Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Semper Mars

I've started re-reading the Semper Mars, the first book of The Heritage Trilogy, by Ian Douglas a pseudonym that William H. Keith uses to write under. 

The book came out in 1998 and some of the near future predictions are now set in my historical past, hence the XKCD cartoon at the bottom of this post. As a result, some events read a little odd.  What I learnt from this is to set your novels far enough in the future that they can't be overrun in your own lifetime, which is making me rethink and reappraise a couple of events that I've alluded to in my first novel.  

I found myself enjoying rereading Semper Mars despite some-completely-over-the-top rah, rah, rah the US Marines rock hyperbole.

Also setting up the United Nations as the main enemy of American progress seems to me misjudged, because the UN probably couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery – let me unpack that comment.  

The UN sometimes manages to run relief operation with a multinational task-force.  Some have even been quite successful, but having the UN unite Europe and other countries around the world to oppose the United Sates is a bit of a stretch.  There again Keith had to have a bad guy, and I imagine at the time when the book was written neither Russia or China could fit the bill.

Anyway I'm nearly finished, and I wondered why I still like this book?  

I have a certain fondness for Keith's BattleTech novels, call it nostalgia if you like, but I still enjoy reading them, and his Warstrider series is certainly a much more interesting take on future conflicts than a lot of military SF.  So I think the answer is that he projects a certain optimism.  

No matter how grim things get there's a way forward to a better outcome, which is a refreshing thing to read for a change.

My own writing this week edged over from new content into editing, as in a negative number for one day's total.  Looking at the progress I've made I see 2,773 words added to the current draft, bringing the running total up to 88,810, which when adjusted to remove the glossary etc means the novel runs to 85,601 words of story.

Today I have stripped out the six third party story arcs into their own documents.  This is so I can more readily look at how each of their perspectives adds or detracts from the main story.  I also want to make sure I've not missed or forgotten anything important to the their respective stories.  Then I plan to run through the various reiterations of the heroes day, and do the same thing to her scenes.

It's an interesting exercise, but it can be quite disheartening job at times.  Well that's it for another week, see you all on the bounce.


  1. I've been reading his Carrier series recently, written in the early 1990s and set about three or four years into the future, and those suffer badly from real-world catch-up: once he'd decided what (say) Russia would do, he had to stick with it, in what was increasingly becoming an alternate history. (All the books are credited as by "Keith Douglass"; only the first seven are actually by WHK.)

    To many Americans of a libertarian or right-wing bent, the UN is the Great Enemy, because it wants to be a world government (and America is the only power that's allowed to want that). This has very little relation to the actual UN, obviously, but it keeps the campaign contributions flowing in.

    1. I've been reading your reviews and noted that problem. Will you be reviewing Warstrider before me? Given how little I've been ale to read that is not for research purposed I expect the answer is yes. As always thanks for reading, and thanks for taking the time to write a comment. Most appreciated.



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