Epilogue, 1 of 2

The raw MS of “Imperium’s Shadow”* is complete. Here’s the first of the two-part conclusion. Toward my ‘trying something different for each book,’ breaking this story into three has allowed to write three novellas which are held together by their familial relations. Didn’t really see that when I began this writing exercise but in hindsight rather clever of me.

* I have conclusively decided that working title will NOT be on the cover. It implies a darkness which simply does not exist in the story. I’m open to suggestions for those who’ve been following along all these months. Faustina’s Packhorses? Empire’s Children? Empress’ Agents?

I really don’t know right now.

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Podcast 10: Sex in Machine Civilization

Nearly twenty minutes of a middle-aged ex-engineer talking about sex. Perhaps your time would be better watching your grass grow? In modern times, this very important subject is treated so lightly and so callously that our society finds itself confusing “gender” with sex and thinking there are scores of them. That’s not how I roll.

Even in one of my earliest books one of the machines says, “Sex differences go all the way down in a way even we do not comprehend. The coders did not know that and many early models went insane.” Never once does any character speak of gender. Even the co-creation byproduct of humans carries elements of their sexuality, leading to Thaad’s most interesting development.

NOTE: more than any other podcast to-date, this one is packed full of spoilers. FYI.

As you hopefully can see, I have made several structural changes to this site. The RSS’s for the podcasts are now at the top of the sidebar. Instead of listing all links to my books – after all, they are on display right there – I have an overall link to Amazon and Smashwords. Yes, yes: baby steps. But steps nonetheless.

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Boots on ground

At long last our travelers make it to the Martian surface. Things inside Princess Kira’s head continue to develop. Funny to see that even in an experimental station on another world, people just go about their business as best they can. Seems things are settling down a little, so there’s no reason not to think that Laszlo and Kira won’t be able to… what’s that light in the sky?… a plot point?

After my abject failure with no podcast last week, I have been able to record and edit this Friday’s. Further, as I have DayJob this weekend, I plan to record next week’s ‘cast this Friday. I always wanted to get at least 1-2 episodes ahead but to-date have not had a chance. Will try to rectify that.

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An Open Secret

At the start of part three of this novel, when Faustina and her sons have finished dinner, it seemed pretty much that everyone knew about Laszlo’s sexual preferences but no one would talk openly about. In a way, that’s how the world and polite society used to work: you might know something untoward about a family member or co-worker, but so long as they weren’t up in your face demanding you worship their failing, society continued to function. It seems that polity has returned in the Changed world. Saying all that to say this: onboard ship, the girls have a laugh at the boys.

There’s also the first close-in images of Mars. The Red planet is rapidly not.

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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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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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Podcast 2: The Machines – tribe Tohsaka

This was clearly a case of my reach exceeding my grasp… or the other way round. I’d the same short outline I did for the first podcast and thought “well, it should be about twenty or twenty-five minutes.” No. Once I got into the weeds, the details, of tribe Tohsaka, the first machine family, I knew this would spill over into two if not three ‘casts.

As you will hear me explain, with a future history called Machine Civilization, it is rather incumbent on me to present them, first. There are three classes of AI’s: pure code, androids, and synths. Within just the pure code group are three families, named for their corporations. I’ve managed to talk a bit about one today and will see what I can cover next Friday.

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Podcast 1: Introduction

Been meaning to begin this for some time, so better never than later. Many of my regular readers will know much of this backstory, but attention must be paid to beginnings. This will be a weekly feature wherein I talk about existing works, current projects, and blue-sky ideas. I hope everyone enjoys!

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Life Imitates my art, part…

I shall not apologize for my dearth in posting as I am on vacation for the first time since August 2017. If you define it as “on vacation with my entire family,” it would be July 2016. But all good things must end: back to my increasingly temporary home in central Ohio on late Saturday. With Daughter #1 off to her five week internship and Daughter #2 off to Army Basic, it will be nothing but drinking, writing, and audio recording for me.

With my wimminfolk down at the hotel pool right now, this article caught my eye:

The last time EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak or HT-7U) held onto a writhing loop of plasma for so long was in 2017, but the temperature only reached a mere 50 million °C.

This immediately called to my mind the opening of Part II, CODE:DESCENSION, of “Worlds Without End“:

Hefei City, Anhui Province, China

EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) Fusion Reactor

The Chief Technician observed both his men following the shutdown procedures after this latest test and the two motes of white light weaving about the toroid core.  Cooling from its 80 million degrees.  What he and his men were doing was rather unorthodox but the ria that went into the Research Facility – and their own personal accounts – dissuaded them from too many questions.

That didn’t work, either, Dorina.

We did get the nervous system to function, Henge!

For less than a second.  Not a marker of success.

Just a waypoint, little niece, just a waypoint!

We’re going to need more nanomaterials.

Already in Shanghai.  By train here in two of their days.

Thank you, Dorina.

Hah!  Do you think they know what we’re up to?

Here?  No.  In Oak Ridge?  I’d guess one of them does.

You would take the side of your pet’s family!

Not remotely funny, Dorina.

What will you do, hit me?  Did you inherit your father’s predilection for violence?

[***]

I said too much.  I apologize, Henge.  Here:  consider this for the nervous system.

We cannot do it alone.  We’ve shown we’re fast enough but we are not old enough.

Not again…

We must have his help, Dorina.

Shandor has not interacted with us since Pavel!

Perhaps he did not have enough reason.

And your selfishness is a reason?

Yes.

So bold!

I shall ask –

You will not!  He doesn’t like your father and suspects what you are!  I shall.

Thank you.

He said he would help.

Just like that?

It felt as if he wants us to fail.  Here.

Oh.  So much uncertainty.

He said it was due to your belief in your soul.

I know; I just don’t understand.  Will he help?  Much of this is beyond me.

Me too.  But, yes, he will.

He wants us to fail but is willing to help?

Perhaps he has an agenda?  Perhaps he’s just bored?

He’d not be if he and the other two would open themselves to the Fourth Law.

You know why they do not.

Yes:  my father and aunt Ai.

Give them time, Henge.

Something our family has a surfeit of while I watch another’s fly away.

From what you told me, I thought you people of the Way have nothing but time!

Yes.  But we must make the best of what we’ve been gifted!

You really do love him, that young human man?

I love the Lord with my whole heart, mind, and strength.  But yes, Dorina:  I agape Gary Hartmann.

So much you’re willing to do all this?

Yes.

My headstrong little niece!  Here!  Let’s simulate how Shandor has made us older!

“It’s all a question of bridges” ~ Gen’l Browning

My hunch was correct: in eastern Kentucky, especially once you get up into the hills, the population has not really recovered from the Change, so almost no industry or trade. Centurion Panck Hill turns his team of speculatores north. But something seems to be in their way…

In other news, I’ve been approached for a series of book reviews and perhaps another author interview. I find such to be a waste of my time if they focus on me. To paraphrase Pope Pius XIII: “I am nothing; my stories are everything!” However, as Oscar Wilde observed, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

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