It has been some time since adding to my writing blog. I have been abnormally busy over the last quarter, but that does not mean I completely neglected working on my next novel. It will be called The Greatest Game, and it’s the continuation of the prelude novella Playing the Greatest Game.
Over the last few months a lot of story building has gone into GGame. Story building – by my definition – involves detailed settings and character studies, and extensive world building via contextual outlines. Such outlines, which I consider important in constructing a quality science fiction narrative, include the technology context, the social context, the economic context, the environmental context, and the geopolitical context. Altogether they influence the construction of a timeline that branches off somewhere from actual history. In Greatest Game’s case, the fictional universe diverges in 2008 with the election of President Bill Richardson.
The biggest piece in all the preliminary work is arguably the plot outline. I do think my stories benefit from having a plot outline, yet with some caveats: the outline is an evolving entity, constantly altered by all the aforementioned studies, and subject to change during the drafting and revisions processes. The biggest challenge I expect to encounter when drafting the manuscript is to effectively balance the hard and soft science aspects. Doing so was important for Waves of Reprisal, and in many ways I did and did not succeed.
For the Greatest Game, there are certain hard-science concepts at all scales that I will be including: bottom-up Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, augmented reality devices, laser-based satellites, micro machines, tokamak reactors, an O’Neill cylinder, and a Startram.
The soft science aspects will include: economic regionalism, automation’s relationship with unemployment, population control versus carrying capacity, state control, and genetic engineering.
Not everything added in the preliminary studies will even make it to the final product. Sometimes the elements get nothing more than a passing mention. But they color a science fiction universe, and are there for potential sequels to develop into something exciting and new.