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Friday, January 25, 2013

PENDOMUS INSIGHTS: Elements of a Dystopia

Welcome to PART 4 of my edification on all things Pendomus!

Elements of Pendomus
What started with a girl running away from home, developed into a much larger dystopian world. For me, it was a distorted way of viewing the world we already live in.

So many of us spend our lives working for others; Spending all day building someone else's dream... To what? Make money so we can buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't even like. Then we wonder why we are all so unhappy. Why obesity is an epidemic. Why kids are raising themselves.

For me, I wanted this new world to take a different stance. The society inside the Helix tries, almost too hard, to make sure everyone's life purpose is fulfilled. They utilize science to determine what that purpose is, unfortunately, removing any choice whatsoever.

Beyond that, they control more than just a human's purpose. As I stated before, sleep, food, communication, procreation... it's all being handled by professionals. So let's break it down.

Sleep. Dang... It takes up a 1/3 of our day. In the Helix, I decided they've found a way around it - using special equipment called the Lotus Chair. For this, I considered meditation as my source. Sitting in lotus position, is often viewed to be the traditional way to sit and meditate, so for the Lotus Chair, it's a similar concept. You'd sit cross-legged and comfortable, while as special machine drops down, stimulating your brain and simulating the way humans "used to" sleep. 

Food. On Pendomus, not much can actually grow. Remember, it's a tidally-locked planet. Because of this, humans have devised a way to distribute the nutrients needed (amongst other...erm...things) in the form of tablets, known as RationCaps. They expand in your stomach and hit your blood stream as soon as they dissolve. In fact, my main character's mother, Absala Cophem, is a RationCaps Chemist - working hard at providing the right science to deliver.

Communication. There's too much to know. Because of technological advances, out-loud language has fallen to the wayside, taken over by a new way to communicate - direct contact into a brain via the eLink (exchangeLink). This was my take on how the internet may evolve - direct downloads and communication without the need of a device beyond the human brain. Ever daydream? You know how you can see the whole thing take place, even if you're not really there? The eLink was developed to tap into that part of the brain, allowing visual impulses, information, etc to be downloaded right to your memory. 

Sex. Ooooh... great topic, right? So, get this: No one in the Helix has sex. Hell, no one in the Helix even knows about sex. Humanity on Pendomus had a rough start. Because of that, procreation was left to science. What combination of genetics held the best key to life? Geneticists single out those combinations and push forward the next generation. However, as you'll see in the book, familial relationships are not really a big deal because of it. People go through the motions - living together as a family unit, but their motivations, time and energy is expected to be spent helping the Helix evolve and thrive.

There you have it... a few of the fun elements that make Pendomus... well, Pendomus.

Next week: Start meeting the characters and their journey. First up; Runa.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Welcome to PART 3 of my edification on all things Pendomus!

Well, so far, we've discussed the planet of Pendomus in the past two posts. 

This next installment is about the structure known as the Helix and the society that 's maintained within its walls.  

When I first started writing, I was flying by the seat of my pants (PANTSER!) and really didn't know what was about to come next. When it came to humanity, to the planet, I really had no rules, Pendomus held no identity to me.

As I began looking closer at Runa and her life, a society formed quickly - one rooted in ours today, but perhaps a bit more idealized. Everyone on Pendomus is put through a bunch of aptitude tests. They are monitored closely to be placed into a profession matching not only their genetic make-up, but also their personality. The notion is that humanity can then be optimized. It's the whole, "Do what you love" ideal put into play.

Once the society was formed... I knew I had to create a wickedly visual place for humanity to be residing in. Originally, I had a totally uncool name for the Helix, too - The Compound. Wow. Good lord. How freakin' original is THAT?! Yikes. *shakes head*

Oh well. It was a start... Besides, it looked better on page than xxxx or something! HA!

The Helix (for realz), a landmark bridge in Singapore.
I came up with the idea of a structure rising up out of the ground like the double helix on its side. So far, nothing I've found online comes close to the massive structure I see in my head, but this comes pretty close. ----------->

I envision a protective shield wrapping around the main tunnel of the Helix on Pendomus. Looking at the pic of the bridge, I happen to like the lighting. Huh... perhaps something to embellish going forward in Book 2. ;)

At any rate... society with the Helix is highly contolled. There's no sleep, so they can function longer for the Helix. They do have a machine that simulates the way sleep recharges the brain and revitalizes the body, though. They don't eat. They don't speak out loud. They don't even have sex. Hell, they don't even know what sex IS!

