Open Book Thread: With Fate Conspire

While rooting around in my archives looking for something else, I discovered I never put up an open book thread for With Fate Conspire!

So consider this an invitation to make any comments or ask any questions you might have about that book. (Needless to say, this will result in spoilers. Read the thread at your own risk.) I, er, can’t promise I’ll be able to answer everything with perfect clarity; at this point my head is full of Isabella instead of the Onyx Court, so I may be a tad fuzzy on some of the details. But I’ll do my best!

And if you have a question about a previous novel, the other open book threads are still open. Though I don’t have one for the doppelganger series, now that I think about it. Well, if you have a question about one of those, let me know; I can make a new thread if there’s need.

Note: As an experiment, I have closed this thread until the beginning of 2013, in an attempt to convince spammers to stop spamming it. If you have a question, feel free to ask it elsewhere, or come back in January.

0 Responses to “Open Book Thread: With Fate Conspire”

  1. tooth_and_claw

    What on earth does Nadrett look like? I’m halfway through the book and I haven’t seen a description at all. So far he’s very nebulous, though I’m imagining an elf, if a stocky one.

    • Marie Brennan

      Answered this one in person, but for the public record: yes, he’s of the elf type, though not so much for elegant prettiness. (I don’t have a casting, unfortunately.)

  2. Anonymous

    Heh. Well, the books at least I should be able to deduct; that kind of stuff is always useful.

  3. Anonymous

    Could I get A Star Shall Fall mmp & Warrior mmp? let me know how much extra UK shipping (slow as you like! sea or book post or whatever is fine!) would be!

  4. Anonymous

    I’ll be at my polling place bright and early and of course I will vote for Obama and the Dems. I’m feeling that if a woman votes Republican she’s either brainwashed or a quisling.


  5. Anonymous

    Hey This is hard for me because I have never done anything like this.. but I have a huge crush on you. I have never been able to tell you for reasons which you would quickly identify as obvious if you knew who this was. I’m really attracted to you and I think you would be wanting to get with *Read FULL Card Here*

  6. Anonymous

    Shalach is to send.

    L’shloach is to sent forth

    Kol mi sh’shalach is “all who were sent.”

    Can you give the whole sentence? My sister in law is a Hebrew teacher.

  7. Anonymous

    I have one now, which is helping . . . a little. Mostly, though, it’s me looking stuff up in the OED to see if it’s Germanic in origin, and then figuring out alternatives if it is.

  8. Anonymous

    Uh — you do know that they aren’t going to be able to go after the tuition debt on this principle? Debt that sells for five cents on the dollar is uncollectable because the debtor will go into bankruptcy to shed it. But you can’t shed tuition debt in bankruptcy, and so the threat is meaningless.

  9. Anonymous

    When I’m outlining and dead, my usual rule is to take whatever I thought was going to happen next and invert it, and make the characters scramble.

    I thought she would find out some useful information at the fair? I sent in a dragon, and she and everyone else had to scramble so fast there was no time for the talk.

  10. Anonymous

    I knew this was coming, and yet, and yet…

    If all of your characters ever have a chance to get together, they’re either going to form an angry mob or a support group.

  11. Anonymous

    I prefer the solution to be something the characters arrange for themselves, when possible. That doesn’t always fit, of course (and a change they don’t understand can be interesting), but it’s my go-to direction for such things.

  12. Anonymous


    Never has your icon been more apt.

  13. Anonymous

    Case 1: the rod accelerating indefinitely creates a perpetual motion machine, violating conservation of energy. The rod moving at all requires converting potential energy into kinetic energy. Where’s the potential energy coming from? Rod passing through the portal jumps up to a higher level of gravitational potential energy, which makes portals problematic to begin with.

    So I’d assume no movement. Ditto for case 2. I don’t know where the forces are coming from, because portal are magic science, but the conservation laws tell us the forces must exist. If conservation laws are violated then you can make up any answer.

    Case 3: I was going to say I suspect violates conservation of angular momentum. On reading more carefully, assuming truncation seems safe. Any bending of the rod would violate conservation, or require compensation somewhere.

  14. Anonymous

    So, Case B.

    Second question: Can the portals move relative to each other?

    Possibility 1: Nope. This is sort of a null experiment, though there’s an interesting question of whether they sit floating in space (immobile relative to what, exactly?) or fall to the ground. Or maybe they can only be placed on solid surfaces.

    Third question, assuming they can move relative to each other: Does a compressive force across the things going through the portal result in a balancing force outward on the portals? What about a shear force?

    This turns out to be an interesting question.

    Possibility 2: No, compressive forces across the things going through the portal don’t result in balancing forces outward on the portals. In Case 2 of the question, that means we can just gently push the portals together, and squish the metal rod into a pancake with no effort. That means we’re not doing much work to push the portals together (and thus not putting in much energy) but a lot of work is being done on the rod (and thus much energy is going into it). Thus, we return to the question from Case A of where the energy comes from; the likely answer would be that it’s coming from the portals either through an internal or external source.

    But there’s more, if we allow the portals to be non-parallel. Consider if we put the two halves of the portal on the same wall of a spaceship — we throw a tennis ball in one, and it comes back to us out the other. Now, put a long pole through the one, and the end of it comes back to us out the other. We can lean on the two ends of the rod; we’re pushing against ourselves, and the rod can’t move without getting compressed. But, to lean against it, we have to also push the other way on the floor of the spaceship (by balance of forces). And that means that there’s an unbalanced force on the floor of the spaceship, pushing it away from the rod. We’ve just built a reactionless drive! Not to mention that we’re not putting any energy in, but the spacecraft will start accelerating, and there’s no clear way the portals could be supplying energy for that.

    Even if we require the portals to be parallel, if they’re some distance apart we can make similar arguments about shear force and rotational momentum, if the portals are any distance apart.

    (There is, interestingly, a solution if the portals are parallel and zero distance apart; this doesn’t violate conservation of momentum. And, because the distance is zero, it also doesn’t require a “force field” to fix the energy balance the energy balance from Case A! This should be physically possible! And indeed it is; an ordinary hula hoop painted orange on one side and blue on the other will suffice quite nicely.)

    So, we conclude if we want interesting portals, they have to get pushed on by things going through them, which means that they need to be able to push on something, in order not to accelerate away.

    Possibility 3: They push on whatever surface they’re applied to (or, if not applied to a surface, they wave about until they push up against one, as pushed by the things sticking through them, air currents, etc.). This is sort of unsatisfying unless you require them to be stuck to a surface, in which case it works pretty well.

    Possibility 4: They push against the surrounding matter in general with a large force-field, so that they can appear to be stuck in mid-air when they’re really pushing unnoticably against everything for a half-mile around. This keeps up appearances without violating physical laws, but you’ve got “spooky action at a distance” going on, and can probably use this for other force-field effects in weird ways. On the other hand, portals are all about spooky action at a distance anyway, so this may be entirely fair.

    Here, I’d again discard possibility 2 as violating basic conservation laws, and 1, 3, and 4 remain as reasonable options that are up to aesthetic preference. They don’t actually make much difference to the situation of Case B, except for whether the assembly sits in midair or falls to the floor.

  15. Anonymous

    Woot! 🙂

  16. Anonymous

    That seems like a remarkably clever and sensible URL scheme. Kudos to the person who noticed that it was that obvious!

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