Author Topic: War of the Second Iteration  (Read 11150 times)  

Offline Thomas Watson

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War of the Second Iteration
« on: June 23, 2012, 08:43:43 pm »


The Human Commonwealth of Worlds had colonized their small corner of the galaxy for almost four centuries before an intelligent non-human species was encountered. During that time hundreds of stellar systems were settled in an effort to spread life out into the Great Void, creating a thriving culture shared by flesh and blood people and machine minds known as Artificials, vast intellects that opened the way to the stars for the Human species. The economics of scarcity and want are ancient history, and illness and old age have been banished. The Commonwealth is a civilization at peace with itself, but it is all Humanity knows.

Like many citizens of the Commonwealth, the crew of the probeship William Bartram has come to believe Humanity is alone in the galaxy. Then they meet the Leyra'an. In that encounter they find an unsettling mystery, for the Leyra'an are so similar to Humans that it defies both science and belief.

But before the crew of the probeship can investigate this mystery, there is a darker and far more dangerous matter before them. Someone else met the Leyra'an first, and started a war.


The War of the Second Iteration depicts a future in which economics as we know it has come to an end, and Human civilization pursues other priorities. The Great Age of Changes in which we now live has long since become something like an asymptotic curve, along which change, both technological and social, comes gradually, slowed in part by the length of time required for a change to spread through the vastness of Human civilization. Humanity spreads steadily outward from star to star, colonizing star systems and bringing life to lifeless places, while preserving native life when they find it. These goals are shared by Humans and the descendants of artificial intelligence, beings known simply as the Artificials. This is the beginning of the story of how this long, quiet episode in the history of the Human species comes to a sudden end, and how Humanity and its allies fight to defend what they have become, and what they hope one day to be.

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    Thomas,

    Welcome again to the Book Bazaar and congratulations on your book!  

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    Offline Thomas Watson

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    A question many writers dread is "How do you think this stuff up? Where do the ideas come from?" Understandable questions, but difficult (if not impossible) to answer.

    In the case of The Luck of Han'anga, I received this question as a variation on the theme. An early reader of the story wanted to know how I dreamed up the names of the Leyra'an and the words and phrases of their language that I sprinkled through the tale. In this case, there's a solid answer that at least describes the seed that grew into the look and feel of Leyra'an words and phrases. Years before I started writing this story my wife and I made several trips to the Navajo Nation, which sprawls across the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. These were amazing journeys, visits to a landscape and a culture that seemed not of the world as we know it. Hearing the Dineh speak their native tongue, one difficult for Anglos to learn, I realized I'd found a model for a truly alien language. I decided to use that model in telling the tale of the Second Iteration, and the war that changes the course of its history.

    As the years passed and the story evolved, the seed planted by the speech of the Dineh (who we call Navajos) evolved into something quite different. That's as it should be. The Leyra'an are creatures of my imagination, after all. They are not the Dineh, and should not speak that tongue. And yet that is how it all began, with the sounds of a people speaking a language uniquely their own, in landscape you need to see to believe.

    TW

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    During an email exchange with an acquaintance a few days ago I received a hearty congratulation over the publication of my first novel, and also a bit of a surprise. Although this person is interested in seeing what I've done, she wants to wait until more than one book in the series is published before starting it. When I asked why this was seen as necessary, I received an answer that I found quite curious, even as it made a certain amount of sense.

    Seems she has purchased the first book of more than one intended, self published ebook series, only to have no second book ever appear. In one case, at least, it's been more than three years. Rather than be left hanging this way again, she lets a series accumulate a book or two beyond the initial installment, just to see for certain that the author is committed to completing the story. This policy is being applied to my book because she really doesn't know me at all. This is the friend of a friend on Facebook, and we've never met in "real life."

    I've yet to encounter this problem, myself, but I can easily imagine it happening. Many people of many different sorts are being drawn to the idea of modern-day self publishing. There are no doubt a few of these who are attracted to the notion of being an author without having a slightest clue about what they're getting into. I would not be at all surprised to learn that, having gotten Book One out, that was as much of the writing life as they cared to endure. Not very fair to a reader who picks up Book One, of course, and if this sort of thing happens with any frequency at all I would not be in the slightest surprised that my friend-of-a-friend is just one of many readers who waits for Book Two.

