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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: ClaudiusPtolemy on September 18, 2009, 08:55:57 am

Title: OOh a code!
Post by: ClaudiusPtolemy on September 18, 2009, 08:55:57 am
Obviously some kind of hidden message in there. My first few guesses for where it was hidden were wrong.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 18, 2009, 10:58:54 am
The very first thing that I noticed was that the "suicide note" was not in handwriting but in block letter form.  It's fairly easy for a handwriting expert to determine weither or not a handwritten note was from the deceased but a lot harder if someone else had written the note if it's written as block form.   That points towards murder.  :o
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on September 18, 2009, 07:00:38 pm
The advent of computers has largely destroyed "writing" as the preferred method of scribbling down thoughts for preference to the more legible "printing" and it's strong resemblance to typeset.

It doesn't point to murder but it doesn't really point anywhere else.

A very non-pointy note.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 18, 2009, 10:25:27 pm
While many people now used texting instead of writing it is far from being obsolete.  In my case when I'm writing down an address or a name I usually do block letters but if I'm writing down thoughts or something to send to someone I use standard handwriting.  Maybe it's because I learned to handwrite back in the late 1950's and many people who see it complement me on my penmanship.  I still believe that block lettering in a suicide note which would be an emotional incident points towards murder.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Sean Roach on September 18, 2009, 10:39:18 pm
I think the implication is the deceased was acting like a child, and ran "outside" without a suit to play with the friends that were only in his head.
Whether or not he was murdered hinges on whether or not someone managed to mess with his mental state.

And when I count backwards from three, you will wake up, feeling refreshed.  You will then remember an appointment you have to keep.  You will walk out that door marked "fire escape", and you will walk ten paces forward where you will see a door.  You will see a carpeted hallway extending from the "fire escape" door to the office door where you have your meeting.  You will also see a sign asking you to please remove your shoes before entering the hallway.  You will remove your shoes and drop them next to the child gate that stands between you and the carpet.  You will hop over the child gate.  You will walk ten paces to the door at the end of the nicely carpeted hall.  You will go in that door.
Now I'm going to count backwards from three, and when I get to the end, you will wake up, refreshed, remember your appointment, and go take care of it.  And everything will be okay.
3
2
1
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 20, 2009, 03:41:23 pm
Sean: 
     I kept trying to read your reply but everytime I did I kept finding myself standing outside without any shoes on.   ???
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Sean Roach on September 20, 2009, 10:29:02 pm
Yeah, but you were supposed to take a long walk off the fifth story fire escape.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on September 21, 2009, 07:56:26 am
A greatly simplified, and effective,  way to mess with someone's mind, but not the only one. There are ways that take longer and are more insidious. Playing "music" through hidden speakers presumably when your target is alone so only he ever hears it. Having strange images appear/ disappear on the target's walls at work or alone, having objects suddenly "appear" or "move" from their correct location (and it's ruled impossible that someone other than the target can move them), etc. It takes considerably longer, sure, but if you can make your target doubt his own sanity, you can eventually make him do whatever you want, including suicide.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 21, 2009, 11:45:57 am
A greatly simplified, and effective,  way to mess with someone's mind, but not the only one. There are ways that take longer and are more insidious. Playing "music" through hidden speakers presumably when your target is alone so only he ever hears it. Having strange images appear/ disappear on the target's walls at work or alone, having objects suddenly "appear" or "move" from their correct location (and it's ruled impossible that someone other than the target can move them), etc. It takes considerably longer, sure, but if you can make your target doubt his own sanity, you can eventually make him do whatever you want, including suicide.
   That just might be the perfect crime.  "No. your honor, I didn't kill him."  "He did it himself."
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on September 22, 2009, 01:18:30 am
Making someone doubt their sanity is easy but kind of tricky if your trying to do it intentionally.

Most humans have a canny ability to ignore things that don't make sense.  Up to and including snatching the stapler as it tries to escape off the desk and snickering as it screams in pain every time you staple a receipt to a MA.

I mean it would take years of guilt from emotionally abusing the stapler to truly drive a man mad.

And of course if you pushed to far the more logical part of the mind would have to deal with it.

Like making the Stapler sob after each use would mandate a non working human to immediately dismantle the stapler looking for a micro-phone.  Where as the previous events would clouded under the veil of the "working man's haze"
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on September 22, 2009, 02:20:12 am
Ah, but searching for a microphone for "music" that only YOU hear could be construed by your friends as being "not well." If the "music" keeps waking you up at night, if your friends and co-workers help you search for said microphone and nothing is ever found, if your "martian friends" screen saver that appears only when no one else is watching and is never found by your anti-virus software, and your system admin never finds odd or "rogue" files... Your friends, meaning well, might just suggest therapy themselves and start the ball rolling on the whole doubting your sanity.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on September 22, 2009, 09:29:18 am
I guess that the grad students were messing with Rogers's mind (just for fun, but a little nasty), the murder was staged to look like he went crazy as a result, someone will reveal their mind-messing quickly, it'll take longer for Reggie to figure out how the cover-up was done, and the murderer will get desperate trying to prevent discovery.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: quadibloc on September 22, 2009, 09:38:10 am
I had to back up and re-read the last few strips to make sure I hadn't misunderstood the plot. We see Bert saying that Reggie went to Mars to investigate mysterious music, but it turns out that no one admits to knowing anything about any mysterious music - except for the one person who committed suicide, claiming he heard music.

