Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 13

An upset teenage Amel and harder-hearted Vretla Vrel
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Working out the grammar problem. Is he really Amel?
<< Start at Beginning >>

Making a connection over the horse's plight

The horse tried to rise again. Its plight made Dela's tear ducts tingle.

Vretla sheathed her sword to help Amel get up, a red film lubricating her grip. "Break something Demish?" she asked him cheerfully, briskly checking him over for serious cuts.

Amel stumbled back, looking past her to the horse. From his expression, Dela guessed he felt for its suffering the same way she did.

"Amel?" The Vrellish woman did not understand why the horse was important.

Amel shuffled through broken glass towards the wounded animal.

"Amel!" Vretla caught him by the arm.

His eyes glistened with welling tears. "Why did you throw down the reigns?" He demanded. Impossibly for someone supposedly Purebood, he up-spoke Vretla pol-to-rel. There was no rank higher than Pureblood. Maybe he isn’t Amel after all, Dela thought. But the Vretla woman had definitely called him Amel. Could there be two black-haired men visiting Demora, escorted by Vretla Vrel and a Dem’Vrellish entourage named Amel?

"You said 'let go,'" Vretla contradicted Amel’s grammar by up-speaking him, instead. One of them had to be wrong.

"I said 'let up,'" Amel insisted, clearing up the pronoun problem by falling into line with Vretla's address. He was Pureblood! And if they’d got the grammar right, at last, she was a Royalblood, like Dela. But Vretla was no Demish princess. She was — something else.

An upset teenage Amel and harder-hearted Vretla Vrel

An upset teenage Amel and harder-hearted Vretla Vrel


ORU Quote #5: Politics are dishonorable

"Politics are dishonorable." - Horth Nersal

p. 130, Part 2: Righteous Anger, Okal Rel Saga

Okal Rel Quote - Politics are dishonorable

Okal Rel Quote - Politics are dishonorable


Warp Drive and Reality Skimming

NASA: ‘warp drive is plausible’ Sept 2012

I invented the fictional form of FTL travel while studying special relativity in a science enrichment program for high school students, way back in the 1970s. The program was run by Robert J. Quigley, at Western Washington State College, in Bellingham, Washington. String theory was popular at the time and I read a lot of articles about "the stuff of the universe" and plausible ways of getting across vast regions of space faster by punching, bending or otherwise mutilating it.

Reality Skimming as an ORU technology was equally influenced by Star Trek's warp drive. So this month's article in ZME Science NASA: ‘warp drive is plausible’ – experiments under way had to be blogged about on the Reality Skimming blog.

For the Okal Rel method of FTL travel, underpinning so much of the social structure both in Rire and the empire, see:

NASA: ‘warp drive is plausible’ Sept 2012

NASA: ‘warp drive is plausible’ Sept 2012


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 12

Vretla crashes into Dee Manor
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Vretla Vrel loses control of her horse and charges through window of Dee Manor.
<< Start at Beginning >>

Vretla crashes in

The horse stumbled on a reign, swerved, and plunged toward the big front window. In the saddle, Vretla drew her sword. In the room, Ril pulled Dela away.

Too late, the frantic horse tried to turn. Vretla swung her sword into the wall of glass as the horse’s shoulder struck. Bodies hurtled through the breaking window in an explosion of sound. The horse lost its footing and fell, landing across the razor-toothed sill of the window like so much thrashing meat.

A spray of shards spread as far as Dela's feet. Lady Ril clutched her arm.

Vretla got to her feet shedding broken glass. Her flight suit had spared her any bad cuts, but blood trickled from a nick on her cheek. She took a step in Amel’s direction where he lay balled up to minimize body contact with the rain of glass, but stopped when she saw him stir and heard him groan.

The horse struggled to rise, and failed, blowing out noisily.

Vretla retrieved her sword. After breaking the window, she had thrown the weapon clear of her fall. To have such presence of mind under the circumstances was astonishing to Dela. Particularly in a woman.

