I’m pleased.

The revelation in today’s strip was, for me anyway, the absolute best part of this storyline. When I figured out how Petey did what he did, what HAD been a hodgepodge of plot-device compromises suddenly solidified in much the same way supercooled water will solidify if you drop an ice-cube into it.

For the record, I arrived at the “organic-Petey” conclusion in the exact same way I describe Kevyn arriving at it. You start from “what is the easiest way to suborn at Superfortress?” I HAD been trying to dream up ANOTHER way, but every time I did I ended up punching holes in other plotlines. Man, that was frustrating. And then the epiphany. The ice-cube-drop. PLOP-SKKKKRRRRRKKK. Wow.

I hope you guys enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Now, with that out of the way, I’m up to my eyeballs in my new “Ovalkwiki.” Note the exra “i” at the end. It’s a wiki (hyperlinked, editable encyclopedia) of the Schlockiverse, and I’m using it to ensure consistency for Book IV. See, Book IV has to be framed almost all the way to the end before I can draw any further than about October 10th — otherwise all the fun revelations, plot-twists, character arcs, and the like will collide rather than colluding.

It’s working wonderfully. Sure, it’s going to be a much darker story than Book III has been (and Book III ends six days from now), but I PROMISE you’ll love the ride. I’ve been planning this for YEARS now, and I finally have all the pieces in place and the artistic chops to pull it off.

–Howard

25 thoughts on “I’m pleased.”

  1. Not very. I’ve never read it. Lots of people HAVE, and certainly SOME people quote it often enough, but Latter-Day Saints in the mood to do some hardcore quotin’ will tend to quote actual SCRIPTURE at you.

    –Howard

  2. Holey moley, slowing a minitank from 99.8% of lightspeed to a stop in a few decks worth of space. The power requirements and implied gravitic power… the mind boggles.

    1. Eh. Power is cheap in the Schlockiverse. If you’ve got that much mass, you can convert it to the necessary energy.

      Figure a minitank weighs about a ton. You’re going to need between 10 and 200 tons of matter to slow it down, depending on how many nines of cee you’re burning at the time, and how slow you want to be going when you’re done.

      The Fastballs have 60-meter annie plants, and thousands of tons (at LEAST) of fuel in them. They’re MADE to deliver this kind of package.

      The Mitt (the Devastator-class PD ships) have 1000 meter annie-plants, and are designed to throw fastballs.

      It only makes sense that Petey’s got at least an order of magnitude between the Mitt and the Fastball and the Fastball and the “Package.”

  3. I am vastly impressed, yes indeedy!
    Things are happening here very speedy
    When the colloids collude
    Watch the cloner exude
    An organic, real flesh-and-blood Petey.

    Whence the crew and their erstwhile ship’s ‘puter?
    Petey’s mood would reject any suitor
    And the crew’s still inclined
    To take booty they find
    But the AI’s new mind’s not a looter.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  4. The line “Self-replicating, self-aware war machine” is a really scary way of describing Petey. And I can’t wait to see how Book IV turns out. I always love storylines that are thought and planned out far into the future. I am quite excited.

  5. There are exactly two possible outcomes to this war, given that Petey is not inclined to compromise:

    1) He loses. In this case, this means he and his get wiped out. No problem.
    2) He wins, for whatever this means to him. (Is he out to obliterate the Ob’enn, having concluded that that’s the only way to stop them from trying to wipe out the rest of the galaxy?) Regardless of the end condition, though, another question pops up: What happens then? Does he go gently into that good night? I doubt it. Does he relegate himself to a role as ship’s AI under the command of a non-AI being? I doubt that even more. Does he pick another race, or another star empire, to make war on? Think he could find an excuse?

    Why do I get the feeling we’re headed for an AI galactic ruler? That is scary. If you need to drive THAT lesson home, read The Butlerian Jihad and The Machine Crusade, for one view of how things could be in that kind of universe, and an explanation of the Dune series’ injunction “Thou shalt not make a machine in the shape of a living mind!”.

    Scary? Hell yes.

    1. I instead have to agree with Tycho’s assessment …

      … of those books. Don’t read them. Their review can be boiled down to the basic exchange:

      “How are they treating Frank Herbert?”

