Category Archives: characters

author’s note: tertiary and quaternary characters

at first, when i conceived of this story, it was all about the girl, and the boy, their vision, and how they changed the world with a video game.  the others were always there, and soon kurt, fairy and snake became the secondary characters, and they did a lot of work making the game and playing roles in the game and influencing the story’s overall plot as well as acting out development arcs specially made for each of them.

as for tertiary characters, at first the masses of game players, and the whole rest of the world, were summed up by ‘players’ and ‘they’ and ‘society’.  then i was introduced to a plucky band of players, a random adult player, an everyplayer type, and a typical teenager.  they know nothing of the overall principles the central characters were so concerned with, or interested in the struggles to create and manage the game and its consequences.  they just play the game, and have their lives outside of the gameworld.  in imagining the lives thru the 7 years of the story, it was really easy to envision the quaternary players, the teenager’s family, dad mom and sis.  i just took a classically dysfunctional family and ran with it.

originally, i wrote keywords for what goes on during each dragoncon for the family as a whole, from the point of view of the dad.  then i separated out a bunch of research into abusive character types and put them into the various chapters, from mild expressions of abuse to the very worst.  so when it came to stretching everything out over 42 chapters, i had to spread these abusive traits around, using one chapter to illustrate emotional abuse, and one to illustrate economic abuse.  there’s so much of this in this story.  so many lists of traits, of methods, of how things work, of progressions.  at times they were immediately associated with a character, or with a stretch of chapters.  but at times they sat there looking for expression.  that’s where the quaternary characters came in so handy, because each one could express a development of personality and situation that would ring true because it’s how many people have experienced it.  whatever it is, whether it’s a good character development or an evil one.

the backstories of random and everyplayer are only now coming clear to me after weeks of thinking, receiving, fantasizing what their lives had to be like in order for them to do the strange things i had for them to do.  this is what i have discovered, much to my surprise. random is from india, which good thing i’ve seen a bunch of bollywood movies and read some recent indian crime fiction.  and everyplayer is a piece of work who popped into my life recently, just long enough for me to take their character for this story, and knock on wood they won’t be back.  this is how i find characters.  fairy literary staffing, how may i direct your call.

this last week, i have been refining the story arcs of the teenage boy’s family.  i’ve been calling the dad an armchair authoritarian, because he embodies on a personal scale what is happening in society.  originally i wasn’t going to mention the teenager or his family, or any of the tertiary characters, until the game went live, in the 15th chapter (a third of the way thru the story).  but their involvement spread and spread, and finally he has something to say when the levitation is reported on the news in chapter 2, and got an after-school job at the very food court where the main characters work out the details of the game in the 4th chapter.

so he and his family are in it from the beginning of the story.  this is a surprise to me.  i didn’t know that about these characters.  and another surprise, he and his dad go all the way to the end of the story, 42 chapters.  in effect, the story will be told from the viewpoints of these characters.  i hadn’t thought about that before.  i was expecting to center it on the girl, and gradually transition the point of view to the plucky band, who do the hard work of bringing about a quantum revolution.  it may end up being a much stronger voice than i have been anticipating.

you just never know in a story like this. it may have something to do with why i can’t figure out how to start the story.

here is a sample of what i’m working with, a quote from the document i’m working in at the moment:

chapter 23 game banned. round up quantum terrorists and sympathizers. random becomes part of the network, joins quantum working groups, uses quantum to ferret out spies.
c3ll3r! beaten by dad for quantum. Refuse to accept abusive behavior. Demand reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions.  demanded to get job at factory alongside dad.
traits: self centered, exclusive, zero sum. rigid, punishing. might makes right.
events:something that calls in outside attention.
work: upgraded to light industrial, closing boxes, if good can label, if real good maybe forklift.  warned by local militia about quantum infractions. faces debtor’s prison. needs son to join work.
abuse: colonial civilized versus savage thinking. class divisions. numbers, commodities, rules, laws and penalties. there is one objective reality, subjectivity is an error. witch hunt, scapegoat, punishment. Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad. Minimizing, Denying and Blame Shifting. Using visitation to harass your partner. Using Children. Silent or overt raging. Using Intimidation.
anecdote: It’s difficult to argue against criminal justice fees for those who can pay, but for those who cannot– and most criminal defendants are poor–such fees can be a personal and public policy disaster. Criminal justice debt drags people further away from reintegration with civil society. A person’s life can spiral out of their control when interest, late fees, revocation of a driver’s license and ineligibility for public assistance, mean that unpaid criminal justice debt snowballs.
mom wasn’t home when son beaten, is threatened by militia when she returns, has crackpot theories, not getting much sleep,  always has flulike symptoms.  dad blames her, accuses her of drug use, assures her he’s her only protection from antiquantum lynchmobs.
sis moves in with boyfriend, more peaceful at home but sis and dad always texting. intimates mom’s flulike symptoms due to drugs.

chapter 24 wilderness plucky band: pursue convergent paths in the wilderness (troubador, soldier, merchant),
c3ll3r! angry, victimized.   =p advises her. react in kind. Let him taste some of his own medicine. advises c3ll3r! how to deal with dad. 5Fight Him in Court
dad n/a
mom n/a
sis n/a – playing teh gema at boyfriend’s house

chapter 25 indefinite detention. contradict inflated perception.  (pointing out classical weaknesses direct action) you’re not so special.  do not give second chance.  people pop right out of confinement, doors don’t stay locked, computers don’t stay passworded.  building infrastructure for new society, somewhere during the oppression in the real world they surface as quantum irregulars.  see them fight trolls/infiltrators.  deal with objections and use anti-abuse techniques.  translate facebook and twitter into quantum? then outreach recruiting education and training, =p stands up to snake, arrested, pops over to c3ll3r!’s house, confesses. tells dad she’s a spy investigating his son’s cell, reveals c3ll3r! is a girl.
c3ll3r! banned from internet use, has to go outside house to do schoolwork, has to sneak to play.  recognizes realworld, heads for own house, thinking to stop dad.  =p pops in as he’s fighting trolls, hides =p (dad likes, uses against wife) disenfranchised groups operate within a system owned by someone else, and can’t just take because the system will take back.  they have to work under the radar, subverting the way things are to suit their own needs, like the mexicans under spain. Never show your abuser that you are afraid of him. Do not negotiate. Do not succumb to blackmail.
traits: generosity of oligarch, treat family like slaves.
events: likes =p, uses against wife.  decides son is gay. wants vengeance for drug dealer attack on daughter
work: thinks he can control them with =p’s help, plans to turn them in for reward
abuse: Prohibit disconfirming information and non supporting opinions in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An “in-group” language is usually constructed. abuse – then they oppress you.  emotional abuse – create strong aversive emotional arousals. Heap blame/put to shame.
mom supposed to be worried about =p.  too busy working to notice, =p does good deed.
sis boyfriend home invasion pistol whipped, troll.  held and tested but not charged.  bail, =p like her.

chapter 26 hinterlands. revolutionary grafitti, beginning to leak thru to real world.
c3ll3r! conscripted into army, not recognized (kernel), plays along and is sent as scout to suburbs of elizabeth.  meets girl (again). makes it to his neighborhood, sees dad and =p having sex.  sees mom zonked out, looks for sis and sees her zonked out, tries to wake her but zaps back into game with her, to her location.
dad sex with =p
mom zonked out, dad medicated her.
sis zonked out, c3ll3r! stumbles across her in the landscape, wakes, explained as low blood pressure (but caused by opiates). she’s been making deals with trolls in hinterlands, wakes up sitting around the campfire.

i’m going thru the entirety of the story on this level, over and over, fiddling here and there, following threads thru this strand and sometimes going back to the union document to follow the threads thru other strands in the same chapter.  the whole is tremendously more complicated than the tales of three little people, and sometimes keywords are all the indication there is of what’s going on in the outer world.  and oftentimes it doesn’t jibe at all.  i had the hardest time adjusting what happened to the dad in his career to what was happening in society and what his son was going thru in the game.

but i’m mostly finished with that now.  now it’s almost time to put this document back into the union document, a chapter at a time, clearing up the old version as i insert the new one (because threads appear in the arcs of more than one character in each chapter).  it sounds like writing computer code.  debugging.  and when i finish debugging the entire program, then i can start fleshing out all that shorthand, all those keywords, taking all those indications of themes and turning them into conflicts between this character and that one that spans however many chapters before it resolves into conflicts with other characters based on the growth that occurred in the last conflict.

and then i’ll start writing.  i keep saying that.

i’m finding that i’m less anxious about all the apparently extraneous research quotes and dead end ideas and musings in each chapter.  i’ve been starting to see how all of these things could influence the progress in that chapter, as stages in one character’s thinking or in diverse stances taken by a variety of characters.

i guess the next thing i’ll look at is the interactions between the primary and secondary characters and the tertiary and quaternary characters.  with the armchair authoritarian and his family, i have found surprising links between these two camps, like when kurt and the teenage boy become friends and influence each other thruout the story.  when i go thru random and everyplayer’s arcs, i will find more ties to the main characters.  and the more filled out these links, the richer the story becomes, and the more possible it is to think of telling the whole thing from the teenage boy’s point of view.  as well as everyone else’s, that’s the point of quantum – every viewpoint is valid.  this way i’m strengthening every viewpoint, because every one is beginning to run right the way thru the story, making a view from anybody’s position possible at any moment.  online i might be able to do this with links, so you could follow the story once, from anybody’s point of view, or a million times, from everybody’s.

and then i’ll start writing.  i keep saying that.  i keep getting really antsy to begin, to get into the soup i’ve created.  but i know from bitter experience that whatever ingredients aren’t on the counter aren’t going to get into the pot.  so i have to make sure all the wholes are filled, all the changes are indicated, all the blank spots on a continuum between what happens in the chapter before and what happens in the next one beyond.  so i keep plugging away at reconciling the character arcs of even the quaternary characters (even maybe thinking about quinary characters in a vague way, what i could show here, what could develop there).  i keep going thru the 42 chapters, envisioning each one from the point of view of whatever story arc i’m working on.

once i get the current detail document integrated with the main 6-section outline, i can take each section and break it down into its 7 chapters, and start writing.  after i’ve gone thru them to make sure they’re developed consistently.

this recent process, of filling out the life of the armchair authoritarian’s family, and the youngest member of the plucky band, has made me very happy, because it’s been a wonderful creative experience.  a whole family’s entire life parading before my eyes, developing as if in a bath of photochemicals.  before that, it was getting tedious.  there was too much to deal with once i had combined all the individual character threads into 6 sections of union outline.  and now i’m going to have to go back to that, to finish tying everything together and filling holes.  but i’ve come a long way in this week of work, as i do in every week of work, as it turns out, and tho i spend all my time on the computer (when i actually have a piece of paid work to accomplish), i feel like i’m doing what i need to be doing, and i’m happy with my progress in it.  and look forward to starting to write…

author’s note: catching up

shit has been happening this week, so i took a break from my work.  and now i’m edging back into it.  we have a houseguest who, tho charming, takes up a great deal of time, and what little opportunity i have to work is instead frittered away on facebook or reading the various newsfeeds.  and i’m not getting enough sleep.

i haven’t been posting much, even tho i’ve been working steadily, 6 or 8 hours a day, sometimes at night.  i peruse the newsfeeds. using a google page full of widgets, i read 50 or more feeds from all sorts of sites, from reuters, nyt, the guardian and the times of india, with fox news for fair and balanced reporting, to science daily and space news.  and then my facebook feed has tons of news, much of it passed by friends, some from pages i’ve liked, ranging from alternet to gizmodo to inhabitat and lifehacker.

a vital part of the work at this stage is combing the newsfeeds for relevant research material.  terms i search for are quantum, consciousness, gaming, psychological, political, spiritual, historical et cetera things.  i do this for several hours thruout the day, finding interesting sounding titles, clicking on the links and setting the articles aside to read later.  when i have a good mess of tabs open i stop clicking on links and open up my research document.  then i copy and past anything that’s relevant onto the end of the document (i’ll be posting some random research soon), capture the url for reference in case i’ve missed something, and save my document after every addition because the program is unstable and crashes at random.

once i’ve gone thru the newspapers with my scissors and tacked the clippings to my bulletin board, i go thru and sort them by character, opening up my main or secondary character documents, and cutting and pasting the relevant bits in the back.

for information concerning the plot, there’re 3 documents worth of storyline, the 3 acts, which are the same number of chapters (i think, still, at this stage).  based on 7 of course, the major theme of the book (not the story but the book, if that makes sense to you). 42 chapters, 6×7, 3 acts, 16 chapters per act.  all very orderly.  and i didn’t plan it that way.  it just came that way.  everything i thought up or researched came out in 7s, until the chapter structure was built.  and it continues to be 7.  which is really cool.  rarely do things announce themselves to me with such insistence.

such things fit into this scheme of 7s:  illustration style, videogame level, version of reality, special quantum power, quantum discipline, quantum  lesson, midway rides and physics, carneytown job and physics, quantum abilities in the cloud level, the game’s antarctic ring, human age, basic skill, type of religion.  that’s 13, so there’s maybe one missing from the list.  i’m sure it’ll occur to me.

a few weeks ago i made a chapter list, just the number and keywords, and put a copy of this list in every character’s document, and since then i’ve been separating out all the notes i’ve taken and character sketches i’ve written into their proper chapters.  i started with the girl and organized everything, then moved to the boy, and each one took a couple of days.  kurt, fairy, snake.  then i did the secondary characters, who i call the plucky band – random, everyplayer, also known as =p, and (i apologize in advance) c3ll3r!, which you can read as ‘cellery’.  they are people who play the videogame and get caught up in the storyline.  they introduced themselves to me as i was working out the broad plot structure, and i’ve been finding out so much about them, often by complete accident.  and there are other characters, tertiary sort of characters.  c3ll3r!’s family, for example, and =p’s boss.  i actually have no idea what random does when he’s not playing the game, but i will by the time i sit down to write it.

i had some difficulty dealing with the document for THEM.  them is not only the shadowy hands of oppression, but also the media, the overall culture, and c3ll3r!’s family, especially the dad.  as i said, i had some difficulty organizing this document, because they do the most horrible things to peaceloving quantum types, and i really don’t enjoy dealing with realworld oppression and what’s going on around the world right now, because inequity and iniquity make me mad.

my solution to this was to work on both the plucky band and the thems at the same time.  so i would copy from my research document, and paste at the end of the relevant side’s document, then go figure out which character that particular trait or act belonged to.  there were many lists of character-developing stages in this part.  i would come across a reference about abusive people, and would trim it down to its essentials and use it for any of the thems, and thereby built up a bunch of character-developing stages for my characters.  in effect i’m looking at the same kinds of behaviors as seen in individuals and in cultures and in organizations.  they all look similar but some things stick out more than others to illustrate the type.

with every new article i abstracted the essence from to stick in my research document, my story got more rich, more detailed.  it began to make more sense.  even in places where i distributed traits at random (like a long list of disinformation tactics, or a long list of abusive traits) thru the chapters, once i’d distributed a bunch more things into the chapter structure, i began to find that it made sense to have these random traits here because some character could easily progress from the traits of the last chapter and thru those of the one to come.  these random collections of character traits and experiences fleshed themselves out into real, plausible characters, and in some cases, the apparently random trait explained parts of the character’s temperament in a way i would never have expected, answering questions i had about how the development was going to work.

all very synchronous.  these last few months have contained loads more confirmations that i should continue with what i’m doing.  vehement objection by my daughter, for one thing.  but other things, from outside, long in the works, also say i’m on the right track, the hunger games, for instance.  and all sorts of scientific studies and discoveries are all being announced just as i’m getting to that particular chapter’s difficulties.  things like that.

but then again, shit happens.

character flowchart (joke)

i had to repost this because it’s so true.  apparently strong women characters are called fighting fucktoys.

