Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gas Giant Obesity Update

Earlier I mentioned that in their book, Fleet of Words, Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner appeared not to know that gas giants don't get much bigger than Jupiter. This was surprising because I thought Larry Niven always seemed very well informed about things spacey. In other areas he could be a bit muddled, but in matters cosmological he was the very model of an author who was knowledgeable. However, in their book, Juggler of Worlds they have a gas giant that is greater than Jupiter in mass, but smaller than Jupiter in size, which suggests they are are quite aware of the fact that after a point gas giants just tend to get denser rather than fatter.

But what I am confused about is just what the heck the books Juggler of Worlds and Fleet of Worlds are. They're not sequels to each other as the novels detail events occurring at the same time with some overlapping of events. The two books appear to be equal partners, so would this make them biquels? Simultaneous sequels? Temporally co-locatedquels? I just don't know, and I suspect we may never know. I don't know what made them decide to write the books like that. Perhaps the two authors started off with a basic outline to collaborate on, but when they got down to the details they just couldn't agree and then one of them said, “Well why don't you write your own novel then if you think your ideas are God's gift to narrative!” and the other one replied, “Fine, I will!” and the first one threw pencils and a donut at his back as he stormed out. And then after he was gone, a single tear ran down from his eye and he whispered, “But I love you...”

Maybe that's what happened.

Or maybe they just decided to get out of a two book contract by cutting one book in two and pad them out by doubling up on some scenes by writing them from different character's viewpoints. The books certainly smell like they followed the method when writing them - a paragraph written for each and every section in advance and then expanded out later. I can't say that that is a bad way to write, but when authors start actually doing what they advise people to do when they are asked how to write a novel, maybe it's time to take them out the back and shoot them. To let them go down that path lies madness. Or worse, an alternate history novel/brick by Harry Tortoisepigeon.

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