October 2017 Archives

When we meet her at the beginning of The Man From Empire, Grace is 28 years old. She is five foot four, roughly 145 pounds, with medium brown skin, brown eyes and dark brown, almost black shoulder length hair. She's on the chubby side, not fit. She calls herself a couch potato, from studying for her biochemistry degree and working full time. She is youngest of five children, four girls and one boy. Even though she has a wild history, she is a bit of an introvert, driven by the realization she's wasted several years of her life and wants to focus on finishing college and starting her career. She's trying to prove to herself she's grown up now, by the standards of her Mexican family's upbringing. She's above average smart but no genius and she knows it. Sometimes she gets by in her studies by sheer dogged determination. Right now, she has very little social life, mostly visits with family, most importantly her parents and her oldest sister. She is specifically NOT a fan of science fiction.

Grace Quote Number One:
If you know Mexican families, there really isn't any response to the husband and children thing unless you've got the ring and at least a child on the way. That didn't keep me from trying, "Mama, you've got fifteen grandchildren already. Peter is almost my age and sure looks serious about that new girlfriend of his." Peter had finished his MBA the previous summer and Mama couldn't be more proud. He wasn't making much yet, but he did have a good job putting his degree to work. She crowed over him for a couple minutes, and let me get off the phone.

Grace Quote Number 2
As he had responded to my last, I realized I had made a real mistake that caused him to drastically lower his opinion of me. And I was more certain all the time that I wanted his good opinion. "I'm sorry. Yes, I think we do, but evidently I'm not one of them." I saw his point perfectly, intellectually. It's just that it's damned hard to imagine someone who'd jump into a hole like that, with risk like that on a moment's notice, simply because it was necessary or expected under the circumstances. It would be necessary to change some of my most basic thinking. "Yet," I added, chastened.

Guardian: Originally a natural state (inoperant) human who undertook an exhaustive course of study and physical preparation intended to prepare them to compete with operants. Now generalized to include various level of operant. Modern usage for natural state humans who qualify via the traditional means is First Order Guardian, but almost nobody bothers with the full course.

Second Order Guardian: born natural state human who has become operant and qualified to a minimum basic level in all operant disciplines including teleportation. As knowledge has expanded and new ways of using operant disciplines more efficiently have been discovered, current operants are all strong enough to learn to teleport. By far the largest group of operants, numbers-wise, well over half of the total number.

Third Order Guardian: born operant to operant parents who has qualified to a minimum basic level in all operant disciplines including teleportation. Being born operant in this fashion is an advantage over Second Order Guardians, but not an insurmountable one. A little more than one sixtieth of the Imperial population.

Fourth Order Guardian: second power tier (counting up) of natural state humans who become operant. Those who advance in raw power past the threshold for Fourth Order report that absolute power requirements drop for the same effect, and that it becomes easier to maintain passive ongoing defenses. Fourth Order Guardians typically continue to claim Second Order status for as long as they practically can. Roughly one sixtieth of the Imperial population is Fourth Order or above, and the vast majority of those are approximately equally split between Fourth and Fifth Order.

Fifth Order Guardian: second power tier (counting up) of born operants. Third Order Guardians become Fifth Order at a slightly higher power threshold (roughly 1 isquare thirty or 1/40th) than Second Order transition to Fourth Order, otherwise they are analogous. Generally pretend to be Third Order as long as they practically can. Roughly equal in numbers to Fourth Order Guardians.

Sixth Order Guardian: third power tier (counting up) of natural state humans who become operant. Rarest of all operant types - a total of nineteen known in the entire Empire. There is a second qualitative change that occurs with increasing power. Capable of producing splinters, an energy based extension of the Guardian's personality. Usually pretend to be Fourth or even Second Order if their publicly known capabilities do not give them away to be Sixth Order.

Seventh Order Guardian: third power tier (counting up) of born operants. Approximately 120 known, all descended of Merphon, the first emperor. All known children of Seventh Order Guardians have been born at Seventh Order power, otherwise the relationship between Seventh, Fifth, and Third Order Guardians is analogous to the relationship between Sixth, Fourth, and Second. Also capable of producing splinters.

Eighth and Ninth Order Guardians: Theorized fourth power tier of those originally natural state humans and those born operant, respectively. No known examples exist.

mindlord (historical): any human who was operant. Still known due to historical means, but rarely used.

operant (historical and current): any human whose mindlord powers have been switched on. Current connotation is an incompletely trained operant, or one that is too weak to teleport, therefore not yet qualified either Second or Third Order Guardian.

predecessor man or predecessor human (historical): one who did not carry any of the genetic markers for operancy. Original meaning now extinct; the markers are universal within Imperial humanity. This term was revived during the Ston Rebellion and Interregnum, applied to those who were inoperant, whether they carried the markers or not. Often used as term of contempt by the stons. Current use is highly frowned upon, and generally results in social ostracism.

natural state human: someone who is not operant, whether they carry the genetic markers for operancy or not.

martsi (historic) a weak operant, born a natural state human but who has had their operancy activated by a subsequent event. Vaguely analogous to Second Order Guardians except only operancy was required to be designated martsi.

nattsi (historic) born operant, albeit weak. In broad, equivalent to a Third Order Guardian without the tests of their ability.

teltsi (historic) operant who was born a natural state human, but is now capable of teleportation. Somewhat analogous to a modern Fourth Order Guardian

tantsi (historic) born operant capable of teleportation. Somewhat analogous to a modern Fifth Order Guardian

pentsi (historic) extremely rare operant born a natural state human, but has hit the power boundary of the third level of operancy. Similar to a modern Sixth Order Guardian.

ultsi (historic) Merphon's descendants of the Fifteen Houses (his fifteen surviving children). The acid test of an ultsi was whether all of their children were born ultsi. It was (is) possible to be born nattsi or tantsi and progress to ultsi, but extremely rare, and the Fifteen Houses were not kind to competition, especially from without. Very similar to a modern Seventh Order Guardian.

cot (historic) operant who became operant through natural means. Usually highly trained, more focused, and more efficient than stons.

ston (historic) operant whose operancy was triggered in utero by specialized treatment. Generally less controlled and less efficient than cots, but vastly outnumbering them for a time, resulting in the Ston Rebellion and Interregnum, during which time the Empire was destroyed as a political unit and the population of humans fell to a point roughly 1/3000th of the former level. As a result, the ston activation treatments are no longer offered and even surviving former rebels agree that they should not be.

The Empire of Humanity has a history of over 100,000 years by their reckoning, roughly 80,000 by Earth's. Here are a few major events and the eras they fall into, including major characters.

Roughly 15,000 years before Empire: Human Confederacy defeated by C'Tangi. Some life survives on 21 human worlds within a radius of about 480 light years of the center of human space. Refugees flee in any way they can.

Roughly 200 years before Empire: Arakota conquered on Weircol by Alrassa. Arakotans become subservient to Alrassans, but are prized as servants for their general level of education

Roughly 100 years before Empire: The Rediscovery, when Weircol discovers the lost technology and the reason why the Confederacy fell. Breeding program for what were then known as mindlords began, concentrating on males. The successes are adopted into the Alrassan royal family.

Year Zero: Merphon becomes Emperor. His own surviving children (eventually 15, all male) effectively become princes of the Empire, those descended of other mindlords are cast out of the succession, but Merphon resists naming an actual heir. Second generation mindlords, most notably Baryan, Yokel, Jehob, M'Dorna, and J'Pit.

Year 115: C'Tangi defeated. End of the Rediscovery. Humanity begins expanding in earnest into First Galaxy. Minor wars over the rest of this era, but nothing major. M'Dorna's Hypothesis posited.

Roughly 5000 years: Third generation mindlords begin to be born to Merphon's children. Really the first generation where the powers are mature and more or less fully understood. YokNos is born in this era. Scimtar is also born, of a bastard line from another first generation mindlord.

Roughly 30,000 years: Start of the Outsider Wars. Major wars, running hot and cold over the next 70,000 years. For as long as they run, the central fact of Imperial life. Beginning of the Empire's movement to Vector Drive for interstellar travel, as enough operants become available to make it viable. Mindlords born into this era are generally considered to be Fourth Generation, differentiated from the third in that they grew up waging the Outsider Wars. Important survivors born in this era include Ierd and Antro Baryan, Drashin M'Dorna, Nom Cor, and Sarba JeNor (formerly Jehob). Osh Scimtar was also born into this era

Roughly 100,000 years: Final victory of the Empire in the Outsider Wars. First Galaxy completely under the dominion of Empire. Beginning of significant colonizations outside First Galaxy. Mindlords born into this period are generally considered Fifth Generation

Roughly 103,000 years: First major war since end of Outsider Wars. For the first time since the C'Tangi were defeated, Empire begins 'switching on' operant abilities of new children, resulting in the bifurcation of operants into cots and stons. Cot survivors born in this period are usually considered Sixth Generation, and include Iaren, Amras, Anara, and Anana Scimtar.

