Manticoran News Bureau
“All the News That’s Fit to Transmit!”
The Prime Minister at MonsterCon, PO Arasin Staubly standing guard with a bionic weapon arm.
Picking out the Nits
2014.09.24 CE / 346.06.21 AL (MNB) – ‘That which is seen cannot be unseen,’ as the popular internet meme goes, and after the umpteenth re-reading of your favorite series, even the most casual fan notices inconsistencies that bug them. If this was the Star Empire of Manticore, we could put our question before the government and force them to answer. In the real world, however, David Weber does one better and opens up the forums.
On the author’s website, davidweber.net, the forums are filled with questions you never thought to ask. Concepts like ‘Will prolong promote more assassinations among royal families?’ to ‘What do you think your favorite characters’ middle names are?’ Answers are put forward from fellow fans with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are infinitely qualified to address the issues; some are just talking out of another part of their anatomy. However, when an issue becomes so contentious on the forums, the Prime Minister must address it and lay down ‘the answer.’ These are collected by the newsies and referred to collectively as the ‘Pearls of Weber.’
Where His Grace appears, the merchandise follows.
Available at thefifthimperium.com, these commentaries help fill in the gaps in the stories, because even the most conscientious author won’t be able to address everything. Thankfully, the author will take time to address these questions… but as anyone who has ever met Duke Leutzen Vale will tell you, once he starts talking, it’s hard to make him stop. When someone asked how treecat toenails could possibly do so much damage being that short, he was able to answer ‘Treecat claws are needle-pointed and sharply curved. The concave, rear-facing side of the claw also closely resembles an extremely sharp knife.’ The difficulty of refitting ships in the Honorverse was also revealed, since 'Why tie up yard space producing a stack of SDs which will not be able to remotely match the rate of fire a proper pod design could when doing so will set back your new construction projects by, literally, years?’
Treecat claws may not be long, but can take down small aircraft.
However, even His Grace is not omniscient. When asked where the RMMC Boot Camp is located, he answered, ‘It's at ummpfff in the Duchy of Tum-te-tum-te-tum on Gryphon… I'm reserving the details in case it ends up making sense from a story-telling perspective to put it somewhere else.’ After twenty years of writing Honor Harrington stories, one would think that there’s little that hasn’t been revealed in Mr. Weber’s voluminous writing. After all, the fact that this article is extracting 40 word quotes from a 500 word answer should tell how much detail the author puts into his works.
Perhaps this is the reason that science fiction fans keep coming back to David Weber’s universe. The phrases ‘internally consistent’ and ‘realistic’ come up in conversations, but although there are some fans who will accept parts of a story at face value, it’s the technical details that really bring it to life. Those details make it live and breathe like a real universe… which is why so many of us choose to play in it.
Some audiences are harder than others.
Copyright © 2014, Bureau of Communications, The Royal Manticoran Navy: The
Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, Inc.
CPO Caitlyn Miller, Manager, Manticoran News Bureau, BuComm. All pictures used with permission or used in a way that qualifies as fair use under US copyright law.