Danger, Will Robinson

Recently I have been watching the new Lost In Space series on Netflix.
Lost In Space is one of those nostalgic series for me. I remember my Dad showing me some of the early 1967 episodes, and telling me about them in great detail, and then when the 1998 movie came out it was one that my family borrowed and rewatched several times – this was back in the era when we went to Blockbusters and borrowed a VHS still. Feels like ancient times…

I loved Lost In Space because it reminded me of two stories that have always been a favourite of mine:
The Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe.
These two books were profoundly meaningful to me.
The Swiss Family Robinson I highly recommend – it is dated – as you would expect – but if you are a Christian with an understanding of grace, reading it with that outlook, things the father, William, says, become so much more clearer. It is also a book that made me love my family and cherish my siblings so much more.

Robinson Crusoe is also very dated – but just as interesting – being also about someone lost at sea. I loved Robinson Crusoe because Crusoe was a hero to me, someone who I would have hoped I would have been if I found myself in the situation he was in. He took a terrible situation and just kept moving forward, day by day.

So, Lost In Space, was like a science fiction version of these two stories and I LOVED that.

Now having an updated version of Lost In Space is fantastic! I am so happy. And they’re doing a great job. I cannot recommend the series enough. The character’s are wonderfully crafted, and the changes they have made work extremely well to bring the story forward into this century.

The relationship I was pegging all my hope on was the relationship between Will Robinson and Robot and I feel that has been realised fantastically – so I’m very happy.

However, what I hadn’t been expecting to run into was…this problem…a problem I keep running into with series these days: you don’t need to make the male characters weaker to make the female characters stronger. I’m serious about this. STOP DOING IT.
Stop curtailing the men.

There is a reason why The Walking Dead is one of my favourite shows. Rick, Daryl, Glenn are incredible men and they are allowed to be men alongside incredible women like Maggie,  Michonne and Carol. The writer’s have never had to make the men appear weaker, or submissive, to highlight the female characters because the female characters shine bright and amazing on their own feet. That’s great writing.
Now, Fear The Walking Dead…that’s a whole other story. I stopped watching that show because of the relationship between between the husband and wife was awful. What purpose did the husband serve, can I ask? His wife practically did everything, and that’s fine, it’s FINE, I’m not saying women can’t – I’m saying there is an imbalance – if you’re writing a husband and wife team, let them be a team, don’t curtail the man to raise the woman up. She can shine on her own. Stop making women seem like we need men to be beaten down so we act rough and awesome. Watching that show I just kept wishing they’d kill the husband because he was being so darn useless.
And I am not saying men can’t act differently – I am NOT saying that – what I am talking about is a balance in how you write characters. If you have a TEAM of characters, a husband and wife TEAM – you need to make sure one is not over-powering the other, that they both have a purpose. Heck, in Fear the Walking Dead it would have been awesome if the husband had actually been the one who looked after the kids, etc. etc but instead the Mum seemed to do that as well, so it just got really…like…okay…so…what does Dad do? Everyone hates Dad? Can Dad be like…awesome too? I’m talking about an ebb and flow, a give and take, otherwise it’s just a mess…
To me anyway…

That’s where Lost In Space is bothering me a little. It’s falling into this trap – and I can sorta see why they’re doing it with the back-flashes and I don’t want to spoil it…
But it is bothering me a little.
Maureen Robinson (Robinson Mum) is amazing, she can apparently seem to do everything. She also likes to be in total control and that’s a great character flaw as well as strength, I can see how they’re playing to that.
John Robinson (Robinson Dad) is ex-military and that alone should give an indication of what his character should be like. He’s ex-military–but he keeps getting walked all over by EVERYONE. I like his character – don’t get me wrong – he actually reminds me of my Dad. A quiet, reserved, tender man, who *adores* his family. His family is everything to him. He would go to the ends of the earth for his family – his children are his world – but my Dad knows when to stand up for himself and he’s not ex-military. Someone from the military I keep expecting to at least have a bit more of a backbone.
If I was to be honest, other than Will and Robot, he is my favourite character simply because of just how much he reminds me of my Dad.
But then Maureen is also pretty awesome…
They’re a well written cast all round.

