May 25, 2019 5:05 PM
Atennesi Cohen in Kith
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Bookstore.

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He peruses the stacks, careful to keep an eye out for customers so as to get out of their way. 

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There are customers, but sparse ones; no one notices footsteps or the odd draft of his movement. He's in the cookbook section.

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Can he find history? 

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Yup, history is between social science and philosophy!

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Perfect. What kind of history is there. 

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History of New Riverround (settled from a round known as Riverround, since drifted off too far to be the same polity, amicably departed), history of the polity (Escarin) and its ancestor polities (the one that had its capital on Riverround, the one that settled Riverround, etc.), history of neighboring polities, biographies of specific people, books about wars, histories of specific subjects like theater or governance or farming.

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He reads history for a few hours, then puts the book he's currently reading back, careful to repair any incidental wear and tear from his handling it. 

He looks for books about making people. 

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There's a whole section on that! There's a bunch of copies of a whole series called State of the Art of Creation (fourth edition), with volumes titled On Bodies, On Minds, On Desires, On Awareness, On Skills, and On Children. There are also other books like Make the Perfect Spouse! and Are You Ready For A Child? and Prolecraft and Introspection: Know Who You're Making Friends For.

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...Gosh. 

He defines the boundary he wants, then duplicates the entire section on the top of the building, invisible. Then he teleports to the top of the building, defines his location with respect to the pirated books, and teleports all of them back to the tree planet. 

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Now he is invisible in a forest with a lot of invisible books.

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He defines a boundary. He locks the current appearance of the area within the boundary, so that no matter what happens within anyone outside the area will see exactly what's currently there. Then he de-invisibles himself and the books and starts reading, starting with the most basic guide to making people he can find. 

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How You Were Made is a layperson's overview of the concept. While you can make a very underdefined person, in what the book calls a "civilized" society no one is allowed to do that, because inadequately described people are filled in at apparent random with traits to complete them, including traits that are unhealthy, antisocial, prevent the person from living a happy life, or can't let them productively contribute to society. Instead, it is correct to come up with useful skills that the economy needs, a cheerful disposition to do that work, backup skills and interests, hobbies (especially "inexpensive" hobbies, that don't require equipment or have a high injury risk) to let them have some downtime even though you can get need-for-downtime very low, a starting attitude towards at least you and ideally several people that will allow the new person to slot into a social graph, a healthy and pretty body, and (unless you're deliberately making a prole, but a prole probably isn't reading this book) a personality that is lively and even inventive without veering too close to revolutionary or mentally ill.

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...He picks up Prolecraft to find out what the heck a Prole is supposed to be. 

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Proles do the necessary labor in farming and manufacturing and suchlike, things that a generically made person optimized for intellectual sparkle wouldn't find interesting but which it's possible to make people who love. A well-made prole delights in their work, is competent to make their own successor(s) with all the accumulated experience in that work informing their creation so the next generation of proles can be that much better, and has low social, emotional, cognitive, and material needs to allow them to be better workers, though you should never make an actually stupid person even for prole work, or one who's too wedded to routine to handle emergencies. There is a whole chapter about the pros and cons of making them asexual; the author concludes that you should only do that if they're definitely going to have to live alone, because proles like all other creations can drift over time and can wind up unhappy if they don't have anything else that brings them happiness besides their job or backup job. It recommends that if you make them asexual you should have them enjoy singing (and of course it would be cruel to make someone who likes singing without paying attention to making them good at it). Different kinds of proles need different kinds of physical optimizations.

The lavender farmer he met was probably a prole.

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...Huh. 

Well, he's not interested in making proles. Magic can do pretty much everything anyone in his world might need a prole for; it's magic itself that is the bottleneck. 

He starts skimming the book titles for books about making skilled people, making people with specific personalities, and making people with specific priorities. 

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State of the Art of Creation is his friend here.

You need not have all of the skills or knowledge a person you make has. However, the less you understand about that skill or knowledge - what it looks like done well; where the information might be written down - then the more likely it will come through poorly, more like "I feel like I'd be good at that, but when I try it I'm not quite" or "I remember a lot of facts about this subject but the words don't quite click for me, I don't really understand them". Languages are pretty easy. You can and should make people who speak every language you have ever heard of; people turn out to be able to hold dozens of languages if they're made by someone attending to that without noticeable compensatory diminishment in other domains. But they may have to work at it to go from "speaking every language you've ever heard of" and "very talented at writing poetry in languages you know" all the way to "good at poetry in a language you have heard of but don't personally read poetry in". You don't have to hold the whole person in working memory, but, like the skills and knowledge, you need to know what you're referring to - writing a description down is useful (here's the standard format in Escarin).

