Monthly Archives: February 2017

This week in the Slacktiverse, February 26th, 2017

(posted by chris the cynic; written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

In Case You Missed This

No submissions this week.

Things You Can Do

No submissions this week.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Roundup for February 24th, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is somewhat surprised at the filling of his social calendar.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip Sandifer: Eruditorium Press

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Vaka Rangi: Eruditorium Press


Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you have yet to discover the perfect balance of everything and are getting to get things aligned. Or for any other reason, really.

The Renegades of Pern: New Discoveries

Last time, we finally reached the end of The White Dragon and got to see the Humiliation Conga Line from Toric’s perspective as his plan for Sharra unraveled. Which means, hooray, new content!

…what do you mean, there’s only four chapters left?

The Renegades of Pern: Chapter XIII: Content Notes:

(Present Pass, 15.10.23)

The new material starts with Piemur and Robinton – Piemur finally mentions Paradise River Hold to Robinton, and we find out that Piemur is officially reassigned as journeyman to Cove Hold by Sebell. Considering his role in getting Toric humiliated, it’s probably a self-preservation thing for Sebell. The two of them discuss all the excavation going on at Landing (which has apparently regained its name?) and how finding artifacts is great for Fandarel and Wansor to reconstruct, but not so great for Robinton, who wants more information about the culture and life of the Ancients. After a little while of Robinton complaining about being too cooped up for his own liking, both he and Piemur get a friendly dragonrider to take them to Paradise River Hold.

Which switches to Jayge’s perspective as the dragon sweeps in, so that we can observe that it’s a green, and Jayge judges it to be older, based on “whitened muzzle and puckering wing scars” (another contradiction to the assessment of Landing about longevity of dragons. Perhaps they show their rider’s age more than their own.) He’s happy to see Piemur, although a bit afraid of the other guests until Piemur reassures him that they are trustworthy.

Aramina faints. According to Jayge, it’s from the shock of hearing dragon voices again, but considering that the promise from D’ram to Toric about more dragons flying over the continent, I would have thought Aramina would have more opportunities to hear dragon voices again. Even though Paradise River is pretty far away from Southern, as best I can tell, Aramina has pretty good range for hearing. That, and with fighting wings attacking Thread, I would expect the mental traffic to increase in volume, number, and tempo. I’d believe it more if it were some form of PTSD that got invoked any time dragons are near, considering how much that talent caused her stress and danger.

As it turns out, Aramina fainted for another reason.

“Jayge,” she said in a low, constricted voice, “I didn’t hear her!”
“You didn’t?” Jayge thought to keep his voice low. “You didn’t?” he repeated with more confidence. “Then why did you faint?”
“Because I didn’t!” In that pained reply, Aramina managed to convey her conflicting emotions to Jayge.
He pulled her into his arms, rocking her gently and murmuring over and over that it was all right. It did not matter if she did not hear dragons anymore. She had no need to. And she must not be afraid. No one would censure her. She must relax and compose herself. Such a shock was not good for the baby.

Well, that’s interesting. I didn’t think there was a known way of suppressing the telepathic talent, or any known instances where it went away with time. Perhaps we can say that Aramina is out of practice enough, or has trained enough to be able to turn it off and on, albeit unconsciously. Then again, she also has a fair of fire-lizards of her own, trained and helpful, as we find out when everyone gets the tour. Robinton is pleased as punch to get to see all of the artifacts and buildings, and suggests sending Perschar (his spy in Thella’s group) to sketch out everything here. He also offers Zair to carry messages back, which both Jayge and Aramina hesitate on, because they’re not sure what their official status is. Robinton dismisses that worry with a statement that two Harper witnesses have seen they’ve established an excellent Hold here and so they’ll happily back the claim they have to Paradise River Hold.

Which is the first time Jayge has heard the name. Aramina suggests Lilcamp Hold as an alternative, but she likes Paradise River as a name. Jayge thinks naming it after himself might be presumptuous, and asks if Robinton could find a way to bring his relatives here, so that the whole family can go to work building the Hold up into something much more impressive. Robinton offers the services of the dragon that he flew in on to get them there. They also go around and mark the boundaries, create official maps and witness them, and otherwise set Jayge and Aramina up as the people in charge of Paradise River Hold.

Robinton says he’ll talk to Lessa about why Aramina can’t hear dragons any more, and suggests that “moving from girlhood to womanhood” might have something to do with it, which is…a possible explanation. If it were true, though, that would suggest that either dragons or Pernese are set up in such a way that once a candidate ages out, the dragons don’t take any more interest on them any more. Another legacy of Kitti Ping, perhaps.

