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Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


This is the remade thread to discuss The Commonweal is a self-published fantasy series by Graydon Saunders. He describes it as "Egalitarian heroic fantasy." This OP contains some mild spoilers, but I've tried to keep them light. This thread is for discussing ONLY events or information directly from the text. Information drawn from the Google Group (discussed below) is strictly off-limits. If you want to discuss things from the Google Group, take it to PMs.

It takes place in a world where magic (called the Power) emerged some thousands of years ago and every bit of human history thereafter is filled with large & small conflicts between sorcerers of various power. The Power as a force in the world appears have malign tendencies and prefers chaos over order and that individuals exalt themselves to whatever degree possible. The Commonweal is a civilization that arose within the last few hundred years thanks to the invention of a set of magical artifacts called Standards which allow regular people with any amount of talent for the Power to cooperate to project military might that was previously unseen. The founders of the Commoneweal took a dim view towards most of human organization since the Power came onto the scene, and decided they would be governed by one principle: "No Slaves." What has arisen is a sort of socialist state composed of different flavors of human beings (and possibly one form of sentient tree) doing their best to live up to that idea. The conflicts in these books come in two primary flavors. The first flavor is conflict with external powers looking to expand and conquer. The second flavor is political and social, relating to the way that the society has chosen to deal with the problem of very powerful sorcerers (called Independents) living alongside regular people while also not having slaves. Well, they're really all political, but the politics tend to be a little more obviously present in the books that are primarily social in nature.

There are five books in the series so far, with three or so more projected:


#1 - The March North - Graydon describes this one as: "Presumptive female agency, battle-sheep, and bad, bad odds." This is one of the external powers conflict books, in the general vein of the The Black Company books. Four platoons at the outskirts of the Commonweal in an area called the Creeks after the people who live there and the numerous Creeks head North to stop...something? at the border, aided by a few of the most powerful Independents in the Commonweal, sent by Parliament to help with "whatever comes up."


#2 - A Succession of Bad Days - "Experimental magical pedagogy, non-Euclidean ancestry, and some sort of horror from beyond the world." This is one of the socially-oriented books. A class of unusual individuals so powerful they have no choice but to become Independents or die go to civil engineering wizard school, and learn a lot about themselves as people in the process.


#3 - Safely You Deliver - "Family, social awkwardness, and a unicorn." Basically the second half of the wizard school story with a different set of narrators. Also a Unicorn, but a very different sort of Unicorn than you're likely used to.


#4 - Under One Banner - "Career options after your Talent-mediating brain tissue catches actual fire, what became of the Shot Shop, and certain events involving Scarlet Battery, Fifth Battalion (Artillery), First Brigade, Wapentake of the Creeks. May contain feels." This book is about the experiences of a student studying to be Independent who is nearly-fatally injured in a magical accident and is only saved by an unprecedented magical procedure. No longer able to go for Independent, she decides to make herself useful however she can, mostly by extensively documenting the various new military activities taking place in and around the Creeks. This book is sort of straddling the social/military conflict divide.


#5 - A Mist of Grit and Splinters - "The first Creek standard-captain known to history, certain curious facts concerning the graul people, and an operational test of the Line's altered doctrine." This book is really a companion to Book 4, about the new military activities taking place in and around the Creeks. Definitely more on the military conflict side with a smattering of the social.

Where can I get these books?

Either on google play or Books2Read. Graydon has a post on his blog about it: http://dubiousprospects.blogspot.com/2018/09/where-to-get-my-books.html. If you're on a Kindle links to the steps to download the EPUB and either upload it via Calibre or by emailing it to your Kindle.

If you've read all the books and you've got questions nobody in the thread has a satisfactory answer to, you can check out the Google Group: https://groups.google.com/g/the-commonweal. The Google group is now locked due to conversation that took place in the previous version of this thread. The Google group contained heavy spoilers about the world not contained in the books, including bits and pieces from upcoming books. Please keep material not contained in the books that you saw discussed in the Google group outside this thread. Saunders took that one of the rules of the old group seriously and leaking of that discussion lead to the Google Group being shut down. I'm not joking.

If you've got suggestions for what should be added to the OP, just give me a holler.

Danhenge fucked around with this message at 00:32 on Jul 2, 2022

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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!






