Category: Writing

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I’m posting again from Rescue Operation, continuing from last time, when Zhaim suggested slaving to collect dues from Horizon, which has threatened to leave the Confederation. We’re still in Zhaim’s point of view.

Hubble Interacting Galaxy IC 1623

Besides, it’s really just a threat. With that over their heads, they’ll find a way to pay their share. I know them. After all, I’ve been Guardian there for almost fifty years.

Well, if it’s only a threat …. That was Ramil, one of the swing votes he’d been plying with worries about the possible spreading influence of Horizon’s not paying its dues.

Ania nodded. Sometimes children have to be threatened for their own good.

Somehow I don’t think it’s going to be that simple.

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Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade. Click the logo above to find links to other participants.

I’m quoting from a WIP, Both Sides Now. Doc is answering Kevi’s question of how long he has been unconscious.

“About four fivedays.”

“Any idea of the Confederation date? I lost track of time in Zhaim’s hands.”

Doc waved toward a Horizon calendar on the wall. It was a paper calendar—he didn’t have power to waste for electronics here. But he’d kept the days crossed off, and it had Confederation dates marked at intervals. Kevi got up and examined it, and then shook his head. “Over a year,” he said. “It seemed like forever. But things have gotten a lot worse, if Confederation troops are attacking civilians.”

“They have,” Doc replied. “That was Terry’s main argument for trying to rescue you.”

Kevi looked down. “And I suppose you think I was responsible for the slaving in the first place. Indirectly, I suppose I was. But it was oversight, not intention. I never supported slavery. I was born a slave myself. I hate the whole institution. The Horizon slaving was passed behind my back when three of my closest supporters and I were off planet, and I’ve never quite been able to get the seventeen votes I need for reconsideration.”

Year 10 Day 142

Well, I have a new puzzle.

The ice cap at the North Pole is very definitely floating. It’s not smooth; in fact collisions of large, flat areas of ice have resulted in ice ridges tall enough to be called small hills. But when I try to perceive land under them, there is nothing but salt water. Deep salt water.

This doesn’t make sense. Water is much more efficient than air at carrying heat from the equator to the poles. Given an ocean at the poles that is open to equatorial water, warm water from the equator will quickly thaw any temporary winter ice. Certainly the polar ocean is open to the warm ocean to the east of the continent where I am living; I’ve flown over it. What is happening on this planet?


I went back and studied the few images I have of the planet from space. It’s hard to tell the difference between clouds, snow-covered land, and ice, but I cannot rule out the possibility of land almost surrounding the frozen ocean aside from the corridor I’ve followed. It’s relatively warm now in the north, and there are about another eight fivedays before the sun sets at the North Pole, so I suppose I had better spend that exploration time following the coastline from the northernmost land I’ve found to the east. At least I should find out whether the mountain range where I saw the aurora is part of an island or a peninsula.

Jarn’s Journal is the (fictional) journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago. He is interacting with some of our ancestors, but also exploring the planet with the aid of levitation, telekinesis and the salvaged computer of his wrecked spaceship.

These are the contexts of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling between July 10 and July 16, 2014. The first six are from Beauty and the Werewolf, by Mercedes Lackey.

Beauty and the Werewolf cover“What is wisdom, then, but knowing when it is best not to speak, and when it is best to hold one’s hand?” Bella quotes this to Sebastian when he tells her that he learned early not to try to do everything by magic.

“Escape into concentration is the only escape we have.” Bella explaining to the kitchen staff why she and Sebastian have been so engrossed hat they missed a meal.

“A gilded and comfortable cage was still a cage.” Bella can’t help but resent her captivity.

“A failure is just the success of proving one way doesn’t work.” Bella quoting her father when Sebastian is a bit down about his failures to find an answer to his problem

“Let’s concentrate on what we can do something about.” Granny to Bella, when Bella is wishing for things she has no hope of changing.

“You need to start thinking like a sly old woman.” Granny advising Bella.

