SEP: 4-year postmortem.

Scav

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Hi folks.

It's been four years since some amazing things happened in my life. Four years since characters such as Brian Adkinson, Greg Williams, Jamie Cunningham, Svetlana Zaytseva (and even that marshmallow Anthony Downs who essentially Garned his way to the moon and back on SEP-010).

Four years since these unique, mouthy and damned interesting people invited themselves into my head and had themselves a little party and made me snap my fingers and say "This is some really good :censored:; I should write about this!"

And four years since I went to college, graduated, and ended up where I am today. Four years of deaths in the family, of changes, of happiness and extreme frustration.

And now it's time to pulverize a stiff equine one more time.

I feel very mixed today. Out of a lark, I did a google search for my failed project, Finding Pericynthion and was surprised to find it referenced in a sister site to Amazon.com. Zero hits, zero thumbs up or thumbs downs, and zero reviews. It hit me strangely to see this, and at first I wanted to email the database organizers to kindly remove the listing from the light of day and bury it so deeply that neutrons couldn't pass through it. Better judgement prevailed, however, and I talked myself into not doing so.

To that respect, and this may just be my ego talking, but I'm very much wanting to apologize to the forum -- in retrospect what I did with FP was take a blog, turn it into a prose work, and ask people to pay money to read it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but several factors squashed the project before it so much as reached its third trimester and I've . . . well, in my heart I've found it almost impossible to muster up anything from that world since.

Anyway, in an attempt at a sort of act of contrition, and to those who were as invested in the characters and their story as I was, I want to give a bit of a breakdown of where people are at in 2023:

* * *
The space program in general:

Reality ensues -- locked down in bureaucracy. Between budget constraints, public apathy and the rather overcautious culture of both Mission Control and the pilot corps, Constitution and Enterprise have been limited to flying short sorties to support the International Space Station. Attempts have been made to work with various subcontractors to create a LEO-only light spacecraft to supplement the mission-specific role of supporting the ISS and free the other hardware for BEO operations, but the operative phrase has been and continues to be 'development hell.'

There is, however, a project in the backburner which has stayed on the backburner for the past several years regarding an international lunar outpost (a one-port station set in lunar orbit and maintained by the two flying components) but this has only been test-bedded once in LEO and has similarly been in development hell ever since.

Cooperation between the big agencies to support scientific pursuits has been continuing unabated, however. Yay team.

Brian Adkinson:
Retired from the astronaut corps but maintains professional ties with the organization. Aerospace engineering consultant. Continues to operate and maintain his foster parents' Mooney (a 201, not a Bravo as Jamie Cunningham originally identified it).

Jamie Cunningham:
Retired from the astronaut corps as well; maintains her own professional and personal ties to the organization. Was forced to relocate and rewrite her identity after a particularly ugly incident with a freelance photographer earned her the scrutiny and blackballing of social media; successfully prosecuted a libel case culminating in a cease and desist among other out-of-court events. Spends off-time volunteering in aircraft restoration projects, performing in air shows and giving rides to minors and young adults.

Svetlana Zaytseva:
Retired from spaceflight; now an inter-agency liasion. Holds dual citizenship between Russia and the United States.

Anthony Downs:
Active in the corps, but as ground support and training new astronauts. Finally got his stomach under control but still hasn't lived it down yet.

Sienna Morrison:
Retired from ESA; professor at UCL.

Edward Foulkes:
Retired. Owns a ranch in west Texas. Attitude and people skills improved.

Matthew Payton:
Maintains his role as Flight Director at MCC.

* * *

I think . . . I think that's about it for all of the major characters I've put the most investment of myself into. This is where the mixed feelings part comes into play -- after everything that's happened (and not happened), I'm personally glad I've met each and every one of these characters (even though knowing full well they are figments of my own chaotic imagination -- I know I'm loopy, but not that loopy) and ultimately had the chance to both write about them and share them with you all.

