Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What You May Not Know about "The Termite Queen"


       In the early days of this blog, I wrote a lot about the books I was planning to self-publish -- first, "Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder" and later The Termite Queen: v.1: The Speaking of the Dead and The Termite Queen: v.2: The Wound That Has No Healing.  I've also used this platform to talk about my ideas, specifically, my Mythmaker philosophy.  But then I got into book reviewing, nostalgia posts, poetry discussions, English grammar, excerpts from my WIPs, etc.  Somewhere in there, my intent to publicize my books has gotten lost.  Not very many people were following my efforts way back in 2011, so today I'm going to refresh the world's knowledge of The Termite Queen!  What is that book about, andway, and why what makes it a great read?
         Here are adaptations of the summaries as posted on Amazon:
Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead:
       In the 30th century an off-world expedition returns to Earth with a specimen of giant termite whose behavior suggests intelligence. Kaitrin Oliva, a strong-willed and ambitious young linguistic anthropologist, is charged with finding a way to access its unique form of bioelectric communication. However, the insect dies and the team members realize that they have unintentionally murdered an intelligent lifeform. A second expedition is mounted with the purpose of making first contact and reparations. Griffen Gwidian, the entomologist heading the expedition, is a complex man with a dark personal secret. He falls in love with Kaitrin and against her better instincts Kaitrin responds. The result is a love story by turns turbulent and funny, passionate, tender, and troubled, with Griffen displaying some disquieting changes of mood and behavior after the two of them seal a union.
       Meanwhile, civil discord is brewing on the termite planet. Mo'gri'ta'tu, the Queen's Chamberlain, resents the power of the Holy Seer Kwi'ga'ga'tei and plots to assassinate her. She has engaged the services of an outland Champion, Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, to fight this terrifying entity which has descended on them from the skies, murdered one of the fortress's citizens, and abducted another. This alienates the aging Commander Hi'ta'fu the Unconquered, who is lured by the word-crafty Chamberlain into joining the conspiracy. At the very moment the murder is about to be committed, the second expedition arrives at the planet.
Volume Two: The Wound That Has No Healing:
         The team arrives at the planet to a combative reception, but, aided by Kaitrin's insights into the termites' unique language, the "Star-Beings" and the Shshi are soon communicating and learning to know each other. The Shshi accept Kaitrin as a friend and even come to revere her as the Mother of her people. The dastardly Mo'gri'ta'tu's initial plot to murder the Holy Seer Kwi'ga'ga'tei has been foiled by the sudden reappearance of the Flying Monster, but he continues to foment new conspiracies. Meanwhile, Griffen's inexplicable insecurities escalate.  Ultimately, these two plotlines -- the story of Kaitrin's and Griffen's relationship and the social and political unrest within the fortress -- intersect in an explosive climax, after which the team must return to Earth and try to come to terms with what they have experienced.
       Volume One is easy to discuss because it's really preliminary -- we observe the fascinating process of learning how to communicate with a species who speaks in a non-vocal language; we experience the relationship of a strong-willed woman with a mysterious, charismatic man as it grows and changes into an intense love story; we meet other intriguing alien races; and we prepare for a space voyage in an alien ship and then experience that voyage.
       In Volume Two the action intensifies, but unfortunately unless I want to play the spoiler, I can't discuss the intricacies of the plot in much detail.  We watch the first contact take place, with all its uncertainties and humorous misunderstandings.  We watch the relationship of the Shshi and the Earthers grow in depth.  We gain fascinating insight into what it is like to be a giant termite and to live in a termite fortress.  And we observe the painful psychological progress of a complex man and of a woman who to that point has never failed to get what she wanted. We get to know some other compelling characters, including the woman who raised Griffen Gwidian, his older sister Rianna Gwidian-Bock.  We see Kaitrin's mother, Brigit Oliva, at her finest.  And we continue to learn about the extraterrestrial characters, Prf. Tió’otu A'a'ma, the big fish eagle who is Kaitrin's mentor; Luku !eye Kash, the ComTech who is a Te Quornaz (a giant intelligent lemur); and Trea dol Amarezka, the expedition's doctor, a small, empathic montreme from the planet Pozúa (a mysterious, Wise-Woman figure).
       I think many people who have bought v.1 never bought v.2 and that's definitely a mistake.  Vol. 2 is where the whole plot comes together.  An epic climax occurs at the end of Part III and near the end of Part IV Kaitrin experiences an epiphany and then returns to the termite planet to right some wrongs.  So you really should not miss reading v.2.  In fact, although I don't recommend it, you could even read v.2 without having read v.1.  You will miss out on a lot of background depth and you'll never get to meet Ti'shra, the termite abducted by (human) aliens, but reading v.2 separately is not outside the realm of possibility.

[Added for the Old-Post Hop: And it's good for birthdays, too!]



  1. Hello! I purchased The Termite Queen last year from Smashwords and it's been sitting patiently on my Kindle (recently I moved it to the "Read Next" collection, I might add.:)) Today I discovered that there has been an update to the book. Now I wonder how much has been changed, should I download the updated version to my Kindle or would the old version do just fine? Could you please enlighten me? If it's just the matter of some typos, then I think I will read the old version. I hope you don't mind my question.

    1. Hi, Regina! No, your Smashwords version is fine! There was a problem with the way the Table of Contents was structured that was preventing it from going on the Premium Catalog. I had to renumber the chapters straight through from beginning to end so the NCX would work. The text remains exactly the same and the ToC in your Kindle version should work fine!
      I'm glad you're going to give it a try! I hope you enjoy it and decide to continue with v.2!

  2. good one to resurrect! Though if you post it as a new post it will get more readers than just linking up in the archives. But I enjoyed this synopsis. Helps me to understand a lot that came after.

    1. Well, I know, but I always have something new coming on that I want to put at the top!
      BTW, did you ever figure out how to use Smashwords? My little fantasy novelette is FREE now! http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/271444