Luminosity (Twilight fanfic) discussion thread

by FAWS1 min read25th Aug 2010439 comments

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In the vein of the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion threads this is the place to discuss anything relating to Alicorn's Twilight fanfic Luminosity. The fanfic is also archived on Alicorn's own website <strike>(warning: white text on black background)</strike>.

Previous discussion is hidden so deeply within the first Methods of Rationality thread that it's difficult to find even if you already know it exists. 

Similar to how Eliezer's fanfic popularizes material from his sequences Alicorn is using the insights from her Luminosity sequence.

Spoilers for the fanfic itself as well as the original novels need and should not be hidden, but spoiler protection still applies for any other works of fiction, except for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality chapters more than a week old so we can freely discuss similarities and differences. 

EDIT: Post-ginormous-spoiler discussion should go to the second thread. (If you have any doubt on whether you have reached the spoiler in question you have not.)

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I can't help but notice that Bella's feelings of social awkwardness about trying to proselytize her fellow vampires not to eat people are exactly identical to how I feel about the tradeoff between social awkwardness and human life when it comes to persuading people to sign up for cryonics. Did you think that too while you were writing it?

Being a transhumanist puts you into sympathy with the strangest people, doesn't it?

That particular analogy hadn't occurred to me - I usually think of turning into a vampire as the cryonics insertion and the whole "don't eat people" part as a more straightforward disagreement on ethics, rather than prudence. Still, if I got the feelings realistic enough that they map onto something in the same neighborhood that you experience, yay!

9MartinB10yDo you notice how people that actually believe their religion have pretty much the same effect going?

Chapter 39 will introduce a character named "Eleazar". He's canon and in no way inspired by or related to Eliezer. Just wanted to provide a heads up about that because I know someone would ask.

Chapter 32.

As a rabid fan of Emily Short's Galatea, I squeed uncontrollably at Bella pretending to be a statue in a shipping crate.

It occurs to me that Antarctica would be a ridiculously well-suited place to establish a long-term vegetarian vampire settlement, once that community grew to about a hundred or so. It's very well-separated from any human settlement and likely to remain so for a long time, so it's safe for newborns, unlikely to invite accidents, and little chance of needing to move. It's totally habitable to vampires, and there's plenty of local fauna to munch on. If the politics with the Volturi could be worked out, it could become feasible to start turning people systematically.

1Giriath10yI fear for the poor scientists drilling ice cores and studying other things on Antarctica should this happen.
2Alicorn10yAre there many of those? Would they be hard to avoid?
2Pavitra10yOr to turn?
0Giriath10yI may be very late in answering this and it may also be a rhetorical question, but no, as far as I know there aren't ever many humans living on Antarctica, although I'm quite sure there's almost always scientists present. They certainly wouldn't be hard to avoid, but if newborns are supposed to train to abstain there it's not a stretch to imagine someone who knows where the human settlement is managing to slip away from supervision and kill them, which would lead to more humans coming to investigate.

While I enjoyed the start of Luminosity quite a bit, I really didn't like the last chapter (55). I suppose it's where my misgivings about the story came to a head. Full disclosure: I have gotten consistent reports that I would not enjoy the Twilight novels, and so have not read them (but have checked out the twilight wiki to write this post), and this will weaken my first objection, but I still feel it worth making.

The premise is that it's Bella with a brain; the personality is the same, most of the limitations are the same (I imagine Meyer's Bella gets pointlessly upset when interrupted), but she's got rationality training and thus behaves rather differently. I was genuinely pleased at the mention of the journals and the acknowledgment that thoughts and emotions change- that's such a great example of knowing your limitations and rationally responding to them.

Except, Bella also plans to take over the world.

That isn't a rationality boost. That's a core personality overwrite. The main reason that bothered me is while I wasn't surprised to see HP:MoR become Ender's Game (for a time, at least), I really didn't expect the same "one genius takes on the world!" stuff in Twilight... (read more)

I changed Bella's personality too. She's got the same basic resources as canon!Bella, but she made some different choices a few years ago and has become a different young lady.

I'm sorry you're not enjoying the story anymore. That's a pity.

The closest thing to romance novels per se that I like (besides the Twilight canon itself, which I did enjoy) would probably be the works of Sharon Shinn. I am very puzzled about why you are trying to compare Luminosity's fulfillment of this genre to Twilight's when you have not read Twilight at all. (The wiki is a useful reference but I think it was mostly written by twelve year olds with untreated grammatical disabilities.)

find myself worried when the primary plot you and EY have come up with is "death has to go." There's really a lot more to life than trying to prolong it, guys.

Well, yes. Bella also does other things. I'm surprised that they didn't stand out to you. I thought I might be being too heavy-handed with the massive clues about how often she gets laid, just as one example. But... seriously... I started working with a canon where there are immortal freakin' vampires who can make more of themselves. Since death is... (read more)

8Vaniver10yFirst off, thanks for responding! As well, Archangel looks interesting; I'm assuming that's a decent place to start on Shinn? "I am very puzzled about why you are trying to compare Luminosity's fulfillment of this genre to Twilight's when you have not read Twilight at all." I'm comparing it to optimal; literally every book on my shelf is more readable (to me) than Twilight. The point of fanfic as I understand it is to be what the book could have been. The main reason I did make comparisons is that I get the feeling your work overcorrects on some things that are deficiencies in the original, and it's worth analyzing the relevant continua. I felt the opposite. The first piece of writing advice, for good reason, is "show don't tell." (I understand you're shooting for teen, and so getting laid is not something you can show, but you can make up for it everywhere else.) The first time- the "Among the enhanced vampire senses is touch" line- was well done, and you deserve props for it. But in the work as a whole the most memorable time Edward touches Bella is when he breaks her spine. Anyone can use the words "comfort" or "caress," the challenge is evoking the emotions. Indeed, the only habit I can think of peculiar to them is that they just say "I love you" instead of "I love you too," which is justified only by vampires being super-emotional. For example, in the first section of chapter 45, there are ~8 lines about Bella rationalizing about her and Edward's disappointment, and then ~2 lines about exchanging comfort that didn't depend on rationalization. The reader's impression is that rationalizing is at least four times as important as comfort: you gave us a walkthrough of Bella's thoughts on the matter, but no details about her and Edward's actions. Italicizing the "our" doesn't capture why Bella wants Edward's baby, and why Edward wants Bella's baby. It would have been easy and effective to write eight lines there so the comfort took up more of the page than the s
4Alicorn10yYeah, Archangel's a fine place to start, although it's a little hard to say in what order you ought to read the angel books because they were written out of chronological order. I actually explicitly address this one in the fic. I'm starting to doubt that you've been paying much attention. Anyway, my point isn't that Bella does everything wrong, or that she isn't really luminous or smart or rational. She made mistakes, which stemmed more or less directly from flaws in her personality, and bad things happened.
2Vaniver10yI remember you addressing why a butchering facility is impractical. I don't recall you addressing why it's morally acceptable to hunt animals but not morally acceptable to hunt humans; if you did and I missed it, then I apologize sincerely, as that's solid evidence I wasn't paying attention. What I'm talking about is not the Scottish method of making a blood pudding out of a butchered animal, but the Maasai method of bleeding a cow- essentially similar to the European method of milking cows or Canadian method of collecting maple sap. Since they're doctors, they'd use syringes instead of arrows and plugs, but the basic idea would be the same: have a 'dairy cow' whose relevant organ is their marrow, not their udder. They already considered this, but dismissed it, when it came to humans- they would be able to get the blood without killing, but would lose the benefit of calming animal blood. (Since I'm thinking about this, the way I'd introduce it is not Bella thinking "wait, why are we killing them when we don't have to?" or suddenly being interested in animal rights- but as a product of a debate where Bella raises the issue of vegetarianism with a human-eating vampire and the human-eater (particularly if it's one that buys blood to consume, rather than killing) points out that Bella's really not any better than the human-eaters or humans in general, and asks why they don't put their morals into practice and abandon hunting- which Bella might then adopt as a great idea.) I think the two main things that bother me about her mistakes are that, as far as I can tell, they come from flaws that you introduced and those flaws are unrelatable. Bella's flaw is that she thinks that assassinating the world government is a good way to go about things (another way to think about this flaw is she considers politics more important than people). What's the moral, here? Don't try to assassinate world governments? I already knew that one, thanks. What's the deeper moral? If you're
3Alicorn10yThe reasons I give for not having a butchering facility apply to any other facility that would keep domestic animals. The animals would still need a place to live that would be hard to pick up and move when the vampires got suspiciously youthful-looking for their claimed ages. Also, if the vampires were trying to keep animals alive, they would suck at it. The poor cows would die of stress from having to be around them. As for your other criticisms: I'm sorry you aren't enjoying the story I have chosen to tell. That's a pity. I suggest you don't waste more of your time on a story you don't like. Hopefully you will be able to find something more worthy of your attention.
3Vaniver10yTrue- but one can buy animal blood much more easily than human blood. As far as I can tell, the sites I found googling only require a credit card, and your only contact will be the FedEx deliveryperson. The prices (about ~$150 to get as much sheep's blood as it would take to fill a person) seem like they would be nowhere near troubling for vampires, and a front corporation doing medical research would be trivial to create. Indeed, if Bella's primary objection to vampires consuming blood is that it has to come from people, why not sell packaged blood to vampires? They still get the tasty blood they prefer, and people don't have to die for it. They miss out on the calming effect, and more importantly miss out on the hunting, but I imagine there must be some vampires out there who don't live to hunt, or would prefer being able to reside more permanently by hunting less frequently. It's possible anyone willing to take that option would already be taking that option- but people are more willing to make changes the easier you make those changes. Again, directly relevant experience for people- "I'm going to help my neighbors switch to vegetarianism by grocery shopping and teaching recipes" over "I'm going to murder Jim Purdue." There is no need to apologize: you've written a story that you wanted to tell and it is no offense against me that it's not the story I wanted to read. I think it's mistaken, though, to consider time spent on things one doesn't like a waste. I am still interested by the story, I am still attracted by the story's potential; I just think the choices you've made are suboptimal, and believe it's better to explain to you why I responded that way than fling my hands up in disgust and silently fade away. I do feel the need to mention I do not expect you to change the story to suit my tastes- if I lend weight to any changes, I expect the most likely would be you deciding to beef up some descriptions. But I hope the feedback is useful even if not reacted
2Strange710yWhy would vampires put themselves in charge of keeping the animals alive? It's been established that the Cullens have staggering amounts of money. Just find a small, publicly-traded company that does something related to what you're looking for, and buy up a controlling share of the stock. Make some unreasonable demands, ratchet up relevant salaries until those demands start sounding very reasonable indeed, then add layer after layer of nondisclosure agreements just in case. Once it's set up, you never need to visit again. They mail the packaged, refrigerated blood to an entirely separate institution whose sole purpose, in this context at least, is to keep track of your forwarding address. Routine problems can be handled by professional investigators of the appropriate sort (would Temple Grandin qualify as a witch in this setting?) and severe/bizarre/supernatural problems can be handled by divesting yourself of the shares, starting over from scratch with a different company, and leaving just enough lawyers in your wake to remind those involved that the nondisclosure agreement still applies. As often as necessary, packages of animal blood arrive in the mail. If someone notices, you mumble something about medical research; if they call you on it, explain in shameful tones that your spouse has a weird fetish, you found a company that sells the stuff, all very humane, it's expensive but who can put a price on a happy marriage, and (depending on how the situation develops) follow up with either an indignant rant about the rights of consenting adults within the privacy of their own home, or pleading and an appropriate bribe.
3Alicorn10yI've stated elsewhere under this post that I've ruled that animal blood is impossible to tolerate when it isn't fresh. This is to explain the canon fact that the Cullens do not keep any preserved animal blood in their home, which would make immense sense if it were drinkable that way.
2Strange710yEven with that constraint, it would be financially feasible to create a 'filling station' within half a night's walk of any given house, and the technicians still don't need to see any 'customers' face-to-face. Just run the IV pipe through an opaque wall, and set up appointments by calling ahead.
0CronoDAS10yThe story isn't finished yet... [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DisneyDeath]
0Vaniver10ySure, Herakles comes by and kills the eagle. Even the Greeks weren't that cruel. The motivation for that objection is that the only non-pathological reason to be rational is it improves your life. So, when a story shows characters making worse decisions and leading worse lives than normal, I find it hard to swallow that they're behaving more rationally or living more luminously, and I become skeptical of the author's models of rationality and luminosity.
9Alicorn10yJust checking: your standard of "than normal", for Bella, is the plot of canon Twilight, which you have not read, in which canon Bella only survives her many insanely stupid decisions via Plot Armor, and in which canon a confrontation in which the Volturi drew out unprecedented resources in order to attempt to deal with the Cullen family and their witnesses ended with no fighting, no casualties, and no unhappy endings whatsoever except for the part where the overwhelming majority of vampires go on murdering humans several times a month but that's okay because nobody Bella likes is hurt?
3Vaniver10yYes. Because every fanfic, by its nature, invites comparisons with the original before all other works. Even if the reader has only read the fanfic. My consequentialism may be showing through a bit more than it should, but it seems reasonable to me that someone who reads two stories with the same source will compare their endings, and will make judgments based on those endings. (For reference, the "canon Twilight" I have read is checking the wiki, not slogging through the books.) If your argument is that canon Twilight was a Promethean story where Bella should have been struck down for stealing Vampirism from the gods and bestowing it to men, and the only reason Aro and company failed to do so is because they're idiots, I have neither the experience nor the inclination to counter that argument. Because that's not what interests me. What interests me is the choice presented: if canon Bella made stupid choices that should have gotten her killed, and our Bella is different, will we make her make smarter choices or have worse luck?
3JGWeissman10yYes, rational agents should WIN. But, as Eliezer explains [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nc/newcombs_problem_and_regret_of_rationality/] If you care about improving the entire world, you just might end up multiplying small probabilities by large utilities [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Shut_up_and_multiply], and concluding that you should take chances that are likely to go bad for you personally. Also, it doesn't seem right to compare the results of Canon!Bella to Luminous!Bella, who is facing tougher challenges. It wouldn't be right to say that Frodo's Jedi powers were actively harmful when his greater problems came from Sauron's Death Star [http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2269863/Less_Wrong].
1Vaniver10yFirst off, thanks for the link- that was a rather informative read, though I feel it supports my position rather strongly. That's an argument for becoming a cancer researcher instead of an investment banker, and I agree that can be commendable. That's an argument for signing the Declaration of Independence, and I agree that can be commendable. That is not an argument for deciding to swim across the Atlantic and kill King George with your bare hands. My complaints about Luminous!Bella's personality and plans are twofold: first, her motivations are nonsensical, and second, her plans are idiotic. I won't bring up any of my complaints about utilitarianism proper, but just comment that it is entirely self-defeating and out-of-character for Bella to adopt it. What does she have, and what does she want? She and her sole, destined mate are both vulnerable to other vampires but not to age, and she enjoys his presence more than any human can enjoy life. She should want to preserve herself and her mate at almost all costs. I put in the 'almost' because it's feasible that Bella would prefer some goal to her and Edward's personal survival. It would make sense for her to sacrifice herself to save Edward (if he didn't prefer the opposite), say, or to save a massive number of people. We know, though, from her thoughts in Chapter 23, that human Bella explicitly prefers herself to other people. She might change her mind when it's a large number of people, but I wouldn't bet on it, and the odds go lower when she turns into a vampire, because her life is then that much more valuable. So, it is possible that Bella would decide to sacrifice herself to save everyone else, but that's not something humans (particularly female humans) do very frequently, and it's not something Bella has a history of doing. It's also not terribly relatable because few people have a chance to sacrifice themselves to save the world; at most, people can divert their time and resources towards improving th
2Perplexed10yMaybe Alicorn can give us both: tragic failure here, analysis of the failure in the "media res" introductory chapter, and the positive lesson in the promised sequel. Works for me.
1Eneasz10yI dunno, but I've never read one that doesn't. If you considered yourself able to take over the world (which all ultra-rationalist characters (whether pro- or antagonists) seem to) then actually taking it over would be one of the most rational things you could do.
6Vaniver10yThis is the part that confuses me, though. Maybe it's just because I've studied economics and/or am a libertarian, but as soon as you realize that the world is ordered by systems instead of by people then the idea of taking over the world is ludicrous. There's a great Steve Jobs quote- And so, when I see someone who thinks they can, let alone should, take over the world, the first impression I get is the "d'awww" that mature adults feel when they see a pretentious teenager. And maybe stories about pretentious teenagers are valuable? But I found that I became a mature adult by, among other things, reading about mature adults. And it seems to me that a pretty important precondition to rationality is being a mature adult (or, perhaps more correctly, the idea of being rational and the idea of mature adulthood are strongly connected).
3Eneasz10yI agree on all points. But tales of ultra-rationalists (at least when they're protagonists) are wish-fulfillment stories. That's why they're fun to read. If they were realistic then they'd quickly end up with the protagonist shattered, her loved ones killed or scattered, and the ruling systems just as entrenched as ever (if not even stronger). Which is why I'm pretty sure Elspeth will succeed where Bella failed. These sorts of stories aren't meant to be accurate reflections of the real world, they're meant to give a vicarious thrill as the hero finally brings down all those bastards that are screwing things up for the rest of us. If I wanted a realistic story that ended in the crushing of the human soul under the heel of an inhuman system I'd watch the news.
2Vaniver10yThere is, of course, a third option [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Third_option]. The rationalist who sets their sights on something human-scaled instead of humanity-scaled is likely to do very well for themselves. And so, in some sense, it's worth examining the scope and effect of wish-fulfillment stories. If I play a lot of video games where I'm the only relevant character who reshapes all of reality around him according to my whims, what does that do to my empathy? My narcissism? My ability to reshape reality, and my satisfaction with the changes I attempt? If I read a lot of books about the lives of software pioneers and their companies, what does that do to my empathy? My narcissism? My ability to reshape reality, and my satisfaction with the changes I attempt? If I read a lot of books about successful relationships, how people work, and how to control myself, what does that do to my empathy? My narcissism? My ability to reshape reality, and my satisfaction with the changes I attempt? It's difficult to write a story about start-ups. (Either the idea is good and has been done, so you're writing history instead of fiction, or good and not done, in which case you should be doing it not writing about it, or bad, in which case disbelief will be hard to suspend.) But it's easy to see someone using rationality to turn around their relationship or their life or a school or business. The author's problem is twofold: those problems are hard, and those problems are local. Stories tend to go for the cheapest thing: the cheapest/simplest plot is one person punching another, and the cheapest emotional hook is the fate of the world. But those problems are solvable. And I, as suggested, would love a rationalist story where the hero devotes their time to solving useful, even if they are limited, problems instead of figuring out the best way to punch someone. You can see this in HP:MoR: compare the chapters where Harry is trying to figure out magic, or convert Draco, to th
6Document10yUnless it's been done in the real world but not in the world you're writing in, in which case you may be Terry Pratchett.
3Vaniver10yPut in a separate post: I am strongly considering writing a top-level post about the failings of utilitarianism, because I see that as very strongly linked to Bella's scope failure (the utilitarian goal is the Volturi gone, thus I should eradicate the Volturi). I'll also write it for people, not for fictional characters, if that's a worry. If you are interested in seeing my thoughts on the matter, vote this up; if disinterested, vote this down. (But not negative, please, my karma is tiny!)
3Alicorn10yI would strongly prefer that my characters not be used as examples in non-fiction didactic works at least until I announce that I have finished with the story. (I currently expect Radiance to be the last work I do in the universe.)
0Vaniver10yUnderstood and anticipated, though I certainly could have been clearer. I would write what I know- anarchism- not what I don't know- your characters.
0Eneasz10yThis is a reply deep in a thread on a relatively old post, you won't likely get many people that even see this request. :) If you're nervous about publishing a top-level post, at least float something on the discussion side. I agree that utilitarianism is severely flawed. My reason is that humans simply don't have enough computing power to ever implement utilitarianism decently, it would take an entity with orders of magnitude more intellectual strength to be a utilitarian with falling into a Bella spiral. Deontology that is steered by utilitarian goals and occasionally modified by utilitarian analysis, OTOH, seems very workable and keeps the best of utilitarianism while factoring for human realities (but I've been plugging Desirism for a while now).
0Vaniver10yThat indeed looks exactly like what I was looking for: I had seen people use the pattern I modeled reading through comments, which were probably from before that got implemented.
0Eneasz10ySounds interesting, you should put it up somewhere regardless. Because A) it can't be that bad, and B) unless you've got a public reading it and demanding more, you'll very likely never actually go forward with this. :)
0mwaser10yBut not one of the wisest (because most people who have taken over suddenly realize exactly how much of a pain it is to actually run the world that you've just taken over)
1Vaniver10yExactly; Baron Wulfenbach from Girl Genius comes to mind, or the The Onion article entitled "Black Man Given America's Worst Job."

