Why Write Fiction?

Not panzer-schnauzers.  Panzer-schnauzers are tropical, and (except for the beard) have short coats.

I don't have a piece about S'Mary's World today because I'm at the point in the project where I need to stop world-building and start writing some actual stories. That's not so quick. I find it fairly easy to put together a brief encyclopedia article about some aspect of a fictional world, but writing full stories is harder, and takes a lot longer.As a consolation prize, here are some thoughts on writing fiction, and my reasons for doing it.Some folks, when asked, will say they wrote a … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: Magnus Albert

Magnus Albert is the name given to the mother house of the Albertine Order on S'Mary's World, also known as St. Mary's-without-the-Arm. To the Albertines the first colonists gave the task of preserving the Archives, the collected library of the colony ship Our Lady of Loreto, and disseminating its contents to the colonists as and when and in such measure as the colony was ready to make use of them. To this end Magnus Albert was built into the side of a mountain, Albertus Mons, into which … [Read more...]

The Von Neumann Survey

The so-called Von Neumann Survey was the foundation of the great wave of colonization that began in Old Earth's 24th Century. Begun in AD 2151, shortly after the discovery of the Harper Drive, the survey was conducted by a fleet of faster-than-light self-replicating robotic probes. The probes were simple in concept, if complicated in execution, consisting of a drive unit, a sensor package, and a robotic controller, and were far cheaper than any manned probes could possibly be. The African … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: The Knights Particular

The colony of S'Mary's World was originally established as a number of politically independent but economically interdependent settlements, all under the general guidance of the Prefecture. The system worked well in the earliest years of the Hard Times, when the colonists were reasonably united in purpose and the fight for survival necessarily took precedence over internecine squabbling. As agriculture was established and the next generation grew to maturity, eroding that unity, friction … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: St. Michael’s Old Peculiars

St. Michael's Old Peculiars is the name given by long custom to the Brothers of St. Michael, who form the bodyguard of the Archprefect of S'Mary's World. The Old Peculiars existed from the colony's earliest days; its initial members were drawn from the security force carried by the colony ship Our Lady of Loreto. (The reasons for the inclusion of such a large force on the Loreto are unclear from the historical record.)The name "Peculiars" derives from the force's legal status. During the … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: The Albertines

The Albertine Order of St. Mary's-without-the-Arm grew by necessity from the logic of colonial survival.From the Day of Landing, 1 December of year 1 YOE, it was clear to Prefect Consolmagno Higgins and his followers on the Our Lady of Loreto that the new colony of S'Mary's World would be unable to maintain the technological level planned for and expected by the framers of the Articles of Colonization. Much of the Loreto's materiel and many of her passengers were killed in the catastrophe … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: Calendar

Calendar/Sun Dial

The calendar for S'Mary's World was established by the Articles of Colonization, as was usual in the early colonial era.  Every earth-like planet has slightly different periods of rotation and revolution, and practicality dictates that local matters are scheduled according to local time. Maintaining a proper chronology is essential to colonial success, and so practicality also dictates that the calendar be established and well understood prior to landing.  In that era, prior to the discovery of w … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: The Prefecture

The Prefecture (more fully the Apostolic Prefecture of St. Mary's World) is the name given to the Catholic Church as an institution on St. Mary's-without-the-Arm, also known as S'Mary's World. Prior to the departure of the freezer ship … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World


The colony world of St. Mary's-without-the-arm, known simply as "S'Mary's" to its inhabitants, was settled from Old Earth via the freezer ship Our Lady of Loreto in AD 2347, at the height of the Neo-Roman Ascendancy. Due to technical problems in flight, the ship missed its landfall at its intended destination (colony world Maria Victrix, also known as St. Mary's-within-the-arm) and was long thought lost until contact was re-established by wormhole explorers in local year 633 … [Read more...]