Real Post Later

*This is the book that I’m writing as a reward, when I write the other stuff. Not that the book is a reward, mind you. I’ll probably never be able to sell it (not because of this part, but because the alien world that comes in later is…. skivvy? to most people) to the public, but it won’t shut up. So it will get written. Anyway, this is something to hold you because I have a short story to deliver before lunch, and I woke up with the world’s worst headache. – SAH*



Everything was going fine, until my father stopped giving orders.

Okay. No. So everything was not fine. For one we had been ambushed.

Which was the problem.

There are no ambushes in space battles. My father had dinned the theory and practice of space battles into my school before I entered the Academy at twelve.  Which is as good a place as any to say I was a child prodigy.

Or maybe I wasn’t. There isn’t really any way to tell. Late born son of a brilliant father and a demanding mother. My father named me Scipio Africanus Hayden, for crying out loud.  It was clear enough what I was supposed to do. What I was supposed to be. I wasn’t genetically improved – or not so that anyone would ever admit to – so it was just…  Look, I had to be what I had to be.  And that meant I was a young boy admitted to a military academy five years earlier than everyone else there.  Which meant I had to graduate as fast as I could.

Which is how I ended up as my father’s second in command at the battle of Karan. At seventeen.

And we were ambushed.  But there are no ambushes in space. Just like there are no ambushes in the high seas.

You see the enemy approach for days on end. The best you can do is hide your strategy or your capabilities from them. But you can’t hide. There’s nothing to hide in. Certainly not with a schrodinger-drive ship. You can’t port near a planet that would hide you. And you certainly can’t port close to the enemy. Or rather you can, but then the risk of porting to the same space as the enemy and achieving the most pyrrhic victory of all time is high.

And we had intelligence – we had intelligence! – from the Nirian side.  They had no technology we didn’t have, and their ships had a tendency to fall apart because, well, forced labor doesn’t build good ships.  And there was no way to hide a ship in space.

There was no way.

So my father, commanding five battle cruisers, the entire war fleet of her royal majesty of Britannia had ported to a nowhere convergence called Karan.  Oh, there was some reason for it, including the fact that Karan gave access to other port points, which gave access to other port points which would put our colony worlds of Eire and Hy-Brasil and Prester within reach.  Which meant if we let the Nirian fleet port there and hold it, with no contest, those colonies would be vulnerable, or call it actually enslaved, given the Nirian system of government.

That’s the high level version of the situation, which is all I knew at the time.

The trip to orbit, in order to port to Karan took a day, and then we were there.  There was the middle of nowhere in space.  In full view of Nirian vessels. Ten of them, but Father said not to worry. “Battles in space aren’t a matter of ship count, Skip,” he said.  “They’re a matter of capabilities, of maneuvering, and of training. And we’re better at all of those.”  He said it after dinner, leaning back in his chair, his blue eyes crinkled at the corner, the way they did when something amused him.  “Always remember, Skip, free men fight better than slaves.”

I believed him. I still believe him. My father, you see–  My father never gave me any reason to doubt him. Not even then.

Before I tell the story, something must be rightly understood: I look like my mother, Lady Harcaster.  Her ancestors, who ruled over Aeris, all look like me: colorless, thin lipped, tall and spare, the kind of people who grow older by getting thinner and dryer and harder, like aged wood.  There are holos of them going back to the time of colonization and they probably look more lifelike than the originals.

Growing up with Mother I always knew exactly what she expected of me.  And what she expected of me was always impossible. So, of course, I did it.

Father, on the other hand was my anchor. From my earliest memories, I knew Father cared. So I did what he wanted me to do, not because I feared him, but because I didn’t want to disappoint him.

I suspect that’s why I accepted the appointment as his second in command aboard the HMS Victoria, commanding Britannia’s space fleet. Because I got to spend time with father and away from Mother.

Was it stupid? Oh yes. My stupidity or his? Who knows?

“Look, Skip, your rank is largely ornamental,” he said. “And temporary and probationary.  The only reason for you to be Vice-Commodore, fresh off the Academy, is that you stick close to me and you learn. You learn, Skip. That’s all. That’s all you’re doing here. You’re learning.”