i thought it was appropriate to post because of all the trouble i’m having writing my characters.  in each case it doesn’t look anything like this.

author’s note: walking off the cliff

about a decade ago, when all sorts of life changing things happened to me, i learned the lesson about trusting the miracle.  miracles happen all the timesurrender and wait for the miracle.  phrases that make some people cringe.

and i’m pretty skeptical, for a recovering newager.  i’m allergic to organized systems of thinking and behavior.  i get hives when people get gullible.  but as i learned to adjust and adapt to my changing circumstances, as i gave up more and more of what i had thought defined me, i started getting my wishes.  i started to have opportunities fall into my lap.  one day, almost way late on the rent, i sold a painting for exactly the amount of the rent and went waltzing into the rental office waving the check they’d just given to me.  everybody in the office agreed that it was a miracle.

just last week i had a miracle that reminded me.  a few months ago a super-paranoid friend of my kid’s was over, and borrowed my kitchen knife so he wouldn’t get jumped on the way to his next hidey-hole.  and so i lost my knife.  and knew i’d never get it back.  my 30 year old carbon steel sabatier knife.  with a bent tip and all.  and i went around telling everybody i wanted my knife back.  and never stopped visualizing getting my knife back.  and was even offered the lend of a much better knife, which i declined.

and lo and behold right after that, while out on a dog walk, a young man of the neighborhood walked up and handed me my knife back.  it was a lot more obvious a miracle than i’m presenting here, with more sparkly bits than i’m telling, but i don’t want to be all dramatic about it.  the point was i had a clear (to me) lesson about trusting to the miracle and not letting negativity and fear kill the energy.

this is an important part of being quantum.  i think quantum things happening in the realworld qualify as miraculous, something supernatural.  i think a quantum world would qualify as a supernatural world.  magical realism at the very least, and there are miracles everywhere you look in magical realism.

i learned a bunch of lessons when i learned about miracles.  it’s all in your attitude, for example.  worry kills the miracle.  you actually have to act like the guy in the cartoon who walks off the cliff – just don’t look down, and keep going.  let a foolish faith in miracles sustain you, and the universe will do what you expect it to.  and that’s magic.  that’s what miracles are.

and this is important to my story.  because the forces of fear and the classical insistence on certainty are very strong, very demanding and intimidating.  and the quantum way has to win.  quantum reality is inevitable, because there isn’t just one right way but endless right ways, and no amount of force and coercion is going to put it back in the box for good.  it’s been tried, and eventually the forces of change and diversion win out every time.

so the point has to be made again and again that the answers don’t come from the rational places, they come out of left field.  from intuition and that place where we all communicate with god.

so what i did today was to write out how the girl learns this lesson in herself, and how she teaches it to others.  it actually helped quite a bit to illustrate her character, and i discovered some interactions between her and other characters (snake) that i hadn’t realize before.

and that’s what i told jim when we were walking the dogs.  here i am, month after month, breaking the story structure down into smaller and smaller chunks while the whole mass grows larger and more intricate.  and it all seems so tedious and useless while i’m in the middle of it.  and then there comes an insight like the one i had about miracles yesterday, and just like that there’s another huge chunk of the story’s essence dropping into place.  which qualifies as a miracle.  when you start qualifying, everything turns into a miracle.  and why is that bad?  because it leads to constant praise and hope and the feeling that someone out there loves you?  that’s not so bad.

author’s note: snafu

this seems like a good time to write an author’s note.  my word processor blew up on me.  and it will take several hour to download a new one.  which i already know won’t solve the problem.

see, my word processing program has been blowing up a lot lately.  it’ll quit in the middle of a keystroke.  so i’ve been saving early and saving often, just like in old fashioned video games, the ones back in the mid-80s.  monster bash.

anyway, i got tired of saving after every operation, which slows me down a little bit…so i downloaded the newest version of my word processor program, and installed it.  which worked fine.  i always feel a little proud of myself when i can actually download and install something on my computer without begging my ex to come and do it for me.  which always takes him 24 hours, and i have to hang out with him while he does it.

so i had the next version, with cuter icons in the toolbar tray.  but it still blew up in the middle of a keystroke.  so i sighed and went back to saving early and often, wondering if maybe it wasn’t a short in the keyboard or something.  maybe a virus?

and then around 6 this evening the word processor blew up and wouldn’t come back up, not even after rebooting.  not even after a cold start.  so i uninstalled the upgrade, and downloaded a whole nother word processing package, only to be totally unable to install it.  so now i’m back to trying to reinstall the word processor that i upgraded to, but i’m having ttrouble getting to the proper directory so i said fuck it, and now i’m redownloading the upgrade, and will do it all over again.

but it’s still better than having my ex do it.

i needed a break from the work, but not by having a broken computer.  be careful what you wish for…

the work is agonizingly slow and painful.  i’m still doing the character arcs, and am in my least favorite part of the story, which is what happens in the outside world.  them.  i am far more interested in what happens in the video game, which is pure transgressive fantasy, than in what happens in the realworld, which is dystopian and evil.

as it turns out, there are a lot of them.  THEM.  there’s the agents of the dominant culture bent on keeping the status quo and eliminating dissent.  there’s also the media, not only their tools but also their voice and in a certain sense their consciousness.  there’s the authoritarian culture as a whole that prefers the status quo even if it’s a bad one, and there’s the armchair authoritarian who heads up a dysfunctional family.  i haven’t included them yet, but there’s the anti-plucky band who is the face of THEM on the street and in the game.

in every chapter, i have listed the shit that happens, the quantum newness in the world.  and then i go thru and say what THEY think about what has just happened (like when the universal constant changes), and give the media response, which is always more shrill and febrile, and shows a particular tactic of abusive or sociopathic types, and then i fill in what this illustrates about the authoritarian culture we’re living in, and then i’ll list what level of abusive traits i want to show in the armchair authoritarian’s makeup.

altogether it’s a love fest of abusive tendencies.  and i’m repeating myself a whole lot, sort of.

what i did was to go around and collect a bunch of different research on psychopaths, abusive people, authoritarians, disinformation artists and infiltrators, and i ranked them all from bad to worse traits within their category, and then split them up and assigned them to the chapter structure according to the plot that’s already in place.  and now i have to make the progression of each of these parts make sense, both together and separately.

well, it’s such a hodge-podge that my eyes glaze over just scrolling from chapter to chapter, and by the time i get to the en d of the story it’s a bunch of blank placeholders.

so the last thing i did before my word processor crapped out on me was to split up the different agents of THEM into their own chapter progressions, so i have 42 chapters of THEY followed by 42 chapters of Media and 42 of authoritarian culture and 42 of armchair authoritarian, along with 30 tactics and 25 techniques and 17 abuses.

once i get my word processor working again, i’ll be going thru these lists over and over again, cutting and rearranging and filling out, until i can sum up all the information i’ve gathered and spread out into a single paragraph per chapter.

and once that’s done, i have to do the same thing to the plucky band.

and when i’m done with this, i have to put all the character arcs back together again into a chapter structure.  and then i have to make them all smooth and working together.

and only then can i think about writing, and all i’ll be writing is a better version of the synopsis i’ve already written.

then i’ll be taking a break to attend a workshop (i hope) that will help me with the business side of actually publishing and marketing a book.  and after that, maybe i’ll be able to start writing the actual fiction that this is going to become.

because no matter how much preparation i’ve done, no matter how much research, how much character arcing, how much plotting, i still don’t know what’s going to happen in each chapter.  i still don’t know what the characters will sound like, what they’ll say, what they’ll even really do.  or what’ll really happen.  or how i’ll even write it.  i have no idea.  i won’t know until i’m a few chapters into it.  if you’re reading along, you’ll be able to tell when i hit my stride.  and even then it’ll only be the first draft, and it could come out completely different in the second draft.

but first i need a working word processor.

kurt and exkurt

kurt inside the quantum kernel, and exkurt in the data stream.  character studies by jim yarbrough

the girl

still don’t know what her name is.  character studies by jim yarbrough.

fairy and snake

character studies by jim yarbrough.

the boy and snake

this is teh first of many studies for the graphic novel part of my story.  jim yarbrough is the artist, and the illustrations will be up to him, with me acting as art director.

here jim is exploring the characters of the boy and snake.  the boy is fond of all things military, and ends up in somewhat the role of tsar nicholas.  the two people to his right are unknowns at this point;  jim often does this.  the monk is rasputin, whose illustrious career jim is exploring to enlighten snake’s character.  the three women to his left are hangers-on, part of snake’s charm i guess.  the building in the background is inspired by the works of piranesi.  even the backgrounds will have character arcs in this story.


what i’m doing at the moment, in case you want to know, is working inside the game.  i went and copied all the chapters dealing with playing the antarctica level of the game, and pasted them into a new document, and now i’m standardizing it and fleshing it out.  when i’m thru with this i will separated it again by the characters, and run thru that to make sure character development is solid for all the various characters.  this is the main template:

chapter x, playing antarctica ring x
places: in the game
physical description:
religious tendency:
graphic style:
things to pick up:
snake’s religion:
boy and girl:
girl’s death:

i have inserted a player as a character.  i have to follow at least one independent of my main characters, so i’ll just pick a random character that has already introduced me and filled me in on his/her life in the game.  this character will be visiting both sides of each ring and play on both sides of the main conflict.

another thing i’m doing is making sure exkurt has a role thruout.  and that fairy develops from her very one-dimensional current incarnation.

the main thing i did yesterday was to build up what happens to the girl in this level.  i’ve got the boy’s patterns down pretty well, and he’s got all sorts of hero things he’s doing – he’s part bluebeard, part sheriff of nottingham, part genghis khan, part buddha, part christ.  but jim mentioned st francis of assisi the other day, and we researched the sufi influences of the man and his church, and i decided to write his life into the girl’s story arc.  so she’s going to be st girl the sufi as well as all the other things she’s going to be.

and when i wrote in the random player, it connected a lot of things between the girl and fairy.

and then there was a bunch of research i read about the brain, and that worked into everybody’s attitudes.

so things keep dropping into my consciousness, and they all fit, and they all improve the flow and the connectivity between threads, and i’m just working away getting it all organized.

last week i tightened up the plot structure of act 1, and this week i’m doing the same to act 2.  as i’m in each chapter, the story seems simple at that point, but i know the few paragraphs i have in the outline will translate to ten, fifteen pages of text, and it’ll take a long time to finish each chapter.

at this point my kid is hectoring me about how much time i spend doing this, and how little time i spend cleaning the house.  but this is where my value is at the moment, and cleaning has no value at all.  so here i am.

these are the thread elements of each chapter, rather than the plot.  i break down the plot into who does what where and insert it wherever it goes, and this way i pay attention to all the threads and don’t drop any, as i already know i have a tendency to.  writing the last 5 unpublished novels has really made me figure out how to do a lot of professional self development things that really help.  like staying organized, like figuring out your weaknesses and working around them.

7 tests

7 tests for the boy
7 tests for the girl

i’ve got the tests for the boy all laid out.  he’s not a bad guy, just a little conservative (fear-based, favoring status quo, punishing and rigid), and he keeps going for the short-term goals and forgetting the non-violent principles.  so he has to go thru a whole lot of testing.

the girl remains steadfast to the principles of quantum thought (peace and love) but can’t delegate and suffers great stress and martyrness.

it’s the tests to her development i’m having trouble with.

jim suggested i might want to model the girl on st francis of assisi, who started out military but was captued and spent time in an arab prison where he was exposed to sufi thought.  and when he came back he talked the pope into letting him start up a new kind of church that was against all the wealth and power of the established roman state church.  more like jesus’s real teachings than the perversion the established church became.

that’s got a nice story arc to it.

so where’s her dark night of the soul?  she has no trouble choosing power-with and rejecting power-over, even tho the choice is constantly presented to her.  her temptations are to think better of herself, the typical angry liberal reaction.  of course, this doesn’t make her any more likable as a character…

as for the boy, he’s basically tempted again and again by the same choice – and chooses power-over rather than power-with every time, even tho he reawakens in the wilderness.  in each case he feels he has no choice.  in each case it’s snake who tempts him.

isles – gardener; i’d rather be a tinkerer, it’s mechanical and you can depend on harnessed power (over)
mountains – come away and be a pirate
lowlands – pope to constantine: convert and win
wilderness – devil appearing to christ; dark night of soul. buddhic enlightenment
hinterlands – state church persecuting boy for heresy
hell – pope making deal – clemency if he fights to stamp out rebels
gambutsevs – snake spins what ex-kurt says to players

perhaps what i’m looking for should be narrowed down to the iconic, or archetypcal.

a long time ago i realized there are two kinds of people – those who think people are basically bad, and those who think people are basically good.

later, i realized that those who think people are basically bad are also people who live in fear.  this produces all sorts of intolerant  behavior (xenophobia etc), rigidity of thinking and expression, neatness, resistance to change, the whole unpleasant 9 yards.

people who think people are basically good tend to be optimistic, outgoing, tolerant, a willingness to experiment, loose morals and a slovenly appearance.

A core premise of the growing movement known as restorative, or transformative, justice is that conflict is opportunity. This is where we have our greatest chance to grow: at the friction points, as our emotions are heating up. We just have to face the situation with openness, calm and courage. Once again, this is no easy task. But the more we work at this, the more we realize the value of doing so, and the less inclined we become simply to swat our difficulties, and the people we blame them on, out of the way.

I’m convinced that uncoupling our inclination to dominate others to get our way and embracing “power with” them as our prime approach to life is the fundamental emotional shift necessary for the creation of lasting peace.

from the fearful worldview we get wars, dictatorships, repression, bigotry and intolerance, a preference for the status quo, a desire to punish transgressions, a militaristic church, a violence-enshrined society, elitism and wealth disparity.

from the accepting worldview we get a laidback, partying, fun kind of everything-goes society where everybody’s more or less equal.

it’s plain to see the traps of the fearful worldview, but what are the traps of the accepting worldview?  one of the main ones is that people who expect good from others don’t expect evil.  and that’s where the fearful worldview has the advantage – because they won’t hesitate to crush the opposition to ensure their dominance, while the accepting worldview just wants everybody to get along and never sees it coming.

how does this translate to the story?  the girl has a big blindside when it comes to wickedness.  she rejects violence and the ways of those who want power-over, ignores evidence of it, believes the lies without looking beneath it, ends up being victimized, and then closes down and becomes suspicious and demanding.

so her problem is that inside she becomes the same fear-based person that tends to cling to classical reality inside, while being the spokesmodel for quantum reality, which is love-based.  and because she’s been hurt, she has no love in her.  there’s nothing sustaining her except her energy and drive, and so she exhausts herself, becomes a real bitch, and does everything herself while making everybody around her feel bad for not doing enough.  she’s never happy.  and she’s got self-pitying excuses for anything anybody cares to point out to her.  so she’s a big hypocrite.

that was easy.

so what are her tests?  where does she continue to choose the self-righteous angry reaction to the world?  why, at every turn, of course.  but we need to have 7 points of testing, in 7 different ways, just like with the boy.  the 7 stations of the cross, so to speak.

does she keep shirking her responsibility?  does she keep hiding her powers and pretending to be just a regular person?  does she secretly hate all those people who look to her for guidance?

her tests are all variations on this theme – she can’t bring herself to commit totally to the love-based reality she espouses.  and she can’t admit to her doubts.  she feels she has no choice.

isles – she doesn’t want to be responsible for all those players
mountains – she starts a center of learning and then runs away
lowlands – she can’t quite let people organize for themselves
wilderness – she really loves being alone and has to be dragged to the next ring
hinterlands – she punishes others for not being good enough
hell – she totally exhausts herself and becomes the bitch from hell
gamburtsevs -???

thru all the boy’s tests he has to face his temptation to use his power over others to force victory and decide to choose love.  thru all the girl’s tests she has to face her temptation to force her will and choose surrender.

these are the same choices.  just split into male/female, conservative/liberal.

the mind of a sociopath

from an article about facebook.  sounds like the m.o. of at least one of my characters, either the boy or snake.

