The release of my fantasy series Refuge is just around the corner. As outlined in an earlier blog, I took the already too long first book, added more words to it, then split it in half and reworked both books as separate novels linked in a series. Exodus is my science fiction series, and I basically have the same plans for it as I have for Refuge. I will release the first two books of the series over the summer, followed by probably one book a year until the series is complete or I die, whichever comes first. Hopefully the series will come to an end with about fifteen books, exploring all aspects of the society and people of the Terran Empire as they are involved in a war of Galactic proportions.
The background storyline of Exodus is as follows, without giving too much of the story away. In the Twenty-fourth Century mankind has discovered travel by subspace, a dimension that corresponds to our normal space in a 1 to 12 ratio, meaning that for every kilometer traveled in subspace an equivalent distance of twelve kilometers is traveled in normal space. Using this essentially faster than light mode of travel the human race has colonized a half dozen worlds in the local group. First contact is made with an alien race that has been expanding their empire along the local arm for thousands of years. Humans who have supposedly surrendered on one of the colonies strike back at the landing craft of the aliens and kill the Emperor’s son. The Emperor of this race swears to annihilate the human species, and human worlds are attacked and all inhabitants killed. The Solar System prepares for the worst, building enormous escape vessels with tens of thousands of hibernating refugees and containing the sum knowledge of the human race. Only one gets away through subspace, and travels a thousand years to find a new home, hopefully far enough from the aliens to establish a civilization that will survive. During the trip the descendants of the original crew decide that since they have undergone the hardships of generations of travel that they should lead, and the colonists have a rude awakening to the prospect of a Monarchy. Eventually the government settles into a Parliamentary Imperium form. They grow and establish themselves as the preeminent power in their sector of space, over a thousand years never losing a war to any of the many alien powers in the region. The Fermi Paradox is also explained, as most races tend to self destruct, but the species in this area were bootstrapped into space by the now missing Ancients. Everything is going well with the Empire, which is celebrating its thousand year (Old Earth Calendar) anniversary. But here come the pursuing aliens. The Terran Empire is only slightly less advanced at this juncture and is catching up fast, but the enemy empire is twenty times larger.
As in all of my works, there are strengths and weaknesses to the technologies. I try to stay within the hard realm of science fiction, with a few noticeable breaks. There are no force fields other than electromagnetic barriers, and weapons are standard but powerful light amp, particle beams and missiles. Artificial gravity and inertial compensators are standards of the stories, and I ignore the waste heat problem of ships generating enormous energies, figuring that in the next fourteen hundred years the problem will be solved. The strategies and tactics are based on the strengths and limitations of these technologies. There are no magic disintegrators, and if a person is vaporized there are affects to the surroundings from all the heat. Hyperspace is the realm of interstellar travel, different dimensions of space nested in the structure of the Universe. Hyper one is a 1:9 correspondence with normal space, with each additional hyper dimension adding four times the pseudo speed. Hyper seven is the limiting dimension of travel, while hyper eight can be used to send information for a limited distance. Black holes and wormholes will also form a central piece of the background, and hopefully I will eventually link the series with my novel, The Deep Dark Well, which takes place far in the future. I will have charts and essays on my website explaining the technologies as I understand them, as well as sketches that hopefully will bring this Universe to life.
The main storyline revolves around the youngest son of the Emperor, a junior naval officer who has the leadership of the Empire thrust onto his shoulders when his family is assassinated. He must maneuver the halls of power of both the Admiralty and a Parliament that sees him as the lesser son of a great monarch, to be manipulated to their gain. Like a Turtledove novel there are a lot of characters with their own outlooks on what is happening on a very large stage. Many of their stories intersect at various points. Hopefully this will interest the reader in the larger story of a civilization faced with a total war of annihilation, and the characters will grow and flesh out during the course of the series. That is the ones that survive.
It is very difficult to write a novel in a setting that has the limitations of real physics restricting the technology. I love Star Trek, but in Trek the technology can almost always be altered to make the story flow more smoothly. In Exodus, ships must accelerate and decelerate according to their limits, which, while high, are not in the realm of instantaneous stopping and starting. Ships entering gravity wells in hyper are in for disastrous consequences. Ships seen a light hour distant are observed as they were an hour ago. It makes it more difficult to plot tightly, but in the end it makes the work more rewarding, in my opinion.
Next up will be more on this series and an excerpt from the first book.