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18 Apr 2014 17:16 #36204 by brantley
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"AS IF THE STARS HAD FALLEN:" I just came up with that this morning as a better title for the AU-3 novel I've been writing off and on for the past few years that is set on Earth at the dawn of the Atomic Age.
I'd been calling it COUNTDOWN TO HISTORY, but that's not exactly a grabber for a novel, as opposed (perhaps) to a non-fiction work. But I've been reading Denise Kiernan's THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY, which tells the true-life stories of women who worked at Oak Ridge during World War II, without knowing just what they were working ON (It all had to do with producing U-235 for use in one of the first bombs to be assembled in New Mexico.).
Anyway. there's an aside about Truman learning about the Bomb after the death of Roosevelt, which quotes him as having written afterwards that he felt "like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me." I may have come across that before but, if so, it didn't register at the time. Only now it has: in our fictional universe, it would be as if the stars falling on Truman were real, not just a figure of speech. So I can have him react to the revelation with a paraphrase of what he wrote in real life, and use a short version of that for the title.

--Brantley

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05 May 2014 10:21 #36379 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/Empress-3.pdf


Book Three of Empress of the Dawn gets another update today, but it's an reboot and elaboration rather than a mere continuation, with significant edits to chapters posted March 21 and new chapters added to the narrative as it appeared then. Reader response to the story had been tepid, and I think the reason was that there wasn't enough substance to the story – and too little hint of what might bring Kalla together with Alexius. The first draft of this reboot drew a negative response from Velvet, who said the story lacked continuity – there wasn't a sense of the chronology in the later chapters, which take place before the opening chapter. Coming to that draft cold, I could also see that it hardly mentioned Alexius and his relationship with his family and the Indrans. I had to sweat the details, and write entire new chapters as well as time-stamping the old.


The Kalla-Alexius romance is part of the background of the Homecoming trilogy and First Protector, but as first conceived it was a very shaky story. On the face of it, Kalla was simply robbing the cradle and taking advantage of an infatuation on Alexius' part. When it came to writing how they should come together, I was at a loss – I could have Kalla show her initial reluctance, but couldn't rationalize her later acceptance. By sheer chance, reading George Eliot's Middlemarch suggested a fresh approach. Eliot had used "geognosis" for an understanding of the world through exploration, and I realized that since it is derived from Greek, I could have Alexius coin the same term on Andros, and with a different meaning – a sort of synthesis of natural and social ecology and more. Now Alexius can share ideas with Kalla, instead of being just a stud muffin. And he can also become her confidant when she really needs one – she can't share what she knows about the Aurean threat or the ill-advised policy directives from Velor with anyone else. Of course, this all means that I have had to edit a key scene in Homecoming II, in which Kalla tells the story of their involvement, for the sake of consistency.


www.brightempire.com/Homecoming-3.pdf


Also new today is a reboot of the Bright Empire home page, with a link to "Points of Entry," a rationale for what has come to be called Aurora Universe Three (AU-3), the continuity behind most of the AU stories here, and which grew out of an exchange between me and Shadar here at SWM. And in some unfinished business, a revision to Emigrants – for some reason, Arion had never been updated to Aurean there.


www.brightempire.com/Points.htm


www.brightempire.com/Emigrants.pdf


--Brantley Thompson Elkins

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05 May 2014 16:02 #36385 by Woodclaw
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Nice update Brantley, I particulary appreciate the entry points document.

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05 May 2014 17:39 #36386 by shadar
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Brantley has done more to grow the AU than any other writer, given that he approaches it both from an intellectual point of view (everything is linked and everything must at least internally make sense) and from a world-building perspective. His seeded worlds correctly have archaic cultures that reflect their point of abduction from Earth. His approach is more rigorous and self-consistent than mine ever was. As you can tell from the entry Points document, he's an archivist as well, where I'm happy to throw old stuff away. A very bad habit of mine.

I started this off with the conceptual goal of creating a non-infringing race of "Kryptonians" who didn't violate DC Comics properties, and to try to provide a more plausible SF origin to my characters. During the bulletin board period (and also for a while after the infancy of Internet web sites), DC was going after a lot of web sites and authors who portrayed its characters in unapproved ways. DC eventually relented and let alternate culture overwhelm them for the most part. That when I made the critical mistake of blending aspects of both Kryptonians and my Velorians together in the mid to late 90's.

Instead, I should have gone the way Brantley eventually did and focused more rigorously on writing true SF. But by that time I had a huge audience and they liked what I was doing and resisted change. I went with the flow.

