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Meniscus Science Fiction Series: the extras

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As I write the Meniscus Science Fiction Series, a very enjoyable task is to update the extras in each book:

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Ancient Argenop Wisdom: every book includes an associated line of ancient Argenop wisdom. The Argenops are the gentle rodent-like aliens who befriend the Humans. They became separated from the Dock-winders, in history and sentiment, when geology (The Fault) divided En’ast from Themble. I plan to do a full book collecting the wisdom of the ancient Argenops.

‘Rafters’ is the home Daniel, the Slain, built in the woodland

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The Meniscus Solar System: This is a fairly recent edition to the books. A representation of the solar system of Meniscus includes: the two suns (Tathlet and Amblyn), the planets (Aagle, Meniscus, Di-natha and Sel), and the Meniscus moons (Cardoth roe and Cardoth grill-en).

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This is Meniscus, a planet far from Earth: this is an introductory bit, meant to introduce readers of every book to some background information about the planet Meniscus. The text includes the odd behavior of water on the planet, a description of the landscape, the various aliens encountered, and a short history of the Slain. Oddly, this is the section I have occasionally forgotten to include in every book.

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The Maps: Producing the maps of the planet Meniscus is essential to the writing since the stories are chronicles of the Human travels through the landscape. I produce the maps in GIMP, so I am able to highlight certain features of interest to a particular book. I also include a dotted line showing the path of the travels of the main characters. At first, only the east and west maps for Prell-nan South District were shown. As the adventure expanded, maps for east and west halves of Prell-nan North District were included. In the upcoming adventure Meniscus: The Reckoning, readers will see El’ban District, often mentioned in the earlier books.

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Map of Prell-nan
North District
(West Half)

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The Cast of Characters: I include all of the characters in the Series, whether they occur in the current book or not. The notes on the characters are meant to explore a brief history of each character: Human, Slain, Argenop, Dock-winder, Gel-head, and Others, including the pets. This section was added to books after …. at the suggestion of one of my terrific beta-readers.

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Glossary: Various unfamiliar words used by Humans in the story are explained here. They include measurements, names of plant and animal life, and items found on the planet of Meniscus. Some of these are names borrowed from the local aliens, and others are names the Humans have devised for various items, based on their experience on Earth or with other Humans.

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arbel  
                    nodding woodland flower
corms edible

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A Condensed Guide to Gel-speak: The dictionary, at first short, has grown with each book – there are now 180 words in the Gel-speak dictionary. Although most Gel-speak is translated right in the text, readers may like to find out how an idea is expressed in Gel-speak as the translation is not literal. So ‘genetic material’ is translated as ath-elan-elana, literally ‘body memory.’

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The next book in the Series, Meniscus: The Struggle will be released in the next couple of weeks. I am looking forward to having a release and book signing in August, details to be announced here.

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If you haven’t read any of the Meniscus books, there are a couple of places to jump in to the action:

Meniscus: Crossing the Churn

Meniscus: Oral Traditions

Meniscus: Rosetta Stone

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All my best,

keep reading!

Alexandra, a.k.a. Jane

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2022 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series: the maps

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One day in 2016, when I was first deciding how I would put the Meniscus books together, I puzzled over how I would make the maps I wanted to include in each book.

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At first, I wanted to produce hand-drawn maps, re-drawing each map and making erasures and changes as each book advanced the story. Every book would need adjustments to the map and a new dotted ‘trail’ to show the path my characters followed.

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The idea of hand-drawn maps ended when I found out how boring it would be to draw the 300 trees in the Themble Wood.

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I didn’t know a thing about digital image creation. So I went on line and found GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program … what a great place to learn the craft of making maps!  https://www.gimp.org/

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Now, four years later, I have not needed to move from GIMP. First I learned how to make trees …. in quantity and with shadows! There are three kinds of tree on Meniscus: grammid, yarnel and banyan:

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Once I had trees all across my maps, I added the geological features I knew were essential for world-building: in the first book of the Meniscus Series I wanted (left to right) a gully, a line of huge burrows, a fault (and high associated cliff), a hill and a large water feature (a churn).

features minus trees

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I also knew I wanted towns and cities, as well as the roads between them:

features

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I also add trails to show where my characters travel during the book.

trails

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GIMP has met every need. And my maps can change with time; all I do is turn various layers on and off, creating new combinations of features and paths.

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Here is one of the maps for my next book Meniscus: The Knife:

meniscus north district knife

The dotted line (– . — . — . –) shows Tagret’s path as she goes on her quest to rescue Rist.

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All my best,

staying home and in my two-family bubble,

Jane

 

 

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