I would have thought that in a situation like that, people would assume this was a hallucination on the part of the deceased, and while some people might look harder for murder, as Reggie is doing, where there is only one witness to the music, and that witness' credibility is undermined by committing suicide under circumstances that make it appear to be due to be a psychosis... even those disposed to believe in ghosts and the like would find little to interest them.

So something else is not adding up, besides what Reggie is seeing as not adding up. Why wouldn't Bert have heard about Reggie going to Mars to investigate a mysterious death, instead of an unexplained phenomenon with a very obvious (even if we have reason to think it false) explanation?
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 22, 2009, 10:52:50 am
Unless the person who asked him to come to Mars to investigate had been told by other people who aren't in the group that they had heard music.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: quadibloc on September 22, 2009, 11:17:50 pm
Well, from today's (Tuesday's) comic, it seems clear that the victim was indeed being subjected to gaslighting, as has been noted by others above - and apparently everyone currently being questioned by Reggie has guilty knowledge of that. it's extremely unlikely that they all conspired to murder him, though, so I presume what happened is either that a prank went wrong... or someone took advantage of the situation to commit murder.

The two obvious possibilities are that the message about the Martians calling to him was forged, and he was dragged out the airlock by force... or that someone poisoned him with some substance like LSD that induces psychotic symptoms - but is difficult to trace.

But we'll see soon enough.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on September 23, 2009, 06:17:19 am
Well, from today's (Tuesday's) comic, it seems clear that the victim was indeed being subjected to gaslighting, as has been noted by others above - and apparently everyone currently being questioned by Reggie has guilty knowledge of that. it's extremely unlikely that they all conspired to murder him, though, so I presume what happened is either that a prank went wrong... or someone took advantage of the situation to commit murder.

The two obvious possibilities are that the message about the Martians calling to him was forged, and he was dragged out the airlock by force... or that someone poisoned him with some substance like LSD that induces psychotic symptoms - but is difficult to trace.

But we'll see soon enough.

It could easily be both.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on September 25, 2009, 12:34:00 pm
And here's the EUREKA moment. They were looking about guiltily because each of them was afraid that he/she was the "only one" hearing the music.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 25, 2009, 09:53:29 pm
I thought that it was kind of interesting that one person said that the sound was coming from outside with no one contradicting her.   Mars's atmosphere is so thin that effectively sound couldn't travel through a near vacuum.  ???
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on September 26, 2009, 06:55:24 am
I thought that it was kind of interesting that one person said that the sound was coming from outside with no one contradicting him.   Mars's atmosphere is so thin that effectively sound couldn't travel through a near vacuum.  ???

From: http://mars.eso.org/msp98/news/news18.html

Are There Sounds on Mars?

Given that sound waves need an atmospheric medium through which to travel, many people are surprised to learn that any sounds at all can be heard on Mars. The atmospheric pressure on the surface of the Red Planet is small, amounting to around 0.1 percent of the Earth's sea level pressure. But even at Mars' low pressure, acoustic signals within the frequency range of the human ear can be detected. And while the atmosphere of Mars is very different from Earth's, consisting mostly of carbon dioxide, there are similarities between these environments that should make the sound data worthwhile.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on September 26, 2009, 12:22:47 pm
That does surprise me Sandy.  Am I correct in assuming that the lower pressure would also mean that the sound would not carry as far as sound on Earth would?  It would seem that way to me.  ;D
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on September 26, 2009, 02:58:25 pm
That does surprise me Sandy.  Am I correct in assuming that the lower pressure would also mean that the sound would not carry as far as sound on Earth would?  It would seem that way to me.  ;D

That is correct! Give the man a cigar. Several sources say that the sound pitch would be pretty much the same (actually, a tad lower). However, the sounds would not carry nearly as far. The example given, is that a lawnmower can be heard for up to mile on earth, but would only go a hundred feet or so on Mars, before it would be too faint to here.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 01, 2009, 12:17:55 am
Poor, gullible Reggie. He's presuming that the consequence is unintended. At least, he's gotten them to open up.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 01, 2009, 06:31:41 am
Poor, gullible Reggie. He's presuming that the consequence is unintended. At least, he's gotten them to open up.

Don't underestimate Reggie, and don't presume to know what he presumes. He has dealt with human nature for a very long time.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 02, 2009, 03:20:54 am
Poor, gullible Reggie. He's presuming that the consequence is unintended. At least, he's gotten them to open up.

Don't underestimate Reggie, and don't presume to know what he presumes. He has dealt with human nature for a very long time.

I can't get into his head. Only the author can do that. I can only read his "spoken" statements and track record. Considering that alone, the term "gullible" still applies.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: terry_freeman on October 02, 2009, 06:18:35 am
The older I get, the less interested I am in showing off my capabilities; it's young people who engage in such mating displays of plumage. Reggie has been around long enough to let other people show off.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 08, 2009, 04:27:53 am
The older I get, the less interested I am in showing off my capabilities; it's young people who engage in such mating displays of plumage. Reggie has been around long enough to let other people show off.

Not any more... LOL!
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on October 09, 2009, 02:02:04 am
I call no CO2 scrubber on the auditory and visual hallucinations.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 09, 2009, 02:27:24 am
I call no CO2 scrubber on the auditory and visual hallucinations.

Or something far, far worse.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on October 09, 2009, 02:48:23 am
There is something else actually and it doesn't relate directly to malfunctioning equipment.

