Languages of Pao Q4 The Wizards


Palafox, like the other Breakness Wizards, is the ultimate individual, as their language makes plain. Are they solipsists? Rugged Individualists? Hyper-intellectuals? Narcissists? Self-centered egotistical bastards? What makes them tick?


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    I think they were set up as the opposite of the conformist, collectivist Paonese. (So maybe there was a bit of macro-semiotics going on here and maybe even a bit of a dialectic. I'll have to think about that some more.)

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    All of the above? There's a bit of a 'mad science gone wrong' vibe which I liked about them. They reminded me a bit of Babylon 5's Technomancers, but with more of a devil-may-care adventurism about them that made them also seem a bit like English dilettantes gallivanting about the Near East. This was one of the more interesting aspects of the book for me, and I'd have liked to see this developed, more. Also like the name 'Breakness Wizard' - how did he come up with that?

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    Again, at the risk of repeating myself, I feel that they were a type of personality, rather than people. Even Palafox doesn't really get much narrative space as a personality, except as seen by others.

    The oddity in the presentation, I think, was the apparently overwhelming imperative to reproduce. Often hyper-individualistic folk in SF/F are presented as utterly uninterested in the things of the flesh, whereas the opposite was true here. They demanded the boatloads of nubile women, and their goal was to multiply their own genes as mush as possible - in Palafox's case, to the extent of populating a whole planet... a truly ambitious goal, if somewhat loathsome. It also seems to me an unrealistic goal genetically, with a very idealised view of how inheritance works. Typically things regress towards the norm rather than becoming more extreme, except for sporadic chance events. But hey, people have tried to pursue unrealistic goals before, and it is churlish to object purely on the grounds that it's unlikely to work in practice! But again, I don't feel that Vance really wanted to talk about the motives of individuals so much as the direction of societies.

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