Morbid Hound

Please be kind to all Graydon Saunderses from this point forward. Thanks all.

Kaysette
Jan 4, 2009

~*Boston makes me*~
~*feel good*~

:wrongcity:


I like the Black Company and I’m gonna read this book because of the drama, thanks all.

Eason the Fifth
Apr 9, 2020


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Please be kind to all Graydon Saunderses from this point forward. Thanks all.

Graydon Saunders is a state of being

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


Updated the OP to reflect the fact that the google group is closed at the moment. I imagine it might re-open at some point after all the books are done since he appears to have locked it rather than deleting it entirely. Hard to say.

Parahexavoctal
Oct 10, 2004
I AM NOT BEING PAID TO CORRECT OTHER PEOPLE'S POSTS.

I still have the first page of the old thread, so (with permission from Hieronymous) I'm reposting its contents here. (There was one mention of a detail that might have come from the Group, but then a correction that this was in the published text.)

Strategic Tea posted:

Yay, a Commonweal thread!

I think one of the best succinct summaries of the books (by someone in the SFF thread I think) is - feeling patriotic for a country that doesn't exist.

Peace Behind Us :patriot:

eke out posted:

on my reread i just got through the part in book 2 where Dove explains why they joined the Line and imo that section hit just as hard the second time through

you go most of the book assuming that most of Dove's issues must be related to losing their troops/partner on the March North but turns out that was practically a good time by comparison

Happiness Commando posted:

to contribute, I think the biggest problem with the books is Graydon's prose style, which is terse to the point of impenetrable at best.

All the same, I love 'em.

eke out posted:

I noticed the big shift even more this time around of going from the Captain-centered 1 to Edgar's head in book 2. 2's conversational and stream of consciousness at times and way less weird writing as a whole, the things that're confusing are the things Edgar's confused about.

In retrospect it's funny how Edgar is basically the archetypical audience insert -- they're not from here, they're learning a new culture and a new job and how people like them exist in this world -- but the audience doesn't get them until book 2. While in Book 1 we're almost entirely centered around one of the least normal people in the entire setting (in several distinct ways lol) who knows a million things that they don't really care to explain to the reader.

edit: for commonweal-accurate pronouns


Happiness Commando posted:

Yeah, I've come around to that opinion as well. I used to not like how all the characters spoke in exactly the same voice of stumbling-over-concepts-parenthetically-terse-vagueness, but after a couple retreads of the second book, I realized slowly that it was all because everything was being filtered through Edgar. And then the polycule one mind thing handwaves the rest of it away for the rest of them.

Kalman posted:

FWIW, from the SF&F thread a post claimed that Laurel defeated Halt. But that’s not correct.

Careful reading of book 4 makes clear that whole much of the Commonweal - including Edgar - believes that to be true, it isn’t. Blossom says that Laurel defeated the Empress; 30 years later, Halt showed up. Halt isn’t the Empress - they’re two distinct manifestations of one larger metaphysical being. Either no one at the Founding of the Commonweal had enough sorcerous talent to tell the difference or else they were willing to ignore it because they needed sorcerers that badly.


Danhenge posted:

I think it's largely that the truth isn't really more comfortable than the misunderstanding for most inhabitants of the Commonweal, so there's nothing gained by correcting the record.

Happiness Commando posted:

Larry Parrish in the general SFF thread posted:


I'm a little shaky on this, but, the way I thought of it is kind of simple. Internal power users are doing what I would call real-rear end magic. They start out doing esoteric, impossible bullshit.

Our friends in the round house start out doing stuff that, while the energy source is impossible, is entirely within and explained by physics (well, maybe not the poo poo with the temporal shifts and stuff. You know what I mean). They're using magic to change gravity, not using magic to make stuff float. It's a subtle difference. Anyway, supposedly these differences between internal/external use fall away. Once someone is fully sorcerous, there is no longer any difference to the caster. But even the precise poo poo they're doing early on when making the lights and stuff is not magically precise. They're providing energy for those fancy artificial emeralds to form via chemical process, not transmuting matter themselves or making it out of nothing.

