Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Things are moving again...


I know it has been a bit quiet over here since my injury a few weeks ago, but I am making progress on things and hope to have a few things to share with you all soon. I've decided to add a few new things to the first Zeelia pdf to help round it out a bit more, so that's coming along nicely. I also have a couple of new Wermspittle stories about to go out the door, so wish me luck with those...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Martha (Writing Prompt 105)

Martha’s smile was dangerous. It wasn't the three rows of needle-sharp teeth she inherited from her mother. No. It wasn't the clear green venom that trickled across her pointed tongue. No. What made Martha's smile incredibly dangerous was the way she pouted her lips all luscious and lascivious and hungry-like. Blending appetite and avarice came easy to her, as it did for all her kin on her father's side. She rarely needed to do much else, just stand there in the usual pose, wearing the expected minimum, oh so pedestrian, all too conventional--it worked, so she didn't complain. There was always time to wear something else or to assume a more comfortable position when the screaming, the bleeding and the devouring was over. She liked it better when they thrashed about a bit. It almost made up for the damned shoes with those ridiculous heels...



Ganymeder writes the Pinholes serial, among other wonderful things and they also post a Weekly Writing Prompt. This short-short is inspired by Writing Prompt #105.

Experiment IV


Just testing things out a bit. I wanted to see how this graphic would scale for the blog. Needs a little work...but it might work. Okay. Back to work...

Zeelia: Datadex Node (Appendix)

Datadex Node:
An Appendix for Zeelia
Scalehounds



A Collection of Episodes 1-20 of Zeelia: Coming Soon!

Datadex: Jarpha

Datadex: Jarpha
Jarpha   (Jar-FAH)
Their origins were forcibly redacted during the Precious Imperium. Thus no one knows where the Jarpha came from, only where they have been. Their Progenitors gave them an immune system that prevents the Jarpha from engaging in cybernetic enhancement beyond the self-replicating support-mechanisms already deeply integrated into their cores that supply them with their armor, primary weapons and basic tools which they grow from feed-stocks absorbed through their root-like feet. They are heavily imprinted with a very narrow range of intrinsic skills making each individual Jarpha a competent member of the infantry.

The Jarpha utilize special birth-vats to mass-produce themselves, however they are each individually capable of bearing a squad of replacement units independently of the vats. A single Jarpha can re-spawn an entire regiment, given enough time. Scholars have argued for centuries as to whether the Jarpha are actually clones, or some other order of being. To those facing them in battle, it is a moot point; what matters is that the Jarpha can always opt to play the long game, it only takes one survivor to begin the process of rebuilding their forces. They prefer to employ overwhelming force wherever possible, even if it means taking the time to amass suitable numbers of troops, and they are rarely deterred by the threat of massive casualties.

The Jarpha have a presence on many, many worlds even as they serve many, many masters as mercenaries who have few qualms about whatever tasks they are assigned. Each individual may well grumble, as is the lot and wont of all soldiers, but as a group, the Jarpha are pragmatic fatalists who know that so long as one of them survives, they will eventually prevail. They can afford to be patient.

Heavy, ponderous beings suited to a wide-range of environments, gravities and circumstances, the Jarpha are capable of functioning violently within the majority of worlds, moons or habitats located within the Classical Humanocentric Life Zones.

Sometimes described as resembling bipedal hippopotamuses with some distinctly batrachian traits, the Jarpha are notorious for not having dreams, at least not as other species recognize them. The Jarpha are unique in how they seem to be devoid of that part of the psyche most often labelled as the 'Id.' Their subconscious is strictly regulated, organized and operates within an extremely narrow range of experience, making their minds highly resistant to outside tampering or deception. This strange trauncated aspect of their minds have made the Jarpha one of the few humanoid species that have successfully made inroads on various 'demonworlds' where ancient psychic weapons and technologies have been left running amok for eons.




Monday, July 7, 2014

Zeelia: Cover-Test


Here's the cover for Zeelia (Episodes 1-20), as it currently stands.
I'm in the process of getting the text portion of the thing wrangled into place now...
And yes, that is a Jarpha on the cover...

