Feb 10

Darkness and Silence

Darkness. Silence like sticky clay adhering to my pores and creeping up my nostrils. It is darkness against which my eyes fight to close, for to hold them open makes them claw through the dense blackness in search of anything to see, until at last they make something up. It doesn’t have to be that dark; there is a display panel at eye level, but with irises so stretched that even on low, it’s like a green floodlight glaring in my face, so I keep it off. Sasha is probably in the common area with her nose in her e-reader enjoying Solzhenitsyn, and every now and then she lets a little light leak out, but it’s rarely enough for me to notice with the door to my cabinet closed.

My ears, too, reach out in desperation until, frustrated, they turn inward to my own heartbeat. The laminar-flow ventilation fans are all but silent unless they kick into high, which rarely happens. The only sound that disturbs the night is the occasional ticking of the thermal radiators nearby outside as they expand and contract. The reactors are at constant power, but there are variations in solar energy. The only solid punctures of oblivion are when Sasha uses the head: the door opening and latching, the suction pumps coming on, something for my ears to latch onto if I’m awake. She probably has the same experience when I go during her sleep cycle. It’s impossible to pee discretely in space.

But the darkness and silence are merely the dull black shroud over the sense of isolation. We are 400,000km from home, a distant blue world that now hung hopelessly beyond natural human reach. If there were a bridge it would take 50 years to walk it. Ahead of us, to the sides, above, behind, outside the relatively thin honeycombed titanium layer that separates our tiny bubble of life from the abysmal infinity, there is absolutely nothing for a journey of a million human lifetimes. Below, a drop of 6.7 million meters to the desolate, hostile surface of the moon. The rugged orb beneath us unrolls slowly, almost 14 hours per orbit, but we have to be high enough to relay signals between Earth and the three research posts we dropped on the moon’s far side.  An orbit that physics on its own locks into eternity. If we died there, our desiccated corpses would still be following that path 10 million years later, endlessly. There is no sense of solitude greater. Even pairs of people condemned to duty in lonely missile silos and remote microwave relay stations have the familiar contact of breathing Earth’s own atmosphere.

On a polar orbitMy limbs want to drift off into the neutral human body posture, but find themselves confined by my sleeping sack. Still, I’ll sleep, for in the morning — if the word “morning” makes sense — I’ll have to adjust that orbit. That’s my job, to keep the orbit in alignment as the moon revolves on its 28-day loop so that both the Earth and all three drop stations are in constant radio contact. We always do that while we’re both awake. She is supposed to be on the sleep schedule of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just as I’m supposed to be on that of the Eastern U.S., but they tweaked us both an hour to give us a comfortable eight hours awake together. It’s my job to adjust the orbit, hers to help interface me to a spaceship engineered in a language I suck at. Her English is much better than my Russian.

Sasha, known more verbosely as Aleksandra Nikolayevna Krayovskiya, has chin-length light blond hair and a cute pixie face, but she’s not one of those siren Raquel Welch sexpot scientists you see in movies. She has no seductive figure. She’s 13, one of Russia’s two pride-and-joy child cosmonauts whose existence attests to the advanced state of their space program. The other, Tasha, is 17, dangerously close to adulthood and therefore of dropping off their propaganda slate. American officials think the whole thing is ridiculous, a publicity stunt, which it probably is, but I’ll likewise attest that Sasha is by no means ridiculous. She’s brilliant; you have to be to read Solzhenitsyn. But she’s not allowed to fire the engines on her own unless it’s a level five emergency. She likes to tell me that as a junior lieutenant, she outranks me, an ensign, but we’re both NATO classification OF-1, so technically on a joint mission, we’re equal.

