Category: science fiction

First Draft Pass Complete

chapeditsExcised several scenes to tighten my plot but I feel like I’ve sacrificed a bit of characterization in the process. Renamed the book because there’s a movie coming out about the Holodomor in the Ukraine and I don’t want the association. The new title is Tactical Pursuits.

Jogging through the second-draft pass and I can’t shake the feeling that the chapters don’t fit. I know that I’m telling two different stories in this novel – Eppis adjusting her life in preparation of ascension, and Ilo dying as motivation for Velto and Sofita to put aside their differences and work toward ascension. The subplot (at this point I should say, microplot) involves the Slavic Empire and that’s grounded in the Velto/Sofita portion of the book. Eppis/Ilo are connected by their brief complicity in the past, a partnership that afforded them the lives they lived up until now; tying them together at the end of the book is problematic because of a character death. Interweaving the narrative of these two distinct storylines works on television, but in prose, it just feels clunky.

I’m going to keep each storyline together via ‘Part I’ and ‘Part II’ separation, then fuse the stories together at the end.

Shell Follow Up

In the first novel (fully edited – needs beta) the Shell began operating on its own, touching Sofita’s mind without permission, taking over for moments at a time, etc. In the second novel, Sofita follows up with an examination at the holistic lab, but Fyla Uym (Shell’s designer) isn’t there. In her place is Riltav Gwo. The young Hizak is a character that will feature heavily in the series, but in this scene, she makes her debut.

Currently editing this first draft…


Damn, I Thought I Thought of That

I created an intellectual class of citizens called Hizaki (his-sah-kee).

stylepostFitat`femax (loose helovx translation: noble Femmar of Ramaxia) is the name of the fashion-conscious aesthetic of the Hizaki.  An entire industry revolves around styling Hizaki, and it’s staffed by the laboring Bizaki (bis-sah-kee).  Bizzy’s were the first to recognize Hizzah vanity, and from this, created a business around their cosmetic upkeep.

In my second novel, Holodomor, we get a look into the life of an Hizak named Eppis Banto. She starts her day at a Style-Sit where her hair and nails are done before moving on to a Fashion House of choice, to be fitted in the day’s ensemble. At the Style-Sit, Eppis speaks briefly with a Hizak peer that’s getting her eyes lashes curled. My method involved applying a perm-like gel to the lashes, protecting the eyelid with a stick-on shield.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think of it first. It’s called LVL Lash Lift. Not only didn’t I think of it first, it’s been in practice since 2013.


Bible Excerpt: Anatomy

Bizak, Subak, Marix, Zaxir, and Hizak

Anatomical Basics

  • The Femmar are engineered before birth into four castes.
    • Bizaki, Subaki, Marixi, Zaxiri, Hizaki
  • Average height range of a typical adult is 6’5” to 7’5”
  • The Femmar have 280 bones and 52 chromosomes.
  • Femarctic craniums are thicker that of the helovx, and their brains larger, with greater synaptic interconnectivity.
  • The Femmar have 38 teeth; the fronts are lobed, pointed, and cusped, for grasping and tearing food. Back teeth are thick and flat, for crushing bone and shells.
  • The Femmar have off-white sclera, and gold/bronze irises.
    • Femarctic eyes contain a protein in the vitreous that breaks down abrasives and protests against natural lachrymators. Their eyes also include a layer of tissue called tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see in the dark.
  • The Femmar have no vellum, axillary, or androgenic hair; all terminal hair is black.
    • Only the Marix-caste has no terminal hair.
  • The Femmar have eight layers of counter-shaded skin (dark throughout, but light to white along their chests, abdomen, and pelvic girdle), with a seam of skin called uzx, marking where the lighter chest and abdominal skin meets with the darker external hide.
    • Femarctic hides come in a variety of colors, from bronze and brown to various shades of gray and blue, with patterns ranging from light stripes to mottled spots–some Femmar have no patterns at all.


  • Femmar have what helovx consider to be ‘breasts,’ called suzsch. Suzsch are globes of subcutaneous fat over the chest.
    • Down the middle of each suzsch is the sensitive uzx.
      (Only the Marixi have differing suzsch and uzxi – see below).
  • All Femmar have a guzshlix (vagina), and a girxil,  a genito-anal slit used to expel urine and feces. The folds of the guzshlix are called the gashcol, and crowning the folds is a rydok (clitoris).
    • The opening of the guzshlix (vagina) is set where a human wears her pubis and navel; the elongated folds of the gashcol run vertically between the hips. An inch below the lower end of the gashcol is the girxil.
  • All Femmar, except Marixi, have a makodux (uterus) and a makzol (cervix); the Zaxiri have dual-makodux.

All Femmar produce a hormone called mitokerotein, a steroid not found in any other species on Ramaxicon. MitoK developed independently within the last generation of subjects engineered by the Femaki’xirpaxul. Helovxi calls MitoK ‘Femarctic Testosterone’, but no studies have been able to confirm any similarity to the testosterone found in helovx.

The Femarctic renal system is capable of processing salt water, allowing for safe digestion of saline. The Femmar also have an epigonal organ.

