Posts Tagged ‘The Hub of the Matter’

The Hub at my door

I just got a nice surprise — I heard the mail carrier drop something outside my door and ring my doorbell, and I found that my copies of the September/October Analog, containing my next Hub story “…And He Built a Crooked Hub,” had been delivered. The issue doesn’t go on sale at newsstands until August 21, but I guess this means subscribers should be getting their copies soon.

This is my second Hub story in a row to have an illustration by Josh Meehan, but this one was unexpected: Instead of portraying any of the characters in the story, the opening image on pp. 78-9 offers the first-ever depiction of the exterior of Nashira Wing’s Hubdiver ship, the Starship Entropy:

Crooked Hub Starship Entropy

Illustration by Josh Meehan

(The Entropy‘s interior was previously depicted by Vladimir Bondar in the 2011 Russian reprint of “The Hub of the Matter.”)

EDITED TO ADD: I double-checked, and it turns out the Russian reprint of “Home is Where the Hub Is” does depict a ship in its accompanying illustration, but I think it may be meant to represent the Ziovris battleship, since it’s a bit large for the Entropy. It’s hard to say for sure:


Illustration by Viktor Bazanov

It’s interesting to see how artists can bring interpretations to your ideas that you never considered. I’d been imagining a Hubdiver as something more compact and cylindrical-ish, insofar as I had any image in mind at all. This is a more interesting design, suggesting something that’s mostly engines, fuel tanks, and shielding but with the sort of habitat section I envisioned in the center. It’s plausible that the engines would be fairly large, since they need to be fairly powerful, and in that case it makes sense to offset them from the crew compartment because of heat and/or radiation. (That was Matt Jefferies’s original rationale in Star Trek for putting the U.S.S. Enterprise‘s engine nacelles out on long pylons, though that was forgotten by later productions that put the matter-antimatter reactor right in the middle of the engine room and occasionally had people walking around inside the nacelles.) I’m not sure about that portion that resembles a fighter canopy, though, since the crew compartment would need to be large enough to include a cockpit that can hold 3-4 people and a rear section with a quantelope tank, plus maybe a small galley, a head, and so on. I dunno, maybe the glossy portion contains all of that and can eject as a lifeboat in an emergency. Or it can detach and be plugged into a different engine assembly for upgrades.

And yes, I am aware that someone or something is firing missiles at the Entropy. You don’t expect me to spoil the suspense, do you?

HUB SPACE is now in trade paperback!

That second bit of good news about my Hub series has materialized sooner than expected! Crossroad Press is now offering Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy in trade paperback form as well as e-book form. At last, my first Hub collection, containing the corrected and expanded editions of “The Hub of the Matter,” “Home is Where the Hub Is,” and “Make Hub, Not War” plus supplemental material, is available in a print edition!

Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy

The new trade paperback edition of Hub Space can be purchased directly from Crossroad Press here:

Or from Amazon:

The cover price is $9.99, though Crossroad’s site is offering it for $8.00 for a limited time. I haven’t seen a physical copy yet myself, but I’ve seen the PDF, and it looks good. It comes out to about 126 pages in print form, comparable to the length of a lot of older science fiction novels and collections from the ’50s or ’60s, though larger in page size.

This paperback release is quite timely, since readers of the new story “Hubpoint of No Return” in next month’s Analog now have an additional buying option if they want to refresh their memories about the previous stories. It’s also just a few months before the release of my second story collection, Among the Wild Cybers. Before long, then, I’ll have three original books all available in print. With at least one more to follow next year, since there’s sure to be a second Hub collection once Analog has published all three of the new stories. I’m so glad that my original fiction is finally starting to take up more shelf space! Although I’ve still got a long way to go if I want my original output to catch up with my tie-in output.

“Twilight’s Captives” will be in the Jan/Feb 2017 ANALOG

As visitors to my home page may have already noticed, I’ve learned that my upcoming novelette “Twilight’s Captives” will be appearing in the January/February 2017 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Since the October 2016 issue seems to be the current one on sale, I guess that means it should be out before the end of this year. That’s roughly the same time that my Star Trek: The Original Series novel The Face of the Unknown will be out, so that’ll be a big month for me.

