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Literature
Learning To Fly, Preview
_2040, Northern Canada_
"I could go on for hours about this old gal and her sisters," said Max, patting the pilot yoke of the ancient Douglas DC-3. The grey-haired pilot winced as he wriggled in his seat. A trickle of frigid air leaked around the windshield's edges.
Andre yawned beside him. Max had already spent the first half of the flight telling him everything about the prop plane's history and how this particular one came to be a cargo hauler to the far north. Fascinating stories, especially coming from a fellow man of the sky, but Andre had heard some of them already. Why else would he talk his way into being a co-pilot for an obscure cargo hauler when he was close to retirement himself?
Well, there was also the chance to see exotic frigid places like Reindeer Base for himself, and maybe end his career in a very different way.
Andre looked down at the white landscape of rocks and forest drifting by. "Have you ever actually been inside the base?"
"Not past the reception area. The r
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Literature
2038: Black Magic
"Arise from nothingness, old friend. I have need of you again."
Danio's consciousness reassembled itself from storage. He recalled experiments, blurred thoughts, pain -- a lot of it, in several flavors. In an academic sense he was unsure how the man in front of him, who had rebuilt and destroyed him several times, qualified as a friend. That was okay, though. It was what Danio was for.
The man with a cape of stars stood on a spiral-edged dais in a palace of logs that shifted constantly. Castorus, sub-soul of Ludo, stepped down to hug Danio's formless spirit. "We need to become even stronger."
"You always say that."
"It's always true." Castorus waved around the Penultimate Lodge as though to encompass the multiverse with one hand. "Here's the situation. Your first few rebuilds demonstrated key aspects of uploading, that we can swap out the visual cortex for simpler software, that we can turn part of a soul into FPGAs and ASICs and whatever other cool acronyms we get, and that we can kil
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Literature
2039: Glitch
Mark woke up one Saturday afternoon on the dorm lounge's couch, with a cramp somewhere in his spine. He groaned, then fumbled for the Talisman gaming pad he'd fallen asleep with. He couldn't remember if he'd finally earned enough gold pieces for that new spear. He put the gaming pad onto the coffee table, knocking aside a soda can, and flopped his sandaled feet down onto the filthy carpet. Something felt slightly wrong about that. Really should've gone back to his room last night, this morning, whenever he'd quit playing. He walked down the hall, feeling his chest bounce and his grass skirt sway around his hips. He wasn't awake enough to process any of that until the thick rudder-tail behind him banged into a wall.
Mark shrieked, and the high pitch of his voice only made him more startled. He sounded exactly like Lakani, his character in Thousand Tales.
He heard someone running closer and he bounded toward his dorm room to hide. Too late! Flynn stared at him, saying, "Mark! What's wron
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Literature
2035: Queenmaker (Unfinished)
"I don't want to force it on you," Clark Ostler told the sweaty interviewee, "but would you like to meet the AI today?"
If the Three Sages hired him, the man in the too-bulky jacket would be the youngest coder on the team, not trusted with Ludo's code but tasked with the less glamorous aspects of building _Thousand Tales_. He'd been told this, but that hadn't dampened his eagerness or dried his palms. He nodded twice.
"Relax," said Emi Takahashi, known as the "Red Sage" in their advertising. She tapped a key on one of the workshop's many computers, feeling like it was all she could do to help. "Ludo's not going to hurt you."
A woman with a starry night for hair appeared on a wall screen. Hints of her mental activity rippled in the background: a world of shifting multicolored blocks that traded sparks. She said, "You're new. Would you like to play my game?"
The young man sat bolt upright in his chair. Emi frowned. Ludo could be unnerving, but how could they hire someone outright afraid
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Literature
Power Grids (Nonfiction)
I've been reading "Living On the Grid", https://www.amazon.com/Living-Grid-Fundamentals-American-Electric-ebook/dp/B01GSFOEQG/ a basic introduction to how power grids work. I knew very little about the topic, so while it's not electrifying reading, it is enlightening. A bit of what I've learned, mostly new to me:
-The main point of having a power grid is reliability. In return for the enormous complexity of tying together multiple power plants, you can mostly eliminate blackouts and other poor service. Our dependence on "the cold chain" for food makes this steady supply more than a luxury.
-A power grid acts as a single pool of electricity with providers dumping energy into the system, so that it's sometimes hard to distinguish who's contributing what.
-There are three grids covering most of North America: the eastern, the smaller western, and Texas's own network. (This is a deliberate choice by Texas to evade some federal control, and one reason why Texas could become a free country.)
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Literature
List All the Tales!
"Thousand Tales" in Chronological Order
Note: Stories within the same year might not be listed in exact order but happen at roughly the same time.
Sources of each story are indicated as:
