Following in the tradition of behind-the-scenes posts like The Making of Idiot’s Mask, I invite you now to take a look at the genesis of my most recent serialization effort, Bobo, in which I will share my originating ideas, my thoughts on the themes in the story, and even some “deleted scenes” that didn’t end up in the final novella.
I continue to struggle with my little novella The Pains. Perhaps it’s fitting that a story about a humble human of common decency but no particular kozmic talent who is evidently picked by the universe to redeem the world through his own suffering should not come easy. Or, actually, the story came mostly easy; it’s the prose, dammit, the words, that are long-dark-night-of the soul-ing me to death.
Anyway, I have written a few more chapters which will be up soon, and a few more beyond them are in the queue. I can’t believe I’m still working on this thing! But I will finish it! Oh yes! It will be mine!
Those of you who’ve read any of our story thus far have seen this illo:
In the meantime, mostly as a prod to myself, here’s a nice little illustrated summary of the book by its illustrator Matthew, AKA Cheeseburger. Take a look.
It started with a simple sentence in a Kuro5hin diary. Farq Q. Fenderson wrote,
“I woke up this morning with a pain in my body that felt like it might be a soul gone bad.”
I was struck by that conceit. What might “a soul gone bad” feel like? And how would you know? What would cause it? And by the way, what exactly does that phrase mean, “a soul gone bad” : Bad like falling irremediably into sin? Or bad like rotten meat? I liked the way Fenderson wrote, “pain in my body”, making explicit and emphatic the distinction between a soul-pain and a bodily pain.
(The rest of that diary entry is pretty intriguing as well, but in a much less mystical way.)
For weeks that sentence ran around in my head. Eventually I wrote to Farq Q. and asked him if he would mind lending it to me for a story I could feel bubbling up within me. Fenderson responded afirmatively right away. The bubbling up, however, took a while. In fact the story bubbles still.
Starship Troopers was Robert Heinlein’s novel about future soldiers. One feature of the book, besides a very right-wing political stance, was the suits worn by the soldiers in battle. Just as inventors made real the remote controlled hands in Heinlein’s novella Waldo, the military is looking to nanotechnology and MIT to make battle suits.