Given that it’s been only six weeks since I sold the story, and given that it took nearly a year for my previous Analog story to see print, I’m surprised that it’s moving so fast. Two stories in Analog only 7 months apart is a new record for me; my previous record was 9 months between “The Hub of the Matter” and “Home is Where the Hub Is.” And that makes this only the second time I’ve had two Analog stories separated by under two years. Hopefully it won’t be the last.

I’ve already proofread the story’s galleys, which is how I know the publication date, so I know that this story will have an illustration — though I don’t know what it will look like or who the artist will be. I have my own design sketches for the featured aliens, which I’ll post with the story notes on publication, but Analog‘s artist may well take them in a different direction. This will be my fifth illustrated Analog story; the only ones without artwork are “The Hub of the Matter” and “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad” (although the former got a nifty illustration when it was republished in the Russian Esli magazine).

“Murder on the Cislunar Railroad” has arrived!

I just got my author copies of the June 2016 Analog, containing my SF-mystery novelette “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad,” and I got my name on the cover again!

Analog SF&F June 2016 cover

Cover art by Bob Eggelton

So out of six Analog appearances over the past 17.5 years, I’ve gotten my name on the cover half the time — specifically, on the third, fifth, and sixth occasions. That’s kind of symmetrical. I’ve never had cover art based on one of my stories, though the covers these days usually seem to be generic space images. Four of my Analog stories have had interior art, though, the exceptions being “The Hub of the Matter” and this one.

It looks like I got my copies early; the  Analog homepage hasn’t yet been updated to June as of this writing. From what I can tell, the June issue goes on sale in about a week, on May 4. “Cislunar Railroad” is the last story in the issue, on pp. 92-103. I hope my readers find the mystery suitably confounding and the ideas and characters sufficiently interesting.

HUB SPACE is now available!

I’m pleased to announce that Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy has just gone on sale! That’s right, one advantage of e-publishing is that it takes hardly any time at all to get a finished book out to the public. Here’s the cover and blurb:

Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy

Cover by David Dodd

The Hub is the most important place in the galaxy — the single point through which all interstellar travel must pass. Yet no one in the galaxy understands how it works. David LaMacchia, an unimportant man from an unimportant planet called Earth, is determined to change that. He’s got no qualifications and no skills. His only friends are a cynical, sharp-tongued space pilot named Nashira Wing and a smugly philanthropic alien named Rynyan, and they both think he’s crazy. On top of that, the powers that profit from the Hub might just be trying to kill him. Still… that won’t stop David from trying to prove that humanity can make a difference to the greater galaxy.

Now the tales of the Hub from the pages of Analog are collected for the first time in one volume, newly revised and expanded! Includes “The Hub of the Matter,” “Home is Where the Hub Is,” and “Make Hub, Not War,” plus exclusive bonus material!

Considering that the cover is assembled from stock images, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. It evokes the character dynamic of Vladimir Bondar’s art from the Russian edition of “The Hub of the Matter,” while coming closer to how I envisioned David and Nashira’s appearance. Too bad there wasn’t any stock art of a leonine humanoid alien with a feathery mane.

Hub Space is priced at $3.99 US and can be purchased from the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble




Update: Kobo

HUB SPACE coming soon!

I’ve now finished up the manuscript for Hub Space, the revised and expanded collection of my Hub stories from Analog, and turned it in to the publisher. In addition to correcting the errors in the original stories, there’s new material within the stories and some bonus items in between, adding about 10 percent to the total length of the work.

Since this is a novella-length e-book exclusive from a small press, apparently the publication process is going to be much faster than I expected. Depending on how long the proofreading takes, it will probably be on sale before the end of February. I’ll be sure to post the ordering info as soon as I have it.

Announcing HUB SPACE: The Hub meets the Crossroad

January 16, 2015 1 comment

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve just signed with Crossroad Press to release an e-book compilation of my three “Hub” stories to date, “The Hub of the Matter,” “Home is Where the Hub Is,” and “Make Hub, Not War.” Things are still preliminary, but unless I come up with something better, the title of the collection will be Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy.

It’s always been my hope to do enough Hub stories to collect into a novel-length fixup. But the rise of e-publishing gives me another option that doesn’t require waiting so long, since it’s opened a market for novella-length publications, a market that didn’t really exist in print. The first three stories form a loose arc of their own, so it makes sense to collect them and get them back into print, so that if I sell more stories in the future, it’ll be easier for new readers to track down the first three.

