Shine Cycle Précis: Galaxy

A spiral galaxyGalaxy is the planned ninth book in the “main line” of the Shine Cycle, following Space and Time in chronology. Today’s post is a brief introduction to it.

Galaxy is the story of the First Galactic War and of the uneasy peace that follows. This war is the first conflict so far to have immediate scope beyond the main world (which still needs a proper name …), but this was not entirely unexpected because so much of the trade of “the free world” now extends to the stars above.

The story begins when the Dragon Empire and its allies invades two relatively isolated and undefended worlds, a “water world” with the unimaginative name of Oceanus and a colony named Newfoundworld. (I once tentatively developed some materials about the latter, but it’s gotten buried in my vast pile of disorganized paper and electronic files—so I can’t give many details now, but hope to be able to in a post perhaps later this year or early next. We’ll see.) Because of the Shine and Wild Empire’s attention to preparedness on general principles, and more importantly the recent (at the end of Space and Time) development of high-speed “spider ships” that can transport arms and men incredibly quickly, the two worlds’ pleas for help are answered in time to mount a defense rather than too late to do anything but liberate the planets.

At the same time, the war also begins more conventionally in the terrestrial theater. (I have developed this in even less detail than the above, only noting one character being knighted on the field.) But this quickly becomes a secondary concern for both sides, as the sieges of Oceanus and Newfoundworld are broken in quick succession and the Dragon forces are forced to retreat. This retreat, joined by reinforcements from home, turns and besieges the theater headquarters of the APOGAL (the alliance of like-minded countries founded by the Shine and Wild Empire in Space and Time) to limit allied coordination, then attacks and besieges the space station Greyhawk. But these sieges are broken, and the allied commanders trap the Dragon forces and commanders in their own headquarters and force an end to the war.

For most of the duration of the peace that follows, the two sides engage in an arms race, each developing both defensive and offensive technologies. Each alliance maintains its space-based headquarters (though both are initially moved frequently), as more convenient than keeping all administrative functions below the atmosphere. About a decade after the end of the war that will take up most of the book, a “space-wall” is constructed by Imperial forces around the Dragon headquarters, to allow an effective partial blockade so that the treaty obligations imposed a decade earlier can be enforced; the Dragon Empire eventually brings up a small fleet of ships capable of destroying the wall, and does so, at the same time as it brings war again … but that’s another story.

Much of that plot summary, however, will be (I hope and intend) merely background for some character stories: Mary and Claudia renew their acquaintance when they are sent as part of the response force to Newfoundworld, and begin working together; various other characters help their chosen districts or fields flourish; and several newcomers arrive “unlooked-for” from other universes … but more on that, too, in later posts.

Any thoughts?


3 thoughts on “Shine Cycle Précis: Galaxy

    • I would say that the Shine Cycle isn’t really “hard science fiction”; the series is conceived as primarily fantasy, but dealing (I hope fairly realistically) with societies that progress from a quasi-medieval level of science and technology to well beyond “modern” technology—which necessarily mixes science fiction in, and I intend to follow that genre’s conventions as closely as I can, but there’s still fantastical elements even in these later stories. (Mary and Claudia meet as part of a bardic support team, for example.)


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