Yes, I know, it’s Summertime, but in my own mind’s forge of creation it’s more like late fall. Things are slowing down the way they do every year about this time. With Summer comes sombulance and with that comes sloth and all sorts of bad habits, particularly for one such as I that aspires to actually finishing a manuscript one of these days.
Instead of working on something in progress — and in true ADD fashion — I’ve started serious work on something else. And this time it’s a FanFic… Worse, it’s of a well mined Intellectual Property, Pern. Forgive me, if Pern isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to skip this post, as I’m apt to get long winded.
The late and much missed Anne McCaffrey wove a lovely vision of a far future past where the all the rules of SciFi/Fantasy were turned on their heads in the early days of the genre. It was Fantasy: Peroid Costumes, Check! Fire breathing Dragons, Check! Knife and/or sword wielding duels, Check! It was Science Fiction: a colony from three still orbiting sleeper ships, themselves converted from decommissioned military space ships. Effectively the story was both, breaking boundaries and in effect doing much to cement the two genres into a sub-category that persists in catalogs even today. Alas, I digress.
Pern was more than just groundbreaking in its role in publishing circles, it was also groundbreaking in that the author in her wisdom embraced the early electronic Information Age, and later the Internet in general and used it as a means to further her connection with her fans. Where she alive and not retired today, I have no doubts that we could find her on Twitter, interacting with fans the world over just as she did in the forums and newsgroups of times past. She even credits the fans themselves with assisting her in the forward of All The Weyrs of Pern.
So, dear reader, what does this nascent novelist have to add to a story that was first penned about the time of his birth? A lot as it turns out, at least in the form of fan fiction. Incidentally, that was another aspect of the generousness of Anne McCaffrey’s legacy, it was her wish not to stifle fan fictions. One can hope that Todd will follow in her beneficence.
Which brings me to a point I have often thought about, and that is one of the stark contrasts between the writing of Anne and Todd with reguards to the viciousness of Thread in striking down rider and dragon. In Anne’s works, it is punctuation of plot, never quite absent and yet never quite more than a boogeyman that only occasionally makes it to the stage of prose. With Todd’s works, there are many more named characters, several of which are major characters, that succumb to the bane of Pern. And it got me thinking as to why.
It struck me, the era of Todd’s focus is before the first long interval, therefore it was before the first of the AIVAS designed parasites started its work to “dis-improve” Thread. It was this time-looped logic that lead to another leap of thought, if the first round of parasites had between the first and second internals to work, then was reinforced, it would do much to explain the relative ease by which the Ninth Pass Thread was so seemingly less dangerous than that of times past. It also does much to explain the fact that the Old-Timers became more and more disaffected by their age old enemy. If it was even less risk than they knew before and even easiler to defeat, the challenge evaporates and the indolant will seek other ways to find a thril or reward in life.
All of these thoughts are circumstantially connected through the canon works but never substantiated in any of the interviews I’ve yet seen. But all of this got my mind thinking to that sort of circular paradox. “‘X’ must happen tomorrow, because you will do ‘Y’ the day after tomorrow, but we can clearly see you did it the day before.” This is in effect what AIVAS directed Jaxom to do in planting of the sabotaged inter-stellar drives on the surface of the Red Star. What the fire lizards said Ruth had done before he and Jaxom rescued Ramoth’s stolen queen egg. What Lessa did twice in learning to go between and warning her earlier selves to a danger they could not have known of. So, what else could we circularize? Then I found the book Dragoneye, and I spotted another that might be crafted. But it was not until I read the last of Anne’s solo works, The Skies of Pern that I had my story.
Pern’s dragons — and to a even more feral extent the fire lizards too — can Teleport (move between places), Chronoport (move between time), Telepath (communicate mind to mind without physical means), and as of The Skies of Pern Telekenise (manipulate physical things without using physical means) but all of these abillities come at an organic level that is instinctual, the dragons can learn new ways to use their talents, but they do not typically experiment unless there is a strong external stimulus. Add to this mix the notion that the thought becomes the deed, as long as the dragon thinks it can succeed, and suddenly all sorts of new things open up for exploration in new tales of things Pern.
So I considered one of my favor internal story archetypes for insertion into Pern. That of the modern — or in this case contemporary to our time — man being thrust into a place that makes him or her an instant anachronism and then telling the story of adaptation. Samuel Clemmons’, The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is perhaps the best example to cite. Since I needed more than one man, I decided on a means to safely transport the group, and after that the level of disruption that would be caused by their entry into what John Campbell described as the New World.
What does all of this have to do with my opening paragraph? Well, dear reader, and thank you for reading through this long… I find my creative juices wax during summer as the temperatures rise, and go dormant in the fall as the temperatures fall again. It becomes the prime time in the South for a return to outdoors activities and also school starts again… But it’s also a time when I’m seemingly recharging my muse and focusing on life outside of things internal. Winter is my creative springtime, probably because it’s easy to write when your huddled inside, space heater nearby and a steaming mug of coffee at hand.