A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Demons

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  It’s time to talk Demons.

Demons

Demons figure prominently in the history of Avenoth and the human worlds around it for good reason; they’re murderous and dangerous creatures that eat information.

Scholars and demonologists have debated over their origins, and older gods have provided what information they could. The conculsons reached about them are as follows:

  • They likely were human or a human sub-species. They may be releated to the uncommon human variants of Vampires, Shifters, or the extinct Changelings.
  • They exist due to magic – they are a magical fields constructing a physical body. This is why they can posess others and in a few rare cases, transmit themselves.
  • They are hierarchical, almost insect-like, and have specialized roles. Most of them are ignorant and manipulated by their leaders or humans.
  • They evolve. Demons consume information from living minds or echoes and ghosts. This can lead them to be conscious, and perhaps even evolve a soul.
  • Demons with souls are very controversial – it’s clear the Royalty who lead them have souls, but do not try to die or reincarnate. There is evidence demons do reincarnate as humans and there’s no records of humans doing the reverse. Why do more demons not simply commit suicide?
  • The Demon leader is the Emperor, formally the Emperor of Three Faces. It is clearly thousands of years old.

Demon History

Demons have been with humanity forever, unfortunately so. Arose around the first civilizations, and achieved prominence roughly a thousand years before current times. They were both dangerous and featred, but also useful as they were easily manipulated or summoned, and many older ones retained knowledge they’d eaten.

As civilization grew, demonology became more and more publicly proscribed. Privately, however, experimentation and summoning continued and was used to this days. Gods have not entirely forbidden demonology for reasons that aren’t apparent.

During The War, demons spawned rapidly, feeding on the echoes of dying minds. Their threat could have been even worse, but the use of weapons of mass destruction ensured that many new demons died quickly. It is often said that the South’s genocidal war against itself may have saved the world, as even demons couldn’t survive the poison-choked cities and bioweaponry that walked.

At the end of The War, the Emperor’s underground legions burst forth in the ruins of the old Dragon Kingdoms, and surged westward towards Allanax, the capital of the new alliance. They tore through towns and armies, growing their numbers, while attempts to kill them poisoned the land and the air.

Several gods incarnated to attack them while humans plotted with science and sorcery to defeat them. In the final battle at Pemmelock Vale, the goddess known as the Swordswoman died attacking the emperor while the Deceiver tried to scramble the minds of the demons. Finally, a great experimental weapon, the Vortex Bomb, was detonated above the demons, casting them to the uninhabitable world of Pandemonium.

The demons leadership had been cut off and banished. It was hoped they would die on that world of fire and ice, but they persisted. Though humanity had avoided corrupting vast swaths of land with demon poison or hunting down royalty, demons were still there, with their knowledge, and portals – and curious humans calling on them.

Common Demons

Demons vary with function and, as Royalty, personal choice. All demons appear as black creatures, usually humanoid past a certain size, with colored eyes. The eye color of a demon often denotes creator or personality.

Seekers: Seekers are some of the oldest and most common demons- single-eyed winged creatures created by Royalty or from eggs to find things. Seekers have preternatural senses as good as any diviners, and it’s theorized they’re more a form of living technology.

Hivers: Hivers are brute force creatures, used for labor or simple killing. Like Seekers, they’re thought of as a kind of technology, and are among the most common demons found as eggs and used by humans. Hivers can also hibernate for centuries.

Rippers: Multi-limbed killing machines, rippers are shock troops that tear into their targets and keep moving on. Rippers are more evolved than Hivers, but also harder to control.

Swoopers: Swoopers resemble large Seekers, and are aerial troops. They swarm enemies and function like a hive mind.

Knights: Knights are the highest of the common demons, and are borderline conscious. Huge, armored figured with bladed bodies and living weapons, they’re fearsome combatants.

Royalty

Demon Royalty is variable and individual. There is a complex ranking system that use human titles like King, Duke, etc. Curiously, all titles are male, and all appear humanoid.

Royalty can create other, lesser demons. Those demons always have the eye color of their creator and may have similarities in form.

Royalty are strong, posses various abilities, and can posses others. As Royalty progresses up the ranks, possession becomes harder to maintain, so it is often an activity of low-level Royalty. They scheme among each other in various plots, and enjoy backstabbing each other.

