sf05 turns off the lights

25 12 2011

And with this, anachronauts is (basically) over.

Well.

There IS the small matter of the bonus chapter coming up in the retail version of Stars Fall. And to whet your appetite… it takes place exactly 20 minutes after this chapter ends. It’s still optional, since it’s following a tangential storyline, but you may wanna hang around the blog and wait for the big announcement of its availability in early 2012. Just sayin’.

I started anachronauts back in 2009, when the project was just codenamed “witch jetpack grenade.” I had very little nailed down at the start; from my first-pitch notes the original version of Emily was much more of a librarian / packrat hoarding magic spells, Una’s Arcology was actually parked in Westusa, and Scout was actually a half-vampire without realizing it. Oiii. Thankfully the story figured itself out from there, solidifying into something not half terribad.

By the time I reached the end of what we now call the “First Age” I realized this should really be more of a saga than a one-and-done… an expanding scope of the world and scope of threats, from local (westusa / the mister) to global (england / angels and demons) to multiversal (the return of an orbital empire). What was initially going to be a series under 10 chapters went on to have four series and a bunch of side stories and YIKES did it get long… but it was as long as it had to be, and I’m proud of it.

This was also my first foray into quasi-professional writing, with the self publication route. The books never launched like a rocket, but they DID prove to be invaluable learning experiences, and I’ll absolutely be doing more books in the future alongside other projects. I’m glad the net’s evolved to the point where you can be independently creative AND more than just a hobbyist.

So… what’s next on the horizon? The Stars Fall retail book, then some revisions to the rest of the books to patch up typos. And after a good long rest, another writing project. I’ve had one bubbling away in the back of my mind for two months now… something involving ghosts and bureaucracy. But given anachronauts finished waaay different than its early preprod notes thought it’d be, who knows?

I want to thank each and every one of you for getting this far. If you’re reading this now, you stuck with the project through the years it took to complete, you followed the drafts, hopefully you left feedback as I went along. This would not have been possible without you. Seriously, it wouldn’t — the story would have been pretty weak if I’d just written the manuscript completely in secret. You deserve the champagne toast glass clinking more than I do.

Now, then… to business. Feedback on the last part of the story. Reactions to the series overall. Whatever you feel like posting. It’s up to you. Ahead of time, and again, thank you. Stay tuned. I’m not done yet.

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14 responses

25 12 2011
LoopyChew

No time to find a proper conference room to have a chat about it.

What, they don’t have built-in uTalks?

They stood in the ruined Proctor’s chamber of Arcology

I think you meant to say “Arcology Plato” here.

“Frontliners have protocols for all sorts of implausible scenarios.

Wonder if he realizes that it was a Reinhold responsible for most of that.

As the only living Orbital in the room, Una… offered a shake of the head.

Well, only Orbital period, if Anu took Lar with her.

The Memory Palace of Kas two point three briefly became sentient.

AWESOME.

change the unchangable laws of physics

“unchangeable” or “unchanging.”

The now is critical.

Thus, Insight versus Foresight or Hindsight.

“Shamanic magic to transform sunlight into alpha radiation,

“Aleph” radiation, right?

Queen Emily Moonthistle set foot in the fertile valley, before the rock and the river.

Interestingly, Nana has mentioned “the rock and the river” before, as something that happened between her and Lillith.

your magic is far too Summer oriented,

Hyphenate. Also, I think “Summer-centric” works better as a phrase.

“I… I’ll never stop trying to find you, mother!

Capitalize.

The robotic watelands of Australia.

“Wastelands”

Request to Faerie King and Queen: Leave Network to die on this Earth. … Acceptable loss of biomatter in exchange for peace. [Y/N]? Y.

While I see the request working either way (“We don’t want to infect other people!” vs. “Don’t infect other people!”), I can’t picture Emily getting the Y/N prompt, or at least being able to type “Y” the way Maria did.

The Pandora Event is receeding.

“receding”

I’d like to say that I particularly like the use of Foresight as a way to establish an epilogue for these nations without actually fashioning an epilogue.

Emily closed her eyes, and slept.

For some reason, I seem to remember her eyes being frozen wide open. I’ll scour for that detail ASAP.

