Due to a happy coincidence of timing, I got the next TWCD chapter published as well as Xabiar’s new Citadel Files : Military out the door today.
We are having a PV-RPG session today from 2 PM to 6 PM CST, which will result in that being put into an online chapter along with Bright’s next happy discoveries.
I’m also in the process of getting bids and estimates for the next set of artwork, as well as waiting for my Patreons to determine what oneshots they want to see. Later on this month we’ll start to see more of the stories from the Fanfic WriteCon showing up as well.
It has been an interesting month, in the Chinese sense of the word.
Due to work events, I have not been as productive as I would like, but I have managed to overhaul the Patreon stuff and get some organizational work accomplished on things in the background.
The next TWCD chapter is mostly done — about 70% of it is with the Editing Gang, I just need to put the final few pieces together. The outline for the chapter after that is coming along…slowly.
I put out a Naruto chapter a few days ago due to insomnia, I will probably do more as I hit bits of writer’s block here and there. The first few entries for the PV WriteCon are coming in and I will set up a page to display those here very soon.
There’s also some new art that’s been completed, Uressa T’Shora is finally done:
Work has not really improved. Things have become… messier in the real world. The issue with Coronavirus, protests, climate issues, and the rest of things feels disconnected from ‘life’ when you are basically super-isolating yourself from others. There are always challenges to overcome, but each one feels less and less like ‘accomplishment’ and more and more like an endurance time trial.
(Warning: Rant below)
That being said, I’d like to take a few moments to address a common theme I’ve been seeing and hearing in regards to all kinds of things; namely, intolerance to those who disagree. It’s an insidious poison, one that makes anything that doesn’t fit your filters just get ignored, and blinds many people to reality.
This is not limited to any one group. I have no ‘formal’ political affiliation that makes sense, given my views are mishmash of hard left, hard right, and draconian. But I always, always try to take the time to listen to people who disagree, or who have mindsets different than mine. And what I find is that most people I know are doing the opposite: refusing to listen to anything from anyone who is not in agreement with their own views… regardless of the validity of said views.
You see it everything now, from left to right wing, from various interest groups and blocs, from fans on shows to people discussing what should be hard science. We have now come to a point where facts, discourse and compromise are less important than irrelevant shit like ‘purity’, ‘wokeness’, ‘patriotism’, or whatever the fuck other whack-ass bullshit drives any particular brand of wonkery.
“Well that’s great, you senile old bitter bastard, what the fucking duck does that have to do with the fanfic stuff?” I’m glad you asked.
Ironically, my fic started as me venting negativity to get it out of my system, and now I realize I was actually not negative enough to match reality.
The Earth went to shit in the Days of Iron in my fic because people took a hard-line stance on everything and doubled down on Fuck You Syndrome. People wanted ‘strong leaders’ but no longer trusted government. Wars erupted not over real problems but over the egos of their nation’s leaders. Resources were ruined and destroyed rather than shared because by then people had convinced themselves that anything not from their nation was evil.
When I wrote that outline of the future, back in 2012, I was bitter and depressed at the death of my wife. I was upset because Barrack Obama was wasting political capital on projects I knew full well would not work out due to political infighting. I was somewhat negative on my views of the future.
But in my wildest, most fucked up nightmares induced by drinking Jack Daniels and eating cheese pizza after midnight, never did I imagine anything like what I set forth in a Series of Sorrows Unending would ever come to pass.
We live in a world where the Wheeze is real (COVID-19), and even worse than I set it out to be.
We live in a world with worse climate change conditions than I set up, with 100f + temperatures in Siberia and massive wildfires in Australia, and that if we had any kind of nuclear exchange as in the Days of Iron would actually be WORSE than my depiction. If all the carbon locked up in tundra lets go, the sea level rise would drown billions.
We live in a world where the structure of transnational cooperation is not only frayed but is basically destroyed, where the UN is increasingly seen as a laughingstock with countries like Uganda and North Korea on the Human Rights council and its toothless peacekeeping forces helpless to stop ethnic cleansing in Myamar, China, and elsewhere.
We live in a world where the power of the rich and influential is so much stronger than it was just a decade ago, where already we see the rich talking about orbital stations and moon colonies. We live in a world where the rich are idolized and all that drives people is status and money and goddamned Twitter followers.
We live in a world where actual achievement is sneered at, and where fucking participation alone is supposed to be worthy of appreciation, where scientists and artists are backed not due to the brilliance of their creation but if they are black or lesbian or whatever.
