This was a complicated month, so I put up the first three chapters of my next novel (GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND), as well as the latest stuff for ASHES OF EMPIRE. Honestly, I can’t wait for the summer. There’s been a lot of stuff going on lately.
Might as well: I haven’t gotten the first chapters back for TINSEL RAIN, so I can’t work on that. And I shouldn’t move forward on the other projects until the money clears on the Kickstarter, which usually will be about two weeks. GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND currently clocks in at just below sixty thousand words, so I need to add about another twenty thousand or so before I go find an alpha reader for it.
Yeah, a new alpha reader for this book. It’s science fiction horror, you see – and it would drive my wife up the wall to see how bad the science is. She won’t alpha read my space opera serial novel, either, assuming it ever finishes.
Anyway, I suspect that the first three chapters of GoaAW will be this month’s Patreon story. The current short story’s crapped out, too. Dunno why. I should give it a month or two to cool down.
Syah went on, “I liked her, right from the start. Chook was good to people. The first day I came in, she spent the whole morning getting to know me. None of that corporate crap about favorite bands or shared commonalities, either. She wanted to know the way I liked to work, what things drove me nuts when other people did them, how to know when to distract me and when to leave me alone, things like that. By the end of the day it was like I had been there for months.”
“Yeah.” For a moment I was tempted to call him out on the ‘corporate crap’ part — Syah had a little bit of a chip on his shoulder about the folks paying our salaries — but I decided to let it slide. “Chook was great at getting along with everybody. And she meant it, too; you can tell when somebody cares. Guess that’s why she went into net interfacing.” I swigged my own beer. “That, and how nosy she was.”
That got me a grimace from Syah. “That was a little weird, yeah. I didn’t think Chook meant anything by it, and I know you have to know everything to interface properly, but she lived the life, huh?”
Fair use, fair use, fair-use use-use…
I looked over to see Oft carefully staring at a wall fresco. “What’s that? Oh, right, those are your gods?”
“Illuvitarians are monotheists,” he replied, with the air of somebody who’s said that phrase a thousand times in his life. “But yes, these are images of the Exalted. At least, as the inhabitants of this world knew Them.”
As frescoes made in a dead alien style, in both senses of the term, the images weren’t bad. I only knew enough of the Illuvitarians’ not-gods to recognize the names, but the One-Eighteeners had used the same kind of iconography as we did when it came to physical objects. I mean, there’s only so many ways you can draw a tree, star, or a mountain. “It’s lovely,” I said truthfully. “Very peaceful-looking.”
“Would that it had been less peaceful, and more protective,” muttered Oft. He then rubbed his face. “Forgive me, Pamela. It is at times like this that I remember how my faith is the last guttering ember left of a church that once sustained trillions of believers. And that we must protect what is left.”
Just making up stuff, at this point. Like I know how to fly. And like it really makes any difference to the story if I do, or not (I think people overdo this, sometimes).
I think I still may be sounding a little blase on the subject of wind-dancing. Like I’m romanticizing something that’s really just a matter of reading overlapping displays and careful adjustments. People talk up their boring jobs all the time, right? Fair enough. Lemme give you an idea of what it’s like, from my perspective:
The original inhabitants of One-Eighteen didn’t use a driver’s wheel, or a single flight stick. They liked to use all four limbs to fly: each hand controlling a separate squeezable trackball, while pushing various buttons with their feet. Including a few things that we’d put on a dashboard, like engine boosters or the emergency air evacuation switch. We’ve been able to put in a regular, Terran-style flight stick for regular use, and it works fine — for, again, regular use. If you want to get creative, you need to use the original configuration. Most people try it once, and then stop trying to be too creative.
I’m not most people.
Right now I’m just adding bits in my head that I know I’ll need later. Actually making it all coherent will take more time. At least, that’s the plan.
I wasn’t looking forward to trying to get a straight answer from Oft about the Scout site at Erebus. I didn’t get one, either. And it was for a really annoying reason: he legitimately didn’t have one.
“I’m sorry, Pam,” he told me as we drank our beers. Including the Anticipant, who was surprisingly easier to handle once everybody had a couple of drinks in them. “If I knew what brought the Scouts there at the start, I would have told you. I was hoping the Anticipant would glean something from the site, but she could not.”
“How would you know?” I muttered.
Oft raised an eyebrow. “She may find it difficult to give details in a manner that you or even I can understand — no offense — but she knows what the phrase ‘This is important’ means, and she’s capable of saying it. If she doesn’t know, she can say that, too. And she has perfectly good ears.”
You ever wonder what a group of player-characters looks like from the outside?Continue reading 01/5/22 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.
I’m trying to get GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND into draft form over the next two months, which will give me an achievable time schedule. So I started back up on the merry-go-round today. Huzzah!
How do you sneak into a corporate lab? …Well, you don’t have to do a lot of sneaking, honestly. Most of the security protocols get disabled when they detect two people walking in with calm demeanors and regular heart rates. When it comes to the Tomb Worlds, the corps don’t worry about corporate espionage nearly as much as they do about solitary maniacs looking for essential ingredients. For that matter, the corps worry more about the research itself than anybody trying to steal it. More than one solitary maniac with a bloody vision started out as a researcher who dug too deep.
Oh, are you wondering why anybody researches anything out here? It’s a fair question. Honestly. Folks do ask it. The answer is, the things we’re learning are worth the risk. It’s cold when you say it aloud — or write it down, I guess — so we don’t. But we all know it anyway.