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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Eden's Revenge - Prologue

I'm working on Book 3 of the Eden Trilogy, about six chapters in (out of thirty).  Below is the current opening section (Prologue). There are two types of Prologue - those that tell in straightforward exposition what has happened in previous books, and who the characters are; and those that bring the reader into the new book via a story in itself. The first is pure exposition and can be a bit boring (and maybe a bit lazy on the part of the author). The second is more challenging (risky), and so is more interesting for the reader and author alike. Here's an extract from the current version I'm working with, the first page or so:

In the darkness of the inter-galactic void, just outside the Hourglass Galaxy, a ruby gash opened in the fabric of space. The tear widened to a bloodshot eye, an obsidian pupil irising open at its centre. A ship emerged, shaped like an elongated crossbow, metallic hues of aquamarine and scarlet rippling back along its ten kilometre long shaft. The eye blinked and was gone. Space snapped closed as if the portal had never been there.


The ship and its four passengers hung outside the shimmering galactic barrier that billowed like a giant, translucent sail, buffeted by dark energy riptides trying to seep in. The three humans in the arrowhead fore-section stared in awe at the broiling tumble of stars speckled with violet nebulas, the galaxy’s tightening ‘waist’ visible as a brightness that hurt the eyes after nine years inside the trans-galactic shunt. The fourth occupant, Kalaran, was elsewhere and everywhere on the ship, his mind long since melded with its organic-metal physiology. He sent the access codes, but the barrier stayed up.

Kalaran fired the tiny black-hole syringe into the barrier, and it set to work, quiet and invisible for now. He’d designed it himself, and imagined it chewing its way through the barrier’s epidermis, numbing the galactic sheath as it bit deeper, to prevent alarms being raised. He checked that the hollow moon he had hauled all the way from the Silverback Galaxy – which humans called the ‘Milky Way’ – was intact, and remained masked in its null-entropy field. He hoped he wasn’t going to need it, but it was insurance; Kalaran hadn’t come this far for nothing. If he was going to stop the enemy, Qorall, whose troops had already overrun half the Silverback galaxy, he needed an ally, or at least another Kalarash ship, only seven of which existed in the known universe. But he was Level 19, unused to asking for anything, let alone saying “Please.” He was more comfortable with stealth. Yet he’d been contaminated by these humans’ morality, so just this once he would try.

After reaching the age of two and a half billion angts, Kalaran had hoped he was done with arguing. Within a few human days his former colleague arrived at the other side of the barrier, and the onslaught began. Kalaran had at least expected a ‘Hello’. Truth was, when there were only seven of your species left in the entire universe, each in its own adopted galaxy, and all of them leagues ahead of every other registered species, privacy became a premium, and irritability a honed reflex.

He didn’t stop Darkur’s thought-probe interrogating every facet of the ship, including downloading the entire thought structure of the three humans onboard. As if that wasn’t rude enough, Darkur refused to followed protocol and drop the barrier. The Kalarash species weren’t big on reunions, or hospitality. Evidently, a face-to-face meeting was not on the agenda. But Kalaran relaxed – Darkur’s scans failed to detect the moon, which now drifted a couple of hundred thousand kilometres away in the starless void. Darkur – your complacency will be your undoing.

 
So - how does this work as a Prologue? For the reader who hasn't read books 1 & 2, he or she knows that there is a War in our galaxy, that humans have a role to play, and that there are these superbeings who have pretty cool ships and can travel between the galaxies. The focus is on Kalaran, a 'Level 19' being - which raises the question of what level humans are at - who are probably far more intelligent than we are, but who still have recognisable character traits, despite being ancient. These traits are not unwholesome or aloof, however - we might even get to like this species. Incidentally, when writing this piece I had in mind Iain Banks' culture novels and his 'superminds'.
 
The new (to Eden) reader should also get an idea of the 'register' of science fiction in the book - not too 'hard' science fiction - most people know what a black hole is, and certainly what a syringe is, and can 'get' the combination when applied to a barrier, and it is very 'visual' writing. For 'hard SF' enthusiasts, there is also enough 'SF-tech' to be interesting, though they will be querying the existence of such a barrier, and the nature of a transgalactic shunt. But in both cases, and for both types of reader, there is enough material to enable the 'suspension of disbelief' for now, and the basic plot intrigue (galactic war) and a 'sympathetic' alien character should keep the reader wanting to read the next page.
 
For the reader who has read books 1 & 2, this should be an interesting opening, because the Kalarash as a species are an enigma in book 2, and suddenly in book 3's prologue we get to meet one properly. Readers of book 2 know who the three humans are, and will be waiting to see them get involved. But they will also be wondering what is happening to the other characters back in the 'Silverback' galaxy, especially since nine years have passed since the end of Eden's Trial.
 
As I said, this type of prologue isn't easy to write, but is surely more interesting than straight exposition. More challenging for this author, in any case! 
 
When I'm happy with it I'll post the whole of the Prologue on my website.
 
The Eden Paradox is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook; paperback also available from Waterstones in UK and WHSmith in Paris
Eden's Trial is available on ebook from Amazon (paperback later in the year)
Eden's Revenge will be out late 2012.
 

7 comments:

  1. I love the prologue and looking forward on your 3rd book. hope its sooner can't wait.

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    1. Thanks a lot! Working on it, currently 9 chapters written out of 30...

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  2. I just finished book two. I was sorry to see what happened to Vince but I suspect that might not be over quite yet. What's a little mettle melting between friends. I was really hoping Jen (can I call her that?) would have a fleet face to face with Gabe II, but that didn't happen either. And Louise what will ultimately happen to her. She is the ultimate bad person to the bone. I don't think their can be any saving of her soul. It is gone just as much as Heather's soul is gone....

    In the prolouge you said the below:"since nine years have passed since the end of Eden's Trial"

    Did you mean since the beginning?

    Great work, the end of 2012 nears so I am hoping you are keeping to schedule.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Geoff, Eden's Revenge will answer most of your questions :-)) Glad you liked it, you;ll get some of your desires for sure!

      Most likely January - is with the editors at the moment!

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    2. P.S. Meant to say Jeffrey, not Geoff - sorry for that - doing too many things at once (day job...)

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  3. Love the books, can't wait for publication of third. do you know the publication date for the USA?

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    Replies
    1. Duncan, glad you enjoyed them! Eden's Revenge is now scheduled for March 2013 on Amazon kindle. I'll post updates and more precise launch dates as it gets closer.

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