We have been alone aboard the Kirkov now for almost five days, 16 more to go before the first of the landing crews return. Two stations are for geological monitoring, the third is the last unit for a 500-km very-long-baseline-array radio telescope shielded from Earth interference by the bulk of the moon itself, each of the three being American modules transported to the moon by a Russian ship. There’s something that happens between people when they’re confined together outside the grasp of normal society like this. Those missile silo and microwave station crews are not nearly this isolated. I’d worked with Sasha once before, three months earlier, but we hadn’t been alone for any period of time. We can’t even phone home because bandwidth to Earth is limited and the channels between Mission Control and the drop stations have to remain clear. A titanium can in deep space is like a sensory deprivation chamber, as if reality itself ended at the hull. It’s been five days and already I can almost read her mind. She can probably read mine, too. We play magnetic chess, magnetic backgammon, magnetic parcheesi, everything magnetic. It’s impossible to play tiddly-winks in space. She even brought a Russian version of a quirky card game from America about girl fights, called “Lunch Money” in English. But you can’t just lay cards on the table; you have to hold them down with magnetic clips. I think one of the reasons they chose me for this mission was confidence from the Russians that I wouldn’t try to take advantage of her. Vasily hits on her, and she hates it. Vasily is almost 40. Unfortunately, his crew returns first, before even Commander Okulov. Sasha is prepared to punch him if he does it again, and I’ll be ready to punch him if that doesn’t work.

There’s a rumor that we both might be chosen for the Mars mission later this year. Her parents are supposedly throwing a fit about her being gone for the three years it would take for traditional Hohmann transfer orbits. She says they protested this mission. But in Russia, political pressure easily outweighs parental rights, and the powers that be dearly want their public relations trophy on that trip! Tasha would obviously be an adult when we return, and there isn’t time to get a new kid ready for the press releases. Besides, ballistic capture is common now (that’s how we got to the moon) and they’re taking a serious look at aerobraking, which of course wouldn’t have worked with the moon. No atmosphere. Aerobraking worries me — I saw 2010! Either way, we might be able to shorten the journey to as little as nine or ten months even if we miss the Hohmann window. That mission will be a joint US, European, Russian, and Chinese effort. They’re still arguing over the ship’s name, but it’s supposed to have a centrifuge, even if the sleeping compartments will still be in zero-g.

But that’s all speculation, four months in the future. Right now, my eyes are wanting to stay closed instead of open. That’s good. I need to be alert for that orbital maneuver tomorrow. The computer does all the hard work, but they won’t let it do the piloting or even start the engines. It’s no HAL 9000.

До свидания!

No, that was not one of my stories. That came from a dream. But that wasn’t exactly the dream. That was the memory of the mission I had while we were at an international space conference in Canada and my nephew was making out with Tasha, pissing off the Russian authorities who didn’t want one of their child cosmonauts de-virginized. Sometimes my dreams come in astonishing detail, so it’s no surprise a lot of my stories originate there.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/darkness-and-silence/

Jun 05

Wolfram Alpha: The Sci-FI Writer’s Friend

Any discussion of Wolfram Alpha should start with Wolfram’s flagship and source of dominance in the universe: Mathematica®, upon which I imagine Alpha is built.  There are any number of categories of software that leave me amazed that such works of accomplishment can even spawn from the limited human mind: regular expression parsers, C++ compilers, natural language processing.  Voice recognition used to fall into that realm until I figured out how it works. But Mathematica sits at the apex, the crowning achievement of software engineering. It’s nothing at all like Matlab, which is plain old functional programming. It’s something else.  Several times during my software engineering career, I contemplated working there just to see the source code.

Wolfram Alpha, then, is something like a search engine, except instead of simply looking up words, it answers questions.

With the introductions out of the way, let’s go back a few decades to when I originally wrote A Hierarchy of Gods. I might have had Mathematica at the time, a story in itself, but there was nothing like Alpha. There may not even have been a search engine like Google or Duck Duck Go, and I had to pick a date in the latter 21st century where the line from Earth to Mars ran approximately opposite to the direction to Orion’s shield. I had to know how far apart Earth and Mars were at that time. I had to know how long it would take, considering special relativity, to go 32 light-years at a constant 0.8g acceleration, in both ship time and “real” time, with and without turn-around. I had my math cut out for me.

