writing rengeek magpie mind

December 2014

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evile overbear

overheard at the jewelry-making table:

elisem: "Did you ever bend a paperclip until it breaks? That's an experiment in work-hardening metal. You're trading off flexibility for strength."

matociquala: "Brittleness."

truepenny: "You can't be brittle if you're not hard."

matociquala: "Well, there's a life-lesson."

Comments

And this is why a good sword has a soft bendy core and a brittle, sharpen-able exterior.

(I'm not sure quite how you generalize from that to a life lesson, but I'm sure there's something in there.)
Definitely a life lesson.

There's another one from thermodynamics. For a given system, there are quantities that can change (such as temperature) and those that can't (such as number of atoms, typically). Depending on how it's constructed, there are quantities that may or may not be changeable (such as volume, depending on whether it's a rigid container). One interesting quality of quantities that can changes is that they fluctuate -- temperature is actually an average, as the air around the probe gets minutely hotter and colder with the jiggling of atoms.

In fact, if a quantity doesn't fluctuate, it cannot change, and vice versa. Freedom at the large scale requires freedom at the small, even if this is disagreeable. And freedom at the small scales implies freedom at the large scales.

I've always been struck by this. And have to watch myself from applying this result inappropriately.

---L.
Shiny!
I think politics qualifies as an appropriate place to apply this. (After all, politics demonstrate entropy, too.)
Just finished Hammered, and am very glad I got Scardown out at the same time. So, my thoughts: what's best about this book for me is the way it blends several different subgenres of sci-fi, i think. You've got a strong cyberpunk setting, a military sci-fi background, and a space exploration/hard-sf plot. There's a great sense of familiarity with all the tropes that are used, and i think they're all used quite well. The characters themselves are great- multilayered, complicated people whose motives and motivations change over the course of the book. I think the primary weakness of the novel, though, is in the transitions from one scene/storyline to another- they're abrupt, jarring, sort of early Neal Stephenson-esque. And the ending is similar- a lead-in to the next book that's well-crafted but not really satisfying in the way one hopes the end of a book should be, because it functions primarily as a lead-in to the next in the series. Won't be sure how problematic that is until I read the beginning of
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Just finished <i>Hammered</i>, and am very glad I got <i>Scardown</i> out at the same time. So, my thoughts: what's best about this book for me is the way it blends several different subgenres of sci-fi, i think. You've got a strong cyberpunk setting, a military sci-fi background, and a space exploration/hard-sf plot. There's a great sense of familiarity with all the tropes that are used, and i think they're all used quite well. The characters themselves are great- multilayered, complicated people whose motives and motivations change over the course of the book. I think the primary weakness of the novel, though, is in the transitions from one scene/storyline to another- they're abrupt, jarring, sort of early Neal Stephenson-esque. And the ending is similar- a lead-in to the next book that's well-crafted but not really satisfying in the way one hopes the end of a book should be, because it functions primarily as a lead-in to the next in the series. Won't be sure how problematic that is until I read the beginning of <i.Scardown</i>. In any case, it was a damn enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to continuing on with the series.
You will want Worldwired close at hand when you finish Scardown.
Duly noted, gracias.
Thank you for the comments on the book!
You're very welcome!
Bugger. The local library only has the first two...
And to think I thought I'd learned nothing from jewelry-making.