It’s tempting, then to view Facebook’s world picture as expressing the mindset of a sociopath–or even a con man.

The driving force of both is that their world is the only one that matters. Their own personal joy lies in dragging everyone else into their vortex and watching as everyone stares rapt in an excitement they can’t quite define. There’s a lot of fun in that.

Is there some ultimate meaning and spiritual uplift in the proceedings? Not so much. Rather, it’s the power of the game and the protagonist’s power in the game that matter.

The gullible–that would be us–play along because the game seems to offer something that we will enjoy: success or approbation, perhaps.

But, in the end, it’s rather hard to believe that every move Facebook makes is the move of a benevolent association or a social revolutionary, instead of a move by an advertising company.

Who might suspect, in their private hearts, that privacy is not something that enjoys too much philosophical debate at Facebook HQ? Rather, it’s simply something that stands in the way of selling more adverts. It’s an inconvenience that gets in the way of economic progress.

Because economic progress is far more important than any individual’s right to keep herself to herself. That’s not Facebook’s fault, some might say. That’s just the world we live in. We’ve all come to believe that economic progress matters more than anything.




an unconscious person believes ads and news reports, thinks what everybody knows must be true, gets caught up in their emotions and becomes intensely egotistic (panic about the overwhelming urgency of my needs in this moment).

a conscious person avoids histrionics and strong emotions because they cloud the mind, sees the twist involved in understanding the background truth, the boy and girl are more conscious now; calmer and more insightful, more rational. but in a quantum way, because we’re not talking about regular newtonian rationality.

these are my first thoughts.  what does it say on the internet?

all sorts of things.  and of course the first thing that came up after a simple search on ‘consciousness’ was a ted talk on quantum consciousness. so, great.

The unconscious is driven by guttural and primitive needs and can be unpredictable. The unconscious is extremely smart. It is also keenly perceptive even if the conscious person is not. It uses various hooks to let you know there are problems. If the problems are small, the behaviors are not usually serious. If they are more pronounced, it usually means there are more serious issues. The unconscious isn’t bad. It just makes life unpleasant when you shove issues on it. Or, when someone else triggers issues. When you are in balance with your needs and internal issues, the unconscious is a very powerful ally to your mental and physical health. You can actually get in touch with your unconscious and “read” it so you know when things aren’t right so you can do something about it. Most “normal” people have a balance between their unconscious and conscious self. When the conscious and unconscious are both aware of the issues, threats and conflicts, there is a kind of balance. The unconscious doesn’t need to raise flags by arresting conscious behavior. The truth is we are all a little imbalanced so even normal people can suddenly exhibit unconscious behavior. Understanding this behavior can give the salesperson remarkable insight into a person’s motivation.

The unconscious person is immensely and clearly perceptive and can be more so than the conscious person. People who are unperceptive as a conscious person can be razor sharp in their clarity of unconscious perception. No matter how unperceptive you think someone is, you can bet their unconscious is reading everything with crystal clarity. I am convinced, based on what I have observed, that no matter how imperceptive a conscious person is, their unconscious is still razor sharp. This means that your unconscious will “see through” almost anything but the conscious self may not. Because of the separation between the two, the conscious you may never perceive something your unconscious sees. For example, if someone is trying to manipulate you or fool you, your unconscious will clearly see the strategy. If the person who is trying to manipulate you is very good at it, you may not consciously be aware of it. Your unconscious will be. If you are in touch with your unconscious, you will feel uncomfortable about what is happening and realize something is wrong. Your gut is a good unconscious indicator. If you are out of touch with your unconscious, you won’t be able to connect the warning signals that something is wrong. People who aren’t in touch with their unconscious go through life unaware about some of their conscious behavior. If the problems are severe enough, their quality of life can be very poor.

Your feelings are a good indication of what your unconscious is telling you. Have you ever been sad or had feelings you couldn’t understand why you experienced them? If you are more connected with your unconscious, you know why you feel a certain way. If you aren’t, you can feel a certain way but not understand why you do. Also, you may be aware of feelings you have but not aware of how you are behaving. This disconnection between the conscious and unconscious can be small or large. It all depends on how many deep issues a person has. These “issues” can be unresolved problems such as being really mad at your parents (unconsciously – so you aren’t aware of being mad), for something they never did for you.

Don’t think only the unintelligent can be out of touch with their unconscious. Very smart people can be out of touch. This is because smart people can be very good at denial. In fact, the smarter you get, the more sophisticated you become at denial. They can be so good at it that they can make most any bad feeling go away. This is why some really smart people seem to do very dumb things. The dumb things are usually unconscious issues surfacing. This is how conflict with the unconscious begins to escalate and manifest itself with behavior the person is unaware of. What is funny is that other people observing a person in denial can read them very clearly. A person in denial can have serious issues and may behave in detrimental ways and not be aware of it. This is important to know when you are dealing with someone with these issues. They simply can’t see them.

The unconscious can be an unfair judge of people and their motivations. It has its own way of interpreting the world and it’s out of a person’s conscious control. An unconscious person can be vengeful and full of rage. Problems in childhood can shape how the adult unconscious person interprets the world around them. When the unconscious person is out of balance with the conscious person there are personality issues. A troubled, unconscious person can be a problem. When you couple this type of unconscious personality to its ability to clearly perceive the outside world’s intentions, you get a paranoid thinking that can be extremely suspicious and judgmental.

The best way is to work around unconscious behavior is to avoid direct confrontation. If you confront a person about what is their unconscious behavior, you will cause the person to become defensive (not good) and you may run the risk of becoming a target of their unconscious. So a good rule to follow is; if you are going to address someone about a particular behavior, make sure you know whether it’s conscious or unconscious.

but many people have a gut feel that something isn’t right with this person. Managers usually understand this behavior when a subordinate is doing it and may use indirect methods to contain them if they get too much out of line. If you are in the crosshairs of an unconscious attack, you cannot deal with it directly. You need to have other people (your peers or manager) be aware of this behavior so you don’t get screwed. The rule is avoid it as much as possible, but if you have to deal with it, you need to build a consensus that this person is a problem. You don’t discuss your problem directly with people, but you make sure there is an audience when this behavior occurs. Even if the unconscious behavior is subtle, most people will see it. If this person is attacking you, they are probably attacking others.

If you are convinced someone is unconsciously trying to attack you there may be little you can do. Understanding the root of their problem will help you deal with it. If a peer is behaving this way with you, this may be their way of competing. Withholding information is another way of exerting power when the person is unconsciously insecure. If your manager is doing unconscious things to you they may not like something about you. Usually it is a way of keeping more power for themselves when they are insecure. You may be a type of person they have trouble dealing with. You may want to try to understand that more and find out what their issue is. In some cases, you can do something about it. You can’t deal directly with their unconscious but you might try to gain more trust from them. If your manager has a problem with your personality, you might want to adjust to make it easier to deal with you. Don’t expect people with unconscious behavior to articulate what they’re doing or cooperate. Because the behavior is unconscious they are unaware of it. You have to deal with it indirectly. If your boss is having problems with you, it is you who have to develop a plan to (1) identify the root of the behavior problem and (2) do something that will make them feel easier about you. Depending on how deeply rooted and problematic the issue is, you may or may not be able to do anything about it.

Don’t forget that you might be the person with the unconscious behavior and are blaming everybody else for your problems. You may have similar unconscious issues with a person who is doing something to you, (see Transference And Counter-Transference ). If you are very much in touch with your behavior, you might be able to discover your unconscious issues. This is very hard to do. People who have good self-analytic skills can do this. Consult with friends or therapists, mentors, anybody you can trust can help give you feedback. Just tell them the story about your manager or peer. If they throw something back in your face that you do that stuff too, you may be guilty or even the initiator. (You may unconsciously choose to ignore sage advice which may be a problem with you – see The Personality Disorder & The Neurotic ). Unfortunately, people understand so little about unconscious behavior many don’t even know it when it’s right under their nose.

if you can get in touch with your unconscious, it can help you read people very well. Most salespeople who are good at their job already have some sensitivity to their unconscious. Unknowingly, they are using their unconscious that has the ability to instantly read people. They are able to ‘read’ it’s subtle messaging and see through to someone else’s unconscious. This is a very powerful tool to help you understand and read people. If you can refine it, your ability to read people and understand their motivations will be greatly enhanced. I guess the next question is how do you do this? Well, it has to do with how well you are connected to your unconscious. For starters, if you understand how to read your feelings and can guess the root of why you have those feelings, you are doing pretty well. For those who can’t yet articulate why you have certain feelings, or maybe can’t recognize you are having feelings, need to get in touch more with your unconscious. To do this, you need to first be able to know when you are having subtle feelings communicated to you. This takes some real perceptive reasoning. You need to know that one thing may mean another. Also note these feelings can be at a very low level. You need to train yourself to recognize they’re there then try to figure out what they mean.

more from this guy

Challenging a belief structure is like shaking the foundation of how we interpret reality. As a salesperson you may inadvertently discover a flaw in someone else’s belief structure. Be careful as to how you move forward. Presenting them with the ‘truth’ may cause them a lot of anxiety. If they can handle it, you may choose to expose them to the truth. If you think they may not handle it well, you might back off. If you really care about the person, then you should help them understand it. You should be with them through the ordeal of relearning all they thought was the way of the world.

Some people exploit destroying people’s belief structures. These people are insecure and are smart enough to have sophisticated perceptions about other people and sense when they are vulnerable. More than likely, these people have a personality disorder because they are insecure and it makes them feel superior to hurt people. People that do this are cruel and have no idea what they do to others. If the opportunity presents itself, you may want to intervene if someone is trying to destroy someone’s belief structure. It all depends on the situation.

and here’s a great definition from him that i can use to fill out my characters

there are two types of people, the personality disorder and the neurotic. The neurotic says “it’s my fault.” The personality disorder says “it’s your fault.” One takes responsibility for their behavior and the other doesn’t. The neurotic will take responsibility for a problem and can try to fix it. The personality disorder will unconsciously or consciously blame others for their predicaments and wish the world would stop screwing them. In business, the neurotic will work with you, admit mistakes and may try to fix problems. The personality disorder will blame others in their organization for their misfortunes and can hold grudges.

and this is completely different, from a dictionary of philosophy.  apparently consciousness is THE hot topic today.  this is a very thorough study i should read.  hell, i should study them all, but i don’t have time to become more than a tyro.

The two broad, traditional and competing theories of mind are dualism and materialism (or physicalism). While there are many versions of each, the former generally holds that the conscious mind or a conscious mental state is non-physical in some sense, whereas the latter holds that, to put it crudely, the mind is the brain, or is caused by neural activity. It is against this general backdrop that many answers to the above questions are formulated and developed. There are also many familiar objections to both materialism and dualism. For example, it is often said that materialism cannot truly explain just how or why some brain states are conscious, and that there is an important “explanatory gap” between mind and matter. On the other hand, dualism faces the problem of explaining how a non-physical substance or mental state can causally interact with the physical body.

Some philosophers attempt to explain consciousness directly in neurophysiological or physical terms, while others offer cognitive theories of consciousness whereby conscious mental states are reduced to some kind of representational relation between mental states and the world. There are a number of such representational theories of consciousness currently on the market, including higher-order theories which hold that what makes a mental state conscious is that the subject is aware of it in some sense. The relationship between consciousness and science is also central in much current theorizing on this topic: How does the brain “bind together” various sensory inputs to produce a unified subjective experience? What are the neural correlates of consciousness? What can be learned from abnormal psychology which might help us to understand normal consciousness? To what extent are animal minds different from human minds? Could an appropriately programmed machine be conscious?

7 religions

i’ve just figured out a strange story arc involving the boy and snake.  quantum consciousness becomes a religion of sorts in the game, partly by choice when the boy and girl are designing the game.  they don’t see how they’re going to get around it, so they allow for religion in the game.


in the isles ring of the antarctica game, the religion or philosophy is animism, where even the rocks and wind have souls and intelligence.  the boy is talented, but no gardener.

in the mountains, the goddess rules.  the boy tires of this and runs off to be a pirate with other lost boys.

in the lowlands, it’s like early christianity, only it’s quantumanity, and snake is an apostle with a growing church.  the boy transitions from pirate to governor, when snake tries to make a deal with him – you join my church, and i’ll make you emperator with my fanatical minions. we’ll conquer the world.

into the wilderness, the boy runs from snake’s offer, and wanders alone, like the buddha, an ascetic recluse monk.  he rediscovers quantum consciousness and remembers his mission.  he gathers the wandering tribes for an assault on the citystates of the hinterlands, to spread the new way.

in the hinterlands, he spreads quantum consciousness like a prophet, performing many miracles and making many converts.  snake’s church, now the state religion, finds him upsetting to the status quo, because the church controls the quantum things.  as a great military leader he organizes all the citystates, which takes more control from the church, who benefited from mediating between the quarreling citystates.

in hell, snake is the pope, and uses the inquisition to persecute snake for his so-called miracles.  he’s on trial for heresy, but the rulers of hell make a deal – help stamp out quantum insurgency and we’ll make you ceo.

in the gamburtsevs, he walks away from the bargain and faces the consequences of his actions.

author’s note

jim and i were discussing the characters this morning.  he’s got his own ideas as to their backgrounds. he knows where they live.  let me see what i can remember.

the boy is a military nut, and is in the sca because he likes medieval brawlers, but dragoncon doesn’t have an sca track, so he is into space opera military things.  he lives in midtown.

fairy works as a massage therapist and is into bdsm and altered states.  very middle class background, or hippies.  lives in little 5 points, of course.

snake is from real money; his parents live in country club of the south or better, and he’s got an apartment in buckhead and drives a bmw because he’s slumming.  ga tech and he works at emory in their computer department, but he’s more of a manager than a programmer.

and the girl?  he says her name is mary elizabeth, or beth.  i laughed, i’m afraid.  still, it’s better than eve…she comes from a church background, with her mom as a musical director and the dad as the holy preacher. she lives by herself in an apartment inman park, motorcycles or marta in motorcycle leathers, works in computer graphics in a corporation.

kurt: doesn’t matter where he lives.  maybe farm people for his parents.  was a dotcom millionaire and invested it.  works on side projects he’s interested in, but mainly works on his quantum computer, in his van, parked in a public lot on a monthly pass.

jim had a lot to say, but i interrupted him a bunch, so i forget most of these details.  but they’re not the point, and i can fill them in later. (which i did)

i’m going to have to redo the first chapter – the vision – because what happens in their vision is not a miniature of what they develop into a game, but what they’re supposed to do with the game, how they’re supposed to change the world with it.

when they go to translate their vision into a videogame they get sidetracked into making the midway and carneytown levels – they think they need to give remedial physics lessons to the players, and so they delay getting around to teaching quantum skills – and mainly this is because they don’t know anything about teaching quantum skills when they design the game.  they only get put back on track when the boy and girl land on antarctica and find all the other players arriving at the same time.

the game they design never gets built or played.  it’s all there on paper, but shit happens while they’re waiting to make the game.

how are they sidetracked?  could it be that they are already in their midst, sabotaging their every move?  in the case of abandoning classical mechanics for quantum mechanics, the saboteurs are already there inside even the most gung-ho revolutionary – even the people it’s happening to will deny and reject it once they’re back to their ordinary minds.  every one of them will edge away from the implications of a quantum daily life.  what happens in an altered state can’t, and shouldn’t, cross over into waking reality.  that’s what dreams and fantasies are for.  they’re not real.  if they became real, there’d be hell to pay.  so nobody really wants the things that happen in dreams to start happening in real life.  and so there’s no sabotage needed, no agents provocateur, no them.

