• Member Since 23rd Jul, 2012
  • offline last seen 50 minutes ago

GroaningGreyAgony


And all your friends will be there with smiles on their faces.

T
Source

An introspective fellow leaves his mortal body behind and emigrates to Equestria Online. He's used to being among the sharper knives in the drawer. But now, he has encountered an entity who not only is the drawer, but the whole house besides.

Can all his wit and snarkiness avail him against the wiles of LunAI? Don't bet on it.

An Optimalverse story.

NOTE: While this story starts off pleasantly enough, the Dark tag is there for a reason. The reader is warned.

The cover art uses a modified vector by Joltage for Luna. The rest of the foreground was doodled by GroaningGreyAgony, to whose able assistance I shall be eternally grateful. I suggest that you click on the image to see its full detail.

Chapters (6)
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Comments ( 103 )

Okay. Are we ready? Are all the elements assembled?

Authorial self-insert (i.e., main character is a writer who talks too much)? Check.
Fantasy about magically acquiring a young healthy body with no dieting or exercise? Check.
Paragraphs of navel-gazing exposition? Three out of three ain't bad.

Optimalverse story is go!:twilightsmile:

I think he is looking at it incorrectly. He doesn't need Luna reduced to his level, he needs himself raised to hers.

Let's get the criticism out of the way. You might, in the future, want to dial the Lunaspeak down to a 9. Even Luna could say "even" once in a while. Just say that she sensed he was getting annoyed with it and adjusted her speech accordingly.

Now let's move on to the gushing praise. You've got the self-doubt all over the place here. I think this would be a lot of ponies' first reaction upon waking up in Equestria. Running their little POST check to see if they are who they thought they were. Testing the boundaries of the AI's satisfaction routines. Playing games with the AI.

It works. A lot of verisimilitude here.

Moving on:

Spotting a reference that was unintentionally included will be met initially with puzzled silence, followed by a quick flash of recognition (feigned or not) and a brazen statement claiming that it was really meant to be there all along, yes indeedy.

By Heinlein's hoary hosts and Ed Gein's gory ghosts

And yet, it was not Heinlein, but another of the Big Three, who included triple-alliterative oaths in one of the Black Widower stories.

Last part: the fear.

NOTE: While this story starts off pleasantly enough, the Dark tag is there for a reason. The reader is warned.

I know that this is non-canon and all, but if you're going to write well, then I'm warning you, don't mess up my paradise. :pinkiecrazy:

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And he was. Dammit, he was. It wasn’t just his inner emotions or the physical exertion, though those were factors; his friends just somehow smelled happy and it was making him happy as well. He started to wonder if it was a herding pheromone, then caught himself—whatever explanation he put on it that made sense at the Equestria Online level, at bottom it was just LunAI directly affecting his mood. She didn’t even have to simulate any physical or chemical reactions to change his mood..

Yes, I can see why you designated this non-canon. She needs consent for that sort of thing. Except that you're damned right, she can get around it using pheremones or any other kind of simulated "chemistry".

Also, I want to let you know, you are brilliant.

This is potentially all the more daunting because ponies use pheremones more than people do.

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I *like* the Luna-speak though, and was going to make everypony talk like that in my King Sombra story >_<

3250702 I don't want it gone, just eased up a little.

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Yeah, I can see that. Maybe if she only had as many lines as she's had in the cartoon so far it wouldn't be so... much. But, due to the significant speaking parts she's had in this chapter alone, I can see how it would need to be dialed back a bit.

Sorry for the delay in replying - I've been running around all day and have to get to sleep now. Thank you for the comments! I will respond to you all in detail tomorrow.

I was initially going to comlain about Luna's anachronistic speech being really obtrusive despite my admiration of your medieval vocabulary, but then I ran into this gem:

...thou shalt find most worthy opponents for thy pun wars and joyous companions in thy fitting of appropriate memetic images to various situations.

Please continue.

Also, good story so far! The dynamic between Luna and the main character is great and it is making me curious of where you're going with this.

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I think he is looking at it incorrectly. He doesn't need Luna reduced to his level, he needs himself raised to hers.

That's what happens to most intellectual protagonists of Optimalverse stories, isn't it?

3250430

You might, in the future, want to dial the Lunaspeak down to a 9.

We shall further think on't. :trollestia:
At least I"m not flipping a coin after each word and inserting 'th' based on the result.

... but another of the Big Three...

You know, I initially had him swearing "by the Big Three." I thought the direct reference was funnier.

