The Five Year Plan… chances are, we’ve all heard someone talk about how they have one and hoped that they would be able to achieve all their listed goals by the end of it. While I’m sure most people can’t be bothered to listen to anyone lay out their life plans with anything other than the barest of feigned interest, it does feel like this is something we should all consider.

Somehow, having a plan in place that includes an ultimate goal, concrete steps on how to get there, and a timeline for each step – that just seems like the kind of thing serious people and high-end achievers do, doesn’t it? So I got to thinking a while back that I should start setting goals and a schedule for making them happen, though this would be subject to adjustment along the way.

Quick Sidebar: I’ll admit that the term has always seemed a little iffy to me since this is what Joseph Stalin and the Soviet leaders that succeeded him called their economic plans, and they never ended well! It’s right up there with people who use the term “Political Correctness” in a positive way. As if they don’t know that it’s a Soviet term that was associated with Stalin’s paranoid, murderous scheming!

Ah, whatever, words are wind! And if we’re going to get into the whole original meaning and intent thing, most of the idioms in the English language would be considered suspect! So with this in mind, I began thinking about all the books I would like to write in the near future and when I might be getting around to writing them.

Credit: Pablo Carlos Budassi

After a modicum of consideration, I have decided that my first real Five Year Plan (2021 – 2025) should look something like this:

2021:

  • Have Formist Series released as a box set
  • Finish work on a special project (more on that later)
  • Keep working on Under Heaven (a standalone book about a lunar colony)
  • Keep working on Reciprocity (a standalone book about cyberwarfare)

2022:

  • Finish the Fermi Book (and pick a damn title!)
  • Finish Transverse (standalone in the Formist universe about interstellar travel)
  • Get to work on the next series with The Kuiper Anamoly (Seedling Series #1)

2023:

  • Edit and finalize The Kuiper Belt Anomaly
  • Start writing Standoff at Oberon (Seedling Series #2)

2024:

  • Edit and finalize Standoff at Oberon
  • Start writing The Sol Gambit (Seedling Series #3)

2025:

  • Edit and finalize The Sol Gambit
  • Release The Seedling Series as a boxset
Credit: Castrum Press

Basically, I came up with this plan to figure out what I’m going to do now that I’ve finished the Formist Series, which is my first published trilogy. I’ve had a lot of irons in the fire over the past few years and many of them got put on hold while I finished these novels. At the same time, writing this series gave me new ideas that were either directly or semi-related that I knew I wanted to pursue once I had the time.

Then there’s the standalone novel called Transverse, which takes place aboard a generation ship that is making the journey to another star system (my current choice is HD 85512 b). This story takes place in the Formist universe and involves a faction that is mentioned in the series but not yet heard from (they’re called the Seedlings).

There’s also the standalone novel I’m currently calling Under Heaven. This is a near-future work that takes place on the Moon, which has a permanent human presence on it and an economy that’s built around resource extraction, energy, and lunar tourism. Inspired by the passage of the Artemis Accords, I wondered what it might look like if people on the Moon suddenly found themselves entangled with conflicts back home.

I also want to tackle an idea I came up with a few years ago. Titled Reciprocity, this story takes place in the near future and deals with issues like wealth, poverty, displacement, surveillance, and cyber-security in a world that is beset by climate change and the impending Technological Singularity. I’ve started and stopped it a few times and will not abandon it until I feel that I’ve given it the old college try!

Also, there’s an ongoing collaboration that my friend and colleague Paco suggested a couple years ago. At the time, he told me about a fictional universe he’d created where humanity expanded into the cosmos to create an interstellar empire, which then collapsed. Centuries later, the known-Universe has been carved up into a series of realms controlled by warlords, and the most lucrative industry involves salvaging ancient technology.

The main characters in this story are a group of salvagers who stumble upon an ancient device that could very well tip the balance of power in the known Universe. It doesn’t really have a title yet, but I suggested the name Sovtag Barko – an amalgam of Creole and Filipino that basically means “smuggling vessel”. We’ll have to see what we can do with that one!

I’m reminded of something Eisenhower famously said: “Plans are useless, but planning is essential.” Another wise old tactician (Helmuth von Moltke the Elder) is credited with saying, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Substitute “the enemy” with “reality” and I would say this slice of wisdom can apply to everything in life.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, but that doesn’t make planning what you hope to accomplish (and giving yourself a timetable to do it) any less crucial, does it? So this is mine. I hope I live up to it!

Credit: NASA

4 thoughts on “My First (Real) Five Year Plan

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