Forty days remaining in Transilience's funding campaign. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The number of days it rained and flooded the Earth.
The number of days Moses prostrated himself before God in order to save the Israelites.
Half the number of days Phileas Fogg wagered it would take to circumnavigate the Earth.
Time is running out.
Since my last Update, I've been sifting through detritus of sections of Transilience that feel mercilessly to my editorial sword. Between my 5th revision and the current, which I call the 9th but is probably the 10th, I hacked out roughly forty thousand words.
You aren't misreading this. Forty thousand words.
Ah! You see...another instance of forty in the Update's narrative. Perhaps Mr. Bragg is more clever than we thought.
Whole chapters fell to the wayside like chaff to the sickle. Three chapters became one chapter. The narrative tightened. The pace quickened. Exposition shortened. Verb choice revisited.
One of the chapters that did not survive the blood bath was a Prologue. Yep, Transilience contained a Prologue once upon a time.
I wrote it because it takes place outside the scope of the narrative. It happens before Charlotte Rennick steps into 3rd Street and disturbs Helmqvist's perfectly quite afternoon. I didn't seem right to slap a Chapter 1 on it and keep going. I wrote it because I thought it a clever way to introduce the crime and present the reader with a ton of clues that would only be relevant later in the narrative. Unless...the reader happened to be particularly insightful.
Then a couple of things happened. One, I discovered there are very strong opinions about Prologues. Many of my favorite books contained prologues. "Concerning Hobbits" is approximately 4000 words of genius and I cannot imagine Lord of the Rings without it. Prologue hatred surprised me. Also, I am not one easily swayed by the prevailing opinions of the Internet. Usually only those who shout the loudest are the ones most readily heard. It does not mean they convey the dispositions of the majority. Nonetheless, those who railed against prologues did factor into my thought process. I can't deny this.
Two, after a long hard look at the prologue, I decided it didn't really add much to the narrative. Everything contained within the prologue will be brought to light before the reader reaches the final word of the last sentence. Covering the same ground twice felt like I was padding my word count. So I axed it.
But good news for the now curious. I have decided to include it here. If you so choose, you can read the prologue and perhaps decide for yourself if it adds anything, or too much, to the narrative. You'll excuse any formatting issues. I will try to correct them as best I can. And now on with the prologue....
21 June, Earth
With its faded sign, blacked-out windows and general state of neglect, the TLS Intergalactic warehouse looked like every other structure jammed into Newark's sprawling, overcrowded Hudson River waterfront. And yet, while most of its neighbors bustled with activity, this building gave every indication that Industry had forsaken it long ago, which is precisely why it had been chosen.
The large open space of the warehouse’s interior contained six things: a recently opened shipping container; an industrial waste barrel with various symbols to denote caustic materials; a desk with a chair; a portable computer resting comfortably on the desk; and a backpack slouched next the computer.
In the gloaming of the unlit space, a man at the desk waited for the computer to finish its start-up routine. Once the beeps and the clicks from the machine stopped, a question appeared on the 3D display projected from a small lens atop the machine.
>;;; Who is more a fool, the fool or the fool who follows the fool?
Automatically, the man typed in his response on the next line:
>;;; When a wise man gives you better counsel, give me mine again.
He looked it over before pressing Enter. The response didn’t make any sense, or at the very least, it did not directly answer the question. Perhaps that was the point. He tapped Enter and another line of text appeared.
>;;; Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
In answer to this challenge, he wrote:
>;;; And thou, all-shaking thunder, smite flat the thick rotundity of the world!
He pressed Enter. The screen went blank and a monotone voice came over the speakers:
“Identity confirmed. Hello, Oswald. Are you ready to initiate the activation sequence?”
“Yes,” Oswald responded without elaboration.
“Acknowledged. Initiating sequence now.”
The 3D display filled with line after line of letters and numbers in seemingly meaningless combinations. Oswald’s eyes flashed left to right with impossible speed. When the sequence was complete, the computerized voice announced:
“Download concluded. The device is now activated. Please continue to the delivery point before 2:00 PM local time.”
Without warning, an electrical jolt surged through the computer and destroyed the hard drive and motherboard.
The death of the machine threw the warehouse further into darkness. Oswald rummaged for a flashlight out of the backpack, and used it to examine the the contents of the backpack.
Inside was an “I [Heart] New York” baseball cap, which he put on, a digital camera with an extra battery, a tablet computer, and a tourist’s map of Manhattan. All seemed to be in order. Time to go.
