Tag Archive: Riya


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It’s Sunday, and time again for Weekend Writing Warriors (click on the logo above) and snippet Sunday (click on the logo below. Both blog hops involve authors posting 8 sentences or less of their work, anywhere from first draft to published. Mine for this week is from a published work, Homecoming, available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in a variety of formats.

Last time I quoted from Homecoming I covered Marna’s discovery of the mummified body of a plague victim and her immediate response. Here is the follow-up to that discovery. I’ve done a little creative punctuation to get it under the 8-sentence limit.

Starburst galaxyLogic said she should get away, that the person was long gone and the body might still harbor the plague.

She could not abandon the remnant.

The body refused to be composed into any semblance of rest, but she brushed away the last of the sand and carried it into the sun, now high in the sky. Deaths among the R’il’nai had been rare, and she finally had to ask the computer for the proper words.

“I do not know who you are,” she told the body finally, “so I cannot speak of your life and the joy you brought those who knew you. I can only say the final farewell. Take the goodness and joy of your life with you as you go before, and let all sorrow and evil be consumed with your body in the furnace from which it came.”

She reached out to cup her hands around the skull-like face, locking her mind on the body; then she gathered herself mentally, reached for the sun, and thrust the body into its nuclear heart.

Funeral rites of the R’il’nai.

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It’s Sunday, time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click on the logo above) and Snippet Sunday (click on the logo below.)

My snippet this week is from Homecoming, published in 2010 and available in print and electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse. Marna has returned to Riya, which was depopulated by a plague two centuries earlier, and is wandering over her home planet. She has just found an isolated stone hut in the desert, and while her eyes are adjusting she lets herself believe she might have found a survivor. I’ve used a little creative punctuation.

Egg Nebula in IR; HubbleSomething dark protruded from the sand to her left, and Marna thought at first it was a tree branch, oddly shriveled and distorted. She scuffed her way across the room to try to pull it free, and only then realized that what she held was a hand.

Her knees buckled and she collapsed into the sand, still holding that poor, withered travesty of a R’il’nian hand. She stroked it gently while tears ran down her face and the trained Healer in her mind noted the spread, backward-stretched fingers and bent-back wrist. A plague victim, no doubt hidden from scavengers by the drifting sand and mummified by the heat and dryness of the desert.

Gently she dug the sand away, revealing a contorted body that seemed little more than a skeleton covered by stretched, dried leather. Someone tired of the press of crowds had come here for rest and renewal, perhaps, but had brought the plague along and died in agony, far from any help. Elsewhere, the last to die had been reclaimed by the life of the planet, not even their bones remaining, but here, there had not even been a scavenger to accept the poor body.

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It’s Sunday again, and time for 8 sentence snippets from a number of your favorite authors. Click on the logo above for Weekend Writing Warriors and on the logo below for Snippet Sunday.

Last time I posted about Riya it was from Marna’s point of view, and she was getting re-acquainted with her own home planet. This time the point of view is Lai’s. Marna has told him how to find the trail  and assured him it is safe,  but he is finding that while he is familiar with R’il’nian and Terran ecology, Riyan plants  and animals are quite different.

HubbleThe fact that R’il’nian included a word for feather argued that there had been feathered creatures on R’il’n, but none seemed to be native to Riya.

On the other hand, what was the plant off to his right? Instead of branching upward from the roots, it gave the impression of branching downward into the ground. Another plant looked like the skeleton of a geodesic dome, with a huge, brightly colored structure in clashing shades of pink and orange–flower? fruit?–growing inside the dome and protected by it. He moved closer, and found that the colored filaments were being visited by small, winged creatures covered with rainbow scales. A cautious mental probe of one confirmed that the creature had a backbone and six limbs, the middle two modified for flight.

Plant defenses tended to run more to physical protection such as thorns and sticky trunks than poisons. Lai picked his way around an unfamiliar but very hostile-looking bush that was trying to take over the trail, and was glad he’d elected to wear the tough coverall.

No adventure today, just a little more Riyan ecology. Something has to pollinate the flowers.

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World Building logoTo find other participants in the World Building Blogfest, click on the logo to the left.

