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What I Write

Have not really discussed what it is that I do write.

The short stories are all science fiction lite, mostly with an eye towards the youth market.  They tend to be near future – one or two generations ahead, at most – so you will not see people genetically reshaping their bodies into aquatic superheroes or uploading their consciousness to memory banks in three different galaxies.  The people I write about are pretty much like us, except that they are probably healthier, live longer, and have a bit more access to technology.  The future, in my mind, is better and more positive than most of the dark, leather-clad, cyber punk tales that routinely come out of Hollywood.  I tend to write about places and times that you would actually want to live.

Not to say that this will not change over time, but my stories are mostly set on Earth, around Earth, or at least in the Solar System.  I will, for the time being, leave interstellar travel to those who understand it better.  In my future, the asteroids are being mined, much manufacturing takes place in orbit, and we are sucking Helium Three off of the gas giants.

I currently have five stories of what I hope will be at least a dozen stories about the Howard family.  They are very much Heinlein’s Stone family, with the serial numbers rubbed off.  They do not, however, travel through space in the family space ship; they live in Grand Junction, Colorado, and all of their stories take place in or near home – except for the last three or so, if I ever get that far.  But I know the characters, I like them, and they are easy to write, once I think of something for them to do.

My novella is called Lifeboats and concerns the fifty-year evacuation of Earth, for reasons I will not go into here.  It is told as a series of vignettes.  Written in 1995, a couple of portions are a little too ideological for my current tastes and I should want to tone it down a little.  Not much – a sentence here or there, not whole paragraphs.  I also have some other ideas that have occurred to me and I may wish to double the size of the thing by the time I am done.

My novels, on the other hand, are not science fiction – at least, no more than a Tom Clancy novel.  The first, written immediately after Lifeboats, is Sky Yukon, the unlikely story of a young man trying to run an Alaskan bush air service.  Written right after my return from the Alaskan bush, it is rooted firmly in the mid-1990s and I wonder how much rewriting it would take to make it salable today.

The second novel, The Vanguard, is only nine years old and is a youth adventure novel, with four hundred Boy Scouts on a nine-month ocean voyage.  There is some action and a lot of intrigue, while our hero tries to overcome the many obstacles thrown in his path.  It is the first in a loosely-planned nine novels and I would just like to state for the record that the idea that each novel describes one year on the ship came about long before I ever saw or read Harry Potter.  Indeed, The Vanguard was in my head for at least five years before I ever set finger to keyboard on it.

Then, too, I have a whole list of story ideas waiting for me.  Less than half are science fiction.  So why haven’t I written them?  Time, of course.  Just about all the story ideas I come up with are novel length – I need a whole chapter just to clear my throat.  Uninterrupted and unemployed, it took me three weeks to write Lifeboats, probably three months to write Sky Yukon.  The Vanguard took a bit longer, though I was employed at the start of it.

It just takes time, which is why I want to start by publishing some of what I have written.  If I can make it pay a little, I can justify spending the time to write more.


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