On his way out, Oswald dropped the computer in the vat of acid. It made no noise as it sank into the liquid. Within seconds, the machine was no more.
Oswald caught the 11:30 PATH train to lower Manhattan. Twenty-four minutes later, he stood outside the World Trade Center memorial site. With thirty minutes to kill before catching the northbound #4 at Broadway and John, Oswald did what he thought any tourist might do: he took photos of the monumental structure, commemorating the lives lost in one of the most unforgettable terrorist attacks in the modern era.
After a short bus ride, and a cab at Canal Street, he was at the Grand Central terminal in time to catch the 1:00 PM M15 to 1st Street. Fifteen minutes later, he stepped off the bus and looked up at the iconic buildings that were the headquarters of the United Nations. Oswald crossed the street and joined a queue of teenagers waiting to pass through security.
The biometric scanners, x-ray machines and metal detectors were his final obstacle. He would either make it through without issue, or he’d be taken down forcibly. If the latter happened, he had no idea what would transpire next. He didn’t have a contingency plan, but that wasn’t his problem anyway.
However, all went smoothly. His backpack passed through the x-ray machine, and he stepped through a booth that checked for metal, explosive resin, and known toxins. Nothing dangerous detected. The guards allowed Oswald to pass.
It was nearly 1:30 PM. Thirty minutes until the event. He wandered around Millennium Park and enjoyed a beautiful summer day in New York. At 1:59 PM, Oswald found a bench to sit on and waited for what would come next. He experienced no fear, nor did he succumb to the nervous habits one might feel in a situation such as this. In fact, he felt perfectly at ease. Oswald’s entire purpose in life was to be an agent of change. And he had fully committed to this fate.
When 2:00 PM chimed on his watch, Oswald heard a small, nearly imperceptible click. The countdown had reached its terminus. For him, the seconds that followed were not filled with the panicked screams of thousands caught in the sudden, unyielding power of the device that he carried within him. They were not filled with the sounds of glass, metal and concrete being rent asunder as the very world gave way to the heat and force from a blast of unimaginable power.
For Oswald, there was only the momentary flash of light - as brilliant as a super nova - and then nothing. His destiny had been fulfilled.
He simply ceased to be.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I think it's pretty good, but ultimately not necessary, which is why it know resides in the File for Misfit Chapters.
On funding, Transilience has been ordered by some truly amazing people. That some of you are complete strangers to me but want to be apart of getting my book published humbles me. I seriously cannot thank you enough.
However, as it stands, Transilience will not even meet the base eBook goal; let alone becoming an actual paperback. I need a lot more help and a lot more generosity in the next forty days.
Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell the person standing in front of you at the coffee shop...and why not...the person behind you! Support Transilience and be a part of something great!
Oh! Before I forget....I have recently read, and wrote a review for, Pearson's Papers. It's a novel by a guy I met in a writing forum and I am the better person for the acquaintance. If you are a fan of historical fiction, American history during the Civil War, or a good detective novel, check it out here.
Good morning, everyone!
INT. A MESSY LIVING ROOM - DAY
Now that the Sword and Laser Contest is over, I've done what any person would do without a lick of sense when it comes to marketing: updated my book's cover and provided more information about it in the form of a synopsis.
Would it have helped generate more interest in Transilience during the contest? Maybe. I dunno. The past is the past. Insert more platitudes.
What matters most is that the earnest belief these additions will generate interest and enthusiasm about Transilience for the remainder of its funding campaign. I need to convince a whole lot of people to part with their money in the next 49 days. Money well spent. That much is certain. Nonetheless, this isn't the powerball and therefore requires a tad more persuading.
Here is the cover in a much larger format.
Okay...that was really big! I can't seem to resize the image either. Are you still here???
The blurb in the top righthand corner may seem out of place when compared to what else you may have read with regards to Transilience. Rest assured, it fits perfectly. The idea of legacies forms the central theme of the novel. It is what ties the two cases together and ultimately allows the reader to assess the values and morals of the characters, and perhaps even the world in which we inhabit.
One final thing before I sign off.
I would like to thank my buddies, Mike and He-who-shall-not-be-named, for the generosity in supporting Transilience. I have known these guys for a very long time and shared in some pretty astounding adventures in real life and fictive/virtual world. Simply uttering the word "Shar" will bring back a flood of memories about a D&D session that was simultaneously some of the worst story-telling I ever subjected anyone to, and the most memorable. And it was in the unforgiving jungles of Chult with Mike that I experienced my one and only TPKs. I am very happy and proud to have your names listed in Transilience.