Brantley's AU3 is a testament to what can be done when discipline is introduced into the writing process. My stuff was (and is) a bit wild, fragmented and overly sexualized by some estimates, with thin conceptual world-building. But I continue to enjoy the spontaneity of running with a new idea (most of which come to me in dreams), and of then getting a bit carried away. My idea of creativity is throwing off constraints rather than living within them, which is perhaps a symptom of my "excessive consumption of weed", to paraphrase Saruman's critique of Radagast the Brown in Tolkein's LOTR and Peter Jackson's highly-tweaked versions of the Hobbit. I'm a bit more Radagast, both in appearance and behavior, and Brantley's more Gandalf.

Gloria, whose third and final episode is in the works, is my latest attempt. It appears only on SWM and not on any AU site. It was written for SWM as a companion piece to Anonxyzus Kiraling series.

Now I'm off to read Brantley's latest contribution, Empress III. He tells an AU story like no one else.

Shadar

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05 May 2014 18:44 #36387 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic At The Bright Empire....

shadar wrote: Brantley has done more to grow the AU than any other writer, given that he approaches it both from an intellectual point of view (everything is linked and everything must at least internally make sense) and from a world-building perspective. His seeded worlds correctly have archaic cultures that reflect their point of abduction from Earth. His approach is more rigorous and self-consistent than mine ever was. As you can tell from the entry Points document, he's an archivist as well, where I'm happy to throw old stuff away. A very bad habit of mine.


You don't know the half of it ;)
To be honest I'm something of a packrat, I tend to keep archives of almost everything, which can be both a boon and a curse.

shadar wrote: I started this off with the conceptual goal of creating a non-infringing race of "Kryptonians" who didn't violate DC Comics properties, and to try to provide a more plausible SF origin to my characters. During the bulletin board period (and also for a while after the infancy of Internet web sites), DC was going after a lot of web sites and authors who portrayed its characters in unapproved ways. DC eventually relented and let alternate culture overwhelm them for the most part. That when I made the critical mistake of blending aspects of both Kryptonians and my Velorians together in the mid to late 90's.

Instead, I should have gone the way Brantley eventually did and focused more rigorously on writing true SF. But by that time I had a huge audience and they liked what I was doing and resisted change. I went with the flow.

Brantley's AU3 is a testament to what can be done when discipline is introduced into the writing process. My stuff was (and is) a bit wild, fragmented and overly sexualized by some estimates, with thin conceptual world-building. But I continue to enjoy the spontaneity of running with a new idea (most of which come to me in dreams), and of then getting a bit carried away. My idea of creativity is throwing off constraints rather than living within them, which is perhaps a symptom of my "excessive consumption of weed", to paraphrase Saruman's critique of Radagast the Brown in Tolkein's LOTR and Peter Jackson's highly-tweaked versions of the Hobbit. I'm a bit more Radagast, both in appearance and behavior, and Brantley's more Gandalf.

Gloria, whose third and final episode is in the works, is my latest attempt. It appears only on SWM and not on any AU site. It was written for SWM as a companion piece to Anonxyzus Kiraling series.

Now I'm off to read Brantley's latest contribution, Empress III. He tells an AU story like no one else.

Shadar


Well in the past Brantley said that this disparity was due to the different background the two of you used. You worked on a more comic-book approach, while he prefered something more similar to a sci-fi novel.
It's not so unusual. Often those who are trailblazers of a genre tend to build something that is later improved by others by applying a more structured way of thinking. Although one can argue that the mileage may vary wildly. In "Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story" Ernest Mandel observed that those same mistakes and naivety, which could be excused in Poe or Conan Doyle's novel, were unacceptable by later authors and that the more disciplined approach of some of them (especially S.S. Van Dine) actually ruined the genre.
Lucky for us this is not the case with Brantley ;)

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05 May 2014 19:33 #36389 by brantley
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Woodclaw wrote: In "Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story" Ernest Mandel observed that those same mistakes and naivety, which could be excused in Poe or Conan Doyle's novel, were unacceptable by later authors and that the more disciplined approach of some of them (especially S.S. Van Dine) actually ruined the genre.
Lucky for us this is not the case with Brantley ;)


Just looked up Mandel, and it turns out he was a Marxist. Yet I gather he took a sympathetic approach to the detective story. The kind of Marxists who write about sf these days seem to be a dour lot, their critical works to clichéd and jargon-ridden that they come off as a constipation of thought and a diarrhea of words. Anyway, I'm also a fan of mystery novels, my recent faves including the Peculiar Crimes Unit series of Christopher Fowler. And there are delightful sf/mystery crossovers iike Robert J. Sawyer's RED PLANET BLUES. Of interest to SWM readers should be Christopher L. Bennett's ONLY SUPERHUMAN, which has to do with genetically engineered superheroes.

