Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Some of you might remember that I had considered Buddhism as my other primary religion for my SF project, which got backburnered when my library never delivered the book. (At this point, I can only assume whoever had it checked out simply stole it.) Well, today I went to a Borders on closeout - forty percent off everything - and on a whim, went looking for the Dumbie's Guide. Sure enough, they had it, and at such a discount ... why not?

So research resumes, though worldwork does not cease.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Good Ol' Days

In a surge of nostalgia, I've been writing up a plot summary for my old Starshine Weyr (a Pern fandom, where you roleplay original characters in that world) storylines. For some idea of the timeline, the first scenes were in 1997 and I think it started petering out in 2001.

There's a lot that's rough around the edges, soap opera quality and sometimes just embarrassing - but I was young. (I also realize that I spent way too much time roleplaying with myself and making other people watch, a tendency which I think I've (mostly) grown out of.) Still, that notwithstanding, the depth, complexity and yeah, insanity of events leaves me boggled.

In some ways, my plots are stronger while playing with others, helped by the kind of extended time and thought this entails. In others ... sometimes I worry I've put on filters that - while they've made my writing more mature - has also taken some of the zing out of it.

In general, I get really gnawy with the worry that I can't come up with things as developed when I'm doing it on my own. Is this true? Is it nonsense? I don't know ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Past Imperfect

Rather than a blow-by-blow account of the stories, just a brief general commentary about the Past Imperfect anthology of time travel stories - a DAW anthology from Greenberg and Segriff.

Ironically, for a time travel anthology, most of these stories had a significant problem with pacing. An intriguing set-up and slow build fizzled out or was short-changed; or there was too much moderately dull information before the pay-off.

Two stories stood out as genuinely enjoyable. The first was from Jody Lynn Nye - Theory of Relativity. Close second was The Gift of a Dream from Dean Wesley Smith.

One of the stories was about a character looping back on himself, and reminded me of a story I wrote - Transient - where the non-POV main character lived each day out of sequence. Really should go back to that and see if I can make it flow through ...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Character Blip

Ignoring the bits that are fairly specific to the "Wicked" story (... and that this is from the POV of the Wicked Witch of the West), and this is a pretty good character-song for Anaea, the MC from my Scylla-and-Charybdis storyline:

(To quote:

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap ... )

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Game Nostalgia

I am one of those people who plunks shameful amounts of time into computer games. I've been out of the game-buying circuit for 2-3 years due to the age of my computer, but I find that I tend to prefer older games. There's simply more content and frequently, they just seem better constructed. Also, the RPGs tend more towards turn-based, which is a heavy preference of mine. I do not care for real time. False turn-based where you can pause and queue up actions does not count, in my mind.

Despite that, Morrowind is still one of the best new games I've ever played. I ripped through the new Bard's Tale game, Knights of the Old Republic and even Neverwinter Nights in a disappointing amount of time. Contrast with Wizardry 8, which took me months - but that game, though more recent, is a past-blast to the previous seven Wizardries. What have I spent much of my recent time on? Might and Magic ... VI and VII. What do I still consider the best RPG I've ever played? An obscure little game called Betrayal in Antara. Though set in a different locale, its engine is sandwiched between Betrayal in Krondor (which was fun enough, but Antara's storyline takes cake and platter) and Return To Krondor - which was another game that sacrificed graphics for content.

Running close second is the more recent Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. I love games with side-quests that you can totally miss and discover the next time 'round. Also, again, I loved the plot.

Strategy games I've had more luck with because they tend to be more exclusively TB and content lends itself more to each game being different: Civ 4, Galactic Civilizations, etc. (The Movies is a dud.) However, I still have original Colonization (yes, the version that was released a year or two after Civilization NO NUMBERS!), I enjoy playing Zeus, and I recently had a hankering after Castles and ... probably the best older strategy game I can remember playing... Master of Magic. Honestly, pound for pound, MoM blew original-Civilization out of the water for me.

All this came up because someone I know online has been trying to convince me to pick up Fallout and Fallout 2. I have seen a few new games that I would be interested in (my computer can't handle them, so it's moot), but the truth is, I could happily keep myself busy on games released before 2000. Indefinitely.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I just finished this book - I ended up skimming a lot of it because it dealt with the kind of exotic environments I know I won't be building. However, it was in parts very helpful, and in parts reminded me how much I know about basic climate effects, volcanism, greenhouse effect, etc from my coursework. I'm not as badly prepared as I think I am!

I am tentatively thinking Tau Ceti's satellite planet will be Solomon; I also want one named after the Welsh underworld, but undecided whether I'll leave it authentic or anglicize it. I am also toying with the idea of using either a double planet or an inhabitable moon. I believe I understand the basics well enough to work it.

But with no Buddhism book in hand, this actually means that - starting tomorrow - I'm going to start putting some of this worldbuilding into print. Fear me.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I just tackled "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Understanding Judaism" because I'd been planning on using that background in my story ... not as a major thematic element, but as a component of the world. Having finished the book, I am confirmed in my desire, though I see I'm going to have to do some thinking about the Tau Ceti lunar cycle and how to work into a Jewish calendar without making it too convenient.

I realize I haven't talked much about my characters or the plot - this is largely because most of this was defined in the original "Scylla and Charybdis" short story. I am realizing now that my main male character (who catalyzes the POV character's discovery, plays tour guide, becomes a friend and eventually a romantic interest) is almost certainly going to be fairly devout ... which may involve some further research on my part.

The nice thing about moving a few hundred years in the future is I can deal with theory-versus-reality faith issues as having changed in the intervening centuries ... still nervous, though. May want to get someone with first-hand knowledge to read just those bits that directly relate.

I have one more book that hasn't come in yet - whoever has the Buddhism book is not giving it up - and unless it shows up before I finish my other worldbuilding book, this means I'll finally start working. Whoo.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

If These Walls Could Speak ...

... they'd say I just made a short fiction sale! That's also the title of the story, basically a romance about a matchmaking house.

Yeah, it's a cute little story and I had a blast writing it.

Was just accepted by Allegory. I've reached their "hold round" a few times before, so great to finally make it through. Hurrah!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

You Just Don't Understand

Despite this book being the bestseller and the previous gender-speak book being - arguably - the knock-off, I am much less impressed with the content and the apparent scientific basis of the information here. I felt as if the book was a combination anecdotal case study and whine-fest with plausible deniability (it's linguistics!). Though I suppose it was educational on the front of showing me some assumptions I don't want to make.

Also, this is my themesong for this project, tongue happily and firmly in cheek: