Dan Melson: April 2020 Archives

The End of Childhood is the working title for the third book in Politics of Empire. The title may change before publication, and yes I'm aware Childhood's End would be a stronger title - but I'm not Arthur C. Clarke.

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

Call me Grace. I am a Guardian - only Second Order, though moderately strong for Second Order, and trained by Scimtar himself, as I married one of his grandsons. Professionally, I'm currently an Investigator under contract to Secundus Yeriala in Sumabad on Indra. I investigate crimes and torts, and provide factual information to the Imperial Viceroys that they use in deciding the cases.

2.Tell us where and when were you born.

I was born on a lost colony named Earth that has since been recontacted and absorbed into the Empire.

3. How would you describe yourself?

Being a Guardian, I look like a young woman just past physical maturity. I'm two ififths fiftythree, or 167 cm in Earth measure. For clueless Americans, that's 5 feet 6 inches. My body is conditioned for surviving dangerous situations, not attractiveness. As a result, I look more 'padded' than most beauty standards of the place where I grew up. I usually keep my skin the same color I was born, a medium brown. My hair is just a shade lighter than black, and I keep it cut in something that might have been called a 'pageboy' where I grew up as I don't want to spend a lot of time on it. My husband Asto likes it longer, but he knows I'm not my hair.

4. Tell us about where you grew up.

Earth, and specifically Southern California, was a weird place before Imperial contact. The government was involved in everything, and social and bureaucratic pressure to conform to the popular ideas of the day were intense. I'd compare them more to religious fervor than any hint of scientific process.

5. How old are you?

Prime thirtyfour in terms of personal duration. In Earth years, that's sixty-five.

6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?

It seemed happy at the time. Youngest of five children, three older sisters and a brother. Americans in general and Californians in particular were fortunate in that we were much richer than most inhabitants of Earth in terms of living standards. My father was a high school math teacher (children were schooled in common, as there was almost no technology for teaching), and by the time I was born, we lived in a four bedroom suburban home.

7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?

I was an irresponsible self-destructive rebel during high school, and for a few years after. Nobody realized it at the time, but our culture was sick, and it had a bad effect on our youth - fewer and fewer were growing into responsible adults. That sounds like an excuse, and it is. I may have had encouragement, but I made my own choices and I should have been responsible for them. I eventually wised up and my family helped me get clean and put my life back on track. I started back to college and concentrated on getting a degree. When I had time, I helped my older sisters with their kids.

8. What do you value above all else in life?

My family.

9. What are you obsessed with?

I had a bad experience with obsession. I'm not ever going there again if I can help it.

10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?

I'm still Catholic, and however relaxed about it, probably always will be. Due to having married into a Great Family, it would be a bad idea if I attended church regularly, but I still practice the tenets of my faith. I pray, tithe, and go to confession when I can.

11. Biggest fear?

That one of their rivals will destroy my husband's side of the family. Theoretically my children are all legal children and should be protected from direct action but collateral damage happens. When they achieve adulthood, they will become legitimate targets as well.

12. What line will you never cross?

I have accepted what my in-laws refer to as The Code. I will not offend against the Code. We regard the welfare of the human race as the paramount concern, and of the Empire is immediately behind it.

13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?

The best has been my husband and children. Up to now, the worst that happened to me personally was that djhanta who tried to kill me when I was pregnant with Esteban. Yes, the nuclear exchange between China and Russia just before the Empire intervened on Earth was bad, but that wasn't directed at me personally.

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Any number of things while I was learning how much my upbringing and the culture I'd grown up in had confused the real nature of adulthood. The Scimtars were gracious towards me, but they never left me confused on the subject.

15. Biggest secret?

I can't tell you. The secret getting out might get someone innocent hurt.

16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?

Helper. I may not be able to solve problems with a wave of my hand, but I make things better, not worse.

17. What is your current goal?

I've just been given a commission to help ferret out fractal demons and those in the Empire they may have corrupted into betraying the Empire. We're headed for war with the fractal demons, and given what they did to us last time, this may be the most critical sort of contribution anyone can make.

This will be the third novel in Politics of Empire, working title is now 'The End of Childhood' This the first (rough) draft of the first paragraph.

"Nothing in the Game of Houses is certain and nothing is forever. The only guarantee is we all die someday."

I still remember the first time I heard that - Scimtar himself said it to me while training me as a Guardian. Eventually we all make the fatal mistake. That said, the fact it was Scimtar saying it changed the subtext - he'd been playing the game for over thirty square. Just because you were going to die someday didn't mean it had to be today or any time soon. Maybe the metaphorical dice would come up snake eyes for you today. Maybe you had enemies who'd do their best to make it happen. But you got to influence those dice, too. The leaders of the Empire were all masters at loading the dice in their favor, or better yet, controlling the outcome so the dice were never rolled.

But you're not the only one the dice can turn fickle on...

-Graciela Juarez di Scimtar


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Goodreads review

"A Fast-Paced & Absorbing Sci-Fi Murder Mystery!
Overview: Mark Jackson's wife, Diane, left him seven years ago, but now she's back, and looking better than ever, claiming a cult that cured her cancer is now trying to kill her. It's bad enough that Mark is instantly falling for Diane all over again, but his real problems begin when he wakes up lovingly entwined with his ex-wife's mummified corpse lying in the bed beside him.

Author Dan Melson's fast-paced, absorbing sci-fi murder mystery is a page-turner as his main protagonist, Mark, is led on a mind-bending journey to find his ex-wife's killer."



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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dan Melson in April 2020.

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