Monday, July 18, 2011

My Megaverse

Isaac Asimov eventually knit a number of his sf books and series together into one megaverse. Although I didn't intend it, many of my stories and series have started to have their histories merge together.

How can that happen? How can a series of fantasies on a strange planet have anything to do with a foundling raised by American Indians in South Dakota, or the Schiss, or Earth's exploration of its own solar system?

Are you aware of any of the various theories that Earth has been visited by aliens? I'm not talking about recently, although those are interesting, too. I mean the 'ancient astronauts' who supposedly launched primitive man toward some kind of society, or possibly even donated DNA to help ancient almost-man become ancient man. Those theories all pre-suppose there is an ancient, benevolent race that was far more advanced than us.

My megaverse has a variation on that. Somewhere closer to the center of this galaxy, a race evolved very early in the life of the galaxy. These humans developed computers, suspended animation, and space-traveling ships, and began sending out explorers. The crew would sleep until the ship approached a system, then they would study that system and send their discoveries back to their home planet.

One of those crews inadvertently created the Atlans on their planet. (If you haven't read the story of that, it is available – FREE – at Search for 'Origins of Atlans'.) Another crew eventually had an accident that damaged their ship, and they sent their toddling child to the closest habitable planet in a lifeboat. That child is the foundling adopted by the Indians, and though she grows up at a fairly normal pace, once she hits 20, she doesn't seem to age. Eventually, she joins the Space Fleet, and finds her parents' spaceship, which recognizes her and comes back to life enough to jump through hyperspace and send her off on a number of adventures. In one of the sleeping pods, she finds a Schissan egg.

So, there you have it: The tenuous connection between such different universes that make a megaverse.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Bit About Schiss

I mentioned the Schiss in an earlier posting, so now I thought I'd give you a little information about them.

They are aliens, and humans call them reptilian humanoids. (They call humans something approximating 'mammalian schissoids'. All a matter of your viewpoint.) In my future Earth universe, the Schiss are the first alien race the humans meet, and quite naturally, the humans are fascinated/scared by the differences between the races. There are plenty of differences, of course.

Schiss faces are somewhat flatter than human faces, with a light dusting of scales on their cheeks and foreheads gathering into a protective covering of scales over their bodies, except for the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet. They don't actually have hair, but two 'sails' of skin on either side of their face generally are left hanging down, and since this skin is a different color from their scales, it can look like hair to a human who is several feet away. These 'head sails' are a method of cooling the Schiss blood, and when such cooling is needed, they raise these flaps of skin into something of a crown, or the brim of a hat. This startles the first humans to see it, for they are used to the flaps being down. In the enclosed environments used to travel and live in space, such cooling methods are not needed.

The cooling flaps are also a surprise because the Schiss are warm-blooded, their body temperature normally runs about half a degree warmer than a human's. Like humans, the Schiss wear clothes; perfectly normal clothes that any human of comparable size can wear, if they don't mind a hole in the back to accommodate the Schissan tail.

Probably the single fact that humans most gossip about when it comes to the Schiss was the fact that Schiss are not male or female. Some humans erroneously believe that makes the aliens non-gendered, and they wonder how they have children. But the simple biological fact is that all Schiss are double-gendered. When two Schiss have sex together, 99.9% of the time, both become pregnant. In the rare instance when sex does not result in pregnancy, the barren Schiss sickens and dies. It is rumored that Schissan pregnancy produces a large egg, which is either cooled and stored for hatching at a later time, or kept warm and hatched right away, but at this time, that rumor cannot be substantiated.

So, there's a little bit about the Schiss. I'm still figuring out their culture, technology and everything else. There's a lot to figure out, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to make them.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Crowded Mind

Not quite a year ago, I agreed to co-chair the local scifi convention, OSFest. I was already in charge of a couple departments for it, so how much more work could it entail? Consequently, I haven't had much time, the last couple weeks, to work on writing my stories.

This has happened before. And eventually, the characters in my head get lonely and find ways to come out for a visit. (Sometimes, I think my characters have more imagination than I do.) Watching the news about another section of I29 being closed due to flooding? Sidek reminds me how he first met Cali, rescued her from the flooding river. At the grocery store, choosing a roast for Sunday supper? A Schiss (Have I told you about the Schiss yet? They're an alien lizard race who are scheduled to make appearances in two (at least) of my science fiction universes ... some day.) A Schiss will start talking about how IT would serve a cooked piece of meat.

The longer I am too busy to write, the more these characters pop up to spend time with me. It's reached the point where I've started having trouble falling asleep at night, because EVERYBODY in my head wants to talk:

"Remember when we took on that troll, and found he had a witch and a human tied up in his cave?"

"How come you've never asked me how my boy friend managed to Send himself to follow me as I studied the enemy's abilities? He's not an Atlan, of course, but we think we've figured it out."

"PLEASE have Scott figure out a way to approach me without scaring me half to death!"

"I DID see all those things! I just couldn't figure out how to prove it. I most certainly was not being stupid!"

Imagine having stuff like that tromping through your head for 2-3 hours as you toss and turn, trying to imagine what 'black' looks like long enough to let you fall asleep. I hope I have enough energy left by the end of the convention to live through a writing marathon. I kind of think I'm going to be in one.