Behold:

http://www.prisoncommission.org/statements/grassian_stuart_long.pdf
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 15, 2009, 03:01:04 am
Bwahahahaa! NEVER TEMPT FATE, REGGIE! Either Reggie has the strongest mind/will in existence or is a genuine wacko! Having salient conversations with hallucinations is NEVER a good sign. It's even worse when they turn "dark" like this. The human mind is a strange and wonderous thing. Although there is "nothing" there, if the brain BELIEVES that an "alien" is feasting on your flesh, it can MANIFEST wounds, even kill you. Reggie is in real danger here.

As for his "I don't believe in that Jimmy Carter... crap." statement he made earlier, Jimmy Carter didn't make that rule, JESUS did. For a "man of the cloth," Reggie doesn't seem to know his King James very well.

The tenth commandment (Old Testament, B.C.) also frowns upon COVETING, and that's what fantasizing about another man's "girl" is.

The very fact that he argued with the hallucination about it, means at least some small part of him knows it's wrong, but he refuses to admit it.

Now I'm not saying it's wrong to find a woman attractive, even if she's someone else's "girl," but fantasizing about her is dangerous, and has lead to much death, destruction, and mayhem.

That applies in the other direction too, ladies. Fantasizing about some other woman's "guy" is just as bad.


Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 15, 2009, 08:19:05 am
As for his "I don't believe in that Jimmy Carter... crap." statement he made earlier, Jimmy Carter didn't make that rule, JESUS did. For a "man of the cloth," Reggie doesn't seem to know his King James very well.

So your assumption is that Reggie is a Christian? Interesting.

The very fact that he argued with the hallucination about it, means at least some small part of him knows it's wrong, but he refuses to admit it.

Not necessarily. There are other explanations that fit just as well. His hesitation may suggest that Reggie is just playing back "tapes" he got from sexually conservative parents. The shadows of all our childhood teachings still exist within us. Two examples, one more on point, one trivial, but illuminating.

I know Jews who were raised in conservative or orthodox families. As adults, they rejected most of the ritualistic literalism of Judaism. Nevertheless, they find shrimp, pork and cheeseburgers repulsive.
 
Do you ever find yourself walking down a sidewalk and trying not to step on a crack? Why do you think that is?
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on October 15, 2009, 03:24:07 pm
When I first saw Reggie's vision, I immediately thought "Monsters from the id".  A few seconds later, I thought "Mirror of Erised".  I don't expect the story to reflect either of those, but today's panel reminded me of the first.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 15, 2009, 06:29:02 pm
When I first saw Reggie's vision, I immediately thought "Monsters from the id"...

Why haven't I seen this all along? The beast. The mindless primitive! Even the Krell... Oops! Sorry, just a momentary flashback from my many years of watching Forbidden Planet over and over and over...

You may have noticed some "Easter eggs" in EFT. There will be more; not just fromForbidden Planet, but to infinity and beyond! Oops.

Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 15, 2009, 11:47:35 pm
As for his "I don't believe in that Jimmy Carter... crap." statement he made earlier, Jimmy Carter didn't make that rule, JESUS did. For a "man of the cloth," Reggie doesn't seem to know his King James very well.

So your assumption is that Reggie is a Christian? Interesting.

The very fact that he argued with the hallucination about it, means at least some small part of him knows it's wrong, but he refuses to admit it.

From what I recall, he was chosen as "king" because he's a PRIEST, and was drawn wearing the collar (an exclusively Christian artifact). As well as being called the closest thing to a "leader" that CERES had when Guy made his first visit, specifically because he "leads" the church there.

Not necessarily. There are other explanations that fit just as well. His hesitation may suggest that Reggie is just playing back "tapes" he got from sexually conservative parents. The shadows of all our childhood teachings still exist within us. Two examples, one more on point, one trivial, but illuminating.

I know Jews who were raised in conservative or orthodox families. As adults, they rejected most of the ritualistic literalism of Judaism. Nevertheless, they find shrimp, pork and cheeseburgers repulsive.
 
Do you ever find yourself walking down a sidewalk and trying not to step on a crack? Why do you think that is?

He would still be technically incorrect in saying that "there's nothing wrong with the fantasy" and that Jimmy Carter was the author of that "crap."

There are numerous historical examples where one man "fantasizing" about another man's wife, sister or daughter lead to brutal and costly wars.

The most famous of these are the story of Helena of TROY,(where the Trojans kidnapped Helena and the Greeks had to go to war to win her back) and the greatly mystified story of England's King Arthur.

Arthur was SIRED by a man who lay with another man's wife and then his father and his mother's husband killed each other in battle.

Arthur's downfall came when his best knight, Lancelot, began fantasizing about Arthur's wife, Gwenevere, and eventually seduced her, at which point, Arthur's half sister, Morgan la Faye, seized the opportunity and drugged/ enchanted Arthur, pretended to be his wife and sired Mordred. Mordred, led by his mother's hatred of Arthur (because of the way he was sired),  would raise an army against his father and then they went to war, killing each other and leading to the fall of CAMELOT and its democratic ideals which in turn led to the DARK AGES.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 16, 2009, 08:13:47 am
From what I recall, he was chosen as "king" because he's a PRIEST, and was drawn wearing the collar (an exclusively Christian artifact). As well as being called the closest thing to a "leader" that CERES had when Guy made his first visit, specifically because he "leads" the church there.

