Sword and Spaceship #sf

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy (which is problematic as even the authorities disagree about what it was really like).

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed. Last week’s snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the one before. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day. The discussion of Scotland continues this week.


“Tradition,” Jamie said, “That and the accident.”

“The accident?”

“It’s a legend, but I was told as a wee bairn that all the books and films but the ones about the highlands were deleted, accidentally,” he winked, “on the first belt colony.”

“And by the time it was remedied, everyone spoke Scots; I heard the story.” Terry glanced at Jamie, “You’re mostly what, Chinese? Odd for a highlander.”

“The auld homeland’s muckle big lass,” Jamie winked, again, “Na stop tha’ frachtin and hurry it.”

“It could have been worse,” Terry sighed, “A Russian ship; vodka and potatoes for breakfast.”

“Or one from Texas, nae whiskey,” Jamie replied; Terry’s parents lived in Austin, “Do y’need a hand wit’ that?”

“Please,” Terry winced, “My arm.”

“Bruised but not broken; ye’ll need to see the Crank about that before tomorrow’s practice.”


Jamie explains in this bit the origin of the Scottish tradition in space. Outlander has a lot to answer for in this story.

Seriously, if we survive to make it into space, cultures and ethnicities will get a bit mixed up. Jamie, for example is “mostly Chinese” (his surname is McYu in the current working version), but speaks Scots with the best of them because he comes from a belter family and that is his cultural tradition (though maybe he’ll make or have moon cakes). Still I would think that some aspects of nationality and tradition will survive.

Operationally this mixture allows me to be sloppy with my Scots and insert it for color without worrying too much about accuracy.

You can see some of this in the UK, where curry is now a (or the) national dish of England. Thirty or forty years ago it was a fringe food, eaten by poor college and graduate students, one step ahead of the food inspectors, at dodgy Indian restaurants. It was something of an object of fun (see Dwarf, red, Lister’s food preferences), and now it’s an object of pride.

 

I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.

Swords in Space #SF

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy (which is problematic as even the authorities disagree about what it was really like).

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed. This snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the last. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day.


“Bloody hell Terry,” Jamie said when he saw her at the Midshipmen’s berth, “Chief Petty Officer Ames must have put you through it.”

Terry replied, “It wasn’t too bad,” She leaned on the column of bunks at one side of the narrow corridor that defined the Middy’s quarters.

“I’ve heard he doesn’t like grounders, but;” Jamie stood by his locker on the other side of the corridor; it held the few liters of space where he kept his kit.

“Jamie,” Terry replied, “I remember the Belters and Martians at Annapolis; scared by a few waves and a little wind.”

Jamie laughed, “They were scary; I could ha’ drowned,” He stopped laughing, “Nearly did, don’t you remember?”

“I do,” Terry said, “And I remember fishing you out; in any case I caught him with the flat of my sword.”

“You did,” Jamie guffawed, “That’s good. More than most of us do on our first lesson; I didn’t and I’m a belter;” after a bit, he added, “It’s formal dress … first jump.”

“Bloody hell,” Terry pulled the heavy woolen kilt from her locker; it was, as became a grounder, sodden gray; it had also cost the proverbial arm and a leg, real wool, not synthetic, and much to her mortification, her parents had to help her pay for it. Worse still, it took so much room that there wasn’t space in her kit for her lucky bear, “Why did the Serapis … I mean, why Scotland of all places – I’ve been there, the real one, not New Caledonia, it’s cold, boggy, and full of biting flies, not to mention dour people and awful food, haggis … good whiskey, though.”


Terry’s a little hard on Scotland.

Since sailors have a rather rude and rough initiation ceremony for sailing across the dateline, I’d expect something similar for the ‘first jump.’

Space on the Serapis is tight. Something like this:

Those who know their history will remember the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis. Captain John Paul Jones was Scots.

Somehow I don’t think this version of the Serapis will fair much better.

 

I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.

Swords in Space #werwriwar #SF

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy (which is problematic as even the authorities disagree about what it was really like).

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed.


