October 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.

30Oct/13Off

Shepherds of Sparrows: The Spaceport

Shepherds of Sparrows: The Spaceport
Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen is forthcoming from Reality Skimming Press in Nov 2013. Illustration, below, by Jeff Doten. Article by author Hal Friesen. Reality Skimming is celebrating with a series of articles about the book, each illustrated by an artist. Multiple artists will be participating. Jeff Doten is a cover illustrator working with Reality Skimming Press.

In this illustration by Jeff Doten, we see the only place in Grianach District where order remains after a war has broken out along genetic lines -- the spaceport. For a lonely boy experiencing drastic mental changes he can't fathom, the spaceport provides a haven and familiar refuge from all the noise and chaos pervading the blue-green countryside of the planet Monitum.

The boy is Voltan Ald'erda, whose genius is kicking into high-gear with a burning desire to see patterns, solve puzzles, and classify everything he sees. It's driving him crazy. These growing pains stem from his modified genetics that are at the centre of the conflict. Here we see Voltan sneaking into the spaceport his parents managed before they were murdered. Voltan desperately wants to find a way to curb the bloodshed, and to find some clarity in a world that doesn’t offer much. Though he is trying to escape, his brilliance becomes crucial in determining the future of Monitum.

Shepherds of Sparrows: The Spaceport

Shepherds of Sparrows: The Spaceport

Look for Shepherds of Sparrows on Amazon.com in Nov 2013 and at book launches in Vancouver, B.C. and Calgary, AB.

28Oct/13Off

The Fridge magnet

The Okal Rel Universe has inspired many beautiful, curious, fun and touching moments, objects and re-mixes or interpretations over the years. This page celebrates them one by one. Found one that should be here? Tell us about it for the finder's reward of the month. Send your discovery to [email protected]

Lynda was playing at swag ideas even back when the first anthology was contemplated. Here's evidence in the form of a fridge magnet promoting the first anthology call for authors. They were handed out at small gatherings of people who knew anything about the Okal Rel Universe, circum 2000. This particular fridge magnet was discovered on the fridge at Quinn St. in Prince George in 2013: a survivor of Angela's take-charge re-org of the messy home left behind for her and Tegan to live in when Lynda and David moved to Burnaby.

Fridge magnet circum 2000

25Oct/13Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Twelve: The Locket

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 12

Alivda smiled and ran off. Amel caught up with her while she was standing in line at a restaurant. “Oh, no you don’t!” Amel said. “I learned my lesson. It’s take out for us. This way.”

After they finished their take out, Amel was headed to a different salon to ask if he could borrow their scissors when he saw something.

“Look at that, Diff,” Amel said.

“Pretty!” Alivda said.

“Yes, it is,” Amel said. “Do you want it?”

Alivda shook her head.

“Pretty,” she said, pointing to Amel.

“Thank you,” Amel said. “Do you want me to have it, then?”

She nodded.

They walked into the store and Amel purchased the silver locket he had seen in the window.

“It goes on your neck,” Alivda said, like Amel didn’t know.

“Okay,” Amel said, smiling. “But you are supposed to put things in lockets, you know.”

“You already have something,” Alivda said pompously, pointing to what was left of her hair.

Amel smiled and reached into his pocket, pulling out the golden lock of hair.

He opened the locket and placed the hair inside it. Locked away for safe keeping, just like his love for the child whose hair it was.

The Locket

23Oct/13Off

Interview with Elizabeth Woods

Elizabeth Woods

Forever shaped by sense of place, the first three decades of my life were American, urban and driven. Born in New York City, my family moved to Miami, then Atlanta, back to NYC, then Detroit, then high school in a suburb of Chicago. College was in Pella, Iowa, followed by Minneapolis, and back to Miami for a few years, where my family finally settled. The second half of my life unfolds in a forest tamed from wilderness in Prince George, BC, Canada, where I live with my husband on 16 acres of woods and fields. For the last three decades I have had the privilege and gift of teaching first adolescents and now adults in the public school system. Short story and poetry have been published in the UNBC online anthology, Reflections on Water. Short stories have appeared in three editions of Lynda Williams’ science fiction Okal Rel Universe Anthology.

Interviewed by Sarah Trick

What keeps you coming back to the Okal Rel Universe?

