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Literature / The Voyage Of Paul Twister

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WARNING: Late-Arrival Spoilers abound, both for the first three books in the series and also for this one as well. The very first chapter contains a massive change to the status quo, making it difficult to discuss this story without talking about what happened there. It will not be spoiler-tagged below.

The fourth book in the Web serial series The Tales Of Paul Twister. After the previous book ended on an incredibly vague warning that some unspecified catastrophe was coming that Paul had the power to prevent somehow, he's dedicated himself to doing what he sees as the only logical thing: tracking down the enigmatic Zassi, who delivered the message, and get them to explain themselves better! When Gerald finds a hint suggesting that they're from Ìludar, the elvish homeland, he immediately decides to book passage on a ship headed that way.

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Oh, and Aylwyn comes along, because they're married now. (If you ignored that spoiler warning up there, it's your own fault!)

This story also retroactively introduces a Framing Device for the series: a few chapters in, the narrative is unexpectedly interrupted by a chapter written by Sarah, who refers to herself as "an old woman" at this point. Having found the manuscripts where Paul is writing his memoirs, and being disappointed that he didn't ask anyone else for their input, she decides to sneak some contributions in and see if he notices.

The first chapter can be found here. The story is still in progress.


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The Voyage of Paul Twister provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Marriage: Deliberately invoked by Aylwyn. In the first chapter, she essentially tricks Paul into taking part in what is apparently a valid marriage ceremony for her people. He's surprisingly OK with it, since he's been wanting her since the first book anyway.
  • Alien Geometries: According to Karr, the navigator on the ship Paul travels on, finding your way to the point you want to reach on the coast of Ìludar is so complex that it requires an entire box full of books to hold the necessary charts! Aylwyn says that the small island is actually an entire continent from another world, somehow compressed into a small island in this one through unspecified means.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Apparently April tried setting up a republic at some point in the past. It failed so badly they begged the kingdom to let them back in under the old system.
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  • Foregone Conclusion: At some point implied to be centuries in the future, Sarah and Paul are both still alive. Others, such as Gerald Wolf and Sarah's (first?) husband, are not, due to having a normal lifespan where Paul and Sarah are long-lived.
  • Genius Bonus: It is a Paul Twister story, afterall...
    • Gerald's evidence against a heliocentric world is based on actual scientific objections raised by medieval scholars, which remained "sound science" for a surprisingly long time: they weren't disproven until after Newton!
    • April's experiment in democratic government fell apart surprisingly quickly, which Paul finds very strange. But unlike America, this new country was not in an isolated frontier, but was surrounded by established kingdoms. Also, their George Washington figure, a war hero who they tried to make the first President, was April, but she declined to take the job, which can't have helped things much!
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Aylwyn tells Paul that they won't be able to have kids (implying that she wants them) because for all the superficial similarities, their biology is too different for it to happen without magic, which won't work for Paul.
    • Paul's answer takes scientific optimism to wild new heights: he tells her that if it's really that important, all they have to do is both live long enough for this world to develop the technology for genetic engineering. Seriously.
  • Magitek: Karr says that fixed stars exist in three places in the sky: over the two pole, and over Ìludar. Paul, still thinking in terms of Earth rules (because too many other things would break otherwise) thinks that it's impossible to have a fixed star that's not over the poles because the poles are the axis of rotation, and therefore it has to be some sort of satellite in geosynchronous orbit... by magic.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: In her interlude chapter, old!Sarah implies that she's been married at least once, to someone she ended up outliving due to him not being long-lived like her.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted: Aylwyn says that humans and angels are biologically incompatible and she and Paul would not be able to have children together without magical help.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Hoan warns Aylwyn not to try to help a certain woman whose life appears to be in danger. She helps her anyway, only to find out too late that the "victim" is a notorious trickster. The end of the chapter implies that the interaction may have somehow affected Aylwyn's mind in strange ways...
  • Poor Communication Kills: Invoked by Paul as the driver of the plot for this story. When Paul learns that the Zassi deliver warnings about calamities whose impact can devastate entire civilizations, and that he's been the recipient of such a warning but without it actually telling him anything useful, he decides that before he can take any meaningful action he needs to find them and get a more specific warning!
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Old!Sarah's depiction of her and Paul's relationship ever since the events of the second book.
  • Religion Is Right: The sailors' immediate and deferential respect of Aylwyn as a "Stormbird," a sort of good-luck charm that will save them from deadly storms, isn't exactly religious as such, but the narrative's treatment of it follows this trope. She and Paul both dismiss the belief as superstition, particularly since she has no magic that will let her control or abate storms. But when a storm comes up, she's able to take flight in the strong winds and use her superior eyesight and high vantage point to guide them safely out of it.
  • Right Behind Me: When Paul emphatically tells Aylwyn that he wants her and not Sarah, he then sees that she overheard the whole thing. At first he feels bad for having hurt her, because she's crying, until he finds out they were Tears of Joy because she knew what was actually going on, and of course she's the type who cries at weddings.
  • Science Is Wrong: Paul knows that the world goes around the sun, which has been scientifically proven on Earth. Gerald thinks this is crazy, because geocentrism has been scientifically proven on his world. He gives a couple of well-reasoned objections to heliocenrism that Paul has no good answer for, except to privately note later on that a geocentric world would violate too many laws of physics to be real. One of the two of them has to be wrong. (It's probably Gerald: see Genius Bonus, above.)
  • Secret Test of Character / Only Smart People May Pass: Amber will never teach a student the last verse of her song because there are Multiple Endings hidden in incredibly cryptic ways throughout the kingdom, and you have to figure them out yourself. Old!Sarah says that Paul has never managed to do it.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The author explicitly noted in a comment that the various things said in the second chapter regarding religion, politics, democracy, and marriage are only meant as part of trying to tell an entertaining story, and should not be interpreted as his actual views on those subjects.
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