The site is full of 'spoilers' for the book

Living Labyrinth

by Ian Stewart and Tim Poston

If you can't read St Matthew's Gospel because St Mark gave away the resurrection, don't explore further.

I like background on books:
let me in, and do not warn me again

or Go to where I can get the book.


Chemical explosives are unknown on Qish, as are weapons dependent on them, their niche having been taken by syntelics. This leaves gaps such as shells (projectiles exploding on arrival) and blasting to remove rock, but these secondary roles have not been reached. (Syntelic shrapnel 'shells' are achievable, and even go on 'exploding', if the syntei survive impact. Syndepts are working on this.) Without molecular theory, Qishite chemistry is reduced to smart recipes.

Daggers, strangling cords, and so on are produced in many places on Qish, as are 'stealth' syntelic items such as spying tools, poison diffusers, and so on, and a few short-range projectile weapons. However, both range and stopping power depend so drastically on the height gap between kasynte and kantasynte that control and production both go to those who control the high ground. On Old Earth, the monstrous firepower belongs to the low ground, with its industrial base: guerrillas hide in the mountains. On Qish, asymmetrical warfare is reversed, with the heavy guns belonging to the crowded heights and their allies, low-tech (literally low) resistance breeding in the lowlands.

This makes impossible the Old Earth pattern of supplying high-tech weapons to tribesmen who oppose your enemies, but then aim them at you in the next conflict. Syntelically-high tech remains in the control of the arms merchant. A clandestine organisation must either find alternatives to such weaponry (as the Vain Vaimoksi do), or partly serve its suppliers. Those few runaway slaves of the Vain Vaimoksi who remain unmissed long enough, seek work in an armament community, despite the cold, thin air: a slavestone is harmless above its kantasynte, and the the Vain Vaimoksi is a lowlands organisation. A close watch is kept for female assassins.

No group can set up its own, covert high arsenal, because the possible sites are conspicuous mountains. All the highest are on Samdal, closely controlled by the Tenchurian Empire, and operated by PPPs (public/plutocrat partnerships). They do not heavily restrict sales, feeling no ethical constraints: "these people would be killing each other anyway, so best they do it with weapons that (a) we can block and (b) we make a profit from." They apply strict confidentiality, especially when selling weapons to both sides, as in the Lamynt-Wevory conflict. It is usual to deny that they promote such conflicts.

Sales to the Church of the Undivided Body are mostly of small arms for police use, because it faces no battlefield enemies in Shaaluy, and nobody in Samdal wants it to go on tour. Shaaluy sales outside the Church are negligible.