On Wednesday, my clone-sibling told me about his idea for another series of novels, these a spin-off (stop it, brain! no spinning!) of the current series (the one beginning with The Remnant). Apparently someone didn’t take Geoffrey’s (out-of-story) advice to any person who finds themself being a minor character in one of Paul’s stories: Run, before he decides to make you a major character or something.
(Yeah, how’s that working out for ya, Geoffrey? 🙂 It could be worse. You could be the protagonist.)
Anyway. For all that he says he doesn’t like stories full of political intrigue (this is why he resisted reading C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner novels for so long, despite the protagonist being something of a linguistic anthropologist), Paul seems to be planning a story full of political intrigue… and also battles/duels, because what else would you expect in a story with Daeren Drake as the main character? One of the other characters in this newly planned thing is not someone I’d have ever expected to be in any of our stories, but I thought that about the character’s Y-parent, too, once upon a time, and look what happened to him. (*mutters something that may contain the words knee caps and quarterstaff*) They surprise us, is what I’m saying. And most of the time, we like being surprised.
Not long ago, I woke up with a thought in my head that could be expressed in words as, Eeep! HANDS! Immediately following that thought was the realization that I’d need to make revisions to “Finder’s Fee” (short story, already written but awaiting the opportune moment — I mean, waiting for the rest of the stories to catch up with it chronologically), because there’s something about one of the characters in it that the protagonist would be certain to notice. Y’see, although the original inhabitants of the Ruined Courts looked “humanoid” by our standards, they did have differences, such as their hands having three fingers and two thumbs (rather than our four fingers and one thumb), and many of the people from the earliest colonies, in particular, retained that even after they’d changed themselves, sometimes drastically, to fit their environments better. This other character in “Finder’s Fee” is descended from one group of those early colonists (although where he’s from, this history is long forgotten), so…
(*creates and adds sketch of two-thumbed hand* I know it looks weird splayed out like this, but so does your hand.)
This is sooooo going to confuse anyone who’s already read parts of “Finder’s Fee,” isn’t it? Yeah. Well, now you know something about that character (going by the name Devin in that story) that other readers of these stories don’t know: His “human” form is actually not human as either Terrans or Threnendarans know the term. Just… close enough, and lacking features (such as, y’know, the ears) that would have earned a different label.
(What could I possibly be trying to draw attention away from by throwing this metaphorical handful of sesame seeds in the reader’s path? *shakes head*)
Deegan has hands like this, too, when he’s in his true form, although that’s hardly what people will notice first about him. (*slightly misquotes from a Vernor Vinge novel* “Hexapodia: it explains everything.”)
(Relevant tangent: Apparently it’s considered very wrong to say a person isn’t human. *sigh* When I say, “All humans are people, but not all people are humans,” I am NOT saying anyone is less-than, “subhuman,” or whatever other offensive thing someone wants to assume I mean; I am saying that our planet isn’t — cannot be — the only one in the universe that’s home to sapient life, and besides, someday we’ll have AI who qualify as people despite not being Homo sapiens or even biological life at all, so maybe we ought to get used to the idea that sapient = person, human or otherwise, before we actually start to interact with intelligent nonhumans, and even consider adjusting our languages accordingly. Here endeth the tangential mini-rant… for now.)
When I mentioned to Paul my concerns about how this little detail would affect necessary changes to “Finder’s Fee” (and everything else in that setting, eventually), he said, ‘It’s probably another trait that shows up in the population because of the vaccine [that’s the vaccine against the “feral plague,” in case you’re curious — you can read a little bit about it, including where the vaccine came from, in The Madness Engine], so no one will think much of it.’
So, just like that, the problem was solved. I will still need to make some minor changes to “Finder’s Fee,” but nothing that’ll disrupt the story as it now stands.
Other things having to do with my/our writing:
Someone read all of The Sleeping and the Dead on Sunday. All 130K words of it. In one day! (If that someone has not yet read Project Brimstone, perhaps that person would like to know what else Geoffrey and Deegan have been up to. 🙂 I did say there’s some crossover between series, didn’t I? Geoffrey and Deegan are in Project Brimstone toward the end as minor characters. And now that you know more about Geoffrey than he does, you want to know even more, right?)
March 23 is Brennen’s birthday. Just putting that out there for anyone who likes to collect trivial trivia on fictional people. (No, I don’t know how old he is. Can’t get a straight answer out of him on that — go figure.)