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Old Jun 16 2014, 09:30 AM   #1
Kim
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Default AU: What would YOU change?

I know I'm not alone in daydreaming different scenarios for Anne's stories. One thing I would change, simply because I feel she got shafted, is Jora's situation. F'lon is hopelessly shortsighted and misogynistic, so he's out. Enter a brownrider, who also believes that Thread is coming back, but unlike F'lon realizes how much hinges on Jora and Nemorth. He befriends Jora because a happy rider makes a happy dragon, but pretense turns into reality when he really gets to know her and the two end up as a very happy couple.

So that's my main change. I'd like to hear from the rest of you on what, if anything, you'd change.
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Old Jun 16 2014, 02:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

Wirenth and Prideth never fight, and Brekke has to deal with the results (Orth? A young oldtime bronze? Anyone other than Canth, basically...) and Kylara, long-term.
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Old Jun 16 2014, 02:48 PM   #3
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Wirenth and Prideth never fight, and Brekke has to deal with the results (Orth? A young oldtime bronze? Anyone other than Canth, basically...) and Kylara, long-term.

Now that's one I'd like to see. It could make a very interesting story.
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Old Jun 16 2014, 06:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

Along similar lines, McCaffrey never abandons the first draft of DQ which is about Lessa, F'lar, their developing relationship and the struggle to reintegrate the Oldtimers. The DQ we get was probably easier to write, but is by far the most flawed in the main series and sets up the rest of the conflict of the series poorly.
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Old Jun 17 2014, 03:15 AM   #5
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Along similar lines, McCaffrey never abandons the first draft of DQ which is about Lessa, F'lar, their developing relationship and the struggle to reintegrate the Oldtimers. The DQ we get was probably easier to write, but is by far the most flawed in the main series and sets up the rest of the conflict of the series poorly.
You need to join the rest of us in pestering Shalyn to finish her Mardra fic - it starts with Lessa's arrival in the past and fills in the gap between the novels.
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Old Jun 17 2014, 06:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

I'd rewrite MHoP entirely, to prove that Robinton is badass. That Jora stuff would be fixed in that; she'd either be proven as a horrible person, or there'd be more detail about how much of an ass F'lon is to her, and maybe how that strains Robinton's relationship with him (and also maybe causes Robinton to distance himself from Benden Weyr so F'lar truly doesn't know much about him until the things that happen in Dflight, where Rob realizes F'lar is NOT F'lon). The Harper Hall, instead of respected in MHoP, would start out on the brink of ruin for various reasons, and Robinton would drag the Hall out of that Hell, while doing things to keep Fax off of Fort's borders.

I'd give Menolly a book as an adventuring Journeywoman. And maybe team her up with Piemur for a time, where they'd get into trouble, and would have to get themselves out of trouble without relying on Robinton or Benden. So there'd be 5 Harper Hall books, min, instead of 3. Maybe more. Edit: We could give Sebell and Talmor their own book too. Make Sebell more interesting, and have those two play off each other.

Renegades I'd rewrite entirely too. Instead of Thella being a baddie, she'd have a rightful cause for some Hold or another, maybe Nabol or Crom, and maybe Lessa, due to Weyr interests, would have a political interest to not openly support her, but would do covertly anyway, because she saw herself in her. Lessa would send the ex-rider to her, or something, as support.

I'd make AIVAS a secret shellperson, who wasn't supposed to be a colonist, but managed to sneak himself in as a fake AI. He would have been in coldsleep or something 2000 years once he realized the colonists really thought he was an AI and weren't going to come back and relocate him in the north. He'd talk to the people who found Landing because he was awoken out of coldsleep and was damn lonely, and he'd make friends with Robinton and Lytol and D'ram and Oldive. Abominators wouldn't be scandalized about an AI per se, but would be scandalized about him being a severely deformed human in a tube, and the Healer Hall would have troubles with people thinking they were going to start putting people in tubes.

As you can see, I've thought about these things, heh.
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Old Jun 17 2014, 09:50 AM   #7
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D.M., you're one of my favorite writers. The Day Benden Weyr Went to War is pure gold. I'd love to see you write those stories, though I would hope you'd make Jora a lonely depressed woman, not a baddie.
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Old Jun 17 2014, 12:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

I am kind of hopeful that we'll one day see Gigi McCaffrey's take on the Harper Hall and it will have the redeeming Sebell stuff in it that makes him into a better character.

