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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book #1's Chapter 16 Spot Art

This is chapter 16's spot art created by my artist, Matt Curtis. Tyco is very upset, traumatized from finding out that the Lizards killed many Mayans in the process of manipulating their genes to lead to his creation. Ty is floating up in the air and connected to Tyco's mind with his hands to calm his hysterical crying and comfort him.

Ty connects to Tyco's mind via his hands to calm Tyco's hysteria.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kirkus Review of Book #1

Paul25 practices his telekinetic abilities on Sophista

Kirkus Review of the Saeshell Book of Time: Part1: The Death of Innocents

A race of formless consciousnesses imprisoned in crystal intends to reform the universe in this first of a planned sci-fi series where past, present, and future occur simultaneously.

Biesele’s work explores the human psyche through an elevated species that claims to understand the internal workings of the universe. The book, a “living” character, challenges the “meat-based barbaric automatons” to see if they can understand hyperspace—a plane of tunnels intersecting in space. Ty and Tyco’s futures hang in the balance as they explore the history of their own painful evolution by linking with the Guardian, a highly evolved computer system. The two youngsters rely on their teacher, who guides them telekinetically through the history of Stefan and Tova2, the destined leaders of the new universe. The boys, like others before them, evolved from a mix of human genetics and other creatures, a mix that gives them powers to attract the attention of the Sophistans, a race of consciousnesses with no true physical form. The evolved youth had been raised by selfish sociopaths using their children for personal gain until the Sophistans rescue them from the savagery of a human fate. Ty and Tyco train to become Children of Sophista. Despite the promise of an enlightened existence, the “randomness” of human genetics is in direct conflict with the orderly, utopian ideals of the Sophistans, leading to the potential euthanasia of the two boys if they cannot adapt. The book primarily builds the foundation for what is to come in the series. The characters travel through familiar places like London and learn the value of exploring hyperspace despite the dangers of disintegration. The novel struggles under the weight of several heady concepts—an enlightened incorporeal intelligence; a blend of past, present and future; and various wormholes through space. The narrative seems to lose its momentum somewhere deep in the labyrinth of hyperspace.

A space journey sidelined by convoluted, high-concept subplots.

Guilty on all counts. Terribly sorry, but you will be required to think quite hard on this one. Characters do stop to think about the meaning of their lives. Things do get a bit convoluted. Immortal characters from a highly advanced planet watch a 15th century battle and actually feel bad about slaughtered peasants:

 And while I'm confessing, I can't seem to write anything linearly. Lots of things happen at the same time. I'm sure I have committed more transgressions, but I leave those as a surprise. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book #1 Chapter 15 Spot Art

Paul25 from Sophista, whose age is frozen at 9 years old, is walking across a 15th century battle field and has just watched a peasant boy a die. He is upset because the boy should have never been in the battle and he was not allowed to heal the boy because Sophista didn't want to interfere with human evolution. The scene in the book is short because it is a flash back, but it is important because it is designed to make the fact that Paul25 has been alive for over 1000 years really tangible rather than a comic book fact. The idea is to make vivid in a reader's mind  the huge number of horrible things in Earth's past that Paul25 has seen.

Paul25 is upset having watched a peasant boy die in a battle

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book #1 Chapter 14 Spot Art

Here is the latest from my artist, Matt Curtis. This is chapter 14's spot art. 6th grader, Stefan, has a bit of anxiety after having been called to the office to meet Professor Kettil. Stefan has been bullied growing up and now because of his underachieving, the teachers have snagged a Professor who specializes in children who are advanced thinkers. Stefan wishes people would just leave him alone.

Stefan sees Professor Kettil for the first time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book #1 Chapter 13 Spot Art

This another piece of spot art for book #1 produced by my artist, Matt Curtis. Paul25 on the left, a nine-year-old from the planet Sophista, is creating a flower on his hand to give to the first-grader, Stefan, who is on the right. Some people have asked, "What are the rainbow colors in Stefan's hair?" Each color is a marker for a genetically induced talent. So Paul25 has only the platinum blond talent. But Stefan, even though he doesn't know it, has all the talents. It's why the aliens are interested in him.

Paul25 makes and gives a flower to Stefan

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Gifted Kids Need Gifted Fiction

When I was writing The Saeshell Book of Time with the goal of creating the first book that truly exemplifies what I call Gifted Fiction, people used to ask me, "But aren't there already books with gifted people in them? What about Hermione in Harry Potter? Isn't she an example of a gifted person in fiction?"

Hermione from Harry Potter
 My response is simply to ask, "Does this character truly represent all that giftedness is? Is all there is to giftedness simply being exceptionally studious and socially awkward? Is that one dimensional description the entirety of giftedness? For many people, when they think of giftedness, this is exactly what they think of---that and perhaps in class behavior problems. 

What about our huge spectrum of sensitivities, our ability to perceive the surrounding world in different and unique ways. We are born with the instinct to deeply care about how other people think, whether they be gifted or nongifted. Many times we want to change people's heads. Boy do we want to change their minds on things. But even further than that, we want to help them see things in new ways, to change the course of their lives and their behavior---to fix any problems we perceive.

