Introduction to My Novels Paxson excerpt ebook story Descending Road Cold Romance of Sleep Pyro Neuron Tango sf science fiction fantasy interstellar novel novels setting Tarnus history sf science fiction fantasy comedy horror android bioandroid andro dance calendar games Sandrukha MuTou society brain microsoft reader sample read download digital author pdf digital publishing Scorpius

Introduction to My Long Fiction and Settings

Dana W. Paxson
© Dana W. Paxson 2004

Everything here is now a lot simpler, and (I hope) a lot easier to read. Here's my big news: I have built a whole new fictional world in a nice new form of literature that makes reading a lot easier. It's called an electronic literary macramé, or ELM for short. It's a set of intertwined stories, some long, some short, some in progress. All the story backgrounds and references are close at hand for easy use in flanking windows on either side.

The whole collection is called Descending Road. Descending Road is set in a far-future world about twenty-seven light-years from Earth. This world, Tarnus, colonized long before Descending Road begins, carries ancient histories of its own, including persistent, nagging memories of the Earth left behind. Tarnus has evolved into tightly-concentrated populations in underground cities, and scattered surface-dwelling farmers struggling to exist in an ecologically-fragile environment.

Want to try it? Just be sure your browser enables JavaScript and the opening of windows, and then you have two options.

First, and quickest, you can enter the world of Descending Road immediately, using the image on this Website. You'll download each scene and page as you link to them. The only limitation that matters here is the speed of your connection.

Second, and easier on your link in the long run, you can download the whole work as a Zip file. It's about 15 megabytes, but once you've got it on your machine, everything is immediately accessible.

I am giving this work of fiction away to readers, every word of it. It is still copyrighted, and I reserve the right to take legal action against anyone who tries to profit from this work without obtaining limited rights approved by me personally. The form of the work, and its means of production, have been submitted for patent protection. In short, I want copies in the hands of readers, but the rights to them remain mine. The only way we will be able to develop the true power of electronic literature is to get it to those who will read it and write it, and this work of mine is an attempt to broaden and enrich that process of development.

The whole idea of Descending Road is to get lost in the stories and their setting. Wander around, follow a thread, switch to another thread, enjoy the world. Eventually you'll settle on some track to follow, and then you can read the straight-ahead way.

Experiment with the windows a bit. The center window holds the current story line, and you go to the next scene or the previous scene by selecting "To Next" at the bottom of the scene text, or "To Previous" at the top of the text. Try selecting the pale grey vertical bars beside the story text to see what they do. Up above the text is a sentence starting "You have been following the story thread called...". If you select it, one or more boxes pop out below it with text starting "For story threads leading to the scene titled..." and a scene title. If the scene title of one of these boxes interests you, look below it to see which threads have that scene in them, and select one. Now you'll follow the selected thread starting with the scene you picked, going backward from the currently-displayed scene. You may be right in the middle of the thread you chose, so don't expect that you're starting out at the beginning of a story.

The same thing appears after the scene text, taking you forward through whichever thread you choose.

The right-hand window is full of goodies: a glossary of terms, an index of all the appearances of each term in the scenes, and a list of all the scene titles, in alphabetic order. Any time you see a term in any window, you can select it to page and scroll the glossary window to its definition. Click on the head term, and you'll see the index showing where it appears in the scenes. The scene title list is for those times when you recall the title and want to find the scene itself.

The left-hand window is reference material on several subjects. All the windows are linked together.

Descending Road doesn't fit into traditional literary forms. It's too big, too tangled, and too rich to be a novel, even a four-decker novel like Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet. It demanded a new format, so it got one: the literary macramé. The reader can navigate any one of a large number of story threads. The languages, technologies, cultures, and customs of Tarnus appear in instantly-accessible references that stay conveniently out of the reader's way unless and until they're needed. Readers can browse, too, switching freely from one thread to another, leaping from place to place in a narrative using author-supplied connections, or searching out characters and situations and following forward or backward through any of the associated sequences of scenes. Reference articles are available for enrichment at any time. It's all done with links, with some programming, and a lot of author craft. The technology used to create Descending Road has patents pending.

Publishers interested in a demonstration of the technology behind Descending Road can contact me for more information.

Please be advised: Descending Road is strong stuff. It contains scenes of sex, war, violence, brutality, and horror. As should be apparent from my other work here, not everything I write is like Descending Road.

New story threads are now growing through the world of Tarnus. One links the Descending Road narratives with two already-published short stories in the same setting: Pyro and Ex Muro. Pyro and Ex Muro are available as stories in the collection Neuron Tango, available for purchase at e-booksellers online.

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