the way it happens, the midway turns into a gambling parlor where lots of people make lots of realworld money and people learn all the rules of physics that can help them cheat, and all the skills get put to the wrong uses.  carneytown becomes a place of violence, a dark shootemup with stolen car races and group shootouts where players learn cooperation but also mob mentality and wartime morals.

this is how the real players see it once it goes live.  the beta testers only reported gameplay bugs, and started using the lessons to win games, the alpha testers didn’t really get the point of the lessons, and the bug reports were shallow, the boy and girl just ran thru making sure the lessons were in place.

but once they’re in the quantum kernel’s realm, which a real and persistent altered state, they can do anything they desire, literally.  the strength, force, and discipline of your desire is what causes things to happen in the game.  in quantum reality.  and when players get used to that, they naturally start using it in the realworld, and they pick up on it immediately.  but it has to be something small.

they’re doing open testing at the second dragoncon.  testers start popping up in two places at once.  on security cameras.  because…the hub of the midway is modeled on the atrium lobby level of the marriott hotel, yeah, one of the hubs of dragoncon.  right.  and when people are in the hub on the midway, they appear in the atrium of the marriott, in their avatars.  maybe as ghostly shapes, maybe as solid objects.  maybe practicing wacky things with gravity or acceleration.  when the boy and girl go to test the cloud level that night at dragoncon, they find open testers all over, building shit in the clouds.  okay, that’s good.  just popped out, just like spitting out another baby.

that’s not small, however.

jim said something when i asked this question earlier.  when the boy and girl are telling people about their experience and their quantum powers the next day, and they’re asked to demonstrate, they can’t.  no, that’s not it.  when they’re asked to demonstrate, they immediately do something spectacular, but very fast.  a lot of people miss it.  and they try again, and nothing.  it seems the more they try, the harder it is to do.  it’s not something that can be ordered, or that the left brain can make happen.  it’s spontaneous, linked to genuine emotions, flow.  you can’t cause flow with your rational mind, you can only relax into it and allow it.

so they realize they have to teach how to allow it, so they mash up magic and yoga and the force and the bene gesserit teachings and lots of newage stuff, and start teaching it as philosophy and martial arts and healthcare, as well as selling it as a comic book and a game.

so what really happens in the vision?  the garden of eden sequence is fine.  but once they go out into antarctica to make their game, that’s all different.  all my current version is doing is prefiguring the action to come, so i can just split it up and redistribute it.  but what they see in their vision is how the game is supposed to make people accept the reality of the quantum universe and take their places in it.

they go thru the lessons themselves, the 7 levels of physics/philosophy/reality from animism to god consciousness, the 7 quantum skills from mind-reading to manifestation, the 7 levels of civilization from the isles to the gamburtsevs.  then they can answer the question (what is the meaning of the game).

but how to tell this as a fairy tale?  in the first level they learn the first skill and the first mindset?  a long complicated fairy tale?

maybe their bodies don’t work, or go right thru things. they have to learn to make the grass grow and talk to animals so they can eat (consciousness, energy building ring 1 isles animism) then build shelter and make fire (levitation, concentrating energy ring 2 mountains goddess).  they become more real (manifestation ring 3 lowlands xian) with every lesson learned.  they look outward for something else to interact with (entanglement ring 4 wilderness classical).  they master their environment (action at a distance ring 5 hinterlands relativity).  they learn their limitations (self consciousness ring 6 hell quantum).  they accept themselves (god consciousness ring 7 gamburtsevs god consciousness).

this can be worked into a coherent little story.  but it was awful to present to jim just now.

so how does it go as a story? at each ring they ask themselves if they have the answer, and it’s a different answer each time.  they don’t split up in their vision.  they don’t fight.  there’s no violence, no cheating, no resistance to the message.  if they get distracted the flow fails and things get sick.  the colors gray out as the story goes on, with stark black and white in hell and wireframe in the gamburtsevs.

neolithic: among barren rocks they are like babies and have to coax the environment to help them.  they interact with winds and water and seeds and finally with great effort establish contact with animals who help them and feed them until they can form weak bodies.

viking: in harsh mountain forests and on cold deep seas they compensate for their childish weakness with psychokinetic muscles, concentrating energy to build ships and buildings and make fires.

medieval: in pastoral villages and small port towns they attain their full strength and opacity, and develop the ability to manifest, as other players appear to fill out the other roles.  they find themselves entraining other players, hampering their gameplay with interactions.

golden horde: over vast areas of uninhabited piedmont and estuary they avoid the growing crowds for a time, developing a sense of where all the players are.  they become aware of everything in the game world.  their powers enhance their appearance and confidence, exaggerating their strength.

hinterland: in rich and productive lands being steadily encroached upon by the big city, they organize the following crows and teach them how to harness their wills as best they can.  but the crowds are mesmerized by them and can only be controlled weakly.  their appearance hardens and lumps up, shrinking slightly as they tire from the effort.

hell city: in dark, dirty and crowded city of extremes they and all the droids they command are no match for the powers that be, and they resist as best they can, within the system and against it.  they continue to spread techniques for self-mastery / quantum powers, even tho tptb are winning.  their appearance ages and weakens as their powers are exhausted by fighting tptb and watching their people suffer.

gamburtsevs:  in an electronic mountain range they stand alone to fight the boss enemy.  they face themselves as they were in the garden of eden – young, spoiled, innocent, stupid.  then they are those younger selves, facing caricatures of their old selves in ridiculous ill-fitting fantasy getup. ready to fight to the death.  they decide this is a silly idea, and put the weapons down, and embrace.

the embrace makes them all explode, and they see that they are all one, and there is no time or space, and they create the entire universe in their own minds.  the angel appears to ask the meaning of what they’ve just been thru and they answer.

how’s that?


i’m working it all out on the blog today.  and then i’ll transfer the main chunks to my document where i usually do it the other way around.  i just started here today and never made it back to the outline, because i need to split it up again and amn’t really ready to tackle that.  plus these ideas came up this morning.

and then i’ll do some work on it, and come back here with it all chopped up into panels and pages for illustrating.

imaging the characters

jim asked me for a character sketch, and i’ve done one before, probably several, but this time i was a lot more specific.

physical description of the main characters

the girl – lisbeth salander meets anjelica huston

she’s 23. little: 5’3” with big black eyes and dark hair cut pixie short and flyaway (anime-like without being too much so). she weighs nothing and looks bird-frail, but she’s lithe rather than fragile, graceful but quick. when she’s tired she gets dark rings around her eyes. she is endlessly patient and gives generously of her time and energy, but when she hits her limit she snaps at people and be’s a bitch. she tries to hold in her observations, but her enthusiasm gets the better of her and she blurts things out. so she is tactless especially under stress. she thinks quickly but is never sure of her conclusions, and she often finds out what she thinks on a topic when she hears it come out of her mouth. she likes the boy for his warmth and his supportive qualities, and she appreciates the comfort and the things he does for her. but she’s not the helpless thing he likes to think, and finds some of his attention cloying and restrictive. plus he’s not as smart or quick as she is, and this annoys her.

the boy – donald sutherland meets gandalf

he’s 27. tall: 6’3” and dark and handsome-ugly. he’s gangly and his movements are awkward and exaggerated. he hides this with languid, slow-moving graceful gestures and long pauses. he used to have a stutter. he likes to be the man, to be looked up to. he has a sense of honor and tribal loyalty that extends to his woman and his friends. he likes the girl because she’s small and vulnerable and needs him, but he wishes she weren’t so stubborn and just a teeny bit nicer.

kurt – greggie meets brando

he’s 45. medium: 5’9” and his long ratty ponytail is graying on the top. his face is pudgy, he wears granny glasses, he shaves fitfully and incompletely, resulting in long gray stubble and strange bare patches. he smokes cigarettes, and there are many long burn marks on the carpet around his chair from his nodding off and dropping lit cigarettes. everyone urges him to switch to e-cigarettes, but they’re idiots. he looks apologetic, but he acts arrogant and dismissive. his health is atrocious – 50 lbs overweight, high blood pressure, diabetic, with early congestive heart trouble. he makes noises when he breathes. he snores loudly enough to shake his van. he sweats easily and his hair becomes lanky and falls in his eyes, but the graceful toss of the head is a gesture unavailable to him, and he swipes his hair out of his eyes like a tangled mop with his pudgy hand. when he smokes, he starts coughing and can’t stop, getting red and swollen, and drooling as his tongue protrudes and his eyes pop. he only eats junkfood but usually just has an energy drink, and then looks fevered and acts distracted. when he’s not actively engaged in something, he stares into the distance and his mouth hangs open, his lower lip pouching out.

snake – davie meets randall (steve buscemi) / minio

he’s 33. medium: 5’11” thin and bony, with short nondescript hair and a pinched face, older than his years, tense and nervous, quick moving and darting. he mumbles a lot and rambles on, but answers with a question so he has time to think. he’s always ready with a believable story, and seems to tell people everything, but nobody knows much about him or what he’s doing with his time. he is shifty looking and has a good salesman’s patter, and people check their wallets after he passes. he is addicted to coke or meth, and is fidgety and always scratching himself.

fairy – miss piggy meets lorie / mom

she’s 37. short: 5’3” and blowsy, with long red frizzy hair, as round as she is tall, with a shelf of an ass and a tiny little waist. and she’s sweet. overbearingly so. the southern kind of sweet that stabs you in the back with the smile still on her face. she likes pink frilly things that make her look like gift wrapping, and has the fashion sense of a burlesque queen, so she looks like a fat hooker and acts like mae west. she’s very angry under this sweet exterior, and gives evil looks and says vicious things behind peoples’ backs. she wants everyone to do things her way, and is hypercritical of others while blameless in her own behavior, even tho a lot of things go wrong because she loses and forgets things. she’s making up for some long ago abuse by being nice, but still wants to get back at anyone who offends her.

graphic novel notes

the rings are: the isles, the mountains, the lowlands, the wilderness, the hinterland, hell, the gamburtsevs

this is my first test of the directions i’m trying to follow about making your own graphic novel.  i’ve imported a line drawing and am adding layers for each of the rings of the quantum antarctica game.

next i have to go in and draw some more bounding areas and fill them with details, effects and so on on more layers.  i’m learning the principles, and so far the first one i have learned is that, like the silk painting serti technique, you have to have enclosed areas to put the colors in, so jim’s line drawing is going to have to mark where the color changes are, rather than the edges of objects.  i guess the lines usually do just that, but i’m going to have to go around his drawings after i scan them in, just like i do when he designs a scarf for me.


oh and i’ve been thinking about names.  quantum antarctica.  quant’artica.  q’ant.  i had some other names on the dog walk this afternoon, but they’re gone now.  must have been a lie, as my dad used to say.  wish i could remember.  they were good names.  not quantum quest.

we’ve been discussing which parts of the story to do as graphic novel.  we feel comfortable with maybe an eighth of the story illustrated as comic book pages.  most of it will be prose, just every now and then there’ll be up to 5 pages of full color insert.

i can see the finished book.  the cover is like an old worm bible, leather, embossed, worn down to the brown skin.  inside there’s marbling.  there’s a list of illustrations, and there loads of illustrations.  there’s a list of maps, and there are 46 maps at the very least.  there are maps of each level and each ring, and each town, and the trade routes, and the weather, and the heroic journeys, pirate maps and symbolic maps and flowcharts.  maybe we can switch typeface for different situations or developmental levels.  i hate stories without pictures, and i’m going to have loads of pictures in this one.  jim will do all the illustrations, i will do the maps and anything that’s better done on computer, like scanning and inking, coloring and lettering.  but especially i get to do all the maps, because jim’s never done it, and i’ve always loved drawing maps.

we can’t illustrate the whole story, but we could illustrate a thread, or two, that runs thru the story.  like the dragoncons.  like the real world events.  like the quantum lessons scattered about. that way we touch on everything with every graphic section, because everybody’s appearance and the appearance of the world, and the style we use to illustrate it, change thruout the story.  there would be other threads running thru the game that we could illustrate, and a lot of this could be covered by spot illustrations that appear at each level or ring or chapter heading and inside the level/ring/chapter wherever it needs it.

all of these threads, or pieces of the story can be really cool as a graphic novel, and so the question arises, why not do the whole thing that way?  but we’re talking about several hundred pages of written script (finished about like i did train wreck, which is first draft and might as well be notes) and several hundred pages of graphic novel, which jim doesn’t have time or energy to pencil, and i don’t have time or software to process into tiffs.  thanks gimp for not doing cmyk, me hole.

this is so much work it’s not funny.  we’d need a team to actually do this the right way.  but all there is is us, so we’ll do it our way.  the story comes first, however.  and it’s got to be a final, full outline before we can proceed to either scripting or prosing each chapter.  we’ll have figured out which ones to illustrate by then, i hope, but maybe not.  no, i’m pretty confident we’ll have it figured out.

the way this process is working is that i’m struggling along with one little aspect of it that seems to be going so slow (like rush-hour traffic in atlanta – bumper to bumper at 70 miles an hour), and it goes along and limps along, (notes on the political mind, research on graphic novels, doing character sketches) and i have to stop and do other things, and the days rush by without my doing very much at all, and then all of a sudden we go for a dog walk and i voice my frustrations, and jim comes up with a little twist that makes everything fit together in a really elegant way, and i start sputtering and flaming and pretty soon we have an entirely new understanding of how the story works, and i come home and scramble to write it all down before it’s tomorrow and a whole nother day.

of course, i stll have to go back to taking notes and figuring out what the characters look like.


on the dog walk this evening, jim and i went over the various aspects of the story that could be illustrated.

the seven dragoncons can be illustrated as a graphic novel. i can just see the hyatt flooded with people on two floors, a crowded escalator going diagonally across the page.  the fairy tale vision would work very nicely as a graphic novel.  illustrating all the dragoncons would function on its own as a summation of the action and progress.

creating and testing the game would be very easy as a graphic novel, because the scientific details escape me and have to be shortened to the rudiments to begin with, and because it’s easier to show a wireframe landscape than to describe it.  illustrating the principles of classical and relativistic (and quantum) physics is probably easier than talking about it.  especially judging by all the quantum physics books (without equations) that i’ve tried to get thru.

the seven rings of playing the game, which is essentially following the boy and girl as they play the game, as they change in their appearance and grow in their actions and responsibilities and finally face each other and let the add-ons drop away.

playing the game is a very large part of the story, about half, and as such you couldn’t illustrate all of the game.  this is where we might could illustrate learning the quantum lessons, doing the exercises that enable you to think quantum and act quantum.  it’d be a whole lot better to show this learning process than it would be to lecture about it.

the real world.  there is a lot of the real world, and it takes up the other half of the story, so you couldn’t illustrate all of it.  but there are various facets.

the public reaction goes the whole gamut from unease to rabid mob, a parody of the right wing reaction to socialism, for example.

their actions from installing spies to directing sabotage, to suppression and syrian military diplomacy.  this is a metaphor for all the uprisings against the elite now occurring in the world, and best left as indescriptive as possible, since i don’t really want to pay attention to it – it’s so unpleasant and i just get mad.

then there’s the pivotal dramatic sequence where the boy is coopted, but changes his mind after the game and is forced to watch as the girl is captured and tortured and the kernel is destroyed, but the boy fights them, rescues the girl, and seeks shelter and aid.

there are lots of realworld and game effects when the kernel is destroyed, and it goes from bad to worse, doing catastrophic things that would look really good visually, and the prose description would pale by comparison.

there’s the final realworld showdown, when we see the defeat of quantum, the cruel celebration of the victors, and find the losers in fema camps.  is irony best captured in visual or text?

