Shine Cycle year-end retrospective

This is the last week of the Christian liturgical year, so this week we’ll take a look back over the past year on this blog. Today, let’s look back over the Shine Cycle worldbuilding and other background material that has appeared on Mondays throughout the year since last year’s year-end summary.


Approximately monthly, I’ve been posting brief introductions to the books I’m planning for the Shine Cycle. Last fall ended with the first two parts of a précis of The Longest War (which is so massive in conception that I made its “brief introduction” into three posts), so the first in this (liturgical) year was a look at the characters and themes of The Longest War.

In January, I wrote about the “Game of Life” sub-series, which is one of the two parts of the Shine Cycle that will be set in our world. I followed that with a look at the “High Powers” sub-series, the least-developed part of the whole series, and at the “World’s End” sub-series, set at the end of our universe’s history.

After a look at the planet Fragarach and the creatures that inhabit it, we looked at the “Creatures stories” that will be set there.

The next précis was of New Ground, followed by Castle Commander, “Dracon Heights”, Third Empire, and The Stone of Power, rounding out the “second arc” of the series.

The “third arc” of the series is much more fragmented, but the two remaining stories I introduced happened to be from the same “triptych” about a famous detective. The Adventure of the Suspended Rose describes his arrival in the Shine and Wild Empire and his first case, while in “The Adventure of the Royal Wedding” he saves the life of a princess and investigates documents mysteriously stolen from the Ministry of Intelligence. The third “panel” of the “triptych” should appear in this space soon.


Another regular feature in this “department” of the blog was setting descriptions. I already mentioned my post about Fragarach. The first such posts this past year were about the Imperial Cathedral and the climate and geography of the Sunshine Kingdom as a whole. Late this summer, I wrote about the Twilight Kingdom, one of the Sunshine Kingdom’s neighbors.

My post about the “New Roman Empire” proved somewhat controversial, and once the issues were pointed out I could see that this was rightly so; it’s high on my list of ideas to utterly overhaul or scrap and begin again from scratch.

No such discussion attended my posts about Elvida, one of the worlds of the Elven Council, or the Deep Cities of the dwarves.

The last setting-description post (so far) was about the Rivers Kingdom.

Characters and Races

Last year I didn’t post any character profiles, which had once been a not-quite-weekly staple of this “department” of the blog, because I had run out of prepared material. But those posts resumed this year.

The first profile was of Gondolor, a major and recurring villain of the series; the second was of Alatumbra, born “Alice Hansen” in a nod to a friend’s pen name, who repeatedly opposes him in the “Game of Life” sub-series.

Next I described Argentmentes of Luddington, the Minister of Justice by the time of “the present.” A couple of months after that, I wrote about Scarlet, queen of Elvida and leader of the Elven Council.

September’s profile was of Alex Royal, the young heroine of The Stone of Power. And earlier this month I wrote about Hildegarde, the major supporting character of The Adventure of the Suspended Rose and “The Adventure of the Royal Wedding.”

In addition to describing characters, I also continued to write about races that inhabit the world of the Shine Cycle. Elves, dwarves, and (most of) the like having all been covered in previous years, this year I only wrote about gnomes and the Danani, a race enslaved by Tashere but which was freed in the War of Power.

Back in February, I repeated my description of how I turn people I know into characters, calling that “Anti-Tuckerization” this time, and again asked “if you were to be written into the Shine Cycle, how would you like to be portrayed?”


A few posts didn’t fall into the other categories I’ve used in this retrospective. In December I talked about “social services” in the Empire, probably prompted by what was then constant news. In May I wrote about the Imperial military. In July—just before my family went off to Evart—I wrote about “fairs and festivals in the Empire”. In August I mused about the problems presented by relativity, and possible solutions. And back in March I posted an excerpt from my current draft of An Internal Conflict.

About once a month, I tried to give a status update on my writing. My novelette “A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage”—now “The Adventure of the Royal Wedding”—came up often, as I reduced it to a list of clues, then went through it fairly closely to revise it. I expect it’ll be ready to send to any interested “first readers” within another month or two.

Another item that came up frequently was the outline of our world’s future history that I’ve been working on as background for the “Game of Life” sub-series, which I finally “finished” (I still see significant issues with it that I want to resolve, but I no longer need to create one new “event” after another) by realizing that I’d miscalculated and overshot my target, as I explained last week. But I wouldn’t have been anywhere near my target without the help of the inestimable Miss Aubrey Hansen, who provided encouragement, feedback, advice, and a listening ear several steps up from “rubber duck debugging”.

In mid-September my workflow was interrupted by a hard disk crash, in which I lost a few days’ completed work but which disrupted me rather more than that alone, as I explained at the time.

If you want to read more of the month-to-month details, all my “writing status update” posts are now filed together.

That’s essentially everything I posted in the past year related to the Shine Cycle. If anything looks interesting, feel free to go back and read it, and maybe start a discussion there.


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