I like the idea that Mardra and Lessa's conflict was both mother-daughter, with Mardra feeling a responsibility to train this young upstart Benden Weyrwoman as she would have done one of her juniors, with Lessa taking poorly to it, and political with Mardra going from Leader of Weyrwomen to spare Weyrwoman. And that Lessa's terrible pregnancy experience meant she was out-of-commission for long enough that Mardra represented a very real challenge to her. And that later poisons the rest of the relationships between Oldtimers and Benden. Frankly, I think this is the only way to explain how relations between the Weyrs deteriorates so quickly; if it were just a matter of the Oldtimer queens failing to rise, Benden had plenty of juniors to swap around and had relations been good, it would have been no big deal to do such a thing.

At least, I think Lessa and F'lar, while doing the right thing for Pern overall, are significantly shades-of-grey characters in how they run over the autonomy of the planet to get there. By the time of ATWoP and Skies, they're defacto dictators.
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Old Jun 17 2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

I would like to see a version of RoP where Thella storms out and runs away, but Threadfall doesn't start until after she's had a chance to start setting up her Hold in the mountains as a legitimate venture - which was all she wanted to do in the first place, originally!
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Old Jun 17 2014, 08:53 PM   #10
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I haven't read Renegades in forever. (I know I said I thought DQ was the weakest, but actually...)

Is there a reason given for Thella not to pack it up South and start her hold there?
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Old Jun 17 2014, 11:13 PM   #11
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Is there a reason given for Thella not to pack it up South and start her hold there?
Toric, unless she allies herself with him, which is unlikely given her desire for independence. By Skies he holds most of the coastal regions of the Southern Continent within easy reach by ship.
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Old Jun 18 2014, 12:12 AM   #12
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Yeah, but isn't Toric's "holding" that land essentially so much paper? How many men can he possibly have protecting his boundaries at that point, given Renegades starts pre-Fall, and ends post-AIVAS. It might make more sense if Thella sets up a renegade hold down there and she and Toric start mixing it up with men-at-arms, and when she eventually dies, her renegade hold becomes Paradise River under survivors Jayge and Aramina.

Toric engaging in a border war would even give a valid reason for the rest of Pern to hate him, while grudgingly accepting they need him to be keeping a strong hold down there. (Whereas Toric in the books is a greedy ******* who they all suspect of double-dealing, but not enough to get his ass booted from Lord Holdership.)

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Old Jun 18 2014, 03:57 AM   #13
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

@Kim - Thank you.
@skywaterblue - You made me laugh, because you said "redeem" Sebell. Usually I'd see that word used on, say, an anti-hero, but in Sebell's case he'd be redeemed out of being boring. That said, yes, it would be great if Sebell was redeemed or otherwise made worthy of Menolly.

Also, it WOULD be interesting to see Thella and Toric get into a fight over dividing up Southern. Man, the idea of shipping over young hopeful men and women who think they're going to be Holders and end up being Soldiers--that would leave a nasty taste in anyone's mouth, and cause Thella and Toric to both be hated.

There'd be extra-good reason for Cove Hold on the Southern continent too (other than pretty retirement home)...give the Harper Hall an extra base to work from, to work against that chaos.
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Old Jun 18 2014, 05:32 PM   #14
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The reason Thella held where she did was because as a youngster she had discovered a deserted holding all ready just to clean up and settle into. Southern was a very long way away at the time and she had to recruit holders reasonably close to it.

The fact that it was deserted because a nasty disease had wiped out the holders and all their belongings (and bones) would have needed to be cleared away would not have bothered her!!!!!
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Old Jun 18 2014, 10:10 PM   #15
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The Southern Continent is not SO hard to get to (it's what, seven days by shipping vessel at the narrowest?) that you wouldn't expect a massive land rush and all the resulting problems of that massive societal upheaval. That we don't see much of it has also been a problem that bugs me about the post-WD novels, when Southern expansion really starts to blast off. Remember, most of the main plot of the Ninth Pass novels takes place within 20-30 years. A large portion of the 40+ up population would still be reeling from the militarization of Fax's era and the crippling return of Oldtimer-levels of tithe, both of which are great reasons to skip out on society when you're on the vulnerable bottom rungs.

Besides, this is a planet with instantaneous transportation. During large parts of Renegades, the South is being held by less-than-reputable dragonriders. I'm sure some Oldtimer Greenrider'd be willing to transport the holdless wherever for a pocket of marks.

