As always, I’ve been busy slaving away for my PhD program, this time mostly focusing on my Master’s project and my teaching assistant duties. Unfortunately for my sanity and free time, however, November also marks National Novel Writing Month, when I sit down to try and write 50,000 words on a single project in thirty days. If you haven’t come across the event before (abbreviated NaNoWriMo), I highly recommend you visit the site here. If you’re interested, you still have time to hop in and go; all you need to do is make an account and start writing!
This year, I’m hoping to get a huge chunk of my current main WIP, Dreadship Omnipotence, done (so far I’ve got 5,100 words written). By no means do I think I’ll come close to even finishing it, especially seeing as how it looks more and more like the story will become a trilogy. I have neglected to post any information about this work yet, though, so I’ll take a few minutes from my writing time to sum up this year’s NaNo project, and the current focus of my attention!
The basic plot, in blurb form, is simple: Idim Jyn is the captain of a crew of space pirates and smugglers in a transhuman future where the disparate factions of mankind have begun to journey down very different evolutionary paths, and the very nature of humanity is uncertain. When Jyn’s crew steal an experimental starship from a secret laboratory, they uncover a terrible truth and find themselves in the middle of a war against an unknowable godlike being from the far future.
My idea for the story began about a year ago, when I tried to imagine what it would be like to write my own spaceship-roaming-through-space novel (a fairly common trope, particularly in television shows such as Firefly, Lexx, Battlestar Galactica [to an extent], Farscape, and manga/anime like Cowboy Bebop and One Piece). I developed the character of the captain (who was then called Adam Jayne), heading a ship he arrogantly called the Dreadship Omnipotence leading a band of space pirates, who plundered and pillaged the galaxy as they willed and had a good time. My original conception of the captain was actually based on Jayne Cobb from Firefly, which was where I got the name Adam Jayne (the first names of Jayne’s actor Adam Baldwin and Jayne himself). In the current incarnation, this was altered to Idim Jyn and his personality is rather different, but there’s still something similar about Idim and Adam.
Alas, I shelved this idea for a while as I focused on other projects, until I ran across a neat roleplaying game called Eclipse Phase through one of my (far too few) friends. The game is set in a transhuman solar system, and it fired my creativity drives more than anything had in a while. I let the basic ideas of transhumanism, horror, and the black void between planets and stars guide me, and soon I came up with a rather detailed transhuman future, with an attached cyberpunk space opera plot and a cast of wild characters.
For the rest of the month, I’m going to try to post once per week with a short novel excerpt, and a brief description of the characters, the world, and the plot; the holy trinity. For next week, I’ll be writing a bit about the characters, so stay tuned! For now, you can check out the excerpt posted on my Works in Progress page if you’re interested, and then read this small excerpt below. Until next time, ta-ta!
“Have you been saved today?” the thing said to another man as he dangled a pamphlet in front of him. The man held a fry in one trembling hand as he slowly stood up and backed away, with one last longing glance toward his meal. “The great god Pan knows what to do! Submit to your inner nature and follow the three-fold path of the Druid! First, come to terms with who you are-”
The man was gone. The big figure frowned and turned to his friend, sitting across the table. “And you, ma’am, have you heard the word of our Great God Pan?”
“We don’t need your imperalist religion here,” the woman sneered, crossing her arms. “Religion is the opiate of the masses. You priests just use it to control the citizens of the Imperium.”
“No, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong,” the figure said, not unkindly. “I am no longer even a part of the glorious Imperium; I am an ambassador of my own free will. My unorthodox interpretations of the scripture led to my banishment, you see. But that just goes to show how truly great and flexible the great faith is! For even though I have been cast out from its noble ranks, I am still able to consider myself a true servant of Pan! I know that I have found his shade, and I am equally sure that soon my imperial comrades will join me!” The being cleared its throat, then continued. “The noble faith of Druidism can never control then, you see, but only liberate! It will help you connect with your innermost self, and help you find your place within the universe-”
“Eh, fuck you,” the woman said.
“Oh, indeed, that is one of Pan’s greatest teachings! ‘Men of the universe, be virile, and women, be fertile, so that life can ever increase and the universe will be filled with the vitalitous bounty of untold children, and thus may the cosmos come to know pure joy in richness and diversity!’ I would be honored to, as you say, fuck you.”
The woman stood up, edged away, and then fled without another word.
(c) Z. M. Wilmot