Why is everyone non-human saddled with such a massive idiot ball? The potential weapons applications for portals alone could have destroyed Earth a dozen ways, but the author seems to have made every non-human so unrelentingly stupid that these applications are never thought of, let alone implemented.
They're not. Their abilities are limited by the level of technology they have available which is essentially bronze age.The daemons do learn and they learn fast but the gap is too great to be bridged. In the initial campaign they used what amounted to medieval tactics (actually based on the battles of Agincourt and Crecy). By the end they had evolved the equivalent of 1918 tactics as used in the last German offensive of that year (the battle is actually modelled on Kursk though). Even so, had they been up against the opposition they expected they would have stomped right through them, can you imagine a single legion of daemons would have done to both armies combined at Waterloo. They had a situation on their hands that required immediate attention plus the fact they had information that they thought was perfectly adequate. To the daemons, information two hundred years old is perfectly up-to-date and adequate. Hell is a largely stagnant society in which progress in the modern human sense is completely absent. That's an inevitable consequence of having effectively immortal beings and a social set-up that is based around nobody asking questions or disputing received information. Everybody in it assumes that society on Earth was the same - and can point to many thousands of years experience to prove just that. They are right; human society was largely stagnant for more than 2,000 years. The great change in human killing power came in the last 50 - 60 years. The daemons have no reason to assume that anything is different; all their experience to date suggests that information 200 years old is perfectly adequate. They walked over the opposition humans could put up in pre-history and, as far as they could see, nothing had changed at all. Historical model, the British in the Zulu Wars period. They'd walked all over the African tribes in earlier conflicts, they assumed that nothing had changed. In fact, one slight thing had changed and the result was Isandlwana. The British were lucky, the difference in question was tiny and it didn't matter very much in the long term. Now, imagine what would have happened if Cetawayo had a modern armored division.
The idea that the daemons had "a dozen ways" of destroying Earth with the technology level they have available cannot be substantiated. They simply do not have that ability.
That's not entirely accurate. If you recall, the notion of a 'trojan horse' was invented by a bronze age civilisation. Saying all they could do was 'form square and charge forwards' is simply inaccurate. The single unambigous mistake they made was to create a portal they couldn't close, and then don't guard it. Not only does it give the humans a way in, but nothing stops Heaven from opening up a second portal within walking distance and marching into Hell unopposed. Given the fortifacatoins aroudn heavengate, why woudl they leave such a gaping hole in their defences? This seems a clear and unambigous case of an Idiot Ball. If they hadn't done that then yes, they could have faught a much more effective war, simply by going where the tanks weren't, and in numbers to overwhelm local defences. And interrogating 'captured' enemies has *never* been a new idea. Another clear case of Idiot Ball.
Not true across the board. Firstly, the so-called Trojan Horse never existed, it was a literary invention by Homer who wanted to portray his protagonist Odysseus asbeing extremely clever and devious - in fact so much so that he routinely outwitted the gods themselves. The Trojan Horse was something Homer thought was clever. Secondly, one never "forms square and charges forward" - forming square is a defensive maneuver used against cavalry and it takes a degree of command control to pull off successfully. It is irrelevent to launching an attack. The fact is that until quite recently, the tactical menu was very limited and skills lay in the operational and strategic spheres. The two opening (flanking) battles were actually based on Agincourt while the third (center) battle was based on Naseby. Thirdly, the daemons did make a mistake by opening a portal that was so large they couldn't close but it is a mistake that came out of their world view. They accepted things on faith instead of studying them to discover how they worked. Thus they never realized they coudln't close a portal that big until they'd opened it. Fourthly, Yahweh had consigned humans to Hell and there was a treaty in place that neither Satan nor Yahweh would invade the other's realm. Both were frightened of the implications of breaking it and both were very reluctant to dos - and knew the other felt the same way. That's addressed in the story. So, your idiot ball has fallen apart. Now, as to going where the tanks weren't. That's an extremely modern concept, one that's only been possible in the last few years. The daemonic concept of warfare (one shared by nearly all contemporary armies) was to engage the mass of the enemy army and destroy it. Then the countryside could be pillaged at leisure. So, the daemonic army under Abigor was operating in accordance with the practices and beliefs of its time. No idiot ball there either. Your argument has just collapsed completely.
Saying all they could do was 'form square and charge forwards' is simply inaccurate. And at no point did the demonic army "form square and charge forward." They advanced by regiments and launched a frontal assault with heavy cavalry leading to break the enemy line - classic medieval Western European tactics before pike and shot took over. The second engagement had them spread out in a long line and advance while firing tridents - modified version of tactics in Napolean's era. In the third engagement, the demonic army was engaging the Russians using storm tactics with spread-out troops, covered by fire from nagas and airstrikes using wyverns - World War One/World War Two assault tactics. In other words, in three engagements across a few months' time, the demon armies went from medieval tactics to WWII tactics - something that took humanity centuries to leap over. The single unambigous mistake they made was to create a portal they couldn't close, and then don't guard it. What's to guard against? from their perspective, they were assembling an army that their most recent intelligence was certain could utterly crush the biggest and strongest armies humanity could hope to assemble, and any human army that somehow managed to enter their territory would be utterly annihilated by the immense numbers of troops still in Hell. Not to mention the majority of human soldiers moved on foot, and were limited by supply and baggage trains. From the perspective of the demons, there was no way that the humans could get an army inside Hell, especially when they're dealing with Abigor's immense hordes, and any army that gets into Hell is going to be squashed in short order. they don't need to guard the portal. If they hadn't done that then yes, they could have faught a much more effective war, simply by going where the tanks weren't, This presupposes that the demonic armies understood the concept of armored warfare and it's limitations, and that they would be fighting in terrain that doesn't favor tanks. They don't get armored warfare in time to effectively counter it, and they never get an opportunity to fight in tank-hostile terrain; all three major battles were fought on plains, which is natural tank country. Even then, if they were in terrain that tanks couldn't reach (which means they'd need to be in very, very rough terrain, typically mountainous, swampy, or urban environments) the only thing that would happen would be that the tanks would hold position outside the area the enemy was camped in while the bombers and artillery pounded them, or more likely, bypass the enemy infantry holed up in that terrain and advance upon other strategic objectives. Infantry forced to stick to terrain that is difficult for tanks to fight in is infantry that has been strategically hobbled while the more mobile armor divisions move on. and in numbers to overwhelm local defences. In order to get those numbers, they have to move large armies of infantry. Large armies of infantry are easy to track and move air cavalry, armored cavalry, and mechanized infantry to block, isolate, surround, and destroy. And interrogating 'captured' enemies has *never* been a new idea. Which is why, when the demons realized that their intelligence was faulty, that they did start interrogating human slaves for information. The issue with that, of course, is that when you've got the collective entirety of humanity gathered before you, the amount of actionable intelligence is limited, especially when they hate you and are willing to sow disinformation. They also can't interrogate new arrivals because the demons around the Minos Gate have their hands full simply keeping the backlog of human dead coming through from overwhelming them.
The single unambigous mistake they made was to create a portal they couldn't close, and then don't guard it. It's also worth considering that First Lifers would have serious trouble marching armies around Hell for any significant period when said armies are dying of silicosis, quite aside from the rashes and abrasions caused by the same wind-borne rock particles. Prior to modern vehicular overpressure systems, and decent filter masks (both of which are not something in everyday use, so even a check immediately before the portal was opened wouldn't necessarily have found them, or their implications), that would have limited the reach of First Lifer forces to the small area of the Fields of Dysprosium immediately surrounding the portal. Sure, there's the risk of having the chokepoint in your route home cut off (temporarily- there are all those naga left behind, after all), but even if the humans managed that, as far as the demons knew they wouldn't be able to capitalise on that and take (or even engage) anything beyond the first castle.
Why is Hell so stupid? They've been getting modern people in their domain for quite some time now—you would think some demon keeper would notice a dead Marine or Delta or whatever and interrogate him.
They're not stupid at all, daemons are actually very bright. Its just that they're stuck at a Bronze age level of technology because that's when the mythology in question was written. The daemons were actually quite quick on the uptake - note how they were adopting combined arms tactics in the final battles and finding innovative ways to use the assets they had; at the Phlegethon River they actually broke through the Russian defence only to get thrown back by a counter attack - if that sounds familiar, the battle is based on Kursk. The reason why they weren't aware of how humanity had changed came from several factors. One is that they weren't interested; they regarded humans as cattle and treated them that way. Another is that human war-fighting ability is essentially the creation of one human lifetime. Go back a lifetime and its 1939, the humans would have been fighting with 300mph machine-gun armed aircraft (barely a match for a harpy one-on-one and no match at all outnumbered hundreds to one), infantry that marched and artillery that was puny. In 1939s, humans could just barely fight a daemon army on even terms. Go back to 1909 and the daemons would have a very marked military advantage, go back to 1859 and they would walk all over a human army. The daemons, who think in millennia as opposed to years or centuries, couldn't match that sudden change. Another important thing is that daemons can't read minds. They can possess minds but that's an entirely different thing. Yet another reason is sheer numbers; the dead are arriving at three per second, most of whom are nonentities with no military knowledge. Finding the ones that have useful knowledge means a lot of hard work and the daemons have neither the inclination nor the ability to do it.
1939? I do not think the daemons would have stood a chance even then. I have Two Words for you: chemical warfare. If nerve gas had not yet been invented, phosgene and mustard gas would nonetheless have remained every bit as nasty as they had been in 1918. You'd have to go back further for it to be a fair fight. Even in the Russo-Japanese War of 1907 they had artillery forward observation officers using radio and field telephones to communicate with artillery to coordinate indirect fire, and shells filled with TNT. In the large-scale battles in Iraq it was massed artillery fire that was the real killer (this is what we would expect from Twentieth Century warfare, where, in every major war, artillery inflicts 90%+ of casualties among the infantry) and that most definitely existed on Earth in 1907. European armies were making heavy use of the Maxim gun and other similar designs from Hotchkiss and Vickers—belt-fed heavy machine guns—in 1890, and massed HM Gs would have doubtless inflicted a great many casualties on daemons. Before high explosives the state-of-the-art anti-personnel fragmentation artillery round was the UK's Armstrong shell, larger examples of which, despite being filled with black powder, were effective, if inefficient, even by 21st Century standards. Handling large-sized Harpy units without chemical warfare would have been difficult, though. Then again chemical warfare was very rapidly implemented once someone had the idea for it in 1915, and nothing that it required in 1915 would have been impossible in 1890. Indirect artillery fire could have been done using telegraph communication between observers and firing units, too, if someone had thought of it.
There are good points there but taking the 1914 level first. The edges the daemonic armies have are mobility - they can move faster than human divisions which are essentially restricted to walking pace (even cavalry doesn't move significantly faster than infantry in an operational sense) while daemons walk much faster; vulnerability in that rifle-calibre bullets have limited effect on them. Heavy calibre slugs didn't really exist back then (I know there were some exceptions) and air power, In 1914 a harpy would tear the crude aircraft that existed then apart in mid-air. Then the troops on the ground would be defenceless. The human artillery would be gone ASAP, its defenceless. Remember, nothing is behind armour. I agree with your comments on gas but chemical weapons need artillery to deliver them and the guns then were in the open and horse-drawn. Also, yes they did have forward observers back in 1914 but communication were slow and very unreliable. That's one of the reasons behind the slaughter of WW 1. Yes, artillery is the primary killer, that's the point of the battle scenes in TSW:A. Artillery slaughters everybody its aimed at, no argument there. But, in 1914, artillery was nothing like as lethal as it was in 2003. No sub-munitions, no computerized fire control, no reliable communications. Add in the fact that the human armies would be under unopposed Harpy attack, and its looking grim for them. They'd bleed the daemons, bleed them very badly, but daemons are shown as being able to take very heavy casualties. Perhaps more than anything else, the pace of war in 1914 was so much slower than it is today that the daemons could keep up with it. What really killed them in TSW:A is that they couldn't learn fast enough to adapt.