A glum looking young man with shock white hair, and an old duster. A roguish looking woman in a pirate’s costume,

Hyphenate these.

“Sort of looks human shaped,

And this.

“From Susan Moonthistle’s writings,

Given that earlier this chapter you were using Susan Moonthistle in reference to the romance author who slept with an elf shortly after Pandora happened, maybe you should clarify this with “Queen.”

In her hands was a crown of ashes and charcoal. Energy spent and ruined.

Thus firmly establishing that a00 takes place after all this, if only barely–and that Lady El point four two and the Broker were searching explicitly for the Crown of Fire. Makes me wonder if the Crown of Ice burned or melted away. Also, if a00 DOES take place just barely after all this happens (Team Thistles moves to free Scout, Lady El and the Broker shift in just afterward).

And they were both human again.

Well, as human as one could be with Elven blood flowing somewhere inside her.

They were all gone, in time. But their spirits carried on.

Man, I know the ending has to take place from Emily’s PoV, but damn I really wish we could see what happened with everyone else. Is that planned for sf06? Because right now, it’s basically, “they escaped, and then they all lived happily ever after.”

And Emily and Scout would carry on as well, until the end of their days.

First of all, MASSIVELY EPIC. Awesomely done, very happy with the way things fell in place in the end.

Secondly, releasing each battle as a separate piece was greatly appreciated. I’d like to point out that the battles and the post-script took up half the chapter, and so releasing it in one fell swoop would have been insane.

I will hold off judgment on the ending until I get my hands on sf06, but I definitely wasn’t expecting there to be Team Thistles anywhere to be part of the epilogue.. It’s an interesting variation of And the Adventure Continues, to say the least, although for all we know, the adventure will only continue for a little while longer…

Being frank here, and note that I still liked this ending, I would suggest a different route: save this for sf06, and show life for the remaining cast on New Earth, how they appreciated Emily and Scout’s sacrifices. This ending is fanservice to the ones who bought the books, but I don’t know if those who haven’t will appreciate it as much (see my above comment about “they escaped, and then they all lived happily ever after”).

Me, I know this isn’t the end, and so I look forward to the True Ending. But I can’t help but think that this could be unsatisfying for those who don’t buy the books. (Not that I’d know, having known what happens in the book-only chapters for some time now.) If we have any of those people around, would you care to proffer your opinion?

Lastly, congratulations on finishing anachronauts. I know I only really threw myself in in the later stages of the saga, but I hope it’s been evident that I’ve enjoyed this project even more than SN and UE (which I loved). It’s been one hell of a work, and although I know there’s one bonus chapter left, this is towards where everything was building. You deserve rest, and a pat on the back, and I hope you get at least those.

Thank you for this.

Happy holidays!

25 12 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

One option I have is to write ANOTHER scene, which goes between “Emily sent them all off” and “Centuries later” which takes place on New Earth, and shows how everybody’s getting on a few years later.

I didn’t want to break up the flow of telling this from Emily’s POV, and I was hoping the Foresight Epilogue would do — but if enough folks feel this “Hey, look, the adventure continues!” approach doesn’t work, I can add it. I don’t want to MOVE this scene to sf06, though; if I do that they’re stranded with no hope, and there’s no teaser to go get the book.

25 12 2011
LoopyChew

Basically, the way I see it is: we get an ending for New Earth. However, we don’t get one for the people with whom we spent our time. Particularly Una, who was the first character we actually see described in any way at all; it seems kind of sad that the last we see of her is her jetpacking away after a brief “thank you.”

I understand why you wanted contiguity between “Emily sleeps” and “Emily awakens,” and I understand why you wouldn’t want to break that. I even like its implementation.

One way of doing it, maybe, is that, in addition to the different nations, you do Hindsight/Foresight. Heck, you actually did it for Carrie Lane (I don’t think her Hawaiian background would really be covered in Atlanta’s Hindsight); I see no reason you couldn’t do it for the different couples, at least for Jesse/Gilbert and Una/Nel. Benny/Chloe/Edward if you can manage it.

