Far Worlds “A Pelnodan Bounty” – The Making

“How exponentially difficult would relationships be if a race had three sexes, all three of which were necessary for reproduction?”

Far Worlds

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With the upcoming release of Far Worlds, I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss where the wild ideas for the space western and crime drama piece A Pelnodan Bounty came from.

Pelnoda is a dry planet home to two races; the trimortals who have three sexes and the guests, a race who crash landed on the planet ages ago. Having been mind-wiped, the guests have no idea where they came from.

The trimortals welcomed and integrated the immigrants into their society. Grig is a guest who lives the quiet life, raising crops on his ranch. But when his old pal Zax comes along, asking a huge favor to find a pregnant trimortal, Grig is forced to confront his former life as a bounty hunter.

A Pelnodan Bounty was actually the result of merging two ideas into one.

Alien Families

The first idea was inspired by some gender studies non-fiction I’ve been studying on top of reading Ray A. Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. It’s astounding to me that although human beings have recorded our history for millennium, we’re still debating and trying to figure out the dynamic between men and women. We’ve built up many laws and views, philosophies and studies just trying to make sense of our sexual dimorphism and apply some semblance of envisioned legal equality.

As I observed our changing acceptance of what constitutes family and reproductive strategies, I wondered, “How exponentially difficult would relationships be if a race had three sexes, all three of which were necessary for reproduction?”

This is an incredibly thick idea. And I’m loathe to admit that there are tons of unanswered and unexplored aspects. How would a three sexed race view family? How would such a species construct their laws and rights in a democratic manner? What about homosexuality? Inheritance and property rights and respect for privacy? The Martian Chronicles reminded me that sci-fi is a fantastic vehicle for envisioning and writing about these speculative theories. But as a short story, I would never have time to answer them all.

I also wasn’t very wild about my original idea by itself. The concept was simply an alien drama which explored the conflicts through casual conversations between neighbors, as a male and female trimortal searched for a pregnant, missing caretaker (the term for the third gender.) While curious and interesting, I wanted to hit a wider appeal…

A Space Western

Then the idea hit me. No one submitting to Far Worlds wanted to do a space western.

I used to hate westerns when I was a kid. But the older I get, the more they become a weakness of mine. Movies like No Country for Old Men, 3:10 to Yuma and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly had changed my displeasure with the wild west. So had Cormac McCarthy’s* novel, All the Pretty Horses and Rockstar Games’ amazing Red Dead Redemption. And I had visited the American mid-west a few times. The gorgeous landscape is something that must be experienced, not described.

One problem I had was that, without an outside viewpoint, you only ever see trimortal relations through the eyes of other trimortals. They can only ever accept it as “normal.” As I thought about the problem, I came up with a solution. Far Worlds rules said no faster than light transportation. But it said nothing about cryogenic transport. Andrew cleared the idea, so I introduced a second race that was named the guests.

Are the guests technically human? Not even they know. But they gave me the outside perspective I needed. They also permitted me to expand the depth of the world. They were also something the reader can more readily identify and attach themselves too, as we often prefer characters with whom we sympathize and connect with.

Connecting these two ideas into one, I had only to come up with an overall plot. That was the worst of it, as I couldn’t concoct something off the top of my head. So I wrote. Then proofread it. Then wrote and edited it. When I finished, I realize there was a good plot there, it just needed to be shuffled around and organized. This approach took longer than planning it out ahead of time, but it still got me to what I needed.

After that, it was a few touch ups, and the rest was history.

*- McCarthy wrote the novel No Country for Old Men upon which the aforementioned movie was based. I loved the movie but the novel is still on my to-be-read list.


Music for Writing

What has two thumbs and makes the summer blockbusters epic? This guuuuuuuuuy!

What has two thumbs and makes the summer blockbusters epic? This guuuuuuuuuy!

For about three years, I’ve sharpened my writing skills on first the Black Library’s forum boards (which no longer exist), and then the Bolthole. Well, it’s not uncommon for writers to listen to music during the writing process in order to pump up or inspire them. Music is just creatively inspiring like that.

In the last two years however, I took advantage of the ability to anchor links within words to allow my readers the chance to listen to the same music I did during the writing process. It was a nifty idea only available online.

Still, a lot of talk goes into the kind of music that writers should and would listen to while writing. I’ve personally found that anything without lyrics allows the writer to focus on the work with minimal distractions. So to help out other writers, be they Warhammer fans like myself or doing their own thing, here is a list of twenty music pieces to get the creative juices flowing. It’s up to you to decide what works in what settings. And don’t be afraid to plug the names or artists into Pandora to see what you get.

  1. Epic Themes vol. 3, Dawn of War OST.
    An epic war piece great for action.
  2. Dream is Collapsing, by Hans Zimmer.
    An adventurous piece where things take a bad turn. I trust you’ve seen Inception
  3. Explosive, by Bond.
    A burst of violins with a beat in the background, mixing classical and technical.
  4. Palladio, by Escala.
    You’ve probably heard this before in diamond commercials, so you may want to check out the remixed version.
  5. Daath, by Diatonis.
    Creepy ambient music for horror and ghost stories.
  6. E.S. Posthumus,by  Ebla.
    Need something biblical? Ready for metanoia or the angels to fall upon a foe with swords?
  7. Time, by Paul Cardall.
    A peaceful piece for when you need to build a moment of wonder.
  8. Clubbed to Death, by Rob Dougan.
    Because something is happening and you’re not sure what. It neither slows the pace down nor speeds it up, but keeps it even.
  9. Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix), by Yoshida Brothers.
    For that mixture of fast paced action and the exotic.
  10. Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber.
    Do not listen to this unless you feel like being depressed over the results of man made tragedy.
  11. Mind Heist, by Zack Hemsey.
    Because someone is clearly up to no good.
  12. Yeah, kinda like that...

    Yeah, kinda like that...

    Radioactive Sunrise, Fallout 3 OST.
    An ambient piece that is haunting in a way I can’t explain.

  13. Uprising, by West One Music.
    A well named piece that suggest people growing tired with the current status quo and moving towards change by any means necessary.
  14. Requiem for a Dream Remix, by Clint Mansell.
    To be honest, this theme was used in various shapes and forms throughout the whole of Darren Aronofsky’s film. This remix wouldn’t exactly have fit it, but made it into some kind of epic, almost mythical piece.
  15. Def Con, by Immediate Music.
    For when the world’s explosion is pretty imminent.
  16. Preliator, by Globus Epicon.
    A chorus filled piece that I believe was used in the Spider-Man 2 commercials. Good for intense rivalries.
  17. Linger in Shadows, by Wojciech Golczewski.
    Something mysterious that takes a dark, drastic turn into something violent and tragic.
  18. Trailblazing, by Steve Jablonsky.
    Something honorable and sorrowful in one. Makes you instantly think of soldiers forced to do their duty despite the dangers. Probably why it ended up on the Pearl Harbor soundtrack.
  19. Ecstasy of Gold, by Ennio Morricone.
    A building piece that screams ‘obsession.’ If you haven’t seen The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, then shame on you.
  20. Code Red, by Elliot Goldenthal.
    From the soundtrack of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, this track screams mounting trouble.

That’s all for now. I’ll seek out more within a month.