Posted by Michael Brazier on January 22, 19100 at 01:30:51:
BIGV is, overall, an impressive setting. Congratulations, Mr. Sandberg!
However, there's one part of it that bothers me: New America. In the
"official" timeline, NA's actions are consistently... well.. stupid.
Take, for instance, the whole conception of the Columbus Project; once
the FTL technique is public knowledge, there is simply no way that NA can
make itself into an interstellar trade and data hub, and the NA government
should have realized that. I suggest that this realization was why the
NASA coordinator was summarily ousted -- the thought of the opportunity
lost would lead naturally to vengenance against the man responsible. But
if that's the case, the Columbus Project as described doesn't make sense.
What would make sense is a project similar to the "Process"; why doesn't
the NA government work along those lines?
Then there's the interaction between NA and the Process. One of the major
obstacles the Process faces in its startup phase is getting FTL ships; NA's
Columbus Project as described would handily supply that need. What is
there to prevent Project Columbus from joining the Process board? Or
alternately, what is there to prevent the Columbus Project from copying the
Process's model, should the Process board refuse them? In the latter case,
the Columbus Project even has a short-term advantage, because it has more
FTL ships and access to the NA embassies as contacts. For the suggested
campaign, where the PCs are VIPs in the Process, the Columbus Project is
clearly an immediate antagonist -- it's the most direct competitor for the
Process's intended niche. But then it has to act as the Process does.
And finally, there's the reaction to the Li. Surely the NA government
would have heard about the mysterious coup on Penglai before their own
ship returned from there? And, given that, surely they'd have treated
their returning ship with a certain amount of suspicion, even before the
Process messenger reaches them with the full story? But no: apparently
the ship's crew was allowed to scatter untracked (and spread the nanite)
without a qualm. Otherwise the general panic when the Process arrives
has no rational basis; it would be possible to track down everyone who
might be infected, quarantine them, and start searching for a cure.
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