The Night Land blog - an extension of

Sunday, 6 April 2014


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 7:07 AM
I'd just like to say that I'm enjoying this immensely.  It is very much a process of finding out.  I thought I knew what the Landsuits looked like, vaguely (uh, let's see, kinda bulky, lumpy gadgety stuff... grey, probably, Pallin looks like an actor named Ian...), now I know what they really look like.  I can't wait to find out what everything else really looks like.  The best bits are the things that I never thought of, the surprises.
From:Brett Davidson
To: Andy Robertson;SMS

Yeah, what he said.Notes...

Diskos, to be a practical weapon, needs to have its full perimeter or as much of that as possible exposed.  I also imagined it having a subtly double-curved shaft, like a scythe (expediters as Grim Reapers - why not?) -
Now, that is a nice image!

Only occurred to me as I typed...  I'm enjoying this brainstorming process - It may well feed into future stories.

Again, I must point out, this is just a 'costume study'.

I assumed that of the other image.  The one I commented on, I assumed was aimed more at what the final composition would resemble.  Anyway, my point is that the images complement the text and details that aren't in the image will be there for the reader to imagine.  The worst kind of fanfic or sequel has to have absolutely everything namechecked, to the immediate detriment of drama and coherence.  I'm happy to see compositional choices that exclude a lot for the sake of intensity, hence my words along the lines of "it's only a menu, not a checklist".

Two of the reasons why I wanted your work are, first, your distinct aesthetic with its historical references - my favourite New Wave writers all referred to the late 19th, early 20th centuries, and the pre-Bauhaus (pre-Apple?) style suggests something sophisticated, but still old, not just off the supermarket shelf - and second, compositional coherence and focus.  I detect a circle/wheel/star theme, and with the larger ensemble sketches, a sweep/spiral tying them together.  So, I'm confident it'll work and I'm really looking forward to seeing the development.

This is, it's true, my fault 'coz I really want a headlight /sensor array in the helmet, a 'Tesla coil/plasma repulse' valvepunk ruff, a 'power pack' type backpack and a serious chest/shoulder arrangement.

Again, this is what I like.  I didn't think of the details of the suits much when writing about them and your contribution is both original and consistent with what they would be - I'm keen on the "ruff" and crest as USPs.  The top-heaviness is in the image I commented on concealed by the extreme perspective and patterning of the ground... well, I'll see what you do, but I'm glad that you're keen on those features, 'cos I am too.  I like the visual echoes - ruff/crest/diskos - punctuated by the smaller circular ports and lenses (fractal repetition?).

The Ramp Guard was a workman in a 'Power station' whereas this is a Soldier/explorer.

Yeah, got that.

Also, one notes there is no reason for all diskoses to be the same size, shape, etc.   In TNL it's a hand-and-a-half weapon - may be used two handed or at a pinch one handed - and so must be about 3 ft long or slightly longer.   In some of John C Wright's stories it's like a polearm, with a shaft at least six foot long.  And the heavy pommel/counterweight seen here is consistent with a one-handed weapon, but it's all good.  

So some people carry pizza slicers? :)  In the H2G2 film there was a mini-light sabre that slices and toasts bread in one go.  A bit more seriously, in a story about the aerial corps, I indicated that the aviators carried compact, lightweight diskoi, as a modern fighter pilot might carry a sidearm as part of their survival kit rather than a rifle - the blade could conceivably been more swastika-like than a solid disc.  One can assume that weapons are individually crafted to the capabilities, fighting style and role within a group of the individual.  There may well be different martial arts styles in the Last Redoubt, as Kung Fu and Judo differ, each with their own schools and disciplines.  Even nominally similar weapons differ a lot - the Roman gladius looks short for a "sword" but it's designed for stabbing thrusts by closely-ranked soldiers and you don't want them accidentally decapitating each other with great sweeping strokes, while the mediaeval knight's sword represents a class hierarchy with relatively few knights more widely spaced.  Then there's Severian's Terminus Est, a formal executioner's tool... blah blah blah

felt happiest with the present variation on the classic Athenian helm with those cool cheekguards.

Seems to work best with the horizontal crest/flange and headlights.

About armour:
Lames.  ...and so forth

Cool stuff.  Samurai armour, AFAIK, and I'm pretty vague on this, did not offer complete coverage and relied on huge overlaps of broad curved planes, suiting the sweeping rather than thrusting strokes of the katana.  Whatever, depends on which pathway of technological development one's culture follows.  Happy to see the gothic line taken.  The swelling of the joints, spikes and flanges at elbow, knee and ankle may serve to mitigate the top-heaviness?  Actually, the gothic styles makes far more sense in the Night Land than samurai style, because the denizens of that land are as likely to use the "naughty tentacles" strategy as they are the "Grrr!  Argh!  THUD!"

There are real powered exoskeletons that are in prototype form, designed not just for American soldiers, but elderly Japanese, but I'm glad that I didn't attach images of these - they're plainly at the beginning of their evolutionary development.  If the Landsuits have powered muscle augmentation, you wouldn't be able to tell immediately because the systems would have its mass distributed evenly around the wearer rather than to one side of each limb.  I thought they might, to some degree, have augmented strength, but the ethos of the Last Redoubt leads towards the testing of one's own physical prowess.  The "Olympic" sensibility then is signalled by the "Athenian" detail above?

Rest assured, there are lots of rough sketches like this, often too 'scribbly' to make any visual sense but just testing patterns...




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