Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Test of Alien Alliance - My Own Novel
Yes, I know the artwork is lamentable, but at least it's my own concept and not somebody else's.  I wrote this science fiction novel under the pen name "Norma Druid", since I'm writing factual articles for Examiner.com under my own name.  I painted my own cover because my son said he couldn't visualize what I wanted, and there was nobody else I could ask.  Thank goodness he grasped the concept and drew the cover for my second book!

I started out writing science fiction because that self-same son asked me to write him a Star Trek story.  There are a number of not-for-profit fanzines for every popular sc-fi TV and movie series, and I played around with stuff that could be submitted to them for several years.  Then I decided that not only do I want to be a legitimate published author, I also want my own universe.

One reason publishers and TV people alike love to put out "series tie-in" novels is that you simply can't tell a full, compelling story in 60 minutes - or even 120.  What we get in movies and TV are broad outlines of characters; instinctively, we want to "hang out" with these people and learn more about them and their universe.  Even multi-talented authors like Barbara Hambly enjoy getting in on the game.

But universes built ad hoc for television and movies are simply not complete, realistic universes.  Don't think I fault the creators; I've read enough Star Trek memoirs to know that the good things we enjoyed came about in spite of, rather than because of, interference by the "suits" and bean-counters in the industries.  They also had to build around personality conflicts.  The entertainment industry, like the aircraft industry I wrote about a couple of posts ago, is too big and unwieldy for an artisan approach.

What I planned to do in A Test of Alien Alliance and at least partially achieved, is a universe where normal business and corporate practices are as important to the function of the whole as they are now.  Honestly, I don't see how they could not be.  During parts of Star Trek V, I found myself cringing. Guys, if we let those folks plan the future, there won't be one!

Also, it has always bugged me that in movies and on TV the solution to every problem is worked out by a relatively small group of people.  Fine when you're hiring actors, but that's not the way it works in real life.  That's why I have a female civilian road contractor handle a major problem my prime characters are in no position to notice.  It's lots of people putting different parts of a solution together that makes life work.

I've also made play with my love of history and unique names.  To promote the book and provide an audience for the next volume, I am selling my author copies at Peaypatch.com for $10 plus postage - half the original cover price.  I'll even throw in an autograph!

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