Releasing novels in serial form seems to be making a bit of a comeback. Amazon for one is pushing the concept hard including re-releasing various works by Charles Dickens like Oliver Twist in their original serial form.
I picked that example because it highlights the issue I can’t get my head around. Why would you want to receive a novel that has been completed for over one hundred and fifty years piecemeal?
But what about a work in progress? Wouldn’t it be nice to receive each chapter as it is completed? Sure, but that assumes the writing process is linear. That has definitely not been my experience so far. I’ve written one hundred and sixty pages of Faraday’s Mine, but they are not even close to consecutive. It would be more like pages 1 – 50, 75-100, 130 – 140, 200 – 275. And there is lots of going back and reworking the story as I go along.
Which leads me to my question. I know many people who have read Newton’s Ark are waiting impatiently to see what happens next. Is there any interest in seeing Faraday’s Mine released as each chapter is completed, even knowing that they may change (radically) before it is done?
As I have mentioned previously I was very conscious in writing Newton’s Ark to keep the science as real as possible. The most speculative technology I included was probably the micro fusion reactor – a small, highly portable fusion reactor that could power a satellite for decades.
This technology requires us to find a way to build a self-sustaining fusion reaction that produces positive net energy. And then you have to miniaturize it – I’m going to ignore that challenge assuming we can solve the main problem.
This technology has been a decade away for the past sixty years. Will we ever solve this problem? Who knows. It may really be a only decade away, it may be another sixty years away or it may never happen. It’s hard to extrapolate from the experience to date. There has been some progress but not enough to be completely confident that the fundamental challenge can be overcome.
It is still an active area of research though. In fact I recently received an assignment to design a biometric security system (iris recognition) for an experimental fusion reactor facility!
This post brought to you by author of Newton’s Ark, D.A. Hill.
“Despite all the holo-movies you might have seen where they destroy the asteroid before it hits the Earth and everyone lives happily ever after, it isn’t possible with the technology and time we have available. To nudge the asteroid off course we have to hit it far enough out that we would need to launch now. Problem is we don’t have anything with the range and payload required….”
“Can’t we just nuke the damn thing when it gets closer to Earth?”
“Yes sir we can, but we risk turning a single very large asteroid into multiple asteroids, each still plenty big enough to wipe out a large city. Better to have only one object to track and to limit the impact to a single location.”
I think this quote from the article nicely captures my philosophy:
…fiction is all about the make-believe. But good science can make for a more plausible narrative, making it easier to suspend disbelief.
I’m attempting to explore similar concepts through fiction, with the goal of trying to understand how these sorts of technological developments might affect the human experience. My view is that when confronted with ideas this radical, stories are the best way to explore the possible implications. Otherwise it’s all too abstract, all to clinical, all too remote, and therefore all too easy to ignore, at least until it actually begins to happen and we’re totally unprepared.