Milly, Final Thoughts on Jathy and the Story

This will be the final entry in the series  of my fifth book design notes. Jathy is a place where I got to play with a lot of fun locations. One part I didn’t get to do that much was a mirage. I wanted to, but I couldn’t find a good place to put it in. I tried to do something, but it was more of a side thing to show off some different settings and creatures.

I did get two fun places into the desert, and that’s an underground ruins and a sea of sand. For the underground ruin, the visual I kept in mind was from Toriko, a manga about ingredient hunters. In one story, the main character is searching for an ingredient in ruins hidden underneath the desert. He enters through a massive building, but later on, it’s revealed that massive building is like the tip of the iceberg. The building was just one small tower out of something bigger. While I didn’t make mine quite that large, it still inspired me when I made the underground ruins.

That was also the place where I added in a bit more backstory on the world of Bentas. This is, perhaps, the first hint of another ongoing plotline rather than Milly trying to get home. Yes, it is kind of late, but I have alluded to it in previous books. This will just formalize the backstory of Bentas as something to be looked at going forwards.

The other area I liked doing is the sand sea. I don’t know why, but I tried to give it some kind of explanation other than somehow, the sand in this area is fluid enough for giant worms to swim through. I just like the visual of giant sand monsters. You can find them all over, and perhaps Dune is the best example. It’s just a fantastic visual for me. I tried to make the sand sea part the strangest part of Jathy, to make that place feel even more alien and out there.

Out of all the leaders in other provinces, I think I like Ashar the best. I can’t point to any one reason, but I just want her to succeed and be happy. Being the writer, I could do that, but it’s Milly’s story, and her role in that part is done.

I know this book didn’t have any of Milly trying to get home, but I wanted to change it up. I didn’t want every book to be Milly tries to get home but for some reason or another, she fails. This time, I’m showing Milly off as the Ambassador of Province Relations. She is doing work for this book, and she is decent at it.

That’s it for Jathy! Join me next time for Balab with a new POV character, Rona.

Timeless

The fans of this show, wow. To tell what I know of it, this show was canceled in the first season. But due to fan response, the network renewed it for a second season. Then it was canceled in the second season. Again, due to fan response, the show got a two episode wrap-up to complete the story. Those are some dedicated fans.

What is Timeless? A show about time travelers trying to stop evil time travelers from messing with history. The show is fun at times, but nothing fantastic. I liked the characters, though in the second season, they got a lot of romance drama in there. Still, I liked the second season for them incoporating the other characters into the time traveling more. It spiced things up to rotate the cast a bit, and I think they could have done some of that in the first season.

Now on to the final wrap-up. The last two episodes don’t feel different from any other episode, at least in terms of tone. There are still dramatic character moments and problems to be solved in history. The cast that remains in the present gets more to do, though, and are pretty important, which I liked.

Is it good or bad that the episodes don’t feel different? I was looking forwards to a fun, all-out two-parter, but more of normal Timeless is fun, too. Things do feel rushed, though, which I think is due to them compressing most of the plot of the third season into two episodes. They did their best to give weight to certain things, but the plot had to move along.

At least this time, there’s no massive cliffhanger. Timeless’s time has come to an end, so they must complete the story. It could have been grander, but all of the character arcs have come to a close. We got some great callbacks. It is a fine ending to the series. I had fun jumping around time with Timeless.

Milly, Animals of Jathy

This will be some of my thoughts and notes on the animals of Jathy. None of the animals of Jathy have a huge impact on the story. They’re mostly around for flavor and effect. I tried to add some dangerous moments with the local animals. There are a lot of lizards and other reptiles in Jathy, some hares, some birds.

The main animals used as beasts of burden are large lizards with a hump on the back. Their short tails are helpful in not getting caught by the wheels of the carriage. There is another lizard, known as the skiffer, that are also used to pull things. They have longer  tails, but it trails behind them enough not to hit the wheels.

