Departing Friends

I am, by many measures, a failure as a human.  I have no empathy, no sympathy.  I am not emotionally expressive.  This past weekend we saw Daughter #1 formally off to college.  My wife was a wreck.  I gave my girl a hug and said “call or text if you’ve problems; later.”

It’s not that I don’t have and express emotions, it’s that I choose where to do it and even then can get blind-sided.  I thought the short story of “Old Friends” was going to be a harmless reunion.  Until I was more than halfway into the project did they show me that John Brunelli was unwell.  Nichole’s reaction to that was so severe that I was unable to write.  Yes, you read that correctly:  a character’s reaction to a revelation in my own head was so strong I couldn’t function properly.

I was finally able to sneak up on it in pieces.  I could split it, but why make y’all any more miserable than I was?  Here’s the last part of “Old Friends.”  I so need to write something light and fluffy next…

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Death Ship

As this is a novella, and the main character is now dead, it is time to wrap this up.  Aside:  my cover designer showed me his idea of Faustina from “Worlds Without End;” while she might be a little rough around the edges and holding two rifles, he did include a “cute” feature I’d not seen.  I ret-conned it into the manuscript.  But this was the important thing:  unlike “CDC,” for just a flash of light, I was back in a happy book with relatively pleasant people; not this miasma of political terror and betrayal.

There is an epilogue to this; Barrett’s resurrection, as it were.  I have seen it and it’s even shorter.  Looks as if the entire novella will be about 35-36k words.  I don’t care.  While there is much editing to do, I am leaving this and not coming back.  I’m also off DayJob tomorrow so should have the last piece complete then.  If my next novel consists of nothing but unicorns shitting Skittles, so be it.

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Bad End, 1/2

The rough of Part Two of “Crosses & Doublecrosses” is complete.  I’ve worked ahead to fix some contextual errors in the relatively small Part Three.  Much like Jackson’s “Return of the King,” part 3 consists of a series of endings:  lives, a person, a life.

Besides that, I’m aware that waaay back in the start of Part One my timing/dating is completely off:  Sylvia and her sister Roberta arrive in Dallas as the Breakup is unfolding in the US just then.  They shortly get summoned to ExComm HQ in Austin.  From what already exists in my novels of Machine Civilization, that doesn’t work:  it was at least three months before Clive Barrett left Japan for the US to find his eldest daughter in Ohio.  That, also, would be at least three more months.  Then his travel to Texas and the formation of ExComm.  Minimum eight months; maximum twelve, total.  Let’s split the difference and call it ten.  So:  why, ten months into the collapse of the US, did Sylvia and Roberta fly from the relative safety of their extended family in upper-class Manila into an effective warzone in Dallas, Texas?

No clue.  Hope they show me.

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Cornered

Had today off.  A late start (around 1300) but was able to say down about 1700 words:  Sylvia in her new position, recruiting allies, and with a sudden, unanticipated visitor.  I think she handled herself very well.

I see one more “dream sequence,” which we know now is when she is summoned into the Machine’s world.  Then she sets off to New Mexico.  Things… things go to shit there, I’m afraid.

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Hide and Seek

We start to learn a little more about the man who built ExComm:  Clive Barrett.  My mental model for him is a cross between Felicks Dzerzhinsky and James Jesus Angleton.  NOT a healthy combination!

I had planned a slightly surreal soliliquy by Barrett about what-all he’s trying to accomplish with ExComm but it simply would not fit:  the man is too much a monster and the words didn’t work in his mouth.  I’ve already about 800 words after this scene and once I see Sylvia back to her flat I think things are going to take a turn for the surreal.  That’s fine; I have never gone fully surreal and I like to push my own limits with each new book.

But for now, here’s Sylvia talking FTF with her boss.  Cheerio.

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