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Indistinguishable From Magic
...any sufficiently advanced technology...
NaNoWriMo Word Count: 10,458

Holy shit. Obsessive, who me? It might start tapering off now, though. 10k also happened to mark the end of exposition. The scene has been set, the characters have been introduced, the hints have been laid, the question has been asked...

Now, it's time for the answer. Now, it's time for PHILOSOPHIZING.

And, of course, the best answers are the ones that stir up even more questions (a few of many):
1. Bioengineering and the question of humanity (from the philosophical to the legal)
2. If it can reason, is it alive?
3. What is this "reasoning" anyway? The ability to analyze, interpret and react? Machines do that now. Is it our emotional interpretations, that indefinable extra filter that only we possess? Doesn't sound much like "reason."
4. The objective observer. What does it see? How "objective" could it possibly be?
5. Universal consciousness, communal knowledge... universal madness?

Also mercy killings, the ethics of science, familial relationships, precognition and the untapped mind, death, death, death and lots of bloody death.

Someone pointed out to me that I need to address the Laws of Robotics or nerds will bitch. Rules? Really? I explain how my beings function, but the thought that I have to reference previous genre work, stay within certain boundaries, is downright galling. Am I wrong in this? Yes, I can explain how I'm getting around them but do I really NEED to? Feh.

I am missing my regular series work, though. "Somebody draw a goddamn sword!" Wonder if I'm the only person for whom NaNo meant STOPPING writing. Had been extremely inspired in the days leading up, made a bunch of progress on those last few chapters that I hadn't hit yet was ALMOST thinking I was ready to print out and edit a first draft of the second book... But a break is good. Still, that might be part of the reason why I'm writing so fast.

Branching out into different stories (something which I haven't done in a LONG time) has also managed to uncover more than a few archetypes that I seem to gravitate toward. I'm apparently a fan of wiry old men with tons of knowledge and very odd senses of humor. In both of these cases, they're very minor characters but they do get some of the best lines.

"The assignation of divinity makes our world's truths more palatable to the common taste, seasons them for mass consumption. Were I to stand, a lone and naked man on the highest hilltop, calling to the skies and asking them to open for me, would you not think me mad? But if I am to don a clean robe, stand on the tallest tower, secure on the walls of man, and call my maddened cries prayer… ah, well." Jon Morrow, prophet, Watcher

"We don’t get much water cooler gossip down here. Well, we do… but it’s not fit for polite company.” Alvin Costanzo, Morgue Tech (okay, not the most clever line, but I haven't had much time to play with him yet)

I also KNOW that this one is obvious, but I like big guys. Gentle giants, tender tanks, men who are as smart or big-hearted as they are massive and attractive. Have ya seen Bobby? UNF shoulders, UNF broody eyes, UNF sweet heart of sweetness, YES. Today I missed another man, too, though. One who so far lives only in my head. Is that weird? Missing a character that you made up? Aw.

One eye opened, the other lost to the depths of the pillows. Some would have called them dark, irises pooling deeper than even the ever-present shadows across his features, but she knew the tiny rim of gold there, glinting only when they shared their secret smiles. He held her gaze a moment, weighing, feeling her worry. Brushing the hair back from his face, she willed him to feel instead what she saw in him, what it stirred in her. Merana, RE: Ryek Also, pretty picturesCollapse )

In the new stuff, I've ended up with a former linebacker turned bookworm of a police captain, stern but never cruel.

Where the space might be a bit untidy, the man behind the desk was not. His suit was blue today, broad lines fitting perfectly over broader shoulders, the tie clipped high against his bulging neck. He had been a linebacker in college, used the scholarship to major in literature. But it had been an assignment on K.H. Jenks, the mystery author, that forever turned him from the pros. Still he looked the part, hulking despite his years. At just past fifty, he was still solid, the fading definition beneath the suit doing nothing to lessen the sense of sheer, imposing size.
It was the eyes, though, that were his dominant feature, no small feat on a body like his. Deep, dark and startlingly intelligent they peered today from beneath tired lines, a brow that was maybe just a bit heavier than Jack remembered.

Where the usual stuff lets me switch perspectives, comparing and contrasting how different voices might sound, it seems that, if forced to choose just one, I'll go with a broody male. Generally, he gets saved by a diminutive and tomboyish female (a romantic relationship in one, father-daughter in the other). I'm also a fan of "tough old broads," missions of redemption (Marcos! Dammit, now I miss him too!) and mentioning the homosexuality of characters only in passing. Because in a proper sci-fi future, it won't matter at all ;D

Apparently I'm blogging tonight instead of writing. Quick, where's the word count on this thing??

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In each book I reveal a bit more of this society's early days, the time of the "gods," the birth of "magic." Who were they? How did they come to be here? What divided them into three eternally-arguing houses? It is this that lets me skew genres, lets me tell the story of a lost band of cosmic explorers (perhaps only a few generations beyond ourselves) and parallel the same issues of humanity and identity that plague their "less evolved" descendants. The chapters are interspersed and have been lining up rather well.