I learned. Oh, the blue uniform with the half cape was pretty nice, too. But mostly I learned. Because sure, I’d be the Earl of Harcaster when mother died, and have full rule over Aeris, which I loathed because it was not Capital City. But that was a function of being born to mother, who’d brought the title into the marriage. Being called Lord Harcaster wouldn’t mean anything, just like being called Viscount Webson, the junior title of mom’s family, made me feel stupid. It wasn’t something I’d earned. And I wanted to earn something.

When I was at the Academy people kept quoting Father and talking about the victories he’d achieved. I wanted to learn that. I wanted to earn that.

And the three days, while Father maneuvered, and the enemy maneuvered, and he planned for every eventuality, was like being back at the Academy. There was a hollo table, and the ships on it, floating in air, and Father moved them. And firing capabilities, and where the weapons were in each ship were discussed, as well as the shielding capabilities though these consisted mostly of turning the proper points to where we knew the enemy weapons were.

It was on the third night, with father and the eight captains and vice captains of the other ships, all assembled, that I asked the stupid question.

They’d just gone over the plan, and something that was constantly mentioned at Academy hadn’t been mentioned at all, and I cleared my throat and before I could stop myself, heard my voice say, “Sir, what about boarding? What about preparations for boarding or to combat boarding?” My voice sounded young, wishful, naïve. In fact, much like the voice of a student. Or a child. I was momentarily glad I hadn’t called him “Father” or – as in childhood – “daddy.”

Look, that was the reason that ships carried each a complement of some five hundred men each at enormous cost.  Because ships got boarded. At the Academy we’d studied five battles where defending your ship from boarding  had turned the tide of the battle. One of those was the first battle my father had fought as commodore, the battle of Ryrr.

But all nine men stared at me as though I’d lost my mind.

“It never happens,” Father said. “Not these last thirty years, Skip. It doesn’t happen. Their ships aren’t that agile. They have outmoded maneuvering.”

“But,” I said, feeling that if I’d already made a fool of myself, I might as well go on.  “Why do we have infantry abroad, then? And why do we wear side arms into battle?”

Father patted my shoulder.  He actually patted my shoulder. “It’s the Force, Skip. Things change very slowly. It’s just tradition.”

All the captains had smiled, indulgently, and I wasn’t even mad that Father had called me Skip and not Vice Commodore Hayden. Because I knew it was from an excess of feeling and not a desire to humiliate me.

It was the last time he called me Skip.

Because in the night, while we were all asleep we were ambushed.

You probably read about in the history books, but here goes: our intelligence was faulty or suborned. Which one, it doesn’t matter, and it wasn’t ever established although investigations and interrogations ran for years.

Boarding between spaceships had been done with boarding sleeves.  So a lot of maneuvering went on, until you could be in the right where you knew the ship shielding was weak enough that the piercing machinery at the end of the sleeve could attach and make an entry.

Our propulsion and navigation systems were better than theirs. Which is why it hadn’t happened in thirty years.

But you know what those extra five ships contained? Lots and lots of small vessels, each of which could carry twenty five infantry toops. Ships equipped with a an explosive prow.

I woke up to the sound of alarms. Every ship penetrated. Everyone fighting with our utterly inadequate sidearms.

I put my uniform on in the dark, only because I was so fresh from the academy that waking with an alarm and dressing in the dark, without thinking, was second nature.

But the hallways were choked with people fighting and dying, and only the enemy was in uniforms. Our people were in pajamas, in their underwear, or very against regulation, mother-naked and rocking holsters, or in one case that sticks in my mind, dripping wet and with a towel wrapped around himself, Roman style.

I remember that. I remember snapshots of the battle in the corridor. I remember blood. I remember dismembered bodies, mostly ours. I remember people, their bodies torn, pouring out blood onto the glassteel of the floor. Many still fighting.

I remember sweat, shortness of breath. I remember running out of charges on my weapons, and picking them up from corpses.

All through it, I knew one thing: I should be in the command room with Father. Father would know what to do.

And then my mind becomes clear as I entered the command room. It was filled with dead. Dead in piles.

In the middle of it, Father. He was also in his uniform. He was getting up.  There was a gaping wound in his chest, and he was getting up, trying to reach the com.

“Son,” he said. “Son.” And it was bare rasp.  “They knew. They had—They came here first.”

He didn’t need to say it. I could see the path from the outside, through a protected wall, through two adjacent storage rooms. It was plugged with the Nirian ship, or we’d be leaking air into space.

“Father,” I said. “Commodore, please don’t talk.”

