My name is Syd Dent and I live in Northern California close to San Francisco. I started this story two years ago on a bit of lark. I had written essays in Facebook before that were well received, but had not done anything creative. I had an interesting dream that actually made an interesting story. That morphed and shifted into the Gaslamp, SciFi, character driven thing you might read next. The two characters in the original story (set in present day Berkeley) are Jason and Charles, the computer.
My writing derives from my interest in science, science fiction and politics. My earliest favorite authors were Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Bradbury’s surprise and sense of darkness and his sense of the absurdities of life come together in the Prologue and the Millicent’s meeting with Abigail. If I could make half of my dialog as crisp and entertaining as Heinlein, I would be happy. The interplay of Charles and Millicent, Millicent and Rachael, or Jason and Stephan match a bit. The story moves better when my characters talk to one another. Clarke’s descriptions and sense of what science should be show up in the descriptions of devices, of the mysterious things Millicent can do, and of scenes of life. His sense of things greater than us that we don’t fully understand will show up eventually. My current influences are C J Cherryah, L. E. Modesitt, and David Weber. Cherryah is writing a great series right now that is a political and anthropological study. She is a heavy influencer in Millicent’s severe reluctance to interfere. Modesitt asks a big question (frequently): is a an act evil justifiable in the service of preventing a greater act of evil? What are we willing to sacrifice for the greater good? David Weber has several series that are sometimes called “space opera”: they are long, sweeping and have many (oh so many) characters each of whom has some key bit to play. All of these writers’ dialog is crisp, fun to read, and moves the story forward.
My story has some basic themes. How and when do cultures influence each other? What would we be willing to give up to achieve our dreams? We all have obstacles that get in the way of achieving our dreams; the ones inside us may be the hardest to overcome. I have a background in Geology so I know physics and chemistry pretty well. I have studied a bit of history, but I hardly claim expertise in the 1800’s. I am finding researching the time period fascinating. I taught junior high science for a few years so my knowledge of biology has gotten much better (without all the messy dissections).
As I said, this story started as a lark two years ago, but I kept at it. I work as a software consultant as a day job. I do volunteer work at my local church. I enjoy hiking, biking, cooking and photography (the butterfly you see in the site is my picture). I have been excited that people are enjoying the story.