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    Default Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Freefall is a (relatively) hard sci comic about a boy squid and his dog antropomorphised wolf. He is a daring adventurer intent on gaining wealth and fame. She is a spacecraft engineer. Together, they fight crime commit grand larceny for great glory (much to the chagrin of the uplifted wolf).

    Recently, the main characters have been hired to track down unexplained losses in the asteroid belt and are prepping for their first journey beyond the orbit of the planet Jean.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Heh.Maybe terrans are peaceful because the stuff they build creates death rays as a byproduct.
    Imagine what woulds happen if they build something that creates them deliberately...
    "If it lives it can be killed.
    If it is dead it can be eaten."

    Ronkong Coma "the way of the bookhunter" III Catacombium
    (Walter Moers "Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher")



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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    It strongly reminds me of Larry Niven's Known Space universe, where humans at one point abolish war and all but eradicate violence, and experience a golden age of peace...until a warlike alien species comes calling, and then it turns out humanity's peaceful spaceships accidentally carry terrible weapons:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Warriors
    The other ship began to turn away from its tormentor. Its drive end glowed red.

    "They're trying to get away," the Captain said, as the glowing end swung toward them. "Are you sure they can't?"

    "Yes, sir. That light drive won't take them anywhere."

    The Captain purred thoughtfully. "What would happen if the light hit our ship?"

    "Just a bright light, I think. The lens is flat, so it must be emitting a very wide beam. They'd need a parabolic reflector to be dangerous. Unless—" His ears went straight up.

    "Unless what?" The Captain spoke softly, demandingly.

    "A laser. But that's all right, sir. They don't have any weapons."

    The Captain sprang at the control board. "Stupid!" he spat. "They don't know weapons from sthondat blood. Weapons Officer! How could a telepath find out what they don't know? WEAPONS OFFICER!"

    "Here, sir."

    "Burn—"

    An awful light shone in the control dome. The Captain burst into flame, then blew out as the air left through a glowing split in the dome.
    Last edited by Lethologica; 2018-10-15 at 12:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Now that you mention it, Freefall does have a certain Larry Niven feel to it. And somehow, that story is the only one I remember of Larry Niven. Well, I remember the plot of The Ringworld Throne or maybe The Ringworld Engineers, but I mostly found those books a little confusing.

    What surprises me is that Sam thinks humans are peaceful. How many times have people formed an angry mob with the intent of stringing Sam up without his pressure suit?
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    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    But that's part of the traditional fun and games on his homeworld. So it's not a threat, just a ritual. Besides, the whole thing ends with ice cream.

    This comic, oddly enough, is generally good about giving you a chance to look at some of the issues involved in sci-fi tropes. I hadn't given much thought to how sending most of your colonists as embryos (or genetic colonists in Freefall parlance) would effect society.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    This comic, oddly enough, is generally good about giving you a chance to look at some of the issues involved in sci-fi tropes. I hadn't given much thought to how sending most of your colonists as embryos (or genetic colonists in Freefall parlance) would effect society.
    Part of why I like Freefall is its tendency to slip in social commentary and sci-fi navel gazing and still be consistently funny.

    I was re-reading the early strips, and holy wow batman was Sam a lot less likeable. Maybe the right word is "maliciously incompetent". I know a lot of it is done for laughs, but I am still a little surprised that Florence didn't get seriously hurt until the hurricane.

    Edit: I think this strip might be where Sam goes from being a zany and idiotic villain to just being zany and idiotic.
    Last edited by Rockphed; 2018-10-18 at 07:43 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    The hard thing to remember with Sam is that he is not a human, does not think like one and has a cultural value system that is at right angles to ours. It just takes a while at the beginning for that to become clear.

    I have a standing bet with one of my fellow geeks that Sam will be dead by the time this strip has had a year pass in-continuity. Of course, considering the speed of the plot, neither of us may be alive to have that dinner.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    The hard thing to remember with Sam is that he is not a human, does not think like one and has a cultural value system that is at right angles to ours. It just takes a while at the beginning for that to become clear.