I don't recall for certain, but I am pretty sure we never used the word "priest." In any case, there are all sorts of non-Christian priests, official and self-appointed. Again, I don't recall whether there was the collar drawn or not, but adopting Christian paraphernalia does not a Christian make. Ever heard of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? Reggie was chosen as "king" because he is an actor and he has the gravitas. Reggie is the owner of the church and the church itself is the closest thing on Ceres that looks like a royal court.

He would still be technically incorrect in saying that "there's nothing wrong with the fantasy" and that Jimmy Carter was the author of that "crap."

Quite correct, if he had said that Carter was the author, but he didn't say that. The controversy about Carter having said that in the Playboy interview, was about Carter. Now, if you are objecting to the characterization of "lusting in your mind" (which is what Carter said) as crap, well that's why there are horse races--differences of opinion.

Everyone is free to pick one of the many bibles then cherry pick the parts he likes. Many bibles? Sure, the Catholic Bible includes the Apocrypha, the Protestant Bible does not. The Jews only recognize the old Testament. Muslim recognize old and new testaments as holy writings that are trumped by the Koran. Even the Protestant Bible has been through many permutations. Then there is the Book of Mormon... As for the King James, it is full of translations errors such as the goofy "Thou shalt not kill" reading of the commandment against murder. 

So, pick your bible, and hope that the writers got it right. We have no independent evidence that Jesus of Nazareth even existed, much less any assurance that he said what he is reported to have said. I'm sure there were more than a few "blessed are the cheese makers" steno errors.

There are numerous historical examples where one man "fantasizing" about another man's wife, sister or daughter lead to brutal and costly wars.

Yeah, and there are many times as many incidents of fantasizing--and much more--that have lead to no brutal and costly wars or any significant negative consequences. The story of King Arthur is a legend. While there may have been an historical Arthur, Jesus and Hercules (I believe there were, BTW), the detailed stories about them and the long quotations attribute to them are almost certainly made up stuff. 
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on October 16, 2009, 12:19:18 pm
I don't recall for certain, but I am pretty sure we never used the word "priest."
You did (page 35), but Ernie's affirmation sounded joking (to those in the know).

By the way, I figured one reason the audience was held at King's Court was the sign out front, which (I'm a little reluctant to admit) reminded me of Arnold on Happy Days adopting that name because it would cost too much to change the sign.  (Is Reggie's last name King?)
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 16, 2009, 03:30:24 pm
You did (page 35), but Ernie's affirmation sounded joking (to those in the know).

Correct. Guy made an assumption, Ernie went with it... sort of.

By the way, I figured one reason the audience was held at King's Court was the sign out front, which (I'm a little reluctant to admit) reminded me of Arnold on Happy Days adopting that name because it would cost too much to change the sign.  (Is Reggie's last name King?)

Bingo. I thought we had mentioned that earlier, but yes, his name is Reginald King. You will also note that another sign says, "Karaoke Church of Universal Faith, Nondenominational." That could be anything. It all depends upon what you believe is universally true. Needless to say, opinions vary on that issue.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Corydon on October 17, 2009, 08:01:20 pm
The problem with the Jimmy Carter reference isn't that it presents a conflict with Reggie's religion (whatever that may be), it's that it comes off as anachronistic.  Carter is an obsession/punchline for the modern American right, but I'm confident that in a century he'll be a footnote: for Reggie to bring him up would be like bringing up, I dunno, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child.*  That Reggie references Carter rather than St. Paul suddenly pulls the reader back into the 21st century: a jarring sensation!

*Probably a bad analogy, as Cleveland's scandal was a whole lot more significant than Carter's.  But I can't think of a really good comparison offhand.

Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 18, 2009, 12:39:58 am
The problem with the Jimmy Carter reference isn't that it presents a conflict with Reggie's religion (whatever that may be), it's that it comes off as anachronistic.  Carter is an obsession/punchline for the modern American right, but I'm confident that in a century he'll be a footnote: for Reggie to bring him up would be like bringing up, I dunno, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child.*  That Reggie references Carter rather than St. Paul suddenly pulls the reader back into the 21st century: a jarring sensation!

How old do you think Reggie is? Maybe he is an anachronism. And remember, he's only talking to himself...
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Corydon on October 18, 2009, 06:45:30 am
I don't know.  Maybe Reggie is 500 years old.  Maybe he's fifteen.  Maybe he's a fifth-dimensional alien whose real name is "The Great Gazoo."  It doesn't change the sudden inconcinnity created by suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 18, 2009, 08:36:28 am
I don't know.  Maybe Reggie is 500 years old.  Maybe he's fifteen.  Maybe he's a fifth-dimensional alien whose real name is "The Great Gazoo."  It doesn't change the sudden inconcinnity created by suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::

I will tell you a little secret. Every science fiction alien, robot or creature made of pure thought and energy is a human being in disguise. And the stories are almost always about here and now. Sure, the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but almost all science fiction is topical commentary wrapped up in space ships, ray guns and time warps.

The Carter comment seemed out of place to you. I'm sure you are not alone in that. However, I think most readers understand that science fiction language and symbolism are derived from contemporary usage. Little Babbette says, "No duh!" and nobody raises an eyebrow. Yet, do you really think that late 20th Century slang will be around in a hundred years? Chill baby. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: J Thomas on October 18, 2009, 09:46:29 am

I will tell you a little secret. Every science fiction alien, robot or creature made of pure thought and energy is a human being in disguise. And the stories are almost always about here and now. Sure, the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but almost all science fiction is topical commentary wrapped up in space ships, ray guns and time warps.