Idk for this one either, really. You might be right, and that it just got away from Saunders. But Halt is endlessly ancient and powerful, but she's also just one shard of her former self, squeezed into The Peace, wasting a lot of power just to make herself able to interact with regular people. She needs to be able to strip electrical wires and all she has is a hammer with the mass of a moon. All of the old Short List sorcerors are this way, supposedly, or were never very strong in the first place and are just unendingly durable.

Blossom has sort of the same problem, on a smaller scale. She's really strong and talented, but her 'ascension' was flawed and she has trouble until the Round House crew is able to intermesh with her and help her out.

Now you could read that as handwaving previous stuff, and it might even be right, but that's not how I took it.
I disagree with this. Edgar changes gravity because Edgar is a weirdo in-universe and that's their natural conceptual metaphor, and they only arrive at that solution after discarding changing their physical form because the biomechanics were too complicated. When Chloris does the 'shifting halfway into another dimension' thing to get the big tub through the Round House door, they do it by 'giving the space between the molecules over to death' because that's their natural conceptual metaphor. Blossom provides some instruction on a significantly easier way to do it, because killing space is apparently really hard. Sometime in 2 or 3, Edgar realizes that old-way preeminent wizards learn fine control first and only come into the fullness of their power by not dying for hundreds of years so that they may grow. The polycule is forced to grow as quickly as they can, so they can not explode and then spend the next hundreds of years come into the fullness of their fine-grained controls.

Sure, there's a lot of handwaving (Zora decided that making life should be easy so it is, Minecraft-style chemistry is just easy because Graydon says so, etc), but I don't think that looking at it as a standardized difference in conceptual outlooks is useful for a critical evaluation of this self-published niche-rear end fantasy series.

Benagain posted:


[Kalman's post about Laurel defeating Halt was me I think, and I need to reread on that in book 4 but in 2 wake mentions the time smearing trick would freak out high level sorcerers since that's what Laurel used on them and I though they at least explicitly called out halt in that statement.

Happiness Commando posted:

You're remembering two passages in one. When Edgar does the time smear, Wake says 'that won't scare anyone but The Twelve'. Later, Halt says 'What Edgar did with time to the metabolism of weeds, Laurel did something very much like that to the minds of those overcome. '

eke out posted:

Yeah, this. Halt seems happy to encourage misconceptions about her background.

Happiness Commando posted:

And in 3 after going to the ziggurat, Edgar realizes that Wake is doing something like Pascal's Wager with the peace, where he abides by it out of prudence, vs Halt, who full on believes in the peace. Wake affirms that telepathically.

And then also in 3, Zora (?) gets Halt to entertain the interpretation that the Commonweal is actually Halt's tool in a big, slow fight between old powerful wizards

Halt definitely didn't submit to Laurel.

Kalman posted:

Honestly, as someone who genuinely likes these books, I would agree that the idea is better than the actuality and that I put up with the writing to get to the ideas.

Benagain posted:

Wake's another one where he was a literal evil god and wound up as a refugee for perspective on how lovely it is outside the commonweal.

Anyone else have guesses for the rough location on our map of the commonweal? I think south america, more towards the mountains that feed the Amazon.

Happiness Commando posted:

their calendar system is pre-revolutionary French, or something like that, and Wake is reported to have crossed "the equatorial sea" to get to the Commonweal. I think he drinks hot chocolate at one point, and his food contains pepper oils implying Mesoamerica

Polikarpov posted:

Read this whole series and love how obtuse it is. I didn't realize that The Captain wasn't human until like midway through book 2. I enjoy careful reading so it's nice to be rewarded with comprehension instead of just told.

Listening to Blossom :science: about double hot red shot must be terrifying.

Kestral posted:

Happiness Commando posted:

The polycule is forced to grow as quickly as they can, so they can not explode and then spend the next hundreds of years come into the fullness of their fine-grained controls.

Which is weird, because they seem to have all the fine-grained control you could want, considering they're manipulating individual atoms and turning wooden mugs back into the original living trees. If that's not fine-grained control, I'd love to know what is.

