Tag Archive: Karyss


the-next-big-thing1Thanks to the kindly C.B. McCullough (still not sure if a distant relation!) Pan Spectrum Analyzer has been nominated for a blog-hop: The Next Big Thing.  I’m a bit too humble for my own good, so writing something like this feels rather weird to me, but here we go.

What is the title of your book?

And we’re off to the hard questions already.  It actually doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ve been forced to resort to “Pan Spectrum Analyzer” or just PSA to tag it.  Its not even really finished, but it is kinda. I have no idea what it might finally be called.

What is the genre of your book?

Considering the specification of what science fiction is, I’ll have to say Sci-Fi, as the novel itself isn’t based on a scientific notion. It is slathered with science-fiction tropes though, with nods of space opera through and through.

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Karyss_Prologue

Karyss aboard the Hegemony ship, Respondent.

I’ve posted a lot about my science fiction novel in progress. I’ve talked about the illustrations I’ve done for it and plastered them across this site. I’ve blabbed about the processes I’ve used to get my head in its reality. I’ve mentioned the spacecraft and its denizens, and blah blah blah…  but I’ve never actually shown anything from its pages.  I guess its about time, eh?

Like all things, there are reasons for that.  Creative types can be insecure about their work, especially their “favourite child.” But a protective father needs to let their sweetheart out of the house to live her own life, so here we go.


Pan Spectrum Analyzer (working title)

“We all aspire to take upon ourselves a Great Journey, but only a few of us ever do.”

Prologue

Mbali Sector, deep space, T + 65 days (Starship Sequential/Chronological Time)

“Collision imminent!”

Karyss was only dimly aware of the vacc-suit’s alarm klaxons insistently sounding off, somewhere deep under layers of her ragged, forced breathing. The shrieking rush of blood in her ears was far clearer than the proximity warnings and victimized screams leaping from the comms. Too much was happening, too fast to follow. Overwhelming. Soul crushing. She needed to focus and figure out what was important.

“Collision imminent!”

Deep breath, girl, deep breath. She clawed air into her lungs, bringing brief clarity. She shrugged around in the stiff vacc-suit, glancing around as much as she could, snatching glimpses that brought her situation into an even starker reality.

Incandescence surrounded her – the dying breaths of a hundred spacecraft exhaled as violent flowers of burning vapour miraculously blooming from their hulks: volatile gas spilled from shattered starships shocked to ignition by radiant, prismatic showers of sparks. They rapidly boiled away into the void, eerily silent, their passage illuminating skeletal wrecks, scattered bodies of crew, faint zig-zag plumes of lifeboat burn motors; the embers of a once proud navy.

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Karyss-shade3a-FX

Karyss, drawn in 2013

Karyss is the protagonist of “PSA”  the Science Fiction novel I’m currently writing for what seems like forever. Young and unassuming, she lives a life defined by the everyday, never questioning the world beyond that she sees, but a brave, yet foolish step toward her dreams casts her adrift amongst the stars, on a journey she could never imagine, let alone understand.

But my story of her is a little different than the novel’s.

Karyss entered my life back in 1997. She didn’t know it was going to happen and neither did I. I had logged onto an online text-based MUD (I was addicted to them at the time) and was spontaneously asked the odd question “Character Name?”   I knew this question was going to come up at some point while starting a new character on a new MUD, I just wasn’t ready for it then.  Really, without thinking, I typed the word “Caryss” and hit enter. I think I had thought of a strange version of “Chris,” then “future-ized” it. About 30 minutes later, I left that MUD never to return – but I took Caryss with me.

Caryss

Early version of Caryss from 1999.

Since then, she has bobbled to the surface of my imagination quite frequently. I found myself having to write glips and glops for this and that, and she kept stepping through the brain-idea barrier every time. Here, she is a bounty hunter, there an inadvertent terrorist, and over here, a co-pilot of a starship. These versions of Karyss were obvious nods to the pulpy SF I’ve absorbed and desired to write ever since I was six and seeing Star Wars that fateful summer. Then, she was lithe, sexy, full of attitude… In other words, a stereotype and not much else. She needed depth.

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Pulp-O-Mized!

Word’s going around of a new service that may be of interest to those with Pulpy and retrostyled taste in Science Fiction/Sci-Fi: the Pulp-0-Mizer.  Its a web-app that allows you to create a faux book cover with Golden Age stylings, with your choice of text, images, fonts, etc. It is a commercial service, so they only let you do a low-res image for shits and giggles, but it is kinda cool. As soon as a saw it, I knew I had to slap PS-Ana into it and this was the result:

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_Image

That is the maximum free resolution, but you can also get something framed for Facebook that is closer to 500×500.

If I can’t get my act together for a painting when the damn novel is done, I may have to end up using this – at this resolution too, since sales of my e-Book, The Unorthodox Eater, haven’t been enough to buy a poster res version of this cover. 😦 It might have something to do with my complete lack of marketing prowess and its godawful cover.

If you want to Pulp-O-Mize an image of your own, head over to Thrilling Tales Pulp-O-Mizer. Don’t tell them I sent you, because they don’t give a shug, chummer!

PS: Yeah, I’m putting this up because my main article was taking quite some time to put together, as its a bit of a trek through some of the archives. Hopefully that will be done in a day or so, if the Universe abides.

In the first two articles of this series, I have put forward some thoughts for what life might be like for freelance, civilian space workers as a sort of thought-exercise and the foundation for some of the characters and events in my novel in progress, codenamed “PSA”  With this episode, I describe the main elements of the idea.

My spacers started out as good-natured, friendly, heart of gold types, but I needed an edge, or something that I felt like I could call them mine. So I made them superstitious, stressed out drug addicts trying to make their way in a cruel, unforgiving universe. I think they’d be  a little… “touched” to put it nicely.

Copyright Ken McCulloch 2012

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