sa09 meets the parents

21 03 2011

“Moms, I brought a boy home. Can I keep him?”

I’d say we’re MAYBE a little over halfway through the story. I seem to be writing longer and longer, the last few outings. Still, they’re as long as they have to be for me to explore the characters and the plot, so I won’t complain.

But this is making me doubtful about a “Tales of the Second Age” book. In print, a complete copy of all the SA class stories would be a book that’s ridiculously long… and thus, expensive. Given I sell maybe a few dozen copies at best of each book, tapering off as the series goes on, it may not be worth it. Or maybe I could do a ‘best of’, and skip any stories which don’t have characters that return in Stars Fall? …except I don’t know exactly who’s returning, beyond one or two of them. Hrm. Choices. What do you think?

In personal bloggy nooz, got to go out to a friend’s place this weekend. When I was a teenager / 20s, I used to be going out to visit friends constantly… Josh would have movie parties galore, all day festivals with interesting films, or we’d be playing games, or whatever. It was fabu. But… most of those friends are gone now, and the rest have families and other obligations. It’s just not in the cards to really hang out socially anymore except maybe 2-3 times a year at best, and that’s something I miss. Sign of the times, I guess. Getting old.

In story, Carrie’s arguably missing out on that, not having much of a circle of friends outside of school. But she’s got bigger problems than that. Read, enjoy, let me know what you think.

(One minor retcon note — the timetable’s been changed so the heist that got Van his gun happened two days ago on Saturday, not a week ago. It was causing problems for upcoming scenes.)

EDIT: Spoilarz ahoy, so don’t look at this until you’ve finished reading. I figured a rough sketch using City of Heroes as a canvas would be a neat idea; odds are the real thing has more detail work than this, but You Get The Idea.

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27 responses

21 03 2011
Anonymous

I always get Orbital-suspicious whenever I see a character with a three-letter name. Keeping an eye on Van for that reason.
Also, d’awww, Carrie.

21 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Nah, it’s short for Van Buren. All the Dead Presidents have, well, dead president names. But Orbital-suspicion is a good thing to have in general!

21 03 2011
tozetre

Sharing your absent-friends pain, man. :T Everyone gets bloody married, moves, has kids. Social circles erode. It sucks.

21 03 2011
doxxxicle

You could split SA into two (or more) books. I haven’t read much of SA on the website yet so I don’t know if this is a viable solution, structure-wise. Maybe there is a way to group the stories that doesn’t fall afoul of timeline dependency or interrelatedness.

21 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

It’s viable (especially if it’s a timeline split) but the problem is that to make the books REALLY viable, each one needs some sort of retail-exclusive content. So, that’d be two bonus stories instead of one.
There’s also the weird naming structure I sadly chose, wherein “Second Age” is not the immediate sequel to “First Age”. Utterly confusin’.

21 03 2011
flyingcar

I like Una’s and Nel’s home. It sounds like a wonderful arrangement. I also liked Carrie’s speech about individuals banding together to make a difference. As Milton Knight said, “One man [or person] can make a difference”
I’d love to know more about the other items as well.
I like the Superpajamas! It’s a great idea!
Carrie’s rebirth to being a hero was nice. In the extended version of Superman, there is an interesting conversation between Superman and his father about how it feels to help people, and the importance of the secret identity. It’s pretty cool.

21 03 2011
kamalloy

Tiny nitpicky correction: in the fourth paragraph of the first new scene, you refer to Pel as “she.”
I’m getting to like Van more and more. He’s got some good points; there really haven’t been any major Eastusa players in the Second Age. Most of the folks born in Eastusa have ended up with the Fae (Emily, Scout, Jesse) or other factions (Chloe). Petersen would count in Van’s estimation, but he’s actually not. That pretty much leaves Elisa Morales. Van’s also one of the few characters who cares about history, not just Tradition. I think Kanthi fits here as well, which is probably part of why Van respects him.
As for Carrie, I’m not surprised to see her go superheroing again. Seems like it’s too much of her nature for her to fully give up. But it’s her choice this time. I wonder how much of being Astro Gal (EDIT: “being Astro Gal originally”) was her choice given what happened to her partents.
Second Age book(s): I would love to have a full set of print books, but given how structurally different Second Age is from the rest of the series, I’d be perfectly fine with it being web-only.

