Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

They’re warming up to al-Kitaabi finally. Nothing else has changed. It’s so boring here. It doesn’t even feel like it’s worth writing in this diary.

They – they being the kelp-people – did introduce a new game to us, possibly to win over Kitaabi. He hasn’t learned their language yet, or even come close. They don’t seem to understand what his pointing at various objects and saying a word mean yet. Their speech is not too dissimilar from that of turkeys; they gobble primarily. It would be funny if it came from the mouth of something smaller and less covered in kelp. As it is, the kelp-men are intimidating.

This new game they have introduced will take a while to figure out, but it involves double-sided rocks – one side painted white and the other black – and a hexagonal gameboard divided into six triangles radiating from the center, and with each triangle divided into three parts by two evenly-spaced lines drawn across the triangles, essentially creating two smaller hexagons inside it. The kelp-men tried to teach us by showing us how it was played, and it was lost on me. Kitaabi might be getting it, though; it involves flipping and moving the stones between sections in a very odd way. The kelp-men play it very quickly, and don’t seem to understand that doing it more slowly might help us. Hopefully Kitaabi can explain it to us soon, once he figures it out. Maybe once that’s done we can figure out some way to really communicate.

Out for now.

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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We’ve been here for a week now, and things are looking up a bit.

After all of the survivors in our group finally woke up, we waited around a for a bit until one of the rock walls in front of us dematerialized. It just faded away and vanished. We had checked all of the walls and made sure they were solid, so it had to have been more than just a holographic image.

Beyond the rock wall was a corridor made from square tiles, which were in turn made from what looked to be some sort of limestone. There were odd, disturbing images carved into every tile in the corridor, but after a few moments of talk, Al-Kitaabi led the way forward into the corridor. I was second, and the rest followed after me. There was no discernible light source, and while the lighting was dim, there was most certainly something giving off light. We ourselves seemed to give off no shadows, so it is possible the light came from all around us.

We walked down that long, straight corridor for about five minutes, until we reached a large door graced with the image of what looked to be a hideous fusion of kraken and sea serpent. The image itself seemed to waver before my eyes, so I didn’t look at it to much.

Then the door opened, sliding into the wall, from the other side, and I believe I may have fainted at the sight that lay beyond it.

When I came to, I was lying in a comfortable bed, in my own, private room, with a window overlooking an enormous, grand, impossible city contained in an enormous cavern beneath the ground. I am still here. The buildings don’t seem to quite make sense, and I have a vague sense of unease if I stare at any one for too long, as they seem to blur the lines between real and unreal. If that makes any sense.

Arches are the predominant form of architecture here; in fact, every single building seems to be an arch, composed of those same tiles that lined that initial corridor. There are big ones and small ones, but all are identical in shape and material. There are windows scattered around all of the arches, and doors at their bases for their inhabitants to leave. The arches near the edge of the enormous cavern we are in are of a different form, as one of their bases ends in the cavern wall itself, while its other base stands firmly on the cavern’s even ground. The cavern floor is similarly covered with the same sort of tile, and there are pools scattered everywhere about it, filled with kelp. Occasionally, the strange inhabitants of this place will emerge from those pools en masse, and head into one of the larger arches so haphazardly placed about the city, and then leave there again after a few hours, returning to their homes, I presume. I have not yet seen any of these beings do down into those pools.

After my awakening, I tried the single door in my sparsely-furnished room, and found it opened into a circular room with more furnishings, including several tables and chairs. The rest of my team was sitting around one of the tables, and waved me over when I emerged.

They explained to me that I had been unconscious for almost a day, and then proceeded to try and explain the wonders of this city. Following my fainting fit, we had all been escorted – and me carried – through a maze of corridors that led eventually to one of those odd arches that stood on the edges of the great cavern. We all descended down that arch and exited onto street level, where we were led to the largest arch of all, in the center of the city, that was topped also with a tower that reached to the roof of the cavern. We had been given this suite as a place for us to stay while we waited for… well, for something. No one was sure what, and we still aren’t, as we can’t communicate with the beings.

They are, for lack of a better word, kelpmen. They possess distinctinctly humanoid shapes, but seem to be made entirely of strands of kelp wound tightly together, with thicker strands on the outside hanging off of them like long hair. They have no discernible faces, but speak with muffled voices through their heads. They are larger than us humans are, and stronger; yesterday I watched a group repair a crumbling arch, each one lifting up what looked to be several tons of tile when the need arose.

We can only assume that these kelpmen – whatever they are – rescued us from our submersible after our accident, for whatever reason, and brought us to live in this arch, which seems to be a palace of sorts. We live near the top of the arch, and have not yet been permitted to leave our suite. We have food brought to us seven times a day, and while the fish and seaweed delicacies are delicious, they are rich and hard to keep down at times. We eat as much as we can, for fear of offending our hosts. Kitaabi has been speaking with the one who gives us food – or trying to – and says he thinks he is slowly beginning to understand their language.

In my capacity as a biologist, I have yet to discover what sort of beast they are. They puzzle me, and I suspect somewhat that perhaps they are not made of kelp, but merely dressed in kelp. I shall keep working on my hypothesis.

It is most boring here now, especially now that the danger seems to have passed. We are far from anything that might hurt us, and are just locked up in this suite all the time. They took my diary after I was knocked out, and they just gave it back to me a few hours ago. I must say I missed this thing. Interestingly, the kelpmen seemed to have activated a chronometer on it, which I didn’t even know it had. I assume it was accidental, but I am grateful to know how long it’s been. It’s been longer than I thought since we began; I think I must have lost some time somewhere… maybe between Hubie crashing and us waking up?