104203 (Imperial 28:56:43): Ston Rebellion. Interregnum begins.

105780 (Imperial 29:23:00): Empire Re-declared, Sarba JeNor (formerly Jehob) as Guardian.

105804 (Imperial 29:23:24) Effective resistance to Imperial Re-establishment ends in First Galaxy; aggressive effort to re-acquire territories in other galaxies of Home Instance begins, new expansion efforts both into other galaxies of Home Instance and into other Instances.

109410 (Imperial 30:23:30) Events of The Man From Empire, (Amazon kindle or paperback other e-books) (Rediscovery Book One), followed by A Guardian from Earth (Book Two Amazon kindle or paperbackother e-books) and Empire and Earth (Book Three Amazon kindle or paperbackother e-books)

109412 (Imperial 30:23:32) Preparing the Ground (Preparations for War, Book One Amazon kindle or paperback other e-books)

109417 (Imperial 30:23:37) Working the Trenches (Rediscovery Book Four Amazon kindle or paperback other e-books)

109432 (Imperial 30:23:52) Building the People (Preparations for War Book Two Amazon kindle or paperback other e-books)

109436 (Imperial 30:23:56) Events of The Invention of Motherhood (Politics of Empire, Book One)
Amazon kindle or paperback other e-books

My Author's Brand

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One thing I should try and make clear to you, the reader, is what my author's brand is about.

First and foremost, I want to entertain you. I will happily give up everything else in order to entertain. If you don't come away from the book with a sense of "That was fun!" and wanting to read the next book, I've failed. I am trying to entertain you, and if I don't do that, you shouldn't give me any more of your money. Since I want you to buy more of my books and tell your friends I'm an entertaining writer, I'm going to try to entertain you. I don't try to have flippant smart-asses tossing off one-liners every three words, but I do try to slide a few in.

Second, I want the characters to think. I want you to come away from the book thinking that everyone did what they did for rational reasons or at least motivations real people have. Nobody in my books is evil because it says so on their character card. The antagonists are pursuing their own best interests as best they see them. Sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Similarly, I try really hard to avoid violations of the Evil Overlord's Principles. If it were possible to game the antagonist with a cheap shot, someone would already have done it. I want you to have the feeling that it took some real thought to plot this story - that all the characters all thought and worked for their chosen ends, and that the resolution reflects this.

Third, I want the ending to be something good that the characters have earned. I'm not going to promise that they all live to get there, but all that work and risk should earn them a better place than they started from according to what they value. I'm also not going to promise it's the place they thought they were going in the first place. But if the work and risk wasn't going to earn them a better place, why should they bother? Even if it's just saving other people from a disaster, the characters should get something out of it. The ones who survive and persevere, anyway.

Fourth and finally, I'd like to think that I maybe gave you a little bit of a different way to think about things. I'm not looking to preach at you like a tenured professor, I just want to illustrate that there are different ways of looking at the same issue. I don't think I'm going to change your mind. But maybe - just maybe - I can induce you to have a thoughtful conversation with someone who doesn't agree with you. There's far too little of that these days.

Official Launch Day!

Graciela Juarez di Scimtar and her husband Asto have decided it is time to start their family. For many thousands of years, Imperial women have used artificial gestation to free themselves from nine months of discomfort. But Grace was born on barbarian, pre-contact Earth. She can't call herself a mother in front of her sisters without doing it once the hard way. And she discovers that however troublesome the process, there are compensations. There may even be actual benefits to both her unborn son and herself. But neither one eliminates the dangers from rival families.

The results will change the Empire forever.

$2.99 e-book from your favorite retailer! (For paperback, see Amazon)

Book One of Politics of Empire
Invention of Motherhood Amazon

Invention of Motherhood Books2Read (Apple, Barnes and Noble, etcetera)

fetal development cracked open.jpg

Copyright 2005-2017 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved


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A Guardian From Earth
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Empire and Earth
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Working The Trenches
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Preparing The Ground
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Building the People
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The Invention of Motherhood
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This page is an archive of entries from October 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2017 is the previous archive.

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