Author’s name: Lia London
Title of book and/or series: The Gypsy Pearl Book 3: Tye
Brief summary of the story: This is part three in a science fiction trilogy wherein our heroine Caz Artemus is on a quest to “cycle” a Gypsy Pearl that is actually inside of her body. The result of her adventure will be, in theory, the freedom of a species of small humanoid creatures and her own eventual rise to supreme power in the Granbo System. Naturally, not everyone is in favor of a teen doing this, so she has assassins in hot pursuit. Despite some superhuman powers she has acquired recently, she suffers from a distinct handicap: adrenaline spikes lead to paralysis. That’s tough when her life is so action-packed!
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: Tye is essentially an ocean planet. There are dozens of archipelagos scattered around the globe, but they are ultimately tiny land masses. Each island or island group represents a distinct colony whereon humans (originally from our own solar system) have made their homes. Marine life is abundant, and there are some indigenous bird species, too, but larger land mammals have mostly been imported from other planets (callabus, bovines and ovis – or, as we would call them, horses, cows and sheep).
If we were to visit Tye as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? The most tourist-friendly places would be the atoll chains of Ikekane North and South. These are large groups of lagoons with phenomenal natural beauty, great surfing, and incredibly hospitable natives. Think of the more unspoiled Polynesian islands, but with all the modern conveniences of medical care and communications technology, etc. Another beautiful area is the island of Flinders which features some amazing spiral reefs not far off the shore. The accommodations are far from luxurious, and there is a minor crime problem there, but you’ll ultimately be able to find all the amenities you need, and Sleeping Bay has some spectacular sail boats to watch.
What dangers should we avoid in Tye? Besides the occasional extreme electrical storms, the only real danger out on the water is if a shoal of gouldings feels you are a dangerous predator. They will work together to capsize a boat and/or chew up any person they feel is a threat. The bigger your boat, the better off you’ll likely be.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Tye? Obviously, you can expect a lot of seafood and sea-plant type foods, but there are also tropical regions—the Ikekanes in particular—that have to-die-for luscious fruits. Pina on a stick is a favorite snack that will melt in your mouth.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Tye?
Most of the cultures are not particularly violent, but you can find everything from wooden spears to laser rifles and grenade launchers.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Tye? Travel to Tye is done by express shuttles from other planets or space ferries from the Interplanetary City Stations. The shuttles will most often land up on the polar ice cap, the only place with enough uninhabited space for takeoff and landings, etc. The space ferries, however, just drop into the ocean nearest the desired location until a water ferry can come out and retrieve the passengers. Between colonies on the planet, the vast majority of people travel by solar-powered or wind-turbine sailboat because sea-runner planes require too much fuel (synthetic petrol). On the individual islands and atolls, wheeled vehicles are almost always either pulled by horses or people, but since the spaces are so small, people can just walk. If folks want to cut across a lagoon, many swim and use a “board” (like a surf board) to carry their goods.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Tye that we don’t see on Earth? The faneps are humanoids about the size of large cats. They have sharp teeth, retractable claws, big bald heads, enormous lung-capacity (good for swimming), the ability to “float” in the air, and telepathy.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Tye? The world of the humans is all very normal and logical and tech-filled, but the faneps are a whole different matter. The very captivity which afflicts them is caused by the presence of humans; it limits their power of speech and some of their cognitive ability. The “Cycling Ceremony” that Caz is undertaking will somehow mystically change all of that. Caz is given three “gifts” which give her unusual powers: superhuman strength, insanely fast recuperative powers, a perfect memory, and the ability to assert mind over body in controlling certain body functions.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Tye? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples. There are many, but the one Caz and her friends use the most often is the comlink. It’s an egg-shaped communication device that can access holographic archive vids (like our modern internet only 3D) or link people through space with live audio-visual feed in a blue inverted cone.
What is the political or government structure in Tye? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she? Tye is part of the Granbo Charter that is a loose affiliation of colonies spread out over the three inhabited planets of the Granbo System and the Interplanetary City-Stations. There is no centralized government, but the colonies have elected governors, and the ICSs have stationmasters. Ambassadors also run liaison between the colonies, etc. to help negotiate trade or resource management, but generally each group is pretty autonomous. Gypsies, who do not usually lock themselves to one location, are not considered citizens of any colony or ICS, and as such are often denied rights or mistrusted by those who remain more stationary. One of the premises of the Cycling Ceremony is that Caz would become Queen of the unified Granbo System and, because of her gypsy ties, bring some dignity to their status.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Tye? Each colony is so different that it is hard to generalize. In some, elderly people are revered as the leaders, yet in others, they are set adrift to die once they have ceased to be highly productive members of society. Some colonies welcome visitors and trade, while others want to be left completely alone. In the Ikekanes, people are very warm and friendly; they clap as a way of greeting and provide community “boards” for recreation and transportation. In Scilly, family relationships are very important, and people are expected to spend a great deal of time talking about how each member is doing prior to conducting any business. In Menorca, agricultural families are conglomerates of families that own large tracts of land and use it for the commercial benefit of the colony.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book? I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively in my life, and I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures and why they do things in different ways. Although these island colonies were not based on real places I’ve been, per se, I did try to think about what general lines of latitude each might represent. The colony names actually come from real geographic places (towns, islands, etc.) on our own planet that correspond. For example, Wandel Hav is a real place up in the Arctic Circle, and on Tye, it is the northernmost colony.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book? There are a few. One is the treatment of elderly or handicapped, and the other is the whole concept of centralized vs. local government autonomy. I’m not trying to solve the problems as much as open them up for consideration in a less threatening way.
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