The horses of the Netwalk Sequence

Horses? In a high-tech science fiction story?


Guess I’m in a horsey mood these days, post-horse show. Whatever the reason, last night I started thinking about a post on the horses in my Netwalk Sequence world, et voila! The concept came into being.

Granted, some folks are going to raise their brows at this. Horses in a neuropunk family saga? Horses as a part of a futuristic world where digital personalities upload and an unknown entity wreaks apocalyptic havoc on the world until restrained by an international coalition of corporate interests? You betcha. After all, it’s my world, my creation, and if I want flying cars, horses and skiing in it–yep, it’s going to happen. Besides, the horses function as a grounding purpose as well as being part of the identity of the Andrews-Stephens-Landreth-Fielding family, with heavy roots in Eastern Oregon ranching country to contrast with the timber barons on the other side of the family. I’ve not brought this in, but certainly the ranching background was a formative influence in a young Diana Andrews Landreth’s life and a factor in the development of the skills that made her a formidable bioremediation leader. The ranching background affected Diana’s mother, Sarah Stephens. Even though Sarah’s marriage to Dan Andrews didn’t last very long, horses were a much-loved part of Sarah’s few years on the Andrews Ranch. Diana made sure that her son and daughter, Andrew Landreth Stephens and Melanie Landreth Fielding had horse experience, though only Melanie really took to it.

And there’s more. Without further ado, here’s some of the horses of the Netwalk Sequence world.

Missy. Missy appears in my unpublished short story, “Alien Savvy,” about a sweet little buckskin cutting horse mare who saves her owner Hank Martin from alien attack by her ability to maneuver safely around aliens and lock into herding behavior which scares the aliens off. The Martins are neighbors of the Andrews Ranch, and the deal that Pete Andrews strikes with Hank Martin to get him back on his feet after the devastation on his cattle herd caused by alien attack leads to the foundation of the famous Andrews Ranch strain of cutting and reining horses. “Alien Savvy” hasn’t sold and probably won’t sell to a traditional sf market because of the horse and alien factor. It is very early in the Netwalk Sequence, and maybe I’ll just self-pub it as a Netwalk Foundations piece (do NOT get me started on my perception of editorial short story biases about horses in the sf genre, okay?).

Mocha. Yes, this is my sweet little Mocha in several different guises. Missy’s great-granddaughter Mocha put the Andrews Ranch on the performance horse map with her cutting ability. Diana rode a Mocha daughter to several championships when she was a girl in her late teens and early twenties; one of the few things that both Dan Andrews and Sarah Stephens agreed upon with regard to their daughter during this time was their pride in Diana’s horse show accomplishments. Melanie rides a Mocha granddaughter, also named Mocha, during her flight in Netwalk: Expanded Edition, and Mocha also makes a social appearance in Netwalker Uprising.

Kokanee. A little dark bay mare that is the original Mocha’s descendant and a daughter of Diana’s championship mare. She’s a low-key presence in the upcoming Problems at the Andrews Ranch, and Diana gets righteously angry at her estranged father-in-law for wanting to buy her. Kokanee is Diana’s hope for continuing her father’s breeding program, even as she also struggles to build Do It Right as a viable international bioremediation technology company. One of her foals sires Melanie’s Mocha.

Charlie. Fiesty and grumpy Appaloosa ranch gelding who is Dan Andrews’s last mount. Charlie never did have the temperament to go to shows but he could go miles on a daily ride and had a comfortable amble gait that was easy to sit–perfect for an older rancher. But he had enough spark to pretend to be a bronc when first saddled up on a cold morning. It was all bluff and play, though. Dan never let it become more than that, and he enjoyed Charlie’s antics up until his last rides.

Griffen. Rental Appaloosa that Diana rides in Problems at the Andrews Ranch, when she goes to meet Nez Perce land acquisition negotiator Joaquin Ridge, a former boyfriend and old high school buddy.

There are other horses I’ve not put a name to yet. Bess, Melanie’s daughter, doesn’t take to horses in the same degree that Melanie does, and yet she finds peace in interacting with horses. Alex Jeffreys really takes to horses and he rides a black silver dapple Rocky Mountain gelding. Alex and Bess find uses for miniature horses in space settings, and develop a strain that–well, let’s wait and see where that goes, shall we? That part still needs development.

Needless to say, the equine element of the Netwalk Sequence is an understated but very real presence.

Hey, it wouldn’t be my world if I didn’t have horses in it, now, would it?

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