Monday, May 31, 2010

Book 10: Eventide Now online

I loaded Book 10 on line this morning. The FTP was being hinkie --- and the front page of the main website refuses to update for some reason, but here is the URL.

My own comments, I had a lot of trouble with B00k 10, and it's not my favorite. The first chapter is maybe my favorite first chapter of any of the books, but I just couldn't make things jell in the rest of it. Maybe it's too much of a sea-story and not enough of a space story.

Here are some of my original notes when I was sketching out Book 10. I don't think there are any spoilers here, but it's interesting... maybe... how different the final product is from the original concept. Some of these ideas made it into the final plot, and some didn't.

* Two years have passed since the events of Book 09.
* The Gethsemane children are being successfully integrated into the crew. Many are proving to be prodigies in the ship’s systems. The ‘Ferals’ have become efficient warfighters, although many retain their implants by choice because of the emotional control it gives them. Kitaen and Johnny Rook take two teams of warfighters to the harsh dark-side of the planet for ‘tactical exercises’ (War Games.) Trajan Lear has a cadet, Aeric Tuck, whom he is training as a pilot.
* Deck 20 of Pegasus has come to be known as ‘Little Gethsemane’ because of the Gethsemane refugees that have settled there, though they lack much real knowledge of their culture. It is a problematic area for the ship, with more security issues than elsewhere. Also, many of the Gethsemanians have take jobs working in Pegasus artifactories, which were badly damaged in the attack. The work both gives the Gethsemanians a worthwhile task and augments the ship’s industrial capacity.
* The Kariad ship in orbit around eventide looks like a giant contact lens. The Kariad do not leave their home-world (whose location is hidden) but explore using their lens ships, which allows them to connect virtually with any world the ship approaches.
* There are “very few” Kariad, and just the one lens ship.
* Eventide’s society is quite primitive, and the Kariad will not directly reveal themselves to the colonists. Keeler and his crew are also obligated to disguise themselves as locals. They procure a sailing ship Red Jacket through an advertisement. “Bee it knowne unto all menne, respectable merchant-trader seeks sound, sea-going vessel for purposes of engaging in trades…”
* Eventide names are a mix of Shakespearean references and names from 1980’s sitcoms. (Drummond, Keaton, …)
* Alkema notes that Keeler’s yacht back on Sapphire was named Paint the Sky, and asks why Keeler didn’t choose that name. Keeler answers that Red Jacket was the name of the Privateer his ancestor commanded before being conscripted into the Christian Fleet of the Commonwealth. (The alternative was being sent to the Desolation Prison Colony for piracy. Desolation made Yronwode look like an Arcadian Spa. Keeler and his crew were conscripted to the frigate Relentless, with Red Jacket remaining in a landing dock for use as an auxiliary vessel. Later, after an altercation with the captain of the Relentless, Keeler was transferred to the Ark Royal as first officer and later Captain. The Ark Royal was the only capitol ship to survive the battle of Ophiuchus, but the Christian Admiralty was reluctant to let a man with such a checkered reputation command their flagship. Only the threat of a crew revolt {since he had saved their lives and won the battle} saved his command. Ark Royal served as the flagship for three years until a new flagship, the Santa Maria, was commissioned.) Keeler hints that his recent “visit” to Sapphire made the name Paint the Sky too emotional for him.
* Otto Van Halen is the name of a Gethsemanian youth who serves on Red Jacket as first mate and shows a natural gift for sea-faring. He will later become one of the Geths agitating for the right to colonize the far side of Eventide.
* Parodied works: Pirates of the Caribbean, Waterworld
* Shakespearean references: The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Richard III,
* Eventide was an EdenWorld, either never completed or abandoned. The Anything Boxes remain, however, hidden deep in temples on the main islands. These have become the basis of the planetary economy.
* The Royals possess the Anything Boxes, and use them to produce not what is needed, but what is desired.
* The Mariners carry out Planetary Trade in the form of ocean-going trading ships. Since land is only about 8% of Eventide’s surface area (on the light side) a, oceaneering is a very hazardous occupation.
* Royals use the Anything Box to transform Queequeg into a human.
* David Alkema gets thrown in prison at one point.
* Keeler begins acting like Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.
* Theme: Decline through abundance. Possession of the Anything Boxes is fought for viciously, but its possession brings about the inevitable oblivion of the one who possesses it. The Mariners, mostly, understand this, and are content to continue in their capacity as workers. Among the Royals, there is constant fighting for control of the boxes.
* Because the Eventidians are quite xenophobic, Keeler and his crew create a sea-going ship to call on the planet’s various islands.
* After studying the system intently through the thirteen chapters of the book, Keeler comes to a more prosaic solution. He destroys the Anything Boxes, except for one which he keeps but ends up using to ignite the second sun. He also convinces the Kariad to stop interfering in human affairs. They decide to become mere observers instead.
* A few hundred Gethsemane refugees settle on the far side of Eventide once the second sun has been ignited, bringing with them “some power converters, some seeds, that’s all we’ll need.” Alkema warns them that because of the planet’s orbit relative to the sun, there will be no regular day/night cycle. Rather, their side will be in sunlight half the year, in darkness or twilight the other half of the year. This is not really a big deal since a year on Eventide is only about 66 days long. Sentir Poe, the leader of the Gethsemanian colonists, insists that they will adapt.
* General Kitaen reports to Keeler and Change the results of his war games on the planet’s dark side. Originally, he had assigned 100 warfighters to hold a base and 100 warfighters to try and take the base. After the defenders had successfully routed the attackers, a secret force of 300 warriors attacked the base, forcing the two to combine forces. In the course of the exercises, there were 308 simulated deaths and 4 actual deaths from accidents. Keeler is shocked that people died, but Kitaen accepts it as part of combat training and Change takes responsibility for authorizing the war games. Kitaen goes on to say that a battle is forthcoming, and that the young Geth warriors will need to be prepared. Keeler and Redfire begin to suspect that Kitaen is a bit mad.