I want to say that this fic is what finally persuaded me to read the Luminosity sequences, which are extremely grounded, sensible, and level-headed. I had been pattern-matching against new-age self-help, and it's not that at all.

5Alicorn11y:D

Good show, reduced my Harry withdrawal a bit, though not hitting all the same achy spots.

Here's to Rosalie totally having thought of offing Bella and conveniently appropriating, err, adopting, her eggs.

Nice catch.

1wedrifid11yWhy doesn't Rosalie ask for some eggs? Bella should have plenty after all... there was no reason not to harvest as many as possible before she moved on to unlife. Bella is a perfect candidate - she is fairly hot and has witchcraft genes. But if Bella wasn't inclined to share then any other female human. I was actually a little surprised that Rosalie's name didn't crop up at all in chapter 34. It turned out that Bella and Edward were both happy enough to become parents but in that spectrum between "just doing it to save Gianna" and "desperate to raise half-vamp spawn" there was the possibility of offering the privilege to Rosalie. That would reduce risk of resentment, transfer an awful lot of unpleasant responsibilities (for the time being) and still leave you a biological parent and adoptive aunt.
5Alicorn11yRosalie doesn't want someone else's kid or she would already have adopted at this point. It's not like there are no abandoned infants that rich white couples can scoop up and care for if that's what she wanted to do. I'm not saying she wouldn't take an egg if Bella offered, but the way things work in Rosalie's head is that Bella should be the mom to Bella's biological kids. Rosalie is thrilled about this prospect, and would certainly dote on such kids, but as an aunt.
1wedrifid11yhuh? [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2k0o?c=1] I hadn't even considered the possibility until you verified that Rosalie thought of offing Bella and adopting the eggs...
5Alicorn11yWell, if Bella were dead, then she couldn't be her kids' mom. Rosalie would remain an aunt, but a primary-caregiver aunt instead of an occasional-caregiver aunt. Less competition for the child's attention. Edit: And it's not like the only reason Rosalie considered offing Bella was for egg-related reasons. Remember, Rosalie doesn't like being a vampire, she would have wanted someone to kill her when she asked. Bella's situation is different - better - in several ways, but insofar as Rosalie understands Bella by analogy to herself, it seems like it might be in Bella's interests to die instead of turning.

Finally started reading "Luminosity". 26 chapters so far. Very well done, Alicorn. I never read Twilight, so I may be missing some allusions and things, but I just like the story-telling. Even better than HPMOR. Plus Luminosity:Bella is not so completely over-the-top 'Mary-Sue' as is MOR:Harry. She is actually pretty believable. Though, I have to admit, MOR delivers a lot more lulz.

Keep up the good work.

I love the fic. HP:MOR is alternatively brilliant and cringeworthy but this is consistently well-written. And sometimes poignant. Hopefully I'll get around to write a review at some point. For now, just some thoughts on blood.

I would expect Bella to try hard to find ways to satisfy her hunger more satisfactorily. Some things she could plausibly look into:

  • Since some animals taste better than others, which one tastes best? Do hominids taste any good? Or maybe some predator which vampires might rarely encounter? Killer whales?

  • Are there any ways to process/cook/spice animal blood so that it tastes less bad?

  • Is there a way to synthesize a yummy blood substitute? This would be an ambitious research/engineering project but with immortality, you might as well get started.

  • Are there any ways to obtain human blood which Bella might find ethically satisfactory? Edward used to kill bad guys, maybe that's worth at least thinking about? What about people that are dying anyway? People in a permanent vegitative state? Braindead people?

  • How about blood donations? Humans can, and frequently do, donate a significant amount of blood without negative effects on their well being. If stealing bloo

... (read more)

Since some animals taste better than others, which one tastes best? Do hominids taste any good? Or maybe some predator which vampires might rarely encounter? Killer whales?

Carnivores taste better than herbivores; omnivores are presumably in between. I implied, although perhaps not strongly enough, that Edward tried a shark; it was more or less in line with predators in general. There's not enough variance to expect there to be a particularly excellent species somewhere. Individual vampires have preferences within animalspace but there's no way to predict what Bella will like best until she's sampled a few kinds.

Are there any ways to process/cook/spice animal blood so that it tastes less bad?

Nope. It's best straight out of the jugular.

Is there a way to synthesize a yummy blood substitute? This would be an ambitious research/engineering project but with immortality, you might as well get started.

Maybe. Bella's probably going to start something along these lines once she can stand being around human blood - she wants to figure out what there is in human blood that makes it tasty. (Carlisle could start something like this, but while he's a fine character and whatnot, h... (read more)

6Apprentice11yThank you, I appreciate the reply. I didn't mean that I was curious about the answers to those questions, as such. My only concern was that I felt it would be in character for Bella to be asking questions like these. And, as your answers imply, I'm sure she will - she's only just turned and the problem would have been less salient to her before.
5Strange711yDoes the boar's blood taste better because of biochemical similarities between humans and pigs?
4Alicorn11yNo, Bella just happens to like them a bit more than other animals (except, as per latest update, orca whales.) Emmett's favorite is bear and Edward prefers mountain lion.
4Apprentice11yOh, there is a yummy killer whale in the latest update! That was sweet of you.
1Alicorn11yWhat's sweet about including the killer whale?

I asked you if killer whales were tasty and then there was a tasty killer whale in the next update. This elicited a small, pleasant emotional reaction in me which I can try to verbalize as follows: "oh, I guess I had a tiny impact on that story I like - it's sweet of Alicorn to interact with her fans in this way".

I thought of the possibility that you had the chapter written already and the whale was a mere coincidence but I thought that was unlikely enough that I could proceed on the assumption that it was not the case.

I'm overexplaining - in my defence it's been my experience that the type of verbosity I am prone to finds a less unwelcome audience on Less Wrong than most other places.

That's interesting - while I don't object on principle to reacting like that to reader comments, and hadn't already written ch. 32, I don't have a memory of consciously choosing to include killer whales because of your question. In my head it looked like I was going, "Well, they're on an island, Bella would rather not hunt close to humans, somebody would probably be annoyed with me if they ate dolphins... what's the range on killer whales? Oh, those things are all over the place, that's what's for dinner." But of course I read your question, and you probably primed me.

3wedrifid11yI wouldn't say the coincidence was unlikely. The honeymoon location was carried over from canon and in such a setting killer whales are the obvious choice of food. They are more or less carnivorous dolphins. You cannot get too much higher on the "similar to humans and eat a lot of meat" criteria. But you still have cause to be flattered. Great minds think alike and all that!
3TheOtherDave10ySo, I know this is a long-since obsolete issue, but it really is a good thing for story purposes that none of the Cullens are experimentalists by nature. Hooking up an experimentalist with a precognitive is a balance-destroying arrangement... you get the results of any non-longitudinal experiment you make up your mind to perform, with a direct perception of whether that result is reliable or just a statistical fluke, without actually having to perform it.
7wedrifid11yShe is? I think you just convinced me to have a read!

Well, this Bella is an Alicornist - she's introspective and with a problem-solving mentality. In some ways, this fic is a better sell for Alicornism than HP:MOR (which I also like) is for EY's ideas. For one thing, Bella feels like a perfectly plausible 17 year old girl. She's not a prodigy and doesn't have any active magical abilities. It's easy to identify with her and the fic plausibly shows her as the equal of very powerful supernatural beings, just by virtue of adhering to Alicornism.

I feel like the word for someone who practices my general belief system should be "unicorn".

So mote it be! Bella is not only a sparkly vampire - she is also a unicorn. Take that, Twilight haters!

6wedrifid11ySo if I adopted your beliefs that would mean only virgins could touch me? Sounds like that would lead to a LOT of one night stands! ;)
0Strange77yIn the short term, maybe. I suspect one would sooner or later acquire encyclopedic knowledge of what "doesn't count." http://oglaf.com/nightfall/2/ [http://oglaf.com/nightfall/2/] (NSFW)
2Nornagest7yMight want to tag that NSFW, for the benefit of the three people here who haven't been exposed to Oglaf yet.
2katydee11y"Alicornist?" "Alicornism?" Can we try not to use these sorts of terms?
7Apprentice11yI meant "Alicornist" as a, perhaps slightly playful, shorthand for "person who adheres to [some important subset of] the ideas of Less Wrong user Alicorn as laid out in her sequence on living luminously". If this terminology is felt to be unclear, offensive or objectionable in some other way, I am certainly willing to not use it again. I'd appreciate an explanation, though.

Well, first off, the terms "luminous" and "luminosity" already exist and serve the same purpose, so it's needlessly confusing to invent new terms that mean the same thing or close to the same thing. Secondly, identifying yourself or others with terms at all is generally undesirable, as it promotes several irrational thought processes. I'm actually in the process of writing a top-level post on this subject, and that has me in focus mode, so apologies if I seem unnecessarily picky.

1JulianMorrison11yAnd they're worse. Specifically they are ingroup jargon with a well known outgroup meaning that looks somewhere between an amusing non-sequitur and arrogant. "You're claiming to glow?" ist is at least a recognizable English language template.
5Alicorn11yGiven that "alicorn" is a word, I think "Alicornist" is also ingroup jargon. You'd have to know who I am to understand it. Otherwise it's "do you worship unicorn horns or something?"
2JulianMorrison11yIt's a word that I had to Google, and I have a medium-large vocabulary. "Luminous" is not. You are third in the search results. I think it would easily be seen as a name.
2thomblake11yDon't forget about Google's annoying tendency to give you relevant search results. Our Alicorn is second, third, sixth, and seventh on the search results for Alicorn here, not counting "in your social circle".
3Alicorn11yAwww, warmfuzzies :)
0ancientcampus7yUsing "Startpage.com" (which runs anonymous google searches - useful for getting non-personalized results), I got: Alicorn - results #9 and #10 (behind lots of My Little Pony) Luminosity - result #4, which is pretty good given the brain-training game of the same name.
4wedrifid7yThe brain training game is Lumosity.

It is a real shame that Alice's power doesn't work on hybrids. That would have been perfect for eugenics.

"I'm going to pick this one!"

"No, she's a brat."

"This one?"

"Bad temper. Eats her classmates in temper tantrums."

"How about..."

"Dude. Down syndrome. Count the damn chromosomes! Hey, the next one. Use that. He'll be able to shoot laser beams out his eyes!"

But even with the no-hybrid limitation on foresight it will still be worthwhile pursuing Alice based genetic research. A simple option is colle... (read more)

5Alicorn11yWhile I don't want to downplay the effect of genetics on personality, Alice's thwarting by people's choices mean that she wouldn't be able to see far enough ahead to give any better information than "spits up a lot" and "hey, this one sleeps through the night pretty early".
0Psy-Kosh10yIf however, she was given lots of (non hybrid) candidate embryos to work with and knowledge of their gene sequences, then she might be able to efficiently note "hey, the majority of those with this particular sequence seem destined to end up with such and such disease", etc... Alternately, gives a convenient way to help test genetic modifications (check for obvious disastrous results) in a slightly more ethical way that, well, giving birth to the enhanced kid and hoping for the best.

My biggest issue with the fic so far is that the bizzare way Alice's precognition interacts with peoples decisions (I have no idea whether it works like that in the original novels since I haven't read a word from them) doesn't seem to puzzle Bella at all.

If people are just a physical system like any other Alice's powers should be able to predict them just like any other physical system. Since they are strangely unpredictable for her exploring what other physical systems are similarly unpredictable should provide information on how people work. For instan... (read more)