I'd rather have a slightly wonky work-around to get to an interesting plot than hobble the story for realism, and Renegades is a pretty weak edition of the story. The South is a massively lawless continent with practically no supervision save one relatively weak Lord Holder, where the danger of Thread lessens the need for the dragonriders and heavy tithe, and you can live like kings eating wild fruit that falls off the tree. For a lot of Pernese, this would sound like paradise, especially if you're the holdless sort. I don't think it's less likely Thella could have sold that to her people and it's in many ways a more honest and enticing offer.

Also, both Thella and Toric become more sympathetic villains, what with Toric being our lawful evil and Thella our chaotic neutral.

Man, the idea of shipping over young hopeful men and women who think they're going to be Holders and end up being Soldiers--that would leave a nasty taste in anyone's mouth, and cause Thella and Toric to both be hated.

Plus there's additional reason to fear for Landing's security, and now you have reasons that there are so many pissed off, suspicious people around to antagonize and work against the AIVAS/dragonriders after Thella dies.

I should also note here that I find the reasons given for the Pernese to abandon the South in D'Dawn to be really implausible. If you're genuinely struggling to put food in mouths, that usually takes human precedence over fear of bodily harm. Humanity generally doesn't abandon fertile land for less fertile land over fear of volcanoes or earthquakes.
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Old Jun 18 2014, 10:15 PM   #16
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I like that she was prepared for the hard work, just to have a place that would be independently hers.
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Old Jun 19 2014, 12:03 AM   #17
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She could have been very successful but turned instead to the dark side
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Old Jun 19 2014, 01:59 PM   #18
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<TEXT SNIPPED>

I should also note here that I find the reasons given for the Pernese to abandon the South in D'Dawn to be really implausible. If you're genuinely struggling to put food in mouths, that usually takes human precedence over fear of bodily harm. Humanity generally doesn't abandon fertile land for less fertile land over fear of volcanoes or earthquakes.
The volcanoes and earthquakes were in a relatively small area, although an important one since most of the technology was concentrated there --- and unfortunately everything they couldn't move (including AIVAS) got buried when Garben erupted.

They were a small population scattered in farms across the Southern Continent, and their options for fighting Thread were diminishing rapidly, as the power units on the aerial sleds didn't last long in use against Thread and took too long to recharge. Moving people back to Landing helped for a time, then the volcano put them in harm's way again. A few of the larger stakeholds managed to carry on for a few years, defending the area around their buildings with flame-throwers, but for most people Fort Hold was the only option. Feeding them wasn't a major problem as they could still use hydroponics, and catch fish.
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Old Jun 19 2014, 02:41 PM   #19
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It was also significant that the South did not have large cave complexes on solid bedrock, as the north did. A lot less resources needed to furnish a cave than to build out of rock.
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Old Jun 19 2014, 03:07 PM   #20
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They had the Catherine caves!

Incidently, in 1832 when the writer Susanna Moodie emigrated to Canada, the voyage from Britain took two MONTHS!
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Old Jun 20 2014, 12:32 AM   #21
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Presumably the Catherine Caves are in-harm's-way from Garben, since they're walking distance from Landing. My problem with the caves in general is that you don't need to live in a cave to defend yourself from Thread, just solid concrete slabs. Or bricks. Or ceramic roof tiles. Which is evident from the number of free standing buildings we see, both North and South.

A little more work to make concrete slabs, but the health benefits of staying near more fertile land and out of caves is ultimately going to be better for the health and welfare of your people.

My problem with the move North, Eriflor, is that I think moving to a different continent is throwing the baby out with the bathwater of the decentralization problem. It would have been easier to resettle everyone in the surviving holds and throw resources into large community Thread shelters. Maybe you can't blame them, because their heads are in high powered stonecutters and the previous war, but they choose a high cost solution to what is really a low tech problem. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot, guys!
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Old Jun 20 2014, 02:44 AM   #22
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I think I'd change F'lar's way of handling Lessa. (Well, maybe not mocking her over the knife wound he got fighting Fax. She needed to see her actions had consequences.) But imagine what F'lar and Lessa could have accomplished if he had explained his plans right from the start, and said "I need you to make this work. Please help me."

I think Lessa would have liked pretending to go along with R'gul's teachings while knowing he wasn't going to be Weyrleader for long. It was sneaky enough for her way of thinking in that point of her life, and if F'lar had done anything like that sooner, Lessa might have trusted him sooner, and they might have even started establishing a true camaraderie that wasn't dependent on flight sex to get them on the path to a relationship.
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Old Jun 26 2014, 04:44 PM   #23
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Wirenth and Prideth never fight, and Brekke has to deal with the results (Orth? A young oldtime bronze? Anyone other than Canth, basically...) and Kylara, long-term.
Oh, even Canth flying Wirenth would mean Brekke would have to deal. And F'nor, too--somehow I don't think it would be all neat, pretty and clean like she thought it would. Just anything that wasn't a convenient cop-out plus petty revenge on Kylara.

