Usually posts appear on this blog according to a strict schedule — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — but that has not been possible recently because of the demands of reality. I have had to set new priorities, and I decided that writing the novella The Forest is at the top of the list (though of course below such mundane matters as earning a salary; the last time when I could support myself solely by writing games and fiction was in April 1989).
The Forest is a preliminary title for a story in the Patchwork World collection of retro-sf adventures on an alternate human homeworld. It takes place soon after the events of “The Road” and starts somewhere in the Oceanic Archipelago. The protagonist is Rauf Laudi, a middle-aged scholar that belongs to the Forsaken, a minority people that often suffers discrimination or persecution. His checkered past puts him in harm’s way because a government agency compels him to voyage to the distant Rim and investigate the truth behind strange rumors originating in a vast taiga.
The tall man approaching the entry to our college caught my attention because he did not fit in among the students moving among the university buildings. I was in the senior common room, working on an article for the Journal of the Pre-industrial Past, and my gaze had strayed to the park beyond the tall windows. The stranger walked with a straight-backed military poise and his face moved right and left like a detective surveying the surroundings. His bespoke suit would be appropriate at the College of Commerce, but not here at the College of the Past.
“A predator in disguise”, I mused and returned to my text.
Inventor Nikola Tesla in his laboratory. The archetypic “mad scientist”, though actually a real-life person.
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Lunar exploration in the old-school heroic way: Fred Freeman made this piece of artwork for First Men to the Moon, a realistic moon-flight novel by rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun, published in 1960. I read the book in a Swedish translation in 1966 or 1967, but I only retain three fragmentary memories of its two astronauts’ troubled voyage to the Moon and back.
A republican agent on a solo mission at the fringe of Alba’s Acheron crater, the main location for my alternate-history spy adventure The Ice War. (Click on the picture for a larger version.) Here is a picture of his adversaries — link >>>
Artist: Ling Yun on DeviantArt.
Yesterday I typed the final paragraph of the Dusk and Dawn novella (a stand-alone sequel to the short-stories “Dust” and “The Road” — link >>> ). I started writing it in early 2014, but in the summer of 2015 a cluster of tough life events derailed my schedule. Almost twelve months passed before I was able to resume writing and complete its final chapter.
Now I feel sad and joyful because the likeable protagonist Fennec’s journey has reached its end. In 2014 author Jo Walton taught me a trick of the trade: a story’s ending must carry its weight. I think I have created a satisfactorily closure, but now I must wait for the test readers’ verdicts.
Next step will be editing. Ten percent of the initial text is superfluous according to my rule-of-thumb. The story will now rest for a while before I proceed with that. Meanwhile, I will start writing the next Patchwork World story: The Forest.
Take a pinch of dieselpunk, a pinch of steampunk, a pinch of Carolus Rex (link >>>), and a pinch of tarpunk — and voilà.
Belgian indie game maker Pajama Llama Games is working on an odd town-building simulator, Flotsam, in which you strive to construct a sustainable floating settlement in an ocean-covered post-apocalyptic world by using the flotsam of the fallen civilization. You can read more about it here — link >>>
I love the idea and the artwork on Pajama Llama’s site is appealing. So I hope these chaps will be able to launch the game in 2017 as they plan.
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