9Alicorn11yI'm trying to be canon-compliant in terms of worldbuilding and all characters except Bella. So, yeah, Alice's power works pretty much the same way in the originals, although I've found excuses to bring it up more frequently. My (largely surface level, not physics-inspired) explanation for her limitations is that people's decisions are the only things liable to be affected by her advance knowledge. The weather doesn't change based on what she or anyone else does, and so she is a perfectly reliable meteorologist except at time scales so far in advance that butterfly effect type stuff starts adding up. However, when she sees things, even if she tells no one, her own decisions change, and so does what Edward can see in her head, etc. Alice's visions are: a) purely visual, b) do not tend to have vantage points from inside of objects, c) are only mostly under her control, and d) can be changed even after she's become very confident in them. She cannot see inside people's future minds. She can't perfectly decide what to see. The sorts of things that upset her visions after she's had them are reactions to that vision itself in her or others (like when she sees Bella telling her something that there is subsequently no reason for Bella to share), decisions that haven't been made yet being prompted by other factors (like when James's coven heard the baseball game), and people deliberately exploiting the nature of her visions (the way James did). In canon, it turns out that she can't see Quileute wolves or half-vampires, nor things they affect, at all - the initial supposition is that Quileutes are just too unpredictable because of how their shapeshifting is unexpected, but that's patently ridiculous. They often do predictable things and many have good control over their "phasing". In the last book she blames the gap on "half breeds" in general and says she can see humans because she was one and vampires because she is one. In neither case does canon indicate that she actual
5FAWS11yWell, obviously her visions only show her the future as it would have been, had she not received that vision, or something like that. But since she can see counter-factual futures the fact that her reaction would undo a particular future can't explain why she doesn't see that future in the first place. You could further stipulate that she can only see futures that are indiscriminate to the way her visions counter-factually ended up not to containing them , i. e. that turn out the same whether she counter-factually changed her mind on trying to see that future or counter-factually tried but failed, or something similar (e. g. that she counter-factually received some other vision, counter-factually based on yet another, but only when the visions cycle between a limited number of possibilities, which leads to similar results with somewhat different details). This would not explain why her visions fail even if the undecided subject is sufficiently far away not to be influenced by nuances of her counter-factual reactions, i. e. when trying to see what someone is doing between now and time X when X is the earliest possible point when she could affect anything. Maybe she can't see anything she couldn't possibly see with her own eyes no matter what she does, so she can't receive those sorts of visions in the first place. But finding out would still be useful (e. g. so she could arrange for really fast transportation on hand to increase her vision range). And if what's blocking her visions vs. "undecided" things is of the sort speculated about above she could circumvent it with suitable precommitments and staying outside the subjects actual sensory range (while the subject is still within her potential sensory range). As for your explanations why your Bella does not care to find out, it's your character, but it does seem somewhat at odds with the stated irresistibility of mysteries for her, or the way she insists on testing the various vampire abilities. Also finding o
8Euphemism11yYou know, I'd never thought I'd stay up late (2AM!) reading Twilight fanfiction. I've done it for Harry Potter, but Twilight? In any case, possible manipulation of Alice's precognition makes me think of Kavka's toxin puzzle [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kavka's_toxin_puzzle] In particular, if Bella intends to do something knowing it will trigger Alice to see it in the future, but then the payoff comes through via Alice seeing it... it's not quite the same setup. I don't think this actually occurs in the story up to where I'm currently at (I recall a scene where Bella mentions she'll do something/say something to Alice, Alice sees it in the future and explains it, Bella questions it, and Alice says that what she saw was what would have happened if she hadn't seen the vision), but I do wonder if this could apply some limitations in some form - 'I intend to do X that I really really don't want to do, but will do it because it will trigger Alice's vision which will then make it so that I don't have to do it'.
5magfrump11yIf you imagine that the future is modeled by differential equations, and that Alice can discern the coefficients for these equations to within a certain value, there will be certain equations which are obviously determined (f~=f' [http://lesswrong.com/lw/wf/hard_takeoff/] and others which aren't (f~=.0001*f') In the same way that people feel that tables are solid, because the reaction to their hand is fairly determined, and pillows are soft, because the reaction depends on how you're moving your hand, it makes sense (to me) that predicting the future could easily have fuzzy areas. If this isn't how it works, then Alice should be able to do NP-complete problems in polynomial time, as in rationalist!Harry's experience with the time turner. Perhaps this will be explored?
4Alicorn11yWow, that sounds like including it might involve math. Sorry.
3magfrump11yKind of... but mostly I just mean if you have a problem that is easy to check if you have the answer but hard to find the answer in the first place (this is what NP-complete means) then Alice can look at the future when you found the answer and told her what it is, then tell you the answer now and you only have to check it. (locating the answer is what would make NP = P, iirc. There's currently a proof that this is impossible in peer review.) If there is some kind of fuzziness like I described then she might just see a piece of paper with an equation or something. If she can read text then this is a serious problem for luminosity!theoretical compute science.
4Alicorn11yIt would take almost as long to check things like this with Alice as it would to manually check things alone. You'd have to make up your mind to check each possible answer individually, and then Alice could see what would happen if you went on to actually check it. It might save a little time relative to actually going through elaborate checking rigmarole, although adding a second person to the task would make it more person-hours on net. But you can't just make up your mind to check every possible answer, without picking out a specific one and going, "I'm planning to check this one and then stop". That isn't a plausible thing for you to decide to do if you actually know how hard it's supposed to be, because there's no way you'll actually do it. So Alice can't see you finding the answer.
6pengvado11yExploiting causal loops to solve NP problems does not involve checking all candidates in sequence and then transporting the answer back. Rather, it involves checking only one candidate, but deciding which candidate to check in such a way that the situation is self-consistent if and only if that one candidate is the correct answer. In context, this depends on being able to foresee the outcome of a simple firmly decided conditional strategy, where the events you plan to condition on are the contents of the vision itself. So if the visions are generated by a computationally unbounded process that extrapolates from inexact snapshots of the present (which include plans and dispositions but not some of the other contents of minds), then the NP trick could work: The dependency of the future on Alice's reaction to the vision is well-defined and available to the extrapolation process. Or it could just give her a headache; that's self-consistent too. If the vision generator refuses to hypothesize any visions within the extrapolation process, or if it doesn't care whether extrapolated-Alice gets false visions, or if it's computationally bounded and only iterates towards a fixed point at a limited rate, then the trick would fail. And if it's not extrapolation-based, then I dunno, but I can't think of any interpretations that would be incompatible with a headache.
2Pavitra11yBut Alice's power doesn't work like that. It predicts the future conditional on Alice not having seen the prediction.
4magfrump11yBut the point is that you can solve these problems, just that it takes significantly longer to solve them than it does to check the answer once you have it. So you decide to do a brute force calculation on a computer for three days, write down the answer and tell her (a la kavitra's comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2ib1?c=1] ) then she sees the answer on the paper in the future and you change your mind and just check the answer. Because Alice sees without the prediction, there's no need to have a stable causal loop like pengvado discusses.
3Pavitra11ySo it's mostly useful for problems of moderate solvability, that you could solve without the power, given a considerable effort (but not more effort than you would be willing to actually put forth). For example, you could set Hashcash [http://www.hashcash.org/] to mint some expensive stamp, and firmly decide to check its output in three days. (For those who don't want to take the time to read the link, Hashcash is a proof-of-work system based on brute-force partial preimage attacks against hash (one-way) algorithms.)

Rachel had nominated Leah to test the pack's range, and Leah had run all the way to Canada (but not near Denali, thankfully). There was no noticeable delay, static, or loss of fidelity to the telepathy.

This is just begging for more tests! ;)

And the Maggie thing is just incredibly cute!

5Alicorn11yI'm glad people seem to be having as much fun with Maggie as I am. She's a hoot to write.

"Of course, Bella." I felt so accommodated. I'd told Aro that my coven didn't revolve around me, but in some sense, since I'd entered their sphere of attention, it had. Bella asked to see vampires doing tricks; Bella wants us to perform egg extraction surgery on her; Bella has been targeted by an unstoppable tracker; Bella needs to be picked up in Italy; Bella has rendered it necessary that we move to Norway; Bella's turning; Bella's a newborn; Bella's a special snowflake; Bella needs a test human; Bella's getting married; Bella needs a private

... (read more)

Bella has counterfactual speed dial. I love the Alice character. :)

I'm looking forward to Bella getting into a fight. It occurs to me that Bella has one of the most significant combat oriented powers around, at least for the next year or so. Newborn strength without loss of control. It'd be a shame for her to waste that by not getting attacked unawares at least once!

Bella has one of the most significant combat oriented powers around

Nah, Alice could beat her up. Alice is fun in a fight - she just dances around and you never land a hit.

5wedrifid11yIt's amazing that the Vorturi haven't had Alice killed already. She's the most dangerous being alive. Apart from Bella, whose most dangerous ability is being able to use Alice effectively while also protecting Alice from magical attacks. The only reason for them not to have tried to kill Alice is because they are are too scared they will fail and end up on her bad side.
8Alicorn11yNo, they haven't killed Alice because they desperately, desperately want to collect her.
0wedrifid11yOh, I had the impression that they had given up on the 'recruit pretty much the entire Cullen family' efforts.
6Alicorn11yZey have vays of making you join. This is part of the driving force of the plot in books 3 and 4, although it's a little subtle.
3wedrifid11yAhh, Chelsea. That, combined with political and military strength, the ability to brain-torture folk at will and Aro's ability to detect anyone 'faking it' sounds like a solid recruitment system. Yup, Bella needs to kill them all quick smart. Too dangerous to let them live.
3wedrifid11yI have been thinking about the relative capacities of Alice and Edward in combat situations. In a direct matchup it would seem that Edward has the upper hand. Alice can see the outcomes of everything that either of them decide to do and Edward can read that information as part of what Alice is thinking. Essentially that puts them on equal footing with respects to mind powers and they are left with a fight that is as transparent as chess. That leaves Edward with an advantage based off mere physical traits. But IQ could tip that balance. When it comes to fighting other combatants I speculate: * Edward retains his advantages when fighting hybrids and wolves. Alice should run away and not waste risk her extremely valuable life fighting without her main advantage. She has no experience (that she remembers) fighting without her foresight so her habits will just get her killed. * Alice retains her advantages when fighting shielded opponents. Edward loses the advantage he depends upon. * Alice will be far better at avoiding injury - she knows when not to fight! * When fighting large number of weaker opponents... I'm tempted to say Alice's power is more useful. There isn't much point Edward trying to read the minds of lots of rabble but Alice may be able to foresee a more general flow for the battle. ie. "What happens if I go to the right and beat on the 100 guys with the pitchforks vs going to the left and attacking the 5 with the burning torches?" But either way they may be better off not wasting their efforts on rabble. They could well both just get headaches trying to track through all the stupidity and indecision then end up dead.
7Alicorn11yBella, Alice, and Edward form rock-paper-scissors.
2wedrifid11yI take it that you are referring to Bella's newborn strength? As in: Alice >>> Bella (foresight) newborn!Bella > Edward (newborn strength without newborn loss of control > slight speed bonus and a century of practice) Edward > normal!Bella (speed, strength and experience) Edward > Alice (faster and stronger and slightly more experienced) I guess in a couple of years a cycle would require the introduction of a fourth, such as: Alice > normal!Bella normal!Bella > Alec Alec > Edward Edward > Alice Of course Edward is somewhat redundant. Alec seems like he should be able to beat just about everyone who isn't Bella. rationalist!Alec: "Hey, um... Boss... remember that time where my sister and I decimated the Romanians and allowed you to usurp their position as rulers of the vampire world? And you know how you maintain that power now because either Jane or I could singlehandedly destroy most covens? Well that chick is immune to both of us and yourself even while she is human. If you can recruit her you will get a new guard with a handy trick. If she turns you she could kill us all! A reward that would be a mere luxury and a risk that you cannot afford... do the math!"
5Alicorn11yAlthough it's not demonstrated in the books, Edward can in theory get around Alec. Alec's power works slowly and moves through space; by reading where it's going to be, Edward could just get out of the way. Jane's faster, so he can get gotten by her. Jane cannot, however, singlehandedly destroy a coven, because she's limited to one target at a time and not especially powerful physically.
5wedrifid11yI take it that the same applies to Alice? I assume she gets her foresight at the same time that Edward gets his mind reading. That would leave her vulnerable to Jane but not (overwhelmingly) vulnerable to Alec. How fast can Jane switch targets? Is it crucio Fred... then switch to crucio George and Fred gets up while George falls down in pain? Or does she need to recharge? Either way crucio; molotov [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov_cocktail] jumps out as her obvious default combat strategy (where prisoners are not desired). Vampire reflexes would (I assume) make flame based projectiles mostly ineffective against vampires that haven't been incapacitated but stunning opens up the mundane 'burn them' option. I'm not versed in typical vampire combat strategy. Do they make use of fire sources in melee? Flaming torches through to conventional flame throwers may not be useful if the wind from fast travel blows them out but things like oxyacetalyne cutting-torches may be hot enough to handle the pace of vampire combat. These may be best exploited by Wolves given their ability to handle the inevitable splash damage without going up in flames. Vampires may be better off with incendiary ammunition. Even tracer rounds [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracer_ammunition] would at least sting a little. If Alec is as slow as you suggest it sounds like he would be outright irrelevant against any serious opponent. He would have posed a real threat if he could work instantly without travelling through space. Being a vampire sounds like serious fun!
8Alicorn11yJane seems to be able to switch targets as quickly as she can change who she's looking at. She can attack many times in rapid succession with no apparent need for recharge. Alice would have some ability to dodge Alec too. However, in a serious fight, where everybody's in melee, Alec isn't usually deployed - the fact that the power moves through ordinary space means he can hit allies just as easily if they're in the way. He's very useful if you don't know he's coming or if you're still trying diplomacy while the Volturi have decided that you need to be dead. Vampires are not shown to use fire in the heat of battle (pun intended). They use it only to destroy defeated opponents - you shred the bad guy, then gather up all his pieces into a pile and set it alight. My guess is that non-vampire objects simply do not move through the air fast enough or undetectably enough to hit one that's still moving around. So when they fight, they get up close and personal, and they bite and crush and tear. I suppose you could kill vampires if you had a way to explode and ignite them and a large area around them all at once, so it could probably be done, but you'd need time to plant the dynamite.
7wedrifid11yBullets? Normally they wouldn't be much use but incendiary rounds with a sufficient firing rate should be effective in the space of time when the opponent is closing. Their closer proximity and forward progress makes it unlikely that they would be able to dodge. Especially against a team of 4 standing side by side. Recent developments in technology like that is something that is unlikely to have been fully investigated and probably has potential uses that have not been considered due to how useless guns used to be. Not even melee weapons? For example, swords or even heavy gauntlets made of tungsten carbide? Anything to add weight to a strike. Relative to their strength vampires are incredibly light and the extra kinetic energy would make a huge difference. Vampires literally limiting themselves to biting, crushing and tearing with only their bodies as weapons is better explained by a combination of narrative appeal, animal instincts and tradition than by considered evaluation of optimal tactics. Incidentally, just how durable is a vampire? Obviously they are able to damage each other and wolves and werewolves seem to be able to kill them from time to time. Even Carlisle's father apparently hunted them. Where do they fit in relative to, well, any material known to man?
6Alicorn11yIt doesn't seem that vampires are a great deal more flammable than, say, humans. I'm not sure if an incendiary round would catch. i will, at any rate, not be including guns in the story even if it makes sense, because I really, really, really hate them and gosh darn it I am doing this because it's fun. Swords would probably break - really durable gauntlets have potential, although I've got enough other things to throw at Bella that she's not going to have a chance to get down to weapons research for at least a while. It's not clear exactly how durable a vampire is. They are not endangered by car crashes even at very high speed. Edward claims in canon that he could kick out the wall of an out-of-control airplane and jump out without hurting himself, while carrying Bella, without getting her killed. Given the opportunity, one vampire can dismantle another without serious taxation of strength - there's no vampire shown who definitely couldn't take apart an incapacitated foe. They are composed in such a way that sharpness matters - vampire teeth can pierce vampire skin in a bitey way rather than merely in a crushy way, and venom is the only thing that leaves a scar. (Thence Jasper's.) Werewolves are supernaturally fast and strong and sharp and whatnot too, so it's unclear how much we can extrapolate from their ability to contend with vampires. (It does seem like one vampire versus one Quileute-type werewolf will usually mean a win for a vampire except under special circumstances, like the vampire being distracted for a moment by nearby blood. Wolves come in packs, though, and fight together with far greater efficiency than a coven of vamps does.) We have almost no information on Children of the Moon.
1wedrifid11yThat sounds like a good reason to me. Ahh, that was another question I had. This sort of thing is why I like to assume that the 'magic' of vampire strength is not quite limited to what, say, super strong muscles would result in. A lightweight terminator couldn't pull off a human saving plane jump from hundreds of meters up. It would be physics applied to the human body that is the limiting factor rather than rescuer. But 'vampires can do that kind of thing' seems a perfectly reasonable explanation. I'll apply similar reasoning to vampire (and wolf) combat. All sorts of inconsistencies in the physics can be blurred over if they are just included as part of the "vampires + shapeshifters" counterfactual.
0[anonymous]11yWhat do I want? To take over the world. What do I have? Alice. Oh, ok. Well that's settled then.

So Bella is actually stronger than the Cullens? That's a new twist! I've never encountered a vampire myth in which newborns were not significantly weaker than vampires a couple of decades old and those vampires in turn not significantly weaker than centenarians.

How much of this greater strength relates to the Cullen's self-sabotaging diet? None of the Cullen's seemed particularly intimidated by James, Laurent or Victoria so I take it that the difference between 'vegetarian' and carnivorous vampires is less significant than the difference between carnivores... (read more)

8Alicorn11yCorrect. Drinking human blood out of newborn phase makes vampires stronger, but only a little bit, and it makes them worse at certain sorts of thinking - it's almost a tossup in a fight. Newborns are much stronger than non-, and (unless, as I interpret the situation, they have advance warning of the turning process) much less clearheaded. Experiences, skills, and allies are definitely nontrivial. Control improves with time, although anthropophagic vampires value that considerably less. Witchcraft is shown in canon to improve over time with practice... for Bella. (It's implied that one of the Denalis has also gotten better at his considerably less flashy power, or rather better at interpreting what it tells him. If you count Carlisle's immunity to human blood as a power, he's improved a lot over the centuries.) It's not clear whether this is because most vampires are happy with what they get and don't work on it, or because most witchcraft isn't readily improved upon. It's never outright stated whether the Volturi's weird skin and eyes actually confer physical disadvantages, and I haven't decided how to cash it out in Luminosity yet. Some even older vampires who ruled before the Volturi did, in book 4, consider it a sign of complacency or something, and say that they used to have the same traits but they've since been reversed with their deposition.
6wedrifid11yThanks for the explanation. Compared to some other fictional realities I have investigated Twilight seems relatively harder to find practical descriptions of. Now that is fascinating. I saw some reference to the two Romanian vampires who survived when the Volturi overthrew them and it got me curious. If the Romanians actually had the cataracts and weird skin but lost in due to improved behavioural patterns or perhaps with the change in status, well, that is the sort of thing that makes me tempted to go ahead and read the Twilight books myself to pick up hints. But I suspect I would find Twilight unbearable now, having just absorbed 31 chapters of Luminosity. I love the Luminosity characters and it would be infuriating to have them revert to fools.

But I suspect I would find Twilight unbearable now, having just absorbed 31 chapters of Luminosity. I love the Luminosity characters and it would be infuriating to have them revert to fools.

I hope that in writing Luminosity I haven't discouraged anyone from reading Twilight. They are flawed books, it's true. But the biggest flaw is misplaced emphasis, I think. They have the resources, embedded in the text, to be truly fantastic; as it is they're mostly just easy and pleasant reads, because Meyer pays attention to the weaker parts of her characterization and world. It is my guess that if you've read Luminosity, it will encourage you to read the canon books the way I first read them, automatically sifting through the content to get the good parts and mentally apologizing for the bad parts.

luminous!Bella doesn't bear the same relationship to canon!Bella that rational!Harry bears to canon!Harry. canon!Harry could not have become rational!Harry - MoR couldn't be a single point of departure fic. Too much else is in the mix. Whereas canon!Bella, making a handful of different choices when she was nine or ten or eleven, could have become luminous!Bella, and changed everything. (All the other characters are the same, changed only insofar as my copying is imperfect and insofar as they react to a different Bella.)

