Shardcast: Starsight Predictions and Skyward Lore


This week on Shardcast we are returning to Skyward, and we're here to do our predictions for the sequel of Skyward, Starsight! We also get in-depth on the lore of the Skyward Universe. Of course, we additionally discuss... Pacific Rim? Guardians of the Galaxy? Yeah, we talk about a lot here. This episode features probably our longest Who's That Cosmere Character yet, because we're dumb sometimes. 

Our cast today is Eric (Callsign: Chaos), Ian (Callsign: WeiryWriter), Grace (Callsign: thegatorgirl), Ben (Callsign: Overlord Jebus), and Shannon (Callsign: Grey).

Our Skyward reactions are here: https://www.17thshard.com/news/shardcast/shardcast-skyward-reactions-on-video-r453/

 

 




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I mentioned on this podcast that Defending Elysium was Brandon experimenting with how many sci-fi concepts he could fit into as small a package as possible. I tried to mention them all during this podcast but one that I missed (And probably the biggest one) is the story The Road Not Taken by Harry Turtledove.

In this story, aliens arrive to conquer Earth only to find the Earth is far more advanced than their civilizations (The alien ships are made of wood and they are still using muskets). The reason for this is because anti-grav and FTL are actually absurdly simple technologies that the rest of the galaxy normally discover very quickly. Humanity simply missed it, hence the name of the book. The book ends with the aliens defeated and the humans reverse engineering the FTL tech. The final exchange has two aliens sat together and asking themselves "What have we done?".

With what we learn from Skyward of the human empire, it seems this universe is simply a continuation of this Road Not Taken idea, with the addition of The Eyes, it seems.

Hope you enjoy!

EDIT: It seems I also completely fumbled the explanation of levels of intelligence/civilisation.

I believe the idea is from Joe Haldemans Forever Peace, a story centred around a science experiment that could end the universe. Think the LHC-black hole controversy turned up by a million.

The idea goes like this:

First level: Every member of a species is able to kill one another, but choose not to. This includes communal animals and rules out things like predators that kill each other on sight due to territorial reasons and such. Serial killers generally wouldn't reach this level.

Second level: Every member of a species is able to kill their immediate community, but choose not to. This is generally attained when guns are invented. Once you have automatic weapons, the ability to pick one up and kill everyone around you becomes trivial. Most people in the world have reached this level so you'd generally say we've reached this level as a species.

Third level: Every member of a species is able to wipe out whole cultures/civilisations, but choose not to. This is where nuclear weapons, bioweapons, just your general WMD's come in. We, as a species, have not reached this level yet. We have a few people in on Earth with access to these weapons (And unfortunately, those willing to use them) but we aren't even close to everyone having this sort of power at their fingertips. Would you trust everyone on Earth with their own nuclear weapon? 

Fourth level: Every member of the species is able to wipe out every member of the species, but chooses not to. This is where the hypothetical of the book comes in. Right now, we don't even know of any sort of technology that exists that would even put us in this category. The idea being that each and every single member of the species is able to end the whole species but doesn't. But my application of this to Skyward is that this is the level where Cytonics become very common and each user risks The Eyes coming down and wiping them out, so they choose not to use them too much (Or get locked away). That's what I think they are referring to in Defending Elysium anyway.

 

I always liked this idea and it always stuck with me. The Kardashev Scale is nice (Where civilization is judged on how much energy it is able to harness) but this scale takes into account not just technology level, but also empathy.

I should really write up all the various references and ideas in Defending Elysium and where I think Brandon got them from...

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Kalinovsky

Posted (edited)

Wait, Grace is my age? Damnation, I'm really wasting my life.

Edited by Kalinovsky

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The bit about shielding powerful processors isn't about AI, it's about radio.  Having electrons wiggling around in very specific patterns at very high frequencies is how CPUs work; it's also how radio transmitters work.  Electronics can generate a (very small) amount of radio waves as an unintended byproduct of their basic operation.

This is the source of the unfortunately all-too-persistent myth that portable computing devices can cause radio interference that can cause a commercial airliner to crash. (The truth is, the amount of radio waves produced are several orders of magnitude below the level of interference that an aircraft's systems can tolerate, which ought to be obvious if you think about it: if it were really possible to bring down a plane with something that ubiquitous, some terrorist would have done it years ago!)

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12 hours ago, Kalinovsky said:

Wait, Grace is my age? Damnation, I'm really wasting my life.

Don't worry, I'm really not that productive or accomplished. It's all just a carefully maintained illusion. 

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16 hours ago, thegatorgirl00 said:

Don't worry, I'm really not that productive or accomplished. It's all just a carefully maintained illusion. 

I feel like this is true of everyone. The trick is accidentally being productive as a byproduct of maintaining the illusion.

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I actually right now listening to defending asylum and the var vax are described very similarly to the krell and I for one Wonder if they are the same.

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On 12/14/2018 at 5:13 PM, Mason Wheeler said:

The bit about shielding powerful processors isn't about AI, it's about radio.

This is true for present day Earth technology level.  Alternatively, though, this could be a reference to quantum computers.  Cytonics sounds quite quantum-ish, and there's possible correlation between more advanced computing tech, ability to create real AI, and quantum level interference...

So there is speculation about whether Doomslug will be significant or is just comic relief, yet you all accept M-Bot's mushroom obsession as unimportant / joke?

I think not.  Fungus biology is going to be a big deal for the future of this story.  M-Bot remembers that, but has forgotten why it matters.

Edited by Chaos
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Also, Brandon just said in one of the Skyward-WoBs that Doomslug eats mushrooms and that is actually going to be important. So yeah, I agree, the mushrooms seem a bit too ominous to be purely a joke.

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20 hours ago, shawnhargreaves said:

So there is speculation about whether Doomslug will be significant or is just comic relief, yet you all accept M-Bot's mushroom obsession as unimportant / joke?

I think not.  Fungus biology is going to be a big deal for the future of this story.  M-Bot remembers that, but has forgotten why it matters.

To be fair we just really didn't dive into M-Bot much in these, which is unfortunate.

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Ark1002

Posted

I'm just waiting for Jorgen to straight up die at the beginning of Starsight.

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It's never really addressed in the podcast, but did Spensa's great-grandmother defy orders to bring the fleet to detritus, or was she mind-controlled? Maybe that gives a clue to if the planet has some hidden purpose, or was just a carefully selected prison-planet of the Krell.

One slightly more crazy theory about Spensa; someone on the podcast suggested that her and her father had some link to the debris field that caused it to open (as they are both Cytonic), but what if that's wrong; what if only Spensa has the power, for some other reason? The debris field opened like that properly the first time she came to the surface? I can't recall if her father had seen it before.

Finally...Detritus has massive orbital shipyards, yet the 'aparatus' which can builds fighters is burried under the surface? Maybe they were built there to protect the creation of AI, so maybe there is something ancient lying around that the Defiant's can use.

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