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.

29Apr/14Off

Excerpt from Without Bloodshed Part 4

3Advesaries4
Matthew Graybosch is a Romantic science fantasy novelist from New York who codes for a living. He’s also a gamer, a long-haired metalhead, and a geek who passes for normal by not talking about the nerdy stuff that excites him. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a bicycle that nags him whenever he doesn’t meet his daily word count. He’s hard at work on the next Starbreaker novel. You can reach him by email or on Google+. His home page is at http://www.matthewgraybosch.com/

Chapter 11, "Three Adversaries Walk into a Bar" (Scene 2) part 4

Morgan had not yet reached the bar. He told her he wanted a particular stool: one adjacent to the one Michael Riordan occupied. Approaching the man was impossible; Fireclowns intent on a mixed martial arts match in progress on a screen over Riordan's head crowded him. She spied an upright piano sitting forlorn against the wall in a section of the bar kept clear, and caught the bartender's attention. "Do you think your patrons might fancy some live entertainment? I assume your piano's in tune."

"I keep it in tune for my son; he practices in the mornings after helping me set up. I gotta tell you, though, these guys aren't much for the classics."

Neither am I, tonight. This is a night for improvisation. She shrugged off her armored coat and slung it over her shoulder, holding the collar with a crooked finger. "Do I look like I do the classics?"

She draped her coat over the upright piano, sat down to uncover the keys, and began a rendition of In These Shoes that she often performed when Christabel ducked backstage. Without Sid to play the bass or Morgan to accompany her on guitar, she improvised. The youths with whom she spoke gathered nearby to watch. She played without rest, letting themes and variations develop of their own accord as she entered a meditative trance.

Her peripheral vision suggested the presence of a vast crowd, but she dared not turn her head to verify the size of her congregation. Experience proved an unforgiving tutor in teaching her of the fragility of concentration in a flow state, once achieved.

She let her voice soar and provide a counterpoint to her piano. Without the need to convey lyrics, her voice became a pure instrument. After a time, her voice stilled and her hands settled into another familiar melody. She began to sing again, performing another Crowley's Thoth standby: an art rock song from the 1970s concerning a trip to a fair.

22Apr/14Off

Excerpt from Without Bloodshed Part 3

3Advesaries3
Matthew Graybosch is a Romantic science fantasy novelist from New York who codes for a living. He’s also a gamer, a long-haired metalhead, and a geek who passes for normal by not talking about the nerdy stuff that excites him. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a bicycle that nags him whenever he doesn’t meet his daily word count. He’s hard at work on the next Starbreaker novel. You can reach him by email or on Google+. His home page is at http://www.matthewgraybosch.com/

Chapter 11, "Three Adversaries Walk into a Bar" (Scene 2) part 3

While almost all of the patrons wore the colors of the Fireclowns MC, most of them seemed too absorbed in their own conversations to notice her. "―I told my wife I didn't like this job any more than she did, but did she listen? Nah―"

"―Can you believe this shit? It's 2112 and my grandparents still think my being bi is just a phase―"

"Hey, isn't that the babe from Crowley's Thoth?"

She stopped and turned towards the booth containing the patron who recognized her. He seemed terribly young to be riding with a gang of mercenary bikers, and his reddish brown hair kept falling over his face. His companions were equally youthful. I guess it's a family business for some of them. "I never expected to be recognized in uniform. I'm helping Morgan; we'd like to resolve matters with Liebenthal in a peaceful manner."

One of the other youths nodded. "My dad was there last night. He couldn't believe you guys didn't just kill them all. The doctor told him to stay home and rest a few days."

"Morgan and I only got to Boston this morning, but I'm glad for our friends' restraint." She pointed to Sid. "I'm sure Adversary Schneider would appreciate hearing from you."

The biker with the absent father reddened as he brushed past Naomi to get out of the booth. She smiled as he passed; his blush even set the back of his neck aflame. By the time he caught up with Sid, he was too far away to be audible over the hum of conversation, but the sight of him shaking the giant's hand encouraged her. That's at least one man with no desire to fight.