Actually, that sums up a lot of my gripes with books 2 and 3: I'd like to have seen something that was difficult for them. I swear at least a third of the chapters have something to the effect of, "it really was easy," or "it should have been difficult, but it wasn't!" They're supposed to be growing into these terrifyingly powerful sorcerers, okay, I'm into that premise, but show us where their path of growth is supposed to be too, and what distinguishes their external style from everyone else's internal style other than raw Goku-over-9000 stuff.


ulmont posted:

Happiness Commando posted:

their calendar system is pre-revolutionary French, or something like that, and Wake is reported to have crossed "the equatorial sea" to get to the Commonweal. I think he drinks hot chocolate at one point, and his food contains pepper oils implying Mesoamerica
this is all in text (it’s the revolutionary French calendar; today in that reckoning is Flint day in the Snowy month of the year 230, or Silex Nivôse 230)

cultureulterior posted:

These are amazingly great books, but in the third+ books I miss the amazing inventiveness of new wierd stuff, like Rust's lovecraftean summonings.

I'm also a bit disappointed that there's so much information about what's happening with the Neighbors being kept from the readers in the later books.

benagain posted:

the calendar's revolutionary french but I'd swear there's a comment in the second or third book that puts them south of the equator and coffee could be grown within the territory of the larger commonweal.

fritz posted:

Yeah there's a few mentions of things that only grow in the much-warmer first commonweal further north, coffee's one of them, mango's another.

eke out posted:

i just assume the revolutionary calendar is an artifact of the "translation" notion common in fantasy, meant to convey an idea not tell us it is literally descended from revolutionary france as this world is literally hundreds of thousands of years after the creation of the magic system that destroyed it quite thoroughly

Happiness Commando[/quote posted:

Oh right. Blossom grew up in the City of Peace, where citrus fruits grow.

Ulmont posted:

You can see from the text that there are at least three sources of language: Middle English (wapentake), Greek (Pelorios), and I think there’s a French one I’m forgetting, representing a number of origin cultures (and species) that have melded.

Fritz posted:

Creeks are Greek, Typicals are French, Regulars are Middle English, Graul are Norse.

grassy gnoll posted:

I enjoyed the first book, while the second was like pulling teeth. Before I attempt the third, does Edgar ever learn to parse their thoughts out in complete sentences? And does the fragmentary narration continue into book four?

Happiness Commando posted:


You get less of Edgar in book 3, and I don't remember the fragmented narration at all in 4

eke out posted:

edgar levels decrease precipitously with each book following 2

Kestral posted:

Book 3 is easier and clearer than book 2, especially since Edgar is not the main POV character, but there are definitely places where the poor comma gets a workout.

The fragmentary narration ends after book 3: Under One Banner is written in a completely different style, like an even more intelligible version of The March North with a lot of third-person perspective that makes it easier to figure out what the hell is going on. Not sure what book 5 is like, haven't gotten there yet, but UOB is great.

Did we ever find out what exactly the Hard Road is in books 1-4? Wondering if that's something I haven't gotten to yet (later parts of book 4, or book 5), or if I've missed something, or if it's still a mystery.

Danhenge posted:

Still a mystery. I assume it's something like a highway (the "hard" part) with some sort of magical enhancement for quick movement over long distances like the banners. But it could also have been hard to make, or made by the Independent Hard or whatever.

eke out posted:

i think it's also, confusingly, a metonym for the conquest itself? but i could be misremembering

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!






Morbid Hound

Yeah, to be clear, people can repost anything from the old thread that is NOT from the google group discussion. If it's from the books or your own head you're good.

Larry Parrish
Jul 9, 2012



The truth is I'm actually Graydon Saunders and I was bored.



Anyway when does the next book come out lol. I'm kind of hoiped which is unusual for me with books.

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


Unknown, he was still working on it last I heard and the going was slow.

MisterBear
Aug 16, 2013


Can anyone remind me what actually happened in Safely You Deliver? I read it about six months ago but, honestly, I don’t recall a whole lot beyond it being the continuing adventures of Edgar and the gang and there being some form of invasion.

eke out
Feb 24, 2013





MisterBear posted:

Can anyone remind me what actually happened in Safely You Deliver? I read it about six months ago but, honestly, I don’t recall a whole lot beyond it being the continuing adventures of Edgar and the gang and there being some form of invasion.

finishes the story of the polycule becoming independents, fleshes out Rose/Grue/Blossom a lot. no actual invasions so much as attempted remote assassinations that're responded to with terrifying swiftness and finality

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.