Anyway, I hope you all are well, and I wanted to thank you all again for taking this ride with me. You guys are still the best. :)
 

IronRain

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Phew, what a story!
In The Netherlands we have a saying: Het leven is wat je gebeurt, terwijl je andere plannen maakt; Live is what happens, while you are making other plans.

I always enjoyed the blog posts! I really took the time to read them.
In my opinion, no apologies necessary.
You made a decision and nobody (maybe yourself) is/was hurt by it.
As a person who has a hard time letting things go, I hope you are able to just accept it and leave it behind, as some kind of phase or something.

It's nice to read what happened to everyone, a nice little update ;)

Take care!
Derk
 

Scav

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Derk,

Thank you very much for your warm reply -- after having studied the German language for three years in my growing years, I think I have enough of a base to successfully pronounce the Dutch you've given me. :)

Svetlana also had this saying, and I believe she said this to Jamie on her way to Enterprise prior to the end of her part in SEP-010:

Сохраняйте спокойствие. Все будет хорошо (keep calm; everything will be fine).

I'm not sure I'm ready just yet to leave all of this behind, though. There are times where I find inspiration from peeking through the window and seeing where my characters are at and what they've been through (well, me being the bastard author I am, I damned well put them through. :) ) and there are times when my imagination lights a fire under my backside with little to no warning, and it gives me a little extra push through the drudgery of the day. Above all, it kinda gives the vibe that no matter what things will be okay.

To that end, after having posted what I did, I find myself wanting to pick this up again but I'll have to re-enter negotiations with my muse. Writer's strikes are some of the worst sort of things that can happen to an author, after all.

Thanks again. :)
 

Enjo

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in retrospect what I did with FP was take a blog, turn it into a prose work, and ask people to pay money to read it.
It's essential to have a clear distinction between a hobby and a job, just like between colleagues and friends. I like coding for Orbiter, because I can be the project manager, the coder and the integrator in the same time, and nobody's bitching about my mistakes... unlike in my job, but I get paid for it.
That said, I try to make a job out of my hobby (programming), but it doesn't have to do anything to do with the pleasant Orbiter development.
 

Scav

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Enjo, I know I'm posting this a month after the fact but I wanted to thank you for your kind words as well.

So . . . thank you. :)
 

Aeadar

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No apologies of any kind are necessary, Scav. I found 'Finding Pericynthion' to be a very enjoyable read. I've paid for many stories I've not enjoyed half as much; Hell, I'm reading one now--'Ring', by Stephen Baxter--and I hate the way it's written. I'm halfway through it and I'm still not quite sure what it's about. Totally unsatisfying read.

I think you should hold on to that story and those characters, try and fill it out to 'book' size, update where necessary, and submit, submit, submit! It is equal to, or superior to (at least) half the Sci-Fi out there for sale. You have the gift of creating characters that stay in readers heads long after they've finished reading the story, and that is a RARE talent.

Keep fighting for those characters, Scav, because Brian Adkinson, Jamie Cunningham, Svetlana Zaytseva, Anthony Downs, Sienna Morrison, Edward Foulkes and Matthew Payton all deserve to be known to more than just us lucky few who frequent Orbiter Forum.
 

Scav

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Alright, Aeadar. You did it. You've really done it this time.



. . . I'm writing again.

Seriously, thank you very much! I took some time to review what I wrote four years ago and . . . yeah. There's some magic here still.

Thank you! :cheers:
 

Aeadar

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That's great news! It's a worthy story, and worthy characters.

I was thinking that, although it is set in the 2020's, knowing the history of manned spaceflight, the story could very easily fit into a 2080 - 2090 timeframe with few changes.

That could open up possibilities as regards technology and it's 'unevenness'; for example, as far as I can tell, using the best of historical science fiction as a guide, one could conclude that smartphones are from the future. They don't belong in the same timeline as the local, smelly Purina plant or the railroad crossing gate that comes down during rush hour and stays down for 45 minutes even though no train ever comes, of course, because that section of track hasn't been in use for 8 years. With the right apps, they're practically 'tri-corders'.

Boy, that's happy news bud! :cheers:
 
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