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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:47 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:36 am
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This forum needs a "like" button. Well put, Lord Heru.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:08 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
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Well, about time this came to another topic. It's not clear how it works. My thoughts are unsure, but my general feeling is that the Art works by finding a best-fit on the Tree... and 'best-fit' isn't always exactly what you put. It has to justify itself too. So for instance, if you wrote in that your age had castles, the best-fit would be that there's life on it to make said castles. It's very possible that's what happened in Stoneship, that the 'best-fit' chance for a ship to end up embedded in a rock was to have people around in the age, elsewhere of course, who could have created it, and then left it or what have you. If you try to force that there's no people to do whatever would otherwise need people, you need to specify some sort of method otherwise, or likely the age would on its own (the easiest of course being people, as noted, but push enough and the best-fit line becomes inexplicable winds and erosion that are right on the far edge of probability, but not impossible.

As long as it's possible, even if stupidly improbable, it can happen. The more you push likely the less probable it becomes, and an age would become more unstable as you approach the limit of 0, where things to make it work become more and more convoluted. Eventually, you hit the point where the age either won't work (because the probability IS 0, and thus can't have ever existed) or works by finding other fits and ignoring parts of what you wrote as contradictory. The alternative I guess is some weird further extensions.. such as, can the star fissure actually exist on its own spontaneously? If so, it could be a sudden global minima of its own, where ages that don't fall into the local minima collect.. you want a coke machine? If you ensure every way for one to exist fails, maybe you end up with a star fissure that dropped one off by accident.

It does seem to fit a lot of the ideas portrayed.. the biggest problem though is changing an already-written age. That one I'm not sure. The best I can figure is there's wiggle-room, and that again it's probability.. so if you add a coke machine to your age, perhaps it'd retroactively go so that there was always a number in orbit and one fell down spontaneously (akin to the giant moiety dagger dropping from the skies). Probably put there by a coke machine falling into the star fissure and getting pulled into oribit after a drift among the stars or something. However, if you push too much on the link by adding clauses or worse retconning by crossing out passages, you've changed it enough that the difference between existing age and best-fit hits a threshold and it's enough to jump to the best-fit.


So as it goes, are you finding an age or creating? You're finding ages, but at the same time because you're picking among probabilities, unless you're the bahro or Yeesha and able to pick EXACTLY which iteration you want, it's effectively the same thing. You could then in theory determine which specific 'instance' you want by writing not only the age but the entire history of the age up to that point, by which time you have effectively created that age, or at least chronicled it sufficiently that you've created it.

On the flip side, if you could pull that detail off, then you'd be able to create a new descriptive book that actually links to a pre-written age. The only reason for doing so really would be that you keep a link even if the other descriptive book is destroyed. However I doubt anyone could manage that level of detail, not even Yeesha and her powers of Plot. I can however see a game thread involving an organization collecting reams of data from an insane variety of similar ages with minor changes, then feeding it into mathematical models and a supercomputer, and eventually processing out a set of formulas for a 'perfect' age, to which end goal would be computerized creation of near-infinite perfectly stable ages to specification. Automatically. :o


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:53 pm
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See the biggest problem for me is the fiction books. I'm working through them now, but in the first Gehn writes the intriguing Age 37. He heats the seas to remove a fog wall, and Atrus is IN THE AGE when he does this. It's obviously an age being rewritten and altered, suggesting the Art has power to alter not just find.

But then because reasons Gehn has to undo the changes, and when Atrus returns to the age it's now completely different, basically the same as the first one but this age has never been visited before. This would suggest multiple versions that are found.

So maybe there IS a degree of wiggle room, but editing ages further and further increases the chances that the age will just give up being edited and forward the link to an appropriate age that contains the new system.

As a note I LOVE the idea, Lord Heru, about everything being equal as if created by the Maker. That is the view I think I most likely take as well.
~Longeye~


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:36 am
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The way I see it (and the way any games I run would be organised) no computer or other mechanism would ever be capable of any operation relating to the Writing of Descriptive or Linking Books. The D'ni had computer-like technology two hundred years ago (the KIs, the Nexus terminals) yet they still Wrote Books by hand. It's not a Science. It's not something you can analyse in a laboratory, feed into a computer, churn out on a laser printer. It's an Art, like poetry, like music. It's something people do, with their hands, with their minds, with their hearts, with words. To a computer it would just be nonsense.

I realise the idea of Unwritten is to allow unconstrained imaginative adaptation of the background, but I would strongly urge that this one constraint be at least suggested. Otherwise it just becomes Stargate SG1 or Sliders: The RPG. The Art is the Unique Selling Point in a market choked with products about tough, savvy tech-minded explorers going to other worlds. I'd keep it that way.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:28 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:36 am
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On the Age 37 thing, I theorised once that additive changes (writing extra lines in) keep the Age the same, whereas subtractive changes (crossing lines out) reset the link, recreating the Age from scratch. It's a while since I read the book, but I believe that was roughly how it went on that occasion, and that certainly makes sense to me. It also makes sense of Atrus's problem with Riven; he could possibly have stabilised it completely if he'd only been able to cross out a bunch of stuff, but if he had done that he would have lost his link to Catherine.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:12 pm
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Zander wrote:
On the Age 37 thing, I theorised once that additive changes (writing extra lines in) keep the Age the same, whereas subtractive changes (crossing lines out) reset the link, recreating the Age from scratch.


