Wandering Fortunes: details on the new Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos setting

On January 1st I will post the prog first chapter of Wandering Fortunes, my third book. While the fist two books, Slubes and Darmenzi, focused on some slubes from the planet Mintop, Wandering Fortunes focuses on the two neighboring planets of Zhop and Derantu. This means an entirely new setting, cast of characters, and species, but still in the same universe and right next door to Mintop anyway.

Right now Zhop and Derantu are only briefly mentioned by name in the about page for the CCC. As new chapters of Wandering Fortunes are released, new character, species, and location profiles will be added. It’s finally happening. The information sections on this website have only had about a third of the CCC. Now the full picture will begin to form.

Ha ha ha, just kidding, it’s not even close to a full picture. But for the main setting, Mintop, Zhop, and Derantu is a large portion of that.

Mintop is actually the least advanced of the three planets, and the focus was on a small village on a small island where technology is generally clay. We did see Interpolis, a big city of tall buildings and cleeple, but it’s nothing compared to Zhop and Derantu. Robots are actually a pretty common sight in the major population centers, the weapons they have makes the Mallet Blaster that Zeth gave Numer look like a toy, and vehicles that makes Zeth’s Transpide look like a starter vehicle in a video game are everywhere.

In the major cities and countries, anyway. Wandering Fortunes starts out at pretty much the Zhop equivalent to Nottle. It is basically like the sticks here on Earth. And just around the riverbend over that hill there is a tribe of mages with robes and masks and they do dark magic and, oh geeze, listen, these guys are figgin dangerous, do not go messing with them.

Well, actually, that’s the very first thing we do in this book. Science and technology is everywhere, and magic lies underneath. Science fiction-fantasy.

Zhop is a cold planet, the furthest inhabited one from the solar system’s sun. (In contrast, Mintop is the closest inhabited planet to the sun.) Most of the forests on the planet are sparse, and outside the forest is even sparser. It’s mostly drab, gray tundra when there are any plants at all, and it’s all one supercontinent surrounded by ocean. Most of Zhop is occupied by tiny, oft-squabbling kingdoms, but everything is under the thumb of the Zhopian Guard, a planet-wide police force and military that exists to keep the peace. It’s headquartered at the planet’s capital, New Zhopolis, near the northern pole, where tall, dark buildings and advanced technology rules. Civilization here is highly developed and technological. Self-powered vehicles are the expensive norm. Robots are commonplace assistants. However, few realize the magic that hovers everywhere and in everyone, and monsters lurk everywhere, some greatly disguised.

Derantu is between Zhop and Mintop, and is the most highly advanced of the three. Lots of technology on Zhop was taken and adapted from Derantu. Simple robotic assistants are commonplace and are becoming more advanced all the time. They’re totally stealing your jobs. Unlike Zhop, Derantu has individual countries without an overarching controlling organization, though there has been a loose coalition of countries for centuries. Two countries in particular have been enemies since nearly their founding, and what strikes everyone as odd is that the main species of these kingdoms were also found on Zhop. Derantu is a vibrantly-colored planet with bright colors everywhere you look, but the planet is less peaceful than it first looks and old grudges are hidden under the cheery colors everywhere.

Between these two and Mintop lies the Planet Peacemaking Power, an organization designed to balance the three planets’ powers and to solve crises. This was mentioned briefly in Darmenzi.

And through all these highly-advanced, technology-filled worlds of science and machines, one beach ball comes to life. Magic is real here. Don’t believe me? That’s okay. It doesn’t care. If you can think it, it is already here.

January will bring both the first chapter and a new character profile, and then nothing will make sense ever again. But in a good way! More to come.

The conclusion of Darmenzi! Chapter 20: Fallen Oblivion

It’s finally here. We’re finally here. The final chapter of Darmenzi, Chapter 20: Fallen Oblivion is here! It all concludes with a bang, a smash, and a reveal. Will everyone survive? Will everyone live? Will I let this stand??

The conclusion ends with a brief discussion on the next book, Wandering Fortunes. More on that when I have time. For now, enjoy the conclusion to this story running for 1 2/3 years, the second (and first real) story I wrote for NaNoWriMo, which… begins today. Coincidence? Yes. I’m too busy to do anything for it, though.

