05/18/11 The Chase Truly Begins


Mann, this was a tough one to write, but I’m really happy with the end result.

Speaking of writing, I got some nice shout-out for my writing from Yinzer, as well as some praise for my shifting the Spacetrawler storyline in won fell strip last week from Gary over at Fleen.

Steven Shinney and Jason Sigler did a “Digital Strips” podcast which was half (second half) aimed at reviewing Spacetrawler. I warn you: Steven slags the characters a bit. But here’s my takeaway: they talk and disagree in depth about the strip’s characters BECAUSE it has enough depth to have feelings on these writing issues. Which makes me damn happy. I feel I have thrown scraps in the yard which the dogs find bloody enough to fight over.

Also, thank you for the kind words from Doc Nelson.Β  And in cool news, my friend Dan is at it again, and has build an X-Wing fighter out of office suppiles, and You Can Too.

And more awesomeness, reader Heather Read has knitted an Eeb. I am in awe. There is a chance she will post the pattern at some point, and if she does, I’ll make sure you know.

Regarding Conventions/Appearances (list over in the right-hand column):
I posted the Austin show prematurely, but then realized there was a scheduling conflict, and had to cancel. But I have added the Albuquerque Sci Fi Expo, August 6-7 (replacing Bubonicon). I have also applied for a table at APE Oct 1-2, but have been wait-listed, so keep your fingers crossed.

Lastly, my friend Matt mentioned to me this week that there was a period (a few weeks back) when notifications of Spacetrawler updates weren’t going out. I apologize. There were troubles with the website, and I didn’t know that this was one of them (nobody told me), although fortunately when I fixed the other problems this got fixed as well.

Oh, and second lastly (sheesh, this IS a rambling blog, come Monday I’ll have NOTHING left to blog about), I am looking for more book recommendations (as I read the pile of Romance books recommended), I am looking for really good books which focus on the aristocracy (Europe, Japan, wherever), but focuses more on their intrigue, romance, and pastimes rather than business.

Oh, and third-lastly, support the kickstarter for Kurtz and Straub to have a mini-series about them!


  1. @snow_cat

    Good question.

    One of my guesses is that the Eebs, up until that point, were the only ones who had figured out the science to build the brain clamping tool. (There may have been other ancient or extinct species that developed the technology but we don’t know that.) The tool is tailored to the Eeb brain. And no one has bother to reverse engineer the tool to apply it to the brains of other species.

    Then after being enslaved by the GOB, other species’ scientific and technological progress fell into a slow decline. This would slow any attempts to reverse engineer the brain clamp technology to be used on other species.

    Then again this leaves open a loose end. Why doesn’t someone just ask some Eebs to build a new type of brain clamp to work on new species? Two reasons I can see:

    1) Most species, most people in the entire galaxy don’t even know the Eebs are brain clamped in the first place so it would never occur to them to command that such a device be built.

    2) A very group of nefarious bad guys do now the brain clamp technology exists and that the Eebs are brain clamped and have been, ever since, actively and secretively policing the entire galaxy to prevent anyone else from inventing a brain clamp.

    Of course how Chris has it will probably something totally unrelated to my musings.

  2. Lterminus

    using brainclapms would risk revealing that the eebs are brain clamped and would mean revealing that they have willpower, thus ending the enslavement. those that know, simply won’t risk losing the eebs for brainclamp tech on other, less useful speices.

  3. You deserve the praise, really πŸ™‚ I’m in love with the knitted eeb, too. The thing I didn’t mention in that blog post about your comic is this–there are very few webcomics where I’d actually want to buy it in book form. Yours is one of them.

    Thanks for putting this up there. It makes me kind of tingly, like I want to kiss something, everytime you update!

  4. @Hank: if that were true, it would be a bit of a problem to read the computer screen… and the buttons… and the aproxiscan manual…

    I don’t think the chip was ever called a “translator chip” in the comic; it’s merely something that lets you understand other languages

  5. JKCarroll

    I like the eeb thingy. I won’t comment on it being crochet or knitting (I’m old enough to be crochety, but let’s not go there), but I do want to point out that Shakespeare, in Macbeth, first wrote about Eebs:

    Sleep that knits up the raveled Eeb of care…

  6. JKCarroll

    @snow_cat and @Corpore Metal, we don’t know that it hasn’t expanded to other species. Maybe, with certain species, that’s an unspoken requirement for becoming a representative on the GOB.