Also, this gives me a chance to revise the stories. The first two were published with errors — somehow the final corrections for the first story got lost in the mail, and somehow I got the name of a major character’s species wrong in the second. So this is my chance to finally get the corrected versions of the stories into print — another reason I decided to act now rather than waiting years more to accumulate a novel’s worth of stories. Not only that, but I’m expanding the stories a bit, adding new material here and there to flesh out the characters and their environment. I went for brevity in the original novelettes, but here I have room to breathe a little more. So readers who own the original Analog issues will still get something extra if they buy the collection.

I don’t yet have information on the publication date or the price, but I’ll report that as it becomes available. No cover art yet either, but here’s the illustration from the Russian reprint of “The Hub of the Matter” again, just because it’s cool:

Russian "Hub of the Matter" title page

Art by Vladimir Bondar

Return to the Hub!

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m pleased to announce that Analog Science Fiction and Fact will be publishing the third installment of my “Hub” series of novelettes, following “The Hub of the Matter” from the March 2010 issue and “Home is Where the Hub Is” from the December 2010 issue. The story is titled “Make Hub, Not War”, and will examine the question of how the existence of the Hub — the only known means of faster-than-light transportation and thus the one point that all interstellar travel must pass through — affects the nature and opportunities for warfare. It will also feature the first look at Earth in the Hub era and flesh out the background of the series’ human leads. All in all, it’s my most ambitious story yet in the series.

Which is part of why it took me so long to finish, I suppose. Once I realized the story I was telling would take me to Earth, that made things more complex, since I had to figure out both the state of things on Earth and the backgrounds of David and Nashira, and figure out how to balance those things with the rest of the story. It took a while to work out the best way to proceed. Plus I’ve been kept busy the past couple of years with Only Superhuman and my Star Trek work, so “Make Hub, Not War” often had to take a back seat.

I’m relieved this story sold, to be honest, because during the gap between stories, Analog‘s editor Stanley Schmidt, who gave me my start in this business, retired, and I wasn’t sure his successor Trevor Quachri would have tastes compatible with the Hub stories. Since it’s the third in a series, I wasn’t sure what my options would’ve been if Analog hadn’t bought it. Although Trevor tells me he thinks the story stands well on its own. Anyway, I’m glad the run of the Hub stories in Analog is continuing, and I hope it won’t be for the last time. (So many Hub-related title puns left to make…)

There’s no scheduled publication date yet, but I’d expect it to be sometime around the start of 2014 or, with luck, the end of this year. I’ll announce the date once it’s settled.

The Hub of the Errata

I’ve finally been getting back to work on the third story in my Hub universe, and in reviewing the first two, I’ve discovered I made a really major continuity error that I somehow managed to overlook.  In “The Hub of the Matter,” I referred to the character of Mokak Vekredi as a member of the Zeghryk species — yet in “Home is Where the Hub Is,” I called him a Verzhik instead!  Worse, Verzhik is a name I’d already used three years earlier for an alien species referenced (but not seen) in Star Trek: Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again.

I have no idea how this happened.  I mean, the names are similar enough that I can certainly see how I might’ve gotten them confused… but I know I re-read the first story repeatedly to refresh my memory for writing the second.  And the correct name for the species is right there in my series notes too.  Maybe the problem is that I reviewed THotM and the notes before writing HiWtHI and not so much during or after.

Now the question is, what do I do about it?  I’m tempted to come up with a rationalization in the third story that explains away the two different names.  After all, how many dozens of different names in different languages do we have for humans?  But given that I already used the name “Verzhik” elsewhere — and in work I don’t own, no less — I should probably avoid using the name again in the Hubverse.  I should probably just go back to using “Zeghryk” and pretend it was always that way, and fix the error should I ever get HIWTHI reprinted.

Oh, well.  These are the pitfalls of series writing.  Heck, Dr. Watson’s war wound location and marital status  were famously variable in the Sherlock Holmes canon.  And Stan Lee forgot some of his iconic characters’ names in early Marvel Comics issues — Bruce Banner was sometimes called Bob Banner (hence the “Robert Bruce Banner” fix), and Peter Parker was Peter Palmer once or twice.  Still, it’s embarrassing, and I apologize for the error.

