Math Nerds (Warning: There will be math)

So the Seventh Jessica Keller novel, St. Legier, came out a couple weeks ago, and seems to be getting a pretty good reception, from the reviews and comments. Thank you.

From there, the story splits, with on short thread covered in Two Bottles of Wine With A War God coming out in January followed by the CS-405 trilogy. After the 405’s it goes into the middle of Winterhome.

One of my First Readers recently got through a pass of the Eighth Jessica novel, Winterhome. (Due out in May 2019 after the 405’s.) In in, there is a line from the Lord of Winter himself about how Jessica Keller is an unpredictable element in human history, representing some amazingly-high standard deviation number.

D’s a math nerd. Seriously. he considered the number I had given as far too high, such that he had to find a computer program to find the right breakdown for what he thought it should be.

And I quote: “I had to use a ruby library method to get the require “infinite” precision to get answers, all of the web calculators fail at 3 or 4 deviations.

So, seriously, I spent Friday having a discussion with the man about what the median and mean populations of the Fribourg Empire were, how many planets the Empire represented, and how many inhabited planets we should expect across the entire galaxy, in the era of Jessica Keller, circa 13,452 CE.

I havesome seriously fun and slightly nerdy friends. Here’s where he ended up, having worked it all out to his satisfaction. Mind you, this is the culmination of a half-dozen emails back and forth. heh

D: So, 200k worlds (2*10^5) * 2.5 billion persons per world (2.5*10^9) ~= 5*10^14 people (that’s 500 trillion). 8 standard deviations would make her around 1 in 1000 trillion, so literally singular in all humans ever, the far pointy end of the bell curve, so that’s probably close enough, if there have been more people, say a couple thousand trillion, then she might have a few peers 🙂

When describing Jessica Keller, she is a black swan, a singular event/person so unpredictable that she breaks down all useful statistical analysis in the short term. For her, that would be across a period of roughly thirty to fifty years, which is peanuts when you are talking about millennia or all recorded history, but crucial when you are in those fifty years and trying to make savvy predictions about how to conquer the galaxy (a la Buran himself).

I go back to Isaac Asimov and the Foundation Books. Hari Selden’s Empire is falling, and he devises the math to predict how to shorten the coming darkness from 30,000 years to 1,000. Loved those books as a kid, although I haven’t read them in 20+ years at least. Maybe 30. Dunno how they hold up in the modern age.

The Mule upset all Selden’s math, by being a thing Hari could not foresee.

Jessica is the same way, but less “evil” give or take, depending on your viewpoint. I wanted to put her in the category of names that would be on the “one handed short list” of great military commanders. Eisenhower, for Americans, and Nimitz, from the 20th Century. Not necessary the greatest battlefield commanders, but the greatest at moving from tactics to strategy to logistics. Wellington is another that most of you will have heard of. Chinggis Khan once conquered most of Asia and established an Empire that forced the barbarians in the far west to civilize. etc.

Jessica Keller is better than Nils Kasum and Emmerich zu Wachturm. They are fantastic. She’s literally in a league of her own. I’ve tried to convey that, while at the same time not turning her into one of those stupid Chosen One scenarios where the Gods reach down and gift some random child with a Destiny. She’ll carve her own out, thankyoufuckersverymuch.

She’s human. They all are. She’s just driven far and away more than anybody else, and has identified military command as her thing.

Right now, I’m about halfway through the Ninth and Final Jessica Keller novel. And yes, it will be done at that point. There are other Alexandria Station stories to explore. More Javier. More Henri. More Handsome Rob. And others I haven’t talked about. But Jessica’s story will be done.

And yes, eight standard deviations probably works for me. I’m just a writer, what the hell do I know about least-squares linear regressions? (Trick question, I’ve actually published studies using them, in another life.)

But your reading pleasure will not be interrupted, thanks to the hard work of D making sure I’ve got the math right. Because he’s nerdy that way. 🙂

Thanks, D.