This is true. Every now and then we get a science fiction story that actually starts out with different cultural assumptions and runs with them. These tend not to be very successful. The first example that comes to my mind is _Courtship Rite_ by Donald Kingsbury. Kingsbury made some jarring cultural differences and a lot of people went "Eeeeewwww!" and stopped reading before page 30. His next novel, _The Moon Goddess and the Son_ was 100% patriotic american fantasy with not one single idea that had not been published before as US military SF.

Hal Clement wrote about aliens that on some levels were pretty alien. But their thinking was centered around concepts of duty and courage in ways that exactly mirrored those of americans in his time.

Quote
The Carter comment seemed out of place to you. I'm sure you are not alone in that. However, I think most readers understand that science fiction language and symbolism are derived from contemporary usage. Little Babbette says, "No duh!" and nobody raises an eyebrow. Yet, do you really think that late 20th Century slang will be around in a hundred years? Chill baby. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

Yes. Look at the speech patterns in, say, books by Edgar Rice Burrough. Or the original Buck Rogers. _Armageddon 2419_ is worth reading for the description of a 25-century artillery barrage that could have come out of WWI if you didn't like anything else about it.

Still, I tend to agree with Corydon. Reggie seems like a smart and careful thinker, and it was a bit disconcerting when for one sentence he turned into an idiot dittohead.

Just as an aside, it looked to me like Jesus's point was not so much that it's bad to think about women, more that it's bad to kill women for being prostitutes. If we're all sinners then maybe we should be cautious about killing people for their sins. I'm not sure what Carter's point was but it sure looked to me like another media-manufactured scandal, at least as much as Cheney shooting his hunting buddy or Bush Jr. using cocaine.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on October 18, 2009, 04:38:45 pm
the Jimmy Carter reference ... comes off as anachronistic
I think I know what you mean.  When Star Trek: TNG was first showing, some friends enjoyed it and wanted me to watch with them.  I usually didn't, because the minor customs (mannerisms, fashions, attitudes, etc.) that typically change every few decades were almost always present-day.  My friends didn't mind, but I was used to reading good science fiction and was frequently jarred by the improbability.  Note: J-L Picard's preference for "tea, earl grey, hot" was not jarring--it was the sort of common anachronism that I'd expect to occur frequently in almost any society.

Similarly, Reggie's reference to J Carter's Playboy interview was not only not jarring, but in character.  I imagine that Reggie, among other things, is considered an ethical adviser on Ceres.  Carter's interview was often discussed during and after his presidential campaign, at several levels.  For many sorts of ethical questions, I suppose there would be instructive examples from the interview, the reaction to it, etc.  Also, Reggie displays lots of 20th to early 21st century stuff (pages 43, 44, 45), so he might have a special interest in that time.

Quote
Carter ... I'm confident that in a century he'll be a footnote
Maybe.  Maybe not.  Many well-known historical people were no more important to their time as other less-known or unknown people.  Perhaps a tanglenet Christian channel will put on a show called "The lust in Carter's heart", with dramatizations of what writers imagine he lusted for (and sermons denouncing it).  Produced well, it could be a great series of period pieces about sexual practices (real and imagined) of the late 20th century--and if viewers lusted in their hearts after watching, the church could absolve them for a small fee.

Quote
for Reggie to bring him up would be like bringing up, I dunno, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child.*
No, that would have nothing to do with the story.  The best-known part of Carter's interview was the lust in his heart (or maybe mind--I don't remember).  It takes more than lust in the heart to make a child.

Quote
That Reggie references Carter rather than St. Paul suddenly pulls the reader back into the 21st century: a jarring sensation!
Well, my reaction was different.  I was a bit surprised at the strength of Reggie's reaction, and thought that there might be an interesting back-story.  The Carter reference also suggested that Reggie is well-educated, but I don't put much stock in that since I don't know enough background.

I hope that not many readers have a reaction similar to yours.

Reggie ... suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::
Reggie ... for one sentence he turned into an idiot dittohead.
I suppose that each of you has listened to lots of Rush Limbaugh (I haven't--an hour or two about 20 years ago was plenty) and has studied his listeners enough to have a good idea of their typical reactions to many things.  If you both say that Reggie's reaction is typical of a Limbaugh listener, I'll accept that.  But so what?  Reggie's reaction was consistent with his character, appropriate to the situation, and probably more intelligent than my reaction would have been.  I hope it advances the story.

I'm not sure what Carter's point was but it sure looked to me like another media-manufactured scandal,
Carter gave the interview to a widely-read magazine, so of course the media were involved.  If you mean anything more than that, please tell us.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on October 18, 2009, 06:11:39 pm
Every now and then we get a science fiction story that actually starts out with different cultural assumptions and runs with them. These tend not to be very successful. The first example that comes to my mind is _Courtship Rite_ by Donald Kingsbury. Kingsbury made some jarring cultural differences and a lot of people went "Eeeeewwww!" and stopped reading before page 30.

Some SF authors would consider a Hugo nomination to be a sign of success.

Good SF makes assumptions that are consistent with what we know, or that are explained.  For example, if people all have a genetic trait that would be counter-survival in the environment where they would have evolved, then we'd expect that trait to be a result of something other than natural selection, perhaps selective breeding or other genetic engineering.  A story set in a society of such people that had resulted from evolution by natural selection would face scorn, but it might still be admired if the story was good enough.

