Weighing in at 53,000 words, my new space opera novel “The Saga of the Ilithianades” is out for your enjoyment! Buy it as an ebook, a paperback, or (ooh…) a hardcover at Amazon and crack it open! I’ll let the blurb at Amazon speak for this space-operatic family saga:
Over a thousand years in the future, the Sisters of Saga, a secretive all-female branch of the human race who propagate only by cloning and give themselves to the pursuit of knowledge and science, recruit Ilithiana, a woman of exceptional talent in this era’s most vital vocation, cosmography to chart the vast reaches of space and navigation to bridge them with wormholes, to be a progenitrix, the matriarch of a lineage of clones.
Inducted into the Sisters of Saga, she bears a clone daughter she names Anastasia, who in the fullness of time comes of age and becomes a Sister herself. As she starts her life as a Sister of Saga her mother falls in love with a charming daredevil pilot named Oberon. Finding in the Sisterhood’s archives an alien map leading to a great treasure, a ring small enough to fit on a finger and powerful enough to open a wormhole to anywhere in the cosmos without the need for a starship, Anastasia puts to work the cosmographical talent she inherited and deciphers it.
Telling her mother and her new darling husband all about the warp ring and her quest to follow the map and take possession of the treasure, it turns out Oberon has other plans, and intends to seize the treasure for himself. Racing across a jungle world filled with underwater caves, a world of enormous nuclear-powered creatures bathed in the lavender glow of liquid radon, and finally confronting each other in a climactic duel at a gravitational choreography of stars, they will meet not only the warp ring but also their own destinies in this, The Saga of the Ilithianades.
Well, that about says it all, doesn’t it? I finally got to use some ideas I’ve been kicking around for a while: parthenogenesis for future human beings courtesy of genetic engineering, the cosmographers and navigators I’ve hypothesized would be of paramount importance in this post-“Warp Dawn” era of the far future (“the age of navigators”), and (coolest of all) the uranium world with a liquid radon ocean and nuclear-powered life-forms.
Busy, Busy, Busy
I’ve been a bit busy, releasing new stories in August, September, and now October 2021! Now, one of them, “The Night of the Calendars”, was a novella rather than a full novel, but still! I’ve found that sitting down to write twice a day instead of just once almost doubles my output, but of course I have to be sufficiently motivated; some of these stories, and especially some parts of them, are a drag to write, or require me to figure out a lot of intricate details that I prefer to sort of make up on the fly, even if I am very much a planner when it comes to the overall plot and setting.
A Truly Alternate Historical Dark Academia Story
I’ve been thinking for my next project I’ll go back over a thousand years in the past, to the 20th century in fact, earlier than any other story I’ve written, and tell the tale of when Menteith Reinhardt, Count von Gleichen, spent some time in an elite college on Minnesota’s North Shore under an assumed identifty to see what these institutions are all about and how those who weren’t born with billions of dollars in the bank live.
I’m going to heavily lean on the “Dark Academia” aesthetic for this story, but the actual content won’t be very dark, so arguably the actual story wouldn’t qualify as Dark Academia; nevertheless, there will, true to Dark Academia’s roots, be a secret society created by Count Gleichen himself where the members are completely anonymous, wearing robes and masks to conceal their identities, with Gleichen preaching his ideas and showering them with luxuries, becoming known only as “the Benefactor”.
He gets this idea over the fall quarter he spends there to liven things up and make it more interesting, as the classes bore him, the rigidity rankles him, and the rising necessity of a college degree for the hoi polloi to have a good career disturbs him. He ends up earning his bachelor’s degree by the end of the fall quarter; he had self-studied and tested out of all the other courses, and only wanted to attend in-person to see what it was like.
There will be plenty of charming feminine company he sees discreetly as rich people are wont to do; young Teith Reinhardt absolutely loves this, even though he never acquires any interest in marriage or children.
There will also be a rather rich exploration of the alternate history that I have yet to get into; the year is 1969, and colonies already exist on the Moon and Mars, orbital space tourism is a thing, computer technology is comparable to what we see today, supersonic airliners and private jets are old hat, and zeppelins take tourists on cruises throughout the skies. But enough about that; I’ll go on about all the changes in a post dedicated to that story.
A tragic Far-Future Story?
I’m also interested in the “bloody wars” that were fought over the warp gates about a thousand years into the future before the law of dueling was put in place, a bit of worldbuilding I included in “Warp Dawn” that might be very interesting to explore. A romantic tragedy where everyone (and the population a whole planetary system!) dies at the end, triggered by the keeper of a warp gate going back on his word to his users and using that transportation choke point to enforce tyrannical dictates, would underscore the horror of the warp gate era in a way nothing else could.
It’s also by far the closest analogue to lockdown that’s plausible in my universe, though honestly border control and passport mandates would be the closest analogue. Having lived in crypto-anarchy for centuries and having the ability to just take their whole technology base with them in their spaceships precludes even the existence of a state, let alone lockdown policies at all but the most voluntary or local levels. The hydraulic despotism of controlling the only wormhole to other star systems, however, reintroduces a vector for coercion and regimentation, even if a gatekeeper is not a state in the proper sense.
I’m thinking of a protagonist with a Robespierre-like disposition, with a beloved girl who’s not unlike Lady MacBeth; fanatical and bloodthirsty, but morally incorruptible. Think, as TVTropes puts it, the Well-Intentioned Extremist. Indeed, the gatekeeper antagonist will also be a Well-Intentioned Extremist type on the other side of the liberty-tyranny political divide, so that might make a fascinating premise.
It needs more work, though, and in any case I’d like to strike while the autumnal iron is hot and get working on that Count Gleichen Dark Academia story.
In the meantime, enjoy my latest entry in romantic science-fiction storytelling, “The Saga of the Ilithianades”.