Another Progress Report

Topped 50,000 words today.   Interesting things have happened.  A bit more information about who did what to whom when, which will lead directly into who’s doing what to whom now, and who wants to do what to whom in the future.  Some bad guys have been foiled by some good guys.   It’s become obvious that not all branches of law enforcement are on the same page.   It’s become obvious that Plot A may have been more about Objective C than about Objective A.    So what IS Plot A?  Who, what, where, when, why and all that?

The roots of motivation in this book stretch back beyond even the first Ky Vatta book, because we’ve never found out exactly who planned and executed the attacks on the Vatta family.  Was it Osman Vatta’s revenge against being kicked out?   Was Gammis Turek one of his sons, and did he do it (with or without Osman’s order?)   Was it the construction mogul Quindlan family, who built Vatta’s headquarters (the one that blew up?)  And why did any of those entities do it, if they did it?   Moving into the present book, complications and some attacks aimed at Vatta are coming from…who?  Why?  (Why is always the more interesting question, at least to me.)   Sex?  Unlikely.  Money?  Very likely.   Power?  That, too.   Market share is a motivator for many businesses do so underhanded things, but in our world (barring organized crime)  most business crooks stick to white-collar crime, at most planting false evidence that the other guy’s company puts cockroaches in their canned peaches or something similar.

To Ky & Co., right now all the problems look like one big tangled conspiracy, with lots of people down on them when really, they’re the victims (Ky thinks.)   That might be true (no spoilers in this post)  but it might also be a convergence of conspiracies with different motivations.   Ky’s family has some familial skeletons rattling away in closets she doesn’t know exist.

Meanwhile I picked up at WorldCon two books by Theresa Nielsen Hayden, Making Conversation and Making Book.  I have met her, but don’t know her well.  At one point I used to wander over and read her comments on the site, but stuff happened and I ran out of time and energy to do it often enough to be part of the community.   At any rate, I devoured them at the convention, and have mulled over them since–some parts are just amusing posts she made various places in the past, and some are deeper thoughts, and some are solid information on publishing and editing–the core of her skillset, or at least her profession.  Well worth looking at and thinking about.   Tor made a bid on The Speed of Dark–when it went to auction,  though of course I didn’t know who my editor would be if they ended up with it.  (In the end, Del Rey outbid them, and I’ve been happy there.)

These books were published by NESFA Press, in attractive trade paperback format, and for anyone who is thinking of getting into the writing biz, they both offer good value.   I may buy another two copies of Making Book to give to people I know with an interest in doing copy editing in fiction (one has experience in copy editing nonfiction; the other doesn’t.)

And meanwhile…I need to go do something else for the rest of the day (eyes house, dishes, laundry, and the like.)

5 thoughts on “Another Progress Report

  1. I just pre-ordered “Cold Welcome” (thought I already had, but Amazon had no record) and am really looking forward to it as well as the one you are writing now. And really intrigued that we may find out who was behind the attack on the Vatta family back in “Trading in Danger”!

  2. Some things seemed clear and made sense. Osman had a grudge against Stavros and Gerard in particular, and in the third book MacRobert had him definitely implicated in the plot to get Ky out of Spaceforce.(So she’d be available as a target?)

    Book 2 had those two POV passages for Gammis Turek talking (remotely) to Slotter Key’s traitor president, implicating Turek in the attacks. There’s a reference to one of Vatta’s own betraying them, which I thought meant Osman (but since he’d been thrown out so long before maybe it meant captain Furman). Turek came across as not liking Vatta much but not feeling that strongly against them in particular. The attacks must have cost a lot of money, but was Turek the one paying, or the one who was paid? It was ISC he was gunning for, with Slotter Key (in general) and Bissonet to be got out of the way first, by isolation and intimidation in the one case and invasion in the other, because they ran privateer fleets. When the Slotter Key fleet showed up at the battle of Nexus, it was precisely that that attacking Vatta was intended to prevent!

    What I saw only a corner of is the big picture centred on ISC. It seems to need at least three groups of people: one lot invented the shipboard ansible and got it to work – they must have been ISC employees, at least to start with? – a second lot manufactured it clandestinely – same as the first lot? hired by the first lot? stole it from the first lot? – and a third lot, Turek & co, took delivery and used it. From Turek’s viewpoint it seems obvious that being able to talk independently of ISC was nice, being the only ones able to do so nicer, and the only ones able to talk at all – if they could shut ISC down – would be nicest of all.

