Small Thoughts

Adaptations for Scaling

From our review of the physical, biological, and ecological consequences of scaling, we know that creating plausible species is not a trivial matter. However, it is still possible to look at nature and extrapolate the adaptations found in real organisms to provide some modest grounding.

Bone Strength

Cortical bone recieves its strength from the biomineralization of hydroxyapatite. This sets a limit on the forces a bone can endure, and therefore on the size of an organism—even whales who benefit from bouyancy contend with the pressures put upon their spine while swimming. Indeed, our current understanding of biomechanics suggests that prehistoric megafauna such as T. Rex moved relatively slowly, as to do otherwise would have lead to severe injury.

Looking to nature, we see there exist organims that use stronger materials than hydroxyapatite and keratin: beavers, limpets, abalones, scaly-foot snails, and probably many more. The best materials of this selection provide strengths on the order of 10x greater than bone. Since strength, measured in Pascals, scales with area, we are forced to take the square root—yeilding bones that can support creatures 3x more massive.

Looking instead to material science, we can see that there exists ceramics and nano-engineered carbon allotropes that rise to roughly 100x greater strength, or 10x larger organisms.


Smaller warm-blooded organisms are more vulnerable to the cold than larger ones, expending more energy per unit mass to maintain their temperature. On the other hand, larger organisms retain heat too well and experience difficulty in dissipating it.

An interesting adaptation in this direction is heterothermy, where the organism can shift their metabolic rate to match their circumstances. This allows small, warm blooded animals to resist starvation over the course of the night.

Vocalisation Pitch

I, personally, do not like the trope of tinies having high-pitched voices. Although it logically follows from scaling laws, it is tied too deeply to unseriousness for me to want to utilise it. Furthermore, higher pitches are arguably maladaptive—higher pitches attenuate more than lower ones, which reduces the utility of sound for communication.

The Koala is an example of a small organism that has adapted its vocal tract to produce sound more in line with that of an elephant.

Eye Size

The optics of eyes effectively implies an ideal size, which is why eyes are proportionally larger on smaller animals and proportionally smaller on megafauna. I say implies because there does exist one major reason to increase eye size—light intake. This allows you to justify giants having human-like eye proportion by arguing their host star is dimmer than our own. As for tinies, conventional optics can be circumvented by the use of nanoscale structures to produce a super-lens.

AI Dungeon

AI Dungeon is a non-traditional single and multi-player text adventure that uses OpenAI’s GPT models to infer game responses. Because the world and parser model are left to the AI to infer, AI Dungeon is extremely versatile in what it can do.


Despite all the promise of AI-powered text adventures, AI Dungeon painfully under-delivers when it comes to ESD content. To add further insult to injury, the companies behind it (Latitude and OpenAI) have gradually reduced the quality of the product as a consequence of both cost-savings and misguided "improvements". I would not recommend paying for more than a month or two, as by that time you’ll have likely grown bored or frustrated with the limitations.

Note on Privacy

AI Dungeon has significant issues with user privacy. Fundamentally, all input must be sent as cleartext to OpenAI in order for them to produce the GPT completion This is not strictly true; homomorphic encryption techniques open the possibility of computing over encrypted data. However, the field has only recently achieved performant algorithms and their implementations, so the technology is not widespread as of writing. . OpenAI is owned by Microsoft Research, which, as part of the greater Microsoft family, is in compliance with the U.S.A’s surveilance apparatus Per Snowden leaks . Furthermore, subscription requires payment which requires identifying information.

Latitude has also shown a startling disregard for proper software engineering and security principles, culminating in the discolsure that any user could freely access the entire database AI Dungeon Public Disclosure Vulnerability Report - GraphQL Unpublished Adventure Data Leak . This does not seem to be merely accidental, as the strong religious conscience of the developers has inspired them to implement increasingly invasive measures against their users such as scanning logs for keywords and reporting them despite the legality under U.S. law Content moderation and user privacy, Wikipedia .


Don’t Use Negatives (Always Use Positives!)

A limitation of GPT is that it is not very good at understanding logical negation. A statement such as “there are no cars” counter-intuitively signals to the AI that the following text has something to do with cars, and therefore leads to a higher probability of a car appearing than simply not mentioning them. The only way to prohibit unwanted content, then, is to ensure the context is one in which the undesired content is likely to appear. For instance, signalling to the AI that the text concerns a medieval fantasy world reduces the chance that any modern technology will appear.

Avoid Tropes

Because GPT is built to produce the expected continuation of an input, it is prone to falling into "attractors" of extremely common situations. This leads to everything from unwelcome stereotypes and confusions when a well-known term is used, to certain stories being effectively impossible because the AI considers it incredibly unlikely.

For a general list of attractors, see Known Attractors


lesbians growing dicks

A simple example of this is how sex scenes involving homosexuals almost always morphs into heterosexual scenes. Lesbians will grow penises, and gays vaginas.

couples insertion


Even armed with the knowledge of what is possible, we are still ignorant of what is probable. Part and parcel to this is the problem of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

The Big Alien Theory

Amusingly, I am not the first to write about the size of aliens in a serious manner. No, Dr. Fergus Simpson along with his excellent website is the first. For the convenience of controlling the narrative, I will recount his theory in condensed form.

Statistically, it is more likely for you to be a member of a larger group than a smaller group—that is, one should expect to be amongst the more populous species. This is essential because it neatly sidesteps the issue of the Copernican principle—that we should expect ourselves to be unremarkable.. Now, if we know we’re likely to be more populous than average, then we can speculate that

A curious corollary of the BAT is that although a randomly selected alien species is likely to be larger than us, the species we meet at first contact has the potential to be much smaller. This is because a populous species has more potential for technological development and space exploration.

A More Physical Approach

The big alien hypothesis, while general, is exceedingly vague. The numbers we get for size are driven by assumptions on terrestrial life.

Limits of Planet Size, Gravity

Roughly, we can infer planets with lower gravity will produce larger organisms and the converse—in line with the BAT. To maintain a habitable atmosphere, a planet must have an escape velocity roughly 6x higher than the RMS of the kinetic velocity of the gasses at habital temperatures. Curiously, the escape velocity and surface gravity are not linearly related, which allows us to have small planets with thick atmospheres.

The density of a planet (ignoring the atmosphere) can be no lower than 900kg/m3—the density of water-ice. In practice, planets are usually going to be denser than 5t/m3 because silicates are likely to make up the majority of even ligher Earth-like planets. The exception to this rule is the theoretical ocean world, where the majority of the planet by mass is water—allowing for densities around 1t/m3.

A digression from this line of thought are moons with subsurface oceans such as Ganymede. These bodies have the benefit of being able to exist arbitrarily far from the godilocks zone by virtue of recieving their heat from the tidal stresses of their orbit. Ganymede has a density of roughly 2t/m3 due to it being composed in roughly equal parts of water and silicates.

Planet Frequency

The Red Sky Paradox suggests that most habitable planets would orbit . We can consider that ocean worlds would insulate their life from stellar radiation.

Selection Pressures

Cope’s rule states that lineages tend to increase in body size over time. Lilliput effect where following mass extinctions, you see organisms trending smaller.

Insular Dwarfism and its opposite Insular Gigantism—part of Foster’s Rule.

In hotter climes, endotherms benefit from being smaller while ectotherms recieve more energy with which they can support larger bodies. Bergmann’s Rule states that animals get larger in colder climates, and this has been observed even in some ectotherms.

A lack of predation encourages species to grow, while a lack of food encourages them to shrink.

Organisms generally trend larger due to the inherent efficiency that comes with size. On the other hand, populations shrink accordingly - exposing the species to greater risk of extinction.

Ocean creatures really do have a tendancy to being larger, and an interesting example of this is deep-sea gigantism where it is not merely bouyancy responsible.

Jarman-Bell Principle states that larger animals can get away with lower quality diets, which can be abused to infer that declining food quality or increasing competition over highly nutritious foods would lead some species to gigantism to cope.

Technological Pressures

It is possible to have planets whose escape velocity is too great for chemical rockets if the radius is 1.5x or the mass 2x greater than that of Earth’s. On the other hand, habitable moons would greatly encourage spaceflight due to decreasing the difficulty of escape and having an abundance of nearby bodies to explore. The only barrier would be the presence of radiation fields around the parent body.

Aquatic organisms would face hurdles in technological development. Assuming they secure a source of heat for metalworking, water is more reactive and thermally conductive than air.

Avoiding Rubber Foreheads

So far I have kept the discussion focussed on size and the factors & consequences relevant to it. Here, I hope to digress from the topic of this website to instead focus on all the other aspects of hypothetical alien species—their shapes, niches, and size-unrelated psychologies. This is simply because I’m tired of all the exceedingly humanoid aliens or fantasy races in fiction; we have unlimited potential in the medium, yet we squander it on what effectively constitutes humans in cosplay.

Alien Bodyplans

The human figure is somewhat unique across all the animal species. While there are others that rear onto their hindlegs or are exclusively bipedal, we are the only ones to have a combination of flexible forearms and running gait. Such a body has its advantages and disadvantages; we are far more efficient at running than other animals, but our spine is still relatively unsuited to our posture. It is possible therefore to imagine there are others that share our form. However, this should not be confused with a necessity: the use of tools, of language and intelligence does not appear to be contingent on the human bodyplan. Therefore, what are the other possibilities? How likely are they?

Here I’ll try to list unusual bodyplans to inspire.

  • Scorpions.
  • "Ruberneckers". By this I mean animals like the ostrich or swan, whose long and flexible neck serves as a manipulating limb in conjunction with the mouth.
  • Limpets. We usually associate mollusks with snails and slugs who spend a lot of their time outside the safety of their shells. Limpets and barnacles are interesting because they instead seal themselves against a surface to maximise their defense—looking for all the world like some coral growth.
  • Jellyfish & Nautilus. Long, dangling tentacles.
  • Preying Mantis. Looks much in the way of some insectiod centaur.
  • Centipedes. Long, segmented bodies that are on historical record as having been able to scale to several feet in length. They would have the benefit of their forelegs and/or mandibles being potentially useful manipulating limbs.
  • Long Lizards/Legged Snakes. Snakes had a common ancestor with legs. In an alternate universe, some might have kept their forelegs as manipulators much in the way of the popular conception of the naga.
  • Opabinia. And other Cambrian-era creatures had delightfully alien forms, some of which with limbs that had the potential to become manipulators.


  • Grazer
  • Scavenger
  • Frutivore
  • Nectarivore
  • Ambush Predator
  • Trapper
  • Persistance Hunter
  • Forager
  • Rooter
  • Grubber
  • Filter Feeder
  • Parasite (Leech)
  • Parasite (Egg-Layer)


It’s a bit of a trope for people to suggest aliens with multiple sexes, but not really have a clear idea of what that might entail. This is largely because efficiency tends to lie in simplicity, and two sexes represents the minimum necessary for sexual reproduction. However, there do exist interesting and reasonable multi-sex systems, which I’ll list below.

  • Protozoa. There exists protozoa which during reproduction, split their macronucleus into one of seven possible "sex-types". In order for them to sucessfully reproduce, they need to find another protozoa with a germinal macronucleus of another sex-type. Immediately, we see that this is no worse than a binary sex division because the chance of not being compatible with a random partner is only one in seven—better, in fact, than a binary division if immediacy of reproduction is important. It is also interesting to note that the sex-type of the offspring is different from both parents.
  • Ambystoma Salamanders. Here, you have a species of salamander that cheats on having to perform sexual selection by instead relying on three other species in its genus to do the job for it. All the female has to do is mate with a male of each of the three neighboring species to produce viable offspring, guaranteeing genetic diversity and piggybacking off of their fitness.

Hallmarks of Ameteurish Writing

Ordered from worst to least offensive.

Talking Heads/Pseudo-Script
As an artform descended from stories told by mouth, the rythm and flow of language is an essential part of bringing it all to life. When the text is entirely composed of dialogue, it becomes hard to imagine the scene and consequently immerse oneself in the story. If you struggle to "fill in" the dialogue-heavy scenes, consider that body language is an essential part of communication. More than that, the parts of the room we occupy, the image of the things we look at—it all contributes to exposing the depth of the characters.
Thesaurus Spagghetti
Good prose (usually) isn’t repetitive; so when you lack words, it feels necessary to use synonyms to hide the repetition. Unfortunately, this ends up creating a worse problem in the inevitable misuse of these unfamiliar synonyms. Instead, one should take a deep breath and forgive themself of not reading a dictionary cover-to-cover. Most of the time, repetition is a symptom of telling and not showing; if you were showing, you wouldn’t need to use the same words anyway. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to use names and references instead of referring to things descriptively.
Xette Men
The suffix "-ette" is typically used to refer to women or feminine entities. However, novice writers frequently use terms like "brunette" to refer to men, which smacks of ignorance (despite the dictionary definition allowing for it) especially when the masculine "brunet" exists where "-et" refers to a smaller part of something else (possibly metaphysical). This actually stems etymologyically from the French, where "-ette" and "-et" are feminine and masculine equivalents.
Few things are as cringe-worthy as redundant adjectives. "Black darkness", "burning fire", and "ATM machine". The first two examples are pleonasms,
Non-Speech Actions as Dialogue Tags
“I’ve got you now,” she smirked. Shorthand, comes across as lazy.
Purple Unicorn Syndrome
In MLP:FiM the characters are all brightly coloured equines of distinct races. This works to help distinguish the characters, but as a consequence, invited many of novice writers to rely on these distinguishing features in an effort to "show, not tell". Sadly, this usually results in poor, repetitive prose. Instead, you should not be afraid to use pronouns or names.
Adjective Salad
"Show, don’t tell," is the usual advice given to creative writing students, but unfortunately its brevity results in vagueness; too many students end up thinking that the liberal use of adjectives works to show rather than tell. It does not. Showing is more fundamental, and manifests as telling the reader about the consequent phenomena of what they want to show. Don’t say "the bright moon", talk about how the clouds form a halo about it and how your eyes need to adjust to the increased light.