“I must give orders. I must—”

But even as he spoke his voice got fainter, and he was collapsing.  And I – with my academy training, got on the com, and called, ship by ship, for status.

Our ship was the only one breached, though one of the small ships had attacked the Belcaria.

I got on the coms. I screamed into them, my voice by turns hoarse and shrill.

Did the captains understand this was Vice-Commodore Hayden? Did I even tell them? Technically Father was hors de combat. I was in command.

I roused the ships. I gave them instructions. Text book instructions. But the hollo of a man in uniform bellowing instructions to the just awakened can be effective.  And the ships spun. And fired on the small would-be intruders. Before they got near.  The few that penetrated were met with a full complement of wakened-in-time, in uniform, in their right minds infantry.

Me? I stayed at the coms. I stayed with it, calming, cajoling, ordering.

Do you know I don’t remember firing my side arm even once, while I was at the coms  But I must have, because Father was unconscious, and there was no one else there with us but the dead. So unless the dead got up to fight – I don’t know. It’s as plausible as anything else – I fired and fired and fired, and accounted for about thirty five of the enemy, which effectively choked the door, so they couldn’t come in anymore.

They must have been working on breaking through the barrier of corpses when our people, commanded by me at a distance, and mostly from the Belcaria, took the Victoria, cleaning up as they went.

When it became clear the people trying to enter were our people, I got off the coms. I had the vague idea that if I could only keep Father alive till the medics got there, the regen would make everything all right.

He was on the floor where he’d laid down.  His eyes were closed and his hands were cold, and I thought he was dead.

I have no memory of all the orders I gave in combat, but I remember what I cried, then, “Father! Daddy!”

His eyes opened.  I lifted his head. I babbled about medics, about regen.

Father stared at me and smiled.  He said, “Good man, Scipius. Well done, son.”  And then he died.

My father had the most amazing eyes.  Blue, sure, but a very dark blue, so that from across the room they looked black.  But up close, you saw them blue and dseep like the night sky in summer, blue and deep like the whole universe.

One moment they were looking at me, shining, deep blue. The next they were black.

I looked into my father’s eyes and I lost myself. I forgot what I’d been meant to be, what I was.

They came in. They pronounced Father dead. I was wounded, they say. Nothing vital hit. Or nothing vital that couldn’t be regened.

They tranqued me to drag away to the infirmary.

When I woke two weeks later, they told me that father was dead, but I already knew.

I wore the blue uniform with the half-cape once more, on a freezing winter day, in blowing snow, as I stood in the family cemetery next to the Earl’s palace of Aeris, and watched father’s coffin lowered into the grave, while space force captains and countless infantry stood at attention, wedged awkwardly between statues of angels and spacemen, of kings and imperious women holding aloft wreaths of victory.

When it was done, they played the sweet, haunting “Home of the Spacer” consigning father’s memory to the stars.

I stood at attention there, and then I stood beside Mother and received the condolences of a grateful Empire, and the Queen herself pinned the Wreath of Valor upon my chest, the big one, in gold, with the replica of the first colonizing ship in the middle.

I removed it after the funeral.  And then I removed my uniform. I sent my resignation to her majesty.

And then I lost myself in the fleshpots of capital city.

167 thoughts on “Real Post Later

  1. How isn’t this a Real Post?

    You gave the start of an interesting story. 😀

  2. DAMN!!!!!
    Okay – suggestion. Make these shorts a collection of stories of like content, amd market it as Memories from the Stars. I will pay you cash for the first one. Signed, of course.
    Whether you open it to other writers is irrelevant.

      1. At points one has to wonder if ones muse is sitting there at the Desk Of Admittance in the equivalent of the old Royal Navy Admiralty House, with all these characters lolling about in the pews waiting to get called to be sent through to ones head.

      2. Good. He shouldn’t shut up. He has a lot to say.

        And after this start, we don’t care if it gets “skivvy”.

  3. Excellent start. Really sucked me in and made me want to read the rest. I like the world too. I’ve always had a soft spot for regencies in space.

  4. OK, so my money’s waiting for this one, too. It sounds like it will be a ripping good yarn!

  5. Nothing skivvy here. Just leave out the details and show Scarlet O’Hara purring like a well-fed cat if it comes to that.

      1. If not Scarlett, perhaps Mae West?
        Loved the blurb, want more.
        Looking forward to Spike Africa being dragged back into service.
        N.B. “Spike Africa” was also the pen name of a writer for Woodenboat Magazine in the 70s- 80s.