An animal raised for food are some sheep-like animals with short fur. A while animal is something called frog hares. Imagine a furry frog with long ears. I guess I wanted to combine two animals known for jumping. They’re pretty fast.

The klicker is an animal with more of a role in the story. I used them as a danger when Milly was at a cactus patch. They live within the plants and they are also covered in spines. They can shoot out their spines, unlike real animals. They can also shoot out their tongue to attack. The klickers are quite vicious.

Now for something more interesting, the sand dunes. I wanted that place to feel more wild and strange, so I added more strange animals. Of course there are lizards. The main one is the sand runner. I based them off lizards that can run on water, only these are much bigger and run on top of liquid sand.

For a strange, I have the striders. They are animals that filled with gas allowing the main body to float. They pull themselves around on tall, spindly legs. They can capture prey between the legs and lower the body down to eat them, or they can eat high prey easily.

The main animals there are the sand worms. Of course I had to have them. What fantasy desert would be complete with giant sand monstrousities? They are just a great striking view that’s an awe to behold. I really wanted them in the story.

The last “animal” and I use that term here because I haven’t really decided, are the shadow spirits. They aren’t dangerous, but they are curious. They are like tall, shadowy pillars looking at people in the desert. They are more there for a mysterious feeling, to give a sense of wonder to the place. They aren’t dangerous, but they will get defensive if approached. It’s best to ignore them, even as they stare.

That’s it for the animals of Jathy. Next time, a bit more about the land! And maybe some closing thoughts depending on how long that gets.

Midnight Texas

The first season of the show was fun enough. It had a cool setting with characters that slowly grew on me over the course of the season. So I was looking forwards to season 2. They sure kicked things up a few notches. It seems to be more violent, more emotional and hotter. There is a lot of safe-for-TV love making going on in season 2.

I like the characters in season 2. The new characters of Kai and Patience start out interesting. Kai is some kind of healer with actual powers and Patience is his lovely wife. And Kai is also up to something with a creepy head hidden away. Both of them are fun when they’re onscreen in different ways.

Still, there’s more going on than that. Each person around town has a new set of problems to solve. Fiji has a curse on her entire bloodline that keeps her from being with Bobo. Lem and Olivia are going through their life as a newly-married couple. And, unfortunately, Manfred is dealing with breaking up from Creek.

The various plots help flesh out the characters, some of them aren’t tied into the main plot. The season is fun. There’s much more going on while with a mysterious main plot happening in the background. Overall, the season seems to be more. More action, more magic, and lots more relationship drama. If you don’t want relationship drama, this might drag on.

When it comes to magic and monsters, this is still a fun show. There’s nothing that makes it stand out too much, though.

Milly, Characters of Jathy

This time, it’s about some of the characters we meet in Jathy. First up, the talka. Tonzi is the talka guide, taking Milly on his half of the quest. When I decided to have two guides, it seems to make sense to have two separate pieces to find and to have one of them be the guide to each.

Tonzi is the one that took Milly to the valley where they must find convince the local tribe to help them. He’s a friendly guy, moreso than some of his is fellow tribesmates.

The chief of the Shimmer Moon Tribe is Raerdu. I don’t have too much notes on him.

For the people of the valley, the Sand Keeper tribe, I wanted do show something different from the rest of the talka tribes. While the Sand Keeper tribe is generally suspicious of outsiders, they do try to be welcoming, especially to those that show good intentions.

On the kaafu side, the guide is Karik. So, when I decided to make two separate quests, I also decided to split up the guides. It just made things easier and to not have too many characters, especially since the guides were going to be arguing a lot if they were together.

Karik is friendly and helpful. He’s a bit more laid back out of the two.

The other major kaafu character is Jakwindo. I wanted to show another side of the kaafu, so he is an inventor. I also wanted to show that just because a race can fly naturally, they would still want machines to help them fly. He would be the steampunk inventor type of character. A haughty fellow that wants to show off his creations.