“I must have been crazy to think that all of the crossbreds would be alike.” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Marna, when she discovers what has been happening to Roi—and that he is totally unlike Zhaim, the crossbred she met first.

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Sunday again, and snippets from works in progress, awaiting publication, or published. For links to other authors on Weekend Writing Warriors click the logo above; for Snippet Sunday click the logo below.

I am continuing with Rescue Operation, on its final revision (I hope.) This is the start of a new scene, at a council meeting a few days after the one I’ve posted.

Star-Forming Region S106


“You’ve got to be kidding!” Zhaim pulled out of the interface enough to see Mako’s face as the councilor spoke aloud in shock, and smothered any feelings of triumph the others might catch.

I wish I could find another option, Zhaim thought at the others, but the citizens of Horizon are absolutely refusing to pay their dues. Haven’t we all agreed that planets of the Confederation must pay for the protection and interplanetary problem-solving we offer? We can’t let them refuse to pay their share; it’s an invitation to others to refuse. Their population is increasing rapidly—faster than their economy. They can afford to lose a few people as slaves. Breeding stock of the silkies and horses—no, we need to keep the economy going.

The logic of Empire?

I’m experimenting with embedding images, so if it looks a little different from usual, that’s why.

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It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents: click on the logo above for links to other participants. I’m continuing with Both Sides Now, but the point of view has switched to Doc, who thinks of Roi as Kevi.

Doc led the way back to the front of the cave, trying to integrate his new observations of Kevi into what he knew of the Regent. He remembered Terry’s comment: that the stories could not be fitted into a coherent whole, and that none of them fitted with what Terry had observed. None of them fitted with what he had just observed, either. “Sit down,” he invited as he led Kevi into the front room.

There was a casserole in the oven—Coralie’s doing; Doc tended to rely on the frying pan himself. Kevi tucked into it with an enthusiasm that left Doc wondering if they’d fed the R’il’noid enough on the trek back, and later while he was healing. Doc had not been used to unconscious patients who chewed and swallowed food, let alone rode horseback.

“Have we been starving you?” he asked.

Kevi grinned. “If you had been, you’d have known it,” he assured Doc. “But I always come out of healSleep hungry. I’ll be eating like a horse for the next few fivedays. How long have I been out? Last thing I remember was Terry feeding me at that cave above the sinkhole.”

Year 10 Day 132

Patches and I are swimming every morning before it gets too terribly hot, but in the afternoons I’ve gone back to exploring. I’ve decided the ice cap (or whatever it is) at the North Pole should be my next priority, so I’ve been flying due north from the volcanic island near the edge of the ice. Today I spotted snow-covered land to the west of my flight path, though so far it does not appear to bend around to the north of me. Of course, between the clouds and everything being white it’s rather hard to be sure, but there are definitely mountains. Is there a glaciated continent at the pole, or is this merely another large island? Or is this a continent that does not reach the pole?

So far, it is merely glaciated mountains below me and to my left, but I am never out of sight of the ocean to my right. If the clouds clear I might be able to get high enough for a better view, but the top surface of a cloud deck is not very informative.

Day 123

A clear day at last, and I was able to get some altitude. I couldn’t get high enough to see any end to the ice sheet west of me, but the coast certainly appears to bend back to the west of the line northwards. I don’t know which is worse, the frustration or the cold — though of course the thought of the cold is welcome after the heat of the salt lake. Maybe I’d better just concentrate on making distance northward.

Quotes from Jane Austin

Here are the contexts of the quotations tweeted from @sueannbowling between July 3 and July 9, 2014. All but the last are from Mansfield Park, by Jane Austin.

Mansfield Park Cover“Thoughtless and selfish from prosperity and bad example.”  Jane Austen’s description of Henry Crawford.

“He had not much to recommend him beyond habits of fashion and expense.”  Narrator’s description of John Yeats, Tom Bertram’s friend who brought the acting virus to Mansfield Park.

