Far, far in the future, in a pair of galaxies that are indeed far away, two highly advanced interstellar civilisations – the Shango Federation and the Qareen Confederacy – fight each other, their own internal threats, and outside forces that threaten their existence…

What is this?
A space opera series from Chelsea Tractor (I sometimes blog as 4trak, hence the authorship on each posting). It differs somewhat from a lot of other space opera series in certain respects. One is that the setting is not our galaxy – in fact being a pair of colliding galaxies, hence the blog title (the header suggests NGC4038/9, but I haven’t yet decided on the canonicity of this). Another is the relatively paucity of civilisations across the two galaxies – certainly, some exist across the billions of stars, but either way, there won’t be, for example, the 340-odd different peoples that appear in Star Trek.

How often do stories appear?
There’s no update schedule, but as of October 1st, 2010, I hope to have anywhere between seven and ten stories up on the blog by the end of the year.

How long are said stories?
At minimum, 500-word vignettes are to be expected. Typically, the average will probably be around 2,000-3,000 words. At the higher end, there might be occasions where I roll out a novelette or even a full-blown novella, but I won’t be going over the Hugo Awards’ 40,000-word definition for a novel. That said, I hope to write novels set in this universe… but this would probably only happen if I became a professional, published author – not currently likely.

Why do all the aliens speak English, and why do some aspects of Shango/Qareen life seem to be fairly humanoid?
Both the Shango and Qareen are broadly humanoid in appearance and physiology, but their languages and communication methods are indeed very alien. Needless to say, it’s all being translated and, where things are too inexplicable, rendered in human terms.

How hard/soft is the science in this sci-fi?
If Iain Banks’ Culture series is as hard as a road tyre, then softer than a super-soft Formula One tyre on a circuit where they degrade particularly fast. In this universe, time travel is possible (although it won’t appear in any of these stories) and faster-than-light travel is pretty much a given. Needless to say, I’m well aware of this, but I am also happy to lampshade it too.

I don’t read much sci-fi. How do the major races figure in Star Trek terms?
They don’t really fit very well at all, so any comparisons should be taken with a truckload of salt, but broadly… Shango = Romulans, Qareen = Vulcans, and Dharans = the Q.

What about a geopolitical analogy?
Maybe Shango = Georgia, Qareen = Azerbaijan and Dharans = the G8 combined, but it’s getting really tenuous now.

I’m not into politics or sci-fi. What about a-
Maybe this isn’t for you.

Can I follow you on Twitter?
Only if you have a Twitter account, or else the sheer illogic will implode the universe. At least, I think that’s how it works.

Where do I start?

It never hurts to start at the beginning, which in publication terms is “Aftermath”. Whilst the stories do not necessarily have to be read in order of publication or chronology, there may be plot elements introduced in one story that are referenced later on.


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