365 Tomorrows: Not That Easy

I have a (really) short story that was accepted and published over at 365 Tomorrows.

It's titled Not That Easy.

Check it out if you're interested.

Quick Update (July 2014)

Yes, I've been busy wrapping-up a lot of work on projects that have been languishing on the desk for far too long.  No, I have not abandoned Zeelia. Far from it. I'm working on the cover art today for the compilation of Episodes 1-20. I'm taking the opportunity to revise the entries so that they can breathe a little bit better and are not quite so compressed as a few have gotten in the past. I also am writing-up a short prologue piece to help set things into motion. The finished pdf will go up to DriveThruFiction once my wonderful in-house editor has had a chance to go over it a couple of times with a fine-tooth comb. I'll also take a shot at converting it into some other formats using Scrivener, so we'll see how that turns out. If anyone has a suggestion as to another venue I should consider for the first Zeelia compilation, please let me know either via comments or email: garrisonjames64 -at- Gmail. Thanks!

Once the compilation is done and out there, I plan on returning to Zeelia for another run, sticking with the 8-sentence structure for Weekend Writing Warriors and doing a follow-up compilation, if the series continues to do well.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (20)

Dark water swallowed them both, her knife buried deep in the mercenary's fleshy throat. She clutched the thing's collar and forced it down, down into the pool. She took its trench-knife and stabbed it, leaving hers in-place. This one struggled more. Fore-warned, it wasn't surprised, but it was drowning and bleeding and dying just the same. She let go of the collar and reclaimed the first knife just as a wild swing with its tail-mace tore her loose in a billowing cloud of blood. She kicked for the surface. This time she ran.



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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (19)

Lungs nearly bursting, nostrils burning, she broke surface and slipped out of the deceptively deep pool on the opposite side from where she had lain in wait. The trench-knife clipped into place on her hip, freeing her hands. She chose a likely-looking tree, actually some kind of gigantic celery-like fern-thing, and started climbing. Once high enough, and sufficiently covered by the thing's bracts, blades and burrs, she waited while the rain cleared the blood and scum from her armor and hair. Hoping against hope to get lucky at least once more, before the analysts realized that she wasn't going to play by their scrupulously codified and sanitized rules. There--A lone figure half-slid, half-stumbled down the muddy embankment. All the data and analysis in all the worlds can't make someone think when it matters; the Jarpha leaned in to try and see into the scummy pool. The wind felt good as she fell with the rain, her stolen trench-knife poised to strike.



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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (18)

Blades, spades and blunt-force trauma were equated to the three fingers of a Jarpha's hand; the thumb was usually relegated to logistics. Full-service mercenaries, their Administrator-General bragged that they offered a complete range of tactical options suited to a wide range of situations, so long as their missions were limited to mid-scale human-livable environments and were focused on close-quarters, low-impact/no-footprint sorts of operations. These were the troops you sent into jungles, swamps and treacherous terrain where other units would get bogged-down or hacked to pieces by the locals. She knew all of this, having made a study of Dunstanovich's Posthumously Annotated Regulations and Commendations of Field-Level Commanders (Vol. III) that she had copied into her secondary, encrypted data-node before leaving Corazune. A prudent investment--what was that?

A Jarpha slipped and slid awkwardly down the same slope as she had. It floundered, struck a rock, bounced to the left, landed face-down and kept sliding. She scrambled up, out of the mud and helped the Jarpha slide farther, deeper, right into the scummy pool. Down, down, down she forced the thing, doing her best to avoid its slapping, thrashing tail-mace; making sure she was observed by it's onboard systems as she pulled out its own trench-knife and jabbed it in the face and neck until it went limp.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (17)

Their aerostat was less than useless in the misty drizzle, so the Jarpha were slogging through the mud, bitching about the weather as they went, like every other unit of infantry has done since the days of rocks and sticks. They didn't waste much time examining the craters and carnage where they'd taken-out some locals. Once it was confirmed that their target wasn't among the bodies they set off in slow pursuit, each one stomping along through the mist, muck and rain pissing down on everything. The Scale-Hounds hissed and frolicked in the rain; their sense of smell all but useless now.

