jamesd on November 07, 2010, 04:11:12 pm
This Babbette story appears to be taking place in an LA shopping mall cafetaria, rather than in anarchic spacer society.

I have not seen any space for a while - where are people flying?  I don't see any micro gravity or milli gravity.

As for anarchism, the cool story related quality of anarchism is that it is the job of heroes to uphold law and justice, which is why cowboy stories and icelandic sagas are fun.

Not seeing any space, not seeing any heroes. 

In anarchy, should have heroes, and in space, heroes can fly.  Not seeing any flying heroes. 

There are lots of entertaining web comics featuring ordinary everyday people in an ordinary everyday environment, for example "Penny and Aggie" - lots and lots of them.  Do you want to be one more?

When I read old non fiction books, written by people who lived in places and times where the government was far away, the characters are twice as large as life, because making decisions that might well result in deadly violence, that sometimes did result in deadly violence, was part of their job responsibility.  Loyalty was more important, when part of the requirement was to avenge someone's death if he was wrongfully killed.   When the state is close at hand, people are tamer, and thus smaller.  The people in this story are people in an LA shopping mall.  They are not Daniel Boon nor Davey Crocket, nor Njal son of Thorgeir.

SandySandfort on November 07, 2010, 07:32:12 pm
This Babbette story appears to be taking place in an LA shopping mall cafetaria, rather than in anarchic spacer society.

Hmm, I fail to see how "an LA shopping mall cafeteria" and an "anarchic spacer society" are mutually exclusive. People from Malaysia to Milwaukee like shopping malls. I can see no reason to believe they will not be popular in the Belt, as well. Also, from a dramatic standpoint, heroic actions against a banal background are all the more intense. Hitchcock explained and employed this principle more than once.

I have not seen any space for a while - where are people flying?  I don't see any micro gravity or milli gravity.

EFT is not about space, it takes place on different worlds. Ultimately though, EFT is about what all good science fiction is about, people. The only difference is the use of environments and situations to increase the impact of human actions. As for flying people, isn't that a bit of a cliché? We have upcoming arcs where there are amusement parks and such where micro-gravity will be a factor in the amusement, but it will still be incidental to the story. BTW, I don't recall any Kudos from you when various aspects of space, gravity, micro-gravity and zero gravity appeared in the arc that took place in SkyLand Theme Park and Resort at L4.

As for anarchism, the cool story related quality of anarchism is that it is the job of heroes to uphold law and justice, which is why cowboy stories and icelandic sagas are fun.

Nonsense. In a stateless society, it is everyone's prerogative to protect (or not protect) themselves, their family and whoever else they choose to protect, from aggression and other threats to their freedom. You don't need superheros, just the streak of heroism that exists in all of us. EFT heroes are plucked from the vast reserve of everyday heroes. We think that is "fun," but if you prefer cowboy stories and Icelandic sagas, knock yourself out.  :)

jamesd on November 08, 2010, 07:13:45 am
EFT is not about space, it takes place on different worlds. Ultimately though, EFT is about what all good science fiction is about, people.

Science fiction is about people that are dealing with strangeness, dealing with a world that is very different from that of the reader, though perhaps taken for granted by the characters.   In the current strips, they are not dealing with strangeness.

The only difference is the use of environments and situations to increase the impact of human actions. As for flying people, isn't that a bit of a cliché?

If you have action, exciting events, people will attempt to move quickly.  If people attempt to move quickly in microgravity, microgravity is indistinguishable from zero gravity.  They will fly.  They will act without regard to up or down.  If you depict a microgravity environment where people are not flying, you are depicting talking heads.

You don't need superheros,

Icelandic sagas and cowboy stories have heroes, not superheroes - but in microgravity, ordinary heroes will fly like superheroes.

