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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Vacation Interlude

While I did not type anything down, I dreamt of at least two chapters of material. Some I wrote down today, even though this day saw me home from my flights at 0136 followed by Daughter #2 off to Army Basic at 1435, followed by 90 minutes of popping into DayJob to clean Oncology Compounding.

Below the fold are few snapshots of our travels to South Utah to drop off Daughter #1 for her internship. I quite literally do not know when we shall all be together again.

More stories from Machine Civilization to come very soon.

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Exposition in Winchester

Was at my DayJob the last four days then off the last two. The pollen here in central Ohio has irritated my throat so I could only record three chapters of “Foes and Rivals.” I will certainly not be done with that by our vacation departure the first week of June.

But will there be a vacation? Some false-flag pipeline BS in the SE US. Closing of the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi – with the possibility of that impacting ship traffic on the river which forms the backbone of America. The Covid political madness still in place. Maybe we will make it to south Utah. Maybe we’ll make it back. If things fall apart – and trust me, I know that can, FAST – then I’ll have to go full Mad Max to retrieve Daughter #1 from her internship.

In the meantime, in a story I’m not writing which is at 25k words, the intel team of which Prince Robert is just a cog starts off toward their first town of investigation.

I’ve also signed up with a new service and shall try to embed the link here. I’m not terribly good at these things.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/machciv

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Still no voice

I might have been able to return to the Fortress of Quietude in my basement to begin recording the audiobook for “Foes & Rivals,” but there was a little cough when I was showering, plus I had seen things about Prince Edward’s trip to Texas, so…

This skips over some political unpleasantness and jumps ahead to where the young man is going to have a dinner with his great aunt and uncle. And his non-blood cousin, who, we discover, is not an exhibitionist, but is just something of an autist: an over-focused ditz. I really want to hear their dinner convo.

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Unlimited Tsundere Works

Haven’t gotten back to recording my next book, “Foes & Rivals,” for two reasons: one, until I get my first completely passed by ACX, I’m a bit reluctant to get too far into another, in case I am doing something egregiously wrong which will force me to start from scratch, and, two, I STILL – after two weeks – have not completely shaken this seasonal flu; I awake each morning with a mild fever and chills and, worse, still have shortness of breath and an occasional cough, something not well suited for voice acting.

In the meantime, I keep working on that new novel about Empress Faustina’s eldest three sons. I was so tickled to meet Prince Edward’s human cousin (no blood relation), Livia Rupert, that I’ve included their meeting in Austin, Republic of Texas, below the fold. What is up with those two! I’ve also seen a little of the “reels” of Robert’s mission to the border marches of Kentuckiana as well as what might be a life-threatening problem for Laszlo. Honestly, I would be surprised if everyone made it out of this book alive.

Considering that this is about the top three heirs to the empress, I considered giving it the working title of “Lioness in Winter.” But that doesn’t work, compared to the movie – the best I’ve ever seen, btw – as there is no ruling monarch playing a central role. I hope to have something by my next update.

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Talking, Coughing, Writing

Busy last several days. I have completed and uploaded all twenty-two parts of the audiobook version of “Friend & Ally.” Because ACX demands a square image for sales and marketing – of course it has to be different – I had to reach out to my very talented cover artist to try to turn a normal, rectangular book cover into the damned square they want.

In the mean time, I seem to have caught a seasonal flu. No, not the Chicom Lung Rot; calling off from work – my first time ever at this hospital – with seven of eleven “flu-like symptoms” meant I had no choice but to be tested. So: no BatAIDS but just a mild flu. Because I have a million things to get done at DayJob, I went in Friday for a partial day and again today, Sunday.

With shortness of breath and a dry cough, heading to the basement to start reading “Foes & Rivals” was out. Given that I accidentally made a writing exercise into the prologue of another novel, I decided to see where that may lead. For some reason, of Empress Faustina’s three adult sons, it was Edward’s movie which started rolling first. Below the fold is some of what I have learned about him. I’m going to come up with at least a working title for this stuff…

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A Haunting Past

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!

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Deep history

I call Machine Civilization a future history for a reason. All parts of every story connect in hundreds of ways, some I do not see, to every other story. I first met Karl in The Fourth Law; one of the orphans seen to by Lily Barrett. A tendency toward fat but also one of her karate students. He makes another appearance in “Empire’s Agent,” the long short story which lends its name to the book’s title. There, he meets Arpad Rigó from the newly remade Habsburg Empire. “I have to get this boy into the army!” Rigó thought. In trying to make an end of Goddess’ Crusade, I find, years later, he did.

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Two-in-one

In which I sneak in two references to Herbert’s Dune in less than 2k words. After showing up at Owens CP, there’s a chapter where Gen’l Hartmann makes her way – with the proper escort – onto Fort Benning to seize her so-called sister, demi-human Alexandra Hood. It’s technical and time consuming and was a pain to write, literally, with my diseased eyelids. Below the fold is an interesting exchange as all of us, including me, are older as to the copy Reina made of Faustina.

PS Hands and eyes are slowly less bad. Had an IM shot of Kenalog-60 into my butt and am applying hydrocortisone cream to all my leprose bits.

PPS Not politics but common sense: for any of my readers in the US, make sure you have full fuel tanks in your vehicles and seven days of food in your home in case of “supply chain disruptions” following the election. This is not the 21st century I was expecting.

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