Battle-tested cynics, the Jarpha embraced the principles of implacability and inevitability, patience and persistence were their watch-words, the core of the warrior-creed deeply imprinted into their flesh and blood. Like bloody-handed conquistador-archaeologists on a recently appropriated dig site; they followed a grid, methodically plodding along and letting their onboard observation-modules take a meticulous record of everything as they went along. That was standard operating procedure in this sort of environment; they let the analysts back at their staging area try to make sense of it all, piece together some strategic recommendations. Tactically-minded, the Jarpha were in their element; in the dirt, on the move, ready and raring to get into a fight. 




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (16)

Mist rose from the saturated soil, further obscuring her position. Off in the distance frog-things croaked, bug-things chirruped or chittered. Then suddenly there was only the sound of the blood-warm rain pitter-patting into the fronds and leaves and soggy, boggy ground. They were close; really close. She froze, then caught herself and began to consciously relax her muscles like she had been taught; going rigid presented a more recognizable pattern than staying loose. Jarpha knew what to look for; they were old hands at this sort of thing. Their complacency was something that she might once again be able to turn to her advantage, that and the terrain. With a feral grin on her lips, she closed her eyes and let her senses extend freely into the undergrowth in search of her nearest possible opportunity for mischief.



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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (15)

Gravy-like sludge slipped from under her boots, moss gave way when she grabbed it. She slid down a curved embankment, struck a rock, hit a rotting log that flipped her onto her back. A massive cluster of two-toned ferns and fungi stopped her on the edge of a limpid pool of scummed-over water. She started to pull herself up from the rich scarlet silt. Then it began to rain. A soft, drenching, warm rain. She stopped struggling when she saw that the rain was washing away her tracks and instead pulled ooze, moss and wet debris over her armor and hoped she could avoid detection. Continued running was pointless, what the Jarpha wanted her to do; she intended to turn things around instead, to become the hunter, not the prey.



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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (14)

Ferns the size of elephants, fronds big enough to use as tents; she ran from stalk to stem to trunk and on through the increasingly dim reddish twilight that lingered beneath the lowest canopy. Her boots were gummed with resinous gunk, her hair was sticky with red stuff in the air--maybe pollen, possibly spores, she wasn't sure and didn't have time to give it much attention. Whatever it was, it mingled with her sweat and the humidity in the air until it ran like blood down her face and shoulders. She wiped the stuff out of her eyes and kept moving. Silence dogged her every step. Dead silence. Anything that couldn't get away was hunkering down, hiding, hoping to get overlooked. What was coming after her had made a powerful impression on the local wildlife; only the swarms of hungry black beetles ignored her plight, disinterested in her flight, as they continued to collect resin and go about their tasks.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Zeelia: An Introduction

Zeelia is an ongoing science fiction adventure serial written in eight-sentence episodes. A new episode is posted every week, usually on Saturday morning, as part of the Weekend Writing Warriors weekly blog-hop.

We begin right in the middle of some action; Zeelia is fleeing, in stolen armor, from the scalehounds of the Jarpha. She's hurt, harried and hunted when we first meet her and in order to escape her pursuers, she takes a wild leap into the unknown. We discover bits and pieces about this strange red landscape, and Zeelia herself, as we go along, eight sentences at a time.

Since this serial is being presented in eight-sentence snippets each week, there sometimes isn't a lot of room to get into some of the details like what a scalehound is, or who the Jarpha are, so I'm going to be putting together a few bonus-posts that will give readers a little more insight into the background. Much like how Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lin Carter, and others who established the traditions of the old planetary romances and sword and planet pulps, with their maps of exotic worlds, and appendices detailing weird creatures and so forth, this secondary series of posts will do some of the same things for Zeelia as we go along. 