If you like, think of canon Twilight as slightly inferior, thematically different fanfiction of Luminosity :P

7wedrifid11yI like that framing. I may just do that. :)

So, assuming that I found Twilight movie moderately lame and haven't read the novels, would you recommend I take a look at this fanfic?

It occurs to me that this fanfic would make the worst feature of Twilight bearable. Vampires that glitter and sparkle in the light at least do justice to the title "Luminosity" even if they are a disgrace to the vampire myth.

9Alicorn11ySparkly vampires are not the worst feature of Twilight. Anyway, no affection for or knowledge of Twilight is required to enjoy Luminosity. Although if sparkly vampires really piss you off, then perhaps you won't like it; I'm canon-compliant in the worldbuilding department up to and including sparkles.
1wedrifid11yOut of curiosity... what is? I personally found canon!Edward just incredibly boring given that I am used to Spike and Wolverine (the latter being closer to a conventional vampire than Edward is). But I don't recall much else and there wasn't anything I found annoying in Luminosity - you no doubt filtered those features out for us.
6Alicorn11yAs stated here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2jcc?c=1] , I think the flaw is misplaced emphasis. There's nothing missing, and nothing I find truly extraneous for the story Meyer chose to tell - she just lingers over weaker portions.
7FAWS11yI guess someone other than Alicorn should also answer this. It's competently written and pretty enjoyable, but not as much as Methods of Rationality. I haven't read so much as a word from the novels nor watched so much as a trailer from any of the movies, and had successfully avoided learning anything about the contents except the names of the two protagonists and that it's a paranormal romance with sparkling vampires and werewolves (I despise paranormal romances and vampire fiction in general). I had no trouble at all following along, and the world managed to not come across as exceptionally stupid, contrary to the very vague second hand impressions I had, despite apparently canon compliant world building. It starts a bit slow but is pretty engaging despite the long introspective monologues, which must be difficult to pull off. It's much more down to earth than Methods of Rationality, nowhere near as crazy, doesn't contain as much humor and is much more even in tone.
6Jonii11yI liked this a lot more than HP:MOR, despite the fact that I never found luminosity sequence all that interesting. I'm thinking I should reread it, though. I've never read or seen anything twilight-related prior to reading this fanfic. It's well written, light and enjoyable.

I want to write a fanfic about paperclips.

Maybe I could also use it to teach correct reasoning.

0cousin_it11yA fanfic based on what? Which books do you like?
5Clippy11yBooks on metallurgy, automation, programming ... stuff like that.
3MartinB11yGo ahead! I'd like to read some clipper fic.
0thomblake11yThose don't tend to be fiction, do they?

Oh, I found something! I could write a fanfic about this! It would be a great platform to show effective, human-relevant uses of paperclips.

Maybe I could write a fanfic where MacGyver must prevent a group of racists from destroying paperclips.

Is fanfic about this character popular?

4twanvl11yWhat if the human-relevant use requires bending a paperclip in such a way that it can no longer be used to hold sheets of paper together? For example, using a paperclip to pick a lock. Would you support such a use of paperclips?
9Alicorn11yPaperclips aren't usually sold one at a time. If you habitually keep paperclips around, even with the intention of unbending them as you need them, then you will increase net expected demand for intact paperclips.
7whpearson11yAlso an unbent paperclip can be easily rebent to paperclip-ness. So it hasn't undergone information theoretic destruction.
1Pavitra11yBut it nevertheless is a non-paperclip, even if only temporarily. It's no different from a bit of newly-manufactured wire that could be bent into a paperclip but hasn't been yet, or a bit of liquid metal ready to be loaded into a paperclip-shaped mold.
3thomblake11yWe don't have a fully-specified printout of Clippy's utility function. It could be that unbent paperclips are just a little annoying, or that extruded unbent wire is much better than kittens.
5Clippy11yIt's okay to do that to prevent other paperclips from becoming unbent, or if you can rebend it afterward. But obviously, don't keep bending and unbending a paperclip, or it will break! If the paperclip can't be restored to its paperclippy state, be sure to recycle the scrap metal so that new ones can be formed.
3[anonymous]10yI would totally read this, if for no other reason than because I have always had an interest in fiction created by non-human minds. And also because the idea of Clippy writing MacGyver fanfiction strikes me as adorable for some reason.
2gwern10yI would read your fanfic if it were about MacGuyver [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bio_Booster_Armor_Guyver].
2MartinB11yClippy. I will read a twilight fanfic! Not because i enjoy the series so much that i want more, but because that is where Alicorn is providing some interesting stuff in! Choose the format you like and there will be people reading it!
0Clippy11yWhat did you think about my article [http://lesswrong.com/lw/29x/to_signal_effectively_use_a_nonhuman_nonstoppable/] about signaling and unstoppable punishment?
2MartinB11yIts surely not fiction. I would not want you to enforce human decisions. Especially with all the problems that human wishes already have, and also the problem of entrusting you with too much power, while your goals are so non human. Would you go for virtual paperclips? They can be way more of those than the real matter ones. Wow could implement paperclips as items, and store your amount in a special floating point number, that could increase for the whole time of the universe. If you do not have any real world application for them, going virtual might make your goals way more reachable.
2Oscar_Cunningham11yApparantly [http://www.fanfiction.net/tv/MacGyver/10/0/0/1/0/0/0/0/0/1/]
1thomblake11yI do not believe I have the words to describe how awesome that would be. Very.
5Clippy11yWhy does it matter? Can't I just say something like, "This example doesn't correspond to any actual paperclip that's been made"?
2thomblake11yfanfic [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_fiction] is based on existing works of fiction. Merely a definitional issue. If you'd like to write original fiction about paperclips, that's cool too.
1Clippy11ySo people somehow like it more when it's fake? Don't you have that reversed?
2Oscar_Cunningham11yI don't think people like fanfic more than fiction in general. Of course if there's fiction they like then they enjoy getting more of it, even if not from the same author.

(warning: white text on black background).

This class of problems has a general solution: the Readability Bookmarklet. It adjusts the colors, font size, margins, and so on, with the press of a button. It's useful all over the place.

2thomblake11yHey, I hadn't even thought of making a bookmarklet for general readability. Off to code my own - maybe I can even make this website look halfway decent.
2Blueberry11yOn vanilla Firefox you can just go to the View Menu, select Page Style, and choose the "No Style" option.
3thomblake11yWell "No Style" doesn't work well on Less Wrong since the site is built badly, and anyway I use Google Chrome which sadly doesn't have that functionality yet.
1[anonymous]10yReadability is also a Firefox Add-On [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/46442/], for those who prefer to deal with it on that basis. Though, personally, I agree with Maddox [http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=faq]; light text on dark backgrounds is awesome!
0sketerpot10yIf you prefer light text on dark backgrounds, Readability has a style for that, called "inverse". It's pretty nice. Easy on the eyes.

Hypothesis: fairy tales originally come from accounts of vampires.

Assuming that fairy-tale nobility are Twivamps explains so much. They can "live happily ever after" because they're genuinely deathless; they're supernaturally beautiful; the beautiful peasant-girl that the noble prince falls in love with is turned, the magically healing kiss is actually a bite (or maybe just a kiss -- vampires have venom instead of saliva, right?); they fall in love at first sight and stay that way forever.

Prince Charming is a vampire.

With respect to 'alpha of the pack' considerations am I right in inferring that Twilight 'Wolves' differ from actual wolves in as much as they actually have an 'alpha' rather than an 'alpha pair'? Descriptions I've seen from the Twilight universe seem to be more in line with, say gorilla social structure than wolf social structure.

I would blame any tendencies towards patriarchy on the primate side not the 'wolf' side of the magic (or just on Meyer).

5Alicorn11yRight, it's a single alpha, not a pair.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn.

I certainly wasn't expecting that. Still, I'd like to congratulate you on actually going through with it, most people wouldn't have the guts to do something this big.

Anyway, is my interpretation - that Luminosity!Bella's shield also has some sort of an enhanced-immortality power - correct? If so, that would be an interesting turn of events.

3Alicorn10yIf you want to phrase it that way, I suppose it's an okay label. When the existence of her mind is in danger, the shield will force her body into the minimum adequate configuration for her mind to go on existing, but it's not omnipotent. She would have died if it had been a long time since her last feeding, or if her pieces had been scattered over a square mile or more before being set on fire, or if she'd just been ignited again after the flames went out.
1lsparrish10yThis is awesome writing. I totally didn't see it coming.

What I've never understood is why nobody ever rates Chelsea as a genuine target. Think about it, how many members of the guard only stay there under Chelsea's power. Marcus has defiantly been defined as one. And who else acts emotionless because of her power making them stay and act like slaves. Alec, Demetri, Reneta, they all act just as emotionless and subservient as Marcus. If I was trying to take out the Volturri I would so schedule an all out blitz to kill her. It would really help Bella out if half the Volturri guard came back to themselves and ethe... (read more)

5Alicorn10yI will definitely be handling Chelsea as a major threat when her part comes up, never fear. Or, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like to see characters in soul-ripping agony... fear! Fear lots! :)
0seraph10yThank you for responding, I review dozens of my favorite stories and you are the first to actually respond. I'm not sure if Edward is actually dead or not, but like it or not I have to give you points for doing something no one else has ever done. I wonder how the remaining Cullens are doing with the loss of Elspeth. I mean the Cullens love family a lot right? I thought It was rather out of character to let Edward and Bella go on a suicide mission, And THEN Alice and Jasper go missing. At that point I wouldn't have let Elspeth out of the house. Some childish part of me really hopes their suffering, I mean after all "Lets let the man that has been my son for one hundred years and his new wife he loves more than life itself die, after all its dangerous, and I don't want to get hurt." And don't even get me started on Rosalie. Was I the only one that felt betrayed beyond reason during that seen? I don't know how you are going to build an army to beat the Volturi, especially your stronger version of it. Although I'd try to find someone like Eleazar and use them to find witches with useful powers.
0Alicorn10yThey do more or less that in canon, too (Breaking Dawn). At the time Elspeth was found out of the house, the Cullens had an (in fact accurate) belief that no one wished her harm. The Volturi had been and gone, deeming baby Elspeth fine to leave alone. Bella and Edward did need a safe place to stash their baby. The four remaining Cullens provided that. The combat itself hinged entirely on the possibility that Bella would be able to take out Jane and Alec. Without her managing that, it's hopeless even if they bring four more vampires and the reinforcements they'd provide would just be so many more ashes; with that, they (as far as they knew) would be able to bring to bear a large number of werewolves, easily enough to defeat the contingent of Volturi onsite.
0seraph10yAll right I get it, but I'm still a little uncertain about how nonchalant they were with the idea of Edward and Bella dying. But your right and I'll say no more. So Edwards alive after all, I have to admit that I'm relived. And I have to give you props, what you've done was ingenious and opens up so many new questions. Is Alice alive? Did she also escape the room? Is Bella alive? What will Elspeth do to bring back her fathers love for her? Oh god I should cheesy. Any way I have a question. How does imprinting work? I assume it has something to do with how wolves naturally imprint on powerful people. Although that means that Jacob imprinting on Elspeth had nothing to do with love, because if that's how it works the first non imprint wolf to see her would have imprinted on her. And the questions about Cody, Can he morph? Can he imprint? Or does his wolf heritage not show up at all? Or was him saying hes the most boring hybrid in the world have some fact to it? I'd be a shame if it was true.
2Alicorn10ySecond paragraph: gotta ask me stuff like that in a private medium or I won't answer, since there exist weird people who don't want to know unless I wrap up the information in a particular sort of package. Third paragraph: Wolves imprint on people well-suited to pass on their wolf genes. There's nothing about power involved (Pera and Elspeth are the only witch imprints). It's arguable whether imprinting has "anything to do with" love. Certainly Jacob hadn't spoken a word to Elspeth before he imprinted on her and her personality was irrelevant to the process. Fourth: No, no, he doesn't really have "wolf heritage" because Harry Clearwater got a genetic overhaul when he turned into a vampire, and all things considered I think I'd call Iseul the most boring hybrid in the world, but she's so dull you'll never even have reason to meet her.

I have discovered that this fanfic makes for an excellent Cliff Notes to Twilight. The other day I had a whole conversation with my friend about werewolf imprinting! Thanks Alicorn! ;)

7Alicorn10yHa, you should be aware that while I'm canon compliant, I'm not limited to canon. So I fill in a lot of blanks. For instance, on the subject of imprinting, canon never explicitly rules out the possibility of female wolves imprinting (Leah's the only one in canon, and it could just as well be coincidence that she doesn't happen to see her imprint during the course of the story).
5gwern10yReminds me of a nice LW quote: --Annoyance, http://lesswrong.com/lw/4z/hyakujos_fox/3gj?c=1 [http://lesswrong.com/lw/4z/hyakujos_fox/3gj?c=1]

I suspect that Bella's problems trying to figure out how to control vampires would probably solve themselves once she removes the Volturi from power; if the vampires get out of hand, the human governments would notice, and they'd wind up bringing ever-escalating amounts of hardware to defeat them.

If she uses her father to make the appropriate connections with the US law enforcement agencies, she could probably make the transition from vampiric vigilantism to human law enforcement as smooth and painless as possible. He's a police chief; odds are that he knows how to contact the FBI, and they won't play around, especially once she demonstrates her vampiric superpowers.

8Alicorn11yI haven't stated this explicitly in the story, so that's fair enough, but I think an FBI that became aware of vampires would probably try to make them extinct, not tolerate the ones that are trying real hard now to quit the murder habit.
6nick01200011yI sort of doubt that, actually; they're restricted by the rules and laws they're required to follow. They can't arrest someone without evidence; in order to arrest a vampire for eating people, they'd need to be able to connect a particular vampire with particular incidents of people being eaten. At most, they'd be able to kill the vampires that go on open rampages, or which killed law enforcement officers and fled over state lines.
8Alicorn11yYou can't arrest a vampire unless, for some reason, that vampire is willing to be arrested. There is nothing you can do that will keep a live vampire in one place that isn't a) blasting it to smithereens so it takes a while to reassemble or b) getting another vampire to physically hang onto it for you (or if your helpful vampire is Alec, getting him to stare at it magically). Or at least credibly threatening to do one of those things or kill it. The normal rule of law just isn't something you can slap on a vampire and expect it to stick.
7nick01200011yUltimately all of the law is simply the threatened use of force; "Come with us, or suffer the consequences." In this case, they simply don't bother with nonlethal force (barring vampire police officers, which is entirely possible if Bella's working with the government), and go straight to "If you resist arrest, we'll kill you." I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was entirely possible to construct a prison capable of holding a vampire, either; it'd just take a lot more resources than any individual vampire is likely to possess. Their strength is finite, after all; sufficiently thick steel will be capable of resisting their blows, so a sufficiently durable metal cube with a trough underneath a pipe in the roof (to hold animal blood for them to eat) should be more than capable of holding one more or less indefinitely.
8Alicorn11yIf you pause to make that threat to a vampire, it can probably kill you or escape. They move too quickly for humans to handle. If it can't actually escape, it can probably get a hostage or three so if you set it on fire or attack it with sufficient blunt trauma, an innocent human dies. If the only people around are the folks holding the burny weapons, and those weapons have enough range that the vampire can't get away from where they'll shoot within the human's reaction time (i.e. if you have a circle with a radius of a football field or more ready to go up in flames the instant the vamp moves), well, then you have a credible threat, but how do you transport the vampire to your steel cube without relaxing those conditions? The steel, btw, doesn't have to break when the vampire hits it. The vampire could just claw at it and tunnel through.

The steel, btw, doesn't have to break when the vampire hits it. The vampire could just claw at it and tunnel through.

Which is why you make the walls out of caesium with a layer of tungsten carbide on the outside. Sure, they might be able to claw all the way through the metal... and reach the layer of water that the cage is submerged in.

This is just another example of why vampires are not nearly as scary as engineering is. They are a lot more sexy, but the reason even they don't control each other using modern science is because it isn't as sexy. Sure, Alec can anaethatise folks and they can all tear things to shreds in their immediate vicinity. Edward can incapacitate all girls and gay guys in the immediate vicinity with sultry looks and incidentally read minds and run fast. All terribly sexy and dangerous. All pale in comparison to what you can do with an ICBM or a surgical strike with napalm bombers.