However, I am seeing this imbalance in a relationship and I am not sure if they’re doing it on purpose – because I know they’re supposed to sorta not be getting along – or if it’s just something I keep picking up in how husband and wife teams are being written in tv-shows today.

If you have been watching the show I’m curious as to your thoughts.
Perhaps I’m thinking a little bit to much about it.

All in all – it’s a really great remake and I highly recommend it.

Cheers,
Kylie

KEY – Prologue

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By
Kylie Leane

 

Mum and Dad

You have always provided me with unconditional love, care and ever-available support.

You are my Towers.

Thank you for giving me the resilience to survive through my pain

and the belief that there are some dreams that are

worth chasing, stories worth telling, and love worth giving.

 

 

 

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We all start out on a road thinking we know the path sure and true –

But, I tell you now, we cannot possibly fathom the twists and turns in which our story shall go.

Instead, the Great Inker of the skies beyond writes our ever-flowing saga with celestial dust to spin us ever onward through life.

Though we may lose and we may gain,

there is never a thread left unwoven or a reason left unknown in any tale that is told.

I say unto you fellow wayfarers of well-worn paths, take up your pack, your blade, your cloak,

and lantern for there is darkness ahead.

You will need your light to guide you,

your pack to feed you, your blade to protect you, and your cloak to warm you along this tale.

It is customary in Pennadot when a traveler leaves a way-side inn

to speak blessings to the Sun by the resident

altar and wash hands in the liquid gold by the door.

So here I give you a blessing to send you on your way, dear friend:

May the blazing Sun always shine behind you,

May the wind blow westward for you,

And may the stars dance your road to light the way homeward,

So shall the fair and bliss favor you,

O traveler of myths, legends, and tales.

Fear not the blood, the tears of sorrow,

For a narrow road that is lonely and fraught with despair,

Will bring you to a City laden with Gold.

Sun-Saint Abl’ayn – Sundate 0298DC

 

 

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There is nothing that is greater in valor than to die in the place of another.

Pennadotian Human Proverb

 

Land: Pennadot

Black Day – Sundate 8600DC[1]

A vibrating twang of blades, mixed with the cries of death, spurred three children onward through the russet gloom of the golden Palace crested upon a hill. Fear of being caught up amongst the bloody battle forced strength into their exhausted limbs. Twisted shadows flickered between massive pillars that reached like claws to the high ceilings. David pulled his sobbing twin by the wrist. A dagger hung loose in his free hand, dribbling the blood of those he had slain over the floor in a scattered trail behind them.

A haze of yellow light, dancing with the glow of distant flames, shone through the colossal windows, burning the shadows like inked prints into the walls. In the valley below the Palace, the vast metropolis smoldered. Ash held a blanket over the evening, lavishing the glass, and seeping between cracks to gain entrance into the holy untainted grounds.

A soft tinkling sound reached his ears; a jingle of royal gold chimed in time with the sound of footfalls echoing through the alabaster halls.

Daniel hiccupped a sob.

David spun, pressing his hand against his twin’s mouth.

He glanced at the small girl staring at him in fright. She seemed as delicately perfect and breakable as a porcelain doll, with skin and hair ashen white. He thrust his twin into her arms, mouthing the words, “Citla, silence him.”

The girl scurried to obey as David led them further down the hall, out of earshot, slowing his pace to allow Citla a moment to comfort the weeping Daniel.

Tsk valai[2].” With a twist of his wrist David pointed his blade at his brother. “By the Sun, be silent! Or do you wish me to kill again? No one can see us leave, do you hear me? No one. I will kill whomever notices us. Now be silent…” A flare of pain caught him in the chest, the potency of it causing him to stagger forward as he rasped a gurgling cough. He tasted blood in his mouth and felt it trickle out of his lips.

With a cry, Daniel scrambled to his side.

“David, stop! You are pushing yourself too hard. Your illness will hurt you more.”