Terry knew he was right, most of her class manned in-system freighters, glorified traffic cops, “I nearly got you.”

“In your dreams, lass; I was going easy; didn’t even break a sweat.”

Terry focused on her tormentor, “You’re right.”

“Spacer born, fleet trained;” The man beamed at her, “I’m used to low-G, you’re not … yet; the sweat doesn’t evaporate, no convection.”

“Oh, but I was … top of my class with the saber.”

The man laughed, “On Terra you’d spit me, but it’s different swinging a 10kg piece of metal when you weigh nothing.”

“55Kilo – all muscle and bone.”

“Nothing when there’s no gravity lass; It’s different.”

“But?”

“I know you can use a projectile weapon and hit a gnat at a half-click; can’t use them inside a ship.”


Radiation is one of the very real problems with space flight. Earth’s magnetic field keeps most of it from reaching us, but outside of that protective shield – say on the Moon or a trip to Mars – it puts a definite limit on human endurance.

In the story I’ve added a drug cocktail called ‘the juice’ that slows metabolism (for time) which incidentally turns off the sex drive, and protects the people from the effects of radiation. One of the characters remarks (later) that 400REM (the LD50) will barely give you a suntan. Of course, when they come ‘off the juice’ things can get interesting.

One thing I’ve not seen in other SF is what happens when a large mostly metallic object encounters charged particles while it’s moving at high speed – as would happen when coming out of a jump (Again one needs to invoke some sort of hyperspace to have anything like real time. Otherwise it’s ‘500 years later …’.) Bremsstrahlung or ‘braking’ radiation are the photons emitted when you stop a moving photon or when you slam into one at high speed. It’s how your dentist produces X-rays in that little box that the tech positions outside your mouth. It’s also somewhat dear to me as in a previous existence I used highly filtered X-rays (from copper) to probe molecular structure.

I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.

Sword and Spaceship.

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy (which is problematic as even the authorities disagree about what it was really like).

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed.


The chief put his lips to her forehead, “Damn-me, you’re still hot lass;” He stepped back and spritzed her with ice water, “Can’t have a Middy dropping dead from heatstroke; not on her first day of training.”

The sweat streaming from her, Terry said, “I don’t get it; why the practice.”

“You did your training on Terra, didn’t thee?”

“Yes, Annapolis, then Colorado Springs; you know that.”

“Thought so; bloody ground pounder.”

“I can put you on report.”

“Not your training chief, you can’t;” This time the older man put the back of his hand on her forehead, “You’re getting better,” He sprayed her again, “Now that the gravity’s back.”

Terry stood and tried to stare the old man down; he laughed, “You’re not the first I’ve trained. Now sit, and that’s an order.”

“But… I excelled in weapons in the Academy, that and.”

“Lass,” the chief drew a deep breath; “If you hadn’t been top of your class, you would’na have been posted to the Serapis; no ground pounder would have.”


There is a reason she’s having to learn to use a sword well in zero gravity, but that will have to wait for another installment.

I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.

A new book cover?

This is for one that I’ve been calling “Stone circles on the tor” or “Dartmoor story”.  It’s actually science fiction, set in Victorian time, within the same universe as “Cynthia the Invincible.” I’m trying for a bit of a Victorian vibe with it.

Illegal Aliens XX

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past and a cat show up.  Last week we met Roland’s old post-doctoral supervisor. Roland continues translating (and the cat is back). The cavalry arrives this week, in the form of a DI who worked on Roland’s missing wife and child.


The last image provoked a derisive laugh, “Are you sure, Dr Welchmann, that you can’t read it … the passage is from the book of the dead, a blessing … I mean, it’s in the textbooks;  even your books.”

The doorbell interrupted the readings; the woman went to the door, and after a heated discussion at the door, reluctantly escorted someone in; the man she escorted said, “Ah, Roland, I see you’re entertaining the funnies … what happened?”

“Apparently they’re worried about that explosion in London; think I had something to do with it.”

The man studied the two people for MI6 and then asked Roland, “Did you lay gas lines in 1950, and not bother to put them on the map?”