...and yes, circa 1939, armies had less artillery than 21st Century armies tend to, and calibres tended to be smaller. There was still some of the really heavy stuff left over from World War I, when the British and Germans were using naval guns designed to be mounted in heavy cruisers as field artillery. Yes, especially after the Second World War, more and heavier stuff became available, to the point where every US mechanized infantry brigade (as an example) today has its own dedicated battalion of self-propelled 155mm guns, divisional artillery is at least one MLRS battalion, plus there are artillery brigades at corps and army level. That doesn't mean there wasn't already a great deal of heavy stuff available even in the 1930s, though.
1939 is a lot better for humanity I agree. A Spitfire (for example) is markedly superior to the Harpy in air combat, primarily due to its speed although its machine guns will take a lot of hits to kill a Harpy. But, the human aircraft are horribly outnumbered - they're fighting an enemy numbered in hundreds of thousands. Remember, over Iraq and later over the Phlegethon, it was a long time before the available fighters had whittled down the Harpy flock to the point where they could do ground attack missions. And that was with F-16s and F-15s. On the ground, mobility still favours the daemons although the tanks available start to swing the balance. Daemons can't do much to a tank except burn whatever is outside. Human rifles are still pretty ineffective although heavy-calibre machine guns and cannon now exist. Interesting to rate a (for example) Panzer II with its 20mm gun against a lightning bolt throwing daemon. In 1939, I'd say things advanced far enough for a human army to stage a really bloody standoff against a daemon army - as long as the ammunition lasts. The catch is with the air still held by Harpies, ammunition and fuel won't be able to move very fast. But, you do make good points here. One day I'll have to write a story set in 1914 or 1939. The real point though is just how far human abilities to kill have advanced in the last half-century.
Indeed. Abigor starts off with his Bronze Age tactics, but after getting his ass kicked for a while begins shifting to a 1600s-1800s style. When Beelzebub is defending Hell against the invading human army, he evolves to WWI-esque tactics. Plus there's Belial, who realizes pretty quickly that you can't fight the humans head-on. The demons weren't dumb at all and in fact adapt fairly quickly, it's just that they couldn't catch up to where humans were currently.
Abigor, in his case, adapted faster than many human generals did in real life to massively changing technology. Just look at World War I and how long it simply took human generals to come up with stormtrooper tactics or armored advances. By comparison, the demons made the jump from Bronze Age to WWII in the span of a few weeks, without the approapriate technologies to cause a mental shift in tactics and strategy. That is an incredible tactical and strategic leap there.
Can't forget the logistics — even the human militaries of in-universe 2008 ran close to dry on ammo at points, and the harpy threat was regarded by General Petraeus important enough that fighters were still needed to protect helicopters and transport planes from them, as mauled as the harpies and demons on the ground were getting.
I know at least in the story, they admitted that in say, the WW 2 era, we would've won, it'd just be harder. Also, remember that bit where they were amazed at the crafted blunderbuss? Yeah...also, muskets tend to have been in the .50-.75 range, so they WOULD have been nasty to Baldricks. Also, keep in mind that in WW 2, the smallest standard caliber was .30-06 IIRC.
.30-06 bullets (and other equivalent WWII ammo like 7.62x54R, 8x57IS) are in Real Life the usual weapons to tackle fully grown Brown Bears. (9.3x62 bullets, designed in 1905, very common throughout the world for hunters and only slightly more expensive than 8x57IS, are the ammo of choice for Cape Buffalo, for the matter.) An ordinary Baldrick infantry grunt (Lesser Demon) has by author's description, Chapter Twenty-Two roughly the size and physical strength of a bear, so it couldn't be much tougher. 18th century musket balls were more like modern shotguns firing slugs - a heavy piece of lead, devastating at short range, but totally inaccurate farther than 50 meters.
The pre-modern era full-powered rifle cartridges are stated as being the minimum acceptable for use against daemons (and angels) and they're only just effective. In one sequence, a daemon takes several hits from .30-06s and is hurt by them but not killed. Much more powerful rounds (typically .338 Lapua Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum or .50 Beowulf) are actually needed. Also, special bullets are required with hollow-points being good (although their penetration is problematic). The SLAP round (a multi-purpose armor-piercing explosive incendiary) is as near as anybody gets to an effective rifle bullet. The problem isn't daemonic size and power but their regenerative ability; they recover fast enough to seriously limit the effectiveness of most small arms ammunition. Essentially, if something doesn't kill them quickly, it won't kill them at all.
World War II technology would be just as deadly for an opponent which is tough, but still made of flesh and bone. Already from the Spitfire V (and on the opposite side, practically before the first shot of WWII had been fired) fighter aircraft had 20mm and 30mm cannon armament, rifle-caliber machineguns were already obsolete. Lightning bolts and flames aside, it would be pretty hard to withstand 20mm shells even if you're a Baldrick, leave alone 150mm artillery and dive bombers. And then there were the nerve gases. Even the Führer hesitated to use such thing in the war, as he was fighting for the very survival of Germany, but in front of a daemonic army all scruples wither. Not only there would be minefields around the Hellmouth, heavy railway artillery at safe distances and cannon-armed fighters in waiting, but at the slightest provocation, Tabun would rain on Abigor's troops. However, from a strategic point of view, Humans would be just as outclassed as the German forces were throughout the Eastern Front war. Electronics were reduced back then to vacuum-tube radios and electromechanical ballistic computers, psychic abilities were not even regarded outside some crackpot groups and an even more crackpot set of Third Reich dignitaries, so portals would be out of question, everything should be prepared, fought and won on a strip of desert in the Middle East, which is far away from most infrastructure of the time, centered on Europe and North America. Railways for supply and defense have to be built from scratch over thousands of miles, just like armored and AA-armed trains able to withstand Harpy attacks, armament programs which were costly even in Real Life have to be boosted, factories (which relied on skilled manual labor!) have to be built and crewed overnight, a Human army of millions of troopers has to be assembled, equipped, trained and pushed into Hell carrying hundreds of thousands of tonnes of equipment via trucks and trains. The combined forces of USA, Third Reich, USSR, British Empire and other large countries could win the war, but they will quickly become bankrupt and starve their population before sizable results are gained.
This really reinforces the point about how quickly humanity's ability to kill has developed. Against daemons, a Napoleonic Army would be a chew-toy (literally); by WW 1 the humans have a minimal ability to resist, by WW 2 a significant but not decisive capability, now we could win in a canter without really worrying too much. Now where's something really chilling to think about; what's human killing ability going to be like in 50 years time if these trends continue?
WW 2 saw the first nuke being deployed, already in the 20 kiloton range. I wouldn't worry too much that something more powerful than nukes would be built in the next five decades. However, what is more impressive than nuking hundreds of thousands of angelic troopers is the fact living standard of the people would not plummet even when fighting the Gods themselves. WW 1 saw German famine of 1917 and Russian Bolshevism born in hunger, blood and tears. WW 2 saw rationing, plunder, bombing and mass murder. 50 years ago people saw poverty during the Civil Rights troubles, Soviet oppression and destruction of entire countries in irregular warfare, less than 40 years ago people saw oil shock, 20 years ago they saw troubles, poverty, inflation and loss of millions of jobs during the fall of Communism. Nowadays even as oil is far above the highest level attained during the worst oil crisis and billions of dolars are dumped daily in Afghan and Iraqi War, people barely register it - everyone drives to his or her job, cashes the paychecks, spends money on whatever needed, eats in restaurants, watches widescreen TVs. For TSW:A Human characters, Armageddon was, quite literally, worlds away. The fact that military could win in a canter was more or less expectable since July 16, 1945, but the fact that civilians would not even notice a war is fought is quite the achievement.
There's also the fact that demons don't tend to interrogate prisoners coming in, and humans who've arrived in Hell arrive unconscious and are immediately launched off to whatever spot in Hell they "belong" in without the demons waiting around. Once they arrive, they simply start getting tortured without being interrogated.
Another reason the Demons hadn't been interrogating prisoners was arrogance. They didn't believe the humans had any new information they needed.
Additionally, why are the supernatural's advantages downplayed, while their weaknesses are up-played? May not be a logical question, but it just bugs me.
The advantages are not downplayed. They're there, daemons are tough, big, strong, have the ability to possess unshielded minds and can throw lightning bolts around. Is just that these aren't very important compared with the overwhelming human advantage in military arts. What we did do was take the daemon advantages and find mechanisms by which they could be made sort-of plausible (and gave the daemons every break possible in the process). Then, once the mechanism was established, worked out what could be done about them and in most cases the solutions already existed, it was just a question of applying them in an unfamiliar context.
The weaknesses aren't up-played either. The performance, use and terminal effects of the military equipment used is exactly as described. Daemonic vulnerability to them is easily predictable.
"The advantages are not downplayed." This is wrong. Most of the sources on demonology (Crowley, de Plancy) list complete scientific knowledge and/or knowledge of all secrets as virtually standard issue for high-order demons/fallen angels. They'd need an idiot ball the size of Saturn cold-riveted to their hands to not be able to see this coming. The demonic abilities (not to mention the angelic ones) seem to have been very obviously cherry-picked to ensure humanity's absolute supremacy.
Sorry, you are wrong. The "sources" you quote on demonology are simply not relevant. The Salvation War is based on theological mythology as written in the book of Revelations and other contemporary sources. What somebody said centuries later and for which there is no support in the original texts is utterly irrelevant. Crowley and de Plancy's work is - at best - no more and no less fictional than The Salvation War: Armageddon. In fact, a much better argument could be made that TSW:A discredits Crowley and de Plancy rather than the other way around. At least the authors of TSW:A made some attempt to find rational mechanisms for the claimed powers of daemons. Crowley and de Plancy just made it up as they went along.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but every Biblical description of demons that I'm aware of depicts them as intangible spirits who possess or otherwise inflict misfortune on people; they can be driven off by exorcists, but don't actually seem to have physical bodies that can be attacked. The demons in these books however, have very physical bodies that bleed and die like anything else. I've got no problem with stories doing their own thing with demons, but saying The Salvation War portrays demons the same way they were portrayed in the Bible isn't really accurate.
How are angels realistic products of evolution? They are six-limbed, white-blooded, vertebrates fully capable of flight while maintaining traditional angel conformation, can withstand ridiculous amounts of punishment, dogfight with jets, and produce fully-functioning offspring with humans that are virtually indistinguishable from normal humans. The only solution which makes sense to me is that there is a third party which was doing some genetic engineering way back when, but that would frankly be a huge let down.
Have you even been paying attention? The humans in the story were already postulating directed evolution in the demons back in the first book, and have done the same with the angels in the second.
It doesn't matter what they said. Directed evolution could never accomplish that. Even genetic engineering would be hard pressed.
The laws of physics operate differently in Heaven and Hell. See: demon-created ball-lightning, regenerating humans who don't eat food, etc. The presence of kaiju-sized Beasts, along with dozens of different variations of demon and angel indicates that evolution may operate differently in these alternate realities as well. A major component of the series is that human science needs to adapt to what was previously believed to be impossible (portals, dead humans who violate thermodynamics, demon/angel "psychic" abilities, etc). The humans are still trying to figure out how the demons/angels came into existence, and that appears to be one of the major mysteries in the series.
Indeed, more than one scene has scientists essentially going "how the fuck is that possible?" while trying to figure out the new rules they were previously unaware of.
There's also the issue with the Minos Portal. According to Stuart, whatever IS on the other side is so alien we literally cannot understand, let alone interact with, whatever exists on the other side, yet whatever is there is directly responsible for putting the human "dead" into Heaven and Hell in their current state of being. If some Cthulhu-esque entities are behind the whole process of sending humans to the afterlife, then it's no real stretch to say they might also have been behind the creation of the angels and demons in their current forms.