Tsk.” David pressed Daniel back into Citla’s arms. “We must hurry.” He wiped the blood away.

He shoved them both forward. “Move!”

They ran deeper into the Palace’s twisting corridors.

David ignored the burning in his chest; each breath challenging his rotting lungs.

It was all too late; the wheels of war were spinning. By now he was sure his father, the Sovereign King, would be engaged in battle with Zilon, Steward to the Throne.

He knew already who would win: Zilon the Steward, their once trusted uncle and the King’s right hand. Only, why was he taking such lengths to destroy Pennadot in a single, crushing night of mayhem and treachery? His attention shifted, and he skidded to a halt. He grabbed Daniel and Citla and pushed them behind him in protection. Thick shadows curled like tentacles across the floor. A tall figure stepped free of the blackened waves, dashing them to one side as though they were dust. David relaxed as a gentle voice spoke. “Milord Prince…”

“Chans.” The young prince replied with a nod.

The creature wandered forward on elongated legs. Large foot-claws, shaped in a horse-like curvature, tapped upon the marble floor. Around the slender ankles a shredded robe dragged, tainted with the filth of battle. Chans was elegantly graceful, standing with an air of superior breeding. Large black, leathery wings folded against his back, yet to lose all their childhood feathers, but already large enough for the young Batitic to cocoon safely within. His thin, slanted eyes shone cinder red. David felt them boring into him, spying the blood that stained his shirt and hands. He wrinkled his nose. The Batitic exuded the odor of blood conduction, a sickly magical stench akin to a poisonous sweat.

“You managed to get Skyeola?” David whispered in hope for the infant he had feared they would lose to the war.

Chans inclined his head, extending one wing to reveal a basket tied to his waist. Within, a babe slept a magically-induced sleep. “I would not leave my little brother in this mess,” he whispered fondly. His bestial appearance seemed more like a tender lioness as he glanced toward the purring nursling. Carefully he closed his wings to hide the precious bundle.

“I did as you asked, Milord.” The Batitic threw a bag to David.

The prince caught it and peered into it, nodding at the contents. “Thank you. Now, you must take Daniel and Citla.” Motioning to the two behind him he paused, coughing up more blood.

Daniel stepped forward in concern. Citla’s hand caught him. With the hem of his shirt David wiped blood from his chin.

“Take them out of the Palace. A group of Papa’s faithful paladins will meet you in the underground passages.” He felt the rasp in his voice and fought to keep his words a firm, sharp order that were not to be disobeyed. They were a clear display of his authority as a child of the starblood.

Chans bowed in acknowledgement. “I will do as you command, Milord Prince.”

Quickly David stripped out of his ruined clothing and changed into a fresh outfit pulled from the sack, suppressing the feeling that this might be the last time he would ever see his brother. He could see the confusion in Daniel’s eyes as Citla tugged him toward Chans.

“You had best hurry.” Chans shifted on his foot-claws uneasily. “My father is in the Ljotruaithne[3]. The province lords will break through the Palace doors at any moment. They will kill you if they find you here.”

David snorted. “Such is the plan.” He buckled the royal jewels around his neck, their weight all too familiar.

“Wait…” Daniel whimpered. “Those are my clothes…that…that is my crown.” He grabbed David’s bloodied hands, stalling him from placing the golden leafy circlet atop his own head.

Tsk, Daniel.” David glared at his brother. “The province lords want you dead. You are the last heir to the Emerald Throne and of the starblood. To gain rulership over Pennadot they must kill you. Someone has to die today, and since I am already dying it matters not if it is me.” His voice broke for a moment as his twin’s green eyes overflowed with tears.

Daniel’s grasp slackened, releasing his brother’s arms as he stepped back, shaking his head. “You are pretending to be me…to trick them…”

David turned slowly. He had clothed himself in royal attire, displayed as a being to be worshiped in the glory of the starblood that burned in his veins, his skin lambent with cosmic light.

“That is why we were born identical, Daniel, in every detail. That is why I was never exposed, why Papa never revealed that I existed.” With more maturity than he had ever shown as a child, David reached out. Gently, he gripped his brother’s cheeks and kissed him, wanting nothing more than to remain with him.