Lately, though, I've had a major sci-fi jones and have gotten quite a bit ahead of myself. As its outlined now, these bits won't even show up until Book 4, but I'm eager to follow the storyline of these weary gods, discovering all the ends and influences that can be woven into the "current" arc.

I wrote a lot this weekend and haven't really had time to edit it, but I've been able to extract a few (I hope) decent bits. Also, I can no longer bitch about "weird sex stuff" cropping up in other series.


The original mission is a failure but our stranded heroes now find themselves in a unique position to "study" the surprisingly humanoid natives.

Two bits of background, that this references: 1) Sappro was one of their soldiers. When he was caught forcing himself on a native, Rourke only gave him a slap on the wrist. Henry, in a seemingly uncharacteristic bit of darkness, smothered the man in his sleep. It has been hinted that Rourke knows. 2) The chairs turn up in earlier books. The three heads of house traditionally sit in them at council. Here were learn that, like much else, they were appropriated during the sack of Avereo.

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In a moment of desperate commiseration, they slept together. It's taken some time for our scientist to realize what that means.

Just a brief snippet of the aftermath. Playing around with the tones of third person subjective, trying to make the narration follow the different thought processes of the characters. It also wreaks havoc on my grammar.

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This is something more recent, from the second book. It just happens to be the bit that I've been posting about recently, as it involves a relatively small amount of backstory.

A bit of background:
The gods have returned, but they behave more like an occupying force than as saviors come anew. They are silent, studying, waiting and many who have been visited by them have not been seen again. Even their one-time priests are becoming wary of their new masters. Barnett was the bodyguard of their prophet (now deceased). Though his own religious inclinations are perfunctory at best, he had been the one to hear the prophet's dying words. Thomin is a priest, a sycophantic underling who would have become the order's de facto leader. He has been missing for some time.

(Also, if its not completely obvious "gods" = advanced humans who founded this society a long-ass time ago.)


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Newly Posted

This one scares me a bit. One of my big problems with writing fantasy is that it falls at odds with my inability to take anything too seriously. I love drama, I just worry that I can't tell when its turning to cheese.

Secilia rules one of the three houses of magic users. She is something of a powerless figurehead, but would go to any lengths to find a cure for her apparently unhealable daughter. (Hint: Her meddling will, in fact, doom them all.) Marcos is her eldest brother, far more powerful, but rule has always belonged to a woman. He's bitter about a hell of a lot more than that.

It may seem strange after reading, but Marcos is probably by favorite character so far. I'm also still writing him because, well, death just ain't what it used to be.


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Thanks to writers_loft and NaNoWriMo, I'm getting excited about sharing words on the internet. I've been a bit of a hoarder, with only a few close friends and unimpressed publishers having read anything. I have no hope, but writing these characters is incredibly fun for me and I'd love it if others could get some enjoyment out of it. Getting feedback would be nice too.

For over a year now, I've been working on a series of fantasy novels with more than a few sci-fi elements. They're also very character grounded (I <3 third person subjective) and deal just as heavily in interpersonal issues and questions of identity as they do in swords and "magic." I have a few side-sketches in straight sci-fi (big into dystopian themes) that I also hope to develop and post. I've been reading a lot of screenplays too and am experimenting with the style, but I don't think anything will come of it.

I tend to be influenced as much by television and movies as by books. I love Terry Pratchett for never taking anything too seriously, George R.R. Martin for developing the fantasy soap-opera and Robert Jordan for just being awesome all round. I also love anything high-concept with seriously flawed characters. The Battlestar Galactica remake is perhaps the greatest television show of all time. Also Rome, Lost and anything touched by the mighty hand of Whedon. I've also been told that I tend to cliffhang EVERY chapter as though it were an episode. I'm a complete X-Men junkie (the COMICS), with their irony and enduring characters. I also have a serious addiction to big-budget, overblown action movies. The LoTR trilogy is the most beautiful 12 hours of film to ever grace the screen. (Yes, I love the books too, but see below RE: absolutism.) Are there swords? Sandals? Aliens? Someone make something explode!

Pant, pant...

Basically, I hope to post stuff in here for feedback and so that non-LJ users can read it. I've also got an f-locked personal journal at bamftastik. Open to adding, just paranoid about co-workers discovering that I'm a bit of a cheeky bastard.

Alright, here's The Pitch:
In most fantasy stories, you have a clash between unblemished good and irredeemable evil, but how often do we see this in the real world? Everyone has a perspective and most action and reaction has its roots firmly in the subjective. Of course, there are interesting stories to be told when good clashes against evil. What of those caught in between? What of normal men and women? Such stories are epic.

But what happens when you remove this sense of absolutism? What if there is no guiding hand, no single moral imperative? What if our heroes must fumble in the dark as we do, battling not only beasts and warriors, but with our ever-malleable sense of self, with changing ideas about the world and their place in it? Would they not come out stronger for it in the end? And why am I asking so many questions?

Grand events will shape the world as they always do. Sword will meet spear and deeds may be called magic, but there are no gods and monsters but what we make of ourselves. As more is revealed, less becomes certain and it is this truly human perspective that ever casts its shadow on the weaving of the tale.

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