Even though demons and angels are extremely long lived why the hell wouldn't they check back to earth every couple of years. Even if they saw humans as insignificant I can't fathom any logical reason why the felt it okay to leave us to our own devices for as long as they did. Also why is it they know current capitals,like Washington, yet don't understand the industrial revolution? How did they even figure out the U.S. capital without noticing the massive technological leaps that took place during their last visit.
The answer is that they did come back to look around but they did so at what they considered regular intervals. To us, used to our present day rate of development, every two or three years would be reasonable. But, to the daemons who were used to a very slow rate of progress, every two or three centuries would be quite adequate. And, in fairness to them, that would have been correct for most of human history. A visit in 300BCE wouldn't show that much difference from one in 500BCE. Likewise, a visit in 400CE wouldn't show any real differences from one in 1CE. In fact, to be really cruel, to a cursory inspection, 1400CE wouldn't look that different from 1CE. So the daemons watched at what they thought was a prudent level, determined by their experience of human development mixed in with a whole load of arrogance. Now, I'd refer you to the earlier sections on how fast human society has advanced and how recent most of our developments are. Go back to 1800CE say, and the world fights with armies that move on foot and are armed with primitive muskets. They have wooden sailing ships and no air power at all. They figured it was OK to leave us to our own devices because that was what they observed to date. It's easy to imagine the report "Earth date 1750 CE. Nothing happening, suggest another visit in 2050." They have some knowledge of human society - for example they know where the concentrations of population were (and hence the capitals) and that should have given them some hint of what was happening but arrogance and laziness did for them. Even allowing for that, based on existing patterns all they could really have cause to expect were very large armies that were essentially similar to those they had wiped out before. For example, it wouldn't have taken many daemons to curb stomp both armies at Waterloo. Suddenly, in 70 years or so, all that changed. The lesson here is the deadly danger of extrapolating from existing data without understanding basic mechanisms. One other factor, Hell's society was essentially government by back-stabbing, anybody who was away from home or court too long or was not keeping well-informed on the plots and schemes being generated would be the victim of one of them. So they stayed at home.
Indeed. Chapter 42 of Armageddon even makes this very explicit. Belial muses that he was worried information he'd gotten from a couple of human informants was out of date, but that one had only been dead for "one human lifetime" and the other for two. And he compares that with information that he knows: that cities don't supposedly change that quickly over a single human lifetime. Of course, he's wrong, but from his experience demonic cities don't change very quickly. Remember that the demons are explicitly comparing everything from their perspective and their experiences, which are spread over thousands of years. In comparison, Michael-lan is well aware of human capabilities because he has regular contact with humans.
This is clearly corroborated at the end of Patheocide when Lemuel-lan talks to a Human doctor and is completely stunned to learn that the doctor considers his medical knowledge obsolete in the span of just 20 years.
If humanity got a portal into heaven, they'd do a lot better. They never bothered with the gate between heaven and hell, and they decided to send a nuke instead of a Naga (and a motorcycle or some such and a bomb in order to escape and survive long enough to do anything) with Michael-lan's drugs.
They didn't need to send a naga. All they needed was a portal between Heaven and Earth they could properly utilize. Once they scanned the portal Michael used with the Myanmar junta, they had what they needed.
A lot of this is that humans screwed up. The significance of the Heavengate being unique and hard to replicate simply didn't occur to anybody until it was too late. By the time they realized how important it was, Michael had shut down all the access methods for getting to Heaven. Had the humans not been so swamped with other issues, they might have realized how important that gate was, pushed a task group through and seized the other side. Or at least tried to. But they didn't so they're stuck with the situation in hand.
That portal that Michael-lan during the drugs/nuke/cart incident was actually into Hell, from where Michael-lan then created a second portal into Heaven that none of the humans saw. Colonel Keisha Stevenson's troops ended up finding this out the hard way.
To be precise, Michael was probably taking his supplies from Myanmar to an uninhabited part of Hell, from there to an uninhabited part of Earth (probably somewhere in Antarctica if later chapters are any indication), and then from there to Heaven, since opening a gate directly between Hell and Heaven requires extensive cooperation on both sides, probably on the order of opening a sky volcano or pouring the seventh Bowl of Wrath.
Why did they make the Nuke timed? If they made it go off when it stopped getting a certain radio signal, that plan couldn't have failed.
A simple case of unforeseen circumstances. They simply didn't think of it. Happens all the time; it's called "being human."
I don't know about you, but I think it would be a fairly foolish idea to wire up a nuclear warhead to something that can be as easily cut off as a radio signal. What if the transmitter malfunctioned before the nuke went inside the portal? Setting the nuke on a timer that was activated by a team with eyes on target was a much more reliable method, that was only foiled by Michael thinking incredibly fast.
It would be very risky to put the device on a radio signal; it would only require a momentary transmission interruption to cause a disaster (rather like the one that finally happened). A timer keyed by an observer is much safer. What went wrong was simply that the Myanmar junta wasn't nearly as smart as they thought they were (which is factually correct as anybody who has had to deal with them can tell you) and Michael is a lot smarter and more perceptive than the humans gave him credit for (and he turned out to be a master at Xanatos Speed Chess).
He didn't actually know that there was a nuke was in there, only that there was something off about the junta's reaction to him, which drew his attention to the unusually heavy cart in a "come to think of it" way... he didn't actually know that there was an armed nuclear device inside or that the device was on a timer.
Why is the survivability of deceased humans so inconsistent? First thing we are told that, expectedly, they cannot die since they are already kind of dead. This fact is backed repeatedly. For instance, leutenant Stevenson received...uhm...exstensive internal injures upon ariving to Hell which she admitted would be lethal to a living person but cures rather promptly. Many souls spent centuries bathing in molten lava and cure completely in a matter of minutes after leaving it. And then all of a sudden they start to...die. And not of some supernatural causes that is, but of some mundane calamities like being crushed by falling rocks or blasted by commonplace human missiles. What gives? One whould thing that if you can (kind of) survive burning (kind of) alive for centuries that guaranties that you can withstand some petty pebbles on a head, no?
"Dead" humans regenerate relatively small-scale damage quickly enough that they can withstand prolonged tortures. Sudden, massive, immediate damage that destroys entire sections of the body instantly (e.g. a missile to the forehead, having your head pulped by a rock, having your torso eaten by a demon, etc.) destroys the human before the body can regenerate. I mean, have you seen what happens to an unarmored person who gets hit by a Hellfire missile? There usually isn't even any meat left behind, just vapor.
I guessed that could be the case, although denouncing burning alive in lava as smal-scale damage doesn't fit too well with me. Nevertheless, what about the traitor humans in Tartarus? When they first tried to rat on their kind, they were slaughered by their own workmates seemingly with just sharp rocks or, at best, picks.
Have you ever seen what a properly swung pick can do to a human being? A two-foot long, solid metal, ten pound spike being repeatedly driven into the top or side of the head of a human by someone who has spent centuries working in a mine will fuck up a person's skull. Ditto for a rock; repeatedly smashing someone's head with a rock over and over again will do a lot of damage, especially when you've got multiple people beating on you with them over and over again.
The victim who was raped and thrown in the burning river was Jade Kim, not Stevenson. Stevenson is a track-head. be that as it may, it's not inconsistent for two reasons. One is that the reborn humans and daemons have extremely fast recuperative powers; they are not immune to damage (nothing is) but they recover very, very fast. However, to recover, one has to be alive and the way to kill daemons and second-life humans is to inflict massive damage so quickly that the recovery system is overwhelmed and breaks down. Even massive non-fatal damage will be repaired but more limited damage that is instantly fatal will not. So, mangling a body until it's unrecognizable but not killing it is recoverable. Blowing the victim's head to a pink mist is not. Looking at things with that rule in mind, the damage is consistent. The other thing is that it turns out the "lava river" isn't lava. It's actually a "burning river" which consists of a mix of very long-chain hydrocarbons and natutal gas entrained within that matrix. As the gas escapes, it burns off giving the appearance of a river of fire. The hydrocarbon matrix is hot (around 60 - 70 dec C) but not that hot. Combined with the burning gas it inflicts severe but non-lethal burns on its victims. This mechanism is described in TSW:P. The hell dimension is oil-rich for reasons that will become apparent later in TSW:P.
Also, the "oil in Hell" is a very useful sub-trope to sting a few modern dignitaries who did not invade Iraq for oil, yet it would truly be impossible to have any oil in Hell, for the very simple reason Hell never had any organic sediments from past geologic ages like Earth did. (There is a mix of hydrocarbons known as kerogen, with properties similar to crude oil, which may appear as a result of different chemical reactions even where no decayed organisms are present and it may occur even on lifeless planets or asteroids.)
Troper does have a point with inconsistency though. Robert E. Lee and others who put duty above all else were punished by pushing a giant boulder around for all eternity. Occasionally, because they could not see where they were going, they would hit something and the boulder would end up crushing them. But Lee is still alive, although falling rocks is shown to kill second-lifers elsewhere. While it's theoretically possible that Lee simply never hit anything in a hundred plus years, I don't think that's likely (and moreover, it's never stated).
Not at all. Daemons and Second-Life humans were seriously injured by rockfalls but they had to be finished off by other means unless the damage was instantly critical (eg head being crushed). If they hadn't been finished off they would have recovered. On the other hand, those rolling the rocks around would get injured in the collisions but not killed (the rock would roll over their legs for example inflicting crush injuries but not lethal ones. Add in soft ground to absorb the impact (and make pushing around more difficult) and the rocks are survivable but the deliberately-designed rockfalls are much less so.
After the heralds were snuffed out Abigor and Satan thought it prudent to investigate what these new weapons were so they send as abigor put it "send the comeliest and most seductive of her(Deumos) Succubi" How did Bill Clinton resist her when Baylor knows that if he wasn't in a room full of equipment designed to nullify her pheromone powers he would gladly let her eat him. Which begs another question they noticed the heralds were killed by unknown super weapons and they just sent out a succubus to learn more about them why did they try only once before sending abigor out with his legions?
Human susceptibility to mind control and pheremone-induced behavior modification is subject to natural variation - which is, after all, the basis of evolution. Clinton just happened to be less susceptible than most. One could speculate that given time, now the threat from the succubae is real and ominpresent, evolution in action will slowly produce a human race that is less and less vulnerable to the succubae pheremones. After all, humans were created by the process of evolution, the same can be expected to continue working.
Clinton and a bar full of women of ill repute resisted the emp/pheromone attack apparently alot of people are resistant to succubus powers.
READ THE STORY CLOSER! The girls in the bar recognized the Succubi because they were on the look out for such things. Do you think hookers wouldn't be able to recognize if they'd ever seen a certain attractive skimpily dressed woman they'd never seen before walked into their bar? So when they see Luga walk into their bar, looking like someone who doesn't belong there, they put two and two together since they know that Succubi exist now. They've also clearly been waiting for more or less EXACTLY this possibility given that they were sitting around heavily armed. In fact it would also take only one well hidden person with a peephole wearing a tin foil hat to spot Luga as she entered then give a signal to her companions to let them know that a Succubi has entered the building. Luga like so many other Baldricks in the story was simply out thought and walked right into the trap that had been set up for her in advance, though her pheromones are powerful enough to let her make friends with the people who know she would kill them an in an instant if they had the upper hand and let her surrender on good terms rather than getting shot full of holes.
Also, at least one of the women in the bar is mentioned to be wearing a baseball cap, and the narrative actually goes out of its way to point this out. This troper just figured that said baseball cap(s) were lined with tin foil.
When the succubus appeared and attempted to seduce Clinton, it was clear that something was amiss, if only from the reactions of the bodyguards. Clinton was just savvy and alert enough during a war with Hell to notice something out of place and put the pieces together. Despite what popular media will have you believe, one doesn't get to be President without being pretty savvy and capable.
