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Song Styles

Anaea’s world changes irrevocably within the first few chapters of Scylla and Charybdis, and though she has allies (as well as enemies), she is the only one who can save herself.I have a few theme songs on this topic – I’ve already linked to Fire …

Wednesday Wanderings: The Tale (Tail) of the Kearl

There’s one prominent character in Scylla and Charybdis who never utters a word … of dialogue, that is.  She has a full range of sounds and expression at her disposal.

I’m speaking of Penelope, who is a kearl:  a genetically engineered monkey-cat hybrid, designed to be a comfort and companion animal.  I came up with kearls in a backwards fashion.  I had recently reread the Evil Overlord list:  one hundred strategies (and then some) for surviving as a fictional villain.  They range from “if I have a fatal weakness, I will fake another one,” to, “If the princess refuses to marry me, I will say ‘oh, well,’ and kill her.”

As mentioned elsewhere, I participated in an online writers’ conference / workshop during the building phases of Scylla and Charybdis.  Influenced by an item on the Evil Overlord list, I said that I wanted to have some kind of monkey-like companion animal, but it was *not* going to help the main character out of prison by stealing the keys from a guard.  Beyond the joke of it, I liked the idea of my narrator being accompanied by a clever pet.

And so … the kearl was invented.  I wanted the creatures to be quick and agile, empathic and loyal to their people, but also quite independent.  Penelope in particular is the companion of Anaea’s dear friend Orithia; how she ends up with Anaea is matter for the books.  (Or rather, the book.)  Penelope turned out to be a welcome addition to the story and a strategic source of comic relief.  It’s good to have an ally, even a furry one.

New Evidence for Dragon Flight

Since the first dragon skeleton was discovered in 1908 by Ernest Hathelwhite, in the Khumara Basin in what is now northern Sudan, experts have been split over the flight capabilities of such beasts. When the skeleton (Dragonus Primus) was shipped back to England, experts at London’s Natural History Museum rebuilt it, discovering many predicted traits …

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Song Styles

As I’ve mentioned before, my Scylla and Charybdis soundtrack is largely composed of songs that are older to me – ones I’ve been familiar with for a while.  One of these was massively popular when it was released … and it was the song I lear…

Wednesday Wanderings – Books Within Books

Books – physical books, stories contained within pages and ink – play a small but vital role in Scylla and Charybdis.  This is, admittedly, a product of personal bias:  as a reader, I am devoted to the book you can hold, the tactile sensation, the subtle scent.  I am a highly kinesthetic person and related to the world via movement, touch, and the intangible “feel” of things.  (Just to prove Mother Nature can have a twisted sense of humor, I also have an ocular-motor dysfunction:  a disconnect in my eye-hand coordination.)

The world of Scylla and Charybdis is highly digitized, and nowhere is this more evident than on Themiscyra space station.  Fleeing the chaos of a dying universe (or so it seemed), the women of the station preserved few physical books, and those have been locked up in climate controlled chambers.  Anaea has seen them only through glass.  Removed from the days of pure survival, the space station has made room for the arts and has a rich repertoire of entertainment – often in the form of holo movies – but books are not part of that reality.

In the broader universe, there is room for this niche art, for physical printing, and even new volumes.  For Anaea, part of the charm of books is the fact that they are unchanging; an electronic fictional work might be updated to adhere to the tastes of the times, but an old Harlequin (… not an actual example) still has the same flowery language and heaving bosoms it always did.  For someone whose world is in upheaval, there’s comfort in that stability.

There are a few specific books referenced throughout.  One of them, Falling Stars, is an Earth science fiction novel, written pre-colonization, which inspired the popular name of one of the colonized planets.  Given that science fiction geeks are already naming astrological bodies, it didn’t seem that much of a stretch.

My editor encouraged me to quote a few of these books.  At first, I was uncertain about this:  the imaginary book always has a mystique, and can an excerpt ever live up to what the reader imagines the content might be?  But I decided to tackle it, and I was pleased with the results.

There’s also a reference to a compendium of zombie stories, because why not.  It can’t all be great literature.