At the top of the Demon Royalty is the Emperor of Three Faces. The Emperor is an unknown, but he is said to be some twenty feet tall and wield power equivalent to an incarnated Gods. He is thousands of years old and has a patchwork soul that is cunning and dangerous. His motivations are unclear, but he takes great pleasure in the mass murder of humans and seems driven to exterminate humanity.

Human Use

Humans still employ demons. Most popularly they are used as assassins or consultants, and powerful Royalty are recorded in tomes and grimoires with summoning instructions. Everyone knows demons will betray them, but the power tempts them – and demons do not always get the best of the deal.

Some humans study low-level demons and hatch them from eggs for the sake of safety but also practicality. Hivers or Rippers are excellent killers. Seekers are simple, but easily impressed upon and can become loyal servants and spy-eyes.

There are also experiments done on demons by various orders, guilds, and scientists. It’s an open secret among people in The Military and The Guard that some weaponry is derived from demons. The most common not-discussed item are acidic weaponry based on demon ichor are disintegration rounds, popularly called Dzers.

This is all supposedly forbidden. It goes on anyway.

The Lost Gods

Demons are sometimes associated with the mad deities known as Lost Gods, those who have lost their focus or become monomaniacal. There has been some interaction, but Demons in general despise the gods, and Lost Gods are insane, unpredictable, and often degenerate. Worse, the Lost Gods often have their own minions, and aren’t interested in demons – this is said to have terribly offended The Emperor.

Demon Royalty works with Lost Gods and their followers rarely, but it does happen. For one side, it will always end poorly – for everyone else it will definitely end poorly.

– Steve

Steven’s Update: 8/19/2018

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

How goes everyone!  Here’s my latest update!

So what have I done the last week?

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet:  Editing like crazy!  This is definitely not coming out until the end of October, but it’s going to be worth it.  Also end of September I may have a call for extra beta readers!  So for those of you keeping score on my novel, it’ll be ebook end of October, print in November.
  • Way With Worlds: Continuing to work on the Organizations book, and there will almost certainly be a sequel to it.  The idea is one book for “basic” worldbuilding and organizations and one on common ones.  I also have lots of plans, so expect to keep seeing these for ages . . .
  • Other: I was at Worldcon which kept me busy.
  • Note: Because I’ll be focusing on “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet” I won’t be doing other writing projects beyond my over-time Way With Worlds.  This still means updates, blogging, a few other projects, will be done, but expect no dramatic book announcements.

What am I going to do this week?

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Still editing!
  • Way With Worlds: Writing!
  • Other: A mix of things like speaking, events, some coding (yeah, I know . . .) and more.

-Steven Savage

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Popular Entertainment

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  Let’s talk about entertainments in the Twelve Great Cities and their planets.

Popular Entertainment

Everyone needs to relax, and the people of Avenoth have their own ways of doing so with popular entertainments.

Most popular entertainments contain a strong social factor, such as attending concerts, playing games together, or discussing books or comics. The need to tie society together is a constant element of the culture, and permiates everything.

Because of this, “truly getting away” entertainments are specifically noted.

Music

The cultural evolution of the last century has produced several distinct musical styles that are popular.

Glitterpop – Glitterpop is light, bubbly music often sung by groups who tend to be themed, and have specific focuses (such as singing about romance, or nature, etc.). Glitterpop concerts are highly social events, though the music is often criticized as being shallow and repetitious – if accessible.

Sway – Sway originated from dance music, and is instrumental in nature – many Sway tunes have no lyrics. Sway has split the last few years into a form using regular instruments often meant for dance and an electronic format that is more for listening or relaxing. The latter is sometimes called Tech-sway, or “T-sway.”

Thunder – Thunder is percussion-heavy music that is loud, powerful, and often grounded in legends and history. Bands vary widely in style and depth, and “true” fans usually distinguish between “Iron Thunder” (raw, heavy, and historical) and “Blood Thunder” (more focused on current events, emotion, and experimental).

Because of it’s nature, Thunder music results in one of the few concerts attended by angsty teenagers, their grandparents, and historians.

Video entertainments

Recorded videos, often burned into crystals or recorded via magic, have a centuries old history on Avenoth. With the advent of the Network and related technologies, local broadcasts grew in popularity before the war, and global ones afterwards. Now video entertainments are broadcast across the planet via the techno-magical Network or played from distributed video units.

Television: Televisions are common and have been for a time. More and more television programs are produced in Sabillon, but most Cities have local productions. Those local productions, in turn, are often shared across the planets.

