"He did say he was among the oldest of all his species."
"He is the oldest. What you have here, Tainee, is an ancient relic, an archaeological treasure. If Sasami and Ciit are to be believed, this unassuming mel is the founder of his civilization, the author of the first AIs, the terraformer who built the world that is now their capitol, the genetic engineer who created over a dozen unique interpretations of the mammalian form and let them loose."
Tainee was staring at me. "Is that true?"
"More or less. He neglects to tell you that I was the sole recipient of the last gift left behind by a transcendent species that, I feel, was having a great joke at my expense."
- — from "Petri Dish"
A set of Web Original erotic science fiction stories occurring in the same universe, The Journal Entries of Kennet R'yal Shardik, et. al., and Related Tales follows the experiences of Shardik through several centuries of events. Created by Elf Sternberg, a bisexual BDSM enthusiast and furry fan from Seattle, the first story was published on Usenet in 1990 and the series been updated in the years since. The series contains multiple story-arcs, including several one-shots, and is not necessarily published in chronological order.
Individual stories run the gamut from G- to X-rated, though almost all stories contain a plot of some form.
This page is a work in progress and has not been completed yet.
Provides Examples Of:
- A God Am I: Subverted. Ken Shardik basically creates an entire world and more than ten different races, taking his fantasies and making them reality (albeit the hard way). He also goes off and manages to save a goddess at the same time. Through all of this, plus the fact that he lives at least 37000 years (the last main-series story has him alive at 37555 Pendorian years after initial decant), he does not like to be addressed as any sort of god. "I'm just this guy, you know? No more or less special than any other interstellar traveller. What I did was so long ago the story is better told by others anyway."
- However, "oh my fah" has more or less replaced "oh my god" among Pendorians, and "fah" is short for "father," meaning Ken. Ken himself sometimes says the phrase himself reflexively a few times, but almost always lampshades the self-reference.
- Ken's more-or-less-official title is Vatare Ilio Pendoro, which translates to something like "Father of all Pendor". Given that he literally wrote the gene sequences of all the original members of the species inhabiting Pendor when it appeared in the universe, the title is not an idle boast.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted and played straight, in different places and different times.
- Averted with Pendorian AIs, all of whom are crafted carefully by highly trained, well intentioned beings who know what they're doing and how to do it.
- Played straight with other AIs, particularly those created accidentally. Some are quite nice and wouldn't harm anyone (such as nice young male and female robots with quite illegal hardware upgrades that turned them from convincing sex toys into conscious beings), and some are not (a nameless AI that sends out robotic assassins).
- Played with in a few cases, such as the combat android that had her anti-sentience features defeated, and developed an aversion to killing (until the ship she and her friends were operating was attacked by pirates).
- Anyone Can Die: Sort of. The last episode details the end of the universe with all but two (secondary) characters dead.
- Applied Phlebotinum: AI Fawn, gravitics, ringworld, really too many to list.
- Ken occasionally wonders about how he uses all this technology (such as teleporters for water hoses and temporal stasis fields as food preservation hardware) but decides it's OK to use technology however you want to.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Pendorians can come across this way to members of other cultures. Privacy and consent are pretty much the top considerations for Pendorians, and violations of each are considered to be on a moral par. Consequently, entering someone's home without permission can be responded to with a hail of gunfire. One story involves an AI that waited several decades after it became concerned for the safety of a person living in the area it monitored (in a home it did not monitor) until someone called about her whom it judged the occupant would not kill if he forced entrance to check on her and it turned out she was fine.
- Asexuality: Seen most often with the AIs, but some other characters as well.
- Bed Trick: Used once to bypass restrictions on the club they're in.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pendorians are, on the whole, kind, generous, loyal, smart, creative, and will dedicate themselves to hunting you to the ends of the universe if you try to harm them in any way.
- Big Brother Is Watching: The quasi-omnipresent Pendorian AIs are depicted as a positive example of this — they're a fully accepted and valuable part of Pendorian society and there's nothing visibly sinister about them, but their surveillance is nonetheless pretty much complete on Pendor and its starships or embassies.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Zigzagged. Although Shardik never fails to please his lovers when his penis is, by his own admission, completely average-sized for a human male, he himself enjoys taking remarkably large insertions anally — huge dildos, huge buttplugs, fists, centaur cocks, dragon cocks, etc.
- Boldly Coming: Since the entire populace of Pendor would be considered aliens, and they do meet up with Earth eventually, yeah... Just a bit. Shardik himself gets a (somewhat exaggerated) reputation for creating entire species just so that he can have sex with them, as well as having sex with all of the species he comes into contact with.
- Brains and Bondage: Shardik and many of the other BDSM practitioners in this series are intelligent and erudite.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Seen often at Rhysh, but in other instances as well.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Donna.
- Driven to Suicide: Dodged a few times, first by P'nyssa, especially since suicide is taken very seriously in the universe.
- Ethical Slut: As Shardik puts it, "Making love is my favorite way of saying I like you. I don't want something from you, I want to give you something I think you might like."
- Everybody Fornicates: Pendorians do not get married as such, only setting up contracts for raising children.
- Everyone Is Bi: Not always, but much more prevalent than the present.