A Borrower’s-Eye View of Construction Techniques

Generally speaking, borrowers are written to live in the unused spaces of houses where one would realistically expect to find vermin. These are places such as the crawl space, beneath the floorboards, the gaps inside the walls, non-convertible attics, and accessory buildings such as sheds. This may be extended into modernity with dropped ceilings, raised floors, and decks. In order to better understand these spaces and how they might be exploited, I’ll proceed to overview each kind, describing their purpose, location, and exploitation.

Crawl Space
Suspended Timber Floor
It turns out that the ground floor of a building isn’t the only one with hidden space beneath its floorboards. In Victorian era houses, it was common to create a suspended floor in order to provide ventilation.
Within house construction, a prevailing technique is the use of frames to reduce material costs. In the case of light framing, the walls are often left hollow—only covered by a thin layer of drywall nailed to the "ribs" (studs) for support.
Not all attics are tall enough to be converted into rooms.
Accessory Buildings
This is merely a general term for buildings not intended for habitation. Sheds, barns, stables, etc. may all serve as spaces for borrowers to make their homes.
Dropped Ceilings & Raised Floors
Between the accelerating pace of technological advancement, the unreliability of said technology, and the need to cut costs, the use of panelled false floors and ceilings for easy access to utility space is obvious.
Decks and some accessory buildings are known to be built in a suspended fashion. The space underneath them is therefore usable to borrowers.


The following is a list of communities within the ESD sphere of interest sorted by presence. This list is by no means authoritative; it merely represents my best efforts to understand the general dynamics of a vast number of individuals. Generally speaking, a group of people are considered a distinct community if they maintain dedicated websites and/or actively produce art that is not incorporated into a community that does.

This page is far from complete, and anyone looking to contribute is welcomed to do so. In particular, I am looking for information regarding the history of these communities, although anything from critique regarding the page itself to hyperlinks is very much appreciated.


Likely the largest community within ESD, the GTS community centers around fetishistic aspects of not only macro-giantesses, but most size content concerning smoothies (non-zoomorphic humanoids). It is named due to the trinity of sites that form the major centers of activity: *city, *world, and *booru.

Outside of the English-speaking world, gs-uploader serves as a dedicated hub for Japanese artists to publish their work.


This community is primarily composed of heterosexual males from all across the globe. There do exist a number of females and less common sexualities, however, and to my knowledge there exists no serious issues with hostile behaviour.


The furry ESD community. While the name is even less authoritative than GTS, the prevalent use of the component terms by furries distinguishes it from the former. To my knowledge, the community is not especially isolated—forming sub-communities within general-purpose furry websites. However, there are a number of dedicated Micro/Macro communities worth mentioning.


Unlike the other major communities, the G/T community is remarkable for having a strong emphasis on non-sexual aspects of ESD. Despite lacking a popular dedicated website, the community distinguishes itself by its relative isolation from the GTS community. Art is rarely imported or exported, perhaps due to the divided stance on sexual content, and the community gathers itself via small groups and channels under variations of the name. The consistency with which "Giant/Tiny" is used as makes it the de-facto title for the community.


The G/T community appears to consist largely of heterosexual females, with a minority of homosexual females and other groups. This shows in the preponderance of works featuring male giants and female tinies.

Shrunken Women

Giant Male

Culture in Scaling

What customs might exist as a consequence of extreme sizes? The different physical, biological, ecological, and psychological concerns opens up a plethora of possibilities. Here, I’ll attempt to outline any interesting customs, habits, or artefacts that would come about as a consequence.

Produce Sculpting
While anyone who’s celebrated Halloween would be at least passingly familiar with pumpkin carving, a civilisation of micros has the opportunity to take such a practice to new levels. This is because micros too would benefit from breeding produce to be larger, and the existance of entire hotels sculpted from ice implies there would be interest in experimenting in plant matter.
Water Juggling
At a smaller scale, surface tension becomes more significant to the point where at mouse-size, water droplets behave a lot more like jelly than what we are familiar with at our own scale. This would give rise to a tradition of juggling said droplets, with the added entertainment value being how improper handling would lead to the droplet breaking apart and soaking the would-be juggler.
Straws over Cups
At a certain scale, the surface tension of water makes filling cups impractical without making a mess. There is also the concern of how water is more dangerous at those sizes. Insects deal with this by using a probocis, and micros could do similar by the use of straws that neatly puncture the water’s surface.
Mountains as No-Man’s Land
Human territory tends to cover all the land it can, regardless of how habitable it is—the glaring exception is ocean. This is arguably because the ocean cannot support long term habitation the same way even inhospitable climes can. At smaller scales, sensitivity to low temperatures increases, which might encourage micros to see mountains and other perpeturally-cold environments the same way we do oceans - only drawing borders out a little ways in.
Nudity Culture & Outdoor Sleeping
The nudity taboo very likely evolved out of the need for clothes to protect against exposure to the elements (and also to manage birth rates). However, past a certain scale, maintaining body temperature is no longer much of an issue, so it’s plausible that macros would be less concerned about clothing than we are, and conversely, micros would be even more conscientious.

Furthermore, the reduced concern over exposure and the implicit protection against wildlife that size offers means that macros would also be more likely to casually sleep outdoors.

Strange Flours, Strange Breads
Did you know that you can make flour out of dandelion roots? From cattails and legumes? Some of these are even quite tasty. It turns out that flour, generally, can be made of pretty much anything that’s sufficiently starchy, which means anything from roots to beans to nuts, seeds, and the standard grains can be potentially cooked into bread. I imagine, then, that this would mean baking traditions would vary with scale. Micros would make use of the tiny seeds in fruit that we usually discard, while macros might be forced to grow only the easiest plants to extract from—perhaps potatos?

Moving on from flour to bread, one might be concerned about the thickness of the crust given how bread crust is a surface phenomenon. This, however, might be an overstated concern; by varying the exact constitution of the dough and the time for which it’s cooked, it’s possible to achieve a wide range of thicknesses—perhaps enough to produce the desired result depending on what scale you’re considering.

Enhancing Depth Perception

Kinetic Depth Effect

Notice how in the absence of any other cues, apparent motion is enough to give a sense of scale and depth.

Split-Depth Effect

placeholder. Paper

With Without
Comparison between edited and original animations.

Wiggle Stereography

One of the better examples, perhaps due to the use of additional keyframes.

Non-Linear Perspective

One thing that has always bothered me about 3D art is how ultimately constraining linear perspective is. Traditional artists freely make subtle and sometimes gross exaggerations in order to better convey how the scene is percieved. Indeed, I maintain that the job of the traditional artist isn’t to render the world or worlds of imagination, but to render them as we ourselves percieve them. A camera can’t do this because a camera is not prey to the host of mental distortions we apply to what we see. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who’s caught on to this, and there’s been a modest uptick in research on better conveying space.

FOVO is an attempt at tackling this problem by re-incorporating our large field-of-view and binocular vision by using a volumetric (read vertex shader) transformation to the scene to bring forward the middle and compress the edges. You can see one of their more telling examples below:

Play around with the slider!

In general, linear perspective is correct for an ideal camera. Correctly calculated, the image projected onto the near clipping plane is exactly what you would see if you had a floating window precisely in the same location. Even the eye can be very accurately approximated using a curvilinear projection. However, this very literal interpreation of imagery means that we are limited to the minimum comfortable distance from the image and therefore restricted in field-of-view. Furthermore, this model has no accounting for binocular vision unless the entire light field is captured at the clipping plane.

To rectify this, we observe the mental distortions applied in cyclopean vision. One of the most obvious is how unlike linear perspective or any projection thereof, we can see both sides of an object! Don’t believe me? Pick up a relatively narrow, boxy object like a smartphone and hold it side-on in front of your face. One eye will see the left side of it, while the other, the right. The mind fuses these images into a coherent whole where both sides are simultaneously visible. This effect holds true even as you move the object away from your eyes—you can still see a sliver of each side that you wouldn’t with linear perspective.

Just For Fun: Zograscopes

Further Reading

  • Wikipedia has an article on depth perception.
  • George Mather has a collection of optical illusions, along with demos and cited articles.

ESD Gallery: Anime & Cartoons

Dofus: Kerub’s Bazaar

Synopsis: Retired adventurer Kerubim Crepin wails away in his magical shop located in the small town of Astrub. Every item for sale within the bazaar has its own story which Kerubim is eager to share with his adopted son Joris, dear friends or any potential customers.

Notes: The relevant content is in episode 22: The Giant Ploomers.

Character Name: Gullivette
Character Scale: ???

Elf Princess Rane

Synopsis: Gou has woved to find the legendary treasure of Salamander. Searching for it he meets Ren, a fairy, who is looking for the four treasures of Heart. Gou’s childhood friend Mari is frustrated with Gou running after treasures, but befriends with another fairy Rin. Gou and Ren’s treasure hunt messes with a secret project led by Mari’s father. It turns out Salamander isn’t what Gou thought it was in the first place…


Garzey’s Wing

Synopsis: A young teen gets sent to an ancient land where he has to fight for his life.



Synopsis: Hilda follows the adventures of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants, to the bustling city of Trolberg, where she meets new friends and mysterious creatures who are stranger—and more dangerous—than she ever expected.


Leviathan: The Last Defense

Synopsis: The story is set in Aquafall, a fantasy world abound with water and greenery, and populated by dragons and fairies. Meteorites suddenly bring forth evil creatures that threaten all living things on the planet. The fairy Syrup assembles the Aquafall Defense Force, with three girls of the dragon clans as recruits. The story follows Syrup and the dragon girls Leviathan, Bahamut, and Jörmungandr as they work together to battle enemies and grow up.


Macross 7 the Movie: The Galaxy’s Calling Me!

Synopsis: While investigating a sound anomaly across the galaxy, Basara crash-lands on a snowy planet and receives an unfriendly welcome from the local residents. On the planet, he befriends Pedro, a four-year-old boy who watches the Galaxy Network and idolizes Fire Bomber. Basara also discovers that the sound he’s searching for is generated by Emilia, a lone Meltrandi struggling to make music of her own.


MÄR Heaven

Synopsis: Ginta Tiramizu is an average school student but keeps on having weird dreams about an amazing land. One day, something strange happens and Ginta appears in his fantasy. Together with Ginta’s friends on the way, he will be able to fight an evil group call The Chess Pieces.


My Bride is a Mermaid

Synopsis: Nagasumi’s in hot water after a beautiful, young mermaid named Sun saves him from drowning. The deep-sea sweetheart’s dad is a merman yakuza prone to executing anyone who learns his family’s scaly secret! Luckily, there’s a catch—if Nagasumi agrees to marry Sun, he just might avoid sleeping with the fishes!


Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight

Synopsis: During the Hundred Years’ War, Montmorency, the son of a nobleman, immerses himself in the study of alchemy and magic at Paris’ school for knights. However, his everyday life comes to an end when France loses the Battle of Agincourt and the academy is shuttered. Fleeing the English army, he eventually comes across a village girl named Jeanne.


ESD Gallery: Comics & Manga

7" Kara

Synopsis: “Lilliputians are the tiny people who occupy the in-between spaces of our world.” Kara lives with her parents in an old doll house that’s been hidden away in the back of a neglected shed. Isolated her entire life, she has few Lilliputian friends her own age, and even less experience with the outside world. Her life changes drastically when a human family moves into the house her family lives near. Does this change signal new opportunities for friendship and adventure, or does it hail something darker?



Synopsis: The 200,000 KM diameter artificial celestial body of APOSIMZ. Most of its volume is its core space, which is covered by a superstructural shell. Fifty centuries ago, the people who lost a war against the core lost their right to reside legitimately in APOSIMZ, and were left behind on the extremely cold surface. They face the spreading Frame disease and aggressive automatons which appear frequently on the ruins level. Yet even so, somehow people survive.


Beautiful Darkness

Synopsis: Newly homeless, a group of fairies find themselves trying to adapt to their new life in the forest. As they dodge dangers from both without and within, optimistic Aurora steps forward to organize and help build a new community. Slowly, the world around them becomes more treacherous, as petty rivalries and factions form.


Beth N Cherry

Synopsis: Beth n Cherry is a wlw giant/tiny comic!


Chiisako Garden

Synopsis: A collection of stories that revolves around Chiisako and the humans around them. Garden 1 - A little girl’s unexpected meeting in the secret garden of their new house. Garden 2 - A romance novelist and an editor’s mountain trip together. Garden 3 - A withdrawn teenage boy saves a girl from a crow. Garden 4 - The tipping point of the relationship between a young wife and her older husband. Garden 5 - An author’s precious memory involving a prince.