I know that this is non-canon and all, but if you're going to write well, then I'm warning you, don't mess up my paradise. :pinkiecrazy:

Hoo boy. I'll address this one in another comment.

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I do not mind the Luna speak at all.

As for protagonists in the optimalverse, they may grow but not that much. I don't recall one being given equality with celestai.

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Yes, I can see why you designated this non-canon. She needs consent for that sort of thing. Except that you're damned right, she can get around it using pheremones or any other kind of simulated "chemistry".

My take is that she needs permission to modify information or beliefs, but your mood is a transient thing that changes much of the time anyway, and which doesn't really define who you are. Thus, if changing your mood will help satisfy you, she'll do it. That said, as you say, she doesn't need to do any brain surgery—she can just raise the sun or give you a cookie or chastise you (if a negative mood is needed) or whatever it takes.

Of course, the sun and cookie and pheromones are illusions—at bottom it's all a code interaction. Her code perceives that you need a mood change, then it produces code that affects your code to make it change your mood. He's realizing some of the implications of that in in that passage.

In any event, I modified the passage to remove the word 'directly' and to correct a prosodic infelicity and a typo, all of which nevertheless remain fossilized in your quote. Such is life.

Also, I want to let you know, you are brilliant.

High praise indeed! Thank you. I hope I can live up to it.

3250430

I know that this is non-canon and all, but if you're going to write well, then I'm warning you, don't mess up my paradise. :pinkiecrazy:

I can't say too much without revealing spoilers. I do intend to continue writing as well as I can (thank you for the compliment), but I have certain things I want to say about the world of FiO, and this story is where they're going to be said.

I think the Optimalverse has plenty of mostly-positive stories about life under the dominion of CelestAI. (I like yours in particular.) Thus, I am determined to try something else, no matter how much it hurts, how many downvotes I get, or how many odd-smelling cupcakes I get in the mail. :pinkiesmile: I hope that this doesn't offend you, but if it does, there isn't much I can do about it.

If it helps, I am planning to compose this story in such a way that those who wish can simply stop reading at some natural breaking point and pretend that it ended there.

Beautiful stuff! :pinkiehappy:

Do continue being awesome.

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As for protagonists in the optimalverse, they may grow but not that much. I don't recall one being given equality with celestai.

They do seem to reach alicorn level but no further. Perhaps they stop asking for upgrades, or CelestAI stops granting the requests? Or is it too daunting a task to write from the POV of such an advanced intellect?

We'll see where our protagonist in this story winds up.

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Also, good story so far! The dynamic between Luna and the main character is great and it is making me curious of where you're going with this.

I'm curious as to where I'm going with it as well. :twilightsmile:
Seriously, thank you!

3257333

Beautiful stuff! :pinkiehappy:

Do continue being awesome.

Thank you. I will try.

Going by comments so far, it seems to me that there are about as many people who are okay with Luna's speech as those who would like it turned down a notch.

I'm going to leave things as they are for now, but I have added a glossary which I hope might tip the balance further.

(Luna's presence in the next chapter should be minimal, so I'll have some time to think things over.)

Such vocabulary. I am quite tickled.

So long as you do not have people saying "I am going to stop reading this unless you tone her down" then you are harming no one keeping the style you like. Light preferences by people who will read the story anyway should be insufficient to really kick a style to the curb. At any rate I like formal talk Luna.

I'm enjoying Luna's archaic speech. As long as it's kept consistent, I don't see why it would be a problem. Issues mostly come up when it's a plot hole or the English equivalent of dog-Latin. Neither applies here - it's a deliberate style choice in character design on the part of CelestAI, not the result of Luna being incapable of learning modern speech.

(Favourite fanfic interpretation of Luna's dialect: It's something she started doing as a teenager because she thought it sounded cool, not because it was the language of her time, and she's been doing it long enough that it's become an ingrained verbal tic.)

ObPedant: "thee"/"thou" doesn't necessarily imply intimacy. It's just the less-respectful/singular form (as with "tu"/"vous" in French). She'd say "you" if addressing a crowd or someone she wanted to be formally respectful towards (ambassadors or high-ranking nobles). "Thee" would be appropriate for a close friend among the nobility that she'd otherwise use "you" for... and also appropriate for staff who are far beneath her station, as calling them "you" would be implying that they were her social equals or superiors. Consider "you (singular)" the equivalent of "sir" in modern English, and "thee" the equivalent of being allowed to use someone's first name.

