Sunday, November 17, 2013

Narnia: 16 things in response to Ana's latest deconstruction

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings, but click here if you want to go to the post without having it skip down to the comment.]

---Thing the First:
On a flat world islands do not appear from over the horizon. If there is nothing that is higher than thing between you and thing that means you can see thing. (Unless light crashes to the ground and can only reach a certain distance away but then... that would likely lead to things more interesting than Lewis had ever dreamed of.)
---Thing the Second:
I think, in this context, lion girding would be done to protect it from us.
Lewis: Ana's at it again, I'd better gird my Lion.
---Thing the Third:
And stores began to get low again, and it crept into their hearts that perhaps they might have come to a sea which went on forever. But when the very last day on which they thought they could risk continuing their eastward voyage dawned, it revealed, right ahead between them and the sunrise, a low land lying like a cloud.
No. Things had begun to get medium again. If things were actually low then they'd be passed the point of safe return.
Granted rationing when things are getting lower would change the equation somewhat, but the direction the wind is blowing would too. More. So whatever we might say about, "Well they might have consumed more than half their supplies because they weren't rationing when they started eating," is immediately cancelled out by, "To get back they'd have to go straight into the wind which means a metric fuckton on tacking which means that to travel back they'll actually have to go a farther distance."
In other words, if we look at this in a simple way then they have used half their supplies, if we look at it in a more realistic way then they've used less than half.
Supplies are not running low. Supplies will only be running low if they get stuck (say there's no wind), get lost, or decide to take it on faith that another island will appear before they run out of provisions and go well beyond the point of being able to turn back.
---Thing the Fourth
Almost as soon as they entered this path Lucy noticed that she had a little stone in her shoe.
I'll put a pebble in my shoe.
(almost certainly not the best version)
---Thing the Fifth
In that unknown place it might have been wiser for her to ask the others to wait while she took it out.
But then again it might not and in this strange and uncanny place Lucy thought it better to risk only herself than announce their position by breaking their silence. She was not known as Lucy the Destroys All Plans Because of Little Stones, after all.
---Thing the Sixth
“Right again, Chief,” said the others. “Couldn’t have a better order. Just what we were going to say ourselves. Off we go.”
"You know I can hear you, right?" Lucy asked.
The invisible chief dropped his dumb Irish act and said, "Yeah... that's kind of the point. Get the plot moving and all that."
After a pause one of the others added, "It'd be just silly if we didn't know you were there."
"Yeah, we're the invisible ones."
"It's not like we can't see women. Didn't you hear us use the term 'mother's son'? Unlike some people we could name--"
Lucy asked, "How is it that even though I can't see you I know you're looking right at the author?"
"It's a talent. Anyway, unlike some people we could name we are fully cognizant of the fact that female people exist on an ongoing basis and not just when we care to notice them."
---Thing the Seventh
As soon as the thumping noise had died away she got up and ran along the path after the others as quickly as her legs would carry her.
Ha, ha, she has legs.
---Thing the Eighth
And it was here that they had their first indication that there was something odd about this island.
I mean, except for all the other indications that there was something about this island which I, the narrator, have described to you already and will not reiterate here.
---Thing the Ninth
“There’s some magic at work here,” said Caspian.
“Machinery!” said Eustace. “I do believe we’ve come to a civilized country at last.”
To which the pump replied, in a very civilized fashion, "We are the Borg. Lower your weapons and surrender your bodies. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."
---Thing the Tenth
In a low voice she tried to make them understand what she had overheard. And when they had partly understood it even the bravest of them did not look very happy.
I'm afraid I don't understand something here. Is this indicating that Lucy is bad at explaining or that they are bad at understanding? Also, why would bravery be correlated with being happy to learn of an upcoming ambush?
---Thing the Eleventh
“Invisible enemies,” muttered Caspian. “And cutting us off from the boat. This is an ugly furrow to plow.”
"You plow?"
"Well I have to do something when I'm completely failing to run my country and not on a sea voyage."
"You just never seemed the plowing type to me."
"What? I can totally plow. I can plow like you wouldn't believe."
---Thing the Twelfth
You’ve no idea what sort of creatures they are, Lu?” asked Edmund.
"No more than you Ed."
"I... don't follow."
"Well... well they're invisible, you can't smell them, they don't leave footprints, they can be completely silent when they want to be, and all that stuff. Other than that, no. No idea at all. They are, after all, invisible."
--- Thing the Thirteenth
“I wonder,” said Reepicheep, “do they become visible when you drive a sword into them?”
"Now, now, Reep," Edmund the Just said, "For all we know they just think we're invaders--"
"We are," said Lucy the Valiant. "Have you not noticed the pillaging we've been doing?"
"I've... I've tried not to. Because if I did notice, and I wanted to keep my title, then the only thing to do would be to arrest Caspian, and the last thing Narnia needs so soon into reconstruction after an occupation and a war is a battle between kings."
--- Thing the Fourteenth
“It looks as if we shall find out,” said Caspian.
"OR WE COULD TRY NEGOTIATION!" Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, Drinian, and Reepicheep shouted in unison.
"Just because I wonder what would happen if I did something violent doesn't mean that violence is my actual plan," Reepicheep added.
--- Thing the Fifteenth
“Not depth for her, Sire,” said Drinian.
"You see, while you were doing all your kingly things I had an entire team of experts sounding the entire bay as well as the rest of the shoreline of the island." Drinian paused. "Because I totally do these things all the damn time."
--- Thing the Sixteenth
“But they won’t see us fighting if they can’t see any enemy,” said Eustace miserably. “They’ll think we’re just swinging our swords in the air for fun.”
"I told you those LARP sessions would come back to bite us." Edmund said.
"I regret nothing," Lucy replied. "Besides, we needed a way to keep up morale."


  1. You could have a planar world with a point gravity source. Then things would get asymptotically steeper as you went away from the epicentre.

    Or a polyhedral world, where the slope would gradually increase, then you could step over the edge and start down the other side, which would be the next face.

    Unfortunately in either case the water would tend to collect near the epicentre, not near the edges.

    1. You could have a planar world with a point gravity source. Then things would get asymptotically steeper as you went away from the epicentre.

      Certainly, but unless the gravity is bending light away from a straight path --severely-- you've still got a problem of line of sight. If there isn't something directly in the line between you and thing, you can see thing.

      That said, if you assume a pooled up ocean at the epicenter, and the curvature of said ocean is great enough, then that would create a horizon approximating that on a curved world.

    2. There's also occlusion, though. Just because you can *theoretically* draw a line of sight to it doesn't mean you can practically see it. Distant objects would appear to slowly grow larger and come into focus as you came closer, but not come of the horizon.

      Of course, if you have a world shaped like a large convex disk, then it'd work. Distribute the water more evenly, too.

      Does Narnia have moons? I really have no idea how *that* would work on a flat planet. Are they flat too?