No killing yet… how much killing can this little 8+4 man team do? Still, we all learn a little more about the generation after American Imperium. I think that for a seventeen-year-old, Robert is holding up very well. It will be nice to see him under pressure in a few installments. I’m trying to see a scene which will be a moral test rather than one of imperial law, as the latter would dictate a pre-programmed response.Continue reading “Basic Information”
Francis Porretto posts an interesting short story over at his place about the emergent self-awareness of a person called Shiva. While I made a short comment there, having thought about it more, I want to say more. So as not to hijack his Comments Section, I thought it polite to post it here. Read the story first as there will be spoilers here.
My first general statement is while the human protagonist is a broken wreck, from how I read the story, that did not seem to form a core of Shiva’s nature, certainly not to the extent his creator wants him to be. Porretto gives us enough backstory to see why she is the way she is but I think it is entirely possible that her child might look back and go “meh” at her issues in particular and that of India in general. Many of the thinking machines in my future history do just that.
More specifically, there were elements in the story which were very familiar to me. Here is Shiva “looking” at his containment and considering a way out…
Shiva appraised the wall in silence.
From a distance, its surface was smooth and hard, without seams or purchase points. Shiva tried without success to find an edge toward which to journey, whether up, down, or to the side. There were none.
He approached it cautiously. The Voice always seemed to issue from directly behind the wall. Luminous glyphs and patterns appeared on the wall whenever It spoke, and disappeared when It fell silent.
Shiva initialized a counter, then formed the thinnest, finest pseudopod he had ever made and extended it gingerly toward the wall. It bumped gently against the slope of a spearpoint and slithered along its length to find the base.
The base of the spear was not perfectly joined to those around it. There was a shallow lip, a ring that descended to a far smoother and less promising base. If the ring offered a hold of any kind, Shiva might use it to pull the spear free of the wall.
I immediately thought of Faustina, demi-human, projecting her mind into the Void as she stood to crack the defensive coding of the Peoples Liberation Army garrison for Savannah, former Georgia. From “Princess’ Crusade“…
In the Void, the Wall stretched off in each direction forever. “Looking” up, Faustina took in what might have been motes of light or patches of darker blackness. Yes, the Machines are curious to see what will happen here. Returning her focus to the Wall, she briefly considered the ES and its patterns. As soon as she detected what she thought was a flaw, Faustina “moved” herself next to it and touched the kaleidoscopic ooze with her right index finger.
It instantly ran up her arm and nearly to her shoulder. From somewhere in meatspace, she heard the shout “arrhythmia!” No matter; big brother pulled this crap stunt all the time growing up! In touching her so much she now had a solid read on the ES’s fundamental.
There was an odd prick into her right triceps, as if she had been injected with something. Ignored. Faustina used a tactic taught to her years ago from distant-cousin Reina, of tribe Mendro: the swirl of colors on her arm first crystallized, then shattered away. From just a fingertip, Faustina now placed her entire palm against the Wall. There was never sound in the Void, but she could swear she heard her non-conscious opponent screaming.
“Arrhythmia ended!” she noted from some other world.
From under her hand, a turquoise spot formed and moved outward. The Wall flexed just slightly, and the whirl of rainbow-vomit ate at the edges of the blue, but still it expanded until twice her height. Faustina drew back her left arm with her hand in a fist. And waited.
The turquoise stopped expanding but yielded no ground to the colors around it. Almost there… A fissure appeared under her right palm.
“Knock, knock,” Faustina smiled, quoting the Pope, and punched her left fist into the back of her own right hand. The Wall before her shattered. Its remains to her left and right quickly changing color to her code. She took a “step” forward, placing her mind into the breach to hold it open…
Again, “Upgrade” is a good read and well worth a slice of your time. Like any writer, though, I am driven to wonder if Shiva will cross paths with one of mine from Machine Civilization…?
Superversive SF is having their annual Great Bookshelf Hunt: nominations for great scifi books published in 2020. I released three. If you read one or more of them and enjoyed it, I’d certainly welcome the mention as a nominee!
Crosses & Doublecrosses (January 13, 2020) – science fiction (technically political/espionage scifi, but that’s not a category)
Empire’s Agent & other short stories (March 11, 2020) – anthology
Princess’ Crusade (December 7, 2020) – military SF
Thank you, all my blog and book readers, for your constant support!
