4, About the Lodestar Series

Representing ‘The Lodestar’ by Rita de Heer
an image sourced from light shining on stainless steel

Although I began writing this series well before the others, the Lodestar featuring was always the alien spaceship. The people making Souzadelay Island their country had no inkling of the Lodestar’s reality. They saw it as a peculiar stationary star that sometimes grew bigger, as when it came nearer to Earth, and sometimes shrank.

At the end of the Back to Earth series, the alien spaceship-in-a-doughnut situation resolved itself the hard way. It was Kosi Lionhair’s uploaded mind, you may recall, who in a moment of boredom, wedged the alien spaceship in the center of the Ark Ship’s torus.

When the amalgamation touched the Earth’s atmosphere, the torus tore loose. Parts of it burned, parts fell to Earth. Jeb and some of her people landed on Aerk Island in the Australia Archipelago where they then lived for millennia, watched over by Kosi in the starship that, with time and forgetting, became known as the Lodestar.

Remember that this is all imaginary, Space Opera ‘science’? Though Earth is, of course, a real planet!

The series begins with the SkinGifters, an unfortunate people who had to make more and greater sacrifices than seem possible for them to continue to exist.

I: Ahni SkinGifter is the main character, as well as the title of her story.

Installment 2

Dryad after the Clear-felling, mixed media by Rita de Heer

This gig … of dumping 20 years worth of my work online … is turning out to be harder than I thought it could be. I had real trouble today just going to a File, saving it as a pdf, then inserting it here. This morning I first trapped myself thinking up a good title for this project. “A Broken Universe” sums it up quite nicely, I decided, since I could never get the timeline to gel.

I spent a couple of hours chasing through my Documents File for the long version of the Half Shaman in Space for Installment 3. As if it matters whether I post long or short, or anything in the order of the events, or anything.

But it does. There seem to be a few readers out there. Installment One did quite well.

Could only find a very short version. And I edited a couple of Files. And I did Delete a few odds and ends. Not a wasted day. Finally found what I was looking for in the Trash. Did retrieve it.

But anyway … installment two of the whole story is Half Shaman. One of the two published volumes, as it happens. Go to this Page for the details. https://wordpress.com/page/ritadeheer385131918.blog/1007

‘Ideas Debt’

Ideas shining like stars and dulling past their use-by-date
mixed media, Rita de Heer

I’ve been reading quite a bit about the ‘ideas debt’ (Jessica Abel) that many creatives allow themselves to be burdened with. Me included. And what to do about it as new creativity is slowed, and even stopped, while you figure out what to do with all this material that owns you, and what you owe it.

A form of emotional blackmail that you lay over yourself, I’ve started to think. Include here the people who know and love you, who know how much you invested in your project. There’s a chorus. But? But?

In my case this is where I spent twenty years learning to write novels, and then writing about a dozen interlocking science fantasy novels, most set in the same universe if not time span. Only one, maybe two, have been published. I see that I’ve left them behind so far already, that I don’t even recall whether I published that second one or not? Tch tch.

The recent two year gulf, gap, hiatus in my life put paid to any more work in that arena. I have no energy for finishing them … most are in the final chapters, or as far as beta drafts. The getting ready for marketing, and the marketing itself … exhausting.

I wonder if I have enough energy to turn each one into a pdf and post it as a blog installment, for example? Prefaced one and all with the same little letting-go story?

Watch this space.

Lego: MILS Base-plate

The minute I saw a Lego base-plate, I knew I’d have to find an alternative.

Underside of Lego base plate in green, my version of a MILS plate in blue etc

Most of the building I’m doing is on my smallish round dinner table. When I have guests stuff has to be able to be moved easily to shelves. Just how weak and bendy the original base-plates are was amply illustrated to me by Darryl of Bevin’s Bricks on Youtube cutting one up with a box cutter.

I already searched through possibilities like glueing base plates on cardboard and building on ordinary plates and joining those with other ordinary plates. Neither of which attracted me. The first because it’s hard to stay accurate. The second because of heavy and awkward builds springing apart when you least expect it. I’ve read about builds grievously falling apart while being transported from one table to the next. Not ideal, in other words.

Then, on one of the FB groups I joined, I saw mentioned the MILS plate as the next development in the search for a strong base plate. Following that up, I saw a good explanation on Bevin’s Bricks. [Though I have again forgotten what ‘MILS’ means. I have a life-long memory glitch in relation to acronyms.]

Me constructing a ‘proper’ MILS base plate right now would’ve meant ordering the required parts, and weeks of waiting on covid-struck postal services in several countries. Even getting supplies by post from my local brick resales outlet a few suburbs away, usually takes a couple of weeks.

Not helped this week that I’m house-bound again, waiting to be told whether I have covid or another lurgy. Well, I know I have a lurgy. Ten days of coughing.

But … I have six alternate-lego base plates, lots of blue 2×2 bricks and red 2×2 bricks that I have no idea where to use, a few 30-year-old Technic 1×6 bricks, and a bunch of blue sun-damaged plates of all sizes. Can I achieve something with them?

I could. Very likely the ordered honeycomb of professionally built MILS base plates is not present in the internals of my sandwich base plate (below) because I spaced the reds and blues according to need, not design. I’m very happy with it and am aiming to put another one together tonight.

Behold my sandwich/MILS base plate.

