I thought it was about time I provided an update on where I'm at with The Muffler's Mission, my plans for publication, and what comes next.
Firstly, the updated draft of The Muffler's Mission is with my son, acting in his role as editor and beta reader. He's an author himself, so tends to give me annoying expert feedback that makes me think again about several aspects. It certainly led to major surgery to the opening and final section of The Muffler's Ministry. He's currently finishing off the first draft of his next novel, so I'm not expecting feedback too quickly – which is fine by me. A gap before I get back to the edits usually makes me look at things afresh myself. I'll also be returning the favour/getting revenge by giving feedback on his novel too.
Then it'll be a case of contemplating his feedback and knocking things into shape before self-publishing the book, probably in a couple of months. As I've done in the past, the novel will be available exclusively through Amazon for three months before being rolled out via the other outlets.
In the interim, I've started planning my next novel – which won't be a Muffler's story. Not yet. As I've mentioned before, I've viewed each Muffler's novel as a standalone story, but there's an arc that will take three books to resolve. That arc will be concluded in The Muffler's Misery, which needs a bit more time to clarify in my mind before I start work on it. I know the major issues to be resolved, I know the major characters in the novel, I know exactly how it's going to end, but a few details remain that need a fresh mind.
Before that comes Scouring Juventas – at least, that's its working title. It's a standalone science fiction novel set on the world of Juventas, a colony settled a century earlier by a generation starship. As the colony has its first major setback, events from the planet's past are uncovered, jeopardising their future. I'm probably a few weeks from putting first words to virtual paper, as I'm sketching out a lot of historical detail first, as well as the motivations of several key characters. The story will be told from two alternating perspectives, one person resident in the colony, one person setting out in an exploratory group. There's a third mysterious presence sticking its oar in occasionally too.
Although it's an entirely self-contained novel, I see it as taking place in the same world as The Tamboli Sequence, even if set well afterwards and never mentioning the name of Tamboli. Actually, it has more connection to the short story A Subdivision of Humanity which you can find in my collection Mutterings of Consequence – sign up to my newsletter to get a free copy. It was that short story that gave me the idea in the first place.
I've also been adding more stories to that collection, which I'll publish at the same time as The Muffler's Mission. Two tales – A Muffler's Marriage and A Muffler's Assignment – both take place immediately after The Muffler's Mission, giving a bit more detail to events that will cause a few problems in The Muffler's Misery. The final short story is a belated sequel to In Memory of Chris Parsons, called In Memory of Psykhe, telling of Erica's meeting with an unexpected figure as the ripples of the novel continue.
[Post updated 29th July 2021 to include A Muffler's Assignment above]
I'm starting to have delusions of grandeur with Mutterings of Consequence, using it as a bit of an Asimov-like retrospective reunification project to set all of my novels in the same extended universe. In my defence, I had the vague idea already and dropped a few hints in the books, but it was Scouring Juventas that made the final pieces click into place. I've already a short story planned that's set after it, tentatively called Scouring Earth.
[ Updated 23 August 2021: I'm in the process of adding an extra story to the collection that I hadn't previously anticipated, called The Muffler's Retrospective. It's a bit of an odd one, with no real characters, and was inspired by the recent Tesla Bot presentation. And no, it doesn't feature robots, but somehow manages to link into all of my novels. Chronology in the list below is complicated, but it's narrated roughly where I've put it.]
Once that's all in place, this will be the chronology of my novels and short stories. Short stories are in italics, * indicates things I ought to be writing rather than doing blog posts.
In Memory of Universal Truth
In Memory of Chris Parsons
In Memory of Psykhe
THE TAMBOLI SEQUENCE
A Vision of Unity
A Provision of Succession
A Division of Order
A Redivision of Community
A Revision of Reality
A Subdivision of Humanity
Scouring Juventas *
Scouring Earth *
A Muffler's Application
The Muffler's Ministry
A Muffler's Vigil
The Muffler's Mission
A Muffler's Marriage
A Muffler's Assignment
The Muffler's Retrospective
The Muffler's Misery *
Once things are a bit more progressed, I'll be back to tell more of Scouring Juventas. In case you were wondering, this image is vaguely like one of my background thoughts for Juventas, but not really. I just wanted a picture in the blog post!