The only Kingsbury novel that I've read is Psychohistorical Crisis, and I wasn't impressed.  I might try Courtship Rite.  The Wikipedia entry for Courtship Rite doesn't say much that I could use to judge.  Did you like it?  What was particularly good?

Quote
Hal Clement wrote about aliens that on some levels were pretty alien. But their thinking was centered around concepts of duty and courage in ways that exactly mirrored those of americans in his time.

I don't know any humans, let alone Americans, whose thinking is centered around concepts of duty and courage.  I'd expect to find courage as a varying trait in most intelligent creatures, and something that might be called duty (perhaps learned) as a varying trait in most intelligent social creatures, but to center thinking about such concepts sounds impossibly alien to me.  (My imagination is poor.)  I think I've read most of what Hal Clement wrote, and I don't remember any aliens like that, but I read some of them a long time ago.  I'd enjoy rereading such a story--do you have any specific stories in mind?

I do recall Iceworld as being strained in trying to disguise (for a while) the fact that the main viewpoint characters were far from human.  If that's true, those aliens might seem not alien enough to be convincing.  But I don't remember Iceworld well.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 18, 2009, 08:34:27 pm
Reggie ... suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::
Reggie ... for one sentence he turned into an idiot dittohead.

It never ceases to amaze me how many liberals (and conservatives, for that matter) just don't get Rush Limbaugh. They think they understand what he believes (they don't) and they thing they know who his listeners are (they miss that one too). Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. He's smart and understands what makes good radio. That's it. As for his listeners, I don't know how anybody would know who is listening, only who gets on the air. As much as possible, his screener passes over people who want to "ditto" Rush in favor of folks who don't agree with him. Talk show conflict makes good radio, slavish agreement does not.

I got on Limbaugh's show 3 times by giving Bo, the screener at that time, a good sound byte that disagreed with what Limbaugh was saying. Limbaugh always politely thanked me for my call. He loved me because I made good radio. Arguing with me was not intended to convince me (or his listeners) of anything. His intent was to entertain and I obliged him.

I wrote an article for the LA Times on how to get onto Rush's show or any talk show. If you would like to read it it's here:

  http://articles.latimes.com/1995-06-25/entertainment/ca-16834_1_talk-show-host

After the article came out, a lot of Rush haters used my techniques to get on his show. It became the topic of the day on his show for some time.

Reggie's reaction was consistent with his character, appropriate to the situation, and probably more intelligent than my reaction would have been.  I hope it advances the story.

Thanks. I understand the reality, though. You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself. So I did.   ;)
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on October 19, 2009, 10:42:47 pm
By saying that Reggie, by taking a slash at one of Jimmy Carter's more puritanical view points, is like a Rush Limbaugh listener (Read as humorously far right wing to point of error and cliche) is like...  Saying that an Orange by being so far into the yellow spectrum of color will clearly be more into the salty spectrum of taste like pretzels.

Although perhaps that puts too much value on the idea that the right and left spectrum is a valid manner in which to describe politics.  It is generally far to simplistic, mashing things like Moral values into Economic ideals into quantity of government into inward vs outward flows of tax dollars.

Regardless I actually suspect that Rush Limbaugh (at least the radio personality) would agree with Jimmy Carter's puritan leanings, if not his unwillingness to allow those leanings to effect law (read as Roe vs Wade).
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Azure Priest on October 20, 2009, 04:48:59 am
Joe King, ugggghhh!!! Will the PUNishment never stop? And that "scratched LP" sound when the music stopped? Classic.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 20, 2009, 07:47:08 am
Joe King, ugggghhh!!! Will the PUNishment never stop? And that "scratched LP" sound when the music stopped? Classic.

 ;D
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: wdg3rd on October 20, 2009, 09:28:00 am

This is true. Every now and then we get a science fiction story that actually starts out with different cultural assumptions and runs with them. These tend not to be very successful. The first example that comes to my mind is _Courtship Rite_ by Donald Kingsbury. Kingsbury made some jarring cultural differences and a lot of people went "Eeeeewwww!" and stopped reading before page 30.

Some folks bailed by the third page, what with the cannibalism and whatnot.  Personally love the book, read it from the point of view of a long-time polyamorist.  (It's a point of view that comes sort of naturally).

Quote
His next novel, _The Moon Goddess and the Son_ was 100% patriotic american fantasy with not one single idea that had not been published before as US military SF.
[/qute]

Stuff and nonsense.  Aside from the fact that Dr, Kingsbury is Canadian, I have found nothing published in "military" SF prior to that novel with anything remotely like the historical perspective on Russian paranoia.

Quote
Hal Clement wrote about aliens that on some levels were pretty alien. But their thinking was centered around concepts of duty and courage in ways that exactly mirrored those of americans in his time.

In his time?  Hal was still writing into the beginning of this century.

Quote
Just as an aside, it looked to me like Jesus's point was not so much that it's bad to think about women, more that it's bad to kill women for being prostitutes. If we're all sinners then maybe we should be cautious about killing people for their sins. I'm not sure what Carter's point was but it sure looked to me like another media-manufactured scandal, at least as much as Cheney shooting his hunting buddy or Bush Jr. using cocaine.

I don't recall the media "manufacturing" the shooting incident.  They did get quite a few laughs out of it.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: wdg3rd on October 20, 2009, 03:05:25 pm
The only Kingsbury novel that I've read is Psychohistorical Crisis, and I wasn't impressed.  I might try Courtship Rite.  The Wikipedia entry for Courtship Rite doesn't say much that I could use to judge.  Did you like it?  What was particularly good?