and how to play it when people find themselves playing the game in their dreams, and the whole quantum thing finally reaches critical mass, where players go around creating the parallel worlds they want to live in, and they coalesce, and collapse into a new, shifted reality that doesn’t normalize a power-hungry, fear-based mindset.

as an epilog, at the final dragoncon, there’s a new baby who already thinks and acts in quantum, the first of her generation, an improved game, and a world settling in to a new reality where we are all one and love is all you need.


the character sketch

the boy is tall and lanky, unkempt and slouchy, a self-conscious wannabe geek who uses his smarts to get ahead.  in the course of the game he turns into a swashbuckler, a gengis khan, a red-haired fabio with a kirk douglas chin, and then an old bodybuilder in a khan suit.

the girl starts out as a waiflike thing half the boy’s size, pixy black hair, and grows thru a dumpy and somewhat bitchy and put-upon middle age to be a mother earth crone with a halo, leaving flowers where she steps, all that.

kurt looks like my ex the computer genius, and acts like those dysfunctional guys in project x, but once he becomes ex-kurt in the game, he is a bundle of light, a moving finger, a face in random patterns, and in the realworld he is a face in the clouds and a gust of wind and a shadow on the sun.

snake is lithe and quick and has triangular shaped head and fanged teeth, long fingernails, lots of tattoos, and shaves his greasy hair in diamonds.  he is smart, and snide, superior and snarky, and mean.  his appearance doesn’t change in essence but gets more exaggerated.  he dresses in black.  in the game, as pope, he is smarmy and perverted.

fairy is a plump little thing with frizzy hair and pimples, and she giggles and is quietly hostile when people go against what she thinks is right.  she hides her fear under a layer of saccharine optimism.  she quietly clones herself onto a good portion of the non-playing characters, who meet out information according to how players treat them, and have very long memories.


then let’s talk about art style, panel style, lettering style, coloring style.  and variation of styles, using what when and to show what?

but not tonight.

places in the story

the places:

i’ve gone thru the chapter headings and noted what scenes occur in that chapter. and these are most of them.

dragoncon settings are the public spaces at dragoncon, the panels, inside hotel rooms, the food court, the gaming hall, the art and comic book ballrooms, the roof and stairwell, the pool, dragoncon tv.

realworld quantum effects…the sun’s radiance pulsates, clouds form in a clear sky and look like kurt, birds flock resembling kurt’s head, 2+2 stops =ing 4, etc. (photosynthesis uses quantum effects to turn light into energy). it’s hard to come up with ‘what-if’ macro effects…

boy/girl computer is when the boy or girl is sitting at their computer, at home or in a cafe or wherever, working either on the game or surfing the net or in communication with someone else on fb, twitter, email, chat.

boy/girl head is all the internal thinking and feeling. also when they act as the observer.

in the game is their character and its actions, also their thoughts and feelings and their observations as people in character.

the gaming community is the whole community of videogamers especially those who are involved in the quantum game, sometimes as a group, sometimes as individuals.

dreams and visions are vivid out of body experiences, especially to do with playing the game.

neutral settings for discussion can be the food court at dragoncon, a bar, a room or suite where play-testing occurs, whatever passes for a game development office (which won’t be fancy, and probably not even paid, perhaps a squat with illegal heat, water, electricity, and internet. a foreclosed house whose owners just walked away.)

the girl’s apartment is in little more than a slum; a cheap and filthy half-house in a bad neighborhood, shared by three girls who are trying to pay off student loans with minimum wage jobs. it’s neat, but the furnishings are out of dumpsters and there are always loser boyfriends on the couch, throwing empties at the trashcan in the kitchen.

the boy’s mom’s basement is moldy, and the furniture is all old and battered, it’s full of things the family hasn’t used for years, and the boy made a nest in one room and tunnels to the bathroom and the basement stairs.

the boy’s new man cave is an ultrahip designer loft in a warehouse with music and video studios and cutting edge programming teams, where he pretends the game was written.

the strip club is where the boy hangs out once he’s a star, with drug dealer friends and rock-star hangers-on. he throws money around and the girls vie for his attention because he’s hit the big time.

the girl’s work is as a salesclerk at the gap store at the local mall. she hates it, even tho she’s good at it and they’ve been grooming her for management. it’s loud with annoying music, her coworkers are shallow losers or insanely driven winners, and the manager keeps hitting on her.

kurt’s van is full of food wrappers and printer paper and well-thumbed manuals, as well as a gun under the seat and many pharmaceutical bottles in the glove compartment, with all kinds of tools and electronic equipment stowed in cubbies down the length of the van, and one wall turned into a mobile computer lab.

inside the kernel it’s all light, the brighter the point of light, the more consciousness; strings and bundles of light are thoughts or actions and kurt is an eggshape that resembles kurt in movement as much as feature. it’s a brighter version of the cloud levels in the game.

the droid in the street (the observer who sees the realworld quantum effects) is a whole community of strangers going about their ordinary business in the realworld and happen to notice when the game’s quantum effects change things.

snake’s head is thinking/feeling/observing from a user’s point of view (48 laws)

fairy’s head is thinking/feeling/observing from altruistic newager’s point of view (course in miracles)

the tech in the basement security room is just a pair of eyes and a hand on a mouse in front of a monitor screen. we’re not in his head.

security hq is a big gray building in an urban perk setting with many floors. the situation room is large, filled with monitors on the walls, and rows of desks and monitor stations, dark with hushed voices and glowing screens. there’s a glass-walled conference room on a deck behind the screens (wargames) where all the yelling goes on. other floors have cubes of analysts. there is also a lecture hall, a canteen and a locker room where swat teams dress. things are scarily orderly and disinfected. there’s no sign of the slave mentality; the workers consider themselves elite warriors and don’t mind privation for the greater good, so there’s no disgruntlement allowed, and when the grumbling starts it is ruthlessly dealt with, but this causes more grumbling…in the head of a main security person who is responsible for dealing with the quantum insurgency.

the media is a tv studio seen in peoples’ living rooms, on the set, and in the newsroom. the set is corporate black glass and metal, the newsroom is filthy and crowded with old and broken equipment, the managing editor’s office is a wreck, reporters do their work in their phones and submit it by email. the owner’s office is pristine and he’s never there anyway. since this is a realworld corporation, it should show wage slavery at work. there are the usual mouthpieces of corporate news, but there is a courageous people-minded reporter who gets driven out after offending tptb. we can use the egyptian press as an example, the head of the tv who kept trying to backpedal. in the head of a main media person who reports, there may be others.

government offices are echoing marble halls in 1930s monumental style with creaky old fashioned heaters and massive desks, grimy enormous windows, real paneling and parquet. people are faceless bureaucrats for a living; the appointed bosses are wealthy and powerful dealmakers. smoke filled back rooms. congressional offices, white house offices, departmental offices, pentagon offices, bosses of the security forces at hq. in the head of at least one government official.

the work i do at night

it’s gone half three in the morning, and i’m down here in the studio wrapped in a fuzzy housecoat, the dogs piled up around my feet, the oil filled radiator pulled in next to my chair because the main heat is off for the night.  i do this alot, especially during the summer months.  because i have gotten two or three hours of sleep and now my mind is spinning.

what did it this time was the image of ex-kurt the kernel programmer, alive and living in the kernel, with the game in his back yard, or in a cupboard, or something incongruous.

ex-kurt is entangled, thru the quantum kernel, with the realworld’s ‘nervous system.’  his neurons flow thru all the connections to the outside world – wires in devices and walls and underground conduits and overhead lines, radio waves in the air and thru building materials and bodies, into and back out of every institution and house and car and computer and store.

ex-kurt is so connected to the realworld that the game is actually a minute part of his life.  he spends much of his endless time ignoring the realworld, but it annoys him because they’re always fighting, and always coming to him for help, and he doesn’t like their taste.  he doesn’t know what else to do with them, other than consume their energy.  otherwise they never stop trying to interact with him.  (where’s this coming from?)  as in life, he just wants everybody to leave him alone, but he has discovered that in a quantum state there’s no end of bother if bother is what you’re going thru, and he wants people to leave him alone more than ever.  he’s going crazy trying to be alone (but being alone makes you crazy because even tho you’re entangled, you’re unconnected).  in fact, he’s been crazy, and running from interaction is the main symptom, and it’s only when he gives up and lets them consume him that he’s going to get any peace.  can he eventually find peace reincarnating as a material human, say as the boy and girl’s kid? that’ll take some foreshadowing.  he’s got to do it on purpose and some time earlier than the climax, and not just reveal it in the end.

while ex-kurt is connected to the world thru the internet, the programmer in him can’t help but notice certain inefficiencies, and he begins to tinker.  and this produces real-world effects, of course.  let’s see, a quantumization of everyday large-scale realworld physics, what would that look like?  murphy’s law producing indeterminacy of electronic signals propagating down the wires (violation of ohm’s law)?  he doesn’t so much improve daily life as make it more energy efficient, not more rational but more quantum.  he’s not out for human results, but overall system performance.  the consequences on humans don’t bother him because he’s your typical sociopath and couldn’t give a fuck.  but what these might be i have no idea at the moment.

in the kernel, ex-kurt is just qubits, and you can only see him as a brightness, or a darkness, depending, fluctuating, or maybe pulsing differently.  when he comes into the game, maybe materializing at the back door of the kernel, which maybe looks like a kernel of wheat in the landscape.

  the kernel

i have a vision of ex-kurt lounging in his back yard, on the patio, materializing in split seconds all around the visitor, unhurriedly but instantaneously attending to whatever problem the visitor has.  he is everywhere at once, his face is every face at once, he is every possibility at once.  in his natural state he’s a cloud of possibility.  i guess he’s hanging out with the girl, who is stuck in the game when the kernel is destroyed (which begs a rather obvious question i might have already answered).

when ex-kurt is out and about in the game, he materializes only as much as he needs, like the cheshire cat.  most of the time he’s realized in the front, especially his hands.  his body is stock avatar, his face is idealized youth and fuzzy, both because he avoids mirrors and also because he’s part everybody, and the back side of him is wireframe because he never thinks about it.  sometimes it’s just his hand.  sometimes it’s just his face.  when he is greatly affected, his idealized young face shows up in the clouds out in the realworld.  when he is forced to appear in public after the boy and girl exit the antarctica level, he decks himself out in flowing robes and white hair and fudges the other details.  when he appears to friends he’s most completely realized, mainly relying on their perception of him.  he looks like his 20-something youthful self, when he was fresh and idealistic.  most of the time when he’s by himself he feels this way again, but when the annoying others creep in he becomes very troll like.


these others are like roaches.  they crawl everywhere, they get stuck in synapses and connections, they smell bad, they breed like roaches.  they leave droppings and little roaches.

i guess i’m going back to bed now.  it’s been an hour and some, and i’m yawning.  one of the dogs has moved off my foot and the other one is a bit stiffly crunched, so i’ll continue these images in my dreams, where i do most of my work at night.

the boy and girl: their differences

things they differ over ring by ring.

in general, you die and come back a lot in antarctica. he deliberately lets her die several times (when they’re hanging out in the latter part of ring 1 in an accident, and at the end of ring 2 when he sinks her ship, and she has to go back to ring 1 every time. so she is late in visiting the other rings, and as a result her people are more backwards and unaggressive, while the boy has been building an empire. so by the time she gets to ring 5, suburbia, the area is already overrun with the boy’s agents (quantum tunneling), people are already mindless and queuing up to become enslaved, and in hell they’re at the ends of their ropes.

when they make their way to the gamburtsevs (ring 7), they are in touch with the kernel, who shows it to them. they unlock a door into the impassable mountains that have cut off communication with the various rings (4,5,6), and enter into the wireframe area built by kurt.

ring 1. (they come together and witness each other’s behavior; he defers to her) self. (very sparsely populated) killing food, taking tools, sharing. he already has a tendency to hoard, so she gives hers away and takes half of his, letting him provide for half the settlement, for which he thinks he should be paid. (she dies in an accident (he’s negligent) and goes back to the entrance island, he joins a ship and leaves, she goes looking for him and gets swept way.)

ring 2. (they’ve split up and don’t witness, each develops willfully) other (sparsely populated) risking own safety, taking shortcuts (ethics), cheating (morals). he’s a bloodthirsty pirate and she’s a nun, horrified and intimidated and offended by him. (they meet in a sea battle, and he apologizes because he’s greedy before sinking her ship and she goes back to the entrance island. she laboriously returns to ring 2 and consults others about his behavior, learning the first tactics of dealing with bullies.

ring 3. (they’re split up, they meet again at the end. she dies again because it’s convenient and she’s annoying. she uses her willpower haltingly to fly back, gets advice (from kurt?)) agriculture (moderately populated). corruption, unfair rules, underclass. cooperation between diverse interests for basic survival, innovation and organization.

ring 4. (they’re split up) animals (sparsely populated) cattle and territory raids, endless plains wars, dongivafuck gang rule. managing ecosystems, equitable distribution, microloans, buying clubs. first appearance of organized religion teaches quantum is heresy. (quantum goes underground)

ring 5. (they’re split up. she dies because his minions kill her. she zips right back.) minerals (moderately populated with dense pockets) many mighty enemies and endless riches with massive loss of life and misery, fanatical crusaders. countering suburban apathy and brainwashing, teaching, swap freecycle. religion teaches quantum is for elite. (quantum for everyone)

ring 6. (they meet and argue. she dies because he kills her. she teleports back instantly.) industrial and corporate systems (densely populated with crowded areas) ruthless plutocracy ruling with hypocrisy, force and shitty attitude. active resistance, building replacement services, occupy. religion teaches quantum is for everybody thru priests. (quantum is self evident)

ring 7. (they fight. they both die and exit the level.) all. (unpopulated) bared emotions and motivations, manipulations and betrayals, judgments and projections. seeing thru division to the underlying unity. religion teaches god’s will / miracle. (quantum is everybody or nobody)

ex kurt

where is ex kurt?  does he live in heaven (level !)?  in the gamburtsevs (ring 7)?  in the kernel?

he does reside in the kernel, but only as qubits.  his manifestation can be anywhere, as a regular kurt-avatar player character, except he’s a npc, except he’s not.

he’s the spokesman for the kernel, without being the kernel itself.  and the kernel is as much him as itself because not only did he write it and generate the overall entanglement of it but he also copied himself inside it and they squared themselves.  because of all the other players he’s also a bit of them as well, and so his demeanor and attitude has softened, and he’s almost talkative.  but just as inscrutable.

his job as kernel is to create and control the ‘physicality’ and operations of the game, so he’s connected thru all the networks to basically everything electronic in the world.  he could actually reach out and change things in the real world, and it actually does change according to his emotions.  he’s not really interested in the outside world, and sees it as conduits thru which he has to work in order to keep the game running.

the world is a series of veins and nerves, bones and muscles, not an overall person, so he’s stuck at the micro level of the game, seeing the world thru the eyes of the game as a living entity (a helpless baby).

over the course of the game, kurt/kernel grow up and begin to take an interest in the outside world.  this is why shit happens.  it’s kurt reaching out, kurt emoting, kurt in pain.  toward the end, he doesn’t look like kurt anymore, he looks like all the players, and when you stop to look at him, he looks like all the people a player knows.

finally kurt develops a view of the game as a person, a macro view of the game, seeing the game thru the eyes of the world as a self-actualized being.

when does he show himself and to whom?  he probably has to reveal himself at the end, to come in glory on a cloud with his beard streaming out and say in a booming voice…what, the game is over, go in peace to love and spread the game.

do the players all stand around gaping after the boy and girl go out with a bang?  does he have to revitalize them because they’ve all fallen into a stupor, their characters have all zonked out and they’ve stopped playing the game?  and he’s got to step in and play big daddy to scare them into playing again?  starting up the whole coercive power thing again?  fuck that.

