The NaNoWriMo of Argon

https://i0.wp.com/d1lj9l30x2igqs.cloudfront.net/nano-2013/files/2015/11/NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner.jpg

As the image above is worth a thousand words, and I no longer have to keep up my daily wordcount by writing those thousand words, I shall return to fanfiction my numerous awe-inspiring original projects presently, after leaving my dear followers with an account of my experience of this fearsome month, written in the style of Jim Theis’ ‘The Eye of Argon‘ (http://ansible.uk/misc/eyeargon.html)

(I take no responsibility for anyone who may die laughing in reading ‘The Eye of Argon‘. Several of my barbarian comrades came very close)

*~*~*

The swirling pools of boiling gold that formed the scarlet orb, named ‘sun’ by some, withdrew its coils of heated shimmer in terror at the approaching dusk. Brave-hearted Rachelignr, the unsung Englisholian writer of barbarian fame bent the glistening sinews of her fleshy, manipulative fingers over the taunting keys of her crepuscular laptop, dulled and catastrophic thoughts abuzz with the permutations of thought related to her tangled, twisted, aggrogonious novel that lurked in the dingy shadows of her sinister and sacreligious id and ego.

“Mrifk!” she ejaculated, bustily–blubbering clusters of uncompassionate letters streaming like wisps of the most elegantly spun silk of the horned tarantulas that live craftily, luring naive prey to grotesque ends in the darkest corners of the Englisholian empire. “Thou NaNoWriMo approaches, wretch! Accept the defenestrating chaos of despair!”

Though she was, for many a day, ahead of the steep incline that set points–not arbitrary, but cunningly contrived along a parallel point–the creeping arms of sallow failure, grim and clammy in their mocking swamp of death contrived emporiously to wrap around her soft and lifeless limbs and guarantee her a place among her many slain comrades, strewn about the frigid haunts of the local CB2 Bistro, their entrails lain in pools of crimson gore.

In such a way did the teaming swarms of rainbow powdered fluff, efulgent with their horde of glassy eyes, pitch pupils jangling back and forth like the fair maiden Carthena’s luscious breasts in the arms of her barbarian lover, the unstoppable army of Plot Bunnies bore their mouth-knives, eager to bite into blood-gorged flesh.

“Thou shalt ne’er prevail, slut!” they cackled; their shrill and mincing voices legion in the unseen glow of the cerulean laptop.

Not cowed by their dancing tongues of prophesied doom, Rachelignr bashed her swollen digits along the malicious letter-makers and brought forth words an infinite amount of monkeys may very well have secreted with their mischievous ways.

“Away with thee!” she bellowed, lungs shaking, bosoms heaving, “Thou verminous rejections of Hell; thou shalt all taste death in the jaws of the violet oblong of completion!”

“Alack!” shrieked the mirthful lepus scourge, felt arms cast to the deaf ears of their abominable sky-gods. “Your slothful procrastination was orchestrated all along, reserving your strength for a final assault!”

“Aye,” agreed Rachelignr, “And may these fifty-two thousand words avenge the gnashing souls of my fallen, noble brethren.”

Exploding into explosions of pastel fibres the horde was brought to naught; the novel validated, and Rachelignr’s honour was avenged as airborne blobs of dead bunny devastation thickened the air.

“Rest in peace, Grignr,” she sighed.

And with that, the worthy barbarian and her overlarge chest of magnificent breastage departed NaNoWriMo victorious.

*~*~*

THE END

(OR IS IT!?)

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First Light: First Thousand Words

Hey, kids! Are you bored right now? Why not pass your time waiting for galactic entropy to end all our miserable lives by reading the first thousand or so words of ‘First Light‘, one of the four short novelette prequels to my book, Rooks of the Knot? (cover pictured below)

Native Cover.4565429.indd

I’ve placed them below this little intro for your enjoyment. Read some more on Wattpad if you enjoy it ( http://www.wattpad.com/story/39966138-rooks-of-the-knot-first-light ) or wait for me to post more to this blog. The next excerpt will even come with a doodle!

