B5 Trivia (WAS: RE: No Singularity?)

Billy Brown (bbrown@transcient.com)
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 18:39:38 -0600

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Um, Billy? Vorlons *are* bulletproof. This was established fairly
> thoroughly during the fourth season. (Okay, so this transcends the
> concept of mere "pedantry", but I can't help it.)

So those Shadows "killed" Kosh with their bare claws, but nothing else could touch him? Bah! I think Vorlons are exactly as bulletproof as those invisible monsters the Shadows like to breed - you just have to use some real firepower on them, that's all.

Of course, I don't recall the episode you're referring to, so maybe I've missed something.

> Besides, you can't blame JMS for running all his civilizations in
> slow-mo. Going through the next million years worth of progress in
> twelve seconds may be the most computationally realistic result, but
> Vinge is the only one who's managed to make a human-readable drama out
> of it (_A Fire Upon the Deep_).

I can forgive any authors for not having a Singularity - it kind of gets in the way of the story, after all. However, they should at least give their aliens some token degree of progress (preferably something comparable to 20th century Earth). As far as I can tell the B5 universe has some kind of inverse exponential progress, where the more you know the harder it is to learn something new. How else do we explain the fact that the Mimbari lost only one vessel in their genocidal war against humanity, but the young races are actually able to inflict significant casualties on the Shadows?

Of course it was necessary for the plot, but to me that is just a sign that B5 is a fantasy story dressed up in SF trappings. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but it leaves the Vorlons with no more 'older and wiser' credibility than Tolkien's elves.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I