Now up, Darmenzi Chapter 17: Final Challenge

The not-quite-tournament is under way with chapter 17 of Darmenzi! Numer faces his fears, Pocerni shows his experience, Cherry gets some punches in, and Sawn gets a bad deal. Will Conrad finally get his day and destroy his nuisances? Who will take the final orb? The answer may surprise you!

We’re in August now, and I’m expecting this month to be called back to the day job. When this happens my social media presence will probably have to die until I can get out again, probably in February. By then Darmenzi will be finished and a new story will begin. I’ll keep everyone posted.

Darmenzi Chapter 16: Ending Maneuvers

Chapter 16: Ending Maneuvers

We’re in the final quarter of Darmenzi now! To start it off, we check in on someone we haven’t seen for a bit, then dive into a fantastic setting that gets broken into by another old “friend”. I’d have to say I particularly like this chapter, as we get to see some things we haven’t had a chance to examine too closely before, and the character interaction is amazing. When I get silly, I hold no punches from oversized novelty punching gloves.

On a side note, Slubes ebook is still free until… Wait, hold on… Smashwords is doing a sale this month. Okay! It’s free until the end of July, whee!

In other news, I’ve gotten work started on editing the third novel, Wandering Fortunes. I’m primarily combing through it right now for what major things I need to edit, but next week I’ll get underway on that. More on that near the end of the year!

Four more days to Slubes!

The Slubes re-release comes out in just four days, so here’s one final excerpt from it featuring everyone’s favorite angry, edgy buzz saw whose name starts with S and has at least one letter in it that is more than two syllables, Sawn.

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Chapter 5 of Darmenzi, Invisible Beard, now up

Darmenzi Chapter 5: Invisible Beard is now up and available and readable and has a gooey marshmallow center. Except maybe not that last part. Sorry.

It features ghosts and pirates. What more could the internet want? A dragon? Okay!

As for me, things are as the same as they were last month as ever. I really want to quit my day job, but I can’t because we live in a society that makes you waste your life so that you can not die? Oh society, you’re so full of contradictions.

At least I’m still a few months ahead on Darmenzi. Should be halfway with the editing in a couple weeks. Still no news on Slubes, but you know what they say, no news tells you absolutely nothing about the situation, and while some may say it is positive information, others will begin to go crazy thinking of all the worst possible scenarios! Put that on a shirt and sell it! Go ahead, people will love it! Except it has a lot of words so they’ll probably actually hate you for it.

As always, Patreon is where you can give me money when I post these chapters. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to post two chapters a month, at which point that “really want to quit my day job” might be feasible.

Steel Stupidity: Chapter 4 of Darmenzi is up!

Chapter 4: Metal Morons is available to read.

I put some consideration into making that the entire post, but it seems a little empty. What have I been up to? I’m actually a few chapters ahead now, so I’ve been working on some other stuff. Okay, so far “other stuff” has mostly included video games, but I have finally gotten back to editing my encyclopedia.

Anyway! I’ll see you next month. Go read about iron idiots.

P.S. Patreon! You know you want to help me exist purely on writing silliness. You know you want to help me not have to ever leave the interior of my home again. You know you want to give me a dollar now and then get the ebook of Slubes when it comes out later.

It and They and Thon und Es; Pronouns, Pronouns! What a Mess.

So gender-neutral pronouns. English kind of failed at this; I blame Christianity. But I’m not here to blame things, I’m here to talk about solutions!

Anyone who’s read some of my stuff might notice I use “it” as a gender-neutral pronoun, used for when things don’t have a gender, have a single-gender structure, or people just don’t know the gender (though for the last one I’ve started going off what the main character assumes it is.) This works particularly well for robots because they’re machines. “It” also seems to work well for non-human characters because, well, hey, they’re not humans, clearly they are animals then so “it” is totally fine.

But this means if I did have humans appear, the possibility of using “it” would come into play. I try to stay consistent with it, but of course it is impersonal. At this point, allow me to break out Dinosaur Comics. I got to thinking this actually after watching this interview on The Colbert Report with Janet Mock (no idea who she is, by the way).