    But where did Lew Parmina come in? His motivation, apparently, was simply power – becoming the all-powerful head of ISC, but (according to hearsay) by conspiring with Turek who wanted to render ISC powerless! Didn’t Parmina see he was asking to be double-crossed?

    1. Richard: Osman was the intended referent of that conversation, but Furman was also a known traitor already on the dark side (but he wasn’t really “Vatta’s own” just an employee. Turek had more strategic sense than Osman, and less emotion about Vattas. Still, he was undeveloped as a military commander: he had limited tactical scope, and like many would be “god-emperors of whatever” he had an unlimited opinion of his own capability. Shipboard ansibles: definitely a product of ISC’s research side. Squelched by upper management, who saw risk of losing their monopoly and profit margin. One of the small number manufactured for testing (you had to have several, to test them on ships in space) was stolen. ISC research concealed that theft from upper management (heads would roll) counting on fact that “nobody else could build them, at least not enough of them to threaten our monopoly.” When they didn’t show up in another obvious manufacturer’s catalog, they heaved a sigh of relief and figured they were safe. Did not realize (did not want to know?) that once someone had one, they could just copy it to get another–and another. And everyone else was not automatically stupider than the research teams. It took several years, but soon a steady trickle of them were being made and closely held by Turek and Osman, as they taught Turek’s subordinates to use them, and worked out the easiest parts of tactical use.

      Vattas were not universally loved on Slotter Key because they were seen as upstarts (arrived a couple hundred years later than the colony founders) who were getting rich & influential very fast. Competition. Osman wanted Vattas knocked down to broken rock; he knew people on Slotter Key who didn’t like his family and knew which screws to turn. That’s as much as I can say without spoilering a book and a half.

      Lew Parmina was a twisted character who would do anything to get that big corner office. The kind of kid who hates those who help him when he’s young and poor because he hates needing the help and regards cooperators as weak and gullible people who should be his obedient underlings. He was already restless under Rafe’s father, but when he discovered that Rafe’s father was trusting Rafe again, using him as a corporate agent, he knew that either the father or Rafe might stumble on what he’d been up to…so he attacked Rafe’s family to break that link, hoping Rafe was far enough away that he, Lew, could take over completely before Rafe suspected anything. It was a near thing.

  3. Thanks for both the post and the clarifications in the comments 🙂

    The snippet that I always wonder about is the scene where Ky and co are watching the video Turek broadcasts (Polson?) and Ky starts to analyse the propaganda – clothing choices, voice training, how it’s shot… And then they get distracted and we never get to hear the conclusion of her analysis.

    I’ve also wondered how Lew and Turek ended up connecting. How Turek got started on the first place. Was the humod thing just a convenient platform for him or actually something he truly cared about. Why nobody was able to figure out the pirate language (and once Zori identified the language, why didn’t they ask where Dad was from and then figure out likely related languages based on colonization history etc). What caused the apparently fast switch from Turek hiding in the shadows (and killing agents who tried to say his name) to broadcasting his name across the galaxy. How Rascal ended up in that garbage can.

    So many questions… I know I have more but it’s been months or a year since last reread 🙂 looking forward to the new books and learning more about what’s been going on 🙂

    1. equus_peduus: Some of your questions have no answers–that is, at the time I wrote X, I didn’t have the backstory behind it filled in. For instance, how Rascal ended up in the garbage can was that Ky’s escorts got bored while she was in the weapons shop and were looking around–and heard something in the garbage can so they looked. And there was a puppy. The logic behind it (which shows up MUCH later) was that someone had found a puppy and–not wishing to be in the legal mess Ky was in when seen with a puppy, because having an unauthorized, unlicensed animal on that space station was illegal–dumped it in the garbage can at once, hoping the automatic can-dump into the station’s recycling would take care of it before anyone noticed. Why characters don’t do all the things you might do, or I might do, in a situation is because a) they’re different people and b) the author (or editor if the writer is careless) keeps the story moving along its main track without letting side tracks get too long or too interesting. Sometimes the characters do go on to do what you would or I would, but they don’t do it “on stage” (because writer or editor decide against it.) Sometimes that spur track is just a spur and never reconnects with the plot. What was shown of Ky analyzing the propaganda, for instance, was enough to let readers see how she thinks about such things (a useful bit of characterization)–that she can, in a crisis that has other people more focused on their emotional storms, observe clearly and think. And that–rather than the completion of her analysis, and whether it’s right or wrong–is what readers need to know. Some ragged edged backstories are left for readers to fill in as they wish, at least until I write another book that deals with the same character.

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