PostHeaderIconWeek of 13-20 May 2017

Week of 13-20 May 2017


Welcome to my weekly update. Quite a week, eh? In addition to compulsively following the news, I've managed to get a few things done this week.

This Week

Major Project: 

Still working on Hunt for the Dymalon Cygnet. There's honestly not a lot to report…I sat in a chair and typed a lot. So instead, I thought I'd whet your appetite with a few bits of non-spoiler info about the book.

  • It's set in 2068 CE, about a quarter-century after Dance for the Ivory Madonna.
  • The Hoister Family is involved—in this case, the children of Damien and Penylle from DFTIM.
  • Umoja, the contract government that covered most of Africa in DFTIM, has spread to encompass much of South America as well.
  • A prelude, set in 2053 CE, starts out in Washington, DC and winds up in Denver.
  • The second generation of Nexus operatives are chomping at the bit.
  • One character is a young man with Down's Syndrome. He has cybernetic implants that help regulate his brainwaves.
  • A major thread of the story takes place around 1250 BCE.

I guess that's enough for now.

Other Project(s): 


I've scanned some more books, added some comics to my Legion of Super-Heroes site, scheduled the next week's worth of PR tweets, and settled some of the details for appearing at OutWrite, the DC-area festival celebrating LGBT literature and writers. It's August 4-6. 2017. Mark your calendars now, and I'll have more information as the festival comes closer.


Upcoming Appearance(s): 

Obligatory Cute Hamster Picture

Currently Reading


History of the Scattered Worlds Mosaic, Part 1

[I've been asked where the whole Scattered Worlds Mosaic came from. This is the beginning of an essay I wrote a few years ago to answer that question. If there's enough interest, I'll present the rest in stagesmlater.]

When I was 13 years old (it was 1971), I started on a writing project that would become life’s work and magnum opus: the Scattered Worlds Mosaic. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that it would be such a huge work. I just wanted to write a science fiction novel.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, psionics was the fashion in science fiction. (Four decades years later, psi and other paranormal elements would become the fashion in mundane fiction—which just goes to show that the mundane world usually lags sf by about forty years.) My second novel, which I titled Stepchildren of the Sea, was mainly a story of political revolt in the year 2042—in it I introduced a character (then named Penny Norton) with powerful psi abilities. She was the fiancée of the hero, one Marc Hoister.

My first novel was a mostly-rambling story with no coherent plot; Stepchildren of the Sea, my second, at least had a plot (of sorts) and some rudimentary characterization. It was certainly the best work I could do at 13-14 years old. Even so, it was old-fashioned, reading like a pastiche of a 1960s Gordon R. Dickson or Poul Anderson potboiler. (Analog’s editor, Ben Bova, kindly rejected the manuscript with the comment that it was “a little old-fashioned for our readers.”)

At the end of the book, Marc Hoister and Penny Norton were married, and Penny was pregnant. It seemed such an adult thing to put into a book.

My next project was another novel, but I didn’t forget Marc and Penny and psionics. By the time I was in my first year of High School, at age 15, I had done a lot of reading about ESP and psi, as well as quantum physics. And I had a hankering to explore the concept of psionics from a purely scientific standpoint: I would assume that psi powers worked according to the laws of physics, and see what happened. I was thrilled on the day I invented the “psychon” as the fundamental exchange particle for psi.

I had a concept, but I needed a background. About this time I read Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni trilogy, historical fantasy that featured a family with psychic and magic abilities that were (according to the author’s afterword) inherited according to the laws of simple genetics. Well, I knew about Mendel and heredity—I was learning about them in biology class. And I had a psi-powered individual who was starting a family: Penny Norton Hoister. Always in the back of my mind was Robert A. Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children, with its Howard Families bred for longevity…my Family would breed for psi.

Thus the Hoister Family was born. I remember sitting in my sociology class making out detailed inheritance tables, on the assumption that the Family’s psi powers were a simple dominant gene, and making out genealogical tables of Marc and Penny’s descendants for five generations. By that time the original psi gene was getting diluted; fewer and fewer of my Hoister Family were born with the trait. I wanted a large family of paranormals; what I was getting was a large family with a few scattered paranormal members.

What to do?



Thanks to

James Comey