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[Comments] (8) Constellation Games Author Commentary #17: "Their First Contact Was Better": This chapter has the best title in the whole book. Just gettin' that out of the way. This week sets up the plot for the next couple months while focusing the action on the emotional core of Part Two: Ariel's relationships with other humans people from Earth.

I really liked the comments from last week's commentary--two people I didn't know were reading said hello, Brendan responded to my evaluation of his reader commentary, and my friend Zack (whose name I stupidly misspelled) disputed my use of Creative License. If you're enjoying these commentaries, please do say hi in the comments.

Look on last week's Twitter archive, ye mighty, and despair. Tetsuo won't be posting for a while because of the Internet blackout. Here's this week's commentary:

And there we go. Be sure to tune in next week, when Ariel's all like, that's right, motherfucker, you're not the only one who can use paper. Oh, and Tetsuo writes a game review!

Image credits: NASA, unknown, Flickr user puuikibeach.

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Posted by Zack at Tue Mar 20 2012 10:57

The thing I have a problem with re Ariel/Tammy is, they seem to have hooked up awfully fast. What we've seen of their interaction seems more typical (to me) of a couple who've been together for quite some time, not one who just met.

I also found the A/T scene in this segment a bit confusing: if Tammy's on the old ISS instead of Ring City, why is the 'net blacked out for her, and why is she talking about what she did to Ariel's space in Human Ring?

I wish I could say I saw the Dana twist coming, having thought a bunch about AI in this universe, but I didn't. It seems blindingly obvious in hindsight.

Posted by Leonard at Tue Mar 20 2012 12:04

They did hook up very fast. Part of this is Tammy's personality and part of it is that Ariel's the narrator. (SPOILER) Tammy thinks she's got an occasional fling with a cute younger guy, but Ariel's taking it very seriously due to his MPDG fantasy. Note that Tammy's kind of casual in the phone call and Ariel's acting like he thought he'd never hear her voice again.

I won't make excuses for why the ISS segment is confusing, but here's what happened in plain English. Some of the astronauts dragged a port from Ring City to the (now-crewless) ISS, specifically so they could evade the Internet blackout by using its phone. But so many people want to use the phone that Tammy doesn't have time to surf the web. She still lives on Ring City and she'll go back through the port after making her phone calls.

Posted by Brendan at Tue Mar 20 2012 12:46

You undercut my symbolism talk by slipping in the flashy desperate jewelry line! Fortunately I had not put that together.

It's a little cruel of Tammy to be talking about "our apartment" if she thinks of their relationship as a fling. I guess she hasn't been able to read Ariel's big weepy blog entry, though.

Posted by Leonard at Tue Mar 20 2012 13:11

Yeah, if I had it to do over again I'd change "our apartment." I was imagining she meant "the apartment we had sex in, as distinct from the 4,999,999 other Human Ring apartments," and Ariel didn't catch that. But the POV's so tight on Ariel that it's tough to see anything he doesn't catch.

Posted by danima at Tue Mar 20 2012 14:04

I'm a big old AI chauvinist, so I was pretty sure that Bai was only around to introduce Dana. Without looking back, I think I remember Curic making some remark about human-AI relations when introduced to Dana in Austin, and I've been hoping that she might get a conversation with a low-level Smoke submind at some point.

Posted by danima at Wed Mar 21 2012 12:43

Speaking of spurious characters, anyone else think there's something a little *off* about @OMJennyG? She has a twitter account but doesn't tweet -- yet @ArielBlum supposedly RTs her. Her info line, "you don't know me nearly as well as you think you do," is perhaps supposed to be a reference to how we only see her via Ariel's narration, but taken all together it starts to seem like someone is pulling a _Fight Club_.

Posted by Leonard at Wed Mar 21 2012 13:17

Far be it from me to discourage speculation, but I just didn't have time to write a stream for @OMJennyG. Her account was originally protected to give the impression that she was posting, but lots of people were putting in follow requests, so I just made it public so you'd see there was nothing there.

However, I will say that there is a special bit in chapter 29 for those who think along these lines...

Posted by Zack at Wed Mar 21 2012 13:58

Thanks for the clarification on Ariel/Tammy -- it makes a lot more sense with that background. I suspect it will also work better when I can read the whole book in one go. I'm having trouble taking proper account of Ariel's unreliability because of the serial format, I think.

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