Oct 12, 2014

Short Stories

I've previously mentioned, repeatedly, that I prefer long story formats such as novels over short stories. However, I do like to challenge myself and I sometimes can push myself out of my writing comfort zone.

During the past year I've been imagining short stories that might be written by Ivory Fersoni and Thomas Iwedon for publication in magazines such as Future Science.

During the past month I've surprised myself and actually written a few short stories. First was A Star King, a kind of fan fiction tribute to Jack Vance's novel Star King. There is more about A Star King in this recent blog post. At about 1300 words, A Star King is short and sweet.

Next came The Phasian Knot. While longer (about 4,500 words), I was still able to write it in a single day. I've also previously blogged about that story.

I've now written another story which I had intended to be a short story, but it quickly ballooned to 15,000 words and it currently ends with a teaser. There is another 7,500 or so words that I could add on without much effort.

I seem to be a failure at editing my own stories to tighten them up and trim down their size. Today I tried to clean up and trim the "short" story that I'm working on, but I ended up making it longer. Part of my problem is that I could not resist inserting Jack Vance into the story as a character.

I've long included Isaac Asimov as a character in the Exode Trilogy (see Foundations of Eternity). I first wrote Asimov into a story as a way to have some fun and pay tribute to Asimov. Until this week, appearances by Asimov in my fiction have all been set in the past, well before Asimov's death.

In my new story, I pretend that Asimov is still alive and living with us here on Earth. I'm a little worried that a fictional depiction of Asimov as still being alive might be offensive to Asimov's family. However, my story tries to be a respectful tribute to Asimov and his why not imagine that he got a longer life?

Possibly one reason "why not" is that I simply have too much fun resurrecting my favorite authors. While writing my new "short" story this week, I could not resist also throwing in Jack Vance as a character. Doing so almost automatically led to me adding in another character who could be depicted as reading an unknown Vance novel (Pharism).

Time Travel Technology
In his time travel novel, The End of Eternity,  Asimov posed an interesting question. Imagine that a person was taken out of one point in Time by using time travel technology. Might it be possible to engineer a new Reality Change that would cause a new "copy" of that person to come into existence? I assume that the answer is "yes": in Exode, within the Buld Reality, Deomede is the new analog of Ekcolir who was born in the previous Reality and sent into our current reality as part of the Reality Change that created the world as we know it.

Deep Time
It is convenient to have a terminology for discussing time travel and Reality Changes. I've now started using the term "Deep Time" to refer to events in previous Realities, lost events that do not exist in the timeline of the universe as we know it.

Sessily and Glawen
For my new "short" story, I pose another question about time travel. Might it be possible to carry out a Reality Change that would bring into existence a person who had only previously been a fictional character in the previous Reality?

Keeping with my theme of including characters in my new story who are already dead, I selected for resurrection a Vance character who died in a rather dramatic fashion. In Araminta Station, Sessily Veder was raped, murdered and her body sealed up in a keg of wine.

What kind of life might Sessily lead if she were allowed to live on Earth, here in our time? What would you do if you found yourself reading a novel and came across a fictional character who seemed to be you?

I've previously suggested that the vast higher dimensional space of the Sedronic Domain contains the "echo" of past Realities. If a coded record of all parts of Deep Time exists within the Sedronic Domain, and if the basis Reality Viewing is simply decoding information in the Sedronic Domain that represents possible future Realities, then why couldn't someone clever trigger a Reality Change that would create a new person who is indistinguishable from a fictional character in a past Reality?

It might be a very small and subtle stimulus that triggers an early human embryo to undergo twinning. Someone with access to Reality Viewing technology should be able to bring into existence a new Reality in which any given individual is a twin.

So what if Grean looked into the Buld Reality and saw a role for a twin of Jack Vance, but not a twin born in our Reality, but rather, a twin of Jack Vance's analog in the Ekcolir Reality? I've previously described how Grean, Trysta, Thomas and Ekcolir all travel through time and help bring the Buld Reality into existence.

What if in the Ekcolir Reality, the analog of Jack Vance had an identical twin bother. What if one of those twins was brought out of Deep Time and was given a chance to live, here in our Reality? Further, imagine that within the Ekcolir reality, the two Vance brothers were both authors.

I imagine that such a Vance twin, existing here in our Reality, might write some novels that could extend the Alastor series that had been written by "our Jack Vance".

by Stephan Martiniere
What would book publishers do if they received a manuscript that seemed to be an unknown novel by Jack Vance?

Serial Publication
One solution the problem of a long story is to simply split it into parts. My biggest challenge in doing this for my current "short" story is that I am trying to write science fiction mystery. I need to have the ends of my story segments tie up the loose threads of a mystery while also leave a few threads dangling and leading readers towards the next story segment.

I have one more self imposed constraint. I'm trying to link my story to older, existing parts of Western literature. For my first story segment, I provide a tip of my hat to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. In the second of my mystery story installments, a famous Biblical figure plays a critical role. In the third segment, I finally resolve the mystery surrounding Jack Vance as a character in the story and I explain the appearance in our Reality of a book and a fictional character from out of Deep Time.
More book and magazine covers.

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