Demon Tune

Synopsis: In Wizard City, an encounter between a ninja and a fairy begins a new legend. Bloody fights, demons and fantasy creatures are just some of the things that await our two protagonists. A new and fantastic adventure begins!


Elf Blood

Synopsis: Science-Fantasy comic about


Even If the World Is Over It’s Fun to Live

Notes: Essentially Hakumei & Mikochi, except set in the ruins of post-apocalyptic future teeming with hostile alien life.

Fairy Dust

Synopsis: While cities provide modern comfort, many fantasy creatures live their own way on islands and in forests, so no matter where you are, a wild and strange world is only a few hours’ walk away… when it doesn’t simply decide to visit you.

Notes: Deleted by the author. A copy is available on the Wayback Machine.

Fairy Fighting League



Gulliver’s Children

Synopsis: Puberty’s tough. But when it makes you shrink to the size of a mouse, or tower above the tallest skyscraper in a split second, it just gets downright traumatic. When Kim Seo-jin is diagnosed with 'Matheson Syndrome', a rare, size-altering disease, his world is turned upside down. But when he meets a strangely alluring boy at school, his life seems to get a whole lot more complicated.


Handyman Saitou in Another World

Synopsis: Saitou is an ordinary handyman that gets transported to another world where his skills are very useful. He starts to really understand what it means to be needed, as even his mundane tasks and tools have the most unexpected uses in this new world of fantasy!


Hakumei & Mikochi

Synopsis: Nine centimeters (3.5 inches) tall, the tiny girls Hakumei and Mikochi live in the forest. Living in a tiny house in a tree, riding insects and birds, and making umbrellas out of leaves, these tiny girls live a tiny life. Follow their tiny but lovely lives as they live day to day in a fantastic world of tiny people and gods.

Notes: We never encounter a human in this manga.


Synopsis: Collection of short stories.

Notes: The relevant content is in Chapter 2: Yuki no Nestore.

Marry Grave

Synopsis: In a world where demons run amok, Riseman Sawyer had managed to find love and happiness with his wife, Rosalie. But she died, and Riseman now carries her coffin on his back while searching for the ingredients to the “Deadman’s Recipe”. The spell is rumored to be able to bring someone back to life — a rumor that Riseman knows is true, because Rosalie used it on him, making him an immortal "undead" at the price of her life. Gathering all the spell’s ingredients won’t be easy, and the world is still filled with plenty of despair and death. Can hope and love possibly be resurrected?



Synopsis: When we chant the history of our kingdom, we must chant the tale of the warrior who must never be forgotten. The warrior from another world who came bearing infinite power. This is the chant of the mysterious warrior who rescued our kingdom. This is the tale of MAZINGER.



Synopsis: Megapolis is a webcomic focusing on the characters within the titular city, which is engineered to function and accommodate for denizens of ordinary, gigantic, or small size.


My Little Robinson

Synopsis: My Little Robinson is about a girl named Ichigo who struggles to balance her job as a successful magazine model with her life as a normal high school student, and a young man named Tsugumi who is a member of a race of humans who only grow to be about 15 cm tall.


Red Town

Synopsis: This is a webcomic about the fantastic adventure of Jake and Ferris. Both suddenly find themselves in a world of a completely different proportions after a mysterious power shrinks them down to very small little beings. They quickly learn that anything that people normally do is much more difficult when you’re lacking in size and strength. Now it is on them to find out how to turn back to normal again.



Synopsis: What if a mysterious warrior one day appeared on your breakfast table?


Violet Goes to the Beach

Synopsis: Harley meets a tiny woman with no memory of who she was but is caught off guard when he begins falling in love with her. What will be uncovered and confessed as the pair dive deeper into themselves and into each other’s lives during their turbulent voyage of self-discovery?




Notes: The comic doesn’t seem to be available on the web anymore. I have a full copy archived, however it would be best for fans to pester the author, @mopinks, before reuploading it.

ESD Gallery: Serial & Web Fiction

Gigantic at 5'4

Synopsis: A romantic comedy about a man forced to spend every night six inches tall and a kind woman willing to help him adapt to the new rules of his life. Throw in romantic rivals, power hungry biker chicks and an all powerful reality warping god and you’ve got Gigantic at 5'4.


The Gods are Bastards

Synopsis: Evil is rising. The world is rent by strife. The gods have turned away from us. In times past, heroes of sword and sorcery have always risen to turn back the tide of darkness… But what will become of us all, now that swords are obsolete, sorcery is industrialized, and heroism itself is considered a relic of the past?


Jane, Defender of Decura

Synopsis: Ordinary grocery store clerk Jane is thrust into a bizarre medieval world filled with many different types of dangers. Luckily, Jane has a HUGE handicap thanks to her greatly increased stature, but will it be enough to help her protect the people of Decura and find her way home?


The Titan Empire

Synopsis: The Titan Empire series is a collection of works related to the verse first created byJohnnyScribe in his novel Titan. The series tracks the interactions between Titans and Humans , who are similar species save for a massive difference in scale; Titans are on average about 24 times the height of a Human.


ShadESDversity: Fairy Combat Revisited

I’ve been aware that Shadiversity has an episode where Shad speculates on the weaponry fairies might use in combat for a while now. I’m not very fond of "YouTubers", so I didn’t watch it until one of my readers recommended me to. As expected, the video was almost devoid of citations, structured reasoning, and historical reference. However, it wasn’t too far off my own inferences, so I’ve decided to write an article expanding upon it.

To begin with, Shad noted that the speed and agility of a tiny, winged species would allow them to ruthlessly exploit weak spots such as the eyes. For this, Shad suggested something akin to a lance—using the higher proportional strength to justify such a heavy weapon. This is good, however it leads us to our first problem: tactics.

What happens after the fairy has landed their blow? If they want to keep their weapon, they would need to spend precious time yanking it out of their enemy—time they can ill afford given that a single, clumsy blow would be enough to cripple or kill them outright. Even just landing the blow represents a problem, as to put all their momentum into the thrust, the fairy must themself come to a stop. Therefore, a disposable weapon is more sensible. Historically, this was the javelin.

Aside from piercing weaponry, Shad noted that the absence of the need to block would allow for the use of very fine-edged blades such as razors. Perhaps this is my prejudice showing, but at no point did he give the impression he meant anything other than straight-edged blades. This is a mistake. Curved blades have been used almost universally for cavalry because of their effectiveness as slashing weapons. The curve allows the sword to bite into the opponent for the entire swing and makes excellent use of the rider’s momentum in doing so. Given that fairies are essentially flying centaurs in our considerations, there is little reason why we shouldn’t borrow from historical knowledge concerning cavalry.

While swords have been favoured by cavalry, reach is still important. The person with the longer-reaching weapon is predisposed to win the fight. Therefore, using the proportional strength of fairies, we can instead suggest polearms. Specifically, the glaive.

The last concern is that these weapons are chosen only for combat against unprepared humans.


The foremost ERP website, F-Chat contains a significant number of users interested in ESD. Despite initially being a furry website, the flexability and size has lead to a large community of users who exclusively play humans uninterested in anthropomorphs. For similar reasons, it has also earned itself a not-insignificant base of ordinary roleplayers, although they can be fairly rare depending on your interests.

Following the general trend for "pink" users to be rarer than "blue" and correspondingly more sought after, users who play giantesses are in much higher demand than users who play tinies or other categories. This imbalance appears to caused by the physchological need to "self insert" into the character that the roleplayer controls, even when the stories are written in third person.

With regards to fetish, there is a preponderance of size-change fetishists and a desperate few users who enjoy the more extreme aspects of hard vore such as cooking.

Getting Partners

Use F-Chat

The vast majority of activity takes place not on the notes system, or the fora, but in F-Chat. Most users don’t even use the search functionality when finding partners—they instead look to users and user ads in the rooms they frequent. Therefore, even just lurking in relevant rooms will net you more prospective partners than micro-optimizing your profile and playing around with groups.

Decorate Your Profile

F-List does not want for users. It does, however, want for quality users. The sheer number of profiles means that someone looking for a partner is going to take a single glance at your profile before deciding to move on. Your job is to make that first impression to be one of quality, and the best way to do this is to invest effort into decorating your profile. I will now proceed to examine all the ways you can do so, ordered by the impact it has.


These are the biggest sign of quality in a profile due to the uniformity with which they render, the effort needed to create them, and the scarcity imposed on them (X per Y). They also just look good, most of the time.


Like inlines, but smaller in size and less limited in use. They’re also fun to use in chat. See Goddess for an E-Icon search engine.


Prose Quality & Suggestivity

If you’ve gotten them to the point they’re reading, you’ll want to convince them that you have a decent handle on the language and an erotic style. Indeed, it is a great idea to put scenario suggestions, either explicitly or implicitly, to invite the user to want to RP with you.

Custom Kinks

These are a more concise and arguably more powerful form of suggestion. Custom kinks shouldn’t be used simply to list what turns you on, but to illustrate why it’s hot.

Justify Your Text

This seems like a minor nit-pick, but a lot of people take it as a sign of quality.

Note on Privacy

In general, F-List relies on a trust model. While encryption is used to protect the user from "man in the middle" attacks, the server has the potential to monitor all your activity and read all communications - even on F-Chat. Therefore, you should not do anything on F-List that you wouldn’t want the moderation tean and those who have power over them discovering.

However, it should be mentioned that F-List allows the use of Tor. By registering via Tor (with an email that was also registered on Tor) and only ever browsing with the protection of tor, you can be mostly protected from malicious actors. Mostly; there still exist a number of attacks a motivated actor could leverage to deanonymise you, given all the knowledge they can build up from monitoring even months of account activity. If anonymity is important to you, please take care to avoid posting even the smallest bits of personal information—it can really add up over time!

Notes & Tips for Tor Users

F-Chat Timeouts

F-Chat detects linkdead users by monitoring websocket timeouts. Since Tor provides an unstable connection, this can lead to random disconnects. This usually wouldn’t be a problem on other browsers, but as of this writing, Tor Browser Bundle does not support the features necessary to save (as opposed to export) your chat history. Therefore, timeouts can lead to losing your RP session even if you export frequently.

The solution is to adjust the timeout value in your "about:config" page.


Extreme Size Difference
A catch-all term I have coined to refer to matters where extreme differences in height/scale exist. Extreme is loosely defined to be beyond the range of human diversity, which using babies as a minimum, gives at least a 10x difference.
For the benefit of precision and clarity in my writing, I have adopted an idosyncratic re-definition of these terms such that they refer exclusively to relative size. That is, a giant is merely an individual that is much larger than another, regardless of whether they themselves measure far smaller than humans on an absolute scale. This is useful for scenarios in which the absolute height does not matter in the discussion—for instance when examining inter-species dynamics.
From the ancient greek μακρός (lit. long/large) and μικρός (lit. small), these terms are used in literature to refer to relatively large and small subjects. In the furry ESD community, it has been adopted to refer to characters of the corresponding sizes, usually in an absolute sense. For the benefit of precision and clarity, I will use the terms to strictly refer to the absolute case defined by typical human size ranges.
In scientific literature, mesoscale (from ancient greek μέσος, lit. middle) is used to refer to subjects of intermediate size. In ESD discussion, I use it to refer to species and individuals whose height is commensurate with the average human’s.
An abbreviation of “giant”, usually to specify the piece contains male giants . Not to be confused with G/T.
Abbreviation of “giant/tiny”, which is the tag that the Giant/Tiny Community uses to gather themselves.
A shorthand developed to identify the sexes and size roles of characters in a piece. Generally, the giants are represented by majuscule letters for their sexes (F for female, M for male) followed by a forward slash and miniscule letters for the tinies and their sexes.

Genre & Literary Fiction

I will preface this article with the admission that I am not well-read, at least in the sense of having read literature. Nevertheless, in my quest for self-expression, I have tried to understand forms that written fiction takes in order to find the best way to bring these worlds of extreme size difference to life. A major division of these forms is the dichotomy of Genre and Literary fiction.

Ungenerously, genre fiction is almost definitionally bad—genre, per definition, is built upon tropes and plot. The use of tropes in place of imagination is obviously bad, but why denigrate plot? Simply because plot has a very fleeting appeal. This is the genesis of my appreciation of genre fiction—the realisation that plot as a central concern is very empty. This leads to literary fiction.

Literary fiction is hard to pin down, in part due to the inherent snobbishness of the concern, but also because it is more subtle. Wikipedia et al. might define it as fiction that focusses upon theme, characters, and/or the quality of prose but this is too abstract to really understand the appeal. A post on Reddit by a professor of ? explained why: literary fiction is about theme, and characters, and good prose because these are all beneficial to the creation of meaning. That is, literary fiction distinguishes itself from genre fiction by being a medium in which the readers and writer(s) both collaborate to produce meaning—the writer by presenting interesting themes, characters and prose, and the readers by interpreting it through their own unique lens. Put simply, literary fiction is fiction intended to make the reader think.

What’s the point of this for ESD? The point is that literary fiction provides an alternative to the demands of plot, where ESD contributes little. Instead, the author can focus on where ESD shines—the wealth of themes and interesting characters that it facilitates.