Yeah, high up Reems dudes take a shot at the Commonweal, and miss badly. Contains a scene where Halt rolls up her sleeves, and then entirely extirpates every single Reems dude who had anything to do with the assassination attempts.

MisterBear
Aug 16, 2013


Thanks both!

Currently reading Under One Banner and my feelings a bit mixed at current. It feels, at least in the first part of the book (which is all I’ve read thus far), a bit more disjointed and hard to follow than the previous three. Will see if i still have that view by the end!

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.


The thing to remember about UOB is that the viewpoint character had their brain melted shortly before the opening of the book. It's a bit jarring because Eugenia is pretty jarred. Once she gets to the point where she's entering the Line, I feel like it was more cohesive.

e: Wanted to add a couple quotes from SYD per my last post:

Safely You Deliver Chapter 35 posted:

The distant shrieking’s not stopped, faded, just a bit, and Halt’s formal beaded shawl’s been set on the howdah, Halt’s started undoing cuff buttons.

Blossom’s eyes widen, Blossom pales a little, watching Halt’s sleeves start being rolled up.

As a reminder, Blossom is a nascent Goddess of Destruction. She also learned at Halt's knee.

Safely You Deliver Chapter 36 posted:

“Was the Reems attack especially foolish?” The proverb cites the worst fencer, whose conduct skill cannot predict.

“Desperate, perhaps,” Wake says. “A formidable ritual, long-prepared, and likely planned to overcome such resistance as could be imagined. It is strange that it was expended with such unclear targets.”

Chert’s lights coalesce to one and move left, back to the start of the sequence. “How tough was this first one?”

“Between eight hundred and a thousand, and well-provided.” There’s the particular emphasis on well-provided that means “lots of mind-bound subsidiary sorcerers.”

“So about Rust?”

“No.” Wake is definite. “Five hundred years of open publication have improved us.” Wake’s wry shrug swirls immaterial smoke. “More than we may realize by few examples.”

“Rust displayed no sign of difficulty with any Reems sorcerer on the March.” Annotation, not argument, and Chert’s brief nod takes it that way.

“Would it work on Rust?” It is on the ceiling in swoopy lines and a broad white bar for “certainly dead.”

Wake nods. “It would work on me, accurately directed.”

As another reminder, pre-Commonweal Wake was strong and talented enough to leave the field of battle in good order after fighting Halt/The Empress.

Safely You Deliver Chapter 36 posted:

“And your interpretation of policy?” All the invading sorcerers over an arbitrary output labelled “two hundred” are to die, in preference to troops, if you can’t get everyone. Been formally like that since the Year of Peace Fifty, and practically since Year of Peace Eighteen, the first time anyone got away. A long generation’s embarrassment’s delay to formality.

“Applied to the ritual and only the ritual, General.”

“Which you got?” Chert’s not expecting to like the answer.

“From Edgar, quite entire.” Halt smiles. “No reaching out for it.”

I share a glance with Chert. Dead and disintegrating hundreds of kilometres away and neither of us doubts Halt could have pulled those echoes out of the world.

Would almost rather Halt had.

Chert’s sword hand twitches, once and twice. Halt thinks their Staff Thaumaturgist token is an excellent jest, yes, but not the job or the Commonweal or the Peace, somehow, and never mind how many joints in the limbs in the shadows behind Halt.

“It was no more than it needed to be, General,” Halt says, “if somewhat showy.” Halt produces an honestly amused smile. “It was not only in the Commonweal that sorcerers heard perish in flames, and I wished to maintain the theme.”

“A somewhat threatening theme.” Chert doesn’t approve. Threats are a form of conquest.

“If policy demands deaths, survivors may fear.” This smile’s not amused. “Yet fear was not the purpose.”

Chert tries to nod, fails, makes a two-handed “it’s nothing” motion.

Chert hasn’t had much practice talking to Halt.

I’ve read the initial reports, dashed shorthand and incomplete sentences about burning things tall and terrible looming over mountains. Uncomfortable guesses at height and distance and how far above the air were made. Rigid duty noting that the apparent twisting motions cannot be explained by the physics of heat.

Chert was hurrying east, and saw Halt’s wrath rise up over the rim of the world.

