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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Okay.. this is a complicated one.. based on some info in Myst: The Book of Atrus, from Gehn (admittedly, a poor source) regarding the rules of how linking books and descriptive books work against each other.

For starters:

Item I. Far as I know, it's a given that you cannot write a descriptive book for a SPECIFIC Age, due to the randomness inherent in what's known as the 'Great Tree of Possibility'. If, for example, you somehow found yourself aware of an Age for which a book had ALREADY been written, or for which one has NEVER been written.. .there is no known way to use the Art to create a new book that specifically links that Age.

The best you could do is exactly describe that Age, and most probably link to a similar or identical duplicate of it-- but not necessarily that exact Age.

For example. Supposing Gehn was safe in Riven and wanted to escape from Atrus, so he burned the descriptive book for Riven. Atrus would likely NEVER be able to write a 'new' Riven book, however hard or how often he tried.

I presume it is POSSIBLE that if you perfectly described an Age with which you are familiar, that you'd randomly link to it out of pure happenstance.. but with the number of other 'eligible' possibilities out there on the Great Tree.... that is so unlikely as to be effectively impossible.



Item II: According to Gehn, a linking book contains 'the essence' of an Age's descriptive book. You must be IN an Age, to write a linking book for it, and it refers specifically back to the descriptive book.

This is a point of my speculation, tho, about Item II.... I believe that Gehn's comments also suggest, if you were to make changes to a descriptive book, and those changes caused your link to be severed and reset.. so that your descriptive book now links to a NEW, distinctly separate Age---- the linking books will follow suit, and take you to the NEW Age...

..even if you have not changed a stroke of ink in the LINKING book, by its 'essence' it will link to the new Age. Furthermore, I believe that if you burn or destroy a descriptive book.. it is my belief that all the linking books for that Age will suddenly cease to function.

Example. Gehn changed Age 37 & caused his link to sever and now lead to a 'doppleganger' Age, called 37B, full of people who never interacted with Gehn nor Atrus.. Had Atrus kept a single linking book to Age 37, I believe he would still be unable to go back and see his friends, for that linking book would take him to 37b.

Here's where thinks get dicey....

Item II.B.--- Therefore, I believe that a functioning descriptive book is a REQUIREMENT for writing a functioning linking book. The linking book contains the essence of the description--- therefore, if there IS no descriptive book for the Age, then no linking book for that Age would function-- even if you were IN that Age and wrote a linking book.. it would be useless, non-functional--- without an existing descriptive book and an active link.

Example... prior to Gehn's writing of Riven, if Catherine had had prophetic dreams about the use of the Art, she may have been able to write new descriptive books for new Ages without Gehn's instruction.... BUT, if she linked to these new Ages she couldn't come back home to Riven. It would be impossible for her to write a Riven linking book due to Item II.B and effectively impossible for her to write her own descriptive book for Riven due to Item I.

What does all this have to do with Yahvo, Garternay, and the Great Tree? I'll cover that in my next post.

Anyone who has evidence to counter my thesis above, please chime in.. I want to make sure my theory fits with canon.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Items I and II are correct to my knowledge. Gehn's explanation of why II is correct is suspect, but the principle itself is sound.

As with last time this came up, item IIb is still guesswork. I'd say keep in mind that there's no real way to confirm IIb, go ahead with working out the consequences of it being true, but also bear in mind the consequences of it not being true.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:59 pm 
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KathAveara wrote:
Items I and II are correct to my knowledge. Gehn's explanation of why II is correct is suspect, but the principle itself is sound.


Well... I'll keep away from any hypothetical 'First Age' as much as I can. But thanks for supporting my thesis.

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As with last time this came up, item IIb is still guesswork. I'd say keep in mind that there's no real way to confirm IIb, go ahead with working out the consequences of it being true, but also bear in mind the consequences of it not being true.


Will do.. so I have to start with this disclaimer.. anything I say now is supposition, dependent on Item IIB being correct.

What I believe, is that it's a necessary component for a culture that regularly uses the Art, for them to be able to link back home. Sure.. someone in that Age could write NEW Ages all day long.. but they cannot return home... so for such an Age, there's no chance of bringing home any items or discoveries from these new Ages.

In order for a culture to regularly use the Art, then someone has to have ALREADY written a descriptive book of their home Age FOR them, to allow them the ability to link back home. Because, per Item I, they can't write a descriptive book for their home, and per Item IIB they can't write a linking book without a descriptive book.


Just like the example I gave-- the Art could only be practiced in Riven because Gehn wrote a Riven book from the outside, which then allowed linking into Riven.

Likewise, the Art could only be practiced in D'ni because Ri'neref wrote the D'ni book from outside D'ni.

I can't speculate on the First Age.. but I can speculate with some certainty that the Art was NOT invented in Garternay. Because the Ronay would have to have had a Garternay descriptive book and, per Item I.. they couldn't have written it themselves.

Please note.. even if item IIB turns out incorrect.. per Item II, it is STILL effectively impossible that the Ronay themselves wrote a Garternay descriptive book.