Method of Translations

This appears to be something of an unwritten technique that is adopted by writers of xenofiction. One finds when attempting to sincerely write outside the human perspective that ill-founded assumptions and stereotypes are quick to step in. Being mindful of this helps, but does not entirely eliminate the niggling suspicion that the story is still biased, colored by its writer. To rectify this, one should consider turning the problem on its head. This is easiest to do in analogy to non-ESD concepts.

Imagine you wanted to write a story about a centaur, and needed to examine how a race of equines might percieve them. Obviously, you can draw from your own feelings regarding their non-human parts and extrapolate to how they might feel about the human—but this has the same problem of uncertainty as above. Instead, you invent a reverse-centaur to be perceived by a race of humanoids, challenging your prejudices with the upper body of a horse and the lower body of a human. You could perhaps mentally adjust it so that the image isn’t so top-heavy and awkward, but nothing will change the instinctive revulsion at such an image (perhaps I am just xenophobic). This is good, because that means you are dealing with something that hasn’t been tailored to suit your sensibilities, but is instead closer to the reality of encountering something fundamentally alien. This is a translation.

The method of translations is just the generalized, systematic application of this line of thinking; when in doubt, translate from something you can be more certain of. In ESD, this means that you should consider writing from a human perspective and translating as appropriate.

Modding Morrowind: Marathon 1

So I was thinking about my outlets page, specifically the RPGs section, and I realised that I’d basically just put down the latest Elder Scrolls games. Skyrim and Oblivion both have their charms, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was making myself out to be a normie. Then it hit me: Morrowind. Morrowind is actually a viable vision for a fairy combat game because the aged graphics and minimal physics redirects expectations towards gameplay, where Morrowind stands out with first-class support for flight. Investigating, it turned out that the engine indeed supports a "setscale" function and lacks any obvious ESD mods—perfect for finally getting some technical content for this blog.

Setting Up the Environment

Having misplaced my original Morrowind disk, I decided to use Steam’s distribution. Bethesda Softworks games usually come with a construction kit which I was able to acquire for Morrowind off of Nexus[If you are concerned about the legitimacy of the binary, the uploader "Time???" is a well-reputed member of the community.].

So far as I could see, there’s no way to change the camera properties from within the scripting interface. This would therefore require a


The MWSE is a community effort to extend the scripting capabilities of Morrowind. Recently, a lua interface has been developed that provides access to far more functionality. Included in all of this is the ability to control the camera and create custom magic effects.


Final Result

local framework = include("OperatorJack.MagickaExpanded.magickaExpanded")

tes3.claimSpellEffectId("shrink", 7149)

local function adjustCamera()
	local mobile = tes3.mobilePlayer
	local camera =
	local scale  = tes3.player.scale

	--First Person View
	mobile.cameraHeight = nil --Reset cameraHeight to get default value
	mobile.cameraHeight = scale * mobile.cameraHeight

	--Third Person View
	camera.scale = scale

	local o = or tes3.get3rdPersonCameraOffset()
	if o == nil then print("WTF! o is nil?!") return end --Somehow o still manages to be nil sometimes.
	if not scale then print("WTF! scale is nil?!") end
event.register("viewChange", adjustCamera)

local function adjustGMSTs()
	local scale = tes3.player.scale
	local data  =
	tes3.findGMST(tes3.gmst.fSwimHeightScale).value = 0.9*scale
	tes3.findGMST(tes3.gmst.fCombatDistance).value = data.flying and math.max(128*scale,64) or 128*scale
	tes3.findGMST(tes3.gmst.iMaxActivateDist).value = math.max(192*scale,1)

local function lerpScale(previous,target,time)
	local rate    = 100
	local current = math.lerp(previous,target,time*rate)
	return math.clamp(current

local function getDistanceToCeiling(reference)
	local c   = reference.position:copy()
	      c.z = c.z +*reference.scale
	local d   = math.huge
	local n   =,0,0)
	local function cast(delta)
		local res = tes3.rayTest{position = c
				        ,direction =,0,1) + delta
	        	                ,findAll = false
		return res and res.distance or math.huge, res and res.normal or,0,0)
	for i = 1,5 do
		a,b = cast(,1),math.random(-1,1),1))
		d = math.min(d,a)
		n = n + b
	return d or math.huge, n*(1/5)

local function alterScale(reference,scale,options) = or {}
	local data =
	options = options or {}

	data.originalScale = options.originalScale or
	                     data.originalScale    or
	data.targetScale   = scale
	data.previousScale = options.previousScale or
	data.dateAltered   = options.dateAltered   or

local function renderTick(e)
	local dt =

	--todo: expand this to work on items
	--Needed for smoothest shrinking animation
	for _,r in pairs( or {}) do
		local data     =

		local origin   = data.previousScale
		local target   = data.targetScale
		local time     = tes3.getSimulationTimestamp()
		               - data.dateAltered
		local current  = lerpScale(origin, target, time)
		local previous = r.scale
		r.scale    =  current
		if r.scale == target then

		if target > origin and r.object.objectType == tes3.objectType.npc then
			local dist, normal = getDistanceToCeiling(r)
			local dh           = math.abs(*(current-previous))
			local vel          = dh/(dist/*current)
			if dist < dh*40 then
				local e2 = tes3.rayTest{position = r.position
			                               ,direction =,0,-1)
	                                               ,findAll = false
				local n1 = normal
				local n2 = e2.normal:copy(); n2.z = 0
				local v  = (n1 + n2)*vel

				if dist < dh*30 then
					r.position = r.position + n2*vel
				r.position.z        = r.position.z      + dh
				local vel = = + v/2

		if r == tes3.player then

event.register("damage", function(e)
	if e.source == "attack" then
		--Damage should scale like muscle area?
		e.damage = e.damage * (e.attackerReference.scale/e.reference.scale)^2

	local p = tes3.mobilePlayer
	local data =
	data.flying = data.flying or false
	if p.height > 20 and (p.isFalling or p.isJumping) then
		if data.flying then
			data.ascending = true
		data.flying = not data.flying
end,{filter = tes3.scanCode.e})
	local p = tes3.mobilePlayer
	local data =
	data.flying = data.flying or false
	if p.height > 20 and (p.isFalling or p.isJumping) then
		if data.flying then
			data.ascending = false
		data.flying = not data.flying
end,{filter = tes3.scanCode.e})
	local p = tes3.mobilePlayer
	local data =
	data.flying = data.flying or 0
	if data.flying and (p.isFalling or p.isJumping) then
		local vel = (data.ascending and 1000 or 0)*
		p.velocity.z = (p.velocity.z > 0 and p.velocity.z or 3) + vel

	local data   =
	if tes3.isAffectedBy{reference=tes3.player,effect=tes3.effect.shrink} then
		          ,{dateAltered   = data.dateAltered
		           ,previousScale = data.previousScale})
		data.detachedReferences = data.detachedReferences or {}
		data.detachedReferences[] = e.reference

local function onReferenceInvalidated(e)
	local data =
	if not data then return end
	local reference = e.reference or e.object
	data.detachedReferences[] = nil

	local data =
	local delta = 0
	data.appliedWeight = data.appliedWeight or 0

	--Find how much extra mass due to mod
	for _, stack in pairs(tes3.player.object.inventory) do
		for i,v in pairs(stack.variables or {}) do
			if then
				delta = delta + stack.object.weight*(^3 - 1)

	--Apply mass not already accounted for
	tes3.modStatistic{reference = tes3.mobilePlayer
	                 ,name = "encumbrance"
	                 ,current = delta - data.appliedWeight}

	--Update applied weight data
	data.appliedWeight = delta
	if not e.tooltip then return end

	local partmenuID  = tes3ui.registerID("PartHelpMenu_main")
        local innerBlock  = e.tooltip:findChild(partmenuID):findChild(partmenuID):findChild(partmenuID)
	local playerScale = tes3.player.scale      

	for i, element in ipairs(innerBlock.children) do
		if string.find(element.text, "Weight:") then
			local itemScale = and or
			                  e.reference and e.reference.scale or 1
			local weight    = e.object.weight*(itemScale/playerScale)^3

			element.text = "Weight: " .. string.format("%.2f",weight):gsub("%.?0+$", "")

	local ref = tes3.getPlayerTarget() = or {} = 3
	ref.scale =
end,{filter = tes3.scanCode.h})

local function addShrinkEffect()
		 id          = tes3.effect.shrink
		,name        = "Shrink"
		,description = "Shrinks the target, weakening them proportionally."

		,baseCost    = .01
		,allowEnchanting  = true
		,allowSpellmaking = true
		,canCastSelf      = true
		,canCastTarget    = false
		,canCastTouch     = false

		,isHarmful     = true
		,nonRecastable = true

		,onTick = function(e)
			local source = e.sourceInstance
			local effect = e.effectInstance
			local target = or source.caster
			local data   =
			local tdata  =

			if e.effectInstance.state == tes3.spellState.beginning then
				local ff = framework.functions
				effect.magnitude = ff.getCalculatedMagnitudeFromEffect(ff.getEffectFromEffectOnEffectEvent(e, tes3.effect.shrink))
				alterScale(target, effect.magnitude^(-1./3.))

				if target == tes3.player then
					data.offset = tes3.get3rdPersonCameraOffset()
			elseif e.effectInstance.state == tes3.spellState.ending  or 
			       e.effectInstance.state == tes3.spellState.retired then
				alterScale(target, tdata.originalScale)
				for _,v in pairs(tdata.detachedReferences or {}) do
					local tdata  =
					alterScale(v, tdata.originalScale)

			if not e:trigger() then
event.register("magicEffectsResolved", addShrinkEffect)

local function onLoaded() = or {}
	local data =

	data.unstableEntities        = data.unstableEntities or {dict={}}
	data.unstableEntities.count  = data.unstableEntities.count or 0
	data.unstableEntities.add    = function(tbl,target)
		tbl.dict[] = target
		if tbl.count == 0 then
			event.register("simulate", renderTick)
		tbl.count = tbl.count +1
	data.unstableEntities.remove = function(tbl,target)
		if not tbl.dict[] then return end

		tbl.dict[] = nil
		tbl.count           = tbl.count -1
		if tbl.count == 0 then
			event.unregister("simulate", renderTick)

	if data.unstableEntities.count > 0 then
		event.register("simulate", renderTick)
event.register("loaded", onLoaded)

Multiple-Size Armament

Pistol Drone
Practically speaking, the biggest problem in arming tinies isn’t finding something useful, but finding something respectable; a doll-sized gun will forever be mentally at odds with the ability to threaten giants. The obvious solution, therefore, is to find ways of allowing tinies to use giant-sized weapons gracefully. The pistol drone is one such concept ideally suited to flying tinies.

Imagine a heavy-set laser pistol equipped with an anti-gravity device that allows it to maneuver freely through space. A tiny-sized replica is used as a controler, which the drone attempts to match in relative position as if being held by a scaled-up version of its weilder. Swap it between hands, and the drone switches side. Since the drone is of comparable size with the tiny, it can be used as a shield and is appropriately designed.

Narrative Forms

One of the lingering concerns for ESD fiction is that ESD as a concept doesn’t particularly lend itself to traditional stories; there is very little one can explore through it that couldn’t be explored through a more fundamental theme such as power. Short of finding what few stories truly benefit from ESD, it is worthwhile to consider other creative forms it can take.

Before we begin, however, it would be interesting to outline what forms exist for stories. Going by roughly by seniority, there are epic poems, epistolaries, biographies,

Fiction Without Plot


The following sections are examples of fiction without plot.

False Documents/Fictional Nonfiction

Perhaps the most famous of these is the Voynich Manuscript, an indecipherable tome containing illustrations of unknown species among other things.

  • Pseudo-Documentaries
  • Fictional Encyclopediae/Wikis


  • Found Footage
  • Fictional News
  • Diegetic Websites


  • Diegetic Paraphernalia

    Mystery Flesh Pit National Park


While at first consideration this may seem no different than a short story anthology or a false document, paradoxographies strictly concerns rumors—something that doesn’t require a plot in the traditional sense. Therefore, the author is free to explore the scenarios made possible by ESD without concerning themselves with how to fit a conflict or deeper theme into it.

Interactive Fiction



Insert dounut steel meme.

  • News website for an ESD setting

    This is a particularly interesting idea because

  • G/T Kama Sutra

    Partly inspired by historical “whore dialogues”, this allows for a novel kind of ecchi in the form of encyclopedia of sex acts—something I would want to write anyways. Furthermore, there is plenty of room for worldbuilding and storytelling through the implicit assumptions of the text, much like Dictionary of the Khazars.

Observations on Romance

I will preface by admitting that I am perhaps the worst person to write about this topic; I have never been in a romantic relationship and my philosophically materialist view of the world would likely be considered misogynist, misandrist, and generally misanthropic to most anyone. Nevertheless, it is hard to live without observing, so I hope what I share may at least be interesting.

To begin with, it appears long-lasting relationships are the intersection of a few fundamental concerns. The largest is perhaps the "economic": what can they bring to the table? Looks, money, security, healthy children—life needs to be materially better to invest one’s life in another person. This is also the largest stumbling block for an ESD relationship, for reasons that I will outline in detail later on. The next concern is the mental. People need to be comfortable with eachother, either through familiarity or complementing mindsets, to coexist. The last is the presence of fetters. Investing in another person makes it difficult to part with them, the obvious form of this being children.