In general Sabillon-produced shows are meant for mass consumption, and locally produced ones are considered “more intellectual.” This is hopelessly simplistic, but local pride does affect people’s opinions.

Dramas, especially historical ones, are very popular – there’s many historical events that have been re-enacted so often it’s endless fodder for comedy shows.

Talk shows and educational programs are also popular, though many of the former are local.

Movies: Movies made for mass consumption tend to be fictional, whereas locally made ones vary in subject matter. As movie attendance is a big deal – people usually make an event out of it – films tend to be produced carefully. Ruining someone’s evening doesn’t help one’s career.

Locally-produced films often find more forgiving audiences, and sometimes local films take off globally or even among planets.

Films tend to be long (about two to three hours) fitting their importance and the sense of an ‘event.”

Animation: With the use of magic to create imagery as well as advanced technology and human artistry, animation tends to the experimental and artistic.

Literary entertainments

Literacy has been valued for aeons on Avenoth – in a world of magic, gods, and dangerous history being able to read is a survival skill. Books are valued and appreciated, from records to ways to relax.

Novels: Local authors are a sense of pride for the Great Cities, and many an author’s novel takes off locally before going worldwide. Large publishing interests cultivate local talent, who a century or more ago might not be known outside their City. However, due to this inclination to seek local authors, attempts to cultivate new “major” stars often fail.

Popular novels tend to be less about historical events than video entertainments; many are set in recent, current, or future times. What we consider science fiction or fantasy do not quite exist in the larger culture – speculating on other worlds is rare when you have other worlds, and most fiction is set no more than fifty ears in the future. Such literature is

Comics: Comics are popular with all ages, and are usually published in large sets (similar to graphic novels) or combined together in themed publications (similar to manga). Individual comics, on their own as we know them, are unknown – and likely were considered wasteful in the past.

Comics tend to the fantastical more than novels, leveraging the unique imagery of the artists. They are thus considered more radical, more advant-garde, or more silly depending on their themes.

E-games

E-games are what we’d call video-games. They’ve existed in several forms over the last century or show as computing power and The Network spread. They are considered to be (still) experimental, and a place for people to try various unusual and otherwise impossible forms of entertainment.

A few common genres are:

Puzzles: Puzzle games are popular and are viewed as intellectual challenges. Puzzle games are considered something one does alone to relax.

Stories: Similar to RPGs or graphic novels, story games are increasingly popular and some are played on Slates. Fans discuss them in detail, and designers love packing them with references, hidden details, and more.

Strategy: Strategy games are popular, but are controversial as they often involve history which has many dark corners.

Common Events

Surrounding movies, television, and more there are common social events.

Movies as noted are events for many people, something to do with friends and families and make an evening (or a day out of). They are often used as excused for many other social events, or just outright drinking.

Online Communities use the Network to discuss things. This is popular for discussing television, movies, and of course publishing fanfiction (a popular past time).

Reading groups and book clubs are popular for all kinds of books and comics. Many libraries, guilds, and more sponsor a variety of them. Many of them are held at theocades, coffee shops, and more – which is also an excuse to hang out, drink coffee, or ask for a few blessings.

Concerts are popular social events. Much like movies, people tend to make a day of it.

– Steve

Sometimes The Best Ambition Is Less Ambition

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Lately, a lot of my friends have been going through “job issues.”  Losing them, not happy with them, being pressured to trade up, and so on.  Listening to them I realized that there’s something important to say:

It’s OK to not have ambitions for a “better” job.

Yes, that’s right it’s me, Mister Geek Job Guru telling you maybe you’d be happier staying where you are, or getting a lower paying job or whatever.  Radical? Unexpected? Extremely un-Steve like?  No, it’s about things more important than getting a “better” job.

The benefits are worth it.  One friend of mine had some health issues, and their job has great benefits, so they’re not planning to move on or up at least for the time being.  This is fine.  If a job gives you benefits like great health, training, etc. it’s perfectly OK not to change.  A job that has good benefits may be worth staying at even if it’s not as high paying or lacks prestige or whatever.

It’s lower stress.  Look moving up is all fine and good, but maybe a job is going to have less chance of killing you.  Fine, worth staying with as opposed to getting a job that will put you in a grave quicker.

