August 2013 « Reality SkimmingReality Skimming
Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.

30Aug/13Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Four: Sharing

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 4

Ann and Alivda managed to ‘share’ their Amel for the rest of the day, but in this case, 'share' meant Ann watching Amel fuss over his little Diff. She put up with it for the rest of the day, but come nighttime Ann was tired of it.

“She has a bedtime, right?” Ann asked Amel while the dragon jumped on her furniture.

“Well,” Amel said tentatively.

“You have got to be kidding me!” Ann said. “Does she ever get tired?”

“Oh, yes,” Amel said. “But on her own time. She is only two years old, after all.” He smiled. Only Amel would think staying up with a hyper child was fun.

Then Ann realized what Amel had just said, and felt her mouth fall open as she stared at him like he had just said Rire had voted to become a monarchy.

“What?” Amel asked, sounding annoyed.

“Are you telling me the three-foot monster of a child who is destroying my furniture is only two years old?” Ann almost shrieked. This was even worse than she thought.

“Well, two and a half, really,” Amel said.

“Oh I’m sorry, six months makes that much difference, does it!” Ann said.

“When you are as Vrellish as she is it can,” Amel said. “But how old did you think she was?”

“Six.”

Amel giggled. “Really?”

“Yes,” Ann said.

“Well, she is very Vrellish,” Amel said.

Ann just looked flabbergasted, but when her face finally returned to normal she had just one question.

“I am not going to get laid tonight, am I?” she asked.

Amel gave her a sheepish grin.

Ann threw her arms up in the air and collapsed onto the couch.

“We can still cuddle,” Amel said, smiling.

“Oh, great!” Ann said sarcastically. “That will be such a rush.”

Amel sat down next to her on the couch and put an arm around her.

“You know it can be,” he whispered in her ear.

She felt a shiver run through her body and before she even thought about it, she was kissing him. And he was kissing her back.

The baby dragon did not appreciate this.

“No,” she said loudly and ran up to sit between them.

“Get off!” Ann yelled and pushed Alivda off the couch.

A normal toddler would have cried, but Alivda kicked Ann in the shin. Again.

Ann yelled and swore; Amel tried to cover Alivda’s ears.

“Did you have to hit the same spot!” Ann yelled at the smug looking child-sized toddler.

“Ann!” Amel said. “Be nice. She is just a baby!”

“That’s no baby,” Ann muttered under her breath, now thinking a dragon would have been offended to have his name attached to such a beast.

“Now, Diff,” Amel said. “You know you aren’t supposed to kick my friends.”

As soon as Amel looked at her, Alivda’s smug grin changed to an angelic smile.

“That’s better,” Amel said.

“Why did you call her Diff?” Ann asked.

“That is my nickname for her,” Amel said. “Only I call her that.” He grinned. It seemed the existence of a name only he used made him feel closer to the child.

“I am going to go get more ice,” Ann said and went to the kitchen.

“Diff,” Amel said when Ann had come back, “no more kicking Ann, okay?”

The baby dragon put on her most angelic face and nodded.

“That’s my girl,” Amel said and scooped her up into a huge hug.

Diff decided a hug wasn’t enough and climbed around Amel until she was clinging to his back like a koala bear.

“Are you tired?” Amel asked his back.

Alivda gave a huge fake-sounding yawn.

“Okay, let’s get ready for bed, then,” Amel said, and he carried her off to the bathroom to wash.

They took a long time in there, and eventually a wonderful thought struck Ann: maybe the little terror had actually fallen asleep. But just after Amel had returned to her and pulled her into his arms for a kiss, she heard a blood-curdling scream from the other room. Ann sighed. She felt like screaming herself.

27Aug/13Off

Campfire: Excerpt from Family Tree – Part 1

Family Tree by Monica Zwikstra, illustrated by Richard Bartrop

Monica Zwikstra was born on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, Canada. She lives in Southern Alberta with her husband and three cats. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, playing the autoharp and being an active member of the community.

<< Start at Beginning >>


Sam propped opened the back door of the bar, hauled out the garbage and heaved it into the bin. Cans clinked and bottles smashed as he swung the lid down with a bang. He turned to close the door when he saw a man sitting on the cement against the wall. His head covered by a hoody, arms wrapped around his pulled up knees.

“Hey bud, you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” He glanced up from under the hoodie. “Is your name Sam Kotter?”

Perhaps you have been told stories …

“Maybe, who wants to know?”

The stranger unwrapped himself, stood, tall and slim. His movements unhurried, a sense of calm radiated from him. Sam peered at the man although it remained difficult to see much in the darkness of the alley.

“I am a relative, perhaps you have been told stories with reference to me. I am the Green Man.”