Russia is where the Hub is

February 14, 2011 7 comments

I’ve just gotten a copy of the December ’10 issue of the Russian SF magazine Esli (If), which contains a translated version of “The Hub of the Matter.”  Unfortunately, it was rather badly damaged in transit:

ESLI December 2010 cover

But there’s my name on the cover, transliterated as “Kristofer Bennet.”  I don’t think that’s a typo, since it’s repeated within the magazine, yet they spelled my last name right in the copyright credit at the end of the story.  Maybe Russian doesn’t allow for names ending in double letters.

Ooh, and there’s a very Starfleet-ish crashed spaceship below my name there.

What’s really cool, though, is the title page for my story:

Russian "Hub of the Matter" title page

The Cyrillic title, “в гуще событий”, transliterates as “V GUSHCHE SOBYTIY”.  I searched for pages with that phrase and with its individual words and used Google Translate on them, and apparently it means “In the Thick of Things” (or more literally, “In the Thick of Events”).  Which isn’t quite an exact translation and doesn’t preserve the pun, but I guess it’s a similar idea.

But isn’t that a cool illustration?  The credit beside the artwork says “Illyustratsya Vladimira BONDARYA,” and that first word clearly means “Illustrator” or “Illustrated by.”  It’s a very nice interpretation of the characters.  Not quite how I pictured them, of course, but it captures their personalities quite nicely.  David is starry-eyed and gesturing dramatically, Nashira is giving him a surly, skeptical look, and the elaborately attired Rynyan is standing over them looking smug and self-satisfied.  It’s a terrific portrait of the main cast, and I think it’s just about the nicest illustration one of my original stories has ever gotten (and it makes up for the fact that “The Hub of the Matter” is my only Analog story without an illustration in that magazine).

As for the story itself, let alone the rest of the magazine, I have no hope of reading it without help from someone who knows Russian.  But I notice it has rather extensive footnotes which, as far as I can tell, seem to be providing scientific explanations for various terms and ideas in the story.  Also, apparently Russians don’t use quotation marks for dialogue.  They use dashes to set it off instead.

Esli has bought “Home is Where the Hub Is” too.  I look forward to seeing its illustration.

Esli‘s website is here, for anyone who can read Russian:

Notes for “Home/Hub”

The story notes for “Home is Where the Hub Is” are now up at my site:

Although most of the discussion is in the spoiler section, so ideally you should buy the issue and read the story first.

“Home is Where the Hub Is” now available! (Updated)

October 13, 2010 3 comments

In the mail when I returned from vacation were two copies of the December Analog, featuring my novelette “Home is Where the Hub Is” beginning on page 70.  Well, actually on p. 72, because this time I get a full 2-page illustration!  Alas, I didn’t make the cover this time:

Analog December 2010

I haven’t gotten around to doing discussion and annotations for my website, but I’ll get to those soon.   In the meantime, check your local newsstand or bookstore for the new issue!

A reminder: this story is a sequel to “The Hub of the Matter,” which came out nine months earlier in the March issue.  If you missed that one, the issue”s still available as an e-book from Fictionwise and the Sony Reader Store. Err, no, apparently it’s no longer on sale, even though the links still exist.  Sorry.  But HIWTHI should be comprehensible on its own.

Earth: A nice place to visit…?

In my last post, I talked about the interactive Google Maps thingy at the end of “No Dominion” on its DayBreak Magazine page.  It occurred to me that “No Dominion” is the only one of my published original works that could have a Google Maps page, since it’s the only one that’s set even partly on Earth.  And the first draft of it was set on a habitat in Earth orbit!  In fact, of my five published original stories, only the latest two, “The Weight of Silence” and “No Dominion,” are even set in the Sol System.  “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” and “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele” are set within ten parsecs of Earth, respectively en route to and at Gamma Leporis.  “The Hub of the Matter” and its upcoming sequel “Home is Where the Hub Is” are set near the center of the galaxy, 40,000 light years from Earth, and at various other locations within a volume 300,000 light-years in radius around that point.

What can I say?  I like space.  It was Star Trek that introduced me to science fiction, and the original show never went to Earth except in the occasional time-travel story.  And space is just so much roomier than Earth.  The tastes of the prose SF community turned away from “space opera” for a while, though that’s somewhat reversed itself by now, but I never lost my preference for it.