If I'm the First Commonweal, I'm probably nonplussed over this event.

habeasdorkus fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Jul 6, 2022

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


I hadn't considered the impact of visible but hard to explain events on the First Commonweal, if it survives.

LLSix
Jan 20, 2010

The real power behind countless overlords



I just finished the second book, "A Succession of Bad Days." I really like the ending. I really, really like the ending and the point it drives home. I felt like it could have gotten there faster and my eyes glazed over during the canal building. Usually I like hard science sections, but there was nothing in that section for me to grab hold of and provide context. Maybe canals are just too far outside my experience in a way that needing air to breathe on Mars isn't.

I really, really like the introduction of the legal policy of "Justice adds no harm to the wronged." The way it's applied is magnificent. I wish we had something like that.

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.


LLSix posted:

I just finished the second book, "A Succession of Bad Days." I really like the ending. I really, really like the ending and the point it drives home. I felt like it could have gotten there faster and my eyes glazed over during the canal building. Usually I like hard science sections, but there was nothing in that section for me to grab hold of and provide context. Maybe canals are just too far outside my experience in a way that needing air to breathe on Mars isn't.

I really, really like the introduction of the legal policy of "Justice adds no harm to the wronged." The way it's applied is magnificent. I wish we had something like that.

The canals are what hangs up a lot of folks. It doesn't help that it's all in Edgar's kinda stream-of-consciousness pov.

eke out
Feb 24, 2013





i think some of the boredom is kinda effective, as it settles into the rhythm of kinda cozy competence porn the interruptions with life-and-death poo poo become more startling.

quoting this scene because i like it

quote:

Dinner’s strange, an unfamiliar refectory’s always like that, you’re not camping, you’re not travelling, as such, not in a hostel dining room, and a lot of habits aren’t right, they don’t keep the spoons in the same place, the plates and dishes are different, you don’t have a regular spot. Chloris goes in ahead, looking for five places together. Maybe the other half of the surveyor’s table, they’ve been here for a couple months, marking the northern branch of the planned canal.

Someone walks up, angry, very angry, toward, in front of Chloris, I don’t catch most of the words, more angry than loud, I’m caught between setting plates down somewhere flat, everything I’ve ever been taught about being neat in a refectory, and wanting to move forward. Dove’s caught behind me, Blossom’s facing away. I see an arm go back, back as the large lad keeps striding forward, getting ready to swing at Chloris with a water-pitcher.

Chloris does something, I can feel it, it’s fast and it’s quiet and there’s nothing at all to see. Whoever it is with the water pitcher topples, arm flung further out, and the water pitcher smashes across five metres of floor before all the pieces stop.

“Doesn’t get to hit me,” Chloris says in the perfect still voice of Death, looking down at where the fallen body stretches out, looking like it’s reaching for the shattered pitcher and the splash.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

It's me, I'm the mutant who liked the canal building and didn't care for the polycule's drama. I'm pretty sure I have an Ed intolerance.

LLSix
Jan 20, 2010

The real power behind countless overlords



I'm reading Safely you Deliver, and I can't figure out who Zora is referring to when she says "Constant." As in, Death and Constant Strange Mayhem.

It can't be Dove or Edgar, because there are more than a few sentences about Dove, and Edgar, and Constant.

It can't be Chloris, Zora's nickname for Chloris is Death.

I'm fairly certain there have been at least one instance of both Constant and Blossom as well as Constant and Grue showing up in the same sentence, so it's probably not either of them, but that doesn't leave any options I can think of.

Anyone know who Constant is?

LLSix fucked around with this message at 19:08 on Jul 22, 2022

eke out
Feb 24, 2013





LLSix posted:

I'm reading Safely you Deliver, and I can't figure out who Zora is referring to when she says "Constant." As in, Death and Constant Strange Mayhem.

It can't be Dove or Edgar, because there are more than a few sentences about Dove, and Edgar, and Constant.

It can't be Chloris, Zora nickname for Chloris is Death.

I'm fairly certain there have been at least one instance of both Constant and Blossom as well as Constant and Grue showing up in the same sentence, so it's probably not either of them, but that doesn't leave any options I can think of.

Anyone know who Constant is?

this is the correct thing to be wondering about at that point, keep reading

eke out fucked around with this message at 18:54 on Jul 22, 2022

Ceebees
Nov 2, 2011

I'm intentionally being as verbose as possible in negotiations for my own amusement.