21 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’d really intended for more Eastusa representation, but… it’s tough. There’s little to make them stand apart, other than “We survived for two centuries on very little resources and a burning heart of racism, hooray”. Scout and Emily both have a bit of Eastusa in ’em, but carried it into the Faerie Court, by choice or by chance.
Then again, anachronauts is, in general, about a melting pot of culture and cooperation — folks who have read the bonus stories seeing exactly how far that goes. The young Fae obsessed with Eastusa technology and style. Orbitals looking for comic books. British citizens mixing and matching the past with the present. Etc. So in a way, America is everywhere; its core spirit is eternal. Which, in the series’s theory, is as it should be.

21 03 2011
cmdr_zoom

Nice costume.

21 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

COH doesn’t allow for much detail work unless you have full-body-covering spandex, but that’s the general idea. Sort of a combination of workout gear / underclothes / HERO! / functionally useful as opposed to Leifeldian pocket overload / comfortable footwear.

21 03 2011
kamalloy

Very true. And hey, that’s a far better legacy than “burning heart of racism.”

21 03 2011
carlo_one

Book version
Nothing wrong from my perspective from doing a Kindle-only version of collected tales if the print version would be too unwieldy. That’s the advantage of using the electronic medium, to begin with.

21 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Book version
Good point; I can do a kindle version easily and cheaply. I’d still need a bonus chapter though, and it’d leave print readers in the cold about who people like elisa are.

21 03 2011
cmdr_zoom

with “Leifieldian” and “footwear” thus juxtaposed, my first thought (before the usual shudder at “the pouches, the POUCHES”) was “how can you tell, he can’t/never draws FEET“.

21 03 2011
jengagne

— retroactive temporal manipulation effects outside of an incredibly massive shift-sequence like Pandora should be impossible… — Oho, so that’s Gilbert’s theory on why everybody had legends about everybody else. Nice. :D
— his room — Presumably Una and Nel already talked about this and decided to take the kid in, this isn’t a unilateral thing from Una.
— Carrie, if you’re hearing this — *snicker*
— Wallflower Bombing — oooh, so her blog is fairly well known now, then.
— smooth talker diplomat — Benny? :D
— or it’s worth it — +not
— I haven’t seen all weekend — OMG he’s bliiiind!
— fired Auntie Elisa — Ohdear. I suspect she’s working directly for Sen now. Presumably he’s still involved with the Gatherers and hasn’t blown his cover, since Eastusa isn’t freaking out about him.
— The pajama thing is nicely plausible and subconsciously in-character, too.
— maybe a the belt — minus “a”
— Exciting! Wonder how she’ll identify and find these kids when she… oh, they’re her classmates. That helps.

21 03 2011
jengagne

Oh and — there’s more to social erosion than just “getting old”. Andy and I are old, and with kids, but we still hang out with friends I met through him.
The key for you is an insufficient quantity of gamer/geek friends. Making new friends like that locally is tricky unless you go through meetup.com or somesuch. But — we can keep having get-togethers with the gaming-friendly cousins and such, that was fun right?

21 03 2011
jengagne

Excellent distinction you’re making between caring about history, and caring about Tradition.
I often wonder if on Carrie’s Earth, heroing or villaining is what’s “done” when one ends up superpowered. Perhaps they have a cultural norm in that regard that tends toward comic-bookery. But either way I’m sure she felt generally good about it; I doubt 2f would have her trending this way if it wasn’t a positive decision for her character.

