23 Feb 2012, written by


This is why Google was invented.  A quick search revealed that every island capable of hosting a permanent human settlement had a permanent human settlement.

But what exactly constitutes a “permanent” settlement?

The answer proved to be 30,
perhaps as few as two dozen,
but then things got precarious.

You see, a permanent settlement is one capable of producing a stable self-perpetuating population:  There are enough adult females producing enough children to replace those who die from old age, disease, or misadventure.

30 seems to be the golden number; any fewer than that and one run of bad luck wipes out your chances of staying abreast of the death rate.  Your population can’t reproduce fast enough, the old soon out number the young, and eventually you die out or get absorbed by a larger band.

There are numerous islands in the Pacific too small to support a village that could support a smaller band, say ten members or less.

Slowly, the island itself started to come into view.

Bidney Island (I named it after my aunt who gave me the Swiss Family Robinson book) needed to be small and isolated.  It couldn’t be part of a larger chain or archipelago or else natives might drop by on occasion.

No problem, there are lots of small atolls, reefs, and islands in the Pacific that the South Seas Islanders use as fishing camps, staying a few weeks or a few months then returning to their permanent villages.

Such an island could support six to ten people indefinitely.  And with two vast fleets roaming the Pacific in search on one another, there was precious little incentive for any long range fishing trips by the Polynesians.

To work it had be far enough away from Australia to not be part of their network of coast watchers (civilians and military personnel who stayed hidden but scanned the seas for signs of Japanese ship movements; see Father Goose, yet another schoolgirls-shipwrecked-on-a-desert-island story only with the added attraction of Cary Grant and Leslie Caron).

But that would mean the island could be a potential target for either side, which would bring the story to a screeching halt whoever found the girls.

So Bidney Island had to have no military value.  That required a small, shallow lagoon, too tiny for large ships to harbor in.  It couldn’t be a flat atoll but needed a big volcanic cone right in the middle of it, making it useless as an airfield.

That wouldn’t keep the combatants away forever,
but it would make Bidney Island a very low priority for both sides.

(to be continued)


Continue reading 'SAVAGE ANGELS — Update #4'


14 Feb 2012, written by

Hi, Mr. D!

Hi, girls.

Whatcha doing?

Getting ready for your next big story.


I appreciate your patience.

To heck with that — what have you got planned for us?


Sally!  You’re too young!

Says who?  I’m in high school!

Yeah, a freshman.

Maybe I wanna grow up.

You’ll all get a chance to grow.

Hey, Mr. D, can I ax you a question?

Chop away.


Ask away, Serenity.

How come you only put dialog here?

Yeah, why don’t you tell people where we are
or what we’re wearing or what we’re doing?

I would — and I will — if it was germane to the story.


He means “important to the story.”

Oh, well why didn’t ya say that?

Won’t people get confused?

I don’t see why, Sally.
It’s like listening to audiobooks or podcasts:
Our readers can fill in all their own details.
I’m more interested in what you guys say and
feel than where you might be standing
at any particular moment.

For instance, it doesn’t matter where
this conversation is taking place.
We could be at your church or the lobby of
a movie theater or on a bus traveling to Memphis,
none of that affects this particular dialog.
Let the readers imagine you where they want.


So they could be imagining us hopping up
and down on pogo sticks in our underwear.

Shut up!  We are not! 
We are standing in front of the school,
there are dozens of students all around us! 
It’s a chilly morning; we are all wearing boots,
jeans or leggings, and long wool coats!


No, it’s not; and no, we aren’t.


Continue reading 'SERENITY: Shut Up!'

Art Challenge: SERENITY Vs. The 10 Commandments — Brien Sparling art

11 Feb 2012, written by
SerenityYoke by Brien Sparling 12 02 06

This is my entry for the “Serrenity vs. The Ten Commandments” contest.  I could not imagine any scenario in which either Serenity or I could carry the yolk of the Ten-commandments to God’s level of perfection. Happily Ihave enjoyed having Jesus as my yolkmate, and I pictured Serenity making the same discovery here.

– Brien Sparling

Continue reading 'Art Challenge: SERENITY Vs. The 10 Commandments — Brien Sparling art'


11 Feb 2012, written by


As I said, I wanted my story to be easily relatable to contemporary readers.

