Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Update on Eden's Revenge - First Review

At the moment I’m awaiting a number of reviews of the latest version of Eden’s Revenge, after some serious editing following the last two professional editorial reviews back in November. A month or so ago I sent it out to no less than five ‘readers’, one of whom is a British science fiction author via the Writers Workshop literary agency. It’s a waiting game, and I feel somewhere between an expectant father and a man awaiting sentencing…

So, the first review arrived. The headline read: “Bravo! Best one of the three by far!”

Phew! Of course, the picture might change with the other reviews, and there are bound to be edits and suggestions, but this was one of my ‘touchstone’ readers, who was not afraid to give me some sterner feedback some time ago on Eden’s Trial, which he didn’t like as much as The Eden Paradox. So, if for him this is the best by far, then I think the book is now on the right track.

It might sound strange to non-writers that an author isn’t sure of his or her work. But for me Eden’s Revenge was a special case. Last year was a very difficult year for me personally, and some of that ‘darkness’ definitely fed into the book. I was reminded of Tolkein’s second book of the Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers), which was pretty dark, due to Tolkein having been confronted with the horrors of the First World War. Nothing so global for me, but a very difficult year nonetheless.

Two of my writing colleagues, mid-way through last year, took me to one side and told me that some of the battle scenes made for pretty tough reading (imagine the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ as a space battle, and you might have an idea). I eased back a little – half of the third book is about a war, so some death and tragedy is inevitable – but it was still a bit too grim for one of the reviewers back in November.

One of the best suggestions I had (from Science Fiction author Sophia McDougall) was to create a new prologue, going back in time. I did this, focusing on Sister Esma and the Alicians in 1563 AD, and how they came to be as they were. I now know that four of the five current readers like this prologue a lot, and I think it will be good for 'fans' of the first two books to see Sister Esma’s development. Sophia said I should also bring out the ‘Genners’ more – a new evolutionary stage for humanity hinted at near the end of Eden’s Trial – and I did this, which also seems to be working. It raises more than a few questions over how we might advance in the future, and the price we might have to pay.

So, I’m over the first hurdle. Now I await the other reviews, three of which I will have by Sunday. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’ll pace up and down a little more, though after this first review, it will be with a lighter step.  

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