Of Errors and Evangeline (minor spoilers)

When I wrote the timeline for The Fox and the Eagle, I was only thinking about Reckless Faith, which is fine, but I made a mistake in another regard, and that error made it into the book.  

Some years ago I took a stab at rewriting my first two full-length novels, Marionette and Indemnity, which were contemporary action/adventure stories with only a slight sci-fi aspect.  They weren’t very good, rife with ponderously detailed action sequences and action movie tropes.  However, the characters were pretty decent, so I decided to give them new life in Reckless Faith.  The rewrite came soon thereafter, and was an origination story for Kyrie Devonai, Chance Richter, and Evangeline Adeler.

The result was Hard Stripes, a novella that I previously posted on Live Journal and Facebook.  I was happy with it, but I couldn’t figure out how to expand it into a full-length novel.  I’d always considered diving back into it, so I was reviewing it yesterday and I noticed a big problem.  It is set in the year 2000, three years prior to the events in Reckless Faith.  Eva is supposed to be 19 years old.  In The Fox and the Eagle, set in 2019, Eva is 31.  Oops.  The easiest fix, had I noticed, would be to change the date to 2002 and make Eva 36 years old in 2019.  But there’s another problem, too.

In The Fox and the Eagle, Evangeline mentions that she had a romantic relationship with Chance Richter, a relationship that would have had to occur prior to his departure on the Reckless Faith in 2003.  Even if I’d corrected the above error, and made her 36, she and Richter would’ve been in a relationship with him at 26 and her at 17.  As it stands right now, if you’d read both books you would have noticed that Eva couldn’t possibly have been any older than 15 when the relationship occurred.  D’oh.

As such, I’m left with Hard Stripes either being apocryphal, or a tale of a budding romance between an adult male and a minor female.  Even without the novella, the age difference already evident in my books would give one pause.  I’m only inspired by Heinlein, I’m not trying to take his place!  The easiest way to fix this would be to change Eva’s age to 36 in the next book and hope that nobody notices the discrepancy.  And to salvage Hard Stripes, I’d still have to settle for the 26 and 17 age difference.

The last possibility is to have the relationship be nothing more than a crush on Eva’s part.  While it’s sort of creepy that she would refer to Richter as the “love of her life” for an unrequited crush from sixteen years ago, I think it would be a lot better than Richter returning her affection.

About David Kantrowitz

I am the author of Reckless Faith, The Tarantula Nebula, and Bitter Arrow, a science fiction adventure trilogy, as well as The Fox and the Eagle and Dun Ringill, stand-alone sci-fi adventures. This blog will feature new fiction as I create it.
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6 Responses to Of Errors and Evangeline (minor spoilers)

  1. John says:

    I guess this depends on how you write the relationship. I think it is completely believable for a 15 year-old to think they found the love of their life. She’s a rather obsessive personality, so that lends something extra to it. She then was whisked off to “elsewhere” and, in Simon Tam’s unfortunate words, her options were rather limited for crushes. Perhaps memories of Chance were a self-feeding mechanism where “distance makes the heart grow fonder” but also was her thread of hope for returning home some day?

    I think there are options here. Making sure previous works are bolstered so she comes across as a mature 15 year-old will help. I’ve met some “young women” like that. They’re rather scary in that they are so focused and introspective at a young age. It is less likely for boys to be that way (which makes Dawson’s Creek more of a comedy than a soap-opera…).

    Anyway, Eva mentions the relationship was romantic. Was it really? Perhaps she was more of an openly emotional person at 15 and had her own harmless fantasy about Chance. Even being a self-aware, mature 15 year-old I think she could be permitted a romantic side. That could help explain how jaded she seems later. Having romantic hopes crushed can do that.

    • Thanks for the input! I think that’s the way to go with Eva. It would be really interesting to work on that interplay after they’re reunited. Due to the effects of Kira-To galaxy-zapping and time dilation, Richter is now 27 to Eva’s 31. Since Richter wouldn’t have been blind to teenage Eva’s affections, it will be fun to see how things go now. Sort of a “how do you like me now” vibe from Eva now that the age difference is negated.
      I can’t think of a reason why Richter wouldn’t return her affection now. I’m a little reluctant to let that happen easily, though, just because I’ve never been one to let my characters walk off into the sunset without some sort of struggle (even on an interpersonal level). Maybe Eva comes on too strong, or Richter has a crippling fear of intimacy, or some combination thereof.

      • John says:

        Deliberately, perhaps contrived, romantic delays are something that have annoyed me. It’s one of the reasons why I’m going to add Paxton’s romantic interest into Book 2 and find other ways to build the tension. I look at “Farscape” with Aeryn and John and the artificial orbit they kept around each other was flat out stupid at times.

        IOW, I don’t recommend contriving a way to make things more difficult between them. I think there’s a direct path that still is complicated.

        Eva has had a lot of stuff happen to her. Perhaps, somewhere deep inside, she is still romantic, but that’s not part of her that she has nurtured. When Chance meets her again, it might be amazing for him to see the woman she has become, but her heart might not leap in the same way it used to. I think there is a very real requirement there for them to have to rebuild their relationship.

        I don’t think Eva needs to come on strong at all. Distant, hard, and possibly jaded seem to be more her style now. She’s had to toughen-up a lot since she was 15. Chance might easily find a little awkwardness in being attracted to the woman he remembers as 15. That can introduce its own reluctance, perhaps shyness, which could be a part of, or feed, a fear of intimacy. But he seemed very excited to possibly find Eva again, so from my POV that is ruled out. “Yay, I found her! Whoa, she’s different!” is enough of an obstable, IMO.

        Realistically, I think the next book could end with them agreeing that they could explore the possibility of a relationship. Leading up to that, I see a lot of testing of each other to get reacquainted — and newly acquainted with how they now react to each other, life, and the inevitable violent situation. Chance might be a little surprised (and should be) to discover Eva is now more of a “shoot them in the head” sort of person — that ain’t the 15 year old he last knew!

      • I’ve always considered Eva’s characterization in TFATE to have been very dependent on her circumstances. That she’s a “shoot them in the head” sort of person has more to do with a defensive reaction to being abducted, victimized (though not terribly so), and as a lone human in a strange and unknown part of the galaxy. I’d planned on contrasting this with her younger self, all the way up to the point where she was abducted. Devonai in particular would probably be quite surprised to find out how violently she responded to certain events after she was abducted.

        More thoughts later, got to run!

      • More thoughts: Richter left Earth in 2003. Eva was abducted in 2019, and since the mode of her transportation wasn’t immune from the effects of time dilation, reappears in 2029. The reunion will be very strange for everyone. From Richter’s perspective, it has only been four months since he last saw Eva, and she was 16. Richter himself disappeared into the stars sixteen years ago from Eva’s perspective. Devonai has been living with Eva disappearing from right next to him for ten years. Eva will be reunited with a Richter that hasn’t aged at all, and a Devonai that’s ten years older. From Devonai’s perspective, Eva hasn’t changed a day. Confused yet? I think they will be, too.

        While both men were jubilant to learn that Eva is still alive at the end of TFATE, Devonai has more depth of emotion about it. Richter didn’t even know that Eva was missing until he returned to Earth (this scene has not been written yet). He was aware of the time dilation shift, so he should have been prepared for the age difference. Either way, he will have plenty of time to consider how he plans on reacting to being reunited with a 31-year-old Eva.

  2. John says:

    Oh. The excitement I was thinking of came from Devonai at the end of TFATE. Yeah, that should make for an interesting mix of age sorting. You’ve made quite a little bowl of spaghetti with this time dilation! 😉

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