And even if they don't fly, I would still expect more heroes and heroism in an anarchic society.  That is why the frontier and saga period iceland figure disproportionately in fiction.

if you prefer cowboy stories and Icelandic sagas, knock yourself out.  :)
Cowboy stories and icelandic sagas are based on real life anarchic societies.

terry_freeman on November 08, 2010, 08:41:19 am
Sometimes ordinary things happen even in strange places - and the stories are worth telling nonetheless. Babette engaged in an ordinary sort of theft; the interesting point is that she recognizes it as such, and does not excuse it with "everybody does it" or "he wouldn't mind", but is grappling with ways to make Daddy-e whole in a responsible way.

This is the heart of the AnCap way of looking at things; it is a very human drama.

Perhaps, in a proper Western, a fairy godmother would leave a sack of gold to be discovered by Babette, but in anything approaching the real world, she'll have to work out her own solution.

I'm curious about Daddy-e and Daddy-b ... this suggests some form of polyamory, reminiscent of the "line marriages" of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?


jamesd on November 08, 2010, 02:38:00 pm
Sometimes ordinary things happen even in strange places - and the stories are worth telling nonetheless.

The trouble is that this is an ordinary things happening in what looks like an ordinary place.

Ordinary things happening in ordinary places can be good stories, and there is a great pile of web comics featuring ordinary people in ordinary places doing ordinary things, but they are not science fiction.

The two big SF webcomics are Schlock Mercenary and Freefall.  Every strip in Schlock Mercenary shows aliens, and a most strips show spaceships and rayguns.  Freefall is quieter, but the major characters are an uplifted creature based on a dog and a wolf with a robotic brain augmenting its biological dog brain to human intelligence, a robot, and squidlike alien wearing an anthropomorphic animatronic environment suit and each story line is about the alien characteristics of one of them, except for the story lines about spaceships and terraforming.  There is never a story line in Freefall that could take place with humans on today's earth - either the background and the props are alien, or the plot problem is alien, and usually both.

Similarly, on a story about anarchists in space, I would like to see space and anarchy.


terry_freeman on November 08, 2010, 03:35:53 pm
Uh, Jamesd, the Babette arc is about anarchy.

It deals with a problem which most petty thieves in a statist society would ignore. In an AnCap society, people want to be more honest. We're still waiting for the resolution, but it probably does not involve one guy with a gun and a badge, another with fancy robes and a wig, and another with a locked room. Nor does it depend upon what a bunch of stuffed shirts (whose only qualification is a magic process called an "election") have declared to be "the Law."

Lacking those things, it is about anarchy, not about statism.


SandySandfort on November 08, 2010, 05:57:21 pm
Ordinary things happening in ordinary places can be good stories, and there is a great pile of web comics featuring ordinary people in ordinary places doing ordinary things, but they are not science fiction.

It's SF if they are doing those thing on a dwarf planet where gold is (one form of) money and there is no government to meddle in interpersonal relationships. Not every minute has to be spent doing science fiction things. I like spaceships, rayguns and aliens too, but I don't need to be immersed in them 24/7 to enjoy a good story.

So far, we have had burners, instantaneous communication, Belt mining, lasers (i.e., rayguns), a zero-g amusement park, people living on Mars and in the belt, lunar prisons, AIs and more to come. Shall I go on?

There have been plenty of traditional science fiction elements in EFT. There will be plenty more. There may be more odd planetoids, aliens, and FTL. However, their will also be more romance, mystery, humor and, yes, morality plays like the current arc.

The creators of EFT are giving our readers a more realist universe filled with a variety of story types and characters. Don't worry, there will be action, but not only action. If I can come up with a good "chick-flick" arc, be prepare to endure characters talking about their feelings.  (It could happen!)   ;D

The two big SF webcomics are Schlock Mercenary and Freefall.  Every strip in Schlock Mercenary shows aliens, and a most strips show spaceships and rayguns.  Freefall is quieter, but the major characters are an uplifted creature based on a dog and a wolf with a robotic brain augmenting its biological dog brain to human intelligence, a robot, and squidlike alien wearing an anthropomorphic animatronic environment suit and each story line is about the alien characteristics of one of them, except for the story lines about spaceships and terraforming.  There is never a story line in Freefall that could take place with humans on today's earth - either the background and the props are alien, or the plot problem is alien, and usually both.