And if you’re really bored, why not buy the novel on kindle and read that too–a recent survey has shown that there is a 97% survival rate among people who read my book.

(Full disclosure: one of the computers I wrote it on died. It was a sad day.)

*~*~*

“First Light”

THIRTIETH OF JUNE, YEAR OF CAMELOT 623, 14:23 PM (CET).

WESTERN NO-MAN’S-LAND

[Within the former State of Utah]

Shining in the desert, a few lighter grains of salt blew over flats that hundreds of years ago had been a massive lake, as the sun beat down on what for most of the continent was the hottest day of the year so far. An eagle flew past in the cloudless sky, taking care to avoid the smoke rising from the ruined buildings ahead. Rosebud watched the bird for a good while before it faded from sight.

“Huh,” said Serpentine. “What do you know? We have company.”

For a second Rosebud thought he meant the eagle, but that was gone now. So she blinked and scanned the area to see what he really meant, catching sight of an old land-based truck speeding away from the ruin in an instant.

“Well, that’s not suspicious,” she remarked dryly. “Should we see what they’re up to?”

Even in just those first moments of their being brought to her attention she knew better than to think that whoever was in that truck might have been responsible for what had happened to the burning compound. The fires within its fence had been going for a while; great rivers of smoke stretching towards the sun–speaking of a huge scope of damage, much greater than it seemed that one truck could have been capable of inflicting-and on a facility the Six’s earlier intelligence had deemed to have pretty impressive defences.

No, in all likelihood the guys in the truck were scavengers. Could have been nomads who trundled around No-Man’s-Land looking for anything they could live off, could have been part of a more organised operation, but at that point she doubted they were all that dangerous.

“Full speed ahead, Mike,” said Daniel, smirking. Well, as near to smirking as someone like ‘The Preventer’ could manage anyway; it was really more of an adorable smile, though Rosebud could see he was trying.

Ocelot changed gears on their hovercraft for pursuit of the other vehicle; Simon, Serpentine and Callie leant over the sides to look at it, and Prophet just sat in the back, smiling and holding her stupidly oversized gun. Rosebud didn’t spend a second longer than she had to looking at Prophet; she’d long since given up on trying to get her.

The truck must have noticed them because they swerved off the road to avoid them. Big mistake, seeing as the land-based vehicle was in no way suited to travelling over the salt dunes.

“Think they know who we are?” asked Ocelot.

No one answered him, but Daniel peered out and made a quick judgement call regarding size and distance of the truck, then turned back to the team.

“Sky, Night,” he said. “Why not say hello to the driver for us. It’s unusual to see fellow travellers out here.”

Callie and Simon looked at each other, smiled, and stood up on slightly wobbly legs.

“Keep it steady, Ocelot,” said Daniel.

Prophet laughed for some strange reason.

Then, almost in unison, Callie and Simon stretched their arms up and released their Wings.

These Wings were a variant of the only British technology that had managed to be replicated in the rest of the world for the better part of a millennium; scavenged from downed raiding parties sent by that now entirely isolationist island. The reproduction had been the work of Batswana scientists, and given to the pair by the Motswana diplomat they’d helped protect from Arcadian insurgents four years previously.

The Wings spanned out to eleven foot across from the harnesses on Callie and Simon’s backs, a system of seven multi-sized disks on each wing held together with a bat skin-like artificial membrane; each disk a super-compact engine that, working together, could carry an average man’s weight in any direction the hand-held controls tilted the disks.

This technology was relatively common in southern Africa, but not so much in the Americas, so it must have been a shock for whoever was in the truck to see two people jump off either side of the speeding hover-car and twirl gracefully through the air without ever touching the ground, then speed through the air towards them like avenging angels.

It definitely gave the driver of that truck a scare; he swerved one way, then the other, and then kept on going, throwing salt into the air as it gurgled forward. Callie and Simon fanned out, then swept back towards each other and crossed paths, inspiring Ocelot to whistle with appreciation.