"Nukes don't explode, they initiate." Except, they do explode. The dictionary definition of an explosion is "A rapid expansion or bursting out." Note that this doesn't say anything about what causes it. Thus, a sudden release of chemical energy (such as from detonating TNT) is an explosion, a sudden release of pressure (such as an over-pressurized gas tank) is an explosion, and a sudden release of nuclear energy (such as from a nuclear initiation) is an explosion. Yes, nuclear bombs initiate. They also explode as a direct result of that. (They're also bombs, no matter how much you call them "devices.") You'd think that someone would call the Targeter out on his B.S.
This is a perfect example of why you should never, never use generalized descriptions from dictionaries intended for common use when discussing specialized subjects. Doing so simply betrays ignorance. Every area of expertize has its own language and conventions and to be credible in that field one has to use that jargon. In this case, the dictionary you are quoting is so over-simplified as to be worthless. FYI, yes, TNT going off is an explosion. No, an over-pressurized tank of gas letting go is not an explosion, it is called "bursting". And no, a nuclear initiation is not an explosion. The difference is that explosion is a simple chemical process while an initiation is a complex physical process. This difference is absolutely critical in handling nuclear weapons because an explosion is used to initiate the process (either by powering the gun for a gun configuration device or compressing the pit in an implosion device). A lot of things happen thereafter and it's essential to distiguise between the two. So, a nuclear initiation is a lot more than just an explosion (for example how many electronic effects are created by a boiler bursting? Or how many people die from radiation poisoning following a pound of TNT exploding?). Your comment about bombs is just plain ridiculous. FYI a bomb is a munition. A nuclear device may be configured as the payload of a bomb, it may be configured as the payload of a shell, it may be configured as the payload of the re-entry vehicle of a missile or as the payload of a depthcharge. In each case, the nuclear device itself is quite seperate from the means by which it is delivered. Nobody called the Targeteer out because he was absolutely right and you are absolutely wrong. To make dialogue authentic it has to reflect the terminology used by the speaker and this is done accurately.
Ok, I see the difference between a nuclear "device" and a nuclear bomb (and nuclear shell, nuclear ICBM, nuclear depth charge, nuclear hand grenade, etc.). I apologize for getting that wrong. However, I stand by my statement that a nuclear initiation results in a nuclear explosion. I'm a computer programmer, which is a field that has plenty of its own jargon (granted, not as much as either the military or nuclear physics, but still plenty). The actual definition of a "computer hacker" is someone who enjoys pushing computers to their limit, to see what they can do; in other words, an extreme enthusiast. However, just because someone is enough of an enthusiast to merit the title of "hacker" doesn't mean that the title "computer enthusiast" ceases to apply. I believe the same is true here. A nuclear initiation is one specific type of explosion, however, that doesn't mean that the term "explosion" ceases to apply.
Sorry, but you are still missing the point and are still completely wrong. You are using a definitition from a very elementary and generalized source source that has no validity when being used to reference a specific technology area. You might as well say that explosions are things that go bang; your dictionary definition is no more useful than that. A nuclear initiation is far more than a simple chemical process. Say again, since when does a pound of TNT going off give somebody (for example) radiation poisoning? Furthermore, the language used in the nuclear weapons business is specific and ccurately represented. It would not be accurate to have somebody from that background not using the correct terminology. So you are wrong on both counts, a nuclear initiation is not an explosion and nobody from the nuclear weapons sectior would call it one.
I still disagree about the definition of the word explosion. However, if that's the way real nuclear weapons experts talk (I've never met one, so I don't have any first-hand experience), then the author was correct in putting it in. I withdraw my complaint. So, is there a "JustBugsMe/Jargon" page or something available that we can take this debate to?
Except that's the correct terminology in nuclear science for a nuclear detonation, particularly among targeters. Remember, Stuart's job during the Cold War was to target nuclear devices for maximum effect, and he is intimately familiar with both their workings and the terminology surrounding them. If he says the correct term is "initiate" then he's correct.
If they only checked on us every hundred or thwo hundred years regardless of the schedule they would have to be total idiots not to have on quick global check before invading the earth.
They had a situation on their hands that required immediate attention plus the fact they had information that they thought was perfectly adequate. If you had read the book instead of pontificating on something about which you are completely ignorant, you would know that point is explored there. To the daemons, information two hundred years old is perfectly up-to-date and adequate.
Hey can you tell me about demon life though I was going to read it but I don't know where to start and I don't have the time to read it all.
Now that I've got all that out of the way I'll talk about Baldrick life as best I can. Baldricks live and die by the "Large and In charge" principle. There are seven ranks of Baldrick, and each is a noticeable step up from the next lower one. At the bottom you have Minor Demons, who being the least powerful in Hell get the short end of the stick everywhere, they're constantly pushed around by the other Baldricks. They seem to have to live more or less as farmers (farming is possible in parts of Hell, not fun but possible) and while they don't have it quite as bad as the humans, they still get to experience "the violence inherent in the system" every day of their very long lives. The rank up from that is Lesser Deamons, they are your bread and butter Baldricks, the ones who are actually powerful enough for the other demons to use as fighters and tortures, they're still looked down on, but unlike minor demons they have plenty of hapless targets to take their anger out on. After that you get a five more categories which are a bit more difficult to parse to each individual level. As for what life in Hell is like before the Salvation War breaks out, Satan knows that he got to his current position via picking a fight with the last guy who was in charge and he has no desire to let anyone else follow his example. While he's evidently the most powerful Baldrick in Hell he's also aware that he'd probably go down if he was ganged up on by several of his minions so to prevent that from happening he goes to considerable length to keep his subjects busily fighting against one another to try and get into his good graces. He's just a touch (understatement) obvious about it, being less of a master manipulator and more of a huge jackass, and his cruelty gets passed down the line to every other Baldrick in Hell. That said because Baldricks seem to more or less live forever if they aren't killed, he has a considerable weight of inertia working in his favor, and probably part of what kept a revolution from ever taking place against him was that his would be killers knew that they'd end up getting killed in the next wave of revolutions as sure as volcanoes spew magma. In Hell if at any point you are killed/betrayed by one of your minions don't waste your time crying to person above you in the chain of command, you either need to deal with it yourself, or your be default proven yourself to be a fool and thus your newly promoted subordinate will do a better job. Because Satan has such a hands off approach to letting people for the most part keep whatever they can grab, and everyone wanting to have as much as possible what we would consider to be cute little "wars" are more or less always going on around the clock. Baldricks are very formal about their wars, Heralds are considered to have diplomatic immunity and never attacked when they're serving as a go between, though should you bring bad news to your own side, there are pretty decent chances you'll end up being killed/devoured for it. Sieges (which are also fairly common since there are pathetic castles all over hell) involve the two sides lining up to get a good look at how many soldiers each side has, and quite frequently negotiating a peace then and there. Because Baldricks fight with little more than their own bodies (fearsome as they are) and Tridents the loss of life during battles tend to be fairly low, and when one side sees it is loosing they'll almost always pull back before it can turn into a route and the winning side will let them because battles are fought for territory rather than with the expressed aim of trying to destroy the other army. As for why there is no new weapons of war being created among such a war like race, much of it has to do with Hell's environment, its more or less completely saturated with the dust from the countless volcanoes in Hell. While the Baldricks are tough enough that it doesn't bother them, it also makes fine quality craftsmanship almost entirely impossible. Secondly it has to do with the keeping power where it is. Power in Hell has just as much to do with how strong YOU are as how large an army you command. Thus the creation of weapons which would make the individual Baldrick a more effective solider, like firearms simply CAN'T BE ALLOWED to exist because they would serve as a threat to Satan's domain. That's another one of the big key differences between us, we're willing to accept that "Samuel colt made us equal" and a homeless man can own a weapon powerful enough to kill the president, in Hell they aren't. Thus, anyone who came up with such a creation would look forward only to getting their face stomped in by every single one of Satan's major minions before the big red "S" himself flosses with their entrails. No Grand Duke of Hell has died in battle, even in the war between Heaven and Hell and they don't intend to start doing it any time soon. That seems to be a pretty good primer for the moment, any other questions about Baldrick life I can answer?
What do they eat? would they like human food? how long exactly have they been alive? If they're so used to retreating when they start losing a few people why continue with the war when they start losing lots of people? My bermuda triangle arguement was that the presence of the emf and emp would be evidence of them using portals to spy on us.(this isn't a question for you it's for some other guy)
As for what Baldrick's eat, they seem to be by and large carnivores, so they can eat "human food" to that extent. They can also eat "human food" to the extent of eating either each other (as I already mentioned) or us (they consider the malformed fetuses of aborted or miscarried babies old enough to have developed the spiritual energy to be "reborn" in Hell (IE four months along)) a delightful snack/delicacy. They raise food beasts which as well. Baldricks despite being warm blooded seem to need to eat fairly infrequently, the author hasn't gone into exactly how many pounds of meat/how many calories they need per day, but its considerably less than you'd expect.
As for why they didn't run away when doing battle with humans when we started inflicting mass casualties you need to consider the political situation. In Hell the guy you're fighting with today is the guy you might be allied with against someone else the next day. If you wear down your own army trying to utterly and completely destroy his then congratulations, you've just won the booby prize of a lot of land to defend and a lot fewer soldiers to do it with, I trust you can guess what happens next. Meanwhile on Earth, the Baldricks saw all of Humanity as one massive enemy, there could be no alliance with them, they needed to be completely and utterly destoryed. The Baldricks war efforts against humanity are in effect one gigantic series of Hope Spots, one right after another. No commander wants to admit that they got beaten by those "pathetic" humans since doing so would be grounds for the person up the chain to demote (by which I mean more likely devour) them and put someone new in charge. So they know they're dead if they'll be killed by their own side if they admit they lost and pull back, while they're only marginally certain they'll die if they keep fighting and try for victory. Thus they press their soldiers onward regardless of casualties, figuring that if they just keep trying hard enough eventually they'll be able to close with the humans who are slaying them and return the favor.
The above explains why they continue press onward in individual battles let me explain the war effort on the whole. Baldricks did quickly realize that there was something very wrong going on and humanity was curb stomping them. There were multiple reasons why they could just quit the war however. Problem one is that any attempt to establish peace, or even surrender to humanity would mean that they'd failed in their establish duty, and thus get Yahweh to declare war on them for being unable to live up his divine commands, and the last thing they wanted was to make an offering of peace, and have Yahweh find out about it before its a done deal, thus leaving them fighting a two front war against humanity and Heaven. Problem two is that for a treaty to be effective Satan has to agree with it, he does not enjoy the fact that his infernal legions are getting splattered all over the place by human tank shells and more or less follows the Hitler route, where he is constantly screaming for new and deadlier weapons which will properly put these humans back in their place. He simply can't comprehend that he and his side have already lost the war effectively, and by the time it becomes personal for him.... well you'll see what happens if you bother to read the story. Problem number three is that the Baldricks on the whole figure that death fighting humanity is probably better than whatever terms they'd get if they surrendered to us. You can't really fault them for that, as they have spent the last few millennia spit roasting our brothers and sisters while devouring our children, in their minds they probably assumed that humanity would turn things around and see to it that they were the ones who were now spending eternity drowning in rivers of flame. Do those three problems put together paint a reasonable picture of why the Baldricks didn't just give up when things started to turn against them in the war?
great now this no longer bugs except for two small ways the bermuda triangle thing and now that I think about I can't stop imagining satan ordering his minions to bring him twinkies, big macs, and otherkinds of delicous food we have. everything has been resolved but I'm still wondering about the bermuda triangle(evidence of an always open portal) thing couldn't that have been used as an explanation for strange occurences like missing people, disemboweled cattle, planes, and ghost ships. It could also explain strange beasts like you know the jersey devil, sasquatch, chupacabra, sea monsters etc. That's all I but it'll be a while before I can forget the mental image of satan gorging on junk food.
