Back From the Great Industrial Wilds of Asia

So, I’m back, in one piece.

This was an interesting trip, both work-related (which I can’t discuss here, and wouldn’t even if I could) and general culture-wise.

For one, my perception of China changed quite a bit. Until this trip, I had traveled to only a couple of Chinese provinces, both with a long history as trading/industrial centers. For many reasons, these places are greatly polluted and overpopulated.

I hold a special love for Hong Kong – I’m a HK action flicks addict and the place feels like an (n+1)th home to me — and, considering Hong Kong’s history, I have a hard time thinking of it as part of China. But I’ve been to several other cities in the Guangdong province, and they’ve been pretty depressing to me. I experienced about the same thing in Shanghai and its outskirts.

But on this trip, I visited a central China city (an aerospace and metallurgy center for China) — and, boy, what a difference. This was probably one of the best maintained large cities I’ve seen in my whole life. Sure, traffic was as bad as anywhere else in China (and that’s pretty bad), but, otherwise, it was a different — and very clean — world. I was impressed. Also, I had a chance to visit some cultural spots there, including an active archeological dig, and I was also pretty glad to see a respect and pride in history.

So, all in all, very interesting trip.

On the writing side, I didn’t do much. I had very little downtime on this trip. And, to my surprise, most of it went into developing a “written script” for my “Common” language for one of my fantasy worlds (All Things Made Of Shadows and Broken Circles take place in this world). It’s a silly, fairly pointless exercise (mostly for the sake of brainsturbation), but it turned out to be incredibly fun.

So, now the “Common” language has grown to have a set grammar, an about 100-word vocabulary, and a written script that needs a little more ironing out, but I’m generally happy with.

I’m not doing it for a specific purpose (if any of the stories of this world get published, you won’t be seeing actual Common appearing in them — except that in one place, I use the Common grammar with English to show one of the characters mixing up foreign — to them – languages). Way back when, the whole thing started as a vague idea for a puzzle in a game module. The game module idea has since gone into the closet, buried under hundreds others like it, but I’ve found that occasionally playing with the language is fun. And fun things don’t die in my world.

I don’t know if I’ll share more of the language here or on my website. I’m often tempted to make some of my story background processes or “fun” activities public (even if the traffic through this blog and my website is tiny and consists mostly of spambots). I usually resist the temptation – because, after all, what’s the point — but, who knows. I occasionally get organizational and presentational impulses, so maybe one day, I’ll publish the Common vocabulary or script, for the hell of it.

Most importantly, I’m back. Yey!