Looking back, my novel Against Three Lands is set in someplace that is not medieval Japan, neighboring someplace that is decidedly not medieval China, which faces invasion from folks who are not Scotsmen or Frenchmen. Not quite, anyhow.
The tale includes desperate hand-to-hand combat, romance, land battles, a naval battle, fireships, siege warfare, and great attention to the important matters of commerce, logistics, and supply.
Clan MacDonald is surrounded by enemies. Clan Gunn wants its lands. Mysterious pirates assail its shores. The All-Conquering Generalissimo suspects it of treason. Foreign trade is interrupted by barbarian invasions — or are they blue-skinned demons?
Angus Valentine Macdonald, seventh child of the One MacDonald, must travel to remote Mercia, where he must defeat the treachery of the Lunarian Empire, the corruption of the Langwadooran invaders, and the rapacious greed of the alien Trell to protect his homeland and win the hand of his lady-love.
Chris Nuttall writes: “I’ve known George Phillies online long enough to know that he is good at creating new and different universes. Mistress of the Waves features a world that is, in many ways, a work of art; a world governed by a system that subtly limits the technology available to its inhabitants in a manner that does not provoke resistance or outright rebellion. The One World features a female-dominated society that seems plausible; Minutegirls crafts a world shaped by high-technology and the long-term effects of a devastating war. In truth, George deserves to be known far better than he is.”
Authors’ aside: Against Three Lands is a tale of geographic alternative fiction, set on a world – The World of a Thousand Isles – broken into vast numbers of moderately large islands. Readers will recognize the extant technology as that found on earth in the early 17th century. There are gunpowder weapons, but they are not yet battle-winners on land. Unlike my novel The One World, you will search in vain for the magicians with their spark gap-coherer radios, and the accountants and their Babbage machines. The cultural settings of the Hundred Isles, Mercia, and their foreign visitors, are lifted from settings found on our world. I have quite deliberately interchanged lists of names, so, no, the Hundred Islers are not Scotsmen in disguise, and the Mercians and their Empire of the Stars are certainly not the Spanish Empire on which the sun never set.
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Physics One is now for sale, paperback, for under $20. For the last year and a third I’ve been working on physics writing, notably Physics One and a review volume on computer simulations of polymer dynamics, so the gears have to shift a bit before the pace picks up.
I am also working on a volume listing of board games on military matters. It has some time to go.
I have the cover for Stand Against the Light — Now all I need is the other half or so of the text. However, the words have started to flow again, 1500 of them today. The ten months I took off to write a Freshman Physics text have my mind running in other directions.
I am making slow progress on Stand Against the Light and on Anglic Union Astrographic Service, and slight progress on ‘All the World’s Board Wargames’.
At this time of year, gardens are very busy: plant bulbs, cut down everything that will soon die, put down topsoil. I’ve already done ‘prune large bushes and trees.
A recent piece from Stand Against the Light
“Then I really need to talk to the vrijn again,” Eclipse said. “I’m in way over my head now. Arresting criminals. Stopping people with weird weapons? I was taught to do that, if I had to. But these people…their defenses against gifts are unnatural. You hit them with a plasma torch, whatever, and the attack doesn’t bounce. It just fades out of existence in midair.”
“There’s the path down to my lake,” Pickering said. “Most of the way down, you noticed it yesterday, on one side there’s that park bench under the chestnut tree. You sit down, your left arm on a handrail, and wait. They sometimes take a bit to show up.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I’d better get moving.” She pushed herself to her feet and staggered down the front stairs.
Pickering shook his head. Poor kid, he thought, having all this responsibility dumped on her, not to mention having to be point in combat. It would be great if Washington took over the load, but when you get down to it, they can’t. We’re facing threats completely beyond our imagination, let alone our weapons. And all I can do is provide moral support.
The park bench was much as Eclipse had remembered it. She distantly noted that it was welded to posts coming out of its cement foundation. That counted as a change; before their trip, it might well have rested on a cement pad, but not with the massive fasteners. She sat on the bench, leaned back, and closed her eyes. She was just so tired.
Stand Against the Light spent some time being refractory, but I’ve overcome that obstacle. The manuscript is currently at 70,000 or so words, so it is perhaps half-done. It might be finished by the end of the year. I also made some progress on the physics paper, which will need very careful wording because it is quite radical in some ways.
I decided I will finish Eclipse novels 3 and 4 before I finish Practical Exercise and Academician, the Adara Triskittenion background novels. There are 80,000 words of Eclipse 3 — Stand Against the Light — available, so it will finish sooner. In addition, the two Adara novels are mostly about university life at a legitimate academic institution, not about combat, so some readers will find segments of them to be painfully boring.