        1. Two thoughts on him being “dragged back into service”.

          1) The Queen may have “lost” his letter of resignation (not that she had to “accept” it).

          2) I’m seeing him wake up in a hotel-room with this very beautiful and tough Royal Marine Gunnery Sergeant with him wondering “was I lucky enough to have sex with her” and she’s not saying one way or the other if he did. 😆

            1. Well, I’ve never had much luck in guessing what my favorite authors are going to put their characters through. 😀

              Maybe he’ll be shanghaied? :crazy grin:

                1. Why not? It’s not like readers don’t scarf down series like candy!

                  From inside my head: “Only six?? just gettin’ started.”

              1. Huh. D’ya know how many would-be readers are suddenly intensely fascinated?

                Cuz even if not pissed off… Left Halfway to Dissatisfied. (What annoyed you?)

                1. Hermaphrodites wouldn’t be peaceful feminists and communitarian. Just wouldn’t. I ATE biology books for most of my childhood. Hermaphrodite species are incredibly aggressive. WHY would humans be any different?
                  This was a book by a female author that caused me to question if she’d ever MET females. (Not for the first time or the last.)

                  1. Le Guin was very good at creating the semblance of reasonability for her worlds. But like almost all leftists she really didn’t seem to grasp actual human nature and what drives real people.

                  2. Oh, that. Been 40+ years since I read her, and she’s mostly fallen out of my head, but I remember coming away vaguely dissatisfied with most of her novels. Eventually I stopped reading her entirely. (And I can tell you exactly when I stopped. It was the collection with Omelas, all of which seemed bent on showing how everything was in fact ugly and failing, ie. on demoralizing the reader. Not coincidentally, some consider this to be postmodern fiction.)

                    Anyway, while it might be possible to design-from-scratch a hermaphrodite species with such utopian behavior (noting that I regard utopias as flipside-dystopias), you ain’t gonna get there by starting with femicommie humans.

              2. I don’t remember reading THAT book and have no interest in reading it.

                However your “take” on that book might be very interesting. 😀

                    1. I was scarred for life by New Wave (which wasn’t. New, I mean). I’m still disgusted by the memory of two of those things: the rehash of, “Incident at Owl Creek Bridge,” and the endless descending escalator story.

                  1. I think I started it because I had read the Earthsea trilogy and liked that…but as I recall, I got about 2 chapters into Left Hand of Darkness, put it down and never picked it up again.

                    1. I know I read it back in the ’70s because it was on our shelves and I can’t imagine having not read any of the sci-fi/fantasy we had back then. However, I absolutely cannot remember a thing about it, which should tell me all I need to know.

                    2. It had some very cool stuff about mountain cliimbing or at least survival in a cold environment, which I thought was pretty darned good for a San Francisco lady. But I don’t remember a lot about it, either, and I didn’t like the hermaphrodite thing. I read it all, though. I always read LeGuin all the way through, at least the first time, because I liked her writing voice, but she rarely told me stories that I liked much. Very strange, because so often it’s the other way around.

                      She has an excuse for being the original woman from Mars, though. I mean, geez, her parents.

                      I think she understood human nature. She just didn’t always choose to use her knowledge, whenever it touched on something painful to her.

                    3. Also, a lot of her Seventies books were actually about Buddhism, AFAICT. So I think it wasn’t so much a feminist dream of hermaphrodites as some kind of Tantric Buddhism thing. But that’s just a guess, and I read the book a good thirty-five years ago.

                    4. Le Guin once said that the mental image that launched the writing of the book was that of a solitary individual, trudging through the ice and snow. That, and she wanted to open a book with a line about the king being pregnant.

                    5. I have vague memories of it (read it as a SF Book Club selection when I first joined) and don’t recall re-reading it. OTOH, The Lathe of Heaven might be worse, from what I recall of it.

                      I need to compress three bookshelves into two, which gives me a golden opportunity to weed a bunch of gawdawful books from the collection. (The main downside to SFBC, and the reason I quit/rejoined a few times until I quit for good in the mid ’80s.) The last I looked, the county library system still wasn’t taking book donations (the CCPvirus is just waiting for somebody to turn to page 666 in a Tom Clancy novel) but our local branch might possibly be a bit more enlightened about Kung Flu Theater. (OR-OSHA seems afraid to come out here. Knowing the area, they should be.)

