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1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:10 am UTC
by Steve the Pocket
Image

Mouseover caption: We will have an entire wing of the library devoted to copies of book #26, because ohmygod it's the one where Jake and Cassie finally KISS!!!

Given the current most likely method of said collapse, let's hope they've ordered exclusively waterproof copies. Despite what a surprising number of filmmakers seem to think, normal books are not waterproof.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:17 am UTC
by glasnt
If you borrow one of the books from the collection for more than two hours, do you turn into the book?

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:27 am UTC
by Envelope Generator
Aww. I was hoping we would rebuild civilization using Oblique Strategies cards.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:42 am UTC
by *Kat*
WTH?

Animorphs?

Why Animorphs?

That series came out in the mid 90s. It was popular at the time, but to see it here in this context....

If he was looking for inane elementary/middle school fiction there plenty of series which were worse. And plenty that were better.

Why Animorphs?

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:46 am UTC
by seanbrockest
I don't understand. This thread is up before the comic is up on the main site.

How?

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:47 am UTC
by *Kat*
seanbrockest wrote:I don't understand. This thread is up before the comic is up on the main site.

How?


Try clearing your cache.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:49 am UTC
by seanbrockest
*Kat* wrote:
seanbrockest wrote:I don't understand. This thread is up before the comic is up on the main site.

How?


Try clearing your cache.


Wow, thanks. I've literally never had that problem before.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:56 am UTC
by Pez Dispens3r
*Kat* wrote:If he was looking for inane elementary/middle school fiction there plenty of series which were worse.


Animorphs isn't inane.

*Kat* wrote:And plenty that were better.


You're simply wrong.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:58 am UTC
by CocoaNutCakery
Excuse you, but what about The Ellimist Chronicles?

*Kat* wrote:And plenty that were better.


The Thoroughbred series was pretty good, but I think they want more urbanized civilization.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:05 am UTC
by DR6
*Kat* wrote:WTH?

Animorphs?

Why Animorphs?

That series came out in the mid 90s. It was popular at the time, but to see it here in this context....

If he was looking for inane elementary/middle school fiction there plenty of series which were worse. And plenty that were better.

Why Animorphs?


Reason 1: Randall seems to like animorphs.
Reason 2: [Cut out because not more reasons are necessary]

I interpreted it as if Animorphs not being really special was part of the joke.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:14 am UTC
by Silhalnor
YES, The Ellimist Chronicles was one of my favorite books. Ijust loved the concepts in it and the idea of following the journey of such a person. Not sure I understand the meaning of this comic though. Is it about the intersocial relationships between the Animorphs? The mood of the books does become more serious with time so maybe that's part of it. I remember the first time Tobias finds his mother. That was the first time I was truly afraid someone would die. Well, someone other than nameless canonfodder.

Just had to make an account for this, I loved the Animorphs. Surprisingly though I already have an account! I then wanted to see what it was I posted about before but apparently I have no posts. I just... have an account. Has it always been here? Floating around... waiting for me. Does this happen for everyone? The first time you feel the urge to post you find that you already have a ready made account and password waiting for you?

How does XKCD know?

Also, I love that searching my own posts is called an "egosearch."

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:37 am UTC
by CocoaNutCakery
Silhalnor wrote:YES, The Ellimist Chronicles was one of my favorite books. Ijust loved the concepts in it and the idea of following the journey of such a person. Not sure I understand the meaning of this comic though. Is it about the intersocial relationships between the Animorphs? The mood of the books does become more serious with time so maybe that's part of it. I remember the first time Tobias finds his mother. That was the first time I was truly afraid someone would die. Well, someone other than nameless canonfodder.


IIRC, Animorphs was intended to be about how war changes people.

It would be better without the Space Whale Aesop, though.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:20 am UTC
by saengerbeatle
I would totally go with The Lord of the Rings and tell everybody: "Yes, life was like that before the collaps of civilisation - before the elves left to the sea and before all the dwarfs drowned due to global warming."
The Hunger Games would be fun as well: "Child, if you don't finish your vegetables, we will give you away as a triute."

