Introducing the Shadeward Saga, my next big project

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Progress Report

Clear the decks – a new project!

Hi folks. I wanted to do something special for my 3,000th tweet, so I thought I’d let you all know about my latest project and give it a bit of a shape.

Before you get too excited, no, it’s not the sequel to Elite: Reclamation. I have been very touched by the enthusiastic response to my Elite book and am fully prepared to do a sequel. The synopsis is written (so I know what happens) and it’s ready to go if Frontier is interested. Michael Brookes has indicated this may occur sometime next year. Until Frontier gives the nod we will all have to wait.

However, all is not lost. If you’ve enjoyed Elite: Reclamation and now like my style of writing, I can promise you something which I think you will enjoy as much, if not more than Elite: Reclamation.

I was working on this project just prior to the original Elite kickstarter back in December 2012. I had finished my Oolite novels the year before and had just decided not to embark on any more ‘Elite’ style fiction. Best laid plans and all that! So this project was shelved whilst the whole Elite thing ran its course. Now I can go back and revisit it.

Red Dwarfs are actually bright orange, not red. 😉

The reason that I had decided to not write any more Elite stuff back then is that I wanted full creative control over the universe I write in. Elite is wonderful, but it is restrictive for a writer and I had to follow rules set down for me in David Braben’s universe, some of which I disagreed with. Also, Elite is really a fantasy, it’s closer to real science than say Star Wars, but a fantasy nonetheless. I wanted my universe to be even more fastidiously accurate in terms of the science.

So, this is it. I will be writing a four part sci-fi saga, set in a realistic, plausible future scenario (not so far into the future as Elite – I’d guess a few hundred years). The first book is already a work in progress and you’ll have seen an early rendition of it at the end of Elite: Reclamation.

It’s not that far away…

What can I tell you at this point? It’s set in a star system not to far away. Lacaille 9352. This is a red dwarf star, much cooler than our sun. It presents a number of weird environments for me to explore, not least the main planet being tidally locked. One side faces the star, the other is locked in everlasting darkness.

Aurora on this planet would be extreme, thousands of times more powerful than on Earth. The sky would never be dark in the way we see it here on Earth. Weather would be most unusual and not seasonal, in fact, there would be no seasons. Time cannot be measured in the same way as here, navigation is not possible in the usual sense either – there is no North and South, East or West, no magnetic field for which to use a compass against. If you move you can only measure your path by the inclination of the star… are you moving sunward… or shadeward? Hence the title.

I’ll provide a lot more detail as we go forward – there are some amazing (truely remarkable) issues with trying to envisage life on a planet in this configuration. What I can promise is that they will be scientifically worked out as accurately as I can make them. My AstroPhysics friends will be on standby to check and curate!

Something has happened to the Earth, my planet ‘Esurio’ has been colonised in a hurry, not everything was worked out in advance. Life is tough and hard for the original colonists. My book picks up the story several generations later.

I’ve worked out a plan. I intend to have this ready for next year’s Fantasticon. I will post updates as I go along, with newsletter updates for the major milestones (monthly or thereabouts). If you’d like those – be sure to register.

And above all – wish me luck with my next book!

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  1. Hi Drew,
    Even thoough I haven’t read Reclamation yet I can say I’ll be looking forward reading your Shadeward saga as well. I wish you all the best on this new journey. Have fun, I’m sure we will, your blogs are the best!

    As you mention Fantasticon 2015 as a deadline. May I assume that is for the 1st book of 4 and will Dan the Publishing Man/ Fantastic Books be publishing this?


    • First of four, yes you’re correct. And Dan has first refusal on the books. He’ll shortly get the synopsis to review.

      • Interesting to hear that you want the Shadeward saga to be even more grounded in science fact. How do I see that? Do I see it like where all technology is explained. (I would love to read your take on interstellar travel). Or will there still be handwavery?

        • It doesn’t necessarily follow that you need to explain all the technology, only that the technology needs to be believable given our current understanding of technology. As Arthur C. Clarke said “Any sufficiently advanced technology appears to be ‘magic'”. For many of the people on my new world of ‘Esurio’ it will seem to be magic, but (atleast) I’ll know precisely how it works. Personally, I dislike ‘handwavery’ and intend to avoid it if at all possible.

  2. As usual, some thorough research here, Drew. Shadeward should have a real sense of place as a result. Good luck, and lots of inspiration.

    • Thanks T.James! I’d done a lot of research prior to writing what I have. Currently refreshing and relearning what I discovered. Should be quite different from ER, but even more exciting.

  3. More massive than Earth?
    No protection from Cosmic Rays?
    Concentric convection cells?
    Not an obvious holiday destination.

    I feel sorry for these guys please give them a moon, just a little one.

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