    I have a standing bet with one of my fellow geeks that Sam will be dead by the time this strip has had a year pass in-continuity. Of course, considering the speed of the plot, neither of us may be alive to have that dinner.
    To be clear, are you betting that Sam will survive, or that Sam will auto-darwinate before the year is out? I mean we have already seen an entire month pass, haven't we?
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Now that you mention it, Freefall does have a certain Larry Niven feel to it. And somehow, that story is the only one I remember of Larry Niven. Well, I remember the plot of The Ringworld Throne or maybe The Ringworld Engineers, but I mostly found those books a little confusing.
    When did you read them (how old were you at the time)?

    What surprises me is that Sam thinks humans are peaceful. How many times have people formed an angry mob with the intent of stringing Sam up without his pressure suit?
    The way that Sam runs around in society, clearly as a member of society (the store clerk might keep themselves between him and the register, but he's not treated like a wild animal had just entered the premises, much less like a serious threat), indicate to me that he's widely regarded as a nuisance character more than anything else. The ease at which angry mobs form indicate to me that the citizens of Jean are profoundly bored people. The whole comic has a bit of a Mayberry feel to it -- all the stakes are small and the crooks are no real threat and everyone ends up with ice cream... right up until the wolf engineer reminds everyone that they are using nuclear power and trusting a few millimeters of metal to protect them from the pitiless deadliness of space or the incompetent CEO tries attempts AI genocide.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    We know the AI got built-in violence inhibition. Maybe the colonists were brainwashed similarly. I'm sure the mayor/governor would like nothing better.
    Last edited by guttering flame; 2018-10-19 at 09:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by guttering flame View Post
    We know the AI got built-in violence inhibition. Maybe the colonists were brainwashed similarly. I'm sure the mayor/governor would like nothing better.
    I suspect it might also be cultural. They are on a just-recently really good at supporting life, and otherwise have been in a spacefaring culture where even a little violence could doom everyone (the old bullet hole in a space ship issue, or just plain 'you killed the only guy who knew how to...' scenario).

    There's some sizable thought that the only way to get off this rockball we currently reside on is to become better at cooperation. I don't know if I buy it, but I can see the author putting it in their comic easily.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    To be clear, are you betting that Sam will survive, or that Sam will auto-darwinate before the year is out? I mean we have already seen an entire month pass, haven't we?
    My bet is a half-rack of ribs if Sam gets killed. And yes, we've had about five weeks pass in a strip that's been running for-----what, seven years?

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    My bet is a half-rack of ribs if Sam gets killed. And yes, we've had about five weeks pass in a strip that's been running for-----what, seven years?
    Yes, if you mean seven-teen. This thread led me to reading the whole darn thing and took two whole vacation days. One April Fools' Day strip didn't load, but maybe that was intentional.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    That long? Okay, at that rate of progress we should reach the end of the year about 2175 or so. No way I have to pay out on that prime rib, but if Sam kicks early I can still collect my ribs. Odds are even more in my favor.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Freefall is over 20 years old. The first item in the index is

    The adventure begins! 4/9/1998
    And I expect the trip out to an asteroid to be time compressed. There are only so many hijinks Sam can get up to mid voyage without earning a mauling.

    At least they are going to leave the fluffy piranha at home. I think Winston bringing his dog would doom Sam.
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    As a point of comparison, Freefall is older than I am.
    NB: While I never mean to offend anybody, sometimes the unfortunate combination of Aspergersism and the inherent difficulty of reading a situation through uninflected text over the internet get in the way of that goal. Please feel free to point out any social faux pas, inappropriate joke timing, etc.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Oh man, Niven, Pournelle, and Heinlein, all in one update, haha. (Although air not being free is a much more generic reference these days, I suppose.) Transfer station definitely makes me think of jump points in Mote in God's Eye, but I haven't read the other Niven/Pournelle collaboration/s so I don't know if there's a more specific referent.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    we've had about five weeks pass in a strip
    The events in the whole strip have happened in just 29 days.
    -HaJo

    FLW: Oh, no. We're being rescued. How embarrassing!