It lets you do other things.  Your job or future job may give you more time to socialize, build that art career, take care of kids, whatever.  Perhaps it’s less work or a shorter commute – that’s great.  No need to change.

It’s cheaper to do.  A job you’re at may cost less to commute at, require you to spend less on things like businesswear, and so on.  That’s fine.  Sometimes the money you save beats any pay raise you may have.

It works into your life plans.  You don’t have to go get the biggest title or highest paycheck if the job fits your life goals.  Maybe the job will let you retire quicker but isn’t as prestigious.  Perhaps your current position means you get to stay in a place you like.  That’s fine.

You’re tired of career stuff.  Maybe your current job is a placeholder intentionally, and that’s also fine.  Maybe you got laid off, or are changing careers or just moved.  Good, enjoy your placeholder, maybe set a time to re-review your priorities, and chill out.

It’s a placeholder.  Maybe you’re moving or going back to school or something and the job is there so you can earn money.  Great, don’t worry.

There are many reasons not to look for the better job, the best job, the highest-up job or whatever.  That’s totally fine because your career goals have to serve your life goals.

If you aren’t sure about this, let me remind you that you have permission from me, the guy who writes all sorts of career books to not think about the biggest paycheck or coolest title and just do whatever.

-Steven Savage

Steve’s Update 8/12/2018

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

How goes everyone!  Here’s my latest update!

So what have I done the last week?

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Back from the editor and I’m editing,  and I’m done with chapter 1 already! However, there’s going to be a one month delay in publishing.  The editor had a lot of good feedback, some of which is leading to style changes and altering some POV elements.  This makes the story much better and presents a more intimate view of the wild setting.  But it’s going to take an extra month.
  • Way With Worlds: I’ve started on the next book on Organizations, which might just be a two part series (though I may spread it out).  This one is near and dear to might heart as Organizations are often forgotten in worldbuilding beyond tropes.
  • Other: An unexpectedly busy week as I had a doctor’s appointment, some home stuff to deal with, and a lot of work stuff.

What am I going to do this week?

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Editing.  I may delay the cover art a bit since I’ve got an extra month.
  • Way With Worlds: Writing away of course – I’m basically doing a bit each day or so, so this one won’t be done for another two months or so.
  • Other: I’ve got a lot of cons stuff coming up so I’ll be preparing for that.  Where does the time go . . .

-Steven Savage

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Popular Culture

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  It’s out late this fall but you can find out about the world now let’s talk about life in one of The Great Cities . . .

Popular Culture

Popular Culture has evolved a great deal since The War. Unconsciously, most people tend to mark cultural elements using The War, which considering the nature of the event is understandable. However, it is noteable that before The War there was no real idea of global popular culture.

After The War, with The Alliance forming, culture began standardizing as well. This included popular culture, though it involved several phases.

Immediate Post-War (-5 to 0 AR)

Post-War popular global popular culture was largely nonexistent as known today. Most of what was shared was classical novels, plays, and music. Some individual Great Cities shared culture with each other, but there was little “global.”

Reformation (0 to 50 AR)

The Reformation, an attempt to build a unified government and sense of purpose resulted, of course, in some unified culture. Cities exchanged more information, ideas of the reformation were propagated, and some major cultural milestones were agreed on. However music, books, and literature outside of the “classical” culture were little shared.

Most Great Cities had their own media production, from movies to publishing. Though they often copied each other, they did have their own way of doing things.

The Military provided to be a unifying force in that those joining it were exposed to other Cities, other former Nations, and other people. Many people did short tours of duty, and often returned to their Cities with other ideas about food, music, and more.

The growing Theopolis of Triad True and the theological parts of The Reformation added to cultural cohesion in the realms of theology. However that had somewhat existed before – it’s just that with some three hundred gods agreement on things had never been that coherent anyway.

Post-Reformation (50 AR to 100 AR)

The post-Reformation period was not conflict free, but was a period of reducing the smaller, regional conflicts and petty grievances. Not all of the Great Cities actually liked each other, so this period was necessary for cultural exchanges.

As cultural and economic commerce among The Cities expanded, as territory was reclaimed, more shared culture evolved. Music, books, plays, and films were shared among “groups” of cities that had strong relations.

During this time Sabillon began to arise as a cultural center.

The Rise of Sabillon and Triad True (100AR to 200 AR)

Sabillion had formerly been a publishing clearinghouse, strongly associated with Mindarion and Zafrel. With it’s proximity to Triad True, the unremarkable if well-established city became more prominent in this age of integration.

