What is “Warp Dawn”? Maybe my blurb says it best:
A thousand years in the future, man has spread to the stars and fulfilled countless dreams, but faster-than-light travel is in the hands not of all who wander the cosmos primeval but rather a small elite who call themselves Keepers of the Warp Gates. One young man, Perun of Atlas, seeks to change that reality, to develop a new warp drive small enough for a ship and affordable enough for the common man, giving everyone power over their own destiny.
Perfecting his device, and exploring the unknown in its trial runs, he makes good on his threat to end the age of the warp gates forever, and finds himself marked for assassination by the Gatekeepers. Driven to the outer volumes of known space, Perun will, together with his new wife Emma and his new daughter Vesna, seek out a mysterious sisterhood, meet many alien species, confront the Gatekeepers, and usher in a new era for all mankind.
Setting the Stage for “Warp Dawn”
“Warp Dawn”, due to it being set a thousand years in the future in distant stars that have nothing to do with Earth aside from it being the homeworld of the protagonists’ ancestors, was the most interesting novel to write that I’ve made yet. It’s also, due to the easy interstellar and even intergalactic travel, the first novel of mine that I’d call truly space-operatic, since many alien species and many planetary systems are featured.
Like in “Letters from the Airy Deep”, the only planets featured are alien homeworlds rather than Earth or human colonies; the humans we see in “Warp Dawn” all live in spaceships and on space habitats. Even the protagonists’ starship, the Mjolnir, which uses a breakthrough wormhole generator, as small as it is affordable, as its stardrive system, is a space habitat miles on each side. A habitat this size is easily afforded by a husband and wife for the use of themselves and their young child, and apparently arouses little suspicion or attention in their home system of Atlas, one of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades cluster.
Earlier, before they set out on their journey of spreading the new technology, they live on space habitats that I envision as much larger than even that; while the exact scale is kept deliberately vague, they’re depicted in “Warp Dawn” as being big enough to have mountain ranges on them!
On one of these habitats Perun of Atlas, later no doubt known as Perun the Wormhole-Maker, succumbs to an artificially engineered virus, a biological weapon deployed by elements within the Gatekeepers to assassinate him. Despite his genetically enhanced immune system, it nearly kills him. At his side during this trial is his young new wife, Emma, who he married during the Kupala debutante festival, where men and women customarily pair with each other when they come of age in their culture, half a year earlier.
Our Heroine: Emma
A sensuous alabaster maiden with blonde hair and purple eyes, not to mention an opulent figure filled with the softest and most shapely curves, Emma would be an exceptionally beautiful girl today, but in her time due to genetic engineering those qualities are more typical, though not to the extent she enjoys them.
Emma’s body and personality are reshaped over the postnupital period to be much more pleasing to her husband, a process genetically engineered into their race (and many others) called “the bonding”, which also works, albeit to a lesser extent, upon husbands to make them more pleasing to their wives. Indeed, this very process is why Perun was so selective about who he made his wife at Kupala; as an exceptional genius, he feared his edge would be lost if he bonded, so he chose a very smart girl.
The Story of “Warp Dawn”
Over time they become closer and closer, to the point of becoming inseparable, spending half their day making love. Joined by their firstborn daughter, Vesna, a few months after the assassination attempt Perun perfects his device and sets out to prove it in test flights, first to the Omega Centauri globular cluster, then to the Andromeda Galaxy, and then to a galactic core which no doubt has no name in our time, filled with pulsars, nebulae, and a supermassive black hole.
After this first jaunt through the cosmic wild, he decides to seek out the Sisters of Mokosh, a matriarchal secret society and religious order so distinct they are a race unto themselves, masters of a vast intelligence network with eyes and ears in all important parts of the “Gaiagen sphere”, the roughly spherical region of space around Earth where humans and allied species predominate, including the Gatekeepers, and who have long been so desirous of autonomy from the large fixed installations known as “warp gates” in their (effectively) faster-than-light travel that they have gone to the great (even for them, and they are very wealthy) expense of constructing their own.
The combination of knowledge and natural convergence of interests inspires Perun to seek them out, and indeed an alliance is struck, leading to a crew of fifty sisters to come on board the Mjolnir in exchange for being provided the new technology for their own use. Because of the threat of assassination and other adversity they may encounter they steer clear of systems anywhere near Gatekeeper influence, systems also desirous of joining the interstellar traveler club on their own power.
Among these systems is a planet of kilometer-long dinosaur-like white-feathered aliens that has an extreme climate that makes Siberia seem like the beaches of California, a planet drenched in oxygen whose high atmosphere is filled with the vast honey-producing hives of eusocial bird-like aliens and its low atmosphere with giant flowers, and a planet of deep oceans filled with bioluminescent life where transparent squid-like aliens make the very precious wine of the abyss.
Meeting new friends as Emma is inducted into some of the Sisterhood’s innermost secrets as repayment for their generosity, Perun and Emma spread the new wormhole generator into so many hands it will be impossible for the Gatekeepers to stop all of them as they scatter into the infinity of the cosmos.
The ambition of Perun and Emma is to complete their most important mission of disseminating the technology, to confront the Gatekeepers, to uncover the true motives behind their desire to assassinate him, to publicize their criminality, to return to their home system of Atlas to participate in the next season’s Kupala festival, for Emma to be crowned the Queen of that festival, and to explore the infinity of the cosmos on a permanent basis after Kupala ends.
Will all or even any of their dreams come true? Why not buy the book and find out?
Warping to the next Adventure
What will be the next adventure to pour out from my mind onto the page of a book? For some time I’ve been interested in the idea of writing short stories set in the same universe as my novels, and I have a few ideas for simple, cute, entertaining little stories that give a snapshot of the space-opera world I’ve built, albeit the version in the 21st century like my other four novels instead of the 4th millennium as in this novel. I also have an idea for another novel-sized adventure in the 21st century and another such idea for the 4th millennium.
Like “Warp Dawn”, which in its case featured plenty of love and romance but with the protagonists already happily married at the start, my short story ideas deviate more from the romance template than my other four novels; indeed, at least one of which won’t be a romance at all, but rather will follow a single girl getting a makeover in space. The other is about a person custom-building a spaceship, which may or may not have a romance plot. Interestingly, my two novel-sized ideas return to the romantic form.
So in the future I’ll seek to branch out somewhat from the template I’ve established with my five books to date, though much of what readers know and love will carry over to the new works. I’m also considering delving into digital art in the very near future, so that might take some of my attention. No matter what happens, though, I love writing books too much to give it up anytime soon, so I expect those fingers will be typing out a new story before I know it. In the meantime, enjoy “Warp Dawn”!