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Verge of History

What is VoH?

Verge of History (a.k.a., "VoH") is primarily a science fiction story series. Read any of the main stories for free right here or in various other publication channels.

VoH began as a series of short stories written by Jim Carnicelli and shared among friends starting in 2012. After a few years of dabbling in the series, Jim decided to start over with a fresh reimagining, self-publishing Rebirth, his first novel. (Recently self-de-published.) Jim was 54k words into his second novel in the series in 2016 with a couple short stores also drafted when a turn in his career convinced him to halt work for a while.

In late 2018, Jim decided to reboot VoH yet again. He is beginning to submit new manuscripts for publication. And has already completed many installments of a planned mega-novel here for free. There are many more stories in the works as well. Off we go!

About the author

Jim Carnicelli, author of the Verge of History series, is a software engineer by trade who has a lifelong fascination with science, technology, history, and philosophy. As of late 2018 he is attempting to make writing a full-time career for the first time.


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VoH news

12/29/2020 - Gearing up

I’ve been rather dormant lately in my writing as we have been getting married and ready for our upcoming move. But lately I’ve also been starting to gear up to get writing again. I’m still quite eager to get back to my Ostia series. I have a lot of new ideas for how to refine Huoyan, my main character. I’ve spent a lot of time lately focusing more on how to make her and various other characters have more interesting personalities. I think that’s something I’ve struggled with in some of my past stories.

Moreover, I’m realizing that I can make it a more exciting and heroic story than I had originally envisioned. I’m a naturalistic writer. But I think it’s possible to write a very believable naturalistic story that also shows how realistic heroes can grow and overcome even tragic odds.

I’ve decided to start over with my first book too. I’m also eager to try out a new concept in prewriting. I’m going to try to in effect write a nutshell draft of all three stories spelling out all the major scenes in dry, brief detail. Doing so should give me a very solid guide for how to flesh out all the scenes at an appropriate pace before I even start the first reader-ready draft of book 1 in the trilogy. I’m hoping to get started and make significant progress on this experiment before we move in February.

11/13/2020 - Walkabout published

I've been sidetracked in recent months. I tried getting my new Walkabout short story published in some of the most prominent sci fi magazines. Although I got positive feedback from their editors, they weren't interested enough to publish it. I don't have much time to continue pursuing this very slow route. So I've decided to just put the story out there. You can read it for free here.

7/28/2020 - Paperbacks delivered

I finally took delivery of my first batch of my color illustrated paperback prints of Republic of Xanadu from Amazon.com.

7/14/2020 - New website design

I’m working on a new look for this site. I’ve mostly finished with the home page. I did a lot of custom programming of the scheduled and parallax-driven animations. I’m happy overall. But I’ll admit that it can tax lesser systems a bit. Works pretty well on my PC, Mac, and Android phone. All the animations even work on Chrome, Firefox, and even Internet Explorer. What do you think of the style? And how does it perform on your browser?

7/14/2020 - Xanadu published again

I tried shopping Republic of Xanadu around to some prominent sci fi print magazines for a while. The process took many months to get rejected by the first two magazines. Because there is a growing interest lately in the idea of micronations I decided to pull it from the submission process and make it freely available for public reading.

If you would like a copy for your Kindle or would like a print copy complete with all the full-color illustrations then you can find these on Amazon.com. I’m sorry the paperback is $15. I get less than a dollar of that. The rest is a result of the costly color image bleeds and the high quality paper and process. But it’s a nicer copy than you’ll get from your own printer. Enjoy.

5/22/2020 - Huoyan renders

I've been spending time lately doing design work for my new Ostia trilogy before I get deep into the writing. This render helps me get a better feel for who Huoyan, my main character, is and what it's like to grow up aboard the Ostia orbital platform. This particular space is currently bare. I have a lot of work to do to add signs of the squatter community to the model. But I like the eerie emptiness of the curved warehouse-like space "down below" on the outer rim of Ostia. Combined with the dim lighting cast by the light panels overhead as they gradually cycle through simulating a 24 hour day/night program. Sketches like this help me answer questions about Huoyan's existence and the challenges she'll face growing up in a world strange yet familiar. Realism is important in my writing.

Here’s my first test render of Huoyan as I crafted her basic appearance.

5/5/2020 - Ostia series started

A small group of friends know I started planning and writing a short story series as part of my early experiments with Verge of History about a “spinner” named Ostia. I shelved that almost a decade ago. I’m finally ready to start writing that story now. It’s going to be presented as a trio of novels. The first is currently titled “Descent of Ostia”. All three novels will chronicle the life of a young woman born in the early days of Ostia, a casino and resort hotel in a so-called “trojan orbit” of the Earth-Moon system. In those early days the Ostia platform was being rushed toward completion, opening long before it was even completed. Huoyan’s pregnant mother and engineer father fled mainland China seeking political freedom and the promise of work. But from the start Huoyan lived an unusual and challenging life.

At this point I have a solid plot outline for the entire first novel. I have the basic design and specs in mind for the Ostia platform. I have a clear cast of at least 8 major characters and a variety of miscellaneous ones.

Moreover. I have a clear outline for all 3 novels. The essential conflicts are clearly defined. I still need to do some more work defining the essential characters for books 2 and 3. And I need to devise more detail for the plots for the first 2/3 of each of them. But the bottom line is that I have the entire series laid out. Although each of these novels will be a complete stand-alone story, they will all dovetail to tell a single larger story. I can’t wait to finish the final draft of book 3!

5/5/2020 - Walkabout written

I never got around to letting people know I wrote and finalized an 8,500 word short story titled “Walkabout” a couple weeks ago. I decided for a chance to submit it for publication to a sci fi magazine about a week ago. It’s weird for me to follow this traditional publishing route. I like the idea of just getting something out to fans as soon as I finish it. I’m looking forward to seeing it gain a larger audience than I can generate myself for now.

I also decided to take my preview of Republic of Xanadu down from this site. I’m also shopping it around to see if I can get it published.

After I’ve gotten these published I’ll almost certainly put them back up here once the first print rights periods have passed.

4/25/2020 - Republic of Xanadu finished

I finished Xanadu over a month ago. I’m very happy with the story itself. And it’s received positive feedback from my beta readers. I’m currently shopping around for a publisher in hopes of finding a broader audience.

4/11/2020 - Writing a new short story

I've started writing a short story I’m tentatively titling Walkabout. I’m targeting under 10k words. More details on that soon.

I’ve also been trying to expand my rendering skills. One tool I’m finally exploring is Space Engine. Here’s a quick ‘n’ dirty render of Saturn. It’s a fun tool with a lot of potential.

3/16/2020 - O’Neill cylinder

I've done a bunch more work exploring constructing and rendering a large O'Neill cylinder filled with a forest. It's got tens of thousands of separate trees. Since the lakes are set against a curved surface they create very interesting reflections of the central spokes. Overall I'm very happy with the results. And I'm learning how to craft larger scenes practically.

3/1/2020 - First draft of Republic of Xanadu complete

After several months of work I’ve completed the first draft. I don’t expect it to change much after a brief editing process. I do still need to produce a few more illustrations. Including the cover illustration. And then I should be ready to publish the final work.

If you’re curious the story clocks in at just shy of 18 thousand words. Which puts it squarely in the category of a novella. I had intended for it to be just a short story. But it grew as stories do for me. I’m excited to get it out there for you to read.