Series Bible Excerpt: Food Culture

Foodaxi is the term for naturally grown things, either harvested or slaughtered, for consumption by the Femmar. It is a combination of the Helovx-English word, food, and axi, a Ramaxi term meaning the soil.

Staple Spices Grown in Ramaxia, with origins between the poles:

Ajwainol, Anisikal, Basiros, Black Must, Brown Must, Caragol, Cayenne Utol, Celerx, Chicnol, Chili Utol, Chivax, Cilantrux, Cinnag, Clovag, Cumix, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Gingos, Juniper, Kokerx, Lavendol, Lemongrass, Macag, Marukam, Mint, Oregnos, Paprik, Aca Utol, Parslo, Rosemary, Saffro, Sago, Sassafrux, Soriskal, Sumax, Utol, Tarragos, Tumeriskal, Vanilla, and Wasabi.

Livestock Raised in Ramaxia, (some) with origins between the poles:

The Faxuto, or ‘sea-cow,’ as it’s known to helovx, is a bioengineered aquatic bovid, raised for meat production. The creature is larger than water-buffalo found between the poles, and also less intelligent. It is not exported by Ramaxia, nor is it found swimming in the wild—the Faxuto is a subterranean mammal, thriving only around brackish-water environments, with little to no direct sunlight. Staple by-products derived from Faxuto are dairy in nature: milk (axutal), butter (axumal), and cheese (axumil).

Bakuti, aka ‘South Pole Chicken,’ is a bioengineered breed of aggressive domesticated fowl created from scavenged Ameraucana breeds from South America. Regulated hatcheries produce thousands of Bakuti a month as a source of food, for both their meat and their eggs (akutz). Bakuti is a staple protein ingredient in sustenance replication, along with native Zatolixa.

Zatolixa are the only susequidae in existence, engineered from the African bush pig, and African wild donkey. Zatolixa are intelligent subterranean polar beasts that are miniature and thick bodied like pigs but have long muzzles and thick hooves. They breed freely in such high numbers that monthly collection is required to keep the population in check. Corralled Zatolixa are used in farming valleys to maintain the rivers balance of microbes, mushrooms, and polar-krill; those that roam free in the uninhabited sectors, can be found around subglacial streams and frost-swamps. Zat’s are put to sleep before being slaughtered for their meat; it is the most commonly consumed meat among the Bizaki and the Marixi castes, due to its flavorful fat content, and salty-pulled texture.

The Femmar no longer eat any form of sea-mammal; they do eat crustaceans and fresh fish.

Vegetation Grown in Ramaxia:

Natural growing south-pole seaweed, called Tigoz (brown and white in color), is harvested and used in a variety of recipes, as is the engineered sea vegetable Trictan (commonly known to helovx as ‘Polar Corn’). Trictan kernels can be eaten on their own, or used to make flatbreads; it is also fermented to make ale and other alcoholic beverages.

  • Helovx prize trictan because when distilled, only a small amount of the brown fluid will induce intoxication when inhaled. Inhaling trictan does not have a narcotic effect on Femmar, but because of its potency in helovx, it is outlawed for export.

Itabix, (what helovx call, ‘Polar Wheat’) was developed in 2088 when spikelets of a hulled itabixocryese (a wheat ancestor) were found in the stomachs of dinosaurs, frozen in cryonic soil on the bay floors of Greenland. Itabix is a synthetic hexaploid made by crossing itabixocryese, with domesticated emmer or durum wheat, found in abandoned farmland throughout the surface world. Itabix matures to a dark gold color, and is designed to grow in darkness; the best Itabix grows in volcanic soil, but direct sunlight stunts its growth. It is a staple ingredient in sustenance replication and is exported to the helovx nations of Brasilia, Hawaiki, Zealand, and the Slavic Empire.

Keltavi, or ‘polar rice,’ is a blue cereal grain genetically engineered in 2092, from the helovx ‘Asian rice’. It is grown in glacial acropora coral, submerged in the many heated glacio-volcanic pools, on the surface of the central western coast. It is the most widely consumed staple grain in Ramaxia. It’s sweeter cousin, Kelsub, is a thick bluegrass engineered from rice and tropical sugarcane. Kelsub is grown in and around saline-rich pools of volcanic hot springs; its fibrous stalks are short and stout, and contain the light-blue liquid kelsuba; it is consumed as a sweetener, in a variety of food and drink.

Another favorite cereal grain used mostly for cooking in savory foods is Boz, yellow-orange rice that’s used primarily for domesticated animal feed. Boz is a hybrid of surface-world rice (fledged from seeds of monocot plants scavenged from the waters off the coasts of South America) and shallow sea algae found off the coast of Western Ramaxia. This ‘Antarctican Rice’ gets its color because its seeds are engineered with a high level of carotene pigment.

  • All polar-grain is distilled into a variety of liquors that must be imbibed carefully—abuse of trictan, itabix, keltavi, and boz based alcohols, can cause long terms damage to the Femarctic brain.