Since my fiction is set on a number of planets of the Jarnian Confederation, no two quite alike, I’ll describe the most important ones for the stories I’ve published. Two others, Horizon and Rakal, will be in my upcoming trilogy, and T’Kun and Mava are in a barely-started book on the first Kharfun epidamic.

Central

Central, the administrative capital of the Confederation, is an Earth-sized planet circling a very sun-like star. There are two major continental masses, both extending from above the Arctic circle to below the Antarctic circle. Axial tilt is about 24°. The broad climate zones are similar to Earth’s: equator wet flanked by seasonal rain belts, deserts along the tropic of Cancer and Capricorn, rain shadow deserts on the lee of mountain ranges, prevailing winds easterly near the equator and westerly at higher latitudes. Mid-latitude continental climates are highly seasonal. There are no polar ice caps as neither pole is isolated from the oceanic circulation, though there is considerable permanent ice on the higher mountains.

Map of Central

Crude Lat-Long map of Central. Numbers are: 1.Lai’s home 2. Derik’s home 3. Seabid island 4. Rollover Archipelago 5. Tyndal school 6. Jelarik’s home 7. Zhaim’s home 8 Trade City

Central was originally a R’il’nian planet called Kentra. As the R’il’nai dwindled in numbers the larger continent, and then the northern part of the smaller one, were increasingly given over to humans and some R’il’noids. In theory the southern extension of the smaller continent is owned by the R’il’nai, but in fact many R’il’noids have homes there.

One thing the R’il’nai insisted on: a large fraction of each ecosystem must remain natural. Thus Central is largely a natural world, though there are very advanced cities. Most of the action in my novels takes place outside of the cities.

The flora and fauna make up a very mixed ecology. The planet was Terraformed (or rather R’il’n formed) a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Since then many species from Earth have been added, along with a large number from other planets, including Riya. The R’il’nian ability of conditional precognition has managed to keep out those species that would be disruptive. One species, the Akeda, is modeled on the terror bird that was a major predator at one time in South America. These are six foot non-flying birds which are the top predators in some areas.

I drew the rather crude map some twenty years ago.

Riya

Riya, like Central, is an Earth-like planet with Earth-like climate zones. Most of the action takes place on a subtropical volcanic hot spot island, Windhome. (Think Hawaii.) The main peculiarity of this planet is that there are no mountains of any significant height in the southern hemisphere, but there is a continental extension into the extreme north with mountains that are snow-covered year round.

The biota differs from Earth’s. The local fauna have evolved from six-limbed ancestors, with the extra pair of legs evolving into anything from wings to feeding arms. Flora often gives the appearance of branching down into the ground. However, this native flora and fauna has been blended with species imported from R’il’n. (Homecoming.)

One species imported as pets, and surviving in the wild only on isolated islands without predators, are the tinerals. They have a vague resemblance to feathered monkeys with wings. They grow throughout their lives: flying in their youth, but the wings acting only as a weather cloak as they become larger. They are singers with voices much like our musical instruments, and an instinct to harmonize.

Mirror

This planet is in the very early stages of evolving land life. In contrast to most planets, where living things are either all dependent on left-handed proteins or all dependent on right-handed ones, Mirror developed two totally independent ecosystems, one right handed and one left handed. When Marna and Lai are forced to land there, they go to a great deal of trouble to avoid contaminating the planet. (Homecoming.) There are animals in the oceans, including a mass of tentacles with threefold symmetry that Marna identifies as a possible food source, but the land (or more accurately the shore) has been colonized only by algae and land corals in the spray zone.

Falaron

Falaron was Terraformed as a vacation planet around 75,000 years ago, with most of the ecology transplanted from Earth in the Pleistocene. The action takes place around 45° North latitude, from coast to coast of a continent spanning several time zones. From West to East, the terrain is coastal forest, forest-clad mountains, more rugged mountains, a high plateau, more mountains with an apron down to a high scarp, plains with a climate ameliorating from rain-shadow near-desert to open woodland as the travelers move east, a fault scarp damming the river the party is following, a canyon cut by the river through the higher ground, and finally forest with open meadows to the east coast. (Tourist Trap.) Animals include mammoths, mastodon, longhorn bison, small wild horses, a miniature variety of horses in small canyons, and flat-headed peccaries, all real animals which left fossils during the Pleistocene ice ages.

