New Year, Novel Start
Late out of the gate
Honored samurai, ruthless ronin, wayward vagabonds, shadowy ninja and helpless villagers... welcome.
The new year has begun and things are already off to a running start. Between my eldest preparing for his high school entrance exam (TOMORROW!), a long-running fiction translation project (finally coming to a close in February), my wife’s birthday (and far too many boring things I’m sure readers could care less about), I haven’t had a moment to even breathe, let alone touch this newsletter. My apologies.
Last year at the end of summer, I entered a “write a gripping opening chapter for a novel” contest on Vocal (where I publish most of my work these days). The result was “Castle Oblivion”, a treasure-hunt horror adventure short. It touches on my love for Vampire Hunter D, mutant monster storylines and space opera. Since then, I have been working on it, and though I only have 6 chapters in-shape, much of it is roughed out. I’m hoping to have it finished in another year. (I’ll have a couple other much shorter projects out to share before then though.)
If you really can’t wait, I highly recommend reading The Immortality Thief by Taran Hunt. This was a bit of (un?)timely publication as it just came out after I wrote “Castle Oblivion” — monsters, mutants and a lost space station; everything I promised in my WIP. Frankly, I was both a little gobsmacked and frightened as I didn’t want to be seen as “copying”. I picked it up and read it anyway. It’s a damn good yarn, and though it’s the first part of a “trilogy”, it works as a stand-alone novel, in my opinion. And the most beautiful part is that there’s not much in common with what I have planned.
Two other novels I dove into this year, Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night (on recommendation from BatFonz). I’ll be honest, the protagonist drones on and on, but that I am enjoying for the fascinating concepts of ancient starships and legacy technology from long dead aliens set against the backdrop of “syster” star communities and pirates “halo” jumping in hyperspace. (WILD!)
And Aliette de Bodard’s The Red Scholar’s Wake. Readers not familiar with de Bodard’s work are in for a treat. Set in an far future alternate universe of warring Vietnamese empires, it has mindships (AI starships), pirates, tea, and all the Sapphic love you can handle. More than just space opera, it is hard scifi space romance, but without the silliness. De Bodard’s wordsmithing is gem-cut, with everything word, action, and thought of characters paring down to solid, riveting prose. It is an easy digest and packed to the gills with intrigue, action and (yes!) tea. This accounts for the greater body of her work, as well. If you aren’t sure if you want to pick this up, head over to Clarke’s World, where you can read free fiction from as far back (at least) as 2012. I can already tell you, this will be
one of my favorite novel s of the year.
We never meet without parting
Next issue... Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue vs Kamen Rider Black Sun — the 20th and 50th anniversary projects of the Masked (Kamen) Rider series. A dark look at the “super” heroes of Japan.
Made in DNA