Zeelia's Data-Node
An Introduction    An Index    

The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (13)

Light erupted thunderously behind her head. Again. Hammer-blow winds ripped at her back, tugged at her hands, threatened to dislodge her in mid-step. But she kept moving. Didn't fall. Didn't stop. She wasn't there to feel the third blast. She ran through red foliage for all she was worth.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Zeelia: An Index

On Saturday, January 11, 2014, Zeelia debuted here on my blog. I had just discovered the Weekend Writing Warriors, a group of authors who post 8-sentence excerpts of their work online every week. It sounded like a cool idea and I thought that I would give it a shot. I wrote-out my first eight sentences. The second set quickly followed. A third. Before I knew it, I had written eight installments one after the other in one fell swoop, so I started posting them as an ongoing weekly eight-sentence serial.

Here are links to all the Episodes, so far...


Series One: Episodes 1 to 20
One    Two    Three    Four    Five    Six    Seven    Eight    Nine    Ten    Eleven    Twelve  Thirteen  Fourteen  Fifteen  Sixteen  Seventeen  Eighteen  Nineteen Twenty



Series Two: Coming Soon!
21    22    23  ...

Or try a Label Search to read all the posts in order back to the beginning

Zeelia's Data-Node
An Introduction    An Index

The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (12)

Three tall, thin beings stalked towards the edge of the water right below her perch. Softly glowing jellyfish-sacs of buoyant fluid floated around them providing an incredibly adjustable form of illumination. They carried spears and were covered head to toe in some sort of bark or chitin. It was impossible to tell if it was armor or their own natural hide. One of them spotted the place where she had come ashore and made gestures to its companions, which was all she needed to see to know it was time to get moving again. There was a sort of ledge formed by a twisted tangle of roots that led off around the main mass. She didn't get very far before the three hunters were picked out by the strobe lamps of a Jarpha pursuit aerostat. She didn't stop to watch how things would go; she knew all too well that the Jarpha had earned their reputation for ruthlessness.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bacon and Eggs (Friday Flash)

Bacon and eggs. One of the best ways to wake up. Even down here. Too bad we're out of coffee. Those bulbous yellow roots make something passable anyway. Even if'n I have to boil them three times after they've roasted in the cook-fire coals overnight. Coffee isn't supposed to be yellow, but with enough honey, they don't complain too much, so long as they don't know where the honey comes from. At least not within my hearing. I'm starting to kind of like the aroma of the stuff. Reminds me of turmeric and ginseng. But not quite either.

We're just about out of eggs. I never expected us to go through two crates-full on this trip. I also never counted on re-filling the egg-crates twice now with those things that the boss calls eggs. I don't care who you think you are, things cut out of the belly of some worm aren't really eggs. Ova, yes. Eggs, no. Hell no. But there's no arguing with the boss.

She's a real slave-driver that one. Mean, too. When she's hungry. Nothing a few biscuits and beans can't fix. Especially how I make 'em. Too bad we lost my still back at that lagoon place. Hated to leave it behind, but the natives weren't gonna let me go back for it. Not and keep my skin intact. And I'm rather partial to my own skin.

We've got three bottles of hootch left. No one knows that but me. I hope it's enough. I have the sneaking suspicion that it won't be. Especially as we're eating these things the boss insists on calling eggs. Damn things don't scramble worth a damn. Not without a shot of hootch in the pan. Need a solvent to break down the membranes. Liquor works. Might have to try vinegar one of these mornings. Hate to waste all the hootch we have left on these eggs. Who ever heard of pink eggs anyhow? Pink. Not even the good pink of partly cooked meat. Even the flapjacks and fry-cakes come out pink from using these so-called eggs. Anyone gives me one word of guff about it and I'll brain 'em with my second-best cast iron pan. The heavy one.

At least we've got bacon now. I think it's bacon. I cut it from the right part of the animal, just like I was taught. Like I've been doing for longer than half these little shits have been alive, a lot longer than most of them are ever going to live to see.