Ironically, my first published Star Trek tale, SCE: “Aftermath,” was set primarily in San Francisco and, I believe, pretty much entirely within the Solar System (other dimensions notwithstanding).  However, I think the only things I’ve written since then that are actually set on Earth (at least from the perspective of the viewpoint characters) are a few pages toward the end of The Buried Age and the briefing in the first chapter of Greater Than the Sum (although the prologue of Over a Torrent Sea opens in orbit of Mars).  My upcoming Star Trek DTI novel will probably spend more time on Earth than any of my other Trek fiction, although it features quite a lot of other locations as well.

I was going to say “than anything I’ve had published to date,” but then I remembered my X-Men and Spider-Man novels, both of which are set entirely on Earth (alternate timelines notwithstanding).  However, my original idea for the Spidey novel had Spidey travelling to another planet; I liked the idea of getting him out of his comfort zone (and, admittedly, more into mine).  It was decided it was too much of a departure for the character, but I’m still hoping I’ll get a chance to tell that tale someday.

How many words? (UPDATED)

Today in a thread on the TrekBBS, someone asked my colleague David Mack whether his published word count to date had topped one million words.  That got me wondering how many words I’ve gotten published (i.e. stuff I’ve been paid for).   It might also just be useful for my future reference to have a list of all my word counts.  So here goes:


  • “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide”: 12,000 words
  • “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele”: 9400
  • “The Hub of the Matter”: 9300
  • “The Weight of Silence”: 7600
  • “No Dominion” (upcoming): 7900
  • “Home is Where the Hub Is” (upcoming): 9800

Total original fiction count: 56,000 words


  • X-Men: Watchers on the Walls: 83,500
  • Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder:  71,000

Total Marvel novel count: 154,500 words


  • Ex Machina: 110,000
  • Orion’s Hounds: 105,000
  • The Buried Age: 132,000
  • Places of Exile: 55,000
  • Greater Than the Sum: 78,500
  • Over a Torrent Sea: 89,000
  • Seek a Newer World (sold but unpublished): 82,000

Total ST novel count: 651,500 words


  • “Aftermath”: 26,000
  • “…Lov’d I Not Honor More “: 12,000
  • “Brief Candle”: 9800
  • “As Others See Us”: 9100
  • Mere Anarchy: “The Darkness Drops Again”: 28,900
  • “Friends With the Sparrows”: 10,300
  • “Empathy”: 11,000

Total ST short fiction count: 107,100 words


  • “Points of Contention”: 1040
  • “Catsuits are Irrelevant”: 1250
  • “Top 10 Villains #8: Shinzon”: 820
  • “Almost a Completely New Enterprise”: 800
  • “The Remaking of Star Trek“: 1350

Total article count: 5260 words

All told:

  • Novels: 806,000 words (724,000 to date)
  • Short fiction: 163,100 words (145,400 to date)

Total fiction: 969,100 words (869,400 to date)

Add in nonfiction and the total goes to 974,360 words sold,  874,660 published to date.  Include everything but Seek a Newer World and I’ll have at least 892,360 words in print by the end of the year, probably more.

So I’m within 110,000 words of my million-word mark.  As it happens, I’m aiming for 100K with my Star Trek DTI novel, and I have stories on the market that could add another 12K if they sell.  So there’s a very good chance that DTI could put me over the top.

EDITED TO ADD: What about breakdowns by word count?  It comes out to 9 novels (over 40,000 words), 2 novellas (over 17,500 wds), 11 novelettes (over 7,500 words), and 0 short stories.  I guess “The Weight of Silence” is right on the borderline, though; the magazine it appears in, Alternative Coordinates, technically has a cutoff of 7,500 words, but I guess it’s not absolutely rigid.  So TWoS might end up being classed as a short story in bibliographies, if anyone considers it worth cataloguing.  The two stories I currently have on the market are both short stories, at 6900 words and 5200 words.  Another I’ve been shopping lately is 4200 words, but a recent rejection letter suggests that the opening could use some revisions which might add to that.  (I’ve been trying to produce shorter fiction lately because there are more markets for shorter works.)

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

Two weeks

Just two weeks after my last story sale, I got a letter of acceptance for another of the batch of stories I recently put on the market.  Details to come later.

Two weeks between original fiction sales is a record for me.  I submitted stories for five years before I made my first sale, and it took nearly two more years to make the second.  After that, it was nine years before my third.  What happened?  Well, most of what I wrote back then wasn’t that great.  Or at least it wasn’t suited to the short form, cramming in too many concepts and too much worldbuilding.  Eventually I became convinced that I wasn’t cut out for short fiction, and then my Star Trek writing took over my attention and kept me busy.  So I let my efforts at original short fiction fall by the wayside, concentrating instead on original spec novel manuscripts alongside my tie-in work.

