I'm posting here the new author's afterword that appears in the back of my superheroes in space novella, Invasion. This book has abandoned its ambitions to start a series of its own and has joined as the third volume of another series instead. As detailed below...
You may or may not have noticed, but Invasion wasn’t always Book III in the Secret Origins series.
It actually started out as a completely random episode in the future of whatever superhero universe I was bumbling my way into. I wrote it just after publishing Hungry Gods, but didn’t really care at the time if the two linked up or, really, had anything to do with each other at all. I was just writin’ stuff.
When I started it, Invasion was just going to be a standalone short story, though it was never really very short; the thing just got longer and longer the more I typed. (Much like HG, which I also thought was just a random short story when I started.) Most of that typing took place while I was on night shifts at the Yokosuka Naval Hospital in Japan. I didn’t write it while on duty, but I was awake at night because of that. Using my mutant power of recall location, I can place myself at a booth in the base McDonalds for much of the writing process. It was only about a three-minute walk from my home there and was open late.
Coming up with the story and its characters, I used the same premise that I still use to guide my way through this foggy super-powered universe today: What kind of things do caped heroes do in the comics?
The answer in this case was: They fight aliens and they go into space.
I also integrated a few other classic tropes, one example being a hyper-intelligent gorilla. I’m sure you can spot a few more.
And so this experimental story came about, one chapter at a time.
Next, I decided to publish it in a small collection of my other random, not-really-related superheroes tales. (It hadn’t occurred to me yet what a waste not linking them was!) In fact, I recently rediscovered an old MS Word file in which I was planning out this one big collection of super-powered one-offs. Guess what else was included? The short story Hungry Gods! As well as other ideas that I now recognize as being major events and/or characters in current or planned novels of the IDCU. It’s amazing how these things evolve over time!
Obviously, HG didn’t end up in a collection of shorts, but Invasion did. For a while, anyway.
And then, the more I thought about how it ended—that is, with the “leave them wanting more” principle—I eventually decided, “Well, okay, I guess instead of a random series of events in the future, this really could be the first of a trilogy all its own...”
(The benefit of being completely unknown is that no one really noticed that happen. And here I am, pulling a similar stunt again. This time, though, I think a few folks might actually notice.)
I broke up that collection and Invasion became a short novel, published on its own as Book I of the Identity Crisis 2029 series. I figured the next two books would be entitled Insurrection and Resurrection, each title sounding a lot like the previous one, and I quickly (instantly) figured out the basis of what would happen in those two books based on the titles I had just come up with.
And that all sounded good.
But that was in 2015. Shortly after I published what would become the first IDCU title, Hungry Gods.
As I type this now, we are on the cusp of the year 2020.
Five. Years. Later.
And what’s the status is the IDC 2029 series today?
Well, I figure I should probably finish the other Identity Crisis Universe books first. You know, before I say what’s going to happen 15 years into my heroes’ futures, I should know what all happens in the present, right?
January this year (2019), I finally got IDC Book II, Deus Ex Machina, out into the world. Four years after Hungry Gods (Book I). And I’m currently working on Book III, which will come out spring of 2020. I envision at least four more books after this before we get to the end of Spitball and the Phen Five’s journey on this timeline.
And aside from all things spandex, I also have other donut holes to plug.
That’s one of my personal codewords: donut hole. It means I have other series that I’ve started over the years but haven’t finished yet. And I really can’t see waiting for decades to pass before getting back to them, either.
So, as I sit here typing at 10:31 pm, after starting my day at 6:30 am and finally getting my son to bed about an hour ago, and with a 5:00 am alarm set for tomorrow morning... Trying to figure out how I’m going to get all these books done in a reasonable amount of time... Let’s just say, it ain’t easy. Prognosis doesn’t look too good at this point.
Compromises may have to be made in order to bring about some semblance of satisfaction. For you, the reader, and for me, the creator.
The long and the short of it goes something like this:
As much as I’d like to be a fulltime writer, that dream hasn’t come to pass yet. I work more than 40 hours a week teaching, have a wife in night school, and a son I take care of by myself most evenings. And with literally 50 more books in mind, maybe a quarter of them superhero-related, I need to make some hard decisions in order to get even half of them written before I die of old age. (Unless I get to the point where I don’t need the day job anymore, but that’s not factoring in at the moment.)
Therefore, by virtue of some more reshuffling for the greater good of the multiverse, Invasion is now Book III of the Secret Origins series. The downside of the deal is that Insurrection and Resurrection are probably not coming as full books of their own. The 2029 series is hereby cannibalized. There just isn’t going to be room (or more accurately, time) for three different super-powered series on my writing schedule.
But the good news is, if I’m placing this book into the third slot of the Secret Origins trilogy, that means these Apex heroes have to come up again in the main Identity Crisis series at some point, right? That’s what the SO series is all about—sideline stories and backgrounds that are reflected in the main IDC story. (And yes, the misfits of Masks are coming up too, just wait and see.)
Besides, what’s more superhero comic-booky than heroes who come back from the future to change the past?! Perfectly fits the What else do superheroes do? premise, right?
So watch out, Spitball! Just as you think your adventures are wrapping up, you might just get a visit from a purple-skinned gladiator and a hyper-intelligent gorilla asking you to save John Conner from giant insectoid Terminators... Or something to that effect.