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:46 am UTC
by westrim
Silhalnor wrote:Just had to make an account for this, I loved the Animorphs. Surprisingly though I already have an account! I then wanted to see what it was I posted about before but apparently I have no posts. I just... have an account. Has it always been here? Floating around... waiting for me. Does this happen for everyone? The first time you feel the urge to post you find that you already have a ready made account and password waiting for you?

How does XKCD know?


I've had that feeling before, but then it turned out to be Disquis. Perhaps you bought something from the store and that required account formation?

Animorphs is bittersweet for me now that I'm older. The themes still hold up well and individual books, especially early books and the last few but a couple others as well still are coherent. But as a whole, the negative effects of the ghostwriting and accelerated releases on it and her two concurrent series, Everworld and Remnants, are palpable. Only Remnants got a proper ending, even if it was "Timeskip! Everyone still alive lives happily ever after!" Everworld ended just as the main characters finally got a hold of things, and Animorphs... maybe she intended that cliffhanger from the beginning, but damn I hope not

I still have every book, sitting in a box and a half. I hear that they tried a reprint a couple years ago but stopped due to poor sales.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:48 am UTC
by snowyowl
Silhalnor wrote:Does this happen for everyone? The first time you feel the urge to post you find that you already have a ready made account and password waiting for you?

That's how it works on Trollian.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:55 am UTC
by Sqee
I do not get the joke in this one, but I sure do love Animorphs. Just started a re-read and the series contains some very good stories. Also some very bad ones, but that is one of the pitfalls of having preachy ghostwriters.
Animorphs will not make a good civ, it's all about genocide.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:02 am UTC
by Pfhorrest
Was I the only nerdy 90s kid who never got into Animorphs? (Actually I remember thinking Animorphs, like Pokemon, was for "little kids" i.e. kids a year or two younger than me, and I could swear Randall was a year or two older than me so I'm surprised he was into it).

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:43 am UTC
by bgriff
The Andalite Chronicles was pretty good but The Hork-Bajir Chronicles was the best book I ever read as a kid.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:27 am UTC
by cwDeici
It's one of those things most people liked when they were kids.
I never really did though, and am a bit irrationally proud of it.

I did like a lot of the Goosebumps books though.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:32 am UTC
by PinkShinyRose
Pfhorrest wrote:Was I the only nerdy 90s kid who never got into Animorphs? (Actually I remember thinking Animorphs, like Pokemon, was for "little kids" i.e. kids a year or two younger than me, and I could swear Randall was a year or two older than me so I'm surprised he was into it).

In my experience there is an age where people are "eeeww, it's for small kids" before they arrive at an age where they are "yaaay, pokémon, I don't care what other people think about my hobbies".

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:52 am UTC
by The Moomin
PinkShinyRose wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Was I the only nerdy 90s kid who never got into Animorphs? (Actually I remember thinking Animorphs, like Pokemon, was for "little kids" i.e. kids a year or two younger than me, and I could swear Randall was a year or two older than me so I'm surprised he was into it).

In my experience there is an age where people are "eeeww, it's for small kids" before they arrive at an age where they are "yaaay, pokémon, I don't care what other people think about my hobbies".


A while back I was in a comic shop, and there was a kid with his younger brother there. The younger brother was looking at the rare pokemon cards in the display cabinet when the kid went up and said "Pokémon, I thought they were cool . . . WHEN I WAS FIVE!!" at which I thought "SHIT. I got into them when I was twenty." Admittedly that was when Red and Blue were first released in the UK.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:53 am UTC
by Gauteamus
http://longnow.org/people/board/

Is it just me, or is the Long Now Foundation board the whitest group of people since the White Stripes?

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:34 am UTC
by Vahir
CocoaNutCakery wrote:Excuse you, but what about The Ellimist Chronicles?

*Kat* wrote:And plenty that were better.