For the first part, I had to find out where Earth and Mars were currently and apply a lot of orbital mechanics and trigonometry to figure out all the angles until I found a date that placed them where I wanted, then apply some more math to calculate the distance distance between them, then some more to figure out travel time. Hours or days. The math, not the travel time. But that was then, and this is now. You need a right ascension to Mars of about 17 hours, so go to Wolfram Alpha here and start plugging in some dates:

location Mars May 15, 2074

Wolfram Alpha Output

Location of and distance to Mars on May 15, 2095, as given by Wolfram Alpha

And you get this (near right). Wow! Not only what I asked for, but I find out that the date is on a Tuesday, get a schematic of the entire solar system, a view as Mars appears in the sky, and rising at setting times in Luxemburg (that’s where it thinks I am). Mars is in Leo on May 15, 2074. No good, so I try again.  I don’t remember exactly what date I picked for the novel and don’t want to hunt for old notes, so let’s pretend it was May 15, 2095.

distance Earth Mars May 15, 2095

Again, I get more than I asked for (far right). I see that the distance is 79.57 million kilometers, coincidentally a near minimum, and as a bonus, I find out that the time for a radio signal to cross that distance is 4.424 minutes. I might need to know that. From here, it’s trivial to calculate constant-acceleration flight times, but to get to this point, I have consumed less like hours or days and more like two minutes. Oh, had there been Wolfram Alpha in the old days!

Unfortunately, Alpha could not have helped me with the calculus for my relativistic calculations. Alas! Not that it can’t do calculus, but it isn’t able to formulate a system that complicated it its digital head from the description you give it. It’s not as as smart yet as the Enterprise’s computer on Star Trek, but it’s getting there. Not to worry. When I first started this site, I wrote the relativistic equations down as an early post, not only for your edification, but so that I wouldn’t have to figure them out all over again.

And it’s not just astronomy.

In: Copernicium isotopes
Out: Unstable:
Cn-285 (40 min) | Cn-283 (4.17 min) | Cn-284 (31 s) | Cn-282 (30 s) | Cn-281 (10 s) | Cn-280 (1 s) | Cn-279 (100 ms) | 
Cn-278 (10 ms) | Cn-277 (1.1 ms)

Nor is it just for science fiction.  Suppose you’re writing an international spy thriller:

In: Population Cluj County Romania
Out: Cluj, Romania | 698929 people (3.3% of total for Romania) (2014 estimate) Romania | 
19.7 million people (world rank: 59th) (2017 estimate)

Or a murder mystery requiring forensics:

In: percentage phosphorus human body
Out: 1.1 mass%

Or a WWII submarine adventure:

In: 550 feet ocean depth
Out: depth | 550 feet temperature | 16.4 °C (degrees Celsius) salinity | 35 psu (practical salinity units)
overpressure | 16.89 bars = 16.67 atm (atmospheres) = 1689 kPa (kilopascals) density |
1.026 g/cm^3 (grams per cubic centimeter) = 64.08 lb/ft^3 (pounds per cubic foot) = 1026 kg/m^3 (kilograms per cubic meter)
sound speed | 1514 m/s (meters per second) = 4967 ft/s (feet per second) = 5450 km/h (kilometers per hour)
(assuming pressure-depth relation for standard ocean)

Whoa! Sound speed! That’s information we might need for sonar.

Of course, Alpha can’t do everything. Sometimes you get that dreaded response that it doesn’t know how to interpret your input (which I couldn’t make it do for the purpose of this post despite trying for several minutes), in which case you can rephrase your question and try again. There is a pro version that keeps tempting me that might be a little smarter; I  haven’t tried it.  Applications like Cartes du Ciel give you better sky charts, and Google Maps will give you the railroad travel time from Nizhny Novgorod to Vladivostok (about six days), but for the subjects it knows, Wolfram Alpha can seem like magic. Give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/wolfram-alpha-the-sci-fi-writers-friend/

Jul 01

Final Horizon Approaches

Final Horizon original coverFinal Horizon has an unusual history. I had an idea for a space horror novel that I tentatively called Butterflies, a particularly and intentionally deceptive name. But I never wrote it because I didn’t see the point. Just another monster story. Just another alien planet.  It didn’t really have anything to say other than as satire on the state of Hollywood movie making these days: lots of action, void of content.

Then, as I’m a decent graphic artist, I thought I’d offer services as a cover designer. In the process, I threw together some example covers of novels that didn’t exist, and the one I show here is one of them. I picked the title Final Horizon because it sounded cool, and used an image of a girl I licensed from CanStockPhoto because it looked cool. The subtitle also meant nothing in particular, just a phrase to draw attention. Nothing fancy. After all, it was an example cover.