“I was born,” he choked back blood, “so that you could live and I…I was given this illness…so that I could die for you. Pennadot must have an heir after this night. Zilon and the province lords will lose if I do this! Papa will not die in vain.”

Daniel jerked to one side. “No…no… no…no!” he screeched. “I will not let you! I order you to stop and come with us!”

“It is too late.” David smiled weakly. “This is bigger than us. It always has been.” He shoved Daniel into Chans’ strong claws. The young Batitic grabbed the prince by the shoulder, ignoring his protests.

David glanced at Citla. In her frilly black dress she was the perfect little toy of the courts. Always they had been paraded like miniature adults, and, today, they had to be those adults. To live as children any longer would spell their deaths. Reaching out he pressed a finger to her lips, brushing aside a tear that trickled down her white cheek.

“Look after him always, Citla,” he whispered. “I entrust him to your care. Be with him. Never let him out of your sight…promise me this!”

Citla nibbled her lip. “I promise, your highness.” She followed Chans and Daniel into the yellow-stained darkness.

Chans glanced back. “Goodbye, Milord Prince,” he said as he vanished in a swell of shadows.

David fisted his hands, breathing deeply through lungs riddled with holes and filling with cursed starblood. He tilted his head toward the sky encased in the pillows of smoke. This day of blackness and never-ending night was the day he had been born for, and this was the night he would finally die.

He could not fathom what had caused Zilon to become a twisted monster who would betray the Emerald Throne but he did know one thing; he would die in his brother’s stead.

And he was not afraid.

No.

He was not afraid.

Chapter Break3

The humidity was stifling. Sweat dribbled off Chans’ furred skin. He tightened his grip on his conductor, a stick comprised of twirled wood and crystal with a small light radiating from the tip. The glow was enough to pierce the murky darkness of the ancient catacombs beneath Palace-Town. Forgotten roads had long been buried under thousands of sol-cycles of dirt. Like a network of spider-webs, the tunnels snaked their way beneath the colossal city built upon the hill of cities before it.

Very few maps had been drawn of the never-ending network. None save the royal family knew of its true purpose from centuries long past when the Lands of Livila had been at their peak and civilization had soared to magnificent heights.

Chans held within his mind the blueprints he had studied all his life. He had known since childhood that his ability to recall images had been a gift, for the catacombs would become his new home. After tonight, returning to the surface world would mean his death. His father’s anger would burn in a rage if ever he discovered that his eldest child had betrayed the Dragon to whom his blood-clan had sold their souls. Instead, Chans had chosen to save the royal heir of the Emerald Throne.

He could hear the young prince crying bitterly as they ran, and, with a swift glance behind, he saw Citla dragging him as he stumbled. She would not let him go, for David had ordered her to remain forever at Daniel’s side.

Soon the little prince would forget that he had ever had a brother who had once been the braver in the face of death. David’s existence would haunt all who remembered him in sol-cycles to come. Of that Chans was sure.

“How much further?” Citla’s soft voice carried through the darkness. The murk dragged at his limbs, thick like a cloak draped in the air, wanting to pull him back into the light above ground.

He smiled weakly. “Not much longer now.” He slowed his pace, foot-claws scraping the wet stones. Worriedly he checked under his wings. His baby brother was still safely cocooned therein. If all went well, the child would be returned to the surface and back into the arms of their father; none the wiser of the terrors that had been hidden from him.

An inhuman whine escaped from the back of Chans’ throat. It hurt knowing he would have to return his brother to the same man who would impassively murder a child such as David, but he had no choice. Skyeola belonged in the light, for a little while longer. He could only hope the kitten would grow up untarnished by their father’s ambitions.

“Come, come, this way.” He waved Citla and Daniel into a tunnel that opened up sharply on their left. Daniel’s weeping eased to painful sobs, muffled by the sodden walls dripping with acidic water. There was an abrupt whiff of fresher air. Chans tipped his head to one side; he caught the muted sounds of voices. Relief washed over him. He knew them, one was a deep baritone that he recognized as that of Lord Davies Telvon of the Icali-pi Province, one of the few lords who remained faithful to the Emerald Throne.