why does he ever have to show himself?  the pressure is on him not to be a god.  he lets the boy and girl become the deities and only reveals himself to people he already knows.  but others see him, and the rumor is pervasive, and when shit happens it looks like him.  so there’s pressure at the end to show himself.  and he has to face that and overcome it or the whole thing will fail.  and i guess he has to answer the mystery of how he died, and i guess that means i have to leave clues thruout the story, like in all the dragoncons.

the boy and girl

the boy and girl are the same person.

therefore they are schizophrenic.

they are also yin and yang.

and tho it doesn’t have to be complete stereotype – he doesn’t have to be yang down the line, she can have yang too – it’s got to be fairly simple, because this is a fairy tale.

even tho it’s also a romantic comedy, and a video game, and political nonfiction, and physics for the challenged.

this work is by its very nature a reduction.  and reductionist is classical, not quantum.  after quantum enlightenment, you can hold contradictory views in your mind.  reductionist is bland and cardboard-tasting.  but when you’re writing a novel, even tho you can enrich it with link-vitamins, it’s still not anything like the complexity of the study it took to write it.

when i’m being reductionist about a duality, i usually settle on this flavor:

love versus fear
liberal versus conservative
tolerant versus punishing
power with versus power over
bottom-up self government versus control in the hands of the few
indulgent mother goddess versus strict daddy god
codependent insecure people-pleaser versus sociopathic egotistical abuser

as it happens, the current dominant culture seems to be on this same track.  the political parties are all pwned by the evil alien vampire corporations, so the fight is between the corporate ownership of everything versus the right of human beings not to be enslaved.  the 1% versus the 99%.

when i get personal about it, i have to confess that i’ve given up believing in the punishing daddy god and the duty of us as xians to follow corrupt human practices masquerading as untouchably divine.  i’m far more comfortable with the idea of a female god, a female religion, the old ways of matriarchy.  this is not to say i believe rule by women is all sweetness and light.  i’m a horrible bitch when you cross me, and my female god is too.  just not an avenging god.  not a god to be feared.  i don’t buy that.  i didn’t buy that when my parents justified their own authority with the same argument, and i don’t buy a bunch of male priests and pastors standing up there handing out the same logic.

and as far as being really personal about it, i’ve been the codependent insecure pleaser trying to make a sociopathic abuser happy, and i don’t terribly enjoy revisiting it in order to write about it.  but it’s a great dynamic, all too familiar to most of us, in its fairy tale reduction (see list above), and easy to lampoon (seeing as i made light of it the whole time i was in it, which helped me get thru it, but also extended my stay).


as for the boy and girl.  i have to take them thru all the levels of the game, which adjusts itself to them because of quantum entanglement.  we don’t see them testing levels 1 and 2, we see others doing that.  we see them in antarctica, and after that they’re not playing – or they’re playing another game and their interactions are different.

she starts as in insecure codependent enabler.  she ends up as a force of nature.

he starts as an easy-going popular loser with talent.  he ends up an overblown sociopathic bully.

likewise there’s got to be a realworld example of the same progression, from a consumerist world where there’s plenty of latitude to a totalitarian dictatorship.  and from a bunch of lazy consumers to a committed bunch of revolutionaries.  even the levels of public outcry and government response go from ignore to fight.

and of course, there have to be 7 levels of each.  so now i have to write the outline of this piece about love versus fear as expressed in the characters.  and when i’m finished with this particular process, i will entangle it with the plot as it stands, change a bunch of things because of its inclusion, and braid another one.  when it’s all over, i’ll have a nice piece of complicated fabric that i will then drape, cut and sew into a story.

and because i’m bad on the details, it’ll have missed stitches, and places where you can tell things were ripped out, and if you wash it too many times it’ll fall right apart.  but oh well.  that’s what second drafts are for.  unless i become interested in something else, which is what usually happens, because while this is going on, i’ve got all sorts of projects piling up in the corners.

author’s note

while transcribing copious notes from the yoga of time travel (thanks fred wolfe, i’d like to talk to you if you’ve got a minute, please email me), i was also thinking about my story.  about how we’re all the mind of god and any separation into individual beings is only an illusion, a bit that’s embodied only so god can get outside and have a little fun

god is normally adrift in a spaceless and timeless nonspacetime where everything is possible but nothing ever happens.  then consciousness (god) acts, possibility-waves interact, and suddenly it’s all laid out in front of you (god), the past present and future, and in going along, you develop self consciousness and the ego.  you develop a history and strive for the future and become fully attached to the things you surround your material existence with.  and until you drop the ego, you don’t remember that you are god squeezed into a tiny speck of the illusion of matter.

this is what i really believe.  it all started when i was about eight, and realized that einstein’s theory meant that everything is relative, and that meant it’s not true that there is one right answer to anything.  and then after i was told dogs and cats don’t have souls, i just chucked the whole organized religion thing as a scam, and felt free to believe in reincarnation and magic.  which according to quantum physics is no problem at all and in fact preferable to thinking there’s a daddy god who will punish us if we don’t do it his way.

because we are gods.  in training, and badly trained at that.  but if we are all one, and we are all part of god, then we are all god.  and individually, we all strive to become as close to god as we can, thru whatever means we take,  including the ass-backward ones of failing to learn by your mistakes.  just that being human means having one hell of an ego, and that makes you persist in thinking that you’re apart from god, and that causes fear, and fear leads to error.


a note about the characters and the game and the plot.

they are both operating on ego.  they both create a game experience that sucks for them and fucks over their followers.  they both are guilty of leading their minions gleefully into perdition.

they both have to act selflessly toward each other for the magic to work properly, and they’ve both been resisting all along.  when they realize this, everything transforms.  first, it transforms them.  later about that.

this transformation has effects on every level of the game.  it filters out all sorts of patterns (player’s actions and movements have been leaving trails in the game, squared possibility waves which generate probability-curves.  huh?), and generates a clearer, sharper, more real game world.  skills are easier to learn, and seem more obvious, players experiment more and develop more concrete skills they then use outside the game in the real world.

the transformation also affects the real world.  a wave even hits the sun.

and the kernel, when it goes off it affects the game and the real world, and all the players.

do the two occur at once?

after they face each other at the gamburtsevs, they leave a big mark in the landscape.  this becomes a pilgrimage site as their followers cope with their illusions.  it’s also the exit to antarctica, but it didn’t exist until the boy and girl created it.  kurt hadn’t created and linked in level ! before he died.  levels ! and !n were thrown together by snake the replacement programmer from copies of level 3.

does that mean their transformation come before the kernel is destroyed?  once the boy ha’s woken up, he’ll no longer help them complete their dastardly plans.  maybe he’ll have no choice; maybe he’ll have to witness the evil that ego can do.

ah.  i know.  they‘ll be forcing her to contact kurt the now-dead programmer, inside the game, and persuade him to travel back in time and make a backdoor into the kernel, to make one tiny change, whatever.  and because they try to interfere, it sets off the kernel.  so she’s stuck in the game when the kernel blows up.

in the chaos, he’ll escape with her drugged body.  because they‘ll be incapacitated and he won’t???  that’s too simple.

but it means i can transform the boy and girl, and then destroy the kernel.

and then nobody’s playing the game because there are no working copies of the game, because the entangled kernel has blown up in each and every instance of the game.  and the girl’s comatose.  and they’re just about to move to sweep up the whole lot of quantum game players (once they get organized, which the destruction of the kernel has fucked up their operations too).

that’s right, the whole of real reality is now screwed up because the kernel blew up.  and all sorts of quantum things that had been happening – what – stopped? increased?

this is a one-two punch.  first the entire material universe is affected when the boy and girl are transformed.  and then when the kernel blows up, the entire material universe is again affected.  and then when critical mass is reached, the whole thing is affected again.  that’s three times.  i like that.

maybe when the boy and girl are transformed, the real world is made a little brighter and more hopeful, and people forget their differences for a moment.  and when the kernel blows up, there’s a moment when everything turns into the cloud world, or the xian conception of heaven.  but this is a timeless moment, and a lot of it can be held  here.  this is where level ! is.

so.  when the boy and girl are transformed, they leave antarctica.  and when the kernel blows up, they enter level !.  so this bit i’m describing is just one big cut scene.  hahaha.  the real world as a cut scene.

the girl is already on level !.  she meets everybody as they come over, as critical mass is reached.  i guess this happens in their dreams, when they naturally play the game and their fingers twitch and they talk in their sleep.

the boy is too ego-wracked with guilt to enter the game state.  he coordinates the fight against them, while she teaches players how to create the world they want to live in.  slowly the cloud level ! starts to look like antarctica.

while it looks darkest to the boy, as he gives his last strength and fails, and they go for the kill, players are creating their own parallel worlds on level !n, and they’re all linked to each other, and they all contain the game and quantum reality.

and this is when a miracle happens.


it’s really cool when the details of the plot appear to me just as i’m getting there.  it’s – i go along for weeks, with the same vague plot, everything just a few limited buzzwords, things like a miracle happening.

and then, after a lot of nonwork when i don’t think about it,  i sit here on the edge of it and just breathe, and wait until something hooks in.  and then i breathe it out, and it comes flowing into my mind in an image or a scene, something with every detail and yet it’s all in only a fleeting insight.  and then it goes flowing thru my fingers, and you read it here.  it’s really a kind of yoga.  and it’s the exact feeling i’m looking to generate in the reader, the timelessness and creative flow that is the hallmark of quantum consciousness.

in the book i just took notes from, the guy mentions how artists often have this flow of timeless time.  and i’m able to testify to it.  i’ve had moments, working on a painting, when i’ll put down my brush and walk to the sink for a drink of water, and when i’ve come back to the easel 25 minutes have passed just walking back and forth to the sink.  whitley striber calls it missing time, and blames it on the aliens.  i pin it squarely on fairies.

author’s note

i’m trying to figure out my main characters, and imagine some secondary ones.  i watched your highness last night, and really liked the younger brother’s attitude, and all the movie references.  i don’t know if it’s a lot harder to do in print than visually, but i really got enthusiastic about all the gags.

the boy wants to put pirates into the game in a bad way.  the girl leans toward fairies and fantasy.  kurt the kernel programmer doesn’t do gaming but sees himself as wizard of the game anyway.  snake the replacement programmer is your basic first person shooter, the fairy godmother fan is a role player and social type, (sims and farmville, mario).

the boy puts piratesque things into the game levels, like hidden stashes and treasure maps, bolt holes, spy holes, black holes.  he bases his game on pirate principles (which are?) and on levels 3 and 4 he raids and steals, and when he gets to the mountain strongholds on level 4 it becomes institutionalized, with tribute from enderby.  when he comes to hell, level 6, he is a corporate raider, of course.  and his appearance at the gamburtsevs, for the showdown with the girl, he’s got on showy pirate gear.


but now his pirate ways, instead of being charming and roguish, are brutal and rapacious, causing misery everywhere he goes and leaving the population spitting at the mention of his name.  this is the bad side of piracy, where society finally gets organized to discourage pirates from attacking.  they never go away entirely because it’s such a part of human nature to want to take it all, but it can be minimized, and that’s what organized society is all about.  so it’s his atrocities that drive people to the girl’s side.

when they learned about the quantum world, they understood different things.  she understood that we are all one and that the important thing was to nurture and grow more connected.  but he went for the glitz, the magic of quantum physics, the power of controlling it.  he was enthusiastic when he came to cooperating with them, when they finally approached him.  he’d been thinking for some time about the uses of quantum physics, and had a lot of influence on the direction of their weapons lab.

when people begin to study magic, they’re usually looking to learn the secret powers.  but the whole point of studying these things is to learn mastery of your own self.  the secret powers are side effects, and not worth the bother.  that’s what they say.  the secret powers are really a trap.  and the boy will become trapped by it.

the girl, on the other hand, is trying to use quantum powers to help.  and this is actually the same trap as the boy falls into.  it’s actually an ego builder, and walls her off from the quantum source as much as the boy is walled off.  so they both have shedding to do, transformation.  she doesn’t just start out good and get holier.  her desire to help is from pain and fear, from whatever it was way in her past that taught her to fear.  and so it can’t turn out right.  she has to do the work on herself, not just the world.  so in the end her following is mawkish and self righteous and dogmatic, just like the boy’s following.  they are both sick of the whole edifice they’ve built and the trap it’s become.

and in this spirit they meet each other in the gamburtsevs, for that final showdown that will end the antarctic part of the game and let them go on to level !.

thinking about the characters

speaking with jim about my idea of character development in a fairy tale,  he agreed that the characters were one-dimensional, but once you get into saga myths – lord of the rings, or the story of joseph or any of the bible stories with one character after another, one generation after another doing their thing.  that’s the kind of story i’m trying to write, something very complex, where everybody changes.

i guess i’m just complaining.

the characters

thinking aloud here.

i have done practically no work at all on the characters in this story.  it’s almost as if the events were driving this story.  i have a boy and a girl.  i might use these as their names but for the recent publication of a novel with the characters guy and girl in it.  i’ve used thing 1 and thing 2 before as character names, but that’s just not right here.

a boy,

a girl,

kurt, the kernel programmer, named not only for the name itself but after an acquaintance (who gave me his old laptop) named kurt who was working on a quantum computer way back in 1998.

snake, the replacement programmer, named for his dominant character trait.

a female fan

a male fan?


this isn’t much.  the only thing i know for real is that the boy and girl are one.  that’s the message of the whole story, of course, and in the vision they have they end up being a single person.  and of course, i as the author am splitting myself into pieces in order to write these characters, so i’m really both the boy and the girl, and they are one person inside of me, the author (god).  but how does that help?

if the boy and girl are both me, then all i have to do is split myself into two characters.  and that’s completely reasonable, because there are a whole slew of people inside my personality.  but to be effective, i’m going to have to take the part of me that is most conflicted, and split that into two pieces.

so, one half of me is boisterous, outgoing, overly confident, take charge kind of person, a real evangelist for any cause i believe in.  the other half is timid, insecure, doesn’t want any notice.  so that’s not going to do, because neither half is well rounded enough to carry the part.

let’s work backwards.  what kind of people are they when they get to the seventh level of antarctica and stand against each other?  they’ve both grown to be powerful leaders, they both believe in the rightness of their position, they both think they’re the true upholders of their missions and the other is a sellout.

the boy is willful, tho.  he has done things his way the whole time, playing fast and loose with the rules, doing whatever is necessary to win.  he’s ruthless in his quest for power, but is kind and generous to those who support him without question.  he’s got a sneaky look in his eyes, he sizes people and situations up according to their weaknesses, and interacts with them according to their usefulness.  he’s pretty sociopathic, actually.  he’d love to be more sociable with others, he’d love to be lazy and hang around with his friends, but he is driven to be right, and his way of arguing is to bring out the big guns at the first sign of disagreement.

i’m actually modeling this character on a blend of men i have known; real assholes.  the worst of the men i’ve known.

they’ve all got good qualities – they’re most of them really smart, and they do a good job of protecting their loved ones (who are nevertheless prisoners).  and they seem really strong and powerful and right.  but underneath they’re scared little boys and are only putting on the strong and powerful thing so people will leave them alone.  and, really, their inner voice puffs them right up with how smart and powerful and wonderful, even how enlightened, how above it all, how perfected he is.  and he so believes it.  because the sycophants he surrounds himself with are only too happy to puff him up.  fluffers, really, the support system that enables him to go out in front of the cameras and give them the money shot.  in public they are careful to project a pride of association, and so his women have to be gorgeous, submissive, and gracious to all, while being obviously smitten with him.  in private he puts her down and abuses her emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, makes her feel stupid, makes her feel like she’d be nothing without him.

and i hate him already.  i don’t want to hate my character.  so i’m not going to do him this way.  besides, i got over hating this character when i wrote him as rick the prick in my last novel.

so let’s pick a working couple i know and try that on.  he’s outgoing, she’s retiring.  oh this is tiring already.