I set out to make a Days of Iron that was supposed to be ridiculous and over the top, because of course no one wanted rich autocrats to rule them, or to have draconian laws, or to start world war III over petty shit.
Now, standing on the cusp of what is a nightmare given flesh and form, my own words mock me. And the shape of what has transpired is because we no longer take the time to listen to those who disagree.
Instead, people define everything in their life by what separates them — race, sexual orientation, gender definition, political affiliation, belief in pseudoscience — and then get offended when others judge them based on what they define themselves by.
We now live in an era where science, common sense, and generosity are not only ignored but openly mocked, where virtue signaling is more important than empirical data, where ‘critical thinking’ is actually being derided and instead people cling to horoscopes, numerology, or (God give me strength) fucking homeopathic crystals.
A lot of people have said “OSABC is too depressing and grimdark things would never turn out that way on Earth”. And they are right, things are turning out worse. Victor was a monster but at least he was competent and had a certain level of grace and pity. I doubt very strongly any of our leaders, potential leaders, or corporate CEO’s have his level of vision.
A lot of people have said they don’t like ‘reading depressing things because I want to escape from that’. And this is why the entire fucking planet is going to shit. Because people can’t be bothered to spend two hours doing Meals on Wheels. Or skip playing CoD to work at a soup kitchen. Because people don’t want to deal with ‘bad things’ and ‘depressing things’.
Well, folks…that is how you get to the Days of Iron, basically. By ignoring the reality going on around you, and by pretending it will all be okay, until you wake up one morning and discover everything isn’t okay. For some people, that is happening right now, with COVID, or with drastic temperature changes. For a lot of others, it hasn’t happened yet.
But it will, and by then it will be far too late to do anything about it. I’m aware that almost everyone reading this is probably feeling like you have no power.
I reiterate the wisdom of Benezia T’Soni, which someone recently reminded me of myself, that when it comes to changing anything, you always have to start from zero, and that any increment is progress. That is true in both regards. If you work towards change, even if you do nothing but improve a single person’s life for a few hours…that is still improvement.
And the flip side of that is that lack of trying, of telling yourself you don’t matter, that you can’t fix it, that it is not even worth trying, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy if enough people buy into it. If you let yourself be neutralized by despair, then you add one more tally stone to the stack of shit already tipping us towards the abyss.
Or, in other words…no single raindrop blames itself for the flood.
The coronavirus shares several frightening characteristics with a theoretical flu variant call the Wheeze I came up with for the backstory of PV Earth, a virus that killed tens of millions of people and was one of the key factors in shattering world civilization into the mess that became the Days of Iron. As several other factors in my work have also come to pass, I begin to grow worried.
That being said, I am a paranoiac and disaster prepper anyway, so this outbreak hasn’t affected me much IRL. I already have high quality filters for my air, lots of toilet paper, MRE’s, canned goods, and the like. And I had a stack of N95 masks and surgical gloves after the SARS outbreak that are still here. I am able to work from home and my company is deeply involved in shipping medical supplies and food. Given the importance we have I am unlikely to lose my job.
I haven’t gotten much writing done, mainly because I’m having some blocks on the next main chapter, but also because my work schedule is chaotic. Our company lost our disaster response team so I’m part of a rotating on-call 24/7 response group. Yesterday, I worked from 5 AM to 2 PM, got 3 hours sleep, worked from 5 PM to 9 PM, got three hours sleep, and then again from 9 to almost 6 AM today. This erratic pattern doesn’t allow for good introspection.
I do have some updates, however. Thanks to the efforts of the Patreon donators, we have new art of Shepard — specifically, her attire at her wedding and a close up of the Star of Terra.
Right now, the current plan for the fic is as follows:
Side Piece work — tech guide on battle suits, finish refurbishing the Order of Battle Document, and rework a few things in the Biotic Encyclopedia
Finish next main chapter of TWCD
Put out chapter of Lions
Put out chapter of Alliance News Network interviews — Anderson
Beyond that… I dunno. This virus is a scary thing, but so is what it is doing to society, to economy, and to the lives of the poor and without resources. My work at my company is literally saving lives so for the moment I am more focused on that. On the other hand, with everyone shut in and isolating, I know a distraction is valuable, and I have certainly not forgotten any of you.
Feel free to email (firstname.lastname@example.org), PM in FFN, DM on Discord or comment here if you need to discuss anything, need advice or want to ask a question. Please stay safe. Please self-isolate and don’t take stupid chances, this thing is containable if we just all act intelligently.
I am satisfied with this 26k chapter. Have a wonderful new year and let’s hope 2020 is better than 2019. MAJOR thanks to the Editing Gang for pulling together and getting this one out the door, and with the suggestions that made the re-write work.
