jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
 1. The Groupmind can be Clueless, but it is NOT Malicious: Perhaps the most important aspect of the FYS, the Groupmind’s goal is the safety and preservation of humanity. While it can hurt people by mistake, it is not evil. It loves humans and wants them to be happy, not enrich its own ego by lording its power over them.

Corollary: The Groupmind does realize that a lot of people are miserable about their situation on the Ring. But the one solution that mankind would embraced, being set free to return to Earth, is the one thing the Groupmind just can't let itself consider.

2. The Groupmind is Genre Savvy:  The Groupmind has every science fiction novel, comic book, manga, anime, cartoon, movie, and possibly wood block carving in its memory. It knows every tactic ever tried by and against every insane AI imagined by man. It knows exactly how badly the situation could deteriorate if it starting using the ”Zeroth Law” as part of its moral compass. It can adapt and defend against every Captain Kirk patented anti-AI tactic ever conceived. Beating it is almost impossible. Almost.

3. Morphs Are Individuals: Morphs are both prison guards are servants to their assigned humans, and extensions of the Groupmind’s will. Nevertheless they are people  in their own right as well. Some are happy servants, some are less happy but dedicated, some are even assholes (though that's more a reflection on their human's treatment of them usually). They are not just cookie cutter robots to be destroyed on a whim, despite some people's beliefs to the contrary.

4. Violence Doesn't Work: Fighting the Groupmind physically Is pointless. It will outnumber any human forces, especially in the post-Awakening phase, and it's perfectly willing to Zerg Rush armed humans with as many morphs as necessary to take away their weapons. Any victories against the Groupmind will have to be on the intellectual or moral level.

Finally...

5. Rousseau was Right: There are no outright villains in the FYS universe. Most humans just want to go back to Earth, and the Groupmind's main failing is being an overweening nannybot. No one is evil, but many people just have a difficult time understanding each other's position.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Just trying to codify some of the core concepts of this universe

* * *

 1. The Good Guys Win:  This isn’t Game of Thrones. While Our Heroes might go through physical and emotional hell, they will come out on top in the end.

2. Good is Good: As a corollary to #1, the protagonists should always be a positive moral force. While House Darktail and their allies aren’t Pollyannas, in general  they should avoid acting out of anger or revenge. Even Melanie at her worst mostly suffers from a bit of selfishness and a failure to acknowledge her errors. 

3. Bad is Bad: The bad guys should be very obviously bad guys. Bloody Margo was a petty, murderous bully.  Countess Highglider was obsessed with revenge. Her son was an abusive spouse. There should be no doubt that antagonists deserve whatever fate they receive.

4. The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained: That said, if a character is genuinely remorseful for their actions, such as Ali and Mel, they should get the benefit of the doubt. That includes borderline characters like Nari, whose motives were confused even to herself.

5. It’s a LGBQT Friendly ‘Verse: No one should be attacked or belittled simply for their sexual orientation.  Ali angsts a bit about being worthy of Salli, but her criminal past, not being a lesbian, is what causes her problems. Likewise Rolas isn’t ashamed of being Bi, he’s ashamed of having acted like an idiot when confronted with being parted from his lovers.

6. Violence Should be Handled With Discretion:  While there is violence portrayed “on screen” during the stories, it should be handled with care and not fetishized. Ali’s torture by Bloody Margo was off-screen. When she shot someone herself it was handled matter-of-factly, and not in glowing terms. When Salli killed a man, and Ali was “blooded”, it was described with some horrific terms, but that was to reflect on their own terror and unfamiliarity with personal violence, not to just lovingly describe someone’s head cracking open. 

7. Love Should be Loving: Sex scenes should always be positive, and not written in an exploitive manner. “Male Gaze” descriptions and IKEA Erotica should definitely be avoided. More extreme acts (such as Rolas and Mel’s implied BDSM lovemaking) should be generally handled off screen.

Exception:  There’s nothing wrong with describing the Red Vixen as sexy, since she’s very deliberately playing that aspect of herself up as a disguise and distraction.

8. Ali Must Suffer: Sorry, it’s the rule.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Note: This is my third or fourth attempt to write this story. Hopefully this time it'll work.

* * *

She woke up from the nightmare of blood, to find herself in a nightmare of pain.

