Q&A: The politics of ICoS/Geopolitical influences

This is taken from our Santino & Ais Goodreads group. When we got this email, we both talked about what the answer would be. Santino’s much better at articulating specifics of history so he ended up writing the email. Below is the post he put on GR explaining it and the answer that was sent back. A few weeks ago, we received an interesting e-mail from a mysterious individual who asked us some pretty specific questions about our inspiration for the geopolitics in the ICoS universe, whether our views have changed in the current political and global climate of 2014, and whether we think there could be a major armed conflict in our world like there has been in the past (and like there was in ICoS before the series started). Some readers asked me to post my response, so here it is! I’m not including language from the original e-mail since I do not have permission to do so. Paraphrased questions are in bold. Warning: May contain spoilers! Dear Mr. [REDACTED], Thanks for e-mailing us. It was certainly one of the most analytical and thought-provoking messages we’ve gotten in a while! Out of curiosity, did you read the full series or did you start out with the newly edited Director’s Cut? I’m curious because the conflict leading up to the world our characters live in has changed very slightly in the newest edition. The heart of the conflict is the same, but the sides are more streamlined. I apologize in advance for this lengthy reply. Did you change your views of whether an institution like the Agency has...

Q&A/FAQ: Co-Writing for a Decade

You can find this blog post at Sonny’s site as well at http://www.santinohassell.com/. NOTE: if you didn’t see us at Boys in Our Books, visit to find the exclusive cover reveal for Evenfall’s volumes, the interview that inspired this post, and Susan’s series review. SONNY: Recently, Susan interviewed Ais and me for the new blog Boys in Our Books. The interview got super long so some cuts had to be made to keep the focus on the series, but we thought one of the questions was excellent and is one that comes up from time to time about how we interact, communicate and how we’ve stayed friends for so long If you’re interested, our original answers are below with several additions. We broke the question down and answered bit by bit in more depth to take into consideration other questions we’ve been asked over the years.   How did you meet? AIS: Sonny and I met through a mutual friend named Nitid, back in our Gundam Wing days. He was volunteering for a GW yaoi review site she owned and Nitid had recommended one of my fics. I think she knew we might click. Most people had taken the fic seriously when it was supposed to be satirical, but one of the first things Sonny said to me was how funny it was. I realized at that moment that he was on my wavelength, which I appreciated since I’m used to being the odd one out. When she had to leave, Sonny and I were left alone in the chat room and talked for hours. I still remember one of the first questions...

Q&A: Titles

Over the years, we’ve been asked a couple of times about how we came up with the titles for the series/what meaning they have. On April 8, 2012, Chaos asked on our forum and I wrote the answer below. There are possible semi-spoilers for the series in the answers, mostly in the themes. Q: Question from Chaos: I’ve been wanting to ask about the story titles for a while now. I’ve wondered about the meanings behind them, especially of the series name In the Company of Shadows and Evenfall. I can see the meaning behind Afterimage and Fade, or at least some of it. With what Sin goes through in book two and the early information we find out in book three, some of it is obvious while maybe some other meanings may be more elusive. I finally decided to look up the word “shadow” and garnered many results, some of which I hadn’t thought of. 1. darkened shape of something in light: a darkened shape on a surface that falls behind somebody or something blocking the light 2. darkness: relative darkness in a place that is being screened or blocked off from direct sunlight Part of the room was in shadow. 3. hint of something: a slight suggestion or hint of something 4. ominous gloom: a depressing or ominous gloom 5. threat: an ever-present threat or blight 6. dark area under eyes: a darkened area of skin under the eyes usually caused by fatigue 7. overshadowed state: a state in which somebody is always overshadowed by another person 8. somebody always following after another: somebody who constantly follows another person around wanting to be with the other person 9. person secretly trailing...

Q&A: April Chat recap

So, it took a few months but we finally have the recap of the chat we did back around April 2013 after ICoS ended. Contains spoilers for Fade epilogue, therefore, for the whole series! Questions and answers from the April 2013 chat with Sonny & Ais, regarding In the Company of Shadows and the end of Fade. The chat was done in celebration of getting over 100 members on the Sonny & Ais group on Goodreads.   Q: Will the series ever be published? A: We hope so but we don’t know when. We still have to figure out editing. We will likely self-publish at that point and advertise it on our newsletter/at the GR group/our various social media accounts so you’ll know if you’re watching any of them :) Q: How did Emilio and Zach get away? A: Luke Gerant helped them to escape the compound, and then Emilio contacted Chance who helped them to get to an underground medical center he utilizes for his own purposes. Q: So, what did the ‘yes’ mean in the epilogue? Are they going back or not? A: We planned it out both ways– Boyd and Sin running, and Boyd and Sin returning. The series was left open-ended like that because it not only lets people imagine the ending they like the most, but because there are also good arguments for why it might go different ways. In other words, either answer could be correct. Q: What do Sin and Boyd think about the government/Agency after all this? A: It’s different for both of them. For Sin, he still wants to protect...

Q&A: Chinese characters for Hsin’s name?

Q: How do you write Hsin’s name/what is the Chinese character used for Hsin? A: This question has been asked by various people over the years. Below is a post taken from when this was first answered, on September 10, 2011, at our forum. Read the original post if you’d like. Original post: A few people have asked this question recently on AFFN reviews and possibly elsewhere. I can’t recall whether we ever answered this somewhere else on the forum, so for the moment I’m doing the answer here. Hsin is Xin in Mandarin. The specific character is this: or this if it’s drawn a little less pretty: It’s pronounced roughly like ‘shin’ in English, although kind of between shin and sheen. There are several meanings to it and I’m sure even the ones I list will be debated by native speakers. But the ones I saw were: letter / true / to believe / sign / evidence That’s in Mandarin, which is his native language. A side note from my Japanese kanji dictionary: that same character is used in Japanese, where it means trust, believe. It consists of word (second part) and person (first). “A person’s word is something which can be believed and trusted” is the way to remember it. For those of you who have read Fade chapter 7, that (信) is the pertinent character. What seems to be Hsin’s middle name is technically his last name in China. That’s Liu, which is this: So if you were to write his name out directly the way it’s said in English it would be this: Hsin Liu Vega 信 刘...

Q&A: cracking OTP encryption?

On October 13, 2008 , in the course of an email chain with a reader B.L. (name redacted for privacy)  we received the following question. This post is placed behind a cut for minor spoilers through about Evenfall chapter 17. Note: the conversation we had back and forth following the initial question/answer might be interesting for people to read so I included the reader’s question and my answer, and then after that included our back and forth. It’s labeled B.L. for the reader and Ais for me (if that last part wouldn’t have been, you know, self-evident or anything ^_~). Since this conversation happened years ago I didn’t get express permission from the reader to repost this. I am hoping that it is acceptable to share this since there are no identifying details, but if you are the reader and wish for me to remove the conversation please let me know and I will do so immediately. Thank you! Q: How did Jeffrey break the OTP encryption on the second half of Thierry’s disk? A: Good question. Actually, if Thierry hadn’t subtly helped them out, it would have basically been impossible. Jeffrey didn’t mention it but what ended up happening was that as he dug further on the disc, he’d located some small, hidden,encrypted files that at first he’d thought to be throw away, nonsense files. They were each encrypted with a different, long key in a Vigenère square and they’d seemed to just be inconsequential, incomprehensible information to distract from the two larger, more heavily encrypted files. But when he deciphered all those he eventually figured out that mixed in with the mess was the private...

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