                  1. It did not have hermaphrodites for instance. It had asexual beings who would go into heat and turn either male or female with another such being.

                    (And for some reason she later said that they wouldn’t always be of the opposite sex, homosexuality would be welcome, and one can only wonder why. It would, at the least, be inconvenient.)

        1. I read it way back, but kind of… Meh. Natural selection and real intelligent species don’t work that way. Those are two separate problems.
          I look forward to the imagined world, no matter how much HKLG backlash it contains. And the 70’s were my most fun decade. Not useful, fun.

  6. Reads well.

    As for details you could have tossed a little Correia gun-porn in there and stretched the story by another 5000 to 40,000 words. 😛

    But at this point, it’s a good kicking scene that makes me actually wonder about the rest of the story.

    (The snark is coming from me having to review 4 hours of videos and pick up YAPL, Yet Another Programming Language for work projects… We love y’all and mean it!)

    1. Skeevy, yup. One of those weird UK words from “Bona,” the carnival/theater dialect that has a lot of Italian words in it. In this case, “schiafo,” disgust or nausea.

      At some point, it became a theatrical/gay dialect, which apparently can cause a lot of misunderstandings in the UK. Anyway, that was the joke in the old BBC radio comedy show Round the Horn — there were two gay guys talking Bona, and calling all their businesses Bona This or Bona That.

      Of course US English just steals any and all words from everybody, so nothing can be implied about anyone. We’re just glomming onto everything.

  7. Damn, woman! You sure can write. Can’t wait for the book.

    Er, hope I am not treading on toes, but I hope you’ll finish “Witch’s Daughter” someday.

  8. Ox too tired (snockered) to read in full proper detail.
    Still… “Real Post Later”??
    What, this is ARTIFICIAL post?

    [Still IMMENSELY amused by the “sweetest” comment/claim on MeWe… I assure that it makes me *FAR* more giggly than is good for co-workers’ mental health.]

      1. Great post. Great novel start. Go skippy. With things as they are absorbing a wonderful novel sounds wonderful. I look forward to seeing how not wholesome it is, then will buy it when it comes out.

    1. It might not be a real post, but it’s not imaginary. Let’s just call it complex. 🙂

      And yeah, Moar Skippy!

  9. My innocent young lady, there’s this thing, you’ve probably never heard of it, being sheltered and raised in a fine upstanding home as you were and still are, but it’s called indie publishing. We could get you an Amazon publishing account, I’ll even fund that cost for you, find someone with the art sense to gen up a cover on the cheap, heck I think I still have a handful of ISDN numbers lying around here somewhere.
    Doesn’t mean you’ll sell anything per se, but by the Good Lord you can put it up for offer.
    And my serious response to your real post will be forthcoming shortly after you put the durn thing up. In the meanwhile I get to rag upon you relentlessly.

      1. ‘Course it will. And the more you put disclaimers about it being adult, gritty, yucky, edgy, etc., the more you will find that some people will buy it. It’s picaresque. And geez, if Abercrombie can sell, anybody can sell.

          1. Weird might be good! I don’t know, as I haven’t read it yet!

            But again, there’s a lot to be said for writing it out, and worrying about making it marketable later. You’ve had to do a lot of editing lately, so your imagination might be demanding its due.

                  1. If Space Dino females are like chickens, investing the energy into laying an egg every so often whether it’s fertilized or not given appropriate environmental stimuli, a technically advanced Dino civilization might have far less of an issue with who did what with whom, and one could posit a thriving market for eggs that could be acquired and fertilized by whoever, no matter what their home arrangements happened to be.

                    1. Yeah, the weird thing is what I just put up is way more interesting in it’s possibilities than the UKLG left hand thingee was.

                      And as to wanting, I believe Ringo has said he was kidnapped by the Ghost characters and made to write the first one against his will.

                    2. And we would have believed him, up until that infamous scene where Ghost has to remind the terrorists “torturing” his harem manager that “torture” probably isn’t working when the “victim” is giving instructions between orgasms…….

                    3. That suggests a prudent Society could stockpile eggs as a form of population management, adjusting them according to environmental and political circumstances. Depending on how long it takes to raise and educate them this could rove handy for colonization programs and, of course, in preparation for war – both for mass armies and replacement of casualties.

