A few years back, when I moved back to Arizona from West Virginia, I was interested in model rocketry, so I already had the idea for the story I’m working on now. I looked up the Superstition Space Modeling society, which at the time was having trouble finding a launch site. I tried again, a few years later, and this time got as far as visiting what was supposed to be their new launch site out west of Phoenix. After much trouble to find the place off in the desert, I found it occupied by an astronomy group, with nary a rocket or rocketeer in sight. I was disappointed, and then COVID 19 came along. So, with the novel reviving, I am again interested in attending a launch. For authorial research purposes. Yes, the society is still active, and yes, they have a launch planned in November, not too far from where the old site was. So think I’m going to try to go. This time, I’m going to call to make sure it’s going to take place when and where It’s supposed to and I have someone to meet.
Monthly Archives: October 2022
Surfacing for Air
The writing is going slow. I’m doing a lot of detail (perhaps too much) on the social structure of the school in my story. I got to a certain point in my star mapping, and decided that it was too easy to get ahead of myself and have to revise later, so I’m slowing that down a bit. In the meantime, I watched “I Used to be Famous” on Netflix, and liked it. I also saw “The School of Good and Evil”, and liked that not so much: It had some nice ideas about good and evil being stereotyped, but otherwise my ideas of good and evil are rather different than in the story.
Where did Friday go?
It went by, I suppose. I took a look at my computer’s time-and-date display and was surprised to see it was Saturday already. I guess it just snuck up on me. I have slow progress on all forms of history; especially since I decided to break down my category of Northeastern US cities into Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, New England and Northeast Plains cities.
I have also begun work on an alternate SF history, a coming-of-age story about a pair of freinds who combine to develop the space program as it should have been. I begin with them starting high school in 1970. Rather than tell about it, I have been advised, I should write it. It’s going slow, but I think I can manage it. Later stories in this same universe will deal with the human exploration and colonization of the Solar system.
I had been working on a historical fantasy, but I want to begin at the beginning, or as close to it as I can get, and I am too far removed in time, space, and culture from East African Paleolithic hunters and gatherers to the story justice, so I’m putting that one back to sleep.
A question on the Traveller Mailing List (devoted to the Traveller role-playing game) about doing it in 3 dimensions revived an old project I had set aside. I am using the AstroSynthesis program by NBOS software for three-dimensional star mapping. I had reached a certain point, and set it aside because it had become unmanageable. I decided to start over. Since I began the first time, various brown dwarfs substars have been identified, and the locations make a difference in the routes and timing of my science fictional colonization. So far, the direction of development is somewhat resembling the early Alliance-Union universe in the work of C. J. Cherryh, in her “Hinder Stars” region. I haven’t yet quite reached Tau Ceti (which is Pell’s Star, in her universe), but I’m getting close. I also haven’t read her latest in that universe “Alliance Rising”, but I might.
Late Classical history #1
This period covered developments 1 AD to 500 AD, although I personally prefer to use CE, for Common Era or Christian Era. The primary focus shifts from the Greek and Hellenistic peoples to Latin peoples. The Italian peoples with the Roman Empire were most prominent. The French peoples are also significant. I am still working back other Latin peoples from later periods. Greek and Hellenistic peoples were also important in this period, but were conquered by the Romans, and were gradually outnumbered and eclipsed in later periods. Germanic peoples also appeared in written history, as they were contested by the Romans. British peoples also appeared. Northeast European and Nordic peoples are less well known.
Among Persian peoples, the Parthian empire was succeeded by the Sassanian empire. In Anatolia and in Egypt, the Eastern Roman empire prevailed. From this point on, Oriental peoples began to outweigh those of South Asia. In China, the Han empire was followed by the Jin. In South Asia, there were the Indo-Parthian, Kusha, and Gupta empires.
In Ethiopia, there was the kingdom of Axum, and the peoples of interior East Africa were also significant. I am still working back interior Western Africa, In South Africa, Bantu speaking peoples were continuing to move into the region.
I still do not yet have details for Middle American Indian, South American Indian, or North American Indian peoples.
From this point on, I have more information for particular religions. Abrahamic religion began to displace Pagan religion. Asian religion was also important. Secularism was barely noticeable, except that it began to have an influence on Christianity.
Now I’ve Gone and Done It
That is, restarted a writing project. A few years ago, inspired by the Traveller role-playing game, I envisioned an alternate history in which the efforts to achieve low-cost space travel were more successful and done by private enterprise than NASA. The project got too complex too quickly. I was attempting a NaNoWriMo compeition, and my writing pace fell behind. I kept the idea. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year…but I’m bringing my own project back from the dead to work on at my own pace.
I should have my next installment of world history (Late classical) ready to put up tomorrow. And, since I just can’t leave it alone, I’m also working on a draft for Version 2 of early prehistory.
While I’m Working
I got about halfway through my next period of classical history, the late classical period, when I fell down a rabbit hole. An e-mail message on a list I follow reawoke an old interest in SF role playing, the Traveller, in particular, which I had set aside because I was unhapply with 2-dimensional mapping. I had tried out a program named Astrosynthesis, and mapped out about 100 nearby stars, but set this project aside for a while. I still have it. I also tried out some mapping on the Cosmographer addition to my Campaign Cartographer, and there fell into a problem where I couldn’t figure out how to save certain changes I made. This is where I ask for help, I think.