22 03 2011
eyeless1

Maybe something like “Stories from the Second Age” or something? Short story compilations aren’t unheard-of; I’ve got Jim Butcher’s Side Jobs sitting on my bookshelf right now, and that’s nothing more than a compilation of Dresden Files shorts.
Heh, a few people might be interested in buying a children’s book version of SA07 with pictures, though that would likely be prohibitively expensive. :)

22 03 2011
eyeless1

I do find the bare midriff kind of odd for what is supposed to be a pajama top, especially if there’s enough material left over for a mask and cape. That kind of thing never made much sense to me in superhero comics; what, is your exposed navel the source of your superpowers?

22 03 2011
eyeless1

— Wallflower Bombing — oooh, so her blog is fairly well known now, then.
Well, since Emily can basically confirm the story, probably yeah.
— fired Auntie Elisa — Ohdear. I suspect she’s working directly for Sen now. Presumably he’s still involved with the Gatherers and hasn’t blown his cover, since Eastusa isn’t freaking out about him.
Or married to Prince Edward; those two seemed to hit it off in LF06.

22 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

If I did do it, it’d definitely be “Tales of the Second Age” or something similar.
One problem I hadn’t considered — price. True, I don’t pay per-copy, but I DO pay $40 a year per title I have in print (otherwise Amazon really eats into the price and I get piddly) and a bank of 10 ISBNs cost me $300 total. If I do a SA book, or a kid’s book, it’s going to eat into that pool of ISBNs and cost me annually.
I’m not sure I sell enough copies of the books I do have up to justify the extra expenses. All told, I’ve only broken a profit a bit, and as the years go on, it’s going to dwindle to long-tail mode and no longer support itself.

22 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

What, is your exposed navel the source of your superpowers?
Clearly, someone does not have faith in the Supertorso.
I’m generally being realistic with her, but improper midriffs and the barely-identity-concealing domino mask are TRADITION! from a comics perspective.

22 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

You’ve got your Chloe mixed up with your Elisa.

22 03 2011
lirazel

Grr. LJ ate my kewl message.
As for the story, I like it. Going out alone to chase bad guys armed with improbable weaponry is a very teenage-heroine thing to do. And THANK you for not making Van Buren a handsome vampire. :)
As for the social woes of the single person whose friends have changed their habits, all I can say is that I wish you lived up here. But then, my win-the-lottery fantasy involves a house big enough to hold all my friends (with cottages and outbuildings for the loners) in which I will cook them all dinner in my Perfect Kitchen.
Lirazel: “You know, I’m not going to enjoy the Wedding Feast of the Lamb unless they let me help with the cooking.”
Very young Wonder Offspring: “I’m not going to enjoy it unless they have hamburger. I don’t like lamb.”

22 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’m not totally into lamb, either. I have very simple tastes and get a bit ill at massively complicated mixed dishes… comes from having trouble swallowing and spending my early years in a hospital. Ugh.
Van is an interesting mix of Objectionable (falling into despairing or thuggish patterns because it’s easier) and Thoughtful (having a sharp mind and a lot of potential). He’s a fixer-upper but Carrie’s nothing if not a fixer, at heart.

22 03 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

To be fair, the Faerie Court was depicted as having a burning heart of racism, too.
And even post-peace, both sides have malcontents that refuse to get along and idolize their own traditions and culture to the point of hating everything else. The Braid and Federalists being obvious examples, but there are Orbitals that won’t set foot outside the Arcology, and Tillman for the longest time stuck to what he knew and feared the outside world.
Ultimately, one of the themes of anachronauts is that no matter how isolated you think you are, you ARE part of the world, and only together can your problems be solved. Cooperate or suffer in your own little corner.

22 03 2011
kamalloy

Eastusa’s leadership seems to be backsliding a bit more, although Petersen had very good reasons for being extremely progressive.
Also, I really like how you get the personality of the new president across with a nickname.

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