Welcome to the Gossamer World

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

For some months I have been posting about my “Gossamer Steel” world, but now that world has evolved. Welcome to its new incarnation.

Gossamer Flames” is a series of short stories and novellas set in the post-apocalyptic world that arises after a catastrophic event leaves the planet ravaged and divided. Society is forced to adapt to a changed world where the surviving enclaves need to make use of their remaining resources. Only two regions are known to survive, Bhārata, formerly the Indian sub-continent, and The Country, comprising parts of Scandinavia. However, there are pockets of survivors in other areas, including within the desert areas of North America, in some remote mountainous regions of the Andes, and on some islands. Most of these are totally isolated from each other post the apocalypse.

The two principal enclaves of The Country (Scandinavia) and Bhārata (India sub-continent) have adopted economies that are regenerative and structured around renewable energy. Bhārata has the advantage of being built on the Republic of India’s self-reliance policy, although it is also hampered by the scale of the challenge. In The Country myths have come alive again and permeate society, but not all the forces favour re-building the world. The Ravagers, the people that pushed the technological fixes and exploitation of the Earth, are committed to destroying the greenpunk solutions that could be the future.

My 2014 posts in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge focused on various aspects in this future world, which at that point was still called Gossamer Steel, as in the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that provides the mystery in my cyber-crime novel “Wyrm Bait”. In the MMORPG the two main playing zones are Bhārata and The Country and the game touches on aspects of the tales.

MY BLOGGING FROM A TO Z APRIL CHALLENGE 2014 POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is for Windsong ~X is for Xerarch ~ Y is for Yggdrasil  ~ Z is for Zephyr

Although “Gossamer Steel” had a good ring as a game, I felt that I needed a different title for the series of tales. An author needs a title that doesn’t require explaining, just one that sparks interest. I suggested various options to my followers, and after assessing your feedback, Gossamer Flames seemed the most appropriate and the most popular. Warning – explanation ahead!!

Dewy Cobweb ~ by Norman Hyett

Dewy Cobweb ~ by Norman Hyett

Gossamer as in spider silk that makes such intricate webs, although technically gossamer is the silk used by spiderlings for ballooning or kiting to reach other locations. Spiders are often among the first inhabitants to recolonize a devastated area. Thus after an apocalypse Gossamer allows for new life and in my stories it also reflects the light touch of healing the planet. However, spider silk is both delicate and strong, exhibiting a unique combination of high tensile strength and extensibility. Most important, weight for weight, spider silk is stronger than steel, thus a force that cannot be ignored even amid the harshness of industrial solutions to the devastating problems remaining. Steel then is a contrast to Gossamer but I needed something even more evocative, hence ‘Flames’.

Flames have multiple meanings as in energy and passion as well as the destructive sense.  Flames can also generate ‘steam’, which covers the Steampunk’ elements in some of the tales. Flames can be both the devastating forces that threaten the world from the outset, and the passions that drive many of the characters forward towards the Renascence at the end.

~

As my Gossamer Flames tales are released, I will post more details on the new Gossamer Flames page.

 

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Z is for Zephyr

ZZ is for Zephyr: In the world of Gossamer Steel, the west winds or zephyrs allow Walen Sokol-Thorson to fly his solar plane east from Mojave to The Country, hoping to find his shaman grandfather Jarilo Sokol, and join the struggle to revitalise the Earth.

A zephyr is a wind that blows from the west, in an eastward direction. In Western tradition, it has usually been considered the mildest and most favourable of the directional winds. The Greek wind gods were each ascribed a cardinal direction from which their respective winds came

In Greek mythology, Zephyrus was the personification of the west wind and the bringer of light spring and early summer breezes; his Roman equivalent was Favonius. In the myth of Cupid and Psyche, Zephyrus was the attendant of Cupid, who brought Psyche to his master’s palace. Zephyrus appears in a number of Greek myths, and in classical art he is portrayed as a handsome winged youth.

As Wikapedia also says, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of the “swete breth” of Zephyrus, and a soft, gentle breeze may be referred to as a zephyr, as in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (IV, ii): “They are as gentle / As zephyrs blowing below the violet, / Not wagging his sweet head.”