Hey new question did they use humans as beast of labor? You know like oxen and horses. Another question were their any daemon defections? demons that decided it was in their own best interest to side with the humans against their superiors who have mistreated them for almost all their natural life. Another question why is hell such prime real estate that the daemons keep fighting and backstabbing each other over it? lastly how long have the demons been alive exactly?
They don't "really" use humans as beasts of labor, mainly because by and large we're too weak and pathetic to be any good at the job as the average Baldrick is several times stronger than the average human being. However some Baldricks do take advantage of the humans slight statue and deft fingers to take care of certain tasks, as we see examples of a few "lucky" humans who basically end up serving some particular Baldrick lord or lady as a servant/maid, along with humans being used as miners probably because they'd have to make the tunnels larger if they were going to use Baldricks. As for Baldricks who defect, there are a fair number of them, though the general principle for the reasons I've listed above concerning why they don't stop fighting means that they typically involve getting captured first, learning about how much better things are on our side, and then signing up to help with our war effort. Finally hell isn't exactly "prime real estate" but its also all the Baldricks have. They seem to exist mainly on a fairly crude battering system (we know they prize jewels) so there isn't much in the way of money. Satan doesn't want any of his minions going out and discovering another new bubble universe because it would most likely lead to somebody pulling the exact same trick on him that he did on Yahweh when they found Hell and splitting off from his rule to start their own kingdom. As for how long the Baldricks have been alive, the number is more or less up int he air, but by the time the very first Homo Sapien came around they'd already broken off from Heaven, its a safe bet to say that they've been around for a really LONG, LONG, time. Or at least some of them have, all of Satan's top generals are the same guys he used when fighting his war with Heaven for example.
You said they don't eat very much but considering how big they are and the amount of energy their powers use up how much would you say the daemons need to eat? Can they die from hunger? If they can would the humans in hell also die from hunger? I keep coming up with more questions for every new piece of information. While individually we are weak and pathetic in numbers couldn't we humans be able to do their work for them?
On the issue of how much Baldricks need to eat to get by, that is the one part of the story that I'm willing to admit is to a certain extent makes little logical sense. I can provide you with no good answer, since Bladricks seem to need to eat about as much as a cold blooded animal of their size does, rather than a warm blooded one. The only solution I can give is as follows, go to go join the form on which the story is posted (you can find a link on the main page) and send a private message to the author Stuart Slade, according to this sights post on Word of God he's pretty forth coming about such details though at the moment his muse seems to have wandered away from the Salvation War universe so he might not be as happy to field questions as he normally is. Its a safe bet that Baldricks can in fact die of hunger it would just take a really long time. However the humans in Hell can not die of hunger. The "natural state" of a humans second body in hell is to have an automatic and powerful healing factor which not only repairs wounds but also sustains them so they don't need to eat or drink. This is why a Spartan who was one of the 300 can spend a thousand plus years in a lake of lava and yet not die from the experience. As for why Baldricks don't use humans emass to do their dirty work, think about the following for a moment. First of all, humans are individually weak but have strength in numbers. This equations is a double sided sword, since it means that "A": "10 humans can lift that rock which we'd need two Baldricks to move..." BUT ALSO "B": "Ten humans could give one Baldrick a run for their money in a fight." If you use humans as a source of labor at first yes they'd probably be glad just not to be tortured any more, but sooner or later that nasty thing known as "ego" kicks in. At that point the humans have something you want, their skills as laborers, and the Baldricks who have already been torturing them for eternity don't really have any great sticks to frighten them back into sumbission as it is a "been there done that" kind of thing. The one Baldrick who see in the story using humans for manual labor is also the odd ball of the group who the others consider to be the court Jester. This in turn suggests that he doesn't have enough Baldricks to truly get everything he wants done, so he has to take his chances and make use of some of the humans under his control as part of the work force and hope that he can prevent a rebellion from taking place. Finally, there's a very big reason why Baldricks don't want to be using human labor once the Salvation War starts. Its the same reason why the Germans had problem using the labor of the people whose nations they'd captured in World War Two. To Quote a Crowning moment of awesome: "This troper's neighbour recalls an unexploded bomb in his village. When a bomb disposal team opened the casing, they found an inscription tracing the bomb to a Czech factory, and that the fuse system had been replaced with cement. Think about it for a moment. Czech workers, whose country had been conquered by the Nazis even before the war had begun, were risking their lives in order to save people they'd never know." In short, Subcontracting the work of conquering people, out to THE VERY SAME PEOPLE YOU'RE SUPPOSE TO BE CONQUERING (or at least people who have more reason to side with them than with you) is a surefire way to get lackluster results. Also since we've been going at this for a few days now, you should consider at least reading the first chapter of the book so you can at least figure out if you like the prose style of it or not.
I read the first chapter but the amount of detail he goes into on the plane and radio is....off putting, and it seems to me these baldricks seem tailor made to lose in a special way he put a lot of thought into why they are why they are and it makes alot of sense but some parts don't add up. Humans make each other slaves all the time and after thousands of years of torture would it be easier to remember your name or that if you disobey its back into the firey water for another 10 years? Humans are animals and as such can be broken unless the dead humans can repair the damage done to their mind as well as their body? After 1600 years of torture and obediance to the daemons wouldn't they have the same frame of mind as the baldricks if they were made to fight the modern day human? The choice of help conquer people I don't know or back into the sand pit with no water or the buried under ground in a coffin for a good century? They're are so many ways the baldricks could have won but the excuse that they were to arrogant seems to be all the author needs? For the czech thing if they were caught they would have been shot and killed which is similar but still different enough to make a difference. Here is an example sabotage a missile geet found out and get days of torture and then death or just death, compared to mess up a generals cocktail and get thrown into a lake of fire where you will not die and just kind of stew in pain for a decade and if you stop screaming then they kick the pain up a notch.
It's not just Bladrick arrogance that kept them from winning the war, it's a number of things. First of all, to a certain degree yes a human being in hell has the mind repair the "damage" done to it by torture, for the most part at least. The upside of this is that if you stop getting tortured for some reason then you're more or less good to go and still sane, though you'll probably have nightmares for a while and possibly some other PTSD type symptoms. The downside of it is obviously that you don't become "used" to the torture that you're being subjected to. That way the Baldricks don't have to actually increase the amount of torture your surroundings inflict upon you in order to keep you screaming in agony. Also, bare in mind that Hell has effectively become a prison, and like any prison, the prisoners outnumber the guards. Also, you have to keep in mind Hell was never meant as a massive brainwashing operation. Yes given enough time the Baldricks could probably teach humans to serve them without rebelling, but that was never their goal, their goal was to put humans in as much pain as possible. Also the only reason that humans are at all useful in combat is because they have weapons, so even if Baldricks could force dead humans to fight for them, they'd be doing it with their bare hands. Finally consider the following situation, the Baldricks have a "punishment unit" of unarmed dead humans who are going to be used as shock troops to charge at the modern day humans to soften them up since a quick death is better then a prolonged one. Then all of a sudden an air plane flies overhead and a few crates worth of AK-47s are rained down. Okay that's a stretch which requires the humans involved to be knowledgeable about modern day fire arms, but let me offer you another idea. They run straight at the humans, and nothing happens. The modern day humans don't shoot the dead humans run right up to them, and hug them for all they're worth, before begging to do anything they can to help kill those bastards who enslaved them. If the Baldricks charged with the dead Humans then you'd probably see snipers pick off of the Baldricks, or have the dead humans turn on them in the middle of battle. The "Curbstomp war" lasted for about a year. The Baldricks simply didn't have time to change the purpose of Hell from torturing to brainwashing humans to use them effectively. What other ways did you see that the Baldricks could have won exactly, and what is the what was the "special way" in which they had been tailor made to loose?
"They run straight at the humans, and nothing happens. The modern day humans don't shoot the dead humans run right up to them, and hug them for all they're worth, before begging to do anything they can to help kill those bastards who enslaved them." If you want a visual of what that would be like, go watch Braveheart (historical accuracy notwithstanding) and fast-forward to when Edward decides that sending in the Irish conscripts first would be a brilliant idea.
It is made to seem as though they have some things going for them durability strentgh and the like but they are all nullified numbers? 45 million baldricks < couple billion humans.
Numbers are as specified in Christian mythology. Don't blame me for the fact that the numbers in question seemed huge two thousand years ago but are small in comparison with the numbers of humans around now. It isn't just weaponry that's changed.
Additionally, very long lived species (Abigor remembered the events of The Celestial War, "two or three millions of Earth years before", but in Pantheocide is hinted it might have happened five million years before) barely had any interest to reproduce - if there's no older generation to be naturally replaced, why bother, just to have more daemons to fight on less food resources?
I love these stories, but am bugged by the fact that it was directly implied that there were numerous cases of actual demonic possession that got confused with schizophrenia in the modern age and that it was also directly stated that a lot of school shootings and killing sprees were conducted by demon berserkers possessing people. So the demons were getting intell from earth and in some cases even directly using guns. So why the heck were they so surprised with all the advancements when they had been seeing, even using them?
You know I don't edit this page for my health, and the answer you were looking for is already there if you bothered to look. Let me regurgitate it a second time however. We never find out how exactly many school shootings were caused by Baldricks and how many were just random people going crazy in a non demonic inspired way. Also here's an explanation straight from the author. "What they would do is plant the idea in a person's mind. They wouldn't give precise instructions but mission-instructions. So, they wouldn't say 'take a gun and do this' but 'go to this place and kill everybody inside'. Then leave the poor mind-controlled (post-hypnotic?) to work the fine details out for themselves. Actual berserker massacres would be of the 'splattered blood and bits of flesh all over the walls' variety not involving guns." Also consider this other fact that someone posted in commentary of the story. "I suspect what Luga meant by 'You were wise to conceal these weapons from us' was a reference to anything more powerful than the average small-caliber weapon used in these school and mall shootings. After all, what seems to be killing Baldricks are full-calibre rifle rounds and up. The average school or mall shooter uses handguns, small rifles, or shotguns - weapons that, on the whole, would not really threaten a Baldrick very much. I don't even think a Baldrick would be impressed by an AK-47, if he possessed some fellow over in the Middle East and sent him on a rampage for shits and giggles." In short, while Baldricks might have been somewhat aware of guns, they would have no clue about high powered rifles, tanks, artillery, or air power, the four things that really made it possible for humanity to win.
Read this and loved it (quite frankly I can't see why people are complaining about it, just don't read it) however I was wondering why the daemons used cavalry to charge home when engaging against daemonic infantry who fight in a tight phalanx. Surely they would be better encircling or using them more as a way to disrupt supplies as wouldn't infantry with ranged (lightning) capacity be able to hold the charge still? Also just to attach to this, I wonder how the daemons are able to fight close up when they seem to have little sense of co-operation? Wouldn't it be hard to maintain formation?
The cavalry charge was an anti-human tactic; the daemons had learned that faced witha charge of War-Beasts (aka Rhinolobsters), humans would not hold. So, their tactics were for a mass cavalry charge that would break the enemy line with the infantry following up and demolishing anything that was still living. When fighting other daemons, they were more circumspect with the infantry exchanging lightning bolts while the cavalry maneuvered on the flanks. This is all actually based on the Alexandrine tactics used around 300BC (and which were still valid two thousand years later). Against an enemy who had little or nothing in the way of phalanxes, heavy cavalry was used as a sledghammer to break the enemy line (hence the nickname of the Companion Cavalry - Alexander's Crowbar. However, in the Diodochi Wars, when both sides had strong, stable phalanxes, the heavy cavalry were used to kick the flanks open. In theory. In reality, faced with a strong phalanx that had its flanks well protected, cavalry became something of a sideshow. It's notable that in the Diodochi Wars, the combined arms tactics used by Alexander died out and battles became very much two phalanxes jousting with each other. That's what killed Antigonus at Ipsus; Seleucus Nikator turned up with something that could crack a Phalanx wide open. On the cooperation issue, that really applies at command level, the daemonic grunts do as they are trained to do, keep in formation and do as they are told. The problem is unit coordination rather than on the individual level.