I'd just rewrite DQ completely and go from wherever I ended up.
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Old Jun 26 2014, 04:54 PM   #24
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The most frustrating part of DQ for me is that it sets up the conflict for the rest of the series by side-stepping.

(Also, since I'm re-reading Dragonflight right now: why is it that the tradition-minded F'lar and Lessa become such ardent technologists by the end of the series? Something happens in those seven years to seriously disillusion them on tradition and it would be nice to see what it was. We go from F'lar and Lessa seriously quoting ancient songs as a means of asserting political authority over the Holds, to F'lar and Lessa using NAV-SAT maps to claim land for dragonriders and break the ties between Weyr and Hold in a matter of twenty years.)
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Old Jun 27 2014, 07:57 AM   #25
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Skywaterblue - Actually, they are technology-interested from the start, although it's more obvious in Dragonquest than Dragonflight. It seems that technology mostly existed in old records and hides, and they were gleaning from that. The Smiths actually had intercom systems installed in their Hall in Dragonquest--but it's mentioned so briefly that if you don't pay attention you'll miss it.

Robinton and Fanderal were the two Mastercraftsmen F'lar called in from the very, very start. Robinton just got more screen time than Fanderal, but even Fanderal mentions in DQ that a lot of what he's doing is trying to retrieve old technologies from ancient scraps and notes of hide.
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Old Jun 27 2014, 11:24 AM   #26
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Sure, but I'd also argue that restoration of flamethrowers is also a restoration of tradition. (Groundcrew, queen's wing.) And F'lar has an intercomm in his private weyr in Dragonflight. Also, some kind of pneumatic tube delivery system.

What's interesting is where Lessa and F'lar break from restoring 'things Pern had even a few generations ago' to 'let's bioengineer a virus against Thread', which arguably wasn't within the colonial abilities. But maybe it's so gradual that even they don't notice, and by the time AIVAS pops up, Jaxom is really leading the charge. After all, the most blatant examples of this are post-Landing.
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Old Jun 27 2014, 12:14 PM   #27
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Presumably the Catherine Caves are in-harm's-way from Garben, since they're walking distance from Landing. My problem with the caves in general is that you don't need to live in a cave to defend yourself from Thread, just solid concrete slabs. Or bricks. Or ceramic roof tiles. Which is evident from the number of free standing buildings we see, both North and South.

A little more work to make concrete slabs, but the health benefits of staying near more fertile land and out of caves is ultimately going to be better for the health and welfare of your people.

My problem with the move North, Eriflor, is that I think moving to a different continent is throwing the baby out with the bathwater of the decentralization problem. It would have been easier to resettle everyone in the surviving holds and throw resources into large community Thread shelters. Maybe you can't blame them, because their heads are in high powered stonecutters and the previous war, but they choose a high cost solution to what is really a low tech problem. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot, guys!
I've done a little re-reading of DragonsDawn, and it appears that the initial plan was to move the Administration people, scientists, and the files and stored items they needed, from Landing to Fort, even before the volcanoes erupted. These people weren't producing food, and didn't need to be in the South to do their jobs, since they still had good tele-communications. Any settlers who couldn't cope with Thread were welcome to move also, but nobody was forced to go North.

The best hope for continued farming under Thread was where several stakeholds were located close together and all the inhabitants could mount a concerted defence against Thread, collaborate over planting and harvesting, maintain flamethrowers, training new sled and flamethrower crews, and provide trainees for mining iron ore and coal, smelting the ores into steel, manufacturing steel for roofing, etc. There was such a group at Ierne Island (4 stakeholds), and they were still there for another 20 years. There was another group around Drake's Lake, but no indication how long they stayed, though there were various mines in the area, which may have kept them there for a while --- the farmers would probably have tried to bring in at least one more harvest. But we only see the early phase of the Pass, when Threadfall is lighter --- defence may have become impossible within a few years, or at least more than they were willing to do. (Which makes you wonder how the Ierne Islanders managed for so long --- being on an island protected by water on all sides? Or just not in the direct path of any Fall, like Ruatha?)

Coastal holds might also manage for quite a while on fishing and hydroponics.

