In my last post celebrating the launch of Scouring Juventas, I mentioned that as well as writing The Muffler's Misery for my next novel, completing the initial Mufflers trilogy, I'll also be working on a collection of short stories. In fact, I'll be writing a few short stories next, so I thought I'd expand on those plans.
Ahead of working on The Muffler's Misery, I have an idea for another short story sequel to Scouring Juventas, set about 18 months later. I decided I should write it while the novel is fresh in my mind. That will be tomorrow's job.
After that, I need to get my creative mind back into the world of the Mufflers. To do that, I have a couple of short stories planned. After that, I'll be ready to start on the novel.
The first tells of what happens to Winn Ridgard after the end of The Muffler's Mission. That will set things up nicely for the region of Ringwall ahead of Winn's appearance in The Muffler's Misery. Yes, he'll be back. And he's not happy.
The second features Dave Elkington, stuck in a rut in the Ministry of Information. This takes place around the end of The Muffler's Mission, leading up to his last appearance in that novel, and drives his motivation for everything he does in the final book.
However, I'm not planning on adding these to my existing free collection, Mutterings of Consequence. Instead, I'll be releasing an expanded collection through Amazon called Substrate Constraints. You can see a draft cover above, although it's highly likely to change. At the very least, the subtitle font is horrible.
I need to set a bit of context to explain what this is. As I've mentioned before, all of my novels so far take place in the same extended universe, even the light fantasy Muffler tales. Chronologically, these are:
In Memory of Chris Parsons
The Tamboli Sequence
There are a set of common rules that this universe follows, such as the nature of consciousness – in particular, its indivisibility – and how this relates to our universe's place in the substrate. Sometimes the substrate is referred to as the bulk, depending on who's telling the story.
The concept of the substrate is loosely based on a real scientific theory called brane cosmology. How this relates to the nature of consciousness is pure fabrication on my part.
This background comes to the fore in A Revision of Reality and is also important in Scouring Juventas. The nature of consciousness is critical in In Memory of Chris Parsons and, to a lesser extent, in A Vision of Unity. As to how it relates to The Mufflers, well you'll have to wait until The Muffler's Misery.
All my short stories in Mutterings of Consequence fill the gaps between these novels and make this linkage explicit, but only to a point. I need to complete this picture, which is where the Substrate Constraints collection comes in. I will be adding another story to my free collection once The Muffler's Misery is complete, but everything else will go into the new collection.
So Substrate Constraints will use Mutterings of Consequence as a starting point. These will be re-edited, and occasionally expanded, and many new stories will be added. This includes:
A later sequel featuring the Chris Parsons characters, which will lead more directly to The Tamboli Sequence.
At least a couple of stories explicitly set in The Tamboli Sequence, including the tale of Raj Tamboli's actions on Flood Day.
The aforementioned sequel to Scouring Juventas, which I'll be writing next.
A couple of Mufflers prequels, including the longest of all – the story of how Bristow and Brenda obtained their roles at the start of the first novel.
Several other Muffler stories, some expanding on events in The Muffler's Misery.
A final tale that ties together characters from The Tamboli Sequence, Scouring Juventas, and The Mufflers.
I intend to release Substrate Constraints for Kindle and paperback through Amazon, and through my other outlets after three months. That's likely to be early in 2023. I may retire the Mutterings of Consequence collection at some point, but only when I'm ready to replace it with something better.
That will complete my extended works based on the concept of the substrate. The novel after that will be unconstrained by that reality and be something entirely new. That's only beginning to crystalise in my mind, so it's a way off!
First, I need to get on and write these two books, rather than blog about them. I'll be back when The Muffler's Misery has begun.