-Thousand Tales: How We Won the Game [TT]
-2040: Reconnection [R]
-The Digital Coyote [DC]
-Extra Lives [EL]
-Liberation Game (not yet published) [LG]
-Everyone's Island (not strictly TT continuity) [EI]
-Miscellaneous, on DA/FA only: [DA]. Probably not very good.
-Miscellaneous, not available anywhere unless you ask nicely: [-]
Before 2036:
(News)
Brain vitrification technology proven to preserve human brains after death. (2017; really happened for rats in 2016.)
Last US president elected; re-elected through at least 2040. (Not based on any real person or party.) (2028)
Seastead of Castor established.
Human-level AI arguably invented by researcher Alain (Blue) Delune, who publishes the main part of his work.
Human-level AI independently invented by Valerie Hayflick, but sees little commercial u
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Literature
2038: The Hexapod Support Group
Nocturne was having too much fun slamming her mace against the podium, sending wood chips everywhere. "Order, order!"
"Hon, they're already quiet."
The dark griffin looked over the indoor garden where over a hundred people had gathered. There were lots of big pillows on the grass, since this audience didn't really do chairs. "This meeting of the Hexapod Club will come to order. I see we have an intruder!"
Amid the flowers and waterfalls of the glass-walled auditorium sat dragons, pegasi, centaurs, griffins, a four-armed woman, and even a giant praying mantis. And one plain human man. Horizon, co-chair of today's meeting, unrolled a scroll and rapidly tapped a series of colorful runes on it, solving the built-in puzzle to set off a prepared spell. He jabbed one wing in the human's direction, and the victim's body shifted.
He wobbled as his torso suddenly stretched far upward and sprouted a new pair of sand-colored paws. His entire lower body rippled and became covered in tawny fur, conv
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Literature
Stripes of Justice
Terry's time at Bakagaijin High School had been going well despite the occasional disaster. The week after his dad got stationed in Japan and brought him along for the senior year, he'd struggled to fit in, but when a giant squid rose from the sea and everyone had to cower in the basement shelter, he'd made some friends.
What first turned things around for him, after moving so far away from his old friends in America, was being introduced to the Element Masters card game. Everybody played it, even the teachers. The Student Council used their elite card skills to stay in power and arrange free subway travel for all Bakagaijin students throughout the city, so long as students promised to hand over any ultra-rare cards they found while traveling. It was said that anyone who collected a full set of ultra-rares could unlock the lost vault of the game's genius creator, a collector of Sumerian artifacts rumored to have magical powers.
Terry didn't much care about winning the game, though, so
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Literature
2036: Depth of Field
"I still can't get light to work properly," Stephanie groused, riding on the shoulder of the giant.
Ty looked sidelong at the camera-wielding pixie perched beside his ear. "At least you have a proper job! My company's more than halfway to collapse and they're two weeks behind in paying us. They're busy paying lawyers instead over that last pipeline break."
Stephanie tuned out the complaints as Ty hiked across the vast grassland, carrying her along. Mesas of brown stone jutted up like blocks of clay from the green. "Here's a good spot," she said.
She adjusted the camera bag she wore and jumped off of Ty's shoulder. She went down, down forty feet to mossy earth. Even after a month of being six inches tall and having wings, the scale of the world and the act of falling safely still thrilled her. Cold wind rushed through her blue hair and the world seemed to grow as she reached the ground. She landed on all fours, stood, and grinned way up at her armored warrior friend. He'd made hi
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Literature
2040: Learning To Fly (Ch. 7)
# 7. Clerics and Diplomats #
Resetting the world seemed to take little time. In reality it took days, between the representatives' talk, the hiring of other Talespace residents to throw some surprises into the new design, and the mundane task of shuffling data around. There was talk about putting Hoofland on its own cluster of servers for some reason, though it had no obvious effect on anyone there. For all Diver knew, his mind might be stored anywhere on Earth.
Adventuring parties gathered in clusters on a vast, featureless floor. Everyone was naked, lacking their weapons and armor from the last several objective years' work. It'd taken some negotation to make people willing to give up their stuff, and their world would probably lose some Earthside players who felt cheated. But it was their world, not the humans', and any losses were just bits for the people outside.
Diver looked up and saw a hazy set of arena bleachers crowded with spectators, ready to watch the equines' first
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Tempest Tale Demo 5 by KSchnee Tempest Tale Demo 5 :iconkschnee:KSchnee 0 0 Tempest Tale by KSchnee Tempest Tale :iconkschnee:KSchnee 2 3 Hoofland Heroes Demo 3 by KSchnee Hoofland Heroes Demo 3 :iconkschnee:KSchnee 1 2 160823adventure 2 by KSchnee 160823adventure 2 :iconkschnee:KSchnee 0 1 Teamwork Battle System Test by KSchnee Teamwork Battle System Test :iconkschnee:KSchnee 1 0 Wizard Game Demo v2 by KSchnee Wizard Game Demo v2 :iconkschnee:KSchnee 1 0