Ah the penultimate day of the Sword and Laser Contest!
Barring some sort of late surge by a dark horse candidate, it looks like the Top Three places are set. I congratulate Joseph, Mathew and Craig. It is good to see such excellent work acknowledge.
A Top Ten finish for my novel could happen with seven more preorders (at the time I am writing this). It'd be pretty awesome to poach that tenth spot as the contest comes to a close. So why not make an excellent day even better? Support Transilience and be a part of something great!
Speaking of supporting Transilience, I offer a hearty thank you to Murdstone for his Super Reader pre-order. Many a battle have we shared in the hostile world of Dungeon and Dragons Online. Many a fine ale have we brewed in the bitter cold, the biting rain and the occasional bout of sunshine. Aside: Never ever ever let someone convince you to travel to Sweden for the weather. Unless you are a polar bear. And many a scheme have we hatched in pursuit of a mutual goal to add "Purveyors of Fine Ales and Delicious Food" to our resumes. I am glad your name will be contained within the pages of my novel.
By all accounts a rather short entry for me. I guess I can be succinct when I want to be. :)
I promised an update yesterday and here it is today. A day late but hopefully you won't feel short-changed.
First off, my thanks to A.C. Weston for supporting Transilience and for allowing me to wax on at length about the role of females in the novel. I encourage everyone to check out her Author page and her book, She is the End, which has cleared the eBook publishing milestone.
Why Mars? Why set my novel on the Red Planet?
I know right? Mars Mars Marsity Mars Mars
Lots of news about Mars. How we are going to go there. How we are going to get there. How we are going to live there. How we are going to science the shit out of it and make it the next hot spot travel destination. It makes sense to capitalize on the fervor, right??
Ah yes...if only I possessed that level of cleverness, or foresight, when I sat down to write Transilience. Because I fear my reasons are far more pedestrian than a keen insight into these sort of things.
Deep breath. Release slowly. And deliver the sad truth....
I chose to set Transilience on Mars because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not convincingly set the novel in an existing city. It's been nearly a decade since I lived in a major metropolitan area. A decade!
I lived in Detroit. I am from Detroit. Well...that is to say, I grew up in the suburbs, went into the city for baseball and hockey games and then left. However, I did actually live in the city when I went to grad. school. I also lived in Ann Arbor, which is a pretty amazing city for a place that began life as a college town.
However, my time spent in these places specifically are now nothing more than memories. Places frozen in time. Perhaps they exist currently much in the same way as when I haunted their streets, but I can't say for certain. Doubt is never a good position from which to begin any undertaking.
To make an attempt to locate my novel in Detroit or any other place on Earth would require the heavy use of the Internet. But how much conviction, how much authenticity can one conjure from Google Maps and web searches? Where ever I chose to set Transilience would've about as much substance as those stage towns in Westerns. Looks good from the outside, just don't poke your head through the doorway. It'll destroy the illusion.
Chandler's LA, Dickens or Doyle's London, Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh, Capote's New York, Murakami's Tokyo. Larsson's Stockholm and so on and so forth. All of their novels feature a city that possess a vitality to it. A familiarity that is imparted to the reader by the experiences of the author and how the city has shaped their view of the world. You can't recreate that type of authenticity from a web browser.
That left me with the decision to create a city on my own. I used my imagination and my memories of the places in which I have lived. And viola! New London came into existence! It is an amalgam of all that I love about some of the greatest places on our little planet.
I chose Mars because I believe it is the next great frontier for human exploration and settlement. However, I also chose Mars because Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet and Burrough's John Carter of Mars series left an indelible print on my mind. And, I chose Mars because I first watched Total Recall at that age when things stick with you. The same goes for Mars Base Sara, the Mars Staging Grounds and the Mars Orbital Armory floating around the Red Planet (props if you know the references). I chose Mars because it is the birthplace of Spike Spiegel. I think those are all pretty good reasons.
If I haven't lost you yet, it might be because you're wondering why, if I did choose to place my city and all my characters on Mars, it isn't a bit more exotic. Good question...even if I didn't pose it as a question.
I believe that in the expansion of one civilization or civilizations there has been a concerted effort to recreate the familiar. As the Greeks and, then, the Romans pushed the boundaries of the empires outward, they built cities that all contained stuff that made them very Greek, or Roman, right? Amphitheaters, baths, forums, architecture, aqueducts, and so forth. The familiar.
