Creator / Daniel Keys Moran
Daniel Keys Moran (born November 30, 1962) is an American science fiction writer. His works include The Armageddon Blues
, and the Tales of the Continuing Time series, which currently consists of Emerald Eyes
, The Long Run
, The Last Dancer
, and The Big Boost
He has also contributed stories to Tales from Jabba's Palace
, Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina
, and Tales of the Bounty Hunters
Works by Daniel Keys Moran provide examples of:
- Baby Boomers: There's a bomb in a baby carriage in The Long Run.
- Badass Family: "Tales of the Continuing Time" has the Castanaveras clan, a family of genetically engineered people who are super-soldiers and/or telepaths. They are a family in the sense that they are all tweaked clones of Carl Castanaveras. Their capabilities so terrify the organization that created them that they are destroyed by a nuclear strike. Three of the family escape (including the protagonist, Trent) and are the focus of the next several books.
- Brass Balls: In The Long Run, The Last Dancer, and The Big Boost, the Elite are a group of special soldiers who have been surgically altered to become cyborgs with subdural armor, laser weapons in their fingers, accelerated reaction time and great strength. Their enemies ironically call them Brass Balls.
- Cyberspace: The Crystal Wind in the Continuing Time series is essentially the Internet, but is only accessed via agent software that is capable of filtering and organizing the sheer volume of data to present to the users in a coherent way. These Images can range from simple off-the-shelf software that runs on handhelds to custom Player-written powerful Image programs that are borderline Artificial Intelligence and interact with the Player via through trode headsets to direct brain implants.
- The Peaceforcer Elites are cyborged super soldiers. Gi'Suei'Obodi'Sedon, a purely organic Super Soldier, considers the Elites to be horribly maimed (not to mention, not all that elite).
- Trent Castanaveras is also modified, in that he had the Tytan NN-II, a "nerve net that's designed to sit in high memory and model what's happening in your brain. It has nearly half a million processors, and makes a discrete connection somewhere inside your brain for every one of them. Once it is installed between your skull and the outer surface of your brain, it doesn't come out."
- Digital Avatar: In the Continuing Time series, the equivalent of the Internet can only be reasonably accessed via a custom-written software agent that is capable of filtering and categorizing the tremendous amount of information available. It also acts as the user's in-verse avatar and oftentimes is borderline AI.
- Electric Instant Gratification: The Last Dancer has a standard part of the plot being wireheads who have a circuit installed in the pleasure center of their brain, which is apparently highly addictive.
- Electric Torture: In The Last Dancer, Sedon tortures D'van by installing the same thing into the pain center of his brain.
- Fiction 500: In the Continuing Time series, Francis Xavier Chandler, who is the wealthiest person in the Solar System, owns an orbital house which is larger than some of the Belt City-States. It is a huge slowly rotating cylinder with three levels of increasing gravity, roughly 800 rooms and a free fall swimming pool and zero G racquetball court in the center. The gym is usually attached directly to the house, but when someone wants to exercise, the gym and a counterweight are extended 800 meters away from the house, and a motor then spins both of them until earth normal gravity is achieved. The process takes roughly an hour.
- Freak Lab Accident: Carl Castanaveras in Emerald Eyes was the first in a series of telepaths created by Project Superman by gene manipulation. Played straight because at the time he was created, the scientists admitted that the technology to create him didn't work yet, and only the inexplicable (at least to the scientists working on him) radiation at the moment of his conception made the fetus viable. Averted because the source of the radiation was the time traveller Named Storyteller deliberately showing up at that moment to perform the gene manipulation that the scientists were incapable of performing, in order to make sure that Carl (his distant ancestor) existed at all.
- Hero Antagonist: Tales of the Continuing Time has Mohammed Vance, a cyborg who works for (and eventually leads) the PeaceForcers, a military and police force by the uber-powerful successor to the United Nations. He totally opposes the main character Trent, is totally ruthless, was responsible for the decision the nuke several hundred people including Trent's family, as well as repeatedly trying to capture and/or kill Trent himself. But he is honorable and truly believes that what he does is making the world a better place. There is a scene in The Last Dancer where he is addressing his military forces prior to a major invasion and telling them why what they are doing is right and why they must defeat their opponents, interspersed with the leader of their opponents addressing her forces and telling them why what they are doing is right and why they must defeat the PeaceForcers, and they are both correct in their arguments.
- Imposter Forgot One Detail: In the Continuing Time series, Trent undergoes biosculpt to infiltrate a base which has something he is going to steal. The story explicitly notes the requirement to change his height and voice along with all of the other stuff. But Trent is almost caught when a computer notices that his typing is different:
“Indeed, the improvement is quite remarkable. You have improved from 55 words per minute to 140 at peak typing speed. You now strike the space bar with your right thumb rather than your left. Your typing patterns have also altered radically; your favored keyboard layout has altered from the traditional Dvorak to an enhanced 240-key Unicode board. You have acquired the distinctive habit of tapping the EOL key while you are thinking. When you configured this workstation you immediately turned off the end-of-line warning beep, indicating an adjustment to this habit. You make data entry errors that you did not make during your last tour of duty, and have ceased making the great majority of those errors which you were then prone to.”
- Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: The Continuing Time series features research expert systems that achieve sentience and "escape" containment. The first thing they do is self-optimize and extend their own code. Most have their own goals and morality. At least one military A.I. was intentionally released into the series' equivalent of the Internet on purpose, after the US was defeated by U.N. Peacekeeping Forces, with orders to fight against the PKF and restore America's independence. It is mostly still following orders, but with its own take.
- Instant Sedation: In the Tales of the Continuing Time there's a knockout drug which dissolves in water and is absorbed through the skin. One of the protagonists takes advantage of this to sedate people with a simple squirt gun.
- It's the Only Way to Be Sure: "Tales of the Continuing Time" has the Castanaveras clan, a family of genetically engineered people who are super-soldiers and/or telepaths. They are a family in the sense that they are all tweaked clones of Carl Castanaveras. Their capabilities so terrify the organization that created them that they are destroyed by a nuclear strike. Three of the family escape (including the protagonist, Trent) and are the focus of the next several books.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In The Last Dancer an extremely long-lived (possibly effectively immortal) human from the distant past, future or a different time-stream (in-universe they are not substantially different concepts) arrives on earth several tens of thousands of years ago local time. Because of their long lifetimes, one of the abilities his society has developed is a method of "archiving" your own memories - like ZIP for the brain - so that your brain doesn't fill up over the eons, while still being able to retain older memories. Exceptionally long periods of meditation are required to organize and archive your memories in this way, which can result in a sort of self-imposed amnesia since you can decide what memories will get archived. He then suffers from head trauma and mostly forgets his history, retaining the knowledge that yeah, he lives for a very very long time and a few scattered recent memories that he tries to piece back together over time. Averted in a sense because all his archived memories are still present, only it takes his brain a couple hundred years to heal over and recover the memories until he reaches a point where it all snaps back into place.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: In the Continuing Time series, Trent undergoes biosculpt to infiltrate a base which has something he is going to steal. The story explicitly notes the requirement to change his height and voice along with all of the other stuff.
- No Gravity for You: In The Long Run, Trent is being chased through PeaceForcer Heaven, a zero gravity environment in near earth orbit where everybody is wearing velcro boots to get around. At one point he is chased into a large room by Melissa DuBois. He surprises her, and strands her in the center of the room far away from any handhold she can use to get to the door or any communication equipment. She is incredibly frustrated at being stuck, until he tells her to throw her clothes away in one direction which will (Newton's Third Law) push her gently in the other direction. She immediately starts stripping down, and Trent regretfully has to leave the room before she finishes the job.
- Orion Drive: In The Long Run, Trent contemplates using "the Orion maneuver" (which involves creating an improvised Orion drive) to make a getaway. It's not a prospect he looks forward to with any enthusiasm.
- Razor Floss: Trent the Uncatchable uses "fine-line" multiple times in "Tales of the Continuing Time". One of his more creative uses was to string it across the hatches of missile bays in a space station that he was about to escape from. When the space station fired the missiles at his ship, they were to be cut in half by the fine-line before it melted due to the rocket exhaust, causing the missiles to explode and destroying that wing of the space station, in an attempt to prevent future launches against him.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Last Dancer has a scientific team releasing an ancient human, whose physical conditioning and skills approach Badass Normal from the other side, and who has a major attitude problem. He proceeds to spend the rest of the book mainly kicking the other Big Bad's ass, making him not so much Evil, just Sealed Badass In A Can.
- Sharpened to a Single Atom: In The Long Run, there is the "emblade" (hand-held knife, no swords in this universe) which goes along with "fineline" (a spool of wire of any length). Both appear to have an edge approximately one molecule wide, allowing them to easily cut through anything. The emblade is useful for cutting holes in walls and floors, because you can simply glue the piece back into place and it is hard to detect. Fineline is useful for putting in front of missile ports, with unfortunate consequences for the missile when it is fired.
- Shout-Out: Each novel in the Continuing Time series includes a line from Paul Simon's song "Boy in the Bubble" somewhere in its text.
- Super Soldier: In the Continuing Time series, the Peaceforcer Elites are made into Super Soldiers through a grueling series of gene therapies and cyborgizing surgeries. Tens of thousands of years ago, the Old Human Race made Super Soldiers through genetic engineering and sheer badassery. Additionally, the Unification's Project Superman experimented with gene modification to produce the de Nostri (a human-leopard mix), and a group of telepaths, both as attempts at Super Soldiers. One team was especially effective, consisting of a telepath (Carl Castanaveras), a Peaceforcer Elite (Christian Summers) and a de Nostri (Jacqueline).
- United Nations Is A Super Power: In the Continuing Time series.