The other day I described Chronopticus Rising as "the clock book". Another way to describe the novel is that it is the most dynamic of the three books, but it also has the brightest moments and the most upbeat ending. The larger theme, though, is that not everyone's definition of Eden (or Utopia) is the same. I'll address the Eden/Utopia issue in a subsequent post, but for now it's enough to say that there are several different visions of an ideal Utopia, depending on who you ask. The question then becomes: how devoted is each side in their attempts to achieve it? What are the consequences? And, in this book, how well do the colonists really know the founders of the settlements they live in?
In addition, like the other two books, there will also be more new technology introduced. This includes monowheels, tunneling dice, electronic bees, and a new generation of Sentinel machines. Oddly enough, there has been a few robot-related stories in the news as of late, with one company's plans to sell robots and another that is developing robots that can run. And here is a video of real-life monowheels, including a company that has built several different models. And here is an article about a burger-flipping robot that can crank out 360 burgers per hour.
Hopefully, one of the other distinctions of this novel will be the characters. Yes, these are many of the same characters that have existed throughout the series, but to some extent, not a lot has been revealed about who they are. Much of that will change because the third book is all about the characters identities and pasts being used against them as a means of exercising power. That said, like all other aspects of the writing craft, things such as character development will always be a "work in progress" for me.
On a side note, writing a series (for the first time) has also taught me a lot of things. I'm quickly realizing what works and what doesn't work, and that I need a better system for tracking characters, places, and events over huge timeframes. It's also difficult to determine whether to make books that can stand alone (but are still part of a series) or to create books that need to be read in a specific order. Factor in giveaways and it gets even more complicated. But I'll save some of those lessons for another post.