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Old Jan 18 2009, 04:55 PM   #41
D. M. Domini
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Yeah, what Spaceman Spiff said.

Basically I'm coming at it from the "smoking gun" perspective; if you mention something in a story, it's there for a *reason*. If you see a gun in Act One, it better have some relevance by the time the last Act is completed, otherwise you pretty much Fail as an author.

In this case, I fail to see why AMC would even mention that some humans had been altered with those technicques to be more empathic if she didn't mean for us to make the jump that some of the Pernese population might be descended from such people. She could have kept the mentasynth confined just to the beasties, as the magical tech that made dragonets into firelizards, dragons, and whers. She didn't. Instead, she mentioned that the enhanced humans had increased empathy with animals, and while it's a bit Pern-blaphemous (sp?) to call dragons "animals", it is a fact that dragons in this world Impress to people who have heightened empathy, and that she specifically mentioned that there were humans that existed in the universe that had been altered to have high empathy.

It's not an unreasonable jump in logic to make.
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Old Jan 18 2009, 05:05 PM   #42
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

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Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff View Post
Since claims of psychic abilities and telepathy, with present scientific knowledge, are highly dubious, I think your reasoning is very unlikely. Wouldn't it be far more likely and realistic that these people are the ones who had been enhanced, rather than some intrinsic value of "pure" humans, a quality which is probably non-existent? It seems that the mention of the Beltrae and enhanced humans was deliberate, to give a hint at it without having to blatantly spell it out.
Uhm, no. That wouldn't be far more likely IMO.
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Old Jan 18 2009, 09:05 PM   #43
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Why?
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Old Jan 19 2009, 03:45 AM   #44
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Because there is absolutely no reason to assume it is more likely. I personally feel the enhancement is treated as something (very) rare, an indication of this is Kitty Ping Yung's reluctance to tamper.

Admitted, there is no real evidence for either case but I feel the tendency is more against than for and certainly not "far more likely".

High empatic ratings must be read just as it is written, just the people with the highest rating among all colonist. If this had an obvious reason behnd it I think Anne would have written or hinted about it somewhere.
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Old Jan 19 2009, 09:05 PM   #45
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Let's not forget that the enhancement was used on the dolphins, who are an intelligent mammal, and gave them the ability to adapt their vocalizations into human speech. Humans just don't have that range of pitch, but they could "dummy" it down. It also seems that the colonist were made of a group mind that wanted to get away from the hectic close and technical world. If you were an empath, a quiet colony would be heaven!
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Old Jan 20 2009, 03:38 AM   #46
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

AFAIK on the Dolphins only the technique called mentasynth was used.
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Old Jan 24 2009, 11:11 AM   #47
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

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Because there is absolutely no reason to assume it is more likely. I personally feel the enhancement is treated as something (very) rare, an indication of this is Kitty Ping Yung's reluctance to tamper.

Admitted, there is no real evidence for either case but I feel the tendency is more against than for and certainly not "far more likely".

High empatic ratings must be read just as it is written, just the people with the highest rating among all colonist. If this had an obvious reason behnd it I think Anne would have written or hinted about it somewhere.
That's not true. It said specifically that mentasynth enhancement on humans was widespread before the Pure Human Life group got involved. This does seem to contradict the standard of reluctance to tamper demonstrated by Kitty Ping, however she was the only human ever trained directly by the Eridani. It could be that the technique of the widespread mentasynth trend could have been handed down from others, and so the ethics of its use would not be as ingrained as with Kitti Ping, because she was trained directly.

But I think I've found definitive proof on the topic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonsdawn
It had regretfully been decided not to use the Eridani techniques, especially mentasynth on the dogs, due to the considerable trouble with such adaptations on Earth. Some of the stock, and indeed many of the human beings, had ancestors who had been so “enhanced,” and their descendants still showed signs of extreme empathy, something that dogs apparently could not adapt to.
This shows that there definitely are Pernese colonists who had enhanced ancestors and still showed signs of heightened empathy. This gives a much more plausible explanation for telepathic abilities in the Pern universe than any natural ability, which is quite far-fetched.
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Old Jan 24 2009, 01:00 PM   #48
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

I am not denying some colonists had ancestors on Earth that were "enhanced".

But the quote you found makes it sound like a negative thing, something discontinued long, long ago, which also partly explains Kitti Ping Yung's reluctance. So I don't think the number of descendabts "still" showing signs of extreme empathy will have been large, more the opposite.

I still am of the opinion that dragonriders are regular people with relative high empathy ratings, not necessarily descendants of "enhanced" ancestors.

But the quote is a good find, although I must admit that I find the mention of "stock enhanced with Eridani techniques" more intrigueing than their human counterparts
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Old Jan 24 2009, 01:37 PM   #49
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Well, considering the ratio of dragonriders-to-regular Pernese population, that is a very small number, especially those who have significant telepathic abilities, such as HADs, Lessa in particular. I see no reason why it's not a viable theory.

