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tronn
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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Thank you for the read, it was a rollercoaster thriller from beginning to end!

What evil masterplan Thoreau meant to use the bareword for?

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Yesterday 08:51 PM
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Douglas
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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(Yesterday 08:51 PM)tronn Wrote:  What evil masterplan Thoreau meant to use the bareword for?

When Thoreau acquired the bareword, he was struck by the impermanence of everything his life was built around. The Organization's knowledge meant nothing in the face of this thing that could circumvent all their rules. So he found meaning in permanently altering the world in such a way that nothing could erase it: "building a tower". In order to do this, he would need to get people to serve him. The bareword was a convenient means to that end.
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Schazer
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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Following on from the question I asked you in Discord: How compromised was Eliot?

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Douglas
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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(Yesterday 10:14 PM)Schazer Wrote:  Following on from the question I asked you in Discord: How compromised was Eliot?

Eliot was compromised, but not in the overt "words" sense of the term. He was compromised by the job, a consummate company man that believed in what he was doing, until Thoreau went off the rails. This compromise led him to make what was probably the most pivotal decision of his life, with Jane: Terminating her pregnancy. This would cause a tear in his heart that would compromise him in a different, conflicting way that the Organization compromised him. He saw Elise as a surrogate daughter, and allowed himself to feel for her, creating conflicting "commands" in himself that, ultimately, resulted in his death.

So he wasn't compromised by words - he was, as he said to Jane, "persuaded without them saying a word".
Yesterday 11:17 PM
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Schazer
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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The surrogate daughter-figure was the angle I was thinking of, yeah. Nice

A bit of worldbuilding geekery I have to get out of my system: Thoreau chooses the names of graduating poets, right? What was his reasoning behind the names given that we saw in the story (particularly of interest to me are Plath, Eliot, Austen, and also the author of the final supplementary material)

Can you share one work by each of the poets "resurrrected" within this story? Like a playlist but for poetry????

peace to the unsung peace to the martyrs | i'm johnny rotten appleseed
clouds is shaky love | broke as hell but i got a bunch of ringtones
eyes blood red bruise aubergine | Sue took something now Sue doesn't sleep | saint average, day in the life of
woke up in the noon smelling doom and death | out the house, great outdoors
staying warm in arctic blizzard | that's my battle 'til I get inanimate | still up in the same clothes living like a gameshow
Yesterday 11:24 PM
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Schazer
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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Bonus question (for everyone actually): Which poet name would you have ideally and which one do you think you'd actually be given if you were in the Organisation?

peace to the unsung peace to the martyrs | i'm johnny rotten appleseed
clouds is shaky love | broke as hell but i got a bunch of ringtones
eyes blood red bruise aubergine | Sue took something now Sue doesn't sleep | saint average, day in the life of
woke up in the noon smelling doom and death | out the house, great outdoors
staying warm in arctic blizzard | that's my battle 'til I get inanimate | still up in the same clothes living like a gameshow
Yesterday 11:29 PM
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a52
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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Location: Once a frontline combatant in the Omnic Crisis, this curious Bastion unit now explores the world, fascinated by nature but wary of a fearful humanity.
Holy. Shit. That ending did not disappoint. Wow.


Similarly to Schazer's question, why was the fact that Elise was named "Woolf" such a big deal?

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 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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tronn
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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I read Eliot's hesitation as him realizing that shooting Woolf wouldn't change a thing, but letting himself get killed might lure out Thoreau. As he said seeing Danny would make it impossible to know what she'd do, but it might end up with her killing Thoreau so he sacrificed himself for that slim chance. Am I off the base here?

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Dragon Fogel
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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After reading Douglas' post above, my understanding was that he just couldn't bring himself to kill her.

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Douglas
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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(Yesterday 11:24 PM)Schazer Wrote:  A bit of worldbuilding geekery I have to get out of my system: Thoreau chooses the names of graduating poets, right? What was his reasoning behind the names given that we saw in the story (particularly of interest to me are Plath, Eliot, Austen, and also the author of the final supplementary material)

Can you share one work by each of the poets "resurrrected" within this story? Like a playlist but for poetry????

The way I saw it was that there was a sort of "board" at the Academy that handled naming of poets when they graduated. However, Thoreau could overrule/step in for cases that he took a special interest in... like Elise.

While some of the names had in-story reasoning behind them (like Woolf), many were chosen because I wanted to evoke a feeling about the character via the poetry of their, uh, poetsona, or present a sort of irony. For example, a Very Good poem by the real Thoreau is Friendship. This poem very much encapsulates one of the main "rules" of the story, which is revealed at the end:

Thoreau Wrote:In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move
Resistlessly.

If villain Thoreau had actually understood and internalized his namesake's outlook, he may have gotten a lot farther in taking over the world.

