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.

6Feb/14Off

It’s a Trap!

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

The distinctions between who's right, who's wrong—and especially who can be trusted—get increasingly blurred as Shepherds of Sparrows reaches its climax. What seems to be a straightforward matter of us versus them becomes a multi-faceted struggle for power, and even when Nestor thinks he's got a handle on things, however tenuous, the situation spirals out of control once more.

In this illustration by Debbie Ha, we see Nestor encounter a deadly surprise after putting himself in mortal danger. The trap is sprung and enemies surround him. Find out what happens next, and whether or not Nestor needs Admiral Ackbar's help – in Shepherds of Sparrows - now available on amazon.com!

Its a trap

Its a trap!

31Jan/14Off

Jan 31, 2014 – Okal Rel Quote

Jan 31, 2014 - ORU Quote from "Nestor's Gap" by Hal J. Friesen

Okal Rel science fiction books - Nestor playing a role to fit into expected norms on Monitum

Writer-daughter Jennifer Lott's 2013 Xmas gift to Lynda Williams was an Okal Rel quote of the day stack for 2014, featuring intriguing snapshots of the ORU adventure from all titles in the series: Saga, Legacies and online.

From "Nestor's Gap" by Hal Friesen from Opus 3: An Okal Rel Legacy Anthology

Nestor wasn't the only one pretending to be someone else, and Di Mon's example, strange though it was, comforted him. He could continue to be Nersallian in appearance and others could continue their own personas, so necessary for survival in the Gelack Empire.

Jan 31, 2014 - ORU Quote from "Nestor's Gap" by Hal J. Friesen

Jan 31, 2014 - ORU Quote from "Nestor's Gap" by Hal J. Friesen on roles to maintain a safe facade.

Commentary

"Nestor's Gap" is set during the Nesak War prior to the ten-novel Okal Rel Saga. In this quote, warrior Nestar Tark of House Nersal realizes he is hiding important aspects of his nature by playing the role of Nersallian Warrior -- not in the same way that Di Mon does, but just as surly. Nestor secretly discovers Di Mon's repressed homosexuality during this short story. Nestor himself is to discovers, over a series of short stories, that he sympathizes with the Nesaks over family life choices such as marriage, despite his Vrellish cultural upbringing.

24Jan/14Off

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

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

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

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

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