To add to the above, part of the reason that they didn't see cavalry in the raiding role is that Abigor (he didn't have a staff, by the way) didn't seem to quite get the importance of logistics... as long as the cavalry had their Beasts, everyone their individual weapons, and presumably enemy meat to feed on or forage, they were ready by their own standards; they didn't even have supply lines for human cavalry and aircraft to go after. If you're wondering why Abigor didn't try to use his remaining cavalry to lead flanking maneuvers in his "new" formation, his idea of extending his lines assumed that the infantry would suffice for envelopment, so instead of exploiting the tactical speed advantage of his cavalry he left them as stopgaps for his thinned lines. When he realizes only mid-battle that it also lengthened his response time... yep, he didn't really think that through. If you're interested, here and here have some of the author's takes on logistics.
When it comes to the strip clubs in Heaven, did it strike anyone else odd that there was only service for males? Female on female but no male on male, female prostitutes but no male etcetera. You would think in a deprived society like the Angels, even the females would be interested in that sort of thing. If so, would this be a preconcieved notion on the writers part, or in universe on either the human's part (Not many male strippers, so Michael never got the idea) or on Michaels part (judging by the values of Lemuels wife, they aren't exactly for similar gender roles)?
Remember that the Heaven in the Salvation War is run by the God of the Bible. Thus male Homosexuality is right out, while girl on girl is acceptable (look back at Leviticus, it never says anything about a woman who lays with a woman!) would be my joke answer. My more serious answer is that the owner/designer of the club is male, and Heaven is very much quite obviously a male dominated society. So in this case clearly we're seeing a preconcieved notion on the part of the part of the universe that the story takes place in. As it seems like all, or at least most of the big movers and shakers in heaven are male, and those are the people who Micheal wants to subvert via the club, it makes sense that the club would be designed to be as attractive to male guests as possible. So in short, there's perfectly good reasons for why the club is so male servicing centric.
I'm pretty sure most of what's going on in that club is pretty sinful. I'm not very educated in the bible, but you have indulgence, adultery, and whatever those female angels are doing can't be allowed...So that doesn't seem to hold much water, but I'll buy that the big movers and shakers are male.
Erm, guys? Biblical texts are quite clear that prostitution is sinful, lust and envy are sinful, and, in some interpretations, female homosexuality is also sinful. Romans 1:26-27. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. All forms of homosexuality are covered. So basically what The Salvation War is doing is putting in gratuitous fan service for male readers. Suffice to say the Heaven of TSW bears about the same relation to the Heaven of Christian or Judaic belief that, say, a hermit crab's shell does to the Sydney Opera House. And the angels have about the same relation as well for that matter. And... oh, hell, the entire mythological set-up of the story does.
For the sake of argument, Romans was written by Paul, who didn't seem terribly fond of sex in any form, even between husband and wife. Within the context of the story, Paul may have been one of the individuals corrupting Ehlmas's teachings via Jeshua bar Joseph.
The whole point of the Montmartre Club is that its sinful and filled with forbidden pleasures. That's why it's subversive and corrupting. Michael-Lan is using it as part of a very specific strategy - think Opium Wars in the 19th Century. The fan service comment is unjustified. Fan service is material put in for no purpose other than to titillate fans of one sex or the other - or possible both. The Montmatre Club (named after Al Capone's headquarters by the way) and its shows fills a very specific plot niche which is slowly unfolding. By the way, I know the picture of heaven and the Angels is different from Jdeo-Christian mythology - the TSW picture is a lot more plausible. By the way, the reason why the club is orientated towards male guests is because the power structure in Heaven is purely male-controlled and the club is designed to subvert and corrupt them.
We don't strictly know that there weren't male strippers or prostitutes. It's true that we didn't see any, but they weren't strictly necessary for the plot. We only needed to see the female strippers and prostitutes for the purpose of Maion's story (and some characterization for the one dominatrix Angel). Given the previous arguments, however, the assumption that all the strippers and prostitutes were female seems likely.
This one is mild, but; the heralds are called Behemoths on land and Leviathans at sea. Why are the aeriel ones called harpies, instead of keeping the theme with calling them Ziz?
People (readers) are already familiar with the concept of behemoths and leviathans and the image they provoke. I doubt if many are familiar with a Ziz and would relate that name to a giant flyer.
More importantly, they're being nicknamed in-universe; that is, after all, why the demons are called "baldricks" instead of, well, "demons."
The implementation of the portals bug me, there was so much posssiblity in them but the author chose to use them as a plot device to get into hell. Since they are purely based on technobabble why is it that the demons couldm't use them to do guerrlia raids? Also the idea that a bronze age tech based army didn't think to do guerrlia raids is laughable and will not be accepted as a anwser unless you can back it up with evidence.
Why would they develop guerilla warfare with portals? They've never had the need to. Demonic ways of war were quite clearly laid out in the series, as they fought other demons exclusively. They didn't use portals against each other because there was no way to use them against each other, as portals are strictly Universe One <-> Universe Two. The demonic way of war was built around shock attacks with massed force-on-force, not irregular warfare. With the top-down, immovable command structure that they'd developed over millennia, established by a ruling, immortal figurehead who is mostly concerned with maintaining his power, adjustments to their military doctrine will be slow. They couldn't adapt fast enough to allow for the kind of felxible, independent command structure that would allow for irregular warfare.
First off humans used portals from earth-hell hell-earth for rapid deployment so why didn't demons? Just because they fought a converntional line em-up smash-em together doesn't mean that they don't understand the importance of securing ground quickly. Come to think of it the blind loyalty demons showed to satan is somewhat alarming. Satan seems to be little more than a oversized child with a superioty complex. Demons's like Belial and even Abigor showed far more intaitve and intelligence than the satan ever did. Irregular warefare would of been perfect to erode that idoit's powerbase and take power for yourself. Really the demons in this story are polar opposite of what you would expect, fighting upfront instead of manipulating behind the scenes and showing a loyalty to their monarch that even the most crazed fanatic would be jealous of instead of plotting to take his power for yourself at ever turn.
First off humans used portals from earth-hell hell-earth for rapid deployment so why didn't demons? Just because they fought a converntional line em-up smash-em together doesn't mean that they don't understand the importance of securing ground quickly. Because they couldn't. If you'd read the story, you'd know that opening a portal of sufficient size to move a large force through requires use of both a large number of nagas and a Nephelim, and the larger the portal the more off-target it is going to be. That translates into an unreliable transportation system. Humans were able to refine the process and generate a more precise portal system through scientific analysis and machinery. The demons can't, and by the time they've realized what's going wrong, the humans are already invading Hell and putting them on the backfoot. They simply didn't have time to realize how badly things had gotten and couldn't begin to focus on alternate tactics, because they were being invaded. The OODA loop for a Bronze Age army is very long.
Demons's like Belial and even Abigor showed far more intaitve and intelligence than the satan ever did. Irregular warefare would of been perfect to erode that idoit's powerbase and take power for yourself. Again, you're showing you haven't really read the story. If you had, you'd know that the demons were so loyal to Satan because they believed he used the pain from the tortured humans to send them to their equivalent afterlife. Devotion through fear is a powerful motivator for loyalty. Further, all of the demon lords have established lands and estates - estates which would be easy to attack and sack by other demon lords with Satan's blessing. If a demon lord acts up, Satan simply points and all the others squish him. It also doesn't help that the demonic soldiers that serve each lord are highly mercenary, much like they were in the Medieval-Renaissance Italian society that Hell is based on. If a demon lord begins acting up, the Pope Satan just needs to excommunicate put a cash bounty on the head of the uppity lord, and his own men will either abandon him or take him down. Its much safer for them to fight each other.
As is pointed out in one of the more recent chapters, improper use of portals was also a tactical oversight on Abigor's part. In-universe, "Harry Turtleshell" apparently wrote an Alternate History novel where Abigor brought his naga along with him instead of leaving them behind in Hell, and using those naga to generate large-scale portals was apparently enough to seriously alter the way the war was fought in the initial stages - at least by "Turtleshell's" assessment. As noted above, portalling just doesn't work its way into the demonic tactical mindset; they appear to use it strategically but not tactically. The closest their mindset and doctrine allows toward guerilla warfare are the berserker attacks. It isn't until the humans come along with machinery, rapid-lift capability, and power generators that they can generate portals quickly and easily enough to make them tactically flexible beyond simply making small gateways that a single soldier can slip through.
Somewhat minor one, but Hurricane Katrina didn't exactly destroy New Orleans on its own. It really just sideswiped it, with the majority of the damage being caused after the fact due to poor engineering. I don't think the damage there can at all be attributed to Yahweh, even if he did steer the hurricane. Mississippi, on the other hand...
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Perhaps he had the engineers possessed and ordered to do a shoddy job, just for kicks. It has been shown that angels can possess humans just as demons can—Jesus/Jeshua was possessed by Elhmas, for example.
If killing animals is so easy, perhaps Uriel should have set to killing off all of humanity's cows and chickens. I doubt the power of love would help us there.
Thus forcing the humans who are already rationing their food supplies to rely on more energy-efficient fruits, grains, and vegetables. Hey, if Uriel wants to help humanity slim down, he's welcome to it!
A valid enough tatic, sadly Yahweh has yet to realize that you can win a war by attacking a foe's supply lines and he was the one giving Uriel his marching orders.
It's essential to remember the mind-set of the people involved. They are creatures of a time long past when livestock and so on were prizes to be won rather than resources to be destroyed. Warfare in that era was primarily directed at destroying the enemy and his army followed by a looting and pillaging of their resources. The idea of defeating an enemy by destroying the resources they need to survive simply wasn't part of the playbook.
...Except he would also expose himself that way as well and would eventually be killed. Tens of thousands of human deaths are more devastation that a million animal deaths.
If all Michael really wanted to do was make sure the Humans didn't wipe out all the Angels, then why didn't he just go down to Earth and surrender? He knew that the Humans were desperatly trying to get into Heaven, so he could've just offered to help them on the condition they show the Angels mercy, and that he would get to rule Heaven like Abigor got to rule Hell once they defeat Yahweh. That seems a whole lot easier than a Xanatos Roulette.
Because Michael-lan didn't have the power to confront Yahweh directly and had to arrange circumstances so that he could stage such a confrontation. Simply opening up Heaven to an invasion without preparing the ground first would defeat his objective because he knew an extremely angry human army would do to a Heavenly Host exactly what they did to the Satanic Host - shatter it under massed firepower. The Satanic Host could take that kind of casualty rate because the Daemons were more fertile and could replace casualties. Angels are not and cannot. Also, if the last ditch defense of Heaven was the Eternal City, Michael-lan was quite convinced the humans would simply nuke the city into oblivion rather than go through an extreme streetfight for it. Put in brief, Michael had to make sure he could enforce a surrender in Heaven before letting the humans in. Most of his machinations to date have been intended towards that end.
Also, Michael doesn't have the power of surrender. Yahweh does. Most - slash that, nearly all angels are loyal to Yahweh. If Michael simply went to humanity, he'd be branded a traitor, and the humans would still be fighting the majority of th Angelic Host. If Michael is in control of how humanity arrives in Heaven, he can prepare the way and manipulate the Angelic Host so only Yahweh's die-hard supporters get killed while he chips away at the loyalty of the ones who can be swayed, to minimize losses.
It was mentioned that after Hell had been taken over, there was an increase in the suicide rate. Second lifers still die. It's a lot rarer, but they're not going to last 'till the end of the unvierse. There will be accidents. Ever day earlier you die the first time is, on average, one day earlier until you die the second time. In short, there's no less reason not to commit suicide. That's not really the writer's fault. I suspect they really would do that. It just bugs me that they would.