Once we colonize Mars, I see the same thing happening. I see a nascent city on Mars as a reflection of the people who founded it and populated it. It will contain the familiar. Because it doesn't matter how far into the future we will go, there will always be seedy bars, run down factories, and utilitarian architecture juxtaposed against the outward of expression of wealth and power.
Oh! And the ending wouldn't work very well on Earth. There's that too.
I'm sitting here writing this update whilst listening to Yoko Kanno's Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OST and reminded of two things. One, just how talented a composer she is. And two, how amazing of a series GITS is. I hope the big budget production isn't a let down.
What a weekend Transilience has had! Ten preorders in the span of about 48 hours. I have a few people to thank and what a wonderful burden it is! So a hearty THANK YOU to Tim Merchant, Gareth Fernie, Joseph Asphahani, Mr R W H Bray, Amanda Orneck, Billy O'Keefe, Steven Davies and Tony Valdez.
Transilience has also received some fantastic reviews. That complete strangers would write such kind things about something I have created is humbling. So please allow me to use this polite expression to the compliment received. Mr. Ryan, Mr. Cargnan, Mr. Sobin and Mr. Asphahani, Thank You!
A quick aside: Mr. R W H Bray has written a book, himself, which is currently in the midst of a funding campaign of its own on a UK site called Unbound. Rich is a friend of mine and he really knows how to spin a yarn. His novel, In Cathedral's Shadow, is about love and loss and murder and the dark places of the mind and heart. All set in a small university town on the east coast of Scotland. You can check it out here.
Back to my stuff. Check this space tomorrow where I offer an insight as to why I set Transilience on Mars.
Until that moment, during that moment and after, if you haven't already, please consider supporting Transilience. And tell your friends about it! Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, coworkers, acquaintances, people whose lives you think will be enriched by good literature!
Publication date is listed as December 2016. What better way to get some early Christmas shopping done than to order Transilience? Wait! So we are clear, that's a rhetorical question unless you happen to agree with it. Then I say, "I know! Pure genius, right?!?"
Let's keep the momentum going as the Sword and Laser contest deadline fast approaches. You know what they say about a rolling stone. It's probably set off by a tiny golden statue that looks like my grandpa, and will either crush under its enormous weight or seal you into a spider infested temple forever. So GO GO GO!!!
One week of the Sword and Laser Collection Contest left. It ends at noon PST on Jan 15th. A Herculean effort will propel me into the Top Three. Not impossible. Perhaps more accurately, that place where the possible and the impossible meet. If I can get enough preorders by Friday of next week, perhaps I can achieve the possimpible.
Why spend your hard earned money on my little novel?
It's a damn good story, that's why!
If you like novels that capture the essence of Bladerunner, or the novel which inspired it Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, you may like Transilience.
If you enjoy classic science-fiction, you may enjoy this novel.
If you are a fan of old school Noir and Hardboiled Detective Fiction, you may want to read Transilience.
Transilience is also a completed novel. No waiting around for me to finish it. As soon as this baby hits the necessary support levels, the publication machinery can hit the ground running.
Transilience is a well-written novel. It is an opinion held (fortunately) by more than me. Full of strong verbs. Well constructed syntax. And a balance of dialogue, action and exposition to move the narrative along to a conclusion that echoes such cinematic greats as Sunset Blvd., A Touch of Evil, In a Lonely Place and Double Indemnity. Transilience could very well be the best novel you've read this year! :)
I also have two novels featuring Daniel Helmqvist planned. Getting Transilience out there will certainly help with the others. Book Two is already underway. If Transilience has an ISBN, I can only imagine how much more motivated I would be. (Sorry about the triple alliteration. These things get away from me sometimes).
I'll stop here. I hope you agree with all or some of what I've written. If you do, your support of Transilience will be welcomed and thanked beyond the superlative.
The faded sign for 1643 Edison hung to a perimeter fence by a screw too stubborn to let go.
It has been exactly one week since I uploaded a sample of Transilience. And, I have to say, my experience on Inkshares has been a rather exciting one. It's given me an opportunity to find a group of writers who share the same hopes and dreams that I do. The chance to be published. To take some agency in the process - to circumvent the slush pile - and let the strength of our writing and our ideas determine our fate.
With that in mind, I give a hearty Thank you! To those who have already supported Transilience. Your generosity has pushed Transilience one step closer to becoming a reality.