Not by a factor of 10,000!

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But because the Earth's gravity is much stronger than the Moon's, it's much easier and much more effective to throw rocks from the Moon to the Earth than the other way around.

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"one soldier or ours counts for X of theirs!" I might give you an X of 10, or sometimes even 100. But not 10,000.

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Wouldn't you agree that the US economy has grown quite a lot since 1967? By even the most cautious measure, it has more than doubled in size. The US population has also grown by more than 100M people since then. And yet, for all that, we've lost the ability to send humans into space. To our shame, we now have American astronauts hitching rides on Russian Soyuz rockets. And the Soyuz is pushing 60 years old! Boeing, NASA, and SpaceX are taking steps towards crewed orbital launches, but by all accounts they're re-packaging old technologies, and those haven't advanced very much, if at all, since NASA dismantled the Saturn V. Our ability to drop rocks on the moon has taken steps backwards, not forwards, since then -- despite our economic growth, and despite the growth of our population base.

It's obvious that we could do much more if we really made an effort, but this would require government spending on aerospace projects, it would require time, it would require an exceptionally skilled workforce with visionary leadership, and the bureaucratic purveyors of red tape would have to get the hell out of the way. That's not happening in 2019. It's certainly not happening in the exaggerated and farcical Progressive state of the Aristellus series. Advantage: Bootstrappers.

As for this: > "As the Earth’s economy is roughly ten thousand times larger that the moon’s, without a huge tech advantage is a mystery why anyone thinks the moon has any chance whatsoever to win this war."

Did you miss the part where the terrestrial Space Ranger Special Operations force was loaded with cripples, invalids, and women, for the sake of "inclusivity"?

We should count more than just economic facts. Consider the degenerate spirit of the people of Aristellus' Earth, and contrast it with the hardscrabble pioneer spirit of the people who have smuggled themselves to the moon. It may also be worth noting that the Mongolians routinely defeated older, wealthier, more populous, decadent nations -- because the Mongols were hard men with a solid tactical advantage, and they made good use of it. The American revolutionaries defeated the British -- at least in part because their hearts were in the fight, whereas the British were lukewarm and didn't fully commit. There are shades of both here, with, additionally, the clear fact that the Earth's forces in Aristellus are of a completely degraded quality.

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Rocks can be dropped on the moon too. And one's ability to drop rocks depends on the size of one's economy.

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> After they acquire antigrav tech, Earth powers go to war with the moon. As the Earth’s economy is roughly ten thousand times larger that the moon’s, without a huge tech advantage is a mystery why anyone thinks the moon has any chance whatsoever to win this war.

Given the possibility of kinetic bombardment, I'd guess that a war with antigrav tech is a MAD situation in which the relative strength of the two sides is irrelevant. If it wasn't for the antigrav tech then the moon colony would have an overwhelming advantage due to occupying the high-ground.

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Can't have it both ways: if smuggling on Earth is hard, then smuggling to the moon is hard, and there's far more demand for smuggling on Earth. It isn't the absolute level of the AI that is the issue, it is that we see no other systems with any remotely similar capabilities.

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I didn't like the dogs. There's a way to do animal uplifting right, and a way to do it wrong. Corcoran gets it very wrong indeed. Stephen Baxter, in Manifold:Time, comes a lot closer to getting it right.

That aside, I disagree with much of your assessment.

The AI seemed merely competent. It didn't seem superintelligent at any point, nor did it ever seem particularly alien in its behavior or thought patterns. As the story isn't finished, and as the AI still cuts a mysterious figure, I think that we should interpret this charitably -- that is to say, we should interpret it as an indication that things are not exactly as they seem.

(The alternative would simply suggest that Corcoran is incapable of writing the non-human, like intelligent AIs and uplifted animals.)

But there's a far more parsimonious explanation for the lack of terrestrial anti-grav tech. It's the same reason ibogaine is a schedule I drug in the USA. The same reason that, "for want of docosahexaenoic acids, babies were lost." (h/t Yudkowsky.)

...Simply put, the EPA, OSHA, various EU commissions, and the folks who maintain building codes have decided that they need to run more studies and tests before anti-grav technology can be approved for use in construction projects. So hurry up and wait.

The illegal bootstrappers, of course, do as they please and pay no heed to bureaucratic restrictions.

I'm sure that smugglers also do as they please -- but don't forget that airspace and coastal territories are pretty stringently monitored, and are getting more heavily monitored by the day, so smuggling would likely remain a difficult and dangerous activity.

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