Yep, that’s the shape of it. Not long ago, the publisher of my trilogy announced that due to the pandemic, they were facing a crunch and needed to drop authors from their rolls. In other words, the Formist Series will be shelved until I find another publisher (or independently publish it). I signed the paperwork this past week and got my last royalty check. They are still available through Amazon and Audible, but not for much longer, I’m afraid.
I have to admit, the situation kind of sucks, but it also presents some new and exciting opportunities. One thing I can say for certain, this series will not be shelved for long! I am in the process of investigating other publishing houses, and there’s always the option of independent publishing. What’s more, the Formist Series was always meant to be the first installment in a bunch of series’.
I’m indebted to the founder and owner of the publishing house that signed me for this idea. While we talked about my first book (the Cronian Incident) and how I hoped it would be part of a larger series, he suggested that I organize my ideas into trilogies — each one focused on a separate faction in my fictional universe. The first trilogy was named the Formist Series because the events revolve around the factions hoping to terraform Mars and Venus.
The next series will be titled the Dysonist Series, which will revolve around the faction hoping to build megastructures that orbit the Sun. The main feature of this series is something I’ve been hoping to investigate for a long time — First Contact! Beyond that, I have plans for a Seedling Series, which will center on the transhuman faction in this universe and humanity’s efforts to find an extraterrestrial civilization (or what remains of it) that made contact with us.
I’m currently working on a standalone story titled Traverse that will connect these two trilogies to the Formist Series. This story is set in the same universe but takes place aboard a generation ship traveling to a nearby Sun-like star. The themes explored in this story include the challenges of multi-generational space travel and the problem of anticipating/preparing for them in advance. It also explores the nature of perception and reality and the peculiarities of memory, sleep, and dreams.
I’ve also got several prequels and standalones in mind that would explore the possibilities of humanity becoming an interplanetary species, settling on other planets and bodies throughout the Solar System, and the ongoing question of who we are and where we are headed. And these are just the ideas that are part of what I’ve been calling the Solar Faction Series. Besides, my fiction writing is an important part of my day job, which is space and astronomy journalism.
In 2015, I quit my old job and became a full-time writer for Universe Today. Since then, I’ve expanded my writing repertoire and become involved with multiple non-profits and space education and outreach organizations that promote the benefits of human spaceflight, science, and research. I also just started a podcast series with ITSP Magazine called Stories from Space and will be teaching a course about humanity’s exploration of Mars through the Kepler Space Institute this fall. I hope it will be the first of many!
On top of that, there’s a soon-to-be-released anthology (can’t tell you the title just yet) that will feature an essay on terraforming by yours truly! The book explores space exploration and human settlement beyond Earth, interspersing science fiction short stories with scientific essays. Like its predecessor, Going Interstellar, this anthology is the work of famed author and NASA scientist Les Johnson and features some of the most renowned scientists and SF writers in the business. Needless to say, I’m thrilled they added me to the mix!
These jobs are what inform my writing and fuel my desire to explore the big questions in a fictional context. Quitting my creative writing gig, or letting my previously-published books collect dust on the shelf, would be like sawing a limb from a tree or cutting off my own arm. I’m in this for the long haul, and I have no intention of pulling this particular iron out of the fire. Not after all of the work I’ve put into it thus far, and certainly not when I have big plans for it still!
So please, stick with me. I do not know when the books will be officially pulled from the shelf (i.e., Amazon), but I assure you they won’t be gone for long.