Counting Down: PLENUM – 9

Time travel is one of the great tropes of the Science Fiction genre. I’ve loved it ever since Wells’ The Time Machine filled my imagination with Eloi and Morlocks and, far more important, showed me that a work of speculative fiction could have a terrible relevance. Then I picked up The End of Eternity. I was captivated by the romance and adventure of time travel. Asimov had a lot to say about both our human need to control our own destiny and the pride that convinces us we have enough wisdom to do a good job of it, but at the time I was a boy on the cusp of adolescence. All I needed to be happy was a story about a pretty girl, a desperate quest to save the world, and a hero I could sort of recognize in the mirror, if I squinted hard enough, and Asimov provided that in spades.

I’ve read hundreds of stories about time travel since those early years. Most were not memorable, but some stand out. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. Silverberg’s Up the Line. Dozens of others. Even Mark Twain sent a Connecticut Yankee back in time, but the stories that impressed me most were written by Connie Willis. I think the strongest of her stories was Doomsday Book. The tremendous power, clarity, and pathos she brought to her depiction of one of mankind’s greatest tragedies gave me a mark to aim at when I started writing PLENUM.

Writing in a genre populated by so many gifted men and women was more than a little intimidating, but somewhere in my second year with the book I realized that time travel was just a convenient metaphor. We were all writing about different things. Wells wrote about a society divided against itself, perhaps inspired by the English caste system. Asimov wrote about pride and power in the shadow of Hiroshima. Willis writes about the human spirit and its ability to transcend the bleakest of circumstances. I was writing about free will and the nature of reality, but mostly I was writing about a desperate quest to save the universe, a couple of very pretty girls, mostly human, and a hero I can still sort of recognize in the mirror if I squint very very hard.

PLENUM: Love and War in Five Dimensions

PlenumEBookCoverAMy first book release in six years is available for pre-order for the Kindle at the Amazon bookstore at the discounted pre-release price of $3.99. It is also available as a trade paperback suitable for mounting, framing, or even gold plating for $16.95.

PLENUM is also available from Smashwords in epub format for the Nook, Adobe Digital Editions, and most other ebook readers at Just enter AG97E for the coupon code to get the reduced price of $3.99, but don’t dawdle — this promotion won’t last long.

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