the next big thing

So apparently all the cool writer kids are tagging each other with the “the next big thing” meme.

I’m an introvert with out any writing friends (well, except my girlfriend fiance…and she’s in a symmetric situation), so I’ll tag myself.

What is the working title of this book?

It started out as “The Powers of the Earth” (quoting the famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence, but also hinting at the central importance of anti-gravity in the narrative). When it grew too large to fit into one book, I split it. After some rough-and-tumble (i.e. friends criticizing my first dozen ideas), I named the second book “Causes of Separation”.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

A thousand places.

Reading (and re-reading…and re-re-reading) Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”.

A dream I had in 1993, soon after moving to Boston, where a man and a woman sat in a small diesel powered spaceship as it hovered over the surface of the moon.

Studying the history of the Icelandic Free State.

Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations”, John Ross’ “Unintended Consequences”, Vernor Vinges “Tines” and David Brin’s “Uplift” series, Leon Uris’ “Exodus”, James Blish, Ernest Callenbach’s “Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston”, and hundreds more.

What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction and libertarian fiction.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, the novel is utterly unfilmable. Almost 1,200 pages, four or so major plot threads, uplifted Dogs as major characters. No, couldn’t be done.

…but if the novel is re-discovered in 60 or 100 years and some Garage Kubrick wants to tackle it, and has the full range of actors from our age and earlier, via software emulation?

Even then, I think I’d prefer some unknowns. The characters are a bit larger than life, but they’re not more beautiful or more poised than life.

Mike is a bit of a Richard Branson character.

Darcy is off in the direction of Iron Man’s Pepper Potts, but not skinny or as graceful.

Ewoma is a precocious Nigerian girl with a huge smile.

General Restivo is a bit of a soulful Edward James Olmos type, but it would be impossible to cast EJO without bringing Battlestar parallels too close to the surface.


So, if I had to cast it, I’d pick some relative unknowns.

The one exception is Mike’s confidant and adviser Javier, who I pictured from the get-go as being played by Miguel Sandoval playing a similar character as he did in the NBC mini-series “Kingpin”.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A motley mix of libertarians on the moon fight the overarching welfare state using social media, open source software, market mechanisms, and guns.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

First draft: 9 months. Second draft: 8 months. Third draft: 3 months. Fourth draft: in progress, but perhaps 6 months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As Claire Wolfe said: “America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

What can one do in that awkward stage?


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4 Responses to the next big thing

  1. Max Lybbert says:

    Congratulations on the fiance.

  2. Señor Chupacabra says:

    > the novel is utterly unfilmable. Almost 1,200 pages, four or so major plot threads,
    > uplifted Dogs as major characters. No, couldn’t be done.

    Nigger, please. Cameron could do it before breakfast, and develop six new technologies in the process.

    …it’s just that it would come out as moralizing progressive bullshit in the end. 😉

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