The Cross is the fourth planned novel in the “Game of Life” sub-series of the Shine Cycle, following The Counter. (The title is even more tentative than usual.) Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work.
As in the previous volumes of the “Game of Life” subseries, the scene is our world in the future, this time the mid-twenty-fifth century, again not quite a century after the previously described events. The main and point-of-view character is (unless I change my mind) again Alice Hansen, also known as Alatumbra, an SCA enthusiast, linguist, by now retired and an experienced mage, politician and diplomat.
The tentative logline for The Cross is:
When Gondolor again returns to Earth, while he is recaptured quickly, journeyman mage Alice Hansen aka Alatumbra must counter his propaganda and convince the local population of the truth before they decide to become a client state of his evil empire.
In the near-century since the events of The Counter, Earth has continued to change, and society has continued to spread beyond Earth. With fusion power finally under control for at least a few applications, the colonies on the Moon, Mars, and the Belt are joined by attempts to terraform Venus, and a generation ship is constructed, crewed, and sent off into interstellar space. Once out of the solar system, scientists aboard that ship discovered that relativity doesn’t hold universally (see my earlier post about approaches to the problems relativity poses). An interplanetary communications network is constructed, and lasts for half a century, but suddenly goes down just before the story begins.
Into this situation Gondolor again flies, as ever bent on revenge and conquest. Because he only brought a small force, and landed in a less-than-ideal area (perhaps even one of the colonies), he is quickly apprehended. But before his capture, he made friends with his neighbors, planting the idea that they would be better off paying allegiance to the distant Dragon Empire than holding alliance with the Shine and Wild Empire, Elvida, or any more local power—and he arranges events so that his capture looks like injustice.
Following up to ensure that Gondolor didn’t leave any traps and to make sure that his base won’t be immediately ready if he returns again, Alice Hansen discovers this sentiment and is distressed by it. So she travels through the small country, arguing and answering questions to convince the people and the leaders of Gondolor’s evil and the danger of allying with him.
Over the course of at least several months, she meets extensively with at least four major households, and more briefly with yet more. The story culminates in the meeting to make final decisions on Gondolor’s proposals, in which those ideas go down in insignificant defeat.
Do you have any thoughts about my plans for The Cross?