So next week, I plan to go into depth on some of the elements at play inside the Helix.

Stay tuned next week for information on: The Lotus Chair, RationCaps and my personal favorite... the exchange-Link (eLink). 


Friday, January 11, 2013


Welcome to PART 2 of my edification on all things Pendomus!

Last week's blog on tidally-locked planets was well received and I'm hoping the trend will continue. As promised, this week is devoted to sundogs. 

When I first started writing Pendomus, I only knew small snippets of what the world looked like. I knew it was winter. I knew there was a girl who was running away... As time progressed, I started to think of ways that Pendomus could be unique. Sometimes it was because I saw something in a magazine. Or a friend said, "HEY! This so needs to be in the book!" 

When it came to sundogs... it was brought up by Beta-Reader Extraordinaire. Upon looking into them more, I grew attached to the idea and decided to make sundogs a permanent part of the way Runa view's the sun in her region. 

Okay, okay... Sundogs are cool. So spill it already. What are they? 

Once again, according to the Great and Powerful Wikipedia, a sundog, scientific name parhelion (plural parhelia) from Greek παρήλιον (parēlion), meaning "beside the sun" also called a mock sun or a phantom sun, is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.

Holy garbly-gook, batman.  What the hell did I just read?

Okay, basically, sundogs are patches of light on either side of the sun. They are made generally of plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, by ice crystals called diamond dust drifting in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°.

If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. This effect is something that I use in Pendomus... Mostly because it looks wicked in my head. Heehee...

Sundogs can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. According to Wiki, they are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low. Which is another reason why I included them. Because of the tidal lock, the location humanity set up civilization is on the temperate band between light and dark. Their sun is always low. 

Very early on, when I was stuck in writing, I would switch over to my other brain-- Graphic Design. Here's a rendition of Runa on Pendomus. The bird is significant, as is the water. But more on that another time. Heehee...

Runa and Rowan.

If you'd like to see more images I've put together to connect to Pendomus, click here

Does the concept of a sundog make sense? What do you think? Cool? Weird? Lost?

Next Friday: Get ready to meet humanity. I plan to go into detail on the compound where humanity now resides. The Helix.

Friday, January 4, 2013

PENDOMUS INSIGHTS: Tidally-locked Planets

Welcome to PART 1 of my edification on all things Pendomus!

As I stated on Monday, now that I've started my query process, I am welcoming in 2013 with a series of posts regarding elements found in the Pendomus Chronicles.

There's a lot of cool, quirky things happening not only the world-building, but also the characters. Before I get to the group of misfits you'll meet when reading book one, I want to start off first with the planet itself.

While it's not overly examined in the first book, the fact that Pendomus is tidally-locked will play a larger role as the series goes on.

What the hell does tidally-locked mean, Carissa?

You know what? I'm glad you asked.

Due to tidal locking, the inhabitants of the central body will never be able to see the satellite's green area.
First you need to understand what the term tidal force means. "Tidal force is a secondary effect of the force of gravity and is responsible for the tides. It arises because the gravitational force per unit mass exerted on one body by a second body is not constant across its diameter, the side nearest to the second being more attracted by it than the side farther away."

According to the Great and Powerful Wikipedia, "Tidal locking (or captured rotation) occurs when the gravitational gradient makes one side of an astronomical body always face another, an effect known as synchronous rotation."

Okay... uhm... yeah... HUH? 

Basically this means that Pendomus is not rotating on an axis. One side of the planet is always facing the sun, the other always facing into darkness. In essence, it is a satellite, circling its sun.  Look at the picture to the right and pretend the central body is the sun. Make sense?

Believe it or not, you're already extremely aware of how tidal-locking works. We have our very own tidally-locked entity here on Earth.

Do you know what it is?

Yep. The moon.

Since the Moon is 1:1 tidally locked, only one side is visible from Earth.
 Now, whether or not the atmosphere of a tidally-locked planet could be viable is of much debate across the forums. However, I feel that being in the realm of sci-fi, anything is possible! Besides, this planet has a lot more going on than meets the eye. ;)

The stage for book one is set on the temperate band between the light and dark-- Not scorching hot and facing the sun, not frigid cold and facing the darkness. Instead, cold enough for snow and always perpetual twilight.

Still confused? Send me your questions. Think it's wicked cool? Let me know!

Next Friday: I'll discuss another cool phenomena happening on Pendomus: Sundogs.

Stay tuned!