Yeah, okay, look back at the talking dinosaurs. “They” does not have to be plural, but let’s talk about grammar. My professor for a Philosophy class in college pointed this out, actually. You can say “They ate the pizza,” and it’s all fine, maybe it’s a group of friends, maybe it’s a real hungry individual. Fine. Everyone’s fine. But if “they eat the pizza,” then that has to be a group of friends. If it’s one real hungry individual it’s, “They eats the pizza.” This, of course, is because it would otherwise be “He eats the pizza,” or “She eats the pizza.”

So the problem with “they” is to be grammatically correct, you have to totes sound like you’re being grammatically incorrect. If we then go with Thon like in Dinosaur Comics, well, it’s just rather jarring in normal reading.

So why don’t we do what English does best and steal words from other languages? Let’s steal German’s “Es”. Hex, we can even just dump the dative and genitive cases like our other pronouns and just have “es” and… “es”. Wow. That’s another problem with “it”: there’s just it, it, it, and it, whereas with he and him/she and her we at least have some semblance of what we’re talking about.

What’s the solution? I haven’t gotten a figgin clue. These four (it, they, make it up, and steal foreign words) seem the best solutions, or at least the four I can think of right now. I might stick with “it” because it’s (or they’s) (or thon’s) (or es ist) the least disconcerting–I demand myself to stick with grammar unless I don’t want to, and since I want to in this case, I would use singular grammar for they, making it look weird. Then thon is, again, just jarring, and foreign words might scare people. I dunno. ES IST BEÄNGSTIGEND!

But maybe someday crazy writers can change language to better suit the world. Shakespeare did, or at least to suit himself. For now, I’ll stick with “it”, probably, but does anyone out there who doesn’t read this use a certain pronoun? (If you do read this, you can comment, too.)

Here’s an idea I once had…

Okay so this post isn’t NECESSARILY about Ryan North, but today’s Dinosaur Comic[s] reminded me of it, since it’s fundamentally the same idea; however, as Ryam Mirth had dinosaurs talking about it, he used it better/at all.

However again, after I remembered what I had come up with at length, I realized my idea involved robots.

Sort of.

If you believe human brains can be programmed with chemicals then what’s the difference, right??

Anyway, it basically involved a single consciousness without form being bored and creating Earth and all its people over the timeline of humanity and having them all act on a set path (like robots!), and then entering the body of these people across history and living out their lives. At some point, however, this consciousness forgot itself, so when it was transferred to other bodies through time and space it forgot the memories from the previous life. Things change when one of the created people gain a separate sentience, though.

So it’s BASICALLY like what Utahraptor said in panel 5, with everyone reincarnated actually being the same person over time. It’s not the same, of course, but fundamentally it’s reincarnation! I mean, nobody thinks reincarnation involves your rotting flesh changing form into an acorn that grows into a tree; it’s your mind that does so! Or what have you. That’s not the point. The real point is I remembered it due to Ryan North, not that I’m just making the connection so I look cooler. I already looked cool enough during my last reincarnation when I was Ryan North. (Wait, that was when I was reading To Be or Not To Be… uh…)

Anyway, I tried writing a short story with this idea, but it didn’t turn out too interesting so I stopped. I might come back to it at some point, though. Who’s to know? Presumably a reincarnation that lived in the future.

Maybe I’ll make the characters dinosaurs. That might help make it more interesting.

Character Profile: Wrodin

Today for Father’s Day, I have a character who has never had a father!

One of the islands that the crystals wash up onto is deserted—devoid of any life, actually. Not even plants. Instead, it’s covered in junk and scrap metal. It looked as if a thousand factories building metal objects exploded. And one of these metal objects is hit with The Conqueror’s animator.

Wrodin is a machine built for war. When closed it’s just a red sphere, but the two halves can split open to reveal a black cylinder connecting them (where the obligatory “living inanimate object eyes” appear). As a war machine, it comes fitted with a vast array of weapons: explosive shells, missiles, rockets, energy guns, bullets, miniature versions of itself, its own weight, and a massive energy blast that can cut through solid steel.

Wrodin is fixated on war. Aiming to be The Conqueror’s top general, it desires nothing more than to sweep the cosmos by The Conqueror’s side, blowing up anyone who stands in their way—the slubes included. But with Wrodin on his side, The Conqueror had better invade quick—Wrodin might just blow everything up in its raging passion for destruction.