Eversummer

Named (as Marna correctly deduced) by a publicity agent, this planet, though Earthlike in many ways, has no axial tilt and a very low-eccentricity orbit, thus no seasons. To quote from Tourist Trap:

“The planet, with its rotational axis almost perpendicular to its orbital plane, had no seasons.  The poles were bitterly cold, glaciated wastelands where the sun forever rolled around the horizon.  The equatorial belt was an unchanging steam bath, the permanent home of daily tropical thunderstorms, varied by hurricanes along its poleward borders.  The desert belts, inevitable result of the conflict between the planet’s rotation and its unequal heating by its sun, were broad and sharply defined, with no transition zones where the rains came seasonally.  The temperate zones, between desert and polar ice, were swept year round by equinoctial storms, varied only by occasional droughts.  No monsoons, no seasonal blanket of snow to protect the dormant land, no regular alternation of wet and dry seasons.”

Native animals are toxic, and Marna must determine why.

Horizon

Horizon was introduced in Horse Power as a planet recently terraformed from bare rock for stock rearing, specifically for silkies. This made-up species is a blend of cattle and sheep, producing both gourmet meat and a fleece that makes a luxury cloth. They are sensitive to ultraviolet, but Horizon is a low UV planet. For the same reason it has attracted colonists with fair skin, who are also UV-sensitive. The ecology was planned for stock rearing, with no large predators (foxes are about as large as they come) and few native herbivores beyond the rabbits introduced as an emergency food source. Gravity is slightly slightly less than or Earth or Central.

I’m still working on the Horizon War trilogy, but one of the plot points is the disaster that could be created by the introduction of pumas on land and great white sharks in the oceans.

Rakal

This planet will be mentioned several times in the first two books of the Horizon War trilogy, but is only visited in the third book. It is a steam-bath planet, especially near the equator where the action takes place, with jungle, part of which is prone to seasonal flooding. (Parts of the Amazon basin, but warmer.) Sample native animal? A predator the castaways call a One-arm and others call a Kraken. It has a flattened, bulbous body with a mouth and a single long tentacle with poison hairs, and attacks by attaching the body to a tree and grabbing prey with the tentacle. I’ll probably post its attack on January 10, as part of the Year of the Snake blogfest. I may also use a character’s first view of the planet as my excerpt Friday, but I’m still waffling on that.

Mava

This planet is mostly ocean, with only a small land area. Because the settlers realized early that only a limited population could be supported, production of babies was never a priority and a matrilineal culture developed with extended family structure. Recently at war with T’Kun. This planet is a home planet of a character in the Kharfun epidemic story, but all the action takes place elsewhere.

T’Kun

Physically, T’Kun is the opposite of Mava, with 90% land, and only a few saline lakes. It is a very harsh world, and many of the males die young. Partly as a result of this, a strongly patriarchal culture has developed with multiple wives and an idea that every woman should be nursing or pregnant — necessary to keep the population up, as most children die young. Again, only a very brief part of the action actually takes place on this world, but it is important in forming the character of one of the protagonists.

EMERALD: #scifi One of the younger tinerals on the isolation satellite, an emerald green male.

SPRING: #scifi Azure sky tineral, quite young, who adopts Lai. Her feathers shade from white at the base to sky-blue at the tips and edges. She is from one of the islands scattered across the Riyan oceans, as tinerals on the mainland, with no defenses against predators, died out in the two centuries following the plague, and those on Windhome and the isolation satellite were all jewels.

CITRINE: #scifi The youngest tineral on the isolation satellite, a soft orange female jewel.

GARNET: #scifi Jewel tineral infant, the offspring of Ruby and an amethyst male native to Windhome.

ISOLATION SATELLITE: # scifi A satellite designed for complete biological isolation and used for study of potentially dangerous diseases. Part of the Riyan medical system.

RUBY: #scifi Marna’s pet tineral. She is a bright red jewel, just old enough that her wings will no longer support her. She is descended from the four tinerals Marna initially took to the isolation satellite.

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