[LMB] Research Republic of Beta

Damien R. Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Thu, 14 Feb 2002 23:50:59 -0800

On Thu, Feb 14, 2002 at 09:40:55PM -0800, Mark Atwood wrote:

> > (or anyone) could't easily tell good stories on Beta.  People complain
> > about Cordelia being too wise and insightful.  What if most Betans were
> > like that?
> And to make the analogy work even better, isn't Cordilia somewhat
> crippled in insight, and on the edge of sanity, by Betan standards?
Ooo, I was wondering how to rationalize some of the more ordinary Betan
evidence.  Yeah, she thinks she's an emotional klutz or at least late
developer when she meets Aral.  And calls herself insane, although I'd
never put much weight on that statement before.

Not sure what to do with Calhoun and Mayhew and Mehta, who all seemed
ordinary enough.  OTOH, maybe lots of Betans are still 'ordinary', and
we've just seen the lower percentiles.  Although someone with Mehta's
job shouldn't be lower percentile, not if Beta is as well run as the
sociological Singularity argues... then again, I don't know that there's
really any evidence condemning any of these characters.  They just
didn't seem extraordinary in their roles.

> Vinge points out that some of the cheats for dealing with a
> transendent character in a story is to either make them a child, make
> them senile, have them be off-stage, or have them be insane *BY THE
> STANDARDS OF THEIR PEERS*, not just by the standards of us slows.
And Niven, who struggled with superintelligence before Vinge, dealt with
the Pak protectors by giving them terribly limited motivations (and
the stories are still weird.)

-xx- Damien X-)