Honestly, Rosebud was more annoyed than impressed with her teammates. Those two knew by now how difficult it was to refuel the goddamn things, so she wished they’d stop showing off for each other.

Callie was the more headstrong of the pair, and as such it was no surprise that she was the first to reach the truck. Gunshots came from the passenger window, but by that time she’d activated the shield on her arm; metal blades opening out in a circle like a fan.

As she drew the fire, Simon came up the other side with his own shield ready, the edge of which he used to slash at the tires on the right side. Must have been old rubber tires by the look of it-not exactly their most challenging foe yet.

Or so Rosebud’s first thoughts ran. But when the truck swerved and slowed as it began skidding to its inevitable halt, she saw movement in the back where the cargo was. A pair of gloved hands poked out from underneath the tarpaulin, and the sheet lifted a little, enough for anyone underneath it to get a look at what was happening without being seen.

Only, Rosebud didn’t need to see him fully. One of the gloves was white, the other was black, she could tell even from where she was, and while there was hardly a written law that only one person on the planet could make that particular fashion statement at any given time, there was also Occam’s Razor to consider.

Her heart skipped a beat. She knew who it was under there–and, therefore, who these people were.

It was funny how quickly the weight of past failures could grab hold of her, like an over-cautious friend grabbing her and pulling her back from reacting, for fear of the potential consequences she remembered all too well from the last time she’d encountered members of this group. For precious seconds, she thought of nothing but what cold cement had felt like beneath her knees, as vice-like grips on her upper arms had restrained her like her her fear restrained her now.

But fear that couldn’t be controlled had no place in her profession. Those precious seconds she was caught by indecision were few, and not so dear that they ended up costing her anything–this time. Which was for the best, given it had been acting without thinking that had been her downfall in the past.

So Rosebud Mason took a deep breath.

“Get in close,” she mouthed to Ocelot. For Callie and Simon’s benefit she leant out of the craft, waved her hat and yelled, “Altitude! Altitude!” and they must have heard her because they went up a moment later, thank god–she could at least breathe easier when she didn’t have to worry about those two getting shot from the side.

“What is it?” asked Daniel.

“They’re Lathyrus’ men,” she growled.

She had to struggle not to grit her teeth so hard the name wouldn’t come out.

Safe As Houses

So for the last few weeks I’ve forgotten to actually post anything about my novels–you know, that whole thing this blog was supposed to be about? And this made me think, what better way to spend my time than to steal an idea from another writer/blogger, and write a post in which I sort all the major characters in my novels into their Hogwarts houses!?

You’ll agree that was the most obvious decision, of course.

I had a lot of fun doing this–more than I strictly should have come to think about it. There’s a tendency for Potter fans, I think, to do their imaginary sorting according to their perception of the Houses, and not what their basic characteristics are actually supposed to be. In the old days when I was in the Harry Potter fandom, a lot of people saw Slytherin, for instance, as the house of Goths and counter-culture because they thought the author and main characters ostracised them, when in fact I think the the culture of Slytherin was very much traditionalist, and the ostracising quite explicitly came from them–which made sense because adherence to traditional values tends to make you a ‘safe’ choice for advancement to your ambitions.

However the four basic traits of those houses; courage, diligence, intelligence and ambition, can be exemplified through many facets–both positive and negative. A religious fanatic can be courageous, for example, and a civil rights activist can be ambitious. It’s how you use your skills that define who you are as a person, and I found myself very amused by how many of the ‘good’ characters ended up in Slytherin, or ‘bad’ characters in Gryffindor, though indeed the opposite was also true.

As you can see from the notes I made, I also included the second most likely house for the character, which I also found interesting. I thought up houses for both primary major characters and secondary major characters, but I’ll expand on the primary ones only below for a sentence or two so that I still get in some time to do some proper writing today!

