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Everything posted by Analyze Weakness
I really enjoyed the book, especially the new space-related powers and enhancements, and the Doyen. The one thing that Just Bugged Me from the original Trinity Setting, and which stands out even more with Nexus and A Breed Apart, is the nova Fermi Paradox. A Breed Apart discussed the potential for very fast exponential reproduction of novas, with reproduction-oriented powers enabling 10x or greater annual growth, with trillions of novas in a decade. In the early Nova Age one could explain the failure of this to happen as there being insufficient time for many such novas to arise, and ultra-powerful novas actively neutralizing them. But by the time of Trinity it becomes harder to explain why some inhabitants of the aberrant colonies haven't done this, given that we are told they have intensive breeding programs to face off with the low-Taint novas. Perhaps that is still seen as too dangerous by leaders like the Colony (who might not be able to control fast-spawning novas), or would constitute the ultimate WMD and bring about a Final War with the rest of the novas. Even without ultra-rapid breeding, nova populations would still be growing exponentially, albeit with a doubling time of decades instead of months. Since they are capable of interstellar (and intergalactic, for some novas of observed power levels) travel and colonization, that would fill the galaxy within a few centuries, and all the billions of visible galaxies a few centuries after that. They could then create or assimilate other universes, expanding their multiversal empire by billions of times every centuries. Even if expansionist nova cultures only happen once in 10^1000 universes, they should already have assimilated everything billions of years ago (and we are told the Doyen have been around for billions of years). Nexus says that the emergence of novas is incredibly rare, happening only once in our galaxy, perhaps even only once in our universe, but any meaningful frequency is hard to make stable. For non-nova cultures, Nexus reduces the problem by having the Coalition and Doyen act to suppress advanced technological civilization in the Milky Way for billions of years. But the fact that many intelligent species emerged in the Milky Way indicates the other galaxies should be populated, and intergalactic travel is quick and easy with high technology levels in the Nexus tech level system. So out of the hundreds of billions of species that would have emerged in the visible galaxies based on Milky Way development rates, why haven't some become technically advanced intergalactic or interdimensional expansionists crushed the Doyen billions of years ago? The easiest explanation in-setting would seem to be that the Milky Way and our multiverse are in fact the playthings of such an ultra-advanced fast-growing super-civilization or god-novas, who have prevented the emergence of intergalactic and interdimensional expansionists. However, even then you have to wonder why such beings haven't themselves been outcompeted and crushed by novas or civilizations that do nothing but grow and increase their power. What would a hyperintelligent nova conclude about the world she finds herself in? Perhaps that the godlike novas/entities that stand above her multiverse are operating under different rules. And also that something very scary will put a stop to rapid expansionism, and it might be a good idea for the novas to avoid finding out what it is...
Alchemist, that's a decisive point. So most high Mega-App novas will have the maximum impact attraction can have on you, but that will be limited by the person's psychology. OTH, 5 successes is a supermodel on a VERY good day, so we would expect novas to attract a very high proportion of the potential stalker pool, but that's to be expected. That does limit the potential for fanatical followers. OTH the political impact (which requires only light influence, but exerted over a great number of people) would seem to be undiminished. So what do people think 5 successes should allow?
I think that the analogies to real world supermodels are bogus. Someone with Mega-Appearance 1 is as attractive relative to the supermodel as the latter is to the girl next door. Someone with Mega-Appearance 5 is several orders beyond that, like seeing the face of God. If some centrefold girl can get thousands of admirers, then the Mega-App 5 nova should lead to everyone who meets her becoming obsessed: if she has almost live then 50+% of the ENTIRE WORLD (I remember one character was described as unsure whether her attraction to another female nova was due to Mega-Appearance, as she had previously had only heterosexual impulses) might fall into that category. If she expresses distaste for someone it is likely that dozens or hundreds of admirers will attempt to assassinate the boor. Rejected suitors should be committing suicide all the time. If the nova doesn't have Almost Live, then people who haven't met her will notice the extreme difference between their own reactions to her beauty and the insane reactions of those who actually meet her. Then you get the paranoia about mind control because there is clearly more than the physical appearance. On Bender: consider the difference between someone who CAN influence emotions for a very short time but who usually does not versus people who do it continually to everyone they meet and move in rareified social circles where they are likely to encounter very influential individuals.
Consider a nova with Mega-Appearance 5 but without the 'Almost Live' enhancement. Her physical shape is superb (perfect skin, great cheekbones, etc) but actual physical appearance can only have so much of an effect. I assume part of Mega-Appearance is a telepathic ability tickling the brains of admirers to react intensely. So what do people make of these novas who are incredibly beautiful on TV, but capable of virtual mind control in person? Wouldn't this be treated with incredible paranoia and fear? Those who have been in their presence might not be willing to act against them, but I would think that everyone else would be paranoid with fear, seeing people reduced to obsequious minions on TV. Or is the public tolerance of what amounts to mind control due to exercise of such control by Utopia/the Teragen/whatever? Narcosis is known to have the 'Almost Live' enhancement from the Teragen book, so shouldn't she have literally millions of obsessed stalkers? Basically it seems to me that Mega-Appearance without TV projection means the beautiful novas will be quarantined, while novas (and other Mega-Socials) with that enhancement should have Quantum and Mega-Appearance 8.