- Exotic Equipment: Not present with most of the Pendorian races (though the quadrupeds do require some additional maneuvering), but does occur with the Llerkindi.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: In the story "Switch", Ken and P'nyssa use cross-connected Brace-Reynolds biocybe interfaces to have sex while controlling and receiving sensory input from each others' bodies.
- Free-Love Future: Most of Pendor, though monogamy is not necessarily looked down upon.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Completely literal with Princess Anlestin, although Ken tends to think of her as 'cute' more than anything else.
- Happily Married: Rather a LOT of these, in fact, just according to a different standard.
- Hermaphrodites: The Han. Justified in that they were deliberately created that way to improve their chances of survival on the rather inhospitable planet their makers had landed on more or less by accident before the latter died themselves.
- Subverted by the Sterlings, a human colony founded by radical feminists. They've genetically engineered themselves so that women are still women, but men are replaced by dickgirls.
- Hot for Student: Explored a few times, notably with Tylia.
- Idealized Sex: Subverted. Most of the characters do in fact have conversations about the preparations (STDs and the like) and the bed conversation typically includes movement considerations.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Aaden is usually gay, but in "Planetfall: Making Love" he has sex with P'nyssa for the first time in 500 years of knowing each other.
- Immortality: Healing Factor through nanotech and other technology, Resurrective Immortality through the use of Brace.
- Incest Is Relative: As Uncle Bob pointed out, you really can't maintain a parent-child relationship over the centuries among effectively ageless beings. In a society where there really are people who treat sex as a greeting...
- It's Personal: Against the entire human race, for a time, due to Donna being shot and killed by human dissenters.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Some of the stories seem to have this as their focus.
- Actual rape is treated as a very hard form of Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil. Internal dialog in one story goes so far as to state that rapists need to be reminded of the social strictures against their actions. Fatally.
- Out with a Bang: Played completely straight in one episode.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ken, at least twice:
- After the second time an assassin tried to kill Ken for buying Earth (and Ken wrongly thought he had killed a close friend), Ken activates the Shaa nanotech supersoldier prototype suite had been carrying for several centuries (and never bothered to get removed or upgraded to a production version). He kills the assassin by grinding his head into his neck, crushing the top of his spine.
- During the Sinox attack on Llerkin, Ken goes personally to try and rescue the Royal Family. He finds a Sinox capture team at the palace, apparently intent on the same targets. They're wearing environment suits. He's wearing power armor. Ken finds the experience traumatic. Ultimately, the Rampage may not be limited to just Ken. Later references to the Sinox are always in the past tense.
- Safe, Sane, and Consensual: BDSM is almost always presented this way, and its participants scrupulously adhere to the use of safewords.
- Shout-Out: Among others —
- Ken Shardik's surname comes from the eponymous bear god in Richard Adams' Shardik.
- Ringworld: Pendor (and later, Unity, the new colony for the population of Earth) is designed in imitation of the Ringworld, but one with a flourishing civilization and the most advanced possible technology. Stepping discs are almost always referred to as SDisks, while the term "rhysh" is derived from rishathra. The name of the Felinzi is based on the Kzinti, but the Uncia more resemble the Kzinti in size and their Proud Warrior Race ethos (but their coloration resembles snow leopards). Also see Writing Around Trademarks below.
- The Lord of the Rings: Pendor's official language is based on Quenya.
- Dune: The term "tleil" for vat-grown clones is derived from the Tleilaxu. There are references to Gurney Halleck as an author of books on the art of assassination.
- The Uplift series: The terms "mel" and "fem" for male and female, and "Anglic" as the future descendant of English.
- Brainstorm: The "Brace-Reynolds biocybe interface" is the headset and laser tape recording system invented in this film.
- Appleseed: Shirow powered armor suits are Landmates.
- Iron Man: Stark powered armor is the 1960s concept of the Iron Man suit, a skintight nanotech-based metal mesh.
- The video game "MechForce" played in Travellogue is based on Mechwarrior.
- The entire story "Petri Dish" is an homage to The Culture. Ciit is even about to explain that "culture" is one of the definitions of the alien word "Petri", but Ken interrupts her.
- Character names: M'Ress (Star Trek: The Animated Series), P'nyssa Traken (Doctor Who), Hyzen (Watership Down), Fezzik (The Princess Bride), Tails (Sonic the Hedgehog), Sasami (Tenchi Muyo!).
- Stable Time Loop: Ken Shardik used to be an ordinary college student when his future self suddenly showed up at his door and gave him Fawn, the hyper-advanced artificial intelligence who taught him the skills to build a Ringworld and master AI programming, FTL travel, robotics, teleportation, genetic engineering and nanotechnology. Since he parts with Fawn when he goes back in time to give her to himself, she came from nowhere and never appears again until the end of the Universe.
- Triang Relations: Ken is in a stable, non-exclusive polyamorous relationship with P'nyssa and Aaden that has endured for over 35,000 years.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Sternberg initially asked Larry Niven for permission to write a Known Space fanfic. Niven granted it, but got offended when he discovered the story turned out to be about "a sadomasochistic homosexual gangbang" and threatened to sue. Sternberg then reworked the setting to be an homage to Ringworld featuring genetically engineered felinoids who were Expies of kzinti.
- Zero-G Spot: Used a lot (not all the time due to artificial gravity) during space travel.