A wonderful seed novellete for an open shared world/universe, June 11, 2005
Reviewer: Yao Chi - See all my reviews
Dee Dreslough, has a wonderful imagination. And such a thing should not go to waste. Hers has not. In this imaginative playground; "Dimar: Lost Waters", Dee has created a world with a science fiction basis that is set in the not too distant future.
And in the ethos of open source and the creative commons, she has also decided that everyone else may play in her world too.
The story is available for purchase in a signed edition at http://www.dimar.org/ and also as a free public domain edition at http://www.dimar.org/lostwaters/index.htm is not difficult or extended reading. Frankly, even though I have already blasted through the online edition, I desire to get one of Dee's signed copies for myself.
Dee Dreslough, in the generous style reminiscent to that of Copernicus' short story which has fueled the imaginations of so many creative people to write their own stories in the chronicles of Metamor Keep, has created a seed tale, that can spark the imagination to enter and create in her fascinating world of the Dimar. There is so much room for speculative writing inspired by Dee's first book that I must admit, I have already begun to experiment myself.
And Dee encourages this.
The world of the Dimar is a random wormhole away from the travails, troubles and wars of mankind and their associates; a planet teeming with life and which at first seems to have no civilization upon it. Surely it is the perfect place for a small mixed colony of Humans and Arallins, to start over and try to get it 'right'. However, it is not long at all before these brave new worlders, discover that they have dumped themselves onto somebody else's doorstep.
Meet the Dimar.
The Dimar are a fuzzy, avian, somewhat draconic looking, very social, apparently telepathic species, that own and rule this world. Larger and stronger than humans, they turn out to be at least as intelligent and in terms of some of their own chosen fields of endeavor, advanced well beyond the knowledge and skills of the newly arrived colonists and of Terra itself. The colonists have had the good fortune to have made landfall in the territory of one of the more benign groups of the Dimar, and things just seem to be going along swimmingly.
It is not surprising that the tenacity of the colonists is tested by a rather routine natural event; the Dimar equivalent of a Forest Fire, which for these colonists is disastrous. However, the assistance of the Dimar prevents the total demise of the colonists and helps to bring the colonists and Dimar together. Plans are made for the Humans, the Arallins and their Dimar hosts to work together for their combined futures, and follow through is forthwith begun.
Remember the concept of territories ? Well, different groups of the Dimar, living within different territories, may not always see eye to eye in all things. And it is in this, that the Dimar prove themselves all too much similar to the colonists. They are a species that also makes war. Even bio-war.
(Hmmmm, maybe the Dimar need to consider something on the order of a Geneva Convention of their own..... But not to wander ...)
Needless to say, a neighboring territory, jealous of the one in which the colony has located itself, attacks with the intent of taking the Colonists and their Dimar allies. The vicious brutality and efficiency of the attackers, is unquestionable. So now we begin to see the flip side of the Dimar world. Its dark underbelly.
What will happen next ?
I think I won't tell you. You can always follow the links above and either obtain a copy of Dee's novelette, or read the online edition. If you do read the public domain edition and desire to offer thanks to Dee in a tangible and financially useful way, you can always buy a copy of her book, or drop a donation in her 'tip' box.
Dee Dreslough is not a professional writer, and does not claim to be. Her novelette, Dimar: Lost Waters, is written in the style of someone who is having a grand time creating their own world. I would like to see the personalities of the characters and their feelings more fleshed out, and developed into beings that touch the heart more. The pace of the story is fairly brisk, and in my opinion it could slow down and take the time to get inside the minds and hearts of its characters. That same time could also be given to detailing more of the world of the Colonists and the Dimar, from the scale of micro to macro. I would love it if this story was subjected to even more polishing and additional detail, but even if that never happens, I have enjoyed reading it regardless.
And ..... here is Dee's real gift:
Is there something you would like to see more of than you found in "Dimar: Lost Waters" ? Say a short paragraph that you would like to have seen written out into one or more chapters all by itself ? Or perhaps a question never explicitly answered in the story itself. Then, why not do it yourself ? Dee invites us all to do so. And encourages us to share the fruit of such exercises, with one another.
So, what are you waiting for ?
My understanding is that Dee also plans a second book.