The suicide rate went up for people with terminal illnesses. They had no reason to sit around dying, when you could get a new, healthy, functionally immortal body. On the plus side, most of those people went into it with pre-prepared living and employment packages, so when they came out on the other side, they'd have a house, job, etc. ready to go. That's a major problem the Earth countries are facing - Ceaser's New Rome is snatching up a lot of Earth's talent as it dies by offering them generous second-life packages.
They will get the new body no matter what. It is not immortal. It just has a long life span. They are giving up part of their life without getting anything from it. It's not any different then what it would have been had they not had the second life.
Yeah, they're giving up the part of their life that is going to be spent in generally helpless, drawn-out pain while waiting to die. Considering that quite a few people in real life are willing to seek out euthanasia rather than draw out their lives with uncurable, terminal illnesses, I don't think its a stretch to say that quite a few people with terminal illnesses will trade a few agonizing, lifeless years for a healthy body, better financial conditions, and new opportunities. I know that if I were dying and bedridden and I knew that I could have a new, healthy body immediately, with a new house and a new job set up and ready for me, I'd take it. What's a few years to someone who can live two thousand plus with no degeneration?
They are not trading their old body. They get their second one for just as long no matter when they die. Julius Caeser has been living fine for nearly 2000 years, and doesn't seem to value the life he has now any less. The same seems to go for people who were tortured during this time. Hence, two years are just as valuable to someone millennia old. I assume this is public knowledge.
Imagine that you're twenty years old and have just caught a severe disease. This disease will leave you bedridden and in severe pain for about one month, after which you will be able to make a full recovery and have the chance to live a full life. Suddenly a non-Literal, non-Jerkass genie shows up and offers you a deal - he can cure you right now, but it comes at the cost that you will die one month earlier than you would have done. Wouldn't you at least be tempted to take his offer? Cut out a painful, degrading experience with the price being that you don't get back the time you would have spent in agony? I can see the argument that the time is still precious, but still, there is a major benefit right now with a consequence you may not have to face for another 60 years.
More importantly, original troper who started this needs to once again READ THE STORY because it's quite possible that Second-Lifers will, in fact, last until the end of the universe. There is even a scene where one of the DIMO(N) scientists discovers when Universe-Two will end (and that heaven/hell are expanding/contracting in a linked way - Heaven expands at the same rate that Hell contracts and vice-versa). The first scientist's colleague begins to ask why the first scientists cares, we're not going to be around for that, and then the colleague realizes that actually, they might well be around still. He then says that it's still billions of years in the future and by that time they likely will have the technology to deal with that, probably by portaling into another universe. No, second-lifers are not immortal in that they can be killed, but it seems that until something kills them, they'll live pretty much indefinitely wihout aging. Not a single character dies of old age or natural causes in Heaven or Hell, and the only mention of anyone aging in Universe Two is Yahweh's chorus, which is made up of an entirely distinct, now-extinct species found on another planet that had already been conquered/exploited by Heaven long before they even discovered Earth (and long before the Great Celestial War, which itself was literally millions of years ago). Although this raises a legitimate "just-bugs-me" in that it's unclear whether there are infections diseases in heaven/hell and whether that could kill second-lifers (the closest we get is a line that yes, bio/chemical weapons will work on demons/angels, so presumably they and second-lifers can also get sick. Also, the angels do get radiation sickness and the doctors wonder why angels don't get cancer naturally).
As I recall, Heaven and Hell were both contracting in concert with Earth's universe's expansion and would enter a new Big Bang singularity at about the same time that Earth's universe went from expanding to contracting. This probably gives everyone at least a few billion years to explore thermodynamics until they can figure out how to store enough energy to survive in a universe near its maximum size to wait for a universe to go from its Big Bang to having habitable zones. (In other words, eventually everyone in Heaven and Hell will die if nobody finds a way for them to survive in the distant future of Earth's universe, or another universe on the same level as Earth's.)
Actually, now that I think about it, the exact OPPOSITE problem from the original troper's just bugs me. On the whole the author does a great job exploring the implications of an afterlife that the living know about and can interact with, and "death is cheap" is on the main page, but I'm not sure first-death is really cheap enough. For example - the "sacrifices" of a first-lifer giving their life up in Pantheocide is still considered in much the same terms as one who sacrifices their first-life in the first book, when someone who died did so did it knowing they were going to incredible (and possibly eternal) torture, when really, it's more like an inconvenience. Or the Uriel sections - the USAF still had some restraint in their battle with him in LA in order to avoid civilian casualties and blue-on-blue kills. Given that Uriel is the only thing we know of in this universe that can kill off first-lifers for good, why? Frankly, if I heard the siren that Uriel were coming to my town, I wouldn't go to a shelter, I'd find the fastest way to kill myself off immediately so I could get to Hell and start my second life before Uriel had a chance to take it away. Really, I think there'd be a lot of people who would happily end their first life in order to protect from the very real risk that their second life would be taken away from them too.
Even though the whole point of the story seems to have been that humanity today can easily kick the ass of heaven and hell as depicted in the bible, Pantheocide might as well be relabeled "Michael's War." It seems like every single event that played out pre-invasion was completely his doing, and humanity wouldn't have even ended up getting in to heaven if it weren't for his decision to let them. Uriel died because Michael sent him out with the intention that he would die. All of Michael's attacks have succeeded, with the exception of the Israeli sub only nuking 1 city as opposed to 5. Given the whole idea of infinite universes and Heaven's ability to sneak on to earth and prevent any portals from being opened up, it seems like Heaven could very well have sustained this war for an extraordinarily long time, or just shut off all contact and ended it completely. The ass kicking has only even been possible because Michael wanted it to. Some badasses we are.
Was the US army in Vietnam any less badass for their difficulty to properly pin down where their opponents were? The same in turn can be argued about today's current US army in relation to its difficulty in locating insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. Granted you do raise a good point that it seems like Michael has been having it all his own way, if I were the author I might have made humanity's prospects for figuring out where Heaven was based of off readings from certain Mr. Wong's aircraft were coming along to the point that in a month or two even without Micheal's help we would have been knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's door, perhaps something to that effect could show up in the edited print edition....
I see your point, but even with successful insurgencies, we were able to find and engage the enemy. It was just a lot more difficult to do so than in a conventional war. Here, however, we have been completely unable to do any of this on our own, and all angelic casualties up to the point where Micheal lets us in were on Earth (aside from that missile strike during the attack on NYC, but even that was in to Hell.)
The point here is not HUMANITYFUCKYEA! The point is that reason, intelligence, and thought triumphs over raw force and dogmatic belief. Yes, Michael is maneuvering around humanity - that's because he is intelligent, reasoned, and challenges dogmatic belief. In that case, he pretty much is exemplifying one of the core themes of TSW - that that those who think and adapt win.
It's made quite clear in the text that Michael knows he is running on borrowed time and he is trying to gain as much time as possible. He knows humanity will find a way in eventually and when they do, they'll treat the Angelic Host to the same displays of raw firepower as was inflicted on the daemons. He tries to delay that time by closing off Heaven and keeping humans running around chasing their tails on Earth but he knows that buying time is all he was doing. He had to get everything in place before time ran out. Eventually, he did and could set the final gambit in motion. But with every brain on Earth dedicated to finding a way into Heaven, it was a close-run thing.
The issue isn't even with the general strategy he's going with, which makes complete sense. The issue is that the entire story has played out like Micheal's running a massive Xanatos Roulette where almost every single thing that happens either works to his favor or ends up in a wash, whether or not he is the one behind it, enough so that it's not good enough to use the excuse that it's "because he's just a better and more adaptable strategist. Even the few times something doesn't happen the way he planned it are only temporary setbacks, and feels like the events in the story up to this point are often set up so that it all goes according to his plan. Granted, everything might completely fall apart for him at the end of the story, and some minor hints are being thrown in that this may be the case, but that hasn't happened yet.
A closer look will show that Michael's overall plan changed significantly during the course of the story. he isn't playing Xanatos Roulette, he's playing Xanatos Speed Chess. Not everything that happened was as he wanted or worked in his favor but he adjusted his plans to take advantage of breaks that fell his way and to mitigate the effects of things that weren't according to plan. The attack on Tel Aviv was a good example; this wasn't part of his plans and could have been utterly disastrous to them but he changed course and co-opted the attack into his plans post-facto.
If everyone's calling the afterlife the second life, what is Linden Labs going to call their game?
Alright, So the the story so far has worked on the basis that science explains demons and angels abilities and all is well and good.THEN Micheal and Yah-Yah have some sort of crazy magic lightning deathmatch where micheal it drawing power through music. While the scene is awsome it does seem to fly in the face of established canon just a bit.
No it doesn't. They're drawing power not from music, but from minds thinking and working in concert - music is just the most efficient way for it to work. The story has already established that Yahweh was drawing power from prayers to him, driven by music, and drew power from making the Holy Choir constantly sing the same praises over and over. Satan drew power from human minds being tormented, though since people were constantly suffering different torments, it wasn't as efficient. Whn Uriel was attacking human cities, the humans resisted his power by banding together and turning their minds against his. The story has also already established that the mind has power, as shown by the way demons and angels were both able to affect human minds with their own and how Uriel used his own raw will to make people die en masse. Michael is doing nothing that wasn't already established in the story.
"Michael is doing nothing that wasn't already established in the story." Except,you know having a telekinetic duel with yah-yah where they are both throwing around raw energy and forming magic bubbles around themselves with their minds.
Generation of "raw energy" is canon. Its what the angels do with their swords, and Yahweh has constantly been issuing massive bolts of thunder and lightning every time he gets angry. The rest is easily attributable to the aforementioned mental power; the electricity wrecking the palace being generated by the duel is simply a byproduct of the clashing of willpower. We haven't actually seen how the angels duel one another previously in the story because we've only see the angels fight humans or fight each other in close-quarters with empowered blades. The duel between Yahweh and Michael is the first time we've seen two angels actually duke it out using raw mental power.
From an earlier deleted comment- The person challenged me, for not reading the story, and noting that the demons didn't keep regular tabs on humans, so they attacked iraq, as the seat of humanity. That stupid justification for not attacking anywhere else bugs me. It hasn't been a major seat of humanity since the mongols sacked it in 1257, and we know they have intelligence from after that. It's rather clearly just an excuse to make them face American weaponry. Anyway, according to the person, somehow, this leads demons to ignore the rest of the world, including land locked islands like America, and not send in any armies in places other than that. They forgot that the demons did make a very half hearted effort to attack the American president, with succubi, and clearly knew he was there. What really bugs me is just how at no point are civilians (like country leaders) ever attacked with more than one or two magical being at a time. This is probably why there's a lot of anger on this page over the story. The humans never lose majorly, because Hell and Heaven always attack with most their forces against the strongest army in the world, and never with any numbers against civilians. The story showed what a single determined supernatural being with stealthy abilities could do- Uriel. So, one angel, out of 50000 had the right idea, one out of countless countless demons. Feels so weak, so many wasted opportunities.
The actual reason why the Daemonic armies invaded in Iraq was because all the apocalyptic material in the Bible and its contemporary literature puts the fighting in the Middle East. The driving principle behind The Salvation War is "What would happen if the Biblical prophecies contained within the Bible came true. There is no mention in that literature of cities outside the combat area being attacked by daemonic armies. There is mention of them being hit by other things so those other things are included. If you want to criticize the concentration of attack on the Middle East, then criticize the Book of Revelation and its contemporary material. They are the blueprint from which the story was formed. Thefact that the data, information and capabilities described are two thousand years (or more) out of date is the whole point.