What happened next was an act of surrealism that is impossible to explain. I was just looking at the cover and there came one of those epiphanous moments when all of reality comes to a focus.  It all fit together. Butterflies, genetic engineering (two different ways), quantum computing, quantum reality, mind amplification, child abuse, all wrapped up in an elegant commentary on ruthless capitalism and unchecked political and military power. And like a tidy bow on top, the Singularity.

Not a singularity of the black hole variety, but one of the technological variety. Wikipedia defines a technological singularity as “the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence (ASI) will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.”  Indeed, the intelligence in Final Horizon is artificial, and it is super. But what if it comes with supermorality?  As the subtitle suggests, it’s not what people are expecting.

It takes place in the future (the best place for science fiction), mid-22nd century.  By then, we have succeeded in interfacing human minds to quantum computers, but with some unanticipated and unexplained phenomena accompanying it. Hyperpilots route starships safely through treacherous hypertunnels, linkers connect to other computers as an extension of their own minds, and scanners project their consciousness even to distant star systems. (Shhhh! There are more talents that the NSA, CIA, and Pentagon don’t like you knowing about.) And no one understands how any of that actually works. Then there is the unbelievable, half secret, nearly legendary, and completely mysterious story of Bucky and Katrina. The system works well, but it has three big caveats:

1. Unless you want to take off the top of a person’s skull to plant a couple of hundred wires in the brain and get substandard results for all your work, you have to use kids before they reach puberty. Kids can interface to PAIN helmets. Unexpected results.

2. Because there are few naturally born children who can pull it off and fewer parents who will let them, and because the interval between being trained and reaching puberty is only a year or two, you need to engineer formula kids whose biological and mental ages you can freeze when they’re at their peak. Unexpected results.

3. Because human society becomes completely dependent on formula kids, you make them docile and subservient, and because they are docile and subservient, they don’t cause trouble when you treat them like trash. They also lack the inconvenience of parents. Unexpected results.

In Final Horizon, natural-born Andrew Post and formula kid Macie 7 are chosen for a mission to a distant world where people mysteriously die. But it’s not until they reach their destination and find the butterflies that all hell breaks loose.

Hell that changes everything.

It’s a good story.  If I ever have a chance for a Hugo or Nebula award, this is it. It took a while for the plot details to come together, but they finally have, and it’s all of a thriller, a brain-twister, and a tear-jerker in one. I’m only nearing the end of the first draft, alas, so it’ll be a while before you’ll see the finished product.

The cover might change.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/final-horizon-approaches/

Apr 19

A Word on Canonicity

Canonicity may be the most important thing.

dictionary.com defines “canon”, as relevant to this post:

3. the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art.

The important qualification here is that in any field, in order to be canon, it has to be consistent with itself. If one place says James T. Kirk was born in Iowa and other place says he was born on Vulcan, that can’t be canon.

That said, let me point out that the eighth Doctor doesn’t exist. He never did and he never will. “Wait!” shout Whovians from around the globe. “Yes, he does! He was played by Paul McGann.”

Before you Whovians get too bent out of shape, you should know that I’m one of you. The first companion I really, really liked was Zoe Heriot. You remember her, don’t you? My favorite T-shirt reads, “Keep calm and don’t blink”. You know what that’s about, of course. “Blink” vies for being the best episode ever written, right up there with “The Brain of Morbius” and “Enlightenment”.  But none of that makes the eighth Doctor exist.

It’s all about canonicity, and the hypothetical eighth Doctor breaks it.

You see, I’m something most Whovians aren’t: a writer. With an estimated four million words under my belt (more than a million are available on Amazon), I have some experience locating and fixing plot holes, which are what you call broken canonicity on a smaller scale. Such as when I had Erik and Jaxidreshny hiking for days through the forest while she was carrying an instrument that could transport them light-years. After a while you get sensitive to those things. Don’t worry, that issue with Erik and Jaxidreshny is long since fixed.

Fans are usually pretty good at finding such holes, such as, “Why didn’t the Eagles just fly them to Mount Doom?” They usually can work out some kind of explanation to cover the hole, but it remains a good question. There even exists an argument that such was exactly what Gandalf told them to do in Moria when he said, “Fly, you fools!” But even dredging out those inconsistencies, fans are eager to accept everything they see without serious questions. After all, that’s the way it happened in the fictional world.

