What’s next? Following In a Suspect Universe, what books and stories will come after? Or, what am I working on now?
The next book in the Mykol Ranglen series is a collection of poetry supposedly written by Ranglen himself, the notebook of poems referred to in the current novel and occasionally even quoted. That notebook will comprise the third book in the series, and it will be called Temporary Planets for Transitory Days: Poems by Mykol Ranglen. All of the poems quoted briefly in the current novel will have their complete versions in that collection. And readers of both works will be able to play the interesting game of identifying passages and scenes from In a Suspect Universe that are connected to or outgrowths of Ranglen’s poems.
I’m working on the book now and it’s developing very well. Indeed, I can even give a hint of what it covers by listing here what I believe will be the headings for each grouping of poems in the book (“Alchera” and “Riley” are references to a place and a character from In a Suspect Universe):
Nights on Alchera
Tales of Old Earth
And I think it’s safe to say here that a few of the poems might make a reader question assumptions about the events from the novel. One might learn things are not what they seem. (But nothing more about that until both books come out. :-)
After the poetry collection, I originally intended to do a sequel to the storyline from The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes, but I now have another Ranglen story to tell, so there should be at least two sequels.
This happened because I wrote myself into a corner when working on In a Suspect Universe (which writers are wont to do).
I described in the first novel the story of how Clips were found. Clips are tiny storage devices hidden throughout the galaxy by an ancient race called the Airafane. The first was found on Earth in the 21st century and provided the secret of faster-than-light travel. The second was found on another planet and supplied the technology for anti-gravity. The third, discovered by Mykol Ranglen, contained the blueprints for a habitat in space, eventually built and called Annulus (which Ranglen likes to think of as “his” world). The fourth Clip was also found by Ranglen, but no one knows this except a few high-placed people in government, and the Clip has been kept “under wraps” since being found. The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes covered all of the above, in summary, then told the story of how the fifth Clip was sought, found, and fought over—and how Ranglen, at first reluctantly but then persistently, helped in that chase.
I planned In a Suspect Universe to go back and tell the story of how Ranglen found the fourth Clip, what happened to him in doing so, and how he turned it over to the government. But I created such a dangerous Clip in writing the story that I realized that Ranglen would never turn it over—indeed, he’d make certain all governments never got near it.
So I still had the story to tell of finding the “fourth” Clip.
And that’s what the next book, after the poetry book, will do. This time it’ll really tell that story. That would technically make it another “prequel,” running right up to the start of The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes, but it’ll be written more in the style and format of that first novel. Indeed, it will be a fast-paced thriller—a chase, a revenge story, and then a rush to a dramatic conclusion. (Working title: Contested Space.)
And finally, I’ll get to the actual sequel that’s been planned all along, the true follow-up to the first book, telling how Ranglen goes on a search for a missing person and discovers . . . well, I’ll say no more, except that some large questions get answered, and that Ranglen has to confront some very big and difficult issues. (Working title: Galaxy Time.)
And after that?
Who knows. I’m sure I could come up with more ideas for Ranglen books, but I also have at least one other novel in mind that’s not part of the Ranglen saga. A fantasy story, about floating cities.
But that’s way down the road.
So, there you have it. I look forward to bringing all these plans to their conclusion. I’ve loved writing the books in the series already, so I’m eager and ready for more.
And, again, I hope you enjoy them.