Every science fiction writer has his own style. Mine is built around stories that take place in the near future, in which I try to imagine what would actually happen. Stories of far flung galactic empires or invasions by advanced life forms are certainly legitimate, and I occasionally like to read them. But I write about what I think is most likely to actually happen.
That calls for choices and the most basic is, will or won’t mankind find a practical, artificial immortality. I can’t think of a more basic divergence in fictional timelines. If we do, then events in A Fond Farewell to Dying and its two sequels strike me as entirely logical, even likely.
If not, then we are likely to go on breeding and increasing in population. We are also likely to explore our tiny corner of the galaxy before anyone perfects a faster than light drive. None of our present technologies would allow that. There are a dozen possibilities under consideration, but I am neither impressed nor interested. As I said in 23. Star Drives, it seems more likely that something out there which no one has thought of yet will slap humanity in the face and completely change physics.
You don’t think so? I suggest that you read some of the history of science. Science usually gets things right, but it seems to chase a whole battalion of wild geese first. In the short run, whatever is believed today is likely to be disproved tomorrow. Clinging too tightly to current doctrine is no way to predict the future.
In Cyan, an off stage character named Lassiter discovers that gravity has an inhibiting effect on the conversion of matter to energy. Do I believe that is so? Of course not. I do believe that we are due for a game changer fully as outré as that sometime in the next fifty years. Set your clock.
Cyan, due out momentarily, sets the stage for the exploration of nearby stars at relativistic speeds. While we are exploring Cyan around Procyon, off stage we learn a little about the planetary resources of Alpha Centauri, Sirius, Epsilon Eridani, Tau Ceti. and Epsilon Indi. Call it world building times six, it is a setup for a series of novels.
The first sequel to Cyan, plotted but not yet written, will be called Stormking or Dreamsinger, probably the latter. Stormking is a planet around Sirius A. Perturbation from Sirius B have given it a Uranian tilt, although paleontological evidence shows that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. The human colony lives in space habitats; they are beltmen from Sol’s asteroid belt who have escaped Earth’s destruction. They chose Sirius because Stormking, the only planet in the sweet spot for human life, if basically uninhabitable.
These refugees traveled to Sirius to avoid planetbounds, but during the crowded, decades long journey they had to embrace either fierceness or civility. The former would have killed them, but choosing the latter weakened their spirit.
They no longer tolerate deviations from the norm, yet they are too civil to institute punishment. What choice remains? They send their deviants into exile on Stormking.
Most of them died. A few lived and had children. By the opening of our story, most of the population of Stormking was born there. They have violated no laws, but their rough natures will not allow them to be repatriated.
Antrim, who has been tagged to act as anthropologist and study these children of outlaws, has just arrived on Stormking. He will learn more than he could ever imagine.