Trying to get my head around everything I need to make this series work is chaotic at best, nightmare at worst.
World-building needs attention to every aspect of the galaxy, universe that is going to perform as a backdrop to your story. So, despite the stories running fast, simple and action-packed, I find it necessary to splice in the backstory in such a way as to not slow down the pace.
Take EKTEPOI for example, a story about a neo-human race who were seeded by the Dispersalista, a scientific group who launched humanity to a thousand stars and who became, to many of the neo (new) human species, a cult religion to be feared and hunted to extinction. How does such a thing happen? The story needs to be told but to do so we need to go back in time with a prequel. This not only helps the reader put things into context, it helps ensure that the CLONE WORLDS series develops as a cogent reality with a structured history and a sound economic basis for survival.
In writing the prequel GENETICS helps to set the scene for the future of all humanity, but the journey is long and hazardous and Hyacinth the main character has to transform into a 'Hybrid' just to complete the journey. The book isn't intended to be an action-packed story, rather an opportunity to explore how a new world could come about where everything is designed to be in balance and harmony. The origin of the Dispersalista begins here and in thousands of other dispersal ships sent out to seed new galaxies.
When writing MUTANT HUNTER and MIND CLONER, two other stories in the CLONE WORLD series I knew I would have to be more detailed than in the Pattern Universe and Artis Prime. This meant that I could not 'just' write each of the books. I eventually found I had to go back and create the universe in which they exist, and in my usual way, I got myself over-involved in the complexities and founded other stories on the back of them.
Ultimately, it would appear that this year's book writing is going to be very involved, not such a fast-pace delivery as I expected.
Febrillo Worlds Alliance is a group of planets that foreswore against cloning in all guises. They fought the ‘Clone Wars’ to rid themselves of the mutated species that were developing in their midst; corrupting the gene pool, they were the primary cause of the GeneX (GX) virus and the GenType2 (GT2) which ended up twice as virulent. Whilst the GX virus killed only those with mutation weaknesses, the GT2 strain crossed over and began wiping out whole colonies of healthy gene pool.
While Corporations control governments and worlds it was impossible to eradicate the problem while their commercial interests took precedence. Resistance fighters made headway over a hundred year rebellion and once they took control of one world, the fight was on to free other planets of the pestilence.
The Clone Wars were not a single war, but a series of space and land battles for control of planets, and from there removal of the clone mutants by successive cleansings; themselves the subject of heavy criticism by liberalists, accusing the Febrillists of genocide and mass murder. Whilst not far from the truth, the desire for humanity to survive, made for some difficult decisions with limited options.
Once the problem had been removed, the member planets of the Febrillo uprisings that had fought the Corporations formed an Alliance and held a strong line of defence against the Corporations still existing ‘Clone Worlds’ and whilst the Corporate interests decided that they could not afford to keep losing planets, they also couldn’t afford to maintain a war. A stalemate ensued, one that gave way to a peace accord that eventually ended hostilities.
Dispersalistas believe that during the origins of man, there was a time when humans lived on a single dying planet, Terra. To protect humanity a great exodus was created, a fleet of automatic ships sent out with a single mission - find planets and imbue with life. Each ship had a different sector of the universe to navigate. It might take centuries, but eventually the vessels would reach their destinations and terraform them. When the time was right, life would be introduced and genetic blueprints would recreate humanity as closely to the planet's native biology as their systems would allow.
Overseen by the ship's autonomous AI, the planet would continue to adapt and humanity genetically altered until it was perfectly suited to its new environment. The ships were as gods, creating everything at all levels, but only until such biological directives had been met. It would then shut down and maintain only a watching brief over future genetic patterns, altering if required. With a technological knowledgebase that would one day be available to those that found it, those who had the means with which to interpret its storehouse of treasures, the ships lay in wait for a day that might never come.
The Dispersalistas believe there are thousands of planets out there seeded with the genetics of their forebears and it is their sworn mandate to find them wherever they are and connect them into one integrated human race with all of the diversity, strengths and weaknesses that their different worlds could provide. Never again would humanity be under threat of extinction and the universe would be available to all.