Early Classical History #1
Beginning in this period, I have chosen to shift the primary emphasis from Asiatic peoples to Western Civilization. This was the period of the classical Greeks. Other Balkan peoples were present, but these are being examined in later periods for now. Latin peoples were also important: The recorded history of Rome also dates to this period, but again, will be considered later. Other European peoples also began to emerge from obscurity.
Middle Eastern peoples were still the most advanced and influential. Persian peoples remained important. Egypt and Mesopotamia were at first under Persian rule, and then came under Greek and Roman rule. India and Pakistan were influenced by Greeks and Persians, and the Mauryan empire arose. In China, the Warring States period ended and first the Qin empire, then the Han empire became prominent.
African peoples are being traced, largely because they were important in earlier periods. In Ethiopia, the poorly known kingdom known as D’mt was present, but there were also significant peoples in Interior East Africa. I am starting to consider Interior West Africa. In South Africa, it is believed that Bantu-speaking groups began to enter, but since African peoples were generally less developed than their Asian or European counterparts, I have not yet examined them in sufficiently close detail.
Slow to go
Although I have been working on the review of early classical history, this has been going slower than I wanted. For one, the review of African and American Indian peoples took longer than I expected. I have also been working on what I call the lower end of the Knowledge Base, most productively on the inter connections of the areas I call anthropology. For a third, I was working toward New York City as a target for historical investigation.
So, I’ve watched all of the first season of the Rings of Power. I don’t think it lives up to the hype, but it’s not a complete turkey. I’d give it a rating of three stars out of five.
The sixth and final entry of a series I’ve been reading, the “Ageless Mysteries” by Vanessa Nelson came out. This is a sort of police procedural in a fantasy realm, where the heroine is a city watchman who is tasked with investigating a series of murders and other crimes, many of them involving magic, in a city which is ruled by a class of powerful winged beings known as the Ageless. I can’t say much about it without giving spoilers, but I considered it a decent read. The machinations, motives, and fates of the principal antagonists, were finally revealed, and their ends satisfactory. I expected the relationship between Thea and her closest supporter to turn romantic, and it didn’t. Three starts of out of five, for plot threads not quite resolved, and not quite credible politics among the Ageless.
Fiction series review: The Chained Adept
This 4-book fantasy series by Karen Myers, begins with “The Chained Adept.” In a magical accident when the heroine, a wizard called Penrys, is teleported to a distant continent, where she instantly defends a wizard called Zandaril from a magical attack. Penrys was found about three years ago, naked except for an unremovable golden chain around her neck, and with no memory, by a wizard at the wizard Collegium of Ellech. She had been found to have a powerful magical talent and some training outside the traditions of the Collegium, taken in, and give the title of Adept. She falls in with the wizard she defended who has been sent from his home nation of Zannib to assist another nation, the Kigali, to find what out what is behind a local invasion by a third nation, the Rasesni.
In the second book, “Mistress of Animals”, after defeating the threat in the first book, Penrys and Zandaril, whose true name was revealed as Najub, attempt to visit his home clan in Zannib. Their visit is interrupted when a disaster struck a neighboring clan. Most of the animals, and the people belonging to the clan have disappeared, except for a few wandering scattered survivors who do not know exactly what happened to the rest. Penrys and Najub trace the trouble to another chained wizard, the Mistress of Animals of the title, and are married.
In the third book, “Broken Devices” Penrys and her husband Najub are summoned by the emperor of the Kigali, to find that there has been a virtual plague of these memory-less chained wizards scattered around the world.
In the fourth, “On A Crooked Track” Penrys returns to Ellech along with Najub to investigate the mysterious origins of the chained wizards.
To be brief, I liked the series. Much of its delight comes from its intricate world building and the mysteries that are encountered and solved, hence my care to avoid as many spoilers as possible.
Although I am personally interested in the sciences, I decided several years back that trying to build my knowledge of the world from the bottom up wouldn’t work. Too often I lacked motivation or reason to concentrate on particular topics, so I started to work from the top down, with history. This is working better for me.
In this version of the Knowledge Base, I have reached a point where history is connecting to science. This is more useful for science than it it is for history, because examination of the particular sciences being with history.
I like to start at the beginning, with prehistory. At present, this needs connection to areas of culture, especially areas of material culture. This also involves the examination of history, especially modern history, For the 19th century I am able to roughly review the status of archaeological research among major peoples and somewhat correlate this with the major peoples of prehistory. I plan to proceed along the same lines for the 20th century and 21st centuries in general.
Although it is tempting to begin a rewrite of early prehistory already, using additional connections and developments I have made while working with history in general the periods of antiquity, I think it will be more useful to continue forward.
To this end, I am reviewing the connections to classical and medieval history. From this point onward, I will be concentrating on Western Civilization more than Asiatic peoples, and among Asiatic peoples, more on the Oriental peoples of China, Japan, and Korea more than South Asia. It may take a day or few to work through the connections of nations and peoples, social mechanics and social institutions of classical and medieval history. Since I don’t have a whole lot to say about these because they till too abstract and not very interesting to talk about, I may fill in with references to books and things.