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by hajo View Post
    The events in the whole strip have happened in just 29 days.
    He has 2 "Day 29"s on there. I assume that the second is supposed to be "Day 30". Wow, I would have pegged at least 6 weeks as having passed.

    Edit: I forgot to answer this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    When did you read them (how old were you at the time)?
    I think I was in my mid to late teens (so 16 - 18). I also never read Ringworld, so I might have missed the most important one.
    Last edited by Rockphed; 2018-10-26 at 03:56 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Her ideas sound great but are they at all practical? The initial investment in time, resources and man/robotpower is vast. Where would she get it?

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by guttering flame View Post
    Her ideas sound great but are they at all practical? The initial investment in time, resources and man/robotpower is vast. Where would she get it?
    Well, she did just save every robot on the planet from drooling-idiotdom. At the same time, I am fairly certain that the energy required to move that much dust into a new solar-system is prohibitive. That is even assuming that those dust levels are even close to accurate. I suspect that the dust between us and Alpha Centauri wouldn't be enough to form a red dwarf, much less a new sun, but then I am a pessimist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Well, she did just save every robot on the planet from drooling-idiotdom. At the same time, I am fairly certain that the energy required to move that much dust into a new solar-system is prohibitive. That is even assuming that those dust levels are even close to accurate. I suspect that the dust between us and Alpha Centauri wouldn't be enough to form a red dwarf, much less a new sun, but then I am a pessimist.
    So a couple of million willing robot hands can give a helping hand on their spare time when they're not helping keep up their planet's economy and human happiness. That's a drop in the ocean of resources that's needed for this. Timewise the project probably take aeons if we're very generous. I don't see the mayor and all the other planets in the area giving their resources for this.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    I feel that Florence is talking more pie in the sky, long term. Kind of like when she was talking about the more efficient use of suns would be to disassemble them and use them as power plant fuel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Well, she did just save every robot on the planet from drooling-idiotdom. At the same time, I am fairly certain that the energy required to move that much dust into a new solar-system is prohibitive. That is even assuming that those dust levels are even close to accurate. I suspect that the dust between us and Alpha Centauri wouldn't be enough to form a red dwarf, much less a new sun, but then I am a pessimist.
    How to capture interstellar particles is indeed the problem. How much dust is between us and Alpha Centauri depends on what you mean by between (how wide a cylinder you are drawing), but of course the wider you draw it, the harder it is to grab the stuff at the far reaches.

    Not for building stars, but merely for travel, the concept was conceived of as Bussard Ramjets, which would be fusion rockets, which would use these magnetic collectors to pull in hydrogen to use as fuel. The feasibility of such things are stymied by the fact Sol sits in a low-density pocket of the galaxy, and because we haven't really perfected man-made fusion to be that super energy source we'd hoped it would be yet.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Nice Niven joke.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Nice Niven joke.
    I wonder what the Kzinti would think of Sam Starfall. They would probably decide that his species was delicious and go about figuring out how to farm them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    I wonder what the Kzinti would think of Sam Starfall. They would probably decide that his species was delicious and go about figuring out how to farm them.
    New intelligence test (by the Black Priests) for female cubs --realizing what a horrible idea that is.

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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    New intelligence test (by the Black Priests) for female cubs --realizing what a horrible idea that is.
    Better or worse idea than smuggling mini-moties out of the Mote system to sell as pets?
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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    Default Re: Freefall 3: Death Ray Byproducts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Better or worse idea than smuggling mini-moties out of the Mote system to sell as pets?
    That's a little like asking if it's better to give your children a cougar or hyena for Christmas -- 'Who cares? They're both terrible ideas!'

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