The Universal Dispersal was the historic beginning of the current civilisation. When the original planet that was home to humanity turned overnight into a dying, diseased world because of a release of subterranean gases that ruptured onto the surface, killing thousands and sending clouds of poisons into the stratosphere. Humanity had only one solution - leave. The exodus was quickly managed because all nations under threat of extinction worked together to form a human chain of technical wizardy that threw ship after ship into space in massive fleets. Each fleet consisting of upwards of fifty ships, all housing colonists in suspended animation, or in the poorer examples, generational habitats, all sent into different galaxies to follow prepared routes that would provide them with the highest number of habitable or terraformable planets - a chance at best, but worth the risk.
It is currently unknown which directions these fleets were sent. Each colony was given only coordinates for their own exodus. Therefore it is fully anticipated that at some point in the future, the paths of two, or more colonies will cross. When that time arrives it is believed it will begin the period of consolidation, where one colony will absorb the other. Nobody believes it will be a time of peaceful reunification.
The Dispersalistas, a religious movement that believes that everything happens through divine intervention fight continually to be heard and regularly send out ships looking for the brethren of other colonies. Perhaps they are the only ones who do, for most Corporates and free governments fear such a time as one of major uncertainty and war at the very least. Because of this the Dispersalistas are scorned and ridiculed, even eradicated in secret cleansings, their ships, if discovered leaving the galaxy, destroyed secretly, nobody claiming responsibility, but all quietly condoning the act wherever it occured.
The cult, for that is what it is, has moved underground to evade the authorities and the witchhunters and now work behind the scenes to effect change and influence thinking. It is now much harder to eradicate them and they are gaining ground in their effort to send out official search ships to find the lost colonies. There is now a real fear that the cult will find them and bring about the feared consolidation.
Today there is a liklihood of at least one in every persons’ sphere of influence that has links to the Dispersalistas and the intelligence gathering, once against them, is now carried out by them (see DIA) in an effort to thwart official attempts to bring about a reversal of their fortunes. Some people believe they are right, and that an olive branch should precede us in attempting to bring about reunification. It was making for some very heated debates and when discovered, extremely violent reprisals by the paranoid.
The Mutant Hunter is the first of a series of non-linear stories taking place in a future universe far from Earth and present day humanity.
The Mutant Hunters evolved at the end of the Clone Wars. Small colonies of mutant clones continued to be discovered, mainly from outer less civilised areas where they had hidden during the cleansing. The Corporations refused amnesty even though the war had been lost and they had agreed to their protection. to many, the threat to the genepool was too great and so a clandestine specialist bounty hunter evolved to find and eradicate any unknown enclaves that were discovered before the Alliance of Worlds could provide protection.
These hunters weren’t evil people, although many liberalists considered them to be so. Many were survivors of the effects of the GT2 virus and were therefore immune to its effects. Many had lost loved ones, or had been in the middle of the virus outbreaks and recognised the threat for what it was - potentially apocalyptic.
The MH were a loose group of self employed pilot fighters. They typically had small, fast ships that were loaded with detection equipment and defensive armaments as well as major weapons of aggression. There were some enclaves that were not backward, with technology in abundance and links to Corporation worlds that kept them supplied and provided intelligence. It became a smuggling and pirate type operation which meant the odds were often not in the hunter’s favour. If the hunter came up against a large force, they could call in the Navy, or land military, but forfeit their bounty in the process. As a result the hunters would instead join forces and bring in mercenaries who would agree to a division of rewards or set pay for servies and cooperation.
The Clone Corporations, those involved heavily in cloning humans for specific duties and professions, obviously had a different perspective on the issue of cloning. Although they recognised the latent issues of mutant clones breeding unstable combinations caused the initial diseases and viruses, they felt that throwing out the baby with the bathwater to be an overly zealous response. Nonetheless, as part of the peace accord, all corporations had agreed to halt any and all spliced DNA experiments and to withdraw any such clones from the chain of society. What happened to the clones was unknown. Many stories of ships being loaded with ‘colonies’ and sent directly into one of the two yellow suns that inhabited the Celibri Belt were recounted in the many bars on the clone worlds.