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.

24Jan/14Off

We Will Make Justice

We Will Make Justice
Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen was published by Reality Skimming Press in Nov 2013. Illustration, below, by Jeff Doten. Article by Hal Friesen. Reality Skimming is celebrating with a series of articles about the book, each illustrated by an artist. Multiple artists will be participating.

By Hal Friesen

Pleo, the middle child of the Ald'erda family, has the most radical reaction to his parents' murder. He seethes with anger toward his father for putting them in such an ostracized position, and flounders for somewhere to direct his rage. After failing to join the mob that would have him killed, he decides he's on the wrong side, and needs to punish the hunters who think a child's genetic make-up is cause for execution.

Much like Olivia and Voltan, Pleo also wants his family to be brought back together – but as victors over the corpses of their enemies. Deep down, Pleo seeks justice for his parents' death, and will do anything to bring it to fruition. He rallies other children to his cause, creating a harsh camaraderie using propaganda similar to his enemies. This epic illustration by Jeff Doten perfectly captures the dark tide as Pleo forces the child soldiers to shed their youth in order to do what's necessary.

What will be the fate of these children? Find out in Shepherds of Sparrows - now available on amazon.com!

We Will Make Justice

15Jan/14Off

Lorel Tech

Lorel Tech
Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen was published by Reality Skimming Press in Nov 2013. Illustration, below, by Richard Bartrop. Article by Lynda Williams. Reality Skimming is celebrating with a series of articles about the book, each illustrated by an artist. Multiple artists will be participating.

By Lynda Williams

Since the first book of the Okal Rel Saga, we've always known the Lorels are scary. But it isn't until Part 10: Unholy Science that we meet some. Wait! Except, that is, in stories like Patricia Crawford's in Opus 2 and, most particularly, in Hal Friesen's Shepherds of Sparrows. In fact, the appearance of Dartha Lorel in Hal's book forced Lynda to firm up one, particular, decades-old idea about how Lorels operate and give a name to it: a sheut.

In Shepherds of Sparrows, Dartha makes a couple of eerie appearances to harass Hal's antagonist, the Caddy,

“Even if I was really here beside you,” Dartha said, “I hope you aren’t naïve enough to think you could threaten me with violence if you chose to indulge your Vrellish leanings.”

What does that mean? Nestor wondered. How is she communicating with him if she’s not here?

Amel wonders the same thing in Part 10: Unholy Science when he is rescued from another Lorel by Dartha.

“I want to go home,” Amel said, simply.

“I am sorry,” the sheut answered. “I am not a sufficiently sophisticated enactment of Dartha to address such a complex question.”

Like most Lorel Tech introduced to the saga's cast of characters in Part 10: Unholy Science, Dartha's sheut is made of seka – nanotech material able to re-arrange itself in complex ways under the direction of a master of sekan't. A sheut has the added aspect of being animated by an imprint of the personality of the sekan't master who created it. Like a temporary AI doppleganger.

However, not all seka is animated by an on-board intelligence. Most of the time, it's controlled by transmissions from the brain implants of the Lorel in charge. Here's a glimpse, from Part 10: Unholy Science, of Amel discovering how Lorels park their airships.

The plane slowed down and hovered in a way it really shouldn't have been able to do. Then it slid into a well-lighted cavern with a seka-colored floor of gold-speckled brown. The ceiling looked, for all the world, like sky above them. The plane melted around them, into the floor, causing Amel to start and scramble to his feet while Bo Lorel watched and laughed.

Lorel Tech

9Jan/14Off

A Staged Rescue

A Staged Rescue
Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen was published by 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.

By Hal Friesen

Nestor Tark, the man Di Mon entrusts with the investigation of the conflict in Shepherds of Sparrows, gets pulled in too many directions as the story unfolds. He is forced to prioritize everything that he holds dear, and as a result, he and his wife Remei are separated. Nestor is familiar with being the lone wolf, a solo crusader, so when he hears that the lynching mob has caught Remei, he doesn’t hesitate to go alone into the heart of enemy territory, back to where the story began. In this illustration by Jeff Doten, we see Nestor leap in at a pivotal moment on the amphitheatre stage. He’s not sure how he’s going to make it out alive, but he knows he can’t stand by and watch his wife get murdered.

He hopes that there is no one else there but the few guards...

Find out what happens to Nestor and his family in Shepherds of Sparrows - now available on amazon.com!

A Staged Rescue

4Dec/13Off

A Storm is Coming

A Storm is Coming
Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen was published by 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.

By Hal Friesen

A somber sky looks down upon the fires of Grianach as the conflict intensifies. Voltan and Olivia overlook what was once their home, and feel lost in a world now totally alien to them. In this illustration, Jeff Doten has done a beautiful job of capturing the ominous atmosphere of what lay ahead for the children. They will have to carve their own paths, find their own ways of coping and moving forward after so much has been lost. The wind can blow these sparrows in many directions, and their quest for the right one will test the fabric of their souls.

Check out Shepherds of Sparrows - now available on amazon.com — to find out what happens next!

A Storm is Coming

27Nov/13Off

Let Shine the Mind

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Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen was published by Reality Skimming Press in Nov 2013. Illustration, below, by Debbie Ha. 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.

By Hal Friesen

In this illustration by Debbie Ha, we see the wonder of discovery through the eyes of Voltan, who has finally found a way to put his hyperactive mind to good use. He explores and manipulates protein structure using interactive goggles and gloves—which he masters immediately. Although Prokhor, his mentor, showed Voltan the door, it’s almost as if the mentor is clutching on, trying not to be left behind.

The curse of Voltan’s genetics turns into an asset as he makes leaps and bounds in the research to end the war. It provides a little bit of calm for him, distracting him from all the tragedy long enough to begin the process of healing. And although he gazes intently at projected proteins, his thoughts and purpose remain to save his siblings and everyone else in the Grianach district.

Join in on Voltan's discoveries in Shepherds of Sparrows - now available on amazon.com.

20Nov/13Off

Refugee House

Refugee House
Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen was published by 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.

By Hal Friesen

The genetically-enhanced citizens of Monitum don't get to enjoy the benefits of their special blood. They are hunted and ostracized, and flee to the farmhouse where Nestor's wife Remei takes them in. She's overwhelmed and the house is full of starving, wounded refugees. The foster children, Olivia and Pleo, are neglected and the fragile strands holding the family together threaten to snap.

It's only when the murderous mob surrounds the house that everyone comes together, and it might be too late. In this illustration by Jeff Doten we see Nestor and Remei defending the farmhouse from the hatred and prejudice that has already spiraled out of control. It is a moment when all could be lost, and this scene determines the fate of every character in the book.

Check out Shepherds of Sparrows - now available on amazon.com — to find out what happens next!

Refugee House