Who, then, wrote the Garternay book-- if there was one? Well.. that's my theory: Yahvo wrote it.

Annnd.. I have no support for this belief at all, it is pure speculation: But it is possible that Yahvo, like Gehn, believed he was creating the Ages he wrote-- and he may have convinced the Ronay people of this, too. That idea, if true, could be the basis for the Ronay belief in Yahvo as the One who created ALL the Ages--- as he certainly would have claimed credit for all the Ages he showed to them.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:18 pm 
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Okay.. this is what I wanted to get to, actually.

Trying my best to avoid any 'First Age' speculation.. so I cannot comment on when or how Yahvo learned the Art himself.

What I will say, tho,..... is that it's simple common sense, if you are planning to write a new Age and live there, any author is going to make sure the components are present IN that Age, to make new Kortee'nea.. or blank books.

That means insuring there are trees that have the right kind of tissue to make the paper, and the right substances necessary for the bindings.. and chemicals for the ink.

This is totally a fan-wank at this point. But I believe Yahvo would have taken that into account--- and this is what I believe was the BASIS of the idea behind the Great Tree:


Yahvo, or someone like him, a some point, may have penned an Age and specifically described a giant species of tree, with bark like a birch tree that would peel off in dry sheets like paper; thick, leathery leaves that could be used for bindings on books... and which either bore fruit or supported some kinds of bugs, either of which could secrete the various chemicals necessary to make the right ink.

I suggest it's possible to interpret the legend on a nearly literal basis.. the Great Tree of Possibility is the place where the Ages spring from.. literally, it provides the materials to make the books that, in turn, link to the Ages.


It just pleases me to see an image of Yahvo, linking into Garternay holding a natural, raw book he made with his own hands from a tree... literally, the Great Tree... . with a leaf for a cover and ruddy, splintering, barkish paper... linking into Garternay announcing he is the creator of this Age, and wants to come and live among its people, and share his great knowledge of the Art with them.

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Last edited by HarveyMidnight on Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:26 pm 
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I can totally see that as a thing.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:26 pm 
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KathAveara wrote:
I can totally see that as a thing.


:D

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:36 am 
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That's a very interesting theory about Yahvo being a mere mortal.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:06 pm 
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I didn't see the theory as requiring Yahvo to be mortal. 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Just a physical being.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Oh, the primum collegans :)
I have some different considerations. Keep in mind I assume Clarke's Law is in action ;)

Firstly, let me point out that any time we say that something can or cannot be done with the Art, we reference whatever we know of the DRC findings, which in turn are based on whatever document they could find in the Cavern. But these were probably few and sparse, as when Atrus and the D'ni survivors relocated to Releeshahn, they likely took with them all the important (and 'dangerous') stuff, including documentation on the actual mechanisms of the Art (if any, as I'll explain).

Secondly, I think there are two kinds of Linking Books: type 1 is written from outside the Age and require access to the Descriptive one; type 2 is written from within the Age, with nothing else required. This, I think, is the key point: type 1 stops working when its reference get destroyed, while type 2 might still work as long as the Descriptive link to the Age itself hasn't collapsed. They're both called Linking Books, but actually made with completely different procedures.

Thirdly, because of the quantum (and borgesian...) nature of the Art, it could be speculated that, somewhere and somewhen, at least one Descriptive Book exists for every Age.

So, my idea is that in the beginning, the Art involved linking 'tools' very different from Books (think UNIVAC vs modern computers), which might have had hybrid properties. One of the major breakthroughs happened when a Tool was produced, with an experimental procedure, which apparently didn't work, until it was strapped to an animal, sent to a different Age with a timed forced contact, and proved to be a link to Garternay itself: the type 2 Linking Tool was born.

With centuries of research – and, at some point, making contact with the Bahros, but that's a can of worms in itself –, the linking tools were made light-weight, in a book-form for some reason or another, and linking became natural to the D'ni... to the point that the origins became legend and religion. And here comes the outrageous concept :)

In the centuries before the Fall (maybe even at the time they moved to D'ni), the Writers had lost most of the theoretical knowledge behind the linking process itself, mostly treating it as magic. They had of course enough understanding of it to write good Ages, but they themselves believed in the mystical nature of the Art, and the methaphor of the Great Tree replaced the formulae of quantum mechanic.

That's the reason behind the (self-imposed?) limitations of the D'ni Art, and – maybe – why Yeesha was able to overcome them, though she herself seems to lean a bit too much on the mystical side.


PS: I think it's safe to assume it was the Miller brothers' intention for Yahvo to actually be <divine entity that is called Atrus in this forum>.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Quote:
In the centuries before the Fall (maybe even at the time they moved to D'ni), the Writers had lost most of the theoretical knowledge behind the linking process itself, mostly treating it as magic. They had of course enough understanding of it to write good Ages, but they themselves believed in the mystical nature of the Art, and the methaphor of the Great Tree replaced the formulae of quantum mechanic.


NO, no.. nothing outrageous about this theory at all. I personally believe there is a lot of mystery and legend involved in the way the D'ni and the Ronay before them, probably looked at the Art. This idea of losing some of the 'modern' awareness of it, and adhering to a more mythical view is a very sound idea.