But all that tie-in writing, including novelettes in five anthologies, helped me realize that I did have the ability to come up with viable story ideas of any length and write them reasonably quickly.  This led me to buckle down and do serious work on developing my concept for the Hub universe and actually write the debut story, “The Hub of the Matter.”  Selling that on my first try gave me new confidence.  And that led me to buckle down again and come up with a story for the Shine anthology of optimistic SF, the result being my upcoming story “No Dominion,” which I once again sold on the first attempt.

So those two sales gave me the confidence to keep trying.  Plus my tie-in work was slowing down due to the editorial upheavals at Pocket, so I had nothing but time to focus on original writing.  I also came to realize that if I wanted to make enough of a name for myself to catch the attention of agents, it would help considerably if I could sell more short fiction to establish my name.

So now, with THotM, “No Dominion,”  and my two sales this month, I’ve gone from zero original fiction sales in nine years to four in just under one year, three of which sold on the first attempt.  And I’ve got three more stories currently on the market, and nascent ideas for a couple more.

I’d say I’ve come a long way in the past year or so.

What I’ve been writing: followup

I fixed that awkward scene in my fantasy story — found a way not only to make it less awkward but to add a whole new level of creepiness (which in context is a good thing).  I’m not quite ready to submit it yet, since the scene before that bit is maybe a little too talky and I’m going to see if I can improve its flow.

I got to wondering something about the universe of “The Hub of the Matter,” my recent Analog story.  Namely, why do they risk sending live Hub scouts to test new vectors, a job that’s tedious and potentially lethal, rather than using robot probes?  I’ve thought of a couple of amusing answers, and I’ll try to work at least one of them into the next Hub story I write.

I reread “No Dominion” and concluded that it wouldn’t be too hard to rework the Default-verse history to incorporate it — but I just decided this morning that I don’t want to.  As I said, it has ramifications that would have rather sweeping impact on the Default-verse and limit my storytelling in some ways.  Also, on reflection, I think it maybe exaggerates the degree to which certain new technologies would spread through society, which works in the context of a single story exploring the possible ramifications of those technologies, but isn’t necessarily likely or inevitable in a larger future-historical context.  Part of my reason for wondering if I should incorporate “No Dominion” into the Default-verse was that I asked myself, “Why wouldn’t these technologies be adopted there too?”  And I realize now that, while they probably would be to some degree, I doubt they’d be as ubiquitous.  I may incorporate the ideas into the Default-verse to a degree that’s appropriate, but the story itself would still stand apart.  I’m a little concerned that if the same ideas show up in the Default-verse, readers might get confused about whether or not “No Dominion” is part of it.  But then, that’s what my website annotations are for.

What got me started thinking about this was reading the TV Tropes page about “The Moorcock Effect,” defined as “the tendency of long-lived genre authors to, at what is usually a later point in their career, combine two or more distinct series they’ve created into a single continuity.”  Like what Asimov did later in life by combining his Foundation, Empire, and Robot universes into one (and even hinting at connections to The End of Eternity and possibly Nemesis).  Or what Larry Niven did much earlier in his career to create the Known Space universe.  Or the way Poul Anderson combined his Flandry and van Rijn tales into a single future history.  What I always wanted was to have a big, unified continuity from the get-go, to plan it out in advance and keep it all cohesive, rather than start out with separate pieces and later mash them up, possibly creating continuity problems in doing so.

But what I’ve lately ended up doing instead is creating a bunch of different universes that can’t possibly fit together because their histories and physical laws are too contradictory.  It was easy enough for Niven, Asimov, Anderson, etc. to combine their various series that took place at different points in the future and reused similar physics and technologies.  I don’t have that option with most of my universes.  And that’s cool.  I enjoy the prospect of exploring several wholly different approaches to FTL travel, to the prospects of posthuman evolution, and so on.  It’s more creatively liberating than sticking with a single set of assumptions.

Still, the temptation to construct a grand unified theory tying it all together is there, even though it’s pretty much impossible.  That’s why I was tempted to fold “No Dominion” into the Default-verse — because it’s the one other “written world” I currently have that’s similar enough in its physics and broad history that it could potentially be folded in if certain storytelling adjustments were made.  But there’s no point restricting the storytelling of the whole universe for the sake of consistency with a single story.

