View Full Version : Destiny's Road
2003-Feb-17, 06:38 AM
I started reading this book last night after having finished the Tripod Trilogy (John Christopher) and I am now on page 147. So far I am really liking the story and the setting of it. I have a few questions though.
What are "speckles"? I know that on a planet like this there might be deficiencies in some mineral or another but I have never heard of something that would so drastically affect neural function even while someone is developing. Why can't the people along the Road grow or find the speckles themselves? *wonders if the speckles turn out to be soylent speckles or something*
The landingcraft that made the road. The Cavorite. Where did it get its fuel to flush through the nuclear engine to drive the hovering engines? Or is this some other type of nuclear propulsion? If not, why isn't everything contaminated, heavily. Perhaps this is what is wrong with the people of the Shire..
That is all for now, I am sure that I will have more questions later. -Colt
2003-Feb-17, 12:45 PM
Now, now. You should wait until you've finished the story before you go asking questions. The big half of the book in your right hand probably has all the answers in there. You wouldn't want others to ruin the story for you, would you?
BTW, who's the author of this one? I'm not sure I've heard of it.
Patience, my young padawan. All will be revealed.
2003-Feb-17, 11:53 PM
He just stole a boat and the Otterfolk helped him.. Where did he get the gun that he still has with him? It definatly makes a point that he does not have a gun with him. I guess I will wait, at the rate I am going I will be done by the end of the week.
Edit: And I am an Ensign, not a padawan. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif -Colt
"Ultimately it is man who must take responsibility for his actions, not his science or machines."
Pondering the universe one quark at a time.http://www.geocities.com/wandererofthewastes/index.html
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Colt on 2003-02-17 18:54 ]</font>
2003-Feb-18, 10:04 PM
Actually this book is BAD BIOCHEMISTRY. I won't tell you what the speckles are, for that would spoil the ending (assuming you did not get there yet), but I can tell you what they contain. They contain potassium, which most of the planet's land life does not. After reading the book I did some research on what potassium deficiency actually does to a person, and found that the symptoms in "Destiny's Road" are completely wrong. Potassium deficiency does eventually lead to death, but the intermediate stages are muscle tremors, convulsions, and paralysis, in that order - there is no effect on mental abilities at all.
Niven should have picked iodine, deficiency of which does lead to cretinism.
2003-Feb-18, 11:55 PM
Oh, now you've ruined it for me! That was like the last good book from Niven. I like how he tied it into the Legacy of Heorot/Beowulf's Childred stories (sort of). But Bad Biochemistry? I just assumed that Niven would have gotten this right, since it's such a major plot point. How sad and how sloppy.
Reminds me of Hollywood's general treatment of diabetics. They are always getting hypo and hyperglycimic mixed up. My wife is diabetic, so I know of which I speak. Hollywood's portrayal is usually messed up. The movie "ConAir" comes to mind. Even the recent "CSI:Miami" had a bad comment. A dead woman was obviously a junkie (needle marks on her arms), but the coroner made a comment about the needle marks in arm: "Unless she was a diabetic..." A diabetic would not shoot into a vein! Very bad!
Ah, sorry for the rant.
2003-Feb-19, 01:09 AM
I enjoyed the book too, and I'm sorry to hear that Niven was so wrong about the symptoms of potassium deficiency. It's hard to believe he'd miss the mark so badly -- any chance we might have overlooked something? Maybe a syneristic effect of some multiple deficiency?
I got the feeling that this might be the start of a series of books about Destiny, since there were some obvious loose ends at the end of this book. Anyone heard anything about that?
2003-Feb-19, 06:56 AM
I am on 394 now. It says that the speckles contained potassium and other trace elements needed for human cognitive function. The 27 year jump in the timeline threw me off a bit at first but it turns out to make an interesting plot twist. Maybe he will steal Cavorite? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif It also seems that since he started eating a ton of speckles he jumped in intelligence, perhaps another side affect? I will probably finish it tonight, three nights ahead of schedule! ahahaha.. -Colt
2003-Feb-20, 07:19 AM
I finished it last night! The ending kind of dropped off and I expect a sequel, I demand it. What happened to Argos? What group of pompous bards would just abandon a colony like that?
I would like to make some statements, mostly about the firearms in the book. The Shark Guns are semi-autmatic pistols which load either through the breech into a magazine in the handle or into a magazine below and in front of the triggerguard. Also, part of the breech is pulled backward with the slide. How do I know this? At first I thought that the shark guns may have been 8-shot revolvers until it mentioned the scar that Jeremy had on the back of his hand between his thumb and forefinger from holding the gun wrong. This happens quite a bit with inexperience firearms users. They hold a semi-automatic pistol like cowboys do a revolver in a film and they regret it. The slide comes backward and over the hand, slicing it, and in Jeremy's case burning it also (the breech moving backward with the slide). The reason I thought that they might be revolvers at first is that they kept giving him loose rounds but with no mention of a clip. Then they mentioned the scare (meaning it was a SA pistol) and from this I deduced that it must load in one of the above mentioned ways.
The Prole Rifles. These were not mentioned as much in the book as the Shark Guns but I was able to discern some facts about them. They are chain-fed automatic rifles which use chains of ammunition with around 50 rounds per chain. They feed from the left side of the breech and eject the casings and bits of chain on the right, away from the user. This type of system keeps them simple and easy to use, no jammed magazines and no monotonous loading. They have a shoulder stock and pistol grip configuration with a type of alarm system in the butt (presumably the user wears something like a magnetic ring on their finger which stops the alarm from sounding; once it is moved away the alarm is triggered). They have a short bolt firing configuration which accounts for the high rate of fire as witnessed by Jemmy in the book.
This might seem kind of trivial to some of you but for me it is what makes a book enjoyable. Noticing small details and then figuring out hidden parts of the story from them. -Colt
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