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Two Earths Are Better Than None

Some news. I've been carrying out detailed planning work for my next novel, previously known as Foundations of Dichotomy, which led me to one inevitable conclusion. Not only was the title overly clumsy and pretentious, but it also didn't match the style in which the story would be told.

I went through a few iterations but have now settled on a new title of <drumroll>

Two Earths Are Better Than None

Yes, I know you worked that out from the name of this blog post. It might still well change, but it matches the storyline's feel more closely now. I've even knocked up a quick cover above, adopting a new style now that this novel is entirely unconnected to the substrate tales. The cover needs work too.

What can I tell you about the novel? It's the most complex and challenging that I've written, both character and story-wise. You'll get to meet several wildly different alien races. Although starting on Earth, you'll spend plenty of time on Cerriturna, the former moon of the missing planet, Cerritur.

As Mason Bryant sips coffee in bed, lamenting the state of his marriage to Emily, he wistfully imagines how much better life would be if he hadn't messed things up with Lissa back in their university days. Then the aliens known as the Peria appear around the world.

The next thing he remembers is waking up next to Lissa, now his wife, as the Peria begin to depart after five years on Earth. What happened during the missing five years? Has he been watching too many multiverse movies? The only thing for sure is that his marriage to Lissa is as fraught as that with Emily.

Then the Peria reveal why they're here – and why they need people like Mason. The fate of more than the Earth is at stake.

There's not too much more to say without giving away major spoilers. The flawed Mason Bryant will drive the story as he gets sucked into events beyond Earth along with the differently flawed Beth Borden. At present, I'm expecting it to be told in five parts:

  1. Fear the Dichotomy

  2. Bridge the Schism

  3. Weave the Skein

  4. Unpick the History

  5. Embrace the Unity

The first part will be the shortest, comprising only three chapters:

  1. Another Life

  2. Dichotomy and Schism

  3. Hobson's Choice

Although I have more planning to do, I might knock up a quick draft of these opening chapters next, primarily to ensure I'm on the right track and that Mason Bryant is working as I hoped before he meets Beth Borden. I'm much more confident in Beth's characterisation.

All this is while waiting for feedback on The Muffler's Misery, which is my top priority once I have it. Once that's complete, I'll rework these opening chapters and then forge ahead, other than a short break to tidy up and publish Substrate Constraints.

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