The annals of Malena

Who is Ashra Malena? What is her story?

J.R.R. Tolkien provides the answer in his foreword of “Lord of the Rings”.

“This tale grew in the telling…”

The character of Ashra Malena has been with me for a long time. I wrote a manuscript way back in 1976, hot on the heels of the all new “Star Wars” movie. The desert scenes in the movie fired me with inspiration and the urge was reinforced by the fact that I had just completed Frank Herbert’s “Dune” trilogy.

I have always had a story in the back of my mind of a heroic woman dressed in some kind of protective desert gear. I had grown ashamed of the original manuscript, as any pubescent teenager would be, but the woman’s image stayed with me until 1981 when I did a sketch on a large piece of tissue paper in pencil. It was consigned to my cardboard box of forgotten sketches until the mid-90s.

I had recently acquired Bryce 3D and Poser 3.0, and was seeking a challenging image to help me master these new programs. I discovered Malena again and with it my long-lost manuscript. Her name has changed, and her story has evolved over the years into something real and tangible, and I finally used her as a basis for my “Desert Rescue” picture.

She has been set free and will continue with her adventures on Wesdraken IV until I am done with her. The pictures below follow a sequence of Malena’s adventures as they occur in my mind’s eye.

The story extracts that I used for each image were taken from my original 1976 manuscript, with some tweaking to change the names of characters, and changing story arcs.

(By the way, her name means “Tears in the Dust” in ancient Sanskrit.)

27 January 2002: The Annals of Malena were awarded the prestigious Bryce Forum’s Golden Torii Award for the “Best Series of 2002”.

Worlds in the Making