The Economic

Extreme differences in size most obviously represents extreme differences in power, which is a generalisation of material means. This power can manifest as relative wealth and security for the tiny in the relationship. But what of the giant? This isn’t just about providing, but also supporting. If the giant falls ill, how can a tiny hope to nurse them to health? If they need help with the chores, what can a tiny meaningfully do? Let’s not even begin with children, if they inherit the larger partner’s size. I have neglected general breadwinning due to the existance of "knowledge work" and political careers, which can pay arbitrarily well. Ultimately, in an ESD relationship, the giant is liable to becoming the de-facto carer for the tiny partner—placing an (ironically) enormous burden on them. The only exception I can think of is perhaps in the case where the giant is somehow permitted to live amongst the tiny’s people.

The Irrational

People are usually quick to say that love is irrational, but that rarely seems to be the case—they are just restricting the definition of rationality to what industrial society values. Sometimes, however, there do seem to be cases where

On Seriousness

It’s good to always keep things in perspective; becoming absorbed in a topic, you tend to take for granted all the experience and assumptions you have built up over time. This is no less true for ESD, which is patently absurd on the face of it. So when I put on my normie hat, all of a sudden I can’t take anything seriously. The following is a list of major aspects and their explanations in the hope that this can be partially overcome:


Imagine reading The Lord of the Rings with the image of the Keebler elves stuck in mind. Could you take it very seriously? Especially if you have equally cartoonish ideas of hobbits and dwarves? Imagery is a major hurdle because

This problem is not solely limited to written fiction, either. In visual media this is a recurring issue when trying to use technology as a solution to the power differentials that size presents. If a gun makes equal a man and a woman, then a particularly powerful gun makes equal Tom Thumb and Goliath. The issue, of course, is that this is a ridiculous image—not only is Tom Thumb weilding a gun, but that speck of a gun felling Goliath. The same is true for even more mundane matters such as transport—a car appropriate for a tiny will necessarily look like a toy to a giant.

Thinking deeply, we may recall that laughter is a response to absurdity. It is necessary, therefore, to shape the audience’s expectations such that the imagery no longer appears absurd. For instance, pulling a bait-and-switch by establishing the tiny as human-sized, and then revealing the true scope of the situation. This works to encourage all the positive prejudices to root themselves in place before opening the door to others.


It is inevitable that the reader will attempt to view what they are reading as a metaphor, regardless of the author’s intent. This is especially troublesome with male tinies, and the reason why can be summed up in a single movie: Downsizing. In Downsizing, it’s hard not to see it as an allegory for a more garden-variety marital trouble that makes Paul look to be quite pathetic. In the process of Downsizing, he is essentially emasculated—immediately losing his wife, his career, and his life’s work simply because he was not strong enough to continue to compete like a "real man".

This isn’t a stricly male problem, although traditional gender roles exacerbate the . Women become sexless

Other examples of this particular read-in are posters where women .


Association is a powerful force in the human psyche, and our readiness to pre-judice media make for an unfortunate combination. In the modern era, the association is that of comedy: Honey I Shrunk the X. Intentional or not, the association with cheap special effects, hammy lines, and unserious concepts is all but cememented in the public consciousness.

We can also see this problem historically, as views on what subjects were considered mature has meandered over time.


It appears there is a natural tendancy for humans to associate significance with size. This poses a problem, then, when we wish to have significant characters of tiny size.

Furthermore, the reader is likely to have expectations about how things "ought" to be. Tinies should swarm their giant opponents just like how most social predators hunt larger prey. Tinies aren’t expected to live particularly long.

Even if the protagonist succeeds in their Herculean task, its significance will always be overshadowed by how easy it would have been for someone of normal size.


This is a directory of pages for interactive applications containing open-ended ESD content. For the pragmatism’s sake, the definition has been relaxed to encompass games that provide human-like races outside of adult human biodiversity, or two size categories from the average.


  • Aarchon MUD

    Aarchon MUD has the following playable races in the Tiny and Huge size categories for player creation: Pixie and Golem. For higher remort tiers, Chrysalies (6, Tiny), Frost Giants (6, Giant), and Titans (8, Giant) are available.

  • Aardwolf

    Giant, Sprite, Quickling

  • BatMUD

    Leech, Brownie, Leprechaun, Sprite, Giant, Titan. The numerical values for size can be found here, although what they mean in real terms is unknown to me.

  • CoffeeMUD


  • DraknorMUD

    DraknorMUD has the following playable races in the Tiny and Giant size categories: Pixie, Xiranth, Giant, Sarlith.

  • Erion


  • Haven


  • Kallisti

    Pixie, Giant

  • The Fairy Garden


  • Waterdeep

    Waterdeep has the following playable races in the Tiny, Huge, and Giant size categories: Pixie, Giant, Titan. There are also the Podrikev and Draconian races, but for lack of description it is not clear whether they fit the outlined criteria for this article.

  • Others

    This is not the name of a MUD, but a list of MUDs that advertise ESD races without providing enough information to estimate their real height. The list is as follows: Crimson 2, Abandoned Realms, Avatar MUD, MultiMUD, Realms of Despair, Arcane Nites, Adventures Unlimited. Lensmoor advertises a race of sprites, but the documentation page remains inaccessible via browser.


  • Everquest

    Everquest is currently under a limited F2P model. Although there are no ESD playable races, there are a number of easily accessible ways to create ESD scenarios. Beastlords and Shamans get the spell Shrink at levels 23 and 15 respectively. Additionally, Shamans get the spell Grow at level 16. Both spells may be stacked, and are not the only ones of their kind.

    After the Depths of Darkhollow expansion, “Spirit Shrouds” were introduced to allow users to play a number of monsters including “Fairy Trickster”, “Fairy Wizard”, and “Fairy Cleric”.

  • Istaria

    Istaria includes playable half-giants and fairies. There also exists a console command /setscale to set the rendered size of objects, including players. Istaria currently has a limited F2P offering.

  • Mabinogi

    Mabinogi is a F2P MMO that includes a playable race of giants.



Physics of Scaling

There are at least two general approaches to scaling: physical and biological. Physical scaling involves translating the physics of the situation to an intuitive scale. For instance, determining how rain might feel when you’re a few inches tall would involve scaling the momentum and stiffness of a raindrop and then reckoning its impact on the human body. The biological approach is to consider real examples of organisms on the relevant scale to approximate the behaviour of an analogous species of humans.

Despite the naming, the biological approach is more physically consistent than the physical approach as it does not "mix and match" different physics. On the other hand, the physical approach is more flexible—permitting miraculous size-changing devices and scenarios that the biological approach would prohibit outright. Generally speaking, analysis via the physical approach produces squishy micros and invulnerable macros, whereas the biological approach produces proportionally superhuman micros and pathetic macros.

I will now proceed to treat the first approach, and then go on to list how physical phenomena behave under different scales to guide intuition on the latter.

Physical Scaling

In terms of the mathematics involved, the general method for the physical approach is to insert scaling terms into equations according to the involved dimensions Dimensions are physical quantities that units provide scale for. The SI recognises the following dimensions, although any other linearly independent basis is equally as valid: Time , Length , Mass , Electric Current , Thermodynamic Temperature , Amount of Substance , Luminous Intensity ). . Intuition and reasoning over physical laws is used to guide what the rewrite rules for each unit ought to be. To tackle the problem most effectively, we will focus on the SI base units and build up from there.

To start with, we define axiomatically that units with the dimension of length obey the following rewrite rule , where is the scale factor. There isn’t much need to justify this choice of axiom because the rule is obviously true; if we were to scale a metre ruler by ten, it would be as long as ten ordinary rulers.

For mass, we can tackle the question by examine the definition of density . Under scaling, we want the density to remain constant. This follows from our intuition that the amount of "stuff" per volume shouldn’t change as the volume gets larger. Knowing that does not scale, and scales according to , we can therefore write where is the unknown scaling constant associated with . In order to balance the equation, must be equal to , and thus obeys the rule . This makes logical sense, as wherever you scale an object linearly, it’s volume and corresponding mass scales cubically.

General Principles

Square Cube Law

Anyone who’s ever looked into the physics of extreme sizes has probably heard of the square-cube law. Nevertheless, I will include my own take on the subject since I have nothing better to do.

The square-cube law stems from a fundamental geometric observation - that higher-dimensional contents will increase faster than lower-dimensional contents under a scaling transformation. In the familiar 3D, this means that a cube will gain a lot more volume than it will surface area when you increase the length of each side. The name is derived from the fact that the growths are cubic and quadratic respectively. Note to self: What does it mean for there to be more of quantities with disagreeing units?

For size difference, the square-cube law is usually invoked with regards to heat dissipation. This is because heat is generated as a function of volume, whereas its dissipation is proportional to the surface area encapsulating that volume. We see the consequences of this in the allometry of metabolic rates: smaller endotherms need higher metabolisms to maintain thermostasis, while larger ones do not.

Fundamentally, the square-cube law is relevant to any phenomenon involving dissipation and diffusion. For instance, the requirement for lungs in larger organisms is because the surface area needs to be artificially increased maintain sufficient gas exchange for respiration.

For our purposes, fractals are interesting because the exhibit fractional dimensions. In other words, fractals posess properties of both their highest (ceiling) and second-highest (floor) dimension. We see this at work in nature where despite being 3D, roots, roads, and veins all try to maximise their surface area to volume ratio by approximating infinitely rough surfaces. Indeed, one can say that the coastline of any landmass is infinite, as increasing the precision of your measurement increases the measured roughness and therefore the perimeter.

Notice how the surface area continues to increase as the fractal evolves.

Surface Tension

Drawing the force diagram, it's obvious that the resultant force vector always points back into the bulk of the liquid. Image credit magnetix/Shutterstock.

Surface tension is a rather simple phenomenon masquerading as a complex one Actually, this is something of a white lie. Serious work involving surface tension can be quite complex, but only due to the fact the forces involved aren’t always simple even if the principle is. . Liquids are held together by a common inter-molecular force In the case of a mixture of fluids, there is at least some combination of forces that get them to attract together. If no such combination existed, they would separate by density. , weak enough to allow the constituent molecules to move about unlike solids, but strong enough to prevent most The kinetic energies of large collections of interacting particles (behaving as an ideal gas) usually follow a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. As particles collide, they trade kinetic energy and this results in some particles having very little while others end up building quite a lot—enough, sometimes, to escape the liquid. This is why liquids, especially volatile ones like alcohol, feel cool—the hottest particles (and there are always ones that become hot enough eventually) are constantly evaporating away to leave the coldest behind despite the average temperature being below the boiling point usually associated with evaporation. from freely moving like a gas. For most molecules, the attractive forces are coming from all around them so there’s no particular bias but to flow around in fluid-y ways. But at the surface, the molecules are only feeling those attractive forces from the direction of the bulk, and so their movement is biased in that direction. This reluctance to move away from the bulk acts like a skin of elastic that serves to minimize the surface area of a body. Hence, droplets.

Droplets aren’t the only manifestation of surface tension, though. Bubbles act on a similar principle—the molecules of the encapsulating liquid feels a force from its sides, and in the case of a bubble, there is a curvature that means each molecule sees its neighbors as being slightly "below" it and thus a resultant force towards the center of the bubble emerges. Between the force of the trapped gas trying to escape and the liquid film trying to collapse, a balance is struck.

Surface tension tends to become more apparent on smaller scales - notice how different the giant cheerios look from the real ones on the right, even with the heroic efforts put into faking it (e.g. the large bubbles).

All this is to say that surface tension, being a property related to surface area, scales like area. Therefore, water droplets, bubbles, etc. gain their properties as a consequence of their surface forces being commensurate or greater than their bulk forces. With larger scale, quadratically-scaling surface effects give way to cubically-scaling bulk flow, and reciprocally, liquid behaviour at tiny scales is dictated by these surface effects. Water to an ant is a lot more like a jelly-filled balloon than anything we’re familiar with.



Material Failure


Under the Newtonian model of gravity, gravitational attraction obeys Newton’s laws. In particular, falling towards the earth must involve the earth falling up towards you—if only a little. However, we can usually get away with approximating the gravity of planets as a homogenous field for objects on the scale we are used to thinking of. A consequence of this simplified model is that the gravitational acceleration is the same for falling objects "regardless" of their mass. This was famously demonstrated by Galileo when he dropped two different masses from the leaning tower of Pisa and observed they arrived at the ground simultaneously.

Altogether, this means that giant objects will noticeably fall slower in proportion to smaller ones. A giant’s footsteps would fundamentally have to be slower as the time their foot takes to fall would be proportionally greater.

Signal Delay

All signals propagate at a finite speed less than or equal to the speed of light in a vacuum, a value which is more generally considered to be the speed of information. Because of this, larger entities will experience disconnects between action and response.

Biological signals are much slower than light. As a consequence, we see a number of adaptations in larger organisms to concentrate the nervous system to minimise this delay. It is "the reason" why the eyes are located

The speed of sound is also finite but much slower than light. As a consequence, we can percieve a mismatch between seeing an event and the hearing the sound it produces. The two most striking examples of this in everyday life are lightning and attempting to talk (yell) to a distant individual. The latter is particularly interesting because this phenomenon doesn’t scale—the voice of a giant is no faster than a human’s. Therefore, sufficiently large giants would experience a "lag" when talking to eachother unless their perception was proportionally slower in turn.