Fruits and Vegetables:

Nux Bloom, or what helovx call, the ‘Polar Grape,’ is a seedless cultivar named for Second Gen geneticist Bo Nux. Nux blooms grow in clusters of 50 to 500, they are white–almost translucent, and thrive in the rocky soils beneath the Suv Glacier, 20 miles east of Orta (Far Northern East Antarctic Ice-Shelf). Nux is also grown in small harvests throughout Ramaxia, but the best privately owned nuxyards are located in the valley around the Utamx River. Nux’ origins are traced to Second Gen engineers; in the 2090′s, helovx-cultivars scavenged from around the world were modified genetically to grow without sunlight. Nux Bloom is harvested twice a year when their juice is approximately 50% kelsubic by weight.

  • Juice from medicinal blooms are known for their protective properties and are given to Femarctic youth because it is a modulator for their metabolism, and good for the blood. As a spirit, it’s cultivated into an alcoholic beverage, enjoyed by the citizenry.

Gabishol is known to helovx as ‘the Polar apple,’ because its flesh is very much similar in color and taste to the extinct North American red-delicious cultivar. Gabishol rootstock was developed by engineers of the Second Ramaxian Gen, using many Prunus collected by scouts throughout the lands between the poles. Gabishol orchards, called Gabishes, exist in the moist volcanic soils beneath the glaciers of North Western Ramaxia; as the planted trees grow they produce heat, thus melting the underside of the glacier, allowing for a regular supply of glacial water.

  • A typical gabishol is the size of a helovx cantaloupe, some are known to grow larger—but larger varieties contain bitter flesh, which is used exclusively to make juice, wine, cider, or ale.

Palux are round bumpy edible fruit that grows in the subterranean glacial marshlands of central Ramaxia.  Its rind is black, and the soft sweet flesh, blue. Paluxol grows in bunches on small waterborne trees, and when they bloom, they drop loose into the standing waters beneath.  They were genetically engineered by Second Gen botanists Bo Nux and Gid Tol, splicing South American banana cultivars, and the natural Annona squamosa fruit called the sugar-apple, found in the uninhabited islands of the West Indies. Palux is fed to donational age Femmar because it is sweet and doesn’t cause young teeth to decay. It also helps adult Femmar with bowel regulation.  It is used in a variety of drinks, and desserts.

  • Paluxol is considered an erotic fruit because when ripe, its black rind splits and its blue flesh pushes out through the opening. Because it resembles aroused genitalia, Bizaki farm laborers call seasonal harvesting, ‘gash-hunts.’

There are two types of southern polar cabbage, the first is Kokux, a bright yellow sprout that’s thick flowering head is eaten as a vegetable. It’s a form of the helovx ‘Asian’ broccoli, genetically modified to grow in subglacial permafrost. It matures quickly (Bizaki working the fields harvest three times a year) and provides many tender flowering shoots. Kokux buds, stems, and leaves, are consumed in a variety of ways and is as essential to maintaining healthy hides.

Bokdux is a large leafy white (or pink) vegetable, with pungent dense-leaved heads. It was developed by Second Gen Bizak botanist Fer Cyltiax, by splicing Savoy cabbages brought back by Second Gen scouts, with an ‘Asian Allium’ (onion) species. Typical heads of Bokdu can weigh up to 12 pounds, and they are grown in snow-covered permafrost, in coastal farms located near the surface. They are the only Ramaxian crop grown with exposure to the surface, due to the strong odor they produce when mature.  Bokdu is cooked either on their own, or in soup, or as a base seasoning for meats, and poultry.

  • Bokdu enhances the immune system, and are an essential ingredient, along with penguin tears, in vitamin supplements given to growing donations.

Patotok is Ramaxia’s fifth-largest food crop, following Trictan, Itabix, Keltavi, Boz. It is regarded by helovx to be the Polar-Potato, pure white in color with a thin black skin, it’s a genetically enhanced tuber capable of growing in salt water, without sunlight. It is exported to the helovx-nations of Brasilia, Zealand, and Hawaiki only, and is prized by helovx for its long shelf-life, salty flavor, and the vitamins and minerals it supplies.  The Femmar use it as a staple in a variety of dishes, due to its high starch content (above average carbohydrates slow digestion in the Femmar).

  • Pre-Impact, there were 5,000 potato varieties worldwide–but Second Gen scouts were only able to find 82 species in their missions; the most robust being the Andean Potato, discovered in the atolls around Brasilia.

Femmar love snacks high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories. Worldwide, helovx’ largest export is “junk food,” shipped to the AWI, and bases between the poles. The Femmar are rabid drinkers, and two helovx drinks extremely popular in Ramaxia are carbonated sodas, and coffee. The Femmar of the Second Gen were able to engineer a variety of tea-leaves but were unable to replicate Coffea shrubs, with beans capable of being processed to produce the desired outcome. Hawaiki is the top producer of the robusta coffee bean, their biggest customer is Ramaxia.

 Non-alcoholic beverages in order by most consumed:

  • warm glacial-water
  • fruit juices (there are dozens of varieties)
  • coffee and tea
  • axital (faxuto-milk -this is most consumed during donational years)
  • flavored sodas