Triad True was a culture powerhouse, but was a bit focused, and people whos minds are tuned to the gods don’t always have the best tactical and publishing sense. Brightguard was an education powerhouse, but was focused on education and politics. Allanax was the capital but was busy keeping The Alliance together. Highpoint had no real unified identity, and Grand Ivar had its own local concerns.

But Sabillion was perfectly placed to become a media center. It expanded from books and shipping and its otherwise unremarkable economy to more and more forms of media production. Centrally located in a hospitable area, it grew faster and faster.

There was plenty of land for studios. There was a transporation hub. Refgurees from the Old Dragon Kingdoms who had fled there with money, knowledge, magic, and technology had established their own businesses and familities and unions.

Soon, Sabillon had become known as a media capital almost by accident. It’s hand was everywhere in television, movies, and more – and it had happened almost by accident.

The Current Age (200AR to Present)

Sabillon is a major producer of video and musical media – or at least adjacent entertainment concerns that sell media have a footprint there. Movies, songs, and television broadcast around the world bear its mark.

Sabillon’s works are considered to be entertainment by most people – fun and something everyone can enjoy, if not deep. Of course the influence of Sabillon – and the importance of popular culture – is easily underestimated. Having something unifying, even if its shallow Glitterpop music or the soap opera Souls of Sorcery is important to society.

What is often missed, especially as other Great Cities posture, is Sabillon’s role in distribution. Books written in one Great City are easily available in others. Locally shot movies are easily distributed via the Network. News is carried across the planet by powerful Network services.

Sabillon has remained humble throughout all of this (some would credit the cultural influence of Zafrel and Triad True). They know who they are and what they’re doing, though the younger members seem to be less aware of their history and role.

Growing up in the major media center on three planets really does change awareness . . .

– Steve

Steve’s Writing Advice 8/7/2018

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve been giving a lot of advice lately on writing, as well as processing some of my most recent experiences. So what I decided to do is write down my basic advice on what to do. I’m keeping it positive, and I hope to update it over time.

What To Write

  • Obviously you should write what you like, but you may want to target to a market.
  • There is almost inevitably a market for something you’ll want to write, but the question is how many sales you want to make (and if you cary).
  • There are inevitably other authors to learn from and study.

How To Write

  • It’s likely if you want to write you already know how. It’s just a matter of getting it into professional shape – or acceptable shape.
  • There are a lot of books on writing efficiently and effectively. Chris Fox’s books are very well regarded.
  • When possible join a writer’s group, meetup, or team to help you out.
  • There’s nothing like practicing, so keep writing!

Editing

  • Have an editor. Period. Pay them or reimburse them somehow.
  • Having beta and pre-readers helps, but an editor is hard to replace (though you may find one with betas and pre-readers)

Book Covers

  • A book cover is a great sales tool, and makes a real difference in if people buy it.
  • Different genres and audiences have different cover expectations.
  • There are various sites and tools that will help you make covers.
  • You can also get premade covers from several sources like www.goonwrite.com.
  • For major, important works you want a professional-level cover.
  • You can learn to do your own covers, but it will take effort if you don’t have much graphic experience. There are online tutorials.

Book Covers – Doing it yourself

  • You can do book covers yourself, as noted, but it takes time and effort to learn.
  • You can get good paid stock art and photos at www.canstockphoto.com and www.shutterstock.com
  • For practice (or to save money) you can get free stock art and photos at www.pixabay.com and www.unsplash.com
  • The Non-designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams is indespensible to learning good design skills. There’s other advice online.

Formats

  • Unless you have a reason (or format) not to, a book should be in ebook format no matter what others you choose.
  • Physical books may or may not interest your audience. It’ll be up to you to decide that.
  • eBooks will usually outsell physical books, but physical books are also great for gifts and holidays.

Formats – eBook

  • eBooks can be formatted by publishing sites (like www.Draft2Digital.com) or on your own.
  • The best tool to format eBooks is www.jutoh.com – it’s powerful enough to write a small book in it.
  • Your formatting will usually be mobipocket (Kindle) or ePub.

Formats – Physical books

  • Physical book formatting is more complicated than eBooks, because you have to worry about page breaks, page facing, and more.
  • Covers will also require careful formatting because of sizing and colors (hint, save in CMYK).
  • You’ll probably have to run a few copies of physical books to ensure they’re set up right.