IN fact...

This is one of my own ideas, stated in a prior thread too... regarding the D'ni prohibition on changing a descriptive book after the link is established. Sure, doing so might cause the Age to become unstable or, as Gehn did with Age 37, cause a link to be severed and reset to a new Age... but strictly speaking that's not cause for danger to life and limb, etc. Practically speaking, if your Age becomes unstable because of edits you made to your description, what's actually happened is you re-linked to a similar Age which was ALREADY unstable. You didn't cause the instability. So, as long as no D'ni was actually IN the Age when you made your edits-- and so long as the Age is carefuly inspected again AFTER those edits are in place, there is never any new danger CREATED.

We've seen evidence of Atrus, Catherine, Yeesha, even Gehn at certain points, ALL being able to safely edit existing Ages in their descriptive books, with little harm ever done-- and, if fact usually with beneficial results. Tay was an age Gehn abandoned to a fire, and Catherine saved it and entirely rewrote it.

I can't help but think it was a cultural or mythical taboo or superstition that caused the D'ni culture to fear this process of editing the Ages--- and this fear had no logical basis.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:06 pm 
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I think their concerns were centred around losing a perfectly good book - and the link to a perfectly good Age. Once a book has been approved, edits risk an unstable Age, which means that the original Age is lost forever.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:57 pm 
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Here is something to think about. Very confusing.

Say someone linked to an age while holding a linking book back to D'ni. Then changes were made in the descriptive book so that it linked to a similar age. What becomes of the person in the original age? What if that person links back to D'ni and the same (copy) person links back to D'ni as well (given the linking book to D'ni is exactly the same)?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:40 am 
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Harvey - unfortunately your theory rests on the flawed assumption of Gehn's understanding of the Art. Which we know historically was incorrect. You do not need knowledge of the Descriptive Book to create a linking book, and a linking book does not reference back to a Descriptive book.

Linking books, are written from within an age. An author, describes his surroundings using a common set of Gahrohevtee that describe the area surrounding the spot in which the book is written. However the author needs no knowledge of a Descriptive book in order to write a linking book. So it is entirely possible that linking books back to Garternay worked for the Ronay as, while they originated on Garternay and thus had no access to a Descriptive book for the age, they assumed through their belief in the Maker that Garternay needed no Descriptive book, as it was the Root of the Great Tree of Possibilites. It was the first age.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:21 am 
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KathAveara wrote:
I think their concerns were centred around losing a perfectly good book - and the link to a perfectly good Age. Once a book has been approved, edits risk an unstable Age, which means that the original Age is lost forever.


Yes, but edits would likely only be done to Ages that were NOT 'good' Ages. There'd be no danger of losing an approved Age, because there'd be no need to edit such an Age.

But I've been led to believe The D'ni prohibited edits even to an Age that was already unstable, could not be approved and was destined to be locked away anyhow.. what harm would come from 'ruining' an already ruined Age? I think the only reason they'd have to fear THAT, is a superstition that editing ANY Age was sacrilege.

westar wrote:
Say someone linked to an age while holding a linking book back to D'ni. Then changes were made in the descriptive book so that it linked to a similar age. What becomes of the person in the original age? What if that person links back to D'ni and the same (copy) person links back to D'ni as well (given the linking book to D'ni is exactly the same)?


I would say that the D'ni linking book is self-contained, is 'tethered' to the Age of D'ni and is therefore always going to link you back to D'ni, no matter where you take it, how it got there or any other weird circumstances.

Your example of a 'copy person' is exactly the situation that happens to Atrus when he links into Age 37 after Gehn changed it.. Koena does not recognize Atrus-- because he's never met Atrus... no 'copy' of Atrus has ever been in this new Age, either. Atrus realizes immediately there won't be a D'ni linking book hidden in the cave.. because this is no longer the same Age and he's never been here before, nothing he did in the OTHER Age, ever happened here. There's no 'copy' of the D'ni book, because nobody ever brought a D'ni book to this new Age. Atrus is lucky he just happened to bring a spare D'ni book with him.


ChloeRhodes wrote:
Linking books, are written from within an age. An author, describes his surroundings using a common set of Gahrohevtee that describe the area surrounding the spot in which the book is written. However the author needs no knowledge of a Descriptive book in order to write a linking book. So it is entirely possible that linking books back to Garternay worked for the Ronay as, while they originated on Garternay and thus had no access to a Descriptive book for the age, they assumed through their belief in the Maker that Garternay needed no Descriptive book, as it was the Root of the Great Tree of Possibilites. It was the first age.


I was afraid of that.. an entirely reasonable counter to my argument!! But this does make a lot of sense, and is actually kinda poetic, too. Thanks!

Still.. I am not giving up on my idea of a 'Book tree' with leaves like leather, shedding bark like pages of paper... suitable for making kortenee'ea. SOME author could have written such a species of tree into an Age, even if it was not any precursor of the Ronay, and even if it was not actually THE Great Tree.

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