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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No such thing…

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.

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Winter quarters

Where an army or units of it would go once campaigning season was over. Often for the purpose of making sure a subdued people stayed subdued. Faustina needs to make a tour of her dispositions before riding back to Knoxville to play politics* and I realized I was unsure where her legions and auxiliary units are. So… another map! Cannot talk history without a map and that includes future history!

*Besides general opposition to what she has done, there is specific opposition to her recruiting Legion Six.

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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A MachCiv Wiki

An old friend suggested that this morning. I’d been going on about Faustina’s doings as I am trying to complete the MS for “Goddess’ Crusade,” and, confused, he said: why not make a wiki for your entire future history?

As he has a history of most always being correct, I pushed that to the back of my mind and kept on writing. About two hours ago I hit another stopping point (General Hartmann threatened the remaining population of Atlanta with death or evacuation; ethnic cleansing, either way) and I was not sure what comes next.

Pulling out a copy of the partial stemma of my works, see below, I guess it could serve as a basis of a wiki, for many of the major players. I will also have to describe the three tribes of AIs as well as the three (now two) corporations in Japan who took differing approaches to machine thought (Tohsaka, Somi, Neuroi). Then there are all the places where the stories take place, up to and including Mars. Dang: that means I’ll have to describe the constructs of tribes Tohsaka (the Path and platform, rotating difference engines, archery range, airstrip, Henge’s beach…) and Mendrovovitch (the ruined city, snowy steppe, Kuban’s restaurant…).

This is going to be quite an undertaking but I see now that it will allow me to keep a hand in writing during winter 2021 when I am focused on recording and editing audiobooks of my works. Yet another genius idea from the creative mind of Will Deonne!