Bully for them! That's why there are horse races...

Similarly, on a story about anarchists in space, I would like to see space and anarchy.

We will write what we write, because as Rick Nelson wrote:

   But it's all right now
   I learned my lesson well
   You see, ya can't please everyone
   So ya got to please yourself

jamesd on November 08, 2010, 10:53:25 pm
It deals with a problem which most petty thieves in a statist society would ignore. In an AnCap society, people want to be more honest. We're still waiting for the resolution, but it probably does not involve one guy with a gun and a badge, another with fancy robes and a wig, and another with a locked room. Nor does it depend upon what a bunch of stuffed shirts (whose only qualification is a magic process called an "election") have declared to be "the Law."

Lacking those things, it is about anarchy, not about statism.

On today's earth, the state would not get involved in the case of child stealing from her father, at least not in those countries I am familiar with.

The fact that her parents have a complicated marriage would have been science fictional in 1940, but not today.

jamesd on November 08, 2010, 11:18:47 pm
Not every minute has to be spent doing science fiction things.
Yet I observe the two most popular science fiction webcomics, Schlock Mercenary and Freefall do do every minute doing science fictional things.

Similarly, all famous cowboy stories center around cowboys doing things that could only happen in an anarchic society, all famous icelandic sagas center around people doing stuff that could only happen in anarchic society.

The most popular Icelandic saga is the burning of Njal.  Njal prophesies that Gunnar will die if he kills twice in the same family.  How could that story line even exist in statist society?  Nothing that happens in the story of the burning of Njal could possibly happen in a statist society.   It contains a romance and a divorce - but it is a divorce where there is no government to enforce fair distribution of family assets, and a romance where marriage creates obligations to defend and protect.

The creators of EFT are giving our readers a more realist universe filled with a variety of story types and characters.

I don't think it is realistic that almost all scenes could happen under one gravity, and that furniture, tables, and desks are designed as if for one gravity.

KBCraig on November 09, 2010, 03:59:53 am
So far, we have had burners, instantaneous communication, Belt mining, lasers (i.e., rayguns), a zero-g amusement park, people living on Mars and in the belt, lunar prisons, AIs and more to come. Shall I go on?

There have been plenty of traditional science fiction elements in EFT. There will be plenty more. There may be more odd planetoids, aliens, and FTL. However, their will also be more romance, mystery, humor and, yes, morality plays like the current arc.

Thanks for helping me realize why I have never thought of myself as an SF fan, but I do love much of the SF I've read. For me, it must contain the human element to be "real". Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Fallen Angels... all of those are great SF stories, but I love them because they're about people in SF settings, not SF with people involved.

J Thomas on November 09, 2010, 06:34:33 am

I don't think it is realistic that almost all scenes could happen under one gravity, and that furniture, tables, and desks are designed as if for one gravity.

They had some of that at the very beginning. It might come up occasionally. Like, if they have a place where multiple people sit at desks, they could have the desks double-stacked and people jump five feet. And they could have things like 6-wall handball, and some sort of basketball where athletes occasionally jump 50 feet and then jump off the ceiling, and they have the disadvantage that they can't change direction while they're jumping.

You could have somebody set a timer -- they put a bell at a set height, and five minutes later it hits the floor and rings. They get upset when somebody else knocks it.

There's nothing wrong with having stuff like that as long as it doesn't interfere too much with the story.

Bob G on November 09, 2010, 06:42:27 am
Similarly, all famous cowboy stories center around cowboys doing things that could only happen in an anarchic society, all famous icelandic sagas center around people doing stuff that could only happen in anarchic society.