Vretla noticed Dela and Ril, as well, and muttered, "Demish skirts." It didn’t sound like a compliment, but Dela was beyond taking offense. She stood rigid as a statue clinging to Lady Ril.

Vretla crashes into Dee Manor

Vretla crashes into Dee Manor


Stimulus/Response: Bio-engineering complex traits

Lynda responds spotting a book about identifying complex traits in genetics.

Lynda WilliamsLynda Williams is the author of the Okal Rel Saga, published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Part 8: Gathering Storm is anticipated by the end of 2012. Lynda's work features moral dilemmas in a character-driven, multi-cultural setting with radically different attitudes to sex and social control surrounding space warfare and bio-science.


Genetic Dissection of Complex Traits 2nd Edition

Genetic Dissection of Complex Traits 2nd Edition

Genetic Dissection of Complex Traits by D.C. Rao & C. Charles Gu, on Google Play, Book.


I don't know how I got here, this morning, from reading an e-mail notificatoin of a post on Broad Universe from Phoebe Wray suggestive -- to me -- of a dialogue for Reality Skimming ... but once I spotted this title, I knew I had to blog about the connection with Sevolites.

The Lorel Experiment is the most obvious of the publications to feature genetic engineering, but it's a note sounded frequently throughout the Okal Rel Universe. Hal Friesen's up-coming Nestor novella deals with the threat to the social order on Monitum of making genetic superiority a commodity. And the clone issue crops up on saga titles 9 and 10 (ah, that's the connection with Phoebe Wray's new book).

Here's the points I feel the urge to make here, in connection with the ORU:

  • Figuring out how to bio-engineer for complex behavioral outcomes is harder than engineering for skin color or good eye sight because I presume behavior is a complex trait. Particularly if you are after something as abstract as "be concerned about the survival of humanity over the long term" -- the special behavioral leanings of the Lorels, for example.
  • I figured creating designer humans with revised behavioral traits (like DO NOT BE WILLING TO DESTROY PLANETS FOR ANYTHING) would take time. Be safely "sci fi". And I think it still is. But books like this one, which was publised in 2008 I beleive, suggest real science may not be so many years from the Lorel Experiment.
  • As pilots jest in the pub on Mega, with Ann, in Part 1: The Courtesan Prince, and the heroine of The Lorel Experiment finds out at no-rad, I believe attaining bio-engineered end-products as complex as Sevolites would require an immoral phase of trial and error. Just like complex computer programs (remember Star Wars?), complex things have to be tried out to debug.

Why SF#6: Airplanes, Martial Arts and…. Okal Rel?

Why SF? Asking kindred spirits in the SF community the story of why they give back and create forward.

John Preet was born where Stephen Leacock was buried, but he moved to Calgary when his dad was transferred. John was an indifferent student, and was encouraged by his father to join the navy. However after he spent a summer working tugboats off Vancouver, he decided to join the army instead, through which he served at several different locations. From here he took up flying, as well as work in civil engineering. He then moved on to an education in teaching, where he then taught instructors and developing curricula. After he received these credentials, he gained more for flying and continued on that path. As he continued on the educational path, he decided to start a company for technical and educational writing. Part way through this started fiction writing, as well as editing as a hobby.

Interviewed by Tegan Lott

How did you discover the Okal Rel Universe?

I actually bought a copy of Throne Price before I knew anything about the series, the setting or the premise. Shortly after that, I met the authour at the first convention I ever attended and managed a rather lengthy discussion of the series. It interested me because of how detailed the universe was and how well the premise integrated into the books.

How have you been involved in the ORU, both at Cons and not?

I have had a fairly large number of contacts with fans, the original authour and authors/editors/artists associated with the main series and the anthologies (and had the honour of being an editor for an anthology). I have also attended panels dealing with some of the blood and gore aspects of the series :)

What are some other activites/ programs that you are involved in?

Ummm . . . . well, outside of Okal Rel? Pilot, scuba diver, empty hand and blade martial student, rock climber, rabid motorcylist . . .

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