Although I’ve written and published more than a dozen urban fantasy titles over the past six years, the core elements of the Multiplarity Space Opera Trilogy has been more than ten years in the making. I think the time has come to document at least part of this journey, keeping in mind the old adage, if you can’t serve as an good example, perhaps you’ll do as a warning. We shall start with the first book, Omniphage.
In the Beginning
Several of the core concepts have been bouncing around the back of my head for many years. It wasn’t until about four years ago, that they started to come together. Like many of my longer works, I began with a short story that was, inspired by a photograph or a fantasy image I saw online. Steven Stahlberg is an incredible 2D and 3D artist. Check out some of his work at: http://www.androidblues.com
He also has a FaceBook presence. https://www.facebook.com/steven.stahlberg.7
Several of his images stick in my mind, but one of his old 2D drawings of a Cat and Mouse in a film noir setting, got me thinking. http://www.androidblues.com/gallery/catandmouse.jpg
What if they were real people in our modern society? What would cause them to look like that?
About the same time, I read about some genetics research that was experimenting with nanotechnology in the search for a cancer cure. I had to start writing.
As the first few thousand words of the short story evolved, it dawned on me that there had to be more to this. I woke up at odd hours of the night, with various characters screaming for attention. Each time, I scrambled to my keyboard and added to my notes. The story rapidly grew out of control. A few older short stories that had been created for my own amusement, had memorable characters and their personalities became part of the larger story arc.
Although I don’t mind putting my characters through hell while recounting their stories, I dislike dystopian literature in general and wanted to show there was a chance at a happy ending. It wasn’t until I wrote the final few chapters of Omniphage that I realized it was much more than a biological research thriller. I couldn’t leave it unfinished.
In the first few chapters of Omniphage, the reader will encounter a group of college researchers, working at combining nanotechnology and genetics in the search for cancer treatments. A serendipitous discovery leads to an economical cure for everything. It quickly grows into some apocalyptic images of a near future thrown into turmoil by this simple medical miracle drug.
Unfortunately, things rapidly spin out of control and the news spreads that many major drug companies, most hospitals, all assisted-care facilities, and all wheelchair and orthopedic manufacturers are no longer needed. As information on the new drug, Omniphage escapes, the worldwide financial house of cards collapses.
Excerpt from the novel:
“Overpopulation could be a problem if it was used indiscriminately… but I don’t think…” She stopped.
His smile broadened. “You thought of it too, didn’t you? Who decides? Who gets treated and who is left to die?
“Hah! There isn’t a government in the world that can stop ten percent of their population from smoking marijuana. What makes you think they could put a cap on the ultimate cure? Hell if someone tried, their own office staff would lynch them.”
Fear and confusion reign when it is discovered that mixing Omniphage with certain types of animal genetic material can create hybrids. Superstitious hysteria brings out the worst in many people.
I envisioned the two anthropomorphic females in my story as accidents from a batch of Omniphage that had been contaminated by feline and rodent hair. They are not the only ones. Some of them aren’t even accidents.
Omniphage takes the reader on a wild ride from a peaceful university laboratory, through a country drenched in chaos, and ends up in places with names like Alice Island, Lazy Fair, Dreamland, and Port Heinlein.
Each of these little adventures blend into a grand journey, where characters from all walks of life become our friends. Besides the university team, the reader will meet farmers, strippers, bikers, cooks, military officers, good cops, bad cops, TV personalities, club owners, and many more. We follow each thread as circumstances force them apart, but eventually, the come back together.
In my next post, I’ll explain the concept of the Multiplarity and why it became the framework that turned a near-future genetics thriller into a space opera.