How are Gehn's books powered?

General discussion about Riven.

How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Allatwan18 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:29 pm

Any theories on how the heck Gehn's books on Riven that link to his 233rd age are powered?

I understand the fire marbles generate the energy needed to power the books, hence the whole fire marble puzzle, but I don't understand technically how that works. I mean how do you "power" a book? It looks like they are just sitting on platforms in the domes. The little orange...lights, whatever the heck those are...light up, but I don't get what that does.

This is all that is in his journal:

Note: it’s possible that if I were somehow able to supply the books with a power source of sufficient magnitude, I could suppress the variance enough to facilitate a solid link. It is doubtful that the geothermal cap generators could provide such an enormous surge — perhaps I could adapt the fire-marbles —

.....I’ve finally made a breakthrough. I have succeeded in modifying the Fire-marbles to generate enough power to hold a Descriptive Linking Book in a stable matrix: I have linked to a new world!

Is that all we have? "Suppress the variance" and a "stable matrix"?
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Ainia » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:24 am

Shorah Allatwan18,

You might try reading Katran's journal too. She discusses her views on Gehn's Age flaws and her own solution for his Books.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby dgelessus » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:49 am

Although I have no idea how exactly the books are powered, I'd say that they have to be heated up in order to function. The entire power system appears to be heat-based, beginning with the fire marbles, being transported through the large pipes (probably in form of steam) and finally the orange glow on the cages powering the books. To me it would make sense if in the end it's just a powerful heating mechanism. Perhaps the glowing things on the book pedestal cages somehow bundle and focus the heat on the books.
Though now I wonder how exactly heat affects the books, and why it makes them work.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby JWPlatt » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:20 am

I think you can use a potato, some zinc and copper, and some wires if there's nothing else handy.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby dgelessus » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:31 pm

JWPlatt wrote:I think you can use a potato, some zinc and copper, and some wires if there's nothing else handy.

Obviously not, because they wouldn't generate the necessary voltage there were no potatoes on Riven. And there probably still aren't any. Unless somebody threw a potato into the sky near the cleft.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Charura » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:06 pm

/me goes to Riven in search of potatoes...
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Allatwan18 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:18 pm

dgelessus wrote:Though now I wonder how exactly heat affects the books, and why it makes them work.


Right. It seems to be heat, but somehow that doesn't burn the books.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Talashar » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:24 pm

I figure the lights above the book generate some kind of...*waves hands*...energy field in the space around the pedestal that's beyond the grasp of our pitiful human physics. :geek: It might not be wise to stick your head in there.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Horatio » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:46 pm

dgelessus wrote:
JWPlatt wrote:I think you can use a potato, some zinc and copper, and some wires if there's nothing else handy.

Obviously not, because they wouldn't generate the necessary voltage there were no potatoes on Riven. And there probably still aren't any. Unless somebody threw a potato into the sky near the cleft.

The Moiety Village huts are giant potatoes! Little known fact. ;)
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby LuigiHann » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:24 am

The whole Rime imager thing makes it seem like the connections between Ages are vaguely similar to radio waves, somehow. An antenna can collect signals, crystals can refine them. There's never a suggestion that it'd ever be possible to link using the Rime imager, but the difference between that and the unspecified spaceship-like machinery that powers the Selenetic link seems to be a matter of degree. The Selenetic link, the prison books that you see Sirrus and Achenar through in Myst, and the Riven book that Atrus is continually rewriting in Riven, are all at least stylized with varying degrees of static that strongly resembles television noise. And this is of course ignoring Myst 4, which more or less explicitly treats the "sound signal" from an age as a radio signal.

Point being, the series treats the link between ages as an analog signal, and I feel like the weak materials used in Gehn's Riven books, combined with his lack of precision in writing, result in a weak or corrupted "signal." The powered metal domes are presumably generating an electromagnetic field that strengthens or clarifies the signal, somehow, like extending an antenna.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Rayhdeeyoh » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:04 am

Allatwan18 wrote:[...] It looks like they are just sitting on platforms in the domes. The little orange...lights, whatever the heck those are...light up, but I don't get what that does. [...]

Am I the only one disappointed that the lights around the books in the domes never light up, not even when the domes are powered? As opposed to the lights on the book pedestals in Gehn's age? Has always seemed like a bug to me...
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby Thestranger » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:44 am

Yes, I only noticed this fairly recently (and I have been playing Riven for the past 16 years!).
Suspect it may just be a bug...
Given how much work went into Riven and how many people were involved, I am not surprised that some things may have been overlooked.
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Re: How are Gehn's books powered?

Postby KathAveara » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:11 am

A big example of this is a frame in the Rivenese village where the shadows of some objects outside the frame have not been rendered. Also, the writing on the Golden Elevator is D'ninglish for 'In Gehn we Trust'
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