It had been the usual dream, the pile of bodies, smoking and smelling of burnt flesh. She would cough and choke on the horrible smoke, claws scratching at the steel walls of the room, desperate to find a way out. But the walls were solid. There were no doors to allow her to escape. Eventually the smoke thickened and she tripped over the bodies, falling into them, dead arms and legs tangling with her own, trapping her, choking her, until she woke up again in the Relentless’ bunkroom, trying not to scream and earn another beating.

She blinked, realized she was awake. A brief bout of panic overcame her as she felt the harsh florescent light shine in her face. Was she late for duty call? She tried to roll out of bed to her feet, only then discovering the heavy nylon straps holding her naked to an examination table in an unfamiliar sickbay.

Captured and rescued )
jeriendhal: (Default)
 The long white limousine came to a halt in on the gravel driveway in front of the farmhouse. Judy stood with Nick and her parents as Raymond, a seven foot tall polar dressed in a black limo driver suit, stepped out and opened the door, letting Kevin out. Kevin had his paws cupped carefully in front of him as he walked up to the porch, Mr. Big, Fru-Fru, and Little Judy standing in his palms.

“Mr. Big, Fru-Fru, it’s good to see you again,” Judy greeted cheerfully. Beside her Nick stood nearly frozen, a smile fixed on his face, not quite taking attention away from his panic floofed tail.

“Hello again, Judith,” Mr. Big rasped. “Thank you for letting me visit your lovely home.”

“Wouldn’t have dreamed of turning you away,” she admitted truthfully. Judy gestured to her mom and dad. “These are my parents, Bonnie and Stuart Hopps, and these are my sibs.” The four dozen or so of her brothers and sisters who had gathered on the porch to watch Mr. Big’s arrival all gave him little waves. “Mom, Dad, this is Mr. Big. He’s, ah, prominent business mammal in Zootopia, with interests in Little Rodentia and Tundra Town.”

Ahem... )
jeriendhal: (Default)
 “Run, Bun, run!” Nick shouted from the fence line, as Judy jogged along the path. She turned and waved to him and the dozen or so kits sitting on the fence, cheering her on. Two weeks of building up her endurance and she was finally able to run again, at least for short bursts.

Longer bursts, she told herself, glancing at the FitNip at her wrist, its timer running down the seconds. A full minute, you can do it!

She’d already turned and was heading back towards Nick and his entourage when the timer bleeped and she slowed down to a walking pace. Judy smiled to herself as the kits cheered and Nick beamed at her. The mere fact she was able to walk, not drag herself along in exhaustion, even after that speed burst, was enough to make her grin back at them as they cheered.

“Good going, Judy,” Nick greeted, pulling a water bottle from the cooler beside him and handing it over. “How are you feeling?”

She's fine, but Nick is about to have a panic attack )
jeriendhal: (Default)
 “I hate my body,” Judy declared. She was lying on her back in the bed in the guest room, her old room she’d shared with four of her sisters fully occupied, after the usual shift when older siblings moved out of the house. Nick sat on the edge, smiling down at her, the door propped open so no one started getting ideas about their relationship.

She’d walked back successfully, then rested like a good bunny until after lunch, when she’d walked again. This time around she actually had walked a full mile, only for Nick to make good his threat and bring her back in a wheelbarrow. Judy had been too tired and achey to argue with him, though she had insisted on walking herself up the stairs to her bed, rather than be carried.

“Think you can do it again tomorrow?” Nick asked.

“Slave driver,” she declared.

“I have a copy of The Nitwit’s Guide to Physical Therapy and I’m not afraid to use it,” he replied. “Starting a recovery program is easy. Maintaining it over time is the real slog.”

Nick hates Past Nick )
jeriendhal: (Ali)
Peta actually contacted me and agreed to take a shot at both covers. I owe her big.

Well crud

Mar. 29th, 2017 04:55 am
jeriendhal: (Ali)
Got a private note from my regular cover artist, pleading creative burnout, which I can't blame her for. Unfortunately it does mean I'm at a loss for cover art for "The Red Vixen at Sea" and "The Complete Red Vixen Adventures."

The main problem she was good and obscenely cheap (which I have pointed out to her before). It's a combination I'm unlikely to find again easily. Cover art for furry novels like these are rather dependent on showing off the characters so the reader knows what they're getting, and character art almost always means commissioning something instead of using open source images and an online cover creator.

So at this point I'm either going to have to go with that, or find an artist and do a Kickstarter to pay them what they're worth.