  7. Verisimilidude

    @JKCarroll – If it was a requirement for becoming a rep on the GOB that would indicate we have a brain-clamped Australian in the ship’s company. Wait – maybe that explains some things.

  8. Christopher

    @Frank, no relation to “Squanto.”
    @snow_cat, it’s only done on Eebs (unless i change my mind), and I have a few possible reasons why, but have not decided on one yet.
    @Hank, @Frank’s got it right. I was very specific in saying it affected the Wernicke’s area of the brain, which is involved in both the understanding of written and spoken language. Although I didn’t specific that it could allow you to read, there have been several occasions (such as “escape pods“) when it did.
    @scomber, CROCHET! (thank you for the correction)

    1. Meran

      Have you read the Tale of Gengi? It’s considered the first true fiction/novel, I believe, written by a Japanese woman around 1100(?). Look it up.
      It shows a lot of what Japan was like in those years.
      It has intrigue, romance, style… some translations are better than others.

  9. Hank

    I’d assumed that the screens would know what language the user would understand and present the information in the user’s native written language. While the wikipedia page on Wernicke does state that it’s responsible for language skills, it is strongly implied that it’s spoken more than written.

  10. I think Shogun by James Clavells would satisfy many of the qualifications on your book recommendation list. It’s about Japan’s first contact with Europeans and focuses on a Dutchman who becomes stranded in Japan. There is much ado about political intrigue, encountering a foreign culture, and romance.

    P.S. I really enjoy Space Trawler. I love the storytelling, and I especially love the washes you use in your art.

  11. Jim

    BTW Clavell’s character is based on the life of William Adams, the first/only English samurai. His bio is nearly as interesting as the novel’s hero, with the bonus of being true. Check it out.

  12. Fish

    It’s not real-world aristocracy, but Inda (I don’t know how to italicise here) by Sherwood Smith has romance and intrigue . . . and also wars and stuff. It’s probably not what you’re looking for, but it’s a pretty good read.

    @Corpore Metal: Maybe they don’t want brain clamps for other species falling into wide use BECAUSE they could be reverse-engineered and people might realise that they were used on eebs? (Yeah, basically what Lterminus said.)

    @Scomber and Tom: Crochet!

  13. Not sure if you want fiction or real books, but the 1632 series pioneered by Eric Flint has some amazing research backing it up. It goes really in depth (and then puts some 20th century American’s in the middle of) a lot of the Geo-political set up of the era. The first few books not so much, but the Ring of Fire Anthologies, the “mini-series” the Italian Affair were quite good investigations into the history. πŸ™‚

    Two other great Pesudo-History’s is the “Heirs of Alexandria” series. Magic exists in 1300’s Venice!
    (The Shadow of the Lion, This Rough Magic, Much Fall of Blood)
    and the Doomsday Book, heart wrenching look at the Black Plague and generally life in England at the time.

  14. JKCarroll

    @AFK Tavern, I LOVE The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis! (‘course, I love Connie Willis in general, but…) I was reading it back in the mid-80s, late one night. It was in winter, with the wind blowing, and on the news that night there had been a report of a plague outbreak in Arizona. Just as I came to a major plot development, my daughter started fussing, so I had to put the book down and bring her to her mother to be nursed. When my wife asked why I was crying, I said, “Agnes died.” That’s all she needed to hear.

  15. Christopher

    @TB, they can make ’em in test tubes and all that, I have not mapped out the precise process. a few strips ago they talked about creating more Eebs out of raw DNA which they stole from the breeding facility, which might be as detailed as I ever get.

    Thanks for all the book recommendations, they’ve all been added to the list. πŸ™‚

    @AFK_Tavern, I love Connie Willis (Bellweather is ALSO excellent). At a drawing event as part of Stumptown (3 or 4 years ago), my opponent and I were given two words “knid” and “slippage.” Because of “slippage” I of course IMMEDIATELY thought to “To Say Nothing of the Dog” and “Doomsday Book.” My drawing took tons of explaining and totally lost the round.

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