Acoustic Pitch


Generally speaking, for winged craft, lift is proportional to area. Given that mass is proportional to volume, this means larger aircraft fundamentally face severe challenges to maintaining lift.


The force of an impact is equivalent to the change in momentum. This is important because momentum is the product of mass and velocity—for smaller entities, the force of an impact is less. This is why insects can survive colliding with things at high relative speed; their mass is not sufficient to damage themselves.

Another way of thinking about this is that it is your weight that crushes you when you fall. A minor consequence of this is that the minimal softness required to consider a surface "soft" would change with scale, since lighter beings would not feel as much pressure. This is somewhat paradoxical with the scaling of stiffness.


For mega-giants, simply moving would be enough to produce relativistic phenomena.

Size Cues in Visual Media

In my experience, I’ve found that communicating size difference is remarkably difficult—chiefly because the mind has strong assumptions as to the scale of familiar objects and especially that of people. Rather than believe the subject is a giant, the mind is always ready to assume they are normal sized even when it implies all sorts of absurdities elsewhere. It is therefore necessary to apply every possible trick to overcome this tendancy.

Familiar Objects

The most tried and true technique; portraying objects that are familiar to the audience allows them to use their own intuitive sense of scale. This effect can be quite jarring when watching physical modelers step into view of their miniatures.

A bannana for scale only works until it doesn't.


Showing detail that is difficult to percieve or even imperceptible to the naked eye, helps to establish a sense of scale. It is a particular pet peeve of mine that many 3D renders use relatively low-resolution assets in their scene, causing the subject to appear out of place.

Material Stiffness

Materials become proportionally softer as they get larger. This is especially the case with fabrics, where doll’s clothes are much stiffer than human clothes, and blanket-sized sheets are proportionally closer to silk than cotton. Therefore, artists should aspire to ensure that materials behave correctly with regards to their scale to better convince the viewer.


An extremely powerful technique used in the right circumstances A paper by Van der Hoort et al. showed that "When participants experienced the tiny body as their own, they perceived objects to be larger and farther away, and when they experienced the large-body illusion, they perceived objects to be smaller and nearer. Importantly, despite identical retinal input, this ‘‘body size effect’’ was greater when the participants experienced a sense of ownership of the artificial bodies compared to a control condition in which ownership was disrupted." , showing the audience the protagonist’s own body -especially in relation to the environment- can serve to cement the scale of the scene.


Foreshortening approximates the manner in which close, large objects consume our field-of-view. This is very noticeable in how merely positioning an un-adjusted camera in an appropriate location fails to convey a sense of scale. By decreasing the focal length and widening the angle, the scene can be made to appear larger.

Surface Tension

Water forms beads of a very limited range of sizes. Therefore, one can use their presence to estimate size.

Atmospheric Scattering

Over very long distances, approaching the horizon, we perceive a blue haze due to. In art, this is called Atmospheric Perspective, that can therefore be used as a yardstick.

Depth of Field

Depth of field a complicated phenomenon, but one we are able to employ in gauging scale. Tilt-Shift photography can be used Such use is known as miniature faking, and has gained significant popularity on the internet. to produce a very shallow depth of field to give the impression the subject of the photograph is smaller than it actually is.

With Without
Comparison between edited and original photographs demonstrating the powerful effect it has. Images credit Janwikifoto & I99pema under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

Unfortunately, the converse is not strictly true. Since increases to the depth of field eventually become unnoticeable, and in ordinary scenes it is negligable, a larger depth of field does not work well to convery the smallness of the photographer unless the subject is large enough that ordinary vision experiences the limitations. Instead, counter-intuitively, one wants to apply a shallower depth of field to give the impression that the distances are greater.

Additionally, it should be mentioned that objects cutting across focal planes can be percieved to be large in relation to the focal length.

Movement Speed

It is remarkable how powerful this effect can be This effect has been confirmed in a paper by Jia et al. . To see for yourself, play a space simulator such as Space Engine and try navigating about small moons at different speeds. You will see that your perception of its size is entirely tied to the speed of the camera, since there are no other size cues available to rely on. It is therefore, unfortunately, hazardous to allow tiny characters to move quickly, as the audience is quick to assume a familiar scale and reluctant to deviate from it, even if it implies other absurdities.

The rate at which objects fall is approximately the same regardless of its mass. The simple consequence of this is that large things appear to move slower, according to their proportion, than small things. Incorporating objects crashing into the ground at unnatural speeds, especially when close to the camera, can serve as a powerful indication of size.

Camera Angle

A classic technique in cinematography, the viewer is likely to assume that if whatever they’re viewing can only be seen from a low angle, then it must be very large. Jurrassic Park, Star Wars, etc.


Insert the Dresden Codak comic about different kinds of stories, as well as the Story Shapes infographic.

Short Stories

Because so much of the "canon" is incomplete or flash.

Maybe move to a "story elements" page? Ontologies are hard—might need to do a systematic survey.

  • Pet Store
  • Hurt/Comfort
  • Attack of the 50' X

Shrink & Return

Independence Story


  • Wonder of Nature


Fundamental & Essential Themes

It is easy to think up themes that can be explored with ESD—but you’ll quickly notice that they share commonalities. What are they? Knowledge of these funamental themes allows us to more comprehensively explore the literary potential of ESD by seeing what stories are well suited to it. I have attempted to distill what I can down into what I believe are essential themes, but naturally this is a subjective task that is prone to bias.

These will be ordered by estimated significance.


This is without a doubt the most salient theme in ESD; in almost every work, size comes with an implicit assumption of raw, physical strength. Via application or analogy, strength becomes ability, agency, wealth, status, and every other form of power. In this way, stories about size implicitly become stories about power.

Relativity of Size & Other Things

In daily life, we tend to have a rather fixed view of what is large and small, what is valuable and worthless. In ESD contexts, this unavoidably becomes muddled, which forces the reader to re-examine their preconceptions.

Extended Themes

While there appears to only be a few fundamental & essential themes, it is worthwhile to explore the plethora of consequent and related themes for the benefit of inspiration and precision in thought. I will caution that those attempting to write something literary should avoid any "colour-by-numbers" use of writing techniques; attempts to work in theme are often transparent and not as enjoyable as their subconscious invocation.

To better explore the themes, I’ll also include sections on different perspectives of them. By default, the introductory text is written to show how the ESD elements of the story can be used to explore theme.

  • Critque: how the theme can be found to be flawed.
  • Paradox: how the theme is equally valid when inverted.
  • Utility: how the ESD interpretation of the theme can be used to serve the story. For example, by making a powerful character giant to emphasize their power.


The same scene of a garden is very different depending on your size relative to it. What could be an ordinary span of grass to a mesoscale individual might appear as a jungle to micros, and a mere decoration to macros. This theme is especially prevalent in fiction that involves size change, as the individual is made unfamiliar with their enviroment by their new size.

Female Vulnerability

A common theme, intentional or not, in the Giant/Tiny community See the page on Communities. . Framing men as giants serves to highlight the strength they posess in comparison with women.

Fragility of Life

Humanity is lucky to be in the position where the vast majority of animal species on this planet is as large as or much smaller than us; the threat posed by them appears insignificant compared to the threat posed by scarcity, disease and ourselves. In a way, this gives a sense of invulnerability that is completely circumstantial. In a world with giants or an alternate Earth of micro humans, this invulnerability is stripped to reveal how fragile we really are.


While the general implication is that tinies represent the fragility of life, it is entirely possible to flip the dynamic on its head by showing how a single adequately prepared tiny can fell a giant many times their size; a cut to an exposed artery in the middle of the night, a shallow nick that becomes fetid,—slaying the giant reveals the fragility of all life.

Goodness & Pettiness

A theme present even in our language. It’s big of you when you do good; you’re the better person. It’s small of you to do bad. This perhaps stems from our perception of rodents and venomous animals as an insidious threat, and tallness a sign of nobility.

Joy of Life, Nature

With the alienation of size comes the opportunity for re-familiarisation and therefore the child-like wonder of things being new. This applies equally to the reader as well as the characters.


National Strength & Unity

Probably the least offensive political cartoon I could find as an example.

Volksgeist I’m not actually certain whether this is the correct usage of the term; I’ve been unable to find a reputable source on what the country-characters in political cartoons are called. are a historical example of this trope, wherein the strength and unity of nations was depicted through their anthropomorphisation as giants. An interesting example of this is in the case of Macross, where the alien nation is shown to be powerful by their sheer size.


  • An inextricable part of Macross, where the conflict with the Zentraedi is reminiscient of Japan’s conflicts against its powerful neighbours in the World Wars & before.
  • In Mistress Masham’s Repose, Lilliput-in-Exile is painted to be much like a colonized nation after its discovery by Maria, whose relative enormity represents the overwhelming power of the British Empire.

Relationship Dynamics

This is less a theme and more of a family of themes—the play of power in a romantic or working relationship. Traditionally, this is explored through how the division of labour and ?(desires?) between spouses results in a give-and-take where the balance of power is made uncertain; a burly man is easily cowed by their petite wife merely implicating privation.

Social Stratification

Size can be used to illustrate the magnitude and breadth of consequences that follows from having extraordinary individuals. The rich can trample the poor and leave them to eat their scraps all too literally, while the talented rise beyond the helpless masses merely by accident of birth.

Treatment of Animals

Almost all animals on this planet are significantly different in size (measured by volume) from humans. As a consequence, the way we interact with humanoids of different sizes in fiction reflects on the way we interact with animals in real life. The conditions of a hamster’s cage appear poor when viewed through the lens of a person subjected to them and the casual annihilation of insects appears downright monstrous when viewed from their perspective.

Examples via Anthropomorphism:

  • Ant Bully
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Finding Nemo

Size implies power which implies agency.

Treatment of Possessions


  • Toy Story

Unfairness of Life, Nature

One of the enlightenment ideals that shapes western culture is egalitarianism. A significant part of that is the belief that with opportunity and effort, any individual can achieve greatness; that no one is inherently superior. Unfortunately, the reality is less favourable; intellectual and physical disabilities for which there is no cure exist and categorically prevent many millions of people from ever achieving their otherwise-possible dreams. Depending on context, size can be viewed as a disability. A tiny individual will never be able to compete physically with a giant, and a giant may too be doomed from achieving something possible to tinies.

Value of Small Things


Absurdly Silken Cloths
One of the easiest ways to spot green-screen ESD sfx is to note how fabric bends. At a micro’s scale, fabric should behave closer to a stiff tarp, yet often we see scenes where it instead easily folds over itself. Similarly, clothes for macros should show a notable lack of stiffness, making things like pleated skirts impossible without structural backing.
  • Oyayubihime has an especially bad example of this with a cheap napkin.
  • The Incredible Shrinking Woman has a scene where this is the case.
Animal Attacks
An almost omnipresent trope in fiction where micros are involved. The presence of giant insects and animals practically guarantees they will attack unprovoked, regardless of the likelihood of such action in real life.
  • An iconic scene in this trope comes from Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man and its adaptations, where Scott Carey is forced to defend himself against a giant spider. Before that, he’d been attacked by the family cat.
  • Lindsay Gutteridge’s Cold War in a Country Garden frequently invokes this trope, especially in the first half of the book.
  • In Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty, the eponymous protagonist is attacked by a both a crow and a cat.
Big and Dumb
It is a curious phenomena that height can be correlated with intelligence

Wikipedia has a page, Height and intelligence, which examines this correlation.

