by Max Barry

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by The Write Pretty Speech of Todd McCloud. . 513 reads.

The Vekaiyun - NSer Writes Another Book

Hey group! Some of you may know me, and others may not, but I've been playing this game for something like 13 years, and that's a long time. I've been a delegate, I've been a roleplayer, and I've been hanging around in between. Think of it as a jack of all trades yet master of none approach. At any rate, last year I released my first book to the general populace. It took a little bit of time, but I had some fun with it and really enjoyed reading the responses I got, the questions, and so on. Not to be outdone, I continued the tradition, and a second book is set to hit the shelves!

This book, the second book, is titled LinkThe Vekaiyun, and it follows the unusual Ikrisia Levinile and her adventures in and around her home nation. It has some Nationstates themes. It has some suspense. It even has desserts, and some characters get their just desserts. How about that! 424 pages can barely contain it all! The first book, LinkThe Listonian, has been out for just over a year. Good stuff!

It certainly looks like Vekaiyuns are a bit more proper (and militaristic?) than Listonians. Oh well. We're all the same on the inside. I think


I wanna get this book!
The book is available in some stores, especially some online stores. Probably the easiest one to view and possibly purchase the book is Amazon, but there are other outlets out there. Books are a bit pricey these days, but it's the same price as the first book, and the first book was only about 286 pages, so really you're getting a bargain with this one! An e-book is finalized, so if you want to save money and miss out on the smell of the paper, then just select that option and you get the whole story sans a heavy book to tote around!

What's this book about?
Here, we see two main races - human and vulpine - and how they interact with one another. While the first book followed events in Asmonia and Hobrethia, this one focuses on Vekaiyu, a vulpine-domination nation that seems fairly stable. Yet, things aren't always what they seem! Ikrisia Levinile is character first introduced, and she's essentially a super soldier, a specimen created by the state, for the state, to serve the state. THE END. Well, not really! See, Vekaiyu is an odd state. Efficiency and perfection drive the nation, but perfection can have many different meanings, right? That is, moral perfection is certainly not proficient perfection, which is much different than the game Perfection, and really that game is awful because I get to like 3-4 pieces left and the board pops and causes me to jump and I nearly spill my drink! But I digress. What can this cold super soldier possibly offer this ubiquitous state? And how does this relate to the events occurring in The Listonian? Are they connected? Is there something else going on between the lines? Is there power in the state, or power in the individual? Do people exist to serve the state, or is it the state that exists to serve the people? I suppose we'll need to read on and see precisely what happens. The back cover description is presented below:

It exists. At least, it has to exist, right? Somewhere between the wild expanse of the unknown and teetering on the scale of unrestrained innovation and morality must exist a specimen capable of complete and utter submission to the Vekaiyun Ideal. Maybe there exists more than one specimen. Perhaps these specimens, if they exist, merely need to be conditioned, controlled, and taught from an early age to bend to the wills and wants of the state. Azsur Venavle and his array of like-minded generals longed for such devoted subjects; therefore, it was made so.

One such individual, Ikrisia Levinile, known as Number Eight, is among such rootless specimens and is a peculiar study. Though a child, she is quick to grasp advanced concepts, and like her groupmates, she is a capable tactician. She was made that way, after all. Any vestige of compassion or emotional weaknesses appears to have been corrected, leaving a clean slate ready to accept the dogma of the all-important Vekaiyun state under Venavle's rule, thereby ensuring his regime and those like his will remain intact for years to come.

Or so it appears. Specimens can have souls. They are more than a simple line of data tested against an algorithm of conditioned responses. Perhaps there's something more to this Ikrisia Levinile that the analysts missed. Perhaps there's another side that the cold hands of Azsur Venavle's subordinates haven't grasped. Perhaps a change is slowly forming against the horizon. Somewhere between the lines and existing only as harmless anomalies, an independent soul, an entity apart from the supplements and indoctrinations, exists. It exists. At least, it has to exist, right?


Oh great. I have to read the first book to get the second one, right?
Nope! They kind of compliment each other. They take place in similar time frames, and are centered about a climactic event, but are told in different settings. Therefore, a trivial event in book one might be a big deal in the second book, and something that "doesn't add up" in the second book is summed up in the first, and so on. A third book, to be completed in 2020 (I hope), will add more to the heap.

