Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thoughts on Physics Reincarnate

Hello, writing and reading friends!

So, for starters, this is the mostly-official cover art for my next novel, pending a formatting tweak or two.  It's nice because Blogspot takes a picture out of each entry to use, so I'm gonna use this because it's easy and almost automatic promotion.

Awesome, isn't it?  It's by the talented Lawrence Shvartsberg, and it's awesome.  Need I say it again?  Awesome!

Anyway, my fans (I love you, all!) probably remember that Physics Incarnate was written as a single book.  It was meant to be sort of a psychological take on the traditional super-hero story.  Emmett Eisenberg wasn't overtly powerful, from the reader's initial perspective.  He was just strange!  Eventually, readers discovered that he was truly "physics incarnate."  He rearranges atoms at will.  His friends, originally portrayed as potentially delusional, are by-and-large like he is.  They have different powers, but similar circumstances.  They all worked at the Connor Point research facility, under the direction of a group called The Consortium Of Trust, and they were all involved in a major disaster there.  One might think that means they saved the world, or something, but that's not quite true. Emmett, in spite of his friends, isn't a hero by any stretch of the imagination.  He doesn't save cities - in fact, he's come closer to destroying them during moments of emotional instability.  He's not evil, he just lost control over his powers, and they nearly killed him.

Expanded Universes

However, as the book became more popular and as people started asking, I realized there was more to tell about the characters of Emmett's world.  I started thinking, in particular, about James Lowery.  James was Emmett's friend who has mastery over his physical senses:  Superhuman hearing, sight, nervous and muscular systems...Whatever!  It's a very cliche power, but it isn't coupled with anything greater.  No super-strength, no regeneration, no flight; just senses.  Yet James uses them to deadly effect.  Moreover, James was the "Head of security" at Connor Point.  His tale felt incomplete.

I toyed with the notion of a prequel, but I've never been a big fan of them.  I like to paint where things go, not where they've been.  We already know Emmett's crew has super-powers, so there's no "twist" to be found there!  Yet I wanted to talk about Jim's past:  He's Irish, he's got a history with intelligence agencies, and he's the group's unelected ringleader.

But, I also came up with ideas for new villains.  I came up with ideas for new characters in general.  Most of all, I realized that there's some cohesive themes to explore:

 - Physics Incarnate, for example, revealed the core of Emmett's past.  It explained what the Consortium Of Trust was.  It introduced us to Erica Hall, and dealt primarily with resolving Emmett's past.
 - Physics Reincarnate, as the sequel is titled, focuses a great deal more on Jim.  Sure, the book will delve into how each member of this super-group was recruited, but it mainly focuses on a new threat.  It's actually set in 2016, by the way, but it's less "future" and more "present."  Survival is essential, because this new threat is more than well enough equipped to challenge Emmett - never mind the threat they are afraid of!
 - Physics Trincarnate will be the third book, and it is about creating a new world.  I haven't written this one, yet, but I know how it goes in principle.  The world will undergo a complete change and become truly divergent from the one we occupy.  Also, it's 99% certain that this is where the series will end.

The thing with these novels is that nothing is quite as it seems.  In book one, Emmett just seems like an odd guy with a very strange, science-minded point of view.  References to atomic lattices are portrayed as simple metaphors - after all, every "solid" object is truly just a collection of atoms held together by bonds!  And a physicist would be keenly aware of this!  But Emmett isn't just seeing objects as a metaphor, he's literally seeing the bonds that hold our world together.

So, there's purpose behind everything, really.  Even, as a hint of a spoiler, the name of one of my favorite characters - Sari.  A "sari" is a robe worn by women in India.  The idea of an exterior covering isn't anything new to this series, as Sari is originally presented as a 30-something-year-old doctor when in reality she's ten years younger than the bulk of the cast and is, moreover, really just a mystical healer.  I know, "just" a mystical healer!  So even on the outset, her identity is a lie.  And will there be more truths to come, more layers of "saris" to peel away from her?  Well, I wouldn't be posing this rhetorical question if there weren't!

So, all in all, get ready!  Physics Reincarnate is coming soon!

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