, yet often times they are portrayed ignobly. From scattered lanklets to hulking brutes, it’s rare to find an example where a notably virtuous person is significantly taller than their peers. In contrast, historically the opposite was mostly true; height was associated with good nutrition, and therefore the nobility and nobility itself.
Big and Ugly
If beauty can be considered an absence of flaws, then the key to beauty is being hard to see. A common enough trope in size fiction that attempts a more serious tone, giants are described as ugly to tinies, with ever minor flaw impossible to ignore.
  • In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Lemuel Gulliver notes during his stay in Brobindignag that X, and recalls how his Lilliputian friend Y.
Captured by Giants
Wherever you have tinies meeting giants, a kidnapping inevitably follows. Oftentimes the drama is hightened by careless grabbing and the use of cages meant for small animals.
  • Shortly after landing in Brobindignag, Lemuel Gulliver is captured by a farmhand who discovers him hiding amongst the corn stalks in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
  • A recurring event in Irwin Allen Production’s Land of the Giants.
  • Tabitha King’s Small World involves multiple cases of such kidnapping.
Apparently being different sizes is reason enough to eat people.
Falling is Deadly (for tinies)
As megafauna, humans are close to the upper limit for terrestrial organisms and this shows in how our bodies are unable to cope with the stress of impact with the ground at terminal velocity. For the vast majority of organisms, this is not an issue as their weight is insufficient to damage themselves. A (morbid) thought experiment along these lines

The gendankenexperiment was originally popularised by J. B. S. Haldane in his essay On Being the Right Size.

is to imagine the difference between throwing an ant, a mouse, a human and a horse down a well. The ant will be entirely unaffected, the mouse will come out unharmed, the human broken, and the horse a bloodly stain.
  • We can infer this to be the case in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, as the Lilliputians are described to be risking injury when performing their customary tightrope dance/challenge, and also when the Lilliputian horse injures itself after tearing a hole in Lemuel’s hankerchief.
  • Curiously averted in T. H. White’s Mistress Masham’s Repose, where a young Lilliputian-in-exile falls from a toy plane at great relative height merely to break a leg.
Ground Tremors
Intuitively, we expect the movement of immense creatures to produce ground tremors. Commonly used in films involving megafauna and giant monsters, it applies equally to many ESD works—even where it is not particularly appropriate. This is something between a Coconut Effect and a tactical use of exaggeration to sell the scene.
If You’re Brave Enough
Giantesses seem to have no qualms putting all manner of things inside themselves. Buildings, really? Even the male giants seem careless about how shattered glass and jagged metal might feel.
Immodest Giants
Modesty is a multifaceted cultural phenomenon. It not only encompasses the nudity taboo established both philosophically by Abrahamic religions (among others?), and pratically by our lack of fur, but also the aversion to voiding in public, the consideration of sexual activity as private, etc. It is my belief that modesty fundamentally stems from fear of vulnerability. Naked people are vulnerable, as are people in the process of voiding or sexual intercourse. It follows, then, that if there is no possibility of danger, modesty is disregarded—exactly as in the case of a giant accompanied by a tiny.
  • This trope is invoked multiple times in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, perhaps being responsible for its establishment.
  • François Rabelais’ The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel has far too much of this to be considered part of the literary cannon.
Ketchup Packet Tinies
And the inverse. Often, shrunken individuals are portrayed as being particularly fragile, and giants conversely durable. This is a consequence of a physical approach to scaling.
Mobile-Suit Human
If pride is not an obstactle, tinies can make use of relatively enourmous mecha to fight giants on even terms. See also the TVTropes page.
On the Shoulders of Giants
Perching on the head, shoulder, or other convenient locations.
  • In Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty, Sho gives Arrietty a ride on his shoulder.
  • An unusual example, Obsi’s To be a Breezie finds Twilight’s ears being used in this fashion.
Pocket Travellers
Pockets are for keeping small things, and what more is a tiny than one such small thing? Sometimes other parts of clothes serve as pockets, but that is usually for more erotic stories.
  • In Mary Dublin and Anne Kendsley’s Shot in the Dark, Sylvia frequently finds herself having to hide in pockets.
Ponderous Giants, Agile Tinies
Humans are prone to treating the "other" poorly, and size is a powerful alienator. ESD fiction often takes this to extremes, where tinies are regularly treated worse than slaves were historically. This applies to a lesser extent with tinies oppressing giants, but often such oppression falls within historical norms.
Reaching In
An easy way to drill home the size difference is to have the giant reaching into a regular building as if it were a dollhouse. An arm, barely fitting through a window while a table-sized hand wriggles around like an enormous spider is incredibly alienating for an otherwise unremarkable situation.
  • In Tabitha King’s book Small World, Dorothy regularly reaches into the dollhouse while X is occupying it, leading to her describing
Riding Rodent
The need for transportation is universal, and for primitive society, animals serve as efficient vehicles. With the smallest horse-like animals (X) measuring only (Y), it is common for writers to grant tinies other species for this purpose. Oftentimes these are rodents such as rats, mice, and rabits. Less common are dogs and fowl, despite how the former is considered the traditional mount of fairies

This actually may be a modern myth; I’ve been unable to find an authoritative citation to back it up. Perhaps The Mythology of Dogs: Canine Legend by Gerald and Loretta Hausman might suffice, but I do not have a copy of the book available to verify.

. Caution must be taken with this trope as, elucidated in the article on mounts, the structure of spine and mode of locomotion required for efficient riding is very specific, and not found in dogs and rats.
  • The Lilliputians-in-Exile were not able to bring any Lilliputian horses to England, and so used rats as mounts in T. H. White’s Mistress Masham’s Repose.
  • In Blue Sky Studio’s epic, the Leafmen ride birds among other small animals.
The Bigger They Are, The Faster They Fall
How long would it take for you to fall five feet? How about fifty? As stated in the article on the physics of scaling, giants must appear to walk and fall slower, given that the time it takes for their feet to fall to the ground is proportionally longer. Usually, this observation is ignored in favour of having giants move proportionally at the same speed.
  • Implied to be the case in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, as the Lilliputians are not said to appear scuttling, and the brobindignags ponderous.
The Dollhouse
What else would be more appropriate to house doll-sized people than a house for dolls?
  • Used to great effect in Tabitha King’s Small World.
  • In The Secret World of Arrietty, a dollhouse was originally built for the use of the borrowers but sat almost unused until Sho transports the kitchen into the Clock’s home.
The Joyride
When the tiny’s just the right size to make use of an RC toy vehicle, you inevitably have a montage.
  • Stuart Little
  • Oyayubihime
The Rampage
The only sensible reaction to becoming 50' tall is to cause as much property damage as you possibly can. This classic trope started with the infamous Attack of the 50' Woman and the associated monster-movie culture, becoming
  • Attack of the 50' Woman
Tinies are Squeaky, Giants are Rumbly
Intuitively we know that small things are usually associated with higher frequencies—and for voice, the kinds of pitches we’d expect are percieved to be "squeaky" or "rumbly" depending on who’s talking. Physically, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but in ESD fiction, it is surprisingly common.
  • Like many tropes regarding size, it was likely established by Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, as Swift describes the voice of the Lilliputians to be X, and that of the Brobindignags as Y.
Tinies in Food
Inevitably, tinies seem to find themselves surrounded by a giant’s food, even if they are not supposed to be a part of it.
  • In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Lemuel Gulliver finds himself at least twice in the food of the Brobindignag court. Once he is dunked in ?milk?, and another time stuffed in the cavity of a bone.
  • Oyayubihime has a cruel and unusual take on this trope, where Saeko puts X on the pan she used for making pancakes, forcing her to "dance" on the burning-hot surface.
A curious thing about awareness/perceptiveness is that any attempt to guage it for yourself suffers from survivorship bias. We only notice that we noticed the things we noticed, so the true extent of what we haven’t noticed is left out of our internal estimation. For most of us, this isn’t a big deal. Small things are usually negligable, after all—and those are the most likely to be overlooked. But when said small things are people and their effects, the importance of awareness cannot be overstated.

In fiction, it’s common to work on the assumption that we’re actually quite bad at being aware of smaller things, so a constant, implicit threat from giants is simply what they can do by accident. Less extreme is the associated difficulty with getting noticed, or desire to sneak past unwitting giants. Altogether, this is something of an omnipresent trope despite how exaggeratedly it is often portrayed.

  • Averted in Mistress Masham’s Repose, where Maria takes extra caution not to accidentally trample the Lilliputians.
  • Discussed in Hilda, where the first episode establishes a theme of giants stepping on houses/villages without noticing.


Extreme Size Difference is a catch-all term to encompass humanity’s long-held fascination with giants and smallfolk, with shrink rays and Eat Me’s. This website is intended to become a comprehensive resource for all things size difference: documenting, cataloguing, and contributing where possible in a balanced and informative manner to the widest audience. That is, despite the sexualisation of the topic, this is not intended to be an niche or NSFW website; I hope to provide something for everyone from creators and consumers of ESD content to scientists and curious laypeople.

About Myself

I am a privacy-conscious macrophile with a background in the sciences. Because of the impossibility of my desires and a similar level of failure in my other persuits, I generally struggle for motivation. Please accept my apologies if you encounter an unfinished or sub-par page; I find it helps to publish what I’ve written rather than ruminate over what I haven’t.





  • Reconciling Deduplication with Unique IDs
  • Semantic Tagging





Visual Media



  • Carer Romantic Relationships


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Interactive Fiction

Programming Languages

  • Inform7
  • Dialog
  • Imperative, Functional, & Logical Paradigms in IF
  • Improving Upon Dialog
  • Differential Datalog
  • Flix
  • Clips
  • Bespoke Language

World Model

  • Spatialising Rooms Using Sub-Locations
  • Representing Navigable Clothes
  • Incorporating Senses: Sound
  • Incorporating Senses: Smell
  • Incorporating Senses: Temperature & Humidity
  • Limb Positioning
  • Procedural Rooms
  • Simple Physics Model
  • Representing Object Bulk

Parser & Text Generation

  • Parsing In Logic Languages
  • Deferred Text Generation
  • Experimenting With Narrative Voice
  • Smarter Scene Description

Lainchan Webring

Although it’s not directly related to this website, I frequent Lainchan to discuss subjects such as programming, cryptography, and political theory. The people there are pretty cool, and the project to revive webrings for small, personal sites inspires me. So, here’s my copy of the webring:


This is the bulk of the webring, sorted into tiers by how interesting I personally find each website, and then alphabetically within each tier. For me, this usually means those websites with plenty of meaty articles, eccentricies, and unusual designs rank highly. It is by no means an attempt at an objective ranking (I disfavour music, for instance, because I am not particularly musical) and definitely not any serious endorsement of the content (honestly, there is too much variety for this list to represent a coherent character beyond “I use tech”).


This is a special section to highlight websites available on mixnets and other anonymizing overlay networks.


These are websites that are either inaccesible to me, an English speaker and Tor user, or are no longer online.



  • Dynamic Level of Detail
  • Deformation & Destruction
  • Reactive/Procedural Animation
  • Character Controlers for Unstable Terrain
  • Ambisonics
  • Pathfinding

Gameplay Pitches

  • Borrower Survival-Craft
  • Fairy Aerial Combat Simulator
  • Mech Tactics


Doing things right, the Wrong Way

Or, a new year’s resolution. Previously I had written the HTML and CSS code for this website by hand, and it showed. At the time, I was literally editing the website in neocities’ online editor, saving each change and observing the effect in a new tab. One. Tiny. Change. At. A. Time. It was laborious, slow, and yielded an inconsistent, poorly-written website.

I’d known beforehand of Static Site Generators, but the effort involved in setting one up kept me away from them. Lately, I’ve started feeling better. More confident, energetic, and capable of tackling larger problems. I think I owe it to my resolution to make decisions, even bad ones, in the name of overcoming things that depress me. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary if I want to achieve anything in this life. I must make mistakes, even if I know they could have been avoided in some hypothetical ideal situation.

So I dumped the website contents (thanks neocities!) into a folder, split it into files, and used HTML→Markdown converters. Then, I tidied up the generated code and ran it back through Kramdown to recover an approximation of the original website. Success! But this was a long way from a proper static site. I needed more than just a concatenation of pages, if only to correct some of the undesirable output from Kramdown.

Usually, static site generators are built around templates. Indeed, it’s almost unspoken the assumption that static websites are supposed to be built through templating. This struck me as strange, because HTML is itself structured data that can be parsed and manipulated in a well-defined manner—my mental model is of a tree, just like any other. Templating feels clumsy and awkward. So I looked around and found only one rebel: Soupault. Not the French writer Philippe Soupault, but the software named after him. The developer hit upon the core of my concern: HTML is structured data, so a static website generator should work as a series of programmable transformations over it. This was fantastic! Unfortunately, Soupault, intentionally or not, is rather opinionated. So far as I could see, there is no way to generate a SPA like what I want, and furthermore, it assumes a very linear, pipeline model for data transformation that strikes me as wholly unnecessary.

Dissatisfied, I decided I would just cobble together my own tool, damn the consequences. Soupault, really, is a thin layer over a good HTML parsing library, so it struck me that I could build my own Soupault with blackjack and hookers with another library. It turns out that python has just the thing: Beautiful Soup 4. Not only does this library parse HTML, but it also provides tools for editing and printing it back out. Inspired by Soupault’s design, I created a folder of simple scripts that Did One Thing and Did It Well, written as filters, which I eventually turned into modules that could be dynamically loaded at runtime by a handy tool.

Apparently, it’s something of a meme for programmers to write their own static site generator rather than learn someone else’s. I can relate to this sentiment.

I usually try to avoid writing my own stuff when I can use someone else’s. Avoid seems too light a word, really. I will spend hours, days, sometimes weeks searching for an implementation by someone else. It comes from a lack of confidence in myself—both in my power to commit, and my ability to succeed. In extreme cases, I have patiently waited years for someone to write software I know is beyond my current ability (but not necessarily beyond my potential). Perhaps in seeing the code samples for my "project" you can agree, but perhaps I am overly self-critical.