                    4. Dinos, like chickens, accreted the solid shell before laying.

                      Now, space amphibians, or fish —

              1. And a good thing, too! Knowing your tendencies they’d have been Goth gay space dinosaurs. With depression issues.

                Please do not rewrite the English Civil Wars with Cavalier and Roundhead space dinosaurs …

              1. That made my imagination wander… so there’s “Gay Space” and “Sad Space” and other sorts of spaces. And these spaces have different emotional configurations, where each of the “humors” are arranged differently, and moving from one to the other immediately and completely changes your emotional flavor (while you’re there…). Hmm…

          2. er, pet rocks, bitcoin, marxism, I could go on, but why bother. Reality is weirdness my silly Portagee.
            The problem in a potential pool of half a billion English speakers is not being too weird, it’s simply making your niche market aware that their particular weirdness is available at a bargain price.
            Put anything up at $4.99 on the Zon, catch the admittedly fickle whirlwind of public interest and sell 100K copies. Go a hell of a long way towards paying off both boys’ college loans I suspect.
            Cme to think of it, we could do a scrub on the Kama Sutra, title the new version Intimate sexual techniques of Joe and the HO. We’d make enough for both of us to retire to some obscure Caribbean island and live out our days in the lap of luxury.

        1. That said, you can always write it out in a first draft and make your Id happy, and then edit it to see if you really need every single bit of gritty and yucky (or if you can do more implications, without losing the power).

            1. What, the same class of readers who consumed Well of Souls, Riverworld, and Chthon? so long as the world is internally consistent, we’ll adapt. If readers are annoyed, consider that there may be an internal contradiction, or something still underdeveloped (what they complain of often being orthogonal to the actual issue).

              1. TBF the only people who were annoyed when I wrote these were trad pub editors and agents.
                And what annoyed them might very well be the individualistic nature of the race.

                    1. I don’t have hermaphrodites. But my nonhumans have a birth ratio of 5M:1F, and a bunch of evolved behaviors (and biology) around that, partly to prevent excessive competition for mates. And that affects family structure, pack behavior, and sexuality in ways decidedly unlike human behavior. Humans and other pair-bonders stuck in the same spot would run mad; in my people it instead evolved into pack-bonding behavior and the foundation of the family group dynamic (wherein associated but unattached males do most of the childrearing).

                      An unfortunate side effect is that some readers are going to assume wrongly, to the point that I’ll probably have to resort to an appendix. “Mesc reproductive biology: a primer for pair-bonding species.”

                    2. You do realize that’s not a stable situation? On average, having a son will give you five times the grandkids that having a daughter will, and so the pressure to have sons is enormous until it settles into a more equal ratio.

                    3. Whoops. Got the ratio flipped. 5M: 1F will give you five times as many grandkids per daughter. but the effect is the same

                    4. @Mary (durn nesting)

                      To oversimplify for television: They’re serial monogamists, not pair-bonders, and the reproductive lifespan is about double that of humans. A given female typically has offspring by 3 or 4 different males (commonly, males who are already associated with one another), who may themselves have several mates over time. She raises the kid (or occasionally, fraternal twins) for a few years, then the unattached adult males take over, and the female may wander away entirely. (Due to quirks of physiology, females have total reproductive control.)

                      In a couple of the royal families the birth ratio is flipped, which has been nothing but trouble. One got itself into a corner trying to fix the problem, the other endures regular civil wars.

                  1. To be fair, how I first wrote it was wrong. If this succeeds it might come out as prequels
                    BUT this came to me when driving back from Fyrecon with husband last year. I turned off the music and started telling him the story.
                    He said “write it.”
                    BUT it took me till now to make it into a story that talks. Well about a month ago.

                    1. Yay Dan!

                      Hermaphrodite races are not my favorite speculation, but Bel Thorne is a good character that lots of people like. So yeah, Skippy seems to have some oomph.

                    2. F. M. Busby’s “Breeds Of Man” had humans (genetically engineered) that alternated between male and female (obviously a pregnant woman stayed female until the child was born).

                      Wasn’t a terrible story.

                1. Oh, THEM. That’s like complaining “but it annoyed leftards” then wondering why everyone else is cheering. 😛

                  If I were planning to market to that lot …and considering the natures of my nonhumans… I’d have problems too. The first would be finding someone to hit me over the head until I developed a better marketing plan. 😀

              2. IF the universe is a computer simulation … Then “worlds” within do not have to be “stable” – merely, as you say, “internally consistent.”