Pretty sure Constant is the personification of the Polycule Hivemind

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


That spoiler above is a mild spoiler but it should become clear by the end of the book.

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.


It is something that does become apparent, eventually. It's neat, but I concur that it threw me for a loop at first.

LLSix
Jan 20, 2010

The real power behind countless overlords



I finished Safely you Deliver. The feels are real.

I think it was my least favorite of the three so far because the edges are showing in some places. For example, can someone break down the argument about how to pay the wizard team for me? My understanding is that the wizard-team is doing so much work, that any reasonable payment schedule for them would end up with them personally owning way too much wealth. As a result the various accountants are trying to find some way to not do that. The "solution" they appear to have settled on is to use various accounting tricks to avoid paying them what they're worth for the past five years, something one of the previously introduced accountants asserted should end with those responsible for not paying them correctly being executed (admittedly it was one of their family members, Zora's relative I think?). Instead of, you know, just telling the students they've served their 5 years in 50 and that they're officially on vacation. Then, when the wizard-team offers to voluntarily cap their income and give everything else back to the Commonweal for free, the clerks get snippy about letting them have a place to live where they can work and research without bothering other people. I don't see how that's remotely just. I accept that it's good for the Commonweal as a whole, and I agree that allowing anyone to accumulate disproportionate wealth is going to lead to long term problems. Especially since Independents live long enough that any wealth they have is best considered as intergenerational wealth. The whole sequence lends credence to Mulch's belief that he's a servant/slave of the Commonweal instead of an equal citizen.

If I understand that scene correctly, I think I would have preferred if they'd just admitted that in this case the Commonweal value of not letting Sorcerers rule trumps paying them fairly for their labor. When two values come into conflict one has to trump the other, and that's okay.

LLSix fucked around with this message at 03:55 on Jul 25, 2022

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


They're pretty straightforward about why they don't like the cap, because as they say, reward should ideally match effort. They're going to a lot of work to preserve that element of the economy without overpaying the kids or future wizard teams, but still being fair to them. It's about treating the kids right from a clerk's perspective. The kids just point out that the benefit they accrue is not purely economic, and the cap is still a lot of money.

They also physically cannot put the kids on vacation, the second Commonweal would collapse without them.

Here's what I'd guess Saunders would say something like: The point of the ur-law is that neither can trump the other, both requirements have to be met.

Danhenge fucked around with this message at 03:27 on Jul 25, 2022

Larry Parrish
Jul 9, 2012



That's why it gets so sticky, yeah, those are two fundamental core tenants of the Commonweal and it's society coming into conflict. You have similar problems in real life with the USSR/GDR/CCP's weird hybrid systems- those governments wanted to reward work they thought was especially important but had a lot of trouble doing it without making scientists and engineers and poo poo into a new ruling class. Especially when these people tended to be connected politically and so already had plenty of power that they theoretically shouldn't. This is kind of a problem that any socialist government will have, and it's cool that Saunders shows it.

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.


I think Safely You Deliver occurs when the Second Commonweal is still acting under emergency law, which relaxes the strictures on "how much can an independent work and to what effect." The part about essentially capping pay for work is, and correct me if I'm mistaken, about what to do in "normal" times.

They really couldn't have told the class not to work, it was their working that prevented like 40,000 people from starving and from an entire valley getting washed away in a flood. So they kludge it. Which strikes me as realistic, the modern world is built on kludges.

e: When did you realize Constant was borne of the Dove/Edgar consonance?

habeasdorkus fucked around with this message at 02:44 on Jul 26, 2022

Slyphic
Oct 12, 2021

All we do is walk around believing birds!


Much as I love the books, and I do, emphatically, I participated in the now deleted group enough that I can't remember what actually happened in the books, is implied in the books that I figured out on my own, that Graydon either confirmed, denied, or otherwise elided, and it's frustrating because I'm 100% certain I will gently caress up and blurt out something from the group eventually.

Harrumph.

This walking on egg shells stance is absurd. Are any other series treated this way?

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


Seems simple enough to edit your posts on request if you accidentally post something that's not in the books.