    In my case there will indeed be a Book Two. I promise. It's already been written. The title will be Founder's Effect, and the manuscript is currently in the hands of beta readers. I fully expect to be doing a bunch of revisions when that part of the cycle is complete, and then there will be copy editing to deal with, but when all is said and done, the book should be ready for Kindle in mid-to-late Autumn of this year. (2012, to be specific.)


    Offline Thomas Watson

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    The Human Commonwealth, introduced in The Luck of Han'anga, has its roots in the very end of what its people call the "Time of Changes," the very period in history in which we now live. The Human species had managed to establish a not quite sustainable presence in the solar system when conditions on Old Earth took a dramatic turn for the worse. As nations collapsed and wars were fought over scarce resources, the people living off world were faced with a terrible choice: return to a world that might well be lethal for them, and for their children, or make their nascent space-born civilization truly self-sufficient. They chose the later course. During their struggle to survive the usual concepts of economics were replaced by the desperate need to keep as many people alive as possible. Failure to share a resource might mean the death of a person who had a skill that would keep you alive. In an environment more hostile than any colonized by Humans before, old rules and ways proved a liability, and were soon abandoned. From this seed grew a civilization heavily dependant on automated resource extraction and processing systems, capable of producing necessities more quickly and efficiently than could be done by Human workers alone. It was a civilization in which a person's worth was judged not by how much they could accumulate, but by the way they enhanced the overall survival of Humanity in space. It proved a cultural bottleneck through which many things we think of as normal today did not pass.

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    A common complaint by critics of science fiction is the frequent use of nonhuman characters who are nonetheless so very human. In the case of television or movies a snarky reference is often made to "central casting." To be sure, television in particular makes too little effort to create truly alien beings. However, as the various incarnations of Star Trek and, more recently, Star Gate SG-1 show, it's possible to employ the resemblance to human beings as part of the story. There's a reason 'they' look so much like us, act so much like us. It's not a cop out, but part of the imagined universe created to entertain us. Those similarities can be a major element of the story. And so it is with the mystery presented to Humanity by their neighbors the Leyra'an. How could these people be so much like us? What are the chances? How did it happen?

    There's only one way to find out.

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will be attended CopperCon 32 over the Labor Day weekend. If you live in the Phoenix Metro area and are planning to attend, watch for me on panels and wandering the halls. Say hello!

    http://www.casfs.org/cucon/cu32/Hotel.php

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Since becoming an indie author I've found myself doing many things that otherwise never would have occurred to me, such as book layout and cover design. I've come to have a powerful appreciation for the power of PhotoShop Elements 10, believe me. Going into this, I figured on learning what I needed to produce the books I wrote. So much of what I'm picking up along the way will be very useful in other pursuits. A bonus!


    Offline Thomas Watson

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    I'll be attending CopperCon, a Phoenix (Arizona) area regional sci-fi convention held over the Labor Day weekend. I'll be there Friday and Saturday. I've volunteered for a couple of panel discussions, and requested an opportunity to do a reading, so I should be easy to find if you are there. I'll even have a few POD copies of Luck of Han'anga available to sell. Look for me if you're planning to attend!

    http://www.casfs.org/cucon/cu32/index.html

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Although the universe of the Second Iteration is in many ways an improvement over our present day, it isn't perfect. It isn't a Utopia. Far from it. While the economics of acquisition that dominate our times and politics are a thing of the past, and other priorities dominate society, humans being humans, they find plenty of ways to play out the ol' primate dominance thing. Which is just as well. I doubt I could find any truly interesting, much less compelling, tales to tell in a perfect world!

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    A panel in which I will participate at the upcoming CopperCon addresses the question of creating nonhuman characters, imaginary beings that represent something other than another iteration of human desires and failings. In other words, our priorities and theirs have few, or no, commonalities. It's an interesting question to be sure, but in considering it I find my thoughts overshadowed by a bigger one: can this even be done? Is it possible to create characters in fiction that have nothing in common with humanity, and still have a story to tell? What would be the consequenced of meeting such beings?Could we communicate with them at all? Would we even recognize them as intelligent beings? Or would we simply pass each other by, none the wiser?

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    CopperCon 32 was, for me, a big step forward. It's currently a small, local convention with more than 250 members, and I didn't sell a pile of books, there. But I began the process, a long one no doubt, of reconnecting with the world of science fiction fandom, a renewal that will be vital for the success of my writing endeavor. In a very brief time a large number of potential readers met me face-to-face and learned about the series I'm writing. The meeting, panels, and general interactions were also a lot of fun.

