Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction


Writing news & Nine Worlds!

Looking back over old posts, I see that I have not mentioned the Novel Rewrite for a while. It is still going on, and I’m into the last quarter and thus the tying off of plot threads and building to a climax. During the course of the rewrite I’ve added several new plot threads, changed a goodie into a baddie, and other similar things. The effects of these changes all echo down the lines and, like the cracking of a whip, have their largest effect at the end.

Which makes the rewrites I’m doing at the moment a bit more interesting, but also more complex, than some of the earlier work. Thinking my way through the necessary changes is not easy but I’m beginning to see my way through. In fact I’ve had some ideas during writing these paragraphs.

Meanwhile, it looks as if a sekrit non-fiction project might be moving forward. No concrete news yet, but something might be firmed up in the next couple of weeks. This is both exciting and rather terrifying.

And in other news, I will be at the Nine Worlds London Geekfest this coming weekend! I’m giving some talks on Herschel and Infrared astronomy, and will be on a panel about science and science fiction. I should also have some Herschel freebies to give away. Readers of this blog will get special treatment 🙂

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Writing Update

I haven’t blogged here about writing recently, partly because I’ve been it rather than wanting to write about it. The novel rewrites continue, and I’m in the middle of redrafting a couple of early chapters to make life harder, but much more interesting, for one of my central characters. This will hopefully also twist the two viewpoint characters together earlier in the book, but that’s for a later stage of editing.

So I have bravely deleted (or transferred into the ‘deleted sections’ part of my Scrivener file) something like 14000 words. Over the last week or so I’ve now managed to write about 4000 by way of replacement. This evening I had the interesting experience of the viewpoint character deciding I was going to write something different from what I had planned and telling me that the chapter was going to end here, not several scenes later as I had planned.

That doesn’t happen often. Not sure if it’s a good sign.

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A Writing Meme

This list of questions is circulating among writing friends. I’ve been specifically tapped by Jacey to do this, and it gives me a chance to write about the Work In Progress that’s a bit more structured than me just burbling on ad nauseam. So here goes…

What is the working title of your next book?
The Bourbaki Conjecture

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I saw a scene in that half waking state between sleep and consciousness where two people walk through an airlock into a generation ship, and find devastation. One says to the other “This place didn’t die, it was killed.” I had to find out how they got there, and what happened next. But that scene isn’t in this book. It’s probably in the sequel, or in the final volume of the trilogy.

What genre does your book fall under?
Hard SF with a bit of space opera.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not one of those writers (or readers) who plays fantasy castings, so this isn’t an easy one. Jewel Staite from Firefly would do a good job as the ship engineer (yes, I’m probably typecasting), while Noomi Rapace would be good as the scientist left behind by the Collapse.  Olivia Williams might work as the ship captain, but she’s a little too glamorous. Michelle Yeoh would be great as Colonel Cho. And as for the new pilot, Arthur Dervill would be about right, but he’s probably not young enough.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A remnant from the fall of Earth is revived in a very different world, and finds that the mystery of her survival hides a dangerous threat from her past.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will not be self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About seven months, but the rewriting is taking a long long time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d like to compare it with the work of Al Reynolds, but that would be pumping my own ego too much.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The Milford Writing Workshop. I took a 4000 word short story to them, written as a test for the world this book, and the putative sequels, would be set in. The short didn’t go down well, but in the discussion after the critting session, I answered all of the unanswered questions about what was going on, and more. They told me it was a novel and that I should write it. I did.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

A disastrous singularity, technological paranoia, an insane scientist gestalt, trans-neptunian habitats, exploring the Oort, and the secret history of the end of civilisation (though you’ll have to read the whole trilogy to really find out what’s going on).

And if anybody reading this is an agent, please contact me 🙂