I’ll write again when I find out more. Kitaabi and the others will tell me all that they know as well; this diary is now our sole link to the surface world, assuming it still works.

I hope it does.

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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Monday, November 12, 2012

I don’t know where I am.

Something impacted Hubie very hard, I think it was yesterday. I hit a wall while about to compose an entry and I black out.

When I woke up, I was on the floor of a cold, stone room, and Hubie’s interior was nowhere to be found. My companions are still out cold next to me, and won’t wake up, though they are still alive. They are lying on the floor, much like I was when I awoke.

I still have this journal, miraculously. Whoever – or whatever – moved us didn’t think it was worth taking. All of my scientific tools are gone, however.

I see no exit from this room. It looks almost completely natural, save for odd carvings on the stone walls and floors of this place that hurt my eyes. It is a small room, about three meters on all sides. It looks like a cave, with no visible entrances or exits.

Al-Kitaabi is waking up! Thank god! I will write again after discussing some things with him. I hope this is still working…

[Z. M. Wilmot Note: Goodman failed to include a date in the title. It was added by me.]

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Monday, November 5, 2012

We’ve stopped moving again. Our food and water supplies are vanishing at a rather alarming rate. It’s dark outside; I can’t see anything when the lights aren’t on. The darkness is almost a substance in and of itself down here, and seems to gobble up even the light we shine into it.

We’re not sure why we’ve stopped moving, only that we have. There was a bump that shook all of Hubie, and then the sense of motion stopped. Our lights aren’t working. Maybe we hit a wall.

Now we’re really all going to die.

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Children of the Sky

So I just finished Vernor Vinge’s latest Zones of Thought book, Children of the Sky. I went in with some trepidation, as my father wasn’t too happy about it, but I loved it! It tied up a lot of loose ends from the preceding book, A Fire Upon the Deep, and introduced a whole new cast of characters, whose actions I eagerly await in the next book!

Vinge was unafraid to plunge off into unexpected directions in this book, and it was, for the most part, absent of cliches. It was thoroughly involving and engaging, and I had trouble putting it down! Perhaps the most interesting aspect of both this book and its prequel are the major “aliens” that appear in it; the Tines.

The Tines are a wolf-like race – in fact, they look almost just like wolves – with special tympana that allow them to hear each other’s thoughts (often called “mindsound”). Their tympana also give them the ability to merge into “packs,” combining their mental abilities and consciousnesses together to form one conscious individual from a group of usually 4 to 8 “singletons,” who are scarcely brighter than a real wold. In effect, this means that each Tinish character’s body consists of multiple organisms, linked together by their tympana and mindsound. Other Tines nearby can break the links between a pack, and sometimes even dissolve them!

Children of the Sky took this concept further, and introduced the idea of the Tropical Choir: a pack that consists of thousands of individuals, with mental waves that ripple along its massive area. With that many members, the pack’s mind becomes overly fragmented and incoherent, but it attains some unique attributes and possibilities that Vinge explores in his latest book.

If you haven’t read any of his Zones of Thought books – or any of his other works – they’re well worth a read!

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Readings


Slave to My Muse

Before I got into the headlong flight of NaNo, I wanted to share my thoughts about my muse. I am currently not on speaking terms with her (or him; I don’t know which it is) at the moment, as when I most needed to catch up on schoolwork, my muse decided to, after having been absent for two months, come back with a vengeance, and force me not only to delay my catch-up work, but to force me to work on a completely new project unrelated to the things I wanted to do! I was forced to sit back and watch, in an almost out of body experience, as my muse grabbed my limbs and force me to create, of all things, a board game based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, in which you play as a semi-Lovecraftian protagonist seeking to summon the Great Old Ones to rule the world!

The good news is, the first playtest went well, and was addictive and loads of fun. When I have a more final version, I might put it up here for download!

The point of my mini-rant, though, is that muses can be fickle. Mine is. I also am a slave to it; I cannot direct it. It goes where it wants and does what it wants, and I have no choice to follow, no matter my circumstances. It can be rather annoying.

That is all for now. Onward and forward!

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Philosophical Musings, Writing


National Novel Writing Month 2012!

Hello everyone! I’ve been remarkably silent on this blog recently (even with my Goodman’s Diary entries), and for that I apologize. I served on a 3-day jury case and got sick, so fell very behind on my university coursework and thesis. I am mostly caught up now, though, and as a reward I get to plunge into a month of writing 1,667 words a day: or a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, or the month of November. This is the world of NaNoWriMo!

I was originally going to work on a WIP that was shelved for a long time – People of the Storm – but at the last second (about an hour before November 1, when the event begins), I decided to change my novel to A Deadly Dance, a story about conflicting empires, the futility of war, capitalism and communism, individualism and collectivism, and an insane madman who, in The Libel of Blood, is known as Roland van der Tyke. The villain from my third novel’s backstory is the main subject of this novel, and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how he turned into the monster he did!

Wish me luck, in I goooooooo!


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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Writing


Thursday, November 1, 2012

He did it! Al-Kitaabi got us moving again! We’re not moving very quickly, and he says he thinks something’s wrong with the engine, but we’re moving! Horizontally, not vertically, though. He says he’ll work on the vertical bit soon. Still, our movement – of our own free will – has done wonders for my spirits! We may live yet!

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Blog Fiction