The major problem was that the power-packs for the sleds ran out quickly under Thread defence, and took several days to recharge. And apparently they didn't have the technology to make new sleds or power-packs (or computers or stone-cutters, though Kenjo managed to build an ultralight plane). It makes you wonder to what level of technology they were intended to regress --- or did they just lose so many technologists to Thread and epidemics that the knowledge was forgotten?

Has anyone written a fanfic on the last hold-outs?
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Old Jun 27 2014, 12:39 PM   #28
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Has anyone written a fanfic on the last hold-outs?
Sort of - my Torene fic is partially about the Ierne Islanders expanding out from Benden and then attempting to return to Ierne as the Pass draws to a close.
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Old Jun 27 2014, 05:16 PM   #29
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My "Case of the Dragon's Den" involves a clan of traders left behind by the move north.
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Old Jun 27 2014, 05:54 PM   #30
Lily
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

That would be interesting - who were they going to trade with?
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Old Jun 27 2014, 06:31 PM   #31
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

Ierne has a sub-Weyr for a while - spare hatching grounds - so probably the Iernians had solid coverage. The thing that doesn't make sense is why abandon it at that point 20 years in, why not build out there and keep the Iernians in-situ?

The short answer, of course, was that Anne didn't want to deal with hidden settlements in the South.
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Old Jun 28 2014, 03:12 AM   #32
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

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Originally Posted by skywaterblue View Post
Ierne has a sub-Weyr for a while - spare hatching grounds - so probably the Iernians had solid coverage. The thing that doesn't make sense is why abandon it at that point 20 years in, why not build out there and keep the Iernians in-situ?

The short answer, of course, was that Anne didn't want to deal with hidden settlements in the South.
Are you sure?

Wasn't that Ista, aka Big Island that had the spare hatching sands? Ierne was always referred to by name, or to individual stakeholds directly, while Ista was always Big Island once the Bitkim name got dropped. Also Big Island was one of the places that GOT a new Weyr during Torene's time. If it wasn't Ista I will eat a copy of Dragonsdawn...

(Also, Anne did have at least one hidden settlement. Honshu!)
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Old Jun 28 2014, 11:14 AM   #33
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

The island later known as Ista was called Big Island during the original mapping. That's where the spare hatching ground was.

When Toric was lord of Southern Hold he named the westernmost part of his territory Big Island (Ierne Island during the original mapping).
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Old Jun 28 2014, 11:39 AM   #34
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

Ah, I'd forgotten that Ierne got labelled 'big island' as well.
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Old Jun 28 2014, 01:37 PM   #35
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

Very confusing! I stand corrected on the Ista/Ierne thing.
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Old Jun 29 2014, 01:19 AM   #36
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I've done a little re-reading of DragonsDawn, and it appears that the initial plan was to move the Administration people, scientists, and the files and stored items they needed, from Landing to Fort, even before the volcanoes erupted. These people weren't producing food, and didn't need to be in the South to do their jobs, since they still had good tele-communications. Any settlers who couldn't cope with Thread were welcome to move also, but nobody was forced to go North.
I found the following quotation of Paul Benden in The Dolphins' Bell: "We're not abandoning the continent, nor entirely removing everyone. Drake wants to continue; so do the Gallianis, the Logorides; and the Seminole, Key Largo, and Ierne Island groups. Tarvi's keeping the mines and the smelters going. Since they work underground or in the cement block sheds, they're reasonably safe from Thread, though food resources may have to be augmented from our supplies."

"They may have to come north in the end, if we can't supply them from our stores," Emily said sadly.

-----------

However, Tarvi (Telgar) must be running the mines and smelters by proxy, since he's working at Fort and prospecting for mines in the western ranges to supply Fort more easily. And the Gallianis and Logorides will be competing with Red Hanrahan for animal fodder and stable space in Red Hanrahan's Ford.
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Old Jul 17 2014, 01:04 PM   #37
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Default Re: AU: What would YOU change?

As far as what I would change, I would really like to see what would happen if Lessa went back in time, convinced the Weyrs to travel forward--and then all of them were lost on the return trip. No more Lessa and Ramoth, no help from other Weyrs, and only Kylara and Prideth to repopulate the dragon species. What would F'lar do then?

I imagine it would involve taking advantage of the Southern Continent and grubs much sooner and more fully, utilizing fire lizards and whers in Threadfall as much as possible, Kylara and Prideth thrust into a position of responsibility as well as power and producing queens to repopulate the other Weyrs, judicious use of timing it, and yes, letting greens clutch as well. Personally, I think it would have been more interesting to read about than Deus Ex Machina fully-staffed Weyrs suddenly appearing.
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