And in case you’re wondering, I have–by process of elimination–placed myself in Ravenclaw, as I lack ambition, am not particularly brave, and am the least hard-working person on the face of the earth, but I do like learning about stuff sometimes.

Thanks to Jackie Smith for the idea! (see here: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/sorting-characters/ )

Sorting

(Characters from ‘Rooks of the Knot‘ [available now from Amazon or on Kindle] incl. all pov characters, even the two who don’t really show up until the next book)

Tryamour: Hufflepuff. She has chosen to join a religious order that basically revolves around performing domestic chores for the community, after all; and though she is more interested in the academic side of the Order than most of her sisters, that’s more of a hobby than a life’s purpose for her.

Palamon: Hufflepuff. Poor Palamon–Hufflepuff by default. He tries so hard, but the whole series of terrorist attacks he has to deal with kind of leaves him out of his depth.

Dorigen: Ravenclaw. Although she is very ambitious about achieving status in the Order of Merlin, Camelot’s scientific academy, in her heart it’s all about gaining knowledge for its own sake.

Yvain: Gryffindor. Going up against the totalitarian government of Camelot is pretty brave, I’d have to say. And he exemplifies the darker side of bravery as well, when one does not always think things through before taking massive risks with their own or others’ lives.

Unghared: Gryffindor. From a family of mostly Slytherin this was a difficult one, but at her core I think Unghared is an extremely dutiful person, and even at a young age wants to try and defend the weak; though she and Yvain would have opposite ideas on what this would entail.

Degare: Gryffindor. Bravery is an essential characteristic for a soldier, and he shares a lot of his character traits with Unghared, although ultimately, his bravery is going to come into play when it comes to accepting himself, and his role in life.

Gideon: Slytherin. Her (yes, Gideon is a girl) ambition is twofold–one, to stay alive (you’ve got to stat somewhere!) in the employ of a total psycho, and two’s a spoiler, but she’s very goal-oriented either way.

Alex: Hufflepuff. A particularly spoilerific character, though you can meet him in my prequel to Rooks which is on Wattpad, here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/39966138-rooks-of-the-knot-first-light . At the end of the day though, he just wants to do what he can to help out his friends. Which sometimes involves assassination.

(Characters from ‘The Ritual of DUELS‘–the three pov characters, their ‘Seconds’, and the interlude character)

Xiang: Gryffindor. Definitely Gryffindor. Of the happy-go-lucky, adventurous sort that doesn’t always properly risk-assess the situation, but laughs off his mistakes. Not so easy, is laughing off the prophecy made about his untimely death, but he perseveres nonetheless.

Tarquin: Ravenclaw. Would rather shut himself up in a library and study history so he can point out all the mistakes in various period pieces than interact socially with others. Over the course of the book we see his lack of ambition for anything else may be something of a pretence though…

Elodie: Gryffindor. Anger issues easily frustrate her when it comes to anything that requires patience; hard work, learning, moving up in the world, but Elodie also has a heart of gold that sees her want to put herself forward for those in trouble. Sometimes.

Lei: Hufflepuff. Her life is devoted to service to Xiang’s family, and other familiars of the household fear her catching them idle.

Niradara: Gryffindor. Why exactly I have chosen to focus on his courage is something of a spoiler–for most of the books he is a very mysterious character.

Quiterie: Hufflepuff. Like Lei, devoted to Elodie’s family, but as a member and not a servant. Being Elodie’s stepmother requires endless patience, and she must keep trying to earn Elodie’s acceptance.

Isabella: Hufflepuff. As the Princess of Two Worlds, she has a lot of work ahead of her, and all signs point to her being up to the task, though her personal desires don’t always align with her duty.

(From ‘518‘. Uh… the first characters that popped into my head until I ran out of space on the page)

Ira: Gryffindor. This was one of those interesting ones. Initially I was going to put him in Ravenclaw, but I realised that in fact Ira was very brave, though neither he nor most people would think of him that way–they would in fact think the opposite, because his bravery was to make a choice that most would think immoral, but certainly wasn’t ‘safe’.

