Quick projects update, to solidify the exciting months to come:
I have shelved the Doomster novel, regrettably. It won’t disappear or go forgotten, it’s just not my priority anymore. I want to tackle an SF novel or two before I go poking into weird, experimental territory. Plus, I don’t yet feel fully comfortable writing about a culture I’ve only just begun to understand.
So, first on the agenda are two books, one self-published nonfiction and one novel: Keep Dreaming: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Science Fiction, which will be written in somewhat sporadic, serialized form here at www.alexjkane.com and then later revised and expanded into an ebook; and an as-yet-untitled Near-Earth, Post-Cyberpunk Space Opera Novel. Any short stories I write fresh from here on out will be either companion pieces to the SF novel and its universe, or chapters pulled directly from the novel’s outline (the former being more likely than the latter, as I don’t like double-dipping too much — although it worked out just fine for Orson Scott Card and countless others).
My other project in line, to be drafted either before or after I finish Doomster, will be a YA science fiction novel adapted from my still-unpublished short story, “Prospect of a World I Dream.” For now, I’m calling the novel version A World I Dream. Taste all right to you?
Anyway, the short story version is a piece I’ve gotten almost universally positive reactions to, but which keeps getting almost-but-not-quite rejections. It deals with one specific adolescent theme, but during the brainstorming process last summer, the thing in my head was much, much larger — a kind of homage to John Brown’s slave uprising at Harper’s Ferry (with hints of other slave narratives, like “Pearl Diving,” serving to inform the premise as well) set aboard a colony ship full of adolescents under the care of computerized human consciousnesses who have been in spaceflight for millennia in search of a new homeworld.
So that brings my “Current Projects” widget up to date for y’all. I haven’t decided how much I’m ready to disclose about the new SF novel I’m brainstorming yet, but suffice it to say that it will be a lot of fun, and will take place in the same universe as some of my previous SF stories, but on a much larger scale. Also: I will endeavor to stay within the confines of “mundane science fiction” while staying true to both the space opera spirit and post-cyberpunk aesthetic, if you can imagine that. So space travel/colonization will likely encompass only a small in-system portion of the cosmos, but not to the detriment of eventual technologies that will accommodate the militarization and exploitation of the rest of Earth’s solar system.
In preparation for this new (first) book, I’ve been reading Dick’s The Simulacra, Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, and Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War. My hope is to craft a story that can stand alongside the some of the most mind-expanding SF works, like 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Fire Upon the Deep, while simultaneously keeping within the limits of probable scientific progress and what I personally believe makes for a compelling, believable story. Are there aliens in this story? I suppose I could tell you that . . . except I haven’t yet made up my mind. I don’t think so, but there’s always room for a surprise or two, right? One huge component to my research process is going to be digging into my trunk, and my published stories, and rereading them with fresh, critical eyes to determine the details of my new world. I’m excited as hell to get started, so May can’t come soon enough!