Doing so is quite a bit harder for a writer, who spends thousands of hours trying to get rid of exactly those issues. You can’t spend decades thinking about personalities, motives, emotions, what works and what doesn’t, then blindly accept what doesn’t work.

There are certain things you just don’t do. You don’t put Darth Vader in pink tights and a tutu unless you’re doing parody. You don’t have Captain Kirk totally screw up, destroying himself along with the Enterprise and ending the series prematurely. You don’t have Superman raping little girls. You don’t turn the interior of the TARDIS from a clean, functional design to a ghastly trash heap (which, unfortunately, they kept for the series reboot). You don’t suddenly make him half human when for 26 seasons he was faithfully and totally a Time Lord. You don’t bring back the Master as a creeping glob of snot. You don’t have a protagonist who could virtually ignore women he traveled the universe with suddenly go all goo-goo over a woman he just met. (What heterosexual male wouldn’t notice Zoe Heriot?)

To make matters worse, they started the new series with a “you don’t”. The Time Lords were all destroyed? Now, that’s news! How do you suppose that happened? Did all those Time Lords scattered throughout history just decide to return to Gallifrey at a certain moment in time so they could all conveniently be wiped out? It makes no sense! It is logically inconsistent with the 26 prior seasons. These aren’t Pacific Islanders in the 1800s; these are Time Lords. That may be the biggest Doctor Who gaffe of them all.

Harry and Hermione — canonicity

A piece by HPHarmioneF101 that I found on Fanpop, proof that J. K. Rowling and I are not the only ones who understand.

But Doctor Who is not what keeps me up at night grieving for the future of all that is sane. What does is the greatest canonicity busting faux pas ever to take place in the fictional world: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

I rooted for Harry and Hermione as a couple from early in the first movie, and when I saw it going the wrong way in Goblet of Fire, I lapsed into denial and insisted it couldn’t be so. Reading the latter books nearly drove me into depression, and it had nothing to do with the fact that “Hermione Weasley” just sounds terrible. If you keep up on Harry Potter at all, you’ll know that Rowling later confessed to having made a mistake putting Ron and Hermione together:

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” she adds. “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

No, duh! But she’s a writer; she’d have to have noticed eventually. Attend to her comment, “…not for reasons of credibility.” She knows the Ron/Hermione hookup is not credible. It didn’t surprise me she made that admission, but it surprised me it took her so long. Erik and Jaxidreshny, whom I mentioned above, aren’t even the same species, come from worlds 117 million light-years apart, and have completely different societal structures and understanding of sex, yet they’re a more believable match than Ron and Hermione. Even if the ill-fated wizards made it to their vows, they never would have had children because they’d be casting Avada Kedavra at each other before they ever made it to bed. I’m surprised Rupert Grint and Emma Watson could play romantic scenes between them with straight faces. I knew it was Harry and Hermione from the moment they met on the train; it’s unfortunate the writer didn’t until it was too late.

A lot of fans exploded in claims of heresy over this, and some of them wrote articles picking through the interview to find a way to believe she didn’t really mean what she said. “Oh, Ron and Hermione will be all right with some counseling.” Like hell, they will! I’ve done some counseling. The incompatibility between them is not a matter of learned behavior, of anything that would benefit from psychoanalysis. It’s a basic clash between their personalities, and no amount of counseling is going to change that.

Ron and Luna would have worked; they’re compatibly loopy. Ginny would have worked with either Neville or Dean.

So all this leaves me with a problem. If I accept the nonsensical parts as written, I can’t really enjoy the story. Rule number one in fiction: don’t break the suspension of disbelief. And baby, the cases I’ve mentioned break it big time, more than fourth wall gags. They scream with the volume of Krakatoa that this is a STORY and someone flubbed the plot. In order to enjoy it, to pretend it’s real, to immerse myself in it, I have to mentally edit out the parts that don’t add up and where necessary replace them with something that does. That scene on the Hogwarts Express platform at the end of Deathly Hallows had to have arisen from Hermione (Harry’s wife) and Luna (Ron’s wife) taking polyjuice potion as a practical joke on their husbands, which makes a lot more sense than Ron and Hermione discovering mutual tolerance. I have to omit the eighth Doctor and ignore that nonsense about the Time Lords being destroyed. Not to do so ruins everything for me because they demolish the credibility of the story line.