Shirou: Slytherin. Ira’s counterpart; his ambition is to take down the alien empire that has taken over the earth–a tall order for one man, but he’s giving it his all, and he has a plan that’s not entirely on the up-and-up, so to speak…

Nate: Slytherin. Wants to serve the Selena empire as best he can, but also wants to rise as high as he can within their ranks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but he can get kind of irritating.

Freddie: Gryffindor. A particularly violent, snarky, and easily baited alien on a wheel, Freddie is almost fearless; and when your species’ females routinely cannibalise their males during mating, you kind of have to be.

Ling: Gryffindor. Shirou’s partner in the mission to free the earth from its captivity, though for him this is far more of a personal issue through which he can resolve certain demons that have little to do with the conquest of earth–which is certainly not to say he doesn’t care about that!

Georgia: Ravenclaw. While she too certainly desires to see an end to the occupation of earth, her passion for learning about alien cultures does not stem entirely or even mostly from this desire, and would be happy to be the resident ‘alien’ expert for its own sake. Also feels a moral obligation to show off share her knowledge ;).

Rio: Hufflepuff. It’s all about putting 100% effort into serving the Empire, somehow with room for an extra 10% to make sure others do to, but unlike Lei from ‘DUELS’, he’s a lot gentler about it. Not so gentle in the heat of battle though.

Art: Ravenclaw. Happy as he is to serve the Empire, his heart lies in what he can learn about the universe in all fields of knowledge, and he is particularly interested in solving puzzles. Rejects anything nonsensical.

Leo: Gryffindor. Rio’s brother and leader of the occupation on earth, Leo is something of a glory-hound, but fiercely protective of his loved ones to an extent most Selena are not. While he would always do what was best for the Empire, he has been known to challenge them on occasion.

Theo: Ravenclaw. Leo’s scientific advisor; the Spock to his Kirk, so to speak, and unfailingly eager to prove his vast intelligence in useful inventions for the Empire–but has been known to be a touch insubordinate.

Hyde: Slytherin, and not just because his species is exceedingly snake-like. Hyde has advanced to an unprecedented position for someone of his species’ ranking in the Imperial Hierarchy and is ruthless in getting to the bottom of any investigation that comes his way.

Well…

That certainly took a while to write. Feel free to make your own lists, my fellow nerds!

#HugoAwards Follow Up: Dextrous and Sinister

DISCLAIMER: I still know as much as my pal Socrates when it comes to this and anything else. Make your own minds up, neckbeards!

Well, it’s been a month since my babbling about the Sad Puppies controversy was inexplicably noticed and linked to by someone who has an actual voice in the community, and apart from gushing over how much I enjoyed ‘The Three-Body Problem‘, I haven’t done much in the way of that follow-up I talked about. Here’s why.

Firstly, I am lazy.

But more importantly, as I began reading the various short stories associated with the Hugos; on the SP3 slate or on previous years’ nomination lists I realised that from the ruckus that has been stirred up I had actually expected the various works on offer to be filled with political propaganda from whatever side they were supposed to be on.

To make a long story short: they weren’t. Oh, I didn’t read all of them–frankly right now I can’t spare the money to get a hold of all of them, but I think I read enough to realise that–while arguments could certainly be made for some–if there was a political bias going on it was primarily for or against the author, not the work. And I’m sure you can guess what I think of judging a work by its author.

That’s not to say I believe in ‘Death of the Author’ either, but you might have gathered from the title of this post that I wanted to talk about the right/left conflict that’s been attached to this controversy. You’d be wrong, because that’s precisely what I don’t want to talk about. From what I’ve read at least, I don’t think you can attach the values of the right or the left to the works in question to enough of a degree that it bears talking about: to their authors, maybe, but I’m not interested in being the kind of person who wishes to deny a deserved award to someone whose politics I disagree with, nor foist one on an undeserving fellow-believer.

