Scott Westerfeld Forum

Scott's Books => Uglies / Pretties / Specials / Extras => Topic started by: tuv0k on October 10, 2012, 02:10:11 AM

Title: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: tuv0k on October 10, 2012, 02:10:11 AM
Hello, I'm new here and I've searched the website for a topic already on this, but I can't find one. Please forgive me if this has already been discussed!

I am really enjoying the Uglies series and am currently reading Pretties. I just got to the part where Tally lands in the middle of the river after jumping from the hot-air balloon. There is something that is bothering me and keeping me from truly enjoying the story.

I am a music teacher and specialize in brass instruments. When brass instruments get cold, they go flat (their pitch is low). This happens because metal condenses in cold which causes the volume inside the tube to increase. When they warm up, the instruments go sharp (their pitch is high) because the metal expands thus creating a smaller circumference inside the tubing.

In Pretties, it is suggested that in order to get their metal interface cuffs off, Tally and Zane need to HEAT the cuffs to get them to loosen [edited my poor word choice]. This would not happen. A cuff is just a short tube and since metal expands in heat, it would get tighter. Granted, if the cuffs got hot enough that the metal was pliable, well, then getting the cuffs off that way might work, however it wouldn't be because the heat shrunk them.

The confusion lies in the fact that when heated, metal expands on BOTH SIDES. Heat would cause the bracelets to expand on the outside, but also on the inside, the part that touches the wrists. This would make the inside diameter smaller and would cause the cuffs to be tighter. While cold shrinks metal, the metal also shrinks on BOTH SIDES causing a ring, bracelet, tube, or even cuff to shrink diameter both on the outside surface and the inside surface making it smaller on the outside and larger on the inside.

So while Tally and Zane's cuffs could have come off from the metal being moldable at such a high heat, they would NOT have come off because they "got bigger" from the heat. I'm not sure if the author knows this and is just writing what the characters would be thinking, or if Mr. Westerfeld and his editor truly believe the cuffs would have gotten larger on the inside when heated. Perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions and this is cleared up later in the novel, but from my readings, it sounded like the subject was closed.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: Cola on October 10, 2012, 11:24:07 PM
Good to know. Thanks for pointing this out. I've never even thought about it...
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: tuv0k on October 11, 2012, 06:32:45 PM
Thanks! Yes, I plan on hanging around. Although I'm usually one to read more than I post.  :-\

I will try my best to make the next meet up. I live in Alaska so it's going to be smack dab in the middle of my afternoon (3:00 PM). As of right now I have no other plans and I will mark my calendar, but you never know what the future holds. If no one brings this up, feel free to mention it to him! I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice this mistake.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: Reenie-La on October 12, 2012, 03:29:03 AM
"It is suggested that in order to get their metal interface cuffs off, Tally and Zane need to HEAT the cuffs to get them to shrink."

If you read Pretties, Tally and Zane needed to get the metal to expand in order to get them off...not to shrink.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: Straif on October 12, 2012, 06:05:37 AM
That would be a viable statement if this were any STANDARD metal. My guess is we're dealing with a refined metal/nanomaterial and wiring mix, as the braclets can interface with the city's computer system.
Still, good point.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: tuv0k on October 12, 2012, 05:22:27 PM
"It is suggested that in order to get their metal interface cuffs off, Tally and Zane need to HEAT the cuffs to get them to shrink."

If you read Pretties, Tally and Zane needed to get the metal to expand in order to get them off...not to shrink.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake! I edited my original comment because that's not what I meant to say. I'm not entirely sure why I chose the word shrink as the whole point of my post was that when metal expands, it expands on both sides. Sometimes I write things backwards (which is why I tend to read more than I post).  :-[

Nevertheless, the rest of my post is still valid. The cuffs would not expand only outward in heat, they would expand inside as well as outside thus making the cuffs tighter, not looser.

That would be a viable statement if this were any STANDARD metal. My guess is we're dealing with a refined metal/nanomaterial and wiring mix, as the braclets can interface with the city's computer system.
Still, good point.


It wouldn't matter if the metal were refined or not. If the metal expands in heat, it expands in heat. That was the entire plot of that part of the book. "Heated metal expands so let's heat our bracelets to get them to expand!" Yes, they would expand...on BOTH sides!
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: Straif on October 13, 2012, 04:29:23 AM
Cue Luna and I mentioned that we thing Tally has an obese gerbile instead of a brain...
But yeah, I see what you mean, but again, this isn't pure metal. Perhaps the nanomaterial of their make up would make it so they expanded outwards in one direction only. Or maybe the bottom of them (around the wrist) isn't metal.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: tuv0k on October 13, 2012, 05:24:16 AM
[...] but again, this isn't pure metal. Perhaps the nanomaterial of their make up would make it so they expanded outwards in one direction only. Or maybe the bottom of them (around the wrist) isn't metal.

That's exactly my point. If the material only expanded in one direction, the only way it could expand without making the cuff tighter would be for the outside surface to expand. If the inside didn't in fact expand or isn't made of metal, then the inside would stay the same. It would not get looser. The only way for the inside part of the cuff to loosen is for the material, whatever it is, to contract.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: cece la on October 16, 2012, 11:29:59 AM
thats interesting im reading it for the second time right now fro a project (i know alot about music too) and i never noticed that and im at that exact part but a little farther...
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: Helenwa on November 26, 2012, 06:18:00 PM
That's actually pretty interesting. My only idea is that maybe, it isn't made clear in the book, but Tally and Zane's goal is actually to make the metal melt a little bit, so that they can pry the cuffs off of their arms a little easier.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: tuv0k on November 29, 2012, 09:28:58 PM
I asked Scott about this in the last meetup. He didn't give a very detailed response, and I had asked if the mistake was an oversight or if Tally and Zane had just gotten lucky and managed to make the cuffs pliable. Scott said:

“Yeah, I think the whole plan was fairly pretty-minded, but they managed to make them pliable.”

So yeah... I think the characters in the book are just that, "pretty-minded," but that Scott and his editor could have done a better job of distinguishing between true facts (metal does indeed expand in heat after all) and the sheer dumb luck of his characters. They could have added a "This isn't working! Why are the cuffs getting TIGHTER?!! Oh, look at that, they're melting!" dialog of some sort to fix this oversight.

I still love the book, don't get me wrong! I just think a few more sentences and this wouldn't have looked like a mistake on the author's part, but a mistake the characters made from being pretty-minded.
Title: Re: Metal Interface Cuffs - Pretties
Post by: Straif on November 30, 2012, 04:08:44 AM
And THIS is something that a lot of people who follow Scott have noticed. He's not the greatest at filling in plot-stuff. Hell, for Leviathan, he NEVER FIGURED OUT HOW FABRICATION ACTUALLY WORKED.