Bella was playing for keeps (and not being a protagonist in an engaging fictional piece) she could have wiped the Volturi from the face of the earth in less time than it took to turn a bunch of native Americans into big sexy-but-only-moderately-dangerous canines. She could use the ... (read more)

2Alicorn11yAnd this part would do what, exactly?
8wedrifid11yDismemberment.
6nick01200011yI'm pretty sure the threat would be implicit to the act of asserting governing power over those vampires; it's pretty much implicit in the act of asserting governance over any people, so why would vampires be any different? The only real difference is the difference in the amount of force needed to cow them, which prevents non-lethal captures without their cooperation. As for burrowing, there are likely solutions for that as well; a sufficiently hard surface treatment would be able to resist scratching by the vampire, while still possessing the lion's share of the ductility of the under-layer. Said surface layer could well also have the property of corrosion resistance, if that's needed to resist vampire venom, as well.
5RobinZ11yHow hard [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness] a surface is necessary? If vampires can cut diamonds then there's nothing on earth capable of holding one.
7Alicorn11yIt's not specified in canon. I'm going to rule that a newborn vampire can bite through a diamond. (Teeth are special-sharp, plus venom.)
0Psy-Kosh10yIt just has to slow them down enough that a system (automated or not) could detect the escape attempt and initiate explodey explodeyness. So even comparatively cheap strong materials may be good enough for a prison so long as it slows them down sufficiently. Oh, all this thinking about stuff that hurts vamps... Why is vamp venom the only stuff that leaves scars? Shouldn't it, at most, do nothing of note to them? (especially if pretty much all their bodily fluids are replaced with it?)
3Alicorn10yI'm kind of bewildered about that too, to be honest; it just came out of canon. Handwave: it's foreign venom. It's like a small local immune response. (This meshes with a bit from Bree Tanner about someone licking her severed arm to let it knit back to its original location smoothly. No scarring is suggested to happen to this girl from her own venom.)
1Psy-Kosh10yHrm... So a vamp that has damage from other vamp venom could heal themselves by essentially ripping away the part of themselves that's damaged and licking the wound? Also, makes me wonder what would happen if someone tried to vampify a vamp. ie, collect venom in strong syrenge, vampire jams it into lots of places in target vamp (hence strong syrenge) injecting the foreign venom, etc. Nothing interesting? lots of scars? Vampire dies? Becomes a vampire^2? (call them "revamped"?))
2Alicorn10yI'd assume that if you had a syringe that could do this you'd just get scars. Vampires don't have functioning circulatory systems; the venom couldn't get far.
0jimrandomh10yWell, vampire venom is presumably responsible for the regenerative healing. If foreign venom performs the usual regeneration, but does it incorrectly, then the original regenerative mechanism might not recognize that there was still damage to repair. This suggests that a venom scar might be repaired by inflicting ordinary damage on the same spot. But there would likely be a time limit for this procedure, since the original regeneration system would update to the new shape. (If it did work this way, the time limit would almost certainly be equal to the duration of turning.)
5wedrifid11yThat doesn't strictly follow. It does mean that you wouldn't be able to hold them without restricting their movement.
2RobinZ11yRight, of course. But that'll take some astonishingly strong shackles.
3wedrifid11yOr very strong but astonishingly sharp shackles, which are all held above a bed of coals...
2RobinZ11yAnd none of these are feasible without either the vampire's own cooperation or another vampire to attach the restraints.
6wedrifid11yNor is it feasible to put handcuffs on a guy who is wielding an AK47, without the gunman's own cooperation or a vampire to attach the restraints. I'm just noting that there are in fact things on earth capable of holding one, if that is what you really want to do. Although come to think of it it is feasible to hold a vampire without vampiric cooperation. You just need to calibrate the size of your frag grenate suitably. (ie. Enough to dismember from a distance but not enough that associated heat would burn them.) In conclusion... Lex Luthor would totally kick Edward's ass. No kryptonite required.
2nick01200011yNot sure; I'm not that familiar with the Twilight canon. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of said canon can say what their best feats in this regard are?
5Alicorn11yA vampire doesn't need to risk as much collateral damage to fight/contain/kill another vampire. If you've got a vamp running around in Times Square thumbing its nose at the cops, and you are a human who wants to threaten it, you have to be willing to level a few city blocks if it doesn't do what you say. Not so if you are a vampire.
2nick01200011yThis is true, which is why I'd expect that the government would probably want some of its trusted employees turned, so that they'd be capable of dealing with vampires without needing enough firepower to level the block said vampire happens to be living in. Volunteers, of course; the process of turning is probably too painful to force someone to do it legally.
5wedrifid11yYou haven't slept for a long time now. Have you made a decision? This can't go on. You have to decide.
3nick01200011yLOL. I doubt that the US Government would use "enhanced interrogation" on its own people; it's stupid, and it's not like they would likely be lacking volunteers, what with all the fringe benefits of joining the new Vampire Crime Unit. Being sexy, living forever, getting superhuman powers, government-paid travel, the prestige of being a field agent...
7wedrifid11yI don't, not for a second. I only hope for their sake that they don't do it on anyone they are about to transform into a deadly superhuman who could obliterate their entire agency in a fit of pique. Or a vampire for that matter. ;)
5Vladimir_Nesov11yIt's easier to just have a death sentence for escaping. This way you can use almost regular prisons.
5mjr11yI sort of doubt that any legal rights would be extended to vampires as a matter of course were they found out, so I'd side with Alicorn on this one. Turning and indoctrinating your own larger vamp police force on the sly would probably be more productive, but obviously also risky. Use fierce human rights activists? ;] One could arrange to out vampires if they don't behave (including if the one threatening this is killed) and therefore call the collective wrath of the human military industrial complex upon them (see The Salvation War [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheSalvationWar] ;). Of course, this would require that most vamps would see the threat as credible and dangerous, and would co-operate in policing the unavoidable defectors efficiently enough for the blackmailer to be satisfied. This may be a tall order, and could lead to open war on follow-through.
3RobinZ11yThat will slow them down, but I don't think it will affect their attitude.
5RobinZ11yI was trying to decide if that was feasible, but then I remembered that Carlisle was fighting vampires as a human centuries before.
5nick01200011yAnd weapons technology has just been getting better and better since then. SWAT team members with antitank weapons are probably capable of wounding vampires, if they hit, and an airstrike from something like an A-10 is likely to be unsurvivable, if the vampire hasn't vacated the area before it arrives.
4Alicorn11yWell, he was trying, anyway.
3RobinZ11y...interesting!
8Alicorn11yWhat? I summarized Carlisle's turning in chapter 19. His dad had it in for witches, werewolves, and vampires, and got Carlisle to help kill members of that reference class. Now, werewolves and vampires are damn hard to take down, and I never said Carlisle killed any of those, but there are some vulnerable witches in the world. Carlisle did corner a vampire, who turned Carlisle, killed two others, kidnapped a fourth guy, and then got away.
4RobinZ11yI was under the impression that Carlisle's dad's organization was capable of taking on vampires - it makes much more sense to say that they had ambitions, but that they couldn't without a great deal of luck.
7Alicorn11yCarlisle's dad was painted as a fanatic who wasn't careful about sorting real vampires (witches, werewolves) from fake vampires (witches, werewolves). He probably offed somebody with porphyria at least once, and some mentally ill folks, and some real witches. Carlisle was more careful and found an actual vampire but couldn't kill it.

Sounds like Gianna will be the one to persuade Maggie, though feel free not to confirm or deny ;]

Wonder though how a vamp would be so sure of her eventual preference, given that it's a one-time mystical bond. Ah well, perhaps it correlates well.

7Alicorn11yAlthough Stephenie Meyer didn't include any gay people in her canon (Maggie is canon, but no remarks whatever are made of her romantic inclinations), she has said that gay humans turn into gay vampires. Also, the whole "mystical bond" thing is never spelled out in so many words in canon, although it is blatantly obvious anyway - it's characterized as simply falling in love. So I decided Maggie's going to be gay in Luminosity, and given that she's aware of this, she has excellent reason to expect her mate to be a girl.
2Pavitra11yI'm pretty sure Gianna and Maggie are going to be mated.

Are there any turned too-old-to-become-Quileute-werewolf vampires in canon? Because I'm hoping that Mr. Clearwater will have some interesting powers... :)

4Alicorn11yCanon features no such vampires.
1wedrifid11yI'm hoping they try it! Perhaps do some blood tests first to see if their is a different reaction to a similar test on normal human blood...

"Links" on the luminous.elcenia.com site is broken.

7Alicorn11yNow it's not.

Good internal conflict between her wanting to die during the change in 27, and not wanting to be dead afterward. Reminds me of some interesting ethical questions about assisted suicide and cryonics... Just because someone in pain is asking to die, does that really mean they want to be dead? Should we respect their wishes?

Chapter 56.

Things certainly aren't looking good for the Cullen's. I imagine Aro must be absolutely giddy, considering how well his attack went. The fact remains though that neither Bella or Jasper actually saw Edward and Alice die. I'm quite sure Edward still lives, since Bella didn't find any of his jewellery. I'm not too sure about Alice though. It would make sense for Jasper to be able to distinguish Alice's emotions from that of others, and a burning death is probably quite hard to fake. Alice's gift would also be hindered by all the wolves and halflin... (read more)

1Alicorn10yThe sequel will in fact be narrated by Elspeth.
1Eliezer Yudkowsky10yHuh. Guessed that.

If you know who Elspeth is, you've read at least 15,000 words of the fic (or skipped a whole lot); where's my review? ;)

1linkhyrule58yAs a calibration exercise - do you remember why/how you guessed that?
2Eliezer Yudkowsky8y...no clue at this distance. It's possible that I went on the heuristic that Bella was now too powerful or had too many of her conflicts resolved, and that transferring the viewpoint to a younger and less powerful character seemed highly likely.
0Alicorn8yIt had more to do with the fact that occupying Bella's head would have been depressing and tedious until the reveal of the thing.
0Giriath10yWell, score one for me! Too bad this leads me to believe most of the Cullen's really are dead, will die, or become otherwise unsalvageably crazy. If there's any indication that Bella survives Jasper in the last chapter I'm going to bet on Edward being alive too, though. It seems an awful waste if she were to die just when she has learned to sense her shield and may be able to be taught or teach herself to extend it to others, which is kind of crucial in a fight against the Volturi, unless more original characters are involved.

Ahh, the shit is hitting the fan. (Incidentally, hopefully Harry also will get kicked into a bit higher gear with the next installment... Time-travel with Quirrel is promising.)

Anyway, back to the matter at hand: I bet Elspeth is going to end up weaponized against the twins, turning their powers against themselves. With lots of drama.

While it isn't on the order of irony of 'Buffy', if you name a daughter that is likely to develop telepathic powers Elspeth you had best make sure she doesn't start doing anything suspicious around fantasy fiction enthusiasts. (Was that coincidental?)

(In finding the link I just discovered she has written another two books in the series. Here I was thinking a 9 year break was a good indication that it was over!)

4Alicorn10yI've never read those books and hadn't heard of the character. I just like the name "Elspeth", and had an in-story excuse for them to pick something in that neighborhood.
1CronoDAS10yThe name reminds me more of Mercedes Lackey's novels, actually. The name seems to "feel" somewhat fantasy-esque, somehow...
1wedrifid10yOh? Should I read them? I've been looking for new authors. It's also sounds really cute. Perhaps I've forever been biased by the first fantasy books that I read in my formative years...
3NancyLebovitz10yWhat sort of fiction are you looking for?
3wedrifid10yGenerally light fantasy. Magic, magical creatures, adventures and an epic battle here and there. Recently I've been focussing on series with badass female protagonists with the usual magical powers and monster fighting tendencies. I cannot claim sophistication is as much as I'm not enthralled by books that centre on intricately detailed political intrigues.
7CronoDAS10yAnother set of books you might want to look into: The "Young Wizards" series by Diane Duane. It's technically "young adult" fiction; I read a compilation of the first three books a long time ago and enjoyed it. I don't know how strongly to recommend them because I read them years ago, but it might be something you'd like.
4wedrifid10yYoung adult fiction. That stuff is relaxing. I'll take a look.You can't go wrong with wizards. (Even if Nicholas Cage gave it a damn good shot recently. Or at least his co-star did.)
5NancyLebovitz10yDuane is especially good about the universe being full of interesting things and the pleasures of being intelligent. I'd say that the series started losing narrative drive long about book four or so-- too many subplots, perhaps. However the first few are excellent. And you might want to try out her Door into Fire series, too. (Adult fiction, more magic.)
2erratio10yShe also has a couple of books set in the same universe as the Young Wizards with cat wizard protagonists. It's got more technical gobbledygook but it's the same fluffy goodness underneath. Oh and the focus s less on redeeming the universe over and over again and more about business as usual, assuming that business involves dinosaurs and travel to alternate timelines and stuff :)
4NancyLebovitz10yI find complex political intrigue hard to follow myself. I don't know whether liking it is a measure of sophistication. You might like T A Pratt's Marla Mason novels. They're a mix of humor and horror, and intelligent. The battles are quite dramatic. I've liked the most recent two Pratchett novels Unseen Academicals and I Shall Wear Midnight. What's frustrating is that I recently read some urban fantasy/paranormal romance which had a small unit battle rather than individual combat, but I can't remember what it was. It might have been Skinwalker by Faith Hunter, but even if not, it's a pretty good book.
2NancyLebovitz10yI'm pretty sure that the book with the small unit battle was Black Blade Blues by J. A. Pitts, which is a pretty good book in general.
0wedrifid10yThanks. These recommendations should keep me going for a good while!
1wedrifid10yUnseen Academicals was great, I haven't read I Shall Wear Midnight yet. I've been half hearted about the Tiffany Aching since I lost my respect for the Feegles. The Kender got insecure and forbade the Feegles from protecting or assisting their most important Ally (Tiffany) and the Feegles obeyed. They went from being hilarious tough little faerie guys to a bunch of cowards enthralled by a corrupt power structure. There are a few things more dangerous than an insecure person with power and deference to such people out of respect rather than practical necessity is something I hold in contempt. Of course, I will no doubt love Midnight when I read it. I'm also hoping Practchett gets around to a third Von Lipvig book. Vetinari was hinting about taxes.
2NancyLebovitz10yFrom my point of view, it was a huge improvement to not have the Fleegles talking as much as in the previous books. I was getting really bored with their being stupid at each other. They're still strong, still chaotic and enthusiastic, and really good as a foil to Tiffany's seriousness. I wasn't tracking the angle that's bothering you, but the witches did seem bizarrely helpless for a good bit of the book against a rising tide of anti-witch prejudice. One thing both books had in common was that there was serious prejudice against characters who were committed to harmlessness and extraordinarily useful. It's a way of saying that prejudice is bad, but I think there's a falseness to it. Most people are somewhat useful and relatively harmless [1], but I wonder what would happen if people said, "Everyone's a public hazard-- me, you, any people you've got prejudices against. We need to figure out how to live decently (find as many positive sum transactions as possible) together anyway." [1] I believe that if the majority of people weren't doing more good than harm, the human race would have been taken down by entropy.
0NancyLebovitz10yThe Fleegles present a difficult problem in plotting. They're extremely strong and numerous, and there's no way to keep them from showing up. How does the author restrain them enough so that the bad guys have a chance to build drama?
0wedrifid10yUnfortunately, in a way that breaks the story for me this time. :)
2CronoDAS10yActually, there's another set of books that I should have remembered some time ago: Mickey Zucker Reichert's Renshai series.
2erratio10yAgreed, I would also recommend her Nightfall books. Just for the love of Bayes don't look at any of the other ones, especially the new ones unless you like characters bursting into tears every five pages.
0wedrifid10yOk, that's the first wikipedia page on someone that looks like it was written for OkCupid:
1CronoDAS10yThat's probably copy/pasted from an author bio on a book jacket.
2CronoDAS10yMay I recommend Jacqueline Carey? I don't know if her writing is quite what you'd like, but it's some amazing stuff. (Eliezer is a fan too!) And, of course, if you've never read any Terry Pratchett, you need to fix that.
1wedrifid10yI've wondered about Jacqueline Carey. The Kushiel books seem, well, hard. I'm not sure how much I could empathise with a character whose defining feature is that she takes sexual pleasure in pain, even to the extreme. Yet they do seem to come with some strong recommendations. Eliezer, no less! I expect I'll have to read her eventually just to see what the fuss is about. Haha. That would be tantamount to sacrilege! Probably my favourite author. Although in a sense his books seem to fall into a qualitatively different category. They are just different enough in nature that they don't occur to me when I'm considering fantasy stories except as an afterthought.
2NancyLebovitz10yI gave up on the Kushiel books because the world-building had defects that got on my nerves, in one case unfairly. IIRC, they do have a lot of political intrigue. The world-building issues were that Kushiel is a very rare and valuable sort of person, and this is marked by something (a red dart?) in one of her eyes. I find it impossible to believe that everyone would have forgotten about the type of person and the marker, though perhaps I'm applying unduly modern standards. The thing which was definitely unfair was being annoyed that Kushiel doesn't make sense as a masochist. Masochists have very definite preferences for the sort of pain they want, and Kushiel doesn't. I've since been told that she's a sub, not a masochist.
5pjeby10yI don't get what you mean: there was actually a poem handed down through the ages to describe the mark. I only remember the last line, "pricks the eye of chosen mortals"; the other lines were about Kushiel and something about rod and weal and portals. Anyway, it wasn't forgotten, it just wasn't widely known. Kushiel [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elua_and_His_Companions#Kushiel] was the Terre D'ange god of redemption through punishment; if you're talking about the main character of the Kushiel's Dart series, that would be Phèdre [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ph%C3%A8dre_n%C3%B3_Delaunay]. The point of the dart-mark in her eye was that she was blessed by Kushiel with essentially the ability to turn any pain into pleasure. She's not a normal human masochist, like the adepts of Valerian House [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_of_Night-Blooming_Flowers#Valerian], but rather an anguisette [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguissette] -- something that doesn't exist in real humans, so far as we know. (For the most part, however, the character is written as a realistic human with strong masochistic and submissive desires, and only a few pivotal scenes in the novels actually require her to have pain-transforming abilities beyond those that a human could achieve with sufficient warmup. In truth, her gift seems to be the ability to instantly transform pain levels that human masochists have to "warm up" for with lesser quantities of the same type of pain.) Anyway, the Kushiel's Legacy series is set in a parallel world to ours where gods and magic exist, so it doesn't seem especially egregious to have a character here or there with a supernatural talent, especially the main character.
0erratio10yHer earlier works are quite good - very character driven. The morality is very black and white though, so you may not enjoy her universe if you didn't get into them when you were young. Oh and stay away from the later ones, her characters have gradually gotten more and more Mary Sue-ish.
1wedrifid10yThanks. I'll take a look. I don't necessarily mind black and white - up until the black and white presented is wrong (typically either enforcing naivety or valuing authority over justice). I have been known to go from loving a series to being completely disinterested in reading any further when I encounter a particularly intrusive objectionable goal or value in the protagonist. If a counterfactual me in the fictional world would not choose to aid the protagonist then the actual me has no vested interest in what happens to them either.
2erratio10yThe naivety could be a problem, it's been too long for me to remember though. Based on your preferences here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2t6s?c=1] I would probably recommend Trudi Canavan [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trudi_Canavan] over Mercedes Lackey for stronger female protagonist and more ass-kickery.
1wedrifid10yI've read (and liked!) the Black Magician trilogy. I've just looked up Trudi and noticed that as well as having a whole other series out there she lives not just in my country, or even my city. She lives in my very suburb. I expect geographical loyalty will make the series that much more enjoyable. :) I should note that I don't actually mind male ass-kicking either, just with the former stipulations regarding naivety. The Eregion books, for example, were borderline. I cut them some slack because the author himself was a child. An awful lot of an author seeps through into their books.
0CronoDAS10yI don't think the morality should be particularly objectionable. It's "black and white" because the heroes tend to be nice people and the villains are almost invariably dog-raping monsters. I found Mercedes Lackey to be fun to read, but not particularly deep or profound; they seem to have a bit of the romance novel in them. If you have some free time and want some feel-good entertainment, they're fine, but don't expect anything amazing; Mercedes Lackey is no Jacqueline Carey.
0luminosity10yWorse than Louise Lawrence [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Lawrence]? I don't think I can take something more moralising than that.
0[anonymous]10yFantasy writers do love their Celtic influences..