The last character I wanted to talk about is Ashar, the high priestess of the city. Now, this will be spoilers for people that haven’t read the book, so please go read it!

Anyway, when I had two separate races, of course you are going to wonder if they can crossbreed, and Ashar is the answer. While Ashar is special and the leader of a city, I wanted to show a lot of her insecurities as well. It’s not easy being the leader, especially if people only put you there because you’re special.

By using her separated aspects, I could show how she was feeling, the things she would hide when she had full control of her emotions. There is a lot of hurt and anger underneath her calm exterior.

At the end of the story, Ashar gets some support, so I hope she becomes a good leader for the first city with both talka and kaafu.

Mars

Whoa, a second season! I really liked the first season. This is a science fiction show about the first people on Mars. On the first season, the crew have found bacterial life and are now staying there. Season two opens up several years later where they have an entire town full of scientists and other support staff.

Season 2 is now about what happens when non-scientists want to go to Mars to exploit its resources. The format is similar to the first one where part of the episode is interviews with modern day people, and they relate what’s going on today to what the people on Mars is facing.

Now, there is conflict when not everyone has the same goals. This season feels more action-heavy compared to the last one, though still in a thougtful way. The miners, while they can be seen as antagonists, are really only people with different goals. They come into conflict with the scientists occasionally, but the two bases are still cordial with each other mostly.

It’s interesting seeing how the two get along. While the show represents the miners and the company behind them as not being in the right, they’re still likeable people mostly. The antagonist is mainly the CEO of the company behind the miners. He’s the one pushing them to go too hard and fast before they can properly get set up.

I still really enjoy the show because I hope to see people on Mars someday. The show presents a possbility of that happening, and it’s pretty cool. The sets look nice, and the outside shots are pretty great, too. The show gets my imagination flowing for a multi-planetary future while still relating issues back to things we’re facing today.

Maybe a season 3? Hmm?

Some spoiler thoughts.

One thing I think should be changed is having the engineer move to the miner’s town earlier. As it was in the season, he wasn’t there long enough to make the move feel like it had much of an impact at all.

Milly, People of Jathy

For a while, I decided that I wanted there to be two dominant races in Jathy. I tried to base them off common desert animals. One is a race of cat-people. The other is a race of bird people, more like falcons. While they weren’t originally going to be small, I think I like the direction with that. They are the small races of Bentas, being around children’s height. Still, both of them are quite strong.

The cat-people are the Talka. They live as nomadic tribes and are usually active at night. Everything they own is easy to pack up, pick up and move. They travel across the desert looking for supplies and water, though most of the tribes have certain routes they always follow. They even have animal pens to keep livestock.

Each tribe is like a small village that consists of a few families. There are around thirty to fifty people for each tribe.

Most of the tribe names are related to the skies above, but there is one tribe that isn’t nomadic, the Sand Keeper tribe. They live in a valley, and the valley gives them everything they need. They are the only tribe that is good at farming.

The other two named tribes are the Shimmer Moon Tribe and the Slippery Star Tribe.

The other major race in Jathy are the Kaafu, the bird-people. They are active during the day. They have great wingspans, especially when compared to their height. Each wing is around as tall as they are, maybe more. They mostly fly, but when on land, they prefer to hop around on sharp talons.

The kaafu live on top of mesas. They build small outposts with a lot of wooden towers. There are lots of places for them to perch, though it’s not that comfortable for anyone else. There are also swings that they use for fun.

The kaafu are mostly active during the day. They soar through the skies to hunt, but they also practice some farming. It’s not easy to farm in rock on top of the mesas, so they have certain spots on the ground nearby where they farm. It’s not a problem to them going up and down.

The kaafu mainly wear loose robes. They are firm enough not to snag on their wings or talons, but give good airflow and can block the sun.

Both the talka and kaafu enjoy wearing jewelry, though the talka use more bone and stones while the kaafu will use metal on occasion.

Next time, I’ll talk about the individual characters a bit more.