From Birth to Birth

I wrote three short stories which were published in magazines. I reprinted them in my collection, A Closet for a Dragon, and Other Early Tales. But I also wrote stories for the six Elf Quest, Blood of Ten Chiefs anthologies. TOR published the first five volumes, but though we had been paid for the stories in the sixth, TOR did not publish it. No one knows why.

I was happy with those stories, and for a long time I wanted to write stories like them, in a world of my own making. It would be about a people, in a far future, in a galaxy so far away that George Lucas never dreamed of it. They fled their home worlds when they were attacked by those who wanted to steal their advanced technology. They found refuge in what they called the Cold Star Cluster, a clear space in the Great Cloud, which was just above the galactic limb.

I had lots of characters, strange settings, bizarre situations, prolonged conflicts, tremendous obstacles, powerful enemies, and grand objectives. I created lots of stuff, and even more than that. But the stories I tried to write never seemed to go anywhere. The great adventures which affected the whole my people did not work. I had lots of writing but no stories.

It took me years before I realized why. My Ten Chiefs stories were, unlike all the other stories, about a peaceful time for the Elves. There were no great conflicts. They were just ordinary people living their ordinary Elvish  lives. My stories were about who they were, how they lived, their culture and world, and how they coped with the occasional small but interesting interruption. Wendy Pini liked them.

I threw away all that I had written about the people of the Cold Star Cluster, and started all over again. This time they were, in their own context, ordinary people, living in an artificial world between the stars, doing just what ordinary people do — work, play, love, grow. Except that the setting is truly bizarre, the other peoples of the Cluster are not human, everything has to be invented from scratch. It is not Star Trek, or Star Wars, but something far else. 

It’s going well, it’s hard work, and it’s slow, especially now when I can work only three or four hours a day. But I like the six stories that I’ve finished so far. I don’t know how many stories there will be in the cycle, but it begins with the birth of the hero, and ends with the birth of his first child. It’s called Star Kings