Monday, May 10, 2010

Productivity Update

I just added a new chapter to The Revenge of the Fallen Reboot, which I had allowed to sit unupdated for nearly a month.  The lead-up to the great battle in Morocco in which Megatron attempts to free the Fallen from his tomb (under Jbel Toubkal, a mountain near Marrakesh) and Starscream makes his bid for power has begun...

Unfortunately, I'm rapidly approaching an impasse.  In the film, Sam, Mikaela, and Leo end up in Egypt when Jetfire creates a "space bridge" (some kind of wormhole) and takes them there.  Since I replaced the "wake up Jetfire in a museum" plot with the plot I remember from the original Transformers animated series (Starscream digs Jetfire out of a glacier), this isn't going to happen.

At present, my plan to get the kids to Morocco (to have them there for the final battle, like in the movie) involves them accidentally getting swept onto an American military aircraft that's headed there.  Thing is, unless the soldiers boarding the aircraft are in a VERY big hurry, they'd get noticed and put off the plane.  I'm disinclined to have them stow away, lest Sam get "Flanderized"* into someone mindlessly self-sacrificing to the point of being a suicidal idiot.

(*A TVTropes term in which one character trait gets amplified to a ridiculous degree.  It comes from Flanders turning more and more into a religious zealot to the exclusion of other traits in The Simpsons.  It could also be applied to Quagmire's sexual perversity, which was less pronounced earlier in Family Guy.)

After all, I already had him attempt to trade himself to the Decepticons for a kidnapped Mikaela, Mr. Banes, and Simmons, in a move that other characters and readers recognized was idiotic to an extreme.

Any ideas?  I've only got six chapters left and hopefully I'll be able to finish it before July.

Also, I posted an author's note in The Wrath of the Half-Blood Prince that both provides a glimpse of what the Potterverse would look like 17 years after Voldemort's (permanent) defeat in that world's 1979 and linked back to this blog.  The note serves a dual purpose of expending my last ideas pertaining to that story and (hopefully) attracting more readers here, since this blog did not exist in 2008 when I wrote "Wrath."

My final piece of non-original work is another alternate version of the Draka timeline on my alternate-history forum.  In the novel Under the Yoke (second in the original trilogy), there's a scene where a Draka character states that if the Domination didn't have atomic weapons, the United States could have forced them out of Europe and Eastern China, which the Draka conquered in that timeline's version of WWII.

Thing is, the Draka's primary ability to threaten the North American mainland is via submarine and the Alliance for Democracy is dominated by the US, Britain, and Japan, all of whom have extensive naval-warfare experience.  The Alliance nuclear arsenal is also more powerful and more advanced than that of the Draka.

So, I figured in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Alliance could have launched a successful nuclear first-strike on the Domination, using their superiority in aircraft and ships to destroy the Draka sea-based nuclear deterrent before it could do significant damage.  It's improbable they could sell a "war to the death" to their electorates so soon after WWII, but driving the Draka back to their pre-war start lines with the aid of the still-not-entirely-enslaved populations of Eurasia would be an easier sell.

But after the war, with "frontline" Alliance states like Britain, India, and Japan taking worse nuclear damage than the US and the Domination truncated and with its ruling-class and slave-soldiery taking a severe beating, the Alliance might well weaken or even dissolve.  And the Draka, descended from history's losers, might well be inclined to revenge...

(Plus I'm thinking that post-Draka Europe might well be dominated by Communists and other extreme leftists and form a third power-bloc.  That'd be a real downer ending there--the rump Alliance and the resurgent Draka blast each other to bits and the world ends up going Red.)

Here's the link: Limited Alliance-Draka War.

I may update the timeline later tonight.  Right now, it's gotten 550+ hits on and considering how I've been posting blog posts there as well as on Facebook, I think I'm recruiting more and more of them as readers.

Now, as far as original fiction is concerned, I have submitted Chapter Five of Escape from the Wastelands to my Kennesaw writing group.  I have already tweaked it based on some comments received from two of my fellow writers.

Given my decision to get some serious intertextuality going with Beowulf, I think I might order a copy of the actual epic and see what I can glean from it.  Dan Simmons' Ilium and Olympos got a whole lot of critical acclaim through intertextuality with the Iliad and Shakespeare, so perhaps intertextuality with Beowulf will raise my planned post-apocalyptic-paperpack series to new levels of credibility (and hopefully, when the time comes, higher sales and movie deals).

I have also just gotten a rejection slip from Asimov's for my short story "Picking Up Plans in Palma," which takes place in my Afrikaner universe.  This rejection slip was rather different from older rejections I've gotten from that magazine.  It's still a form letter, but my name is handwritten into the salutation, editor Sheila Williams signed it herself, and the letter states that the story is "not quite right" but they'd like to see more fiction from me.

Considering how "Palma" is basically an alternate-history spy story with only vague science-fiction content (the "MacGuffin" of the story is plans for an orbiting battle-station and a character fears having an orbital projectile dropped on him), I think if I can get something as good as "Palma" that's more explicitly SF, I might have a good chance of selling it.


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