conclusion, I would introduce the same question to human society, and try to make them reach a unity with the same goal as the vampires have, then reveal vampirism and that we want the same thing and provide them with whatever information they want so they can decide whether to cooperate with us or not.

If vampirism should be revealed to the current state of humanity, it would simply be another resource in the game of the monetary economy, where gain and loss is not measured in how healthy and happy our species is, or even individuals.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-01-13T01:16:49.208Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If it were me, I'd want a clearer explanation of why vampires aren't human before I worried too much about wiping out humanity by spreading vampirism.

Replies from: alethiophile
comment by alethiophile · 2011-01-13T02:40:37.900Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's because vampires can't reproduce. If everyone was immediately turned, then you'd have a static population. I didn't read it as a slur on vampires.