15Apr/14Off

Excerpt from Without Bloodshed Part 2

3Advesaries2
Matthew Graybosch is a Romantic science fantasy novelist from New York who codes for a living. He’s also a gamer, a long-haired metalhead, and a geek who passes for normal by not talking about the nerdy stuff that excites him. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a bicycle that nags him whenever he doesn’t meet his daily word count. He’s hard at work on the next Starbreaker novel. You can reach him by email or on Google+. His home page is at http://www.matthewgraybosch.com/

Chapter 11, "Three Adversaries Walk into a Bar" (Scene 2) part 2

The Four Winds Bar lay just past the warehouses and factories, in a district which seemed allocated to bars, nightclubs, strip joints, and brothels. Motorcycles crowded the parking lots in front of several establishments, despite the plenitude of bus stops for the use of revelers too drunk to pilot a vehicle. Most of the stops bore public service posters displaying men and women passed out from drunkenness and slogans like "Too drunk to drive = Too drunk to fuck" and "Only losers take advantage." Others bore recruitment posters for the Adversaries, some of which were defaced by some angry hand to read, "We have control. We keep you safe. We are your hope." She used her implant to photograph one of them while passing. I bet Claire would like this. She's a Protomen fan.

As they dismounted and approached the entrance, their motorcycles parked away from those ridden by the Fireclowns, Morgan started a secure relay chat and invited Naomi. Though she usually worked alone, she approved of the connection between them, for it permitted real-time tactical coordination. I'm not used to working as part of a team. Should I just watch your back, Morgan?

Watch Sid's as well, and we'll both look out for you. Otherwise, I trust your judgment. We want the Fireclowns to respect us, and we want them to understand we're not here to fight.

Sid joined in. How's your empty-handed technique?

Rusty. The admission pained Naomi. As an Adversary she was as skilled a combatant without a sword as she was with one; her instructor insisted upon it. She lapsed after retiring from the IRD corps. However, I think I managed reasonably well with Thistlewood.

Both men replied at once, You did.

Sid held the door, and followed Naomi inside; she smiled as she took in the interior. Every booth and table sported plush leather seats, and the woodwork gleamed with fresh polish. Screens displayed various sporting events currently in progress, among them a fencing tourney, a soccer match, a Formula One race, and a baseball game. Despite Claire's opinion, the Four Winds Bar seemed a quality establishment.

8Apr/14Off

Excerpt from Without Bloodshed Part 1

3Advesaries1
Matthew Graybosch is a Romantic science fantasy novelist from New York who codes for a living. He’s also a gamer, a long-haired metalhead, and a geek who passes for normal by not talking about the nerdy stuff that excites him. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a bicycle that nags him whenever he doesn’t meet his daily word count. He’s hard at work on the next Starbreaker novel. You can reach him by email or on Google+. His home page is at http://www.matthewgraybosch.com/

Chapter 11, "Three Adversaries Walk into a Bar" (Scene 2)

Naomi last rode a motorcycle several years ago, but she recalled her former skill within minutes. The motor purred beneath her, powered by a miniaturized thorium-fueled nuclear reactor which comprised half of the bike's mass due to shielding requirements. She opened the throttle, pulling alongside Morgan, who sat his chopper with a proud ease worthy of a paladin in the medieval romances they read while recording the Crowley's Thoth album Le Morte d'Arthur.

His hair remained unbound beneath his helmet; rather than wear head protection tailored for bikers, he settled for an armored helmet issued to Adversaries and militia, and protected his eyes with sunglasses. Sid did the same. Naomi regretted accepting the expense of a 'proper' helmet; having the visor down left her head completely enclosed, and evoked a sense of claustrophobia. She opened a secure talk session with Morgan. You were right about the helmet.

Do you want to stop and switch? My gear should fit you.

Naomi used her implant to pull up the map; only a kilometer and a half remained before they reached their destination. We're almost there, but you were knightly to offer.

Knightly?

Sorry. You look very gallant astride a motorcycle. She slowed to keep pace with Morgan. A message from trafficnet to her implant advised her of a seventy-five percent reduction in the maximum safe speed due to heavy truck traffic. They entered South Boston, and began passing warehouses and small factories. Trucks laden with goods bound for delivery occasionally lumbered forth, forcing Naomi and the others to stop and wait. Their pace was so reduced, she felt a temptation to tuck her helmet into a saddlebag. A foolish idea, no doubt. Morgan might not mind being stabbed, bludgeoned, and shot like an irreligious Rasputin, but he damn well wears his helmet.

13Mar/14Off

March 13, 2014 – Okal Rel Quote

March 13, 2014 - Okal Rel Quote

March 13, 2014 - Okal Rel Quote

17Feb/14Off

THE REAL PRIVACY PROBLEM

Arbiter Administration

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 lynda@okalrel.org

Commentary by Matthew Graybosch on a real world phenomenon that reminds him of arbiters on Rire.

Arbiter Administration

References:

MIT Tech Review: http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520426/the-real-privacy-problem/

Matthew's response: http://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/2013/12/16/the-real-privacy-problem/