Flickering light drew them nearer as another voice joined the quiet conversation. By its sweet notes, it was obviously Lord Davies’ wife. It was a comforting sound to hear, and Chans was glad she had survived the horrors of battle. He knew she was with child. It was only natural, he felt, to fear for a woman who held another life within her.

He relaxed as they reached the small gathering of paladins. His job was now complete. In his five and ten sol-cycles of life, he knew he had already accomplished the task set by the tiny alien creature who stood waiting in the milky shadows.

Hazanin was the only Zaprex he had ever laid eyes upon. Some rumored him to be the last of the ancient, technologically-advanced race that had once ruled the stars above and healed the lands below. He stood only midriff-height to a Human; though humanoid in his limbs, the creature was too slim to be a living being with true bone structure. His unnatural figure was obvious even with the war robe of red, lined with weapons decked over his thin shoulder. Yet, despite being small and seemingly insignificant, there was danger in his eerie eyes, scleras shaded black with pupils gleaming crimson under square-shaped spectacles. He moved like a trained dancer, making an otherworldly and ethereal impression. The light Chans had seen in the gloom glowed from two long antennas rising from of a mop of raven hair. The little globes bobbed as the creature glided forward.

“Hazanin-sama[4].” Chans bowed in formal greeting, forcing his lips around the alien’s native tongue. The Zaprex was the first he had to address, for no one ignored the powerful being who ruled time and space. Even his father had respected and admired the Zaprex to the point of calling him beloved-friend.

Konnichiwa, Chans. You have done well.” Its mechanical speech was forced through an aging metal voice-box.

Chans stepped aside, glancing at Citla, who pulled Daniel forward.

 

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At the sight of the creature, the young prince cried out in relief. He threw his only slightly larger body into the strong metal arms of the cybernetic alien.

“You have to stop David. Please stop him. He said he is going to die instead of me! You have to stop him!”

Hazanin sighed. He placed his chin gently upon the boy’s cranium as he wrapped long arms around him, drawing him close in mothering comfort.

“Hush now my little one, ne,” he whispered, pointed ears tweaking as he reached up worn fingers, covered with a layer of green skin, to brush tears from the prince’s cheeks. The Zaprex smiled feebly, its ancient age revealed in tender eyes that held unimaginable knowledge.

Daniel whimpered. No one was coming to his aid; his protectors watched with stark treachery. He tried to struggle but the firm grip of the cyborg held him fast.

Something inside him was being stripped away as though paper was being peeled from within his mind. Hazanin placed a long finger and thumb upon his forehead, his eyes glittering in sorrow making the sudden betrayal only slightly less agonizing.

“Do not worry, my sweet one,” the ancient Zaprex whispered, “tomorrow when you wake up, this will all be gone. You will not remember David’s existence or this night’s events. It is best this night be forgotten to you. David is dead to us now, and dead he shall remain. Gomen, Daniel… gomen, my little star-prince.”

Daniel’s eyes widened as a sharp pain caught his temples and he flinched. His mind clouded as the eerie sensation of falling into nothingness swelled over him. It was worse than sleep; it was a deep pit that enveloped him, shrouding his body in darkness, dampening the burning gift of the starblood that flowed in his veins. His limbs grew heavy, and he slumped forward into a faint, murmuring softly, painfully aware of the tears cascading down his cheeks, and that they no longer glittered as they once had.

“But…but…I do not…want to forget…my brother…”


 

[1] DC: Of the Dragon’s Conquest

[2] A Human expression (high class) of frustration – can be shortened to just tsk, which would be akin to ‘shhhh’ when chiding someone.

[3] The Great Throne Room ‘Blessed by the Sun’ wherein the Emerald Throne is situated.

[4]  –sama: very high honorific, usually reserved for lords, gods, masters, rulers, or someone for whom one has ultimate or infinite respect.

