Here’s a question for anybody who has been reading my Starbreaker novels (Without Bloodshed and Silent Clarion), or anybody who wants to weigh in.
I’ve been thinking of reworking/reimagining my Starbreaker saga. While Without Bloodshed hasn’t been a complete bomb sales-wise and has gotten respectable reviews, it’s also an extremely dense book that demands more of most readers than they’re willing to give.
I’ve come to suspect that writing subsequent Starbreaker novels in the same style as Without Bloodshed won’t work because doing so would make Starbreaker Morgan’s story and reduce the rest of what could be a diverse and interesting ensemble cast to supporting roles.
I have this character named Claire Ashecroft. You might remember her; she’s the brash, kinky, gray hat hacker from London who helped Morgan and the team with computer stuff in Without Bloodshed and mistook Naomi for a character from one of her favorite video games in Silent Clarion.
She’s smart, sassy, and she’s probably my wife’s favorite character out of the entire cast.
She’s also the closest thing my cast has to an “Only Sane Person”. Her comparison of her friends’ situation to anime and video games (such as saying she has never trusted Isaac Magnin because he’s “a white-haired bishounen”) is her way of acknowledging the ridiculous nature of the reality they experience.
If I am going to re-imagine Starbreaker as a series of shorter, more tightly focused adventures featuring various characters as they gradually become aware of the true nature of the world and come together to face a common threat, it might still be helpful to readers if I were to tell my characters’s stories with a single, consistent voice.
The Big Question
Those of you familiar with Sherlock Holmes will recall that all of his adventures were recounted by his friend, partner in detection, and biographer Dr. John H. Watson, who wrote in the first person.
Therefore, here is my question to you: Would Claire make a good Watson in a rebooted Starbreaker saga?
I think Claire would work as Watson because while she wasn’t directly involved in everything, she knows all of the key players.
Furthermore, she has a reason to tell the story. As a hacker, she believes that information should be available to everybody.
However, after the Great Defiance and the investigation that followed, the AIs now running the Phoenix Society (the Sephiroth) ordered that all information about Claire and the others, all video evidence, and all testimony and depositions at the trial of Isaac Magnin and the rest of the Phoenix Society’s executive council for crimes against humanity be sealed. They decided that the truth is so weird that most people would willfully refuse to believe it because the implications would shatter their understanding of the world.
However, Claire refuses to accept this and insists on telling the story of how she helped fought a demon who pretended to be God alongside a killer android with a soul, a swashbuckling soprano, a pro wrestler turned watchdog agent, a sleazy old sniper with a heart of gold, a giant Maine Coon Cat who understood English and could play poker, a cabal of witches and wizards who became demons to fight them, and other outlandish characters as if it were fiction.
Basically, I want to do with the Starbreaker saga what Michael Moorcock did with Elric when he wrote Stormbringer. I want to start with the big crisis, the highest stakes, and kick readers’ asses so hard they land on the other side of the fucking planet wondering what the hell just happened to them.
This will be the new Starbreaker, Claire’s fictionalized history of the Great Defiance and what really happened.
After that, Claire can dig back into the past and write further accounts of the events that led up to Starbreaker, such as the Liebenthal Crisis I originally wrote about in Without Bloodshed or the Clarion murders Naomi Bradleigh solved in Silent Clarion.
What About the Books You Already Wrote?
Don’t worry. Without Bloodshed and Silent Clarion aren’t going to go away immediately. You will still be able to buy copies on Amazon.
While the Kindle editions of these novels may eventually go away and Curiosity Quills Press might cease print publication of Without Bloodshed eventually, I am not going to disavow these works.
While I can’t guarantee that removing the Kindle editions from Amazon won’t remove them from your Kindle apps and devices, I will do my best to ensure that if you already bought it, you can keep it. Likewise, those of you with paperback editions of Without Bloodshed may end up with a collector’s item on your shelves — especially if I signed it.
Punching the Reset Button
If I write Starbreaker and subsequent stories leading to it from Claire’s point of view, I will account for the existence of these novels in-universe. If nothing else, Claire might mention them as “unauthorized accounts by some hack who wasn’t involved and had no bloody idea what the ‘ell was going on”.
It may seem premature to reboot Starbreaker when I spent so many years talking about sequels to Without Bloodshed and even have titles for them, but I’ve got to be honest with myself and with all of you readers and fans.
I Had No Idea What I Was Doing, and I Screwed Up
While I did the best I could at the time, you deserve better. The Starbreaker saga in its current form just isn’t working, and that’s my fault. I thought I could expand a 289,000 word draft of a first novel into four-volume epic, and I was wrong.
It’s time I swallowed my pride and admitted it.
I’m sorry. I made a lot of mistakes. I want to learn from them so that my next novel is my best yet, and so that the Starbreaker saga is everything I as the author and you as the readers hope it can be.
I’ll be copying this post or sharing links to it on various social media platforms because I want to hear from you. If you have any advice or just want to wish me luck, please comment and share.
Thank you for all of your support over the years. If you’d like to provide feedback directly to me instead of replying on social media channels, please use the contact form below. I will receive your comments by email.