--Brantley

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05 May 2014 19:55 #36390 by Woodclaw
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brantley wrote:

Woodclaw wrote: In "Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story" Ernest Mandel observed that those same mistakes and naivety, which could be excused in Poe or Conan Doyle's novel, were unacceptable by later authors and that the more disciplined approach of some of them (especially S.S. Van Dine) actually ruined the genre.
Lucky for us this is not the case with Brantley ;)


Just looked up Mandel, and it turns out he was a Marxist. Yet I gather he took a sympathetic approach to the detective story. The kind of Marxists who write about sf these days seem to be a dour lot, their critical works to clichéd and jargon-ridden that they come off as a constipation of thought and a diarrhea of words. Anyway, I'm also a fan of mystery novels, my recent faves including the Peculiar Crimes Unit series of Christopher Fowler. And there are delightful sf/mystery crossovers iike Robert J. Sawyer's RED PLANET BLUES. Of interest to SWM readers should be Christopher L. Bennett's ONLY SUPERHUMAN, which has to do with genetically engineered superheroes.

--Brantley


True, Mandel was staunch Marxist, but I think that his analysis of the mystery novel was actually very acute. He defined a parallelism between the various characters and the social context of their day and age. One of his most interesting bit was on the why the private detective has been a popular character for so long in western narrative, opposed to the official police. Mandel links the figure of the detective to the romantic ideal of of the knight errant as a figure of power (intellectual instead of martial) but not of authority. Whereas the official police is perceived as force that represent the goverment -- hence ineffectual because bound by that same law that is supposed to enforce and oppressive because it has the power to violate the privacy of citizens -- the private investigator has no such obligation, his only obligation is with his conscience.

My personal knowledge of mystery novel is rather limited, I tend to go with Conan Doyle, Stout, occasionally Queen. In the field of crossovers I just love Dresden Files.

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05 May 2014 20:19 #36391 by brantley
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Of course, the "police procedural" (a term coined by mystery writer/reviewer Anthony Boucher) has also been popular in this country, as witness Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series (Much earlier, there were Simenon's Inspector Maigret stories, but that was in France). And on TV, the same genre has been popular since DRAGNET -- which spawned a lot of other shows in a process analogous to the adaptive radiation that produced "Darwin's finches" in the Galapagos. I'm big on the parallels between organic and literary evolution. As Dick Wolf put it, "The DNA of Dragnet is n Law & Order."

--Brantley
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05 May 2014 21:11 - 05 May 2014 23:02 #36392 by castor
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Woodclaw wrote:

brantley wrote:

Woodclaw wrote: True, Mandel was staunch Marxist, but I think that his analysis of the mystery novel was actually very acute. He defined a parallelism between the various characters and the social context of their day and age. One of his most interesting bit was on the why the private detective has been a popular character for so long in western narrative, opposed to the official police. Mandel links the figure of the detective to the romantic ideal of of the knight errant as a figure of power (intellectual instead of martial) but not of authority. Whereas the official police is perceived as force that represent the goverment -- hence ineffectual because bound by that same law that is supposed to enforce and oppressive because it has the power to violate the privacy of citizens -- the private investigator has no such obligation, his only obligation is with his conscience.

My personal knowledge of mystery novel is rather limited, I tend to go with Conan Doyle, Stout, occasionally Queen. In the field of crossovers I just love Dresden Files.


To tie it in, what genre did the private detective really lead to?

The old western Stories Like the Virginian Et all, met some of the swashbuckling stories of the turn of the century like the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Count of Monte Cristo-well to form characters like Zorro.

And Zorro Met up with the private detective(and similar turn of the Century Pinkerton type stories) to form, basically the Superhero.

You get the same basic ideas a private non governmental figure trying to help the populace to do stuff the law can't quite do at the end(but like say Conan Doyle) always turns them over to the police at the end.

While

Its interesting. The original idea of Superman was more that it was Straight Science Fiction-in the Jules Verne Mold- He was a Science hero with incredible alien powers that wanted to conquer the world ala Fu Manchu. However they had at fairly close to the last minute the idea of turning him into a hero. Its changed a lot of the ideas of both detective and sceience fiction since.
Last edit: 05 May 2014 23:02 by Woodclaw.

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09 May 2014 19:23 #36421 by brantley
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Now if only somebody would read and comment on the story....

--Brantley

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09 May 2014 21:19 #36422 by Woodclaw
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brantley wrote: Now if only somebody would read and comment on the story....

