But what, you ask, bored with all this, is Ky Vatta up to? Well, first I have to tell you about something I wanted desperately, wrote about in an SF book, that is now available almost as I had written it, except using video screens and not a VR helmet. Which would be much better, IMO. The Racewood Horse Simulator is so doggone close (except for the VR stuff–my idea’s better!) to what I “invented” for Lady Cecelia’s space yacht in HUNTING PARTY it’s eerie. Includes almost all the things I, as a rider, wanted: sensors in the saddle to let you know if your seat bones are equally weighted and a visual display, sensors on the sides showing location and strength of leg contact, sensors for rein tension. It comes in several models, optimized for different equestrian sports. It offers walk, trot, canter, gallop at different speeds/degrees of collection, with some lateral work capability for the dressage model, faux-jumping for show jumping and cross country. Does not offer full selection of different horse types (as mine did so you could practice on a short-strided, medium strided, or long strided horse) but that will come, I’m sure. Some upscale riding schools are not using them for both practice and advanced coaching. One of the videos I saw was a riding instructor who has tried one out and found that she was posting differently, with a sort of twist in her torso, on one diagonal–something she’d never noticed, but I’ll bet her horse had. It would be a great tool for rehabbing a rider like me, who’s been out of riding too long. The boring reconditioning stuff could be done at least partly on the simulator, sparing a live horse having a floppy-bodied out of condition rider on its back. Anyway, here’s a link to Racewood: http://www.racewood.com/contact-us.html and a link to a YouTube video of someone riding on one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6HM5qgzlaM and/or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPbu0TiJeWg. Or for a cutting horse version…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac03W7einJk I do think a VR helmet would be a lot better than the screen movie. With the images actually taken from a helmet cam worn by someone on an actual horse.
Back to Ky. I’m letting her work her way through the post-INTO THE FIRE time…I know *some* of what she’s up to, but not everything, and not enough yet to get any idea of actual Story coming through. Flickers of things happening but nothing solid enough yet. INTO THE FIRE did not go where I first expected, and thus what I thought was coming up next…isn’t. I’d been working toward incorporating a scrap I wrote years and years ago and now…first off, I can’t find the scrap, and secondly, it doesn’t fit. And I have to have some space for the sword. What sword, you ask? Well. You’ll find out what sword, and I’ll find out WHY the sword (other than the obvious stuff that’s in the first pages, but the real deep-plot “why is there a sword in this book anyway?” Plot Daemon is glaring at me. I’m not supposed to talk about anything yet.
12 thoughts on “Changes”
Wow. Those simulators are amazing. I love living in the future.
I need to find out if anywhere near here has one…now that training stables are beginning to use them…and also the simplified form of the “rodeo bull” which I also saw being used to train riders to handle shying and whirling as well as the up and down of jumping. Controlled by the instructor, starting fairly slow, no spins or turns, and then ramping up. But with a real saddle on it, and “reins.”
I’m so glad you’re thinking about Ky’s future and looking for a Story to share with us. Your books are some of the ones I read over and over again, with each reading revealing more detail and allowing me to appreciate excellent storytelling. Thank you!
Thank YOU. I hope someone in that family stirs their stumps and generates enough Story I can go on with it. But after all, I gave myself a year to get healthier (and my teeth are now!) so there’s still time.
Is there a writer’s version of the Ten Commandments? And if so, does it include, “Thou shalt not disobey the Plot Daemon”?
I’m with Mary Anne, it is exciting living in the future, and sometimes scary.
I think there must be a bazillion versions of the Writer’s Ten Commandments. I think of One Prime Commandment or at most Two. 1) Thou shalt not bore the reader. 2) Thou shalt not cheat the reader. Bored readers quit reading. Readers who feel cheated at the end (for any of the reasons they may feel cheated) won’t read more books by that writer. Sometimes a reader mis-reads the cues, and expects something never offered (not the writer’s fault) and sometimes writers *do* cheat (is the writer’s fault.)
Anyway, those are my two. Don’t bore the reader. Don’t cheat the reader. I could spend chapters describing what *I* think is boring and cheating and how not to do that, but readers vary in what they find boring and cheating…and no writer pleases everyone, and may not please the same people in different books and book groups. True of me as a writer, and true of me as a reader. I have writers whose works A through H I love, can’t stand I through N, and like (but not love) O through T. Not their fault. Not my fault. They have multiple readerships that only partly overlap (as do I) and that’s a good thing.
When I was a kid I always thought the inclusion of swords and sword-fights made stories better.
Never grew out of it.
Horses. For me it was horses. And bacon. And smart loyal dogs. Sword fights were probably in 4th place, but at that time I hadn’t seen the good swordfighting movies or done any but stick-fencing (kid style, not real fencing with sticks.)
A real horse simulator – wow. Do they program it to kick you if you drag the halter over its ears?
No rush of a new Ky story – get well, then write like . . .
I a currently rereading Paks et al – good rereading.
Jonathan up in New Hampshire
Navy people have always had swords. Just because it’s a space navy or Ky might have left her first navy (a second time), doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a good navy sabre (or five) it the story. 😉
Depends on the history of the culture behind the space navy, including how far behind the last use of swords was. Swords in most but not all space navies in the Vatta universe are ceremonial: not used in space combat, and replaced for close combat inside spaceships by weapons designed to do no harm to the ship itself. Doesn’t mean a sword will never show up, but that it’s unlikely to be a common weapon, trained with and used. In some, it’s still in use for those specific times when it’s more effective than others. The more likely appearance of one is a ceremonial or decorative weapon that’s used in an emergency: Rafe at eleven grabbing his sword off the wall to fight off an intruder bent on kidnapping him and his sister. A real sword of any type can be a “shock and awe” weapon in the hands of a skilled person in close combat: nobody expects either that long flashing blade or the amount of blood. Except that there are still cultures on this planet where the use of a long blade for ceremonial killings continues in use, and the presumption of the human mind is that what’s used in a formal situation to behead someone is probably also in use elsewhere in that culture as well.
Swords often get into stories because the writer thinks they’re a cool weapon, not because that’s the only thing she/he could have chosen to use. I like swords, myself, just as I like horses. I like fencing with rapiers and messing about with the heavier swords as well, though I never had as much skill with them as I acquired with rapiers. That’s why in the Familias Regnant stories, several bad guys are killed with a sword…one in a fencing salle, and one on a spaceship. One is clearly a revenge murder; the other is not. In the same books, there’s are two spacefaring societies that also make use of swords: one very ritualized, limited to very specific uses, and the other more plain old bloodlust.
In Tanya Huff’s books about the Confederation, one non-human species even comes equipped with blades: the Polint. Wonderful books; I need to get the latest, out this month.
When I was at Navy bootcamp many decades ago, the recruit petty officers used revolutionary war naval swords as symbols of their authority.
Read the Hornblower books for naval sword uses and problems.