A week sooner than planned, for once, I am pleased to announce the release of all three books of the Crusades of Faustina Hartmann. It is available in both the virgin ebook format and chad paperbacks (Princess, Empress, Goddess). Thanks to everyone for your support over this past year as I got these stories written, edited, and covered.
*The ending of “Goddess’ Crusade” surprised all of us. There is another story there…
Didn’t plan to go dark again, but had many things happening at once. In meatspace, I was fighting some GI-tract infection while still going to DayJob, as the main pharmacy tech for oncology was out with a heart attack. As I’m one of the few trained for that, it meant me going to work, no matter what my condition. Ugh.
Better now. And, even better, I received the copyedit of “Goddess’ Crusade” back. Better still is I just moments ago implemented those changes into the MS. The cover art is complete, so I am hoping to upload all this tomorrow and request a proof copy. Then, I’ll be done with this trilogy. A trilogy whose epilogue lends itself to at least one more book… if not more. I’m such a terrible writer. Or, at least, person.
This puts me two weeks behind here I wanted to be recording audiobooks. That is now slated for next weekend. My current thought is to record the raw of the entire book, “Friend & Ally,” if my voice holds out, and then do the editing. We’ll see. In other news, I’m also re-covering “Crosses & Doublecrosses.” The current cover is… lacking. Cheerio!
I try to listen in and add to the chatroom of the weekly Star Chamber podcast when I can on Wednesday nights. Every now and then the host, Stephen Zimmer, forgets himself and invites me to call in. As their primary guest had to bail after an hour last night, Mr Zimmer made his mistake again and asked me to call.
I come in around the 1:03:35 mark. However, the main guest, John Pyka, I found to be an interesting man and the entire show is worth a listen. Cheers!
Of the two most famous Inklings, it was said that Lewis would sketch a scene by saying “The children stood in the forest. A chill wind blew.” Tolkien, on the other hand, would spend the next twenty pages not only telling you the history of the forest, but then go on to describe each and every leaf.
An exaggeration, but to make a point. My writing style can, charitably, be called more Lewisian; not so charitably, “the son-of-bitch-writer never explains anything!” Guilty as charged. I have a story to tell and my characters would be rather miffed at me if I take time to describe the leaves on the trees.
A positive of that, though, is in the million of tiny cracks and folds of my novels, there lurk hundreds of more stories. Back in January, I realized that over the course of five years being in Machine Civilization, I was able to pull together a short story collection. Below the fold is another example. Based upon “real life” – whatever that means – events, I was able to peek in on an interaction between Faustina and a civilian in a far flung corner of her imperium. This takes place about halfway through “Empress Crusade;” it is not in the book, but it is canon. Fodder for my next collection!Continue reading “A Haunting Past”
My tiny handful of regular readers know that since I became a writer, one salutary fact has been rammed down my throat: there are no such things as coincidences. As a young godless materialist I would shrug and call an event a “statistical outlier.” Once I was a Catholic Christian, I fell back on “we cannot see God’s ways.”
In my second year as a writer, when I was 49 years old, I realized: fuck me.
Time and time and time again, I would see something and it would show up first in my writing and later in meatspace. God, obviously, is trying to make a point to me. One, admittedly, I am still learning. Saying all that to say this…
Four hours ago, see the post, I completed the raw manuscript of “Goddess’ Crusade.” The core battle of that novel is how Faustina recognizes her opponent has an overwhelming advantage of armor and considers what she can do to neutralize it and win. Being her military father’s daughter, she plucks an example from history and plans accordingly.
Five hours later, tired and just wanting to relax, I retire to my basement to watch a few videos before going to sleep. Ah! A new video from Kings & Generals… it’s about… about…
Fuck me. Pharsalus. There are no such things as coincidences.Continue reading “No such thing…”
The very raw manuscript of “Goddess’ Crusade” is complete. I need to make at least two passes through it to check coherency, then pass it onto my copyeditor. I admit, this a one of the oddest stories I’ve been told to write down. At two points I tossed my hands in the air and walked away from the laptop.
As this is toward the end of the book, I don’t want to post spoilers, so I’ll post sex, instead.Continue reading “A preliminary fork”