Formats – Audiobooks

  • Audiobooks are a forgotten format – and if you can get your book into audio format, then you have an edge over others.

Publishing

  • There’s many places to publish, however you want to make sure whatever service you use you end up on www.amazon.com – for obvious reasons.
  • To easily publish on multiple sources, www.Draft2Digital.com is a mainstay.
  • Many services like the above do physical books, and www.Lulu.com

Pricing

  • Pricing affects sales, and cheaper is not always better. People will be concerned that a cheap book isn’t worth it.
  • Most smaller eBooks are best priced at $2.99.
  • Larger books seem to center around $4.99, but some go higher.
  • Physical book pricing is inevitably much higher than eBooks, and often you make more on each physical books.

Promotion – General

  • Good promotion ties into each other. Your books mention your website, your website points to your newsletter, your newsletter mentions new books, new books go on sale, etc.
  • You’ll want to read up on promotion. Though a lot of promotion advice is repetitive, that’s because a lot of it is always new to someone.

Promoting – Website

  • You will want an author’s website, period. You want your own domain, and can set up a website in wordpress.
  • If you’re on Amazon and/or Draft 2 Digital there are author pages there as well. Set them up and link your website back to them and vice versa.
  • Mention your website in all of your books.

Promoting – Social Media

  • Writers should have a Twitter, Facebook presence, and blog to establish a presence. At the very least a blog and twitter is needed.
  • You may only have so much time, so make your best call.
  • Hootsuite is a great way to manage social media.
  • Mention your social media in all of your books.

Promotion – Newsletters

  • Have a newsletter. Www.mailchimp.com is a perfect place to start.
  • Send out your newsletter at least monthly if not more (but I’d avoid more than one a week). Mention books, give samples, etc.
  • If you want to get more people on your newsletter use www.InstaFreebie.com for giveaways or giving out samples.

Marketing – General

  • Marketing is an inevitable part of book writing. You can’t avoid it – but you can outsource it.

Marketing – Amazon

  • If you’re publishing things at Amazon, use Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). It’s pretty much point and pay and (hopefully) sell.
  • If you’re amazon exclusive, you can do book sales and promotions.

Marketing – Reviews

– Steve

Steve’s Update 8/4/2018

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Here’s a roundup of what’s going on!  Lots to talk about, lot’s going on – and a few interruptions.

So what have I done the last week?

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: My cover artist is done, now it’s time to get the text layout in place.  I have a rough but am working on a more specific one.  Editor should be done soon.  Still targeting end of September for Ebook.
  • Way With Worlds: The Superhero and Worldbuilding book is out!  It’s also selling too, glad you folks liked it.
  • Agile Creativity: I set up some AMS marketing, but the book has been selling well on its own.
  • Other: The new job of course has me occupied.

What am I going to do this week?

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Cover layouts and waiting on my editor.
  • Way With Worlds: I am outlining the next one of course!  My current plan is to constantly write these over time, a few questions here and there.
  • Other: Lots of little things, hopefully clearing them up this week so I can FOCUS the rest of the month.  I need to edit, finish the Nexus changes at the Sanctum, and more.  Plus two cons!  So yeah, I want to use this week to get chores out of the way.

 

-Steven Savage

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Life In The Great Cities

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  It’s out late this fall but you can find out about the world now let’s talk about life in one of The Great Cities . . .
None of the Great Cities is like the other, but there are some common experiences to living in one. The following examples provide a good idea of what it’s like to live there, as well as in the large cities of other worlds like The Barrow, Dawn’s Approach, or Corvallion.

Concept

The term “Great City” is surprisingly specific considering the situation where it originated. However, it has often be tweaked as a way to avoid anyone else claiming Great City Status.

First, a Great City should be a large metropolitan region with an educated populate as well as the regional resources to support itself. In theory a Great City could exist independent of the others.

Second, that City should consist of and control contiguous territory. Many Great Cities to us would appear to be collections of many cities or regions (in the case of Highpoint, they used to be). To someone from Telvaren, for instance, the entire state of Massachusetts would be “Boston” to them.

Third, that City should be able to enforce laws and order it’s territory – called a Province.

Fourth, the City must be recognized as a viable economic, political, and cultural force. For reasons that are mysteriously obvious in over two hundred years no other city has been declared A Great City.