    As for selling books, I sold and signed but one. (Not counting review copies, here, or swaps with other indie authors). The next day I came across the man who picked it up and thanked him again for taking a chance on the book, then expressed the hope that he would enjoy it.

    "I did," he said.

    He had started reading it the evening he purchased the copy and got into it enough that he just read through the whole thing. And wanted to know when book two was due out.

    I'm going to take this as a good sign.  ;D

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Last week, while clearing some old files, I came across a fat folder containing four short stories. I wrote these in the late 1990s, submitting them to the few outleft for short science fiction and fantasy still alive at that time. Of course, the thought immediately came to mind that I could polish them up and publish them myself, as others have done with short fiction. To my surprise, one of these stories turned out to be the root of the tale that became The Luck of Han'anga! I'd forgotten this early incarnation of the Second Iteration universe. As curious as the changes made since that story was set down are the many elements that remained the same. This story out of the four will be cleaned up (and made to conform to the current story arc) and published first. The working title is "Long Time Passing." I'll announce its release here when the time comes.

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    I'm starting to hear from beta readers, and have made progress on rewriting the story that set the roots of the Second Iteration universe. Book three is written and on the back burner, and currently lacks a meaningful working title. With any luck at all - and assuming I can avoid further dental work - the short story will be out by early November, just in time for TusCon 39 here in Tucson. Founders' Effect - War of the Second Iteration, Book Two - I hope to have available before the end of the year. Small steps forward, aided and abetted by a few book sales along the way. Your continued interest and support is appreciated!

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Excerpt

    Living worlds, as defined by the presence of self-regulating biospheres, were orders of magnitude rarer than expected, and Robert had yet to be part of a mission to such a place. Of other intelligent species no trace had ever been found. There were those, and Robert was one, who had given up, who believed that the evolution of intelligence was the rarest of accidents, so rare that Humanity might as well be alone in the galaxy.

    And now he knew he was wrong about that. Humanity was not unique. Mother of Life, he whispered at the end of these ruminations, reaching back to his upbringing a little more fervently. He truly did not know what to think.

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Excerpt

    The stars were cold and hard and vastly distant around him, and the node, to the senses of the shipminds gravity sensors, was a swirl of distortion, an illusory whirlpool that seemed to churn slowly in the fabric of the Void, and yet did not move at all. Stars seen through the node were reduced to faint arcs of light. Through the center of the node was their access to the matrix of all dimensions, including those few perceived by the minds of organic beings. Robert knew that, in the transition, he would blink yet again. The augmented senses of a probeship pilot were no more adept at perceiving the ultimate meshwork of time and space than ordinary Human eyes.

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    I will be at TusCon 39, this year, right here in Tucson, AZ.

    November 9 - 11.

    http://www.tusconscificon.com/index.html

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Revisions have begun on Book Two, Founders' Effect.

    In the mean time, there's still time - 11 days - to enter the Goodreads giveaway for The Luck of Han'anga. Five signed copies are up for grabs!

    http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/34090-the-luck-of-han-anga

    After all, you'd give in and go for a paper book if it has the author's scrawl in it. Wouldn't you?

     ;)

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Offline Thomas Watson

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    Offline Thomas Watson

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    TusCon 38 will be held this coming weekend. On Saturday night I will do a reading from my science fiction novel, The Luck of Han'anga. The paperback version of the book will be for sale in the vendor's room for $13.99.

    http://tusconscificon.com/index.html
    « Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 06:18:51 am by Thomas Watson »

    Offline telracs

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    TusCon 39 will be held this coming weekend. On Saturday night I will do a reading from my science fiction novel, The Luck of Han'anga. The paperback version of the book will be for sale in the vendor's room for $13.99.

    http://tusconscificon.com/index.html

    Getting ready for TusCon 38.

    http://tusconscificon.com/public_html/content/schedule.html

    38 or 39?

    Offline Steph H

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    Hey Tom, as you know I'll be at the other trade show convention thingy in Tucson rather than TusCon 3X, but bring a copy of both books to breakfast Saturday morning, m'kay?  I want personalized personal autographs...  ;D
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    Offline telracs

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    Hey Tom, as you know I'll be at the other trade show convention thingy in Tucson rather than TusCon 3X, but bring a copy of both books to breakfast Saturday morning, m'kay?  I want personalized personal autographs...  ;D

    where's mine?

    Offline Thomas Watson

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    38 or 39?


    39


    Living in the past, again...

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