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City of the Invaders has always been one of my more popular stories. Its action-packed plot might be a reason why, as the book shows a near future society that abounds in crime. It is primarily run by crime lords and most people are uneducated pickpockets and kidnappers, though a few have more skilled, technology-based jobs. Non-criminals belong to a minority group called the EC, but that doesn’t mean they just let themselves be run over. After all, in a place where the population of criminals per square mile is truly excessive, you have to understand their thinking to get anything done. 😉
A small novella using these characters first appeared in an old edition of Facets of Fantasy. It just wouldn’t stop growing and the Palladia world expanded from a simple sketch to include outer-space colonies, Katia’s cousins, and a whole appendix list of the classics on which the EC base their culture. In fact, there is now a second book in the series (Consuela), which I’ll talk about next month. So, the five central characters that bring focus to this story are:
Sidney. An alarming number of the characters don’t seem to know that Sidney exists. Including our protags, Frank and Katia, but they aren’t part of the crime structure, which is their excuse. Other people don’t really have one. Sidney is the son of the city’s leader, the Dragonak, but he keeps a low profile while gradually taking power from his father. He is calculating, careful, and collected, and when someone shows up ready to kill you so he can take charge the right thing to say is probably not, “WHO ARE YOU??”
Katia is a teenage EC girl. She has to adjust to living in the city with the other EC because she used to live in an isolated place. However, she handles it pretty well. She’s an adaptable person, naturally blends in, and easily changes to fit in with what’s around her. But she’s a practical person, not a people-pleaser, and keeps her own identity underneath while doing so.
Bruce is a boy that all admire among the EC youth. He has been in their required theatrical productions so many times he is unphased by all the publicity. Although he always acts laid-back, Bruce is observant and not very friendly. Since staging public performances is one of the main things EC in Wyncon are known for, making him the star so often shows how much they respect him even though he is young—and even though he thinks acting is boring. When Katia’s brother steals the lead role from him, he doesn’t even care!
Mrs. Fierten is Katia’s high-strung, self-absorbed mother. Now it’s true Mrs. Fierten has a lot to be worried about. The family secret that leads to danger for all of them involves her. But she doesn’t handle it with a great deal of poise. Always fretting, generally moody, and sometimes frustrating, Katia’s mother permanently seems to have a phobia that she’s going to get shot when actually people don’t pay her a lot of attention. At least, not yet. At the rate she’s annoying people she might end up getting popped off for real.
Tara is Katia’s cousin and an “Invader”—one of the criminals. It turns out she’s dating the Dragonak’s youngest son, Sidney’s younger brother. Her family is very wealthy and Tara is a somewhat abrasive person. She’s only fifteen, but already trying hard to be grownup and is not the easiest to work with. She pushes Katia around when the cousins first reunite, but that doesn’t go quite as she thought and the two end up forming a semi-functional friendship. Even though Tara can be a jerk sometimes, Katia has quite as much going on as she does. 😊
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
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When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.