This is what I've always assumed as well. Adding says "this is ALSO true" - like how Katran added the Moiety dagger. But subtracting said "this thing is NO LONGER true", which breaks the connection.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:33 pm 

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So in this case (and this is a view I support) one must add to subtract. Which is a lot more difficult and requires much patience, perseverance, and capability in the Art of Writing to do well.

Let us look into the idea of Daggers. Okay so somebody takes an Age book and they add "massive daggers of stone all around the land." If one then crosses out that section a new link is made to another age. But what one needs to do is add stuff like, "a particular source of weather patterns now cause high winds that have the effect of eroding the daggers." But once one adds weather patterns there are so many other effects it can have, so another list must say "a cross wind of weather has the effect of balancing out the high winds so that at the level of the surface the weather is calm." And as that adds effects than more writing needs to be added, ad infinitum.

Hence its so much easier for a nation to make a blanket statement of "Thou Shall Not Alter An Age Once Written!" And then make occassional high level exceptions for dedicated Writers of high importance.

This also reminds me of a passage in, I think, the novel _Book of D'ni_ (though it might have been another one) when they find I think the Descriptive Book of Earth. They mention that passages exist to balance passages and repeat but in slightly different forms so as to add stability. The Book of Earth didn't actually just describe the Cavern and its environs, but all of the Earth as well, using knowledge of the Art that only such a great personage as the founder of D'ni society could have done.

(This all means that if a person truly send decades or centuries to try and create the perfect age they could probably describe everything on a world or solar system or whatever. It would be a difficult undertaking, one that would put them on the same page as the founder of D'ni during its actual existence. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if that is what Atrus did when he created the new realm for the D'ni - he no doubt described a large portion of the world so as to make it stable.)

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"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we becomes victims of the darkness."-Justice William O. Douglas


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:12 am
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LordHeru wrote:
This also reminds me of a passage in, I think, the novel _Book of D'ni_ (though it might have been another one) when they find I think the Descriptive Book of Earth.

As far as I am aware, no one has ever discovered the Descriptive Book for Earth/D'ni.

Quote:
(This all means that if a person truly send decades or centuries to try and create the perfect age they could probably describe everything on a world or solar system or whatever.


Given how complex planets are (much less large scale eco-systems, the intricacies of types of organisms, etc.), being able to completely describe a planet is most likely beyond a Writer's ability. Even with the garo-hevtee.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:28 pm
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Oh, I just discovered what I did, I combined two passages to basically be one whole.

In the Book of Ti'ana their is a mention by one Guild Master about some knowledge of the surface and they mention that he must have read parts from the Book of Earth. We don't see it, its just mentioned. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the page upon first glance.

But in the Book of D'ni, around page 737in the Myst Reader, there is mention about the uniqueness of the Descriptive Book found. In it it says about how phrases are repeated over and over with subtle changes so as to create stability,

I guess I just combined the two sources into one note about Earth, hehe.

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"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we becomes victims of the darkness."-Justice William O. Douglas


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
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You know, I just thought of a point. People are saying how there's sudden changes in the ages when things are added or changed, and it persists, yet it snaps when you remove changes. With my best fit idea, the best I can think of is that it's a time-thing. When you write the book, you can get to any point in time in theory, but as soon as you link you're locked to a 1:1 timescale. In that sense, it's possible I suppose that as long as the probability isn';t zero, unknown previous balances could be written in assuming they weren't already known. For instance, removing the mist wall could just be that the whole tectonic setup that created it shifted, which coincidentally drained the whole bay because of a sudden fault. Earthquakes are fast after all. The moiety daggers were always there but just fell down at that point.
However, retroactives can only be done carefully to add things to an age or change. When you cancel out a thing that's happened, you're asking it to go back in time and remove a change that you've already had happen thanks to the link. If you wrote in a bit about the mist wall vanishing, changed your mind, then crossed it out.. BEFORE you first used the age.. then it'd be ok. However once you have it's in that 1:1 link and therefore the probability of things undoing themselves is zero. Entropy happens. The only way to undo a change is to find a new link where it didn't happen, thus the whole sudden similar but different age.

My suspicion is that that whole part of the Book of Atrus is NOT a Wingrovianism, maybe the details are but it seems such a specific thing of an age making that it's very very likely he was told such by someone at Cyan, probably Rand or what. We don't know if it's canon but it feels too much one of the things he was briefed on (like that there IS a cleft in the desert, but he wasn't told which desert). I'm tempted to say it's a canon thing, that you can add changes but can't fully undo them. If you want to remove the daggers, you can't undo their existence, entropy won't reverse, so as noted you have to go forward in time by erosion or what have you which maintains time.


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