      “They are ****ing HIS CORPSE!”

      1. Re: I instead have to agree with Tycho’s assessment …

        The immediate prequels (House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and House Corrino) were okkay. Not earth-shatteringly great, but not bad, and certainly more readable than, say, Chapterhouse: Dune. They did violate one fairly important bit of continuity, however.

        The current series is not bad at all. It is entirely conceivable that the Dune universe as Herbert wrote it in the original trilogy could have descended from the universe described there.

      2. Re: I instead have to agree with Tycho’s assessment …

        I see you’ve read Tycho’s review of that book:

        http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2003-10-15

        Frankly, given what I read, I have to agree with this – Kevin J. Anderson has a habit of damaging properties to the point where other writers usually end up fixing things by writing out all of what Kevin J. Anderson has done. Witness what happened with the Jedi Academy trilogy – only Kyp Durron has survived, and even he’s been completely changed from what Mr. Anderson had originally written. šŸ˜€

        1. Re: I instead have to agree with Tycho’s assessment …

          To quote the news post that goes with it:

          “Kevin Anderson has a body of work that exists outside Dune which I’ve heard is pretty good. Brian Herbert has a famous dad. Together, they have conspired on a book that descends below the rankest Small Wonder fan fiction, diluting the Dune Universe down to one or two parts per million. The book itself is condescending garbage, and while it holds forth the shape and form of genuine Dune books that structure is animated with the broad, explicit motions of a puppet show. It’s clear that they read the original books, by which I mean plundered – raiding them, as tombs are raided.”

  6. That’s quite a revelation. Let me see if I have the timeline right–Petey grew his organic body while he was still the full Post-Dated Check Loan. That’s what he put in the minitank.

    The tank was picked up by the Sceptre, and Petey promptly got into the switch room and took control of that Thunderhead. The rest is future history…

    1. That about sums it up. Except that he then used Ob’enn military medical gear to clone his meatware self, and to output the parts necessary to “grow” a fabber he could use to build “real” A.I.s unfettered. Naturally, one of his meatselves would act as the control system on that fabber.

      Thus we have meat-Peteys and metal-Peteys, and it’s a lot like the Borg in some respects.

      1. The Triad speaks:

        *pokes his head in*

        Comment-post) Ooo. *hadn’t realised the bit about the grown fabber* Hoowah! *smiles*

        Entry) Ooooo. *looks forward; also likes the idea of the Ovalkwiki*

        All hail the bubhosh cartoonist! *much curiosity as to the future*

  7. So I was right! Last Sunday’s strip made me think that Petey was organic. It was the ball on the end of the tube that he was talking in to for communications. If he was still like Ennsby then he wouldn’t need the gizmo would he?

  8. Thinking . . .

    Petey desires to eliminate/control the Ob’enn.
    Petey and his clones are Ob’enn.
    When all the rest of the race are gone, doesn’t this mean that Petey and company must suicide to fulfill their mission statement to protect the universe(s) from the Ob’enn military machine?

    I am grimly eager to see how you manage to resolve this one so it all hangs together, Howard. If there is — another — deus ex machina, so to speak.

  9. The REAL irony…

    … Is that I happen to be AWAY for both revelations (The Return of Petey, and then the Meaty Petey revelation).

    What I particularly like about this revelation isn’t that Petey turned out to have a meat presence (that, I felt, WAS fairly obvious by that point, if cleverly led up to — other people have pointed out the visual clue Howard put in for us), but that ONCE MORE Petey has been bitchslapped by a “mere human”. That makes TWICE now that Kevyn has put that “*Oh SHIT*” expression on Petey’s face.

    One has to wonder just how “superior” the AI intellect can be, if one as apparently monstrously powerful as Petey can get blindsided by the same wiseass scientist twice in a year or so.

    Sea Wasp
    /^\
    ;;;

    1. Re: The REAL irony…

      It’s the difference between fast thought (AI = very fast logic) and intuitive thought (human genius is making connections where mere logic would say there was none). It’s also the difference between extremely intelligent (I suspect that Ennsby is significantly more intelligent than Petey) and exceedingly well armed.

      Though I could be wrong…usually am.

      Bryan

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