My Writing Schedule for the Future!

My Writing Schedule for the Future!

So the other day I got to thinking about the writing schedule I recently committed to – you know, by signing a publishing contract and all that! In between worrying about whether or not I would be able to deliver a second book to my publisher just months after the first book was published, I began thinking about the long term. Just what is my schedule going to look like for the next year, or couple years?

And from that, I began thinking about all the books I would like to write in the near future and when I’d be getting around to writing them. The way I saw it, it would look something like this:

September/Fall 2017:  The Cronian Incident (Lovelock series #1)

November/Dec 2017: The Jovian Manifesto (Lovelock series #2)

Summer 2018: Reciprocity (standalone)

Fall 2018: The Frost Line Accord (Lovelock series #3)

Spring/Summer 2019: Transverse (standalone, Lovelock Universe)

Other Ideas: Yuva, Flash Forward (anthologies) Missives, Sovtag Barko (standalones)

As you can see, the first step in that process is to finish writing the sequel to The Cronian Incident, known as The Jovian Manifesto. These books, and the proposed third installment (The Frost Line Accord) are all part of what I have chosen to call the Lovelock series, since the events in these books sort of revolve around a location known as Sarak Lovelock (a facility that orbits Mars).

In between the second and third installment in this series, 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 deal with issues like wealth, poverty, displacement, surveillance and cyber-security in a world that is beset by climate change and the impending Technological Singularity.

After that, and wrapping up the Lovelock series, I want to move onto some new ideas. These include a standalone novel called Transverse, which takes place aboard a generation ship that is making the journey to another star system. This story takes place in the Lovelock universe and involves a faction that is mentioned in the series, but not yet heard from (they’re called the Seedlings).

Somewhere in between all that (or possibly after) there are some other ideas I want to explore. One is called Missives, which is an idea I am working on with the help of Professor Philip Lubin. In addition to being an expert who’s consulted with NASA on various directed-energy concepts (i.e. lasers), Lubin is one of the masterminds behind Breakthrough Starshot, a program that seeks to create a lasersail-driven nanocraft that could make the trip to Alpha Centauri in just 20 years.

Artist’s impression of Breakthrough Starshot. Credit: Breakthrough Initiatives

In the past, I’ve had the honor of interviewing Dr. Lubin a few times for Universe Today. And a little while ago, I spoke to his colleague (Travis Bradshears) about their plans to send a digital archive aboard any nanocraft that makes the journey to a distant star system (called Voices of Humanity). Travis contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing a story about it. And as I told him, that is something I would definitely be interested in pursuing!

And of course, there’s also the two anthologies I need to get finished. The first is the Yuva anthology, which several friends and I have been working on for years. We are very close to the finish now, and as soon as I can get all the submissions into a single, edited volume, we can launch that baby! Second, there’s my personal anthology of short stories called Flash Forward. That’s been done, but in need of editing, for some time.

And last, there’s a collaboration project my friend and colleague Paco suggested a few months ago. At the time, he told me about a fictional universe he had created years ago. In this story, humanity expanded into the cosmos to create an interstellar empire, but then suffered a collapse. Centuries later, the known-Universe has been carved up into a series of realms controlled by warlords, and one of the most lucrative businesses is in 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!

Beyond that, no real plans! But then again, plans are pretty much useless aren’t they? Nothing ever goes according to them, but that doesn’t make the art of planning any less crucial.

New Trailer – Blade Runner 2049!

New Trailer – Blade Runner 2049!

After many years of starts and stops, the fandom community has been pretty excited that we are finally getting a Blade Runner sequel. Whether or not it will be the sequel we want  remains to be seen (we all remember Jar Jar!). In any case, the first teaser trailer has just come out. As you can see, it shows Ryan Gosling in the lead role, with Harrison Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard.

As was likely the intent, this trailer establishes that there is a passing of the torch between Ford and Gosling, who has become a Blade Runner himself. And if I had to guess, I would say the whole exchange (which takes place at gunpoint) indicates that the plot will center on what Deckard did at the end of the previous movie – which was to run off with Rachael (a Replicant) to make a life with her.

