August 28th, 2006

Back in PDX ...

... with memories of a great visit with TNG, and an awesome in-person meet-up with the lovely and charming bluecarp!

tyrsalvia, sorry we missed each other again.

fairiegodmother, it's great to be back in the NW ... looking forward to getting together soon.

And yes, I took pictures of TNG ... forgot my digital camera (shame!) so I bought one of those disposable film cameras from Walgreens. Should get 'em developed in the next day or two.

Creative stuff.

So, I'm going to be posting some cultural background on the story soon. I've worked out an alphabet, a 600-word vocabulary, and a grammar for the Gilkesh language; and the basics of the family unit, reproduction, social norms and values, and what I'm trying to do with the project. Also I'll post some thoughts abut the story and planned future fiction.


The alphabet, in its more-or-less-close-to-final form.

Some example letters. These are the letters A, S, K, E, R, N, and M. The image appears compressed on my LJ homepage, click on the image for full-size in correct proportions. The rectangular guidelines are to facilitate drawing the letters in the right proportions, 3-5-8 or the Golden Ratio.

The Gilkesh Universe and "The Queen's Courtesan"

"The Queen's Courtesan" was supposed to be a two-page short story.

It was to be my introduction to the Gilkesh universe, setting the stage for other stories to follow. TQC is set in "mythic time" and is written in the form of a historical novel; it looks back upon a pivotal moment in Gilkesh history, prior to which little or no historical information is available. It is also posited that the original homeworld of this culture, Shakti, has somehow vanished from the spacetime continuum, while the nearby planetary colonies have survived. Therefore, the narrator's knowledge of peripheral worlds like Darkhaven and Planet 138 (which appear in the story at an early historical stage of development) is more detailed than her knowledge of the main world Shakti. This allows me to begin the story somewhere without racking my brains about the ultimate origin of the Gilkesh.

The deeper I go, though, the more I realize I'm going to have to fill in the details. The narrator may be able to fudge, but the author does not have that luxury. Also, the plotline has turned out to be much more complex than I originally envisioned. Probably what I'm going to need to do is sit down and sketch out the rest of the story (perhaps working backward from the end, which I've pretty much got) and then piece it together one episode at a time.

I've used at least three different titles for this story but I keep coming back to "The Queen's Courtesan". The term "courtesan" is used somewhat ironically here, as there is no social sanction implied for Amira's affair with Joli.

TQC is not a political story. Don't look for Iran, Iraq, George Bush, or Osama bin Laden, because they're not there. I write about politics on my political blog, and I write fiction to get away from politics.

That said, there are certain basic values that underlie my fiction, and these are present in TQC as in my other creative writing. More on this later.

Who are the Gilkesh?

The Gilkesh (the name means “star women”) are a humanoid race believed to be closely linked to modern humans. The exact nature of the relationship, however, remains in dispute. It is unclear whether the Gilkeshna (collective plural) arose from humans, or the humans from Gilkeshna. There is considerable variation among Gilkeshne (discrete plural) in physical characteristics, owing to genetic drift and bioengineering, but overall they tend to exceed baseline humans in physical endurance, strength, mental acuity, agility, and tolerance for adverse conditions. They are nocturnal and have acute night vision. All Gilkeshna are female.
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