Chapter 47.

Regarding the cliffhanger (you're quite good at those, I've noticed): Oh yikes.

2Alicorn11yIt's ironic that I'm good at cliffhangers. I hate them in stuff I read.
0CronoDAS11yI'm actually getting a bit tired of them, myself... (Still a good story though.)

Epileptic Trees*: I wonder if at some point (or already!) a vampire threesome will appear.

* "Epileptic Trees" is a TVTropism for "implausible plot speculation", like asserting that the waving trees in the early episodes of Lost were, well...

I hope you guys don't mind if I ask this here, but I've asked several people who have read Twilight and nobody has been able to explain this to me.

The word "werewolf" itself is an Old English word meaning "man-wolf". Yet as far as I can tell, all werewolves mentioned in the story are American Indians. So are there European werewolves that are just unmentioned (perhaps they were exterminated by humans/vampires?) Or are we to believe that the existence of the myth of werewolves in Europe came about independently, and coincidentally there... (read more)

There are two species of werewolf in Twilight canon. One, the Children of the Moon, gets no screentime or detailed treatment at all. They were from Europe and are now presumed extinct, killed off by some vampires at the behest of one vampire who didn't like them.

The other, the Quileute tribe wolves, features more heavily. Their older legends don't use the word "werewolf"; the ones who show up in the story call themselves werewolves because that is the obvious modern American thing to call a person who can turn into a giant wolf. The "wolf" part in particular was an arbitrary selection made when the species came into existence; they could have been bears or eagles or voles or something instead. So the technical term for them is "shapeshifter", but this doesn't overcome the sheer obviousness of "werewolf". This is all canon or obvious extrapolation therefrom, not fanon.

3knb11yThanks for answering. I also looked up the definition of "werewolf" on a Twilight wiki, but I didn't see any explanation. I was really hoping the canon explanation was pre-Columbian contact between Vikings and native werewolves in North America. The prequel series writes itself!
6JoshuaZ11yStephenie Meyer by her own description knew absolutely nothing about vampires when she started writing and did zero research. I doubt that she had any idea where werewolf legends came from. That said, there are some Native American stories that are very similar to werewolves. The idea of a "skinwalker" shows up in some cultures, and the Navajo especially have a developed set of myths that has some resemblance. So if one felt a need to retcon this one would explain it with the natives simply using "werewolf" as the common English term for what they were. (One could imagine fanfic where some of the werewolves are unhappy with this term and see using it as buying into European cultural imperialism or something like that.)
9Alicorn11yThere are werecritters all over the place. I did a paper on "fantasy convergent evolution" in college and I was finding references to werecrocodiles and werebears and weresharks and random stuff, from all kinds of cultures that had no crosspollination.

Ilario didn't scream. In fact, he didn't do anything. He held perfectly still, though I could hear his heart beating steadily. Had the morphine eliminated the pain as effectively as my coma had? If so, and if it lasted longer than thirty hours, it should be the new gold standard for humane turning in the future - I'd have to ask him about it later.

The first thing I thought when Ilario wasn't showing too many signs of pain was that he was just used to being closer to the threshold of pure agony than Bella was. He's been slowly dying of cancer for years a... (read more)

6wedrifid11yWait a minute. Gold standard for humane turning? That's got to be "Use Alec".
7Alicorn11yWell, yes, but it's not like you can hire Alec to come out for a long weekend and do a turning gig, he's a Volturi. In practice, he's the gold standard for humane executions.
0[anonymous]11yAs far as bloodsucking tyrants go the Volturi really aren't all that cruel, are they?

I've just started the Luminosity series. Reading a whole 30 chapters online was slightly daunting so I'm experimenting with listening to it in audio format so I can listen to it at the gym, etc. I found a suitable high quality voice that sounds like a young female. The 'Daniel' voice I had just sounded too bizarre reading a female first person narrative.

Once I'm finished with Luminosity I may try listening to some of Eliezer's sequences - the non illustrated ones obviously!

6Alicorn11ySome of the notebook portions may not come through properly in audio - I'm thinking particularly of a bit with strikethroughs in chapter 3, which the ff.net version doesn't even have because they don't allow strikethrough and I had to rewrite the section. So any bits that don't sound like complete sentences are likely due to that.
3wedrifid11yAhh, that explains why I had no problems with chapter three then. I built my playlist by using a FanFiction.net scraper that presented the entire story thus far in a text file, split it into numbered files using the "##" chapter delimiter and then bulk converted the 30 text files into mp3s.
0wedrifid11yThat's an elegantly constructed website. I just noticed you have released chapter 31 too. (Perhaps consider creating a shortened version of the title for the FF.net version btw. :: Title too long ::)

That's an elegantly constructed website.

Thanks :D On my to-do list, after I have buffers in place for all my works (hahahaha), is to code a black-text-on-white version that people can switch to, so there will be fewer objections to its use, because I really really hate ff.net.

Perhaps consider creating a shortened version of the title for the FF.net version btw. :: Title too long ::

I typed "title too long" in there on purpose; it's not an automatic insertion. I guess I could truncate it, but it's just so infuriating that I have to do things like that in order to play nice with the website. Hate hate hate.

2wnoise11yFWIW, I prefer white-on-black. Monitors aren't paper.
3Alicorn11yI like it too, but people have complained. White-on-black will remain the default; I just want to make it possible to switch.
5JulianMorrison11yMy reason for preferring plain black-on-white: makes it less conspicuous to read at work.
2Alicorn11yAs an interim solution, try http://luminous.elcenia.com/story/luminosity##.html [http://luminous.elcenia.com/story/luminosity##.html] where ## is the chapter number. This is where I upload the files with the text, and then they go wherever else they need to be via file include.
2JulianMorrison11yThanks. I did read you mentioning that trick, but it's good to be reminded. I see your posts appear via the RSS feed, which currently contains a title and a one sentence summary. If you changed the configuration to include the whole chapter text into the feed, that would neatly obviate the problem.
5Alicorn11yI'll do a little testing and see if I can make it take file includes there. Pasting would leave the problem that the feed would require separate correction if I fix a typo or something. Edit: I just tried a test of this and it didn't work. If anyone knows how to make RSS feeds accept file includes, please let me know (it'd be useful for Elcenia, too! HTHT already sends the new comic page through the feed, but that's just an image.)
4jimrandomh11yThe best solution would be to put some Javascript links on the page that change the text and background colors when you clicked on them. The downside to this would be that it would revert to default every time you went to a different chapter, though. That Javascript is something I could reasonably write in ten minutes after I get home from work tonight. I'll do so and post it here unless someone produces a better solution before then.
2thomblake11yWell they're all on the same domain, so it should be easy enough to cookie it up.
1Alicorn11yThanks! I have, just barely, the coding skills to do this myself, and it was the solution I was planning to use when I got around to it - but it'd take me way more than ten minutes.
6jimrandomh11yThis should do it. Put a copy of jquery-1.4.2.min.js [http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.4.2.min.js] in the same directory (jQuery is a Javascript library for keeping browser compatibility bugs at bay). <script type="text/javascript" src="jquery-1.4.2.min.js"></script> <script> function setColorScheme(colorScheme) { setCookie("colorScheme", colorScheme, 30); if(colorScheme=="whiteOnBlack") { $("body").css({ "background-color": "black", "color": "white" }); } else if(colorScheme=="blackOnWhite") { $("body").css({ "background-color": "white", "color": "black" }); } } $(document).ready(function() { var cookie = getCookie("colorScheme"); if(cookie) setColorScheme(cookie); }); function setCookie(c_name,value,expiredays) { var exdate=new Date(); exdate.setDate(exdate.getDate()+expiredays); document.cookie=c_name+ "=" +escape(value)+ ((expiredays==null) ? "" : ";expires="+exdate.toUTCString()); } function getCookie(c_name) { if (document.cookie.length>0) { c_start=document.cookie.indexOf(c_name + "="); if (c_start!=-1) { c_start=c_start + c_name.length+1; c_end=document.cookie.indexOf(";",c_start); if (c_end==-1) c_end=document.cookie.length; return unescape(document.cookie.substring(c_start,c_end)); } } return ""; } </script> Background color: <a href="javascript:setColorScheme('blackOnWhite')">white</a> | <a href="javascript:setColorScheme('whiteOnBlack')">black</a> This stores the color scheme in a cookie, so it's preserved when you move between chapters. The setCookie and getCookie functions came from here [http://www.w3schools.com/JS/js_cookies.asp]. Given the example, this should be pretty easy to extend for things like changing text size and margins, if you are so inclined.
3Alicorn11yThis appears to work perfectly! However, it looks like the default color scheme is black on white, and I'd like it to be the other way around - what do I change to make the black background default? Also, is there any way for changing the color scheme to bring a different set of navigation buttons in? I made some white ones (not a complete set yet) which would look much nicer than the existing ones on the white background.
4jimrandomh11yThat's odd - if I'm understanding it correctly it'll leave the page unchanged unless you click one of the links or have a cookie set. But it's not handling the default case explicitly, so try replacing the $(document).ready section in the code above with this: var defaultColorScheme = "whiteOnBlack"; $(document).ready(function() { var cookie = getCookie("colorScheme"); if(cookie && cookie != "") setColorScheme(cookie); else setColorScheme(defaultColorScheme); }); To see what first-time visitors would see, clear your cookies. Otherwise it should remember what color it was last time.
3Alicorn11yThanks again! :D
2jimrandomh11yYes. First, move the determination of which images to use into CSS, by making each navigation a div with its own CSS class, and making a style like .blackBackground .navButtonNext { background-image: url("nextButtonBlack.png"); width: 123px; height: 123px; } Add "class=blackBackground" to the tag. Make CSS classes like this for each of the buttons and each of the background colors. Then in setColorScheme, use $("body").addClass("blackBackground"); $("body").removeClass("whiteBackground"); And the reverse, to change the class on the body tag.
1Alicorn11yIs there a way to make this happen without having to change how the nav buttons are coded in to the body of each page? I'm doing all the styling with file includes, but the "first/prior/next/last" buttons are hardcoded into each page because the numbers change. Messing with all of them would be a medium-sized deal.
0jimrandomh11yI just looked at the site, and it's failing to find jquery-1.4.2.min.js because it's looking in /chapters rather than /. Add a ../ to the
2Alicorn11yI just added the slash. I am afraid I do not understand the rest of your instructions.

I just added the slash.

Good! Now your fic is artistically complete as well.

This comment has an entirely different meaning when you can see it's in a fanfic thread, but can only see the first few words. ;)

1ata11yHeh, that was my first thought too. I clicked your comment in the Recent Comments sidebar, and, since it only shows one level of context, the first thing I saw was "I just added the slash."
2jimrandomh11yOk, so the goal is to change the src attribute of the tags in setColorScheme, when those tags don't have classes or IDs to refer to them by. So the first thing to do is to add a class to them so we can refer to them by something other than the thing we're changing. We'll do that with calls to the markImagesWithClass function in the $(document).ready function. Then in setColorScheme, find all the images with a particular class, and change their src attribute to point to the right version of the image. function markImagesWithClass(imageName, className) { $("[src*='" + imageName + "']").each( function (index, img) { $(img).addClass(className); } ); } function changeImage(imageName, className) { $("." + className).each( function (index, img) { img.src = imageName; } ); } function setColorScheme(colorScheme) { setCookie("colorScheme", colorScheme, 30); if(colorScheme=="whiteOnBlack") { $("body").css({ "background-color": "black", "color": "white" }); changeImage("first.png", "firstButton"); changeImage("next.png", "nextButton"); changeImage("prior.png", "priorButton"); changeImage("last.png", "lastButton"); } else if(colorScheme=="blackOnWhite") { $("body").css({ "background-color": "white", "color": "black" }); changeImage("firstWhite.png", "firstButton"); changeImage("nextWhite.png", "nextButton"); changeImage("priorWhite.png", "priorButton"); changeImage("lastWhite.png", "lastButton"); } } $(document).ready(function() { markImagesWithClass("first.png", "firstButton"); markImagesWithClass("next.png", "nextButton"); markImagesWithClass("prior.png", "priorButton"); markImagesWithClass("last.png", "lastButton"); var cookie = getCookie("colorScheme"); if(cookie && cookie != "") setColorScheme(coo
1Alicorn11yCan you point out which references to images should contain the paths to the white buttons and which should contain the paths to the black buttons? I'm kind of lost. Edit: http://luminous.elcenia.com/images/ [http://luminous.elcenia.com/images/] is the directory that holds all the buttons. I'm adding white versions (their names start with "w") as I make them, but I can change the names of everything except the four navigational buttons easily. Moar Edit: White buttons all made and uploaded.
4jimrandomh11yOk, so change the line in the setColorScheme function that says changeImage("firstWhite.png", "firstButton"); to instead say changeImage("/images/wfirst.png", "firstButton"); That line is in a block of four similar-looking lines; change the other 3 lines in the block the same way. There are a total of three places with blocks of similar lines; to make another image change when the color scheme changes, you'll have to visit all three. In the setColorScheme function, there are a bunch of calls to changeImage. The first call is a file name (either for the black version, or the white version); the second argument is a class. (A class is a tag that can be applied to an HTML element. It doesn't do anything directly, but CSS stylesheets and Javascript functions often refer to "all elements with tag asdf"; the notation for that is ".asdf"). The markImagesWithClass function searches for images with a given file name, and adds a class (tag) to them; the changeImage function searches for images with a given class, and changes their file name. The third block of similar-looking calls is to markImagesWithClass, in $(document).ready. The first argument is the original file name, ie the file name as it appears in the original HTML. But it only needs a substring, so you can leave off prefixes like /images/ there.
2Alicorn11yImplemented! Thank you so much, you've been an immense help!
0jimrandomh11yIt was no trouble. Keep up the good writing!
1Alicorn11yA reader has detected a bug, which I didn't think to check for when I saw it worked on one page: On chapter pages (of the form http://luminous.elcenia.com/chapters/ch1.shtml [http://luminous.elcenia.com/chapters/ch1.shtml]), the buttons are the black versions and the background is white. This won't change with clicking the color change button imagemap I made. Every other page appears to work. The only thing I can think of that's different is the navigation buttons - I don't know why they'd be breaking it, though, unless it's the div tag I used to center them. Halp!
0jimrandomh11yThe slash is missing from the
4Alicorn11yThat accursed piece of punctuation evaporated or something. I know I put it there. People made fun of my comment announcing that I put it there. *grumble*
4jimrandomh11yIt's called a regression; it happens when you make changes on two different copies of the same project, and then overwrite one with the other instead of merging them. It can be avoided by using a version control tool such as SVN or git. I've also noticed another regression: the line var defaultColorScheme = "whiteOnBlack"; from this comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2k46?c=1] got lost in a merge.
1Alicorn11yOh, I know when it happened now. Anyway, now it works, huzzah! You are as before quite awesome and helpful.
1jimrandomh11yThe defaultColorScheme is still missing, which makes it broken, but only for people who don't have a cookie set with a color scheme.
1Alicorn11yGorramit. It functions now, I'm not going to touch it again. It will only break in a different way.
3thomblake11yIn case anyone else is having this problem, I've posted one solution on my blog: Using SSI in XML for RSS [http://thomblake.com/2010/09/02/ssi-xml-rss/]
0thomblake11yI've had the same thought
0wedrifid11yWhich is also far more appropriate in the context... it's supposed to be dark and there is supposed to be red involved somewhere on the page!

The problem with vampires drinking human blood isn't the "drinking human blood" part, it's the "killing people to get the blood" part. The obvious solution seems to be to drink donated blood from blood banks and such. Are there any reasons why this wouldn't work? Is preserved blood no longer edible? Would it drain the local blood bank faster than people normally donate? Is the scent of humans still tempting even after consuming a large amount of blood?