The movie is scheduled for release in October of 2017, and includes performances by Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, and Ana de Armas.  Check it out!

Featured Guest Post: “Realistic Sci-Fi – The Best Films That Accurately Portray the Modern World” by Maria Ramos


Please welcome back to the site, Maria Ramos. You may recall her last contribution, which dealt with Contemporary Dystopian Novels that are worth reading and not part of the current, overplayed YA fad. Well she’s back, this time with contemporary science fiction movies that are definitely worth watching. Enjoy!

The world of science fiction is full of fantastical tales that have no place in reality. Some of the best stories could never happen in real life. Still, the ones that really capture our imagination are those that contain a hint of truth. These five films are fascinating examples of realistic sci-fi films that may provide a glimpse into our future.

Many films of the past have been able to accurately predict things like tablet computers, home security and automation, cell phones and wearable tech. It’s a strange thought that these objects, when shown for the first time on the silver screen, seemed so far fetched and borderline ridiculous, but today are as commonplace as a coffee maker. Let’s take a look at some of the films that have gotten it disturbingly right in their predictions.

Metropolis (1927):
This film from the 1920s is set in a seemingly perfect city filled with wealthy people living a charmed life, with no idea that a vast population of oppressed workers are forced to stay underground, operating the machines that keep life going for the upper class. Although created decades before the advent of computers or even television, Metropolis predicted video calls through programs like Skype with its “television phone,” which characters in the movie use to communicate.

The Andromeda Strain (1971):
This film based on the novel by Michael Crichton tells the story of an alien virus that comes into contact with humans, mutating as it goes, almost destroying civilization. From biological warfare to satellites and laser weaponry, a lot of what is used throughout The Andromeda Strain mirrors the technology we have available to us today. Even the premise of the movie in general is not completely outlandish; microbiologists believe that it is possible that we may one day contract an extraterrestrial disease. If that were to happen, it’s unclear whether we would have the tools to combat it.

Gattaca (1997):
The premise of this 1997 flick may seem completely impossible: society is structured based on genetic sequencing, which reveals everyone’s genetic makeup. Clear lines are drawn, giving those who are genetically superior special privileges over everyone else. The discrimination the main character faces for his inferior dreams isn’t yet a reality, but as we work towards sequencing complete genomes, we will find ourselves closer to uncovering the secrets of our genes, and the consequences of this knowledge may not all be good. The film’s basic premise echos the recent controversy surrounding genetic testing to detect cancer.

Interstellar (2014):
In this movie, the world has become uninhabitable due to drought brought on by global warming, forcing mankind to search for somewhere to live. Although we haven’t reached this point, scientists stress the very real possibility of climate change ending life on Earth. If this were to happen now, humanity would be doomed, since we haven’t quite mastered the art of long-distance space travel yet. Still, scientists say that a trek on the scale of the one taken in Interstellar is possible. Ideas for how to accomplish this are still being explored, but thermonuclear fusion, light sails and gravitational slingshots are all potential solutions.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015):
One of this year’s most popular films is also one of the most noteworthy as far as realism in science fiction goes. While apocalyptic settings aren’t uncommon in sci-fi, the psychology of the characters in Mad Max: Fury Road is unique. Instead of the stereotypical hero who beats the villain and gets the girl, Max shows the kind of psychological damage you might expect in a harsh environment like the apocalypse. The other people in the movie also show the influence of this trauma through their behaviors, making for a realistic portrayal of what the end of the world might really be like.

Scientifically accurate sci-fi can both educate and inspire its viewers. Films like the ones listed above offer a window to the future, letting us see what might happen if we continue on the path that we are on. These predictions are sometimes an encouragement to innovate, but also sometimes a warning to change course before it’s too late. Either way, realism in science fiction makes for quality films that can be enjoyed for decades to come.


New Movie Trailer: The Martian

the_martianThe latest trailer for the The Martian has just hit cyberspace! And as you can see, its quite the doozy. Based on the novel by Andy Weir, The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney – a botanist and space engineer who is part of a manned mission to Mars. When an unexpected storm strikes in the course of that mission, Watney is lost during evacuation and presumed dead.