Sam smiled. He would have laughed, except for the sombre way the guy spoke.

“Well you must know something about my family, as far as I know we are the only family with tales of a Green Man. However, that’s all they are, tall tales.” He frowned, gave a mental shrug and said, “Look, if you want, come in and I’ll spot you a coffee.”

Perhaps you have been told stories …

<< Part 2 >>

23Aug/13Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Three: An Unwelcome Visitor

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 3

“Where is he?” Ann was saying to well, no one, since she was alone. The arbiter answered her as if it could somehow provide new information, which, of course, it could not."

“The information at hand indicates Amel Dem’Vrel will arrive shortly.”

He should have docked an hour ago. Ann stared at the holographic representation in outrage “Oh, what do you know?” Ann said. “You don’t get horny!”

“Please restate the question,” the arbiter said.

Ann glared at it and started pacing.

She paced nervously around her room and occasionally yelled at the arbiter, until finally the door opened.

“Amel!” Ann cried with joy and relief, drinking in his smile and the beautiful eyes and fair complexion that to her represented sex personified. but then she saw a small blonde toddler standing behind Amel and balked.

“What’s with the kid?” Ann asked, hoping Amel could somehow claim ignorance, but she knew already that this little kid was no Reetion.

“She is my baby dragon,” Amel said, as if this explained everything.

“Baby what now?” Ann asked.

“Baby dragon,” Amel said.

“A dragon is a mythical creature, right?” Ann said. “I think I have seen them in synth-dramas.”

Amel laughed. “Yeah.”

“Okay,” Ann said slowly, “but what is an inaccurately named Demish toddler doing with you?”

“What do you mean, inaccurately named?” Amel said in outrage. He seemed very proud of the name he had come up with.

“Well, she isn’t really a dragon, is she?” Ann asked.

The little girl went over to Ann and kicked her as hard as she could.

Amel smiled. “She really isn’t Demish either,” he said.

“But why do you have her here now?” Ann asked again.

“Perry had her in a cage!” Amel said, again as if that explained everything. Amel's talent for storytelling evidently didn't extend to his habit of picking up strays.

“Who is she!” Ann yelled.

“Ayrium and Ameron’s second daughter, Alivda,” Amel said. “But no one else can handle her, so I get to look after her!” He looked positively gleeful about this.

“But can’t you, you know,” Ann said, nudging her head a little to try and indicate what she meant.

“What?” Amel asked kindly.

“I was hoping for some adult time,” Ann said.

Amel still looked confused. Ann couldn't understand why; she knew he loved sex just as much as she did, but right now he seemed to be entirely smitten with the little beast and only had eyes for her.

Alivda kicked Ann again.

“How is it that she can figure out what I am saying, but you can’t!” Ann said, going to sit down and holding her shin. That had hurt.

“Bad baby dragon!” Amel was saying to Alivda. “Don’t kick Ann. She is our friend.”

“Are you even listening to me?” Ann asked.

“What?” Amel said, looking up.

“Never mind,” Ann grumbled, and went to put ice on her leg.

An Unwelcome Visitor

20Aug/13Off

Campfire: Family Tree by Monica Zwikstra

Family Tree by Monica Zwikstra, illustrated by Richard Bartrop

Monica Zwikstra was born on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, Canada. She lives in Southern Alberta with her husband and three cats. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, playing the autoharp and being an active member of the community.

Monica Zwikstra

My thoughts on optimistic SF.

In simple terms, it means the good guys or gals win.

In a deeper sense, it means the human race survives.

This may seem simplistic. However, consider the news of today.

Climate change, wars and potential wars, the violence people inflict on each other both as individuals and as a species.

Some days, survival is not so easy to imagine.

‘Optimistic SF.’ means, in my mind, SF that depicts overcoming the odds, fighting off the darkness or changing the world for the positive, providing hope and a sense of rightness.

Consider Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, and the people that populated it in the book Dragonsdawn. Tenacity, drive and a sense of optimism. Fighting against the odds, and while suffering huge setbacks, they survive. They survive and eventually thrive, through determination and the human ability to adapt.

Now that’s my idea of Optimistic Sf.


NEXT WEEK: A serialized excerpt from Family Tree, a work in progress by Monica Zwikstra

16Aug/13Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Two: Amel and the Dragon

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 2

Amel held the baby dragon protectively in his arms, while she tried to wriggle free.

“Oh, don’t look at me like that!” Perry said.

“She is your granddaughter!” Amel said.

“Don’t you think I know that?” Perry asked. “I just can’t handle her. I am getting too old for this.” She sighed. Amel just didn't understand how hard it was dealing with the girl. Only Ayrium could calm her, and Ayrium couldn't be around all the time. The rest of the time she had to deal with a destructive menace.