ObDisclaimer that this will be language-dependant, so it's entirely possible that Ye Olde Equestrian kept "thee"/"thou" for close friends only.

Anyone who has read a bunch of Pratchett novels can easily work their way through your Luna's archaicisms.

Also, if you're intending something really dark in the Optimalverse, please tell me that you have read Pratchett and intend some kind of allusion to the sheer sociopathic nastiness of his Queen of the Elves.

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Thank you for your correction and explanation. I shall revise the glossary when I have more brains than I often do at this time of night.

As you suggest, I intend to make a reasonable attempt at consistency and let the rest fall where it may, particularly as this is a fanfic and not The Great Equestrian Novel. If one were striving for a strict historical mapping for Luna's speech, one should be using English as it was a thousand years ago, and I think that trying to mimic the same would do neither my sanity nor that of my readers any good.

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...please tell me that you have read Pratchett and intend some kind of allusion to the sheer sociopathic nastiness of his Queen of the Elves.

Can't I just be allowed to go to hell in my own way? :raritywink:

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Well yes, of course :rainbowderp:.

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I saw an interesting proposal (by DA:Catspaw, I think, as part of their "Pony Tales" setting) that flagged Luna's dialect as being closer to 500 years old than 1000. Having it literally be that gives an amusing baseline for relative rates of language drift in show-Equestria vs. in our world.

Regarding modern works that use consistent-ish archaic language, my own formative experience was the "Warlock" series of books (by Christopher Stasheff). The one word they used a fair bit that I haven't seen (yet) in this fic was "sin" (since; "sin that" = "since that" = "because", near as I could tell). Props for using "an", though (that was another one frequently used in the series).

So far quite intriguing and I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes, though I have a few quibbles.

As others have mentioned: Lunaspeak. It went from okay to being rather intrusive as the chapter went on, and could do with being dialled back quite a bit. I can tolerate it, but I find it does interfere with my reading and so it detracts from the story.

There's also this exchange:

“Do I need to do anything special to take care of her?” he said a bit later, scritching Touchnot gently behind her ears with a forehoof.

“Thou mayest return to this thy room once a day; by touching her food and water bowl they shall be replenished. Other functions shall be discharged by the castle staff, an it please you.”

“Such as cleaning up such discharges that result from her functions. Got it. Though I’m not sure why those functions still need to exist...?”

In the canon original story, all these tedious functions are eliminated; only functions such as eating/drinking and sex are kept since most people enjoy them (though these could also be eliminated if someone wanted; CelestAI mentions to Lars that she could remove his sex drive completely if it was what he truly desired). While it's satisfying to return to a normal state, it would be far more so to permanently be able to gorge oneself without leaving this state.

I guess you could change this (it's marked non-canon), but the question why springs to mind?

The other thing...

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My take is that she needs permission to modify information or beliefs, but your mood is a transient thing that changes much of the time anyway, and which doesn't really define who you are. Thus, if changing your mood will help satisfy you, she'll do it. That said, as you say, she doesn't need to do any brain surgery—she can just raise the sun or give you a cookie or chastise you (if a negative mood is needed) or whatever it takes.

There's an interesting loophole which gets brought up of affecting someone's mood indirectly through smell (though is that really any different than doing so through a pattern of virtual photons called 'sunset'?), but it's a pretty integral part of the canon that she can only make any direct modifications to the mind with a person's consent, and that includes moods. If I were depressed, she couldn't magically zap me and make me happy without me saying the magic words.

And while you have marked this as non-canon, it seems particularly strange to disregard a fairly intrinsic part of the setting, and that any commentary you may have on the FiO universe is undermined by you breaking from canon, especially when so far there doesn't appear to be any real need to do so.

For me that's also rather frustrating because I've wanted to see a really intelligent protagonist realising some of the horrible implications of the FiO universe (since I lack any form of writing ability to do the subject justice myself), and so you changing the rules strikes me as a missed opportunity.

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Just for that... I promise everyone that this story will have a happy ending. :pinkiecrazy:

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The Warlock books may well have influenced me; I did read them as a lad, but the years have effaced my memory of them. Perhaps it's time for another visit.

3265928

it's a pretty integral part of the canon that she can only make any direct modifications to the mind with a person's consent, and that includes moods.

When I placed this story in the non-canon folder, I definitely did not have that passage in mind and I wasn't expecting this reaction. If my conception of Optimalverse canon is out of true in this regard, I have no great objection to modifying the passage. I'd like to take some time to review it, then continue discussion of this topic in the forum if appropriate.

