24 July 2007

Another HI update

Chapter IV is complete.

Also, a title change is likely in the works. I've never particularly liked The Humanist Inheritance, and in the rewrite, the humanist theme is weakening. This is unfortunate, but as the story evolved, that theme became more and more forced anyway. I promise you it will be much more pronounced in Crash and its hypothetical sequel, Interregnum.

Also, work has started on a short story set in the HI universe, entitled "Eminent Domain". No clue when that will be finished.

This concludes this public service announcement.

14 July 2007

HI Update

Just a little update on how HI is coming, and some of the changes being made:

1. Chapter I has been substantially reworked. The story is the same, but a ton of details have been altered. This is mostly because either A) I plan on changing the story in later chapters, and I need to foreshadow different things, B) I've changed elements of the backstory, and/or C) I am committed to killing as many infodumps as possible, and Chapter I has a lot of them. I reworked quite a bit of the Tran-Fitzthomas interactions, in part because her backstory has changed slightly, and in part because I always felt their dinner conversation was a little too much "As you know, Bob...". I think the results are a lot more natural; Metatwaddle said she felt like she was listening in on a real conversation.

2. Chapter II has only been slightly tweaked. It was always one of my favorites. Some of Guillaume's backstory has changed, but since his backstory isn't revealed until much later, his introduction can remain mostly unchanged.

3. I went after Chapter III with an ax. The story is unchanged, but I told it with about 30% fewer words. The GINORMOUS infodumps are either gone entirely or pared down to something more efficient, and I think I managed to put away the soapbox.

4. Chapter IV's rewriting is underway. I don't anticipate many fundamental changes.

In all chapters, I'm correcting awkward turns of phrase, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, that kind of thing, as I or Metatwaddle come across them. The general rule is to tighten whenever I can, unless something in the first draft is so unclear as to require more information.

On the other hand, I am thinking of adding a chapter that would have two viewpoint characters--David, on the ground in Europe, and Helen back in Willsboro, coping as the civilian situation deteriorates (the war has gotten MUCH nastier--germs, terrorism, cyber-attacks, and nanotech attacks on civilians are commonplace). I'd love to visit New Orleans again, but as yet I don't have a non-contrived way to do so, except possibly by making Adrienne a viewpoint character (which could be fun, but I don't know what I'd do with her). I'm not too worried about adding a chapter because there are major cuts coming; the story is going to end, more or less, right after the Battle of Uranus (which I think I'm going to have take place in the Uranian system itself).

Metatwaddle has been immensely helpful with all of this. She's my first reader for all changes, and has been extremely gracious about dropping what she's doing whenever I call for help. She's a good test reader; she's well read, with a good knowledge of what makes good reading, and she's scientifically literate, so she can spot egregious science errors AND point out places where I've under-explained some concept (the thinking being if a physics undergrad doesn't get it, Joe Reader probably won't either).

I'm hoping to get this revision done by the end of the summer, but no promises. At the pace I work, Christmas is looking a lot more likely. I think another draft will be needed after that, but there won't be much heavy lifting necessary. I hope.

Post Script: I'm led to understand Marina O'Leary has decided to write a series of vignettes (Global Mean Temperature-style) about a post-Peak Oil world. I'll have to avoid reading it; my next project, I think, is going to be a prequel to HI set during the events of the Oil Crash--called, appropriately, Crash. It will be stand-alone in the sense that you won't have to have read HI to follow the plot; in fact, if HI fails to sell, I'm still going to attempt to sell Crash.

01 July 2007

Introducing Metatwaddle!

Hi, I'm Significant Other. RedImperator has kindly offered to let me use this blog to post about music every so often, so I'll be here occasionally.

In the unlikely event that you, dear reader, care to know a bit about me, I'm a 19-year-old physics undergraduate student at the University of Delaware, and my hobbies include playing the piano (I mostly play classical stuff), reading science and science fiction books, and wasting time. My moniker, Metatwaddle, is a word made up by Richard Dawkins to refer to intentionally obscure and incomprehensible postmodernist nonsense. I chose the moniker because I like the word.

I'll be posting about anything in music that I find significant or rant-worthy. I'll try to keep the classical stuff to a minimum because (a) most people find classical music a little bit austere, (b) my taste in classical music is actually rather limited to piano music, and (c) much has been written about classical music by people who both know the music and write about it better than me.

My taste in music is fairly broad, and includes a lot of rock with some pop and folk influences, among other things. Since I took piano lessons for twelve years and still play now, I tend to like a lot of artists whose music prominently features the piano. louis vuitton handbags I love good lyrics, and I have a thing for funny music that goes beyond Weird Al Yankovic. Also, I love female vocals, and women are overrepresented in my music collection, but I'm trying to correct that a little bit. I'm always trying to discover new music, so recommendations are appreciated.

One of these days I'll make a proper post here. Right now, though, I am in the Adirondacks, and it's beautiful up here, so naturally I'm going to throw knives at a board and hope they stick.

P.S. My old 20GB iPod is borked. If anyone wants to buy me a new one, please leave a comment.

Dispatch from the banks of Lake Champlain

Apologies for the delay in this update, but I have been busy preparing for the aforementioned vacation to the Adirondacks. This will not be a long post because, bluntly, I have better things to do in the beautiful mountains with beautiful weather with my beautiful girlfriend than fuck around on the Internet.

That said: I have (finally!) finished revising Chapter I of HI. Hopefully I'll have Chapter II before I go home.

This concludes this public service announcement.