Sweet and Sour

Rather than behaving myself and getting into the basement for raw audio, I wanted to continue to jot down what I had seen while driving Daughter #1 back those 1944 miles last weekend. I think I’ll be caught up tomorrow. With the ship on the move we are now in what I call the Michael Crichton phase of the story: taking a disparate group of people and locking them in until the plot shows up.

Something like Reina tossing my main character out of an airlock for “deviant behavior”…

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Playing Roles

We learn a little more about the Russian imperial children – adult children – who will be on this Martian Holiday. There’s already drama from the youngest but they seem to be getting on. They’d better: trapped in a tin can for a week.

I’ve got a lot on my plate again for the second half of the summer, more of this story, finishing recording and editing of “Foes & Rivals,” as well as my podcasts. Going to my DayJob is now just an annoyance.

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Vodka and Caviar

Firstly, an apology: tomorrow’s Podcast will be delayed, likely until late Friday evening. I took notes about what I wanted to talk about and even took the laptop into the quiet corner of my basement to record… and sighed. Covering 4000 miles by plane and car over last weekend, then getting tossed into unexpected tasks at DayJob (a colleague was ill so I had to cover) meant that I’m just not up to what y’all hopefully expect of my weekly banter. Before moving on, I will leave you this: the topic is a question from a listener: “What if the [Machines] had been made in China?” I had a glib answer, but the more I thought about it, the more complicated the subject became, so look forward to my discussion later tomorrow!

In the meantime I introduce some new characters below the fold, as we get ready for this Martian Holiday.

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Along the Neva

After a very short flight, followed by a contested parking spot, Laszlo finds himself walking along the southern branch of the Neva River in St. Petersburg. I’ve never been there but have heard from many that it is a beautiful city. Someday, when my books are optioned into movies, I’ll take a chartered flight; commercial flights are more and more a dry-run for slavery.

As you will shortly see, the PM of Imperial Russia, Reina, stomps onto the stage. First among equals of tribe Mendrovovitch and possibly the most dangerous of all Machines, she also attacks my stories like kudzu: taking over and displacing everything which was already there. And from the last line below the fold, it seems she is in for most of this part of the novel. Oh, well. What can I do?

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Inspection

Just back from a grueling 3-day weekend: flight to St. George, Utah via Phoenix, followed by a 1944-mile drive back to central Ohio. All to retrieve Daughter #1 from her five week internship at Best Friends Animal Shelter. To her credit, she impressed them so much that they said they would hold a slot open for her next summer if she wants in. She is thinking about it. That’s my girl!

Below the fold is a short update to Prince Laszlo’s story. Knowing this would be a hard weekend, I only took a few notes and mostly watched the movies in my mind about what comes next. I think I saw about two chapters worth. This is going to be very political.

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Prince Laszlo’s story

Making a beginning at this. After much thought, there is no way, none, that Empress Faustina’s children could have anything like a “private life.” The imperium has been a going concern for a generation now and is back on its technological feet. While not as “panopticon” as the Machines can be, a demi such as Fussy, for political reasons as we saw with her nephew, Roland, would monitor her children very closely. That means that Les’, er, inclinations would be known to her, too. But, just as we read two posts ago, between Hill and Hardt, you can still keep an open secret as a secret, if it benefits all concerned. I discover that here, in the opening of part three of “Imperium’s Shadow.”

For those following along, this starts off just hours after Faustina and her three boys were aboard the Gentlemans Cigar Trolley, on the fringe of Shelbyville, Tennessee Province. As is how I write, events start to move fast. Fast enough that I need to be older about the lay of the land of St. Petersburg, Russia, ’cause that’s where we’re headed next.

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The Great White North

As Officer Cadet Patel explains below, that has become a reality. With my future history’s Maunder Minimum, the snow and ice are coming, putting pressure on the populations of Canada and the Russian Empire. As a nation with reactionless motors and helping to terraform Mars, the Russians have a potential escape route (besides their hegemony over the American west coast); the Canadians have no such thing, hence they occupation of the old American Midwest.

Nice to see Robert getting all “crown prince” at the end of this snippet. Which is also the end of Part II of my MS. I’m getting into part three, about Prince Laszlo, and… oh, boy. I’ve never written a character like this before. I wonder if I’ll fall afoul of the SJWs and their enforcers? The world wonders.

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Bardstown Exchange

With so much of my time spent talking, either the new podcasts or slogging through the chapters of “Foes & Rivals” audiobook raws, I have neglected manuscript updates. Time to rectify that. With Kentucky Province now added to Faustina’s imperium, there is still a little more work for “Bob Hardt” and his intel group to do; that is, sounding points west of Frankfort. The center of gravity there is Bardstown, a going concern for nearly 300 years. Taken aside by his CO, Robert is almost but not quite called out as to just who the hell he is.

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Podcast 4: The Humans of Machine Civilization

A whole thirty minutes! And this is just the barest overview! We begin with Lily & Callie, broaden to their parents and families, then off to the surviving city-states of the former US, and finally a quick look at the rest of humans on Earth.

Very ambitious, but also a good start. I could spend thirty minutes on each main character, so was pleased to keep things under control as well as I did. Machine or human, any story is about people. For reference, a stemma, or family tree, is just below.

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Autocrat

A special guest appearance! This is only the second time I’ve seen Fussy in-person in this novel. She was playful when messaging Robert through his tablet but is a much harder person in the flesh. I wonder if being an absolute monarch wears at her? She almost sounds relieved to think someone else will have the burden of the incorporation of the Midwest. And, just who might be her heir?

This is the conclusion of what will be chapter ten. There’s one more, with Centurion Hill taking his team further west then up to the Ohio River, but that’s another day. Please look forward to my next podcast, in two days; I’ll be getting into the details of the Machines of Machine Civilization.

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