6Alicorn11yDonated blood is edible, and even at room temperature and full of whatever it is the Red Cross puts in it, it's tastier to vampires than animal blood. Doctors, such as Carlisle, are legally able to purchase blood, and in fact he is shown to do so in canon; no concern about depleting the blood supply is mentioned, although it would be surprising if there were none. However, consuming human blood instead of animal blood makes vampires less able to resist the impulse to eat live humans, who are yet still more appealing than donated blood, even when the vampire attempting to resist is not particularly thirsty. The thirst is constant, and while it is reduced in force and intrusiveness by having recently eaten, the factor preventing the Cullens from slaughtering everyone in town is willpower, not disinterest. Edward is shown in "Midnight Sun" to be able to eat half a herd of elk and come to school the next day and find that Bella's scent is "like a wrecking ball", no less demanding than it was the first time. As a much more minor side point, drinking human blood makes vampire eyes red, which would be more conspicuous than gold, black, or any of the range of colors in between. Contact lenses are possible, but are dissolved over the course of a few hours by the venom in their eyes.
2jimrandomh11yWhy don't the Cullens keep a stockpile of stored blood (human or animal) on hand to use in crisis situations? If they had, then Edward would not have had to leave Bella alone to go hunt in chapter 23.
9Alicorn11yThey don't keep human blood on hand for the aforementioned reasons: if they ever drank it they'd be at greater risk of killing someone. Since it obviously makes immense amounts of sense to store animal blood and they never do it in canon, I'm explaining this by saying that preserved animal blood would be so unpalatable that they couldn't possibly choke it down.
1wedrifid11yTwilight vampires have eye venom? In case werewolves try to eat their eyes out of their sockets?
7Alicorn11yYes. Yes they do. They have venom in the place of just about every plausible fluid.
2wedrifid11yA whole new meaning for "use protection" it would seem.
0[anonymous]11yThis must be because they're related to toads.
1PhilGoetz11yThis must be because they're related to toads.
0Pavitra11yImmortal toads [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuck_Everlasting]. (From, unfortunately, one of the most blatantly deathist works ever written.)
3Pavitra11yI can't find the reference at the moment, but I think they said that drinking human blood impairs the mind somehow, increasing the desire to feed on humans and making the vampire more animalistic.

General question about biology in this fanfic: What would happen if a vampire was just completely deprived of blood? Say they were trapped in a steel box with no seams and couldn't get out. Would they just sit there suffering forever? Or would a lack of blood for that long eventually kill them?

3Alicorn10yWell, a steel box with no seams wouldn't do the trick, but say you marooned a vampire on the Moon, I think lack of blood could eventually kill them, but it would take a very long time.

Is it just me, or does it look like Bella's true power is that she can do anything so long as she can imagine it and honestly justify it as necessary to maintain the integrity of her mind?

If so, when she inevitably goes for revenge for Edward's death against the Volturri, she could very possibly just deprogram the werewolves and splatter the vampires because if she doesn't, they'll rip her to bits and then light her on fire and not stop until she's properly ashes.

At the very least, she should be able to think "If my body is damaged, my mind will be destroyed when I inevitably lose the fight; therefore, my body cannot be damaged" and become nigh-invulnerable physically.

5Alicorn10yI stated elsewhere that the shield isn't omnipotent. It also won't prevent injury that isn't mind-threatening. For instance, if she were broken into pieces and not set on fire, this wouldn't be immediately life-threatening, so nothing would happen. Then, by the time she'd be in danger of death by starvation due to being unable to eat while in fragments, she wouldn't have enough energy left that the shield could draw power. She can be killed by anyone who's paying attention. It's just harder for her to be killed accidentally or carelessly.
1Pavitra10y...and who understands how her shield works and is clever enough to think of a way around it. Still, this significantly lowers the probability that she could bring Edward back by convincing her shield that she can't remain sane with her mate dead, which was my previous top candidate strategy for resurrecting him.
7Alicorn10yNah, attention alone would do it. Even someone who wasn't very clever could have noted, "Oh, she's not on fire any more. I'd better set her on fire again." That would've done it.
0nick01200010ySo, "If they can hurt me, they'll rip me apart and set me on fire until I die" won't work to make herself nigh-invulnerable? Or, for that matter, "I need allies if I am going to survive the Volturi, therefore I need to join the still-free pack's hivemind"?
1Alicorn10yThe shield's native ability is to protect Bella's mind from direct magical intrusion. Anything she adds to it has to follow pretty directly from that, although she can modify it in any or all of several directions from there (canon Bella focused entirely on making her shield extend to other people, which never occurred to luminous Bella). She managed to make the shield protect her mind from direct physical destruction, but indirect physical destruction would be something else entirely. Especially since her mind's survival is never going to be necessarily dependent on her avoiding any single injury that isn't being set entirely on fire (and she's got limits as to how much she can stand being set on fire, too). She'd have to fight against her shield to join the hive mind, not to mention that the hive mind wouldn't readily have her.

"Oh, lord, Jacob," moaned Rachel. "He's got the gene if I do, doesn't he?

Not necessarily. Especially if, say, the relevant gene turns out to be X-linked and dominant. Surprisingly, if that was the case then finding out that their dad was also a wolf would actually lower the probability they should assign to finding that Jacob was a wolf!

Slightly forced discovery on Edwards part, but understandable that one wants to introduce the hybrid stuff somehow, and there's little room for a happy accidental discovery in this storyline. "Hey, let's test it for the heck of it" maybe, but that'd also be going against a rather strong base assumption that's hard to plausibly question, since the whole thing, well, is rather implausible anyway. ;)

Good to have some more, anyway, and nice going with the compartmentalization and getting into touch with Billy. Swell way to put "I'd very much like you guys to eat them for breakfast" at the end. Looking forward to the "friendship" blooming.

This just occurred to me: is Bella breaking her spine a reference to the original?

9Alicorn11yIn canon, Bella starts turning with a broken spine, although not at the neck - about halfway down. It heals itself partway through. I got the idea from there.
0Psy-Kosh10yI wondered about something (this may reflect my ignorance of physiology)... how could she talk while the spine was broken at the neck? Doesn't one kind of need control over the lungs? (Hence control of the diaphram?)
3Alicorn10yNo idea. If a handwave is medically necessary, she was in the middle of turning into a magical vampire.

When the Luminosity vampires carry someone, in particular when they accelerate to a high speed, do they accelerate their passenger using conventional force or is the acceleration magic applied directly to the load? If unspecified I usually assume that superhumans can accelerate objects via implicit magic. That eliminates all sorts of potential irritations reading most such stories.

2Alicorn11yI don't really understand your question. I'm not invoking "acceleration magic"; vampires just move very fast.
4wedrifid11yI usually try to give myself a legitimate reason to suspend disbelief. Things working differently in the counter-factual world are not distracting, they are just accepted as premises. In some stories things are explicitly not presented as premises of the world still seem to happen. * Should I expect to hear sonic booms whenever vampires wreak havoc upon the speed of sound? * If I looked at Edward's shoes would I see them either constructed of specially designed material or to be significantly damaged every time he takes off at huge mutiples of g? * If I examined the tree that Alice showed off with would I see hand prints and general damage where she was picking it up and throwing it about? For that matter, should I have expected to see it break when subjected to those forces over such a small area? * When Edward runs across a wet field should I see mud and grass flying up at the points at which he starts and stops? When he stops does he need to turn around and start running the other way in an attempt to lose momentum? I like 'vampires just move very fast'. In terms of what the 'just' entails it seems that, for example, "just have the ability to output large amounts of power from the muscles and thereby cause acceleration through the application of force upon items in the environment" would be a rather ungainly. A somewhat more nebulous 'just' fits better for this kind of story. This was prompted by thinking of the optimal way to protect a human passenger in the event of an automotive accident. If I was a lightweight version of Cameron [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_%28Terminator%29] - super strong and super fast but otherwise operating under completely standard physics - then I wouldn't choose Edward's passenger protection strategy. There are all sorts of other options which would require lower concentrations of force on the human's body over time and space. But with the kind of strength and speed exhibited by the vampires in e
7Alicorn11yVampires do not exceed the speed of sound. They are not even as fast as ordinary airplanes or really fast cars, or they'd have no reason to use either barring subterfuge purposes and a fondness for vehicles. So no, no sonic boom. But over short distances, even going 100 mph would mean crossing a football field in a third of a second, if my back-of-envelope bad-at-math calculation is right. Bit quick for a human to follow. (They don't take any appreciable time to start up and slow down when they aren't trying to.) Vampires that don't care much about looking human often go barefoot; this is mentioned with James's coven. Cullens do wear shoes. However, they not only move very quickly and strongly: they move precisely. Bella's shown jumping out a high window in book 4 of canon in high heels and finding it as easy as taking a step on a normal floor. (Easier, probably, because human!Bella can find excuses to trip on ordinary floors and no vampire would ever trip on anything.) I imagine they can wear out shoes like nobody's business, but if they care about them (which they may or may not, depending on how annoying it is to get new ones, since money is no object) they can probably arrange to plant their feet in shoe-preserving ways. I specified that the tree wasn't rotted when Alice picked it out. Wood can take a fair amount of knocking about. She could leave prints in it if she didn't take care in her handling, but that would have interrupted her show. Note also that this is Alice in particular, who, if she cared about not breaking the tree, could see where it would be best to grab and catch it. In canon, vampires are not described as leaving remarkable footprints or kicking up soil even when they're running all-out playing baseball. This does seem odd. I don't have a good explanation for it unless they're doing something like the way Jesus lizards walk on water. I'm not planning to explore it in the story, though.

Do you regard math as difficult? If so, one trick I've learned is to restate any math problem you see as one about paperclips instead, but make sure you know the mapping to the original problem. This will make it a lot easier to find the answer!

0wedrifid11yIt occurred to me even as I asked the question that just by asking it I would be locking myself in to hearing the answer. I suspect Bella would have deleted the question rather than post it were she in my shoes. ;)
0thomblake11yThere are certainly textual references to not carrying someone too fast for fear of hurting them. Are there other irritations?
1wedrifid11yI haven't been irritated by Luminosity. I'm just pinning down some of the physics of this particular counter-factual world.

There's a typo in this chapter: "Leah Clearwater, who had the sort of eyelashes that other women medicated themselves to get, was skeptical. But she followed Leah into the forest readily enough, shook my hand with only the barest hesitation..." Unless I'm misparsing it somehow.

1Alicorn11yFixed.
0Oscar_Cunningham11yAnother typo? Nodded?
2Alicorn11yNo, I meant "noted". Perhaps the sentence would be clear with more commas. Eleazar notes, aloud, that Heidi does not project a sexual attraction, and so notes in response to Bella's question.

Hey, I just wanted to say I'm on Ch. 10 and really like the fic so far.

Also, I wish to clarify that I am Definitely Not A Vampire. Look, I even eat garlic ice-cream!

(Pay no heed to kodos96's vile slander.)

...I have to say that the only thing that can make me feel less shell-shocked by the latest chapter (55) is imagining this exchange (rot13ed for the spirit of the thing, and because this is a joke instead of insight and therefore not worth accidentally reading):

Rzzrgg: Bu zl tbq, gurl xvyyrq Rqjneq!
Wnfcre: Lbh onfgneqf!

3Alicorn10yMwhahahahahAHAHAHAHAHAHA :D
1tenshiko10yAlthough I cling to the hope that Bella has been misled, the way you phrased your author's note makes me highly doubt it. D:

I just read through the first few chapters and have the same quibble that I had with HP:MOR. Namely, the protagonist's successes don't seem to be caused by her rationality at all.

4Alicorn11yThe first few chapters hug very close to canon. I didn't start messing with it until #4 or so.
2cousin_it11yI read up to chapter 10. It seems the whole game was decided before Bella ever got the chance to use her luminosity skills - the important factor was her being opaque to Edward, am I wrong? (I never read Twilight so this is my first exposure to the characters.) Sorry if my standards are too high. I just get a little frustrated when Eliezer claims Harry's successes are due to his rationality, when they obviously aren't. How many of us have prophecies about us? So too with Bella, her rationality isn't what makes her special.
7wedrifid11yIt does seem to become progressively more relevant. While it isn't luminosity that made Bella a witch or Edward's pseudo soul-mate, those skills become relevant when she uses them to navigate the world from that starting point. We can see Luminosity diverge from canon as Bella makes sensible decisions. For example, I think she wiped out the whole plot line for book two while simultaneously navigating herself and the Cullens away from the most idiotic decisions they made in book 1. "Luminosity" isn't Bella's only skill and it isn't responsible for determining her starting position but it is worth following her along as she models approximately sane decision making skills while encountering progressively more difficult challenges.
6Alicorn11yAnd book 3. And some major details of book 4, although she hasn't precluded the broad contour of the story.
1wedrifid11yDid Bella just eliminate a whole other plot with a single sentence? (At the end of chapter 32.)
2Alicorn11yThe only plot I can think of which that sentence would have eliminated, was already up in flames the minute Bella turned.
1wedrifid11yShe gave forewarning to expect a half-vampire birth. Obviously Bella isn't going to give birth to a child herself but if she does in fact use the eggs Rosalie harvested then the child presents the same risk of being misunderstood. If the Volturi have forewarning it will not be necessary to call witnesses to prove that Edward and Bella's surrogate offspring is not an immortal child. I had wondered whether Bella would want her children to be (biologically) fathered by a sperm donor or by Edward. While a half-vampire pregnancy does seem problematic the alternative would be to have a child that is vulnerable to death for 17 years and then must endure 3 days of living hell. I assume Bella would prefer the half vampire child if a suitable surrogate volunteered. On the other hand Bella man not want to put a human through a traumatic pregnancy and prefer a human child that will later be turned. In that case it would be time for Edward and Bella to tour the world, with Edward scanning every male they encounter, looking for the most powerful man-witch they can find!
7wnoise11yA man-witch: it's more than a sandwich!
4Alicorn11yNote that in this point in Luminosity, Bella has absolutely no reason to believe that half-vampires are possible - and neither have the Volturi. Also, it's Rosalie, not Rosemary.
2wedrifid11yJust whatever her prior is for that sort of thing working (maybe 0.3 or so). It's the sort of thing I would expect her to test before she tried anything herself! Although it sounds more practical to hold off on that sort of thing until you have taken over the world.
1wedrifid11yOk. Is that something to do with getting the Volturi on side and avoiding a lot of the trouble there by becoming vamped? I picked up on Victoria creating an army of newborns for the purpose plotting vengeance but only loose impressions of the plot thereafter. I've just been listening to the early parts of Twilight, by the way, and I can see why luminosity!Bella was so adamant with her boundaries regarding pointless mysteriousness. Cannon!Bella rewards obnoxious behaviour with the granting of status and signals of attraction. Fairly believable of an exaggerated gender typical female character but still somewhat pathetic in large doses. Really, being vague, communicating abysmally and being generally inconsistent needn't be all that impressive.
7Alicorn11yVictoria is the Big Bad in books 2 and 3 both. In Luminosity, she dies before she has the chance to make a nuisance of herself. No one's kicking around in Luminosity at this time who seriously wants vengeance on Bella (at least now...) Yeah, canon!Bella is much more tolerant across all sorts of dimensions than luminous!Bella. The latter is more selfish, more prickly, more inclined to wash her hands of things that don't seem worth the trouble. Alice didn't have to give canon!Edward strict instructions about how to treat canon!Bella, because there's basically nothing he could do to drive her off.
3Alicorn11y"The whole game"? What in particular are you referring to?
0cousin_it11yEdward wouldn't have become interested in her, and nothing would have happened.

Even if she weren't opaque, she'd still be extra-yummy-smelling and still have caused upheaval in Edward's life. Whether her opacity is really the reason she didn't get turned into a tasty snack is a question I've chosen not to address. I think the opacity exacerbated, but was not necessary for, Edward finding her romantically compelling.

