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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) vampires make bootstrap lift off
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 12:48:45 

wombat wrote:
>We know the inhumi can fly on Blue. If the inhumi can spread themselves
>thin enough to drift down in the atmosphere of Blue, then they don't need
>heat shielding. Our space vehicles need serious heat shielding because on
>re-entry they are basically falling through atmosphere, not flying or
>One engineer I know described the Space Shuttle's reentry as being "as
>graceful as a falling brick". Compare this to the flight of a low-orbit
>airplane like the U-2--the U-2 didn't have much in the way of heat
>shielding, because its descent was controlled flight.
>I agree that the problem of launch from Green is by far the more puzzling,
>unless the inhumi can somehow teleport (because of residual Neighbor blood
>making distance less certain?).

Yay, we are on the same thought here: I was meaning to mention the limited
teleport option.  Limited to once in a while, spawning-run, short jaunts
from atmosphere to Lagrange Point.  (Trick here is to avoid vampires having
teleport on demand capability, which does not seem supported by the texts:
although it would give another infusion to alga's heresy that "Pike's
ghost" in the manteon really was Q himself; since the "aquastor" dissolve
could then be a teleportation effect.)  Then they "fly" across the
distance, exposed to vacuum, and do the long glide in.  (I hadn't even
thought to tie-in the Neighbors, with their clear and obvious
astral/teleport powers [Horn into Silk]; nevermind the seeming
teleport-link between Horn/Silk and an inhuma for all of his "astral
projection" jaunts.)

I was going to prep it by saying, "Look, when the undines of Urth say they
can swim through space and/or the corridors of time, we don't spend any
time working out the escape velocity, etc., because (while at first we
think they are speaking metaphorically and later, when we see that it is
real . . . ) we see it as technology so advanced that it is magic to us.
Some form of teleportation (through space) and/or time travel (itself
magic).  We don't argue about the possibly implied differences between
`walking' the corridors and `swimming' the corridors."

FWIW digression: The time-travel in Severian's narrative seems to have
elements of pseudo-momentum or pseudo-inertia involved: when the power
stops, the traveler doesn't necessarily stop immediately.  Hence in URTH
when Sev was leaving the deluge by `running' back into the far past, he
reached the endpoint (light of the white hole reaching Urth) and was
catapulted (a hundred years?) beyond, presumably by the pseudo-velocity of
his `running.'

Then I was going to say, "So while I'm toying with this in a light-hearted
fashion, I'm not really too concerned, myself, with the mechanics of it.
Not to criticize anybody who is pondering it more seriously."

(Then again, wombat: don't wings and lifting bodies have an atmospheric
limit?  That is, they have no value in a vacuum, and as the object comes
into the gravity well it picks up some speed before the atmosphere is
sufficiently thick enough to provide the lift?  I guess I'm saying there's
enough atmosphere for re-entry friction, but not enough for lift, until the
object gets to a certain critical level which is relatively deep into the
gravity well: but I'm just wondering around.)


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