Jan 13, 2013

2012 - The Year in Blogging

Dr. Wye - Contact Television Series
Back in 2010 I had a "year in review" blog post. In 2012 I had a record number of blog posts for one calendar year and I have been thinking that it would be fun to take a look back. I'm feeling a personal need to look back because of the dramatic shift in my blogging between 2011 and 2012. In 2011 I was very busy outside the blogosphere and only managed 7 blog posts during the summer of 2011. I was a welcome relief to get back to writing fiction during 2012, so this blog post celebrates that return!

Facts and figures
In the first 365 days of this blog (April 2009 to March 2010) I had over 80 blog posts. In 2012 I made 60 posts to this blog. However, during 2012 I was also posting to three other related blogs: Exode, Exodemic and The Encyclopedia of Future Science.

Parthney and Pla'va
Also, during the past year the average number of words in my blog posts has been more than three times greater than for my posts during the first year of this blog, resulting in a total of nearly 100,000 words blogged here in 2012.

Topics and time frames
During the second half of 2012 I became increasingly involved with creating a new science fiction novel, Exode.

Earlier in the year, it was my addiction to fan fiction that got me back to writing fiction.

In March of 2012 I had a series of posts devoted to a new fan fiction project: the Contact television series. Other fiction writing projects of smaller scale were also fan fiction projects, such as my first of 2012...

2012 Part 1
2012 Part 1 - Winter - 9 posts
I started 2012 with fond thoughts about the science fiction of Jack Vance. I was a ticking fan fiction time bomb and before the year was out I surrendered my dignity and sketched out some ideas for a sequel to The Book of Dreams and a fan fiction sequel to another Jack Vance novel, Marune: Alastor 933.

However, before defiling Vance's work, my first descent into fan fiction was a sequel to Assignment Nor'Dyren  by Sydney Van Scyoc.

In early March of 2012 I briefly brought my fan fiction disease under control and my thoughts turned to the first story I ever wrote that is set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe. One of my favorite blog posts from the winter of 2012 is "Plato's Cave" which provides an account of why I think "exodemic" style stories are so much fun.

"I'd love to see 2012 be the start of a time of protest during which consumers refused to buy video games, see SciFi movies and buy science fiction novels that have the same tired plots." (source)

March Madness
2012 Part 2 - Contact Television series
In my own version of "March Madness" I finally broke down and had some fun imagining a television series that could be a sequel to Carl Sagan's science fiction film Contact.

I never liked the idea that Dr. Arroway could meander off through a bunch of "worm holes", meet some mysterious aliens at the center of the galaxy then magically re-appear back on Earth at the exact instant she began her journey to the center of the galaxy. Instead, I imagine that the alien-inspired "machine" secretly inserted nanoscopic devices into Ellie's brain. Those nanites provided Ellie with false memories about a trip through space to visit aliens who appear in the form of her long dead father. All the worm hole mumbo jumbo is intended to cover up the fact that "aliens" are already right here on Earth.

I'm constantly wondering if it is wise to write members of the Huaoshy "species" into stories that are set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe. For Contact, I decided to include o'Seriat, a Huaoshy who takes human form and is not recognized as being an alien. Other mysterious characters include an artificial lifeform that takes the form of Shizue, a Hadden Industries employee. My favorite character is Dr. Wye, an Interventionist agent. I was particularly "evil" and even wrote Carl Sagan into the story!

Hadden is a tool of the Interventionists, long having had alien nanites in his body. The television series begins right where the movie ended and Ellie, still suffering "side effects" from her time in the "Machine" is under the care of Dr. Zelter, an Overseer. The "side effects" are caused by the alien nanites that have invaded Ellie's brain. By exploring how to adapt Contact to the Exodemic Fictional Universe I was able to shift my thinking in the direction of having more active role for Interventionists on Earth, and I later ended up going that way in Exode. Also, I talked myself into using long-distance teleportation as a plot element in Exode.

Contact: Coda is now the most visited blog post!

One of the fun blog posts during "March Madness" was a look back at images from this blog. I'm now up to 720 images for this blog! Here are some more images from 2012 (and there is a more extensive image gallery at the end of this blog post):
2012 Part 3
2012 Part 3 - Spring + Summer
After I had gotten the initial ideas for a Contact Television Series out of my system, I started a new original science fiction story (Exode) and returned to a more leisurely pace of blogging. In April I decided that I should launch The Encyclopedia of Future Science. I ended up with that blog and the Exodemic blog both of which have been useful adjuncts to this blog. One of the fun blog posts from 2012 at the "encyclopedia" website is called "The Gods Thonselves" and it explores the relationship between the Huaoshy and primitive creatures like we Earthlings. I decided that I should explore the god-like nature of the Huaoshy in Exode.

Starting in May I had a series of blog posts about science fiction films in 2012. During this time I was drafting ideas for Exode at the Exodemic blog. None of those early draft chapters went live and I eventually decided to start the Exode blog for that new novel.

In June I had a blog post with a challenge: justify the continued existence of Humanity. Other posts from summer that contained thoughts stimulated by Exode include "Death and Destruction" and "Slavery in Science Fiction". In "Death and Destruction" I was struggling with the question of what to do with an Exode character. I wondered if I should kill Hana's husband, but I later decided that he must have a central role in Exode.

When I wrote "Slavery and Science Fiction" I was struggling with the construction of the main character in Exode, Parthney. He starts out as a rather naive boy who does not question the conditions of his existence, but the more he learns about his world the more he is forced to wonder if he is just a puppet...or, worse, a slave. If your choice is between living as a content slave or not living at all, is it best to be a slave?

I've been heavily influenced by Star Trek, so it was fun to list 10 TOS episodes that are among my favorites and describe how they could be fit into the Exodemic Fictional Universe.

Near the end of summer I took a look back at the past 50 years of planetary exploration.

2012 - Part 4

2012 Part 4 - Exode
During the last part of 2012 I was highly focused on Exode. By early September I had decided on the aliens that are in Exode: the Fru'wu and the Nereids.

During 2012 one of the major advances in imaginary "future technology" was clarification in my thinking about nanite technology. Even if conventional nanites seem small, it is possible to imagine even smaller devices composed of non-convention matter.

In 2012 I got the latest version of the DAZ Studio software and made some rendered images for Exode. I was particularly interested in crafting a near-human appearance for the Prelands.

During the last quarter of 2012 I had many blog posts that allowed me to explore the settings and characters of Exode. For example, the first chapter of the story (Muchlo's Secret) takes place on the planet Hemmal in the Koly star system. The biological and cultural differences between humans, the Buld and the other Prelands were all defined during the second half of 2012.

At the end of 2012 I updated the header for this blog. Given my current focus on Exode, it seemed appropriate to use a header image that was inspired by Parthney and Kach and their trips to Earth.

In my last blog post of 2012 I discussed a first draft image for the cover of Exode. Since this novel is being constructed in electronic format it seems strange to think in terms that are appropriate for a printed book, but it is fun to create illustrations. On my "to do" list for early 2013 is the "back cover" illustration and blurbs about the story.

Below are more images from blog posts in 2012.

2012 - Image Gallery

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