Knowing Lynda has been the greatest boon to my writing life. I met her while I was working on my master's thesis at UNBC. We spent most of our time together talking about the ORU. I love her novels! When she and I founded the short-lived Norspec writing group in PG, she and others (including you) encouraged me to develop a character. Finding the character of Minerva allowed me to take real incidents from my own life and set them in a new context. I found it easier to tell my story in a fictitious universe. When Lynda selected my story for publication in an early ORU anthology, it was the first big break I had received. That she continues to publish my stories is a great honor.

Tell us about the origin of the name of your stories' protagonist, Minerva?

Minerva was one of my first and most cherished cats. I found her as a kitten on a back road in Iowa. She traveled with me to Minneapolis, New York City, Miami, and finally to Prince George, BC. My first story, "Where Passion Rules," is a re-visioned history of an ill-fated trip Minerva took with me to NYC in 1974. When I drafted the story, I made Minerva the protagonist and set the story on Gelion. The cocaine smugglers of my personal narrative became the dealers in illicit Lorel merchandise. Both Minerva and I made it out more or less unscathed.

"Passion Passed" did not have the outcome Minerva hoped for, What inspired you to go in this direction? Where do you see Minerva going next? What would a happy ending look like for her?

I am no longer a young woman. My expectation of free and wanton sexual exploits has diminished to the probability of zero. That Orion would become inaccessible to Minerva was not what I expected when I started the story. The word passion from the title of my first story haunted me. The happy ending did not seem to work at this point. I feel some obligation to write a happier ending for Minerva. I don't think she can go too long without a man in her life. I, too, hope in the next story she will find the right one.

Although our culture is not as restrictive as that of the Demish, do you think there are still restriction on women's desire? Is it respectable, or respected? What kind of guy is the wrong guy, and why do we keep falling for him anyway?

There are restrictions on desire for both men and women. Appropriate partner at the appropriate time is still a hard won victory. Addiction to the wrong partner is still prevalent. Why do we want what we can't have? The one who loves you, the one who will treat you right, maybe that is just too easy? Passion - when it works - is so fleeting. Unrequited passion seems to be more the norm. So when you find passion, enjoy it while it lasts.

What is it about the ORU that appeals to young readers and writers? Do you have any advice for the writer who is just starting out?

ORU is a microcosm of our own society. Heroes, villains, best intentions, failed hopes, Lynda covers all the great themes of literature. How can you go wrong with sex, swords, and spaceships?

I am at a loss to give advice to new writers. The publishing world has changed and is changing rapidly. New writers seem to be exploring blogs and online venues. I am still locked in the world of the typewriter and filing cabinet. I need to look to new writers to see what they do!

21Oct/13Off

Sarah Trick’s dream

The Okal Rel Universe has inspired many beautiful, curious, fun and touching moments, objects and re-mixes or interpretations over the years. This page celebrates them one by one. Found one that should be here? Tell us about it for the finder's reward of the month. Send your discovery to [email protected]

The Okal Rel Universe was honored to feature in Sarah Trick's dream in Sept 2013 in yet another genre. Horror! 'grin' Sarah must have been getting vibes, from the other side of Canada, about Amel's plight in Part 10: Unholy Science and he appreciates it.

Facebook Post

18Oct/13Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Eleven: Explanations

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 11

“Look,” Alivda said, holding out her hair, “cut.”

Amel sighed. They were sitting on a bench a ways away from the salon now.

“Yes, you cut your hair,” Amel said. “But that was not good, Diff.”

Diff furrowed her brow.

“Because,” Amel said, “they are supposed to cut your hair, not you.”

Alivda looked shocked at this.

“It’s too late now, though,” Amel said. “I am never going back to that place again! Now I am glad you didn’t let me take you to my favourite place.”

“Good,” Alivda said.

“No, not good,” Amel corrected her.

“Oh,” Alivda said, pointing to the side of her head that still had shoulder-length hair. “Not good.”

“That is not what I meant,” Amel said. “But yes, we should get you evened out.”

Alivda smiled and handed Amel her hair.

“For you,” she said. “Sorry.” She pointed to his burn.

“Thank you,” Amel said, taking the hair. “And it’s okay.”

Amel put the lock of golden hair in his pocket and looked up.

“Hungry,” Alivda said.

“Oh, all right,” Amel said. “Food first, but then we are straightening out your head, missy.”

Explanations

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