A post about the development of my science fiction novel, The Deep Dark Well.
The science fiction novel The Deep Dark Well was one of the first two books I self published on Amazon on December 31, 2011. Originally written in 2004, after I had come out of what was called a friendly divorce and moved back to Tallahassee from Alabama. The divorce was friendly, but still hurt like hell. I was still in love, and Tallahassee was an escape. I hadn’t written seriously for two years, and decided that the time was right to pursue another novel. The question was, fantasy or science fiction. I was playing Master of Orion II at the time and that, I think, swayed me to scifi. I had read that some publishers were looking for strong female characters, so I decided to make the lead a woman. With my ex-wife in mind I set out to design someone who ended up in no ways like her except for being from Alabama, and having a Southern accent. I then I started to develop the book. I had read a book by Kip Thorne about black holes, and there was a neat little section about using the rotational energy of a black hole to power a civilization. How much energy? More than a star generates in its lifetime, much more. I was also frequenting internet sites that discussed wormholes, negative matter and the possible multiple dimensions of space. So I thought of the idea of an enormous space station in orbit around a black hole, using the energy to generate wormholes (which would take enormous amounts of energy to open) formed the setting of the story. I wanted to limit the characters, so the station became the deserted relic of a dead empire, with one survivor, Watcher. Watcher is a genetically engineered superbeing with abilities far beyond ours, and still possessing the limitations of the organic. I decided to make him both another protagonist and the antagonist. Reading the novel will make it clear how I did this.
I then developed some more of the background. The supersystem came from readng about stellar orbits, and the idea that an energy rich civilization might move stars just because they could. So eight stars were set into orbit around the hole, each with a number of habitable planets and more that were terriformed to become habitable. Add alien races, sprinkle in some outsiders coming to the supersystem to steal the tech of the hole, and I had my setting. I looked up the Albercurrie Drive, warp bubbles, inertialess drives, anything that real scientists thought might get us around Einstein. And then I was ready to go. The novel took three months to write, and has been revised about a dozen times since. I wanted to write something that would fit with the tales of Larry Niven and Poul Anderson. From the few Amazon reviews I have received so far I might have accomplished that. The next article will be about the long and twisting journey of this novel.