It fries-up like bacon. Sizzles. Pops. Real fatty stuff. I've smoked a couple of good-sized slabs. Salted some too. But I've gotta be careful not to use-up all the salt. We haven't found any down here. Outside of that greenish crap that smelled wrong. That was a weird place. A dead, green, salt sea buried six miles down. That's what the cartographer says. I'm not sure how he knows how deep we are, but the boss trusts him, so I keep quiet about it. Even if I do think he's just pulling his numbers out of his arse. Never trust one of those albino-like bastards. That's what my old ma always told me. Right up until they took her away. That was a nasty business. I still have her recipe book in my chest. Locked and buried underneath old drawers so no one will get any too curious. Used to keep a de-fanged snake in there with it, but the fool thing got crushed after we went over a waterfall. It would've drowned, too, but it was crushed first. Now I just let 'em think that I still have a snake in there. Since I skinned it, I sort of do still have one on-hand, after a fashion. Sometimes the idea is more effective than the reality.


It's funny how the boss knew all about the piggies down here. Big, fat, shaggy things. Mostly blind. Real docile, mostly. Strange splayed-out hooves, but definitely pigs. She says that her people have been raising them down here instead of cattle. They root around, eat fungus and stuff. Clean up garbage. Pretty useful creatures. Tasty, too. If'n you haven't seen some of the larger one walking around on their hind feet.





Wermspittle

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (11)

The mound shifted with a long, drawn-out groan as it sloughed off into the water. Despite the glowing fungi and gentle luminosity in the background it was not easy to see details in the murkiness. She moved away from the water's edge, headed towards what resembled a tangled mass of roots. It didn't move when she touched it, so she grabbed hold and started climbing. Soon she could look out across the dimness from a vantage point a few hundred feet above the water level. For what it was worth. Which wasn't much. She nearly fell off her perch atop the roots when she started awake at the sound of voices and the approach of lights.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (10)

Minutes, hours, days; she had no idea how long she slept there in the mud. Her arms and legs ached, partly from the fall, mostly from the impact and the strain of fighting her way free of the water while wearing armor. The muck covering her and matting her hair was mostly dry. Perhaps it would prove good camouflage, despite the reek, though she had no illusions about eluding her pursuers. It would take more than a blind jump and a dizzying fall through an impossible rain forest to escape the ones hunting after her. If she were to get away, then she would need to make it more trouble than it was worth to continue pursuing her. So she took her time, like her instructors had constantly drilled into her during training, and carefully examined her surroundings while she quietly extricated her legs from the mud and picked a likely looking direction. When she was ready, she quickly made her way towards what looked like higher ground, it was time to see what she'd gotten herself into this time.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (9)

Sputtering and blowing, she fought her way to the surface in a torrent of bubbles. The water was cold, her limbs stiff, the armor heavy, but she struggled her way back up to the air with implacable determination. She was on the verge of exhaustion, but there was no way she would give up now. Not now. No time to lose, she spotted some sort of pink and green smears off to one side, so she headed towards them. Half swimming, half floundering, she kept going until she was crawling and clawing her way through mud and finally she touched something almost solid. Darkness claimed her then. Surrounded by softly luminous fungi and a host of tiny white frogs that resumed their croaking chorus after the intruder had lain still for a few minutes.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Monday, March 10, 2014

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Wormfest 2014)




The Second Annual National Wormhole Week or Wormfest 2014 is a fun blog-hop co-hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, and L. Diane Wolf. Last year we were asked where we would go and what we would do if we could slip back in time via a wormhole. This year we've been asked to name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology with unforeseen consequences will go too far and set mankind back. What a great theme.



One Step Forward...
Life Extension. Being able to extend a person's active, productive life-span by a few more years or perhaps even decades or centuries would give those who receive this gift more time to do great things. Instead of slowly, inexorably crumbling into dementia and oblivion, the greatest minds of each generation could go through an extended personal renaissance. If it became possible to extend lifespans past the century-mark, to live for multiple centuries or even longer, it would transform everything. The so-called 'Long view' might become far more important. There ought to be time enough to tackle really big projects, to conduct very long-term research, to extend human civilization out into the solar system and beyond...

Two Steps Back...
It's easy to imagine the classic SciFi scenario of long-lived near-immortal scientist-philosopher-adventurers on a grand mission to build a bright, shiny future, you know, Civilization with a capital 'C,' but it's probably another still-born fantasy born of the First Great Depression's pulps and the American Renaissance following WWII. Just like silver lame and jet-packs...I have my doubts that we'll see it outside of cartoons or commercials.