should i just pick two tarot cards and use them as templates?  should i cast a horoscope for them?

they start out as a couple, friends and lovers, and work together on the game, and learn quantum consciousness together, and are in fact entangled in a quantum way, so that they really are one, and can tell what the other is going thru even when they’re not together.  so neither wants to hurt the other except inasmuch as they hate themself.

he’s the one who insists on having pirates in the game, so he’s impulsive and headstrong.  and he’s the one that listens to them when they want to take the quantum kernel away, so he can be manipulated and led away from his goal.  he actively works against the principles of the game in the end, and choses the side of power all the way thru the game, even tho he knows that it’s the wrong choice given their quantum experience and the lessons they’ve been taught.

whereas she’s pretty boring about her duty.  she’s steadfast about spreading the game and achieving critical mass, and she doesn’t get swayed by the temptations of them.  she concentrates on creating power among, on building cooperation and a new society, on being a peacemaker.  so perhaps she’s a little sanctimonious.  and a bitch.  and she’s got a wicked sharp tongue and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks before she even knows she’s thinking it.  so she’s tactless.  and she’s pretty sure she’s right about her analysis, so she goes off half-cocked, tries to do everything herself, and irritates a lot of people who don’t see things the way she does, because to her this just means they’re slow, and she doesn’t have time to play catch up.  but she’s also unfailingly kind and generous, and does her best to compensate for her brusqueness by bending over backwards to empower others.  she sets things in motion and then backs off and lets others lead, preferring to work behind the scenes.  maybe like jacob she is afraid that he is going to hurt her, and tries to hide from him (esau), trying not to draw attention to herself.  which doesn’t work very well because they’re entangled.

as for the other characters, i have kurt the kernel programmer, and snake the replacement programmer.  kurt is so smart it’s painful, and so he doesn’t talk to people very much, and mutters and uses jargon when he does.  he’s not very sociable, not very neat, not very graceful, and he’s got issues with the amount of pharmaceuticals that he consumes regularly, some of which interact.  on the other hand, snake is meticulous, fashionable, polite, outgoing, talks a great game, and is upfront about what he wants out of life.  he’s also smart, but nothing like kurt (nobody is as smart as kurt, anywhere).  his smart is more wiley, outsmart, smartass, a knowitall smartypants.  just for the record, kurt is more like my ex, and snake is more like a cross between a neighbor and a friend who visits now and again.

then there’re the fans.  there are a bunch of them, but the one i’ve already thought of is the girl, who turns out to be some sort of offsetting character to snake.  where he’s sabotaging everything, she’s going around turning npcs into fairy godmothers.  both are comic foils for the boy and girl.  but i don’t really have a clue as to any others.

there’s the shadowy them, but they can remain shadowy.  the public figures can all be caricatures of public figures, mouthpieces.

in fairy tales, only the protagonist undergoes character development.  all the other characters are stock, and are only there to further the plot.  likewise here, but i need to flesh them out a good deal more because of all the work they’re going to have to do.  because the secondary characters are going to become very important when they’re all playing the game, and when the real world catches up to them.

obviously i’m not finished thinking the plot thru.  when i’m done i’ll have a good paragraph for every chapter, saying all the various things that will happen in that chapter.  when i get it this large, i’ll be saying things like how the boy feels, the little things that the supporting characters are doing, little gestures the girl makes; things that have to be included for the story to develop the way it needs to.  because if the boy is going to turn out to be an asshole serial abuser, then he’s got to become that from the fresh-faced dragoncon geek he starts as.  and this needs to be paced, placed, traced thru the story.

gee, what a job.  i sure hope i’m up to it.  of course, all i have to do is persevere, because then a miracle will happen.

act 3

back in the real world, the game hits and people love it.  tho it has no corporate backing, it goes viral.  music and fashions change and a distinctive culture grows up right away.  as the game grows, so do the boy’s ambitions.  he is both pope and king of this new quantum universe.  funny quantum things start happening in the real world.  the press picks up on it.  the right picks up on it.  there is an outcry.  quantum physics is demonized.  laws are passed, or brushed off and creatively applied.  demonstrations happen.  there is police brutality.  more people gather.  the boy feels dissed when the dominant culture brands him a devil.  the girl is focused on seeing the game to a position of self-sufficiency (critical mass) and doesn’t care, but the boy is looking to the future, and decides that he needs to take control of everything because of the threat from the dominant culture.

inside the game, lots of players are learning social movement and resistance skills, and more players are working their way to level ! and going off to create their own worlds and recruit their own players.  the outcry grows shriller and more frantic.  the repressions grow more brutal.  the crowds grow and grow.  quantum effects become more frequent.  more laws, more crowds, more riots, more disappearances.

the boy is approached by the other side and decides they can be used for his own ends, and cuts them in.  people use the skills they have been learning playing the game to change the standing of the people.  the dominant culture falls back in confusion, but come back with more force and repression, isolating the rebels and cutting off vital supply chains.

they start to dictate policy, the boy changes things in the game, altering rules and missions, twisting the lessons, identifying and capturing certain types of players.  he discovers the sabotage the replacement programmer inserted into the game and confronts him.  they join forces, blame the engine programmer for the sabotage and call into question the intent and purpose of the quantum kernel.

the girl stands up to him and throws him out, but she is too weak and disorganized, and he returns with backup, leading the call for the kernel’s confiscation because of its vast power, only to try and steal it himself, and in a struggle over a decoherence bomb, sets it off and destroys the original kernel.
the dominant culture is poised to deal the final blow to the resistance, cutting off all outlets, all communications, all supplies, all power, so there is no more game except on individual computers running on batteries or solar, because the internet itself has been shut down.

then a miracle happens.  the quantum effects keep happening in the real world.  the game’s internal communications structures are still intact, and people are still using the quantum skills they’ve developed, and still coming out in force.  but the perception of the masses has changed, and the powers of the dominant culture suddenly shatter because they’re emperor’s new clothes.  so the remains of the dominant culture squeeze itself into their gated communities and fight among themselves for limited resources while the new dominant culture enshrines the new institutions it has developed in response to the repression of the old order., and people quietly create the world they want to live in house by house.

and the story closes by letting the reader choose the ending.

author’s note: random bits

i’m working away on describing the video game i’m creating for this story.  and it’s so complex and so actively developing that i’ve gone thru all sorts of stages.  i just figure i’ll cut and paste a few paragraphs from the mess it’s currently in now.

so many things to think about.

you travel not by getting in a physical boat and rowing across the sea, because it’s a computer game after all and you can’t get wet. what you do is concentrate and move along a map, so you have this tiny boat icon and it traverses the map with sound effects – gulls and waves and creaking ropes, or horse hoofs and groaning boards, or crunching gravel or swishing grasses, all the sound effects of a varied world. then when you arrive at your destination, there’s a cut-scene showing a zoom into the map, establishment shots of the area you’re arriving in where you can hover and learn about the place, and then you’re down in the street. what powers the boat is your concentration, as well as the horse and cart or flying or whatever. the icon doesn’t move unless you will it.

how about walking around in the landscape? it’s not just a keyboard or joystick move. can we invent a glove that functions as your body, with feet and hands and your pinky for something else, like jumping, or speed? then people playing the game tap and rattle their fingers all the time. so for the mobile gamer, a pair of sunglasses with hud, a glove, and earbuds. and the game console, which is your online connection of choice.

you can walk around using your pointer and middle fingers, but you can also develop the skill of willing movement, which comes from your middle, and is expressed with the glove as a bowing forward, an extension of the wrist, a leading with the knuckles.

in the first two levels the boy and girl are keeping in touch because they’re testing and giving feedback, and their main concern is how the lessons work. they’re not caring about the details in the two levels, the two tutorial levels and they never care how many people understand the real work. their main care is for the real work, and they let everything else be player-driven or leave it up to the new programmer or a team of fans.

so they make it thru the two primer levels together. what diverges them? and what happens in the outside world when they enter antarctica? no, it starts in foggy level 3. as they learn how to shift the fog, there begin to be outgame effects. first seen in the clouds and rain, then in mirrors and glass, dust and wind, smoke and flame.

it’s when they start to learn how to affect the world that they diverge. she wants to use it for all good, he wants to use it for themselves. and when they land in antarctica, they are alone, and separately rescued by seals. they find each other in the settlement, and they could be on peninsula or marie byrd or ellsworth, or any of the small islands in the chain. how they get off is instructive. the boy goes off to fight the aliens in transantarctica, and becomes a pirate. the girl joins the crew of a ship and goes to ronne and the inland seas. then he goes around to martha and works his way down to dronning and becomes a warlord. then he goes to hell and becomes a captain of industry. she goes around to adelie (passing him) and becomes a healer, and to vostok and mary and up to hell thru elizabeth. in hell she helps organize the resistance. they meet again in hell.

someone turns the npcs into fairy characters. someone starts drilling in amery bay. someone builds that big city. was there supposed to be a city? they didn’t design one like what they found, but by the time they get there, the city is an inevitability. the civilization is actually developing as they play the game, altho they’re not directly responsible for building it. but as our attention broadens past the peninsula and archipelago these things appear.

at first there’s only rocks and what people can coax to grow by asking the fairies. they help the settlement grow, and at some crucial point of development they have contact with the outside world, and hear about new things.

the outside world is the next level of development, with farming and trading, or fishing and piracy. they work to build and grow this into networks and spheres of influence. at a crucial point they journey to another part and find new things.

warrior tribes with city-state strongholds and contested resources, versus cooperative farms and shared resources. at a crucial point, they go to the city.

hell city is full of businesses and corporations all out to win, versus masses of downtrodden people helping each other and finding ways to even wealth out.

this is a natural progression – within the plot of the story as well as the development of the game as well as the development of the conflict between the characters.

i’m going to need to describe his path as well as her path thru this level. and perspective from the other two (at least). maybe every character in the outside world has a counterpart in the game.

what’s a society predicated on quantum principles look like? it’s all relative, there’s no center of power. non-locality, interconnectivity, entanglement, discontinuity

players – at first the engine programmer who built the kernel. he’s still in there as an npc. then the boy and girl as creators of the game document. and the replacement programmer / mole. the players show off the features of the game, learn the lessons, practice the quantum exercises, experience the drama. so how many do we need? quantumly speaking we only need to do this once, but since there are multiple outcomes, we need more. both the boy and girl go thru to the end. the spy goes similarly to the boy but gets caught taking the dark side seriously. and we need a fan who is on the girl’s side but gets caught up in it.

antarctica changes over time, from a barren rock to a huge city, developing into all levels of subsistence in all areas of climate from desert to glacier. it develops as we follow the two players around in it.

he takes one route and she takes another. he’s going for power, trading, mineral, then financial and military. she’s going for community, connecting, sharing, healing, growing, song, story, helping, building, resisting. she naturally goes for the underclass, he hobnobs with powerful people. he likes things, she gives things away. the spy wants to conquer antarctica too, but goes around gaming the system. with the knowledge that you’re supposed to learn about quantum things, he invents a church of quantum that keeps quantum a secret and charges to tell people they’re unworthy, spreads intolerance of the open practice of dangerous powers, tries to suppress it. stays in this level of the game as the boss and tries to shut down the quantum stuff, but ends up in his own world as the game antarctica bounces back toward its created version.

you travel not by getting in a physical boat and rowing across the sea, because it’s a computer game after all and you can’t get wet.  what you do is concentrate and move along a map, so you have this tiny boat icon and it traverses the map with sound effects – gulls and waves and creaking roaps, or horse hoofs and groaning boards, or crunching gravel or swishing grasses, all the sound effects of a varied world.  then when you arrive at your destination, there’s a cut-scene showing a zoom into the map, establishment shots of the area you’re arriving in where you can hover and learn about the place, and then you’re down in the street.  what powers the boat is your concentration, as well as the horse and cart or flying or whatever.  the icon doesn’t move unless you will it.

author’s note: antarctica map

another map.  this time with rivers.  so many things to consider when making a world.  like where are the people going to live?  if you were designing a world, where would you put the population centers?  on the first map i made a stab at it, but you’ve got to look at the elevations and the rivers and how deep the ports are going to be, and whether the land is going to rise or sink and whether your area will silt up or flood.

all these various parts of antarctica will be drastically different from each other, even tho they’ll all be subject to long dark winters, and the most temperate part of the place will be the northern fringes, especially the peninsula.

so even tho everyone except the plains tribes will fish and farm and raise ruminant animals and build houses of wood, they’ll all have pretty much the same resources.  except for there’s coal in transantarctica, and oil and gas in the inner part of the ross sea and amery bay.

i haven’t yet found names for the seas around adelie, or the inner sea, and indeed haven’t come up with a name for the inner ross sea.  these will come as i consult more maps, or better yet make things up.

some thoughts on the process of writing this.

i’ve only been at it officially for about 3 weeks, and i’ve done tons of research in all the various topics this story will address – antarctica, the occupy movement, quantum physics, video gaming.  it’s exhausting, but i bound out of bed in the morning just thinking about it.  and it’s all coming together, but what a mass of details i have to master in order to write about it with any kind of sense at all.

the stuff i’m putting up on this blog about the plot is basically my first thoughts.  you’re actually seeing some of this as it comes out of my head (author’s notes) and you’re seeing the plot as it gets worked out.  but this is such a strange story that it can’t really be presented straightforward.

it’s a quantum story, and everything happens at once.

it’s more important to follow the principles of quantum mechanics in building the story than it is to follow a timeline, because in quantum physics there is no time.  it all happens simultaneously, and it’s our focus that determines the apparent time stream.

so, for instance, in the game.

the game is giving me fits.  because it’s a massively multiple game, for millions of simultaneous players around the globe, and there are very few rules about what you can and can’t do in the game.  the only limitations are within you the player.  so i’m having to construct a video game.

i don’t even play video games anymore.  i stopped with leisure suit larry and jazz jackrabbit and myst.  so i had to learn about game programming.  and game level design.

that’s why i love the library.  and internet search engines.

back to the game.  i’m in the middle of constructing the game document, the written description of the game and all its salient points.  but this game isn’t one long tunnel to the end that can be described by ‘and then, you…’  because at each turn you can do fucking anything you like.  there is no one path, or one right answer, or even a best path or answer.  because the outcome of the game depends entirely on you the player.  and you can spend all the time you want playing your own version of the game, and never once address the game’s actual purpose.

the game’s actual purpose is to teach you the player how to function in a quantum world, how to master the art of quantum thinking, and how to create the world you want to have.

which is a tall order, i know.  but not impossible.  in fact, it’s quantumly inevitable.

up until yesterday i was going to have the tester play the game.  in the beginning i was going to have ‘people’ play the game, but i realized that it wouldn’t be consistent enough unless it was one character.  one guy playing from start to finish.  but i can’t do that, because there are so many possibilities for the game that to track one would only give you the barest idea of the potential of the game.

and then there’s the interaction between the boy and the girl.  the two who had the quantum experience that started it all.  i need for their relationship to develop thru the whole story, and can’t take that much time off to have some third party play the game without them.

so they have to be playing the game.  both of them in there making unique decisions, having an entirely different game experience, learning different things.  that way i can have more experience and more choices and two branching paths.

and i will need others playing the game, filling other roles, showcasing other possibilities, developing other skills and other versions of the game.

so i’ve got to have a passel of characters.

kernel programmer
replacement programmer

that’s all i have so far.  them is rather nebulous, but at this point everybody is an npc to me, because i’m just laying them out.  when it comes time to write them they’ll become people.  their states will be chosen by being observed, and they’ll appear as they are in the story.

i could do it that way.  just materialize them into the story.  but it won’t make sense, so i’ll give them backstories and real pivotal roles in the story.  because there are so many damn crises that it’s not funny.