So let’s dispense with the dextrous and the sinister (of which I consider myself very much to be the latter). And–for brevity’s sake–with subjective notions of ‘quality’ as well. I mean, I didn’t like everything I’ve read either, obviously.

What are we left with?

For me, we’re left with two points that will please no one, because I have one for each ‘side’ as it were.

1. I vehemently disagree with rating, promoting, or detracting from books you have not read.

It’s the point I keep harping on about. I don’t know if the people involved in SP3 (not those who put that slate together, their fans I mean) can be said to be guilty of this; maybe some of them were, but I feel like most would be fans enough of SF literature in that they were familiar with Correia or Torgersen to a degree that they got involved; that I don’t think it would be too naive to say they’d read the works that SP3 recommended. But Rabid Puppies? That seems to be another story, and from what I’ve heard that was what really pushed the SP3 slate onto the ballot. Not to say that no one involved in that was on the up and up, just that it seems more suspect to me.

It’s not that these are sins unique to one side; I’ve heard enough of “vote ‘no award’!” without any consideration for the actual merits of the works on offer, but when there’s evidence that this was what got the SP3 short fiction nominated, can it really be said to be ‘fair’? Legal, yes–I’m not disputing that. Deserved? That’s up for discussion. But fair? I don’t think I can say that in good conscience.

However, then there’s point–

2. 2500 people are not representative of the entire SF fandom.

This is the number I’ve been hearing anyway, from various people–the estimate of who, in recent years, was actually submitting and voting on the books in question. And from what I can make out, these people are also mostly made up of the fan clubs of a certain select group of authors; suggesting they are perhaps not particularly diverse in their opinions.

Again, it’s not that anything untoward happened to lead to that–no one was stopping other people from getting involved, the whole event just seemed to have become more obscure in recent times, but the lack of mass involvement in recent years has been telling. Perhaps the event just hasn’t been publicised properly, I mean–it’s supposed to be like the Emmys for SF, right?

How was this ever going to change, but by some ‘radical’ action? I’m not saying it had to happen the way it did–I would have preferred it hadn’t since so many authors have felt the need to disassociate themselves–but for new life to be breathed into the Hugos, someone had to put them in the spotlight again. And I do think they needed new life.

Another thing I’d note, though I don’t think there’s enough evidence to draw any conclusions, is that the slates for the Hugos (popular award) and the Nebulas (elite award) have been similar, in recent years. Some more so than others, but it suggests there isn’t much difference in the tastes of those deciding on the awards, and why that is could be for several reasons. The obvious is that the works in question simply capture the minds of both the ‘elite’ and the wider public. But then, those ‘select’ authors whose fan clubs I mentioned are authors I’m pretty sure are involved with the Nebulas as well.

I’m probably talking irrelevant BS though, I don’t know.

I guess what I’m saying is, I have my doubts about SP, (and certainly dislike RP), but it didn’t form in a vacuum.

As I meander towards my conclusion, I can see why the awards this year have become suspect, and I can certainly see why so many declined their nominations because of the controversy. Maybe more worthy contenders were denied; maybe perfectly worthy contenders will be unfairly blackened by association with all this.

But.

Before Sad Puppies, I had no idea what the Hugos were. Many people I knew, fellow sci-fi fans, either didn’t know or only knew about it in a vague way, didn’t understand that it was open for popular vote or didn’t know it was any different to any other myriad of awards that exist out there.

That’s changed now, and I hope enough attention has been drawn to the awards that if those on either side calling up their fan-mobs to ‘stuff the ballot boxes’ appear next year, the number of true sci-fi aficionados who are now interested enough to get involved will offset those simply following-the-leader, and produce a truly representative ballot.

As a natural cynic, I’m not getting my hopes up, but who knows? Maybe I’ll even be adding my own voice to the mix next year?

Or maybe I’ll just keep reading YA trash and laughing at it.

(Hey, I read ‘The Three-Body Problem‘! Surely I’ve challenged myself enough for one year!)

