I’ve been asked recently, ‘what’s the point of a timeline if you have an entire series bible with everything in it?’ Not every writers wants to go back and look for a specific date by pulling up the notes with all the details. Also, sometimes all you need is a date for something mentioned in dialog–it may not have a big old backstory… Timelines are perfect for establishing continuity that doesn’t need a long drawn out explanation.
My history is set in the society I live in. Past events shape the present time–dates are essential when a scene, or dialog, details a specific incident, or point in time, and continuity needs to be maintained. The double-novels of Holodomor & Memory Kill are the only books that contain a huge amount of narrative set in the past; getting the dates right is essential.
- The series-bible has three timelines – the first details the prehistoric era that establishes the rise and fall of the Femati in the Cryogenian Era, and the building of the Femati’xirpaxul–the life form responsible for creating Sofita’s species, the Femmar, in the present.
- The second timeline details the ‘Human era’ of the planet–the rise of humanity, and the events that lead to its near extinction.
- The third details the Femarctic Era, the birth of Sofita’s species leading up to 23rd century, and the year the first novel begins. That third timeline is different from the others in that it details character specific events.
Here is a sample of two:
Prehistoric Era (…)
755 million years ago
Gulz and Arixi species die out.
748 million years ago
Fertix species develops as physically robust Fetix breed, within Pertix Prime species.
712 million years ago
First Femati species appear beneath the ice of Snowball Earth.
700 million years ago
Fertix species wiped out by the aggressive Femati; Fertix Extinction begins.
698 million years ago
Femati species is the last surviving subglacial hominid; language and art develops.
698.11 Tool use by the Femati; tribes develop. Land ownership and culture develop.
698.08 Molten lava used as energy by the Femati.
697.12 Coastal Femati begin fishing, sea mammal breeding, and farming.
697.02 Cities begin forming; mathematics and written language.
Femati begin recording history and cataloging nature.
697.01 Femati establish a national standard of currency and trade;
Pan-tribal commerce develops with coastal trade
696.05 Femati advance over known land mass; they name it Famarixicon.
696.00 Benthic ceiling ice is breached; Femati exposed to surface.
695.99 Femati develop operative medicine; first clocks are made.
695.58 Harvesting of hydro energy begins.
694.61 The first stationary steam engine is built over seafloor geothermal vents.
694.58 First undersea bubble-ships used by Femati. Mapping of coasts begins.
694.55 The Femati Industrial Age begins.
Femati transition from hand production methods to steam-powered machines. Chemical manufacturing and iron production begins; mass turbines are built to run on water power, and intricate machine tools are developed.
694.48 Femati steel is developed; residential building increases due to the powering of of cities and towns.
694.12 Communication technology develops; societal and vocational castes begin to form.
694.00 Femati bore deep into the planet’s core, raw Krysol energy is discovered.
693.80 Femati develop spheres to house Kyrsol energy.
Harvesting of raw Kyrsol begins beneath the ice.
693. 54 Femati develop Kyrsal Energy via cold fusion.
Harvesting raw Kyrsol is abandoned—and ripped mantels are never repaired.
693.21 Femati map the genome, usher in an era of genetic advancement.
693.00 Kyrsat Engines are built; high speed travel begins.
692.60 Femati move from analog, mechanical, and electronic technology, to digital technology with creation of digital logic circuits.
690.12 Femati develop first organic life forms that are non-Femati.
Femati offspring are genetically engineered.
690.10 Era of Digital-Consciousness begins.
690.00 The first non-corporeal intelligence is created by the Femati; sentient energy powering the brain is isolated; Femati begin engineering caste-traits in vitro.
680.77 Dimensional phasing is developed by the Femati.
675.03 Makermatic technology begins; all Femati are engineered to be born with self-producing wombs.
672.12 Aging Kyrsol vents left unsealed begin rupturing.
Entire cities are destroyed, many more are abandoned due to poisonous gases.
671.90 Transphasic Movement is accomplished when Femati scientists transition a block of rock to a point on the surface ice thousands of miles away, then bring the rock back within a matter of months.
670.55 Glacial recession begins.
Early Kyrsol mining had raised temperatures beneath the ice; attempts to seal open rips in the mantel increases volcanism and leads to extreme period of glacial recession.
669.80 First Mass Relocations via Transphasic-Teleportation begins.
Movement of populations and individuals over miles of open space allows for safe relocation and quick travel between predetermined points.
662.80 First surface floating cities are launched.
662.75 Era of Oxidation Sickness reigns; millions of Femati die.
662.02 Millions of Femati begin dying of Saline Sickness.
Unstable Osmotic Pressure is blamed as saline rich oceans change due to melting ice.
660.05 Cure for Oxidation Sickness discovered.
660.00 Vaccination against Saline Sickness developed.
659.92 First Transphasic Teleportation through solid mass is accomplished.
Plans are enacted to move entire cities and settlements.
658.42 Billions of the Femati perish after a super volcano erupts.
Transphasic measures are explored to safeguard the Femati species.
Development of Project Femati’xirpaxul
621.05 The Femati’xirpaxul is brought online.
She is a sentient life-force housed within an 80-ton biomechanical facility on a coastal lake in central Laurentia (Riltavix).
620.10 A half-billion Femati perish after a super-wave capsizes two key floating cities.
620 million years ago
The Cryogenian Period ends.
618.20 The Femati Extinction Begins.
As you can see, the race that created the life form that developed Sofita’s species, was created to preserve their species. The timeline answers the questions: who were there? how long did they live? when and where did they live? why are they gone? – specifics dates can be added to authenticate the dialog, or narrative, or however I choose to reveal this information, in the series.