It’s more than just “I wouldn’t have written it that way”. Under that category is that I would have had Draco suffer more serious consequences from his death-eating days, and I probably would have hooked him up with Pansy if I hadn’t had Hermione kill him in battle. I would have had Voldemort hide his horcruxes in more secure locations, such as the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Those details don’t constitute gaping plot holes, so they’re not that big a deal. Putting Ron and Hermione together is. You can’t carefully develop their personalities over the course of seven volumes and finish it up with, “But let’s forget all that. It was a joke.”

So I’m just wondering. Is anyone else compelled to fix broken plots in their mind to avoid terminal insanity?

Yikes! I wonder if anyone has done that with any of my works!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/a-word-on-canonicity/

Jan 24

Where is The Humanity Experiment?

The Humanity Experiment was supposed to be out in 2016, wasn’t it?  And this is 2017 already, isn’t it?  What happened?

Well, aside from the usual delays that come about from the vagaries of real life, where there is a lot going on, there is a lot going on in the story.  Heck, we have matter simulations, reality experiments, a thought transducer, precognition and telepathy, an evil galactic empire (there’s always an evil galactic empire), third- and fifth-order wands, bizarre aliens, saturation plasma bombing, ancient artifacts with mysteries to go with them, inter-dimensional transport, unseen forces, an impossible entity called Companion, synthetic human consciousness, torture, intergalactic teleportation, battleships, traitors, ghosts, near-death experiences, jimimbas, children who appear and disappear, the Plekton Key, and love. But all that’s easy.

When people fall in love, however, it often leads to sex. That, normall, is pretty easy, too. I don’t write much sex because by itself it doesn’t make for much of a story, and when it does make a story, it’s not my kind of story. I have zero interest in reading Fifty Shades of Grey, so it’s not likely I would have ever written it. Still, I’ve known since my initial conception of the series that this would be the book with most of the sex in it.

pot-pourriThe inter-species romance in A Hierarchy of Gods gave me no trouble because the Trarsani, for all their differences, see love and sex pretty much the same way humans do, so once you overcome any anatomical challenges, it’s smooth sailing. But the Kyattoni…. Hold onto your ever-loving hat! Here we have a race who have multiple sexual partners but are lifetime monogamous, who don’t clearly distinguish between adult and child because they have no life event matching puberty, who have multiple kinds of orgasms, whose names are broken down to signal different combinations of intimacy and pregnancy. We have Erik and Jaxidreshny, but we also have Jaxidreshny’s kid sister Triknikanthy, which makes Erik and Triknikanthy girl-linked bond-siblings, and that’s a whole adventure in itself. When a human says, “it’s complicated”, they’re usually trying to get out of something. To a Kyattoni, it really is complicated. And for a human trying to understand it…. Poor guy!  The ethics Erik learned growing up human are at best useless, and sometimes harmful.

On the other hand, it’s not just the sex. As Triknikanthy explains,

“…but even so it’s not really about the sex.  Well, it is, but….  Most TKK species can separate sex from love.”  She looked into his eyes for a moment in a strange, alien kind of union that transmitted messages he couldn’t understand.  “We can’t.”

Love is a paraphysical quantity, Jaxidreshny tells him, constant under a certain set of philosophical transforms, something real, not just an experience. Love is love across the universe, but Kyattoni bond-love turns up the gain on that to superhuman levels. There is an awful lot for the lovers to work out between them as they come to understand each other, and as the writer, I have to work all that out too.

Yes, The Humanity Experiment is written. It has been for a few years. Over those years it has been through more revision passes than I can keep count of. I don’t want it to be merely written, I want it written right. I have page after page after page of documentation from anatomical drawings to sexual terminology, from psychobiology to social structures, and I’m still not confident I have all the loose ends accounted for. I hate loose ends. I’ve run across inter-species sex before in science fiction, but most of it stops at “That’s exotic!” Oh, the angle is different and she has too many teeth (I forget what book that was), but no investigation into what happens when fundamental biology, psychology, and culture were never intended to mesh. Sarek and Amanda have it easy by comparison.

But never fear; I’m still working on it. As you can see, I’ve done more than a little 3D modelling and composition. It might be a little late, but I’m hoping the wait is worth it.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/where-is-the-humanity-experiment/

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