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So I read about the first 50% of Ariel,  its fun so far, but one thing really bugs me.  The lack of guns.

In all science fiction/fantasy, I give the author a chance to set up whatever rules they want. Aliens exist, Psychic powers exist, whatever. All I ask that whatever new rules the author sets up be consistently applied.

In Ariel, some undefined event happens, and all technology stops working, in exchange magic starts working. This is a really interesting premise,  and allow me to speculate : If the switch happened once, maybe it happens every so often (galactic rotation?) which would explain all of our current myths as actual history from a time when they were true.

so anyway, my gripe is that as part of this shift, guns stop working. Now, as far as the genre/story is concerned, this is a fine thing, and allows the author to have characters solve conflicts in other interesting ways. But I wish he could have explained why a bit better. Let me elaborate :

The main character uses a crossbow regularly. Therefore we know that simple machines such as springs, hooks, triggers, etc still work. Also, general momentum and trajectory and gravity rules are still in effect

He also regularly uses a blowgun. Therefore we know that the physics of pressure are still in effect. (Also some more confirmation about projectiles)

He regularly starts fires (presumably using flint or some other form of sparking) so we know sparking works.

He uses the fire to cook food, so most likely thermodynamics is still in effect. And the character doesn't mention anything about the heat and smoke not rising from the fire. From this we can infer that heat is still causing expansion.

Put all these pieces together : Guns still work.   It would be a very narrowly defined rule that would stop guns, but keep everything else working.  

I think the author could have gone the route of guns (or perhaps just the ammo) now being incredibly difficult to reproduce and therefore rare and very valuable, and this would have managed to keep most of the guns out of the story, but not leave this logic hole. Or perhaps, fires burn a lot more slowly? There are probably some other solutions that would leave guns out of the picture, but have the rest of the book unchanged.

Anyway, I completely realize this is nitpicking. But its the kind of thing that bugs me.

Outside of this nitpick, Ariel is a fun story so far. Well written, and in an interesting sub-genre. We are in the modern work, yet without technology, and there is magic.  Sort of a post apocylptic mad-max world.

In any case, Ariel is available from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, as well as in ebook format. Take a look. Posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 3:46 AM books | Back to top

Comments on this post: A nitpick critique of Ariel, by Stephen Boyett

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