Flora and Zephyr ~ William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1875) on display at Musée des Beaux Arts de Mulhouse

Flora and Zephyr ~ William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1875) on display at Musée des Beaux Arts de Mulhouse

Zephyr is also name of various ultra-light aerial craft from recreational kit planes to the lightweight solar-powered UAVs originally designed and built by the United Kingdom company, QinetiQ, and is now part of the Airbus High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme. . The military uses the vehicle for reconnaissance and communications platforms. Civilian and scientific programmes use it for Earth observation. The Zephyr 7 holds the official endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle for its flight from 9 July to 23 July 2010, lasting 336 hours and 22 minutes (2 weeks / 14 days).

Z is also for Zealot as the fanatics that want to control the world and also Zoroastrianism, one of the many religions surviving in Bhārata (India sub-continent).

Z ends these A to Z posts focusing on my Gossamer Steel world. However, they will become the basis for a new Gossamer Steel page – or should it be called Gossamer Steam? Is that more appropriate for my future world? Or Gossamer Dreams or Threads? What do you think?

Finally many thanks to all my visitors, the 2048 participants and the hosts of this amazing A to Z Challenge, especially Arlee Bird.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is for Windsong ~X is for Xerarch ~ Y is for Yggdrasil

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. So this year on April 1 we blogged about something that began with the letter “A.” April 2 was “B,” April 3 was “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers even after the month is over – there are a lot of us out there so there’s plenty to read and get you thinking.

See you around in May, although daily posts might slip to nearer weekly… unless I’m inspired.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

Y is for Yggdrasil

Y

Y is for Yggdrasil: To the shaman that follow the  seiðr path in the world of Gossamer Steel, their practices revolve around Yggdrasil, the Nine Worlds, and the Well of the Norns,.

In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist.

According to Encyclopedia Mythica, “Yggdrasil (“The Terrible One’s Horse”), also called the World Tree, is the giant ash tree that links and shelters all the worlds. Beneath the three roots the realms of Asgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim are located. Three wells lie at its base: the Well of Wisdom (Mímisbrunnr), guarded by Mimir; the Well of Fate (Urdarbrunnr), guarded by the Norns; and the Hvergelmir (Roaring Kettle), the source of many rivers.

Four deer run across the branches of the tree and eat the buds; they represent the four winds. There are other inhabitants of the tree, such as the squirrel Ratatosk (“swift teeth”), a notorious gossip, and Vidofnir (“tree snake”), the golden cock that perches on the topmost bough. The roots are gnawed upon by Nidhogg and other serpents. On the day of Ragnarok, the fire giant Surt will set the tree on fire…”

"Die Nornen Urd, Werdanda, Skuld, unter der Welteiche Yggdrasil". The Nornic trio of Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree (called an oak in the caption) Yggdrasil. At the top of the tree is an eagle (likely Veðrfölnir), on the trunk of the tree is a squirrel (likely Ratatoskr), and at the roots of the tree gnaws what appears to be a small dragon (likely Níðhöggr). At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr. ~ Ludwig Burger (1882)

“Die Nornen Urd, Werdanda, Skuld, unter der Welteiche Yggdrasil”. The Nornic trio of Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree (called an oak in the caption) Yggdrasil. At the top of the tree is an eagle (likely Veðrfölnir), on the trunk of the tree is a squirrel (likely Ratatoskr), and at the roots of the tree gnaws what appears to be a small dragon (likely Níðhöggr). At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr. ~ Ludwig Burger (1882)

Y is also for Years of Dust & Death, the years of chaos and survival immediately after the apocalypse.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is forWindsong ~X is for Xerarch

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

X is for Xerarch

X

X is for Xerarch: Before the apocalypse that creates the world of Gossamer Steel, ambitious plans for an ill-conceived solar energy project in India were opposed by an ecological group called Xerarch. Even post-apocalypse, Xerarch continues to ensure that such actions cannot threaten the world again.

Xerarch or Xerosere is the Ecological Succession that begins on bare rocks or sand. Ecological succession refers to the general metamorphosis of a geographic area to its most stable ecosystem. Primary succession refers to the settlement/establishment of vegetation in an area previously un-colonized by organisms. Organism which first colonize an area are known as pioneer organisms.