And yet 99+ % of cowboying dealt with the mundanity of handling some of the stupidest animals on earth under the worst of conditions. Not much glamour in eating dust in the blazing sun all day, eating bad bacon and beans at dusk, and freezing your @$$ off all night long while waiting for the slightest thing to set your 'charges' off. The gunfight in the street at high noon, the range war, etc. were the exception rather than the rule which is what makes them remarkable. In portraying the day-to-day 'little' drama, Sandy et al. are actually giving a more realistic picture of life in the 'roids. Don't worry, I'm sure there are more exploding spaceships to come. The UW hasn't disappeared after all, they're just licking their wounds.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 06:44:37 am by Bob G »
Whatsoever, for any cause, seeketh to take or give
  Power above or beyond the Laws, suffer it not to live.
Holy State, or Holy King, or Holy People's Will.
  Have no truck with the senseless thing, order the guns and kill.

The penultimate stanza of Rudyard Kipling's MacDonough's Song

macsnafu on November 09, 2010, 08:57:24 am
In anarchy, should have heroes, and in space, heroes can fly.  Not seeing any flying heroes. 

All stories have "protagonists"--whether or not they are "heroes" depends much upon how you define a hero, but strictly speaking, a story does not require a hero.

EFT is not necessarily a space opera.  I would say that EFT is primarily a story about anarchy in a science fictional setting or background.  Sometimes that background becomes more important to the story, and sometimes, it's merely background.  There are plenty of science fiction webcomics out there, like Moontown and Marooned, for example.  EFT is unique because it's about anarchy, not because it's science fiction.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

jamesd on November 09, 2010, 04:20:52 pm
I don't think it is realistic that almost all scenes could happen under one gravity, and that furniture, tables, and desks are designed as if for one gravity.

They had some of that at the very beginning. It might come up occasionally

Low gravity comes up occasionally as a special effect - as you would do if this was movie shot in LA.  Should be routine, everyday, taken for granted, and continual - as if this was a movie shot on location.  Anyone in motion or taking action should be flying or floating.

No one should walk - they should hop, skip, or run in slow motion.  The speed at which running or leaping is a more efficient gait than walking depends on gravity.  In Ceres gravity, walking is never an efficient gait.  Skipping would probably the normal casual slow way of getting about.

When one walks, at least one foot is in contact with the ground at all times, two feet are in contact some of the time.  When running, one foot part of the time, no feet part of the time.  In Ceres' gravity, anyone moving around would seldom contact the ground.

And similarly anarchy comes up occasionally as a special effect, rather than an everyday background to everyday life.  In a cowboy movie, everyone wears guns all the time, because everyone is responsible for maintaining order and justice.

In "Shlock mercenary", they are space mercenaries all the time.  In "Freefall", they are non humans with non human problems driving the plot all the time with a world in the process of being roboticly terraformed in the background behind them all the time.  In "Escape from terra" they look like they are on earth under a government most of the time, with anarchy and low gravity showing up once in a while as a special effect.

jamesd on November 09, 2010, 04:57:17 pm
All stories have "protagonists"--whether or not they are "heroes" depends much upon how you define a hero, but strictly speaking, a story does not require a hero.

Anarchic settings, for example  frontier, early feudal, saga period Iceland, and heroic age Greece, are popular because they give more scope to heroes - heroism in such societies being a strongly demanded social obligation, rather than abnormal criminal act.

EFT is not necessarily a space opera.  I would say that EFT is primarily a story about anarchy in a science fictional setting or background. 

If it is about anarchy then there should be some dramatics.  Dramatics in space.  "Space opera" tends to imply large scale conflicts, between armies, space fleets, and entire species struggling for possession of entire planets.  If anarchy, should be individuals and small groups struggling.    The kingdom of Ithaca is represented as being about the size of a large farm.


Sometimes that background becomes more important to the story, and sometimes, it's merely background. 

But the trouble is that is not background.  The background of the Babette story looks like the cafetaria in an LA shopping mall.  Background should be milligravity, since they are in space, and people should be carrying arms openly, since anarchy.