So, the good news: the new chapter is with the Editing Gang and should be out by next weekend (unless a rewrite is needed.)
Bad news: As it stands, it ends on a cliffhanger.
I need to write the Shepard-Liara scene, but I want to do it the right way, since it is going to be a critical thing. And as I may have pointed out before I am not a female so I want advice and feedback on how to proceed before I do so.
The semi-good news is I will try to have that chapter done before Christmas. We’ll see.
The next chapter of TWCD just went to the Editing Gang.
I haven’t written much (and thrown out a lot of what I have written) due to some issues: back pain, wrist pain, the same old shit.
It has occurred to me I’ve been working on this mess since 2012, which is impressive in how lazy I am. I already talked about this in another message, but I’ve gotten PM’s asking if I’m alive and what not.
There’s times I just don’t write, and I should probably drop messages here more often but… a lot of times when I get home, I just want to decompress.
Anyway. The Editing Gang says the chapter sucks even more than the last one, so no telling when they’ll get done fixing it. I’ll see if I can get one more out the door before October.
Admist all the chaos of this year I let myself fall out of the habit of updates.
Given TWCD hasn’t updated since February, and since I just finished up the climax of the Angstrofuck of Doom tonight, I thought an update would be in order.
Progress of the main fic: The next chapter is (finally) done, although of a monstrous size — very close to 30k in word length. The chapter after that is mostly fleet battles, reactions and aftermath, and the one after that is mostly positioning for the assault on the Shadow Broker.
After that is another few chapters on findings, the Citadel Council, and Shepard employing Jack Harper levels of sneak and snark. Then shit goes completely off the canon rails once and for all.
Progress of the side fics: Work is continuing on the krogan and volus pieces by other authors. I am in the process of gathering up what I need for the drell. I have all the stuff I need for vorcha, and the yagh, well… we’ll have to see.
After a couple of more updates to the Special Ops guide, once these races are done the Cerberus Files will (finally) be complete, except for the human one which has two more chapters.
I plan to finish up the Encyclopedia Biotica, the Tech Guide, and Ahern’s Guide after that. Once those are wrapped up I can work on Lions.
As usual Naruto fics aren’t officially on the schedule for years yet, although I will do sporadic updates.
Other issues: work is taking up more of my time as we have more contracts now (Comcast, Charter, Nike, and two more I can’t say anything about). Things are somewhat calming down, but they’re doing another set of reorganizations. While these reorgs won’t target my people or business unit, they are affecting the teams that provide support, DBAs and assistance to our team, so it will make things harder in the short term.
My health is… fair. My knee is beginning to cause me problems (I hurt it twenty years ago, when I was in the Navy, along with my back) and I’ve started using a cane when doing my walking exercise. My back is behaving itself — a few times it has hurt a little or felt stiff, but it went away.
My mother’s health is stable.
My finances are not so hot. I’ve had a rash of appliance issues and other problems this year already, not to mention issues with my car. This is the first time in my life I’ve carried more debt than I can simply pay off without ramifications and I find I dislike the experience intensely. I’ll wait and see what happens as the year develops after reviews are done — a raise would help.
Status of the Editing Gang: The EG seems to be doing well, although several of them are having issues (health, financial, mental, or punctuation insanity related) of their own. We haven’t put together a new crackfic eruption yet but give it time. Our listed specializations now include :
particle and spatial physics
chemistry (inorganic and some organic)
metallurgy and ballistics
psychology (aberrant and clinical)
medicine (from an actual doctor, not a hack like me)
Patreon and Art Efforts:
So far the Patreon is much appreciated and we are on target for all three of the quoted prices for the main art pieces this year:
1) An image of Shepard facing down Tetrimus at Ilium
2) An image of Tazzik, in the same detail as Tetrimus
3) Line art facials for five or six original characters as well as some canon immigrants (Rasa, Brooks, Pel, Kai Leng, and Ezno).
The original fiction is on hold, but the money has already been invested in the software, research books, and equipment I need to produce and if needed self-publish it. I don’t have a good ETA when I’ll restart it, but if I can get things steady I can give a shot at it by next year.
As always, if you have questions or concerns you can reach me by :
Messages here or on the forums
PM on Fanfiction.net LogicalPremise
Email (viley at att dot net)
Our official discord
I am giving serious thought to a subreddit, although I certainly won’t be the one setting it up or administering it.
Thank you all for your messages of support and the next chapter will be out as soon as the Editing Gang removes all the pieces I fucked up and makes it all shiny and chrome.