26 12 2011
Selphie Trabia

I… cried. Because Emily didn’t get to finish raising her child. It was kind of bittersweet to know that Susie would live on, but it was depressing for me to see the mother and child seperated as well.

But it’s an acceptable sacrifice for the future of the Universe, I suppose

26 12 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Bittersweet is what I was going for. Sacrifice and the parting of the ways, so that everyone can be saved. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

26 12 2011
HP

So, that’s how it ends.
That was awesome. Many, many thanks for that fine piece of fiction.

26 12 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Welcome. :D

26 12 2011
Lirazel

I’d like to chime in also with the “Great work!” This has been really fun to read (and occasionally to kibbitz), and I have actually loaned the first book to someone who has not returned it, so you have the honor of being someone whose work gets “relocated”!

About the ending… I think if you end it at “Emily slept” for the book, and begin the bonus chapter with “Emily awakened,” that might work. As for showing the others on New Earth, wouldn’t Foresight work for that? And does she not still have that? Or do all her powers get torn away with the effort of executing Pandora?

27 12 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I wouldn’t want to cut the story off on the WEBSITE with “Emily slept” because that’d be a hell of a downbeat ending. My plan all along was for the coda of the series to be the next generation showing up to save them, and to show that the adventure always continues, just as there is no end for the people of Earth. But, I could see cutting there in the BOOK, even if the website includes that teaser.

The foresight there was a result of her tapping the crown harder than ever before — it wasn’t intentional, either, it was the power going crazy on her while she was Pandoraing an entire planet. I think I mentioned that but I’m emphasize it heavily in the edits. After that, she’s a bit spent and isn’t able to see as well.

27 12 2011
Tom R.

Awesomesauce! That was a most saisfying ending to a thoroughly enjoyable tale. I am going to miss checking in for the latest updates, though. It’s been a great ride.

I have just one question. What was your inspiration for the Moscow howlers? I recognize pretty much all the other genres represented by the various cultures of Pandora mix excep that one. I seem to recall something similar from the Twilight Zone, maybe. Or, was it Edvard Munch?

27 12 2011
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Definitely Twilight Zone styled… but in a generic sense. An homage to classic science fiction, which emphasized a creative and mysterious concept above any particular genre trapping. While Una’s group was an homage to the Buck Rogers style, this was to old science lit journals and publications.

The Moscow sect is something which is unknowable, and the more you do get to know it, the weirder it gets. At first it was just a way to show that not all Pandora societies can be befriended, but then I liked the idea of them just… SHOWING UP at the United Nations uninvited, attending sessions, taking notes, even making speeches. Of course, the notes are unintelligible, he’s still constantly screaming, and it’s completely vague as to what’s going on. Muwaha.

Glad you enjoyed the stories. Stick around the blog — I’ll be announcing a new project later in 2012, no doubt.

3 01 2012
kamalloy

I love this. I love this so much. My favorite bits were the kiss to transfer the Crown of Ice and all the Hindsight/Foresight scenes for the various groups. Every time I read this chapter I tear up a little.

I was surprised to see Eli, Wendy, and Jen show up. I wasn’t expecting them outside the bonus stories. I think it makes sense, given your reasoning. Having Emily sleep forever would be a depressing end. I like where the story ends now, though I can see changing the print/Kindle ending to have that scene start the bonus story.

Looking forward to the very last of the bonus stories and the new project to follow.

4 01 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

:D

I’m glad you loved the series! Thanks for reading this long; two and a half years, wow…

The plan all along was to tie the bonus stories into the finale, that they were the buildup to the rescue of Emily and Scout. The next generation paying respects to the original generation, and showing that the adventure — like mankind itself — always goes on. But… there’s a bit more to come in the bonus story for Stars Fall, including WHY they tracked down Emily and who really set them on that path…

10 01 2012
kamalloy

Nitpicky thing noticed upon rereading: in sf01, the UN ambassador from Moscow is described as bald, whereas in sf05 when he shows up at Cairo, he’s described as slightly balding. Like I said, nitpicky thing, and I doubt I would have noticed if the most recent xkcd hadn’t had a title of “AAAAA,” which made me think of the citizens of Moscow and thus made me want to reread their scenes. ;)

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