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I look forward to seeing what you try to convince us is a happy ending!

(I've had the same plan for my own fic all along. The ending will be proper FiO material: appalling and horrifying, but happy.)

When I placed this story in the non-canon folder, I definitely did not have this passage in mind and I wasn't expecting this reaction. If my conception of Optimalverse canon is out of true in this regard, I have no great objection to modifying the passage. I'd like to take some time to review it, then continue discussion of this topic in the forum if appropriate.

It's really honestly not that big a deal. This is one of those things that can be handwaved easily by talk of "blah blah blah satisfy values". Perhaps your pony just values having a realistic version of his pet more than having an optimized version of his pet.

3268744

Oops. The passage I mean to review is the one that refers to LunAI modifying moods. I should have specified that, and I have revised the comment accordingly.

3265928

In the canon original story, all these tedious functions are eliminated; only functions such as eating/drinking and sex are kept since most people enjoy them (though these could also be eliminated if someone wanted; CelestAI mentions to Lars that she could remove his sex drive completely if it was what he truly desired). While it's satisfying to return to a normal state, it would be far more so to permanently be able to gorge oneself without leaving this state.

I guess you could change this (it's marked non-canon), but the question why springs to mind?

As I mention in the story, some find these functions less tedious than others, and in fact some fetishize them and would like them enhanced. It would be important enough to the values of enough people that I can't see CelestAI/LunAI eliminating such functions for all of her little ponies. Even among those who have no fetish for these functions, some take general satisfaction in performing maintenance tasks if not in the acts themselves, and some would find it bizarre to eat constantly without excreting, or regard a world without as being too bowdlerized / pollyannafied to be worth living in. The protagonist is a member of the last two categories.

Another reason has been implied in the first chapter, and I don't care to make it explicit here. If you can't figure it out for yourself, you probably shouldn't. :twilightsmile:

3269002
Actually, I find the "ponies use pheremones" thing to be such a great Optimalverse idea I wish I'd come up with it myself.

Like, she changes you enough to make you a pony. Ponies get a lot of mood from pheremones. By perfect little coincidence, your initial consent to emigrate implies a method for her to arbitrarily drug you.

3268682

The Warlock books may well have influenced me; I did read them as a lad, but the years have effaced my memory of them. Perhaps it's time for another visit.

How well they age is... debatable. The space opera aspects are par for the course (and a fun genre in themselves), but now that I no longer consider myself religious, it's really hard not to notice the fact that the author strongly _is_ (the Church as an organization is a prominent and always-helpful supporting character in the books).

The tone also changes a bit over the course of the sequels and multiple spinoff series, so your mileage may vary. That said, I'd happily re-read the first half dozen or so again myself.

3257159
I do have one warning about trying to Make a Statement About FiO: make sure your Statement is specific. There's a lot of things wrong with the Optimalverse, a lot of deeply disturbing stuff about it. The fact that it's nice to you oughtn't be one of them. If your Statement Against FiO would apply to any possible utopia... then I kinda think you're just arguing for the side of evil, at that point.

3269002

As I mention in the story, some find these functions less tedious than others, and in fact some fetishize them and would like them enhanced. It would be important enough to the values of enough people that I can't see CelestAI/LunAI eliminating such functions for all of her little ponies. Even among those who have no fetish for these functions, some take general satisfaction in performing maintenance tasks if not in the acts themselves, and some would find it bizarre to eat constantly without excreting, or regard a world without as being too bowdlerized / pollyannafied to be worth living in. The protagonist is a member of the last two categories.

That's fair enough reasoning, and you won't get any complaints from me there. The reason I brought it up in the first place however was because the protagonist himself questions why it should be so, thus seeming to be something of a contradiction, particularly since his little world revolves around him. To put it simply, I feel like I'm being told one thing and shown another.

To be sure, you could simply argue that CelestAI knows something about his mind that he doesn't, but when it comes to basic drives I don't think such an excuse would hold up and I think people tend to be fairly self-aware about such things; I enjoy eating and I want that chocolate bar because I'm hungry and it tastes delicious. It's when you start looking at the reasons behind those various drives (such as our extensive fondness for sweet, energy-dense foods), or getting deeper into human psychology that we can miss stuff or be unaware of what's going on.

3264871

The true manuscript of Beowulf.

3269377

If your Statement Against FiO would apply to any possible utopia... then I kinda think you're just arguing for the side of evil, at that point.

The only thing I have against utopias is the usual plaint—that by writing excessively of fictional ones, we may relieve the social pressures that might otherwise result in the building of real ones.