However, the crew soon learns that Watney survived the storm and has been living on the planet ever since. With a return mission expected to take years before it can reach him, NASA must struggle with a terrible dilemma – risk the lives of many astronauts to save one, or let Watney die alone on a distant planet?

I will definitely seeing this movie, but not before I read the original novel! And I can proudly say that after learning about this movie, I ordered a copy of the book a few weeks back and it now sits on my nightstand. I still got finish a few things before getting to it, but I plan to have it read before the movie comes out in October. There is no way in hell I’ll be waiting for this movie to come out on DVD or Netflix!

Featured Guest Post: “Contemporary Dystopian Novels Worth the Read” by Maria Ramos

dystopiaGood afternoon folks! Today, I have the honor of featuring a guest writer, something that I have never done before. Her name is Mario Ramos, a fellow writer that has been following storiesbywilliams and asked to add her thoughts about this contemporary dystopian literature craze. Take it away, Ramos!

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The teenage wastelands of The Hunger Games and Divergent have made their way to the big screen and people can’t seem to get enough of it. However, many others seem to think science fiction isn’t what it used to be. Despite the glut of novels and films catering to young adults today, there is still plenty of well-written dystopian novels (without teenaged love triangles). Although they do not fall into the same particular category of classics such as Brave New World, there are still worthy examples written in the past few years. Check out some of them below:

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood:

Christian fundamentalists stage a terrorist attack in America, allowing them to suspend the Constitution and install a patriarchal theocracy. This story follows Offred, a concubine for the elite class who undergoes a sexual awakening and joins a resistance movement against the fundamentalists. This critique of repressive religious fundamentalism has taken on added significance since the 9/11 attacks, showing us how a crisis can lead to authoritarianism. Because it speaks to these important issues, the novel remains relevant today. The book was adapted into a film in 1990 starring Natasha Richardson and Robert Duvall.

The Children of Men (1992) by P.D. James:

A global disease has made all men infertile, leaving the human race unable to reproduce. Without any hope for the future, English society collapses and falls under the control of a ruthless dictator. Criminals are dumped into prisons to kill or be killed and the elderly are compulsorily euthanized. This book is an admonition against the cynicism of our times. If we lose hope, we accept all kinds of callousness and oppression and lose sight of the human life’s value. In 2006, a film adaptation starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen was released.

The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy:

A man and his son brave an ashy lifeless landscape populated by cannibals in the hopes of escaping the harsh black winter. Through their actions and words, the man and the boy constantly emphasize love’s power. No matter how bleak things get, the father always looks out for his son and encourages him to maintain hope no matter what. This powerful message resonates with many families, making this novel a contemporary classic. The 2009 film adaptation received critical acclaim with Viggo Mortensen’s excellent portrayal of The Man.

 The Windup Girl (2009) by Paulo Bacigalupi:

In 23rd century Thailand, a genetically engineered humanoid organism, an economic hitman and representative of a biotech mega-corporation, a crooked Chinese refugee, and a leader of an armed environmental enforcement agency cross paths in The Windup Girl. This novel tells a tale of intrigue that critiques environmental exploitation, reckless genetic engineering, the international sex trade, unfettered capitalism, and globalization. The Windup Girl combines a compelling story with dense thematic material, making it a quality science fiction read on par with the classics.

Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest Cline:

In 2044, people spend most of their free time in Oasis — a globally networked virtual reality that transports users to any world they can imagine — as a way of escaping a scrappy existence on an impoverished and depleted planet. The story follows Wade Watts, a high school student that embarks on a digital Easter egg hunt designed by the deceased creator of Oasis in order to inherit his vast estate. Ready Player One shows a world in which people alienate themselves through video games, instead of trying to solve the world’s problems.

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Despite recent films focusing on romance and teenaged angst, there are still many novels that generate conversation over our concerns about the world today. This subgenre of science fiction showcases our anxieties about the future and has raised questions surrounding the concepts of totalitarian governments, environmental catastrophes, and technological overreach. Many have become aware of these concerns and have been trying to positively change the way we impact our Earth. From companies making direct energy more accessible to NASA using advanced technology to help the environment, these dystopian fictions are helping save the world — one novel at a time.dystopian list