It's kinda like an eyewitness account - you get part of the story, but more of the story is revealed when you speak to multiple people, especially as each person tends to concentrate on what they are most familiar with.

So what? What's this gotta do with Nationstates?
As I explained when I wrote my first book, I was discouraged from writing in high school by a teacher who told me to stick to math because that's what I'm good at. I felt pretty bad about it, and didn't write anything, anything at all when it came to stories until 2008 when I joined The East Pacific. That region had and still has a thriving roleplay community. I was intrigued and joined in, but when I did I was hammered, hard by some of the more skilled writers. My characters kind of stunk. My plots were too superficial. My settings just didn't make sense. I initially took the constructive criticism hard, but over time I wanted to get better. So I kept at it, and eventually learned the basics like in any other good writing group. We then kinda sharpened one another as the years passed and players came and went. I decided one day to try my hand at writing a book and kind of didn't stop.

I still roleplay today, though it is less due to some stuff occurring in my life that's been selfishly keeping me from that fun and my friends. But I can safely say, had it not been for TEP and the roleplays we did, well... know what I mean.

I wanna talk about your book!
Well, that's neat! I do Linkhave a discord server that's just starting up, and there are already good people that I care about already in there, so we're off to a great start! Though, I'm thinking about having it more for writing than my books - I don't have enough content to warrant a server, I think.

Did you use anyone's RP characters?
No. I didn't want to use anyone's characters, names, nation names, etc. because I ultimately didn't feel comfortable with taking anyone else's thing and inserting it in a book. It has some of my characters, yeah, but the book takes a pretty strong turn compared to the RP universe I know.

Who made the cover?
A really good friend. Another friend helped me make some maps. They are credited, received stuff, and so on.

Is this a... FURRY BOOK??
I... guess that depends on your definition. It contains anthropomorphic animals who happen to be vulpine. Are they a special breed who protect the forests with their guardians of the sky and sea like many of the works in that genre do? No. Do they roam free and forage and teach people how everyone's abusing the planet? Ha, no. Do they wear suits and do things in them? I mean, they can wear tuxedos and business attire, sure, and they'd likely do planning in their business attire. I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't consider it a furry work. I personally am not a furry, but I do have an appreciation for some of the art, though I steer clear of the... scary art... but I like the book because it involves anthropomorphic people but doesn't really have the typical aspects of something "furry". Of course, this is all my opinion.

I'd kind of place it in fantasy, but grounded fantasy.

Ugh... fox people?
Ever notice how when some people make a species the species almost always seems to be better than a human? Like they're taller, smarter, live longer, whatever? Yeah. Forget that. Good species design has their flaws and they're held back by those flaws. So yes fox people. But not superhuman fox people.

Why DL Nighly?
Well, I just chose two random initials and looked up obscure British last names. It's on Facebook. That's pretty much the long and short of it.

Are you going to write more?
So long as I have the time, I will. I'm currently working through my third book, which has a working title of "The Lesser". I plan to write five if I am afforded the time.

Are you trying to be like Max?
Nah. Max has a talent. I have a hobby, and not really a talent. And truly, this is a hobby. I hope to break even when it comes to money, but if not, oh well, I had a lot of fun writing it. I'm kind of hoping Max reads it. I tried to offer him a free copy, but I don't know if he ever got my message.

I'm sure I'm not the first NSer to write a book and I'm sure I won't be the last. But I just wanted to share this with you all. Hope you like it.

I'm a writer too! But... I'm not sure about writing
Lemme tell you something. I, too, am not very sure about writing. I have moments where I struggle and moments where I tell myself that what I am doing is pointless. See, I'm a scientist, and for most of my life I was told that's what I should be good at. Stick to math. I was told those very words from a high school teacher who told me my first short story sucked. It crushed me, even if the story did stink, and it did. Consequently, it took me a while to gain the confidence to write again. To this day, I have difficulty in blending the logical from the abstract.

I saw myself as I felt others saw me - a chemist who has published some dry research papers here and there with some theory and some empirically-derived trends that happen to form some kind of niche conclusions. But there's beauty in that. There's beauty in tables and graphs and figures. One can be a little creative in how one describes trends and R^2 coefficients. If it exists, and if it's good, it can be beautiful. Maybe it just needs the care and love it asks for. Perhaps it just needs someone to find that beauty it has. Keep going and don't give up!