Archive for March 26, 2010

Speaking of coincidence…

I just realized… in my entire career, I’ve only written two stories in the first person (discounting one aborted story I discussed way back in my “Origin story 2” post), and now they’re both being published in online magazines just six weeks apart — “The Weight of Silence” and “No Dominion.”  Wild, huh?

I generally avoid first person because I find it implausible.  I always wonder, how does the narrator have the skill to tell this story?  How do they get the opportunity to write and publish it?  How do they remember it in such detail, right down to the verbatim dialogue?  In “The Weight of Silence” I actually confront these issues directly in the narrative.  It made sense to do it in first person because the very challenge of telling the story is part of the story.

But in “No Dominion” I didn’t bother to address those issues.  I don’t even know why I went with first person; it just felt like the right idiom for the story, perhaps because it’s common for detective/mystery stories.  And thinking about it in retrospect, I’m thinking that maybe I’ve been taking first-person narration too literally.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that the character actually wrote this story down for publication; it could be taken more as a symbolic way of conveying the character’s thought process.  After all, third-person narration has some of the same problems if you take it literally — namely, how does the narrator have that omniscient viewpoint?  If that’s a conceit of storytelling, why can’t first-person narration be too?

So will I use first person in a story again?  If it feels right, I guess.  But only if it feels right.  I’m still more comfortable with third.

Contracts again!

I just received the contract for Star Trek: DTI, mere minutes after posting the announcement!  How about that?  That’s two contracts I’ve gotten in two days, and three in the past month.  Both are records for me.  And this is after a long drought with hardly any paid writing work coming my way (except for a couple of Star Trek Magazine articles, for which I’m very grateful to editor Paul Simpson).  Now I’m going from famine to feast.  Which is rather thrilling.  Still, it would’ve been nice if I could’ve managed to pace the income more regularly.

My problem, I think, was that by the time I realized my savings wouldn’t last me as long as I thought, I was already pretty close to the brink.  So it took me too long to get into gear and start pursuing things that could get me money (whether writing and submitting stories or applying for jobs).  So maybe it’s not surprising that it’s all starting to pay off around the same time.

Of course, it would still be good if one of those job applications could pay off and I could start building up some additional savings.  Here’s hoping my recent good luck continues.

Coming in 2011: STAR TREK: DTI

I’m able to announce my new Star Trek project now, and it’s my most offbeat one yet.  The working title is Star Trek: DTI, with a more specific title to be settled on later.

DTI is the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations, introduced in the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” in the persons of Agents Lucsly and Dulmur (sometimes rendered as Dulmer), who questioned Captain Sisko to ensure his crew had not jeopardized the time stream on their recent trip to the past.  The stern, Joe Friday-esque temporal investigators quickly became popular with the fans and soon appeared in not one, but two separate stories in the anthology Strange New Worlds II: “Gods, Fate, and Fractals” by William Leisner (an inspired Dragnet pastiche) and “Almost, But Not Quite” by Dayton Ward.

Now it falls to me to tell the first novel-length story of the DTI, starring Lucsly and Dulmur along with their colleagues in the department, mostly original characters but maybe one or two familiar faces as well.  Though the working title suggests a resemblance to Star Trek: SCE/Corps of Engineers, this book might be better compared to Articles of the Federation, Keith R. A. DeCandido’s chronicle of a year in the life of the Federation president and her staff.  But if AotF was The West Wing in the 24th century, DTI might be more like an FBI procedural show.

In any case, don’t expect the conventional, done-to-death kind of time travel story where the heroes go back into the past and try to prevent or reverse a change in history.  ST:DTI will have its own distinctive approach to time travel, its mechanics, and its consequences, and will explore numerous facets of the Department’s responsibilities.

It’s an exciting challenge to do this book.  With Lucsly and Dulmur being the only established DTI members, and with them being virtual blank slates, this is closer to a fully original creation than any commissioned novel I’ve ever done (though you can expect to see a few more familiar faces showing up here and there).   And it’s my chance to take the byzantine logic of Trek-universe time travel and offer a unifying theory with some degree of scientific credibility to it — while still having fun with it.  On the other hand, with so few established characters or situations to draw on and a lot of ideas to cover, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

The contracts are signed…

…so I can announce my latest original fiction sales.

“The Weight of Silence” will be appearing in the online Alternative Coordinates magazine in their next issue, debuting on May 1, 2010.  This is that third “Default Universe” story I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  It’s also the shortest story I’ve sold to date, just 7600 words, barely long enough to qualify as a novelette.  (Second-shortest is my upcoming “No Dominion” at 7900.)

And the characters from “The Hub of the Matter” will be returning to the pages of Analog in a new novelette called “Home is Where the Hub Is.”  The publication date hasn’t been settled on yet, but I’d expect it to be sometime in late 2010.

I like the way my homepage is looking now.  My New/Upcoming Titles list is getting busier, and it’s dominated by original projects.  And I’m looking forward to the way my Original Fiction page is going to expand over the months ahead.

And I’ve still got three more stories out on the market, so hopefully I’ll have some more announcements ere long.

But stay tuned for the big announcement of the day, in my next post…

“The Hub of the Matter” e-book links

The March 2010 Analog featuring “The Hub of the Matter” has been off the shelves for a while now, but I’ve belatedly realized that it’s still available as an e-book from several dealers.  Here are the sites where I’ve found it:

Sony Reader Store

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