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Sakutian 01-06-2009 04:49 PM

Monster phsyics
Just thought we could use a thread for bouncing ideas around the monster physics pertaining to the Greywalker novels.

I've been thinking about Underground and Quinton's explanation of why Werewolves don't exist for a while now. In fact it stuck in the back of my mind ever since I read it.

"All right. Everything I've seen tells me that magic tends to respect the laws of physics-kind of freaky physics, but lawful physics For total form-shifting to happen in less than, say, a couple of days, max, it would have to break conservation of mass, conservation of energy, and the laws of thermodynamics at the very least. If shape-shifting does exists then it's an illusion, not an actual form change-unless it happens very slowly, which doesn't seem to be the case. If someone were to change from human to wolf, he'd have to make a whole lot of physical changes very rapidly, shedding or gaining mass and using up a ton of energy. There just isn't enough elasticity in the system to allow it-he'd burst into flames from the heat of the energetic change alone"(Richardson, 133).

Now I don't have Quinton's science whiz credentials but I do notice two loop holes in his explanation. First off the fast change of a man to a wolf or any other were creature is out of the question by these rules. Fine.

What about a pupal stage? A caterpillar doesn't turn into a butterfly in six seconds, it cocoons itself and slowly changes over a set period. Without bursting into flames. Let's adapt that to something bigger now, say a wolf to a man or vice verse. The image of an ooze dripping, green, slightly luminescent, man sized cocoon with a snarling wolf in front of it hidden in some dark underground corner is pretty striking.

Even sans cocoon if one were willing to put up with days of slow extremely painful changes could it work? Maybe I don't know. I'm not a physicist or a wizard. Would it be practical? Hell no. Fact is turning into a wolf would come in handy but the preparation involved in changing to and back from one would make it a nightmare, and not even a terribly effective one.

So big changes are out for most cases, but what about little ones? Would physics allow one to sprout claws, fangs, or a few extra muscles without exploding? The added bonus to these changes given my understanding is it could be done relatively quickly.

Sorry I know that was all rather long but the theory has been eating at me for a long time now. Plus I just like finding ways around the rules from tiem to time and surprising people.

BlueNinja 01-06-2009 06:28 PM

One of the early Dresden books mentioned several different kinds of werewolves - full conversions, limited conversions, demonic power loan, aspect-borrowing, and I think there was one other I'm forgetting. The kind of "werewolf" who just gains some of the habits and abilities of a wolf would be easy to do in the Greywalker world. The others would only be a little more problematic. I mean, if you have a vampire, who can stay alive forever without needing to eat or breathe, why couldn't you have something twisty that allowed for a transformation? It might not be the human to werewolf in 0.4 seconds type, but one that took an hour (or three) might not be out of the question - Quinton doesn't know everything that's out there, as much as he acts like it on occasion. ;)

Harper 01-06-2009 07:19 PM

Oh this is fantastic! I'm loving this. And yes, you can't count on any character being right about this issue--or telling the truth. Quinton's not even right during the course of Underground, since the Sisiutl then goes and ignores some of his "rules."

Hmm... I'll have to think about that pupation idea... that's nifty!

Sakutian 01-06-2009 07:55 PM

Glad you liked the pupation idea I thought it was pretty nifty as well.

Quniton's going to be attacked by a shape shifter at some point, I just know it. His lack of belief in them is like werenip, they'll nuzzle him and then use him like a cat toy.

nerdgirl 01-06-2009 10:09 PM

Haha, werenip, thats awesome!
I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one bugged by Quintons logic on this matter. When I read that section I was actually frowning at my book, waiting for another character to argue the point!

Thing One 01-06-2009 11:17 PM

Well, what Quinton ignored was the fact that there
are indeed wolf/human creatures in Native tales,
and Underground proved that belief can cause things to be real.
So, having said that, there could be fairies, wolf / Grendel like beings,
giants, Skinwalkers - that would be evil witches that wear the skin and change
into the animal - well just about anything.

I have seen a ghost for myself, so the Grey has held a lot of meaning to me. I love
how Harper deals with ghosts.

But if there are ghosts and First Nations creatures, then why not Odins Ravens and other stuff?

Belief = being = energy = existance in some form

What if Harper can walk between dimensions? Couldn't there be one with creatures
of myth - even Elves?

I'm not saying I hope that this happens. I am just saying that Quinton of all people needs to have a more open mind.

Sakutian 01-06-2009 11:26 PM

This is a bit random but I'm sort of haoping Harper will come across a gillman sort of monster at some point, you know something like the creature from the black lagoon . They're just cool and kind of easy to deal with. Just shoot the things and they drop like a balloon in an alaskan winter. I'm pretty sure Harper would appreciate an easy to kill enemy for a change.

The idea of Harper traveling to other dimensions is really interesting, she can already sort of travel back through time so it'd be neat to see that explored even further. Dinosaur ghosts haha.

Harper 01-07-2009 04:27 AM

One of the difficult things with this sort of series is establishing rules and sticking to them so the characters don't become superheroes who can do anything and never take a scratch. I'm not entirely sure of all the limits and exceptions but there are some pretty strict rules and I stick with them. The characters make mistakes and are wrong quite frequently, but I don't have that luxury: smart readers like you guys will come along and point to the book and say "Hey, you messed up right here!" and I would have to say "oh... yes. You're right." And I so hate to be wrong... ;) (Not that I haven't been....)

Vanished has some special cases for limitations to the system so that Harper will never become a superhero or an all-powerful whatsit. She'd be impossible to live with if I didn't put limits on her. And of course, the books would be boring if there were no challenges or dangers.

I do have to state definitively that Quinton is not and never will be a werewolf. Because I don't want Harper to turn into the sort of heroine who shags anything with fangs.

Sakutian 01-07-2009 04:54 AM

I'm glad Quinton isn't a werewolf he'd be boring if he was, it'd be obvious sort of. Besides he's like a spy so that's more than enough oddness for him.

BlueNinja 01-07-2009 09:50 AM


Originally Posted by Harper (Post 251867)
Because I don't want Harper to turn into the sort of heroine who shags anything with fangs.

Oh thank God. :grin:

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