“No.”

“Then it’s hard to see what you have to do with it; it wasn’t a bomb, it was a gas leak … small comfort to the injured, but nothing to do with,” he nodded at the MI6 agents, “that lot.”

“Thank you John; I’m sure you didn’t visit just to tell me that.”

“No, this is … official … about Janet and Thomas.”

“News,” Roland’s attention focused on him.

“Good and bad … something’s been found, but …”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

I’m getting a bit ahead but these images will be useful next week.

The Black Mountains of Wales are stark and beautiful. This picture shows the dense heather that covers their flat tops. Sugarloaf mountain is that peak to the right of the background.

Grwyne Fawr is on the other side of the mountain in this picture.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal Aliens XIX

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past and a cat show up.  Last week we met Roland’s old post-doctoral supervisor. This week Roland continues translating (and the cat is back).


The man handed Roland his phone, there was an image, a scan of a fragment on it.

Roland started reading, darkness, despite the sunny morning, surrounded them and ‘his’ cat hissed; Roland stopped and the room lightened; the cat resumed her purr, “It’s a curse … not to be read aloud, at least not if you don’t mean it; it invokes Apep and Set among others … they’re the least obscure of the deities.”

“Who?”

“Apep, the God of Chaos and Evil, not to mention destruction; Set … basically the model for Satan the Bible, much as Osiris’s life and resurrection were models for Jesus or Mithras.”

“You don’t believe that tripe, do you?”

Roland shook his head, “No, not really, but it’s been such a strange last few days … I’d rather not tempt fate.”

He read further, silently; after looking at the wall for a moment, he turned to the agents and said, “It invokes them as protection; protection from something else; something far worse.”

The next image was spray-painted on a brick wall, “It’s from here, painted on the new biochemistry building, off Sherrington Road … keeps coming back, no matter what they do to clean it.”

“It’s a warning, about transgenic animals … bringing a curse from Bastet upon their efforts.”

His cat purred louder.


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

I’ll be off exploring Exmoor next week. High open and wind-swept hills with unbelievable views (when it isn’t raining) and sea nearby (wet suits are a good idea if you want to actually bathe). Horses and horse-flies.

Horses on Exmoor Down

The ordnance survey maps show stone circles and other neat neolithic monuments. One has to be careful, however, the last time I was there I used the British Grid and a GPS to find one. It was literally a circle of small stones (about 2Kg each) in a field of heather. Unlike Stonehenge of Avebury, it wouldn’t have been a difficult feat of engineering.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is available for preorder. You can get the first part here.

Illegal Aliens XVIII

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past and a cat show up. The cat isn’t in today’s post, but hasn’t gone away (yet).


 

Roland sighed, Welchmann wasn’t his favourite person, not since that time when he was a post-doc and the professor had made a pass at Janet; more than a pass in fact, but the police hadn’t been very enthusiastic about pressing charges; not against an eminent and well-connected scholar when the charges were based on the word of a grubby post-doc and his wife.

He took the phone, “Yes,”

“Ah, Roland, I hear you’re reading Demotic now; quite fluently if you translated that – fairly obscure.”

“Yes.”

“Not a lot of call for that in Roman Britain, so I’d think.”

“You’d be surprised, besides I was thinking of a trip, need a change of scene.”

“No news about the lovely Janet … or your boy, whatshisname, then.”

“No.”

“Sorry, anyway there are a few cryptic inscriptions I’d like you to look at,”  Roland looked at his male guest; the man’s mobile buzzed and he jumped.  Welchmann continued, “I’ve sent them to our mutual acquaintance.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

It’s a little difficult to type them in wordpress, but you can get the appropriate fonts for hieroglyphics from psifer.com.  Hieroglyphic writing is an interesting mixture of more or less alphabetic approaches, combined with determinatives (shades of meaning) that make it something like a rebus. A reed might be the symbol for ‘i’ and a cup for “i’b” – but a cup could also mean that this word is an offering and not be part of the sound of the word at all. The Semetic people who developed the ancestor of our alphabet took the idea of pictures for sounds, but (fortunately) left the determinatives behind.

