Turns out this entry didn’t come out earlier than expected. Blogwise I’ve been so caught up in creating my avatar and offline with my thesis that I haven’t been working on any Ghosts of Writing Pasts. Well, with over a week since the last one, it´s now time close off the middle school period. Aside from the one piece I was going to write about anyway, another story has sprung to mind that was born during at the very end of my middle school years. And that’s the one I’ll be starting with today.
I believe I got the inspiration for this story while listening the Scorpions’ Alien Nation. It was probably because of the pumping music and the line ‘face the heat’ (which is also the name of the album it’s on), because the theme of that song and Inferno are really nothing alike. Inferno takes place in the future on a terraformed Mars, where three main peoples live. The Magi are a society in which all the people have some sort of power, though the only group among them that had actually been worked out to some extent were the flamecasters; people who could cast fire from their hands. The rank and power of the flamecasters depends on the colour of fire they can produce, which are from low to high: red/orange, blue, white and silver. There is also the mysterious power known as the Invisible Fire, but it has not been seen for ages. The more powerful the fire the rarer the ones who can cast it. A young man named Caldor Te’lesh is the leader of the Magi and the only Wielder of the Silver Flame. Sechshares is a large and powerful militaristic city and home to its ruler, Lord Aras de Shares, and his daughter Mara. Finally, there are the Eisei, a society of immortal warrior women who vigilantly guard their territory – especially their sacred grounds – against any trespassers. While they appear human, I can’t remember if they actually were. The story begins before Caldor´s birth. Lecenko, a leader of outcasts within the Magi society, is sick of the way non-Magi are treated within the society and makes a deal with Sechshares: he gets all the armaments he needs for a revolution against the Magi in exchange for a single child. This trade would turn out to have severe consequences.
The chapters of the story that have been written – which are unfortunately few and short – switched between the events surrounding Lecenko and his revolution, and the period thirty years later, where the focus lied on either Caldor, Mara or Shana Amraphel, an Eisei guardian captain. I believe the idea was to have the three meet up at some point and rally against Sechshares, but I can very well be completely mistaken here. It’s almost been ten years since I’ve touched it. Like with so many of my stories, the writing process for Inferno never got far and it got stuck after the second chapter (third, if you count the prologue). And like with those other stories I really hope I pick it up again at some point. I really should. Writing it was fun. Finally finishing it maybe even more so…
Dune. Arabic and Islamic Influences in Frank Herbert’s Galaxy Saga
And there it is, the final work I wrote while in middle school. It’s not a story, but I definitely one of my more striking and important writings. I’m not certain how things currently are in Dutch schools, but when I was in my final year everyone had to write a paper on a subject they were interested in. Like I’ve said many times before, I love sci-fi and Frank Herbert’s Dune is among my favourites. As part Lebanese I have some experience with the Arabic language and while reading the Dune books I could not help but recognizing more and more terms that were either based on Arabic or completely taken from it, which really fascinated me. And so, when the time for deciding what my final paper was going to be on, my love for science-fiction, my heritage and school came together. My paper would be titled Dune. Arabic and Islamic Influences in Frank Herbert´s Galaxy Saga (only in Dutch). Obviously, the words and concepts that could be found in the books were discussed, but aside from that I also wrote several chapters on important background information: an introduction to Dune itself; a short biography of its creator Frank Herbert; a brief history on the oil politics in the Middle-East – for which there are clear allegories in Dune – and an analysis of how and why Frank Herbert included these Arabic and Islamic influence in his books. It actually turned out to be a pretty extensive research during which I learned quite a lot about the mentioned subjects. I can’t remember the final grade (I think it was somewhat above average), but my English teacher – who was one of my supervisors for the paper and also pretty familiar with Dune – thought it was so good he gave me the advice to seek out a science-fiction magazine to publish it! But as you might guess, stupid little me never got to it. I don’t know if it was my lack of assertiveness or something else, but it’s really a shame. I wonder what my writing life had looked like if I had been published back then. Something to look into, maybe? My writing has changed considerably since then, but, well, you never know until you try, right?
And So Passes…
No, not Denethor, silly! My middle school period, of course! ^_~ I said it before, but it really feels like actually ending a period in my life. Feels weird… Since this already got way longer than I expected (you’d think I’d be used to it by now), I’ll probably get another intermission going to properly conclude this period and bridge it and the next one. ‘Till then! ^_^