Monday, December 8, 2014

Liked Interstellar? Consider reading Expedition of the Arcturus

I keep doing this. I write a story and publish it, then a film comes along on a similar topic. At least I seem to be staying abreast of the Zeitgeist of what's interesting.

I wrote and released "Simon's Beautiful Thought" sometime before the film "She" was released. That film was in the works for about ten years though so I'm not claiming anything here other than that I see a relevant and current topic and I like to write about it. I consistently come up with stories prior to film's being heard about or released.

By the way, if you haven't read my story about Simon yet, it's a good story to check out, and it's always free. It will give you the idea however, of whether it's worth checking out my other works and I suppose, it gives you a good perspective on whether or not I can write. Though it is one of my more general audience, tamer tales of in this case, science fiction.

ebook version cover
I'm happy to say that coming up with timely stories has happened again with the release of Christopher and Jonathan Nolan's, "Interstellar", by way of my short story, Expedition of the Arcturus (also available as an audiobook I should add). It's a quick but fun read.
audiobook cover version
I produced and narrated the audiobook myself. It was an interesting and lengthy process requiring some degree of technical expertise on the recording and production end. So far I've produced three of them. Arcturus, The Conqueror Worm, which is the first full chapter of my book, Death of Heaven, and The Mea Culpa Document of London, a medieval tale of horror and regret by a Judge of the Inquisition and a Witch Hunter.

The Arcturus story was first released on, a first rate, "hard" sci fi kind of an online magazine, where stories on the magazine are free to read online. I highly suggest, if you love good sci fi, to definitely check them out and support them. Let your friends know.

I also reported on an incredible documentary for PerihelionSF titled, Chasing Ice (page down a bit there to see it; there were originally two parts and there is only one left on the magazine archive now. For the entire article including the Q&A with a team member after the film and with photos, you can download my pdf of the article from my web site. I highly recommend watching this documentary, for the visuals if not for the reality it portrays and the warnings it offers.

I am also currently working on a new sci fi story for the magazine called, Rapture.

Expedition of the Arcturus, is a story about Earth's first generational spaceship sent to find a new home for humanity because of an impending global disaster. This isn't your clean, straightforward kind of story however, but it's not a bloody mess either. So if you like SF and not gore, this is a good story. Sam (the publisher) is strict about sci fi and not horror.

There is something else going on under the surface on Arcturus, however.

Told in reverse timeline, we are at first introduced to some of the crew of the spaceship Arcturus at the end of their journey. Then we step backward through time as we come to know more of them and about them and their situation until finally, we see how it all began and start to understand why things turned out how they did.

The title of the story came from a book I read years ago, A Voyage to Arcturus by Scottish author David Lindsey, published in 1920. A fascinating tale considered by some to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time.

I'm not trying to compare my story to Lindsey's in quality or story, it was just a tribute to a book I had greatly enjoyed and appreciated, and I wanted to pay tribute to the author and his tale. Much like I did with my first published story of social horror, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear in Anthology of Evil, 2012, which we have begun a re-edit on, and was a tribute to Isaac Asimov's first autobiography, In Memory, Yet Green, as I mentioned in last week's blog.

My Arcturus tale is a straight forward sci fi story. If you want something closer to David Lindsey's, you'd have to check out my book, Death of Heaven. Or perhaps the story I'm current writing on Wattpad, The Unwritten, a free and curious tale involving backwoods incestuous, serial killers, scientists in another universe and, a demon spawn's repeated attempts to literally escape from Hell.

I put all parts of The Unwritten into a Word doc and so far it comes to, 41 pages and 23,286 words with more to come. The gory, grisly scenes I had been talking about the last half of November (in case anyone reading this remembers or knew about that), those scenes are finally written and now available on there. That scene, part sixteen, grew into three parts and went on for a ways; but hey, when you have ten people tearing one another apart, took some space. As well as some time to plot out where everyone was standing and what they were doing.

Regarding Arcturus, people wonder sometimes if a story written in a reversed timeline was originally written in a straightforward, linear fashion, then cut and pasted regressively into form. Maybe some are. But I wrote this story of earth's first generational spaceship, a ship where people live and love, procreate and die during the course of their seventy-five year mission as it is and how you would read it now.

I wanted to open with some action. In coming up with the opening I thought it might be interesting to show the end of the mission, first. From there, came the thought to write it backward. I decided on the time frames to leap backward through, and then I wrote it that way, then repeated the process until the final and first scene played out in the end. It was a fun though somewhat melancholy story to write and I wasn't sure if Sam (the publisher at would like it or not.

See, originally I had written and sent him another story. About twenty years ago, I had come up with an idea for a story. Quite different than the story that played out and was eventually published, the original had a scientist who invented a new technology, trying to sell it off to avoid being killed for it. It involved spies and intrigue but it just didn't work out for me in the end for some reason. That story was about a new technology, something no one saw coming, and which may just be coming someday.

There have been advances recently actually leading toward that. It was also a technology first shown in the neo-noir dystopian sci fi film, Blade Runner, which they are now gearing up to producing a sequel to. I'm hoping that Ridley Scott gets to direct, but that's still up in the air. Interesting side note many people don't know, there are sequels to the first novelization of the original film (Blade Runner The Edge of Human (book 2), Replicant Night (book 3), Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon), all by K.W. Jeter.

According to Wikipedia: "These official and authorized sequels were written by Dick's friend, K. W. Jeter. They continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to reconcile many of the differences between the novel and the film."

The Blade Runner story originally being from a Philip K. Dick book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and having little to do with the film, really. I had posted in newsgroups back in the late 1980s that I was working on a sequel screenplay to the original film and got several death threats from around the country. I wished them all the best and indicated I lived in Seattle at the time if they wanted to come visit. No one took me up on the offer. However two people did offer to help me with the screenplay, which I never got around to completing, though I did map out a story line.

The story I was getting around to mentioning using the new technology, was EarVu and  the story is about a technology that could blow the social structures of the world because of what would ensue from it's utilization.

Consider what would happen if you could take an audio tape, any audio tape, play it through a machine and then be able to watch a 3D video of whatever was going on in the environment surrounding the microphone(s) at the time of recording. Of course, that's not just what happens in this story, not by a long shot.

Getting back to my Expedition of the Arcturus...

Check out my own story on my version of Earth's first generational space ship, if you get a chance. And see, Interstellar, as from what I hear, it's a definite yes on a film to go see.

Cheers! And a very merry Holiday season to you all, all around the world!

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