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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Ruins & Pathfinder

   
Author Topic: Ruins & Pathfinder
Caerus21
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This is my first forum here but I really want to talk about the new book, Ruins, and No one I know has finished it yet (most haven't started it yet... they say they have more important things, like school.)

So What did you think of the book? What do you think is going to happen next? And can someone explain time travel to me?

[ November 05, 2012, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: Caerus21 ]

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BlackBlade
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Hey welcome to Hatrack! Unfortunately while I have Pathfinder, I haven't found time to read it yet, I opted for Lost Gate when the opportunity arose.

I do believe there's been a few discussions of Pathfinder on Hatrack,

Here's an early one.

I'm sure the next time I'm on an airplane I'll finish Pathfinder. [Smile]

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Hobbes
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I liked it. There were a lot of ties to Worthing Saga, but that's fine by me. Honestly both of these new series excite me: they remind me a lot of his earlier works in both content and style.

Pathfinder read a lot like a YA novel, in the sense that it seemed appropriate for YA, and focused on themes their more likely to find appealing. Ruins, honestly, seemed pretty dark in comparison. Not that there were a lot of inappriopriate actions/words/whatever, but it painted a pretty ominious picture of a world in which nothing and no one can be trusted.

As for explaining time travel, Card (wisely) makes no attempt to do so. He sets down the rules pretty well as the story progresses (does so mostly in exposition-type dialogue, and not all at once like an encyclopedia or something, but rather as the adventurers discover it for themselves), but not physics behind it. I lost track of who could go where when while others needed an anchor but sometimes had to be more precise, but all that was really just background. Really important if your Rigg but kind of irrelevant otherwise.

One of the trademarks of a great OSC story was there: real moral dilemas from morally imperfect people. Everyone is expected to live a moral life but everyone has real and believable failings. It's not divided into good people and bad people, nor do we have anyone who always knows and does the right or the wrong thing. Rather we really feel like we're on a journey with them in every aspect of their lives. Great read!

Hobbes [Smile]

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DustinDopps
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I finished Ruins a few days ago and now I'm wishing I had a new OSC book to read again. *sigh*

***SPOILERS***

One thing I really liked about it was the fact that I really had no idea where the story was headed. Pathfinder was great, but it had a story line that felt familiar. "Of course Rigg is from the royal family. Why not? And of course people are trying to kill him and he must escape." It was still enjoyable, but it reminded me of other stories and wasn't surprising really.

But with Ruins, the facemasks played a much bigger role than I anticipated. And the mice were interesting and unexpected. And I had assumed that Rigg and Co. would go back in time and pull his dad's unconscious body out of the boat, showing us that they were the unseen underwater monsters all along. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn't the case.

When Rigg went to confront Ram Odin, I fully expected him to kill the guy, but I didn't expect what happened after. When he went back and un-murdered Odin, only to create a copy of himself, it was unexpected. Why not go back to an earlier time and warn himself, which would avoid a copy? Now Rigg is stuck 'competing' with yet another person who can alter the past...

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it and liked the questions it raised about time travel, causality, human consciousness, what it means to be human, etc. And I'm interested to see what happens now.

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Stephan
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With out spoiling to much, I had a question about the chapter I recently finished. If something can make objects, but not living objects, travel through time (opposite of Terminator I guess), why can it make semen travel through time?

The rules say you can go back in time and change something, then come forward again without duplicating yourself while remembering the original timeline. If a future version of you comes back to warn you about something, when you catch up to his "present" shouldn't you remember that original timeline?

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
With out spoiling to much, I had a question about the chapter I recently finished. If something can make objects, but not living objects, travel through time (opposite of Terminator I guess), why can it make semen travel through time?

The rules say you can go back in time and change something, then come forward again without duplicating yourself while remembering the original timeline. If a future version of you comes back to warn you about something, when you catch up to his "present" shouldn't you remember that original timeline?

*SPOILERS*

I expect that the mouse powers are going to be explained more thoroughly in the third book. The main cast go into too much detail with the logistics of their own powers (and those of the facemasks and expendables) for the ambiguity with the mice to be an oversight on the part of the author.

My guess is Card is going to revisit aiua territory; that the life force that Rigg detects in time with the paths is the critical element that separates life from non-life, and that the mice are not able to move anything with a "soul." A lone sperm, or whatever means the mice used to fertilize Rigg and Umbo's mothers, is not a complete life form and therefore is inanimate by the rules of the Pathfinder universe. At any rate, I expect the final book to go into more depth about what souls mean in that world. Note how Vadesh quips that they'll run out of souls to inhabit the duplicates the time-shifters are creating of themselves, though I don't know if that'll become a major plot point.

I didn't keep count, but at any given time for the latter half of Ruins, there are probably several copies of the gang running around from when they make jumps into the past to cross the Wall or rescue Param. For instance, Rigg and the others are still in Odinfold studying at the library while future versions of themselves leapt back in time to carry the mice into Larfold. Another example is when the gang minus Rigg slice time to see the Destroyers, and then come back. They seem to come back to the time right after they began pushing forward, but that means that there's a set of copies who are slicing forward as the "originals" debrief. If none of the copies run into each other, it could be a stable time loop, but with all the changes that are being made, is it possible two copies will run into each other inadvertently? With the two Riggs meeting face-to-face already, I'm sure the implications of this will be explored.

