The "ABC" of TCD: Telling Time in a Broken World

27 July 2017

 
 The cover of "A Chaotic Destiny" shows a past-present-future of Lady Amaelia Peterson. You've met two of them, will you get to meet the third?

The cover of "A Chaotic Destiny" shows a past-present-future of Lady Amaelia Peterson. You've met two of them, will you get to meet the third?

There are many elements to storytelling. Now that Captain Obvious has made an appearance, let’s get down to how time works in “The Chaotic Destiny.” Perception of time in fiction is very important, perhaps more so in science fiction. There is often a certain amount of displacement, as compared to the time of writing, in either technology or time itself. I feel there are three major ways of writing (linear) time perception in science fiction (Time travel/Extradimensional adventures are something else entirely). Disconnected time is where main events take place so far ahead, or so far behind the current era it has very little relatable connection. Current time is simply set in a modern world or something readily recognizable by the reader. Leashed (short or long) time is where the story clearly takes place sometime in the past or future, but displays familiarities the reader should be able to anchor themselves with.

In this format, “The Chaotic Destiny” is short-leashed into the future. While I drop many hints about when the series might be taking place, even flesh out entire bloodlines to show a connection with the present, I never give an exact year. This is on purpose to give it a little bit of a timeless feel. In reality, the book series takes place just over a century from now. It is important to understand that “now” is a moving start point. In TCD, the North American Confederation (NAC) uses the suffix ABC with its year marker.

This acronym stands for “After the Battle of Copenhagen,” in reference to the critical defense action fought by Terran Forces near the end of the Lythangaard War. This is a common technique to substitute known time references with annual distances from an event. My primary inspiration was from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which uses the Battle of Yavin as its main timestamp. Often, especially in reference material, an event or date of manufacture will be in a year BBY or ABY.

The Battle of Copenhagen is significant because it was the event where Terrans blunted an interdicting strike launched against their assembly area in waters around the Danish capital. This victory paved the way for the Bohemian Assault, ending the war with the daring attack on Prague; led by the 25,000 Immortals. While the exact reason for the change to this time reference will be forthcoming (book 4), book 1 starts in Year 80 then jumps forward 15 years (spoiler, do the math). Most of the book series, sans other flashbacks will take place after 95 ABC.

 Some of the first timeline based brainstorming in the series. List of Important political milestones from 0-14 ABC

Some of the first timeline based brainstorming in the series. List of Important political milestones from 0-14 ABC

Now, knowing the story takes place this far in the future, one needs to take into account mitigating factors for how society, culture, politics, and technology have evolved. Because TCD has a post-apocalyptic feel, advancement in any of those areas will be limited to my perceived necessity. At least this is how I am going to explain it. Some elements I wanted to evolve naturally, while I fast tracked or stunted others.

Additionally, there are other ways the people will have perceived time in the world, especially outside of the “civilized” conformity of the NAC. A prominent example is the main antagonist to this point: The Sacred Order of Jehudriel (The Jehud). They gauge the start of their clock from the moment of the “The Coming.” The moment the first Lythangaard vessel landed on Earth is considered a moment of sacred epiphany for the Jehud’s founder. This was approximately fifteen years before the Battle of Copenhagen, which if have been paying attention might give you a clue as to how long the Lythangaard War lasted.

I felt by addressing time perspectives early in this series it would facilitate understanding down the road.

Thanks again for stopping by,

-Z.E. Duval