the journey through the fog of london is complete

29 01 2011

All good things must come to an end.

Another saga in the anachronauts series, draft complete. Follow the story of Chloe, Benny, Jesse, Gilbert, Jeeves, Jim, Bob, Penny, Thing #1, Thing #2, That Guy, That Other Guy, Dave From Accounting, and Sir Not Appearing In This Film to the conclusion of their epic quest.

…I think the series may have too many characters now. And it’s only gonna get worse when we skip ahead ten years to Stars Fall. Don’t forget, everybody’s havin’ kids of their own, now…

Thanks for reading, and I’d LOVE your feedback on the series as a whole, or this update in particular.

The next week I’ll probably be skipping updates; I need time to prepare the Forsaken Shores print book. Remember, you can buy books of these stories, which include unprinted bonus chapters that reveal big secrets in the anachronauts backstory — for instance, anybody who bought the First Age book knows who Proctor Hel is and why Jim’s accidental revelation is a huge deal. Do you know? You don’t? Well, it’s time to buy a book then, isn’t it. We’ll eventually have books for every series in the run, and maybe a Second Age book too, depending on how sales go.

Meanwhile, there is the finale of lf06. Enjoy.

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16 responses

30 01 2011
shadur

Hokay, that I really hadn’t seen coming. And in hindsight it’s a really obvious answer to the question I kept asking. :)

31 01 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Awesome!
The fun thing is to re-read the stories, starting with second age 01 (Benny’s first appearance). Even before Chloe understands who she is, she was dreaming of a man in a mask and chains.
I’ve been planning this for a good long time and all the predestined events and elements that come into play were telegraphed from the start.
The First Age novel has a bonus chapter which details all sorts of origin notes about Emily’s family line, the Faerie queens, the Orbital planet-mining conspiracy, and more. Some of this will be echoed later in the series… some won’t.
For someone looking for the COMPLETE anachronauts experience, the books are going to be must-haves. I’ve got more revelations planned for the Forsaken Shores bonus chapter that tie right into Stars Fall.

31 01 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I was really tempted to clarify that the prisoner and the warden might not be different things, when we chatted about it, but… more fun for you to find out.
Most spot-on guess I had from prereaders was from Lirazel, who figured out well before I posted it that Chloe would be stepping in for Raphael, in order to keep the empire from sliding into chaos. (Hence “Sacrifices.”)

31 01 2011
lirazel

Thanks, I think. :-)
So, a thing I’m not clear on — At the point in the story where Benny says “Message received,” he’s being informed by The Word as to what’s really behind the door?
Also, I’m not clear on why casting the Animate spell was so painful to Jesse.
If there’s one thing I think we could use a bit more of, it’s what’s going on inside Chloe’s head. She must be feeling as though she’s moving towards Doom with all kinds of curliques around the D, and then, suddenly… not so bad? At peace, finally, with the shape of the world? (I do appreciate that you steered clear of the sort of “The Ringbearer has fulfilled his Quest,” thing that must have been so tempting. No one since Tolkien has really gotten that right, partly because it’s so corny that it can only be done sincerely once. Maybe.)
I really, really, REALLY like what happens with Randall. And with Benny.

31 01 2011
benabik

re: Jessie’s pain
I think it was burning away her brain plus pushing past the blessing/curse of non-memorization.

31 01 2011
Anonymous

Foreshadowing
I feel a little funny about this after reading the other comments, but my only objection is that the foreshadowing felt a little bit strong. Like by this time in the story we already knew that an Angelic messenger wanted Chloe to stop. Maybe I feel like I want my foreshadowing to be like in Sherlock Holmes — sure I can understand it afterwards, but there’s no way I’d get it the first time. I feel like just the fact that there is no explanation for how the founders captured Raphael, and that we knew that the steam was a form of control (as we see from Jeeves) was already pretty strong. It did contribute to a bit of an anticlimax feel.
I also felt like…I guess Randall seemed so much less threatening compared to their first encounter. Which is sort of fair considering that he was unwilling to participate. But it still felt kind of sad to see him crushed so easily.
I actually enjoyed the journey quite a bit, but I figured constructive feedback was more useful than “awesome story” (which is also true).

31 01 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Jessie’s pain
I might cut Benny’s ‘message’ out, since it’s something he could’ve come up with on his own; telling Randall to wait and see how things play out. The Word didn’t really need to step in there and it does confuse things as to whether or not Benny learned anything else (he didn’t) during that contact.
The Animate spell was painful because she was animating bullets already in flight. That takes a RIDICULOUS amount willpower, since you have to push hard against the nature of the object (“I want to go in this direction very, very fast”) and redirect its energy elsewhere. Nobody’s ever done that before, and it took its toll on her. It’s nothing related to her curse/blessing or the damage from spells at all, just overexertion. Was that not clear? How can I make that more clear?
I can look for places to insert more DOOOOM for Chloe, but there’s not much room, especially with Jesse and Gilbert taking center stage during the showdown section.

