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Lack of Intellectual Curiosity Re Amazing and Implausible Coincidences:

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Given that the Erasmus and all his friends are cloistered intellectuals, it is astoundiing that not one of them by the 3/4 point of the book has asked him or herself:

"How is it that I and all my close friends, from among countless Avout more intelligent and experienced throughout the world, have been chosen for top spots--e.g. space missions, military evacuation command, etc--and to attend a Convox where every person matters?

"Why is Barb even here, when he just joined the order and most people are exasperated by him?

"How did an entire and ordinary clock-winding team of pimply faced kids get evoked en-masse?

"What on Arbre is going on? Is there not one among us with enough self-reflection, humility and intelligence to question the odds that our band of friends are all important enough to save the world?"

The plot appears to be: High school buddies asked to save the world without ever asking: "Why us?"

(To the Editors: I tried to put this under "Goofs", but the Wiki went wonky on me. I would be glad to see this put under goofs. I'll try to move it, but as I said, having trouble with editing. Thanks.)

They're not high-schoolers. Erasmas is 18-20 over the course of the novel. In a schooling system without summer breaks, this means he's more like a grad school student. And grad school buddies asked to save the world has happened before, look up the Manhattan project. It happens to be these particular students because they're in the right place: one of the Inviolates and around Orolo, who is too curious to follow the rules. 22:18, October 24, 2012 (UTC)
--Ok, they are teenagers, although it may shock you to know that some high school students are 18 and 19 years old. And Erasmus' girlfriend Ala is noted to be younger, below the age of sexual consent at the outset, so I would assume she's probably more around 15-16.
And being around Orolo still doesn't explain how Ala ends up in charge of military evacuation (!), or Jesry ends up on a space mission. The lack of self reflection, the gobsmacking unbelievability that such a diversity of best-in-the-world abilities are in one very tiny group, as opposed to scattered among folks who have trained and worked in a variety of disciplines, really strains credulity.
I'm sure all the seasoned military planners got together and agreed, "Let's all step aside and give the 17 year old a shot, since only the fate of the entire world is depending, do-or-die, on this one successful evacuation. There's no way that we would want to risk messing things up with our experience, wisdom, and real-life knowledge of what actually works. No, in order to ensure the survival of the human race, we must hand our military evacuation planning over to a child." Because those with status, power, and ability toss those aside to put kids in charge all the time when the stakes are highest, right?
I liked the characters; I laughed at the implausibility.
And the young avout didn't seem remotely like any folks I ran into in grad school. Frankly, more like excitable sophomores taking a physics/philosophy double major.
Also, the Manhattan project was brought to fruition by many people from around the country and the world working together, and coordinating findings, from what I have read. It was not the work of one small group at all.
The simple (if frustrating) answer is that almost all Narratives did not involve these people being selected – and were then pruned by Jad and other Rhetors/Incanters because they didn't end well.
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