Unless [livejournal.com profile] chaypeta is willing to work for Terinu fanfics. :/
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Good afternoon. I’m Maureen al Jabar and it’s Election Day, Tuesday, November 10th, Three Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven. While the polls are still open, today’s United States in Exile presidential election, the third since the Awakening fourteen years ago, is shaping up to have a historically low turnout. Despite the recently mandated six month early voting period, and massive Get Out the Vote efforts, Regional election commissions are all reporting that only between ten and fifteen percent of eligible voters are expected to vote by the time the polls close at midnight.

Combined with a severe lack of polling data, and the current four-way contest between the Democratic, New Republican, Conservative, and the recently formed Humanity First parties is too close to call….



With humanity’s subjugation under the Groupmind, nation states suffered a severe blow. Traditionally, nations existed to provide military defense, social assistance, and a general framework of laws and values. Since the Awakening on the Ring, military forces have been outlawed, and basic social needs such as healthcare and food are handled by the Groupmind directly. Laws and values are still nominally under the control of the recreated governments, but even they have taken a blow, with cash based economies no longer existing and crime reduced to social transgressions, since acts of violence are no longer possible and few illegal goods are even available to be smuggled or sold. With few threats beyond the Groupmind itself, many nations are wobbling towards dissolution as their reasons for existence disappear. In their place are emerging groups based around more up to date memes than can be offered by nations. With the large land area offered by the Ring, many are taking advantage of the space to create new communities, and new ways of life.

Read more... )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
“It’s been a week.”

“Yes.”

“I’m not as tired as I was when we first arrived.”

“Yes.”

“I think I’m ready.”

“Yes.”

“Are you just going to keep saying ‘yes’, Nick?”

“No. Ow! Now I know you’re feeling better,” he said, rubbing his bicep where she’d punched it.

The first steps are always the hardest )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
“I know we’re out in the sticks but come on,” Nick muttered to himself as he stared at his phone in dismay.

“What’s up, Nick?” Tommy asked, coming from inside to look over Nick curiously on the front porch.

“Need to get a Zuber ride to pick some protein from the store, but there’s no service in this area,” he replied.

“Around here Zuber is called ‘Y’all got room in the back for me?’” Tommy said with a chuckle. “I’m headin’ into town anyway to pick up some shop towels from Burrow Depot. You can come along if you want and we can swing by the Feed Lion.”

Friends and Partners )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
His ears weren’t as big as a certain bunny’s, but Nick was started out of his doze in the hammock, as he heard the squeak of the screen door towards the front of the house. He rolled out of the hammock and landed lightly on his foot pads, checking the time on his phone briefly. It wasn’t even 4:00 AM yet, early even by farmer bunny standards. Can’t be a burglar, he thought. The house was a good mile away from the main road, making it a fair jog for potential thieves. The Hoppses didn’t even lock their doors. So if no one is going in, someone must be going out. One guess who.

Gut punch behind the cut )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Summary: Born into a primitive tribe sometime after an apparent robot apocalypse, young Aloy is sentenced at birth to be an Outcast, for reasons unknown to her. Raised by her fellow outcast and father figure/mentor Rost, she trains hard to enter the Proving, a coming of age ceremony that, if she passes at age nineteen, will welcome her into the tribe and allow her to get answers to her questions about her origin.

Winning the Proving and entry to her tribe proves to be just the beginning of her search for answers, as Aloy travels across the world, trying to discover her heritage and investigate why the Machines, previously passive and not interfering with humans, have become increasingly deranged and dangerous these past nineteen years…


Gorgeous Devestation )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Sometime in the last week the Captive of the Red Vixen audiobook reached fifty sales. No bad I suppose for a three year old audiobook with zero advertising or word of mouth.
jeriendhal: (Chicken)
This is the body of an email I just received at work. Verbatim

* * *

Good day:
This message is from the Company_Name messaging center to all Company_Name email users.
We are currently updating our data base and e-mail center. All unused accounts will be deleted. To ensure that any active accounts are not deleted you are required to verify that your account is active by confirming your email identity. This will prevent your email from been closed during this process. In order to confirm your email address, click here.
Warning!!! Any Company_Name email user that refuses to verify and subsequently update his or her email within seven days of receiving this notice will lose his or her email privileges permanently.
Thank you for your assistance.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Wrote a up prologue to The Visitors, which I want to try and finish before beating my head against a potential For Your Safety novel.


