I was going through some old boxes the other day and came across a bunch of rejection letters from various literary agents over the years. I threw some out and kept a few others. I also came across a printed spreadsheet that tracked submissions and responses for short stories and novels. To top it off, I found tons of old rough drafts and edits of different books, including Theft at the Speed of Light. At one point, I probably had thousands of pages of edits laying around. It was a stark reminder of all the effort I have put into my books over the years even if no one ever reads a single page.
All of this brings me to the series of Chronopticus Chronicles books I'm currently working on. It is the most ambitious writing project I've ever attempted, and in some ways I still feel like I'm falling a bit short of my goals for it. I also realized that trying to get it traditionally published would be difficult at best because of the unusual structure of the series. In some ways, the three books, when finished, will resemble a pyramid (or a mountain).
Looking back, perhaps I should have written Fractal Standard Time as a novel instead of a collection of short stories. Again, though, when I set out to write the stories I did not intend for it to turn into a series. It just happened organically on its own. I'll try to address some of the gaps over the coming months with a few more short stories.
That said, I'm working with the structure of the series as it is now. The structure of Fractal Standard Time was supposed to be a series of fractals, with each story building off of the other in a sort of "documentary" format. Maybe I failed at that, I don't know, and certainly there are some areas that could have been done differently. Yet I'm using the structure of that book as a framework for the entire series. In other words, the whole series will be a fractal that resembles the narrative arc fractal that appeared in the first three stories of Fractal Standard Time.
For example, each group of three stories in Fractal Standard Time has their own narrative arc. Tales From the Front is meant to be an Eden-like story, involving pioneers/inventors and discovery. The second story, Racing the Anvil Crawlers, builds on the inventions in the first story, and shows another inventor mastering the technology and networking those inventions together. The third story, The Mathematician's Lawn, follows that same inventor as he takes the networking to another level and even to the point of causing destruction.
Now, the second set of stories in the book follows a similar arc: inventions/pioneers (landing on Mars), networking improvements (interlinked robots and a system that gathers information on the population living in the Mars colony), and finally someone seizing control of the Network to the point of causing destruction (the interlinked robots go bezerk).
This pattern carries through the remaining six stories to the point where there are patterns building upon patterns. It is also carrying through the series itself. Where Fractal Standard Time focused on pioneers and inventions and an Eden-like atmosphere, Ionotatron will focus on the networking those inventions together. The third book in the series will illustrate someone taking control of those inventions for nefarious purposes...even to the point of persecution based on a person's belief system. That's also why there is an evolving Hilbert curve on the series covers.
Lastly, it could be said that the inclusion of a reference to God at the end of Fractal Standard Time is random or "out of place". It isn't. In fact, it is part of the larger fractal pattern of hope amidst desolation. Moreover, in Ionotatron, it will become evident that there is more to the colony-bulding project on Mars than was first revealed in Fractal Standard Time. By the time the third book will be released, the whole pattern and purpose of the colony will become evident. Again, there will hope amidst the desolation...but that hope was there all along despite mankind's efforts to eliminate it.