Tools of Procrastination

Hey everyone, this isn’t my usual type of post, I just wanted to share these two test/quiz things with you in case you needed to entertain yourselves for a few minutes.

For my fellow readers: http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/technology-research-centers/ereaders/speed-reader/index.html

And for my fellow sci-fi/fantasy nerds: http://www.easydamus.com/alignmenttest.html

Hope the links work, and thank you to the people who brought them to my attention; here are my results–

Reading

(Really hope that works. [EDIT: It didn’t, so I re-took the test, screen-capped the image and pasted it. Got a better score the second time too!] By the way, I totally cheated by already knowing the book the sample came from)

And–

Alignment

(This one didn’t have an ’embed’ button, so I just screen-capped it. Funnily enough, when I looked at my results in full I found my alignment to ‘Chaotic Evil’ was pretty much just as high as my alignment to ‘Chaotic Neutral’. Go figure) XD

Rooks of the Knot: First Light

A while ago I was writing some short, novelette prequels to that novel of mine you can buy here: http://www.amazon.com/Rooks-Knot-R-N-Iliffe-ebook/dp/B00IGWX79U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432118855&sr=8-1&keywords=rooks+of+the+knot on your local Amazon site, or on kindle. Personally, I recommend the kindle version, as it’s cheaper, though the hard copy did come out very nicely.

Anyway, a few days ago I started posting part of the first of these prequels, ‘First Light’, to my wattpad page here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/39966138-rooks-of-the-knot-first-light

You don’t have to have read the book to understand the prequel; in fact, with this particular prequel it won’t help you much at all because the characters in this prequel are only vaguely mentioned throughout most of the text in the main novel and only actually show up in the epilogue (spoilers!), but they do play a big role in the second book, or they will if I ever actually write it.

Next NaNoWriMo. I promise! Anyway, this is the blurb–the first 4000 words are up in 4 parts, with another thousand words uploaded every day for the next two weeks, so check it out if it sounds interesting to you.

“A side-story to my YA dystopian novel, ‘Rooks of the Knot’, set three years prior to those events.

Almost a thousand years in the future, the world we know is gone. Thousands of miles of land and ocean away from Camelot and the Rooks (known as ‘Privateers’ to outsiders) the former USA has its own problems to deal with, as five major power blocs struggle for control of the continent.

In their midst is No-Man’s-Land, land uncontrolled and mostly unwanted by the five powers. But in No-Man’s-Land is a research facility; a facility controlled by the totalitarian Arcadia, within sight of the loosely-governed Republic of Greater California, and recently destroyed by fighters from the United Empire of the Caribbean–somehow leaving no survivors on either side.

But why? And what had the facility been researching? A group of popular vigilantes based in California called ‘The Six’ have come to investigate, along with a most unwelcome group of scavengers working for a powerful drug baroness. One member of the Six, Rosebud–called ‘The Georgian’, is plagued by her connection to this baroness, her doubts over her leader’s actions, and by her lack of knowledge concerning one of her teammates, the mysterious ‘Prophet’.

But Rosebud has to keep her head. There are a thousand different dangers in the world she lives in, and something all new and possibly more dangerous than any other hidden within this facility…”

Native Cover.4565429.indd

The Three-Body Problem: SOLVED!

Just in case any mathema-physicists happen to come across this post–no. I have not actually solved the three-body problem. But I have finished a book called ‘The Three-Body Problem’ and drawn a cartoon in which one of the characters in the book solves the problem of their upcoming alien invasion!

Unfortunately, the other characters don’t listen to him. Their loss.

3BP SOLVED

I hope you enjoy my exceedingly imaginative rendering of the Trisolarans as vaguely humanoid shadow-blobs. It took me a whole three seconds to come up with.

(I’m afraid this is it for today, but tomorrow I’ll probably blather on about something else; my concluding thoughts on 3BP, my posting stuff on Wattpad, tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones… the possibilities are endless!)