Interstellar Aspirations

The head is fuzzy today because I didn’t sleep well last night.  Most of that seems due to strange dreams I had involving traveling, which is probably president as I have an upcoming trip.  Said fuzziness is making thought difficult, which means I almost didn’t start writing today’s post–


As a friend and I mentioned this morning, you can write, or you can talk about writing.  Of late I’ve been editing a novel, because my backlog is such that I need to get things out.  Here I am, then, getting things cleaned up when I find the time.

But there is other writing as well.  I do articles from time to time, and I was asked if I’d do something about aliens for a website.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a good alien builder, because in order to get it right, you gotta spend time getting everything right.  You gotta have a star, a world, an environment, and then see if your creature makes any sense.  It goes a little beyond the Star Wars/Star Trek ideal of, “Hey, it looks like a blue bug speaking Yiddish, which makes it an alien!”  Like anything else creative, it’s a lot of work.

I’ve sat on an idea for a month now, something I’ve wanted to turn into an article, but one thing or another has gotten in the way of developing those thoughts.  Maybe in the next few weeks I’ll find the time to write it all down and get it submitted, but for now I’ll work on other things–

Last night, however, I was on a Lensman kick.

The Lensman Series was one of the first great space operas, and though it might seem a little dated today–okay, it’s a lot dated–it’s still a great deal of fun.  A bit dry in many places, but when you read it you see the beginnings of what most people take for granted when it comes to titanic battles in space.  The Lensmen novels became famous for creating so many titanic weapons that the trope Lensmen Arms Race was created for those stories where owning a fortress the size of a small moon means you’re some kind of special loser, pal.

What I was really looking for was information on the aliens in the novels.  Because when E. E. Smith wrote these novels, it wasn’t just humans who wore the Lens that allowed them to do some pretty fantastic things, but there were a lot of aliens in on that Lens action as well.  And not one of them had an aversion to the color yellow . . .

It’s just that finding information on said aliens is a lot of work.  Because the Lensman series is “Golden Age Science Fiction,” the information available is limited, because it’s one of those relics of old school sci fi that aren’t read that much today.  So hunting down all the information I need to write an article is going to involve a lot of digging–

But I’ll get it done, because . . . aliens?

It’s No Game

There has been a lot of playing around the last couple of days, and some yelling on the phone as well.  Why would one be yelling on the phone?  Because there’s someone on the other end who isn’t listening, that’s why.  That’s all short-term nonsense, however, and I expect things to go back to some semblance of normal by the end of the week.

Or a black hole will open and suck me into another dimension.  Anything’s possible at this point.

There’s been a lot of thinking going on between writing.  Most of said thinking isn’t about the new story, because I know what’s happening with that, and since I’ve mind mapped the story and I know the ending, all that is required is getting the middle parts written.  I’m into the sexy bits now, and while I’m only doing a thousand words a night, it’s fun getting into that stuff.  Right now I don’t feel like doing more than a thousand a day, but the end is already in my head, and I’m guessing that the totally erotic stuff happening now is going to be good for another three, four thousand words.

There’s the nagging feeling that I want to get into another story, a different story, soon.  I know I want to edit Replacements so I can get it ready for publishing, because the writing’s complete, it only needs a cover and some polishing and then it’s off to be self-published for fame and glory.  Sure, that’s why I’m a starving artist, don’t you know?

Beyond that–well, I’m thinking of getting Couples Dance out and starting the work on that as well.  Despite my emails I’ve heard nothing from the publisher that wanted a look at the manuscript, and I have to guess they’re either not interested, or they’ve went belly up.  Now that story, it’s a strange one.  If I can get that published alongside Replacements and Her Demonic Majesty, that’s three out of the four titles I set as a goal for this year, and it means there is still the possibility I can make Number Four happen before the end of the year.

There is the feeling, though–I want to do something science fictiony again.  Yes, I have science fiction stories that I could either write or edit for publishing, but I want to get back out into space.  I want to do something that is adventurous.  I don’t know why I’ve had this feeling kicking me about the back of my mind of late, but when I’m looking at the desktop of my computer I see my 3D rendering programs, and I want to get into one and start playing about with ship designs and the such.

I want to jump back into the sci fi game.  I want to do something that’s fun–maybe a bit of space opera wrapped up in some seriousness.  I want to do it and keep it “short” and see if it touches my mind.  I even have a character that would be perfect for this sort of story–

Maybe it’s time to pull her out and give her a run at the readers.


By the Time I Get to the Galactic Rim

Yesterday, when I wasn’t wishing for the car-mounted, large-caliber weapons, needed to blow away idiot drivers on I-65, I was out among the stars.

Specifically, those stars way the hell out on the edge of our galaxy.

A very long time ago–a year or so after I started writing Transporting–I had an idea for another grand story, something of a space opera, but a little more grounded in reality.  One that dealt with a interstellar vessel that was part of a special organization that–well, to put it bluntly, they showed you the horror of war before war come a knockin’.

It’s one of those things I haven’t thought about in years.  Yet, the last couple of days, while I’m doing nothing in the writing arena, I’ve been giving the story a lot of thought.

At some point, maybe 1991, or ’92, I wrote the first three or four chapters of what would have been the first novel.  It sucked.  Trust me, I wouldn’t mislead you.  The dialog was clumsy; one of my main characters was far too hard-assed even for me; there was little motivation for why one of the main characters acted in a certain way at the end of the opening action sequence.

In short, I had no idea what I was doing, or what I was writing.

Still, the story never left me.  I started working on a time line for the story:  I think I started this in 1994, and finally finished it about 2003, 2004.  It’s a pretty good time line of the universe.  War on Earth, countries band together to form an origination known as the TSA–no, really, that’s what the tyrannical bastards are called–and the TSA is later overthrown by another group known as The Coalition, who are slightly less tyrannical, but still bastards.

The entire timeline became twelve pages, and overviewed the action in the first novel, and set up the action for the section novel.  Yeah, you heard that right:  two novels.  The entire story of this group of people would cover a trilogy, no more, no less.  And when the third novel came to an end, that would be it:  none of this, “Oh, I always envisioned it as four or five novels,” bullshit.  I know the start, the middle, and the end; it’s all in my head, all worked out.

I’d only have to write them.

Since the timeline is only twelve pages, were I to take the action all the way out to the end, I’d probably end up with eighteen or twenty pages.  That’s very likely, since I just love to get my world building out of the way so I can jump into my universe and give my characters life.

Where am I going with this story?  I don’t know–not yet.  It’s bouncing around in my head, and it’s another of those “Projects From the Past” that has never really left me.  But is there a desire to get back into it, to write the first novel, when there are other things I could work on instead?

Ah, such are the dilemmas of a writer.  You have all these things going on at the same time, and then–Wham!  You get blindsided with an idea the moment you decide you’re going to take a break.  Yet, there are no breaks when you’re a writer.  You are either writing, or editing, or thinking about either of those–or having your Muse show up at your front door, dressed like Barbarella, telling you, “Hey, I’m about to leave for HD 151985, and I need a co-pilot, you wanna come along?”  You hesitate a little, then she added, “Oh, and the ship only has one bed, I hope you don’t mind sharing–” and you’re just about ready to pack your bags . . .

Man, when you get an offer like this, it’s hard to say no.