Myself, I greatly enjoyed Psychohistorical Crisis.  Much better than the source material it was a sequel to.  While I voted for Neil's The American Zone for that year's Prometheus Award, Kingsbury's win neither surprised nor disappointed me,

I loved Courtship Rite (just reread it last year) among other things because of the implication that there's a branch of humanity evolving outside the usual expected parameters.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on October 21, 2009, 12:38:48 pm
Looking at that Reggie in that robe...  I just realized this is the stuff that sparks off religions.  Will Reggie suffer from a sudden bout of piety?  Will he Emerge not as Reggie King but Joe King Prophet of the Walrus and savior of the Colonies?

I don't think so, as that wouldn't really fit the story.  Still a funny little path that is there and open.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on October 21, 2009, 03:54:47 pm
wdg3rd,
Thanks for the recommendation.  While our tastes are not the same (I also preferred The American Zone to Psychohistorical Crisis but don't consider TAZ to be one of L. Neil's better books), your enthusiasm for Courtship Rite is enough for me to try it.  Since neither of the libraries I frequent has it, I'll start checking local bookstores for an inexpensive copy.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 21, 2009, 04:01:16 pm
Looking at that Reggie in that robe...  I just realized this is the stuff that sparks off religions.  Will Reggie suffer from a sudden bout of piety?  Will he Emerge not as Reggie King but Joe King Prophet of the Walrus and savior of the Colonies?

I don't think so, as that wouldn't really fit the story.  Still a funny little path that is there and open.

Well, I can say that Reggie's piety (or lack thereof) will probably be explored eventually. Maybe around this time next year, if we can get the timing right.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: quadibloc on October 22, 2009, 07:56:13 am
I am still expecting that we will eventually see an external cause for Reggie's experiences. I cannot suspend disbelief far enough to accept that the people of the future are so weak they will experience sensory-deprivation hallucinations simply from being without their electronic toys for a few days.

So we hope he will be able to cope when the opportunity comes, despite being softened up in this manner.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on October 22, 2009, 11:08:14 am
I am still expecting that we will eventually see an external cause for Reggie's experiences. I cannot suspend disbelief far enough to accept that the people of the future are so weak they will experience sensory-deprivation hallucinations simply from being without their electronic toys for a few days.

So we hope he will be able to cope when the opportunity comes, despite being softened up in this manner.

Not just electronic toys, but also without human contact.  Not so much as a house cat.

Remember that prisoners in solitary are supposed to go kinda loopy in a single day.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Brugle on October 22, 2009, 02:50:31 pm
I am still expecting that we will eventually see an external cause for Reggie's experiences. I cannot suspend disbelief far enough to accept that the people of the future are so weak they will experience sensory-deprivation hallucinations simply from being without their electronic toys for a few days.

So we hope he will be able to cope when the opportunity comes, despite being softened up in this manner.

Not just electronic toys, but also without human contact.  Not so much as a house cat.

Remember that prisoners in solitary are supposed to go kinda loopy in a single day.

I agree with quadibloc.  If the Martian singing doesn't indicate something external, it might be wise to not report hearing it, and I don't see the authors of EFT liking that moral.

Also, I don't see how to make a good story out of those hallucinations, but that just shows why I'm not a story-teller.

As for coping, Reggie's doing that already.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on October 22, 2009, 02:58:27 pm
Remember that prisoners in solitary are supposed to go kinda loopy in a single day.

There are a number of significant differences with such cases, however:


While these differences may only change the pace of "loopiness" setting in, they are certainly significant enough to raise doubts that the isolation has impacted Reggie in this short period of time.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on October 22, 2009, 07:53:52 pm
I think that it just might not be Reggie's imagination alone that's doing this.  It occurs to me that Reggie may be the victim of a gaslighting.  If for example, someone has placed a temporary LSD like gas in the air or contaminated the food or water in the enclosed atmosphere while at the same time projecting holo-images that could explain what he's been going through.  As to why, I have no idea.  The only thing that occures to me is that someone wants either the land that the outpost sits on or possibly wants whoever is at the outpost so inattentive that another attack by the UW won't be recognized until it's too late to do anything about it.  Probably the latter.   ???
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on October 22, 2009, 08:34:04 pm
I think that it just might not be Reggie's imagination alone that's doing this.  It occurs to me that Reggie may be the victim of a gaslighting.  If for example, someone has placed a temporary LSD like gas [...]

This, however, does not explain the two folks who verified that they heard the same music.  There would have to be some additional "trigger" to cause that, and such a trigger will quite possibly be the key to determining who/what is responsible for this.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Sean Roach on October 22, 2009, 10:45:29 pm
I've been wondering about the nanites.
We lack this technology, so this is speculation.
Three possibilities present themselves.
The nanites, programmed to interact at some basic level constantly, are acting up due to unexpected system isolation.  They don't even have a ships com, or a suits transponder to ping.  The result could be sensory hallucinations triggered, but not dictated by, the nanites, (except for the music, which could be uniform because it's meta-data of a sort...sort of like listening to an AM radio placed too close to a television.  Light images generate more, and different noise, than do dark images.)
The equipment in the habitat is programmed to interact with a network at some level, and is essentially composed of off the shelf components.  They may be pinging the nanites, which aren't programmed to expect it, and the interaction is bleeding over to the user.
The final possibility that presents itself, with regards to nanites, is that someone figured out to hack them, and are USING them to inject hallucinations. High-tech gaslighting.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on October 23, 2009, 01:46:03 am
The hallucinations don't have to be induced by anything other then the stated conditions of lab for it to be murder.