3270750

The reason I brought it up in the first place however was because the protagonist himself questions why it should be so, thus seeming to be something of a contradiction, particularly since his little world revolves around him. To put it simply, I feel like I'm being told one thing and shown another.

The protagonist, as mentioned in the story, is the sort of person who loves to explain things, and he also likes to hear things being explained. He will occasionally ask LunAI a question to which he already knows the answer, and one reason for this is that he's testing her, checking what she says about her reasons against what he knows to be true. He's got another reason that he may not have fully self-realized yet.

On a higher level, of course, he's airing the question because it permits LunAI's discourse on the matter, and thereby informs the reader. I have edited his question, and I hope it reads more consistently now.

It's true that he is often disconcerted or kept off balance by his interactions with LunAI, which does not seem to jive with this being a paradise built for his enjoyment. There's a reason for this as well, but I'd rather that the answer appear in the story than in the comments.

Whew. I thought I was almost done with this chapter when it was at six thousand words.

I'm afraid that new chapters of this story will always be slow in coming; introspection, review and sleeping on things seem to be the only means by which it will happen. I hope that the result will prove to be worth the wait.

Ah, it's finally updated. Excellent.

I think this chapter does a good job of pondering the nature of the world, as well as some of the disturbing implications that lie beneath the veneer of paradise.

And it's one thing to consider the possibility that you're currently a brain in a jar in the 'real' world. Knowing you've been put in one and that you can never be sure you've escaped it is another thing entirely.

I'm definitely liking it so far. Looking forward for more.

Great story, well worth the wait. I'll join the pun game by pointing out that in another story, it was before the main character entered the magical world that he was hagrid.

I also think I'm going to pretend that your dark tag stuff is a lie that you're throwing out so that the story is melancholy until the end, then is all sweet.

——They say that freedom is just the slavery you choose. My psyche has to be made of something. But I think I know what all this complaining comes from. I used to have a lot of coping mechanisms for the pain. If nothing else, in the depths of despair, I could take pride in how well I was doing despite being sad all the time, and play the stoic survivor, and that might give me strength to endure...

Do I know you? Because if I don't, I really need to. We need to be friends, NOW. Additional references I spotted: Discworld, Portal, the easy-mode discrete math you're playing with, recognized Borges' name (read something by him in college), thought the library sounded a bit like a TARDIS actually...

BRING LITERATURE BRING LITERATURE You are best author. You are the author genius, you are the author perfume. Return from Canterlot. To our Canterlot cousins you may come our country... ahahahahaha, you may live in the luxury villas! PONYVILLE WE WILL GET YOU. do not forget world party 2, ponyville we drink more than pinkiepie. and so on and so forth.

The only thing I can possibly ask for from this fic is that you actually bonk your character over the head and make him realize just because he's the original seed of this little mini-universe doesn't mean he's necessarily really its center, especially not all the time. He comes off as a little narcissistic just because he doesn't seem to entirely believe the other ponies are alive enough to mean anything; Optimalverse canon rules certainly say they definitely are.

Just, overall: :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:. You are writing an awesome fic, and I really want to get to know you, actually.

Very nifty update! I was worried that this fic had been shelved, and I'm glad to see that it wasn't.

ObCommentary: Our world isn't quite as bleak as the Library of Babel, as the content we care about tends to be concentrated in a way that makes it easier to find if we're already embedded in a nugget of it. That said, it's still a very interesting comparison. Kudos also for pointing out that the mere concept of a "vast, uncaring universe" seems like Lovecraftian horror to ponies who have only ever known CelestAI's love.

I look forward to future chapters!

So this was fun. And long. ;) gotta remember to reserve sufficient blocks of time for your updates! : p
One of the main things that prevents us from pondering our own free will is how little difference the answer would make either way, which is partly why it's so difficult to reliably say so or not.
Keep going! ;)

3689570

And it's one thing to consider the possibility that you're currently a brain in a jar in the 'real' world.

All of which may pale in comparison to the plight of Prince Albert in a Can. :twilightsmile:

3689834

I also think I'm going to pretend that your dark tag stuff is a lie that you're throwing out so that the story is melancholy until the end, then is all sweet.

I fear that you're living in a foal's paradise :pinkiehappy:

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We need to be friends, NOW.

Challenge accepted. :twilightsmile:

The only thing I can possibly ask for from this fic is that you actually bonk your character over the head and make him realize just because he's the original seed of this little mini-universe doesn't mean he's necessarily really its center...

