“Dear Future Me: A Finishing School Romance in Outer Space”, my second novel, is now published on Amazon! Click here to purchase the paperback version, or click here to purchase the ebook version. It’s also available to read on Kindle Unlimited!
Having started on “Dear Future Me” just 3 weeks ago, if anything I think it’s a greater accomplishment for me than my first novel, “The Hunt for Count Gleichen’s Treasure”. Weighing in at 52,000 words, “Dear Future Me” is not much shorter than “The Hunt for Count Gleichen’s Treasure” was, yet I completed it in only a fraction of the time. The words just seemed to pour out from my mind onto the keyboard, day after day after day.
52,000 Words in 3 Weeks; or National Novel Writing Month over a Month Early!
One interesting aspect of this science fiction romance novel I have written is that although the actual month is still a few weeks away, I have completed the central challenge of “National Novel Writing Month” (or “NaNoWriMo”), which is to write a story 50,000 words or longer within 30 days. “Dear Future Me” was written to a length a bit longer than that in only around 20 days, comfortably completing the challenge.
A large driver of this I think is the fact that “Dear Future Me” is an epistolary novel, told in the form of letters, in this story’s case all from the heroine to her future self. The whole story is told from her point of view, which is a first for me. The narration is also all in first person, which is also a first for me. The experience was a lot more fun than I expected it would be, and as I suspected I really like the epistolary format. I’ll definitely be using it in future books.
Dear Future Me: A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Rather than rephrase everything, I’ll quote from my original blog post announcing the creation of “Dear Future Me”:
Although the plot isn’t set in stone yet, the idea is that the main character, a young woman, wistfully dreams about getting a new life and a new identity, leaving her one one behind. Fortunately this world offers her such a chance to get a new start in life; the program she ends up enrolling in is called Chrysalis. The site of it is a a space habitat in low Earth orbit, a Stanford torus with a huge hangar in the low-gravity center of the structure.
It has such a huge hangar because it’s original purpose was to serve as a waystation enabling passengers to change from Earth-to-low-orbit spacecraft to interplanetary-grade spacecraft. It still serves this purpose and is thus very busy with many people from all over the solar system passing through. This traffic made it an ideal spot for space tourism, and this is why the original installation was replaced with the Stanford torus structure. The outer part of the torus, the habitat portion, is devoted to resorts, other tourist destinations, luxurious hotel accommodations for weary travelers waiting for their spacecraft to come in, and of course some accommodations for the workforce.
One of these resorts is the headquarters of the Chrysalis program, which is a year-long program akin to a finishing school or a charm school, though it goes much further in that charm schools don’t normally provide a whole new identity. For such a program a place that is halfway, in delta-v terms, between Earth and every other destination in the solar system the girls might want to start their new lives in, that is at once removed from Earth, that offers luxurious accommodations, and a huge number of people coming in and out all the time might be ideal, and that means this space habitat in low Earth orbit.
The objective of Chrysalis is to make the young women into refined, charming, feminine ladies. As part of the process of getting a new identity, the ladies get a makeover of their choice from the best makeup artists, a whole customized wardrobe of clothes and accessories to flatter them and bring to life the style they want, and access to the most advanced cosmetic procedures and surgeries this world offers.
The heroine of “Dear Future Me”, at first anonymous, then given the name Galatea as all the girls who start at Chrysalis are called before they get their new names, before finally choosing her new name: Imogen. The heroine suppresses her natural Midwestern accent in favor of a more Transatlantic, and thus more British accent, and also seeks to be very feminine and girly, reserved yet smoldering in presentation. Imogen, in addition to its association with British ladies, has a girly and spunky sound to it, and a great meaning too, being a Celtic name meaning maiden. I’ll quote my previous blog post again:
The latter are advanced indeed; with near-future-level technology culturing one’s own fat cells from a sample up to any quantity desired is technically and economically viable, especially for relatively wealthy people and organizations like Chrysalis. This means that breasts, buttocks, and more can be augmented or enhanced without implanting foreign objects and substances into the body. This is safer and healthier than today’s technologies, and also leads to a much more natural look for the augmented body parts. Indeed, when it becomes viable in real life it will likely be very popular and largely displace saline and silicone implants; such has already happened by the 2020s in this universe.
Combined with liposuction, the removal of fat, this means that women may attain a variety of figures for themselves. The main character is rather attractive to begin with but is skinny and doesn’t have a very curvy figure; she gets herself ample padding in her buttocks and especially her breasts to fill out her curves, creating a natural-looking voluptuous figure. She also wants to become softer and plumper across her whole body, and for this diet is used rather than surgery in the Chrysalis program. Exercise and fitness are emphasized for Chrysalis girls, but in this case balanced out by being well-fed. This is very common, since this universe never deviated much from pre-20th century standards of beautiful weight; what we call plus-size models are normal models in this universe. Exploring what timeless beauty would mean in a world with futuristic or even present-day technology is a very interesting prospect.
Some cosmetic enhancements, of course, are still done by traditional surgery. Our girl gets her nose slimmed down a bit, her eyes opened up, and her eyebrows lifted a bit by traditional surgery. Through fillers much like the ones we have today, she gets her lips plumped up to sensuous proportions, and makes her face look fuller and rounder all over. To top it all off she’ll be getting her hair, which of course will be styled sumptuously, extended in length. Already down to her hips, she always wanted it to be longer, but after some thought she wants to extend it enough so she can have a Gibson Girl bun twice the size of her head on top and still have a classic length mane cascading down from it.