The next scene is Robinton and Piemur at Landing, where Perschar is sent off to Paradise River after mentioning a curious mound that might be a multi-level building. So Robinton and Piemur go over to the Minercraftmaster in charge, Esselin, to request workers to help excavate. They are also joined by Breide, Toric’s representative, who has an eidetic memory for all the contributions of all the workers for all of the excavations, and is reluctant to spare anyone at all to help, but two men are eventually freed to help the Harpers out. After pointing at a thing and telling Breide to go look over where the commotion is, the Harpers and their miners get to work trying to figure out what kind of building they have, but the “rodmen” can’t provide anything useful in the hour they were given – walls and a hollow spot. Once the rodmen leave, Robinton tells Piemur to dig in the hollow spot, even though all the tools are elsewhere. With the help of branches and fire-lizards, Piemur enlarges the hole enough for both of them to go into. There’s some broken glass on the floor, but there’s a big discovery – maps in plastic of all the settlements the Ancients made on the South, and that give a proper scope of how big the continent is. Naturally, Robinton has Piemur help him pull all the maps off the wall and use the fire-lizards to sneak them back to Cove Hold for further study. All that’s left is to act disappointed (with the assistance of an “Out to lunch” sign) and then go back and study the real things with the Benden Weyrleaders, Fort Weyrleaders, Jaxom, Lytol, Fandarel, Wansor, and Sebell.

With the usual caveat that one does not manage to keep written language any more static than spoken language over the course of two thousand years, let’s see what’s been unearthed.

There were two maps of the Southern Continent, each with different legends on them: the largest one was inscribed with the ancient names and showed clearly defined areas. A second showed the terrain in great detail, including hill and plain contours, and river and ocean depths. The third and smallest continental map, the labels done in minute lettering, had superscriptions of numerals below each name. The fourth map was of “Landing” itself, with each of the squares named and other sections marked INF, HOSP, WRHSE, VET, AGRI, and SLED REP. A fifth plate, which Piemur and N’ton suggested could represent the area to the south of the grid, indicated underground caves. The last one showed several sites, one clearly labeled MONACO BAY, another the pointed peninsula just east of Cove Hold, and the third Paradise River. The wide strand along the sea on both sides was covered with figures in orange, yellow, red, blue, and green.

Okay, so on addition to the improbable that they can read the words on the page, that’s five maps where there were supposedly only two, and furthermore, the odds that the systems for notation would be anything compatible in two thousand years of time, much less with as much lost knowledge as there has been in that time, is even more improbable. There should be no way that these maps are comprehensible at all, much less with the ease in which Robinton and everyone around is interpreting them.

Yes, I know, realism in a dragon story. But someone authorial brought this on themselves when they decided this wasn’t just a fantasy place, but a place of science and degradation of that science over time.

In any case, Robinton and Piemur let slip Paradise River Hold’s existence and that it’s inhabited, and then how nice the place is, and finally, who is actually inhabiting it, which makes both Benden Weyrleaders do their Ricky Ricardo (of I Love Lucy) impressions. After all of that gets squared away, and the assembled leaders appear ready to let Jayge and Aramina Hold what they have, Wansor breaks in with the realization that the dragonless Ancients must have had flying machines, since they don’t have any signs of having made trails or tracks for ground travel. Which just means more questions for everyone. Even though they have time-traveling dragons and could just jump their way back and forth to see what’s going on. Lessa and Jaxom both could manage it, especially with Ruth. And if they landed in Moreta’s time, she’d probably join in.

In any case, Jayge and Aramina are confirmed in their hold, which eventually means that Thella learns they’re alive. And we learn that Thella is alive, but much less healthy than before.

Her mind seethed over that now indisputable fact. Aramina had been rescued and was alive and well in the south, enjoying prestige and comfort while she, Thella, had nearly died from a noxious and debilitating infection that had left her scarred. Had either Dushik or Readis reached the appointed meeting place, she would have fared much better. As it was, it had been weeks before she had recovered from the fever.
Weak and unable to focus her mind on new plans, Thella had drifted, carefully avoiding holds until she found herself a secluded valley in Nerat, where quantities of food easily gathered had somewhat restored her to health. She had been appalled at the scarring on her face and the wisps that were all that was left of her once luxuriant hair. All Thella’s misfortunes could be traced back to that whelp spawned by an insignificant trader, who had prevented her from finding a miserable girl who could have made life so much more predictable.
Periodically she had comforted herself with the torments Aramina would have suffered before succumbing to terror and starvation in that dark and slimy pit. She still had to settle accounts with the trader, and she thought long and pleasantly about how she would wreak her revenge on Jayge and the entire Lilcamp train.

And we’re back to the Toric story being nonessential again, because Thella and Aramina and Jayge aren’t done yet. Until the excavation discovers something like, say, a working interface to a computer system left behind by the original colonists, anything not involved with the Thella plot is fluff for wordcount.

