Skip to content


In fairness, if somebody notices the roof doesn’t have snow, they’d probably assume that there’s a guy who has to go up there and clean it off for fear of roof collapse

I just assume it’s a heated building with no roof insulation, and grind my teeth a little about the energy waste and carbon footprint. If the area has green ordinances or a history of having power cuts due to insufficient capacity I may call it in.

That said, it’s been years since I lived in a climate where ice and snow are routine enough for this to be an issue. The winters here are mostly mild and very dry.

Green Ordinance? That’s not a term I’ve ever heard before and Google doesn’t recognize it either. Are you translating a term from a non-English language?

Presumably Bear means laws or local rules that limit how you can build or renovate buildings. I don’t know about other places, but it’s normal in the US for local ordinances to require a certain level of efficiency in insulation to cut down on how much we waste power heating our homes.

Remember, this is a supposedly *empty* warehouse, which should be showing no signs of use or occupancy. (A long-suffering caretaker crew would still be possible.)

That illusionary roof has to not only present a facade from outside, but must disperse any chimney smoke, and block the back-glow of light pollution from escaping (although this may be less of an issue with enough other light sources nearby).

Any sounds of, say, loud music or cheering crowds or ringing farrier’s hammers that leak out may also draw unwanted attention.

So, the “magic ceiling” that Blanche blithely points to is either performing multiple tasks or is accompanied by other, less obvious, magic.

Back-glow? Not being able to see things underneath it is literally the point. If you can’t see the light from the sun bouncing off things inside, why would the light produced by things inside be any different? Light’s light, regardless of the source.

I was referring to the light bouncing back from the overhead atmosphere. It’s such diffusion that makes a sunbeam visible in a dusty or steamy room. It’s also why you can see more stars in the sky if you’re in the middle of nowhere than if you’re in a city, even in a dark pocket where no lights are actually visible. That diffuse haze is called light pollution.

Heheh. FYI, Jon, the flat I live in is about level with the roof of your “tall building” and I have neighbors looking down on my balcony from almost four times the height. ;-)

More to the point, the fire dpt. will be summoned whenever there’s any smoke around our complex … well, in the daytime, at least. (Some nearby buildings apparently have fireplaces, so nightly smell of nondescript smoke isn’t sufficient to get people alarmed.)

People notice while riding in planes!

Surprising but true:

That article was really confusing, until I realised that “Cleveland” and “Milwaukee” must be in different places. I thought Milwaukee was a tool making company, didn’t even realise it was a place. Clever idea!

I can imagine that there is a small group (like Tim) who maintains the illusion of the roof, and tweaks it for the seasons. I would suspect there is some artistic competition among them for creating the best illusion. An escaping balloon would be unlikely to attract any attention, unless someone happened to be looking at the roof at the exact moment it passed through.

This all works better in the time frame of the story, because these days the planet is being mapped by satellites that determine the ground level by surface radar, so the illusion would have to work not just for visible light, but all frequencies. Otherwise, anybody looking at a digital elevation map of London would notice that the building has zero elevation inside the walls (of course, that’s not a REALLY recent thing—I was working with 1-meter DEMs for generating topographical data 25 years ago.).

Y’all are overthinking this. The spell doesn’t have to be 100% illusion. It could just “encourage” people not to look too close. Including at the roof or even via airplane or satellite photo. Police don’t think there’s a grow in there because they “happen” not to think about it all, even when looking for snow-free roofs.

That sounds almost like the “invisibility” spells in the Lord D’Arcy stories by Randall Garrett. That was a case of “You don’t see (because you must look away).” Ability to look directly at a particular spot was proof that no such spell was active there.

Yeah, it’s more likely a reference to the Hitchhikers Guide.

I’ve read too much science fiction and fantasy to be a reference to anything in particular, but the Hictchhker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a good pull.

The “Somebody Else’s Problem” field comes up, as a more serious thing, pretty often when discussing how psychic invisibility works.

I think it’s probably a combination of actual illusion and SEP field. And it might not even be something present in every spell of this sort. Magic is unpredictable.

People are surprisingly willing to not look too deeply into things. We’ll see something weird and then move on with whatever we were doing. We only have reason to suspect something might be up here because we *know* something is up in the story, and thus presume people in the setting would suspect weird magic. But maybe most people would just go “that’s kinda weird” and shrug.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Primary Sidebar