(Please try to think of this as having been posted in early December, 2012)
Continuing from before: Problem was, I also checked up on some of my favorite authors. cmsix is clearly gone, as I had suspected before I went off-line in 2007 or 08. As usual, I had sent his last couple of chapters back to him with grammar, spelling, and punctuation _corrections_ and word usage, anachronism, and plot _suggestions_, but he never posted them when we were passing emails. He never replied to my last emails, either. He had admitted to some serious medical problems that needed help he couldn't pay for. It didn't do him in right away, though. It looks like he came back for awhile in 2010 and did some more noodling around, starting a few more stories, and even took Depression, the story I had been helping him with, far beyond where we had been.
Since I started posting here again, a couple of his fans have asked me about him -since I was listed as a proofreader on some of his chapters- and I did some digging. He had told me his real name once, in a weak moment. Now, I can't prove he's gone, but he's certainly not with us any more. Some people I'm pretty sure are his sister and daughter are still alive, but I'm not sure I want to hassle them about their brother/father's unpublished porn files. Who would gain enough to compensate for the trouble I would give them? As he would put it, that dog might be willing to hunt, but he's asleep right now. We'll let that sleeping dog lie.
Pele and DStar seem to be inactive, too. Their website occasionally changes, but no new content in several years, so they too apparently are still alive but no longer producing. That's a shame, because they used to say they had millions of bytes _written_, but it all needed to be edited before it could be posted. Or something like that, I can't find it now with a quick scan. I emailed them a couple of times to offer help editing, but that was always firmly refused. Okay, it's their stories and we do it their way. We wait. Now their website is up again at http://playground.playground.pele.cx/ after a couple of moves, but not even an updated note for over a year, and it's been more than three since an update to any of my three favorite serials (Prudence, Sonuachara, and New Age Dawning).
Thinking Horndog, on the other hand, is still active. Awesome! I _love_ his work. And, for a while there, I was emailing him annually about when Pact 6 was coming out. Apparently never, as he has moved on to other projects. His "Swarm Cycle" shared-universe is doing well, with a whole passel of authors adding stories almost daily. I started thinking....
I can do this! While I'm not as good a writer as some in his stable, I, in my humble opinion, am better than some others. And, I have some experience in the field of play (an interstellar war is merely a world war writ large, right?) while many of his authors clearly do not. They are smart, some of them clearly a good deal smarter than me, but many of them are just as clearly completely inexperienced in the field of organized murder.
Of course, several of his authors are veterans. It's not hard to tell which are which. Just, it appears that all of his veterans are ground-pounders. None of them appear to have meaningful exposure to the warship environment. Frankly, some of them appear to have never even been on a ferry, much less spent a miserable month cooped up on a defenseless troopship that may or may not survive long enough to let them get off so they can actually shooot at an enemy before they die.
Of course, I can't knock their writing. I've never been in their shoes. I spent my career inside huge ships where I could take a hot shower before I went to my clean bunk.
Still, they need the naval point of view. There's a lot going on outside their berthing compartment. There's a whole task force out there that is sacrificing manned warships in a probably futile attempt to get the grunt's boots muddy before they die. It's all ugly, every bit of it, but that's war. Taking the other guy's territory, no matter how much it costs, is the only way to keep him from invading _our_ territory. Because, by the game's rules, we aren't allowed to just nuke them and be done with it. We have to do it the hard way. If we can.
So, I've started converting an HonorVerse fanfic novel I was writing for my own amusement to the Swarm Cycle. It is not by any means my longest work, but it will be far longer than anything else I have published. Problems: I never finished the original, I have to convert what I had written, and I want to pass my opus past the other Swarm authors to see if it fits their universe. All three problems will take significant time, but, hey, I'm retired!