My copies of ANALOG finally arrived…

Now I finally have the March 2010 issue of Analog in my hands, complete with “The Hub of the Matter” and a bio piece on myself inside and my name on the cover!  Cool!

However, I realized that the annotations I posted before used the wrong page numbers.  I used the page numbers from the galleys as placeholders until I got the final issue, but then I forgot about that and put the annotations online without realizing that the pages were wrong.  I also discovered that some late edits I tried to make didn’t go through, so the climactic scene has some slight timing problems which I address in the notes.

The revised annotations can still be accessed through the same link at my Original fiction page:

(I don’t want to link directly to the spoiler notes from here, since they’re spoilers, and because the main page has some more general notes for the story.)

Spent a lot of time at the post office this week…

February 6, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been going to the post office a lot this week, for two reasons.  One was to mail out books to the very nice people who’ve participated in my ongoing book sale.  The other was to submit my new short stories.  I’ve had three stories in the works for a while — a sequel to “The Hub of the Matter,” a prequel to one of my spec novels (which I discussed here, here, and here), and a steampunk/urban fantasy piece that I discussed here, here, and here.  This week, I dedicated myself to finishing up all three of them and getting them on the market.  For the past few months, I’ve had some older stories back in circulation, figuring I might’ve given up on them too soon, but so far I’ve had no luck.  I still have one of them on the market, but the rest haven’t sold (at least, not so far).  However, of the new works of original short fiction I’ve written and marketed more recently, “The Hub of the Matter” and “No Dominion,” I sold two for two on the first try.  Which is evidence that my newer work is better and more marketable than my older stuff.  So I figured it was high time I got some more new stuff out there.

The spec-novel prequel proved easiest to finish up.  When I completed it last month, I wasn’t sure how well it held up, but when I reread it last week, I found I was quite satisfied with it.  I did a little tweaking here and there, but after that I felt it was ready, and I sent it off Monday.

The fantasy story needed a few refinements; there was one bit where a character gave too long an expository speech at a moment when time was pressing, so I rejiggered it to put more of the background exposition in my narration and assume both characters were already familiar with what was being described.  Also, I decided to add a bit more foreshadowing to punch up the opening paragraphs.  The main character has a secret that I initially began hinting at a few pages in, but I figured it would be a stronger hook if I made a cryptic reference to it on the first page.

The Hub story needed the most work.  I’d taken the crisis of the story in a more dramatic and less comic direction than I’d intended, so I needed to punch up the humor.  More fundamentally, I realized I’d kind of lost track of my original intentions for the story, depicting a situation that was darker and less humorous (and less interesting) than what I envisioned.  I was able to solve all those problems, though it took me a number of passes through the story.  One key exposition scene got almost completely rewritten twice so it was less talky, more quirky, and more in line with the story emphasis I’d lost track of.  With that and some other tweaks, I finally got the balance and approach I’d been going for.

There is one other story I reworked lately that hasn’t gone on the market.  It’s a novelette I mentioned in some of the posts linked above (“Getting a novel back on course,” “Back on course, addendum” and “Reworking old stories”), one that I’d exhausted all but one of the viable markets for (in terms of word count) but figured I’d take a stab at anyway once I had the idea of how to rework it.  But when I took a closer look at that one remaining market, I realized it was more of a “literary” magazine than I’d thought, and really not the right place for this story.  And I’m really not wholly satisfied with how the story turned out anyway.  So it’s on the shelf for now, at least until another potential market manifests itself.  I figure it’s better to focus on new stories than to keep trying to salvage an old one.  It’s too bad, because I really like the aliens and the worldbuilding I did here; but if this story goes nowhere, maybe I can reuse them in a different story.  (In fact, this story is already my second attempt to write about this particular species.)

And hey, I’ve still got four stories on the market, and I’m starting work on a new story for an open-submissions anthology.  The new story is my second one in the steampunk-fantasy universe, featuring totally different characters and situations, although one aspect of it is an outgrowth of events in the first story.  But that connection is very tenuous and implicit.  Since it’s going to a different market, and since I don’t yet know if I’ll even sell the first one, it needs to be able to stand independently.

Of course, all these stories don’t add up to a lot of money even if I sell them all.  But the more of my original work that gets out there, and the more name recognition I get, the better it is for my career in the long run.

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