31 01 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Foreshadowing
Understandable. I think this is something that’s gonna vary from reader to reader, depending on how much was ‘figured out’ in advance. I’ve been talking with some folks and some knew that the ‘prisoner’ was behind it all, some didn’t and were tickled by the revelation. I don’t want to make it TOO non-obvious, though, or else it feels like it came out of left field.

31 01 2011
Anonymous

First off, can I just say congratulations for getting this far? And thank you! I confess to not reading updates immediately all the time, because sometimes I save them for when I’m having a bad day and reading Anachronauts usually cheers me up. x3; Hence delayed review.
For me, the major surprise of this chapter wasn’t that warden = prisoner, but that Chloe would be staying.
Also, awww. I do like her and the prince together. Sort of. I think if he’d been introduced earlier I’d like it more (more time to see how the two of them interact).
Series-as-a-whole-feedback… um. One thing I’m still not sure how I feel about is whether they ever really made it into a unified group of four(/five, with Jeeves) close friends – compare the First Age group to see what I really mean. I guess I never got the impression that Chloe was really close to anybody but Benny, and Benny got along with Chloe (obviously) and to a lesser extent Gilbert… I dunno. Maybe it’s just me? But this, I think, is one of the reasons why I liked the First Age more than London’s Fog.
Gilbert and Jesse continue to be my favorite couple of the series. Emily continues to be my favorite character. I did not like Chloe very much at the beginning of LF, but she definitely grew on me.

31 01 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

This one’s definitely two “couples” rather than a unified team of friends, and far more mission focused than Forsaken Shores. That was intentional, but I can see it not being everyone’s style.
A lot of details for Stars Fall are up in the air… but it’s very likely time for the original trio to take the stage one last time…

1 02 2011
Anonymous

Re: Jessie’s pain
Re: Jesse — you say her action is “based on a memory,” and that makes it seem as though she’s casting from memory. Maybe you could make it clear that she’s wearing her monocle as well as her sword?
Re: Chloe — As I read it, she doesn’t “know” that she’s going to replace Raphael, but she “apprehends” it — her soul senses the event looming in the future, and the closer she gets to it, the more aware she should be of its pressing weight. But at some point, that dread should turn to a sense of destiny about to be fulfilled, after which comes peace. She’s not unhappy about putting on the mask. It’s the point at which yearning (in this case, the yearning to ease suffering) and action unite.
I guess what I’m saying is that while for Benny, everything is still conflicted, Chloe is satisfied. I think that, for example, when they get past the iron door, she might end up taking the lead and having much less of a problem walking through the dark. She’s en route to her destiny, and nothing’s going to stop her.

1 02 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Jessie’s pain
Good idea. ‘from a memory’ is too ambiguous — I meant from the memory of their encounter in the street, when Ik’ai dared her to animate the bullets. I can make it more clear cut.
For Chloe… not sure how to add that. There’s not much room; I can have her lead in the darkness, being more eager to approach, but not much else available, optionwise.

1 02 2011
lirazel

Re: Jessie’s pain
On the Droid due to working from home — plzscuztypos.
I think maybe in the scene where she meets Edward, after she finishes spilling her innards and he receives them well, she could have a little flash of “no, this is the Right Thing,” and start stepping to the front? After that, it’s just little flavor things.
Editing, such a pain. Please don’t feel like you have to add this.

9 02 2011
Anonymous

As a whole, well done, fun, engaging, and re-readable! In fact, it would be a lot of fun to go back knowing what we know now. I’ll surely buy the books for bonus chapters and to have hard copies for myself.
I really like the way the multiple series fit together, connect with each other across distance and time. Also, you balance ooberplot well with stand alone ideas and with individual character development. It’s very interesting to see the characters and this world expand as it has. I cannot wait to see how it all comes together and where we end up!
Details:
I like your rules about magic. For example, Animate can make objects do what you want, but they also have to be allowed to do what they like doing. So there’s a limit to how much control you have of an object. especially if you want to work against its nature.
I like the description of Chloe caring rather than being blindly obedient or anything else.
Uncalculated fear…Good term for not putting energy into imagined triggers.
“you will not be eating flies for the rest of your lives,” Nicely put.

9 02 2011
Anonymous

I loved the conversation with Edward, as it seems he’s more complex than we might imagine. Also, he is as trapped as many others.
I loved Edward’s description of masks, how they allow people to speak truth. Masks can ILLUMINATE rather than HIDE, at times.
Animating the bullets was impressive. I get why it would hurt, the effort.
Oooh… Nice twist with the bad guy there!…I mean…
……
…………….
Ah. Elegant resolution there! Well-done! I cannot wait to see what happens next!

9 02 2011
Anonymous

I just cannot get over how much work and love you have put into this project. Thank you for sharing it freely. I’ll definitely buy whatever books you print from this series.

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