Isolation continues

25/09/2013 08:32

I recently went to London, and had some time on the coach to think (side note: I’ve always hated my travel sickness as it means I can’t read during journeys, but I suppose it is a blessing in disguise…). I was thinking about Isolation & Connections. Reminder: I’m working with a post-apoloclyptic world, humanity mostly wiped out, post-robot revolution.

First line of thought: the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs…what exactly happened? What was the effect? How long did it last? What would it do if it happened now?

Answers: v. large asteroid, causing tsunamis, volcanic erruptions and general chaos. It threw a lot of dust into air, so sunlight blocked for over a year but the algae was getting back to normal after a century, so the effects didn’t last forever; wildfires also helped with the dust quota. The temperature sank for a year but then heated up due to the greenhouse effect. Most surface life was wiped out due to lack of photosynthesis. If it happened now, the lack of food supplies would be the big killer and about 25% of the human population would likely perish, plus however many others from the tsunamis, wildfires, plagues and whatever else. Sounds fun, huh?

Second line of thought: space elevators. That was quite a fun half-hour spent examining a map! Based on The Fountains of Paradise, with a whole bunch of real-life innovation and theory thrown in.

Third line: gender identities, genetics and society. If you had a small, isolated community, I would expect one of their major long-term concerns to be genetics and in-breeding. This would likely translate to a concern with children, sex and motherhood. What would happen if you threw someone with gender issues (of whatever type) into that mix?

I’ve started writing, so it’s slowly coming together. As always, I lik looking at the characters rather than the plot, but in this case I think it works quite well. We shall see!

Three down, many to go?

05/05/2013 10:47

I think – barring changing my mind, publisher’s edit requests, reader’s comments etc – that I can declare another story finished. (N.B. The three in the title: Shadows and Ghosts are also finished, barring a publisher’s edit requests if I ever get anyone interested.)


Green Sky and Sparks, the first in a trilogy of steampunk/fantasy stories, is complete at 30,000 words. It is short, so my current plan is to put all three of the stories together in one book. At the moment Changing Winds is approaching 50,000 and I suspect that Empty Skies will be shorter, so those three together should reach 70-100,000 words.


It feels weird to have finished it, but I get to work with the same characters in Changing Winds, so I’m not exactly leaving them behind. My biggest gaps in Changing Winds are Toru, who is the main character in Green Sky, so that’s quite a nice continuation.


And while you’re here, have the beginning of the book as a snippet…


“Hey, watch it!”

Anoé slewed her runner sideways, trying to avoid the back tyre of Catter’s. The man had just stopped in the middle of the road, oblivious to the rider stopped next to him.

Anoé followed his gaze, and smiled. “Get over to the side.” she said kindly. Catter slowly walked his runner over to the side of the dusty road, still staring at the view ahead.

It was an amazing view. Although the Mountains had been in view from the time they left Aleric, the Drek Ridge had continuously appeared and disappeared behind the next ridge in the gently rolling landscape. And finally they had crested a higher rise, and the farmland ahead of them spilled down towards the ridge. The road was stretching ahead of them down the slight hill, and Catter followed its slow curve. It branched, one fork heading to the jagged gap in the dark rock of the Ridge, snaking through to the Mountain Pass. The second fork turned, rising up the edge of the Ridge, and then rising into the city of Meton.

Catter let his eyes travel up towards the city, following the road. The dark rocks of the buildings blended in with the ridge, and he could see the winding road as an absence in the buildings. And then the Castle rose, sitting on the edge of the Drek Pass, looming over the road below. The huge spikes, five of them around the walls, rose even higher. He found his eyes going between the city, seeming to loom over the land below, and then to the white-capped mountains behind; they dwarfed the city in turn, shrinking the Castle and its spikes to insignificance.

“The spikes are the spark towers.” Anoé said. “I’ll see if we can get a tour.”

“That would be interesting.” Catter said, staring in awe. “Why are they shining?”

“They’ve got copper wrapped up the outsides.”

“It’s a beautiful city.”

“It’s one of my favourites. Not as beautiful as Belmont, but then that’s beyond belief.”

Catter smiled, and tore his eyes away from Meton. “I want to go there. Anyway, shall we get going? Otherwise I’ll spend all night here.”