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.

Decoding Amanda, the story formerly known as the Divinity School.

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

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived. Mr Jameson just asked Amanda to dance, despite her interest in a mathematics problem. The set over, Amanda wants to return to her usual pursuits when her mother stops her. Amanda has just said a biting remark about the mysterious Mr Jameson.


“That is unkind of you.”

Amanda blinked, and watched the figures on the floor; then she replied, “Yes … You’re right; I shouldn’t have said that Louisa – I don’t know why I’m in such a way.”

Louisa frowned, “It’s all those books … you used to be so sweet.”

“Was I? I apologize Louisa; my mother took the book I was reading … it was a present from Freddy.”

Louisa brightened at the name, “Freddy; how is he?”

“Well, I suppose; he hasn’t been sent down from Oxford … yet.”

“He won’t be … I hope,” Louisa blushed.

Amanda sighed, “He didn’t mention any females in his last letter.” How could he … Mother reads them first.


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

 

Amanda’s mother reading her letters is nothing out of the ordinary – the same thing happens to the heroines in Jane Austen’s books (the end of Northanger Abbey excepted).

Not much history this time. I’ve had a bit of a family emergency which is settling into a more routine situation.

 

 


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, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 7(?)

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

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived. Mr Jameson just asked Amanda to dance, despite her interest in a mathematics problem. The set over, Amanda wants to return to her usual pursuits when her mother stops her.


Amanda reached for her reticule; to retrieve her notes, when her mother snapped, “Leave that; we should be sociable; you may play with your figures some other time.”

“I don’t know anyone.”

“Surely you do,” Mrs Bentley waved to another woman with her daughter, “You can’t have forgotten Louisa.”

“More hair than wit,” Amanda muttered under her breath.

“Don’t be so snobby, you know that’s not true; she’s a delightful chit and you used to be such friends; come,” Mrs Bentley took her daughter’s hand and dragged her around the outside of the room.

Louisa bounced as she said to Amanda, “I saw you dancing with that handsome Mr Jameson; did you know he’s the chaplain at Mrs Hudson’s academy?”

Amanda said, “A chaplain?”

“Yes,” Louisa bounced, “He is a divinity student … Oxford I think … on leave from exhaustion.”

“Exhaustion; from what – too many compline services?”

 


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

My coauthor received a hint that our titles are not quite right for the genre. (Thank you for it. There’s nothing like a Friday deadline and a hurricane to put one behind.)

Though not full of hot Gypsy lust, this is a romance.  Albeit one with spies, secrets, and the occasional murder. You wouldn’t know it from the title – which sounds like a theological treatise. (As will eventually be revealed ‘the Divinity School’ is the cover name for a code-breaking establishment.)

So we were wondering about other titles. Such as:

Amanda Breaks the Code (sounds too Hardy-Girlish)

Decrypted Secrets.

Secrets Revealed.

I think we have a great deal of work to do. None of these are 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, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 5

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

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived.


The young man, who stood next to her father, said, “I should like the honour of the next dance, if I may?”

Amanda blushed, “Yes,” She rose to curtsey to him; her notes lying, unbidden on the table.

Mr Jameson glanced at them; then he reached over and folded them, neatly, and gave them to her, “Don’t forget your work.”

Amanda curtseyed and blushed again, “Thank you,” she took the paper and replaced it in her reticule.

He said, “It looked important.”

“Just some scratchings – a problem from Dr Hutton’s book.”

“His course in mathematics? I’ve been told it’s an excellent work.”

The orchestra reached the end of the 2/3; the final chords echoed through the room and interrupted Amanda’s reply; a pause in the music preceded the introduction of the next set.

Mr Jameson inclined his head, “Would you care to dance?”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

There’s a revolution in transportation that is underway during the time frame of this story. Canals would connect large parts of the UK withing ten-fifteen years.  The Kennett and Avon Canal was finished in 1810. The featured image shows the canal in Bath. Jane Austen would have been familiar with it, although it was a rough place in her time.