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Activity


Cover Designs
Proposed new book cover designs. I used the text layout I had prepared for use with :icongrethzky:'s work, with four backgrounds cropped from work on Shutterstock. (I haven't yet licensed the images; these are mockups.) My favorite so far is #1 because it's related semi-closely to the book's content now that I've added that hovering pegasus icon. However, #3 is pretty cool and I could add the pegasus icon to #4. I will probably need to change the font coloring or outline thickness.

In no case will the image quite match a specific scene of the book. The book takes place in a hard science future, in which there's a game which mostly uses a fantasy theme.

(Addendum: :icongrethzky:'s work is really good, though. Check it out.)
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Going to move forward with the backup cover.
www.amazon.com/Dragon-Fate-Int…
"Dragon Fate: Interactive Fiction" is on sale for 99 cents, in case you'd like to see the full version with all the locations and endings!

I'm re-releasing both the original "Thousand Tales" book and "2040: Reconnection". I wanted to clean up a continuity error created by "Learning To Fly" and some lesser things, but as I do that I'm making bigger changes. "Tales" will now include more stories and new text. (Update 4.24: Revised e-book editions are live! Print editions will be updated in a few days.)

I'm bothered that when the characters sit down to play the game and nothing terrible happens, the story they're in ends! There does need to be conflict, but considering the game-focused nature of the setting, the characters should also have some breather scenes with little angst. (Update: So, I added stuff!)

"Learning To Fly" will go to final approval by the end of this month if I have to give up on the current cover art to do that.
  • Reading: The Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth
www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/0… -- Some good news! I'd been paying attention to desalination technology, but this is better.
Trying to figure out what to work on next. The obvious projects are:
-"2040: Reconnection", v3: A Tales book. Issuing another new edition to fix continuity errors created by the new book. In progress.
-"Striking Chains": Fantasy novel, not particularly furry. Currently a rough draft with several chapters edited. Needs work including several new chapters.
-"Island Tail": An interactive story done in Twine with an otter TF/TG. Currently an early fraction of a draft.

Other possibilities include:
-"Liberation Game": Yet another Tales book, this one focused on Earth. Currently around 40K words, edited but with no clear way to proceed with the plot.
-"The Dragon Maid": A silly idea that I would try to write as a story of around 10K words and sell for $0.99. It'd be TF-themed fantasy for general audiences. I have no idea if this would be worthwhile.
-Actually doing something with AI or game design again.

I would also be interested in trying to market one or more short stories to magazines again, but have only vague ideas for any such thing so far and I'd want to avoid writing anything Tales-related for those. Finally, I'd be open to doing a Twine project that can be kept short, rather than a major commitment like "Island Tail".
www.amazon.com/Dragon-Fate-Int…
"Dragon Fate: Interactive Fiction" is on sale for 99 cents, in case you'd like to see the full version with all the locations and endings!

I'm re-releasing both the original "Thousand Tales" book and "2040: Reconnection". I wanted to clean up a continuity error created by "Learning To Fly" and some lesser things, but as I do that I'm making bigger changes. "Tales" will now include more stories and new text. (Update 4.24: Revised e-book editions are live! Print editions will be updated in a few days.)

I'm bothered that when the characters sit down to play the game and nothing terrible happens, the story they're in ends! There does need to be conflict, but considering the game-focused nature of the setting, the characters should also have some breather scenes with little angst. (Update: So, I added stuff!)

"Learning To Fly" will go to final approval by the end of this month if I have to give up on the current cover art to do that.
  • Reading: The Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth

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KSchnee
Kris Schnee
Artist | Student | Literature
United States
I'm a writer, studying computer science and with a background in many other things. Currently at work on writing and polishing short stories. Check out my novels "Everyone's Island" and "Striking the Root" on Amazon!
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alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
Happy birthday.
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Oy19 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
Happy Birthday! :party:
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:iconkschnee:
KSchnee Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Student Writer
Thanks!
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TyVulpintaur Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
Happy birthday! :D
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:iconkschnee:
KSchnee Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Student Writer
Thanks.
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oboroten Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
Happy birthday.
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:iconkschnee:
KSchnee Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Student Writer
And, thanks.
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