Copy-What Now?


Seems it’s about time to do one of these again. I don’t think my position has particularly changed, but some of these thoughts are worth restating, at least from my point of view. Look away now if you disagree!

Copyright. When you think about it, it’s kind of an odd idea. It has a pleasing emotional sense, right up until you end up on the wrong end of it, or think a little too hard. According to the simple explanation on the government’s website, copyright

  • prevents people from copying your work
  • prevents people from distributing your work
  • prevents people from renting or lending your work
  • prevents people from performing, showing, etc. your work in public
  • prevents people from adapting your work
  • prevents people from putting your work on the Internet

You get it automatically and don’t need to make any note of this, and it lasts decidedly longer than you’re going to be alive, since the term is “life plus…”. It propagates to other countries by a variety of international agreements, so is in effect around a pretty big chunk of the world.

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Sometimes I Even Review Them


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The only reason I don’t often recommend books is that I rarely know what to say about them. Reviewing can be something of an art, and I learnt mine on FanFiction.Net aeons ago (and emphatically not under my current name), where reviews are primarily for the benefit of the story’s author, rather than another reader. What do I tell other people like me about a book, other than “Hey, you might like this”?

But I have quite a few really good books, having had plenty of time to build up my collection, and I really would like to share them with others. Recently I re-read one of my favourites, having just got it back from the friend I lent it to. This book gave one of my favourite RPG characters her name: Captain Kaylen Myrilesse — but even if I was permitted to talk about her, which I sadly am not, that would be entirely too much of a digression.


Glenda Noramly / Glenda Larke

The world is coming apart. But that’s normal: it has been for countless generations. Eight islands of stability are all that remain of the half-mythical country of Malinawar, and beyond their borders, chaos stretches: a world half unmade, the Unstable. Ever-changing, never entirely the same from day to day, the Unstable is a place in flux. Across it run ley lines, dangerous ribbons of pure power unleashed from the world in its destruction. The ley-lit can see them, sense them, perhaps even command them — the ley-unlit can only be tainted by them, transformed into strange and twisted half-humans, but still with the minds of the people they were before.

Keris Kaylen is the daughter of Master Mapmaker Piers Kaylen, whose life is dedicated to mapping and remapping the ever-shifting Unstable. In secret she draws her father’s maps, bound from ever following in his footsteps by the stifling, unchanging Rule that is humanity’s best attempt to maintain order and stability amidst the ever-encroaching chaos. When her father is slain by a Minion of the Unmaker and his effects returned to his family, she discovers the reason for his death: he had come into possession of an artefact beyond price, a map that could change the world.

The broken lands of Malinawar are sketched for us with a light, deft touch that enables the mind’s eye to colour between the lines, sacrificing neither detail nor pace. Even minor characters typically escape two-dimensionality, with their own lives and desires hinted at beyond the necessarily limited confines of their appearance in Keris’ story, and the wider world of the Eight Stabilities continues to move along its orderly track in between her sightings of it. Malinawar’s history is shrouded in chaos, yet the curtains of the past shift just enough to gain glimpses of it here and there, and to wonder.

Havenstar has long been one of my favourite books, and I absolutely recommend reading it if you can get your hands on a copy. It seems to mostly be out of print, but Amazon (of course…) are still selling it (albeit at a high price), though the author has since changed her pen name to Glenda Larke and I prefer the cover of my original copy. (Both links go to Amazon; the second is the listings for the old version, which can be extremely cheap used but runs the risk of, well, being a used book.)

And I’ve now discovered that she’s written a lot of other books since then… *vanishes into a book hole*

Horizon Mission



So there it is. At last we know the purpose and destination of the vast starship that is Lindsi’s home. It’s been travelling for hundreds of years, long enough for its people to stop caring about their destination, long enough to become another self-contained little world all its own. The Ship remembers its mission, but the people aboard do not.

Generations have passed, out there in space. Beneath the vaulted, sky-mimicking ceilings of the Habitat Domes and in the halls and corridors, people have been born and lived and grown old and died. They’re missing a lot that they don’t even know they’re missing — how could they, never having known it? Animals other than a very small number of medium-sized pets are essentially unknown: other than humans and pets, the only residents are bacteria, fungi, plants, and a few modified insects and suchlike, necessary to keep the soil ecosystem ticking over. Even they cause more than enough trouble when they periodically escape into the rest of the Ship and have to be eradicated.

That the Ship has a destination isn’t unknown. What it is and where it is, or how far away it is, is almost entirely forgotten. As far as the residents are concerned, the Ship has been travelling long enough that it might as well forever, and will presumably be continuing for just as long.

But the day has come when that’s no longer true. The Ship’s wide-flung telescope array can actually visually resolve its destination planet, and soon they’ll be entering the solar system. The generations-long Horizon Mission is finally nearing its end. And what will this mean for the Ship and its people…?

Captain on Bridge!


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Tuesday brings us another chapter of The Fused, and there’s one final surprise in store for Lindsi and our narrator! The list of questions will be complete by the end of Chapter 31: Captain on Bridge. And it’s here in the command centre of the Ship where maybe, just maybe, at least some of the answers can be found. At the very least, the first thing they find here will be a good start.

Generating all these links is the worst part, because after typing them in enough times, they stop looking like words any more! But now it’s time for a different one: I’m not the only person posting serials on a Tuesday, and to find a few others, check out… though the site won’t update with this week’s stories until well into Wednesday!

Oh yes, and I had to edit Chapter 9: Solar Strip slightly to fix an erroneous description of the Bridge that had survived from an early conception of the Ship. Nothing major has changed, but I’d feel bad if I didn’t note that there had been an edit.

Building Worlds


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I don’t think my writing process has really changed all that much, but the longer I keep doing this, the more of what was once subconscious becomes accessible to my conscious mind. The old “I have a feeling this is going somewhere” or “This isn’t going to work out” feelings about things I was writing — which were usually pretty accurate; it’s not that I was any more wrong than usual — have become steadily more nuanced until I’ve started to be able to unpack them into why.

Take Dayna, for example. She’s now rapidly pulling ahead in the NaNo stakes, because realising that I needed to do First Contact, well, first spurred me on to finally think about and start to untangle all the various aspects of the First Contact story, and that, like designing the blueprints for a building, is letting me see at least some of what this construction could look like — and what it could look like is good.

[[Spoilers, spoilers.]] Continue reading

The Wrong Story


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I was debating making alterations to Dayna’s story, or at least to which part of it I used as a NaNo candidate, and I decided to talk some of it over with a friend. Talking (or typing, since it was an online conversation) forces me to put my thoughts and feelings into words, which helps me define what I’m really thinking. In this case it crystallised the whole general sense I had that something just wasn’t complete, didn’t go deep enough: that I was thinking of telling the wrong story.

The tale I was planning to tell is complete enough in and of itself, but it starts in the wrong place and is either irrelevant or repetitive in relation to the grand arc of the Federation’s overall plot. It’s a story best told later, as a tie-in that explores some previously offscreen events in greater depth. Writing the first Federation stories to be released to the world means I need to be writing on the Grand Arc.

[[Spoilers Ahoy!]] Continue reading