The Birthday Present and the (at that time) accompanying Millhaven Castle weren’t published to tell similar stories. In fact, I meant them to contrast. So when I set about smoothing awkwardnesses between my differing versions of the Alyce world, I substituted a sample from The Prince’s Ball for that Millhaven Castle story. But that didn’t change the idea of contrast. The Prince’s Ball is not related to TBP and doesn’t have a similar point. That was part of the book’s structure.
The Birthday Present is about taking physical situations in this life too seriously. The humans, now represented by Lucy and a tiny group hiding in a mountain, accuse the more advanced GMFs of being materialistic and soulless. The GMF society values strength and physical power over emotional development, and ironically the GMFs are a bit inferior even though they can live for hundreds of years.
However, as Lucy reveals, it was really the humans who are obsessed with these things. In the past they didn’t think there was much outside this life. What was physical was absolutely important--and since humans age and are weak and clumsy, it was awkward to emphasize the body so much. And they still don’t seem to think there is much outside the body and human relationships. This is not shown as part of Lucy's worldview at any time, in spite of her constant discussion of emotions.
There’s a lot of rhetoric about the GMFs needing to turn back into more emotional, more sensitive humans, but the GMFs we see don’t seem particularly shallow. The humans appear just honestly jealous that the GMFs are superior and the humans are right back where they started—preoccupied with this life, with the body, and with relationships. Aure sees this and is gracious to Lucy, pretending to accept her demands and change back. At least, that’s how I interpret it. When of course he’s not going to be affected at all. Lucy has sensitive feelings about this topic, and you have to be polite when you see that in someone. Because it’s—well, it’s very human of them.
And there will be more updates.
Singing, dreaming, telling stories . . . I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I love to write more than I love to read, but nothing equals a book that draws me in to find its story. Most recently publication: A Year with the Harrisons, a contemporary comedy about three sisters and a family mystery. Next year's publication: Temmark Osteraith, a futuristic fairy-tale adventure.