Still a lot going on that is interrupting my writing. The move is almost completed, meaning I still have some cleaning to do at the old duplex. Still a lot to do at the new house to get it all together, but the office/library is finished, and I am starting to get some work done again. Good thing, because the projects are starting to pile up. I have finished my story for the Prometheus Project (more on that in the next blog), am working on the first rewrite of Kurt’s Quest, the fourth book of the Refuge series, and am getting some work in on Supernova, a spinoff Tales of the Empire book set in the Exodus Universe, also involving Exploration Command.
So, what is Exodus: Tales of the Empire: Exploration Command? This started out as a story I submitted to Kevin J. Anderson for his Five By Five Three anthology, which is available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and the Baen Bookstore. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. I have another Novelette, Goliath, in that volume, and there are stories by Kevin, Michael Stackpole, Sarah Hoyt, and Prometheus Award Winners Dani and Eytan Kollin. A great lineup, and definitely worth the price. Fans of Exodus will only be able to read Goliath in Five By Five. So, I had written a story about Exploration Command called Retribution. Written in my normal style, lots of characters, lots of points of view (one reason I like writing novels more than short stories). Kevin wanted a lot of changes made, but I decided that now that I knew what he was looking for, I would give him another tale. And use Retribution for something else. Of course, at that time I wasn’t sure what that would be. I could publish it as an individual short story for 99 cents. That’s done often, and in fact, I will be doing that with my Prometheus story. But I really didn’t want to do that here, so I decided to write two more novelettes and package them as one book for $2.99. Each of the stories is over fifteen thousand words, long for a short story, and what some people are calling novels (but aren’t. Even the short novels of the 50s and 60s were 50,000 words. Altogether the three of them just about equal one of those older novels.
The three stories all cover Exploration Command, the arm of the Fleet responsible for pushing back the boundaries of the Empire, discovering new knowledge, and, hopefully, discovering new tech that can be used in the war against the Ca’cadasans. During the war Exploration Command is on the short end of the stick as far as resources are concerned, but it still soldiers on and performs its function.
The first story in the anthology is Retribution. An exploration team discovers a devastated world, and human missionaries who are obstensively there to help. Or are they? Second up is Timeless. A derelict ship is found in orbit around a dead planet, which itself orbits a red giant. How long has the ship been there? And how can something tens of millions of years old still function? The third story, They Don’t Care, came to me after my friend Roberto Ravoni, my number one fan in Italy (maybe my only fan, though I have sold books to some other people there). Roberto sent me a link over Facebook to the Helloween song, They Don’t Care. He thought the song fit with the Exodus series, and I had to agree. So what does a captain do when she discovers a number of dead alien species, and the evidence points to a single renegade species?
This my first foray into publishing shorts in an anthology form. The success of this effort will determine whether I continue. It will be interesting to see how these stories fare. Next up will be a post about the Alvarium Experiment and the Prometheus Project.