Primary succession which occurs on land is termed Xerarch succession. That which occurs from aquatic ecosystems is known as Hydrarch succession. Secondary succession refers to the re-colonization of a geographic area, which had been previously settled, but somehow disrupted.

Some causes of disruption include fire, volcanism, severe weather, agriculture, development. Both processes result in the most stable type of biome given its geographical location. This is called a climax community. However, with an in­creasing realization that the climate keeps changing, the process of succession is often very slow, and the nature of a region’s vegetation is being determined to a greater extent by human activities, ecologists do not consider the concept of “climax vegetation” to be as useful as they once did.

Lava field with path and encroaching vegetation. Note that despite appearances this is loose rock, not ploughed-up soil. ~ By Nevilley at the English language Wikipedia

Lava field with path and encroaching vegetation. Note that despite appearances this is loose rock, not ploughed-up soil. ~ By Nevilley at the English language Wikipedia

X is also for the ex-Xenobiologist behind Xerarch, and xylotomy, a forensic technique used by the investigative team in ‘Wyrm Bait’.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is forWindsong

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

 A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

V is for Vidda

VV is for Vidda: In the world of Gossamer Steel the Vidda is the northern area of The Country (Scandinavia) and the location of many inhabitants’ spiritual journeys, not least as the most sacred seat of learning is on the northern tip, where Veles is honoured alongside Jarilo.

Finnmarksvidda, is a plateau in northern Norway, the interior of Finnmark, the country’s largest but least populated county. Though it has no exact natural boundaries, the plain’s principal section is about 60 miles (100 km) from east to west and 50 miles from north to south. The Finnmarksvidda, made up of ancient crystalline rock, is characterized by numerous small lakes and bogs, with a few branched river systems draining northward to the Arctic Ocean. Important among these are the Altaelva (west) and the Anarjåkka (Finnish Inarijoki), forming the border with Finland (east). The region is sparsely populated. Most of the inhabitants are Sámi, many of whom live on their herds of reindeer.

Panorama of River Neiden in Finnmark, Norway ~ Photo byOdd-Arild Knutsen

Panorama of River Neiden in Finnmark, Norway ~ Photo by Odd-Arild Knutsen

Veles is a major Slavic supernatural force of earth, waters and the underworld, associated with dragons, cattle, magic, musicians, wealth and trickery. Wikipedia also says, “Ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld… Veles, seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead. This was actually quite a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles’ herds of cattle… In folk tales this land is called Virey or Iriy. Each year, the god of fertility and vegetation, Jarilo, who also dwelt there during winter, would return from across the sea and bring spring into the world of the living.”

V is also for völva, vǫlur, and vísendakona, names for Seiðr sorceresses that are fundamental to the spiritual life of The Country.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

U is for Urdu

U

U is for Urdu: In the world of Gossamer Steel the inhabitants of Bhārata (India sub-continent) speak predominantly Urdu and Hindi, although there are other languages native to the enclave, such as Dravidian languages, like Tamil.

Wikipedia says, “Urdu… or more precisely Modern Standard Urdu, is a standardized register of the Hindustani language. Urdu is historically associated with the Muslims of the region of Hindustan. It is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, and an official language of five Indian states and one of the 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution of India. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, which is associated with the Hindu community. Since the end of the Mughal period in the nineteenth century, varieties of Hindustani have been the lingua franca for much of South Asia.

Urdu and Hindi are nearly identical in basic structure and grammar, and at a colloquial level also in vocabulary and phonology. If considered the same language, the population of Hindi-Urdu speakers is the fourth largest of the languages of the world, after Mandarin Chinese, English and Spanish.”

English: Map of the subcontinent showing areas where Urdu is official or co-official [orange] and where Hindi is official [yellow]. ~ Kwamikagami at English Wikipedia

Map of the subcontinent showing areas where Urdu is official or co-official [orange] and where Hindi is official [yellow]. ~ Kwamikagami at English Wikipedia

Footnote to map: Although Hindi is the official language in four of the Southern states of India, Tamil is one of the official language of Sri Lanka.

U is also for the Vedic texts called The Upanishads, and for Unicorns, one of which stars in a Gossamer Steel novella. For many in my world there is power in the Uroboros, a symbol of eternity and cosmic unity, a snake with the end of its tail in its mouth, like Jörmungandr or the Midgard Serpent in Norse mythology.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)