In any case, the chapter finishes with Thella swearing her revenge and trying to get enough recruits to sail south. Because Thella is apparently like the mob, and Pern has no such thing as a witness protection program to help people disappear properly, instead of having let the world think they were dead. It’s harder, but we know Thella will succeed eventually and there will have to be a final reckoning in the South. Maybe in the last chapter.

There’s going to be a certain amount of “this is all your fault, Piemur,” I’m guessing, once Thella and crew appear, since Piemur is the initial reason why anybody even knows they’re alive.

Writer Workshop February 22nd, 2017

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!

Open Thread: Mid-Month Check In, February 2017

(by chris the cynic)

What have you been doing of late?  How are you?  Are you still alive?  So forth.

Technically this should have been posted last week.  oops.

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

These two weeks in the Slacktiverse, February 18th, 2017

(posted by chris the cynic; written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

In Case You Missed This

No submissions this week.

Things You Can Do

No submissions this week.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Roundup for February 17th, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is looking very forward to a good time tonight.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip Sandifer: Eruditorium Press

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Vaka Rangi: Eruditorium Press


Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you are boggled at the way in which incompetence and corruption have taken over. Or for any other reason, really.

The Renegades of Pern: Action in the South, finally!

Last chapter, more pieces got moved, dragons died, riders changed, and we got ever closer to the end of The White Dragon and the promise that we might actually go somewhere with this Southern plot.

The Renegades of Pern: Chapter XII: Content Notes:

(Present Pass, 15.10.19)

“Young Lord Jaxom, with Piemur, Sharra, and Menolly, has found a vast settlement, buried under volcanic ash and dirt,” D’ram announced excitedly.

YES!

This is where the story should start, after Jayge and Aramina are done with Thella. It’s a little bit before the end of The White Dragon, so it’s good for getting everyone back up to speed with what happened, since we’ve spent nearly a decade in other Passes, expanding the mythos and exploring origin stories. Now we can come back to the story at hand from a different perspective and charge ahead.

This chapter opens, after the announcement of the discovery, with Toric learning how big things really are on the South, as well as the Hold for Robinton, while hoping that he can hold Benden to promises and negotiate with Sebell about who he will and won’t take for Southern, now that he’s official. Sebell takes the opportunity to quote a fragment of a very old record.

“‘When man came to Pern, he established a good Hold in the South,'” Sebell murmured, his eyes shining almost reverently, “‘but found it necessary to move north to shield.'”

Toric isn’t sure he believes it, but everyone troops over to the dig site in the morning all the same. Not before we get some interesting information, though.

“An older man needs interests that involve him in life. Don’t worry, Sebell.”
“At least about your Master’s health,” Toric said sardonically. “He’s got both Menolly and Sharra, hasn’t he?”
D’ram realized that his mention of Toric’s sister had not been as circumspect as it might have been, just as he also remembered that Menolly was Sebell’s wife.

Wait, when did that happen? I remember Menolly and Sebell having a fire-lizard fling, and Menolly declaring her love for Robinton, and Robinton trying to pass Sebell off on Menolly, but there appears to have been a joining while we were faffing about in the South rehashing another book! Thus, we lose an opportunity to see what sort of ceremony happens when houses get joined, or Crafters marry. It’s a perfect opportunity for worldbuilding and it sailed on by.

As they circle the site, Toric reflects bitterly that he can’t have the whole continent to himself and that he has to let stupid Northerners in. He recognizes that Fax failed because he tried to use fear. He thinks greed works a lot better. Past that, there’s no denying the place was inhabited, but Toric thinks the Ancients were pretty stupid to have built in the shadow of the volcano and out in the open where Thread could get them. Hindsight is always perfect, Toric.

After landing, Toric joins the crew of Craftmasters and Weyrleaders with the intent of stopping encroachment on “his” continent, with a dismissive assessment of Jaxom and the project of excavation. At least until they open up a place and discover artifacts. Then Toric regrets encouraging everyone else, and excuses himself back to Southern.

The action stays with the excavation, with Piemur composing a quick message for Jayge and Aramina, describing what had been found, and gets a short reply before the fire-lizards burst in with Jaxom and Ruth and news of the discovery of the shuttles, which the fire-lizards confirm with imagery of the first settlers arriving, giving us yet more reason to believe that the fire-lizards have a collective memory that outlives each individual one. Assuming, that is, that fire-lizards aren’t as long-lived as the dragons would be without the Impression bond.

Everyone, including Robinton, traipses out again, and the discovery of the maps on the walls of the rooms convinces Piemur that Toric shouldn’t hold the whole continent any more.

