1. EXTENSION til the 10th - Holiday Flash Writing Competition
    Topic? Bah, just make sure your SETTING is HOGWARTS!
    CLICK HERE for more info! Now, damnit!
    750 - 1500 word count & Stories due January 10th
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Hi there, Guest

    Only registered users can really experience what DLP has to offer. Many forums are only accessible if you have an account. Why don't you register?
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Introducing for your Perusing Pleasure

    New Thread Thursday
    +
    Shit Post Sunday

    READ ME
    Dismiss Notice

Complete Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Less Wrong - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by headbanger22, Mar 9, 2010.

Not open for further replies.
  1. greywizard-dumblemort

    greywizard-dumblemort Fourth Year

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    London
    I'd wondered if anyone on DLP was reading this- guess that answers that.

    Sometimes this guy can be surprisingly insightful and intelligent in his writing, yet, out of 42 chapters I probably hate 20 of them.

    The fic was a good idea for a while but a combination of the authors (sometimes painfully obvious) lack of understanding of canon Harry Potter, as well as the tone that sometimes raises my hackles- its looking more and more likely that I'm going to have to abandon this forever.

    The self-satisfaction that practically oozes from the last couple of chapters sometimes manages to eclipse even the unmagical magic.
     
  2. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    289
    High Score:
    2005
    Fuck me, he's still writing?

    This isn't a particularly good story, and is full of self-satisfied over-intellectualizing. The characters are OOC, and bland, and Harry feels like a self-insert.

    But even so, it looks like a lot of work has been put into this. It's an interesting exercise, perhaps, but not a story. At best, it's a demonstration of how scientific principles can be applies to speculative fiction. At worst, it's mental masturbation.

    LessWrong will never be a particularly engrossing writer of fiction, but I can honestly say that I admire the effort that's gone into Methods of Rationality.
     
  3. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2,450
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    Part of what annoys me about the story is that it's meant to be a "fixing canon" story. Which is a cool idea. Fixing everything wrong with canon is interesting. Hell, I've thought about it loads.

    But he fails at it. He "fixes" things that weren't broken (e.g. the nature of transfiguration) and leaves things that seriously needed fixing (e.g. wizarding economy, currency and banking system).

    I guess this just goes back to his lack of knowledge of the source material.
     
  4. Fiat

    Fiat The Chosen One DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    2,235
    Location:
    Varies
    It isn't a fixing canon story. Its a scholar-without-a-highschool-education's attempt to educate people, turned into fiction with the name 'Harry Potter' slapped onto it.

    Also, I think you'd need to have actually read canon to fix canon.
     
  5. lucis

    lucis Seventh Year

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    291
    Heh. I'm still enjoying it.
     
  6. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,215
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Blocksberg, Germany
    Yes, it is. I think he even said that at one point, and it's obvious either way. He tries to look at Canon "rationally", and tries to interpret it from that point of view in a way that still makes sense, and leaves intact the broad concepts.

    Or in other words, he's trying to give rational explanations to everything, because in his opinion Canon's missing them. Those are his "fixes".

    Of course, that has to backfire, because that way of "fixing" destroys the world altogether. Taure is right -- fixing Canon isn 't a bad idea per se, hell, every Fanfic in existence does (or tries to do) that to some degree, but this is like a damn guide How To Not Do It: The wrong method applied to the wrong things.


    The perfect example of both is the Horcrux thing. He looks at how it works and what Voldemort wants rationally, and concludes (perfectly logical) that Voldemort would choose something somewhere no one would ever reach; namely, a part of the Pioneer mission on its way out of our solar system. That's his fix.

    And it explodes in his face, because that kind of rationality tears apart the fictional world: looked at it that way, Horcruxes have no right to exist in the first place, because you can't split your soul and live forever.


    There simply is a limit on how rationally you can look at Fantasy, and he exceeded it by a few lightyears.


    Yes, you see the problem.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  7. Rhys

    Rhys High Inquisitor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    597
    While I'll be the first to admit plenty of things about this fic bug me, this just strikes me as patently unfair. Just because this is fantasy means our characters can't put round pegs in round holes? Would Voldemort actually going to a modicum of effort hiding his Horcruxes on Earth be inappropriate too, instead of making them out of priceless collectibles and trusting in his cracked-out schemes to keep them safe?