Fifth, the City must abide by and enforce the laws of The Government such as it is able.

Sixth, that city must be a representative democracy and represent the interests of its citizens appropriately.

Layout

Though the Great Cities are unique, there’s a common layout, except for Highpoint (which is really cobbled together from several cities).

First, there’s usually a central metro region. This is where government cites, where influential organizations are housed, and where many city offices are located.

Outside the central area there are usually specific geographical regions called Wards (or Districts offworld). Wards can be anything from a particular unique region to a city that was adsorbed into the larger city to a random idea to subdivide an area. Wards are useful political organizations, allowing the City to be managed in sections.

As one gets further from the center, manufacturing areas, vertical farms, sunfarms, and more become more apparent. On the fringes of the city agriculture is usually the rule.

Finally, outside a Great City are smaller towns and lesser cities.

Living

In The Great Cities few people own their own homes, though this is sometimes the exception in Highpoint and Zafrel. Most people rent from City-sanctioned organizations, or buy into collective ownership of part of an apartment complex.

Many houses or apartments, especially ones of the West and South, don’t necessarily have bedrooms. Instead they often have multi-use spaces that people sleep in.

Eating

It’s a point of concern among many a pundit that people in The Great Cities seem to know less about cooking than such pundits deem worthy. Most people get convenient meals when needed, and this is not so much due to restauraunts but various businesses and stores that have premade meals. Many a convenience store adds a kitchen and supplies local customers.

Despite this decades-old trend, most apartments and dwellings come with full kitchens. No one actually wants to remodel to take them out.

Fresh and healthy food is an obsession of many a diner, and the citizens are careful to ensure its access. Vertical farming is somewhat common in older cities and those with space limitations – and Triad True and Sabillion are enthused about them. Shipments from Agris on the outskirts complete food distribution.

Many people get their breakfasts on the go in the morning.

Work And Professions

Though there’s an eight-day week, the idea of a “workweek” doesn’t quite exist, though the usual “workweek” is five days and a three day weekend. Cities are also going twenty-four hours a day, so exact hours one might be on a job vary.

For many professions there are different shifts and times, especially ones involving vital city and public services.

Over the centuries, many professions have evolved common outfits or styles that denote their jobs. There’s a lot of pride in one’s calling.

Transportation

Most citizens of the Great Cities proper don’t own any form of transportation beyond a bicycle, if that. Elaborate public transportation is common in all cities, from simple buses and subways to the elaborate Skytrams of Allanax. It’s simple, effective, and energy-saving.

Transportation runs twenty-four hours a day, though it may require elaborate understanding of transportation schedules.

Social Life

Entertaining at home beyond a few friends is not particularly (and often hard due to space constraints). Much socialization is done at such places as coffee shops, temples, rooftops of one’s apartment, public meeting areas, parks, libraries, and more. For many citizens, home may be a place that one sleeps and bathes in and little else.

Most citizens have at least one “public service” they do such as helping at libraries, assisting the Constabulary, acting as a volunteer fire department, tutoring, and more. This is considered both a citizen and a social action.

Clubs are also very popular among citizens, and some also perform public service.

Churches and Temples provide a lot of social space and opportunities, depending on their given god. Some of their activities might seem controversial, depending on which god or goddess is involved.

Finally Guilds, Unions, and other professional associations are a part of most people’s lives. Monthly meetings, charity events, and so on are common.

Education

An educated citizenry is critical to society, and every Great City has its schools and colleges. Most citizens attend school until eighteen, and many then attend college – education is publicly funded in all Cities, though to a different extend.

Schools are year-round, with quarterly breaks based around the seasons of about 3-4 weeks. Schools provide a number of social activities that often tie into other clubs, temples, and associations.

Colleges can wield considerable power. Brightguard is most notorious for it (to the point there it’s said the schools there control the city), but to a lesser extent Polestar (in Grand Ivar), and the schools of Nasharex are influential as well. Colleges also command enough money to employ people and influence political decisions.

– Steve

Latest Book: Superheroes And Worldbuilding

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

And yet another book is out!  In this case it’s my Superheroes and Worldbuilding book.  I’m continuing my mini-worldbuilding books with one on Superheroes (and it mostly focuses specifically on heroes – villains may be forthcoming).  So if you’re thinking about a setting with capes and heroics, give it a check!

-Steven Savage