42.1 \ 224

A tumble of rocks galloped across the field of vision within the Skyfather’s sighting mechanism. Soleil focused through the depths, adjusting the view to brighten a few stars. She identified their type, and though she couldn’t name them, it was a familiar arrangement from her days of star map study. Hirylien was included as Pan-Galactic Imperial space, though dead space, where Drift X yet hid among derelict orbiting structures. Surrounded by familiar elements once more, they had become stranger than strange through her newly granted perspectives.

The Princess sat up in the mounting chair, alone in the gunnery as she’d requested for a cogitative session. She let her mind wander through some interaction processing. Uixtr and Moonshadow had gone on their own way when Drift X left Ombd. That was also when she’d had her last discussion with Rosy Glow, which actually felt fond; they’d done some things, shared some times, even had fun. Rosy Glow pulled through for her in a number of ways. They had achieved things together, which were challenges when met, but achievements once accomplished. She’d never personally known a pretty wisp of color before. Yesterday, Soleil sat on this platform with Toller, dangling their legs over the edge, discussing random bits of youth. He reminded her what it was like just to be a person alive somewhere in the Imperium, making life work as people do; those pieces of rare, unextraordinary beauty that make a day. Later, Wendel had told her all about her latest learning discoveries with the souped up Drift X – the fun of these powerful frills, wondering what she would do with them on a regular workaday level, if she’d ever be finding that again.

TOC Sequence Update

Have updated the Table of Contents for Greater Beyond, which always rests in the popdown menu bar at the very top of each page. It now includes the 22-installment/7-section run of the 24th Sequence of Bones of Starlight (4th of Greater Beyond).

This far into the siege on our lives that is a pandemic, still upholding the honor of being able to create a thing of enjoyment, and perhaps meaning. This turbulence is reaching everyone in ways direct and indirect, and even indirect disturbances feel like direct hits. I miss the world; meanwhile I’m working on this one.

SFWA Procrastinator’s NYE

On Saturday the 9th, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America held a remote New Year’s party for members and Nebula Conference attendees aboard the Airship Nebula, with its usual plethora of activities and rooms. I visited Charlie Jane Anders’ Underground Dance Party (where I danced with a muppet); Hoppin’ John’s Diner with chef advisor Addison Sim, where I prepped my marmalade preserves and Curtis Chen showed up as a kitten; and I sang Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer in Jesse Rauch’s Karaoke parlor. People found me in the Airlock and the Coat Closet, and I hid by myself in the Boudoir.

I shared the Reading Room with Patricia Jackson, David D. Levine, Keyan Bowes, M.A. Carrick and others, where I read my most recent serialized chapter section, 41 from Bones of Starlight: Greater Beyond.

Following, an agreed-upon screenshot at the 9:00 hourly ball drop replay, including SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal, Steven Silver, Aydrea Walden, Liz Argall, Patricia Jackson and Keyan Bowes:

Want to sneak around? This was the configuration during the Nebulas, hyperspatial stability not guaranteed:

41.4 \ 223

The entering emissary took a route past the gemsmiths, checking in with them. Delicately controlled trickles of magma were precisely diverted through the room to each workstation, modulated by strolling controllers on crystal-encrusted bridges spanning the space above. There were also sentinels placed around the perimeter of the chamber, sitting back on their haunches, headplates touching the ground facing forward.

Mystvall found their way to the center, where the area was clear around the invention in progress. They stamped their forelimb on the floor five times, and the steady beat rippled up the walls. The sentinels raised their heads and stood. The same measure passed, then they all joined in on the next round. During the silent measure, the arisen sentinels moved inward from the edges on their now-visible clear paths, pausing to continue each round of the beat.

They all joined Mystvall in the center, forming a ring facing the workpiece. Uixtr could hear the song through his transducer, when they began it in their outside frequency range. Lots of it was untranslatable, nonlinguistic though conversationally codified, iterations of technique driving the movement. Uixtr had heard of this, but not yet seen it. They called this impromptu harmonic gathering Aureny, the same word they offered as the name of their kind. There were some words that came through, though they were of secondary musical priority.

that we are present in the doing
as we are in the making
that our guard serves to guard
the fortunes of the bearers
that the beauty of truth
protects all from the worst
and finds the way