However, if only for the sake of a thought experiment, we were to consider what it would be like for a small group of self-chosen technocratic elites to have a monopoly on the technology of life extension...well...I still doubt we'd ever get our jet-packs. What we would get, most likely, would be one of the most oppressive, restrictive, totalitarian regimes in human history. Not everyone would 'deserve' or be 'entitled' to having their life extended. There would have to be standards. someone would have to control access to this technology and thus they would become the arbiters of who lives long and who dies early. Whomever formed this inner circle, cabal of the wise, benevolent council of magnanimity or whatever they called it would get to decide what things mattered, what merited the reward of long life, and what things should be allowed to die off or die out. Enlightened scientists, like those uptight white guys in Fifties SciFi are no match for scheming politicians or would-be neo-Mandarin Bureaucrats. Such a society might not value innovation nearly as much as it would appreciate and demand conformity, loyalty, obedience. A bureaucracy that has been allowed to grown-up over the course of decades tends to distort everything it touches. Case in point, look at how different the United States of America has become from when it first started out. That was only a couple of centuries and change. Good, bad or ugly; whatever your opinion on the way things are today, they have changed drastically. Imagine what a 'free market' system manipulated by one-percenters who manage to live for multiple centuries might develop into. It makes me think of Dickens on crack. But let's suppose for a moment that somehow, possibly via the intervention of the Internet perhaps, the technology behind life extension escaped the greedy clutches of the elites and spilled out into the general populace. If anything, that's a far scarier scenario.

People living more than five years past their retirement has already seriously undermined and upset the financial system built-up around pensions, benefits and so on. People already are living multiple decades past the point where the actuaries calculated they would drop out of the system, expire, die. Social Security has never been funded sufficiently for anyone to live for very long while receiving benefits, certainly not thirty or more years. Imagine what would happen if more than a few people gained the ability to live well into a third or fourth century? How would we reconcile the established financial and economic systems with the new reality? Is it even possible? Talk about a Pandora's Box. We're already seeing some pretty radical transformations and developments from people in developed countries living well into their seventies, eighties and nineties. What happens when/if Joe Six-Pack can reasonably expect to live well into their third century or more? How do we address the needs of each generation without causing it all to meltdown into a terrible mess?

Can Capitalism manage things under these new circumstances, or will it give way to some form of Socialism, or will a third alternative arise?

Will Felons lose their right to life extension? Should they?

How will we as a society deal with people raising a second or third or fourth family in their second hundred years of life?

What will happen in terms of legal adulthood--age of consent, minimum age to drink, drive or vote?

People tend to grow more conservative the older they get. How conservative could someone coming into their fourth century get? The AARP is now the single largest voting block in the USA. If we end up re-tooling retirement, say pushing the age upward or dropping chronological age altogether and instead base retirement upon personal health, fitness, cognition or functionality, for the sake of argument, what happens to this massive political juggernaut? If people begin to live multiple centuries, are they going to be more likely to become generationally stratified? Will there be multiple, hierarchically-oriented generation gaps in-between each block of fifty years or so?

So many questions and so much potential for conflict and opinion...and exploration through fiction, now, before it's one more fact of life...

I'd better get back to writing.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (8)

She fell through another section of interlocking or overlapping canopy. Then another. Another. Gravity seemed lighter here than what she was used to back in the ruins. Then the murky-dark ground came rushing up at her with vicious force. She closed her eyes. Darkness enveloped her. Dark, cold waters rapidly surrounded her, buffeting her ears and slapping her all over as they swallowed her and she plunged down, down, down into the cold embrace of some stygian lake.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (7)

A trickle of Blood ran down her cheek like a tear. She looked up at the gargantuan leaf overhead. The hole where she fell through. It would be a lot less work to just go to sleep here and now, next to the scummy pool. Ripples. Something moved in there. She had no interest in waiting around to see what lived in the water, so she got back onto her feet and picked a new direction. The soil thinned out the farther she moved from the pool; she never saw the edge of this leaf until she was tumbling down past it.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Smoke and Mirrors

The orphanage on Orange Street was burning. Again. Trin watched the flames lick their way through the smoke surrounding the decrepit pile of a place with a lop-sided smile. This could become a habit. He patted the lump where he'd jammed the coins into his coat-lining. It was foreign currency, but it would get him something to eat, possibly a place to stay. With luck, it'd be a warm place. One without bugs.