Edit: Also if you can name another author with a clearly parallel situation I'd be interested to hear about it.

ulmont
Sep 15, 2010

IF I EVER MISS VOTING IN AN ELECTION (EVEN AMERICAN IDOL) ,OR HAVE UNPAID PARKING TICKETS, PLEASE TAKE AWAY MY FRANCHISE


Slyphic posted:

Much as I love the books, and I do, emphatically, I participated in the now deleted group enough that I can't remember what actually happened in the books, is implied in the books that I figured out on my own, that Graydon either confirmed, denied, or otherwise elided, and it's frustrating because I'm 100% certain I will gently caress up and blurt out something from the group eventually.

This is one of the benefits of the e-book versions - you can search for quotes and items. Hell, if you have print copies and want me to periodically search for things, PM me.

...really though the group is dead so why worry now?

Slyphic
Oct 12, 2021

All we do is walk around believing birds!


Danhenge posted:

Seems simple enough to edit your posts on request if you accidentally post something that's not in the books.

Edit: Also if you can name another author with a clearly parallel situation I'd be interested to hear about it.
I find the prospect of having to retroactively redact spoilers sufficiently annoying to dissuade me from posting.

My wife has joined a few semi-open mystery pre-reader groups which are mildly analogous but always sufficiently standalone or simple that it's easy to just not blurt the short bullet point list of whodunit and the big duh-duh-DUN sentences.


ulmont posted:

This is one of the benefits of the e-book versions - you can search for quotes and items. Hell, if you have print copies and want me to periodically search for things, PM me.

...really though the group is dead so why worry now?

Finding things isn't my concern, it's the stuff I can't find because it's not in the text, and I can't remember if I figured it out myself, or Graydon spelled it out.

I'm not worried about offending Graydon and making him take his ball home, there's not much degree past scorched earth. But the OP says what it says.

I want to reread AMoGaS and discuss it freely like the google group used to allow.

Danhenge
Dec 16, 2005


Slyphic posted:

I find the prospect of having to retroactively redact spoilers sufficiently annoying to dissuade me from posting.

Ok.

Beefeater1980
Sep 12, 2008

My God, it's full of Horatios!








One thing I really liked was the poetic/archaic use of “Perish in Flames” as an invocation in spells when the actual thought behind it was “Go die in a fire.”

I have a vague feeling it’s because one of the wizards was being intentionally archaic because they just liked the sound of it better. Or possibly because they’re like 10k years old, I can’t recall.

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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!






Morbid Hound

Slyphic posted:

I find the prospect of having to retroactively redact spoilers sufficiently annoying to dissuade me from posting.

My wife has joined a few semi-open mystery pre-reader groups which are mildly analogous but always sufficiently standalone or simple that it's easy to just not blurt the short bullet point list of whodunit and the big duh-duh-DUN sentences.

Finding things isn't my concern, it's the stuff I can't find because it's not in the text, and I can't remember if I figured it out myself, or Graydon spelled it out.

I'm not worried about offending Graydon and making him take his ball home, there's not much degree past scorched earth. But the OP says what it says.

I want to reread AMoGaS and discuss it freely like the google group used to allow.

Yeah, I'm not sure how to handle the "I remember stuff from the Google Group" issue. I'd prefer to remain courteous to Graydon's preferences but I also don't want to police everyone's memories.

Generally speaking since at this point nothing can be directly sourced with a link any more, we're just going by people's memories of what the discussions in the group might have been, right? That seems close enough to just speculation that it might not be too much of a harm.

I think at least for now my policy is gonna be "don't post direct quotes from the Google Group discussion (if you have them in your email inbox still or whatever) but general comments or theorizing is fine". Use spoiler tags I guess? I mean, I don't have a full index of what was discussed in the google group, so I don't have a good way of even checking to know whether something someone's posting is their own speculation, speculation based on the google group, or a direct quote from the google group.

If Graydon would prefer me to handle it a different way, I guess I hope he lets me know? I don't know how to police this without locking down all discussion, and that seems impractical and futile.

I'll say this: any reports I get on this thread, where the problem is "someone posted something from the Google Group," at worst I'll just edit the offending bits out of the post, I'm not going to issue probations over that kind of thing, it's not a violation of a rule of this forum.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 07:17 on Aug 5, 2022

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