Also, somewhere in this time, Toric has kidnapped Sharra, because the next scene starts with Toric in a fight with his other siblings over Sharra and Jaxom. Toric thinks Sharra can match better than the young Jaxom and Ruatha, the siblings think it’s a good match, being to a rider, an intelligent lord, and to someone of her choice, instead of her suppressing her desires for him. Toric dismisses them all with a warning not to interfere, and summons Dorse, Jaxom’s stepbrother (who was mentioned in the last chapter as a person coming south with a good recommendation, but I didn’t think would become important) to stand guard over Sharra, as well as instruct his own fire-lizards in what to do with Sharra’s. Satisfied that Sharra won’t be going anywhere, and thinking he needs to accelerate the plan to be fully confirmed as a Lord Holder, Toric goes to bed.

The next day, Toric goes over to get Jaxom away from Sharra. And now we get to see what happened with Lessa…

“Holder Toric,” the boy said casually, over his shoulder.
“Lord Jaxom,” Toric replied in a drawl that made an insult of a title.
Jaxom turned slowly. “Sharra tells me you do not favor an alliance with Ruatha.”
Toric smiled broadly. This was going to be entertaining. “No, lordling, I do not! She can do better than a table-sized Hold in the North!” He caught the Harper’s surprised look.
Suddenly Lessa, a hint of steel in her eyes, appeared beside Jaxom. “What did I hear, Toric?”
“Holder Toric has other plans for Sharra,” the boy said, more amused than aggrieved. “She can do better, it seems, than a table-sized Hold like Ruatha!”
Toric would have given much to know who exactly had repeated his words to Sharra. “I mean no offense to Ruatha,” he said, catching the flicker of anger in Lessa’s face though her smile remained in place.
“That would be most unwise, considering my pride in my Bloodline and in the present Holder of that title,” the Weyrwoman said.
Toric did not miss the casual tone of her voice.

Wait, hold on. Toric is mad at whomever told Sharra, because somehow that got relayed to Jaxom? When he just insulted Jaxom in front of a Harper (intentionally) and in front of Lessa (unintentionally)? Also, even though he’s small and white, Ruth exists and could be used to make Toric’s life a merry hell. Or bring down dragons who would help with that.

Resuming this uncomfortable situation…

“Surely you might reconsider the matter, Toric,” Robinton said, as affable as ever despite the warning in his eyes. “Such an alliance, so much desired by two young people, would have considerable advantages, I think, aligning yourself with one of the most prestigious Holds on Pern.”
“And be in favor with Benden,” Lessa added, smiling too sweetly.
Toric absently rubbed the back of his neck, trying to keep his smile in place. He felt unaccountably light-headed. The next thing he knew, Lessa had put her arm through his and was escorting him to the privacy of her mound.
“I thought we were here to dig up Pern’s glorious past,” he said, managing a good-natured laugh. His head still swam.
“There’s surely no time like the present,” Lessa continued, “to discuss the future. Your future.”

Ah, there’s that Sith Lord Lessa that I’ve missed for so long, giving Toric a mind-whammy to soften him up so that he can be given everything he has, but not the actual continent itself. Toric talks about what he’s claimed, but, as we know, the meeting is to keep him occupied while Jaxom rescues Sharra. At which point Toric basically loses it.

Toric felt his composure leave him. “You! He thrust his arm out at Jaxom, wanting to do many things at once, especially swat down that — that — impudent excresence. He was livid with the indignation of being under obligation to that — that lordling! That leggy, undeveloped boy! He wanted to rend Jaxom limb from body, but little though the white dragon might be, he was bigger than Toric, stronger than any man, and both dam and sire were not far away. There was nothing Toric could do but swallow his humiliation.

And the rest of this chapter plays out as it did in The White Dragon, with Jaxom getting blessing to marry Sharra and Toric headed back to discuss the size of his actual Hold.

How nice for Toric to finally notice how outgunned he was when things finally blew up in his face with Jaxom and Sharra.

Hooray, we’ve finally made it to the end of the last book in this timeline we left. That means we only have a few chapters left and we will actually start moving forward again from this point. It’s time for some new content! I’m so excited.

Writer Workshop February 15th, 2017

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!

Open Thread: Love or lack thereof

(by chris the cynic)

We live in an imperfect world.  Friendship, which is a really important kind of love, is seldom what we mean when we use the word “love”.  Romantic love, which is what we generally mean when we use the term, has some real problems around it.  People who are seeking it or have found it all too often lack support, people who don’t want it are often pressured in its direction.

Yet for all that things surrounding it are bad, love is generally a good thing and today,  day set aside in honor of at least one of the Saints Valentine (there were so many that at least three of them have associations with this day of the year) is, Chaucer tells us, a day that’s totally about love.

Now we could all brush up on our Middle English and study the poem “Parlement of Foules”, or we could just talk about love, lack of love, things surrounding love, and so forth.

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]