The last of the children were rounded-up. They practically ran onto the carts and wagons his employers had brought along. A little coaxing was all it took to convince the others to get on-board. A few of the older ones had run off at the first sign of trouble. Frightened hares. They were too wary, too aware of their situation to hang around when things went bad. He'd been like that once. Before Kasker caught him.

Trin wiped his cheek with a smoke-stained sleeve. The smoke was acrid. Made the eyes run. Everyone knew that.

The wagons were moving out. That part was over now. For him.





Saturday, February 22, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (6)

Red, black, red again; she fell through fronds that snapped, small branches that broke, twigs and leaves and runners. Then everything stopped abruptly. Stagnant water splashed around her legs. She was half-in, half-out of a depression in the muddy soil; a natural reservoir of rain-water. Slowly, painfully, she pulled herself out of the scummy pool and rolled onto her back. Nothing seemed to be broken; bruised thoroughly, but no fractures or anything embedded in her flesh. The armor she'd stolen from one of the hound-handlers had proven itself. She looked up towards the place where she had fallen through and groaned; the shaft of sunlight streaming through the tear overhead showed her the veiny underside of a gargantuan leaf.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Eight Sentences: Zeelia (5)

Everything was wet, covered in a layer of moisture that had the consistency of spit. The ground was muddier, sloppier. It quickly became impossible to run; she was reduced to slogging through the sweet-smelling red muck. With any luck the canopy would shield her from her pursuers. The heavy, pungent stench might confuse the scalehounds' sense of smell. But she wasn't going to stick around to test out that theory. She kept moving. Then the ground gave way beneath her feet and she fell.




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The Weekend Writing Warriors site sponsors a round of 8-sentence excerpts every weekend. Zeelia (1) was my first 8-sentence except and has become a regular weekly feature here at my blog. There is a new Linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors for everyone participating in the blog-hop each weekend. Be sure to check out some of the other writers!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Making the Rounds (Friday Flash)

Doktor Hesseline Vaughn paused at the heavily reinforced door to the ward. It was too warm in here. The fetid air saturated his clothes leaving behind a stink of desperation and despair that followed him along on his rounds. It made an unpleasant routine all the more distasteful. He examined his delicate white wermskin gloves. The gilded monogram might have been a bit much for most people, but he had been born into one of the Old Families. Some claimed his ancestors were among those who had founded the Second of the Three Encampments that had allegedly served as the nucleus to the original walled city centuries ago. He snorted derisively. Only fools and patients believed such errant folklore. He had seen too much during his tenure in this place to believe such nonsense and faery tales. No doubt it was all some sort of romantic rubbish intended to help salve the ego of some decaying old man locked in a room within one of the Six Manors.

The door groaned as it swung slowly open. Chains rattled and clanked behind the spattered and lichen-crusted walls. It wasn't comforting. It wasn't supposed to be. Despite himself, he glanced over at the ragged wretches slumped and panting in the wooden wheel used to wind and unwind the chains. Their scars were said to be some form of stigmata. Each carried a different tale embedded within their very skin. Some interns had attempted to decipher the skin-texts last Winter. It had ended badly. The survivor was now one of his patients. The scars disturbed him. More now that he knew what to look for, thanks to his recklessness. Peter Zimes had whispered to him what to look for and in a moment of weakness he'd indulged his patient's lunatic fancies. In a moment he had seen it. All too clearly. The stigmata criss-crossing their bodies was not any cipher. No secret code. It was a cursive form of Aklo. He was grateful that the slaves were blinded, lest they learn too much of things best left unsaid, unread. The guards were of no concern to him in this regard; they were selected for their illiteracy as per the old mandate set down nearly a hundred years ago, after the last uprising.