The Thoroughbred series was pretty good, but I think they want more urbanized civilization.


And he's not even mentioning Visser, or the Hork-Bajir Chronicles. They must be PRESERVED!

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:38 am UTC
by da Doctah
On the last episode of the new Cosmos series, mention was made of the Voyager record album containing the music of Earth, which people my age tend to remember only because it contains "Johnny B Goode". I always thought if I sent my much larger record collection into space as representative of our planet's culture, would alien intelligences make anything of the fact that it started with Abba and AC/DC, or could we somehow explain alphabetical order to them.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:48 am UTC
by cellocgw
Well, at least he didn't list "Master and Commander" or Sookie Stackhouse :twisted:

I would certainly go for Discworld above most series , excluding length < 5 books.

Tho' my youthful self probably would want Tom Swift + Tom Swift, Jr. series :mrgreen:

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:42 pm UTC
by JudeMorrigan
Randall's Animorph references always make me feel old. I think they were not only after my time, but after my little brother's time, so I'm pretty much completely unaware of them aside from the references in this comic.

Get off my lawn!

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:57 pm UTC
by Whizbang
My little brother and sister read Animorphs for a couple of years. No one was really into Pokemon in my house.

I played too much FF6(3US), FF7, and Chrono Trigger to spend much time reading Animorphs. So, as long as there is some Squaresoft games in the library, I am all set.

I did get into Dragonlance about that same time, though. And from there Wheel of Time.

Anyone remember Pogs?

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:19 pm UTC
by enumerated powers
I'm with JudeMorrigan - having been in school in the middle of the last century, the sets of books referenced are barely on my radar as existing, not anything I've ever read.

The comic has a kind of Lord Of The Flies ring to it - we kids know all that's needed.

By the way - it's mid-morning Wednesday and still no trace of a new "What If" which normally would have posted yesterday.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:26 pm UTC
by San Fran Sam
If i had any idea what the heck he was talking about, i suppose it might be funny.

If a series has more than three books, the author should be treated for logorrhea.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:34 pm UTC
by NemeSys
Alright, enough bloody nonsense about Animorphs (whatever the hell those are), time to get serious. Books to preserve should civilisation collapse? I'll start with The Feynman Lectures on Physics and The Oxford English Dictionary, though initially we're going to need basic survival skills to get us through the tough early years, emergency medical knowledge, agricultural information, and engineering and electronics know-how to rebuild transportation, communication, and power systems. Got any good titles along those lines, anyone?

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:52 pm UTC
by cellocgw
NemeSys wrote:Alright, enough bloody nonsense about Animorphs (whatever the hell those are), time to get serious. Books to preserve should civilisation collapse? I'll start with The Feynman Lectures on Physics and The Oxford English Dictionary, though initially we're going to need basic survival skills to get us through the tough early years, emergency medical knowledge, agricultural information, and engineering and electronics know-how to rebuild transportation, communication, and power systems. Got any good titles along those lines, anyone?


Why an English dict? Let's start clean with a sensible, self-consistent language. ( not Haskell)

Books: Principia Mathematica. As many late 19th-early 20th century engineering texts as possible. I have a few which cover things like design and fab of gears, bolts, screws in great detail; steam engine design;p aircraft wing design. Drawings of sewing machines, weaving looms (which led to punch cards, which led to IBM... :mrgreen: ), Eli W's cotton gin, clock making so we can still determine longitude.
Those, along w/ formulas for indelible ink and (sadly) high explosives should be a good start. Oh, and design of electric dynamos, as those are about the most reliable electricity source (assuming any rivers still exist).
So start raiding those used-book stores now!

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:05 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
NemeSys wrote:Alright, enough bloody nonsense about Animorphs (whatever the hell those are), time to get serious. Books to preserve should civilisation collapse? I'll start with The Feynman Lectures on Physics and The Oxford English Dictionary, though initially we're going to need basic survival skills to get us through the tough early years, emergency medical knowledge, agricultural information, and engineering and electronics know-how to rebuild transportation, communication, and power systems. Got any good titles along those lines, anyone?


