‘Oti Rawa Ati’ – Finished at last

Six months and 73,000 words later I have finally finished my latest WIP – “River is Rising.”

Well what a long slog that was. The book began simply enough. Set in the not too far distant future, antimicrobial resistant pestilence forces humankind’s hand to strive for the stars. Three vast galaxy cruisers are created and set off for the far-flung reaches of the galaxy.

The twist that gave me complications as a writer, but hopefully depth and interest to the reader, is that a chance discovery based on an abundance of Bismuth in New Zealand, leads to the discovery of a highly oligodynamic metal compound, one that kills bacteria on contact. The race that rises to sudden wealth, and to fill the political vacuum, are the Māori people. At once the book took on another angle, the richness of the Māori language coupled with their ancient myths and legends, all set amidst a world ready for decolonialism, provided the flawed character of River Te Toa with a broader path to travel.

River has to navigate a new world founded on the brittle friction between ancient Māori traditions and science, while she strives to understand why the fleet of galaxy cruisers are being destroyed by some unknown means.

It was complex to write, but at the same time, carefully weaving the threads of custom, language and song into the tapestry of the story was a joy. I love research, so to gain an insight, even at a very basic level, into that rich culture was fascinating. The symbolism of Tā moko and moko kauae became central themes. You can read about the meaning, and the resurgence, of this art form by clicking on the image below.

Moko Kauae

I have moved to querying to see if I can hook a literary agent (any out there who happen to be reading this – don’t be a stranger!). In the meantime I have started book two, in what I believe will end up as a trilogy, I already have the outlines for all three books. If traditional publishing doesn’t work out I will self-publish all three towards the end of the year.

Follow the blog to keep updated on the status of the new book and the writing of the next two.

You can read two prior blog posts relating to the themes and topics within the book here:

As my flawed and personally challenging female protagonist, River Te Toa might say “Ko te tumanako i pai ki a koe te korero, whai mai i ahau mo etahi atu whakahou.”

Or in English (thank goodness for Google translate) – I hope you enjoyed the update, follow the blog and join the newsletter for more updates.

Postscript: In my earnest and honest attempt to represent even a fraction of the proud and ancient heritage of the Māori nation, I hope that any omissions or errors have caused no offence.

Hard Sci-Fi (ciencia ficcion dura)

This blog is the long-delayed follow-up to the previous blog on Hard Science Fiction. Read the previous blog post here.

The original blog was posted on August 16th, so I have been extremely remiss in not getting around to the sequel. In my defense, I did move countries again (!) and have almost finished the 60,000 word Sci-Fi book around which this post is based.

So, in the last blog, I promised a discussion on Qualia and Quantum Consciousness. It is an extremely central theme of the book.

Qualia? Yup, it’s a word I hadn’t come across before I started writing the book. But in running through some research it popped up and I was hooked. My book’s (soon to be published, follow me here or on Goodreads for updates) major theme is interconnectedness, even across vast spatial distances and temporal barriers. Qualia helped me bridge those issues.

First termed by C. S. Lewis in 1929 (a bit of a pervert old CS, so factor that into your consideration of what follows), Qualia can be referred to as the phenomenal properties of experience, and experiences that have qualia are referred to as being phenomenally conscious.

OhhhhKayyyy? So let’s dumb that down a little. In terms that I can understand, it is the concept of why we all share a common set of properties of things that defy scientific explanation. The smell of a fine Bordeaux, the touch of the skin of a peach, the pain of a paper cut.

These things are essentially experiential, not experimental.

TBH – it is mostly a philosophical discussion, but it begins to touch on the subject of telepathy which of course makes scientists balk. For full disclosure, I am as far from being spiritual as is possible, but as one of the characters in my book states:

But isn’t that puzzling to you?” Aroha looked around at the faces of the other researchers. They all looked back, serious as they considered the conundrum. “We all recognize the sensation of red, and we all agree when we see it, but we have no way to communicate it, and there is nothing in science that tells us what it should be like. The color red and the smell of the rose are examples of qualia. We humans perceive them as strong and firmly unified properties of our surroundings, of the real world, whereas in actual fact they are simply products of our consciousness.”

It made me sit up and think, and the concept that perhaps we ‘share’ what we consider to be unified properties, precisely because we ‘share’ elements of our consciousnesses, lent itself to what I think is a very strong chapter and a lead-in to the later stages of the book.

I am 5 (FIVE!) chapters from finishing the first draft. Close to the current word count of 60K, I am certain it will end up at 63-65K. I always add even as I edit.

Shannon Hale said it best “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that I can later build sandcastles.”

It is such a true quote. I am both exalted and at the same time dismayed by some of the chapters and the work that lies ahead, but it is by far my most adventurous and far-reaching novel and I am excited to get it finished.

Good grief!

Did you really read to the end of that blog? You may be the target reader for this book!

Go on, go on, go on…sign up for the blog to keep posted on release dates. I honestly think it might be more than OK.