Also what you're asking for is beyond the comprehension of the Angels and Baldricks. They aren't using to fighting a foe who you can defeat by attacking their supplies since neither Baldrick tridents nor angel swords make them significantly more dangerous than they would be without them. They're still stuck in the mindset where you defeat a foe by defeating their army, so it makes perfect sense within the context of the story why they could constantly try to attack the strongest Human army in the field that they can locate.
This way of thinking combined with former arrogance has assured the absolute submissiveness of most if not all Baldricks once defeated on the battlefield. They were so convinced they were invincible that if something (read "Humans") was strong enough to defeat them, that something was so strong that resistance was futile. A Baldrick able to think as a Human and to absorb experience of World War II would understand how guerrilla war from a species able to withstand hardship like no one and open portals wherever needed could seriously undermine the modern global economy.
So what happens to any second lifers/demons/angels that die? They don't end up back in hell or heaven, but considering the deal humans get, it seems almost a bit of an unfair cop out if it turns out they can only die once while humans can die twice. Heck, if Yahweh wasn't already dead, it'd be a pretty good thing for the members of the coup to shout at him about before killing him.
It may be "a bit unfair" but the universe is hardly fair, and more importantly, the process by which humans arrive in either Heaven or Hell is not natural. The entities on the other end of the Minos Gate are responsible for whatever happens during the transition.
This is the great unsolvable unknown of the TSW universe. At varying times, daemons, angels and humans have all pondered on it. It's symbolized by the Minos Gate that is the site of human rebirth but nobody and nothing that goes through it ever returns. Some speculate that death for angels and daemons is just that, complete oblivion. Others think that they go to a super-Hell or super-Heaven. All of which is unprovable speculation. Death for angels and daemons (and for Second-Life humans) is as much a mystery as death is for us here and now.
Is there any life in heaven or hell which isn't either human, angel, demon or whatever the heck Yahweh or Satan were? I mean, we seem to see these beasts the demons rode on in the first book, but I'm curious to whether any functional ecosystem exists in any way, and what damage any creatures and microscopic life forms brought from Earth or the other one of said dimensions did. And were those creatures Yahweh tried to use to destroy humanity part of a species, or single entities basically created by magic?
Ants are mentioned in Armageddon. There is a fully functional ecosystem in both Heaven and Hell but it hasn't featured much to date (after all, to a tank, little furry animals are just more things that go crunch). That will change.
The Orcs are native inhabitants of Hell that the Daemons conquered. They are sapient but they're less intelligent than humans. This point in general will be discussed in the third novel, Lords of War.
Do the locations of the afterlifes of non Christian religions exist in Universe B? Because the author of the story has mentioned that the Aesir, the Baals and the Olympians exist elsewhere in Universe B, does that mean the locations of Mount Olympus and Valhalla exist as bubble universes? But what about how many mythologies have at least three different locations people are sent to after death? Norse mythology has four different afterlife type realms, including its own semi hell equivalent, and Greek mythology has at least two. Are all these their own locations, and does that mean the hell locations have to be liberated like the hell back in Armageddon?
I think it's safe to assume that Mount Olympus and Valhalla exist as possible universes B bubble worlds that we have yet to encounter since we only investigated two of the... nobody knows how many. That said Each of the different hell like locations are most likely however just different versions/spheres/circles of the the Christian Hell. My guess is that judging from the story while the lesser gods like the Norse may have been able to take some of their favorite humans to the second life, they'd probably have to make due with letting Yahweh punish the ones they didn't like and then at the end only making a deal that Yahweh wouldn't punish rather than being able to reward the ones that they approved of themselves, which lead to Julius Cesar's situation....
The first Human-Baldrick battle on the Iraqi desert was a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the Humans, but, strategically speaking, a waste of resources - instead of attracting the unsuspecting foe into a kill zone and butcher it by artillery and aircraft, it would make more sense to attract it into a kill zone where a large (multi-megaton) nuclear weapon had been previosuly buried. But for the Rule Of Cool, a few chapters of Human valiant battlefield action were needed.
Read the story. This was addressed. They could have used nukes to destroy the Baldrick army - very easily. They held back because they didn't want to utilize every tool in their arsenal at the beginning of the conflict. No to mention that detonating a nuclear device inside the territory of an allied nation is not kosher, and would be a last resort when there are conventional means that don't reduce the landscape to an irradiated hellhole. There's a reason we even bother with conventional forces geared to large-scale conflict, after all.
Again, the fact that a nuclear wepaon would instantly wipe out the baldricks is acknowledged in the story. Abigor notes that after learning about the power of nuclear weapons that the humans could have wiped him out without any effort and were using minimal force. At the same time, they present reasons for this. They didn't want to reveal their full capabilities to the Baldricks, and they didn't want to detonate a nuclear device on Earth; note that the only two times they used nuclear devices, they were planning to use them on Heaven's soil, and both uses caused massive, widepsread destruction and fallout. In addition, detonating a nuke near the area where you're going to be staging a counter-invasion is the height of idiocy.
"Lift gas". It takes 2,250 cubic yards of hydrogen to lift 150 pounds. As there are no references to demons or angels suddenly inflating into spheres 16 yards in diameter, there's no way that they're flying without "magic" of some kind.
Yes, they use magical devices known as "wings". The gas only helps them be lighter, allowing them more lift. The rest is handled by their wings and superhuman strength.
Let's assume for the moment that the average Harpy weighs about 100 kilograms and has a density similar to that of humans. They would then take up a volume of about .1 cubic meters, or 100 liters. If he expands his volume to twice the original with hydrogen gas, how much lift would that provide? Enough to reduce his effective weight by a whopping 1.1 kg. Even if he puffs up to 10 times his original size, it only reduces his effective weight by 10%. Furthermore, he's now a vaguely demon-shaped balloon, and a sphere is even less aerodynamic than a Winged Humanoid, so his wings have to work harder. And when you consider he's probably denser than a human, the numbers look even worse. There is no possible way that generating hydrogen will help him fly. It should be retconned so that it's solely for powering breath-weapons, or done away with entirely, especially since the angels neither breathe fire nor have burning blood.
Wasn't it stated in the book that the harpies are much less dense than humans? I thought they had hollow bones and other bird like features.
Most vertebrates have hollow bones (it's where we keep our bone marrow) and birds actually tend to be a little denser than ground-bound mammals (flying takes a lot of muscle).
There's no argument that flying angels etc is impossible; a brief examination of physics shows that. However, the mythology does include flying angels and demons so they were included. "The Explanation" is an "as far as it goes" taken froma book called "The Flight Of Dragons" by Peter Dickens and really highlights just how impossible some of the old mythology was. That's why its stated the laws of physics have changed slightly between Earth and Hell. TSW knowingly tied science in knots sometimes to give angels and demons characteristics that are actually impossible but are prominent features of mythology.
It's utterly implausible that the Baldricks could be so ignorant of contemporary earth, but still have spots reserved for still-living "sinners". Yes, that dig about Robert Macnamara having a place waiting for him in the Ninth Circle (Traitors) was both amusing and perhaps well-deserved, but it doesn't work with the rest of the story.
Mc Namara died after the text was written and was judged by a very cursory "reading of their aura" not by detailed knowledge of their acts on earth. So Macnamara went to the ninth circle because he was judged as being a treacherous, evil betrayer rather than for the enormously long list of dreadful acts he committed on earth. Instead, the 9th circle of Hell 'waiting pits' mentioned are reserved for 'the network executives who cancelled Firefly'.
My questions are more of a "Just Makes Me Wounder" reather then "Just Bugs Me", but anyway, how comes that the dude who wrote this story hasn't releashed it to the public as in a profitable literature book instead for a online web-story? As excellent as this story is, it wouldn't surprise me if it would become a Hollywood big budget, Academy Award winning movie based on it one year after it would be releashed as a book, so why doesn't the guy see how much money he can earn on releasing it that way?
The books nearly were released as novels by a mainstream publisher; an agreement had been signed and work on converting the text to a full book was far advanced. The project was destroyed by a Ukrainian who pirated the books, putting them out as an illegal torrent. The torrent rendered both books in the TSW series unpublishable and the publisher (who had already made significant investments in getting them ready for publication) dropped out. With any possibility of financial return from the TSW series destroyed, it's unlikely the third book will be written. This is a perfect example of how internet piracy and copyright violations destroy incentives to produce material.
Which, for me, leads to a genuine Headscratcher. Wasn't the text of both books put in open access on the dude's forum, cleaned from all the comments at that? Granted, copying all the material from there, compiling it into coherent text and removing all litter took more effort than downloading a torrent'd take, but not THAT much more. An hour at worst. So, how come putting them on a torrent made so much difference?
Because the original posts were not considered to have been distributed; however torrenting something is a form of distribution and therefore constitutes publication. That point was argued at length but the existing publisher was adamament on the issue. To many that may seem a distinction without a difference but it remains the major obstacle to getting TSW out in dead tree form.
Most of the Baldrick nobility remember their war of secession. How did they differentiate into seven angelic subspecies during their own lifetime? And while we're discussing angelic physiology, why do all the angels of Heaven look like winged humanoids when many of those described in canon, commentaries, and apocrypha look decidedly different?
There was a massive volcanic super-eruption sometime after the daemons arrived in Hell that loadeded the atmosphere with mutagenic materials including hydrogen sulphide et al. The explosive super-eruption created the hell-pit which gives some idea of the scale. Over a period of time, the mutagenic eruption products started to act on the daemons and differentiated them as well as affecting their basic structure. Then Satan started playing selective breeder which created the more outre denizens. In the case of the angels, the "classical descriptions" are not taken literally because they are incompatible with life and it would be impossible to tell stories using them. So, it is assumed than the "classical descriptions" are allegorical rather than literal. For example the Ophanim are classically described as two nested wheels covered with eyes. In the TSW books this is assumed to be an allegorical description of the fact that the Ophanim are the primary movers, shakers and doers who are mostly responsible for making sure that Heaven actually works. The fact they are covered with eyes is an allegorical reference to their role in The League of Holy Court, Heaven's police force. However, having said all that, creatures that do resemble the classical descriptions make background appearances now and then.
I'm confused about the role of prophesy. At one point, we're told that the book of Revelation is all one long, huge acid trip. OK, makes sense. But there are also huge beasts in Heaven, Fluffy and Wuffles, that happen to resemble creatures in Revelation. Were the beasts somehow created to match the prophesies (possibly, but it must have been centuries before the events of the story), or is that just a huge coincidence that the hallucinations match things that were actually out there, or did the author screw up or what?
A good question. One possibility is that while the victim was stoned, Michael spoke with him about Heaven and some of his descriptions were incorporated into the hallucinations. Another might be that in writing down the hallucinations, Heavenly Scribes modified them to correspond with things they knew existed (what is he talking about now? Oh, he must mean Wuffles, well, we knew what that incontinent beast is really like so put that in). Or it might be that under the influence of vasious psychotropic drugs, the victim actually did get brief flashes of insights into Heaven, possibly be reading Michael's mind without the latter beinga ware of it. I's a good question though
It is stated in chapter 77 of the Armageddon that three bodies per second arriving is a strain Minos has trouble with. Just how did they deal with the people arriving after the Message (because to me, a hundred souls per second seems like a very conservative estimate)?
They were prepared for it. Satan was notified ahead of time that Yahweh was going to send the Message so the Minos crews were ready for the larger-than-average influx of human dead. After a few weeks, it would taper off and be back to regular three-dead-per-second business.
Being prepared for a several thousand percent increase above a 100%+ strain somewhat defies belief. Especially with most of the Hell's rulers seemingly unaware of the actual amount of work. I have a strong feeling a lot of the people who died due to the Message simply fell back in the Gate... they won't be found any time soon.
According to Appoloin, "Last he (Uriel) moved upon man, the Land of Khemet wept bitter tears". Later, "the first born of Khemet" are mentioned. In other words, Uriel last acted during the Ten Plagues. Then who is responsible for Sennacherib's army?