Behind the Scenes: Odysseus Wept

Beware of Final Revolution Spoilers Below!

Well, I don’t intend to go that far behind the scenes on Odysseus Wept, but I can give at least a little information.

Regarding Terra Nova…Mateo actually told me years ago where things would end up — so I can’t say that was my idea.  What’s really funny is when I started The Final Revolution, I really had no intention of tying things neatly into Message From Moonbase Alpha OR in getting our Alphan friends onto that planet.  But if you remember the conversation between Morrow and Koenig in Alpha, you could almost tell there was another shoe to drop someday, that there would be another conversation between Koenig and a different Morrow.

When I was working on Final Revolution, the nature of the Alphan’s time and space was kind of out there but had never been pinned down too closely.  For the longest time, I knew there would be this moment when the Alphans were pushed through SOMETHING — I just didn’t know what.  The character they met in that “other space” intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure how he got there. It’s the classic story where you paint yourself into a corner and your mind comes up with some solution that then solves other problems as well and you wonder how much of a story you’re really responsible for and how much just comes from some other place, like someone or some thing is whispering in your ear.  I’m not a believer in such things but I have to marvel that things I may get credit for, I can’t really take credit for them — they just kind of fall into my lap.

The behind the scenes stuff that I’ll offer here won’t give many plot details away, but you may find it interesting from an architectural perspective.  Way back when, the plan was that John Muir would write Odysseus Wept.  John had also written The Forsaken.  So when I was plotting out the mythology that would feed Omega and Alpha, there was always a question of pull in the Space Brains or don’t pull in Space Brains? I certainly didn’t want to hamstring John so we basically left only a very tenuous connection between the mythology and whatever was happening with the Space Brain and/or Terra Nova.  Maybe Paul and company were backup humans, and maybe one of the MUFs was responsible for killing the Space Brain in the original episode.

Fast forward a number of years and John Muir decided not to do Odysseus Wept for the best possible reasons — he’s busy doing other cool stuff and integrating some of Mateo’s plans for Odysseus Wept and getting all caught up in the mythology that I’d been putting down was not going to be an easy thing.  I was really sad!  Not because I’d have to write it — I was just excited at the prospect of another cool John Muir Space:1999 novel.  When I got to proofread The Whispering Sea, I got my reward (man, that was a very, very enjoyable day for me, reading that book — I was sitting there with a smile on my face the whole time reading The Whispering Sea — it was just such a breath of fresh air!).

But…now I have a somewhat daunting task.  I’m writing something akin to a sequel to The Forsaken, and tying in the Odysseus Wept stuff Mateo wanted, and I need to tie in everything that was being set up in Final Revolution, and, to my horror…I needed to invent a new mythology for the Space Brains!  On my own!

So, in Odysseus Wept, you’re going to find out a lot about the culture that spawned the Space Brains (yes, more than one).  I’m trying not to spend too much time in that part of the book but to be honest, I’m having fun with that part.  This book takes place over thousands of years!  In many ways, it’s been like the Omega/Alpha process all over again (but no cliffhanger coming!).  I’m writing it in a way that’s very similar to how I wrote Omega and Alpha — writing whatever sections I feel like writing and then going back and editing them/putting them into whatever order makes sense later on.

I’m also having to get to know Paul Morrow.  Outside of some brief scenes in Resurrection and Alpha, I haven’t written much of Paul Morrow, so I’m getting to know him and really getting inside his head for the first time.  I can talk to Alan Carter in my head and Alan Carter answers — that’s not true of Paul Morrow.

So, in the long run, this is going to be an interesting book, I guess — it should feel like a Powys Space:1999 novel but it’s really something a little different.  The tone of it is different.  Something’s ending while something else is beginning.  That’ll make sense someday when you read it.

Anyway, that’s what’s up.  This book’s taking its time, but in a good way.