Personality is freely moldable and you definitely don't want a random personality. Many people who were not specifically made to be people-makers are really bad at holding a personality in mind in the right way - it has to be a personality that someone can really have, and people usually think about each other as simplified models. Unlike knowledge and skills, you can't just copy from a personality you know to exist out there somewhere. You can't just copy yourself or a friend. All you will get if you do that is someone who is like your model of yourself/your friend, with all the many gaps filled in with random noise that doesn't outright contradict what you had in mind but will rapidly produce divergent results. The standard practice nowadays is to firmly hold in mind anything you need as an absolute, like "won't commit crimes", and then more gently mentally suggest things about what mental architecture might underly that, so that the former holds and the latter falls apart if you've gotten the connection between the two wrong somehow. It is often good practice to try writing at least one novel first to practice making a fleshed out character personality and see where you might need consultation; this is a genre, called "paper creation".

You can do priorities. It's fairly common to design people with oneself (or one's creator, if they live and you're still close) as a priority, especially if you're going to be married or otherwise very close. Priorities shift naturally over time depending on how tractable they are when theory meets reality, and whether there's social accord (it's hard to be the only person with a particular priority), and so change more and faster than many other things about a person, but will continue to have echoes and effects decispans down the line. If you make someone with a personality and a priority that are in tension the personality will win.

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Okay. 

 

He is going to start with one person, first, in case, as is so often the case, reality fails to live up to theory. 

He creates some blank paper and starts writing things down. 

Body: young but not a child, let's say eighteen, every underblood benefit Karole and every other researcher at his university has ever come up with, every physical benefit he can find in any of these books. (He leaves space to add specifics as he finds them in the books). 

Languages: Every language on Earth, every language he can find reference to in any of these books plus whatever ones he's run across in history books. 

Skills: The new person should be at least as skilled as he is at magic; he'll try to give her the skill of the other Great Mages living and dead, too, in case that sticks. As an afterthought, he adds every craft that's ever been a hobby of his for long enough for him to get a grasp on how it generally works, as backup. If one newly-created person can't hold all of that the magic should be the priority. Knowing the sensation of casting magic, of course. 

Personality: This is the important bit. Priorities, first: anti-death, pro-sapient-flourishing, pro-individual-self-determination. Strongly disinclined but not psychologically forbidden from breaking the laws of mages, such as killing a non-mage with magic or performing mind magic on someone else. Strongly resistant to all three forms of magical mental side effect, absolutely, with the following soft descriptor of tentative underlying psychology. Introspective. Self-modifying, as much as possible. Smart, obviously, as smart as he can get them. Strongly indifferent to pain. Not conflict-averse to the point where ousting and possibly even executing Great Mages will be a dealbreaker, but also not aggressive to the point of seeking out conflict. 

 

 

And then he puts his lists aside and goes back to reading books, because going into this without more information rather than less is a kind of dumb he is not. 

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Well-made people appear oriented to time, place, location, and creator. They are not surprised, confused, lost, or dismayed; you don't want them upset to exist but you sometimes get weird emotional effects if you aim for "delighted". Unless you're creating someone who for whatever reason will want to be naked around at least you in particular, you don't want them to be too upset about being naked in general; you cannot make a person precisely located enough to appear them in a set of clothes already.

You can make them with memories in addition to knowledge and skills, but this isn't usually the best way to do whatever you're trying to do; they can have as-though-secondhand factual knowledge about things that have happened in the past without false recollections of having been present. You might want to do memories if you have been trying a controversial technique where you and anyone else who will be close to this person behave as though they exist for some wakes or even a whole centispan in advance, to notice what you expect from someone occupying their role in your life and have time to think of traits and quirks that might suit them; then they will remember one-sided conversations you attempted to have with them, for example.