I'd throw in Asimov's Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (preferably one of the later editions) - the original is 50 years out of date, but offers a good basic summary.

A good encyclopedia (in other words, not Wikipedia unless it's aggressively edited down) would be worth including.

An important question is how much of our culture we should preserve - should we just save our technological and scientific knowledge, or should we also share our moral and aesthetic values? Arguably, knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons is less valuable than knowledge of when not to use them... On the other hand, given that, by assumption, our civilisation would have been wiped out by the time any of this became useful, maybe we shouldn't be too keen on preserving our culture...

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:39 pm UTC
by mathmannix
rmsgrey wrote:An important question is how much of our culture we should preserve - should we just save our technological and scientific knowledge, or should we also share our moral and aesthetic values? Arguably, knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons is less valuable than knowledge of when not to use them... On the other hand, given that, by assumption, our civilisation would have been wiped out by the time any of this became useful, maybe we shouldn't be too keen on preserving our culture...


<shrug> Or we could be less altruistic with it all, and provide specific details on how to create crossbows and cannons and automatic rifles and nuclear weapons, without giving any ethics to go with it. A sort of big middle finger to the future humans that discover it, saying in essence, "if we can't have the earth, no one can."

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:51 pm UTC
by dtobias
I'm another who's only vaguely aware that something called "Animorphs" exists, but knows nothing about it.

This comic looks as if, rather than consult "experts" to get a book list as stated, they perhaps conducted an Internet vote, something that is often prone to hijacking by some organized fandom or other flooding it with votes for their favorite series, whether it is Harry Potter or Ayn Rand's books.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:59 pm UTC
by zukenft
not particularly funny...I was expecting a civilization 5 joke or something. *thy built order shalt be scout, scout, monument, granary...*

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:59 pm UTC
by ElFusilado
Registered for this. Funny, I just finished the Animorphs like two weeks ago, started to read them 10 years ago.

I think the joke is not just purely the randomness of the Animorphs books, but also the themes of it. First I thought it was chosen because it's about defending against an invasion from another planet (speaking of long term thinking), but in the Comic it is specifically spoken of rebuilding the civilization. There is a little part about this in the later books (spoilers ahead), when it is described how the Hork-Bajir rebuild their destroys valley with the help of humans, especially one lawyer helping them creating some fundamental laws. But it isn't a really big deal in the books, so maybe I am barking up the wrong tree (dict.cc said you can say this in English...) and the Animorphs books are only chosen because of their awesomeness. Especially #26.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:02 pm UTC
by KrytenKoro
I am honestly aghast that it's even possible for people to think they are too "cool" or "mature" for Animorphs.

Aghast, I tell you.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:03 pm UTC
by JudeMorrigan
cellocgw wrote:Books: Principia Mathematica.

As important as it is from a historical standpoint, I think it would be a mistake to include this over a modern mechanics textbook. The art of explaining mechanics to other people has been improved upon over the centuries.

KrytenKoro wrote:I am honestly aghast that it's even possible for people to think they are too "cool" or "mature" for Animorphs.

Aghast, I tell you.

It's not that I'm too mature for them - it's that I'm too old to even know what they are.

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:24 pm UTC
by DR6
cellocgw wrote:Why an English dict? Let's start clean with a sensible, self-consistent language. ( not Haskell)


But then you'll be left with no options...


(jk).

Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:31 pm UTC
by *Kat*
CocoaNutCakery wrote:Excuse you, but what about The Ellimist Chronicles?

*Kat* wrote:And plenty that were better.


The Thoroughbred series was pretty good, but I think they want more urbanized civilization.


To be fair, I never read any of the spin offs. I did like the Early Animorph stories before outgrowing the series. Years later I made a point of going back and reading the final three books so I knew how the story ended. I enjoyed them. I loved Tobias and Rachel but found Jake boring. Although when I look back I suspect his characterization was probably more true to life than the others.