You said yourself, "If this had an obvious reason behnd it I think Anne would have written or hinted about it somewhere." Isn't this a good hint? Why would she mention mentasynth enhanced ancestors whose descendants still showed heightened empathy if not to hint very strongly toward those who have what it takes to be an Impression Candidate?

About the negativity, it very well may have been a somewhat negative thing to the original colonists with the Pure Human Life laws. But it obviously came in handy with fire-lizards and became a good thing.
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Old Feb 9 2010, 03:32 AM   #50
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

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DM, there is mention of the Halls of the Beltrae elsewhere in the book. On the basis of my memory (can't check now, at work) I disagree with your train of thought. I think it was the Beltrae that had (mastered) this technique and applied it to humans after initial opposition was overcome.
D'Dawn pg 204 pb US Del Rey ed copyright 1988 First mass market edition has Kitti Ping saying "I was the merest student, though a very willing and eager one, in the Great Beltrae Halls of Eridani."
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Old Feb 9 2010, 03:46 AM   #51
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2cent Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff View Post
Well, considering the ratio of dragonriders-to-regular Pernese population, that is a very small number, especially those who have significant telepathic abilities, such as HADs, Lessa in particular. I see no reason why it's not a viable theory.

You said yourself, "If this had an obvious reason behnd it I think Anne would have written or hinted about it somewhere." Isn't this a good hint? Why would she mention mentasynth enhanced ancestors whose descendants still showed heightened empathy if not to hint very strongly toward those who have what it takes to be an Impression Candidate?<sinp>.But it obviously came in handy with fire-lizards and became a good thing.
Also the mentasynth was done with the dolphins too. and the dolphineers working with them in DD and CoPB for they wanted younger riders for dragons and asked to be part of the group.
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Old Feb 10 2010, 08:43 PM   #52
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

My understanding was that mentasynth had been used on humans (not the Pernese settlers themselves) at some point prior to Pern's colonization--perhaps generations prior; that said experimentation was not entirely successful (meaning that not all of the resulting effects were desirable or beneficial); that said application of mentasynth was not universal in the human population (much less the tiny fraction that went to Pern); that its employment on humans was at some point condemned, disapproved or and/or restricted/discontinued; that some significant fraction of Pernese were descended from people who had mentasynth in their genetic background; that none of the colonists had been directly treated with mentasynth.

I don't believe it would be accurate to assume a tiny fraction of Pernese colonists have mentasynth in their background however, if mentasynth is responsible for the prevalence of high-empathy individuals in the population available to Impresss dragons. IIRC, there were only some 8,000-odd settlers in the first place, and Fort Weyr is overcrowded by the end of First Pass. So using just rough numbers, you're looking at enough people who could Impress equal to 6+% of the original population. In reality, to support the dragonrider casualties during the Pass, the number of Impressible candidates would have to be even higher, which also implies the number of mentasynth descended colonists were higher unless we're presupposing improbably large numbers of descendants from just a few families.

I feel the author intended to link mentasynth in the genetic background to the enhanced human empathy, not least because nothing remotely like it is present in the actual human population. Put this substance in the background of the colonists provides a rationalization of the trait's prevalence in the Pernese population in numbers that are orders of magnitude beyond anything observed in the human population. If you assume the ability that fosters Impression is present just naturally in ordinary human stock, you need to explain why it appears so overwhelmingly in the Pernese genome. Rationalizing that it's the result of a couple of thousand years of human evolution might work, but the author makes no mention of people being naturally this way before the colonization. The author does mention mentasynth, so I think DMD's smoking gun is an apt conclusion.

I view Lessa as the evolutionary product, a mutation that appears after 2500 years of breeding within the Pernese genome. I don't view the typical dragonrider as particularly gifted psychically, and on another topic speculated that they may not be able to transmit at all, only receive; that their getting into a dragon's head is an illusion and it's really just the dragon listening-in within their heads. Lessa, again, is the exception, a human able to transmit, where even other HADs are nothing more than broader-band receivers than the average dragonrider. A vague ability to "sense" something can even be attributed, as I argued elsewhere, to perception-by-assistance from the dragon, or even superior self-awareness.

I concur that the End of Thread is a very limiting story-arc and I have no idea of where the author intends to point Pern's future, or whether that's intended as a future or merely the definition of its end. Perhaps all future stories will be within the span that Thread was a threat. Pern's future might be left an open-ended question mark never to be definitively answered. That depends on the authors' intentions.

To answer the original question posed by DMD, I don't think the psychic ability of humans was developed as a story arc because it was never intended to be important beyond a device for facilitating the human-dragon bond, and for establishing Lessa as a unique entity. Pern was never intended to be about psychic humans. It was intended to be about dragons in a positive cast versus a negative cast, and the mental link provided a convenient means of bridging what might otherwise be a mentally and physically impossible language barrier between the two species. That's my take on why the author never went there.