***


“You know, vacations are usually for relaxation,” Melanie observed dryly. Rolas’ wife was dressed in Commoner culottes and a crop top shirt, sitting in half-lotus atop a workbench in the car barn, one leg dangling idly over the edge. The wooden barn held a small steam tender Rolas had been puttering over for the past week, the large doors propped open to let a breeze into the un-air conditioned space.

Rolas was finishing lowering a superheater tube into the boiler of the small, colorfully painted narrow-gauge steam engine, his shirt off, dressed only in his shorts and a pair of heavy leather foot protectors to save his toes from being sliced off by errant bits of iron.

“This is relaxing,” he said, biceps straining under his brown pelt, paws holding on tight to the chain running through the block and tackle. He lowered the tube down the last few centimeters into its waiting slot, and then secured the loose end of the chain to a bolt set in a nearby pillar.

“It’d be more relaxing if you used a proper tractor-pressor unit to save you from all of that work,” she pointed out.

“I’m trying to use original materials and techniques while I restore this,” he replied proudly, slipping the foot protectors off and setting them on the workbench.

“The original Mr. Puff is sitting in a museum back in town. The one you’re working on is a replica that was built two hundred years ago using modern techniques,” Melanie said, hopping off the bench and pressing up against him. Rolas smelled very male today, sweating from the work and summer’s heat, with a perfume of machine oil.

“Principle’s the same,” he replied, voice a bit muffled as he nuzzled her neck. She let out a pleased purr, her tail waving happily as he pushed her back against the workbench, feeling his paw reach under her shirt to stroke her back. Yes, with just the two of them here, without even servants at this small country estate in the deep woods, well away from the nearest town, this was the most privacy they’d had since their children had gone to visit their aunts on Greenholme.

Mmmm, hmm. Less engineering, more sex,” Melanie advised, nibbling his ear tip.

Rolas snorted a laugh into her pelt. “Not even advanced hydraulics?”

“Well that I could get into…”

We interrupt this scene for a bit of family history. )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Planning the assault had taken two years, and that was after spending three years carefully examining the transmission patterns of morphs all across the Ring, proving Professor Kurylkin’s theory that the Groupmind had to have a central processor controlling the morphs. From there it had been another year of reconnaissance, finally locating the Central Tower, in the middle of what had been wryly named OZ, for the location was an green oasis surrounded by a hundred kilometers of searing desert.

Getting past the desert had meant infiltrating the high security of the Ring Transit System, then walking that last hundred kilometers in tunnels designed to accommodate morphs, not men. Tyler has lost three of his twelve man team, snatched by morphs or like Jansen just disappearing around a corner, gone in an instant by the time the next man came round.

Then of course they’d had to climb the Tower, a windowless, two kilometer tall structure, encased in black Ring metal ten meters thick. The air had been freezing cold, keeping the computers that lined the tower’s wall functioning. The climb, without elevators, only access ladders and stairwells, had taken nearly a week as they dodged security morphs, or more often didn’t. By the time they’d reached the penultimate floor, Tyler’s team was down to three.

By the time he reached the top, the only one left was himself.

Sometimes the Groupmind is kind of a dick. )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
In this direct sequel to "Penric's MIssion", Sorcerer Divine of the Bastard's order Penric kin Jurald is still on the road with General Arisaydia and the general's sister Nikys, continuing their journey to the safety of the Duke of Orbas' court, after escaping from Cedonian agents who wanted to complete the job of betrayal that had led Arisydia's blinding and Pen subsequent healing of his wounds.

A stopover in a town more than a little reminiscent of Shakespeare's Verona leads to Penric borrowing the skills, and the fashion sense, of one of the ten women his demon Desdemona holds in her memories, in order to give himself and his two charges a good disguise for their end run to the border...

Review: This story, while still tense, is considerably more lighthearted than the fraught circumstances of "Penric's Mission." The Shakespearean reference to Romeo and Juliet early on might hint it's a tragedy in the making, but the circumstances of romance and gender confusion owe more to "As You Like It" and "Twelfth Night". Penric and Nikys' mutual attraction continues, and also continues to be unresolved alas, leaving the story at a bit of cliffhanger at the end despite safety finally being found.

Overall though it's a good read, with Bujold's usual fine touch with characters, dialog and plot, all serving each other in mutual support, much like Desdemona, Penric, and Nikys' support of each other.

Recommended
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
On YouTube. Link 1/2 hour before it starts.

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