                    1. There is something like a spiral; can’t remember exactly as I’m pretty sure the center plane is a gravitic null zone. Also figure eights through the hole.

                      But even “normal” orbits will be odd due to the non-spherical mass distribution.

              1. LOL… somewhere I have a diagram of a Klein bottle earth. Someone needs to write a story set there and there. 😀

                Also, the night sky for Donut World must be fascinating. Especially if the moon orbits *through* the hole.

                1. For a moon like that it would need to be much smaller relative to its planet than our moon is to Earth. I think….. not sure how the Roche Limit would apply through the hole.

                  The inner surface climate would be *wildly* different depending on axial tilt. Anything from quite cold but habbital (high tilt), to frigid never-lit wasteland (low or zero tilt). You might even say that the inner surface would have icing on it.

                  Unless of course you have more than one star to work with.

                  1. When I was young I read many stories about multi- star multi-world systems. None of them paid any attention to gravity. Now that I ‘be read enough about gravity to know it would be a lifetime to understand it, I just enjoy thinking approximately about it.

              2. Brings back fond memories of a 1980s text adventure game called Warp. The world was a torus, with both an East and West Poll, and the authors had a somewhat insane sense of humor (the in-game deity was carried a bowling ball, among other bits of weirdness). Using the wrong ‘magic’ word got you stuck in the Wrong Damn Magic Word room. OTOH, it did have a nice save feature for all but the endgame.

                Alas, it was written for/on the HP3000 minicomputer (in Pascal, no less), and the main author never released the source code, though apparently PC-compatible binaries are available. (Follow the links in this post: You want the “way to play it offline” one.)

                (Pauses at virtual statue of Miles Aweigh.)

      2. How will you know if you don’t try? The question is not one amenable to logical proof derived from first principles. 😀

      3. John Ringo’s Kildar series (Oh John Ringo NOOOO!) wound up being pretty popular…

        Gun porn meets S&M porn, what’s not to like? 😛

        I suspect you are seriously underestimating the weirdness of your audience.

        1. The design of our current world should be annoying to everyone. But I bet this book will sell. If not, contact me, I ‘ll pay.

      4. “Won’t sell to people”??? What are we, chopped liver?

        Well, I (of course) ain’t “people.” I – am a “shimmering star of the marsupial firmament.”

        1. Now RES, you’re just not a Human Being.

          But the category of “People” includes more than just Humans. [Very Big Dragon Grin]

            1. If you’d ever lived next door to a Tasmanian Wolf you might not miss them – they were prone to hosting large and raucous parties late into the night. And they were terrible about policing their empty bottles and cans.

              1. Do Tasmanian Devils get invited? They are recovering from the transmit-able cancer and can be dangerous fun.

                  1. A good thing! First quick reaction is often a deeper truth than what you get chewing on something. Although if I move quickly bruises are often the result.
                    For now my ability to reply fast is hampered by an intermittent internet short. Worse than WP.

                1. There’s no point inviting Tasmanian devils, nor any need. They never RSVP, invariably show up anyway but always bring more beer/wine/liquor than they consume … which can give rise to some puzzled mornings-after months-after when you’re collecting the bar stock and find the odd bottle of Morton’s Mindbender or case of Frumious Bandersnatch.

  10. Serious….sort of
    Space opera.. check
    Regency check…
    Jump ports….check
    Questionable stuff coming up…check
    Imagination …. major check
    All is to like

      1. Hope he is not treated like Oscar Wilde, but eager to follow the story wherever the Muse takes you.

      1. Naw, it’s imaginary (as in post*i). Excellent imaginary too. One day I would like to see a complex post with both real and imaginary parts. Perhaps Dan could help you with that.

  11. You don’t need to sell it to the public. You need to sell it to us amd let is sell it to others. We are your “1,000 fans”.

    Based on the comments you’ve sold us.

      1. Well, good for him! There’s an eccentric lot of us, with a lot of history — the gg-grandfather was a valet-butler in late 1800s England who parlayed an inheritance from a grateful employer into ownership of six houses, a pub, and a thriving society catering business, before deciding to leg it to America …

        1. I’m envious. My g- grandparents came from England but my grandparents never told me what they did in England.
          OTOH, my Mother’s family (Pate) was here in America by 1700. Bacon, of Bacon’s Rebellion, died on the farm of a Pate pre Rev. War.

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