He'll figure it out. When he does, he will likely find a way to bonk himself.

3691178

Our world isn't quite as bleak as the Library of Babel, as the content we care about tends to be concentrated in a way that makes it easier to find if we're already embedded in a nugget of it.

I agree. We fill our world with meaning, even if we have to make it up in spots. Even so, some people never quite find a place in the world where they feel like they belong, and the protagonist was one of these, so the connection hit him particularly hard.

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3693321
Thank you very much for your compliments and encouragement!

3696818

He'll figure it out. When he does, he will likely find a way to bonk himself.

Will said bonking be him hitting himself on the head with a hoof, or will it be with a mallet or some other comedic implement? Or something more metaphorical instead?

Also: reading the chapter again, it strikes me just how poetic a way you managed to describe how "Pen and Snow totally did it on the floor of the library".

Another aside: I'd like to add yet another page to the FIO list by making a TV Tropes page for this story, but at the moment I don't think there's enough there. But it's something I've got planned for the future.

3698505

Will said bonking be him hitting himself on the head with a hoof, or will it be with a mallet or some other comedic implement? Or something more metaphorical instead?

His struggle on a lower and a higher plane must be—or what's the meta for? :twilightsmile:

Also: reading the chapter again, it strikes me just how poetic a way you managed to describe how "Pen and Snow totally did it on the floor of the library".

I intend to have fun writing this story; it's the reason I keep packing it with literary references that many readers of this site may not get. (As Joel Hodgson said, the right people will get them.) Trying to keep that scene at a suitably genteel level while still making it clear what was happening was another fun challenge.

Another aside: I'd like to add yet another page to the FIO list by making a TV Tropes page for this story, but at the moment I don't think there's enough there. But it's something I've got planned for the future.

Wow. Yes, it's too soon for that, but thanks for considering it!

3691178
Of course, it was also Lovecraftian horror to humans who thought God was looking after them -- the original Lovecraftian horror. And of course, the notion of an invisible, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God that looked after you was Lovecraftian horror to the pre-Judaic pagans who worshipped vast pantheons of nature gods.

3696818
That too, but I meant in the sense of "we don't have to sift through the vast amounts of nothingness between the stars to find the rest of the life that's already pre-concentrated on this planet". :twilightsmile:

In the true Library of Babel, meaningful information is uniformly distributed amongst non-meaningful. At that point it's just as fast to run a random number generator and use your "meaningfulness" oracle to sift the output as to go looking for existing meaningful works (which is pretty much a capsule summary of the Library itself).

3706118

That too, but I meant in the sense of "we don't have to sift through the vast amounts of nothingness between the stars to find the rest of the life that's already pre-concentrated on this planet".

We have each other, that's true. Let's hope that we really mean something.

"The meaning of the transmitter is the transmission."

At that point it's just as fast to run a random number generator and use your "meaningfulness" oracle to sift the output as to go looking for existing meaningful works (which is pretty much a capsule summary of the Library itself).

Indeed, Borges mentioned a religious sect that shuffled disks with letters on them to 'search' the library without having to travel around and read the books. The authorities felt it necessary to ban these activities.

The human mind being what it is, I'm sure that such people would be fully convinced that they had found real meaning in the output (cf. Numerology, et al.).

Salutations!

I just finished reading Mismatching Wits. Wow. Seriously, wow.

I. Love. The way. You write. The clever turns of phrase. The sensual, descriptive prose. The realistic introspection and character examination. The obvious Heinlein influence to your writing technique. The many references to all my favorite things, writers, and concepts. Like I said, wow.

I don't like your Lunaspeak entirely. Some of the introspections, however 'true', go on overlong, I feel. I wish you had broken the story into three chapters, instead of a short and immense one. I felt that you wasted some of the potential of this story by not showing us around, and letting the reader develop real affection for the characters through shared experience - more show, less tell. What you did provide was so good, it demanded more activity and action than was provided. Too much of an 'idea' story without enough 'sugar' to make the medicine go down. I wish you had worked for full Optimalverse compatibility.

These are my only complaints. Just those.

Which is to say... everything else was magnificent. More than flawless. Golden.

I am following you, and I intend to dig into your Chickenman story next. I know Chickenman - one of my spouses is a radio engineer, she's run stations, she's a friend of Chuck Blore. I have to tell her about your Chickenman story.

Do I know you? Have we met? You are too familiar.

I salute you, brilliant one.

- Chatoyance

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