The Hardware Store Rebuild:

Part One of a ‘Bric-Fic’ Fantasy

Despite the optimistic style of the title and subtitles, this is a story about ‘trying’ to publish a bric-fic fantasy. It’s been a zig-zag journey of dead-ends, so far, and I wrote this paragraph last because even WordPress is not productive when asked to do something a little different.

I’ve always wanted to name a new genre, and here it is. Little did I know it’d be in the arena of AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego) but that is also what I am. An AFOL.

The genre has been in existence for a while, I’m sure, since the Lego Group has been going 90 years, and I can’t be the only one who’s ever seized on these bricks and the mini-figs to tell a story. But it’s hard to find them, to compare my work, without a genre label.

Let me know if there is a term already out there?

After producing a slideshow on my desktop, I’ve been trying to find a good place to publish. I’ve tried a FaceBook Page, an Instagram account, and a WordPress slideshow with varying success rates. None of them more ideal than daily FaceBook posts on my Feed.

The slideshow block on this site likes photos, but finds captions harder to deal with. It’s another learning curve of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety. Something like a muddy path.

A gallery of photos and text boxes may serve. We shall see.

You can see in the third pic that the caption continues beyond the bottom of the page. Conclusion? A gallery will not do. The ‘captions’ are often too long.

I need a structure to input once, not one that needs me to scroll to the place where it exists, for every photo and every caption, copy, then scroll back to where it’s wanted. Wondering now if a table will work …

Nope! A prefabricated WordPress table does not stretch or accommodate photos and long captions, the way a word processor table does. Lucky last for today, I’ll try the column block:

Scene 8:

“After I dump the foundation blocks, fetch what?”

“Park the run-about and help me install the blocks.”

“But Boss, the scaffolding is cluttering up the yard. I should get that first.”

“But Dan, nowhere here to put it until we get the blocks in place.”

Scene 9

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Tip them out. Dan, I’ve got Drew here to help me. You go wrangle the forklift attachment. One of the sparkies will help you get the electrics connected.”

“Right-ee-oh, Boss. Hey Drew, don’t let him run you ragged!”

“Boss and I are good, Dan. We’re brothers.”

“Well, that’s good to know!”

And that is it … the ‘column block’ feature stops working after two photos. It lets me input more text, but refuses another photo.


In Health and in Sickness

These almost-gone tulips startled me with their sere beauty. A good metaphor for how I feel sometimes … almost-gone; learning to love myself in better times and worse.

The previous couple of weeks or three I sat around with a cold, fatigue, a heart scare, more fatigue. Knitting was it while I was forced to sit around. Fatigue is a thing to be borne. There’s no hurrying it. It can be calculated. Six days of sickness, 12 days of fatigue.

In between all that, I spent the day in an Emergency Department to have my heart checked. Which meant blood tests and an ultrasound on my legs to check for blood clots. Nothing eventuated. It was just a scare, that’s all, I was told. These are the kind of diagnoses meant to comfort a patient.

This patient went home, not forgetting to ask for a copy of the the blood tests. Getting that was the best part of the day. The blood results confirmed to me that my continuing semi-isolation is in a good cause. My white blood cells are still well below what’s needed to fight off disease, platelets also very low, and red blood cells only just dragging themselves into the average range.

Media: ‘Lost in Space’


I just finished watching Lost in Space, the 2018-2021 version, three seasons over about 2 weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed the series. One reason is that I manage suspense and stress by previewing story-lines. Spoilers are an unimportant concept for me, these days.

Since suffering the recent trauma of cancer, I’ve been unable to watch any really suspenseful fiction due, I think, to the ongoing uncertainties of real life. Will I die if/when I catch Covid? Will the cancer come back? Will we all go to perdition due to climate change? Will we frizzle up in a nuclear disaster?

While the Robinson family are portrayed as nothing less than super at their various jobs, they are also good people even when quarreling. That feels over the top, a bit. Then I remember series like this are not made for cynical old crones like me and I think, Just enjoy it.

When Maureen and John, the parents, become aware of their children’s emotional problems launch right into the right kind of positive affirmations the kids need to overcome their doubts. The realism is in the long time that it takes Maureen, for example, to discover her daughter Penny’s insecurities.

All these familial resonances happen at the same time that life-threatening decisions, intricate repairs, instant inventions, and numerous other events are having to be dealt with. Despite their rate of failure, they’re confident they’ll come through the next impossibly impossible technical problem. They always do because the show is so squeakily wholesome, death does not feature front and center.

The only person, other than robots, that I recall dying was on the screen for less than ten seconds before he was blown out of an airlock. And get this, the person who organized that, agreed to her just desserts. More than that I will not say, in case you do care about spoilers. The robots, where they did survive, were transformed from bad into good.

The ‘science’ was interesting and was made to seem logical. The actors were very convincing even when they obviously had to interact with a green-screen dummy representing Robot or Scarecrow or SAR.

Don, a space mechanic whose best friend was Debbie, his pet chicken, was a welcome contrast to the perfection of the three genius children, their genius mother and their ex-Navy SEAL hero father.

Dr Smith, while also extremely smart, was the frustrating antithesis to them all. Many were the times that she plain outwitted them. An extremely able antagonist, where the bizarre planets and even the robots were cast as forces of nature.

A clever enjoyable series.