This is a perennially popular style in this universe, where women usually wear their hair long and often don’t cut it back at all, but taking it to that extreme is rare, since it requires a heroic hair length to achieve, floor length at the very least, if not substantially beyond. Most women, including our main character, cannot even grow their own hair that long. Unlike our main character, most would not be willing to put in the work required to maintain the look, not to mention the effort required to get the hair extensions matching their natural hair the vast majority would need to look like that. I’m planning for our girl’s hair length and style to be the most striking characteristic of her look; between that, her voluptuous figure, and the custom-fitted lacy sheer dresses she’ll be wearing, she’ll undergo a major upgrade in sensual feminine beauty.
Another upgrade she’ll undergo is in her posture, her manners, and her deportment, as the charm school analogy would suggest. Her expressions and way of speaking will also be improved to fit her dreams. She will learn the art of conversation. A big portion of her program at Chrysalis will be cultivating feminine hobbies, interests, and talents, pleasant activities she can pursue, ideally ones that will also attract and entertain men. Visual arts, singing, gymnastics, dancing, and the playing of musical instruments, among others, will all be offered.
As part of the process of getting her new identity her entry into Chrysalis is anonymous, and she is, like all other Chrysalis girls who haven’t already chosen a new name, given the provisional name Galatea, after the character from Greek mythology, a statue who came to life after her creator fell in love with her. Chrysalis’s alumni association is called the Sisterhood of the Galateas for that reason. Though I’m still open to alternative possibilities, I’ve pretty much decided that our Galatea will take Imogen as her new name. [Note: She did!]
After a few months, she is prepared to undergo all of her cosmetic procedures, and does so. After her training is more advanced and she’s become accustomed to and poised in her new body, she will start meeting and going out with men, and this is where the romance starts to come in. Chrysalis matches its girls who wish to become wives someday, as Imogen does, with an abundant selection of the highest-quality men. Past this point this part of the story isn’t as well developed, but Imogen will end up loving a character who is, like Imogen herself was before Chrysalis, aimless in life, having become a flâneur of that space habitat, a connoisseur of the hangar and everyone in it, what in this universe is also referred to as a “hangarnik”.
Their background, their prejudices, and their suspicions will haunt both of them and their love for each other to the point of questioning their future together. I won’t spoil the conclusion. I wasn’t planning to include much in the way of action in this story, because nothing that seems appropriate and not shoehorned in comes to mind. If a more action-packed finale comes to mind, I’ll include it, but I expect it will be driven much more by the characters’ inner feelings.
She meets her love interest, named Bodo, at a beach trip, a young, handsome, yet somehow seemingly aimless and mysterious man who nevertheless has a passion for Imogen. Among other things, they share a common passion for dance; Imogen takes to ballroom dancing enthusiastically and makes it her new favorite hobby. She also finds a passion for singing; Chrysalis cultivates that, so Imogen by the end is a skilled singer and dancer, though she always feels her true calling is to become a wife and mother.
Her best friend in Chrysalis is Amphitrite, pronounced “Amphie-Try-Tee”, nicknamed “Amphie”. Amphitrite is a character from Greek mythology who was the queen of the sea. Amphitrite mentors Imogen, and Imogen in turn serves as a friend and mentor to a less-experienced Galatea, Arwen. Arwen ends up getting hair of a similarly heroic length as Imogen’s!
Considering that long hair is very fashionable in the early 21st century in this universe and that rich women don’t have to do their own hair it’s entirely possible that “heroic” hair lengths beyond floor length might become a trend, a fad, or even possibly a broader movement. Maybe Imogen and Amphie are at the cutting edge of fashion around 2020. I find it an interesting idea, though it might be a bit much.
The Next Chapter in Adamas Nemesis Books
After writing “Dear Future Me”, and in much less time than I expected, I’ve been giving some thought to what my next project will be. I actually like having fiction writing in my life, and am loathe to give it up after just two novels.
The idea that draws my mind, to the extent I’ve written a 700-word summary of what I’d like to do already, is a story showing the arrival of the massive interstellar colony fleet at Proxima Centauri, specifically its planet of Thalassa, sometime around 2060. As detailed in my blog post on my Thalassa concept, it would be a compelling setting to explore.
In particular the story of first contact between humans and the sapient avian Thalassans is what compels me. The story would follow the young man, born in transit and who has never seen a planet before Thalassa, who makes first contact with the Thalassans, alone in a small nuclear zeppelin cruising through the skies of the planet.
These skies are teeming with life, since the air is almost all oxygen and is 50 times as thick as it is on Earth at the surface. Earth-like pressure is found a full 20 miles up. The airy deep of Thalassa teems with life just as the watery deep of Earth does. Even better, Thalassa itself has its own watery deep far deeper than Earth’s, the ocean surface covering the whole planet. Yes, there is no land on this planet.
It’s tidally locked to Proxima Centauri, and receives much radiation from its sun, causing permanent auroras at each pole, spreading globally during solar storms. And that’s just the beginning.
I’m thinking our hero will be alone in his little zeppelin, save for one girl he takes with him, a beautiful young woman he reluctantly takes along so that both the masculine and feminine will be represented. Over time as they explore the planet their respect and admiration for each other will blossom into love and romance as they make discoveries both about the world and each other that could change their lives.
Until my next work, which will probably be this story unless I can think of something more compelling, I hope you’ll crack open and enjoy “Dear Future Me”. Also, if you want a more adventuresome story with pirates, planets, and hidden treasures you might want to crack open “The Hunt for Count Gleichen’s Treasure”.