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!
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.
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.
I went downstairs yesterday to record chapter one and immediately realized that I have to not only get voices assigned to characters but also make notes so that those voices remain consistent. That meant that I didn’t actually begin to record until today. On something of a roll, I did the raws for the first three chapters. To elicit more constructive criticism, I have tried to edit Chapter One into something I don’t mind posting.
The side-effect of all this is that, as I’m not and have never been a talker, I’ve said more in two hours than I would in a week, and my throat feels it; I might be mute tomorrow.
Anyway, here’s chapter one of “Friend and Ally,” recorded by me, with a listening time of just over seventeen minutes. Cheers!
Sorry for the silence; been busy. After my Hey, hey! incident, I tried to work within the new confines of that to find a way to wrap up EC. I found a way out via Faustina’s fast ride from Vicksburg to Birmingham and onto Huntsville. We’ve seen from way back that she is attracted to the 32-year-old mayor of that town, so I decided to have her push her feelings to see what happens. While not completely happy with the end, it is at least an end. I’ll be able to think about it better as a make my editing pass before farming it out to a copyeditor. I’m leaning toward re-using Stephen Zimmer, as he copyedited “Princess’ Crusade” and has knowledge of the characters and plot.
With that being checked, I have spent some money, read, and watched many videos on how to narrate audiobooks. Once my wife gets the basement un-wrecked from her current project, I’ll carve out a space, hang some blankets, and see what I can do. However, if that gets delayed, I will have to at least start notes and plans for the final book of this trilogy, “Goddess’ Crusade.”
Below the fold, rather than the entirety of Part IV of EC, is just a snippet from toward the end, showcasing Faustina and Mayor Robert Wade.
Taking a few days off turned into too many days off. I made the mistake of knowing – knowing – how I wanted “Empress’ Crusade” to finish. It was well into day four that I realized that so long as I wasn’t listening to my characters, they had no reason to talk to me.
So, I set aside a few days to make notes, look at maps, and keep my mental mouth shut. At DayJob over this past weekend, the film in my mental theater started rolling again. More notes. Off today and tomorrow, I was up early, caffeinated, and typing by 0930. Put down over 3000 words today. Admittedly, it is a little like I think I saw it (the Fort Benning/Atlanta story arc), but Faustina is already off on a huge tangent and we just met her new nephew, Roland. Henge is nursing him but turned him around for a moment to show his silver eyes. Yep: another demi-human.
Things are winding down this afternoon. I’m to-bed early to make another early start tomorrow. Lessons in humility are necessary from time to time.
A riff on Lucretius. You’ll see why when Nichole 5 shows up.
This again slightly longer installment marks the end of Part 3 of the MS for “Empress’ Crusade.” I want to wrap the whole thing up in no more than 40-60 more pages. I’ve reams of notes and images in my head but, honestly, am not sure which way to jump right now. I know Faustina moves due east but not with how many of her four legions in Vicksburg. I see the huge old Army base of Fort Benning. I see what’s left of Atlanta and those in it a generation on. I also understand her operational desire to secure the rest of the Deep South and a land route to Savannah.
This weekend will be spent in note-taking and, very likely, a series of micro-stories to try to muddle my way through this. I don’t want to inflict that kind of “blue skying” on anyone, so it is likely that my updates will dwindle to nothing for June.
I am still looking forward to playing about with creating audiobooks over the summer. Once I have the rest of EC in the can, so to speak, I might just post my prototype voice efforts on you, my poor, unsuspecting readers… and listeners.
Below, Faustina once again reaches out to her extended family to make a point to President Dysart of the Gulf Shore States: the world is a much, much smaller place than he thought it was.
True to her word, Faustina declares herself and accompanying cohort to just be tourists, something not seen in those parts since the Breakup. The spontaneous self-organization of local capitalists is one of the miracles of the free market.
After some autobiography, Dysart takes liberties with the Empress’s head.
This is a little longer, too, but there was no good place to break it up. Just think of it as a nice read to distract you from all of the stupidity in the news. Which is mostly propaganda, anyway.
Having made her point and walked-back her over-the-top demands, Faustina gives Dysart time to reach out to the main players in his coalition government. No one, not even Faustina, I think, sees this as a long-term treaty, but it is a start… a peaceable start.
Looks like we get another “beach episode” in the next scene!
Knowing what we know, it is a little hard to not want to slap the top of Faustina’s head for being a smartass, here. Not technically a lie, even by omission, but her blizzard of disinformation is not going to go done well once President Dysart understands what is going on. And given how Fussy runs her mouth without her legates around, that will happen sooner rather than later.