the talents are developed by playing over and over, until thinking quantum becomes a habit.  but in the story, we only need to play the game once, because it’s a quantum game.  the act of the boy and girl playing the game is the same thing, quantumly, as the universe of players playing a million times each.

and that’s where it gets mystical.

how the hell can i write this?  it’s already too complex and it’s only going to get more entangled as i figure it out and the pieces fall together.

but i can’t stop because the pieces are falling together.  the whole thing makes sense, and each part enriches the other, so i know i’m on the right track.  and my little voice is jumping up and down.

antarctica and a video game
quantum physics and the occupy movement

what have they got in common?

the links between quantum physics and the occupy movement are obvious to me.  horizontal organization and bottom up politics is very like quantum physics, but at the moment i’m having trouble saying why.  it’s very obvious in my head, however.  that’s the challenge.  how to make all this into a simple fairy tale, how to find the places where all these things intersect and describe that.

okay, time for dinner.  i just wanted to set down some of the process i’m in now.  i’m still trying to work thru the game and describe it, just taking one path and following it, even tho that’s against the spirit of quantum mechanics (multiple paths), just to get it written down so i can go on to the next part, which is the reaction of the outside world to the game, the actual action, and the real crisis.  but i’ve got to get thru scene 2 before i move to scene 3 or there’ll be hell to pay.

and it’s not like the scenes will be run one after the other, either.  there won’t be a break to go play the game and then come back to the real world.  the three scenes will be all tangled up, as is quantum mechanics, and it’ll take a better storyteller than i to put it together.

which is why i’m letting the fairies write this one.

notes on a fairy tale

what does the present look like when seen from the future?  if the struggle is never over, if the arquillian battle cruiser is always fixing to destroy the arth, then what does it look like when the fight has shifted and the reality is different?  at this moment, when the masses rise against oppression.

jim pointed out this morning that it’s a hundred years since the beginning of the socialist revolution.  for awhile, thru the ’30s, socialism was a real force, and then it was stamped out?  no, a war came and shifted the battle.

and when the focus shifted, you had the socialist countries of europe.  and of those sweden etcetera still practice socialist principles, but most slipped towad the american model of private for-profit corporations running everything, while the governements made noises to pease the masses.  in america they encouraged ‘exceptionalism‘ and consumerism and brand democracy, but led the world in the concentration of wealth.

everywhere corruption has been rewarded and backed by military might.  but after 30 years in power the autocratic regimes toppled in the name of freedom, and are in the process of trying to wrest control from the militaries who still hold power.  finally it is obvious that the leaders are interchangeable puppets of the military.  who are the hired thugs of the corporations.

in response to this realization, that the 1% are hoarding and all the fear-based attitudes, unofficial organization begins going around them and gathering what they need themselves.  it starts casually, with the occupy camps organizing food and shelter, hospitals and schools and libraries, then networking thru local suppliers.

the difference is the flatness, no heirarchy.  this makes everyone responsible.

but i don’t want to document it.  i’m not the historian.  i just want to write the fairy tale.  once upon a time, these kids found a magic – a quantum – box, and opened it.

what’s quantum about the occupy movement?  it doesn’t follow the laws of classical physics.  it’s magical thinking.  create the world you want to live in.  where the individual observer – consciousness – directly causes the world we experience to exist.  where the key to change is consciousness.  where the key is to make a critical mass of consciousness.

critical mass consciousness

so what i want to do is to help raise mass consciousness, spread quantum thinking.

what is quantum thinking?  magical realism.  knowing that thought is power, emotion is a tool, consciousness is god.

the people who don’t agree with the ‘occutards‘, the tea partiers, the xians, it’s not that they don’t understand that we all have the same grievances, it’s that they have a different strategy to solve the problem and a different set of things to blame.  and they’re dead set against whatever we stand for.  are they against us because we’re liberal or because we’re not just like them, or how different can you be from them before they call you an occutard?

they’re very contemptuous of us.  we’re very contemptuous of them.  but they’re wrong and we’re right.

and so everybody says the same things about the other side.  and feels contempt.  and superior.  and all those other ugly emotions. which makes them all wrong, because if you have contempt in your heart then you don’t have love.

florence scovel shinn. updated.  funy and profane and biting.

so where is the error of the conservatives?  that THEY’re out to get them.  but so do they all believe, liberals also.  they’re all operating under fear.  and hatred.  so they won’t do good things.

harnessed, hate and anger can chop a lot of firewood, but used badly sews discord and increases hatred.  it’s necessary to act out of love, to create the world you want to live in.


the story follows a bunch of idealistic young dragoncon geeks, as they learn how to think quantum and help spread the new consciousness thru stories, games, fashion, diet, music, art,  language, even a new religion and political party.

so what kind of world is it?  outsourcing has to stop, since that is the pursuit of cheap labor for profit, and just exploits the 99%.  so things are made locally, but sold globally.  taxes go to feed and clothe and house and heal everybody and not to the army.  living wage.  no for-profit human services.

the argument against this – it kills competition, if the state regulates how much lawyers and doctors and employees make, which violates capitalism.  but capitalism depends on cheap materials, this means labor costs, which perpetuates a servant class.  so we need an economic system that is flat.  without classes of different function / rewards.

flat economics.
local / global.
one phone one vote.

how do you reform the political system?  revolution.  or law by law, a little at a time or al  at once.  progressively.  from small centers, each addressing one issue – food, health, infrastructure.  so what does a quantum government look like?  legislation can be introduced by any citizen.  everyone has an equal voice in lobbying.  money has to be taken out of the equation.  religion and money corrupt.

religion and money corrupt.

because they’re fear based?  because they lead to concentrations of power.  religion is the concretization of belief and action.  money is the concentration of wealth, the material.  so thought and things.  control of thought, control of things.  controlling thru fear of loss and the other is just a basic tool.

religion and money are both abstractions of abstractions, and therefore ripe for creative interpretation.

the problem with the politics of the present (for the past hundred years) is that the cream sinks to the bottom and the scum rises to the top – the worst psychopaths run things.  you can see this as a progression in the communist model, from lenin to trotsky to stalin, and finally regime change when the old bastard died.

the new world needs new tools.  not fear and hatred, zero sum games, enemies trying to destroy us.

the cultural norm is smoke and mirrors.  wealth is ephemeral and causes unhappiness. religions are full of old ideas, received wisdom, tradition. people assign religion their authority – they place their faith in it and do what it tells them.

visionaries are the most dangerous.  they obey different rules and the powers that be are afraid of them.

pirate map

whenever i think about a pirate story, i think about maps.  old maps, drawn with ink on parchment, with unknown places illustrated fancifully.  a map is necessary for many kinds of stories, and this story is rapidly approaching the fantasy genre, which would in fact require a map.

but not a regular historical map.  i want a fantastic caribbean, something in between what sailors knew about the waters they sailed in in the 16th and 17th centuries, and what we know now with google earth and disney animation.

so i was reading michael crichton’s posthumous novel about pirates, and it has a nice map of the caribbean in the endpaper.  i was thinking about drawing the negative space of the map, that is, drawing the water, and doing strange things with the features of the area, like number and placement of islands.  my mind began to work, and for several days i’ve been obsessed with the caribbean, even to the point of looking at real estate in the tropics.  i also admit to a certain fascination with google earth, and have been spending a lot of time cruising around looking at shorelines and natural ports (and never mind the cities that have grown up around every one).

the sargasso sea, where since the middle ages there’ve been tales of ships lost and ghost ships.  yes, way before the same region became knows as the bermuda triangle.  gotta have that, just thought i’d put it in while i was thinking about it.

this is an early map (early 1500s) showing the caribbean islands all out of proportion to their actual size, but reflecting the importance to the early explorers.  they knew of rich lands to the south of the islands (quick thinking on the part of the natives) and to the west, but at this point they still thought china was just over the horizon.

i like this map because it doesn’t show anything beyond the coast of south america.  hispaniola is the center of this area, and altho they’ve got the coast of venezuela, colombia, panama, and on up into the gulf and then up the eastern seaboard, these are all sketchy details, as if the islands were the important feature of this particular universe.

this one also shows huge islands and tiny continents.  look, you can see both right and left coasts of the u.s.

and these days, who can do without google earth?  even movies are using it, the news, the weather, kids’ films.  yay.  wish i’d bought google stock back in the day.  so i’m like sitting on google earth looking at my caribbean, where my pirate novel will be set.  and i’m thinking that the caribbean that’s sticking in my mind, my dream caribbean, if you will, the caribbean i would go hang out in while dreaming at night.  my caribbean is more like the old maps, where you don’t care what’s past the coast, and all you’re really interested in is the island chain, and the places you can get to by boat.

now, i’ve got to say i’ve always been interested in antarctica, too. i wanted to go on the nsf artist and writer’s residency, boy oh boy, but because i’m totally unknown as an artist, and because i’ve had cancer, they wouldn’t want to approve my application, so i just haven’t bothered.  but that doesn’t mean i haven’t spent a great deal of time fantasizing about it.  i blame kim stanley robinson.

i’ve always been interested in questions of extremity.  for example, what if all the ice were to melt off of the continent of antarctica?  what if there were a physical polar shift, such that antarctica was now in the tropics?  and what would be the new poles?  turns out the new poles would be anywhere i wanted them to be (i mean, anywhere they ended up), because i can set antarctica

(and thus the north pole (here’s what greenland would look like without ice.  it’d be ferociously fertile; make a great jungle in fact))

at the equator and spin the google planet around on its axis running thru loads of other-than-traditional pairs of points.  like, i could make the north pole run thru the northeastern part of the united states.  i could make the middle east the south pole.  politically, that would tend to stifle the energies of these rather warlike countries.  as would putting europe flat on the equator stifle their energies.  cultures do better, speaking economically, industrially, when they’re in the mid latitudes, around 40-60 degrees.  so in order to have anything much happen to antarctica, you’d have to physically move it into at least the temperate zones.  i’m just saying.

when you strip off all the ice, you get a nice little group of islands, rather than a continent.

the northwestern arm is the antarctic peninsula, and adjoins the tip of south america.  look at those adorable bays and those fierce mountains.  wouldn’t this make a great map for a fantasy novel?  and when you add the islands that lie outside the antarctic landmass(es), you get a nice bunch of really great islands that absolutely nobody lives on now except for a few shepherds and a military outpost or two.

the south shetlands are so near to the antarctic peninsula as to be part of it, so of course nobody lives there.  at the moment it’s cold and stormy most of the time.  penguins and climatologists.

the south orkneys are a little balmier, the south sandwich  islands are warmer still, and then there’s south georgiaand the falklands where people actually live.

i like the idea of putting antarctica in the tropics.  there’s this cool archipelago between the antarctic peninsula and the tip of south america, called the scotia sea.  it curves out and around, and makes a nice basin, fringed with islands.

cool islands.  the south sandwich islands

and this is the scotia sea basin.  you can see the falkland islands plainly, the south orkneys are the white slash to the east, at the beginning of the curve south.  the south sandwich islands are along the easternmost curve of the chain, and running along the southern edge to the west are the south shetlands.  altogether a lovely bunch of islands.

and in case you missed my point, i find these two areas to be quite similar.  so, what would happen if a comet hit the earth and put the scotia sea at about 20 north latitude, and what if it dried up alot of the oceans’ water, whereupon the landmass south of the scotia sea would rise up and become continental, and the landbridge between south america and antarctica would emerge.  you wouldn’t believe how much like the pacific northwest the pacific southwest looks.

there.  a bunch of islands, wonderful places for piracy.  and it would be awhile before civilization got to that point, and with similar scientific and technical advances.  what a great idea for a book.  copyright 2010.

our heroine

when she was little, she had a pirate flag hung over her bed.  a real pirate flag, from a famous pirate’s ship (calico jack, perhaps), fresh as the day it was struck from the mast.  the sight of it over her bed always gave her a little thrill.  later, the sight of anything vaguely resembling her flag (a plate of chicken bones, crossed anything on black) made her edgy and adventurous.

what was it like growing up in a theme park?  the parents with their arcane interests and boring meetings, making a mockery of their glorious past in order to shill the tourists, while the kids her age were the only ones who took their pirate heritage seriously, layering real skullduggery with the cute fuzzy costumes they had to wear to charm the babies.

sometimes the only one she could talk to was Wallace the Talking Ape, a curiosity they’d picked up years ago after a storm.  all sorts of things washed up onto the island after a storm.  strange things.

she was one of the older kids, she and another boy led all the explorations and practice raids, and all the younger kids turned to her.  she still wasn’t sure what the adults were up to, but it was something odd and maybe dangerous, and she was determined to discover their secret.

the talking ape

they’re not sure if he’s wise because he wont talk around most people.  but if you bug him he’ll tell you, ‘eat me’.  they assume he’s wise, because he looks wise.  it’s his eyes.  wise eyes.

sorry.  he’s inscrutable, like an old buddhist monk.  so everyone takes his every gesture as meaningful.  but are they just gullible?

our heroine knows his story.  he came with her from the island and they’ve banded together.  he’s actually from the future, where they’ve been messing around with primate dna and produced an ape who could talk.  they enhanced certain other abilities, too, starting with his mental capacity.  not sure why they did it, but it would dictate what they actually did.  anyway, he got sucked into the bermuda triangle, too, washed up on the island, and found the cenote, and popped out in an age where they’d as soon as eat an ape as laugh at its idea of fashion sense.  they shave him in order to disguise him.  our heroine has to be a transvestite to operate in the 17th century; and so does our talking ape.

this is i suppose a direct ripoff of planet of the apes.

  • i need to research planet of the apes
  • apes vs gorillas to see which one i’m really talking about
  • what it looks like when you shave an ape’s face
  • the geography of the caribbean island
  • the geography of the bermuda triangle
  • cenotes

my heroin(e)

a word about my lead character.  it’s a girl, and she’s a lot like suzie in my second unpublished novel, splat.  she’s a 20-something punk girl who’s had her brush with trouble and is tired of it, but can’t seem to settle down, and finds herself being a modern day pirate of a sort.  she comes from a long line of outlaws, bandits and pirates, and there’s a tradition she follows,  a code she tries to uphold, family expectations she tries not to disappoint.

and then she or someone very like her appears in caribbean history as a notorious female pirate, with a posse of dedicated buccaneers, and leaves a trail of glory and adventure.

* * *

or else, if i could pull it off, i’d want to do a dynasty, starting with grace o’malley, and going down thru the 150 years of piracy on the spanish main, and then down to this day, where a tribe of pirates carries on the ancient traditions in the 21st century.  a dynasty of pirate queens.

that’s just what i’ve had come to consciousness in the few weeks i’ve been thinking about this story.  there will be much more, and in little bits and pieces.  but i already know her character at the start of the story.

how about cartoon characters?

i was sleeping this morning, dreaming of a bunch of animals sitting around in a small room, talking.  an ape or gorilla, dogs, cats, a rat, smartass birds.

watching this dream, i began to think of my characters as animals, as an animated story.  but as i came more awake i started to think about just having a couple of animal characters on board?

the ape would be really handy in the rigging.  and you might as well recruit the rats who live onboard all ships.

so how do we come by an ape?  captured by slavers on the east coast of africa and shipped over as a slave.  currently working for the spanish as a diver.  dresses, acts just like the men, nobody ever tries to get a word out of him.  they call him tarzan once he comes aboard the pirate ship.

but how come they talk?  is this like an animated cartoon in that all the characters talk, and to each other?  are we supposed to blink once when the animals have something to say, and then accept it as normal?  or is some magic required, a spell perhaps?  feh.  how about some futuristic device for giving animals speech?  some universal translator, something like the dog collars in up.  eck.

it seems every wrinkle i think up is doomed to obscurity.  but that’s because i’m only starting to think up characters.

when i get them all together, then it’ll really be ridiculous.  a female buccaneer, a modern girl transported back, an ape.  that’s a good start.