Sunday, November 12, 2017

Another Military SF Novella: "Discovery and Flight"

Back in April, I blogged about my military scifi novella "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths," set in Lindsay Buroker's Fallen Empire universe. I've been really busy with real-life work stuff, so outside of my newsletter I haven't had the chance until now to reveal the sequel, "Discovery and Flight."

Here's the Amazon blurb:

A month has passed since Lieutenants Geun Choi and Tamara Watson and the other pilots of the Alliance's Dragon and Raptor squadrons destroyed the Imperial cruisers Achilles and Sarpedon. Now the Empire is brutally striking back, dispatching a fleet of warships to destroy the Alliance's outpost in the Kir Asteroid Belt.

Choi and Watson now have to face an enemy far more skilled and dangerous than two cruisers with trainee crews, one bent on their total annihilation. Fighting alongside them are expert Alliance pilots Alisa Marchenko and Bradford Tomich, but even their help might not be enough. Who will live and who will die when the Imperial battle-group comes knocking?

Taking place before and during the events of Lindsay Buroker's short story "Remnants" and after Quinn's previous novella "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths," this tale set in Lindsay Buroker's FALLEN EMPIRE universe will thrill fans of STAR WARS, FIREFLY, WING COMMANDER, and the adventures of Honor Harrington.

I'd planned since the publication of "Ten Davids" that the buddy-pilot duo of Geun Choi and Tammy Watson could be a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern way to depict the early days of the rebellion against the Sarellian Dynasty. After all, the play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" tells the story of Hamlet from the point of view of two minor characters, and other than a couple short stories, Buroker generally doesn't discuss what happened before. Although "Ten Davids" depicts an incident that is never described in the main series, "Discovery and Flight" showcases the battle immediately before the events of Buroker's story "Remnants," which you can find in the You Are Here anthology.

"Discovery and Flight" is the tale that also changed the most in the telling. I'd made the characters in "Ten Davids" purely original because nobody would think characters who appear in the canonical series would be in any real danger, a common problem with prequels. However, I'd noticed sales for "Ten Davids" declining relatively rapidly after the first two months and suspected one cause was the complete non-appearance of any canonical characters. Given how series regular Bradford Tomich is depicted as sexually promiscuous, having him after female lead Watson made a lot of sense, while "Remnants" explicitly describes series protagonist Alisa Marchenko flying for the Alliance in that battle.

(Also, Tomich in the main series is a more complicated character than just a Casanova wannabe and the events told but not shown in "Remnants" would give him plenty of chances to show his legitimately heroic side. I wanted to avoid Flanderizing him into a mere lecher.)

I also changed some of the mechanics of the battle based on discussion in a guest post I wrote for "Ten Davids" on the blog of notable indie science fiction writer Chris Nuttall. Some of his readers took issue in the comments section with my idea that Billy Mitchell's theories on air power vs. ships could be transferred seamlessly into space combat, and some of what they said rang true to discussions on the Battlestar Galactica forums about how formidable a capital ship's flak batteries would be and how American ship-based antiaircraft guns became more effective against Japanese aerial attacks as World War II went on. When I posted about "Discovery and Flight" on Chris's blog, it got the discussion going again.

So if you liked "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths," I'd encourage you to read "Discovery and Flight." The more of these I sell, the more likely I'll write the planned third Choi and Watson novella, "Torpedo Protocol" and the Imperial-centric companion novella "Fallen Titan."

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