    It stresses my suspension of disbelief in fantasy when I see characters with lightsabers that don't just cut through locked doors, and of all the things wrong in this fic I don't think the idea of somebody making (or trying to make) intelligent use of the tools given to them by the universe is one of them. Voldemort sticking a horcrux in space is a completely fair parody because as canon stands it's a completely reasonable idea.

    My problem with MoR is more that the things he has altered from canon, namely Transfiguration, have been altered in such a way that they raise more troubling questions than answers (Transfiguration Terrorism ftw.) The idea of altering magic to make it fit with science is flawed, since no matter if the rules of magic are different from those of the science we know, they are still RULES and that makes magic scientific by definition without need for twisting it to better match physics or chemistry.

    If I was going to mess around with a canon "fix fic" of this type, instead of trying to alter magic to make it more like science, I'd alter it to make it more balanced. If a Horcrux in deep space is an intelligent solution, then it isn't a sign that your character is breaking suspension of disbelief, it's a sign that your system is flawed. If a spirit required a ritual using one of its horcruxes to be resurrected, then a horcrux in space becomes much more useless without a recovery method (along with a horcrux on the bottom of the ocean, similar uninteresting situtations.)
     
  8. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,215
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Blocksberg, Germany
    It's not a matter of being unfair, actually -- it can't even be anything like fair or not fair, incidentally.

    What I was describing wasn't meant to be an argument so much as a fact. Spaceships playing a significant role in a Harry Potter story means you've lost the focus of what it was meant to be. The fictional world has a certain boundary, beyond which you can go, sure, but it stops making sense.

    It would, insofar as Voldemort's character explaines that perfectly well. Now you can go and say, "but that's only so that the story worked", whereupon I will point out that this is fairly irrelevant, as it's justified and makes sense within the framework we're given -- as opposed to introducing a space travelling Horcrux.

    Yes, and we knew that. However, his cure to the illness is to kill the patient.


    What all this shows is only that despite the flaws, the HP Canon is carefully balanced. You can't just go in and crank up one factor or aspect in order to fix one hole, because it means you'll create ten new. You have to think about what you're doing, and knowing what you're actually trying to fix helps too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  9. Rhys

    Rhys High Inquisitor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    597
    While spaceships are clearly outside of the framework of canon, I don't see any reason that spaceships must clearly be outside the framework of all fantasy stories, or even all fantasy stories based on canon. Pointing a special stick at a club and making it levitate by saying "Wingardium Leviosa" makes an equal amount of sense (whatever that amount is) no matter where you do it, on Earth or in Space. Having magic work doesn't invalidate advanced science and having advanced science doesn't invalidate magic any more than it was invalid to begin with. One could perhaps more easily argue that stories where Harry Potter becomes a Dark Lord and goes on a killing spree have equally lost focus on what Harry Potter is meant to be.

    Perhaps strange genre mixing such as this is seen as unpalatable by many, but there is nothing inherently wrong with it, if it's handled properly. We haven't seen how the spacecrux is dealt with yet, and until MoR deals with it stupidly (as it very well might) it isn't really a stupid plot device. I feel like so far, Voldemort's inability to stop from at least partially showing it off, even though that is an EXTREMELY stupid idea, and cackling about it afterwards is in fact refreshingly characteristic of his normal portrayal.
     
  10. Vorpal

    Vorpal Third Year

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    99
    I disagree. There is nothing a priori irrational about the existence of horcruxes or them granting of immortality. That nothing like that happens in the real world we learn from experience. If our experience was as vastly different as it would be if we were living in an HP world, it would be perfectly rational to conclude that they do exist and work to some degree.

    You don't like HP mixed with space because it crossed some conceptual line of where the stories you like to read are. That's fine, but it isn't because applying rationality destroys the existence of magic or its effects. Perhaps it destroys the enjoyment of the reader that prefers a story with magic remaining ineffable or whatever, but that's just another way of saying "it's not my cup of tea" rather than an indication of internal incoherence.



    In the last dozen or so chapters, the author seems to make considerably more effort into actually making this a story, with something of a plot rather than propping up lectures. The earlier format used to be my main criticism of the fic, but it now I'll have eat crow on that--LW just isn't a particularly engaging author. It's almost odd to say this, but I now I've found the earlier phase, where its point was a seemingly a thinly veiled vehicle for exposition, actually a more enjoyable read [size=-3](your mileage may vary)[/size]. It might not have been a 'real story', but it had some interesting perspectives. Now that the fic has gotten a plot, I find that I can't really bring myself to care about it.
     