The orderly stared at Doktor Vaughn. It was the empty stare he'd become accustomed to in this place. The young man was pithed. Only those sections of his brain absolutely necessary for him to carry out his assigned duties remained intact. A brutal, if necessary precaution against some of the things locked-away on this ward. At least someone had finally wired the boy's jaws shut with some wire so he didn't dribble spittle over himself any more.

Doktor Vaughn sighed resignedly. Adjusted his monocle. Nodded to the orderly. There was nothing left to help him delay the inevitable. He took the clip-board from the orderly's limp grip and walked down the short ramp. Each step taking him deeper and farther into contained madness and stunted mayhem. It reminded him of a zoological garden of sorts. One with terribly human exhibits.





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In an Obscure Wood...


Your prompt is: in an obscure wood.


I'm not going to die here. Not in this forsaken place. I survived the march out of Karlogne. Even with the new leg still baby-raw and not completely attached. Idiot Grood field-surgeons. I guess I'm lucky it was a leg. And the proper length. And that it faced the right direction. I've heard stories. We all have. Some orderlies and corpsmen have twisted senses of humor. Bastards. With any luck I'll never lay eyes on another blood-spattered, hunchbacked medic ever again.

The trees are all twisted here. Gnarled and half-chewed. They're supposed to be apples. Maybe they were. Before the bombs. The Black Smoke. The Plagues. Apples aren't supposed to be black and wrinkly. Jarmis found a tree full of speckled apples that writhed like shriveled hearts. He just had to cut one open. Worms took his arm before we could amputate. Couldn't do it cleanly because of all his thrashing around screaming. We buried him out back of the burned-out farm house.


Three days. Has it really been three days since we buried Jarmis? Feels like three years. Wandering lost through some obscure wood half way from Hell or any place else we might recognize.

At least there's a road. Such as it is. Not too many bomb-craters along this stretch. We've made good time. Wherever it's leading. Maybe the snow will hold off for a while longer. At least until we can find some shelter for the night. We'll have plenty of fire-wood. One good thing about being lost in a forest.

As far as I'm concerned the war is over. We all lost. Now it's time to look to our own survival. None of us really believes that we'll ever get a chance to go back. After what we saw in Karlogne we know. We know. No one will say it. But we all know it just the same. There's nothing left to go back to, not any more. We saw the airships thrumming along overhead. Ponderously slow and bloated with bombs. Evil whales wallowing through the night sky carrying destruction in their bellies. They did unto us what we were doing to them. As bad as Karlogne was, going back would be worse.


Sergeant Koznir always liked to remind us that war is a brutal, bloody business. Full of sacrifices, pointless and otherwise. He had no trouble sending us off to get killed or maimed. He enjoyed it. Made a game of it. Made bets with the other Non-Coms. I'm glad he didn't make it out of Karlogne. If anyone deserved to burn, it was him.

We're deserters now, at least technically. Deserters or a unit on deep reconnaissance that wandered right off of the map. Lost. Cut-off. We so far off the map that we're not even behind enemy lines anymore. All we have to guide us is this road. This cold road. And the woods. We'll avoid the farmsteads as much as we can. Follow the road. It has to take us somewhere. Anywhere would be better than where we just came from...



Art Prompts.

Satchel of Volcanoes: An Entry for a Collective Poem

Darkness falls with a terrible clash, all cymbals and shattering glass. A righteous cacophony spilling over into the light, across the fields of vision, and down the stairs of perception. Drunk again. An exhalation of fur-clad trout in unseemly array flutter forth tut-tutting in falsified remorse as they flee the gnashing teeth of dim-eyed doves perched solemnly upon the heaped and humped backside of the invading clown prince.



Satchel of Volcanoes is a collective poem that lives and breathes at the Surrealism.co.uk site.
It has been running for about 15 years now and it is still ongoing and open to contributions.

Links: Online Fiction

I'm very interested in Online Fiction. I have posted stories at Burrst (soon to resume), tried out Protagonize briefly, and have sampled a few other services and platforms currently available. I'm currently at work on a serial intended for one of the sites listed below. We'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I'll update this set of links as I learn more or run across anything new. Feel free to make recommendation and suggestions in the comments. Thanks!



Last Updated: February 9, 2014