“This, though the thought of the moment, did not end with the moment.”  Tom Bertram’s idea of acting a play at Mansfield Park.

“I feel as if I could be anything or everything.”  Tom Bertam, once he begins to get the bit between his teeth on the idea of the play.

“Let us do nothing by halves.”  Edmund’s comment on the play, though he means just the opposite.

“I have no fears, and no scruples.”  Tom Bertam, still arguing for a play. (He unfortunately continues to urge that it will be a distraction for Lady Bertram at the anxious time of her husband’s returning over the Atlantic, not noticing that she has fallen asleep.)

“We can’t help you if we don’t know what’s going on!” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Derik to Roi, as he begins to suspect what has been happening at Tyndall.

Manfield Ranch CoverJane Austin’s Mansfield Park is 200 years old this year, and in celebration I’m reading and reviewing as many spinoff tales and DVD’s as I can find, as well as tweeting quotes from the original book. This month it’s Mansfield Ranch, one of the Jane Austen Diaries by Jenni James.

The Austen Diaries are re-tellings of the Austen novels with the protagonists re-imagined as modern teenagers. If Mansfield Ranch is a good example, they are effectively high school romance – not a genre I normally read, and not one I particularly care for. That said, the story is well-written and well-edited, and the Kindle edition (the only one Amazon lists) is properly formatted.

The parallels with Mansfield Park are definitely present, though Mrs. Norris and Tom are missing. Lily (Fanny) is a foster child rather than a cousin, and the play (a high school play) is The Music Man rather than Lovers’ Vows.

I had a hard time getting into the book, largely because of a total disinterest on my part in high school doings. Two-thirds of the way through, when Lily is sent to live with her previously-unknown grandmother on the Reservation, I found my interest rising, but if I hadn’t promised myself to write this review I’d never have gotten that far. The ending was much better. But there are two points that bother me.

First is Princess Buttercup, the mare Sean gives Lily. Has Lily fallen in love with the horse from seeing her online? Could a 3-year-old possibly be as well trained as this horse is projected as being, or even a good mount for a 16-year-old’s first horse? If Lily is knowledgeable enough about horses to continue her training, would she challenge her cousin to an immediate race on a strange horse?

The second lies with the definition of incest.

Lily, the Benallys and Lily’s grandmother are all said to be Navajo. The Benallys (including Sean) may have assimilated to the point that Sean sees Lily, his foster sister, as too much a sister for romantic thoughts, but the grandmother, at least, is likely to be more concerned about Mrs. Benally’s clan affiliation. The point is that traditional Navajo society is matrilineal, and the definition of incest is based on not marrying someone of the same clan (which is determined by the clan of the mother) or of the same clan as one’s father.

Over all, however, I think it would be a decent read for someone who likes YA romance.

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It’s Sunday, and time for weekend Writing Warrior (click the logo above for links to other snippets) and Snippet Sunday (click on the logo below.)

I’m still posting from the beginning of Rescue Operation, my almost-ready-to-send-out science fiction novel, and still in Zhaim’s point of view. He has just maneuvered Roi into checking on a situation off-planet that Roi’s medical training should help with. Now he needs to get rid of Roi’s closest allies before the Council finds out that Horizon has voted to leave the Confederation.


No indication Roi felt any preconditional warning, though Zhaim was quite sure he had used CP.

He’d need to get Derik and Kaia on off-planet assignments, too, since they almost always voted with Roi. So long as twenty were present, problems could be resolved by a simple majority vote. Zhaim had ten votes he could count on, though two often sided with Roi at his suggestion—it wouldn’t do for Roi to know how many Zhaim could control. Four more of the councilors were genuine swing voters, but he thought he’d prepared the ground with them.

Two days later, a communications problem threatening to cause a war took Kaia off planet, and three days after that word came of a possible contact with an unknown sentient species. Derik, by far the best xenotelepath among the R’il’noids, was the obvious choice to handle that problem.


Scene break here. Next week we’ll see a later Council meeting, and Zhaim’s “solution.”

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