Probably ten years ago, when the Internet was a younger space and podcasting and the concepts of web fiction and indie e-publishing were young, I ended up guesting on a podcast dedicated to web fiction, talking about Awakenings initially. The conversation with the host eventually drifted to my recently released book, Broken Stars, about which the host was duly enthused.
The universe of Broken Stars is in some ways more optimistic than the world of Awakenings—sure, the human race still has problems but the actual apocalypse hasn’t happened and hey, we’re in space. Sure, Earth is held by a galactic state that stands in opposition to our heroes in Broken Stars and there’s definitely a simmering conflict there, but we’ve managed to survive two wars of annihilation and enslavement by an alien race to get there.
More on that in a second.
The question—in the midst of this long-ago interview—that came up from the host, something that is probably the only thing that I remember from the whole interview, was the question whether or not Broken Stars would ever be released as web fiction, if anything in that universe would be released online as web fiction. I remember laughing and saying that I wasn’t sure it quite felt right to do it that way, that the format might not be right.
Fast forward to a pandemic, to another bachelor’s degree, to a much different point in my life than where I was in the days of that interview.
There has been an idea rolling around in my head for a little while now, suggesting that in addition to getting back to both Awakenings and at least the world of the Legacies of Lost Earth, perhaps there was hope for a web-facing taste of the Epsilon universe—of which Broken Stars is a major part.
The Preytax Wars are a historical event that takes place in the Epsilon universe, an event that planted the seeds for the status quo that exists in Broken Stars. Taking place in the 22nd century, several decades after humanity has made its way deeper and deeper into the stars (thanks to a bit of help from a few friendly alien races that made first contact in the later 21st century), the Preytax Wars represent humanity’s first encounter with a hostile alien race and two major conflicts with that race—both of which are generally characterized as life or death for humanity and human society on the whole.
Humanity won, but not without cost and not necessarily as decisively as anyone characterizing it as an existential conflict might have hoped—but no one actually thinks they’ll come back, right?
More on that to come in the future.
I have never been sure if I would actually write a full-blown book in the era of the Preytax Wars—I would have to write several, in fact, due to knowing who some of the important macro and micro stories live with. Something that I have been playing with is putting together a site that gathers fictional news reports, journal entries, sequences, etc. that would tell at least part of the story of the Preytax Wars. It’s been an idea that’s simmered for a little while now.
I suppose we’ll see what happens next.