  11. Xantam

    Xantam Denarii Host

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Denver
    Sirius and Pettigrew were lovers? Really?
    I am growing increasingly tired of Harry not accomplishing anything. The army thing got old fast and I can't help but find things in most characters that I cannot stand. Nevertheless, it remains a decent read with a solid update rate so I can't complain.
     
  12. Andro

    Andro Master of Death DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    3,947
    And now he's writing slash?

    Sadly - I mean, really sadly - I'm not surprised.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2010
  13. Ayreon

    Ayreon Unspeakable DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Messages:
    764
    Location:
    Germany
    /facepalm

    Obviously Remus was just covering up their real secret by confirming Harrys crazy theory.

    Btw: Just because a story contains homosexual characters, doesn't mean it's 'slash'.
     
  14. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2,450
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    Vorpal: I think Sesc's point wasn't that the inclusion of space makes it unenjoyable for him, but rather that by taking the idea of horcruxes to its logical extreme the whole idea of horcruxes have been massively overpowered, and that is why they have "no right to exist".

    He's not saying that they shouldn't exist in some objective sense (i.e. some sense that magic and space should never mix in literature). He's just saying that writing a world wherein you have both horcruxes and access to space is bad world building.
     
  15. Fiat

    Fiat The Chosen One DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    2,235
    Location:
    Varies
    Hold the fuck up, he's doing what now?

    Not even a little surprised. His original goal was to get publicity, which is why he chose HP to begin with. Rationally,catering to the largest audience in the fandom is the next step in this.

    If this story ever gets to year 5 (doubt it.) I fully expect Harry & Malfoy buttsecks with the possible inclusion of Snape.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  16. samkar

    samkar Temporarily Banhammered

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    820
    How about the rational exploration of mpreg ?:)
    Good that I stopped to read that meta fic around chapter 10 or so.
     
  17. lucis

    lucis Seventh Year

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    291
    It seems to me that the changes to transfiguration have less to do with reconciling it with science than they do with social implications. Canon!transfiguration should have resulted in a post-scarcity society. Which could be interesting in its own right, but not what Yudkowsky was after.

    Similarly, I think the whole Sirius/Peter thing is a consequence of him rejecting the regular plot there. Remember that he mocked it with the whole Weasley Rat story. Well, he had to come up with an alternative that met the facts. If Sirius was the traitor, what motivations could he have for going after Peter? Apparently this was the best one.

    And I'm fairly sure that the ship is H/Hr.
     
  18. Vorpal

    Vorpal Third Year

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    99
    @Taure: good point.
     
  19. Rhys

    Rhys High Inquisitor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    597
    Something tells me that by the time Harry is dealing with the spacecrux in this fic, "massively overpowered" will be a very relative term. In a late game DnD 3.5-esque (the author has been hinting at this with all the spells lifted from DnD) world of broken spells and hard counters around every corner, stuff that would otherwise be obscene tends to be much less world shattering. Actually writing in a world with such an ungodly morass of hyperdeadly bullshit is sure to be challenging, but I for one will be amused if it's pulled off well (though there is a large chance he'll fail and it'll just suck.)
     
  20. bornagainpenguin

    bornagainpenguin DLP Archivist

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Illinois
    Meh. I thought this topic was locked?

    I'm still expecting at some point or another to discover that there was time traveling somewhere or another along the way. The various changes we're seeing are too...surgical for them to fit within the framework we've been given here. If we can trust him to be true to what he says on his user page he's going to need to start bringing in time travel or some such just to balance things a little.

    There are too many alterations in Harry, Quirrel\Voldemort (?), and Dumbledore for there not to be a big reveal sooner or later. I'm also wondering what the impact of Harry's horocrux is on the plot. We've seen all sorts of references to his dark side, sleep habits, etc and we know that things are radically more different than a last minute reconciliation on Petunia's part and the subsequent marrying of a University professor can account for.

    Of course LessWrong could simply ignore all that or just stop writing one day while promising a rewrite that never comes... But if he's to remain true to his thesis he has no choice but to balance things.

    --bornagainpenguin
     
Loading...
Not open for further replies.