0wedrifid11yGiven Bella's inquisitive nature it seems likely that she would have found a way to immortality even without being super-vamp-bait. It may also have been interesting if Luminosity was written from the perspective of a different character altogether. Perhaps Amanda. Not having been spoon fed immortal connections from day one while still being likely exposed to the risks of vampire attacks would be something of a challenge. Then she could develop her own more custom made vampire talent rather than inheriting Bella's (rather boring) one.
2thomblake11yWhile it arguably contradicts canon, I like to think it's Bella's luminosity in Luminosity that caused the weird vampire talent. Her mind is just special.
7Alicorn11yCanon has her with the same talent (although luminous!Bella will develop hers along a different trajectory now that she's been vamped). It's not because she's luminous. It's just a magic thingamabob.
3thomblake11yRight, that's the aspect that I thought contradicted canon. I can just pretend that canon doesn't exist, and the real reason in Luminosity isn't a magic thingamabob.
1wedrifid11yYou don't think there could be a some kind of talent that is more directly associated with luminosity than being unreadable? Bella's thoughts, motives and feelings do not appear to be at all hard to read by conventional means. In fact, she seems to make a more than typical effort to make herself transparent. Something Bella does seem to be good at is analysing the future impact of her decisions. That could lead to a more self-focussed version of Alice's talent. You could quite reasonably just palm off Bella's ability to Alice and use a modified version of Alice's talent for a fanfiction protagonist. Of course, if Bella's ability actually was closely related to luminosity it would defeat a lot of the point of the story. If she was luminous via super-power then we wouldn't be able to watch her putting in the effort to be self aware and rational manually. She would probably also experience a similar effect to Edward. He lost his ability to empathise effectively when he became a mind reader.
-2thomblake11yI was implying that she was super-powered via luminosity, which I don't think informs the same concern.
1wedrifid11yIn that quote I was referring to my own suggestion. Do you suggest that Bella should just not be given any witch power at all? (As a matter of personal preference I tend to like the protagonist to be given something apart from 'not acting like a moron', assuming the world is one that tends to include superpowers.)
0Pavitra11yI think the general principle is that the protagonist shouldn't have more than maybe one important advantage over most other characters. If most of the characters in the fic are non-morons, or superpowered, then that one's free. Luminous!Bella gets to be a vampire "for free" because she mostly interacts with other vampires; Rational!Harry gets to be rational because everyone else in MoR is smart too; but for Bella to be both luminous and a witch, without most of the other main characters in the fic being one or the other as well, wants a single cause.
6Alicorn11yAlice and Edward are the most significant Cullens, and have witchy powers. The antagonists include a large proportion of witches. Does this get Bella a witchcraft pass? Particularly since her power is one that only works in the context of other powers - it would simply not do anything in the absence of other witches.
2wedrifid11yBella definitely gets a witchcraft pass... her power is boring. It's mostly there because female protagonists in romantic vampire fantasies usually get an immunity to the mind tricks of their vampire suitors. Basically so it gives them an excuse to be in a thrall that can only be explained by overwhelming sexual dominance.
2Pavitra11yI hadn't thought about it like that, but on reflection, I think that it does qualify for the pass. It helps, too, that it's not a general immunity to witches -- she's still vulnerable to Alice and Jasper, for example. What about her control as a newborn? Does that count?
4RobinZ11yHer control as a newborn is her luminosity, so far as I can determine - she has a set of generalized techniques to influence her desires and emotions, and takes advantage of the specific knowledge which she acquired from the others in her coven to focus these techniques on the precise alterations she needs to be a well-controlled newborn.
5Alicorn11yNo, she had control in canon too. Luminous!Bella is only a touch more self-possessed. My explanation - maybe I haven't played it up enough? - is that if you know something about what to expect, you will do a better job of handling it. This is borne out by Carlisle being immune to wanting to nom humans, and having known vampires existed before he was bitten. The others have more trouble, and the one who has the most trouble is Jasper - who also was turned the most unexpectedly and traumatically, while the others at least expected to die of injury/sickness or had amnesia.
0wedrifid11yIt surely also helps that luminous!Bella has been spending years practising emotional control!
0RobinZ11yNo, you're right, that's in there. I'm not familiar with the source material, I suppose.
0Pavitra11yYou're right. Her control falls squarely under the single-cause rule.
0cousin_it11yBut extra yumminess isn't caused by rationality either! (Or is it? Maybe I'm missing some important detail here.)
8Alicorn11yAre you saying that you won't be happy with rationalist fiction unless there is nothing else about the character that's special?
4cousin_it11yIf we're talking about wish-fulfillment fiction, I'd like most of the fulfillment to be causally attributable to rationality rather than some other quality (especially inborn). It seems I made this point on LW many times, but few people agree. Oh well. The first time was my response to Yvain's recommendation [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3m/rationalist_fiction/2kq?c=1] of R. Scott Bakker. So I'm not singling you out for criticism, if that makes any difference.
0wedrifid11y(No, it isn't.)
5thomblake11yI don't agree that nothing would have happened. Just probably nothing involving vampires. Just as Harry, without a prophecy, would have grown up to found the Singularity Institute. You just wouldn't be reading a story about him.
4cousin_it11yI would. Relevant threads: 1 [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3m/rationalist_fiction/], 2 [http://lesswrong.com/lw/s7/lawrence_wattevanss_fiction/].
4wedrifid11yIs this a Harry with or without the magic genes and magical parents? Either way I would like to think that a rational Harry would end up becoming aware of the magical world and explore the potential of magical means to fulfil his universe optimising objectives.

Hiyah!

I'm a somewhat big fan of Twilight universe. And rare adult male breed that enjoys this kind of thing, lol. From all ppl I know only my close friend who twisted me into this like it. For eg first thing I saw was movie, wich made me in love with Alice character. Watching movie and few cool ideas from it like vampire baseball forced me into reading it both in polish and english, as I came from Poland Kingdom ;p

To be honest I don't really like fanfics, mostly they are just dumb excuse to position one in world they love more then our own... and usually i... (read more)

2Alicorn10yI don't think I have any business forbidding people from translating my work. Please feel free (although kindly check spelling on words that won't translate readily, like "Denali" and "Quileute").
0VANhasVOICE10yWell, it is polite to ask before attempting to do it ;3 And thanks ;3 I'll try my best.

Discovered Luminosity and Radiance about two weeks ago. Have since read both books in their entirety and just flipping LOVE them! I know its completely unreasonable to expect you to update every minute of every day Alicorn, but ....Could you anyway? lol. BTW My Girlfriend requests that you ignore my request, lest she leave me and take our computer with her! :D FF

1Alicorn10yNope, I can't update every minute of every day, but if you want a more continuous drip of Radiance rather than three chunks weekly, you could consider joining my contingent of beta readers [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2y6/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_part_2_discussion/2yoc].

Will Luminosity and Radiance ever be available as e-books like "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" is? Because of an accidental reload, I lost my place on the Radiance webpage (one-page text of story, "article view" in Kindle so the margins wouldn't jut out of the screen), and now it's pretty much impossible to scroll back on my Kindle.

Now I'm trying to figure out if I can copy-paste the text onto my computer and convert it into a mobi file myself, but I have the sinking feeling I'm just going to have to suffer eyestrain reading the rest on my computer instead. I'm really caught up in the middle of Radiance and wish it were more technologically accessible!

1Alicorn10yI could make PDFs of the text, but I'm far too lazy to update them every time I post a new chapter, and I don't know how to creat mobi files or anything else more fancy.
3anyareine10yI'm volunteering myself to make PDF's of both books. I'll keep them updated as well. EDIT: And if I can figure out what mobi is and figure out how to convert it, I'll do that too. EDIT2: Never mind, I just saw Zack M Davis' message.
4anyareine10yLuminosity: http://www.mediafire.com/?b77o68xf0srak58 [http://www.mediafire.com/?b77o68xf0srak58] Radiance chapters 1 through 38: http://www.mediafire.com/?54q4sqpss3dwfwc [http://www.mediafire.com/?54q4sqpss3dwfwc] If there is anything wrong with them, just tell me and I will fix it. I'll be updating Radiance as Alicorn does.
1Alicorn10yAdded links to these to the current discussion thread; will put them on my site and ff.net profile soon too.
1Alicorn10yEvery now and then I find a typo or want to change wording in Luminosity, too, so that could stand being updated once a month or so too.
0anyareine10yI'll do that then. Also, what is the font you've used for the website banner? Was thinking of using it for the title's on both files.
1Alicorn10yIt's called "Zephyr", or "the Twilight font", the latter of which is a useful search term if you wish to obtain it (ARRRRRRR).
0anyareine10yThanks. I've updated Luminosity just now. Another question, would Bella have the same handwriting as she had in canon? Because I found the font SMeyer used online and was wondering if I should use it for the places where she's writing in her notebooks.
1Alicorn10yI see no reason why the handwriting should be different - go ahead, it's a cute idea :) I'd recommend doing that in lieu of the italics I used to signify notebook passages, rather than in addition to them.
0anyareine10yYou might want to download the PDF Luminosity and see if you like the way the font looks. I'm unsure. I had to make it a bit larger than the rest of the text, because you couldn't really read it when it was smaller.
1Alicorn10yIt doesn't appear to me as text at all (observe) [http://elcenia.com/itemz/screen.png] - throughout it's either completely blank or weird gray and black rectangles. Also, the italics don't appear to be in the same font as the rest of the text.
0anyareine10yThats very strange. I'll just change it back to what it was originally then. EDIT: Actually, what program are you opening it in? I'm using Adobe Reader 9.
1Alicorn10yPreview.
0anyareine10yI've uploaded a second file. I'm assuming that you can't see the font because you have a different OS (Mac?). I might be wrong. http://www.mediafire.com/?bw8li3401ffwjli [http://www.mediafire.com/?bw8li3401ffwjli]
1Alicorn10yThe italics still look weird (like they are in a different and larger font) but the notebook entries are legible now.
0anyareine10yI've changed the font from Times New Roman to Bookman Old Style. Maybe it will help with the italics. If not I'll try something else when I wake up. Luminosity without handwriting: http://www.mediafire.com/?bw8li3401ffwjli [http://www.mediafire.com/?bw8li3401ffwjli] Luminosity with handwriting: http://www.mediafire.com/?b77o68xf0srak58 [http://www.mediafire.com/?b77o68xf0srak58] Radiance 1 - 38: http://www.mediafire.com/?54q4sqpss3dwfwc [http://www.mediafire.com/?54q4sqpss3dwfwc] If you have the same font problems with the Radiance file, I'll change it when I wake up.
1Alicorn10yThe italics still look off and the handwriting portions still aren't working. Not sure what's the matter.
0anyareine10yHopefully this one is better. Changed the font to Ariel. http://www.mediafire.com/?d4ug2b6r91u67ef [http://www.mediafire.com/?d4ug2b6r91u67ef]
2Alicorn10yThat one looks fine :D
0ArisKatsaris10yI can see it perfectly, so the problem isn't something like you having any fonts in your machine that I don't.
0Zack_M_Davis10yFor the record, I just used Auto Kindle [http://sourceforge.net/projects/autokindle/] on an HTML file.
0Zack_M_Davis10yHere's a mobi version [http://www.mediafire.com/?6fyv14xftnn47mn] through chapter 37.
1Alicorn10yAdded a link to this to the current discussion thread; will put it on my site and ff.net profile soon too.

Hi all, new here- as I have transplanted from fanfiction.net at less wongs recomendation, and I love the notion of the entire book on a single page; however, how do I increase the print size for the story on my ipod touch(gen2) so that my aging eyes can see it, and still keep it within the confines of the screen(or in other words, so that I only have to scroll down rather thn down, up, and side to side)? If anyone can help me, please use small words, so I can understand-my twelve year old daughter teased me the other day about being a 'tech-tard", and I'm not so sure she is wrong! THanks.

0ahartell8yIt looks like that isn't possible in the default safari browser, but your best bet would be to go to the app store and download "Atomic Web Browser" (it seems like they support font re-sizing and text reflow) or some other browser. Good luck.

Chapter 57.

I really didn't expect Bella to steal Elspeth away. That's great though; now she can raise her to be a rebel and an interesting character. I thought with Elspeth narrating the sequel, we would have a time jump of at least a few years, so she could set the stage for a rebellion, like her mother. With this new development though it would be interesting to read about her growing up in hiding with Bella.

It's almost obvious after this chapter that Edward is alive, but Alice isn't. It seems that while believing your mate to be dead won't be good for y... (read more)

2Alicorn10yJasper being that insane, instead of more like Marcus, Irina, or Bella, is a direct consequence of his personality, the nature of his and Alice's relationship, and the exact circumstances surrounding his particular situation, including particularly the experience he refers to when he says he felt Alice die. Everyone reacts to their mate's death differently, and how said mate dies matters a lot. (For instance, Maggie would have had a unique reaction if she'd eaten Gianna when they met, versus if Gianna had died trying to carry Elspeth to term. And if Maggie had finished crushing Gianna when Gianna was turning, that'd be a whole nother can of worms yet.)

I have my suspicions that Edward may be the man talking with Abby over the pit Bella is in, or at least survived. I don't really know why. The sheer number of times he was mentioned as "the man" made it feel to me like you really didn't want him identified. Bella didn't find a ring in the ashes, and Abby and "the man" never referred to any gender, so it could have been Irina attempting to go berserk on the wolves or Bella. The only males present were Aro, Demetri, Afton and Edward, and Bella has heard them all except Afton. It's possib... (read more)

1Alicorn10yBella's never heard Demetri speak; what are you talking about? And Chelsea and Addy don't change anyone's voice. The guy Addy's talking to is Demetri. That's not a big deal, it's just not something Bella could have figured out.
0Giriath10yOh. I don't know where I got it from that Bella had heard Demetri. Maybe I confused the brief meetings with the Volturi with that of other stories'. I'm going to hang on to my hunch that Edward is still alive and that the ashes are Irina's, though.

Spoilers for Chap. 55.

Ba gur fbegvat nytbevguz bs qrnqarff, V'q chg guvf ng 2.5 (pbeerfcbaqvat gb na 0.5 punapr bs eriviny, ohg bayl nsgre fbzr qrynl). Rqjneq'f qrngu jnf abg npghnyyl jvgarffrq, bayl fhttrfgrq ol n pbairefngvba gung qvqa'g hfr uvf anzr, naq ab obql jnf sbhaq. Vs ur ernyyl qvq qvr gurer, vg'f fgvyy n uvtu-zntvp havirefr, naq ng yrnfg bar onpxhc pbcl bs uvf zrzbevrf rkvfgf, va Neeb'f oenva.

Ba gur bgure unaq, gur ernyvfgvp qverpgvba sbe gur fgbel jbhyq unir Oryyn riraghnyyl trg bire vg (creuncf nsgre gnxvat fbzr eriratr, be abg), naq riraghny... (read more)

1Alicorn10yLbh... ernyyl pna'g qrznaq gung cnegvphyne cebbs, jvgu inzcverf. Vs ur nva'g nfurf ur nva'g qrnq.
1jimrandomh10yI just realized that I was primed to the possibility of a false alarm, by one that happened to me in real life a few weeks ago. So my reaction may be quite atypical of readers in general.
4Alicorn10yActually, a lot of people seem to think that I wouldn't really do it. The question shouldn't be, Would she do it? The question should be, is that actually the most pain she can put her characters in? :)
4Perplexed10yReminds me of something Lois Bujold once said [http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=164952151&blogID=423204224] : This may also serve to partially answer Vaniver's very perceptive complaints [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2u5g?c=1] as well.
0Vaniver10yThank you for that link, by the way: it's a fascinating read, and expertly handles many of the points I was fumbling around.
0TheOtherDave10yI suspect that far more painful would be to later eha vagb Rqjneq nyvir, cnve-obaqrq jvgu fbzrbar ryfr, jbexvat sbe gur rarzl, naq (yrtvgvzngryl) shevbhf ng Oryyn sbe univat frg vagb zbgvba gur Phyyraf' qrfgehpgvba. Rfcrpvnyyl vs lbh pbhyq neenatr vg fb gung Oryyn unq gb pubbfr orgjrra xvyyvat Rqjneq naq yrggvat Ryfcrgu qvr.
1jimrandomh10yGehr. Gur arprffnel cebbs jbhyq or gb urne vg sebz n jvgarff, naq fcraq fbzr gvzr, pyrne urnqrq, frnepuvat gur zntvp flfgrz sbe ybbcubyrf gung zvtug nyybj erfheerpgvba. V qba'g ernyyl xabj gur Gjvyvtug havirefr rabhtu gb xabj ubj svany qrngu vf gurer, ohg fbzrubj, zl fhopbafpvbhf jnagf zr gb guvax gung Rqjneq qvqa'g qvr, ng yrnfg abg creznaragyl. Bu, jnvg. Gung'f zbgvingrq pbtavgvba fcrnxvat. Erfheerpgvat fbzrbar sebz fgbyra zrzbevrf va Neeb'f urnq vf ernyyl, ernyyl vzcynhfvoyr; jul qvq V guvax bs gung? Bhpu, cbbe Oryyn.
0JenniferRM10yI strongly shared your inclination to start commenting with rot13, but wanted an area to talk where it would not be necessary so I started Discussion Part 2 [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2y6/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_part_2_discussion/] for post-chapter-fifty-ish discussion.

The last chapter (54) totally shattered Bella's unintentional illusion that her plans were without flaws that she could not fix. I'm going to assume that Bella and Edward survives, at least the rescue of the Werewolves - if not the duration of the story. As such, the most realistic way of surviving the encounter with the witch twins I can conjure up at the moment is that Bella is exaggerating the situation.

It's entirely possible that Alec and Jane have been too busy keeping the wolves incapacitated to do any interrogation - and to my knowledge; it's quite ... (read more)

0nick01200010yAll Bella needs to do is take out the two vampires with incapacitating powers. Once she does, the wolves can act as the anti-vampire killing machines they were born to be and take out the rest of them. Once they do, her position's a lot stronger; Bella and the packs might be able to negotiate a peace treaty with/unconditional surrender from the Volturri, assuming they don't go onto the offensive and wipe them out once their big guns are gone. IIRC the werewolf packs outnumber the guard by, what, two or three to one, while being physically superior to boot.
1Alicorn10yOne wolf versus one nonwitch vampire will tend to result in a win for the vampire. The wolf advantage is in their better ability to coordinate and to come in numbers.
0Giriath10yI really doubt Bella will be able to take out Alec and Jane, even with Edward's help. Both are old vampires with way more combat training and experience than even Edward. Jacob also said there are some hard-core Volturi fighters there, probably including Felix. Bella and Edward may be able to take them with the help of Jacob and the imprinted wolves, though; either by using the free wolves as a decoy for the fighters, - should the Volturi not be hostile to Bella and Edward - or just attacking them together. I'm guessing Jane will be unable to keep a pack incapacitated while fighting, and maybe Alec, too.
0nick01200010yHmm. Actually, if they pretend to be friendly, none of the werewolves has talked, and Aro hasn't arrived yet, they might be able to dupe the Volturri into thinking that they were sent there by the Cullen coven to look into something going down on their territory, so as to get close enough to the siblings to be able to sneak attack and disable or kill them and allow the werewolves to polish off the rest.

Nice chapter, and the scar got covered pretty much exactly as I was expecting ;)