The hieroglyphs for Bastet (Bst) show how this works. The unsealed olive oil jar (Gardiner sign w2) is ‘Bs’ and the loaf of bread (it looks like a rising sun to me, but it’s a loaf) is ‘t’.  Sometimes you’ll see it with two ‘t’s to make it clear that it is bstt. The final sign is a determinative for a female god. Just for the heck of it the sealed olive oil jar (Gardiner sign w1) has a different sound.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. I tried using kindle creator on it to control dividers and formatting, and worked from a pdf file. The results are not as good as I’d hoped, but Amazon – in its wisdom won’t let me change it now that the kindle create program actually works from word files. It has, as usual, laid an egg.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is available for preorder. You can get the first part here.

Illegal Aliens XVII

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past gets introduced this week.


A cat scratching at the outside door interrupted them;  the woman rose, “I’ll get it,” and let an animal in; a sleek, dark black animal, with glossy clean fur shot in and jumped into Roland’s lap; she, for it wasn’t a tom, purred; after inspecting the room as if she owned it, she turned and hissed at his two visitors.

“Did you own a cat … it’s not in your files, and I don’t see any cat dishes.”

“I guess I do now,” Roland stroked the cat, which had resumed purring and nuzzling him; he asked his uninvited guests “Are you done with me?”

The woman said, “Not yet;” then her mobile chittered away, playing ‘Rule Britannia’ as a ringtone.

“Not exactly subtle,” Roland said.

The man replied, “We’re not undercover.”

Roland and the man both listened to half of the conversation.

“So it really is Demotic.”

“A love note … that’s what he said too; read it to us.”

“No … it’s to Roland Stevens, he’s a lecturer at the local,” She handed the phone to Roland, “I’d sent a copy to our specialist, at Oxford. Professor Welchmann.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. I tried using kindle creator on it to control dividers and formatting, and worked from a pdf file. The results are not as good as I’d hoped, but Amazon – in its wisdom won’t let me change it now that the kindle create program actually works from word files. It has, as usual, laid an egg.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is available for preorder. You can get the first part here.

Illegal Aliens XVI

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic last week, in a somewhat illegal search.


 

“It’s a note from my … I don’t know; she was here last night … it’s just I’ve never had a note left for me in Demotic before.”

She asked, “Can you translate it?”

“Am I a specialist in Roman Britain?”

The woman glared at him, “Yes; we know that already; the Romans didn’t use Demotic.”

“I’ve studied it in the last couple of years – to keep my mind off … Janet.”

The man demanded, “What does it say?”

Roland blushed, “It’s sort of personal.”

“Translate it, or we’ll take you in and hold you while someone else does it.”

“Oh … well … here goes,” He cleared his throat and started, “Dearest love, thank you for last night, it was wonderful. It was so good that I’ll have to sleep it off; by all the Gods, even if it risks his revenge, even Zeus wasn’t that good, nor Jason.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for preorder on Amazon.
You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Since Roland is a specialist in Roman Britain, and it is memorial day, a bit about Roman Armour.

Reenactors in Lorica Segmentata

The Romans didn’t actually use the breastplate and Mohawk-like Greek helmet so beloved in epic movies. The lorica segmentata (segmented armour) was much more practical. It was lighter, easier to make, easier to repair (if you survived) and easier to adjust to a new soldier. The plates are basically flat steel that is bent and strapped together. The overlapping segments provide decent protection, especially with your scutum (shield) and in a disciplined cohort. These reenactors are carrying pila (pilums) which are lances designed to break off once they hit. (Later on they used a shorter lawn-dart like construction – a plumbata –  an individual could carry 5-6 of them.)  Not shown are the gladius (sword) or the pugio (dagger). This reenactor wears chain mail (lorica hamata), which was worn mostly by auxiliaries.

The featured image shows a reconstruction of a Draco – dragon standard – similar to what the legions in Britain would have used. That and a Welsh flag which bears a striking remembrance of it.