Woolf: The naming of Elise was very much a power move, and probably a sort of vain wish-fulfillment, by Thoreau. It's also a bit of foreshadowing for the twist that Woolf was acting under Thoreau's orders, in his thrall, consciously or otherwise, for much of the story.

Note these lines in this article:

Quote:Woolf saw Thoreau not as a misanthropic hermit trying to hide from society in the woods, but as a “noble” rebel attempting to teach his fellow man his unique philosophy on life through his writing and actions.

It was as if she saw him as she saw herself, a misfit trying to invent a new way of life...

(Today 04:08 AM)a52 Wrote:  Similarly to Schazer's question, why was the fact that Elise was named "Woolf" such a big deal?

Since the Organization dealt out poet names based on how good at word wizardry you were, getting the name Virginia Woolf would be seen as an absurdly high honor, since IRL Woolf had such a deep understanding of how words work.

Eliot: The Hollow Men is one of my favorite poems, and imagery from it ends up worming its way into pretty much anything I write at some point. You might notice echoes of post-bareword Broken Hill in there.

Though he would never say it, Eliot very much views himself as a failure. At the end, he realizes he let the Organization control him so much that for most of his life, his actions were not truly his own. He was a hollow man, a stuffed man, headpiece filled with straw. He failed to save Jane, he failed to save Elise, and in the end, his world ended: Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Austen: The reasoning behind the naming of Austen was twofold: I wanted to evoke an initial sense of "high society and prim and properness" when she is introduced, but then reveal that there is a bit more to her as you dig deeper throughout the story. The second reason might be more clear if you understand Jane Austen's writings as a model of Aristotelian philosophy/ethics. This is explained pretty well in this article. To briefly summarize the idea, Aristotle had the thought that "do excellent things, have excellent things happen to you, and vice versa". Austen's novels tend to show this as good guys ending up with good endings, and bad guys getting shitty endings. Karma, essentially. Jane represents this idea for Eliot. His own "compromised" state by the Organization leads to him doing bad stuff, which ultimately makes Jane, and what she represents, unattainable for him.

Plath: This one isn't super deep, but I think both real Plath and story Plath were quite troubled people. I also think her poem The Colossus hints at what are her underlying feelings about working under Thoreau: The sense of helpless servitude, her fear of the power he wields.

Dove: You might have noticed that the "front" for Labs was the Rita Dove Institute of Psychological Research. Behind the scenes, Rita Dove was the poet in charge of Labs, and became basically the highest-ranking poet left following the "shakeup" at the end. I wanted a fairly recent poet name belonging to someone who achieved a decently high level of fame (but not so high as to compete with Thoreau). Her IRL critics also thought "she valued an inclusive, populist agenda over quality", which I think speaks to her viewpoint at the end - stick to Organizational norms, don't shake things up too much, stay with what works.

Hopefully that sheds some light on a few of the thoughts behind the characters!

As far as a "poetry playlist" goes, here's my recommendations for the main poets from the story (that also played a role in the drafting of the story):

Thoreau: Friendship, Inspiration

Woolf: No poetry, but I recommend listening to this.

Eliot: The Hollow Men, The Waste Land

Austen: When Stretch'd On One's Bed

Plath: The Colossus, Words

(Today 07:18 AM)tronn Wrote:  I read Eliot's hesitation as him realizing that shooting Woolf wouldn't change a thing, but letting himself get killed might lure out Thoreau. As he said seeing Danny would make it impossible to know what she'd do, but it might end up with her killing Thoreau so he sacrificed himself for that slim chance. Am I off the base here?

(Today 07:40 AM)Dragon Fogel Wrote:  After reading Douglas' post above, my understanding was that he just couldn't bring himself to kill her.

Yes, that's exactly it. He couldn't do it. Regardless of Thoreau, Woolf's kill order, anything, he couldn't bring himself to kill someone he saw as his daughter. To kill her would be another mistake in a long line of mistakes.
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Dragon Fogel
 RE: Vox Mentis Discussion
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That "hollow man" comment makes me think of how Eliot deliberately tried to control his desires. There were some very disturbing passages about that, and "hollow" feels like a good summary of that whole aspect to him.

He wanted things - needed things, as Thoreau was aware. He tried to deny those desires, regulate them, and the result was an empty life.

And the end, it didn't even protect him.

There's no reason for this | Or this | Death is inevitable | You can't challenge fate | The smallest change | I'm overwhelmed
I'm serious | It makes perfect sense | Easy as ABC! | I can't even explain it | Cleaning up someone else's mess
I suck | I rule | I've got it made | Really, I'm serious | This bugs me | It's all lies | I want to believe | Beauty is a curse
Today 07:10 PM
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