Progress Report

In my youth, I used to wonder why authors could not write books as fast as I read them. After all (so I thought at age ten) it surely does not take that long to make things up?

I write one day on the weekend and two nights during the work week, since I have a day job. This gives me, on a good week, up to sixteen hours of writing time, which is far short of the fifty hours a week a full-time writer would enjoy. (By way of comparison, Mr Charles Stross, whom I believe entered the field at roughly the same time I did, and writes in the same subgenres, has published 25 or so books to my 10 or so.)

Yesterday was the feast of St. Angela Merici of the Third Order of St. Francis (the day the muggles call 28 of January). I stared at a blank computer screen from about 1900 hours (the hour the civilians call 7:00 in the evening) until eight bells of the first watch (the hour landsmen call midnight).

I was working on my manuscript tentatively titled THE VINDICATION OF MAN, the next book in my six-book trilogy, Count to the Eschaton. In all that time, I changed one date in my notes on my make-believe calendar, so that certain events which I had noted as happening in one year will now happen in another.

So, on the one hand, I did not accomplish much for my faithful readers yesternight. On the other hand, the calendar year of the events in Chapter One is now A.D. 71200, which is the Seventieth Millennium, the second Millennium of the Vindication of Man.

By way of comparison, Robert Heinlein’s famed Future History timeline only goes up to 2100; the most future event in the Jerry PournelleĀ CoDominium future history is AD 3047 (‘The Gripping Hand’); so I am more futureward than they.

On the other hand, the most future event in Larry Nivens’ Known Space future history is AD 120,000 Loeffler’s ship comes close enough to Hooker’s ship to destroy its life system (“The Ethics of Madness”); this is after the arrival in Known Space of the wavefront of the galactic core explosion which sent the Puppeteers fleeing in the fleet of worlds in AD 22500; and the Time Traveler of HG Wells landed in 802701; Ptath is reincarnated in Two Hundred Million A.D. in a book of the same name. So by that scale, I still have far to go.

 

16 Comments

  1. Comment by PersonalLiberation:

    It takes a long time to save a whole race from its hubris, and if you are talking about six books it appears Menelaus has asked for more time to do so. Thank you for putting in the extra hours, the fruits are appreciated.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      I appreciate the kind words, but you are thanking me not for the virtue of being tireless, but for the vice of underestimating my story space. Besides, my purpose is to tell a well told tale in the scope of time the science fiction imagination soars to reach, to beguile a reader’s weary hours, and remind him of fair and high things, to refresh him with myth and startle him with speculation. Saving the race from hubris is far above my intent — would that not be hubris itself had that been my goal?

  2. Comment by Brian Niemeier:

    So your muse skipped her appointment. They do that. At least you made time for her.

  3. Comment by fabulous_mrs_f:

    It’s because you write such fabulously long and deliciously rich books. A banquet isn’t cooked in a microwave.
    I’m waiting impatiently for more Rachel Griffin.

  4. Comment by Earl Wajenberg:

    If you’re looking for futurity, we certainly can’t neglect Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, which may be set in the last millennia of the Sun’s red giant phase (if Vance was using standard astrophysics, which, given all the mages and demons, is open to doubt).

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Well, to be sure THE DYING EARTH was set in the Twenty First Aeon, we know not of what calendar.

      Assuming for the sake of fancy that an aeon is a billion years, and assuming (as seems unlikely) that the calendar in use by the sages, antiquarian magicians and paleonecromancers in Almery, Ascolais and the Land of the Falling Wall is the Gregorian, that would mean Cugal and Rhialto the Marvelous (absent unexpected and distracting temporal convulsions and involutions) as inhabiting the Earth circa AD 20,000,000,000.

      I believe that, in this case, Jack Vance has out chrono-immensitied by a factor of ten even A.E. van Vogt’s BOOK OF PTATH, which takes place in the meager and nearby year of AD 200,000,000.

      According to my outline, the last date of the last event to take place in the last chapter of my final volume — should God be gracious and grant that it ever be written and published — the Big Rip and the Final Duel takes place in the year AD 21, 000,000,000. What is funny is that number has been in my notes since 2006. Wow. Have I been working on this book that long?

      And, no, I did not make up the Big Rip. See, for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip. I am not the hardest of hard SF writers, but my astronomical information is as accurate as I can make it. I map out the distances between stars using the many useful programs that exist these days to get my distances right, for example. And I don’t make up astronomical wonders, since the real ones are really wonderful enough.

  5. Comment by The Ubiquitous:

    What a title: THE VINDICATION OF MAN.

    FYI: Your first book in this sequence, COUNT TO A TRILLION, is now (and for a short time) being sold for a measly ten dollars on Amazon. Thought you might be interested.

  6. Comment by summerstay:

    I think Stapledon’s Last and First Men (which this project reminds me of in some ways) covers two billion years.

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