While cruising through social media this morning, I found a reference to a site talking about Thanksgiving with assorted science fiction and fantasy families. I thought about it a little bit, and decided it might be fun to do the same with my fictional families.
The Netwalk Sequence
First of all, I kinda did this already with Christmas Shadows (Amazon link here). From the blurb:
FOR the first time in years, Diana Landreth is looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home with her family. Or can she? Her mother, a leader in the new Third Force government, has become strangely uncommunicative. The random, disruptive attacks by rogue war machines on cities worldwide may call both Diana and her husband, Will, out to capture the machines. Then Diana learns that her mother’s ex-lover may be involved in the mechanisms that created the Disruptions.
It’s going to be one heck of a Christmas Eve dinner.
Yeah, that pretty much sums things up in that world. You’re gonna have lots of political scheming going on. There should probably be a therapist on site because there are a LOT of problems with the Stephens-Landreth-Fielding family. Meals go along with personal, political, and corporate negotiations. Lots of tense meals or else refueling in order to take on some big problems with physical demands. Holiday dinners in this world are gonna be fraught, even in calm times, because someone’s always got an agenda. Even if it is just close family members. Would I go to a meal with one of these folks? Maybe one or two of them in private. But the family as a whole? Um. No. I have more respect for my sanity than that. I don’t recommend you do it, either.
Food can be almost ritualistic in this world. Witmara decides to make breakfast pancakes en route to challenging the Emperor Chatain in order to settle her nerves. Her parents Katerin and Metkyi have a lovely dinner after a scary encounter with Zauril’s military forces, the day before they’re part of a challenge to Zauril’s leadership. Katerin’s assistant Colerei quickly finds her preferred role as baker, cook…and preparer of Katerin’s medical salves in Pledges of Honor. When meals are political, though…things do get tense. These folks are the ones you want to eat with on a road trip, though. You will eat well. I’d probably have a meal with them. They’re like having a chill Thanksgiving with your family of choice, and nice and quiet. Maybe not entertaining, but quiet.
The Martiniere Legacy
Let’s just get this out of the way right from the beginning. The Martinieres are fucking paranoid and they need to be. They exist in a world where public banquets can have adulterants that make attendees susceptible to mind control manipulation, and not a one of ’em trusts even events put on by friendly allies because the Martinieres developed a LOT of that technology. Besides, having one of ’em show up at your event can result in–um–interesting situations such as cyborgs attempting assassinations. And in the work in progress (The Heritage of Michael Martiniere) , Mike detects an attempt to drug him and kill his wife JoAnn. Ruby and Gabe have a huge argument during their first meal in public after their divorce, while working through issues that lead to their reconciliation. But their first marriage concluded with a big fistfight at an expensive restaurant that got both of them arrested.
Privately, though? Oh hell yes, I’d go to a Martiniere family meal, especially at Ruby’s Double R Ranch. Ruby raises her own veggies–legacy of the world in that mid-21st century era and food shortages. She has been known to grind her own grains for flour, plus her lab manager is experimenting with distilling from the ranch’s grains. And they have grass-fed ranch-raised beef…and locally-sourced other meats as well. A turkey on that table might just be one that one of the Martinieres hunted…or you could end up with venison. It would be good food and fun, though if I were you I’d plan to stay overnight if you go to a private Martiniere big dinner. You’ll get stuffed and the alcohol flows freely. But there will be music, entertaining conversation, and dancing, and you’ll have a good time. The Martinieres work hard and play hard.
The other part is that they tend to be grazers. Lots of deli trays and veggie trays for these folks because the Martinieres are busy people and lunchtimes in particular tend to get consumed on the run. Though Mike does have a special fondness for pain au chocolat.
Anyway, it was kinda fun to think about the role that special meals play in my worlds….