The title of this might imply that I’m offering some sagely advice on how to adapt and evolve. One might believe I’m offering up a secret to surviving the pitfalls of life, be they romantic, financial, dietary, or otherwise. A person could even go so far as to hope I’m going to reveal the secrets to success beyond their wildest dreams…
Well I’m here to say, “Not a chance!” I’m not peddling smoke and mirrors, my friends. What I’ve got is an update on the latest volume in my Vitalis science fiction series. And yes, it’s all about change.
I’m around halfway through it so far but I spent last night, after writing two chapters, outlining how the rest of the story is going to progress. I was very happy with how it turned out, at least in theory. Being roughly halfway through means I’ve written 25 chapters so far. My outline calls for 17 more. Knowing me the way I know me, that 17 could easily turn into 25 or more. Sounds like a pretty freaking big book, doesn’t it?
It’ll have substance to it, but I’m anticipating a word count in the 60k – 75k range. Nothing too excessively meaty. The chapters typically range from 1100 – 1800 words. A few pages of fast paced fun to keep the story moving, although there are a couple of outliers on both ends of the spectrum.
I will admit this one has given me a little bit of a test. I’m hoping to keep it geared more towards sci-fi thriller and horror and combining the typical fast pacing of my Vitalis series with the need to build up some suspense and mystery (and carnage) has been an exciting challenge for me.
So what’s this one about? Well for those fresh to the setting Vitalis is an amazing world over ten light years from Earth. A thick asteroid cloud has hidden the solar system from Earth until it was accidentally discovered a few years back (think Vitalis time, which is set a few hundred years in the future). Humanity has mastered interstellar travel via technology that allows them to travel through man-made wormholes from one system to the next. These are called jump gates. The problem is that someone has to travel to a new system at relativistic speeds to build one of these jumpgates before they can travel that way.
Blah blah blah, okay, enough backstory. In Provenance, the third Vitalis novel, there was an outbreak of sorts that allowed some native material from Vitalis to escape the planet and solar system. It traveled to the Terran homeland (we know it as Earth) with the intent of bringing Vitalian, ahem, enhancements to the root of the Terran Coalition of Systems. That attempt was met with heavy resistance. Along the way a little something special happened though. Vitalian material was dropped off at Europa, a small moon orbiting Jupiter. Why? Just in case the Earth mission failed.
Genesis follows the lives of the small crew living in a research station on the hostile icy moon of Europa. Deep beneath the surface of the frozen crust a liquid ocean surges with the tides caused by Jupiter. The crust is so thick that the scientists are only now beginning to get close to breaching it for the first time and sampling the salty ocean beneath. Until they lose contact with their mining rigs and sensor arrays.
It quickly becomes obvious this is no mere equipment malfunction. The ice is breaking apart and the temperature’s rising at impossible rates. Water and oxygen are spraying into the thin atmosphere and building pressure – an impossible task given the small size of the moon. Yet the burgeoning atmosphere is saturated with oxygen, not nitrogen, making it hostile to human life.
Life on Vitalis, however, thrives because of its ability to adapt and evolve. As one survivor of an early space ship crash onto Vitalis once said, “If Vitalis can’t kill you it will get inside you and change you. You can’t beat it, you can only join it. If you’re lucky.”
The inhabitants of Research Station Europa are finding that out firsthand.
My plan is to finish Vitalis: Genesis on or around the end of September. Then editing and cover art and all that jazz for a hopeful release near the end of October. A sci-fi thriller just in time for Halloween? I wish I’d planned it that way, but I’ll take luck and circumstance any day!
Stay tuned and if you haven’t had a chance to pick up the other Vitalis books in preparation, what’s stopping you? The first one (Vitalis Omnibus) is only $.99 at Amazon. Then follow it up with Vitalis: Resurrection and Vitalis: Provenance.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.