The Femarctic Era timeline not only gives dates to events that shape the series, but it establishes character specific events not listed in the other timelines:
The Femarctic Era (…)
December 2206 – August 2208
The Sister Suicides.
Citizens of the 6th Ramaxian Generation still living, and citizens of the 7th and 8th Gen, begin showing up in large volumes, for early recycle, to protest the 9th Ruling Gen’s interference with the 10th Generations right to produce.
In 2207, Recycle Centers are ordered to turn them away; terminations continue throughout Ramaxia in private residences until 2208.
December 1, 2208
Ramaxian population deficit.
Post-hibernation census figures indicate a population deficit of fifty-six percent; there are no elders beyond the 9th Generation left in Ramaxia.
Many 10th Generation Donmat and Dokomad are raised in rank due to the loss of elder Gen Marixi to the Suicides; bonding begins through the 10th Ramaxian Generation is anticipation for Production; Cloister Elections Held.
January 1, 2209
Komadon Fusada Kul bonds to the Prime of Wram Constructs, Velto Wram, and celebrity Ilo Cux.
10th Generation politician Laxum Jyr becomes the youngest citizen to be elected to Representative, she’s Prime of Utama.
January 22, 2209
10th Ramaxian Generation patch collection and production year announced; they will be the first Generation to endure a double-production year.
Patch collection begins among the 10th Ramaxian Gen when the GDP announces that the Production Year will be doubled; every Zaxiri is expected to give birth four times in two years.
March 10, 2209
Biochemist Velto Wram wins the CR seat of East Toxis.
Planned Ramaxian Generations produce the 11th Ramaxian Generation; it is a two-year production of 97,000 live births. Their numbers replace nearly all of the lives lost from Sister Suicides. 20% Bizak, 20% Subak, 20% Hizak, 20% Zaxir, 20% Marix 100% survive childhood. They are called the Pure Generation, because caste outputs are unintentionally equal, there are no free-births recorded, nor are there any males born.
Office of Human Advocacy administrator Eppis Banto is elected to the Cloister as Civil Representative of North Vanda.
Fusada Kul dies; Doctor Sofita Kul steps down; Doctor Fyla Uym elected to GDP
10th Gen Komadon Fusada Kul (Gen Heir of Primary Fusa Kul) is found dead in the paxicol she shared with her sibling, in Utama.
Prime Chair of the Mynu School of Marix Administration, Doctor Sofita Kul, resigns her station, and enters the Ramaxian World Oceans, in Orta.
Doctor Fyla Uym becomes the youngest citizen, and first Bizaki, to make counsel-chair in the Gender Production Department.
Politician Laxum Jyr, resigns her position; Vanda’s Eppis Banto transitions.
Laxum Jyr resigns her position in Cloister after her campaign to reinstate the design of Femarctic Males is soundly defeated. Civil Representative Eppis Banto of North Vanda transitions to Civil Representative of Vanda Prime after its 9th Gen CR resigns her position.
Civil-Representative of East Toxis, Velto Wram, retires from politics.
Doctor Sofita Kul transitions from the Ramaxian World Oceans, to the Orta’s Marixi Physical Training Program.
Sofita Kul, donation of Primary Fusa Kul, is the first Hizak to put aside her caste-designation to join the RAF as a Fleeter; she trains with the Marixi.
Laxum Jyr named Ambassador to Chinasia.
After joining the Office of Human Advocacy as an administrator in 2214, Laxum Jyr is made Ambassador to Chinasia, and Prime of Kuril Base.
Character specific events in this timeline allow me to manage continuity.
Another great thing about timelines, and I won’t be detailing it here, is that you can mix your fiction in with dated-facts; this happens extensively in the Human Era Timeline, in regard to humanities history in Antarctica.
The Human Era (…)
Russian drilling team successfully reaches the waterline on Antarctica’s Lake Vostok. Robotic cameras sent in are interrupted by electromagnetic interference from structure on the lakes eastern shore. Teams are brought back until a better means of exploration can be carried out.
Widening of borehole begins in anticipation for robotic exploration of the lake.
Russian scientists return to Antarctica with much world-wide media fanfare; they are now capable of exploring Lake Vostok with deep-pressure robotics; samples are collected and sent to the surface to be analyzed in Russia and the United States.
The waters of Vostok are like nothing else on Earth, with microbes theorized to be over 600 million years old–an impossibility since the lake itself is believed to be only 65 million years old. Speculation runs rampant in the media when an electromagnetic disturbance on the eastern shore causes the robot to shut down.
The Russian scientists must leave Vostok Base for the winter.
The Femati’xirpaxul begins quarantine procedures when oxygen from the Earth’s surface is detected over its amniotic lake.
In space, meteor (7341) 1991 VK strikes the steroid 433 Eros, in orbit around Mars.
The Femati’xirpaxul begins its transitional programming when it detects celestial-debris on an impact course, to Earth; it begins destruction protocol on GEN#592760912400.8
Russian and Chinese scientist donning pressure-stable suits are lowered into the borehole to explore Lake Vostok. The eight member team is submerged in the Lake, and emerge in a deep cavern beneath the ice.
Contact is lost with the Russian/Chinese research crew when they reach the Southeastern shore of Lake Vostok.
A rescue party is sent to retrieve them; they find the team floating dead in the lake. . In the shallows of the lake where the bodies are found, are hundreds of elongated pods with a thick flesh-like coating; they sit just beneath the surface of the water.
The energy field around the Femati’xirpaxul amniotic lake is compromised by human contact.
A blend of fact and fiction, with specifics!