 My friend from the novel, Paul25, is the perfect case of that. Here he is healing a high school boy of a learning disability. Many gifted students like this character. What's not to like? He's a humanitarian, fixing a problem---a fascinating problem because even very young gifted kids understand the wondrous complexities of the mind and the fascinating puzzles it poses. They like solving fascinating puzzles. Good thing---their own head presents one every single day of their lives. 

Paul25 is the nexus of technology, science, and humanitarianism. You see, Paul25 was cooked up in a machine as are the other Pauls, his brothers. A little stroke here, a tweak there, their genetic codes are changed and out pops a Paul with talents for performing a wide variety of policing and humanitarian tasks. Or as one middle school reader of the novel told me, "I've always had a passion for science and I feel I can relate to certain characters in the book and how they utilize their talents for numerous purposes." Notice the plural on the word, "talents". Not just someone who studies and scores well on tests/knows the correct spell at the correct time, but someone who brings a wide array of disparate talents to bear. A character made by science, who uses multiple talents to solve humanitarian problems---not a single trick of the moment, nor a single feat of recalling knowledge---a character using multiple facets of themselves is really a character who gifted kids can admire and identify with.

So that gets us to two dimensions. But to get to a fully three dimensional character gifted kids can truly admire and identify with, the third thing that really has to come in is the social-emotional side of a their lives. And really, one character just won't do. Even in a gifted classroom, there's autism, dyslexia, sensory processing disorders, psycho-motor issues, .... in other words, even if all a their friends are gifted, differences among their friends is just a normal part of their lives, a normal part of "gifted society". So they really appreciate and can strongly identify when that society---those differences---are reflected in the characters of a book. Or as an 11 year old boy who read the book put it, "I like how I can relate to the characters. I’m different just like they are. They are misunderstood and only their parents understand them – I understand that!" Or perhaps as a 10 year old girl put it, "Metaphor: Stefan not having any friends is similar to what I've experienced."

Ty receiving a school lesson on bad aspects of his talents

There are also unique aspects of a gifted kid's social structure that are taken for granted by adults. If you happen to find and drop in on a bulletin board where gifted teens congregate, you inevitably find a thread discussing "THE TEST". Adults know it as the identification test, the one that supposedly determines whether their kids are gifted or not. Honestly, the kids usually already know regardless of the results. But to put "THE TEST" in the raging teen emotional context, imagine someone is giving you a test to determine whether or not you are human. You already know you are. But that test may say that you are not and if that happens, well you had better get used to living next to donkeys because you are going to be a slaving animal. It is such a strong emotional part of a gifted kid's environment that a metaphoric representation of it in the novel just never gets old. The kids want to empathize with the character enduring the trial. They want to see how the character survives "THE TEST". 

Stefan likes to read and so do many gifted students

Really, I have just taken a surface skim of creating characters in novels that cater to gifted kids. A starting point for a writer trying to learn to write a "full experience" for gifted kids could start at Stephanie Tolan's site reading about Dabrowski's Over Excitabilities.

If you have just wandered into this article on my blog, I suggest you read some of the other  articles associated with New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week. Just click the button below and it will take you to articles that originate in the US, New Zealand, and many other places. And I challenge you, if you are not gifted, that as you read various articles on giftedness, you imagine that you are gifted. Think about what the nongifted world looks like for you. Would you change anything? Well then, get to it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book #1 Chapter 12 Spot Art

In this picture, you see 14 year old Peter3 on the left, 9 year old Paul7 on the right, and 9 year old Paul25 healing 7th grader, Tova, after she has been hurt by some disaster. Why would the aliens from the planet Sophista be interested in healing the Earth girl, Tova? Read the novel and find out.

Nine year old Paul25 from Sophista heals Earth seventh grader Tova

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book #1 Chapter 11 Spot Art

Here is the artwork for chapter 11 in the Saeshell Book of Time: Part 1: The Death of Innocents from my artist, Matt Curtis. This is a picture of seventh grade Tova entering the Fantasy Bookshop in Westminster(London) with her father, the securities trader. This is an updated illustration from the originally released one.

Tova and her father entering the Fantasy Bookshop

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book#1's Chapter 10 Spot Art

This is the latest artwork for the The Saeshell Book of Time. This is piece of spot art for Chapter 10. The alien kid, a "fairy", heals a high school boy with a learning disability. The school boy thinks he has had a fantasy dream but suddenly finds he can study much better the next day. 

Paul25 heals a high school kid's learning disability

 You get some idea that he is an alien kid when you look closely at his eyes. I am also going to include a closeup picture of his face in the chapter to get this point across.

Paul25's eyes glow as he heals someone

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chapter 9 Spot Art

Paul25, a 9 year old boy from Sophista has been walking along the top of the fence. He jumps off the fence rather carelessly and is caught by Elof and lowered to the ground. 

Jumping Paul25 caught by Elof