Hazanin Prologue 2

 

Key: Book One of Chronicles of the Children on Amazon Kindle and Illustrated Paperback

Oz Comic Con Adelaide

Oz Comic Con Adelaide wrapped up on Sunday. I’ve spent Monday in recovery mode. Just chilling. The weather right now is truly beautiful. Autumn. I love Autumn. The sky feels richer in its blue, the air crisp, and the chill of Winter is just beginning to set in. It’s lovely.

It was a wonderful weekend, and I am so grateful to everyone who came along to visit me at my booth, to all those who purchased my novel. Thank you. Thank you so much! It was such an honour. I hope the adventure you have embarked upon brings you great joy as you read it.

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This year my little sister helped with bump-in.
I am immensely blessed to have such a tolerant family, who accept the craziness of my life, and just how much I enjoy what it is that I do and the geeky-culture that I immense myself in. I am sure its difficult, at times, for them to fully understand it, but they accept it and enjoy it along with me anyway.
I wouldn’t have been able to set up without Mel. So, thank you Mel for the help. It really meant a lot to me that you came along. I am SO GLAD we found that trolley and didn’t have to carry the boxes of books.

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Anyone notice that our glasses match our hair colour?

It was my Dad who took the time out of his weekend to keep me company and help man-the-booth on Saturday and Sunday morning, missing church. Dad works away from Adelaide during the weeks, in Whyalla, and only has the weekends home, so as you can imagine, his weekends are rather precious, and he spent his weekend at Oz Comic Con. So, an immense thanks goes to my Dad as well.
My little sister popped in on Sunday afternoon so Dad could visit my grandparents, and she manned-the-booth during the time I did a talk with some fellow indie authors. Which went very well, I feel, and if you did attend, let me know what you thought!

Saturday morning, when Dad and I arrived early — my favourite time, because I can run around freely without a crowd — I skipped happily between all the stalls looking at all the amazing things. I don’t have a great camera on my phone anymore so uploading to social media has become difficult, hence my silence over the weekend.

It was lovely to see so much artistic stuff going on, walls you could draw on, Anime station you can scribble at happily.

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I drew Sami on the Scribble Wall.

It is difficult to leave a booth that is fitted between two other booths. So all the photos I do have tend to be taken from behind my booth once the show starts.
Thankfully I had some visitors.
Deadpool dropped by. Which was awesome.

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And then there was this amazingly well crafted Toothless along with incredible cosplays from How To Tame a Dragon. Seriously. Look at the work they put into everything. They could even ride Toothless. Genius.

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I am always so impressed by cosplay. What people dress up as, the level of detail they’ll go into, and who they’ll come along as. It is magical, inventive, and colourful.

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Half the fun of a convention is sharing a ‘street’ of the Artist Alley with wonderful, creative people who love the convention circuit just as much. I did take a photo of our ‘street’ but it blurred beyond recognition (like I said, terrible phone camera). dsc05023_zpsowaninpq

My Dad said something interesting to me while I was debating about getting an autograph. He said: “This only happens once a year (or twice, depending if I do Supanova), and it makes you happy.”
And its true. To be brutally honest, I don’t have any friends (at least here in Aussieland) in which to geek out over Anime, or Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and gaming. No one to play Dungeons and Dragons with monthly. As Karen said in our talk, ‘writing can be a very lonely job’ and sadly, I’ve just ended up a bit isolated because, one, I’m naturally introverted, and two, my health caused me to seclude myself away.
And it is only now, that I’ve matured a bit more, and learnt some techniques to cope, that I’m trying harder to get out and about — to ‘make friends’ which is *really* hard. If anyone has a magical formula for it, I’d appreciate this knowledge.

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Do things that make you happy.
Go to conventions. Go for walks. Watch a movie. Read a book. Play a game.
Even the tiniest things can bring joy sometimes, in the dimmest of moments.  There can be a flower growing in your garden, a single flower, and it can bring on a smile.
Or, perhaps, this is just me. I do not know.
However, that is what I learnt from this weekend, to remember happiness is still there if I seek to find it.