This bridge, in the middle of farmland, and almost literally in the middle of nowhere shows Regency decorations. It feels as if it were Mr Darcy’s moonshot, and in some what that’s true.


This lock, in Bradford on Avon, would have been there while Amanda worked on her math problems.

As would this, the Avoncliff Aqueduct. It’s next to the Cross Guns which is an elegant pub – though that doesn’t stop the chavs from decorating the path with technicolour yawns (I know that’s Australian).

The last locks to be finished, in 1810, were the Devizes steps. They make for an exhausting day, even with modern canal boats.

If you’re a yank and want to try a canal trip, the trick is to go directly to the UK sites. The US ones tend to double the price.


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, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 4

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

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived.


The carriage’s arrival in front of the hall interrupted Mrs Bentley’s cutting reply; a servant, dressed something like a footman, opened the door; he offered an arm and at her mother’s urging, Amanda descended; not gracefully, as her mother would remind her in a few moments, but nonetheless without tripping.

She waited for her mother and father before entering the hall.

It looked entrancing, an orchestra scratching out a dance, and – far more important – an excess of young men.

That did not last long; a veritable flock of young ladies, chattering among themselves came through the door behind them.

The excess of gentlemen vanished in an instant; Amanda sighed, found a seat at the side of the room, and pulled a small sheet of paper from her reticule –  You can take the book from the mathematician, but not the mathematics – she started writing out a problem in symmetric polynomials, at least what she could remember of it.

Her father interrupted her a few minutes later, “Amanda, dear.”

“What is it, now?” She did not look up.

“May I present Mr Jameson?”

Amanda’s attention snapped away from the paper, and she managed to squeak out, “Delighted.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Coalpit Heath is a real place on the outside of Frampton. Most of it is rather nice, unlike this farmhouse next to the tracks.


It’s literally on the wrong side of the tracks.

I don’t have a good picture of the remains of the coal works from the early 19th century because we were always either in a hurry to get walking or it was too dark by the time we returned. They and numerous pit mines supplied the fuel for the iron works at Iron Acton. The villages remain, but little sign of the industry is visible.

Google maps shows the site, if you happen to be in the area.


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 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 Divinity School 3

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

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly.


Amanda greeted her father when he climbed into the carriage to join her and her mother, “You look dressed to the nines father.”

Mr Bentley tugged at his stiff collar and carefully sat in his all too tight trousers, “Thank you, I wish they weren’t so da- uncomfortable; they don’t suit me.”  After he sat, he thumped the carriage and shouted “Drive on.”

Mrs Bentley pointedly added, “You cannot wear your tradesmen’s coat to assemblies, let alone when we take Amanda to Bath or …. London.”

“London?” Mr Bentley paled, “I thought we had agreed to Bath.”

“Bath?” Amanda’s voice quavered, “Bath?”

“You’re such an awkward and shy lass,” Mrs Bentley explained, “It would give you a chance to grow into society, practice your dancing, before,” and here she sent her husband a quelling glance, “before we take you to visit the ton.”

While Amanda sought solace by studying the familiar countryside on the few short miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, her father reached over and patted her shoulder, “It’ll be alright lass.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury are near the port of Bristol – Mr Bentley’s iron would likely have gone by sea from there. The Severn, the river that leads into the Bristol channel is known for its large tidal differences.


At low tide the Severn is non-navigable. It looks like one could walk across it and upstream, nearer Gloucester, one can. I presume that’s why Offa’s dyke is on the far side of the river.


The solution to this, of course, was a canal. The Gloucester and Sharpness canal, seen also at low tide here, was under construction at the time of this story. The canal company that started it went bankrupt so that it spent a few years as a useless big ditch.

Prior to completion, the cargo boats would have had a few hours to make it up or down the Severn. It would have been interesting if not dashed exciting and somewhat dangerous to ride one downstream when the tide was flowing. The RNLI frowns on people doing it today in canoes (kayaks in the US and Canada).

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 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.

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.