“Why don’t I look after her?” Amel asked while the dragon got her nails into his skin beneath his hair.

By the mad gods of Earth, was he serious? She could be saved! “By all means!” Perry said waving a hand toward the blonde that had destroyed her living room. “Please!”

“What shall I call you?” Amel asked the baby, pulling her away from his face, where her too-sharp nails had been coming dangerously close to his beautiful eyes. Amel didn't appear at all concerned. “Hmmm.”

“That daughter of mine named her Alivda,” Perry said.

“Yeah, but I think I will need something that only I call her,” Amel said, then after a moment of thought added, “like Diff.”

“Di,” Alivda said, trying to whack Amel’s face with both hands, “ft-ft-ft.”

“See?” Amel said. “She likes it.” He smiled. Perry frowned. That was the sort of smile he usually had for her, not for the little monster.

Amel made to leave when Perry called out to him, suddenly seeing a major downside to his plan. “So I take it this means you’re not staying the night, then?”

Amel chuckled. “No, but I will come back eventually. You know that.”

He walked out of Perry’s room and toward the docks, taking little Diff with him. For a moment Perry thought she should go after him and tell him to wait for Ayrium. Her daughter wouldn't be happy to discover the dragon had been taken off-planet without her knowledge, even if it was with Amel, whom she adored. And maybe this way, Amel could be persuaded to spend the night after all….

But no, she realized with a shudder. If he stayed any longer, Amel might change his mind. The horror of that possibility was unthinkable. She could explain things to Ayrium. Right?

***

Amel was in high spirits as he walked out toward the docks. He had never had a habitual travelling companion before, especially not one so little, but he was excited for the change. Ayrium and Ameron were two of his favourite people, and this was their daughter. What could possibly go wrong? As appalled as he had been by the cage, he did understand that Perry was at her wits' end. Barmi II, it seemed, just wasn't big enough for a baby dragon. But exploring the galaxy would be fun. Amel wondered what she would think of Rire, which was his next stop. He had a date with an old friend there.

“You’re going to get to meet Ann,” Amel said softly to Diff while he carried her to his ship.

Diff got very excited when she saw Amel’s ship. Though she didn't talk, Amel could tell that she knew she was going to fly; her babble got louder and faster and she flapped her arms.

Amel smiled. “You are definitely Vrellish on the inside, even if you look like a Demish Princess.”

Diff made a few happy sounds from her perch on Amel’s shoulders.

They went into his ship and Amel showed Diff her seat, but it seemed she was happier sitting on his shoulders so he let her. “Just don’t cover my eyes, okay?” Amel said.

Diff screamed with joy and used her legs to jump up while still on Amel’s shoulders.

“Ow,” Amel said, and left dock.

The baby dragon calmed down once they entered skim, and Amel found that she was a great traveling companion.

Amel and the Dragon

________________________________________
14Aug/13Off

Reality Skimming Press

August 11, 2013

N E W S

Brian Hades and Lynda Williams are pleased to announce the formation of a new and independent publishing venture ...

Reality Skimming Press

With Lynda's 10-novel Okal Rel Saga nearly completed, Lynda Williams decided it was time to pursue a new dream: publishing others who share her love of heroes.

"Optimistic SF is what I like," she explained her vision. "Stories that confront the work of being human with a will to find meaning in the struggle."

Her own work has been characterized as space opera because of the emphasis on the lives, loves and decisions of the characters. "Amel, Horth, Vretla and the rest of the cast are what it's about," she said. "I like to think of it as modem epic: the story of heroes confronting big challenges." Those stories play out against a background of socially and biologically constructed questions of sexual identity, status struggles among human and post-human sub-groups, and questions like the ethics of modifying personality through medical intervention.

Although writing has been a life-long preoccupation for Williams, leadership has run a close second. For example, she launched one of Canada's first public internet organizations in the 1990s as president of the Prince George FreeNet and a member of Telecommunities Canada.

"And I've always been interested in publishing," said Williams. "I managed an academic press in the mid-2000s (UNBC Press), produced an online literary journal for ten years (Reflections on Water) and have been running the Reality Skimming Blog, in its current form, since 2010."

Reality Skimming Press will start by taking over the Okal Rel Saga and Okal Rel Legacies series from EDGE during a planned period of mentorship and transition of up to twelve months. "Then, once the infrastructure is in place, we'll start to branch out into other titles."

Anyone interested in getting to know the Reality Skimming mission, in the meantime, is welcome to visit the facebook page at http://facebook.com/relskim or read the blog at http://okalrel.org




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