--Brantley


Well, give me time to read it at least :P

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15 May 2014 11:32 #36478 by brantley
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For some reason, my stuff seems to be popular in Romania. And one link at google.ru is for the pdf of a story from 2005, "A Night with a Supergirl," that I'd lost track of myself. It was originally written for some commercial site that soon vanished:

ftp://98.196.34.144/Data/Documents/My%20Library/Night.pdf

As of yesterday, rdsnet.ro, a Romanian Internet services and mobile phone site, accounted for 19% of the bytes downloaded at The Bright Empire over the previous week.

--Brantley

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15 May 2014 13:25 #36482 by brantley
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Woodclaw wrote:

brantley wrote: Now if only somebody would read and comment on the story....

--Brantley


Well, give me time to read it at least :P


Reaction doesn't seem to be good so far, based on stats and off-the-boards comments. I'm going to have to rework the story again.

--Brantley

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15 May 2014 18:07 #36485 by Woodclaw
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brantley wrote:

Woodclaw wrote:

brantley wrote: Now if only somebody would read and comment on the story....

--Brantley


Well, give me time to read it at least :P


Reaction doesn't seem to be good so far, based on stats and off-the-boards comments. I'm going to have to rework the story again.

--Brantley


I've given it a cursory read and I think it's a good story, but a bit drawn out. Since I haven't read Empress 1 and 2, I'm not sure how muhc of the background I'm missing, but sometimes the story seem to get lost into the details.

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15 May 2014 18:53 #36489 by brantley
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Getting lost in the details is what I've heard before. I've got to connect the dots better.

--J.J.

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15 May 2014 19:01 #36490 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/fit.htm

Evelyn York's "Fit for a Supergirl," posted Jan. 11, 2012, has passed the 8,000 mark in hits. Wish I could get more from her. Wish there were other new writers out there who could bring a magic touch like hers to my site.

--Brantley

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06 Jun 2014 15:35 - 06 Jun 2014 16:04 #36754 by brantley
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Still working on the future of Empress of the Dawn III, but here's a real blast from the past: A Night with Supergirl. It's never appeared at The Bright Empire before in its entirety, because it was written ten years ago for an online fiction site called EBookAd.com. They were supposed to actually pay royalties, but they never did. Tarot Barnes, who collaborated on the story, put up some of his own, and so did Lisa Binkley. Same result -- they got rooked, and the site vanished after a while. I had put up a few preview chapters at TBE to promote my story, but there was nothing left to promote. As for the story itself, it harks back to the day when I first joined the Aurora Universe. As a tale of a geek who learns a Lesson in Life from an encounter with a Velorian at a fan event (Something similar to the fictional AU Convention several people were writing about in 2002), it is by turns perverse and pretentious. But my heart was in it at the time. Since it has been pirated on the Internet (I don't know how or by whom), I wouldn't have any chance of selling it, even in a revised version. And it's the sort of thing that should appeal to a lot of veteran AU fans, so they might as well have a chance to see it at The Bright Empire. Plus, it has a neat illustration by Vagabond Eye (What ever became of him?).

brightempire.com/Night.pdf

I also have a post today in Rants and Ramblings: "Larger than Life" an account of the interplay between science fiction and superhero comics, which actually goes back before the comics to a pulp series called Doc Savage that you might have heard of and which may well have been an inspiration for Superman. You probably know all about the comics, but you may not be familiar with such comics-inspired sf works as George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards shared world series, similar to The X Men, (Even if you follow his Game of Thrones epic in books or on TV). And chances are you don't know about Samit Basu's Turbulence (from India!) and Christopher Bennett's Only Superhuman.

brightempire.com/larger.htm

On my Occasional Blog, a short piece in readership patterns here, based on my server's statistics.

brightempire.com/Blog.htm

--Brantley
Last edit: 06 Jun 2014 16:04 by brantley.

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07 Jun 2014 06:04 #36755 by ong76win2
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Hello Brantley. I just want to ask. In the Tales of Aurora series at velorian.net/aoa/aoa-tales.html , is there a Episode 18/ Chapter 18? It is missing. Thank you.

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07 Jun 2014 10:49 #36756 by brantley
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ong76win2 wrote: Hello Brantley. I just want to ask. In the Tales of Aurora series at velorian.net/aoa/aoa-tales.html , is there a Episode 18/ Chapter 18? It is missing. Thank you.


You'd have to ask Shadar. But I remember there were a lot of gaps in that story from his "Sharon Best" days, and this was probably one of them.

--Brantley

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07 Jun 2014 11:07 #36757 by brantley
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brantley wrote: Plus, it has a neat illustration by Vagabond Eye (What ever became of him?).
--Brantley


Well, my face is red -- I see he's still very active at Deviant Art, and he's a better artist than a lot of the people working for DC or Marvel.

--Brantley

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