A girl in 1812 inhabited a vastly different world technically and, as a result, culturally from a girl in 2012:
No cars, no airplanes, no supermarkets, no electricity, no TV, no Internet,  no telephones, no flush toilets.

But a girl on 1912 lives in a far more familiar culture:
Cars and planes (albeit primitive), electricity in most homes (ditto plumbing).  TV is still just a gleam in Philo Farnsworth’s eyes, but there are movies.  Radio is just beginning, but newspapers are linked by wire services.  No computers, but adding machines and typewriters exist so number pads and keyboards are everywhere.

And there are telephones.

Split the difference — 1962 — and not that much changes.  TV and radio, to be sure, but no Internet yet.  Still, most of the changes are in style and degrees; the world of 1962 is easily understandable to a reader in 2012.

Problem:  You can’t lose a bunch of school kids in 1962, either.

Split the difference again — 1937 — and suddenly the solution presents itself.  World War Two, at least the Pacific portion of it, started December 7th, 1941.

Now we have a logical reason why no one comes looking for the girls:
All hell is breaking loose, and the loss of a handful of girls is just one more tragic drop in a bucket brimming with tears.

Problem:  Every island worth fighting over was fought over.

This is why Google was invented.  A quick search revealed that every island capable of hosting a permanent human settlement had a permanent human settlement.

But what exactly constitutes a “permanent” settlement?

(to be continued)



Continue reading 'SAVAGE ANGELS — Update #3'

Art Challenge: SERENITY Vs The Ten Commandments

04 Feb 2012, written by

The theme is “Serenity Vs. The Ten Commandments”, the subject is our favorite blue haired girl facing a moral dilemma re one of the Ten Commandments (your choice which Commandment/s).

1.  Single panel illustrations preferred, tho short strips / single page stories are okay.  Any style you prefer (manga, realistic, cartoon, movie poster, chapel ceiling fresco, etc.) is okay.

2.  They can be:

A.  SERENITY: THEN — back before she became a Christian (we’ve established she’s never been pregnant & she’s never murdered anybody; anything else is open, tho we’d suggest if you show her doing something wrong, you also show her about to get caught, i.e., if she’s shoplifting she doesn’t realize a store detective is watching her, etc.)

B.  SERENITY: NOW — facing a moral dilemma after she’s become a Christian (how do we know?  Well, since becoming a Christian she always wears a small cross around her neck, so that’s how to show the difference between then & now; also, while she might succumb to temptation “then” she should be shown resisting it “now”)

C.  SERENITY: MAKE-BELIEVE –Serenity & her friends make amateur movies, so if you want to do an illo where they’re making a film & acting out a scenario based on the Ten Commandments (an elaborate jewel heist, f’r instance), go ahead

3.  Remember our venue, ask yourself if it would fly in an Archie comic or the Luann / Zits / Gil Thorpe /9 Chickweed Lane comic strips; if the answer’s yes, go for it.  (Do not — repeat NOT — use Love Is… as a template! =8O )

Sound Advice From The Late, Great Hugo-Award Winning
Sci-Fi Writer / Cartoonist / Director / Photographer Bill Rotsler:
Short is better than long. 
Funny is better than not funny. 
Short and funny is best of all.

4.  This challenge is for funsies:

A.  No monetary award or compensation offered or implied

B.  Send a link to your art either thru the comments section below or on the SnokieStories Facebook page.  You may show your art on your own blog, any art sites you might belong to (Deviant Art, etc.), and in your portfolio as an example of your abilities

C.  If working in traditional media (i.e., pen & paper) you may sell the original art as an example of your artistic abilities, but please state somewhere on the art the characters are © & TM Buzz Dixon & Snokie (this is for our protection & yours); a little notation in the lower corner is ok

D.  You agree that once your art is posted here, it may cross posted on the SnokieStories Facebook page as examples of your art using the Serenity characters; unless you prefer otherwise, you will be credited as your name appears in your comments or Facebook page

E.  These illos are for online cross-promotional fun; they will not be re-packaged, sold, etc. without first obtaining permission from the artist/s

Challenge begins in 5…4…3…2…1…GO !

Continue reading 'Art Challenge: SERENITY Vs The Ten Commandments'