Here’s an interesting fun fact: Since I finished The God Engines last Monday, this is the first time since 2001 that I have no new book project scheduled for publication. In terms of original stuff, TGE comes out late this year or early next year, but after that, there’s not a thing of mine with an official (or even unofficial) release date. No fiction. No non-fiction. Nothing.
Don’t worry, everything’s fine. I’ve got other things to keep me busy at the moment, starting with the Stargate: Universe gig and going from there. We’re not exactly worried about how to make the next mortgage payment here, or the next one, or even the one after that. And for various reasons, when I do decide to start my next novel or book project I don’t expect I’ll have a problem getting it published. I just very simply don’t have anything in novel or book form that’s on a deadline or has a planned publication date. For the first time in eight years, I don’t have something I have to do next.
Which is at once weird and kind of exciting, because now the question is: What do I want to do next?
And the answer is: Well, lots of stuff. Here in the office, I have something which could more or less be called a “dream board,” on which I put up the projects I want to do at some point in the reasonably near future (defined as “the next couple three years”). Right now, there are four novel projects and two non-fiction projects on it — including, yes, Android’s Dream fans, The High Castle. Some of these projects are more likely than others, but any of them is possible, and the options are wide open. Which I will pick to work on next will depend on a number of factors, but primarily three: what interests me most, what’s economically feasible (both in terms of likely advance and likely sales), and what’s likely to best serve my career interests in the long run.
There’s also the option of picking none of the above and instead trying something completely new to me. After many years, and in no small part due to my involvement with SG:U, I have an interest in trying screenwriting; and it might be fun to write a practice screenplay, just as twelve years ago I wrote Agent to the Stars as a practice novel. It might be fun to write a script for a comic book or graphic novel. It might be worth it to try writing something in fiction but out of the genre. And so on. I am fortunate at this point to be in a place careerwise where I have a bit of latitude; it might be worth it to go exploring.
The only drawback to all of this is that not having something on the publishing schedule right now means that (TGE aside) even if I were to start working on my next novel book right this very second, nothing would be in the bookstores until the fall of 2010. That’s just the speed of the publishing world. This means an at least two-year gap between the hardcover publication of Zoe’s Tale and whatever comes next. Which, you know, seems like a lot.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine who noted (with, you may assume, some appreciable eye rolling at my comment) that between this blog and my prominent involvement with one of the most-anticipated science fiction TV shows of the year, I’m not exactly going to disappear down a hole between novel releases. Fair point. Be that as it may, it still feels weird. And if nothing else, It’s got me thinking about putting together some short stories, etc to fill in the gap. We’ll see.
In any event, for the moment, it’s kind of fun being in an indeterminate stage regarding what’s next. It can’t last, nor should it, since if it does I’ll just end up playing videogames and getting fat, and that’s just no good. But for the rest of the weekend, at least, I’ll enjoy the feeling.