Bodies and brains can go wrong in all kinds of horrifying ways. Things that are particularly easy to do by accident but easy to omit if you're savvy include making people whose hair won't grow, people who produce extra teeth they don't need for some reason, people prone to headaches, people with exercise-induced asthma, people with various unfortunate sexual dysfunctions or paraphilias, people who cannot see all of the colors, people who are too flexible, people who are producing a strange white fluid from their nipples, people who are bad at imagining pictures or sound, people who have no sense of smell, people who can't distinguish pitches they hear, people who sleepwalk, people who eat to excess and gain weight and keep it, people who forget or refuse to eat, people who if they eat some random thing will have a disease reaction, people who respond to nutrient deficiencies by eating weird non-food things, people who are "too happy" and wind up sleepless and risk-seeking and impulsive as a result (you can still aim at "happy", just not this particular brand), people who cannot distinguish human faces from one another, people who do not want to be the sex you made them, and various other little problems a well-made person won't have.

Atennesi probably doesn't need any of the child-specific advice. It's considered a very dangerous thing to do, because they have so much time in which to drift from their initial conditions, but it's one way people learn new things about how people can be in ways that wouldn't have been obvious to invent, and some people find raising children very rewarding.

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If Atennesi wanted a child he could create one in the normal-for-him way; having not done so for the past over-a-millenium he certainly doesn't plan to create one in this way anytime soon. 

He makes notes to avoid allergies or supernumerary teeth or headaches or asthma or colorblindness or random lactation or hypermania or tone-deafness or obesity or pica or faceblindness or any of the other miscellaneous things that can go wrong with the human body or brain, or even just might be inconvenient. 

He makes notes to ensure that his creation is familiar with Genosha as though she had grown up there and familiar with the general socio-political landscape of his world, and as familiar with the local culture as possible. 

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There's a whole bunch of books on the controversial pretending-your-person-exists method. The aggregate impression, editing out the hardcore proponents, is that it is a good idea to at least halfassedly try it if you are adding a spouse to a preexisting relationship of two or more and not that helpful otherwise. There are several books specifically about how to optimize sex partners for yourself, though mostly they assume you have other uses in mind for an entire human being. There are books about the ages you can make people at; sixteen centispans is generally past the danger zone for most problems of making children, but some people like to make people in their twenties. It's considered cruel to make elderly people.

You can make people who are sick. You shouldn't do that unless you are a signatory to the Omniround Accords and making soldiers who will expire instead of choosing to make soldiers who want to marry each other and settle down on farms when the war is over. If you are making an expiring soldier here's how to make sure they will die but aren't contagious with various tradeoffs against their fighting ability but really, have you considered making them want to settle down on farms, you can just do a farm prole who is grimly prepared to fight your enemies until the need is past.

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He has no desire whatever to make disposable soldiers, eeugh. 

He has no intention of creating her with false memories or deciding *anything* about her sex life aside from that she can have one if she wants one. 

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If you don't decide something, it will be random, within the pool of ways humans can apparently randomly be - but "naturally" for some value of naturally; if you make genuinely random people (DON'T DO THIS) then they can appear with missing limbs but they won't have scars, for example. Discoveries made by creating random people and less-random-but-still-very-drifty babies include:

- You can make asexuals! Go for it under circumstances that call for it!
- You can make psychotic people! Don't!
- You can make people who just plain can't see, or hear, or are really bad at those things, for no reason! Don't!
- You can make people who think they are several people sharing a body! This does allow you to get slightly more diverse skillsets without needing more food but it's really hard to specify right in your head and you should only do it if you have incredibly special circumstances, like "your sail lost most of its supplies and crew to pirates and you need some incompatible dispositions to man the other half of the shift clock to make roundfall".
- You can make people who are sexually attracted to children! Don't do that, turns out it's not good for the children!
- You can make people who are sexually attracted to animals! There's no obvious reason not to, the author supposes, but there's no reason to do it either!
- You can make people who, without any particular functional impairment, "see sound" or "hear smells" or whatever, and lots of them think this is fun and cool, follow your bliss on this one.
- You can make people who won't make eye contact and move around funny and don't like wearing wool, they don't know why these have appeared as bundled traits more than once but they have! Disrecommended!
- You can make people who do not have any innate understanding of it being bad to hurt others! There might exist professions for which this would be a useful protective factor but you have to be really careful with the other traits.
- You can make people who are weirdly pale and sunburn like crazy! Don't!
- You can make people who are short and stumpy! Disrecommended; it's just really inconvenient to be them.

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Atennesi has no intention of making pedophiles or psychopaths or sociopaths or blind or deaf or otherwise sensory impaired people.or people who are into bestiality or people with congenital missing limbs.

He supposes he has no particular reason to make albinos or autistics or multiples or people with dwarfism. 

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The author would like to note that all the research from which this research derives was very unethical and speculates in the afterword that one day perhaps children will come to be seen as unethical too.

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