If the author intends to point Pern to the future, one possibility is moving the Pernese off of Pern, colonizing other worlds. Whether or not this would be done with any contact with the rest of human society is an open question. One possible approach would be to establish such contact, and discover that there are other worlds humans have encountered which have a similar Thread problem, whether through natural causes or deliberate alien action. Exporting Pernese to such worlds, especially dragons and their riders would provide indigenous, renewable, low-tech protection.

Who knows? The authors, obviously, and I'll wait to see what they do. For myself, I don't care for the End of Thread story arc as an author (I accept it as a reader), and if I was to write anything in the Pern universe it would be set in an earlier Pass, not Ninth or after.
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Old Feb 11 2010, 10:15 AM   #53
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

While I agree with ED that metasynth is supposed to be the catalyst for Pernese empathic abilities, there is one other item that could be used in conjunction to explain the high number of empathic people on Pern. Boron. Boron is in the food supply in much higher quantities than on Earth. You could also reasonably deduce that through the generations, the Pernese have become much better at processing the Boron. Perhaps the metasynth and the Boron have qualities that cause them to work together in the Pernese.

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Old Feb 11 2010, 08:18 PM   #54
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Can someone remind me what boron does for one, nutritionally-speaking? I know that Kitti Ping altered the digestive systems of the Terran animals to be able to handle native flora and fauna. Does it make you more sensitive?

If I give a lot of it to my dog, will he start telepathically 'talking' to me? Then again, that might not be the best. . . :-)

I've said this before (possibly in this thread!) but I see a lot of possibilities for post-9th-Pass stories.I definitely agree that the earlier of the DRoP books were more exciting, but I beleive that more to do with watching the characters use innovation to survive and overcome adversity. Talking dolphins are cool and all, but make adversity, they do not. Neither does a computer that figures everything out, and then (fortunately enough) shut itself down so we get back to real human (and dragon and fire-lizard) intelligence. And every good author knows that a story needs conflict to work. My point here is that conflict does not have to fall from the sky.

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Old Feb 11 2010, 08:30 PM   #55
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

Boron really doesn't do much of anything for people, it seems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boron#Biological_role
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Old Feb 12 2010, 06:16 PM   #56
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2cent Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

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Can someone remind me what boron does for one, nutritionally-speaking? I know that Kitti Ping altered the digestive systems of the Terran animals to be able to handle native flora and fauna. Does it make you more sensitive? <sinp>
For her program changed the boron into eatable flesh, the kind that fire-lizard, and dragon need in order not to get a form of what people who sail on Earth before they found on the need for Vitamin C in their diets. Also something cross my mind on this, some native plant type could be eating in moderation in DD.

Metasynth is a compond which is pass down in generations, so I would think those who had ones in the bloodline that were given it before coming to Pern, it would be passed down in generations too.
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Old Feb 19 2010, 10:07 PM   #57
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2cent Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

I had to backtrack to find this topic. I just recall something from DE/RSR which I don't know is of use or not here is my on another I just recalled.

DE/RSR Zulaya Teglar Weyrwoman, was Fort Wyer bred, linear descendant of Aliana Zuleita and her knewthings, predict sizes of clutches, the distribution of the colors, the sex of babies in the Weyr and occasionally even the type of weather USA HC edition Pg. 15 Also sometime a queen chose a wyerbred woman, for queen like folks outside of the Wyer a custom.

Also wasn't Leri Fort Wyer bred and Holth chose her, that why she stay at Fort instead of moving to Ista Weyr to the warm?

Now that I think about yes, In the The Girl Who Heard Dragons Her mother had 'sighting'
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Old Feb 21 2010, 12:34 AM   #58
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

The DDawn quote to me does not imply the ENHANCEMENTS were negative. It sounds like there was a group (the "Pure Human Movement"--does that not remind you of anything) that took the attitude "keep your filthy alien hands off our DNA, humans are perfect the way they are."

The colonists do not seem to come from a really open-minded society. Remember, the traveling folk, the Tauregs, etc, were sent to Pern because their nonconformist lifestyle just didn't fit in. They just fought a major war with aliens, the Eridani themselves don't seem to have been exceptionally eager to take on human students...it seems more likely, given what Anne named the anti-enhancement movement, the problem was more 'keep humans human' and using alien techniques to change human DNA than problems with the technique itself.
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Old Feb 21 2010, 02:00 AM   #59
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Default Re: Dragonrider Psychic Abilities (or, what openings are left for 9th Pass stories?)

I was always intrigued by the brief mention of the possibilities available, were those attitudes to be loosened - things like triggering vestigial gills in fetuses to continue to develop, so that water worlds could be colonized.
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