Thursday, September 11, 2008

Story Idea #2 and Reading Update #3

Reading update:

In the bedroom: Still reading Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell. As I said before, the book keeps getting better and better. I would have finished it last night for sure but I was up until 2:00am stripping wallpaper out of the bedroom closet so we can get some shelves installed today.

In the downstairs bathroom: Still reading the collection of short stories about my favorite comic duo so I can prime the pump and start on Story Idea #1.

At the office: Almost done with The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. I should have this finished on Friday which means I need to decide today what book I should bring with me to start next. At the moment I am leaning towards Wetware by Rudy Rucker. I read the first book in this series, Software, back in June and bought the next three books in the series a couple of weeks ago.

In the car: I am on disc ten of ten of The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. This alternate history book won the Hugo award for Best Novel this year and I'm not surprised. While it doesn't feel like a science fiction book, there is no question the world building is first rate. The writing is even better. Dauntingly so.

I need to figure out what I'm going to listen to next so I'll be hitting the library later today.

Story Idea #2:

The Yiddish Policemen's Union leads me to another story idea I have. Unfortunately as rich and detailed as Chabon's novel is, it only illustrates what I already knew about the story I want to write; I would have to do way too much research to make it worthwhile.

Here is the outline without giving too much away. Someone makes a discovery proving the existence of God. This discovery has something to do with the number three. I don't want to say what it is but basically just about everyone is now convinced there must be a God. So a new religion springs up with Christianity, Judaism and Islam as its three pillars. Eventually most of the other religions join in, as do former non-believers. The hard part for me would be studying the religions, and perhaps numerology, enough to give the story flavor and depth.

The gist of the story is that earth is now a paradise. Even though no one's old religion turned out to be correct, everyone is on board with the new one. Since everyone knows God exists, and believes he is there is watching them all the time, everyone is behaving. Its like having your mother walk in the room when you're fighting with your siblings, suddenly you start making nice.

The idea is to explain the history of the discovery, the new religion and the subsequent Golden Age of Earth through conversations between three men who are stuck in close quarters. Then of course, since this is a short story, there is a surprise ending.

The few people who have read a more detailed description of the story have liked it (or were being nice). Specifically they thought the ending worked. While I'm not sure if I could put the time into the story to do it justice, I sometimes think it might work they way Vonnegut does it. Just have one character in a novel tell another character about a story they read (by Kilgore Trout of course). So basically you get the outline of the story and then the punch line at the end. Of course in order to do that I would have to write a novel to put that conversation in...

I wrote everything above this point this morning before lunch, but I didn't have a chance to proof it and put it online. I did go to the library this evening. I spent thirty minutes slowly scanning the fiction section of audio books not finding anything I wanted to listen to. Or if I did find something interesting, it turned out to be the third or fifth book in a series, with no sign of the earlier books in evidence. I finally found something short to get me through Friday when I got to the V's and found the two and a half hour long, A Man without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut. This is read by Norman Dietz whose recordings of Mark Twain's books are an absolute joy. Then I finally reached the non-fiction section. When I saw this Modern Scholar title, the hair on the back of my neck stood up: Judaism, Christianity and Islam: The Monotheists. Oooookaaaay I'm thinking, this is an interesting bit of timing. If I can get through this lecture my excuse for not being able to write my religious story might be out the window. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Win Scott Eckert said...

It was nice to hear Chabon (through a written acceptance statement, he wasn't present) explicitly state at the Hugos that he was an sf writer.