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BryanP
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quote:
Originally posted by DustinDopps:
***SPOILERS***

When he went back and un-murdered Odin, only to create a copy of himself, it was unexpected. Why not go back to an earlier time and warn himself, which would avoid a copy?

I don't think Rigg can do that. My impression is that when you go to the past, physically, there are two of you. In contrast, what Umbo did previously in this book and the last was appear to his past self from the future. Since he is not physically traveling back in time, he changed the past without creating copies of himself.

If I'm correct about that, the real question is, why didn't Rigg get Umbo to help him warn his past self? I suspect it was because Card wants to play around with two Riggs in the next book.

The other minor problem I had with the ending was, why does the group split up? It was pretty unclear, and bizarre how they did it without a plan to come back together. Like, they still have to save the world and stuff. There was no reason I could see that they shouldn't stay together.

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maui babe
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I just finished Ruins this week. I thought it was much weaker than most of OSC's works, and it reminded me a great deal of Treason, but there was some resemblance to The Worthing Saga as well.

I thought the ending was especially weak and sudden, but I'll definitely be reading the next volume.

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Stephan
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In Treason Card complained about having written it in first person. I wonder if Pathfinder and Ruins were written at least partly in response to that.

It definitely shares a lot with his past work. Colonization, seperate evolution, and so forth.

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Seatarsprayan
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These books are very readable, I have read them each twice, and I like them. That said, there are flaws as is inevitable when you give time travel powers to people.

In the first book, the entire climax makes no sense; they can simply travel back in time a whole week, once they reach their destination at the wall, and have plenty of time to cross it at their leisure with no pursuit. There are some feeble explanations earlier of why they don't do this, but none at the moment it would make the most sense.

A solution would be to have Umbo, at that time, be unable to transport himself backwards in time at all, only to appear to the past, and transport others, but not himself. This would have required some rewriting of a couple earlier scenes, but fairly easily gotten around. Then the tension at the end would be real; they can't all just go back because they'd be abandoning Umbo, and they can't get through the wall without him anyway.

In Ruins, Rigg chooses having control of the ships over Loaf getting a facemask, which at the time seems like death to them. Not that cool... but that's a legitimate character's choice, so I can't complain.

There is really NO explanation of why they actually decide to allow the mice to colonize Larfold in the past. They already know the mice are liars and killed another version of Param, and were willing to crash the flyer. The mice have a reason to trust the humans, but not the other way around!

Knosso was actually the first human to cross the wall, and he did it without time travel. How come Lar didn't tell him HE was in charge of all the expendables? No jewels, I suppose, but it isn't touched upon.

It's infuriating how long Param thinks royalty means something, when it didn't even mean anything except abuse in Ramfold itself. Again, not a flaw with the writing, just mad at the character for being stupid. Olivenko calls her out on it, of course.

Rigg makes a guess, then decides his guess is true, and kills Ram Odin. (Why Ram Odin let him have a facemask, only to try to stab him, is never explained.) With Ram Odin dead, shouldn't Rigg assume TRUE command of the ships and expendables, something he's never actually had before? (Not that they obey Ram Odin very well either I suppose.) But he doesn't seem to make use of this avenue, he should be finding out as much information as he can to see through the sea of lies, but he doesn't. He skips forward to the future, never even talks to the people from Earth...

Of course he's wrong, and so he has to undo Odin's death. But he doesn't appear to himself and excise that timeline. He does it so that a copy is made. WHY? No explanation is given for him choosing to do it that way. And if so, why not go back to before he got the facemask, then there would be one regular, and one facemasked Rigg...

What happens when the expendables have to decide which is the real Rigg? Remember how the 19 Ram Odins got whittled to 2...

Now, traveling back in time can never undo the time traveler's causality. It's like Pastwatch, he just appears, and the future from that point on may be different (or may not) but he can't erase himself. If he doesn't travel in time but just *appears* to his past self, he can excise that version of himself though (kind of like Gerrold's "The Man Who Folded Himself").

Given that, any time they travel back, they have to avoid interacting with their past selves, because if they do, they will cause their past selves to never jump in time, and duplication is the result. (As we know from Futurama, time travel duplicates are Doomed, witness Umbo's two duplicates!)

If he's going to duplicate himself anyway, what about going back to Ramfold and stopping Kyokay's death? Tell young!Rigg and young!Umbo the truth, let them train while still in Fall Ford... I'd still be wanting to save Loaf as well, from being facemasked and apart from his wife forever... sure he like's the facemask, he says, but then why is he so distressed when Rigg gets one too, eh?

Of course, rather than getting a facemask and confronting Ram Odin, he should actually be talking to the humans from Earth, as well as finding out from the mice as much as he can of what is REALLY going on. Then let Ram Odin know he can't kill you, but find out from HIM what is really going on... Rigg is acting when he should still be information-gathering.

They should keep in mind that the mice can always undo their births, however, if they just send another future book to themselves.

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