The Martian song can be an actual signal, and almost be irrelevant to the facts.

People mentally damaged by a decaday of isolation would prove to be less willing to stand up and tell people that there are aliens, being unable to bear the thought of being the center of attention for a crowd.  They would seam less competent and believable.  If they encountered the Martian song anywhere else they would most likely conclude it was simply a flashback or remnant rather then something that is real.

And everyone else would know that their are no aliens because all those SETI researchers haven't found anything.

In fact sending everyone who wants to find out if aliens exist to a remote lab like that would be the best way to silence them and keep the whole thing under wraps.

Or the signal could be human in nature and it could be a weird 1984 double think, breaking the spirits of the young and idealistic to preserve the status quo, kind of thing.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: quadibloc on October 23, 2009, 08:32:31 am
So far, I've seen nothing to contradict what seemed plausible earlier; that some hallucinogen is being administered to the people in the station. I presume that the "Martian music" is a real phenomenon, which happened first, and somehow it was perceived as an opportunity by the villain.

But there are other possibilities. For example, LSD was derived from ergot, a natural fungal infection of rye. So it could be simply that, because of the facility's isolation, it is reliant on shipments of food that are too infrequent, food that is stored for too long.

Or we could have real aliens whose body odor is hallucinogenic, but somehow I don't see this comic going there.

Meanwhile, we now have an interesting backstory for Reggie.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on October 23, 2009, 01:08:42 pm
I've been wondering about the nanites.
We lack this technology, so this is speculation.
Three possibilities present themselves.
The nanites, programmed to interact at some basic level constantly, are acting up due to unexpected system isolation.  They don't even have a ships com, or a suits transponder to ping.  The result could be sensory hallucinations triggered, but not dictated by, the nanites...

Damn, I wish I had thought of that. That is very clever and original (also wrong, but that's just because I didn't think of it).
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on November 02, 2009, 03:52:45 am
Leaving early?

"Oh, a definition of God that doesn't involve looking through a telescope?  Back to work!"

But seriously to escape with his current supply of sanity he does have to make a phone call...

The real test will be if the hallucinations fade for a few hours after the call is made.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on November 02, 2009, 02:52:19 pm
The real test will be if the hallucinations fade for a few hours after the call is made.

Will the hallucination fade away or is Reggie doomed to live the rest of his life with delusional dopplegangers and monsters from the id? Don't miss the next exciting episode of    ESCAPE    FROM    TERRA!!!
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: KBCraig on November 03, 2009, 01:46:37 am
The real test will be if the hallucinations fade for a few hours after the call is made.

Will the hallucination fade away or is Reggie doomed to live the rest of his life with delusional dopplegangers and monsters from the id? Don't miss the next exciting episode of    ESCAPE    FROM    TERRA!!!

"Hello, Jot-Em-Down Store!"

Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on November 04, 2009, 12:13:46 am
Go lingering effects! go!

So what about the Swedish Student and the Grass Sandwich?
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Scott on November 04, 2009, 03:15:02 pm
Quote
So what about the Swedish Student and the Grass Sandwich?

Google it.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: ObscureDragom on November 06, 2009, 01:03:04 am
So the melody is real and the melody is just the wind?  I did not see that one coming.
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: Rocketman on November 06, 2009, 10:08:08 am
Read todays panel and I've got a question for Sandy.  Does the melody that the female sailor heard in the rigging come from a song that she heard maybe years ago and her subconsious mind stored away for future reference or did the song really come from the rigging with just a few minor variations that was the same as the ancient Polynesians heard centuries ago?  It would seem to me that your endorsing the latter, but I always thought that your subconsious mind was created from experiences that you personally had.  The experiences of a 19th century white woman would have to be enormously different than that of say an 6th century Polynesian wouldn't it?
Title: Re: OOh a code!
Post by: SandySandfort on November 06, 2009, 12:16:55 pm
Read todays panel and I've got a question for Sandy.  Does the melody that the female sailor heard in the rigging come from a song that she heard maybe years ago and her subconsious mind stored away for future reference or did the song really come from the rigging with just a few minor variations that was the same as the ancient Polynesians heard centuries ago?  It would seem to me that your endorsing the latter, but I always thought that your subconsious mind was created from experiences that you personally had.  The experiences of a 19th century white woman would have to be enormously different than that of say an 6th century Polynesian wouldn't it?

Good questions. Unfortunately, I do not have good answers. When writing this arc, I did a lot of searching for related phenomena. Oliver Sacks had some intriguing stuff about music, mind and intelligence. I think I read the account of the woman sailing to Bora Bora in "latitude 38" out of the San Francisco Bay Area, but her experience was pretty much exactly what I wrote.

I don't know how our subconscious "fills in the spaces" to create the perception order, but I imagine that we all do it about the same way. I doubt it is cultural. Plus, music is just about the only thing universal among cultures. Of course, music does have mathematical rules for tone and time.

Some of the first-hand stories from sailors were just to bizarre to use, e.g., audio and video barking dogs, freight trains and fields of waving wheat. There were many accounts of voices and visual hallucinations of people. The human mind is a wonder.