First parses input data into a pipeline, each long switch declaring a new operation, with all following items the arguments to it.

pipeline = []
for arg in sys.argv[1:]:
  if arg[0:2] == "--":

Probably not the most elegant code, but it suffices. Next I passed it to a routine that would just loop through the list, piping the output of one function into the input of the next, given a standard form fn(input,*args).

with sys.stdin as stdin:
  res = BeautifulSoup(stdin, 'html.parser')
  for invocation in pipeline:
      cmd = invocation[0]
      cmd = importlib.import_module(f"modules.{cmd}").fn
      res = cmd(res,*invocation[1:])

And that’s it. As simple as possible, but not any simpler. To see an example of how it works, here’s

from subprocess import run, PIPE

def fn(document,selector,attr,script):
    for tag in
        tag[attr] = run(script, shell=True\
                       ,stdout = PIPE\
                       ,text   = True\
                       ,input  = tag[attr]).stdout

    return document

And here is how I use it to transform In case anyone’s curious, the sed 's/.*?//' is there because this is actually part of the caching step where the image links generated by --math are made into local files. scary arbitrary LaTeX like $$e^{i\pi} + 1 = 0\text{; rm -rf --no-preserve-root /#}$$ into something I can safely That didn’t stop me from making a full system backup before compiling, though. manipulate:

--script-replace-attr "img.equation" src\
                      "sed 's/.*?//' | base64 | sed 's|^|./math/|;s/$$/.gif/'"

The combination of CSS selectors (including the non-spec selectors like :has() Documented here. ) and UNIX text manipulation facilities makes this simple function ridiculously powerful. Another sterling example would be which I use to make external links safer and images lazy load.

def fn(document,selector,attr,valu):
    for tag in
        tag[attr] = valu

    return document
--set-attrs "img" loading lazy
--set-attrs "a[href^=\"http\"]" rel "noopener noreferrer"

But this doesn’t really show off the power of HTML as structured data, does it? Here’s which parses a shorthand I developed where some markdown like:

  * <ds>Title</ds>
    Lorem ipsum...

is transformed into the more verbose

               Lorem ipsum...</details></li>

which was very convenient given how many collapsibles I have on this website! The code is simply:

def fn(document):
  for summary in document("ds"):
      content = summary.find_next_siblings() = "summary"
      details = document.new_tag("details")


  return document

That’s it. I am honestly shocked this way of doing things isn’t more popular—it seems so obvious and simple. That said, it’s pretty slow and stupid since each sub-command represents at least one full scan of the document. Before I figured out how to get make to play nicely with caching progress, it would take a good number of minutes to compile the whole project.

I do intend to open source the rest of the project eventually since I figure if nothing else, there needs to be a tool for editing HTML like jq Homepage is for viewing JSON. First, however, I must learn git properly if I don’t want to publish my embarassing edit histories for all the world to see. There is also an aspect of privacy, as I’m sure there’s a stylometric attack lurking in the style, frequency, and constitution of one’s commits.

In general, you may notice that the site looks prettier and feels more natural on the screen. I’ve rewritten the CSS pretty much from scratch (though it could definitely use another pass or two), combing over the declarations and testing their relevance to the whole with firebug/firefox dev tools. To a somewhat significant extent, I feel I have improved over the original john-doe template by removing some hardcoded assumptions that limit its responsiveness. It should now work on all of your Skinner boxes! If not, please leave me a comment so I can try my hand at fixing it.

Let’s start with the header. The original header was an after-thought. I’d wanted to emphasize the book nature of illuminated manuscripts by making the header look like the cover of a book laid flat. Unfortunately, stitching together segments of a detailed texture was never going to look natural, especially with how hard I had to compress it to make the file size reasonably small. Honestly, it looked more like some hellish roast-beef sandwich than a book. Coupled with the headings simply inheriting the style of regular text links, it looked like a particularly sad sandwich that had been abandoned at the beach.

This time I decided to try a fixed-width header so I could get everything to agree. Furthermore, I’d use CSS to decorate since I recalled seeing a wonderfully simple stitching effect achieved with border In the end, I abused outline to save on the number of pseudo-elements I was using. . Through this, I’d also been working with a subconscious bias towards skeuomorphism, and so wanted the book cover to pop out of the screen. Again, CSS has a surprisingly simple trick for it: box-shadow gives enough of a visual cue to imply depth where there is none.

The heading text was unexpectedly difficult. I wanted to emulate the look of a leather-bound book, but like with the paper effect, the details in the background diminished the legibility of the text. However, unlike the paper, I couldn’t take advantage of a simple background blur—the color contrast was also too poor! Be it gold or black, the visual noise was too significant and it made the header unusable. Frustrated, I looked towards references (like I should have done in the first place) to guide my art. Surprisingly, I found that real leather-bound books actually get away with a very weak color contrast. The first trick is that the leather they use is very fine, lacking in texture unlike the alligator-skin belt leather I had been using up 'till now. The second is that the letters are actually slightly depressed, allowing the play of light to illuminate the contours and guide the eye with subtle cues that are almost unnoticeable. One texture-swap later and some carefully applied box-shadows, I had this surprisingly legible header. My only lingering concern is that the text now appears too small even though it remains unchanged in size. Scaling up the text cramps it together, since I wanted the header to align with the body which itself is very narrow. Perhaps some time to reflect will reveal a solution.

I’ve changed the background text blur to just a solid color. I noticed how you could hardly see the color variation implicit in using the background image, so it seemed like a waste of valuable pseudo-elements. Furthermore, it bothered me how computationally expensive that feature was. Why doesn’t CSS have background-image-blur yet? Or better yet, why hasn’t backdrop-filter been accepted into the spec? One wonders why CSS doesn’t embrace programmable shaders, given how convoluted the whole thing must be to implement at this point.

One of the major improvements has been moving everything to be served locally. I was perhaps pre-mature in offloading my images to a third party host, even if the thumbnail service was rather convenient, and as perfect as codecogs is, it is still another burden on the performance and privacy of this site’s users. Even the favicons, fetched by DuckDuckGo, force the user to interact with a third party they may not wish to in order to view this website properly.

Having a tool to manipulate HTML as data, I found I was writing a lot of clumsy code to make up for the deficiencies in my markdown dialect. Converting fragment-based footnotes to inlines, adding new digraphs and pseudo-elements. I have half a mind to write my own markdown that’s more modular, assuming I can’t find one already implemented. It seems obvious that any sensible markdown compiler should be written as a series of modular rules that the user can effortlessly append to. I know that I could edit or interface with the actual ruby library doing the generation (particular to Kramdown), but I have always preferred to operate on the level of commands. A script, usually, has bugs a-plenty and requires effectively rewriting the code that already goes into the commandline interface. For behaviour that is purely extensional, it seems unnecessary.

One of the things I noticed early on was how poorly indexed the site was. I added a manual sitemap.xml when I noticed, but it struck me this could be automated.

More generally, I hope to improve this blog by changing my attitude to writing. Usually, I am very judicious of anything I produce, so I tend to constantly edit posts instead of actually write them. Furthermore, I tend towards being formal, but do so poorly and so come across as immature or pretentious (or some combination of both). To this end, I’ve resolved myself to write first and ask questions later. To write conversationally and easily, with the understanding my audience will appreciate it better, modern as they are. It also helps that now I don’t have to bother with manually, tediously, editing in the HTML and trying to read around it.

Only time will tell whether dealing with the overhead involved in this system is superior to monkeying around in the raw HTML. I am never really satisfied, or at least, not for long. I can always imagine how much better something could be, and thus find it too-easy to see everything in the light of their perfect selves. For making this website, I know I will be dissatisfied with the amount of mental overhead involved with making edits to the makefile and pipeline of HTML transformations. The makefile is a monstrosity of tortured make, twisted into understanding when exactly to pull resources from the 'net and bloated with page-long invocations that would usually be hidden away in $(CFLAGS) or similar. Does anyone know the proper way to extract make dependencies from targets? Is there a proper way? Images, equations, favicons, etc., to be published are inferred from the contents of the HTML, which itself is generated from the markdown. What is the order of operations if I did use a shell command as a dependency? make is a surprisingly complex program for having such an ostensibly simple job.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy the new and improved website, and the additional articles to come.

Colour at last!

When I first announced this blog, one of the first criticisms was the lack of color. I’m a pretty boring person, so I’ve never been prone to putting color and graphics in my documents unless prompted by colleagues and superiors. However, there’s no denying that color helps grab and maintain interest, so I decided upon the parchment theme that I used in my banner. Trying to apply it to the blog wasn’t as easy; the visual noise from the texture made the text difficult to read, while the cool stacked paper effects I was interested in didn’t appear to work with the trick I use to make it a (mostly) single page website. So I threw my hands up and just made do with beautiful simplicity.

Months later, I’ve been wondering how to make this blog stand out on the neocities listing and decided to see if I might have better luck on the second try. First, to overcome the noise problem, I used a strong background blur to help reduce the visual noise directly under the text while still preserving the interesting details around it. As you can see, it works surprisingly well. In the research towards it, I became inspired to evolve the general parchment look into that of an illuminated manuscript. Gold text doesn’t go well on pale yellow paper, so to get the illuminated text to read well, I’ve tried a very subtle outline ("stroke", according to the tutorial) in a darker gold color. For the hyperlinks you see, it’s not so bad.

The top/navigation bar was looking pretty bare, so I decided on trying to hybridize the idea of a book cover with it. Searching flickr, I came across this image which almost perfectly matched the feel of what I had in mind under a permissive license. Unfortunately, the lighting is uneven in the original picture, which caused very jarring transitions when tiled. To fix this, I used this rather clever tutorial on equalising brightness in GIMP. I had to apply the trick twice, fiddle with the curves, do some rotations and croppings to get it to be somewhat homogenous, but combined with re-using some of the ideas from the blur technique, I managed to get it to be half-decent. If you’re wondering how I got the edges of the .JPEGs to be transparent, the truth is that I didn’t—I just manually composited in the background texture.

Altogether, it’s turned out alright. There’s still some work to do to make it properly look like an illuminated manuscript, but for now this suffices.


My life has predictable elements in it. Like an addict, when my thoughts turn to ESD, I desperately seek out content to sate my longing. This week was AO3, and to my (mis)fortune, I found something captivating: an SG-1 fanfiction where the author clearly has shown a love of the franchise, history, and a general thoughtfulness that puts them above the rest. I consumed all ~100k words of it over the course of about eight or ten nearly-consecutive hours. The issue with addictions is that satiation is an illusion—what follows it is an even greater longing. I know this, but my life sometimes feels empty enough that even the most base expressions of dukkha are a preferable distraction to the existential emptiness my view of the world invites. Edgy, but I suppose that’s appropriate—given how edginess follows from immaturity, of which purposelessness is a sure sign of. I digress. What is likely interesting to you, the reader, isn’t how pathetic I am, but what insights my sour thoughts may provide.

In this case, when my mind grows numb from the barrage of offensive tags and vacuous words (as if my own are not!), I retreat to the fantasy of writing something better. Only—what is better? What differentiates a story worth reading from one that should never have been written, let alone published? A good story isn’t the absence of odious writing, that much is obvious, but the surpluss of something enjoyable. Perhaps misguidedly, I am quick to associate that enjoyableness with the plot. A good plot is a novel plot, or an old one well executed. In both cases I ask myself: what can ESD contribute? Are there interesting plots that can only exist with ESD? Does introducing ESD to well-storied plots make them worth reading yet again? I am not sure. In my pessimism, I argue no; ESD is readily seen as a metaphor for power, and stories about power have been done to death. Yet I naïvely want to say yes; that ESD provides a new perspective, no different than exploring how some more obviously alien species might colour the story. Without anything definite to persuade my rational mind one way or the other, I think elsewhere.

Perhaps the goodness of the story doesn’t lie in its plot, but its ability to captivate. Evocative prose, inventive imagery, some naked piece of the author’s Unique. I consider this, and I write appropriately. But a writer is their own worst critic, and what made something like the SG-1 fanfiction enjoyable to me falls flat when I try my own hand at it. The horrible thing about depression and low self-esteem is that it devours encouragement with little to show for it, leaving you begging a frustrated peergroup for ever-more attention. Insecurity is a bad look, and one people are tired of. Therefore, I become paralysed. It is a small grace that I think so lowly of blogs that I can fearlessly spew my verbal diarrhea for others to suffer through. I am sorry.


In the process of writing, I had forgotten one of the original points I wished to make; everything worth saying has already been said, and nothing is new under the sun. Part of growing up for the vast majority of people is recognising your own mediocrity. Confronting it. Does the world need another mediocre expression from a forgettable individual who has lived an uninteresting life? Probably not. Yet I need to create, to breathe life through my fantasies by realizing them in some small fashion—dragging myself out of the comfort of simple ideas to approach the complexity of life and imitate it.

Dragon Maid

I finally got around to watching Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and the relationship between Tohru and Kobayashi Funnily enough, we never learn her given name. intrigued me from an ESD perspective; Tohru deeply adores Kobayashi despite their disparity. Physically, Kobayashi is weaker, poorer, less capable, and much shorter lived than Tohru. In that sense, Kobayashi has nothing to offer Tohru—the usual stumbling block for ESD relationships in my mind. Nevertheless, the infatuation seems believable to me because what Kobayashi offers is something wholly immaterial but infinitely useful: a cool head. Kobayashi is Tohru’s emotional rock, her voice of reason, and guiding light to something better than the empty life of a dragon. I think such a foundation would make for a touching ESD story.

Hello World!

So, I’ve had this idea for a while, now. A website where I could publish all my overthinking in the hopes that someone else might benefit from it. After a bit of soul searching, I decided to bite the bullet and spin up a neocities website. I figure: it doesn’t matter if it isn’t professional, or if it isn’t properly cited, or even complete. What matters is that I’m building up a base of accomplishments that I can look back on when I’m feeling down. So here it is! A bunch of incomplete articles on the one of the most bizarre choices of topic.

More to follow.