What's the Deal With This Mysterious Book?

I've spoken at extensive length on this blog concerning my novel. In fact, the primary purpose of this blog — besides being a place to publicly store my short stories once I'm finished editing them — is to document my struggles and progress in general on this novel. In this vein, it primarily functions as a way of me working out my own concerns and thoughts and getting out onto the page how I feel the whole process is going. Essentially, its a personal diary, which helps me conceptualize how I'm doing and where I am in the process.

A result of this primary function, however, is that I've (so far rightly) assumed that very few people will ever look at this blog unless they want to read my short stories. Thus, it wasn't important for me to do any significant description or marketing of my novel, since, well, I already know what it's about and why I should be excited about it. The motivating assumption above, however, might not hold for very much longer, considering the fact that my writing group has shown some interest and I've started to get more views on my posts that aren't from myself.

In reaction to this, I think it's high time that I described exactly what the heck I'm writing, so that people who aren't me or my close friends, if they're interested in this blog, aren't totally and completely baffled.

First of all, though, if you're interested in the universe that I'm writing this novel in, as well as the world-building that I've done on it and the background details, go check out the Ceremony Universe page right here on my blog: it contains a very good high-level description of what you're looking at, as well as many pertinent links to my personal wiki.

In this post, however, I'm not going to talk about the background universe that much. Instead, I'm going to lay out a pitch for my book and then some more details about what happens in it.

The Pitch

Children of Abeona is my second attempt at writing a novel. It follows two central characters, Aedus and Cassandra, who must survive the fallout of an invasion of their home on the backwater colony world of, you guessed it, Abeona. Aedus is the elected leader (singular-consul) of the Abeonan people when the early warning of the imminent invasion arrives, and Cassandra is his wife and the colony's most knowledgeable engineer. They must survive war, the depths of space, political subterfuge at every turn, the death of most of those they care about, and one final battle with the enemy, but they do not survive as the same people they began as: Cassandra does what she needs to do to survive, and in the process endures experiences that would break a lesser woman (or man), and Aedus is tasked with leading his people on an exodus to the stars and returning to reconquer his world, over the course of which he loses his humanity and his sense of proportion.

Throughout the book, we watch our protagonists — and a few characters that surround them — overcome nigh-impossible odds. We root for Cassandra's survival even as we recoil at what she has to do to preserve it, and we praise Aedus' meteoric rise as a great tactician and leader of men even as we deplore his simultaneous descent into darkness and eventually madness.

The Genre

With this book, I'm trying to find just the right balance between hard science fiction and soft science fiction for the story that I want to tell and the characters that develop out of it. As of now, I've settled on an approach that Arthur C. Clarke would approve of: I have one Big Lie. So although I use cryosleep technology in this universe, all the other technologies I use are very possible: advanced, but still physically and even practically possible, fusion rockets, E-Ink displays, railguns, and actual lasers and projectile weapons. I have done significant research into the fusion rockets, and plan to do so for each other component of this mixture (even cryosleep) as the story requires.

Besides that, the book has a heavy focus on character development and realpolitik. The plot may not be jam-packed with high-concept science fiction or discourses on astrophysics or high-octane action, but it is tightly focused on the things that matter: action where needed, science where needed, everything as it serves the narrative as a whole.

The First Chapter

I'm going to regret this later, I just know it, because I plan to edit this chapter extensively just as in the rest of the book, but here's a sneak peek at the opening of the first chapter in my book, just to give you a taste.


Chapter 2: The House of Sura

What is man’s nature? Perhaps it is creation — that would be a fair assessment. Perhaps it is love, although that is too often generous. Perhaps it is jealousy or greed, except those are too specific. Philosophers, sages, demagogues, speakers, religious leaders: all of these have beliefs about what man’s nature is. Perhaps a synthesis of their theses could reach the Truth That Is Veiled, I do not know. What I do know is that the truest nature of a thing is the characteristic which remains when all associated circumstances have been stripped away.
— Yimu Sura, Natura Speculum est Scriptor (20500 A.A.P)
Aedus sat, observing the scenery and thinking, on Ecclesia Rock. The rock got its name from how it swooped out like a cathedral’s flying buttress from the tan, gravel slope of the hill behind him; the rock’s yellow surface was rough and warm from the giant, red sun that hung perpetually above him in the burgundy sky. Soon it would be the end of a “day”, although that meant little on a planet tidally locked to its star: the same hemisphere of the planet always faced its cosmic progenitor, so that the sun never set on the habitable side of the planet. Aedus checked his wristband for the time: it was important to retain a livable schedule, in tune with human rhythms, even in the absence of sunrise and sunset. It could be hard falling to sleep with a massive red disk glowering down from the heavens, but all Abeonans grew used to it eventually.
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