Temporarily titled The Shipmaker until I can think of something better. 5000-ish words, Xuya story.
Ships were living, breathing beings. Dac Kien had known this, even before she’d reached the engineering habitat–even before she’d seen the great mass in orbit outside, being slowly assembled by the bots.
Her ancestors had once carved jade, in the bygone days of the Le dynasty on Old Earth: not hacking and cutting the green blocks into the shape they wanted, but rather whittling down the stone until its true nature was revealed. And as with jade, so with ships. The sections outside couldn’t be forced into becoming a ship. They had to flow together into a seamless whole–to be, in the end, inhabited by a Mind who was as much a part of the ship as every rivet and every seal.
Interesting facts… For writing this story, I researched, in no particular order: Vietnamese names (I know the naming system, but looking through the dictionary for suitable first names took more time than I’d envisioned), the history of Vietnam and of the Vietnamese language, shipbuilding, aircraft-building, feng shui, physiology of pregnancy and childbirth, and childbirth in Ancient China.
Grand total: 2.5 days, including a long conversation with the H about the merits of building in orbit vs. planetside.
The actual writing of the story? took me 1 day, and 1 other day to fill in the little holes I’d left.
(we’re not talking 12-hour days here, as I was at the dayjob all along, more like lunchbreaks, a bit of commute time, and large chunks in the evenings).
I think we’ve proved I’m a research addict. Quite hopelessly so.
Also, it feels good to write stuff again.