Sunday, April 24, 2016

Perils Of Being A Pantser

This week, a reader contacted me through my website (I have a new mail server, and not a lot gets through, but what does is all quality stuff) to ask when I will ever publish the story of Devoron and Demetra.

I painted myself into a bit of a corner at the end of Knight's Fork--that's one peril of being a pantser--by having an uncharacteristically pleasant Devoron announce that he had "found her". How complicated can his story now be? I've seriously cramped the timeline for wooing and winning the lady.

Devoron has always been an intersteller Scarlet Pimpernel... minus the affectations and lace-covered wrist. Therefore, I've been following rather different survival blogs from the ones I followed for J-J's marooned-on-an-island story. For Insufficient Mating Material, the enemy of the moment was hunger, thirst, lack of shelter, and deadly horny berries. (That was not a typo.) Devoron draws more on conspiracy theorists and preppers, and he cannot rely on his own biology --as the squid-like King Viz-Igerd of Knight's Fork did-- to sneak about inconspicuously, because his biology has been established already.

That does not rule out relying somewhat on the shortcomings of humans. For instance, there are sounds that humans cannot hear, and colors that humans cannot see.

There are ways to defeat facial recognition, which mostly concerns the modern lack of privacy, and which might or might not be useful thought-starters for plausible aliens skulking around on earth looking for long-lost relatives. For instance, nowadays anyone with the right camera could take a picture of a total stranger, and from that photograph, could go online and find out a great deal of private information including the contact information for that person.  Scary! Very Bourne Identity.

Usual standbys for eluding detection, surveillance or pursuit (which we've seen in everything from Rom Coms such as Three Men And A Little Lady to Bond movies to takes on Sherlock Holmes, so this is nothing new) would include reversible clothing, reversible hats, balaclavas, versatile scarves or headbands, malleable eyeglasses (for societies where eye wear is necessary and customary) where the shape can be changed with a firm pinch, ear-plug-like inserts that can change the appearance of the nose or lips, realistic masks (and there are $400 Leo Selvaggio masks available for sale which allegedly can thwart Facebook's facial recognition technology --did you know Facebook was that creepy?). There's stuff called NIR LEDs, too.  Also, there's hair styling and make up which can create such asymmetry that a camera does not recognize a face.

Where are those "80 nodal points" that facial recognition technology rely upon?
See here:

Apparently, only 30% or so of the face need be exposed for the technology to recognize you. The drawbacks with asymmetrical hairstyles and make up is that one tends to look like one is doing exactly what one is doing, and it would take a while to change the effect.  It would be helpful, I should think, to have cat-like hair follicles, that one could control individually and at will.

Some modern habits would seem particularly idiotic to an alien romance hero who wanted to keep a low profile: piercings, tattoos, carrying a GPS device (cell phone), carrying credit cards embedded with "chips".

My apologies for all the parentheses today. That's another peril of being a pantser!

Rowena Cherry

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